Watch as Christian idiots compete to see who can embarrass themselves the most in 2013. If you enjoy my work please support it by donating or picking up a shirt from my website http://www.cultofdusty.com . It really helps.
This post is less about what the LDS church teaches publicly or in writing, and more about what is often not publicly admitted to, whether still believed or not, and about some of the crazier things Mormons come to believe when embedded in Mormon culture. Though not categorized, some of these are doctrinal, others hearsay over the pulpit from apostles or leaders, and others adopted by more orthodox Mormons.
1. Polygamy is still doctrinal in heaven and included in LDS scripture. See D&C 132
2. Sports should not be played on Sunday
3. TV or movies should not be viewed on Sunday (except Church or “happy” media)
4. Children should not be allowed to play with friends on Sunday
Robertson: Secret Demonic Objects In Your House Could Give You Headaches
by Brian Tashman
Earlier this year, Pat Robertson told 700 Club viewers that it wasn’t a bad idea to pray over clothes, and even rings, just in case they have a demon attached to them. When a viewer asked him today how she could manage to pray over everything in her house every day, Robertson said not to worry too much… unless God is telling you that there are in fact demons in your house.
“What is important is: were these objects actually used in some kind of Satanic ritual? Some occult practice? If that’s the case, then there might be some demonic force that attaches to that which was used in pagan worship,” Robertson said. “In terms of going around and saying this is cursed and that’s cursed, you can drive yourself crazy doing that.”
Co-host Wendy Griffith claimed that she knew of cases where God told a preacher to remove certain paintings from his house “because they have something attached to them,” and Robertson agreed: “I’ve heard of people who had headaches, they get something from overseas and it looks so beautiful yet it’s actually a deity, a demonic force has attached itself to that.”
Religious charlatan Pat Roberston, whipping up his noxious snake oil.
CONFRONTED: Pastor Maxine Tonkin. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY
CONFRONTED: Pastor Maxine Tonkin. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY
CONFRONTED: Pastor Maxine Tonkin. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY
A town stands divided and tensions run high as matters of faith take control.
TWO self-proclaimed witches have been accused of “bringing the devil to Wedderburn” by outraged Christians.
Witches Jacquie Stallinga and Gaye Washington are organising the inaugural New Age Festival in Wedderburn, which will feature witchcraft, tarot card readings and crystal education.
Ms Stallinga said “anyone remotely involved in the festival has been attacked and accosted by the local church sector, for brainwashing the community with devil beliefs”.
And while the churches deny making these statements, they say they have “prayed to God to sort out the festival”.
Wedderburn Gold Seeker Christian Church, the Uniting Church, the Church of Christ and the Anglican Church held a meeting this week to stand united against the festival. The Wedderburn Catholic Church did not attend.
Gold Seeker Christian Church Pastor Maxine Tonkin said the churches were simply “standing up for their beliefs”.
“This is a Christian community here and there has been a clash of beliefs,” she said.
“We certainly don’t promote the festival. We think it’s important to have a presence there. There’s a lot more I could say but I won’t. We don’t fear them but we have concerns. ”
The nature of godless liberalism can be difficult to understand because of the misuse of the label by the Christian Right. According to them, all liberals are godless because they don’t adhere to conservative evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity. Only conservative political policies are seen as compatible with Christianity; therefore, all other policies are anti-Christian, anti-religious, and anti-God. Advocates are all thus godless liberals, but that misrepresents the nature of atheism.
Godless Liberals are Communists:
Christian Right pundits often claim that atheism is essentially socialist or communist in nature – indeed, “godless” and “communist” are often used side-by-side as epithets. Communism is not, however, inherently atheistic. It’s possible to hold communist economic views while being a theist, and it isn’t uncommon to be an atheist who staunchly defends capitalism. Those who link the two as a smear simply haven’t gotten the message that the “war on godless communism” ended long ago. Read More…
Godless Liberals are Elitist & Arrogant:
Just as common as the use of “godless” and “communist” as political smears is the label “elitist.” Conservatives have long attacked liberals as “elitist” to convince average Americans that liberals have nothing in common with them. The truth is that the label “elitist” would apply equally to some conservatives as well as some liberals. There is nothing about being godless which makes a person is more elitist or arrogant; if anything, claiming to know what God wants is a sign of arrogance.
Godless Liberals are Secularists, Opposed to Religious Liberty:
The Christian Right opposes secularism and regards it as one of modernity’s greatest evils, so it’s only natural that they use it as a smear against liberals, godless or otherwise. Liberals are generally secularists, and godless liberals particularly so, because secularism is so important to modern society. Secularism simply means having civil institutions which are independent of ecclesiastical control. The opposite of secularism and secular government is some form of theocracy.
