Feed on Posts or Comments 20 August 2014

Monthly ArchiveJanuary 2009



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 Johnson on 28 Jan 2009

A new word is born – Saddlebacking

The word is “saddlebacking” and it is defined here:

Saddlebacking.com

The word is an outgrowth of a very strange phenomenon witnessed in Christian teens. The phenomenon starts with “virginity pledges” and “purity balls”. You can learn more about purity balls here:

The Pursuit of Teen Girl Purity

The balls and pledges have several unforeseen consequences, however, as described in the Time article:

The majority of kids who make a virginity pledge, they argue, will still have sex before marriage but are less likely than other kids to use contraception, since that would involve planning ahead for something they have promised not to do. This puts them at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. To which defenders say: Teen pledgers typically do postpone having sex, have fewer partners, get pregnant less often and if they make it through high school as virgins, are twice as likely to graduate from college–so where’s the downside?

In addition, many kids come up with innovative loopholes to get around the pledges. For example, they substitute oral and anal sex, and still claim “virginity”. Hence the new word.

Christianity Johnson on 27 Jan 2009

This is hilarious, and also so very sad…

If you are a fan of WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com, this is painful to read:

Stand Up And Be Healed

This poor guy is in a wheelchair with severe muscular dystrophy. MD is a genetic disease, meaning that it is hard-wired into your DNA. According to Wikipedia, “Muscular dystrophies are characterized by progressive skeletal muscle weakness, defects in muscle proteins, and the death of muscle cells and tissue.” It is not a pleasant disease.

But this poor guy is writing about delusional Christians who walk up to him, touch him and expect their imaginary “god” to heal him on the spot:

On another occasion I was visiting a well known evangelical church in London called Kensington Temple. Just before the service began a group of people approached me and before I knew it had encircled me and were ‘laying hands’ on me. Several of them started to pray in tongues and became increasingly ecstatic. One of the group placed his hand on my head and exhorted me to “Stand up in the name of Jesus.” When I failed to do so he became quite agitated. “Rise up in the name of Jee-sus!” he demanded. I shrugged apologetically, sorry to disappoint him. Suddenly the atmosphere changed. “If you truly believe you will be healed.” Nothing happened. The group backed away from me. Someone looked at me disapprovingly and said, “you have to want to be healed.” The group wandered away from me muttering sadly at my lack of faith. Suffice to say I didn’t much enjoy the sermon that followed on the theme of miracles.

It is hilarious that these Christians can be so delusional and so stupid in their beliefs. But their ignorance and delusion, and their utterly inconsiderate behavior, is also so very sad. How can people consciously allow themselves to become so detached from reality like this, and then impose their stupidity on others in public?

Christianity Johnson on 26 Jan 2009

James Randi on “Who gets the credit”

James Randi talks about the “Miracle Plane” that “landed” in the Hudson River:

Christianity &Islam &Science Johnson on 23 Jan 2009

An example of a ridiculous belief

“Beliefs” come in all shapes and sizes, and most of them are ridiculous. Here is a great example of how ridiculous they can get, and how widely they can spread despite being ridiculous:

Why Do Koreans Think Electric Fans Will Kill Them?

The article describes it this way:

I just arrived in South Korea, and my colleague says that I can die if I sleep in a closed room with a fan on. He insists that “fan death” is an actual danger. What the hell?

And:

Hodges also shared the following passage from the government-issued Cultural Guide for Migrant Workers in Korea: “In some cases, a fan turned on too long can cause death from oxygen deficiency, hypothermia, or fire from overheating.” “Some Koreans,” he adds, “give outlandish explanations about how the whirling blades of a fan can sever oxygen molecules.”

This belief is unique to Korea, but it runs very deep in Korea even though it is ridiculous. The fact that the rest of the world knows that “fan death” is imaginary is irrelevant.

How does a ridiculous belief like this get started? There is no way to know. Like the fear of the number 13, it is inexplicable.

