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So you have to trust the people in authority who, supposedly, understand what god wants, and have read the Greek and Hebrew and whatnot.

Therefore, when the Catholic leadership tells you to burn women at the stake as witches, or to torture Protestants, or to slaughter native people and enslave them, or to go and kill everyone between Jerusalem and Italy, you do it.

Because you know they are correct. They understand Greek and whatnot. :P

But of course. That is why the Inquisition killed any who dared read the Bible except approved talking heads.

I mean, the Dark Ages would still be here if Christianity had their way.

The last thing religions want is an intelligent population because they would not believe all the lies.

Chatter / Re: Rate the Last Film You Saw
« Last post by nogodsforme on Yesterday at 08:30:28 PM »
^^^Well, it can be bad art.  8)

I have gotten to the point where I don't want to waste my time on movies that are too weird or disturbing. No movies filming dead things rotting, or showing people being eaten by worms.

Give me a straightforward story, even an ambiguous or inconclusive story, but it's gotta have a story. The movie has to communicate to me clearly, or why should I bother? And I have experienced enough negative stuff in real life, so I prefer to have a positive story in a movie. No slashers, stalkers, child abusers or dystopian zombie-ridden futures, thank you.

Have I seen Silence of the Lambs?

But theists don't know how god does stuff. That is the whole problem between religion and science. If we can't explain something with science, we are supposed to accept a magical supernatural explanation that makes even less sense and is worth even less than the limited science we have.

For example, I have taken medication for depression and other mental problems. The doctors don't know exactly how the stuff works, but it does work and we have the double-blind peer reviewed studies to show it. Plus lots of field testing in patients like me to back up the lab studies.

When some theists hear that scientists are not sure how the brain drugs work, they say, "Aha! You admit you don't know. So how do you know that god is not healing people of depression? Huh? Huh? If you don't know, it could be absolutely anything, including god, right? "

Well, if it could be anything, the girl who came from Planet Claire could be healing people from depression. The Fantastic Four could be healing people from depression. And on and on.  We can't consider every single random impossible thing. We have to look at what we have actual evidence for.

You know, those double-blind peer reviewed studies? Gods, alien girls and superhero families are equally conspicuously absent from the research.

Chatter / Re: Rate the Last Film You Saw
« Last post by screwtape on Yesterday at 08:19:53 PM »
Only lovers left alive. 5/10
Tilda Swinton and tom hiddleton are vampires in this Jim Jarmush film.  It was about music, ennui, how we are destroying the environment and polluting ourselves.  It felt like there was a bigger point being made, but I haven't figured it out yet. The performances were great, the film was well done, but it only gets a 5 because I don't feel like I understood it.  Maybe it's genius, maybe it's tripe.  I'm leaning toward genius, but I really don't know.  If an artist cannot clearly communicate his idea to me(or you), it isn't really art.
Religion & Society / German Church Tax
« Last post by wright on Yesterday at 08:10:31 PM »
Found at the Friendly Atheist blog:

I'd heard of this interesting bit of European domestic policy before, but only in passing. From the linked article:
When you pay your income taxes, a portion of it (8 or 9%, depending on where you live) is set aside by the government for your place of worship if you’re Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. (If you’re a theist, you almost certainly fall into one of those categories.) This amounts to several billion Euros for the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant (Lutheran) churches.

What if you’re not religious? No problem. That money won’t go to a church. In fact, you won’t have to pay the amount at all! But in order to be exempt, you have to officially declare that you’re not a member of those religious groups.

Recently, the government decided to simplify the process. Instead of you paying all your taxes, and the government taking some money out of there and handing it over to the proper place of worship, they’re having the nation’s banks do most of that work:

Under a simplified procedure starting next year, banks will withhold that premium from church members earning more than 801 euros ($1,055) in capital gains annually and pass it on to tax authorities for distribution to the churches.

In other words, the banks will withhold the money right off the bat and give that amount directly to government officials, who will then hand it over to the houses of worship. It streamlines the whole process, without there being any change in how much money is given.

Guess what’s happened since the banks informed people of that change?

People started leaving their churches in droves:

The first half of 2014 saw a further upsurge of people leaving both the Catholic and Protestant Churches in Germany.

    Ten thousand Protestants formally left their Church in Berlin, more than the total number in the whole of 2011 and 2012, and in Catholic Bavaria 14,800 left between January and June compared to 9,800 during the whole of 2013.