Godless Liberals are Anti-American:
A popular attack on godless atheists is that they are anti-American. This derives in part from the assumption that true American patriotism is impossible without also being a True Christian – America is a Christian Nation, after all – and in part from the traditional assumption that communists are also anti-American. If godless atheists are anti-America, then godless liberals must be as well. The falsehood of this is obvious given just how false all the premises necessarily are.
Godless Liberals are Anti-Christian:
Many atheists spend a great deal of time with the doctrines and beliefs which are specific to Christianity or, at the very least, to traditional forms of Western monotheism. Some atheists are indeed vehemently anti-Christian, but only insofar as they oppose religion generally – Christianity is simply the most relevant religion in their social context. This isn’t much of a complaint against atheists, though, unless it can be shown that Christianity should be exempted from such attacks.
Godless Liberals are Anti-Religion:
For people who see their god or their religion as the source of all order and morality, godless liberalism may be treated as impossible or even as a threat. The fact that godless liberals do not derive their political positions from religious doctrine does not make them anti-religious, though. They may personally be anti-religion, but politically they may not be – indeed, they may have no problem making common cause with religious liberals.
Godless Liberalism is an anti-Christian Religion:
Alongside accusing godless liberals of being anti-religion, conservatives accuse it of also being a religion that opposes Christianity. Being an atheist isn’t incompatible with belonging to a religion, but atheism itself doesn’t qualify as a religion. Liberalism is a political philosophy which lacks all the basic characteristics of a religion and is no more religious than conservatism – and possibly less so. Godless liberalism is not a religion and there is no church of godless liberalism.
Godless Liberals Undermine Moral Values with Godless Evolution:
A popular target for conservatives is evolutionary science, which they say undermines traditional religious faith and morality. They say evolution is incompatible with Christian beliefs and are convinced that teaching evolution will destroy Christianity. Liberals who support teaching science in public schools are accused of being godless and anti-Christian. The science of evolution is godless, but it’s not a religion, not incompatible with morality, and not anti-Christian. Read More…
Godless Liberalism, Traditional Bigotry, and Christian Privilege:
Atheists don’t exist in large numbers in America and aren’t a very powerful interest group in American politics. Atheists can be found in both liberal and conservative political movements; liberals overall are primarily theistic and Christian, not atheists. Neither the godless nor godless liberals have by themselves any significant impact on politics, culture, or society. Because of all this and more, we have to ask why conservatives have become so obsessed with attacking “godless liberals.”Conservative attacks on godless liberals make no sense if the target is really supposed to be godless liberals themselves; on the other hand, if godless liberals are merely a substitute for other targets, the attacks are more understandable. One likely point of the attacks is an indirect defense of traditional Christian privileges: if anything is indicative of the loss of Christian privileges in America, it’s the unapologetic presence of outspoken atheists – and especially the presence of atheists filing lawsuits to eliminate government favoritism towards and promotion of Christianity. Attacks on the godless are thus a means for expressing outrage that some feel because Christians and Christianity are not treated as special anymore.Another likely reason for the attacks on godless liberals is the fact that conservatives are finding it increasingly difficult to attack the minorities they have traditionally tried to attack in defense of other traditional privileges: male privilege, white privilege, and heterosexual privilege. Conservatives frequently attack gays, but it’s getting harder to be openly bigoted towards them without social consequences. Attacks on the equality of women and racial minorities are even more difficult and must be heavily veiled with code-words involving immigration, radical feminism, and so forth. If someone wants to vent their bigotry, they do so against liberalism generally because it’s largely responsible for the decline of traditional privileges.
“Numerous studies reveal that atheists and secular people most certainly maintain strong values, beliefs, and opinions. But more signiﬁcantly, when we actually compare the values and beliefs of atheists and secular people to those of religious people, the former are markedly less nationalistic, less prejudiced, less anti-Semitic, less racist, less dogmatic, less ethnocentric, less close-minded, and less authoritarian.”
Atheism, Secularity, and Well-Being: How the Findings of Social Science Counter Negative Stereotypes and Assumptions
A Dominican Death: Giordano Bruno, 17 February 1600
“Perhaps you, my judges, pronounce this sentence upon me with greater fear than I receive it.”
He said that last week. Now he shivers in the corner of his cell, wondering whether, for once in his life, he could have chosen his words more temperately. What seemed, a week ago, to be a fine mixture of courage and defiance was not absolutely true even then; and now, on the morning of his death, Giordano is beginning to realize just how frightened he is.
