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Showing posts from March, 2019

Heavens and Hells are Here on Earth

By Carl S ~  H ell and Heaven, in reality, describe extremes, extremes of agonies and elations. They describe physical feelings. Other, very real heavens and hells exist in our bodies in varying degrees at different times, depending upon whether our bodies are suffering or healthy. Our emotions are heaven and hell, love and hate, positive and negative, and all the gray areas and variations intertwined with them. It's called, “being human.” Not facing these facts, or suppressing them entirely, creates various degrees of hell for us. Since it's true our bodies affect our brains, our minds, and vice versa, it only makes sense. Suffering and joy, peace, happiness, misery, and everything else, including rest and activity, all of them describe bodily existences. For a gravely wounded soldier or person suffering from cancer unremittingly destroying his or her body, heaven means nothing more than ending the endless suffering. And “heavenly” is the feeling of that cessation. The ind

How “Case for Christ” Author Lee Strobel Fabricated His Best-Selling Story—An Interview with Religion Critic David Fitzgerald

By Dr. Valerie Tarico ~  M any Evangelicals think of Lee Strobel as the man who can cure your doubts about their religion. His 1998 book, The Case for Christ , has sold millions of copies, was made into a 2017 movie by the same name, and was recently re-issued in a “new and updated” edition. The story that Evangelicals find so convincing and delicious is this: Strobel, a tough-as-nails atheist journalist and his atheist family are out to dinner when his daughter is saved from choking to death by an evangelical nurse who felt called by God to go to the restaurant that night. Strobel’s wife converts, and Strobel sets out to prove her wrong, using the same strategy that made him a fearsome investigative journalist. He lines up scholars and theologians and confronts them with the hardest possible questions about their faith—and comes away convinced that the Evangelical view of the Bible and Jesus is true. He accepts Jesus as his savior and proceeds to lay out those persuasive intervie

What is Faith?

By Carl S ~ F aith is agreeing to believe what others around you also agree to believe. Faith means not asking the questions others around you don't want you to ask. Faith means not thinking because others around you tacitly don't approve of thinking. Faith means you and others have found support for your prejudices. Faith means not making fun of the ridiculous nonsense in holy books because those around you take them seriously. Faith is a method by which a common man may feel himself superior to other common men. Faith is a fear ignorance may not be bliss after all. Faith has many bizarre beliefs that contradict one another, thus should not be taken seriously. Faith is proudly supporting your (faith) team even if its members lie or rape children. Faith is nurtured by indifference that comes from not caring to know what is true. Faith means going into the courtroom with hearsay for “evidence.” Faith is looking at a billion-piece jigsaw puzzle of evolutio

The Biggest Joke Book on Earth

By Carl S ~ B ack in the 1960's there was a popular TV series called Get Smart . The show was a spoof of James Bond-type counter-espionage. Agent 86, a.k.a. “Smart,” was played by Don Adams. I didn't see many episodes, but I do remember a gag he often repeated. When Smart reported to the head of his agency, he would sometimes say things like, “Would you believe there were 200 of them?” There would be a long pause, and then, “Would you believe 100? What about 75?” Would you believe this report: a guy fed 5000 men with 5 loaves of bread and two fishes? Well, would you believe 50 loaves and 200 fishes? Would you believe 500 men, and no women and children? Didn't you believe me when I told you he also walked on water? Would you believe me if I said the lake was frozen? Would you believe a man lived to be 400 years old, and then he built a gigantic boat, when any 100 year old man would have trouble building a ship model? What else? One commentator wrote about an atheist

The Lavish Absurdity of “Holy"

By Carl S ~ I got tired of news reporters announcing “shocking” news. I told my wife, “Who are they kidding? Nothing is shocking anymore.” Well, it turns out, people are shocked when they discover a family member or friend discarded the dogmas, those beliefs they don't care to think about. Why don't they care? Just when I pondered this contradiction, I found a quote from Bill Watterson . This is an excerpt from that quote, where he’s talking about how we ought to use our recreational time to re-create: “Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery – it recharges by running. You may be surprised by how quickly daily routine and the demands of ”just getting by” absorb your waking hours. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your politics and religion become matters of habit rather than thought and inquiry...” The part about religion becoming a “matter of habit rather than thought and inquiry” makes sense. Worsh

