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Let us pray

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in Religion | 0 comments

Let us pray

“Let us pray.” “Let us remember that we are in the presence of God.” “Let us remember that we are in the presence of our God.” “Let us be in an attitude of prayer.” “Please center yourself.” I hear these phrases all the time as the leader seeks to gain control over his or her group. I do fully understand the need to bring people to focus on what is happening; to bring the group to quiet so the prayer can be made. More importantly and objectionably, I understand that the leader is invoking each person’s sense of God and his/her commitment to God to gain their attention and respect. In a way, instead of relying on his/her own earned respect, the leader is invoking the person’s already-held respect for God. It’s interesting because any religious leader can obtain transmuted respect in this way. They don’t have to do anything themselves to earn a person’s respect. The phrases are cliche’, but the technique is very effective. Even non-believers become silent when these phrases are uttered. My question is, “Why are these simple phrases so effective?” My answer is that these simple phrases are effective for three reasons: 1. The leader is saying something to quiet the group. It gets their attention. 2. If you are so bold as to ignore the leader (who is God’s representative after all), you will go straight to hell. 3. If you know you won’t go to hell, at very least you will suffer the silent condemnation of the people around you who think that you are offending God. Thus, a call to prayer at the beginning of a meeting, ball game, or class in school, quite simply–works. It’s a great way to manipulate the minds and attitudes of the group to the intentions of the leader. The prayer itself invokes positive intentional thought which reminds people to behave and otherwise do the right thing. Not entirely a bad thing, but it is a manipulative technique. Sometimes it’s just good to know what’s going...

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Faith is not a Reliable Reasoning Process

Posted by on Oct 14, 2016 in Religion | 0 comments

Faith is not a Reliable Reasoning Process

Fundamentally, faith is not a reliable reasoning process. Belief without evidence isn’t wise. Try to get beyond what you’ve always known to be true and begin to ask questions to validate or invalidate those beliefs. Ask yourself how you know something to be true. How do you know the sun will come up in the morning? How do you know the earth is round? How do you know your spouse or child loves you? Make a list. Do you apply the criteria on your list to things you believe to be true about God? Ask yourself how you know whether or not something works? How do you know that communication takes place over the telephone? How do you know your car engine works? How do you know if a medication is effective? Make a list. Do you apply the criteria on your list to such things as prayer? Ask how you know if a written work is credible. Do you apply these criteria to the Bible? If you are firmly entrenched in your beliefs (as I was) and you have never challenged those beliefs, perhaps it would be wise to listen to opposing views. Just be open to the possibility that you may not yet have been exposed to all the information you need. Start with one or both of these books: Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion (Dawkins is very good but can come off as a bit arrogant. Get past this and read what he has to say.) David Mills – Atheist Universe There are a number of other great books available. Search for some of these titles in pdf form: The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins 101 Contradictions in the Bible God is not Great – Christopher Hitchens Losing Faith in Faith – Dan Barker Breaking the Spell – Religion as a Natural Phenomenon – Daniel C. Dennett Jesus Interrupted – Bart Ehrman The Bible Unearthed – Israel Finkelstein Atheism – The Case Against God – George Smith The GOD Part of the Brain – Matthew Alper Why I am Not a Christian – Bertrand Russell Letter to a Christian Nation – Sam Harris The End of Faith – Sam Harris God – The Failed Hypothesis – Victor Stenger We Believe That Reality Does Matter Here are a few good Web sites too: godisimaginary.com whywontgodhealamputees.com www.evilbible.com/ If you prefer watching videos, check out on YouTube, “The Root of All Evil” Parts 1 and 2. Also, go to Youtube.com and check out Edward Tarte’s videos on religion. He is an atheist who once was a Catholic priest. He is dry but give him a chance–his wisdom and direct approach may open your eyes. All the best to you, my...

