Feed on Posts or Comments 01 August 2014

Monthly ArchiveAugust 2008



Christianity Johnson on 21 Aug 2008

The benefits of social interactions

People who participate in social activities benefit from those activities. For example, there is a measurable benefit seen in the grade point averages of teens who attend church:

Church Attendance Boosts Student GPAs

The article puts it this way:

The study does not suggest God is smiling on the students, per se. Rather, it identifies several reasons the students do better:

* They have regular contact with adults from various generations who serve as role models.
* Their parents are more likely to communicate with their friends’ parents.
* They develop friendships with peers who have similar norms and values.
* They’re more likely to participate in extracurricular activities.

Those factors account for only half the predicted effect, Glanville and colleagues say.

“There are two directions you can go with this research,” she said. “Some might say this suggests that parents should have their kids attend places of worship. Or, if we use it to help explain why religious participation has a positive effect on academics, parents who aren’t interested in attending church can consider how to structure their kids’ time to allow access to the same beneficial social networks and opportunities religious institutions provide.”

Also:

“Surprisingly, the importance of religion to teens had very little impact on their educational outcomes,” Glanville said. “That suggests that the act of attending church — the structure and the social aspects associated with it — could be more important to educational outcomes than the actual religion.”

The second quote is especially important, and begs a question. If we want to maximize the benefit for teens, we would be asking ourselves, “How can we create community-based social organizations that have the beneficial social aspects of churches, without the delusion associated with churches?” Once we eliminate the Imaginary being, the beneficial effects would probably be even stronger.

Science Johnson on 20 Aug 2008

Science moment – the flagellum motor

The flagellum motor is fascinating. It is also controversial because creationists think it proves there to be an intelligent designer. Decide for yourself.

From the video description: “Ken Miller discusses the error of the ‘poster child’ of intelligent design. He discusses the evolutionary history of the bacterial flagellum and how the parts both in groups and alone have function in other processes than the flagellum which is directly contradicts the idea of ‘irreducible complexity.’ ”

How it might have evolved:

Christianity Johnson on 20 Aug 2008

Amazing CNN Stats: 57% of Americans believe in divine medical intervention

The statistics in this article are simply amazing:

Survey: Many believe in divine intervention

More than half of randomly surveyed adults — 57 percent — said God’s intervention could save a family member even if physicians declared that treatment would be futile. And nearly three-quarters said patients have a right to demand that treatment continue.

When asked to imagine their own relatives being gravely ill or injured, nearly 20 percent of doctors and other medical workers said God could reverse a hopeless outcome.

The obvious question any rational person would ask is simple. If God is performing medical miracles on earth, then why won’t God heal amputees?

What does the fact that God refuses to heal amputees tell us about God?

If you are a Christian and you would like to understand why the amputee question is so important, this article will help:

Why is the question “Why won’t God heal amputees?” so important?

You may also want to watch this video. The title is, “Proving that Prayer is a superstition”:

Christianity Johnson on 20 Aug 2008

The Message from Saddleback Church: Christians Cheat and Lie

As described in this post, Barack Obama and John McCain met with Rick Warren at Saddleback Church last Saturday. We learned many things from the discussion, but the most important thing we learned is that Christians cheat. Even in nationally broadcast events, Christians cheat without shame or apology.

The New York Times and many other outlets reported on the cheating:

Despite Assurances, McCain Wasn’t in a ‘Cone of Silence’

This article summarizes the situation nicely:

Sandbagged at Saddleback

I was also shocked by how disrespectfully Warren dismissed Obama supporters’ complaints about John McCain not being in a “cone of silence” where he couldn’t hear the questions as “sour grapes” — which kind of implies Obama lost the contest. The fact is, Warren knew that McCain hadn’t arrived yet when he started the event, but he nonetheless told the audience the GOP contender was in a “cone of silence” that sounded very much like a green room without television or radio. That sounds like a lie, Rick, and lying is wrong. It breaks one of the Ten Commandments.

This video is as amusing as it is incriminating. Its title is “McCain the Mindreader”

Why would Christians lie and cheat on national television even though their God specifically forbids lying in the 10 commandments? Because:

Christians are delusional

If you are a Christian and you would like to end your delusion, these two web sites will help:

- Why won’t God heal amputees?

- God is imaginary

Christianity Johnson on 20 Aug 2008

Do dogs go to heaven?

