201 Toolkit: Wayne Proodfoot

One of the least favored authors from the Religion 201 syllabus among my classmates was Wayne Proudfoot, whose Religious Experience takes a somewhat cynically empirical view of religion and the experiences people attribute to religious causes. Sometimes an empiricist myself, I have found Proodfoot useful since my first encounter with his book, and often invoke his central argument in my own analyses.


Do The Dead Check Facebook?

Speculating on the condition of the deceased seems always to have been within religions' purview, and as such thanatology often has a place among scholars of religion. Over the last several months, I have experienced three deaths: that of a dear friend in November, that of my grandfather in December, and that of a schoolmate with whom I was acquainted just last week. Reflecting on these experiences and observing the behavior of others prompted me to raise a question which a friend actually came up with some time ago.


Battlestarry-Eyed: Mixed Messages

Last post we identified the issue causing me grief in wrapping my mind around Battlestar Galactica: a conflict or dissonance between the narrative genres of science fiction and myth, and a clash between their associated religious genres of discourse, atheism and supernaturalism respectively. At first I intended merely to point out this discord and remark upon the difficulty it presents to an audience. However, in the course of writing last week's remarks it occurred to me the conflicting genres of discourse may have some implications worth fleshing out here.

What is the meaning of a story split between these two genres of religious and narrative discourse? Moreover, what is the significance of the stalemate those two genres ultimately reach? Or is it really a stalemate at all?


What The Frak, Indeed

In my very first post I alluded to Battlestar Galactica as a possible topic for discussion here. I've been listening to the recently released soundtrack to Razor and The Plan, and with that putting Battlestar on my mind, the day has come to talk about my favorite TV show.

Unlike our long series of posts on Magic: The Gathering, our discussion of Battlestar Galactica will be something of a one-off, as it turns out I really only have one central point I'd like to make about the series. Accordingly, I'm not going to start out with an attempt to re-cap or summarize the show's four seasons, and must assume some familiarity on the part of my readers. If you don't want to risk having the show spoiled, don't read on.

I'll say again: spoiler warning. Ye have been warned.