Uncommon Sense

January 12, 2023

A Complete Misunderstanding of Religion

In a post on Medium.com, an author who calls himself “B,” stated the following:

Religion Viewed from a purely rational (mental) perspective religion makes no sense. In fact it is full of self-contradicting claims. This view however leads to a complete misunderstanding of religion, downplaying its role in human existence. Viewed through a Mythic lens though, it provides a moral compass and hope in a incomprehensibly complex world cursed with a dismal outlook for its participants.

The part I wish to address is the latter half, namely “This view however leads to a complete misunderstanding of religion, downplaying its role in human existence. Viewed through a Mythic lens though, it provides a moral compass and hope in a incomprehensibly complex world cursed with a dismal outlook for its participants.”

I have heard this argument numerous times before. And I will comment focused on Christianity as that is the religion I know the most about.

This “moral compass” referred to here has some aspect of truth to it in that religions address ethical issues as part of their regular programming. If that is considered against an alternative in which there were no discussion of ethical issues, it might be considered a positive thing. But if you look at the raising of children, we harp on ethical issues that have nothing to do with religion. Children are taught to share food and toys, clean up after themselves, and how to live “a balanced life” of work, play, and learning. Children are taught to not hit or bite other children or abuse pets, and much more, of course. This is done primarily by parents and by kindergarten and grade school teachers. Children are not threatened with Hellfire for their errors of judgment (actually some are and that is child abuse in my book), and none of the usual adult Christian “sticks” (of carrots and sticks fame) are employed either.

If one searches the Holy Bible for ethical/moral lessons one finds truly profound lessons and absolute horror stories (parents killing their own children to “honor” their god, fathers offering up his daughters to be raped by a crowd to protect “angels,” etc.). At best it is a moral wash. At worst it is a field manual for controlling populations by elites.

As to the latter half of my focus, “hope in a incomprehensibly complex world cursed with a dismal outlook for its participants” as an atheist I have never found life to be a dismal prospect. And complex? Who cares? When I need to travel by city trains, the system is incredibly complex. But I can consult the Internet which simplifies it for me and helps me navigate that system. There are many other complex systems embedded in a large modern city, like Chicago where I live, but I pay no heed to those that do not affect me now. So “incomprehensibly complex”? Taken as a whole, yes, broken down into manageable bits, no. Most people seem to navigate life’s complexities with some aplomb. And, yes, I know that a great many people live precarious lives, where life and death decisions get made daily. And their religions protect them how? Actually their religion may make them a target of spiritual warriors from other religions.

As to hope, uh, does he mean hope for a life unending? That promise is clearly a false hope. Ask yourself, if someone claims you can live forever, but then tells you that you need to die first, isn’t there a bit of a sniff of a scam? Especially when, after your death, you are not resurrected as an immortal being your “Earthly remains” are placed in the ground to rot. Of what help to anyone are false hopes? I consider them cruel and inhumane. And false hopes have real consequences. The promise, hope, of never-ending life, encourages people to devalue their lives as they know them, instead longing for the “hereafter.” Whether one lives forever, after dying, or not, wasting the life one has yearning for the afterlife is a major mistake, especially when the living conditions of the “afterlife” aren’t explicitly stated.

A “complete misunderstanding of religion”? I don’t think so. If religion provides ambiguous moral/ethical lessons, and false hopes, I can’t imagine finding better alternatives cannot easily be found. For example, if we were to invest as much energy in studying philosophy as we invest in our religions, we would be much better off.

January 5, 2023

Christian Nationalists Betray Conservative Base

I recently read the following in a Dan Foster column on Medium.com:

After a decade-long statistical analysis of over 160 countries, Nilay Saiya of the University in Singapore has discovered a link between the decline of Christianity in particular countries and the level of official support governments give to Christianity through their laws and policies. Or, to put it another way, as governmental support for Christianity increases, the number of Christians declines significantly. So it turns out that church and state make lousy bedfellows. Who would have thought?

My first thought was “Maybe we should support Christian nationalists, lead them down the garden path, as it were.” But that would be unkind. In fact it seems that the Christian Nationalists are espousing what conservatives hate—socialism/communism.