The state of being dead will not be unwelcome, for Giordano feels he has nothing to fear from God, whereas his murderers will someday cringe under divine judgment – but the dying itself is a hideous mountain to climb before he can rest. Pain is not something one gets used to, even after seven years in the care of the Roman Inquisition. Giordano has learned that too much courage does not pay. Pain borne in silence leads to more pain, and more, and yet more, until finally one’s screaming point is reached and the questioners are confident they have gained one’s attention.
The morning is February-cold. He could almost, he tells himself, welcome a fire – and at that irony, he laughs for the last time in his life. And then he hears footsteps and voices on the stairs, and he opens his body to the cold as if he could suck it into his pores and store it up against his imminent dire need. The reverend brothers of the Company of Mercy and Pity have returned from their breakfast.
Dignity, he tells himself. Above all else, dignity. And maybe a few words at the stake, words that will be better chosen, more pointed, more memorable, than those words of hasty defiance when judgment was pronounced. Since die he must, he would like to die in a way that men will remember – but what to say? Never mind: for fifty-two years he has been a man of many words, and he is sure his tongue and talent will not fail him at the end.
Hooded figures, self-styled dispensers of mercy and pity, hover black in the smoky candlelight: “Giordano Bruno, born Fillipo Bruno of Nola, once of the Brotherhood of the Dominicans – do you know why we are here?”
“Yes, Robert, I know.”
“For the last time: do you recant your heresies?”
Giordano sighs. “I’ve glorified God in my own way, not the Church’s, and that’s all there is.” He pauses to order his words for a last debate with his inquisitor – his life has been a string of spirited debates – but a nail is already point-down on his tongue, and a moment later it is driven home; and even as he tries to scream, a second nail is driven upwards through his lower jaw into the palate. The blood pouring into his throat chokes him into silence. He hardly has attention to spare for the leather-and-iron clamp of the gag.
“Did you imagine we’d let you vomit your heresies in public?”
Now he is in violent motion, jerked along, stumbling and staggering between two of the righteous. He realizes dimly that he has shat himself. Breath and blood struggle for passage in his throat. They pause under the arch of the gate – Giordano sinks to his knees and frantically pulls air in through his nostrils, but the respite is brief. It is Grazio who tears the robe off Giordano’s back, Clemente who wads it up and wipes the scarlet trickles from the underside of Giordano’s jaw. Officially, the heretic’s blood will not have been spilled. Clemente does not clean off the backs of Giordano’s legs, for it is only appropriate that heresy should come to its just punishment naked, smeared and stinking.
Thus – Giordano, all dignity a bitter memory, is hustled naked into the cart and trundled through the streets, freezing in the last dark minutes before a winter dawn. He shivers, and Grazio hisses into his ear: “you’ll be hot enough soon, heretic.” The cart stops on the edge of the Campo del Fiore, the Field of Flowers, where a small but gleeful crowd hugs itself for warmth in front of the high-piled faggots, the premonitory torches. The crowd howls as the procession crosses the square, animal noises, a wallow of pigs, a snapping of dogs, a hooting of Barbary apes. Giordano hears them through his agony – shame sickens him. He digs his naked heels into the cobbles and tries to fight, rearing his head, panicking, eyes wild as a horse’s at the sight of fire. They roll heavenward, up to where God’s little lights are still visible, fixed to the crystal globe of the firmament, obediently rotating around the terrestrial centre of God’s little universe.
Giordano stops fighting. He stares up. He has not seen the stars for seven years. He looks up, up, up, through the mantle of the air and past the moon, beyond the purview of the sun and across the dark void. He shrinks to a particle on a whirling grain of sand. Clemente, another insignificant particle, shoves him from behind. Infinity arches above them. Giordano is entranced. He lets himself be propelled unresisting towards the crowd, the torches, the stake. He is busy trying to number the glitter of the stars, a count that he knows he will never finish. This does not seem to matter. He would shout for triumph if the clamp would let him.
Now they are binding him to the stake, pinching his flesh in the cold coils. He pays no mind. Robert shoves the crucifix almost into his face – he shies from it impatiently. He wants to cry, “Look up, you fools! It’s so obvious! You’ll see I’ve been right all along!” Impossible, alas, with his mouth nailed shut; but he has a strange idea the future will speak for him.
The Company of Mercy and Pity has provided no strangler. With his own hand, Robert plunges the torch into the faggots at Giordano’s feet, and steps well back. Giordano makes no sound, then or ever again. He watches the sky for as long as his eyes last, though the stars begin to fade in the dawn and the smoke thickens over his head. They are so clear to him: other suns, great suns, distant suns blazing down on God’s uncountable worlds, all of them swarming with God’s creatures, an infinite universe filled with the music of a mighty massed choir of spheres.