Hard to say…

Do dogs go to heaven?

If dogs go to heaven, why not mice, or mosquitoes?

If you are a Christian and you are wondering who gets to go to heaven, this article will answer your questions:

Think about life after death

Christianity Johnson on 19 Aug 2008

It is time to ban the crucifix in amusement parks, shopping malls, schools and other public venues

I went to an amusement park this past weekend. After parking, I walked to the tram that carried me to the front gate of the park. While on the tram, they played a tape that summarized park policies. This press release demonstrates the policies of a typical American amusement park:

Six Flags Announces Guest Code of Conduct for All Its Parks

In particular, this policy was given special emphasis on the tram ride:

Clothing with rude, vulgar or offensive language or graphics is not permitted at any time (shirts cannot be turned inside out as a solution)… Park admission may be denied if clothing is deemed by management to be inappropriate.

Policies like this are reassuring. Why would I want to have my trip to the amusement park disrupted by oafs wearing intentionally offensive apparel?

I was therefore shocked to walk into the park as an atheist and to be confronted at every turn by religion. Religious clothing was everywhere.

But the thing that was even more ubiquitous than the religious clothing was the crucifix. Crucifixes are worn on necklaces by men and women alike. In a typical visit to an amusement park, I imagine that the average visitor sees hundreds of crucifixes.

It is amazing that crucifixes are allowed in an amusement park that has a dress code. The reason is simple: crucifixes are highly offensive to anyone who is not a Christian. A crucifix is no different in its impact than a Nazi Swastika or a Confederate Flag.

Why are crucifixes so offensive? Because people who wear a crucifix are making the following statement:

“Anyone who does not believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection like I do will be sent to Hell – a place of unimaginable torture – for eternity. By wearing this crucifix, I publicly affirm my approval of this form of unending torture. Believe what I do, or you will writhe in Hell forevermore.”

That is the core message of the crucifix, and what a lovely message it is. It has even been proclaimed by Texas Governor Rick Perry according to this article: “those who don’t live their life in accordance with Christian values are ‘going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket.’”

The problem with the message is twofold. First, the wearer is proclaiming that eternal, unimaginable torture is acceptable. The repugnance of this proclamation is obvious. Second, the message separates Christians from non-Christians and then declares non-Christians to be sub-human animals deserving of such torture. The implicit Christian mindset thus becomes: If my “God”/”Father” despises non-Christians this much, why should a follower of God be required to extend any sort of respect or dignity to non-Christians here on earth? Why not begin the torture now?

It would be easy at this point to ask the obvious question: Why would Christians sign up for such a repulsive belief system? But there is no way to explain this. Christians always defend their beliefs, no matter how twisted, using some sort of bizarre logic. The story of Noah’s Ark is a perfect example of the process.

So instead we should ask this question: Why should Christians be allowed to display a message that is this cruel, ridiculous and offensive in a public place like an amusement park? Isn’t it time for non-Christians to acknowledge the message of the crucifix, and to ban the display of such an offensive symbol?

Islam Johnson on 18 Aug 2008

Thought experiment: What should we do when religious beliefs become dangerous?

Imagine that there is a new religion. This new religion teaches its followers a set of beliefs that are clearly dangerous to other people. For example, imagine a new religion that teaches that people who are outside the religion should be killed, or raped.

Now imagine that this new religion spreads rapidly. A scientific study is commissioned, and it is found that adults exposed to this new religion become more dangerous once they convert. Also, children raised in households where this religion is practiced are, statistically, much more dangerous than normal children as they become teenagers.

Would we allow this new religion to freely proliferate under the idea of “religious freedom”?

It is an interesting thought question to ponder. Why might we allow this new religion to proliferate? Why not?

Now extend the thought experiment. What if existing religions have these characteristics? Should they be allowed to freely proliferate?

For example, Islam already has more than a billion adherents and is proliferating rapidly. But it seems to harbor a number of unsavory features that are dangerous to people outside the Muslim faith:

Example 1: Salute the Danish Flag – It’s a Symbol of Western Freedom

This article contains statistics from a remarkable, unintentional Muslim experiment that is underway in Denmark. For example: “Muslims are only 4 percent of Denmark’s 5.4 million people but make up a majority of the country’s convicted rapists, an especially combustible issue given that practically all the female victims are non-Muslim.”

