Should Religion Be Exempt From Criticism

“I look forward to the day when violence done under the influence of religious passion is considered more dishonorable, more shameful, than crimes of avarice, and is punished accordingly, and religious leaders who incite such acts are regarded with the same contempt that we reserve for bartenders who send dangerously disabled people out onto the highways.

I also look forward to the day when pastors who abuse the authority of their pulpits by misinforming their congregations about science, about public health, about global warming, about evolution must answer to the charge of dishonesty. Telling pious lies to trusting children is a form of abuse, plain and simple. If quacks and bunko artists can be convicted of fraud for selling worthless cures, why not clergy for making their living off unsupported claims of miracle cures and the efficacy of prayer?”
Daniel C. Dennett Co-director, Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University

And the Catholic Church keeps asking for free speech to be censored.  And the Republican religious right wants to put people in jail for blasphemy and other religious/church crimes.  The future is indeed going to be interesting…and maybe deadly.

National Day of Prayer Today

National Day of Prayer Today

O.K. you Christian Religious types, after today I expect some REAL improvement in this poor ol’ world.  You keep telling us atheist types that YES prayer absolutely works and it’s proven.  Well I have never seen any proof of the power of prayer (other than a limited “power of positive thinking thing” and placebo effect) and here is a really big spotlight kind of opportunity to prove to the secular world and all the other Non-Christian religions that ONLY the Christian religion has the POWER. You can prove this to us by ending the wars we (the US) are in, to stop the deaths of all the soldiers still there.  You should also be praying for the end of world hunger, the curing of all cancers, heart diseases, and childhood diseases.
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There are hundreds of bad things in our country and the world that need your “power of prayer” to put an end to. I’ve mentioned a few of them in a recent post and they were things that prayer did not cure last year.  I expect that this year you and your cohorts will ramp up your God-given power of prayer and fix everything…also I think this year some of you really need to pay attention to the plight of our returning military servicemen who have arms and legs amputated…they could really use those limbs back. I figure if enough of you get together and petition God as a large group you’ll get His attention and he’ll fix this terribly serious problem.

Maybe some of you could work on the global warming thing (I know you Republicans will deny its happening…but, just to be sure…) and another bunch of you could concentrate on the fast disappearing fresh water and tremendous overpopulation problem in much of the world and just maybe enlarge the world’s oil supply too.  🙂

All-in-all the whole world really needs the power you Christians can bring to bear with your prayers to Jesus.  I look forward to the improvements we will see today, and the weeks to follow.
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Coming May 5th.–National Day of Prayer

This coming Thursday, May 5th  is this year’s “National Day of Prayer

I’m wondering what the Christian expectations are for this day, because last years was such a bust…after all I don’t think ANY of the good prayers were answered.

I expect a few million were praying for world peace or at least that American troops would be out of harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq.  From what I read, last year was the worst year of all for our troop deaths in the Middle East.  Also we seem to be party to an intrusion into Libya, just what we need another way of getting our finest sons and daughters killed.

Other things on our plate last year and early this year was the oil spill in the Gulf, very high gas prices, nuclear meltdown in Japan, thousands dead from earthquakes, the tsunamis in Japan that killed many thousands (count still going on from what I understand).  Africa is still losing tens of thousands of children to starvation and easily treatable diseases every year…there seems to be no end to this tragedy no matter what is done…by anyone.

America is suffering from record unemployment (as bad as the depression of the 1930’s), home foreclosures that put thousands of families on the street and welfare (this Republicans want to put a stop to).  Our countries deficit because of the wars and the incredibly disgustingly greedy bankers on Wall Street, is so high most people can’t even comprehend the vastness of the effect it will have on our future.

Aids is still rampant and in many countries women are still subjugated and treated as 3rd. class property,  and still raped by the tens of thousands with virtual impunity. Often they themselves get into trouble and are held responsible for their own rape.  This is just int olerable…as humans we ought to be deeply ashamed that it still goes on.

