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Monthly ArchiveMay 2012



Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 31 May 2012

Theists Vote Republican

With ‘God on their side,’ Romney and Republicans may very well prevail

For nearly three decades Christian Evangelicals have tended to be reliably Republican. (Today, 70 percent of white evangelical Protestants support the GOP.) But now Mormons, Jews, and Catholics are getting on board with the party in increasing numbers. If the GOP is able to consolidate the support of the major religions in the US, Romney and other Republican candidates stand to win big at the polling booth in 2012 and well beyond.

How do Christians stomach the strong disagreement between Republican ideals and Jesus’s teachings?

Christianity Thomas on 28 May 2012

The Republican Taliban

Republican Taliban: Destroying America Through ‘God’

The problem with “God” is that it can close your mind, your thoughts, and can leave you susceptible to ignorance and hate. While God is all-powerful and all-loving, Interpretation by his supposed “preachers” can lead you down a dark path. I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t believe in God; you should at least follow your own beliefs and be open to new ideas. Was it, you that decided to vote for the ban on gay marriage? Was it, you that decided that evolution was a hoax? Was it, you that decided the big-bang theory was a lie? 

Or, was it your interpretation of God’s words? Or perhaps your priest’s interpretation of God’s words?

The question is, why would any intelligent person subsrcibe to so much hatred and anti-intelligence?

Christianity Thomas on 24 May 2012

Is the God of the Old Testament a Merciless Monster?

Shouldn’t a person who writes an article like this become an intelligent, rational atheist?

Is the God of the Old Testament a Merciless Monster?

Take this as an example:

Not only are acts such as the above held out as examples of ruthlessness by those disapproving of God’s behavior, they also incredulously point to what they consider extremely barbaric and harsh penalties instituted by God. For example, a case in point is the punishment for a disobedient son: “If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown. They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst” (Deut. 21:18-21, emphasis added).

Another example often cited is the killing of a man for violating the Sabbath as recorded in the book of Numbers: “Now while the sons of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation; and they put him in custody because it had not been declared what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” So all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, just as the Lord had commanded Moses” (Num. 15:32-36, emphasis added). As can be seen, the verse ends with the endorsement of God being on the Sabbath breaker’s execution. Such examples cause atheist like George Smith to comment: “The Old Testament God garnered an impressive list of atrocities. Jehovah himself was fond of directly exterminating large numbers of people, usually through pestilence or famine, and often for rather unusual offenses.”

How could any intelligent person read these sections of the Bible, process them and then remain a Christian?

Christianity &Islam &Judaism &Science Thomas on 21 May 2012

Understanding how scientific theories develop

This graphic gives a nice pictorial illustration of how evidence turns into a scientific theory:

Scientific theories

The more evidence scientists gather, the closer we get to the truth.

One thing the graphic does not discuss is predictions. A scientific theory frequently allows scientists to make predictions about the world and then confirm those predictions.

What evidence is there that God exists? What predictions can we make about God?

Christianity Thomas on 18 May 2012

How do you ask Jesus into your life?

The video is entitled “ATHEIST PROFESSOR IN HELL! Best testimony EVER!” featuring Howard Storm, former atheist.

At the beginning he says, “God loves you. We are not going to hold it against you that you are ignorant. You don’t know what you don’t know… There is a higher power, and that’s what we are here to talk about tonight.”

After an operation he descends into hell and experiences terrible things, which he describes in detail.

According to Storm, here is how you bring Jesus into your life:

Don’t believe me, don’t believe TBN, don’t believe the church. Go to the source. If you go to the source and say, “Jesus, I need you, I’ve never believed in you and I don’t know if you are real, but Jesus, I need to know if you are real. Will you come into my life?” If you do that and if you mean it from your heart and if you sit there and wait and don’t get all frustrated and impatient and stuff like that. Just say, “Jesus, Jesus, please come into my life. I’ve been a rotten person. I don’t know why you would touch a piece of filth like me. But please Jesus come into my life.” He will come.

He says, “It may just be as John Wesley said, a strange warming of the heart. Where you just know that you know that you know that you know.”

This page contains the following quote:

Rev. Howard Storm was an atheist who was rescued from hell by Jesus. While in hell, Storm was subjected to extreme torment and torture by hideously dark souls. The following passage describes his conversion from atheism while in hell:

Exactly what happened was …and I’m not going to try and explain this. From inside of me I felt a voice, my voice, say: “Pray to God.”

My mind responded to that: “I don’t pray. I don’t know how to pray.”

This is a guy lying on the ground in the darkness surrounded by what appeared to be dozens if not hundreds and hundreds of vicious creatures who had just torn him up. The situation seemed utterly hopeless, and I seemed beyond any possible help whether I believed in God or not. The voice again told me to pray to God. It was a dilemma since I didn’t know how. The voice told me a third time to pray to God.

I started saying things like: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want …God bless America ..” and anything else that seemed to have a religious connotation.

