Uncommon Sense

December 3, 2022

Science and Truth

I was reading a work of philosophy and the author objected to the categories of writing: fiction and nonfiction, in that “fiction” implied imaginary and so not true and non-fiction implies fact-based and therefore true. He had many interesting things to say, but they were mostly based upon this false interpretation.

When I read a work of non-fiction, I accept that the author tried to get the facts straight but I know how bleeding hard that is, so I don’t expect it to be 100% “factual” and certainly not a “true account” whatever that is. Writers of fiction often display more insight into things like the human condition than “fact-based” writers. When I read a work of fiction, I don’t expect it to be fact-based, so if a dragon shows up, I am okay with that. The two categories say something about how the authors went about creating their work, but nothing whatsoever about their veracity.

The problem here is with the word “truth.”

Truths are absolutes, and therefore, as far as I am concerned, they are mythical. I have written about absolutes before, so I won’t dwell on that topic, just to say they are extensions of things we see beyond any evidence for their existence.

I have often read that science cannot discover “the truth,” often by religious apologists, and this is obviously true as a statement. Science, in fact, is not looking for truths and never pronounces things as truths. We are smarter than that because what we think might be true today can be found to be false tomorrow. This is why all scientific findings are provisional. Scientists know this as it is beaten into them, but the lay public, looking over scientists shoulders, is often disturbed when scientists change their minds. What scientists think is a virtue, adapting to new data, the public finds alarming. This is because the public believes in the existence of absolutes, like truths, and when scientists announce a “discovery” the public think it is pronouncement of a new truth.

The best thing we could do educationally is to drum this into the minds of all citizens. Scientists are looking for what might work now so that they can continue to learn things, even though those new things may contradict what they have found previously. We in science call that progress. Religionists call that heresy. The public needs to learn to distinguish their religions from scientific “reality.”

As to what is “real,” just don’t get me started.

December 1, 2022

Just Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Master and . . . Wait

The Christian religion was created mostly by Saul of Tarsus (who changed his name to Paul). It is now called Christianity as if it had something to do with the teachings of the character Christ in scripture. It does not.

Evangelical Christians are fond of saying that “if you accept Jesus into your heart as your Lord and savior, you will be saved.” That is saved from the eternal torment invented by Christians and latter day Jews, Hell.

But if you read scripture, a different tale is told. For example in Matthew 25:31-46, it says:

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Wait, where is the accept Jesus into your heart as your lord and master?

In fact, this seems to contradict a basic precept of Paul, that “faith” is all you need, not blindly following the commandments of Yahweh to do things.

Faith, Not Acts?
If you look at what Jesus listed in Matthew as the things that must be done, acts not faith alone, Jesus’s standard of judgment requires you to be:
Feeding the hungry
Giving drink to the thirsty
Taking in strangers and caring for them
Clothing the naked
Caring for the sick
Caring for those in prison

Nothing on that list requires faith at all, does it?

And Paul also stated, “They that do not work shall not eat.” Can you possibly winkle this precept out of Jesus’s list of acts needed to be “saved”? I can’t.

It is almost as if Paul had a different master than Jesus. It seems that Paul wanted us to obey the authorities (even pagan authorities, like the Romans!), pay our taxes (especially Roman taxes), get a job so we wouldn’t be a burden on the state, and you needn’t do all of those things that Yahweh and Jesus said, those are yucky . . . eww!

Oh, and be sure to vote Republican when voting is invented.

<Voiceover: “I am the Apostle Paul and I approve this message.”>

November 29, 2022

Sacred Places

Filed under: Culture,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:14 am
Tags:

I ran casually across a reference to sacred places, you know temples, shrines, pyramids, monolithic circles. And I had an interesting emotional response. The comment was just that such “sacred” places, buildings, whatever are often built on top of previous temples, etc. This triggered a memory of something I read that when European conquerors took over yet another people, they tended to build Christian churches on the same sites that pagan temples used to be (often the pagan temples were razed to prepare the “building site” but not always).

