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Christianity &Politics Thomas on 30 Jun 2009

What paleontologists think of the Creation Museum

Real scientists were taken on a tour of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY:

Paleontologists brought to tears, laughter by Creation Museum

Some of their impressions:

most left more offended than amused by the frightening way in which evolution — and their life’s work — was attacked.

“It’s sort of a monument to scientific illiteracy, isn’t it?” said Jerry Lipps, professor of geology, paleontology and evolution at University of California, Berkeley.

Lisa Park of the University of Akron cried at one point as she walked a hallway full of flashing images of war, famine and natural disasters which the museum blames on belief in evolution.

“I think there’s a lot of focus on fear, and I don’t think that’s a very Christian message… I find it a malicious manipulation of the public.”

“This bothers me as a scientist and as a Christian, because it’s just as much a distortion and misrepresentation of Christianity as it is of science,”

Daryl Domning, professor of anatomy at Howard University, is described in the article as a Christian.

Lisa Park of the University of Akron is described in the article as “a professor of paleontology who is an elder in the Presbyterian Church.”

Daryl and Lisa, you are “intelligent Christians”. Please open your eyes and look at the nonsense you worship. Please come to Whywontgodhealamputees.com, open your minds to rationality and abandon your absurd religion.

To every scientist who took the tour, please email this post to your religious colleagues.

Christianity &Politics Johnson on 11 Mar 2009

The best article ever

Here is the best article ever, at least the first four paragraphs:

The coming evangelical collapse

We are on the verge – within 10 years – of a major collapse of evangelical Christianity. This breakdown will follow the deterioration of the mainline Protestant world and it will fundamentally alter the religious and cultural environment in the West.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the “Protestant” 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I’m convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

But then the author, who is apparently an Evangelical, gets completely derailed. Reasons for the collapse stated in the article:

1) Bad politics
2) Bad education of youth
3) Demographics
4) Education again
5) Social backlash
6) Inability to “pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible”.
7) Lack of money due to declining enrollment

These are not the reasons why we will soon see a evangelical collapse. There are only two reasons for the collapse, and they are soooo simple:

1) GOD IS IMAGINARY

And

2) CHRISTIANS ARE DELUSIONAL

More and more people are realizing this. The scales are falling from their eyes as we speak. And Christianity is dying. All religion will die. It is all nonsense, and any intelligent, thoughtful person sees that.

There will come a tipping point where Christianity is seen as insanity, as it should be. Once we reach that tipping point, all sane people will abandon it in droves. All that will be left are the insane, and they will hopefully receive treatment for their condition.

Christianity &Politics Johnson on 04 Mar 2009

The link between Republicans and contradiction

The Republican Party is home to the religious right. The religious right, being religious, is the home of contraction. Only a religious person could follow someone like Jesus who, on the one hand, tells us to love one another unconditionally, but then also dictates that anyone who does not follow him will be tortured in hell for eternity.

Since the Republican Party is full of the religious, we would therefore expect the Republican Party to be full of contradiction. And surely it is, as Jon Stewart points out in these two videos:

The obvious question: why can’t these people see their own contradiction and hypocrisy when it is so obvious?

Christianity &Politics &Rationals Johnson on 26 Feb 2009

A letter worth broadcasting far and wide

This letter appeared in the Boston Globe and deserves to be spread far and wide:

Enough already with ‘God bless America’

TUESDAY NIGHT, President Obama ended his speech with a familiar refrain, asking God to bless us and bless our country.

Last month, after we had watched the Inauguration, it was one of my church-going students who asked, “Why was there so much religion?” Other students asked, “Why was there a Christian prayer? What about Jews?” Finally, one 11-year-old girl, whose family is not religious, said, in response to the “God bless America” line, “I felt like somebody who’s going to be important to me left me out.”

May those who share religious belief share that gladly, in church or in private gatherings. At public events of the government that belongs to us all, let the blessings invoked be the blessings all of us can bestow: those of our own hearts and minds, our hopes and efforts, the energies Obama has proved so talented at evoking.

Our country needs the energy and thought of all our future citizens. I can’t think of one good thing that comes from drawing a circle and leaving even one of my students outside it.