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Why becoming a terrorist is a bad idea

Posted by on Feb 6, 2015 in Education, Religion, Terrorism, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Why becoming a terrorist is a bad idea

Becoming a terrorist is a bad idea. If you are considering how great it would be or how thrilling it would be to kill other people for any religious cause, please read on. Becoming a terrorist is a bad idea because it is a lose, lose, lose proposition. That is to say, if you kill someone else, they lose. As a terrorist, many people are determined to kill you. There is a very high probability that sooner or later, they will kill you. So you lose too. Even if you are not killed, you will be on the run and will never be able to relax and enjoy life, so you still lose. The losses go far beyond these obvious things. Of comfort to the terrorist or would-be terrorist, is the idea that dying a martyr is somehow a positive thing. It’s not. You would be dead. There aren’t any virgins in heaven waiting for you, and you won’t be skipping in the clouds. There is absolutely NO evidence that any of these life-after-death claims have any merit. Plain and simple, martyrdom is stupid. When you are dead, you cannot eat, sleep, or have sex. You can’t have an interesting conversation or meet a new person. You can’t hold your child or eat dinner with your wife. When you are dead, all of that is over forever. Martyrs are soon forgotten. People who care about you would experience a tremendous loss without you. Your ideas and wisdom would be lost. Your potential for wisdom in your later years would be cut short. My experience  has shown that true wisdom is found in people who have at least several decades of life experience behind them. Have you noticed that men in their 50s are not so inclined to kill themselves in jihad? Please look critically at people who might like for YOU to go kill others and possibly yourself. Notice that the leaders do not strap on the suicide belt themselves. It’s OK for YOU to blow yourself up, but they are much too important to the cause for that. In other words, YOU are not that important. They are playing you for the patsy; the sucker. Think about it, seriously. Before you conclude that the answer is to be a better terrorist and not get killed in the process, just take a look at the people living in the areas claimed by terrorists. Everyone is living and many are dying in a horrible situation. This is not living. This is losing. Let’s imagine for a moment that the terrorist cause is incredibly successful. People convert to the terrorist’s way due to fear. Trust me when I tell you that the rest of the world will not allow this to continue. History has shown that horrible atrocities are eventually stopped. Everything that is gained by terrorism will be lost. Losses would be huge all around. This whole thing is a lose, lose, lose proposition. People have been killing one another in the name of religion for thousands of years. All of these deaths are a waste. All are a loss. It’s time for all of us to take a critical look at religion by stepping back from it and asking questions about the validity of every single claim and teaching. If...

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Iron Chariots

Posted by on Nov 1, 2014 in Matt Dillahunty, Religion | 0 comments

Iron Chariots

I have recently enjoyed viewing some of Matt Dillahunty’s videos. I explored a little deeper and thought I would share what I found. Matt hosts The Atheist Experience, a cable channel TV show in Austin, Texas. He fields call-in questions and articulately answers them. You should definitely check this out! Matt is also the founder of IronChariots.org. This is one of the best collections of apologetics and counter-apologetics that I have ever seen. On whichever side of the debate you may be, you can see if your reasons hold up to the counter arguments. Here is an example of how well organized Iron Chariots is:         You can find out more about Matt Dillahunty...

