Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry was the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a now-dormant site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He was the Editor-in-Chief of two Manhattan-based magazines until he decided to give up commercial publishing for professional photography... with a lot of blogging on the side. These days, he lives in an old seaside farmhouse in Maine with his wife, three kids, and two big dogs.
Mention Pope John Paul II to people who are possessed by evil spirits, and sometimes they’ll literally froth at the mouth in fury. That’s because the late pontiff was a first-class exorcist whose God-given powers are still feared in Satan’s dark realm. How do we know this? It comes from Italian priest Gabriele Amorth, the founder and honorary president of the International Association of Exorcists. [Click headline for more…] Read more
Megan, 22, is a recent Duke University grad and a gifted writer. Because she was born with a rare connective-tissue disorder called epidermolysis bullosa, she’s had to get used to people asking “What’s the matter with Megan?” Hence the name of her new blog. Sometimes, strangers pray on her. Not just for her. On her. ”Having a visible disability is like shark bait for ignorant people lacking scruples,” she explains. “I swear, the mere sight of crutches is like blood in the water.” So when she’s out and about, the faithful approach her. Well-meaning folks. Kindness in their hearts. Filled with the spirit. And they really, really want their Lord to perform a miracle. One time, Megan got caught in what she describes as an “unholy prayer sandwich”: [Click headline for more…] Read more
For a while now, the editors of Woroni, a student newspaper at Australian National University (ANU), have run a satirical series called “Advice from Religion.” The articles have so far made light of Catholicism, Scientology, Mormonism, Judaism, and — finally — Islam. Predictably enough, perhaps, the piece on Islam was the only one that caused immediate paroxysms of fear and cowardice, resulting in the university chancellor’s successful demands for a retraction and an apology. The Woroni article, presented as an infographic, asked “How should I value women?” It answered with references to Aisha, the nine-year wife of the prophet Muhammad (PBJLOL) and to the 72 big-bosomed virgins who, according to the Koran, will be awaiting the male faithful after death. The Woroni editors observed that the Koranic passages read like “a rape fantasy.” I was hoping it didn’t need to be said, but the normal give-and-take in an advanced democratic country (let’s say Australia rather than Saudi Arabia) calls for anyone who doesn’t like an editorial piece to respond in ways that contribute to the discussion, rather than shut the author up. If something sufficiently offends you, you may start a Facebook page or protest website, send requests for a rebuttal piece, fire off letters-to-the-editor, stage a demonstration, and so on. Welcome to the marketplace of ideas. [Click headline for more…] Read more
If you have to resort to making stuff up in order to “prove” that secular Americans are out to attack Christianity, your case is probably pretty weak. Take this recent headline from Catholic Online: That’s the website’s take on American Atheists president David Silverman offering non-theist literature to be placed in Georgia state park cabins. Silverman did so after Governor Nathan Deal said that the Gideon Bibles are fine and that “in fact, any group is free to donate literature.” [Click headline for more…] Read more
You’ve probably experienced, more than once, the death of a love one. I have too. We could’ve saved ourselves an ocean of tears and a mountain of grief (not to mention the expense of the funeral!) if we’d only called a Christian prayer team to restore our relative or friend to life. Nifty! Yes, these self-proclaimed resurrection specialists really do exist. Like 75 million Americans (30% of all U.S. Christians), they believe in the literal truth of the Bible. The deadraisers are special in that they concentrate on Matthew 10:8: Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. We’ll return to the Americans in a moment, but this wacky international movement is on my mind today thanks to a Dutch Pentecostal evangelist. I learned through a friend that the evangelist, Ronald Plat, has been offering his services to the parents of a girl who recently committed suicide. When they declined his entreaties, he turned to a mother whose two pre-teen sons were found brutally murdered earlier this month. She, too, inexplicably refused to let him anywhere near the bodies of her children. Plat stayed positive, musing on social-media sites how the Netherlands will be “turned on its head” once his death-cheating miracles get the “media attention” they deserve. [Click headline for more…] Read more