Recent Entries in Religion

Heh. I'm not even going to give Hinn the benefit of being under my "religion" category.

Benny Hinn Ministries

Benny Hinn is evidence that there is no God. For those who have been lucky enough to avoid this creature and don't know who he is, Hinn is a faith healer who pretends to cure people by calling on help from Jesus. He goes through the same old, tired ritual that all of these charlatans seem to use - calling up people from the audience, describing their terrible ailments, pushing them over into the arms of his accomplices, bellowing "Hallelujah!", and, of course, passing the plate around. The reason that I say that this is evidence that God does not exist is that any decent God would strike Hinn into a smouldering pile of slimy ashes for blasphemy, lying, and stealing money from desperate people.

...

A team of observers from the RatbagsDotCom Empire and the Australian Skeptics went along to see the magical Benny but, alas, we got there too late and were left standing outside with the many hundreds of other people who had also not bothered to start queuing ten hours before the show started. Buses emblazoned with the names of Christian congregations from various parts of Sydney arrived, only to have the occupants be told that they could hit the freeway again because there was no room for them. People in wheelchairs moved through the crowd, and people stared at closed doors and security guards. There was a pall of disappointment that was almost palpable. Inside, the buckets were passed around to collect the tax-free cash.

It seems to me that those who get hit by lightning have probably pissed God off in some way or other.

WSBTV.com - News - Woman Hit By Lightning While Praying

Worried about the safety of her family during a stormy Memorial Day trip to the beach, Clara Jean Brown stood in her kitchen and prayed for their safe return as a strong thunderstorm rumbled through Baldwin County, Alabama.

But while she prayed, lightning suddenly exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a blackened area on the concrete. Brown wound up on the floor, dazed and disoriented by the blast but otherwise uninjured.

She said 'Amen' and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire. The 65-year-old Brown said she is blessed to be alive.

I'm no religious nut, but I gotta say... Ah Christ.

art-rick-warren-left-behind-eternal.jpg

Talk To Action | Violent Video Game Marketed Through Mega-Churches (Part 2)

Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially moderate, mainstream Christians. Your mission is "to conduct physical and spiritual warfare"; all who resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice. You have never felt so powerful, so driven by a purpose: you are 13 years old.

A top aide to mega-church pastor Rick Warren is advising the makers of a children's video game in which characters kill New Yorkers while shouting "Praise the Lord." When children tire of converting or killing New Yorkers, they can switch sides and command the demonic armies of the AntiChrist, and kill the conservative Christians. The real-time strategy game, slated for release in October 2006, is based on the best selling series of Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. The web site of Left Behind Games states the involvement of Mark Carver on its Advisory Board. This web-based marketing tool also highlights his role as Executive Director of Mr. Warren's Purpose Driven Church. What appears to be going on here is an old-fashioned business practice called "endorsement by association."

This is the story that Talk to Action broke on Memorial Day, and it has drawn significant interest from the blogosphere. Dozens of sites have linked to the original story, including Pandagon, The Agonist, The Center for American Progress, Air America, and two "Daily Dish" items by Time magazine's Andrew Sullivan.

Interesting reading from the good folks at the Straight Dope on the drunkeness of Noah, and the subsequent curse of Canaan. Parts 1 and 2 linked below.

Straight Dope Staff Report: What's up with the biblical story of drunken Noah? (Part 1)

Straight Dope Staff Report: What's up with the biblical story of drunken Noah? (Part 2)

Americanâ..s increasing acceptance of religious diversity doesnâ..t extend to those who donâ..t believe in a god, according to a national survey by researchers in the University of Minnesotaâ..s department of sociology.

From a telephone sampling of more than 2,000 households, university researchers found that Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in â..sharing their vision of American society.â. Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry.

Even though atheists are few in number, not formally organized and relatively hard to publicly identify, they are seen as a threat to the American way of life by a large portion of the American public. â..Atheists, who account for about 3 percent of the U.S. population, offer a glaring exception to the rule of increasing social tolerance over the last 30 years,â. says Penny Edgell, associate sociology professor and the studyâ..s lead researcher.

Atheists identified as Americaâ..s most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study : News Releases: UMNnews: U of M.

I read Rory Leishmanâ..s editorial, â..Christianity melds reason with faithâ. with great interest. Leishman quotes from my website (www.geocities.com/questioningpage) and announces that I have â..got it wrong.â. Well I donâ..t know, but maybe I must take a closer look to see if I indeed have gotten it wrong.

Leishman criticizes a recent Supreme Court decision, and complains that many Canadians fall into grievous error because they â..rely on reason alone as a guide for moral judgment.â. But reason has long been the standard by which democratic governments strive to govern. Shall we turn away from reason?