Many of God’s Rules Are Contradictory. Help Us Lord!
— by Gad Saad, Ph.D.
I have often had conversations with religious people about their utter convictions that their religious narrative is THE correct one (as opposed to the narratives stemming from the other 9,999 religions). Usually, the response is one that defines the meaning of a tautology: “I know that it is the true narrative because my religion is the revealed truth.” Nice!
Suppose that a Martian had moved to Earth recently. He is shopping for the one true religion. Let’s see where this exploration takes him. As a logical and rational Martian, he begins by asking a few basic questions to get the ball rolling.
Can I drink alcohol? It depends on who the true God is.
Can I eat prosciutto? It depends on who the true God is.
Can I eat some fried rice with shrimps? It depends on who the true God is.
Can I listen to music? It depends on who the true God is.
Can I turn on the computer to work on Saturday? It depends on who the true God is.
Can I have more than one wife? It depends on who the true God is.
Can I masturbate? It depends on who the true God is.
How easy is it to obtain a divorce? It depends on who the true God is.
What should the punishment (if any) be for homosexuality? It depends on who the true God is.
Can one commit suicide? It depends on who the true God is.
Can I take prescription drugs if I am sick? It depends on who the true God is.
Are particular animals considered sacred? It depends on who the true God is.
Is there one God or multiple Gods? It depends on who the true God(s) is/are.
Does hell exist? It depends on who the true God is.
Is premarital sex allowed? It depends on who the true God is.
Is the sun divine? It depends on who the true God is.
Can I be reincarnated? It depends on who the true God is.
How should women dress? It depends on who the true God is.
Is male circumcision a Divine obligation? It depends on who the true God is.
Is female circumcision a Divine obligation? It depends on who the true God is.
Has the Messiah revealed himself? It depends on who the true God is.
Can I buy indulgences to “fast-track” my dead ancestors into Heaven? It depends on who the true God is.
Is it important to always be aware of where you are standing in relation to the Cardinal directions? It depends on who the true God is.
Is there a direct representative of God on Earth? It depends on who the true God is.
Are atheists going to hell? It depends on who the true God is.
How easy is it for me to join your religion? It depends on who the true God is.
Is it blasphemous to have a tattoo? It depends on who the true God is.
Is there such a thing as a sacred river? It depends on who the true God is.
Should I seek revenge on my enemies? It depends on who the true God is.
Are we close to Armageddon? It depends on who the true God is.
Do some souls reside on other planets? It depends on who the true God is.
Is the wearing of leather shoes prohibited on particular days? It depends on who the true God is.
Are pilgrimages a Divine obligation? It depends on who the true God is.
Is apostasy permitted? It depends on who the true God is.
Is evolution true? It depends on who the true God is.
What do you consider to be the exact definition of atheism?
There are many incorrect definitions of atheism floating around. It’s important for religious extremists, in their deliberate attempts to misinform (see my previous post about lying for Jesus), that atheism be depicted as nonsensical, demonic, or irrational. For example, this display:
It says: “Atheism: This is the belief that there is no god. This is a very common belief of those who do not wish to be responsible for their actions, as if there is no god there is no judgment. This belief was started by Charles Darwin, but has very recently (within the last 30 years) become a popular religion.”
I do a talk called “Atheism 101″ that covers the definition of atheism, among other things. In it, I discuss the difference between agnostic/gnostic and atheistic/theistic. The question should not be worded, “Are you an atheist or an agnostic?” but rather “Are you an atheist or a theist?” and independently, “Are you 100% certain that God does or does not exist (gnostic) or do you acknowledge a possibility that you are wrong (agnostic)?”
I tweeted back to the Atheist Alliance:
@atheistalliance Atheism can be defined precisely as “the lack of faith in the existence of a god or gods.”
I think this is the most precise and accurate definition I have come across. In my talk, I use this. For a thorough breakdown of the definition of atheism, with sources, I recommend this webpage.
This has been on my mind because I received the following message today:
Your professed “belief” in the religion of athiesm has everything to do with your selfish desire to continue in your favorite sins. You have a strong motive to hope that there isn’t a Holy God who will punish you for your sins. Those making a profession of faith in the religion of atheism hope that if they scream loud, long, and shrill enough, they will be able to convince themselves that God doesn’t exist. I don’t believe that your even an atheist Dave.