And these people went into a frenzy, as if I had thrown boiling oil all over them. They began yelling and screaming at me, telling me to quit, that there was no God, and no one could hear me. While they screamed and yelled obscenities, they also began backing away from me as if I were poison. As they were retreating, they became more rabid, cursing and screaming that what I was saying was worthless and that I was a coward.

I screamed back at them: “Our Father who art in heaven,” and similar ideas.

This continued for some time until, suddenly, I was aware that they had left. It was dark, and I was alone yelling things that sounded churchy. It was pleasing to me that these churchy sayings had such an effect on those awful beings.

Howard Storm’s acknowledgement of a Higher Power led to his rescue from hell. This suggests that it is the way to leave hell.

Christianity Thomas on 15 May 2012

The GOP needs to embrace gays and lesbians

Top GOP Pollster to GOP: Reverse On Gay Issues

Below is a remarkable document. It’s a memo circulated by Jan van Lohuizen, a highly respected Republican pollster, (he polled for George W. Bush in 2004), to various leading Republican operatives, candidates and insiders. It’s on the fast-shifting poll data on marriage equality and gay rights in general, and how that should affect Republican policy and language. And the pollster’s conclusion is clear: if the GOP keeps up its current rhetoric and positions on gays and lesbians, it is in danger of marginalizing itself to irrelevance or worse.

Millions of GOP Christians in North Carolina just voted in a constitutional ban on gay marriage. What happens when the GOP tries to swing on this issue? Do Christians rebel, or simply start quoting a different part of the Bible and proclaim that they love gays and lesbians as Jesus commands?

Christianity Thomas on 12 May 2012

The biggest cross in the world

Why do this?

Branson Cross: World’s Largest Cross Gets Go-Ahead From Missouri Officials

The “God-given vision” started out simply enough: build a 7-foot-tall cross on a mountain and invite people to meditate there with the Creator. Now, 20 years later, the cross will cost $5 million and rise nearly 200 feet once complete, making it the largest cross in the world.

Complete with two elevators, developers promise free admission and an encounter with Jesus at the mammoth, monumental “Branson Cross” in Branson, Missouri.

“An encounter with Jesus”? What does that mean?

Christianity Thomas on 09 May 2012

Christ’s Love in the form of discrimination

North Carolina Passes Amendment Banning Gay Marriage

Here is what Christians have to say about it:

Shane Colwell, who’s studying at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, said the amendment clarified the definition of marriage. “I’m a born-again Christian, and I just believe the Bible is clear that marriage is for one man and one woman,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that anybody’s less equal than anybody else. I just think that marriage is one man and one woman.”

“I think we’ve built a huge coalition across North Carolina of people who believe godly values,” said Tami Fitzgerald, head of the pro-amendment group, Vote FOR Marriage NC. “And I believe that speaks well for people in our state who have somewhat been a silent majority in the past and I think you can expect them to be very active in the future, especially when they see the impact of their grassroots efforts.”

Godly values = discrimination.

” You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world…. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world, because it has chosen to label as morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness.” – Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 07 May 2012

Ministers becoming atheists

From Minister To Atheist: A Story Of Losing Faith

MacBain, 44, was raised a conservative Southern Baptist. Her dad was a pastor and she felt the call of God when she was 6. She had questions, of course, about conflicts in the Bible, for example, or the role of women. She says she sometimes felt she was serving a taskmaster of a God, whose standards she never quite met.

For years, MacBain set her concerns aside. But when she became a United Methodist pastor nine years ago, she started asking sharper questions. She thought they’d make her faith stronger.

“In reality,” she says, “as I worked through them, I found that religion had so many holes in it, that I just progressed through stages where I couldn’t believe it.”

The questions haunted her: Is Jesus the only way to God? Would a loving God torment people for eternity? Is there any evidence of God at all? And one day, she crossed a line.

Anyone – even a minister – who gives God and religion serious, rational thought can see that it is a sham. There really is nothing there. The equation is: “I can believe in a God who is silent, invisible and a real bastard if he exists. He stands by and lets millions of people starve to death, die in natural disasters and succumb to diseases every day. Or I can eliminate this ridiculous concept from my thinking. When I eliminate it, the world actually makes a lot more sense.”

Christianity Thomas on 05 May 2012

Stuff Christians Say to Atheists

An enlightening video:

Which ones do you hear or say most often?

Christianity Thomas on 03 May 2012

The Love of Christ

It is so strange how the love of Christ expresses itself:

NC Pastor Sean Harris Suggests Parents Beat The Gay Out Of Their Children

See also: The Lesson of Dan Savage and Sean Harris

And:

Christianity &Rationals Thomas on 02 May 2012

Why Intelligent People Are Angry at Religion

This article offers dozens of reasons why any intelligent person would be angry at the role religion plays in American society:

ATHEISTS AND ANGER

One of the most common criticisms lobbed at the newly-vocal atheist community is, “Why do you have to be so angry?” So I want to talk about:

1. Why atheists are angry;

2. Why our anger is valid, valuable, and necessary;

And 3. Why it’s completely f***ed-up to try to take our anger away from us.

So let’s start with why we’re angry. Or rather — because this is my blog and I don’t presume to speak for all atheists — why I’m angry.