Paul never sought out Jesus’ teachings

By Michael Runyan ~ I t can be said that Jesus, assuming he actually existed, was the engineer of the Christian religion and that Paul was the architect. As we know, in the design of any structure, engineers must work together with the architects to ensure a sound, functional, and aesthetic finished product. But it didn’t happen in this case. Jesus was already dead by the time that Paul had his alleged vision, so a direct collaboration was not possible between the two men. But Paul had the ability to interview Jesus’ disciples and learn the essence of Jesus’ teachings. It is evident that he didn’t do this or even consider it to be necessary. He acted as if he knew more about Jesus than the disciples, a clearly implausible claim. If Paul had been a legitimate ambassador for the Christian faith, he would have joined up with the disciples immediately after his flash encounter and learned what Jesus did and what he said. In his letters we should read things like this: ‘My fellow w

Do Animals Have Souls?

By Carl S ~ T heologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) thought he had the answer for this question. He said animals have souls, just not “immortal” souls, which he “knew” only humans have. Nowadays, the evidence proves humans share about 98% of their DNA with apes. (If his Catholic Church follows their Doctor Aquinas’ dogma, shouldn't it declare apes eligible for “immortal soul” status?) Aquinas based his arguments on faith and faith is based on ignorance. So what if he passionately, sincerely, believed in those arguments? He was fooled into believing foolish things. Aquinas didn't accept the obvious: humans are animals. Thomas should have realized this every time he wiped his butt without benefit of toilet paper. His method of teaching was based on the belief that dogmas couldn't possibly be wrong, disregarding the need for evidence. From these he created explanations for assumptions. One assumption is: souls exist. What did he have to work with? Well, he did have the L

Parable of the Hoarder and Her Savior

By Carl S ~ T hose who have ears to hear, let them hear: There is a hoarder I know. After her husband died many years ago, she began to acquire and amass interior mountains of “stuff,” so that her grown children became agitated about her state of mind and health. Moreover, the city's health department threatened to condemn her property and evict her unless it was brought up to standards within 90 days. Of course she was emotionally upset, but unable to come to terms with her problem. Professional counselors for hoarders came to talk to her, but were unable to make any headway. Time was passing. Finally, her family found just the man for the job. It didn't hurt he was charismatic and handsome, and lived “right here, in our town!” He was well known as the savior of “lost causes” like her. It helped that he reminded her of young men she had fallen in love with. There was something mysterious about him. With him, she felt special; she felt she had a new lease on life. She fe

Evangelical Christianity’s Ten Biggest Mindfucks

By Valerie Tarico ~ Mind·fuck: [ˈmīndˌfək] NOUN. A disturbing or extremely confusing experience, in particular one that is caused by deliberate psychological manipulation. S ome stuff people tell you messes with your head if you buy into it. Maybe it’s self-contradictory. Maybe it doesn’t line up with what you know about yourself or the world around you. Maybe it makes you question the evidence of your own senses or your ability to think straight. Maybe it muddles your intuitions about right and wrong, making you ashamed of doing things that don’t actually harm anyone—or, conversely, prompting you to do things you would otherwise be ashamed of. Perhaps at the hazy edge of your mind something seems a little off, but the idea comes from a person or community you admire and respect (and maybe need), so you nod along, pushing aside any misgivings—even parroting their words to yourself or other people. Then, hours or even years later, the trance shatters, and your mind clears and you

Ethical Dilemmas

By Carl S ~ “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou be like unto him. Choose one.” ― Saul Bellow, Herzog T he physician's ethical dilemma: Should the doctor tell a terminal patient the prognosis indicates she has not long to live? Or should the doctor lead her to believe she will eventually recover, in order to allay her fears and/or, tell her what she desires to hear? What about someone YOU care about who is struggling in a crisis of eroding faith? Should you tell her lies to make her feel comforted, or should you share what you know and be honest? Should you allow the person taking the slow-acting poison of beliefs to continue, because the person believes it's a cure? Should you tell someone truths when that person is CONTENT with believing lies? When that person PREFERS to believe lies? When the person FEARS to question the lies? SUPPOSE someone feels “special, being chosen by