So, those spaces were sacred to pagan deities and to Christian deities? Why would that be? It sounds more like dogs marking their territories. A dog comes along and pisses on a tree, leaving some of its scent as a marker, then another dog comes along and pisses on top of that saying “my place, no yours”).

So, I remember images of such sites with ceremonies being performed: censors of smoke, fans and feathers used to splash the smoke around, hands held up to the sky in supplication while chants were being performed, etc. The emotion I felt was, well, embarrassment. What would happen if aliens showed up?

I understand why these ineffective ceremonies and practices are performed year after year, decade after decade, and century after century. Priests told people that if they didn’t perform the ceremonies, their crops would fail, animals die, or children and elders die, so people performed those rituals, chanted those prayers and often enough the harvest was good and the animals and relatives were healthy. Years in which the harvest was spotty, or animals were born still, blame was laid on the people who did the rituals because they must have done something wrong. (I call this the ceremony trap or the ritual trap—damned if you do and damned if you don’t.)

People dressed up in funny capes/robes, wearing odd hats, speaking archaic languages and splashing wine, smoke, or even blood around. It is just embarrassing for the human race.

And if aliens do show up, these nut cases will be in line wanting to talk to the aliens, to explain how only they have the valid sacred knowledge and the rest of the people are heretical know nothings. How would the aliens be able to tell who the nut cases were?

Embarrassing, I say.

And what if the aliens come wearing funny outfits (their leaders anyway) and funny hats. Will they identify with those of us with equally odd garb as being more likely to understand them, rather than those who might represent all of humanity? Is great puzzlement.

Tradition is doing things the ways we always have, so that we don’t lose important knowledge. But, what if that knowledge was bogus in the first place? What good are the traditions supporting it then? Don’t we see most crafts and practices evolve away from the old ways to “new ways”? Sometimes the new ways are better and we stop doing things the old way. We save some of the old ways for historical interest as hobbies, so we still have blacksmiths, even though more modern methods of making metal objects have been proven to be far superior.

Unfortunately religions and other sacred practices have no way to find new ways to do things and are wedded to the past, often as not the very deep past and so we get embarrassing practices like heads bobbing at an ancient wall, prayers being muttered, and specific shawls and hats needed to be worn, because we all know how much a fashion nitpicker that god is.

Embarrassing. I hope the aliens don’t come . . . for a while.

November 26, 2022

Creating Christ

The above title is a book title (didn’t read) and a documentary title (saw a couple of nights ago on Prime).

In this documentary, the evidence that Christianity was a Roman construction was presented, again. When I taught I used the rule of thumb that to really teach something you needed to address it three different times and, preferably, three different ways. This time, a great many aspects of this conjecture really clicked. The conjecture being, of course, that the Romans shaped Christianity to be a Rome-favorable choice of a religion for rowdy Jews.

I didn’t see a great many new pieces of evidence, just the same things presented as a coherent whole. And, things in my knowledge clicked into place as the doc proceeded. I was not impressed by the quality of the visual presentations as they would use the name of one Roman emperor while showing a statue of another, that kind of thing (the visuals were eye candy way too often, something I dislike). But the arguments were dispassionate and well structured.

A clear distinction was made between the Jews who were the insurrectionists and the Jews who were the cooperative sort (they were all Jews, whether subscribing to the Christian cult or not as far as the Romans thought). The insurrectionists were mercilessly suppressed. The claimed martyrdom of the early Christians is a propaganda tool, Christians per se were not suppressed, but the trouble making Jews were, and it was to the advantage of the Christians of the time to claim they were persecuted for their beliefs. They were not, insurrectionist Jews were punished for their actions.

One thing that had always bothered me is the Romans, taking the lead of Alexander the Great, developed a highly successful approach to pacifying conquered peoples. Part of that process was folding in the local gods with the Roman pantheon. Every school child has noticed the one to one correspondence between the Greek and Roman gods, e.g. Zeus = Jupiter, etc. Well, that approach was made general and performed over and over. The Romans had an “Office of Cults” that kept track of these things and checked to make sure that all of the peoples of the empire worshiped “the gods.” They didn’t particularly care which gods. The Jews of the time, however, were very stiff necked about the Imperial Cult in which emperors were worshipped and refused to do so. At one point the pragmatic Romans, trying to keep the lid on the volatile Middle East region, absolved the Jews from that requirement! Ah, such persecutions!