Leishman says that, for many, â..Holy Scripture is the ultimate authority on all questions of faith and morality.â. But what of Deut. 22:11 which forbids wearing clothes of mixed fabrics? Is this verse the ultimate answer to that question? Leishman mentions that verse, and infers that it is an obsolete ceremonial law. But how would one know this is an obsolete law? The New Testament is not at all clear on that.

But even if we judge this law obsolete, that does not clear up the problem. For that law is in the early scripture. At one time, this was the only scripture people knew. And the same scripture allowed slavery. That is the problem. Are we really to believe there was a time in which slavery was right but wearing mixed fabrics was wrong? Those who followed the books of Moses at that time would have thought so. But reason would disagree. Would not a literal following of scriptures in those days have yielded a wrong morality? We cannot ignore this problem by saying the commands are now obsolete. What about the time in which they were taken as relevant? If scripture was wrong back then, how can one be sure that following the updated scriptures is the best way to morality now?

The Mind Set Free: Faith and Reason

  Leishman gets it wrong

So, Deuteronomy 22:11 is "obsolete", huh? What other rules are obsolete, and how is Rory Leishman the definitive source on what we can and can't ignore in the Bible?

London Free Press - Rory Leishman - Christianity melds reason with faith

Altogether, the Bible contains more than 600 moral rules. Some, such as the prohibition in Deuteronomy 22:11 against clothing with mixed wool and linen fabrics, are obsolete. Few faithful Christians would have any compunction about wearing a woollen suit with a linen lining.

That puzzles Merle Hertzler, an on-line village agnostic. He asks: "If the Bible is your source of guidance, why do you simply ignore this rule, and live as though it doesn't exist? This rule is not reasonable, is it? Why would God care if we wore two kinds of fabric together? If you and I let reason override this rule, then it seems to me that reason, not the Bible, is our ultimate guide."

Hertzler has got it wrong. For theologically orthodox Christians, Catholic and Protestant, Holy Scripture is the ultimate authority on all questions of faith and morality. Reason is the means for discerning revealed biblical truth.

There is no conflict between right reason and Christian faith. In the eloquent words of Pope John Paul the Great: "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth."

  War on Christians?

The fundamentalist Christian right often laments that there is a "war on Christians" by secular society in the U.S. Indeed, as Easter approaches, such complaints inevitably increase. Consider, however, these clearly un-Constitutional clauses in various state constitutions that make atheists ineligible for public office (or at least not accorded the same rights to run for public office), including Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

It's unbelievable today that such blatantly un-Constitutional clauses can remain, even today, in the constitutions of various states. You don't have to be an atheist or agnostic to see such clauses as being profoundly offensive.

The whole concept of a "war against Christians" is nothing more than the whining of fundamentalists who want to keep seeing their religious iconography and language incorporated in governement.

Respectful Insolence: War on Christians?

This gets pretty meta- to make cartoons based on cartoons. I can't wait to see the cartoon commentaries they make on these. Besides, I've picked on the X-tians enough today. And I'm a big Bob the Angry Flower fan.

clownin_islam.jpg

There's more cartoons at this place.

(sigh)

'The Science Guy' is entertaining and provocative at MCC lecture

The Emmy-winning scientist angered a few audience members when he criticized literal interpretation of the biblical verse Genesis 1:16, which reads: â..God made two great lights â.. the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.â.

He pointed out that the sun, the â..greater light,â. is but one of countless stars and that the â..lesser lightâ. is the moon, which really is not a light at all, rather a reflector of light.

A number of audience members left the room at that point, visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence.

â..We believe in a God!â. exclaimed one woman as she left the room with three young children.

I'd be finding myself a new car, but this information's probably good too. In fact, I'm never trusting *anyone* who claims they are a Christian.

14 things to do if you have missed the rapture!

10. BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST. Donâ..t trust every person who claims they are a Christian. Beware of Communist agents posing as Christians or ministers.

12 WATCH YOUR GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION. Leave all large nuclear target areas, such as bases, cities, lakes, ship yards, industrial areas, etc.

14. OBTAIN fallout shelter, if possible.

  Judas cast in new light

One of the greatest villains in history was in truth a hero for the ages, according to an ancient gospel unveiled yesterday in Washington.

Judas Iscariot, a man whose name became synonymous with betrayal for selling information about Jesus to the Romans for 30 pieces of silver â.. an act that led to the arrest and crucifixion of the man Christians regard as the son of God â.. was acting on orders from Jesus himself.

"He's the good guy. He's the only apostle who understands Jesus," said Bart Ehrman, chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an expert in the New Testament. "In this gospel it turns out that Judas does turn Jesus over to the authorities, but according to this gospel, this is what Jesus wanted."