Atheism is not a religion. The definition of a religion is arguable, but the one I use and agree with comes from anthropologists Drs. Craig Palmer and Lyle Steadman in their excellent book, “Supernatural and Natural Selection: The Evolution of Religion.” They define religion as “a communicated acceptance by individuals of another individual’s ‘supernatural’ claim, a claim whose accuracy is not verifiable by the senses.” They continue: “The distinctive property of such acceptance is that it communicates a willingness to accept the influence of the speaker nonskeptically. While supernatural claims are not demonstrably true, they are asserted to be true” (pg ix). Since atheism makes no supernatural claims—in fact many atheists are metaphysical naturalists—it definitively is not a religion.
My belief that atheism and science are the most likely contenders for an accurate description of the universe’s workings have nothing at all to do with sin. I don’t believe sin exists. I believe that some acts and behaviors are anti-social and, on ethical grounds, should not be committed. I believe that other acts and behaviors are pro-social and, on ethical grounds, should be encouraged. But I find the whole concept of sin—transgressions against divine law—to be ridiculous. I don’t believe there is any such thing as divine law, because I am an atheist.
This entire statement is just a bare assertion. In no way does the sender attempt to provide reasons for the claims he is making, or explain on what basis exactly he is claiming to know these things about me and other atheists.
I think the sender is unable to see atheism for what it really is because doing so would make him insecure in his faith. It’s necessary for him to misunderstand atheism because atheism, understood, is the more rational position. So he builds a straw-man and uses it as a human shield. It’s really quite pathetic, pitiable even.
What’s really wrong with his message, though, is where he says “[atheists make] a profession of faith.” Atheists lack faith by definition. Faith comes from the Latin “fidere,” which means “to trust.” In the theological sense, this means trusting that God exists, or that God will provide, etc, even though the logical arguments and evidence are insufficient for belief in themselves.
I am proud to say that I do not have faith. I am a skeptic: I have an attitude of doubt, an inclination toward incredulity. I think faith is dangerous, irrational, archaic, and puerile. If you are a logical person, a good critical thinker, and you come across an argument that lacks evidentiary backing, contains fallacies, or is nonsensical, you do not [continue to] believe that argument. Faith is the admission that you are not being logical, that you are not a good critical thinker, continuing to believe something when the reasons you have to believe it aren’t good enough on their own. Saying you have faith is saying, “Here are the reasons I believe this. Here is the evidence supporting why I believe this. Oh, the reasons have logical problems? Oh, the evidence is not very strong? Well, I choose to believe it regardless.” Or even worse, sometimes people say, “I don’t need evidence. I don’t need logical arguments. I have faith.” Faith is the very model of a circular argument. As Mark Twain is credited with saying, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
I have never met a Christian who claims not to have faith. If you call yourself a Christian and do not have faith, I would really like to hear from you. Hebrews 11:6 says that “without faith, it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:1 says: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This is directly at odds with skepticism. It is my position that if you are a skeptic, and you also claim faith in a god or gods, you are doing one or the other incorrectly.
I think my favorite part of this, though, is where he says, “I don’t believe your [sic] even an atheist, Dave.”
This is my license plate:
(Atheos is Greek for atheist). If I’m not an atheist, I don’t know who is.
Thanks for reading. Until next time,
Dave Muscato is the Kansas/Missouri-Area Volunteer Network Coordinator for the Secular Student Alliance. He is also a board member of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. A non-traditional junior at Mizzou studying economics & anthropology and minoring in philosophy & Latin, Dave posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday and twice monthly for the Humanist Community at Harvard. His website ishttp://www.DaveMuscato.com
Anyone who understands the definition of atheism must acknowledge that all children are born atheists, including those born to Christian parents. Atheism is nothing more than the lack of acceptance of the theistic belief claim (i.e., some god or gods exist). A theist is one who believes that god(s) exist; an atheist is one who does not share this belief. The newborn child cannot even entertain such possibilities and thus lacks theistic belief. Atheism is the default position, and this is where we all begin.
In order for Christians to argue against the reality that all children are born atheists, they must distort the meaning of atheism. They must convince themselves and their audience that atheism is a religion, a philosophy, or a worldview. They claim that atheism is an explicit repudiation of religion and that it involves faith that no gods exist. Such distortions in the meaning of atheism allow them to claim that children cannot be born atheist because atheism requires the same sort of deliberate choice required by religious belief.Atheism is not a belief system but lack of acceptance of one particular belief. It requires no faith; it is the absence of faith. It is the null hypothesis, the default condition, the natural starting point for each of us.
But why must Christians distort the meaning of atheism at all? Why should they even care if their children are born atheists, especially when it is likely that they will begin brainwashing them at an early age? There are many reasons, ranging from a need to see the child as connected to them through the manner they consider most important (i.e., religion) to the harsh implications of infant mortality to their belief system.
