The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this…
If an attack on a woman causes a miscarriage the attacker must pay a fine. If he causes serious damage to the mother it’s “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. This indicates that a fetus does not have equal standing under God’s law.
Monetary values are assigned to lives according to age and gender. Lives under one month old have no value.
Numbers 5:21-21, 27-28
A potion given to the Israelites by God is used to determine paternity. If the father is not the husband, an abortion occurs. god clearly places no value on a fetus that is not the result of union between husband and wife.
God’s law states that if a woman is pregnant and is to be executed there is to be no waiting for the fetus to be born. It is counted as part of the mother and she burned to death with it still in her womb.
Well, hey, would you look at that!
Oh my Maude this is the greatest thing. THE GREATEST THING. NEVER NOT REBLOG THIS.
There is no god, and that’s the simple truth. If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.
The most preposterous notion that H. Sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all of history.
The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful.
Near-death experiences are often thought of as mystical phenomena, but research is now revealing scientific explanations for virtually all of their common features. The details of what happens in near-death experiences are now known widely—a sense of being dead, a feeling that one’s “soul” has left the body, a voyage toward a bright light, and a departure to another reality where love and bliss are all-encompassing.
Approximately 3 percent of the U.S. population says they have had a near-death experience, according to a Gallup poll. Near-death experiences are reported across cultures, with written records of them dating back to ancient Greece. Not all of these experiences actually coincide with brushes with death—one study of 58 patients who recounted near-death experiences found 30 were not actually in danger of dying, although most of them thought they were.
Recently, a host of studies has revealed potential underpinnings for all the elements of such experiences. “Many of the phenomena associated with near-death experiences can be biologically explained,” says neuroscientist Dean Mobbs, at the University of Cambridge’s Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. Mobbs and Caroline Watt at the University of Edinburgh detailed this research online August 17 in Trends in Cognitive Sciences.
For instance, the feeling of being dead is not limited to near-death experiences—patients with Cotard or “walking corpse” syndrome hold the delusional belief that they are deceased. This disorder has occurred following trauma, such as during advanced stages of typhoid and multiple sclerosis, and has been linked with brain regions such as the parietal cortex and the prefrontal cortex—”the parietal cortex is typically involved in attentional processes, and the prefrontal cortex is involved in delusions observed in psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia,” Mobbs explains. Although the mechanism behind the syndrome remains unknown, one possible explanation is that patients are trying to make sense of the strange experiences they are having.
Out-of-body experiences are also now known to be common during interrupted sleep patterns that immediately precede sleeping or waking.For instance, sleep paralysis, or the experience of feeling paralyzed while still aware of the outside world, is reported in up to 40 percent of all people and is linked with vivid dreamlike hallucinations that can result in the sensation of floating above one’s body. A 2005 study found that out-of-body experiences can be artificially triggered by stimulating the right temporoparietal junction in the brain, suggesting that confusion regarding sensory information can radically alter how one experiences one’s body.
A variety of explanations might also account for reports by those dying of meeting the deceased. Parkinson’s disease patients, for example, have reported visions of ghosts, even monsters. The explanation? Parkinson’s involves abnormal functioning of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that can evoke hallucinations. And when it comes to the common experience of reliving moments from one’s life, one culprit might be the locus coeruleus, a midbrain region that releases noradrenaline, a stress hormone one would expect to be released in high levels during trauma. The locus coeruleus is highly connected with brain regions that mediate emotion and memory, such as the amygdala and hypothalamus.
In addition, research now shows that a number of medicinal and recreational drugs can mirror the euphoria often felt in near-death experiences, such as the anesthetic ketamine, which can also trigger out-of-body experiences and hallucinations. Ketamine affects the brain’s opioid system, which can naturally become active even without drugs when animals are under attack, suggesting trauma might set off this aspect of near-death experiences, Mobbs explains.
Read the rest here. It’s a fabulous article, as most Scientific American articles are.
The US is increasingly portrayed as a hotbed of religious fervour. Yet in the homeland of ostentatiously religious politicians such as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, agnostics and atheists are actually part of one of the fastest-growing demographics in the US: the godless. Far from being in thrall to its religious leaders, the US is in fact becoming a more secular country, some experts say. “It has never been better to be a free-thinker or an agnostic in America,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the FFRF.
The exact number of faithless is unclear. One study by the Pew Research Centre puts them at about 12% of the population, but another by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford puts that figure at around 20%.
Most experts agree that the number of secular Americans has probably doubled in the past three decades – growing especially fast among the young. It is thought to be the fastest-growing major “religious” demographic in the country.