So, in contrast to that keystone of Roman empire administration, in the fourth century CE, Christianity became “an” official religion of Rome (and so was favored, rather than ignored/disfavored) and then a few decades later became “the” sole official religion of Rome. Rome ditched its very successful approach to governing conquered peoples to become monotheistic rather than polytheistic.

This cannot be considered a whim on the part of an emperor. The Romans were far too pragmatic for that, there had to be something in it for them, and that something had to be big, really big. The argument is that Christianity was shaped into a religion that was as pro Roman as a religion could be, and actively so, not just passively accepting as the various mystery religions of the time were. So, this religion was created to be a unifying support for the Empire and it got to be that over time.

Many things are explained by this. For one, why the gospels and Acts of the Apostles were written in Greek, rather than Hebrew, the Jewish language. Why slavery was accepted by an all-powerful entity who could have looked at it as a government usurping the slave’s free will. Why taxes were promoted as well as governments (aka rulers, even pagan rulers) as instruments of “God’s will.”

There is no group of people portrayed more favorably in the New Testament than the Romans. Even the cruel and vicious Pontius Pilate is portrayed favorably.

The Romans took actions to wipe out the insurrectionists/rebellious (John the Baptizer and Jesus were two such) and later attempted to convert the others to a pro Roman religion.

Many people point out that Paul, more than any other, was the creator of Christianity. Who was Paul? Paul claimed to be a Roman citizen and he played that card often and well. He must have had some sort of proof of that citizenship since otherwise, just a casual claim to citizenship would have been made by every miscreant. The Romans saved his life, protected him, treated him well, and for his part, Paul claimed o have many friends in Rome, including in the Emperor’s palace. The Book of Acts leaves Paul’s story when he was in “custody” in Rome, a very comfortable custody, as it is described. So, Paul, he wouldn’t have, would he? I mean he was a persecutor of Christians and claimed to have seen the light, no? He couldn’t have been serving the Romans, could he?

So, fast forward to the present time and we see Christianity is a formidable aspect of the current power structure in the U.S. supporting the status quo, keeping the same people (stand-ins for the rich and powerful) in power. In other words, still supporting the “empire.” The message is still “keep your head down, don’t complain, do your job, your reward will come after you die.” And people still swallow this clearly false message.

All You Need is Love, Wait . . .

Christians of the evangelical sort are told frequently that all they need is faith, but actually that is not true. They are also told that they need to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior — that if they didn’t they weren’t “saved,” and they would go to hell. (Someday I am going to have to write about accepting someone as one’s “lord.”)

Then I ran across this statement on my Quora feed:

Christianity is a set of incentives that erode our own internal resources. And minimizes our access to them. In return, the only “resource” we are provided with is faith. Faith to me is something much more toxic even than a faulty epistemology. It is a gateway drug to an addiction to being right. (Vincent Downing)

Wow! “Christianity is a set of incentives that erode our own internal resources. And minimizes our access to them.” I should have realized this before, that Christianity of the evangelical sort is a system that makes people dependent upon the religion by reducing their own abilities. The phrase “Jesus take the wheel” sums up this belief. Jesus never passed his driver’s test, so this is not meant literally. It is meant that Jesus is to take control of one’s life and steer it, brake it, speed it up, etc. It means that control over one’s life is to be placed elsewhere. (Of course Jesus is nowhere to be found, so the church steps in as his general factotum.)

If you look at the skills a modern adult needs to thrive in our culture, they are myriad. One needs patience, resilience, grit, persistence, intelligence, intuition, reasoning ability, logic, . . . , compassion, love, empathy, hand-eye coordination, a sense of direction, etc.

But these Christians are taught that when then need a little help that they are to trust in God/Jesus for that help, and they need not learn and practice the life skills needed to thrive.