Example 2: To beat extremism we must dissolve religious groups

This article cites startling statistics from a survey of Muslim college students in Britain. For example: “Four out of 10 Muslim students in Britain support the introduction of sharia into UK law for Muslims, according to a YouGov poll. Almost a third of them said that killing in the name of religion was justified; 40% said they felt it was unacceptable for Muslim men and women to associate freely; and nearly a quarter do not think that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah.”

You read that right: Killing in the name of religion is justified for a third of the students surveyed.

Example 3: We need to stop being such cowards about Islam

This article discusses a book that cannot be published in the U.S. because it might offend Muslims. From the article:

The Jewel of Medina was written by a journalist called Sherry Jones. It recounts the life of Aisha, a girl who was married off at the age of six to a 50-year-old man called Mohamed ibn Abdallah. On her wedding day, Aisha was playing on a see-saw outside her home. Inside, she was being betrothed. The first she knew of it was when she was banned from playing out in the street with the other children. When she was nine, she was taken to live with her husband, now 53. He had sex with her. When she was 14, she was accused of adultery with a man closer to her own age. Not long after, Mohamed decreed that his wives must cover their faces and bodies, even though no other women in Arabia did.

You cannot read this story today – except in the Koran and the Hadith. The man Mohamed ibn Abdallah became known to Muslims as “the Prophet Mohamed”, so our ability to explore this story is stunted. The Jewel of Medina was bought by Random House and primed to be a best-seller – before a University of Texas teacher saw proofs and declared it “a national security issue”. Random House had visions of a re-run of the Rushdie or the Danish cartoons affairs. Sherry Jones’s publisher has pulped the book. It’s gone.

Not only has the Muslim religion limited freedom of speech for the rest of us (the author cannot speak, and none of us will have the opportunity to read what she wrote), but this story also demonstrates how and why the Muslim faith subjugates women to the role of second class citizens. This subjugation affects hundreds of millions of women every day, whether they agree with the beliefs or not.

When you throw things like 9/11 into the mix, it becomes clear that the believers of Islam are having a dangerous, negative impact on the rest of us. The question: Should these dangerous beliefs be allowed to proliferate freely under the mantle of religion freedom? Or is it time to understand that when beliefs endanger other people in society, those beliefs no longer deserve protection?

Christianity Johnson on 17 Aug 2008

Book review – “For God’s Sake”

A book review of “For God’s Sake” by Dr Lee Marsden:

Religious Right ‘threat to world peace’

Quote:

The book, For God’s Sake, argues that the religious core values of Middle America have potentially disastrous consequences for both the United States and the planet. For example: the Christian Right “seeks to prevent any resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict on anything other than Israeli terms”. Utterances by presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama fit “exactly with the Christian Right agenda and effectively destroys prospects of a peaceful resolution of the conflict”.

Both candidates have been equally aggressive towards Iran, Dr Marsden says, and conservative evangelicals are disproportionately represented in the US military and private security contractors. “This presents a problem in terms of cultural sensitivity and Muslim perceptions of the US military being a Christian army engaged in a crusade against Islam.”

The Christian Right movement has also been behind the Bush administration’s anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-nuclear family stance, he adds.

Christianity Johnson on 16 Aug 2008

10 Recent Articles

1) We need to stop being such cowards about Islam

2) Salute the Danish Flag – It’s a Symbol of Western Freedom (contains remarkable Muslim statistics and trends in Denmark)

3) How Anti-Intellectualism Is Destroying America

4) Nepal seeks new child goddess: must have voice like a duck

5) The religion of politics

6) “You can’t prove a negative.”

7) The Afterlife for Scientologists

8) Orson Scott Card Wants YOU To Rise Up Against The Gay Menace

9) Judge says UC can deny religious course credit

10) You Can Ignore Evolutionary Theory In Texas

Christianity &Rationals Johnson on 16 Aug 2008

The new atheism

Four recent articles discuss the new atheism from both sides.

Christian perspective:

- The “new atheists”

- Understanding and Answering the New Atheism

Rational perspective:

- The Church of the Non-Believers

- Researchers Crusade against American Fundamentalists

Christianity Johnson on 15 Aug 2008

MSNBC Poll: Should the motto “In God We Trust” be removed from U.S. currency?

Should the motto “In God We Trust” be removed from U.S. currency?

