Wednesday, November 19, 2014

RE: 6 Reasons why Religion Does More Harm Than Good


Let me make one thing abundantly clear:

I am not one who normally rants about any stupid article I found on the internet, but when I came across this article:

I just about broke my forehead from how many times I face-palmed myself. That's how beyond dumb the article is.

I do understand the article begins with a poll of Brits and their view of religion but let's look at how stupid the notions in the article are with my take in red script.

Religion promotes tribalism. Infidel, heathen, heretic. Religion divides insiders from outsiders. Rather than assuming good intentions, adherents often are taught to treat outsiders with suspicion. “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers,” says the Christian Bible. “They wish that you disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them,” says the Koran (Sura 4:91).

This argument doesn't really work especially with Christianity because it assumes that the people in the religion are fighting only people who are not in the religion. Of course anyone who has actually read the Bible (i.e. anyone who isn't the author of the article) knows:
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places (Eph 6:12).
In fact, the author misquotes 2 Cor 6:14 and left out the fact the verses were actually talking about the mixing of incompatible beliefs, not about interacting with non-believers; the example Paul gives is worshipping Jesus and Belial. 

2. Religion anchors believers to the Iron Age. Concubines, magical incantations, chosen people, stonings . . . The Iron Age was a time of rampant superstition, ignorance, inequality, racism, misogyny, and violence."
Historians would not agree with you on that
Sacred texts including the Bible, Torah and Koran all preserve and protect fragments of Iron Age culture, putting a god’s name and endorsement on some of the very worst human impulses.
If that's true, then how do you explain all this?
Do any of these findings sound like they're from people stuck in the Iron Age?

Religion makes a virtue out of faith. Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus. So sing children in Sunday schools across America.
That's wrong. A quick Google search shows that lyric only exists in a Methodist hymn and not all Christians are Methodists. 
 The Lord works in mysterious ways, pastors tell believers who have been shaken by horrors like brain cancer or a tsunami. Faith is a virtue.
I don't know what pastors the author talked to, but I don't know of any minister who would use that phrase and make it sound like a cop-out. There are many factors that influence how people cope with tragedy, but I do find it odd that when tragedy happens, people move toward religion, not away from it.
As science eats away at territory once held by religion
What is the author smoking? That notion is not true.
, traditional religious beliefs require greater and greater mental defenses against threatening information.
More like atheism goes through greater mental gymnastics to avoid admitting they're wrong on something.
 To stay strong, religion trains believers to practice self-deception, shut out contradictory evidence, and trust authorities rather than their own capacity to think. 
but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. (1 Thess 5:21)
You were saying?
Government, in particular, becomes a fight between competing ideologies rather than a quest to figure out practical, evidence-based solutions that promote wellbeing.
Mostly because the people who say ideology should trump facts are the same people who reject God and absolute right and wrong. 
 4. Religion diverts generous impulses and good intentions.
I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this because it is another example of atheist mental gymnastics but I will point out religious people have proven to be far more generous than atheists. 
And before you even try, No….calling for higher government handouts doesn't count as being generous.
5.  Religion teaches helplessness. Que sera, sera—what will be will be. Let go and let God.We’ve all heard these phrases, but sometimes we don’t recognize the deep relationship between religiosity and resignation.
Mostly because no connection actually exists. No one seems to know where the phrase came from so you can be sure it has nothing to do with Christian teachings.
 In the most conservative sects of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, women are seen as more virtuous if they let God manage their family planning. Droughts, poverty and cancer get attributed to the will of God rather than bad decisions or bad systems; believers wait for God to solve problems they could solve themselves.
Then how do you explain in Christianity women have an equal chance to be a saint whether they have kids or not? How do you explain advancements in cancer treatment and agriculture all came from Christians?
This attitude harms society at large as well as individuals. When today’s largest religions came into existence, ordinary people had little power to change social structures either through technological innovation or advocacy. "
This ignores the fact it was religion that gave people notions like private property and individual rights…notions that people have regardless of their station in life.

Religions seek power. Think corporate personhood. Religions are man-made institutions, just like for-profit corporations are.
Nothing man-made could have made the breakthroughs Christianity has.
And like any corporation, to survive and grow a religion must find a way to build power and wealth and compete for market share... And just like for-profit behemoths, they are willing to wield their power and wealth in the service of self-perpetuation, even it harms society at large.
So we're supposed to ignore the tactics of today's atheists, like forcing religious symbols to come down because of some bogus notion of the Constitution? 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Tale of Two Governors



With Election 2014 behind us, I could just go into a long page about why I think Republicans won with ease and what this means for the future, but when I looked into who got elected and what propositions passed, I noticed that this election was not so much about a backlash against political polices but rather reflects a stark contrast in cultural values.

This became even more apparent when I looked into the election of two particular men elected governors for their respective states: Andrew Cuomo of New York and Greg Abbott of Texas.

On the surface, both men have several traits in common: both practiced private law at some point in their lives, both have children, both are professed Roman Catholics, both are the same age, both attended two different colleges for two different degrees and both have deep connections within their respective political parties.

So why focus on these two? It is the differences between them that in a way feeds the different results in each state.

