Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Book of Kells

4evangelists-sm On the day when nearly everyone is a little bit Irish, I was reminded of a grand work of art that Irish monks laboring in isolation on a tiny island just west of Scotland began work on around the year 750. For more than a century, monks on the island had been laboring faithfully to copy and preserve classical and biblical texts into what now is known as the Book of Kells

Perhaps the greatest illustrated version of the Gospels ever made, it only survived by an act of God. Sometime in the 9th century (after Vikings dropped by unannounced yet again), cautious monks moved the Book of Kells from its island home to the Abbey of Kells in eastern Ireland. Documents show the abbey was plundered several times before 1006, when thieves finally got their hands on the book, stripped it of its bejeweled golden cover, and flung it into a bog.

Considering that the volume spent a few months buried there before being rescued, it's in remarkably good shape. Today, the book is at Trinity College in Dublin, which has been its steward since 1660.

The above illustration depicts the authors of the four Gospels: Matthew as a man, Mark as a lion, Luke as an ox (or calf), and John as an eagle.


Friday, March 13, 2009

New Dylan Album!

New Dylan Album: Our First Listen! - News - Mojo

In this article (above link) from MOJO, Michael Simmons accentuates Dylan's new album (to be released in late April 09) as "a powerful personal work by a man who still thinks for himself in an era of fear, conformity, and dehumanization.”


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Notable non-believers!

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion

Diagoras of Melos

Often referred to as the "first atheist", Diagoras was a poet and sophist who openly spoke out against religion in ancient Greece and was forced to flee Athens for doing so. Unfortunately, little record of what he thought survives although we know that he publicly questioned the Eleusinian Mysteries, an elaborate series of ceremonies.

Albert Einstein

Einstein was regularly asked if he thought there was a god. In developing the theory of relativity, he realized there must have been a beginning to the universe. The question he struggled with was what came before the beginning? He concluded: "I do not believe in a personal God. If something is in me which can be called religion, then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

Mark Twain

A fearsome critic of organized religion, Twain wrote many of the sound bites atheists repeat today, such as: "If Christ were here, there is one thing he would not be: a Christian." Born in 1835, a year Halley's comet was seen, he ironically predicted "the Almighty" would take him next time the comet passed near Earth. He died in 1910, two weeks after the comet was spotted once more.

"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God" (Psalm 53.1).