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Weekend Reads 5/6/17

The American Health Care Act's Prosperity Gospel

The beliefs of some evangelicals connecting wealth to God’s favor became intertwined with faith healing, and both rose to new heights in the television era on the backs of men like Oral Roberts. While it became part of the cults of personality around the generation of Pat Robertsons and Peter Popoffs that followed Roberts’s lead, faith healing was also undeniably a policy statement. It at least partially rejected the role of science in public health and encouraged a view that faith, virtue, and good works could be enough to secure healing. And although the furthest extremes of the prosperity gospel often bring to mind church scandals, thousand-dollar suits, and parish helicopters, the basic idea that a healthy life was also a sign of favor fit right in with the gospel’s defense of riches. Health is wealth.

Why the Avocado Should Have Gone the Way of the Dodo

The avocado is a fruit of a different time. The plant hit its evolutionary prime during the beginning of the Cenozoic era when megafauna, including mammoths, horses, gomphotheres and giant ground sloths (some of them weighing more than a UPS truck) roamed across North America, from Oregon to the panhandle of Florida. The fruit attracted these very large animals (megafauna by definition weigh at least 100 pounds) that would then eat it whole, travel far distances and defecate, leaving the seed to grow in a new place. That’s the goal of all botanical fruits, really. Survival and growth via seed dispersal.

3 Ways of Being an Adult Reader of the Bible

Levenson remarked how intelligent and educated adults, who were brought up in religious homes, have nuanced, adult, views of all sorts of things like economics, history, politics, math—even other religions.

But when it comes to the Bible, their thinking hasn’t changed much from their childhood views. For some reason, growth to adulthood has bypassed their understanding of the Bible.

Who is Publishing NSA and CIA Secrets, and Why?

So Russia -- ­or someone else­ -- steals these secrets, and presumably uses them to both defend its own networks and hack other countries while deflecting blame for a couple of years. For it to publish now means that the intelligence value of the information is now lower than the embarrassment value to the NSA and CIA.

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