Alan: All manifestations of aggressive ignorance that argue "the end times are near," thus obviating need to heed those "worldly things" which humankind has long held dear arise from the same impulse that persuades Christian "conservatives" to oppose "the findings of science" whenever those findings are ideologically offensive or inconvenient.
Recall Catholicism's treatment of heliocentrism, a normalized monstrosity that even conservative Christians now recognize as a laughable misreprentation of self-evident truth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair
At bottom, "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" opposition to science -- particularly when scientific finding begs collective political action -- arises from the Christian belief that God is completely providential.
In light of conservative Christianity's bedrock belief in overarching Providence, any individual who is "right with God" can, should and must trust that Providence will provide "all that is necessary" without any need that individuals -- whose personal relationship with God is "everything" -- join together in collective effort.
The Parable Of The Flood (And The Catastrophic Foolishness Of Overly Abstract Gods)
From the vantage of Christian conservatism, making common cause with collective political effort at regional, federal, continental, hemispheric or global levels is to manifest one's lack of faith; in effect "converting" Christian conservatives into infidels deserving eternal damnation in a Lake of Unquenchable Fire.
Should such infidelity occur, conservative Christians would lose their primary identity, a loss they conceive as worse than death itself.
In consequence, conservative Christians see themselves obliged to disbelieve "best knowledge truth" whenever science conflicts with core beliefs. This ideological shackling makes it crucial -- and currently futile -- to establish Christianity on a faithful foundation that enables change.
Aquinas saw the crucial need for aligning faith with scientific knowledge and addressed it clearly.
ISIS damages Bel, Syria's 'most important temple."
By Don Melvin and Schams Elwazer, CNN
(CNN) — The iconic columns of a temple with historic significance in Palmyra, Syria, are still standing despite an explosion there Sunday (August 30), the antiquities chief in Syria, Maamoun Abdulkarim, said Monday (August 31).
He said there was an explosion Sunday inside the walls of the Temple of Bel, and while the extent of the damage is not yet known, witnesses report the walls are still standing. He called the site "the most important temple in Syria and of the most important in the whole Middle East."
For nearly 2,000 years – back to the days when Christ walked the earth – the Temple of Bel has been the center of religious life in the Syrian city of Palmyra.
But now, at least part of the most historically significant temple in Palmyra has been destroyed by ISIS, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists in Syria for information.
ISIS has become known not only for its brutal executions, but for its hatred of antiquities – and its wanton destruction of them.
Recently, it executed Khaled al-As'ad, an 82-year-old man who had spent his life on the painstaking task of preserving antiquities in Palmyra, because he refused to reveal where various irreplaceable relics had been hidden.
And now, apparently, ISIS has damaged the Temple of Bel.
Abdulkarim had told CNN on Monday that officials were working to confirm the reports with sources in the city.
'Meeting point' between classical, Eastern architecture
"We are waiting for details on the truth of what occurred, the exact location inside the temple, and the size of the destruction," Abdulkarim said.
The first-century temple, which is dedicated to the ancient "god of gods," is one of the largest and best-preserved in the region and represents a meeting point between classical and Eastern architecture, Abdulkarim said.
ISIS, perhaps the most brutal terrorist group to emerge in modern times, has shown a taste for demolishing irreplaceable ancient sites and antiquities. It considers "pre-Islamic religious objects or structures sacrilegious," wrote Sturt Manning, chairman of Cornell University's Department of Classics, in an opinion piece for CNN.com.
"It seeks to destroy diversity and enforce narrow uniformity. Evidence of a tolerant, diverse past is anathema," he said. "What it fears is memory and knowledge, which it cannot destroy."
Last week, ISIS published photos of its destruction of the temple of Baal Shamin, the first major structure in the ancient city of Palmyra to be destroyed.
Witnesses told The Associated Press Monday that ISIS militants, who captured Palmyra in May, significantly damaged the 2,000 year old temple by bombing it. And an ISIS operative, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the AP over Skype on Monday that militants had detonated explosives near the temple.
"Bel Temple is a unique architectural icon, being one of the largest and most well-known temples in the ancient Near-Eastern history," the Antiquities and Museums Department in Damascus said in a statement earlier Monday. Amid reports of the temple's destruction, the department said it was "hoping it is not true."