Fun Finds—Your Guide to the Gods

A frankly incredible and nicely wry archive of deographical information on over 2,800 gods, subdivided by region and culture.

Blasphemy—the Game

Blasphemy™ is an amazingly clever, well-made, and carefully researched board game that manages to provide religious literacy and skewer the sacred at the same time. There was more than one claimant to the title of Messiah in ancient Judea. Each player maneuvers his would-be Messiah through six phases in the life of Jesus. Whoever can attain baptism in the Jordan, resist the devil in the wilderness, give the greatest sermons, perform the most impressive miracles, discredit his rivals, and make his way first to the cross wins the game. If you (or your teens) don't like complex, multilayered games that stretch into the wee hours of the night, this isn't for you. If, on the other hand, that last sentence made you drool, and you think of sacred cows as excellent skewer-holders, this is the game for you. Ages 13+.

Q: My daughter's public school is very small and has no auditorium. They hold the kindergarten graduation in the Baptist church across the street. Thoughts?

A: All church-state considerations should begin with a single question: Does the matter at hand negatively affect the religious freedom of the children by dictating a single "right" belief? The use of the building (especially when you have no other space) seems unlikely to meet this standard. Much more problematic are the invocations with which thousands of public high school graduations open every June. Next thing you know, they'll be putting religious phrases on our money. (*Sigh.*) If they open the kindergarten graduation with a prayer or include any other overt religious content, that's different, and I'd get very serious with them about that church-state line. As always, express any concern in terms of religious freedom for all, not the avoidance of "offense." The former is constitutionally guaranteed; the latter is not.

Q: One of my neighbors has been dropping hints to my 6-year-old son that she could take him with her to Sunday school so he "could be with the other children." She is a nice enough lady, but it seems manipulative to me. Should I say something?

A: Yes. Take advantage of the next time you see each other taking out the trash, getting the mail, etc.—avoid the door knock if you can. Simply say, kindly but quite firmly, that the decision to attend church is up to the parents, not the neighbors, and that it is inappropriate to direct such an invitation to a 6-year-old without the parents' knowledge. Strangers with candy, and all that. If she has a child herself, and you wish to make a firmer point, ask if she would be pleased to hear that you had offered to take her child to the local Humanist meetup. End with a smile and a change of subject: "I see your petunias are coming in beautifully again!"

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