To expand on this latter point, consider the Christian parent whose child dies before the child is capable of forming the cognitions necessary to comprehend theistic belief. According to this parent’s own Christian doctrine, this child is likely destined for hell. This is where non-believers go, and this child is clearly a non-believer. The Catholics toyed with limbo as a way out, but the evangelical Protestants now engaging in America’s “culture wars” never really warmed to this idea. Even theism will be insufficient for such a parent, as a personal relationship with Jesus is thought to be the only vehicle for salvation.
It should be remembered that Christians have created this doctrine for themselves and should be solely responsible for unraveling the many conundrums it presents. Distorting atheism is not an acceptable way out of the mess they have made.
One of the things I like to do here is point out how those who claim to follow the Bible, or whatever holy book you choose, pick and choose the passages that support our chosen beliefs and prejudices.
Right-wing Christians are fond of pointing out, for instance, that homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says so, not because they have a personal problem with the Bible.
And yet they allow their friends and neighbors who choose to do yard work on the Sabbath, to live when they should, according to the Bible, be put to death. The following clip from the West Wing does a fantastic job of making this point.
Why Atheists Are More Intelligent Than the Religious
Humans are designed by evolution to believe in God
Published by Satoshi Kanazawa
It is natural to believe in God, so more intelligent individuals are more likely to be atheists.
Religion is a cultural universal, and its practice is observed in every known human society. However, as I explain in earlier posts (Why do we believe in God? Part I, Part II), recent evolutionary psychological theories suggest that religiosity may not be an adaptation in itself but may be a byproduct of other evolved psychological mechanisms variously called the “animistic bias” or the “agency-detector mechanisms.”
These theories contend that the human brain has been selected to overinfer agency – personal, animate, and intentional forces – behind otherwise natural phenomena whose exact causes cannot be known. This is because overinferring agency – and making a Type I error of false positive – makes you a bit paranoid, but being paranoid is often conducive to survival. In contrast, underinferring agency – and making a Type II error of false negative – can result in being killed and maimed by predators and enemies that were incorrectly assumed not to exist. So, evolutionarily speaking, it’s good to be a bit paranoid, because being paranoid can often save your life. Religiosity – belief in higher powers – may be a byproduct of such overinference of agency and intentional forces behind natural phenomena.
If these theories are correct, then it means that religiosity – belief in higher powers – may have an evolutionary origin. It is evolutionarily familiar and natural to believe in God, and evolutionarily novel not to be religious. Consistent with this reasoning, out of more than 1,500 distinct cultures throughout the world documented in The Encyclopedia of World Cultures, only 19 contain any reference to atheism. Not only do these 19 cultures exist far outside of our ancestral home in the African savanna, but all 19 of them without an exception are former Communist societies. There are no non-former-Communist cultures described in The Encyclopedia as containing any significant segment of atheists. Nor is there any reference to any individuals who do not subscribe to the local religion in any of the ethnographies of traditional societies.
It may therefore be reasonable to conclude that atheism may not be part of the universal human nature, and widespread practice of atheism may have been a recent product of Communism in the 20th century. So belief in higher powers is evolutionarily familiar and natural, and atheism is evolutionarily novel. The Hypothesis would therefore predict that more intelligent individuals are more likely to be atheist than less intelligent individuals.
Once again, analyses of large representative samples from both the United States and the United Kingdom support this prediction of the Hypothesis. Net of a large number of social and demographic factors, including education, more intelligent individuals are more likely to be atheistic than less intelligent individuals. For example, among the American sample, those who identify themselves as “not at all religious” in early adulthood have a mean childhood IQ of 103.09, whereas those who identify themselves as “very religious” in early adulthood have a mean childhood IQ of 97.14.
Even though past studies have shown that women are more religious than men, the analyses show that the effect of childhood intelligence on adult religiosity is twice as large as that of sex. Remarkably, childhood intelligence has a significant and large effect on adult religiosity even when religion itself is statistically controlled for. So it appears that more intelligent children are more likely to grow up to be atheists than less intelligent individuals, and the Hypothesis provides one explanation as to why.
There are a lot of weird things that people believe. This has puzzled me most of my life. It is a puzzle I take very seriously. I have trouble dismissing it off hand by crediting the innate stupidity of people or the inadequacy of education. Michael Shermer, in his book Why People Believe Weird Things sums it up as a combination of wishful thinking, need for simple, uncomplicated explanations and immediate gratification. I have in the past believed some pretty weird things (and sadly, probably still do). I have known many thoughtful and intelligent people to believe weird things too, some of them quite complex. And apathy doesn’t seem to be the issue either. Many times the weirdest things people believe are the ones they are most passionate about and care about the most. But I think this I think offers a clue.