How does it gain credence? Perhaps, at some point when this belief was first forming, two or three people died in their sleep, AND THEY HAD THEIR FANS ON. The fact that they were 97 years old when they died in their sleep was irrelevant. The belief became “real” to people.

Parents then convey this belief to their children, who hear about it from infancy on.

Occasionally the belief is reinforced when a person dies in their sleep WITH A FAN ON, and the story makes the news. All the billions of people around the world who sleep with their fans on without incident are ignored.

And then, each individual person reinforces the belief. If you live in Korea, and if you have heard this myth all your life, and if everyone around you believes it, and if you hear stories on the news, and if you then find yourself in your room about to go to bed, what do you do? You turn your fan off. Why risk death? It is the same as a person in America refusing to stay in a hotel room on the 13th floor. Why risk it, given that you have a choice and there is no cost to avoiding 13? And then something like Apollo 13 comes along and reinforces the myth. It is very hard to eradicate a myth like this once it takes firm root.

Every Religion works in exactly the same way. The beliefs are ridiculous, but for many people they are set in stone.

Christianity &Science Johnson on 22 Jan 2009

God never heals amputees, but science can, part 2

Back in October we discussed the farmer who had two arms transplanted onto his body in this post. Now a teenager has been fitted with the latest bionic arm, called the i-Limb:

See also this page for another video: Guy Gets Arm Replaced Luke Skywalker Style

As mentioned previously:

Obviously God is imaginary. Any rational person can see that. But Christians cling to the notion that their God exists, and that he answers all sorts of prayers every day.

So, if you are a Christian, ask yourself: Why won’t God heal amputees? Why does God hate amputees? Why would your God deny the happiness that this teenager is experiencing? Why does God completely ignore all the prayers of amputees and spontaneously restore their limbs through prayer? You believe that your God heals cancer… why not amputated limbs as well?

If you give these questions careful thought, you will realize that your God is imaginary.

Christianity &Science Johnson on 21 Jan 2009

What rational people are up against…

On the science front:

On the family front:

Arrows for the War

Quiverfull parents try to have upwards of six children. They home-school their families, attend fundamentalist churches and follow biblical guidelines of male headship–”Father knows best”–and female submissiveness. They refuse any attempt to regulate pregnancy. Quiverfull began with the publication of Rick and Jan Hess’s 1989 book, A Full Quiver: Family Planning and the Lordship of Christ, which argues that God, as the “Great Physician” and sole “Birth Controller,” opens and closes the womb on a case-by-case basis. Women’s attempts to control their own bodies–the Lord’s temple–are a seizure of divine power.

On the government front:

Sarah Palin Believes That Jesus Is Coming Back In Her Lifetime

One Associated Press survey revealed that 24% of American adults expect to still be alive when Jesus returns to this earth.

So is there any rational reason for Palin and these other Americans to believe that Jesus could be coming back to earth during our lifetimes?

Well, many Christians would argue that there are ancient prophecies that are being fulfilled in our lifetimes right in front of our very eyes.

This is also interesting because of the lack of thought: How to Stump Anti-Abortionists With One Question

Science Johnson on 20 Jan 2009

Science moment – speciation

Contrary to what many religious followers choose to believe, there are many examples of speciation occurring on earth today. There are actually four different types of speciation: Allopatric, Sympatric, Peripatric and Parapatric. This video explains speciation and includes many examples:

Christianity &Science Johnson on 19 Jan 2009

What Genesis should have said

As you watch this video, you are left to ask, “If an all-knowing being actually wrote the Bible, why isn’t Genesis written like this?”

To any rational person the answer is obvious: No all-knowing being had anything to do with the Bible. The Bible was written by primitive men.

If you are a Christian who would like to learn more about the Bible, this can help:

- Chapter 12

Science Johnson on 16 Jan 2009

Science moment: Whale evolution

A fascinating video from the science journal Nature discussing whale evolution:

It starts like this:

Nature reports the discovery of a crucial missing link in the ancestry of the cetaceans – porpoises, dolphins and whales.