The reason why the study mentioned above is valid is that its findings were acted out in many European countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, the law established the Church of England as the state church and Christianity as the state religion, granting privileges not afforded to minority religious groups. However, The Guardian reports that less than 40% of Brits now identify as Christians, and only 1% of people aged 18–24 identify as members of the Church of England.

Once sucking off of the government teat, churches had to change their motivations. Their motivations became working to continue getting that government welfare. Lobbyists, that’s what they needed! Helping the poor and downtrodden? Do they vote? Well, if so, then maybe.

If you want to know what your church will be like with government support, look at what Fox News is compared to a genuine news organization. Once it sold its soul to the Republican party, it ended up in court defending itself by stating that “no reasonable person would believe what we say.” Is that what you want your church officials stating when they are dragged into court? (Oh, and when firmly in bed with the government, they won’t be able to weasel their way out of court appearances, now will they?)

Conservatives should recognize the Devil working here, by getting their Churches in bed with the government, OMG! That road to Hell is certainly paved with good intentions, but this road is surely sponsored by the Devil, who wants to see the churches shrink and lose influence with the people as they gain influence in state houses and the Congress.

Conservative Christians are being persecuted . . . by Christian nationalists!

It could be fun for a while, though. Imagine the Catholic Church being subject to FOIA requests. I mean, there are some juicy consequences here, that the Christian Nationalists don’t seem to see.

December 10, 2022

Was Jesus (the Christ) a Real Person?

Filed under: Religion — Steve Ruis @ 9:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

Note It is Sunday, boys and girls, and you know what that means. S

Was Jesus (the Christ) a real person? This debate still rages on. And there are reputable scholars at both extremes and I recently had an interesting thought on the matter.

It seems to me that Jesus and John the Baptizer were related, working together, and were fomenting a rebellion. The idea was that a new kingdom, the Kingdom of God, was to rise up and throw out the Romans and other oppressors, so that a theocratic state of Israel, with Yahweh at the top of the org chart, would reign.

It seems that Jesus believed that Yahweh would show up and support the ejection of the Romans with magic or god-ju ju, however Yahweh acted supernaturally. So, when Jesus is arrested, he is expecting to be rescued.

In the earliest depiction of the arrest and conviction and execution of Jesus (in gMark), Jesus is shown in the Garden to be doubtful as to whether his plan was going to work. He asks Yahweh to remove the burden of leading the rebellion from him. When arrested, he is meek and mild and cooperative, just as you would expect. We’ve all seen westerns, gangster flicks, and other movies where a scion of an important family is arrested and he assumes either the family will break them out of jail or the family’s lawyers will free them. They are calm, cool, collected and not at all worried that things will turn out any other way way. “Just wait until my Pa shows up, is all I gotta say.”

In Jesus’s case, he is calm and cool, but not so collected and seems to be worried.

When nailed up and clearly dying, Jesus cries out asking why Yahweh has abandoned him. Because Yahweh’s appearance is clearly not going to come soon enough to save him.

This is the clear story in gMark . . . but not the other “gospels.”

The others proceed to make Jesus seem more godly, more in control, and less in doubt. Clearly the “follow-up” gospels were written because of perceived flaws in gMark (or all of the previous gospels). Since the dying Jesus in gMark shows a faltering of faith, I am sure that many questions were asked about just that appearance. So, gMatthew and gLuke made Jesus seem more immune to doubt, more sure of the outcome, and added a description of Jesus’s resurrection along with a divine birth story, which gMark did not. The resurrection was a strong indicator of why Jesus had faith, in that he knew that dying was temporary and he could handle the discomfort because he was coming back.

The Gospel of John, gJohn, goes over the top with Jesus announcing at every opportunity that those around him were in the presence of Yahweh and that the only way to a great afterlife was through him. This is Super Jesus who is kicking ass and taking names, but the result for the Romans was the same in all four, no?