It is all about creating a dependence upon the church.

The church, of course, cannot be seen to be unreliable or untrustworthy, or even incorrect, which is why they deny vehemently any wrong doing, even when caught with their pants down (literally), and this is where the second part of the above quotation comes in “It is a gateway drug to an addiction to being right.”

So, churches need to emphasize why they are “right” and the others are “wrong” otherwise they could lose adherents, aka paying customers. They just cannot say that other faiths/religions are okay as that would be marketing suicide. This explains why there are between 30,000 and 40,000 different sects of Christianity. Each one has to insist that about some point, be it minor or major, they are right and the others, all of the others, are wrong.

For example, evangelicals have a hard time calling Catholics “Christians.” According to them, Catholics aren’t “saved.” Apply this thinking to the vast number of Christian sects and you arrive at only one of them being “correct” and all of the others are leading their congregants to Hell. Imagine that, the vast majority of Christians are going to Hell, and that is according to other Christians.

Outside of theological matters, we can see what this level of thinking is doing to our (American) politics. Rather than seeking out compromises as was done for generations, modern pols insist they are right and that the others are not only wrong, but they are evil and should be destroyed. Egad! Where did this extreme political rhetoric come from? (You know now, don’t you.)

November 20, 2022

The Crucifixion Quake

The title of this post is the title of a documentary I found on Netflix. It is about a geologist who felt he received a calling to try to establish that the earthquake mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew (gMatthew) which supposedly occurred when Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross actually happened. (This was partially because of a traumatic event in his life which lead him to read the Bible (for the first and only time). Interestingly, none of the other three gospels mentioned any quake (or the dead rising up from their graves and wandering around zombie fashion, and, and . . .).

In any case, this geologist set out to see if he could verify a quake happening at about the right time to confirm at least that aspect of the story. He did this at great personal cost to himself. And his search involved stratigraphy, carbon-14 datings galore, pollen grain studies, dust grain studies, and of course our boy wasn’t a seismologist so he had to do a lot of retraining.

Many good points were covered along the way about things that could not be determined, even up to linking the earthquake to the execution, which was a good thing, but as you might expect, the religious nuts won’t look at the fine points. They’ll just say, “See, see, I told you it was true!”

But much of the story was left out. While several mentions of gMatthew being mostly an embellishment of gMark, and those embellishments always injected more and more supernatural interpretations and events into the story line, they didn’t mention that gMatthew was written well after 70 CE, probably after 80 CE, and these events were supposedly placed in the early 30’s CE. Clearly the author of gMatthew was someone who could take a muddled account of their being an earthquake around that time and just link it up to the crucifixion. Where would he get an accurate date and time for that earthquake in any case; none of the accounts of the time we have available date it exactly? The author could have gotten an oral account of the earthquake, but considering the 50 year gap in time, it would probably be a story of the “I remember my grandfather telling a story . . .” type.

But then the shark gets jumped. Even though most of the experts are saying, on screen, you can’t do this, they take clues from the four gospels, and sleuth out a date for Jesus’s death. The only two people saying you could included a Catholic priest. The other expert likened the four gospels to being like four eye witnesses accounts of the same event, and their testimony would be expected to differ in the details. But eyewitnesses are there to see what happened at the same time. The writers of the gospels are writing ca. 70 CE (gMark), ca. 80-85 CE (gMatthew), ca. 85-90 (gLuke), and ca. 90-110 (gJohn). (Those dates are just educated guesses, of course.) None of them name their sources, a common practice of historical writers of the time, so we don’t know where they got their information, except that both gMatthew and gLuke contain extensive amounts of gMark text, verbatim, and have the same structure as gMark (order of events, etc.).

The “researchers” then take their Biblical clues and make assumptions as to how they could have happened scientifically. gMatthew mentions that the Sun when dark for three hours after the death and a speculation that a severe dust storm could have done that so they look for evidence of such a storm in the strata. And gMatthew also mentions a “blood Moon” which was interpreted as being due to a lunar eclipse. Since Passover is on a day on which the Moon is full, and full Moons rise exactly at sunset, why didn’t someone suggest that the dust that caused the Sun to “go dark,” also reached higher elevations and so was responsible for the Moon appearing to be red? (Rising moons always appear to be redder due to atmospheric refraction.)

