Feed on Posts or Comments 02 September 2014

Monthly ArchiveFebruary 2009



Christianity &Islam Johnson on 27 Feb 2009

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. And Wrong.

It’s called “A Resolution Combating Defamation of Religions”, and it is completely wrong:

Imagine in the 1800s creating “A Resolution Combating Defamation of Slavery”, where no person could speak out against the horrors of slavery in the U.S. This new religion resolution is just as ridiculous.

What this creates is a protective shell that allows any religion to commit whatever atrocities it likes, and no one can speak out against them. So if Muslims want to beat their wives, behead people, etc., no one would be able to speak against it because that would be “defaming the religion.” This idea is completely, utterly ridiculous.

This is yet another reason why rational people MUST dismantle religion.

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 &Islam &Science Johnson on 25 Feb 2009

Ignorance is Bliss

This is an older article, but it is relevant when talking about religion:

Among the Inept, Researchers Discover, Ignorance Is Bliss

In a series of studies, Dr. Kruger and Dr. Dunning tested their theory of incompetence. They found that subjects who scored in the lowest quartile on tests of logic, English grammar and humor were also the most likely to “grossly overestimate” how well they had performed.

This would explain a great many things about the religious. For example, it explains why someone who knows nothing about evolution would be supremely confident that evolution is wrong, and that God therefore created all life.

Christianity Johnson on 24 Feb 2009

The world will not end in 2012

No, it will not. Why would anyone believe that it might?

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]

Rationals Johnson on 20 Feb 2009

Adam Corolla speaks about atheism

Islam &Science Johnson on 19 Feb 2009

The disaster known as Islam

Neil Tyson describes how scientifically advanced the Arabic world once was, and how that advancement was completely destroyed by Islam in the 12th century. It is an startling description:

Another reason why we MUST eliminate religion.

Christianity Johnson on 18 Feb 2009

Liberty “University”

Liberty University disputing evolution

On a recent Tuesday, a dozen or so Liberty University students are in the midst of a lecture in one of their required courses, creation studies.

This is an advanced section of the course, and many of the students are biology majors. Neuroscientist David DeWitt, their professor, leads a lecture on natural selection.

He draws on an example from the documentary film “March of the Penguins” that shows female penguins journeying to find food, and then a seal singling out one to attack.

“Which penguin gets eaten?” he asks. “The one that’s genetically inferior, or the one that’s in the wrong place at the wrong time?”

That element of chance, he argues, begins to unravel the idea of natural selection, or “survival of the fittest,” a key mechanism in the theory of evolution.

At the front of the class, a slide on DeWitt’s presentation displays a biblical passage from Ecclesiastes 9:11.

Dawkins at Liberty:

Liberty University Website

Founded in 1971, Liberty University is the world’s largest evangelical university, with over 30,000 students both on-campus and off-campus from all fifty states and over seventy countries around the world. We are committed to providing our students with the highest quality education in a distinctly Christian environment.

Christianity &Islam &Rationals Johnson on 17 Feb 2009

What we are up against

If you ever wonder why people cling so strongly to religion in the face of so much contradicting evidence, here is an explanation:

Christianity &Islam Johnson on 16 Feb 2009

When religion destroys basic freedoms

In this case, the basic freedom that religion is destroying is freedom of speech. Two examples:

1) Dutch MP refused entry to Britain

His crime? He called the Koran a “fascist book”.

2)
Pair held for ‘offending Islam’

Their crime?

The editor and publisher of a top English-language Indian daily have been arrested on charges of “hurting the religious feelings” of Muslims.

The Statesman’s editor Ravindra Kumar and publisher Anand Sinha were detained in Calcutta after complaints.

Muslims said they were upset with the Statesman for reproducing an article from the UK’s Independent daily in its 5 February edition.

The article was entitled: “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?”

It concerns the erosion of the right to criticise all religions.

In it, the author, Johann Hari, writes: “I don’t respect the idea that we should follow a ‘Prophet’ who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn’t follow him.”