In fact, Jesus entrusted Judas with a secret he did not reveal to any of his other disciples: That this world was not created by the one true God, but by a lesser, evil divinity as a place to entrap divine spirits.

TheStar.com - Judas cast in new light

  The First Church of Xenu

Hee hee.

The First Church of XENU

Dark Lord Xenu is falsely imprisioned by a terrorist regime that charges millions of currency units to hear its tale regarding this truth we have told you. They skew our truths. They try to spread lies about our Master, saying he was a tyrant and an evil dictator. These accusations are simply unfounded. Lord Xenu only sought out an answer to the Galactic Confederacy's overpopulation problem. A viable solution.

We, the true aliens of the Confederacy, support our wrongly imprisioned Dark Lord. As we speak our teams, comprised of millions of the best scientific minds that the Confederacy has to offer, are working on a way to disable the force-field to Xenu's cage. The rebirth of our Master is at hand. We will crush all who oppose us. Our number is many, our power is great. Soon the world will know the truth about our Dark Lord and Master.

HAIL XENU!

" I know George Bush says Jesus changed his heart but, Dick Cheney changed it back." and what's with the "christians turning water into whining".

onegoodmove: Bill Maher On Oppressed Christians

  Questions for God

Yo, I'll answer them when I'm good and ready.

Ethical Atheist - Questions for God

God, if you truly exist, we have a few (dozen) questions for you. Why don't you answer them for us? P.S. Any of your followers are welcome to answer these too. This is just the start of questions we have and there are obviously some we neglected in this version. So, all atheists, please submit your questions to be added to the list. And... "God", you're omniscient, so you know how to contact us, but for your followers and the atheists... Go here... CONTACT US.

A year after Republicans took control of state government, conservative lawmakers are promoting a wide range of social legislation designed to rein in sex and unshackle the Bible.

From new limits on sex education classes to penalties for living in sin, the proposed laws would remake Missouriâ..s public life in myriad ways. They would sanction prayer in public schools, subsidize religious schools and allow the Bible to be taught in school.

One bill purports to help women make â..the transition from work to home.â. Another wants the legislature to recognize â..a Christian Godâ. as the deity for most Missourians.

Rep. Cynthia Davis, an Oâ..Fallon Republican and sponsor of several bills, said conservatives are tired of an overly permissive society in which high school students are taught how to use condoms.

Other bills would:


  • Deny alimony to ex-spouses who live with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Ban all abortions.
  • Provide tax credits for contributions that help kids in lousy school districts to attend private schools.
  • Propose a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to pray in schools and on other public property.
  • Allow pharmacists, insurance companies, doctors and hospitals to deny treatment if the procedure or medication offends their moral values.
  • Propose a constitutional amendment to allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed on public property.

Kansas City Star | 03/12/2006 | Social issues top agenda

  An Atheist Manifesto

Some good thinking going on here. Worth a read.

Truthdig - An Atheist Manifesto

It is worth noting that no one ever needs to identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist. Consequently, we do not have words for people who deny the validity of these pseudo-disciplines. Likewise, atheism is a term that should not even exist. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. The atheist is merely a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87% of the population) who claim to never doubt the existence of God should be obliged to present evidence for his existence and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. Only the atheist appreciates just how uncanny our situation is: Most of us believe in a God that is every bit as specious as the gods of Mount Olympus; no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that such a God exists; and much of what passes for public policy in our country conforms to religious taboos and superstitions appropriate to a medieval theocracy. Our circumstance is abject, indefensible and terrifying. It would be hilarious if the stakes were not so high.

We live in a world where all things, good and bad, are finally destroyed by change. Parents lose their children and children their parents. Husbands and wives are separated in an instant, never to meet again. Friends part company in haste, without knowing that it will be for the last time. This life, when surveyed with a broad glance, presents little more than a vast spectacle of loss. Most people in this world, however, imagine that there is a cure for this. If we live rightlyâ..not necessarily ethically, but within the framework of certain ancient beliefs and stereotyped behaviorsâ..we will get everything we want after we die. When our bodies finally fail us, we just shed our corporeal ballast and travel to a land where we are reunited with everyone we loved while alive. Of course, overly rational people and other rabble will be kept out of this happy place, and those who suspended their disbelief while alive will be free to enjoy themselves for all eternity.

We live in a world of unimaginable surprises--from the fusion energy that lights the sun to the genetic and evolutionary consequences of this lights dancing for eons upon the Earth--and yet Paradise conforms to our most superficial concerns with all the fidelity of a Caribbean cruise. This is wondrously strange. If one didnâ..t know better, one would think that man, in his fear of losing all that he loves, had created heaven, along with its gatekeeper God, in his own image.


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