The calculable dates for lunar eclipses, full Moons appearing on a Friday (the day Jesus died, according to the stories, etc. gave them a date for Jesus’s death of April 3, 33 CE at 3 PM.

Oh, the ironic part? The earthquake, the one called the Crucifixion Earthquake, the one this geologist was vilified for pursuing, was scientifically dated to from 26 CE to 36 CE, not exactly a confirmation of the earthquake that supposedly occurred to announce the death of Jesus.

 Some Science Questions
There are a few science questions one may ask to see if anything here links up at all. Here are a few I would like answered.

  1. How frequent were earthquakes felt in Jerusalem (especially first century Jerusalem)?
  2. Is there an earthquake fault that is the source of such quakes. (I would find it more miraculous if there were no fault. An all-powerful god wouldn’t need one, no?)
  3. Why were so many scientists and academics dancing around these questions? (I think I know the answer. Anyone who publishes anything going against the current story lines will get a 16 ton weight dropped on their heads, as did this geologist.)

The Major Theological Question Receiving No Attention
But the big issue is left out completely. If I were to grant that Jesus were a real, historical person and managed to get himself crucified, that is no big deal. Tens of thousands of Israelites got themselves crucified by the Romans, probably hundreds named Jesus/Yesua/Joshua. Roman records claim they ran out of wood to build crosses on, for Pete’s sake. But having Jesus crucified as an insurrectionist is overkill in any case. He could just have easily fallen under a Roman sword or spear in the Garden, an ignominious death for someone who qualified to be King of the Jews, no? His crucifixion and any shenanigans that occurred around it are basically irrelevant to modern Christianity, because modern Christianity isn’t built upon the embarrassing death of “the Christ” but upon his resurrection. And about his resurrection, there are no fancy miraculous weather or geologic events, no ballyhoo at all. He just walked back and said a few words and then fled the scene. (As I have mentioned, this is a grievous marketing error.) So, why did “the Father” do all of these miraculous things when Jesus died, when less than two days later, he was going to be resurrected. If you think the guy wanted to make sure people knew he had been killed, you’d think he’s also want to make sure people knew he was raised from the dead.

November 15, 2022

The Biblical Christian Worldview

On the Medium website, Jeff Hiles wrote the following in an attempt to come up with a comprehensive theology for his audience.

So, what are the beliefs that promote Biblical Christians to strengthen our ability to “Love God”?

I would offer the following eight points as a core – Statement of Faith – for Loving God

  1. Bible — as originally written, is the inspired, infallible, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God and the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

If one rejects the Bible as the work of man, rather than God, then there is no foundation to build one’s theology on. We are left with feelings and impressions of who God is, which can’t be trusted given we are steeped in sin and clouded by the fluid morals of society.

  1. Trinity — There is one living and true God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  2. God — created everything, is perfect, and continues to rule. Further, He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.

The Bible states in Genesis 1 that God created the heavens and the earth. Further, Scripture is clear that the Lord remains active in the lives of man and that He is all powerful and all knowing.

  1. Jesus Christ — is the eternally preexistent Son, is fully God, and was fully man, born of a virgin, and lived a sinless life.

Jesus was in Genesis, preexistent to His time on earth, both fully man and God, virgin-born, and sinless, such that He could die for our sins at the cross.

  1. Holy Spirit — lives in every Christian to guide, instruct, and empower the believer.

The Holy Spirit is active in the life of every Christian, offering counsel and the ability to resist sin, if we would only have the faith to take advantage of that power.

  1. Resurrection — Everyone will be resurrected from the grave: the saved to eternal life in Heaven, and the lost to eternal damnation in a real and literal Hell.

As Christ rose on the third day, He has promised all mankind will rise as well at the end of the age, offering us new bodies for a new Heaven on a new earth. Further, God has clearly made known the reality of an eternity in Hell for those who reject His gift of eternal life.