For more examples, please see Religion is ridiculous

Science Johnson on 13 Feb 2009

Science moment – evolution of the eye

Additional reading: READINGS IN EVOLUTION

Christianity Johnson on 12 Feb 2009

Why DO Christians sin?

In Billy Graham’s column this week, we learn about judgment:

No second chance to be saved

the Bible clearly teaches that once we die we go immediately into God’s presence. The Bible says, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). In one of his parables, Jesus told about a man who had ignored God and his Word all his life. When he died, he pleaded for mercy, but it was too late; his selfish ways condemned him to an eternity separated from God (see Luke 16:19-31).

This is a sobering truth, and we mustn’t take it lightly. The time to put our faith in Christ and trust him for our salvation is now. Even tomorrow may be too late; how do we know if we will still be alive? If you have never faced your own need of God’s forgiveness, I urge you to turn to Christ and commit your life to him today.

The vast majority of Americans claim to be Christian, and they all know that their sins will send them to eternal torture in hell. They all claim that the threat of hell is what keeps mankind in line.

So why DO Christians sin? If they believe all this, what in the world would cause Christians to lie, or commit adultery, or steal, or rape young boys? Why would Christians break their lifelong wedding vows at the same rate as non-Christians? Why wouldn’t Christians love their enemies and eliminate war? In the news today:

1) Hollywood pastor arrested on child molestation charges

2) Former Simpson Co. And Warren Co. Pastor Arrested

3) Former Pastor, Son Accused Of Setting Church Fire

4) Ex-youth pastor facing more counts in Mansfield sex case

5) Davie pastor jailed; accused of fondling, molesting girls

And these are the pastors – the ones who should “know” God best. The followers are far worse.

Why are Christians just as bad as (in many cases worse) than the non-Christians around them? Why are Christian leaders constantly in the news for their transgressions? Why doesn’t “the threat of hell”, combined with “God’s guidance through prayer”, plus “reading the Bible”, along with “the intervention of the Holy Spirit” combined with “the love and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus” create a group of people who are perfect?

Christianity &Science Johnson on 11 Feb 2009

If you believe in “Intelligent Design”…

If you believe in “Intelligent Design”… then you have to explain this appalling video. You have to explain why an “Intelligent Designer” would come up with a design as disgusting as this one:

30 hornets destroy 30,000 bees to feed their young. But the hornets don’t feed their young the 30,000 bees they killed – they feed their young the larva, and in the process they eliminate the entire hive. It is just disgusting. It is the embodiment of profligate waste and destruction.

There are, of course, thousands of examples like this in nature, all just as disgusting. There are grotesque parasites, diseases, etc. If they were created by an “Intelligent Designer”, you must conclude that he is a repulsive demon based on his portfolio. Never mind the fact that there is no evidence for Intelligent Design. To believe in “Intelligent Design”, you must turn off rational thinking and completely ignore both of these problems.

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Johnson on 10 Feb 2009

Proof that religious terrorism works

You can see the effects of religious terrorism on Google today. Go to the Google home page (Google.com) and type in Christianity is . Put a space after “is”. Do not use quotes – just type it in and watch what Google chooses as suggestions in the drop-down box. You see things like “Christianity is fake”, “Christianity is wrong”, “Christianity is a cult”, etc.

Now do the same for Judaism is, then Hinduism is, then Scientology is, etc. You will see similar suggestions.

Now try Islam is.

Proof that religious terrorism works. The most violent religion wins.

Islam Johnson on 10 Feb 2009

An example of religious terrorism

Islam group urges forest fire jihad

The posting – which instructs jihadis to remember “forest jihad” in summer months – says fires cause economic damage and pollution, tie up security agencies and can take months to extinguish so that “this terror will haunt them for an extended period of time”.

“Imagine if, after all the losses caused by such an event, a jihadist organisation were to claim responsibility for the forest fires,” the website says. “You can hardly begin to imagine the level of fear that would take hold of people in the United States, in Europe, in Russia and in Australia.”

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