Saturday, June 4, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
This beautiful Mercedes Benz CL500 was parked in Austin, Texas -- on a parking stripe, basically taking up 2 spaces. The after-market black wheels and tires were sharp and expensive. The lone bumper sticker read: Jesus, I trust in You.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Christians young and old are taught to honor Abraham for being willing to murder his only son, Isaac, at God’s request. What kind of parent would really do that?
Friday, April 1, 2011
It’s time we be clear: Jesus claimed to be a faith-healer, and much of his ministry allegedly involved casting out demons. Here are just two examples of the dozens of passages about demon possession in the Christian Bible (Hebrew Bible plus "New" Testament). Isn't it interesting that none of these miracles left behind any evidence that we can actually verify today? Is that the only reason some people still believe these myths? These days, why do we generally require evidence in order to believe peoples' claims about faith healing?
[Jesus "heals" a young man apparently suffering from epilepsy:]
Matthew Chapter 17
15 "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.
16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him."
17 "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me."
18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out,
24 "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!"
25 "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!"
26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
By Frederick Daniel Hardy
A belief is like a lever that, once pulled, affects just about everything else. If I told you that you just inherited 15 million dollars, and if you believed me, that belief might have a powerful and transformative effect on your life, like none you could ever imagine. Notice that your belief and its effect would be unrelated to whether I was telling you the truth.
This is a photo of one of the wounded in a riot in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan on April 1, 2011. Religious zealots burning a book in Florida caused religious zealots in Afghanistan to murder at least 12 innocent people and wound several others. Enraged by the Quran burning in Florida, the rioters were looking for Americans to kill. Unable to find any, they attacked the next best thing: the United Nations compound that was there in Afghanistan to help these very people. 2 of those killed were beheaded by the rioters, who had just been incited to violence at Friday prayers.
Is it time we admit just how much religion harms us? Do we need these violent, tribal legends in order to be good people? Or do they actually make things much worse?
Monday, March 14, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
Thursday, February 10, 2011
In the United States, we consider some rights “fundamental”: that is, so basic that everyone is assumed to have them all the time. One fundamental right we all enjoy: the freedom to practice whatever religion we like, or no religion at all. Another of our fundamental rights: the right to personal safety, to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights embed these rights in our society. Basic, fundamental rights like these form this country’s moral foundation.
Many Christians believe they draw their morals from the Christian Bible, and that as a society we should draw our morals from the Christian Bible. Does the Christian Bible guarantee freedom of religion? Does the Christian Bible guarantee freedom from cruel and unusual punishment?
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Religions have been around as long as we have. Every human society in history has had religious or at least supernatural beliefs. We humans have imagined more than 4,000 gods over the years. In the early days, we thought gods and spirits inhabited everything: bears, trees, water, rocks. When we cut down the trees and swam in the water and didn't find any gods, gods' residences changed. Gods moved to high mountain tops. And when we climbed the mountains and didn't find any gods, their residences changed again. Gods moved from mountain tops to the sky, above what was visible from the earth. And now that we have explored space and once again found no gods, once again those gods have moved. Now gods live somewhere even more mysterious. Gods are everywhere and nowhere at once, or maybe they live inside us in undetectable spirit form.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Let’s say it’s thousands of years ago, and Dick and Jane are engaged to be married. It’s the old days and they are forbidden to have sex until marriage. If they are caught having sex or if Jane gets pregnant before their wedding, Jane’s father will be angry and violent, and Jane and Dick will be publicly disgraced.
Jane gets pregnant before the wedding. What is the most likely cause of Jane’s pregnancy?
Thousands of years ago, it would have seemed very possible to people for Jane to be impregnated by a mystical spirit. Today, do people still think that actually happens? Can we now all agree on what causes women to become pregnant? How would you feel if your young daughter and her boyfriend claimed that a spirit had gotten her pregnant?
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Matthew 10: 34-37 [New International Version]
"34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Friday, January 28, 2011
"For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child. As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all."
--Hebrews 12:6-8 (New Living Translation)
Commentary: the Lord punishes those He loves, as we all do. If He’s not punishing you, you’re a bastard and not really His. So accept His divine punishment, just as you punish and discipline those you love. Amen.