It turns out when you can see the money the bank is withholding right there in front of you (as opposed to it being a percentage of a larger sum that’s already out of your hands) — and you have a choice between keeping it and signing it over to your church — many people are realizing they don’t take religious that seriously. (One reader informs me that part of the issue is that many Germans didn’t even know about the Church Tax until they received the letter from the banks.)

The Catholic Church says that those who opt out of the Church Tax won’t be able to receive the sacraments, get married in the Church, or even have a religious funeral.

But if you were only nominally Catholic to begin with… who really gives a damn?

It raises an interesting question: If the United States said a portion of your taxes would be going to your church if you designated one, how many Americans would suddenly declare themselves non-religious (or at least without a church)? I suspect the percentage of “Nones” would rise up significantly.

It seems many Germans call themselves religious for the same reason we do — it’s tradition — but when push comes to shove, they’re admitting they don’t need their house of worship that badly.

Some assumptions are being made there; I'd love to see some polling to get a better idea of the demographics and reasons for nominally religious folks leaving their faith. And of course I'd love for Mehta's assumptions to be borne out; that would confirm nicely to my own prejudices.

Chatter / Re: Gun Fails
« Last post by nogodsforme on Yesterday at 07:57:10 PM »
^^^^Yes. When it was only the newspaper and one nightly news program, it was bad enough. Now you have to be exposed to the same awful news about racial violence in Ferguson, ISIS beheading a reporter or whatever, 100 times from different people all giving their two cents and "covering" the different angles.

And it is hard not to assume that "for every one you hear about, there are 10 more you don't hear about" as in plural of anecdote equaling data. I have had so many black folks tell me that <insert awful conspiracy story here> was true and moreover, it had to be ten times as bad as the news let on.

The most recent one was "people in China eat human babies in restaurants". Based on this one online photo of a Chinese performance artist pretending to eat a baby doll. I think  it got re-circulated by Christian groups with a different caption talking about how the Chinese have no religion and therefor no morality and therefore anything goes and see this businessman is in a restaurant eating an actual baby like it is a normal food. And this has to mean that everyone in China sits down to an everyday meal of baby soup....


I realize that there are some people openly doing crazy awful illegal sh!t, bragging about it and putting photos of it online, but they tend to be terrorists and psychos, folks with nothing to lose or who want to be caught. Restaurants where casual cannibalism, and of babies yet, is openly practiced, is one business opportunity that I can't see catching on. Certainly not advertised online!

As I said to the person who showed me the baby eating guy on her phone (and explained the story to me in breathless horror), "Killing babies and eating them for food is illegal in every single society on the planet. People everywhere would be as horrified and disgusted as you are. What does that tell you?"
General Religious Discussion / Re: Theists, forget everything you know.
« Last post by Nam on Yesterday at 07:55:00 PM »

How do you think religion came  into existence?


Depends on who you talk to.  There are those who say that people were created with an innate understanding of God.  There are those who say it is part of our evolution.  Part of that evolution is the ability to see patterns and to explain the world around us.  Thus, religion came about as a way to explain the unexplainable (unexplainable for the time). 



The point of my comment is: people made things up to explain things they didn't understand (like children do), and over time only their answers became the correct answers and thus was born religion.

General Religious Discussion / Re: Theists, forget everything you know.
« Last post by OldChurchGuy on Yesterday at 07:28:59 PM »

How do you think religion came  into existence?


Depends on who you talk to.  There are those who say that people were created with an innate understanding of God.  There are those who say it is part of our evolution.  Part of that evolution is the ability to see patterns and to explain the world around us.  Thus, religion came about as a way to explain the unexplainable (unexplainable for the time). 


General Religious Discussion / Re: Historical Jesus
« Last post by OldChurchGuy on Yesterday at 07:15:03 PM »
I am curious as to the actual number of scholars who are changing their mind.  "An increasing number" is just too vague for me. 

And, enough people may decide the lack of outside evidence is sufficient to prove there was no Jesus the Christ.  Who knows?

As always,


I have scientific evidence that exactly 9.315 scholars have changed their mind. Does that help?  ;D


Yes, that is the evidence I am looking for.  :)

Relieved to know the truth,

General Religious Discussion / Re: Historical Jesus
« Last post by Timo on Yesterday at 07:09:00 PM »
I find myself to be basically agnostic on the question of Jesus' historicity. I don't think that I know enough to competently evaluate the arguments for and against it, since they usually hinge on whether this passage or that is an interpolation or what was meant by this or that expression in Greek.  But I think that Robert Price has it right when he argues that if there was a historical Jesus, he's basically lost to us since all we have are these thoroughly legendary accounts of his life and ministry.
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