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The Curiosity Index (11.06.2019)

The preachers getting rich from poor Americans

The Prosperity Heresy is one of the worst exports ever to have come from across the Atlantic.

A number of those making the most persistent pleas for money tap into something called the prosperity gospel, which hinges on a belief that your health and wealth are controlled by God, and God is willing you to be prosperous. Believers are encouraged to show their faith through payments, which they understand will be repaid – many times over – either in the form of wealth or healing.

For followers, it is a way to make sense of sickness and poverty. It can feel empowering and inspiring amid despair. The hard-up donors are often not oblivious to the preachers’ personal wealth – though they may not know the extent of it – but they take the riches as a sign of a direct connection with God. If seed payments have worked for them, maybe they can work for you too?

And if the seeds never flourish? Some are told their faith is not strong enough, or they have hidden sin.

Aunty Ethel’s Elbow

On a better note, here’s Jennie Pollock on prayer.

The prayer part was interesting. Which is to say it was usually very dull, but interesting from an anthropological standpoint. The prayers rarely seemed to pick up on the themes of the study (except when someone felt we hadn’t agreed sufficiently with his/her point and tried to convince God to make it clear to us), but would most often be rather feeble requests of the type that asked us to pray that God would heal Aunty Ethel’s elbow, which had been giving her trouble again.

Escape the Algorithm!

Some internet wisdom from Brett McKay

Over the past few years, I’ve slowly been opting out of the hype machine of social media in my personal life. I deleted my personal Facebook account a few years ago, and I stopped checking Twitter last year. My personal Instagram account has gone dormant. (I’ve been moving AoM away from social media too: we’ve stopped checking and sharing content on Facebook, automate 99% of what we share on Twitter, and use Instagram sparingly).

How to use Google Maps to save your parking location

That’s handy.

We’ve all been there: you park your car on some random street or in a nondescript garage and go about your business. Then, an hour or two later, you find yourself wandering around without the foggiest recollection of where you left your vehicle.

Finding the ship lost for more than 300 years

Here’s a little bit of Swedish history for you.

Off the shelves: Evaluating my use of social media

This from my 2014 self:

Social media is a voracious animal, always hungry, always moving, always devouring. What it mostly devours is my time and focus. I constantly fight against distraction and social media is my favoured form of procrastination. I can somehow feel that I am doing something (keeping up with friends or supporters) while actually doing nothing which is keeping me from doing anything satisfying.

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