The world is complex. There is a lot going on. We cannot personally verify every idea, statement and opinion that we run across. Even if it were possible it may seem like a ridiculous waste of time. There are so many things that are of little importance or relevance to our lives. As a result we adopt heuristics or short cuts to allow ourselves to be reasonably sure of most things without being overwhelmed by the details. This, of course, leaves us susceptible to promotion and propaganda, myths and conventional wisdom. This tendency occurs even if we assume the purpose of belief is somehow related to knowledge or truth.
From what I have seen, the purpose of belief has very little to do with truth. I suspect the more important function of belief is social cohesion. Widespread agreement and connection within social groups is probably more critical to our success and survival than veracity and reason. Totems, and our modern equivalent, branding, provide a basis for self-identification and social structure. These clusters of ideas tell us who we are and how we fit into the world. They are the building blocks of armies, churches and corporations; of railroads, atom bombs and the internet.
Sometimes these clusters include some rather odd ideas, but it is easier for us to accept a few peculiar wrong ideas than to risk our social cohesion. Intelligent design is equated with strength of character, morality and reverence. Climate change denial supports the values of hard work, responsibility and patriotism. Colon cleanses demonstrate our concern for social justice, sustainable economy and our environment. We cannot check everything—and more importantly that social cohesion is usually more valuable than being right—so we tend to accept the whole basket of beliefs that define our groups, rather than sorting them out individually.
There is a point where a committed believer becomes so caught up in their religious narrative that they seem to be under a spell and incapable of functioning in the “reality-based community.” The great majority of believers thrive in the real world, where religious belief is encouraged, and it often helps in every facet of life. But beyond that point where the young zealot and older convert often tread lies madness, albeit a (hopefully) temporary state.
I crossed into that abyss a few times as a believer, but luckily I got back out each time. That place does play a sweet siren’s call to a doctrinaire’s ears, promising a full surrender to one’s fantasies of belief.
But it is a dreadful hallucination, inviting the organically healthy into the schizoid’s dream. Isolated, it can be a refuge for the believer, but once foisted on another, the believer either is revealed his folly, or not, and for the latter case, it presents just as psychosis.
America’s God Psychosis | A God That Kills Naughty “Little Children”
23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.— 2 kings 2:23-24
What Mike Huckabee and the American Religious Right will never tell you!
How a prophet pleads with god, who subsequently sends in lions to rip apart and slaughter a bunch of little children, because they made a bit of naughty speak (like no kids ever do that!)
Remember that crazy bible tale about how god killed a bunch of little kids for making fun of prophet Elisha’s baldness?
They don’t exactly teach this gem during Sunday school, that’s for damn sure.
Well, seems like someone made a pretty awesome video exposing this story for the twisted shit it really is, so enjoy!
The Christian’s Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same; but the medical practice changes…The world has corrected the Bible. The church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession- and take the credit of the correction. During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. the Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after eight hundred years, gathered up its halters, thumb-screws, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood.
Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry…..There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain.
– “Bible Teaching and Religious Practice,” Europe and Elsewhere
Demonic Possession video proves that Satan, demons and exorcisms are REAL
Posted by Derek Murphy
I swear not 3 months goes by before I see the movie trailer for a new cinematographic take on the “Demonic Possession” genre.
The newest in this long, long chain of movies (all of which are eaten up by the faithful as pop culture affirmations of religious experiences, based on TRUE STORIES of demonic possession and exorcism), is “The Possession: Darkness Lives Inside.” The tagline: “Fear the Demon that Doesn’t Fear God.”
Proof that Demonic Possession is Real?
“The Possession”, like all exorcism and demonic possession movies, claims to be based on a true story.
But try finding the real evidence to back it up – and you’ll usually come away empty handed (I’ve seen links that go to Catholic Websites that then link to Satanist Groups (who don’t actually believe in a real Satan – they only use Satan as a symbol forhumanist values).
Our beliefs have the power to change our reality, and our perception of that reality.
We see and experience what we believe in.
Why I don’t believe in Possession
1) I’ve experienced demons before. They were a horrifying manifestation of Sleep Paralysis symptoms, which I believe are the root of most religious experiences. I saw and heard demons when I was a Christian. Later, I had UFO abduction experiences. Now that I have no beliefs, I don’t really get them anymore.
2) I’ve also had some pretty serious depression/anxiety/craziness – when I felt like every morning was a nightmare hassle and I wasn’t satisfied with anything, and nothing could make me happy. That’s a serotonin disorder. Not a demon.