While Cuomo was raised Catholic, Abbott is a convert to the faith. Cuomo went to a Catholic university at one point but Abbott never attended any Catholic college. Cuomo leads a state with some of the strictest gun control laws in America; Abbott, an avid hunter, has fought against federal gun control laws.
Cuomo, despite his claims of being Catholic, is all for gay so-called marriage; Abbott doesn't care for any marriage other than between one man and one woman. Cuomo openly advocates church/state separation; Abbott argued for the right for the Ten Commandments on public property---and won.
Abbott has been married to the same woman for decades; Cuomo is divorced and lives with a woman who he is not married to.

It comes as no surprise then that Cuomo is all for bigger government and higher taxation whereas Abbott is about lower taxes and people controlling their own lives.

It is for their different but core differences that makes Texas the success and New York the loser.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to morality and the policies feeding on each other.
Bad theology leads to bad morality leads to bad policies leads to bad living.

That's all it comes down to.

America has made it clear they've had enough with bad polices; too bad not all of America received the memo.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Pope is For Evolution…No Surprise

Sorry, But Media Coverage of Pope Francis is Papal Bull

It is official: the media has gone bananas in its coverage of Pope Francis.
The OMG-Pope-Francis-Supports-Evolution story of the past two days is just the latest example. Almost every news outlet, major and minor, has plastered Pope Francis’ name across the interwebs and proclaimed he has finally planted the Catholic Church in the evolution camp of the creation-evolution debate. The only problem? Almost every outlet has got the story wrong, proving once again that the mainstream media has nearly no understanding of the Church. And that madness shows no signs of stopping.
Pope Francis’ real role in this evolution hubbub was small. He spoke, as Popes do, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on Monday, which had gathered to discuss “Evolving Topics of Nature,” and he affirmed what Catholic teaching has been for decades. “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life,” he said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”
Anyone who knows anything about Catholic history knows that a statement like this is nothing new. Pope Pius XII wrote an encyclical “Humani Generis” in 1950 affirming that there was no conflict between evolution and Catholic faith. Pope John Paul II reaffirmed that, stressing that evolution was more than a hypothesis, in 1996. Pope Benedict XVI hosted a conference on the nuances of creation and evolution in 2006. There’s an official book on the event for anyone who wants to know more. Pope Francis’ comments Monday even came as he was unveiling a new statue of Pope Benedict XVI, honoring him for his leadership.
None of that seems to matter to the media; the internet exploded all the same. Site after site after site ramped up the Pope’s words and took them out of context. Headlines like these added drama: NPR: “Pope Says God Not ‘A Magician, With A Magic Wand.’” Salon: “Pope Francis schools creationists.”U.S. News and World Report: “Pope Francis Backs the Big Bang Theory, Evolution” (with a subhed: “Also, the pontiff says he’s not a communist”).Huffington PostSydney Morning Herald.TelegraphUSA TodayNew York Post. The list goes on and on. Only Slate did its homework.
Wednesday morning the stories continued with new, analytical twists. The New Republic came out with a story titled, “The Pope Has More Faith Than the GOP in Science.” The Washington Post posted a piece, “Pope Francis may believe in evolution, but 42 percent of Americans do not.” It doesn’t seem to matter that Pope Benedict XVI called the debate between evolution an creation an “absurdity” in 2007. MSNBC opened its piece saying, “Pope Francis made a significant rhetorical break with Catholic tradition Monday by declaring that the theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real.”NBCNews called the Pope’s statement, “a theological break from his predecessor Benedict XVI, a strong exponent of creationism.”
This embarrassing narrative repeats itself over and over in Francis coverage. It happened last week when the Pope, again, voiced the Church’s long-standing opposition to the death penalty (having also done so in June, and after John Paul discussed the topic at length in an entire encyclical on being consistently pro-life in 1995). It happened at the Synod of the Bishops on the family, when the bishops talked about welcoming gays and the media whipped that up into an inaccurate story about an enormous policy shift toward gay marriage.
hat’s dangerous, especially because this furor seems to occur most often when hot-button Western political issues can be tied to the Pope’s statements—evolution, death penalty, gay marriage. Wednesday morning, Pope Francis asked for prayers for 43 Mexican students who were burned alive by drug traffickers. It is unlikely that that will get the same pickup.
Moral of this story: Don’t believe most of what you read about the Vatican. Papal coverage has gone wild.
(Click here for the link)
It's official now, isn't it? The media just can't be trusted to do its own research….nor remember something that happened just a few years earlier, as the article mentions Benedict XVI's and St John Paul II's take on the matter.
One will note it also mentions an encyclical called Humani Generis, which is considered the official teaching of the Church concerning evolution. Here is a key paragraph:
the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faithful. Some however rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question

 I believe this announcement from His Holiness was because the American media is so used to Christian groups opposing scientific ideas, bet it evolution or vaccinations.
(Side note: a key part of evolution is genetic theory, which was put together by a Catholic monk. The Big Bang Theory itself was invented by a Catholic priest).
The truth is we wouldn’t have all these without Christianity, in particular Catholicism. But the sadder truth is much like the meaning behind Halloween and Advent, most so-called Christians (I say that in the theological sense) have forgotten their own past and thus have left others to make it up.

And why would you let atheists do that? Atheists are idiots.