  1. Evangelism — It is a responsibility, duty, and joy to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all who will listen.

God has chosen to work through the human condition to perfect His will. We are to plant seeds and water them as He provides the growth.

  1. Salvation — Everyone sins and no one can save themselves. It is only through accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior that one can receive eternal life in Heaven. Salvation is available to anyone who acknowledges in their heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins, rose bodily from the grave, and asks Him to forgive their sins and save their soul. The difference between a saved and an unsaved person is a God-produced difference.

To be saved, to be born-again, is at the heart of God’s love for mankind. He wants no one to perish. However, He also makes it clear that we need to accept His Son as our Lord and Savior in order to receive that gift.

In turn, allow me to comment on each:

#1 This article is basically the concept of Sola Scriptura, which was invented in the 1500’s by Martin Luther. This was in response to the Catholic Church making it up as they went, according to their “Apostolic Traditions,” handed down from the Apostles, don’t you know. (Of course, they never wrote these things down in their entirety, which gave them wiggle room to make shit up later.)

If prelates and traditions weren’t to rule, then what was? Well, scripture, according to Martin Luther. But as to “as originally written, is the inspired, infallible, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God” Martin Luther dumped 15 books (now known as the Apocrypha) and wanted to dump seven more, but wasn’t allowed. (In response to being rebuffed, he made sure those seven were placed at the ass end of the NT, so they were less likely to be read. Does that sound like the “inspired, infallible, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God” to you?

#2 The Trinity is an incoherent attempt to preserve monotheism. They admit there are three gods, but really they are just one. Then they brag about how grand the mystery is! Is great puzzlement!

#3 Actually whenever you describe a supernatural god or describe its powers, you put limits upon it. Supposedly this god is a supernatural entity, which means the laws of nature do not apply, and is incompressible too, so why do these people keep claiming they comprehend it?

#4 Swallow the BS, much? The miraculous birth scenario only really shows up in two of the four gospels. the other two didn’t think it was worth mentioning. (In the gospels, Mary is often perplexed at why her son acts so superior, apparently she forgot all about doing the dirty with the Holy Spirit.) The two gospel stories, of course, are incompatible and are just the thing that a flailing religion would need to pump up enrollment. So, these same people claim that Jesus is of the line of David, through Joseph, but of course Joseph is not really “the father.” Theological Smack down, film at 11!

#5 The Holy Spirit is a completely unnecessary addition to the Christian pantheon, and of course, incoherent, too. Yahweh demonstrated time and again the capacity to speak to individual humans, has no restriction upon his actions because of separation, and no need of messengers, etc. so, why all of the claptrap, i.e. ghosts and angels, and whatnot? Answer: Because it was comforting to the gentiles they were targeting! Gentiles means “pagans” to the Jews, and the pagan religions had all kinds of spirits involved.

#6 None other than Saint Paul explains in great detail that the promised resurrection at the end of the age will be into “spiritual bodies” because the natural bodies decay and are unclean. No natural bodily resurrection was even considered possible (no resurrections at all for the Sadducees) and certainly there was no place in Heaven for natural flesh bodies. So, the resurrection of Jesus and his “ascension” was a sham, conjured up to make him “special.” (Now, isn’t that special!” Thank you, Church Lady.)

#7 This is why evangelical Christians receive all of that training on how to spread the gospel. (Yes, I am being sarcastic.) This seems more like an aspect of a multi-level marketing scheme than a religion. “Get out there and sell! This is the only way you will get to the Upper Tier, where the real rewards are!”

#8 The Bible lists almost a dozen different ways to be saved, but just this sole one is part of this worldview. If the Bible is “the inspired, infallible, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God,” why aren’t the other routes to salvation allowed? Jesus stated clearly in gMatthew that “following God’s commandments” was part of the recipe, so this means “doing good works” is part of the formula according to Jesus, but pish posh, what did He know?