Polly Brown
Hopkinton

Christianity &Politics Johnson on 23 Feb 2009

Time magazine panders to Christians once again

The cover story for the February 23, 2009 issue of Time Magazine is titled “How Faith Can Heal”. The main article is:

The Biology of Belief

This is the article’s premise:

Here’s what’s surprising: a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that faith may indeed bring us health. People who attend religious services do have a lower risk of dying in any one year than people who don’t attend. People who believe in a loving God fare better after a diagnosis of illness than people who believe in a punitive God. No less a killer than AIDS will back off at least a bit when it’s hit with a double-barreled blast of belief. “Even accounting for medications,” says Dr. Gail Ironson, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Miami who studies HIV and religious belief, “spirituality predicts for better disease control.”

But then the article goes on to unravel that thesis. For example:

Pray and meditate enough and some changes in the brain become permanent. Long-term meditators — those with 15 years of practice or more — appear to have thicker frontal lobes than nonmeditators.

Meditation does not require faith. Meditation is meditation and anyone can meditate. Sam Harris meditates.

Another example:

Faith and health overlap in other ways too. Take fasting…

Fasting does not require faith. Fasting is fasting. Anyone can fast.

The article asks the obvious question in a bold section header: How powerful is prayer?

It then goes on to provide the obvious answer – prayer has no effect:

A larger study in 2005 by cardiologist Herbert Benson at Harvard University challenged that finding, reporting that complications occurred in 52% of heart-bypass patients who received intercessory prayer and 51% of those who didn’t.

But that single statement of fact is surrounded by a collection of verbiage implying otherwise. [Learn more about the study here and here]

Finally the article states that people who go to church live longer:

Social demographer Robert Hummer of the University of Texas has been following a population of subjects since 1992, and his results are hard to argue with. Those who never attend religious services have twice the risk of dying over the next eight years as people who attend once a week. People who fall somewhere between no churchgoing and weekly churchgoing also fall somewhere between in terms of mortality.

A similar analysis by Daniel Hall, an Episcopal priest and a surgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, found that church attendance accounts for two to three additional years of life. To be sure, he also found that exercise accounts for three to five extra years and statin therapy for 2.5 to 3.5. Still, joining a flock and living longer do appear to be linked.

They appear to be linked. But they are not. The problem with these studies is that, if they compared apples to apples, they would not show any effect. And the article states as much just a few paragraphs later:

In the 1990s, Marci Campbell, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, helped launch a four-year trial called North Carolina Black Churches United for Better Health. The project signed up 50 churches with a goal of helping the 2,500 parishioners eat better, exercise more and generally improve their fitness. The measures taken included having pastors preach health in their sermons and getting churches to serve healthier foods at community events.

The program was so successful that it has been renamed the Body and Soul project and rolled out nationally — complete with literature, DVDs and cookbooks — in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.

Obviously, if you create health programs that specifically target churches, people who attend churches will live longer. OBVIOUSLY. It is not church-going that improves health – it is the fact that “parishioners eat better, exercise more and generally improve their fitness” because of the programs.

The cover story should have been titled, “How Faith Doesn’t Heal”. But that wouldn’t be pandering, and Time would sell less magazines with an honest article.

[More on pandering: Using St. Joseph to sell a house]

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Politics &Science Johnson on 06 Feb 2009

WhatsTheHarm.net

Penn talks about WhatsTheHarm.net

Watch Penn’s video

Click here to visit WhatsTheHarm.net.

Christianity &Islam &Politics Johnson on 30 Jan 2009

Why do people believe insane things?

This page tells a very strange tale:

When Prophecy Fails

This is the tale:

A Chicago housewife, Mrs. Marion Keech, had mysteriously been given messages in her house in the form of “automatic writing” from alien beings on the planet Clarion, who revealed that the world would end in a great flood before dawn on December 21. The group of believers, headed by Mrs. Keech, had taken strong behavioral steps to indicate their degree of commitment to the belief. They had left jobs, college, and spouses, and had given away money and possessions to prepare for their departure on the flying saucer, which was to rescue the group of true believers.

To any reasonable person, what Mrs. Keech preached is insane. Yet she convinced a group of people to leave jobs, family and possessions and follow her. How did she do it?

We face this same question with religion in general. How does a religion gain followers? The beliefs of every religion are just as insane as those of Ms. Keech, as described in this video:

The beliefs of Scientology are clearly insane:

One of the major tenets of Scientology is a belief that each human is inhabited by alien spirits, what L Ron Hubbard dubbed, ” The Space Opera”. It is a basic belief of Scientology that a human being is actually an immortal spiritual being, termed a thetan, that is presently trapped on planet Earth in a “meat body.” The thetan has had innumerable past lives and it is accepted in Scientology that lives antedating the thetan’s arrival on Earth lived in extraterrestrial cultures. Descriptions of space opera incidents are seen as true events by Scientologists.

