Posts Tagged ‘Religious Credulity’


Saudi ‘Witch‘ Beheaded for Black Magic
Benjamin Radford, Life’s Little Mysteries Contributor

An accused witch, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was beheaded in Saudi Arabia earlier this week. She had been convicted of practicing “witchcraft and sorcery,” according to the Saudi Interior Ministry. Such a crime is a capital offense in Saudi Arabia, and so Nassar was sentenced to death. Nassar’s sentence was appealed — and upheld — by the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council.

Nassar, who claimed to be a healer and mystic, was arrested after authorities reportedly found a variety of occult items in her possession, including herbs, glass bottles of “an unknown liquid used for sorcery,” and a book on witchcraft. According to a police spokesman, Nassar had also falsely promised miracle healings and cures, charging ill clients as much as $800 for her services.

Many Shiite Muslims — like many fundamentalist Christians — consider fortune-telling an occult practice and therefore evil. Making a psychic prediction or using magic (or even claiming or pretending to do so) are seen as invoking diabolical forces. Fortune-telling, prophecy and witchcraft have been condemned by Saudi Arabia’s powerful religious leaders. There is some question as to whether Saudi law technically outlaws witchcraft, though in a country where politics and religion are so closely aligned the distinction is effectively moot.

Just last year a Lebanese man named Ali Sabat, who for years had dispensed psychic advice and predictions on a television show, was accused of witchcraft. Sabat was arrested in Saudi Arabia by the religious police, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. His crime, like that of Nassar, was practicing sorcery, and Sabat was condemned to death in April 2010, though it’s still unknown if his sentence has been carried out.

Accusations of witchcraft and sorcery are not unheard of around the world, especially in political campaigns where they are used as a smear tactic. Close associates of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were accused last year of using witchcraft and summoning genies by influential clerics in that country. According to news reports, about two dozen of Ahmadinejad’s close aides have been arrested and charged with being “magicians.” One man, Abbas Ghaffari, was reportedly accused of summoning a genie who caused a heart attack in a man who was persecuting him.

Even the United States is not immune; Christine O’Donnell, the Republican who ran a failed bid for a Senate seat in 2010, had to answer political questions about whether she had practiced witchcraft. For centuries, accusations of (and laws against) witchcraft have been used as a tool by those in power to silence dissenters; whether that was the case with Nassar is unknown, but her death is a reminder that belief in magic is taken very seriously in many parts of the world — and can have grave consequences.

This story was provided by Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience.

Benjamin Radford is deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries. His website is http://www.BenjaminRadford.com.


Six Die After Evangelical Churches Tell Them to Stop Taking HIV Medication
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According to Sky News, evangelical churches in four British cities have been claiming to cure HIV through faith healing. Three undercover reporters entered the Synagogue Church of All Nations, told pastors that they were HIV positive, and all were informed that they could be healed.

The healing process involves the pastor shouting, over the person being healed, for the devil to come out of their body, and spraying water in their face.

Pastors also told the reporters posing as HIV patients that they should throw away their medication after the healing because they had been cured.

If it occurs to you that this might be dangerous, you will be saddened but not surprised to learn that at least six people have died after being told by these churches to stop taking their HIV medication. I applaud the efforts of Sky News to investigate this atrocity. I don’t think America’s corporate media would dare to do something like this. I sincerely hope British authorities prosecute the hell out of these churches.

 


Evil Eye Removal $50, Credit Cards Accepted

Evil_eyeJust in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, haredim can now get a deal on evil eye removal.

Do you think the machashayfa next door is hexing you? You’re a phone call away from removing her curse. A mere $50 will do it. And your kabbalist savior even takes credit cards.

Evil Eye Removal Monsey Area 50 Dollars Credit Cards Accepted 11-28-11 watermarked
[Hat Tip: 613 Enforcer.]

Ricky Gervais being cheeky, fun but also completely logical as he sinks the leaky fable of Noah’s big boat.

Incomprehensibly, sections of the major religious anachronisms Roman Catholicism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism continue to take this nightmarishly genocidal horror tale of Noah’s Ark, as literal truth.

Clearly, such adherents are impervious to reason and have coprolite for brains.

That religious cult guide book aka the bible, is nothing but fairy tales and bogeyman stories concocted by once dominant male patriarchs, to keep uneducated masses titillated, amused, obedient and servile in order to further the authors socio-economic and political agendas.

Sane people know that “god” is nothing more than a human idea and fabricated, nonsense word, made up by men to explain away all the things unscienced humans for a time did not yet comprehend.

Religion is a disease of the mind, born of superstition, ignorance and fear, which has done nothing but retard human progress and bring infinite misery upon the human species.

It’s long overdue that such misery was ended.