3) Religious people, especially Christians, get possessed. The more zealous you are, the more terrified of losing control to those dark forces that are ALWAYS trying to get you ALL THE TIME, the easier it will be for you to lose it. If demons were real, they wouldn’t only attack Christians (unless maybe you think they don’t give a damn about the rest of us, cuz we’re doomed anyway).
But almost all faiths have some kind of demonic possession. Who doesn’t get possessed? Atheists. If they screw up, it’s their own damn fault.
The more important question is:
Who the Fuck is in Control Up There?
OK, sure, God allows us free will. He wants us to love him completely, and he wants it to be our choice.
But he never offered Satan, or the demons (fallen angels?) the same deal. They get to rule Hell, until the end of time.
And yes, maybe even God allows Satan to tempt us (like he did with Job) just to make sure that we really love him (the same way a jealous girlfriend would get a friend to try and sleep with her boyfriend, so he could win her trust by not cheating).
But apparently, if these movies and the whole idea of demonic possession are to be believed, God also allows demons to wander around the earth and take over our bodies by force, against our will, and kill people. And he usually picks children, because they’re freaking terrifying.
So there’s a bunch of murdering kids with demons inside of them. If they die they probably go to Hell.
What’s God doing about it?
It’s one thing to say that James Holmes went crazy and shot people, and God didn’t stop him because he doesn’t interfere with free choice. It’s another thing to say that maybe a demon that God let out of Hell took over his body (rather than just destroying all the fallen angels, God allows them to play a violent and active role in humanity).
The truth is this: all of these “Satanic/Demonic Possession” or “Exorcism” movies are Christian Propaganda, focusing on the only tangible aspect of their faith: the evil. (“God is Love” is an internal emotion – you couldn’t make a movie about how awesome faith makes you feel).
Satan is the god who actually interferes and interacts with humans. Satan is the only one who actually caters to desires and wishes (traditionally, God never gave you what you wanted, and Satan was the temptation of following your desire rather than what God allowed you to have; hence all of the “sold my soul to Satan” literature.)
These days, with “The Secret” and other New Age, Eastern influences, we’ve come to believe that “God” allows us to manifest our own selfish desires, that we are destined to be bountiful, that we are co-creators.
All of that, however, stems from ideas directly taken from a Modernist perspective which was fiercely anti-religious and often openly Satanic (using Satan as a liberal symbol for revolution, freedom, and rationality).
Since the Red Scare of the 50′s, and then the Satanic Panic of the 70′s, (and more recently with the religious patriotism following 9-11), Americans have been forced into religion; to be un-religious was the same as to be, respectively:
Only in the past decade have we begun, slowly, to shake off these shackles and allow creative independence again – and these angry, violent possession movies are the contemporary version of the medieval Hellfire scare tactics that used to get people back into churches.
Are they good entertainment? Sure – but the line “Based on a True Story” promotes a wholesale adoption of a Christian system of Good and Evil which has always been intrinsically flawed; and allowing such a blatant misuse of the word “True” is what allows millions of adults to blur the lines between fiction and reality, believing in Satan but not The Hulk or other fictional characters.
Now that I’ve seen the movie…
Now that I’ve seen the movie, I have a better picture of the real factors influencing this horrific story (some of these you have to read between the lines of the plot subtext):
A father who’s always away from home (and possibly beats his children)
A high-strung, emotionally volatile wife who drinks (and probably cheats)
They get divorced
The youngest daughter acts up, make-believing, talking to herself/invisible friends/ telling lies and stories maybe even
Being a freaky little psycho bitch from Hell child
There probably was a creepy antique Jewish box involved
They probably did contact some Jewish guy, even possibly tried an exorcism
They probably did say stuff like “Doctors can’t help us! We need spiritual guidance!” and reject medicine.
The crisis bring mommy and daddy back together, the girl stabilizes
Things that almost certainly did not happen:
The creepy death/suicide in the beginning
Tons of scary moths
An MRI showing another person living inside a little girl – ie medical proof
The girl finding the box after her dad threw it away
The girl making mom’s boyfriend’s teeth fall out
The car accident at the end
That’s what “Based on a True Story” and “These Events Really Happened” means.
One great line of the movie:
Dad goes to the Jews for help. They say “These things are best left in God’s hands.”
He says, and I’m paraphrasing, “Are you fucking kidding me? My daughter is possessed by a devil and I should leave it to God?” (implying that, either God allowed this to happen, or he caused it to happen, and he will stop it only when he feels like it). It’s tricky: Belief in Demons should make you an atheist – or at least make you pissed off that God is such an asshole. But it doesn’t.