Friday, June 29, 2012

Hare Krishna Impersonator!

Sometimes I can be helpful. Take the below, where I alert the Hare Krishnas here to an impostor in their midst. Or is he for real? Links in this post do not appear in the e-mail I've sent. Contact details taken from here
Dear Mayesvara and Syamananda, 
I'm writing to alert you to an impersonator in Dublin who is attempting to bring the good name of your organisation into disrepute.
He stopped me last Thursday on Henry Street and introduced himself as a travelling Yoga teacher asking for donations for Dublin's Hare Krishna temple.
He had no identification, and while his distinctive haircut suggested a monk I felt this was not enough to ensure authenticity. I recalled that your parent organisation had declared bankruptcy to avoid paying compensation to child sex abuse victims, and I asked him if he could explain this approach to me. This may have seemed a mite harsh but I was sure anyone authorised by your temple to collect money would have been appropriately briefed to discuss this matter with tact and compassion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Craig Marsh and the positive review

"People have accused Craig Marsh of being rude and arrogant and of being untruthful. All I can say to those people is that I didn't experience anything like that. I found him both funny and engaging, and he spoke with passion, humility and honesty. No, I didn't see hundreds healed, but plenty came forward to give their life to the Lord or to recommit themselves to him. His preaching and teaching were great, biblically based, profound at times and he clearly understood where we were at as a church." - Red, Christian Blogger
I try to be fair. There is likely disagreement on my success in this endeavour. I've offered Marsh a guest post (and Tzortzis, for that matter) but it's not something he's interested in pursuing at this time. Some weeks ago I had a rather pleasant and polite chat with Red who writes over at Picking Apples of Gold. She's a Christian, miracle-believing blogger who has recently attended a training course in praying for miracle healings.

She's rather kindly reviewed the proceedings over at her blog. There were no healings viewed, or evidence presented, or change of mind on my part, but there was some secondhand testimony. By all accounts he was well received and warm in person. Do have a read, and if you choose to comment, please keep it nice :-)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Craig Marsh and the Starship Enterprise

"His surgeons do not know how this has happened and have said it was not something that should have happened on it’s own"
 -Testimony on Craig Marsh's website
In an earlier episode, worth reading for background, I spoke of Craig Marsh and his miraculous regrowing stomach. He says with confidence that he is a walking miracle, astounding experienced surgeons in his native New Zealand. He claims documentation to back this up, except when he says the opposite. When you ask to see said paperwork you learn that skeptics are unworthy of standing in its presence and Christians who request proof are merely failing to show enough faith in Craig Marsh.

I've exhausted all reasonable attempts to view a copy of these fascinating records. Luckily, although lacking in detail, there are many stories and anecdotes on his site and one had just enough information to track down the hospital mentioned as being baffled by a supposed miraculous cure.

Guest post - is Christianity without merit? Daniel Rodger

I like to consider myself a skeptic first and an atheist second. I feel I have more in common with a rational Christian than a Raelian believing atheist, and because of my rather unusual hobby I have often encountered theists who impress me with wide reading, openness to other world views, and rational approach to discussions of faith.

On the flip side, I have encountered some (thankfully few) atheists with irrational beliefs, thinking that all Muslims are plotting a violent overthrow of the West, that atheists are immune to sexism, and that Christianity is without a single redeeming feature.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Interfaith Dialogue Revisited - Hamza Tzortzis and the William Lane Craig influence

Back in February I mentioned that an article Hamza Tzortzis wrote seemed to rely heavily on the work of Christian apologist William Lane Craig. It was a reasonably unpopular article until PZ Myers featured it, earning me 1,800 hits in one day. If you're counting that's about 1,750 more than average.

Hamza initially denied that there were similarities between William Lane Craig's work and his own:

Hamza A Tzortzis, Twitter: Why don't you actually read it? They're different. Atheists have now lost the argument & are now attacking personalities.

But I'm glad to report that within two days of the increased interest Hamza has updated his article, giving proper credit to Christian apologists Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, Frank J. Tipler, John D. Barrow, Keith Ward and Roy Abraham Varghese as well as atheist philosopher Walter Sinnott-Armstrong as influencing his thinking on the matter. No Muslim authors were cited, though the Qur'an was quoted in several areas.

Monday, June 18, 2012

International Eucharistic Congress Riots!

The dust is settled, rebuilding efforts have commenced, and Garda horses have entered into a period of counselling and emotional healing. Now, safe behind my barricades, I feel I can tell the full story of the IEC 2012 riots, fleshing out my tweets from yesterday.
7:30pm "Pandemonium here in Drumcondra. Crazed, drunken attendees of #IEC2012 rampaging. Street battles with Gardai. Looting and lewdness abound."
We're used to a little exuberance from attendees of events in Croke Park here in Drumcondra. GAA fans are generally an affable bunch, though few seem able to control their bladders for a full evening and they tend to empty out every ATM in a two mile radius. Concerts can be noisy, and of course there's the compromise rules crowd, who like to make their presence known. Still, nothing prepared us for the rampage that marked the ending ceremonies of the International Eucharistic Congress 2012.
7:53pm "Fuelled by commandeered kegs, the #IEC2012 gang have formed a phalanx and are pressing in to Glasnevin. St Luke's has fallen."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Craig Marsh and the anonymous performance review

I've been contacted by a former worker at one of Craig Marsh's shows. They've wanted to tell their story for some time now but have been concerned about community reprisals. I'll be respecting their request for anonymity, but if you have any questions based on the below please add a comment and I'll e-mail the author for clarification.

The year was, 2006 (I think), the month, March (I think) and Craig Marsh had arrived to conduct a multi-day mission.

I say 'I think' because it could have been the previous October, or both, I didn't keep much of a record about the dates I'm afraid.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Craig Marsh's Response: More Than I Can Stomach

*Edit: I've been asked to state that I do not work for Premier Christian Radio, do not represent their views and am not acting on behalf of their company or agents. I'm happy to do so.*

Back in March I discussed modern-day miracles with Doctor Craig Keener on Premier Christian Radio. He'd written a 1,200 page book on the subject, and while he was a pleasant chap with some good points on Hume I disagreed with his endorsement of riot-inciting Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke and Dawit Molalegn, mega rich megapastor of the FBI miracle church.

In addition the host played two recorded messages and asked for my response. One was from a woman who said her leg felt improved some days after being prayed for. The other was from a Pastor Craig Marsh. His - let's be polite initially - story was that his stomach had been largely amputated for medical reasons, he was terminally ill, and then during a group prayer event his stomach spontaneously regrew, allowing him to both live a normal life and perplex his medical staff.