Monday, October 13, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continuous source of bloodshed. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it has been at any time in the past. The recent conflicts in Palestine (Jews vs. Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians vs. Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbians vs. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims), Northern Ireland (Protestants vs. Catholics), Kashmir (Muslims vs. Hindus), Sudan (Muslims vs. Christians and animists), Nigeria (Muslims vs. Christians), Ethiopia and Eritrea (Muslims vs. Christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil Hindus), Indonesia (Muslims vs. Timorese Christians), Iran and Iraq (Shiite vs. Sunni Muslims), and the Caucasus (Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis vs. Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases in point. These are places where religion has been the explicit cause of literally millions of deaths in recent decades.
Why is religion such a potent source of violence? There is no other sphere of discourse in which human beings so fully articulate their differences from one another, or cast these differences in terms of everlasting rewards and punishments. Religion is the one endeavor in which us–them thinking achieves a transcendent significance. If you really believe that calling God by the right name can spell the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, then it becomes quite reasonable to treat heretics and unbelievers rather badly. The stakes of our religious differences are immeasurably higher than those born of mere tribalism, racism, or politics.
Religion is also the only area of our discourse in which people are systematically protected from the demand to give evidence in defense of their strongly held beliefs. And yet, these beliefs often determine what they live for, what they will die for, and all too often what they will kill for. This is a problem, because when the stakes are high, human beings have a simple choice between conversation and violence. At the level of societies, the choice is between conversation and war. There is nothing apart from a fundamental willingness to be reasonable to have one's beliefs about the world revised by new evidence and new arguments that can guarantee we will keep talking to one another. Certainty without evidence is necessarily divisive and dehumanizing.
Therefore, one of the greatest challenges facing civilization in the twenty-first century is for human beings to learn to speak about their deepest personal concerns—about ethics, spiritual experience, and the inevitability of human suffering—in ways that are not flagrantly irrational. Nothing stands in the way of this project more than the respect we accord religious faith. While there is no guarantee that rational people will always agree, the irrational are certain to be divided by their dogmas.
It seems profoundly unlikely that we will heal the divisions in our world simply by multiplying the occasions for interfaith dialogue. The end game for civilization cannot be mutual tolerance of patent irrationality. All parties to ecumenical religious discourse have agreed to tread lightly over those points where their worldviews would otherwise collide, and yet these very points remain perpetual sources of bewilderment and intolerance for their coreligionists. Political correctness simply does not offer an enduring basis for human cooperation. If religious war is ever to become unthinkable for us, in the way that slavery and cannibalism seem poised to, it will be a matter of our having dispensed with the dogma of faith.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Thursday, October 2, 2014
One of the most important, and often overlooked parts of any Twitter page is the bio section. Your band may have the coolest profile pics, but without a great bio no one will ever see it.
Whether you’re new to Twitter or a veteran Tweeter, chances are you give more thought to the contents of your Tweets than to the content of your bio. Optimizing your bio is fairly simple and there are a number of tips out there to help you make the most of your Twitter experience.
I have compiled a list of proven tips that musicians are using to get their presence out to a wider audience.
1. Take full advantage of the space provided - Twitter allows you 160 character to wow the world, use all of them. It is near impossible to convey what you’re about in one short sentence. You know you’re great, you’re mom knows you’re great, but the rest of the world might need a little more convincing. The more information you can give them, the better.
2. Use keyword - Think of Twitter as a giant people based search engine. Think of things that people would search for to find your band, and try to include those keywords in your bio. Some keywords that might be relevant to you might include, “musician,” “indie,” “folk music,” “gangsta rapper,” etc. The more niche and targeted you can be, the better.
3. Have fun with it - Make your bio an extension of your personality. Whatever your personality is and whoever you are as an artist, make sure your bio represents that. If you’re funny, be funny. Showing your personality is a great way to make a great first impression.
4. Include your location - Some people don’t like to put a location or will just put the country they are from. I would advise against this. If you don’t want to be as specific as putting the city or town that you live in, at least put the general area or state that you’re in. This will help if people are looking for musicians locally or within a certain area, especially when looking for live shows. Additionally, this will aid in networking with other musicians in your area.
5. Have a link to your website - Twitter allows you to enter a link to a website that will appear in your bio. The only link you should be using in your bio is a link to your own website. Don’t use a link to your Facebook page, ReverbNation profile, etc. They can always go to those pages after they’ve visited your website. Give yourself the traffic, not some social media site. By sending people to “your” website, you can entice them to join your mailing list, read your blog, watch your videos, and visit your online store to make purchases.
6. Update your bio regularly - Your Twitter bio should be updated regularly. If you’re putting out a new album, going on tour, or have won an award, be sure to add a quick sentence about that. Always be aware of your Twitter bio and whether it still reflects who you are as an artist.
A good Twitter bio can tell someone a lot about your band. It can make it easier for new fans to discover your music. I hope these tips were helpful, now go write the next great Twitter bio!!
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