And in the conclusion an emphasis on being “born again” is hammered home. This was invented by old Saul/Paul, like most of the rest of the nonsense. Jesus recommended baptism, but back then it meant a cleansing of one’s sins, to make one ready for a fresh start following the commandments of Yahweh. Paul transformed baptism into a rebirth ceremony, being reborn in Christ Jesus, whatever that means. It sure didn’t mean what Jesus and John the Baptist indicated it meant.

So, this compilation of a statement of faith in a Christian Biblical Worldview, not only doesn’t make sense (i.e. is incoherent), but it doesn’t conform to the teachings of Jesus or to the Bible.

Interesting. A Master Class in Cognitive Dissonance or maybe Motivated Reasoning, maybe?

Christian Violence

The history of the Christian Church is larded with violence. (Yes, yes, I know they don’t teach that from their pulpits.) From the beginning, anyone who got in the way of the religion was removed, up to an including Roman emperors. Modern Christians often decry the violence associated with Islam, yet are totally ignorant of the violence in their own religion.

Things have been fairly quiet for quite some time. After all, they won. But the current supremacy of Christianity in this country isn’t good enough for the religious who have come to form the American extreme right-wing of its body politic. And violence is not only being advocated, it seems to be a keystone of their programs.

If you want to have the Bejesus scared out of you, read the following Religion Dispatch (From Shofars To Hammers: The Spiritual Warriors Of Maga Are ‘Reawakening’ To Political Violence)

Here is just a taste:

This is a spiritual attack, but we understand that we have power! The Bible declares that we have power to tread over demons and evil—even when they’re called Nancy Pelosi!” This was delivered by a “Christian Pastor.”

Religious Dogma Begets Political Dogma

The article below was reported in the magazine Freethought Today. One has to question what value a repetition of a pledge has. Do marriage vows expire? Do they need to be renewed? If so, how often. (I remember a player for the NBA’s Sacramento King’s basketball team that renewed his wedding vows annually (including a full wedding ceremony and reception). Yes, most people thought it odd.

When a politician or a soldier makes an oath to his country, does that wear out? Need it be reinforced?

I remember being a school child and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every damned day, first period. That practice lead to an undermining of the substance of that pledge as students created variations because of the boring repetition, e.g. “I pledge allegiance to the United States of Asparagus . . .”

Let’s see, 185 school days per year from the age of five to 18. Let’s see . . . carry the one . . . that’s over 2500 repetitions of that pledge, not counting assemblies and special sessions, etc. I wonder what happened over summer vacation. That pledge couldn’t last more than a couple of days (because weekends), so two plus months away from school and the pledge not being reinforced, why we must have become commie pinko socialist Marxists every summer!

There is no social value for repeating such a pledge at each and every damned meeting of a school board. Maybe at the first meeting of every academic school year, but even then, it is debatable what value it has.

apparently the god-fearing Christians, steeped in repetition of Bible stories and sermon talking points are reassured by such repetitions because they have been taught that the ceremony is more important than the substance.

Oh and “disgusting things” and “”threats” are now part of the Christian playbook. I am sure they have Biblical support for their tactics.

Fargo Reinstates Pledge After Public Backlash

Following a public outcry, the Fargo (N.D.) School Board voted 8-1 to resume reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of board meetings.

The decision, made during a special meeting Aug. 18, was prompted by the backlash that followed a decision by the board on Aug. 9 to stop reciting the pledge. Board President Tracie Newman recommended the board reinstate the pledge.

Prior to the vote, several board members mentioned they had received hateful and sometimes threatening calls and emails from all over the country.

Board member Nyamal Dei, who cast the lone “no” vote at the meeting, shared a voicemail recording in front of the board. The recording contained vulgar, hateful and racist language throughout.

Board member Katie Christensen, who attended the meeting by phone, said she had been called disgusting things and received threats. She said she had reported some of the threatening messages to the police. (Source: Freethought Today, October 2022)

November 5, 2022

How Can You Atheists Be Moral Without God?

Catholic Diocese Totally Screws Up Handling Sexual Abuse

Get back to us when you have figured out how to be moral with your god.

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