“The enemies of Holy Russia are everywhere,” says Ivan Ostrakovsky, the leader of a group of Russian Orthodox vigilantes who have taken to patrolling the streets of nighttime Moscow, dressed in all-black clothing emblazoned with skulls and crosses.
“We must protect holy places from liberals and their satanic ideology,” he tells me. crosses have been chopped down, there’s been graffiti on church walls.”There is something of Robert De Niro’s Travis Bickle in Ostrakovsky’s fervor.
Like the disgruntled main character of Scorsese’s epic film Taxi Driver, the vigilante sees himself in a fight against cultural degradation.
“When I came back from serving in the Chechen War, I found my country full of dirt,” he says. But now, religion is on the rise.”A few years ago, Ostrakovsky and his vigilantes seemed like marginal curiosities in Russia, burning copies of the Harry Potter books in protest of “witchcraft.” But as Vladimir Putin’s third presidential term comes into focus, the cross-wearing thugs are now right in line with the ideology emanating from the Kremlin—and from the Russian Orthodox hierarchy.
Pastafarianism has received praise from the scientific community and criticism from proponents of intelligent design.
Pastafarians have engaged in disputes with creationists, including in Polk County, Florida, where they played a role in dissuading the local school board from adopting new rules on teaching evolution.
Pastafarianism (a portmanteau of pasta and Rastafarian) is a social movement that promotes a light-hearted view of religion and opposes the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in public schools.What “atheos” means is, as with any term, subject to context (and perhaps personal interpretation).Note that if an atheist states, “I do not believe in God”, this is technically not a statement about God’s existence or lack thereof.Thus, by applying the term “atheist” to themselves, such atheists are not technically making a statement about God’s existence or lack thereof.This definition has been popularized, at least, since Charles Bradlaugh (circa 1876).David Mathis is executive editor for desiring and pastor at Cities Church in Minneapolis.