Harry Potter Teaching Kids Witchcraft Because America Bows To Pagan God

by David Badash on September 16, 2011

Post image for Harry Potter Teaching Kids Witchcraft Because America Bows To Pagan God

Harry Potter is teaching kids witchcraft and America now bows to a Pagan god, warns Pastor John Hagee in his TV special, (apparently not from New York,) “Faith Under Fire.” And what is that “Pagan god?” Why, it’s called secular humanism, and it’s the scourge of the earth, evidently. Hagee, who is a Texas megachurch founder and author of the recent book, Can America Survive? Updated Edition: Startling Revelations and Promises of Hope, (actually, the author of a lot of books,) says that we can blame rape, spousal abuse, drugs, divorce and crime all on secular Humanism. Good Lord!

Thanks to Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch for this transcript and for the video:

Secular humanism is a pagan god and America is bowing at the shrine. It has filled our drug rehab centers, it has filled the divorce courts, it has filled the shelter for battered wives, it has filled the rape crisis centers, it has filled the mental hospitals and single bars, it has filled the penitentiaries and the roster guests for the brain-​dead television shows you see from New York.

Think about that, we’re in a moral free fall where your children can be taught witchcraft by Harry Potter; that Heather has two mommies; you can substitute Christmas for a midwinter holiday, call it anything you want to but don’t call it Christmas, kick God out of the Christmas event; you can let your daughter go to school and she can get an abortion without your permission or without your knowledge but she cannot get an aspirin without your knowledge.

Something is dreadfully wrong when you as the parent cannot control the destiny of your own child. America has turned its back from the God of the Bible and it is time for the church of Jesus Christ to stand up and speak up and say we have a right to the destiny of our own children!

Before you go dismissing crazies like Hagee, know this (Via Wikipedia):

Hagee is the President and CEO of John Hagee Ministries, which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in the United States on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations, and eight networks, including The Inspiration Network (INSP), Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), and Inspiration Now TV. The ministries can be seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes. John Hagee Ministries is in Canada on the Miracle Channel and CTS and can be seen inAfrica, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and in most Third World nations.

In 2007, Hagee stated that he does not believe in global warming, and he also said that he sees the Kyoto Protocol as a conspiracy aimed at manipulating the U.S. economy. Also, Hagee has condemned the Evangelical Climate Initiative, an initiative “signed by 86 evangelical leaders acknowledging the seriousness of global warming and pledging to press for legislation to limit carbon dioxide emissions.”

Hagee denounces abortion, and stopped giving money to Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center when it began performing the procedure.

He has spoken out against homosexuality, linking its presence in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina as an act of divine retribution. He said in 2006, “I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area, that was not carried nationally, that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came.” However, on April 25, 2008, Hagee clarified his comments regarding Hurricane Katrina by saying, “But ultimately neither I nor any other person can know the mind of God concerning Hurricane Katrina. I should not have suggested otherwise.”

Want to know what really scares Hagee? Why, it’s secular Humanism. Here’s why (via Wikipedia):

Secular Humanism is a comprehensive life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead happy and functional lives. Though it posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or God, it neither assumes humans to be inherently or innately good, nor presents humans as “above nature” or superior to it. Rather, the Humanist life stance emphasizes the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions. Fundamental to the concept of Secular Humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology — be it religious or political — must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith. Along with this, an essential part of Secular Humanism is a continually adapting search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy.

(All emphases mine.)

Frankly, I’ve never understood why anyone would need to believe in or pray to God to know right from wrong. Perhaps secular Humanism isn’t the problem, perhaps it’s the answer.


The chief rabbi’s immoral stance on donor cards

Orthodox Jews should be free to make their own decisions about what constitutes death

    Jonathan Sacks
    Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, believes organs should not be donated in the event of brain-stem death. Photograph: Liverpool Daily Echo/PA

    The debate on Jewish organ donation was reignited this week with a statement on what constitutes death according to religious law (halacha). In what is a very important debate, a lot of misunderstandings of what the rabbinical authorities are arguing about are being confused, so I am writing this to clarify what is going on and explain why I am upset at the decision of Lord Sacks, the chief rabbi.

    The issue of organ donations within the Jewish community was pushed back into the front pages after the footballer Avi Cohenhad an accident and his family went against his wishes and decided not to donate his organs. He had been a proud organ donor-card holder in Israel, where there is a major issue of getting people to donate their organs due to the religious complexities around the issues.

    The commandments of saving a life (pikuach nefesh) trumps almost all others and what to do when a family member is dying is a particularly tense time where religious guidance is sought. The high stakes involved, as well as the sanctity of the body in Jewish law, means that this issue is of vital importance.

    The chief rabbi was not saying to Jews not to donate their organs. On the contrary: he was encouraging them to do so. You can read his clarification here. In the case where someone needs a kidney or any other non-life-threatening donation (for the donor) there is no issue, you should be encouraged to donate your organ. The debate flows around what counts as death in Jewish law. Is it at the point of irreversible cessation of the heartbeat occurs (when the heart stops) or irreversible cessation of autonomous breathing (brain-stem death)? The chief rabbi’s position is that it is when your heart stops. The difference means that if you are brain dead and on a respirator you would not be allowed to donate vital organs. If your heart stops you would be allowed to donate everything.