Christianity Johnson on 15 Aug 2008

Rick Warren, Barack Obama and John McCain will sit down to discuss their religious beliefs

On saturday, Barack Obama and John McCain will meet with pastor Rick Warren to discuss their beliefs:

Influential Pastor to Bring Candidates Together for the First Time

“Rick Warren is really the anti-Jerry Falwell,” said Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College.

Wolfe told FOXNews.com that Warren has the ability to broaden the evangelical agenda, but he said Warren’s clout stems from a “movement on the ground.”

“He’s giving them a voice, and it’s very important,” he said. “I think he’s a major figure, definitely America’s next Billy Graham.”

Warren, author of the best-selling book “The Purpose-Driven Life,” has with his wife, Kay, been a leading advocate for HIV/AIDS victims worldwide.

If you read “The Purpose Driven Life”, what you will find is Warren’s belief that God’s plan controls everything. Thus, human beings have no free will:

- Proving that God’s Plan is impossible (video version)

- Undersanding God’s Plan (text version)

Anyone who thinks about Warren’s beliefs for more than 30 seconds can see that they are ridiculous. And anyone who thinks about God for more than an hour or two can see that God is imaginary. Yet we live in a society immersed in religion.

One day we will look back at this period of time in Human history with deep embarrassment. We live in a time when our leaders meet to publicly discuss their delusions.

Christianity Johnson on 15 Aug 2008

The power of Jesus, according to Dr. Billy Graham

Here is an excellent example of the power of Jesus. A man writes in asking Dr. Billy Graham about a problem he is having with Internet Porn:

Internet pornography: It’s a sin in God’s eyes

DEAR DR. GRAHAM: Have you ever had anyone ask you how to break the habit of Internet pornography? I just can’t seem to overcome it, and I’m scared to death my wife will find out. I don’t know how I got into this so deeply. — M.J.

What’s the obvious thing for M.J. to do in this situation? If you are a Christian, you pray to the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe for help. Here is what Dr. Graham suggests:

This is why I urge you to turn to Jesus Christ and open your heart and life to Him. He doesn’t love your sin — but He does love you, and He wants to come into your life and take away your sins and begin to change you from within. Commit your life to Him, and then ask Him to fill you and replace everything that is evil or wrong with His goodness and purity.

Now, if you have the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe helping you by “filling you and replacing everything that is evil or wrong with His goodness and purity,” you would expect to be cured. Wouldn’t you? What more could you possibly need beyond being filled with God’s all-powerful goodness and purity? Your countenance should shine like a lighthouse and the scourge of Internet porn should be burned to a cinder in the white-hot light of Jesus’ love.

Yes, that is what you might expect. But the power of God is not quite enough, so Dr. Graham hedges:

Then take practical steps to fight this habit. Get a program for your computer that will filter out unwanted sites — and use it. Move your computer into a place where others can see what you are doing. In addition, share your problem with a trusted friend who can hold you accountable for what you watch.

Why does Dr. Graham (who is arguably one of the most devoted and dedicated Christians on the planet) openly admit here that the power of Jesus/God is insufficient to cure this ill? Perhaps it is for the same reason that God won’t heal amputees. If you are a Christian and you would like to understand why Dr. Graham is hedging like this, please see: Whywontgodhealamputees.com

Christianity Johnson on 14 Aug 2008

The logic of Christian belief

Why do Christians believe that Jesus is real? Here is one summary of the logic of Christian belief:

From the video:

What is so unique about Jesus Christ? Because my Muslim friend would say that Mohammad is equal to Jesus. Why are you convinced in the Case for Christ?

If you are a Christian who believes in this logic, you might consider the alternative:

- Prove that Jesus is imaginary in less than 5 minutes (video version)

- Ask Jesus to appear (text)

It is an incredibly simple question: why won’t Jesus appear?

Christianity Johnson on 14 Aug 2008

The 6 Raunchiest, Most Depraved Sex Acts in the Bible

A fascinating compilation:

The 6 Raunchiest, Most Depraved Sex Acts (From the Bible)

It’s further proof that the Bible is repulsive:

Any intelligent person would look at all this repulsive content and realize that something is wrong. There is no reason why an “all-knowing being” would put together such a ridiculous book. And from that simple acknowledgement, a chain of logic would lead to an understanding that God is imaginary. If you are a Christian who is beginning to understand that the Bible is ridiculous, please visit:

- Whywontgodhealamputees.com

- Godisimaginary.com

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