Professor Barry Kosmin of Trinity College, who conducts the national Religious Identification Survey, believes up to a quarter of young people in the US now have no specific faith, and scoffs at the idea, prevalent in so much US media and culture, that the country is highly religious or becoming more so. “The trending in American history is towards secularisation,” Kosmin said.
For a long time studies have shown that about 40% of US adults attend a church service weekly. However, other studies that actually counted those at church – rather than just asking people if they went – have shown the true number to be about half to two-thirds of that figure.
More Americans are now choosing to get married or be buried without any form of religious ceremony. At universities, departments devoted to the study of secularism are starting to appear. Books by atheist authors are bestsellers. National groups, such as the Secular Coalition of America (SCA), have opened branches across the country.
Yet there is little doubt that religious groups still wield enormous influence in US politics and public life, especially through the rightwing of the Republican party. Groups such as Focus on the Family are well-funded and skilful lobbyists.
Kosmin said the attention paid by politicians and the media to religious groups was not necessarily a sign of strength. “When religion was doing well, it did not need to go into politics. Secularity of our population and culture is obviously growing and so religion is on the defensive,” he said.
However, it is still a brave US politician who openly declares a lack of faith. So far just one member of Congress, Californian Democrat Pete Stark, has admitted that he does not believe in God.
“Privately, we know that there are 27 other members of Congress that have no belief in God. But we don’t ‘out’ people,” said Silverman.
Others think that one day it will become politically mainstream to confess to a lack of faith as US political life lags behind the society that it represents. “Politicians have not yet caught up with the changing demographics of our society,” said Gaylor.
By TOM EHRICH GateHouse News Service
What if America truly were a Christian nation?
Not a Southern Baptist nation, or an Episcopal nation, or a Roman Catholic nation. Not grounded in the doctrinal and ecclesiastical isms that have grown up over the centuries. But a Christian nation, doing what Jesus did.
Well, we wouldn’t be arguing about sex, that’s for sure. Jesus devoted no time to matters of sexuality.
We wouldn’t be leading cheers for any particular economic system, capitalist or socialist, for in his many teachings about wealth and power, Jesus saw both as snares and delusions.
We wouldn’t be taking votes on who gets medical care, or who gets to live, or who gets to learn, or whose rights matter more, or whose race or religion can’t be allowed to breathe freely. For Jesus gave healing to all who asked, defended the lives of sinners, taught all who were eager to learn, welcomed all to his circle — even outcasts, lepers and children. He had no regard for his own tradition’s finely tuned boundaries.
We wouldn’t be loading great wealth onto the already wealthy, but rather would be asking them to follow the lead of biblical tax collector Zacchaeus and to give away half of what they have.
We wouldn’t need as many lawyers, because generosity would trump tax-reduction strategies, parables would trump rules, property would be shared as needed and people would be forgiving — not suing — each other.
If we were a genuinely Christian nation, we would be gathering the harvest of this abundant land and sharing it with the hungry of our own land and of many lands. We would forgive our enemies, speak truth to power and go forth to serve and to sacrifice, not to rule.
We would stand with the poor when predators circled around them. We would stand with sinners when the self-righteous picked up stones. We would join hands with nonconformists and strangers.
We would become God’s beacon to the nations. And when the tired and poor followed that light to our borders, we would greet them with open arms and make room for them in our communities.
That’s what Jesus did, and that is what it would mean to be a Christian nation.
So to those who insist that America be a Christian nation, I ask: Is this truly what you want? Do you want the I-was-hungry-and-you-gave-me-something-to-eat of Matthew 25? Do you want the
Sermon on the Mount? Do you want to shine God’s light in the darkness?
Your behavior says no.
Your shouts against generosity say no.
Your penchant for oppressive culture says no.
Your willingness to shower wealth on the few while the many suffer says no.
Your hostility to freedom says no.
So stop pretending. At least be as honest as the hedge fund manager who paid himself $8 billion last year. It’s “all about the Benjamins,” not the Gospel. It’s about stifling any freedom but your own. It’s about imposing your cultural preferences on others. It’s about turning your fears and appetites into law. It’s about you, not about Jesus Christ.
That’s the nature of politics, of course: one “you” versus another “you.” That’s fine, and it’s why we formed a democracy, so that our various interests could compete fairly. Just spare us the religious posturing.
If America became a Christian nation, doing what Jesus did, you would be aghast.
Tom Ehrich (www.morningwalk
media.com) is a writer, Episcopal priest and church consultant. Religion News Service distributes his column.
- emphasis added, and if more Christians thought like this guy and spoke out about it… like this guy, I wouldn’t have NEARLY the problem I have with religion.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.