    What the chief rabbi is asking for is that the current donor cards make this difference so that people can donate when their heart stops but not if they are only brain dead. He is asking that before the organs are removed, a rabbinical authority is consulted.

    Why I and others are very upset is because the chief rabbi has said that halachic organ donor cards are also unacceptable: “At this point, however, since the National Registry system is not set up to accommodate halachic requirements, donor cards (even those purporting to be halachic) are unacceptable.”

    This has upset a lot of other Orthodox rabbinical authorities. While the chief rabbi and his bet din might decide that brain-stem death does not constitute halachic death, there are Orthodox authorities who argue that it does. These include the chief rabbinate of Israel and Rav Moshe Tendler. Tendler is a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University and a professor of biology not to mention the son-in-law of the late Rav Moshe Finestein z’hl, one of the most important rabbinical authorities of the past century and allowed his son in law to take a lead on these issues.

    The halachic organ donor cards allows the donor to choose under which conditions (either brain death or heart failure or both) they would wish to donate.

    The argument between the Hods (Halachic Organ Donor Society) and the office of the chief rabbi has become quite heated and is featured in this week’s Jewish Chronicle. They are upset as there is a major dispute among different rabbis over what constitutes death. Rather than acknowledging the dispute and giving people the option within the UK to choose which they would rather follow, the office of the chief rabbi has said that he only accepts heart failure and will not accept brain death. While this is one opinion, it is not the only opinion and to ignore those of rabbinical authorities who are also medical experts really upsets me.

    Medical ethics on this level is very complex and is definitely something that not every communal rabbi will have an expertise on. What the chief rabbi has done by not allowing these halachic organ donor cards is to take the decision over whether brain-stem death will allow you to donate your organs away from Orthodox Jews in his jurisdiction – even though Orthodox Jews in America and Israel can have a choice.

    The chief rabbi may be a moral philosopher but he is not a medical expert, while he is entitled to support the view that only heart failure counts as death, to make this the only view that the Orthodox community in the country can subscribe to is unfair and in my view immoral.

    I still cannot see what would be the issue with the halachic organ donor cards and to impose a singular view is removing the choice for Orthodox families at a very tough time


December 21st, 2010 by Dave Gamble

There has been an bizarre press release today from the Vatican … it is quite extraordinary in that is illustrates the astonishing degree of pure stupidity and complete detachment from reality. Here it is … with my comments in red …

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI told Vatican officials Monday that they must reflect on the church’s culpability in its child sex-abuse scandal, but he also blamed a secular society in which he said the mistreatment of children was frighteningly common.

[Does he truly not remember that when running the congregation for the doctrine of the faith before becoming Pope, he issued a directive in 1980 to all catholic Bishops worldwide to cover-up the abuse and keep it a secret and that failing to do so would result in their excommunication … that resulted in abusers being protected and allowed to continue the abuse, this had nothing to do with secular society]

In his traditional, end-of-the-year speech to Vatican cardinals and bishops, Benedict said revelations of abuse in 2010 reached “an unimaginable dimension” that required the church to accept the “humiliation” as a call for renewal.

[Thats code for, we got caught telling lies and covering up abuse]

“We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen,” the pope said.

[Seriously! … they truly don’t know … they honestly don’t yet appreciate that protecting folks who bugger little children is not a great idea, is their disconnect from reality that vast?]

Benedict also said, however, that the scandal must be seen in a broader social context, in which child pornography is seemingly considered normal by society and drug use and sexual tourism are on the rise.

[He actually thinks the society considers child pornography to be normal!! … can you, the reader, name one single individual who truly thinks like that … this is utterly bizarre … and exactly how does he know that drug use and sexual tourism are on the rise, he has no factual data to back that claim up … he is just making this up … but then he makes everything else up as well … and for that matter, what has any of this got to do with catholic priests abusing young children and the cover-up … unless perhaps he is suggesting that catholic priests are also drug users and sexual tourists ]

So how on earth can you ever respond to stuff like that, its such a gross denial of what is really happening. As you might imagine, representatives of abuse victims have a few words to say about this …

“He is trying to say that the modern world is corrupt and sexually rampant. It is blaming society for what is actually their responsibility,” Margaret Kennedy, founder of the U.K.-based Minister and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors organization, told The Telegraph today. “No one in any age has ever thought that adults having sex with children is right.”

However, not everybody has lost all integrity, because tens of thousands of Germans have cancelled their church membership this year, according to new research by the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper and the DPA press agency, and that in the end is the very best way forward … walk away … simply vote with your feet.