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Shocking Bible Verses

Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in Religion | 0 comments

Shocking Bible Verses

7 Shocking Bible Verses You Probably Won’t Hear In Church God-commissioned bear attacks, praise of infanticide, and cannibalism? Yep, all in there. Re-posted from BuzzFeed. Jessica MisenerBuzzFeed Staff   Most people know “Love is patient, love is kind” and “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” But here are some, uh, less celebrated verses from the Bible (and how some people have tried to defend them): 1. Basically: “Murdering babies is a good time.” Historical context: The writer has been exiled from Babylon. The Hebrew here is mournful; this psalm is often set to music. What more conservative readers might say: It’s a metaphor wherein the babies are “the sadness of the Babylonian exile” who should be “dashed against the rock of faith,” or “dashing your sins against the rock of reason.” What more liberal readers might say: Noted Hebrew Bible scholar Robert Alterwrites, “No moral justification can be offered for this notorious concluding line. All one can do is to recall the background of outraged feeling that triggers the conclusion.” NB: The terms “liberal” and “conservative” here are used theologically, and used throughout as broad, non-exclusive simplifications, as the nuances of centuries of biblical interpretation are impossible to fully explicate here. In general, “conservative” is used throughout to denote a more traditional approach that treats the biblical text with some measure of divine inspiration, whereas a “liberal” perspective might be more interested in a historical-critical approach that views the text as a document, or literarily. 2.  Basically: “Thou shalt maketh me a sandwich.” Historical context: The vast majority of scholars believe that despite tradition, 1 Timothy wasn’t actually written by the apostle Paul. But in the letter, “Paul” writes to Timothy, who’s now pastoring a church at Ephesus, giving him instructions for running the place. The chapter also urges women to “dress modestly” and “learn in quietness and in full submission.” What more conservative readers might say: Though most modern scholars and pastors interpret this verse a bit more leniently, many churches and religious institutions throughout history have used this verse to bar women from leadership positions, ranging from ordination to teaching Sunday school. What more liberal readers might say: The verse was directed at a specific church context, perhaps “feminist” women congregants who were usurping authority — radical at the time — or women who were attempting to spread Gnostic doctrine. Some also note that that the Greek verb authenteo (to “have authority”) has a long and weird history of meanings, including committing suicide, murdering one’s parents, and being sexually aggressive, and thus shouldn’t be interpreted as some sort of administrative injunction today. 3.  itiswrittenoceania.tv Basically: “You were disobedient, so God will make you eat your own kids.” Historical background: In this chapter, God relays a prophesy through Jeremiah of a destroyed Israel, using a smashed potter’s vessel as an analogy. Israel had reunited a century before Jeremiah was active. The cannibalism reference is an almost verbatim quotation of Deuteronomy 28:53, which threatened that Israel would one day come to this terrible point if it disobeyed the law. What more conservative readers might say: These terrible acts really happened, as a result of Israel turning its back on God. What more liberal readers might say: The author of Jeremiah was picking up on the Deuteronomistic themes of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings, which put forth the twin ideas of a grand nation united by God...

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Funny Bible Verses

Posted by on Oct 6, 2014 in Religion | 0 comments

Funny Bible Verses

Deuteronomy 22:4 Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. (Ooo…sorry, ladies. Shouldn’t have worn those jeans you abominations!) Deuteronomy 22:28 “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife.” (Rape victim marries the assailant…no comment) Deuteronomy 21:10-13 When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and Jehovah thy God delivereth them into thy hands, and thou carriest them away captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and thou hast a desire unto her, and wouldest take her to thee to wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. (Hmm, that doesn’t sound very compassionate, but it’s in the bible so it must be right) Deuteronomy 23:1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD. (That means no more church for you men that have vasectomies) Mathew 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. (For those who don’t know, a eunuch is somebody who’s been castrated. And for those who don’t know what castrated means…um…you don’t want to know. Funny enough, this verse contradicts the above one) Deuteronomy 23:10 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp: (I think they were referring to wet dreams. We’re supposed to be able to control those, don’t yah know) Deuteronomy 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my...

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Why I Do Not Hate Muslims

Posted by on Oct 2, 2014 in Religion | 0 comments

Why I Do Not Hate Muslims

By Eric Allen Bell Re-posted from original source: http://www.globalone.tv/profiles/blogs/why-i-do-not-hate-muslims-by-eric-allen-bell Posted by Eric Allen Bell on September 25, 2014 at 7:41pm View Blog   The mandate of Islam is to force the world to submit to Islam.  Our leaders tell us that Islam means peace. But lying about something does not make it so.  Islam means submission. Islam opposes free speech, free thought and human rights.   Sharia Law is the codification of the Quran.  The Quran is the holy book in Islam.  Sharia mandates the stoning of women for adultery or being raped, it requires the amputation of limbs for theft, the hanging of homosexuals and death to anyone who dares to leave Islam.  Islam is the religion of approximately 1.5 billion people on the planet at this time.  According to the Pew Forum, when polled the majority of Muslims believe that it is at least sometimes okay to kill innocent civilians in the name of Islam.   US President, Barack Hussein Obama has said, in response to the continuous killing of civilians in the name of Islam that, “No faith teaches this”.  However, Quran 9:5 says to Muslims, with regard to the unbeliever, to “kill them wherever you find them”.  Obama can lie to himself, he can lie to appease and he can lie to those who place their trust in him.  But facts don’t lie.   Fortunately, most Muslims do not actually follow the Quran.  This might be due in part to the fact that about 2/3 of Muslims cannot read or write.  Or maybe they are just humane enough not to harm someone just because their holy book says to do so, on page after page after page. Although the Quran, in chapter 4, commands a man to beat his wife, most Muslim men do not. However, still a significant percentage do.     Religion is an attempt to institutionalize one’s relationship with the Divine. However, when one reads the Quran it is clear that most of the passages do not deal with Allah, the god of Islam. Rather the book is obsessed with its own author, the prophet Muhammad. It is also very preoccupied with what to do with the unbeliever, how to enforce rules and how to engage in warfare. There is a strong argument to be made that Islam is first and foremost a tyrannical political system, then a brutal legal system with some religious overtones here and there.   Millions of Muslims have taken to the streets, over the years, to protest against Israel. And yet their silence in protesting against Islamic terrorist organizations, such as ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda has been something like a tumbleweed blowing in the breeze to the sound of crickets. Millions of Muslims have protested against images drawn of their prophet or words of criticism against their belief system. They demand respect for their doctrine while often offering extreme intolerance for other belief systems.     In Islam murder is not the worst offense, but rather insulting Islam is the worst of all sins. The Quran warns against critical thinking and warns the believer not to take the unbeliever as their friend. In Islam a woman is worth half of a man, her inheritance is just half and her testimony in an Islamic court is worth only half of a man’s testimony.   Today...