So, my point is that gMark’s account appears to be the more truthful, because it included things the others felt were important to gloss over. I do not think that these accounts are histories, they don’t look like histories, sound like histories, or test out as histories (and if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck . . . ) I have no way of proving that they are fictitious either, but many of the signs point that way. And, only gMark lines up best with what Jesus stated his mission to be.

Jesus was a revolutionary, an insurrectionist, one who activist Jews mostly wanted to show up, except that his plan was based upon a general uprising kicked off by a personal appearance by Yahweh and that plan didn’t work. There was no Yahweh appearance and no general uprising. Jesus was just wrong about all of the main parts of his plan. He also certainly was not at all “all knowing” as his partner John was supposed to be his co-ruler (as the priestly messiah) and he didn’t foresee John losing his head or himself getting nailed up.

So, if he were a real person, his plans didn’t play out and he died as a result, as a failed insurrectionist. If he were fictitious, what motivated the author of gMark to write that ending up that way? Now that is a big puzzlement. Maybe as a warning to other wannabe messiahs who don’t gather up enough support.

December 4, 2022

Be Careful What You Ask For

Filed under: Culture,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 8:14 am
Tags: , ,

Theists are probably basking in the glory of these findings. Multiple scientific studies show that there are multiple health benefits from being associated with a religion, up to and including increasing your lifespan.

Beyond beliefs: does religious faith lead to a happier, healthier life? by David Robson

Here is a taste of this piece in The Guardian:

“Much of this research took the form of longitudinal research, which involves tracking the health of a population over years and even decades. They each found that measures of someone’s religious commitment, such as how often they attended church, were consistently associated with a range of outcomes, including a lower risk of depression, anxiety and suicide and reduced cardiovascular disease and death from cancer.”

As we all know, correlation is not causation, but there is another reason for theists to be cautious here.

The findings are the same, no matter the religion, that is the details of your religion aren’t important. Another way to say it, is the theology you hold precious is not the source of those benefits.

The article started out referring to Pascal’s Wager, the most common response to which is “But which of the thousands of gods should we believe in?” The answer, according to these studies is, “it doesn’t matter, any god will do.” I can’t see any theist jumping for joy over that.

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 22, 2022

Really?

I just saw a post in The Guardian with the title: “Amy Coney Barrett urged to step away from gay rights case because of faith affiliation” and subtitle: “The US supreme court justice’s history with the People of Praise raises questions about her impartiality in upcoming case.”

I understand the effort, but really? Does anyone expect Justices Alito or Thomas to be “impartial” in such matters? Consider the majority opinion in the Dobbs case, that overthrew the Roe v Wade decision, which was largely incoherent, stating thereby “We are going to decide this the way we want because we want to” and had nothing to do with impartiality or even precedents.

Note—I was under the miscomprehension that recusals were rare at SCOTUS, when in fact they are very, very common, so this “request” is not at all bizarre. I suspect that it will not be granted because if it were, then that Justice would have to recuse herself from a great many issues upcoming that she would rather not.

November 20, 2022

What Freedom Did We Fight For, Exactly?

The MAGA/Freedom nuts keep referring to the Revolutionary War and the “freedom” that was at the heart of it. And they claim the freedom they want is to get the government off of their backs so they can do what they want, without interference.

Is that the freedom that our American forefathers fought for? I don’t think so.

Phrases such as “no taxation without representation” come to mind and some of the early requests of the American colonists were to have Americans added to Parliament to give the colonies some say, at least an ability to argue, about the policies the British government enacted for the colonies.

The final break was a contest for the ability to govern ourselves, and not be subject to an autocratic king or, for that matter, a parliament in which we had no say.

So, we fought for our freedom to create our own government. And the resulting government is a manifestation of the freedom we won.

So, how could the current MAGA/Freedom nuts get it so wrong? According to them “government is not the solution; government is the problem.” They, in fact, have been polled to be wanting an autocrat, preferably Donald Trump, but any MAGA Autocrat would probably due. They are admitting that they are not freedom loving and that they would rather kiss an autocrat’s ass, than go about the work needed to make sure the government is as we want it to be. They are basically saying “Scrap our representative government, give us a king.”

Appalling.

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?

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)

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