“Ever since the time of Darwin, scientists have known that whales were descended from land mammals. But, until very recently, about 15 years ago, the ancestry of whales were not known, and creationists had a field day because there were no intermediates. In the last 15 years then, a number of remarkable transitional forms have been found that document the transition and the morphology of the early whales very nicely. One such form is Kutchicetus…”

- Hans Thewissen, Department of Anatomy, Northwestern Ohio Universities College of Medicine

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 &Islam &Judaism Johnson on 13 Jan 2009

Religion is ridiculous part 3

If you are a rational person and you look at the news on any given day, you can see the negative affect that religion has on people’s lives. Every day, religion sets society back in ways both large and small. Here are several recent examples of hatred and stupidity from the world of religion:

1) Time to Audit Scientology’s Anti-Medicine Stance

2) Inbreeding among polygamists along the Arizona-Utah border is producing a caste of severely retarded and deformed children

3) A quarrelsome lot these Christians

4) Holier than thou? Rio’s Christ statue has rival

5) Prayer in the newspaper: Star’s decision to drop one strikes a sour note with the faithful

6) Vicar takes down crucifixion sculpture ‘because it’s a scary depiction of suffering’

7) 90% of Provo rapes not reported to police

8) Pope denounces materialism

9) Rick Warren Says Women Should Stay in Abusive Marriages

10) Being a Christian I’m pretty well protected by God I believe

11) In Va., a Powerful and Polarizing Pastor

12) Red states dominate teen pregnancy statistics

13) Leg space for the Pope

More…

Christianity &Islam &Science Johnson on 12 Jan 2009

A good explanation of science

This video offers a good explanation of science and the scientific process for religious believers:

A great quote from the video:

“People can be very keen to express opinions about scientific theories that they have never studied. Without having made any effort to acquaint themselves with the evidence for a given theory, or checked that they have understood its basic claims, many seem to believe that their uninformed intuitions qualify them to dismiss the theory as absurd, or because they feel that something is beyond their capacity for understanding, then it is beyond everyone else’s capacity, or it is simply impossible.”

This problem can often be found in the thinking of religious believers. If you would like to open your mind to reality rather than religious dogma, this book can help:

- WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com

Christianity Johnson on 09 Jan 2009

God makes legs grow longer in seconds!

Here we have an amazing letter:

Suffering

For some time now someone very close to me has been suffering from several persistent and painful illnesses that is causing them much distress. While the doctors have offered little to no explanations to what ails them they have been asking me the question “Why wont God heal me”.

My own story of coming to faith begins with receiving healing from God. Others I know have received healing for physical, psychological and spiritual issues. The niece of an elder in my church had one leg shorter that the other and it grew an inch after she received prayer. I’m not talking over time, but visibly growing.

The next sentence is also interesting:

Such talk unfortunately puts me in a camp that some people label “religious nut job” but I can only speak of my experiences and I can not attribute them to the natural.

Why would someone label you a “religious nut job”? Because you believe something that is obviously not true. You did not see a leg actually grow an inch longer before your eyes. You might believe that you did, perhaps, but what you saw was either a magic trick, an illusion, a dream, a hallucination, or simple fraud. The fact that you would label an illusion as truth, and then use it as a foundational element of your belief, is what makes you a “nut job”.

Watch this video and you can see the problem:

In this video you have seen a woman pulled in half. You have seen it with your own eyes. Here is the important question: Do you believe that a woman was actually pulled in half? No. Obviously not. You understand this to be a magic trick. But if you did believe it to be true, and if you held to your belief with conviction, you would be labeled a “nut job”. Every rational person knows that this video contains an illusion rather than truth.

How could the author move out of the ranks of delusional “nut jobs” and into the ranks of rational human beings? By simply looking at the evidence. God does not heal anyone. There is no scientific evidence indicating that any supernatural process is at work in our universe, in any form. For confirmation, simply note the fact that God never heals amputees. Ever.

Once you base your world view on reality rather than fantasy, you will find that your world view has no room for religion. You will no longer be a “religious nut job”.

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