Yet hundreds of thousands are followers of Scientology.

As described in the video, the beliefs of Mormons, Muslims and Christians are just as insane. Yet billions of people follow these religions. These people are no different from the followers of Ms. Keech.

Why do people choose to believe in insane religions? Why do they consciously choose insanity over rationality? Why do they make this choice with such fervor? It would appear that a majority of people have brain structures and/or wiring that predispose them toward religious behavior. There is a great deal of evidence for these structures. These two articles will help you learn more:

1) Neurotheology

2) Why People Believe in God An Empirical Study on a Deep Question

Christianity &Politics &Rationals Johnson on 15 Jan 2009

The Societal Effects of Widespread Delusion

Let’s imagine for a moment that the United States discarded religion and became a nation of rational people. If a nation of rational people heard a statement like this…

“The world will end on 12/21/2012 because some centuries-old Mayan calendar says it will.”

…what would happen? Nothing. Rational people would laugh, understand that the Mayan calendar is ridiculous hocum, and move to the next story.

But we do not hive in a rational nation. Instead we have a nation filled with delusional people who believe in an invisible man in the sky, who believe in the superstition of prayer, etc. They REALLY believe in this stuff. So when they hear…

“The world will end on 12/21/2012 because some centuries-old Mayan calendar says it will.”

…they say to themselves, “wow, really? I should spend time worrying about this!” And so we have this article:

The Mystery of 2012?

With the subtitle: “Not surprisingly, the Mayan-inspired mania surrounded 12/21/12 is more money-grubbing than actual science.” People will make money off of this just like Benny Hinn makes rivers of money off of faith healing. Here is the opening sentence from the article:

If the hundreds of millions of Google searches related to “2012” are any indication, the apocalyptic predictions and mystery surrounding the date December 21, 2012 have captured public interest and created a legitimate culture of fear.

A culture of fear??? But it is true. Millions of people are latching onto this idea, somehow intertwining it to reinforce their delusion that Jesus will return. There are many books, and now a $200 million movie:

Now Roland Emmerich, the brains behind doomsday blockbusters like Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, is working on a new film titled 2012, a $200 million project based on—you guessed it—the end of the world. Set to open in July, this latest eco-disaster flick will underscore the increasing presence of 12/21/12, the supposed “end date” of the Mayan calendar, in contemporary media. In the midst of all the cataclysmic depictions in books and films, one is left feeling an anxious uncertainty. What is fact and what is fiction? Where did this latest end-of-the-world date come from? What is the B.F.D. about a date just three years away?

All of this is made possible by the deluison of Christianity. “One is left feeling an anxious uncertainty” only if one is delusional.

If you would like to heal your delusion, try this:

- WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com

PS – if you are curious, here is a quick description of the prediction:

WILL YOU… BE READY???

Christianity &Politics Johnson on 14 Jan 2009

God invents the disposable puppy

The bizarre logic of Christians is on display in this article:

Puppy Dies After Saving Family

A timeline of the events described in the article:
1) Family gives puppy to girl for her birthday.
2) Everyone goes to bed
3) Electrical fire starts
4) Puppy wakes family
5) Puppy dies in fire

The explanation? “I told her well maybe God sent that puppy here for a reason. It was to save our life.”

So this is the Christian explanation of what happened. An all-knowing God knew the fire was coming, so he sent a disposable puppy to save the family. God didn’t choose to prevent the fire. Nor did he choose to send a puppy smart enough to leave the house. God sent a disposable puppy because God wanted the house to burn down AND he wanted the puppy to die.

Tell me again: why do people worship this “god”?

If you are a Christian who is tired of this type of insane thinking, try this book:

- WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com

Christianity &Politics Johnson on 05 Jan 2009

The marketing of Christianity

If nothing else, you have to give Christianity credit for marketing prowess. The cross is everywhere. Over at Reddit people have been cataloging crosses from their neighborhoods:

There is this monstrosity which got the ball rolling.