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Transubstantiation

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in Education, Religion, Ridiculist | 0 comments

Transubstantiation

“Jesus didn’t want us to be cannibals so he gave us this gift, this gift of transubstantiation.” –Catholic School religion teacher, teaching 12th graders, Fall 2014 Think about it. For further study: the-militant-atheist.org Psychology Today  ...

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Persecuted Christians

Posted by on Aug 17, 2014 in Education, Religion | 0 comments

Persecuted Christians

I recently heard a respected priest speak from the pulpit about persecuted Christians being slaughtered in the Middle East, particularly in northern Iraq right now. He prayed that the people would “hold onto their Christian teachings.” The word slaughter, in this case, means the killing of great numbers of human beings, and from what I hear on the news, it is being done in the most awful ways. People have been killing one another for their religious beliefs for a very long time. The end result of this senselessness is, quite obviously, that there are a lot of dead people. Lives are ruined, families are destroyed, society is harmed, the human race is diminished. Our response? “Hold onto your Christian teachings?!” Can we do better than that? It is time for some better advice: STOP KILLING FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS–PERIOD! Here is some more good advice: DON’T DIE FOR YOUR RELIGION! THINK!  Religion, in its many different forms, is false. There is no God. There is no evidence of God. When you pray, nothing happens. There are no virgins waiting to have sex with you in heaven. There is no evidence of heaven–or hell for that matter. Your religion isn’t superior to anyone else’s–they all have a false basis. Here is an excerpt from the Boston Globe (Aug. 16, 2014):  In a blog post this week, Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley asked Catholics around the world to pray for the people of Iraq. “It is important that we pray for them during this time when so much of the Christian population has been completely displaced and so many people have lost their homes, their families, and even their lives,” he wrote Friday, the same day he celebrated a Mass focused on the Iraqi situation at St. Leonard’s Church in the North End. Last week, Pope Francis condemned the militants’ campaign against religious minorities, which he said left him “in dismay and disbelief.” In his Sunday blessing, he cited “thousands of people, including many Christians, driven from their homes in a brutal manner; children dying of thirst and hunger in their flight; women kidnapped; people massacred; [and] violence of every kind. “All this gravely offends God and humanity. Hatred is not to be carried in the name of God,” he added. “War is not to be waged in the name of God.” Saturday’s Mass in Newton was “a time to give them our support and pray for them and tell them they’re not alone in this country,” said Father Charles J. Higgins of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, where the Iraqi community often celebrates Mass. Seriously?! We’re going to pray for them and tell them they’re not alone? Wow, that should help. Prayer makes us feel better about doing nothing.  It doesn’t do a thing for the people being slaughtered. It would be far better to tell them to abandon their false beliefs and seriously deal with the people trying to kill them. Wasting time praying while someone is breaking through your door is just not a good idea. The real problem is that young people are being taught to intensely believe something that is false. Young people are taking these false beliefs to the extreme and are enforcing what is actually written in their holy book–to kill people who don’t believe as they...

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