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Monthly ArchiveJanuary 2009

Christianity &Rationals Johnson on 08 Jan 2009

A secular inauguration?

HEARING GRANTED on Suit to Stop Religion at Inauguration

This is the case in which eleven nontheistic organizations and twenty-nine nontheistic individuals, led by Michael Newdow, sued to stop plans to include prayer and a religious oath in the forthcoming inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States.

“If we prevail at the January 15 hearing, this inauguration will be secular, as it should be under the Constitution,” said Bob Ritter

Christianity Johnson on 08 Jan 2009

The Euthyphro Dilemma

Worth reading whether you are religious or non:

The Euthyphro Dilemma

The Euthyphro dilemma rests on a modernised version of the question asked by Socrates in the Euthyphro: “Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?”

Christianity &Islam &Science Johnson on 07 Jan 2009

Richard Dawkins writes to his daughter

Worth reading, whether you are religious or non:

Good And Bad Reasons For Believing

Dear Juliet,

Now that you are ten, I want to write to you about something that is important to me. Have you ever wondered how we know the things that we know? How do we know, for instance, that the stars, which look like tiny pinpricks in the sky, are really huge balls of fire like the sun and are very far away? And how do we know that Earth is a smaller ball whirling round one of those stars, the sun?

Christianity &Islam Johnson on 06 Jan 2009

Religious “miracles” and the people who believe them

This video demonstrates the “Miracle of the Holy Fire”:

From the video description:

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built over both the sites of Christ’s Crucifixion, Golgotha, and His Tomb, the Holy Sepulchre. Annually in the Orthodox Church, on the Day of Great and Holy Saturday(Julian Calendar-the day before Paschal Sunday), the Miracle of the Holy Fire takes place.

The Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem enters the Holy Sepulchre where an unlit lamp is placed. Alone, with doors shut, the lamp ignites spontaneously, and when he emerges, he emerges with two large bundles of candles lit from that lamp. Then the Holy Fire is passed on to the people inside the Church.

This Fire is different. One thing about it is that it does not burn. These video clips demonstrate that. Pilgrims are seen passing their hands, faces, hair, etc., through the flames without any trouble.

Why would anyone believe this to be a “miracle”? The lamp “ignites spontaneously”, but it happens behind closed doors. The fire “does not burn”, yet no one seems willing to hold their hand or face over the flame for more than a second. If it does not burn, why not hold your hand in the flame for 30 seconds?

Over in India there is a similar sort of thing that happens with a “miracle worker” named Sai Baba. He is able to perform many “miracles”, and millions of people believe these miracles prove his divinity. Wikipedia points out:

According to the Sathya Sai Organization there are an estimated 1,200 Sathya Sai Baba Centers in 114 countries world-wide.[8] The number of Sathya Sai Baba adherents is estimated sometimes as around 6 million, and followers cite “50 to 100 million.”

One miracle: Sai Baba is able to make an object called a golden lingam appear from his mouth, as shown here:

This video shows several other miracles and debunks them:

What sort of mental mis-wiring would cause millions of people to believe these sorts of thing? Or to believe any of the “miracles” in the Bible? Any rational person can see that these “miracles” are simply magic tricks. What do the followers gain for their belief in nonsense?

Carl Sagan comments on the phenomenon here and shares the same bewilderment:

The Dragon In My Garage

Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion.

Why share a delusion? If you are religious and would like to heal your delusion, this book can help:


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 &Science Johnson on 04 Jan 2009

How Christians look at evolution

Have you ever wondered why 60% of Americans do not believe in evolution? Here is the way a “scientific” Christian would approach it, presented as a comic strip:

Big Daddy?

Christianity &Islam &Rationals Johnson on 02 Jan 2009

Imagine If All Atheists Left America

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

Religulous – the full movie

Christianity Johnson on 01 Jan 2009

James Randi digs into Rick Warren, and Warren again proves his delusion

The thing about Rick Warren (and his millions of devoted fans) is that they are completely delusional. James Randi lays the delusion bare in this article:

I Don’t Get the Joke: My Year-End Tirade

If you follow Warren you have heard about the “miracle” of his grandchild’s birth. Warren’s daughter-in-law had a brain tumor (as yet undetected), and she had to have a C-section because of the baby’s breach position. Warren claims that, “If Jaime had tried to give birth in the normal way, at the normal time, and if she’d “pushed” during the delivery, it might have killed both her and the child” because of the tumor.

Randi analyses the delusion:

But consider: the baby was in a breech situation, a critical position arranged by God; this was remedied by medical science during the Caesarian procedure, an invention by Man to thwart natural disasters brought about by a not-uncommon imperfection of the human body – which is also God’s design. And the baby’s umbilical cord had shut off oxygen-rich blood, another design error, or maybe a purposeful Act of God. The mother had a sizeable brain tumor, placed there by God, who we’re told creates all these things.

And the Divine solution to this problem, according to Rick Warren? God – who, remember, is the Creator of Heaven and Earth, Omnipotent and Omniscient, knows all, the One who can do anything He wishes – arranged the oxygen-deprived baby in a breech position, bringing about a crisis that medical science had to avert by performing an operation. And He thereafter allowed medical science to detect the tumor, which is still in place, being poorly placed for access by surgery. Who designed this scenario – Rube Goldberg…?

I ask, is this God character a comedian, using humans as His marionettes for amusement? Does He get His kicks by manipulating us just for laughs? Was this near-disaster for the Warren family just a sort of Divine whim? How can Rick Warren see this as a demonstration of God’s mercy – a miracle, yet! – rather than as a cruel, capricious, joke? A caring God would not have created and placed that brain tumor in the mother, would not have designed the process of gestation-and-birth so that oxygen starvation and breech delivery are possible, and would not be playing with the lives and security of humans, who He claims to have designed and created – out of dirt, yet. Doing this, putting humans in danger of death, is a purposeful act that He Himself has already declared to be a sin. Just who makes the rules in this stupid morality play…?

Randi asks, “is Warren well aware of reality and of the deception he supports, riding his way to financial and influential success on the backs of the naïve?” It is a ridiculous question. Of course he is, as is every financially successful religious leader. It is all an act. See:

How religion uses superstitious beliefs to steal money from people

The amazing part is that these religious “leaders” have followers – millions of naive, delusional followers. It is a tragedy.

If you are a Christian and you would like to heal your delusion, start here:


Christianity Johnson on 31 Dec 2008

Rick Warren please answer this question: Why would God heal your daughter-in-law but ignore every amputee?

Rick Warren asked for God’s intervention to save his daughter-in-law:

Rick Warren Asks for Prayer for Daughter-in-Law Undergoing Brain Surgery

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, one of the country’s most influential pastors, has called upon his congregation to pray for the recovery of his daughter-in-law from multiple brain surgeries…

“Please pray that Jaime will have a full recovery, with no long-term complications,” he wrote.

So Rick Warren, please answer this question: Why would God heal your daughter-in-law but ignore every amputee? Why don’t we pray to your “god” to heal the lost limbs of amputees? Why does your “god” ignore the prayer of every amputee to restore lost limbs?

If you are a Christian and you would like to understand why prayers for amputees NEVER work, you can find the answer in this short article:

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

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