Memphis, TN: Three crosses

Cincinnati takes it to the next level: Touchdown Jesus

As the first link points out: “I probably was not the only person who drove by that thing today and thought, “What a colossal waste.” The money that was spent erecting that eyesore could have provided…” The “Jesus” depicted in the Bible would agree wholeheartedly. But in the eyes of Christianity, Inc., it is not a waste at all. It is part of an extremely effective marketing campaign that generates billions of dollars a year.

Even Antarctica has a giant cross on top of the hill overlooking McMurdo Station:

If you can extend your ad campaign all the way down to Antarctica, you have an extremely effective marketing team.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Politics &Rationals Johnson on 02 Jan 2009

Religulous – the full movie

Christianity &Politics emodude on 15 Mar 2007

God’s dupes – a new LATimes article by Sam Harris

Here’s another fantastic article by Sam Harris in the LATimes

God’s dupes

Sam weighs in on the recent announcement from the American Humanist Association regarding Representative Pete Stark (D-CA) ‘coming out’ as the first openly nontheistic member of Congress.

Representative Stark deserves a round of applause from atheists countrywide. Such a move is tantamount to career suicide, yet he has the bravery to come forward and will go down in history for it, deservedly.

I’m quite sure that nobody on that bus with Rosa Parks back in December of 1955 thought she was going to make one bit of difference to race relations in this country; yet we all know how that turned out. While I’m quite aware that the plight of atheists isn’t quite so dramatic as those of African-Americans in the mid 1900′s, the fact remains that it only takes one brave person to stand up against tyranny to spark a revolution. I am hoping, as I believe many other are, that this move can begin a new era in this country in which the choke hold that the religious organizations have on our politics and politicians begins to loosen, and eventually disappears.

Christianity &Politics emodude on 27 Jan 2007

State Constitutions that Discriminate Against Atheists

Here’s a link from the GodLess Geeks that list out seven examples from state constitutions that discriminate, and dare I say illegally, against Atheist candidates running for public office.

State Constututions that Discriminate Against Atheists

The separation of church and state is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution that states are obligated to comply with.  How can any country claim to have Freedom of Religion, and yet laws such as these still exist on the books?  Where does this fear originate from that states feel they must protect themselves against Atheist candidates?

Christianity &Politics emodude on 30 Dec 2006

Park Service Can’t Give Official Age Of Grand Canyon For Fear Of Offending Creationists…

The first sentence from this article says it all:

“Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees.”

In case your unaware, Creationists (specifically Young Earth Creationists) believe the earth to be only 6000 years old, because the Bible provides a geneology from Adam to Jesus that adds up to approximately 4000 years; thus making the world only 6000 years old.  Clearly the Grand Canyon, being formed from erosion over the last 5 to 6 million years, doesn’t fit into their timetable, so they must make up a story, such as the Canyon being created by Noah’s flood, to account for it.  As you’ll read in the article, the National Park Service sells a book at the Grand Canyon bookstore making this claim.

The US government, specifically the Bush administration, would rather use the unscientific, unproven opinions of fanatical religious fundamentalists as it’s official position on topics such as geology instead of results obtained from scientific inquiry, independently verified by hundreds of scientists.  I would hope this would make the skin crawl even for moderate Christians.

Politics L6 on 23 Dec 2006

Voting in Church

So it’s that time of year again when non-Christians get all uptight about the ubiquitous Pagan symbols that have been adopted by Christianity. We have protested Christmas trees and even banned Christmas trees. (Thanks to mailboy and BobbyBigWheel for the links.) And sure, why not? Christmas is a big event bound to raise the otherwise dormant consciousness of many anti-religious folk.

I’m just wondering where all these people were during the November elections? Or any election for that matter. Why don’t we see anyone protesting the fact that they have to vote in a church? Every polling station in my town is a church. Convenient for many, maybe, but one can imagine people who don’t vote because it makes them uncomfortable. Political symbols aren’t allowed within 100 ft. of a polling station; why are religious symbols exempt? The church itself is a religious symbol. Hardly the wall of separation that Jefferson espoused.

Perhaps things are just getting started. A couple weeks ago we saw the first church-state separation lawsuit of its kind. If apathy on this matter is simply a case of unawareness, a case like this should help bring it to the surface. Given media coverage, of course, which doesn’t seem too forthcoming.

Aren’t there enough public schools, government buildings, sports centers, and libraries to go around? Surely alternatives exist; my friend’s neighbor had a polling station in his garage. If you do contact your Representative, be sure you have some suggestions for such alternatives ready.

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