The divorce rate in America has been hovering around 50% for years and years in America and seems to be impervious to prayer, and I have yet to hear of prayer affecting birth defects or limb amputations…our returning soldiers from the Middle East who have had legs and arms blown off by IED can’t seem to regrow those limbs no matter how hard they and their family pray.

So of the “good” prayers I imagine millions of people all over the country are going to  make…will ANY of them get answered?

I don’t think so.
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Prayer…Does it Ever Work?

“…In addition, history has served as a de facto test of alternative forms of healthcare. Until approximately the last two centuries effective medical techniques to treat and cure serious illnesses were largely absent.  During that period prayer and other religious rites were commonly employed medical interventions.  Juvenile mortality rates were probably over 50% (they still exceeded 25% in 1900 Britain and the United States), young adult mortality rates were high, and average life spans were as low as two decades.  The number of children lost probably exceeded 50 billion; only a modest minority of those born made it to old age.  Significantly higher rates of mortality would have probably collapsed the human population and lead to extinction of the species, so it appears that death rates were near their highest sustainable maximum.  The evidence indicates that supportive prayer whether remote or in the presence of or by the patient has been a largely or entirely ineffective treatment for most or all of human history.  G. Paul, Journal of Medical Ethics, November, 2008 Here My emphasis

So for all of human history…up to about the 1800’s, all we had to combat disease or sickness was prayer or the witch doctor.  We, as a species, barely survived.  Enter modern science and medicine and we start to overrun the planet.  So do you think prayer (or the witch doctor) were ever effective?

We know for a fact that prayer is never effective against medical problems that are not subject to spontaneous remission or placebo effect. Medical problems such as Down’s syndrome, Spina-bifida, amputated limbs, etc. cannot, and have never been cured by prayer.

We know that prayer can never restore a heart damaged by heart attack, never restore lungs damaged by emphysema.  Humans are working on many of these medical problems, and if we survive the growing religious wars of this world, we will probably cure them.

Meanwhile, we can seriously doubt that there is a God who answers prayers, or if there is even is a God.

Addendum
Regarding that “Inerrant Bible” instructions about the efficacy of prayer:

Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

The message is restated in Mark 11:24:
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

In Matthew 17:20 Jesus reiterates that same message:
“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”

In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14, Jesus speaks to all of us about how easy prayer can be:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

In Matthew 18:19 Jesus says it again:
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Really???
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To Him Who Knocks The Door Will Be Opened

I count 9 times Jesus lied to us about answering prayer.  What he is saying seems so clear.  He lied about coming back also…I don’t think we can believe in this book…damn goat herders.  You would think if you can trust anybody…it would be ancient goat herders.

Matthew 7:7-8
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Matthew 18:19
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”

Matthew 21:22
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Mark 11:24
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Luke 11:9-10
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

John 14:13-14
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

John 15:7
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

John 15:16
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

John 16:23-24
“In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”

Quote of the day

I have seen myself lose intolerance, narrowness, bigotry, complacence, pride and a whole bushel-basket of other intellectual vices through my contact with Nature and with men. And when you take weeds out of a garden it gives you room to grow flowers. So, every time I lost a little self-satisfaction, or arrogance, I could plant some broadness or love of my own in its place, and after a while the garden of my mind began to bloom and be fragrant and I found myself better equipped for my work and more useful to others as a consequence.” — Luther Burbank


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Satan and Mark Twain

Letter from Satan who is banished to earth to his friends in heaven–St. Michael and St. Gabriel

“…Moreover — if I may put another strain upon you — he thinks he is the Creator’s pet. He believes the Creator is proud of him; he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes, and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to Him, and thinks He listens. Isn’t it a quaint idea? Fills his prayers with crude and bald and florid flatteries of Him, and thinks He sits and purrs over these extravagancies and enjoys them. He prays for help, and favor, and protection, every day; and does it with hopefulness and confidence, too, although no prayer of his has ever been answered. The daily affront, the daily defeat, do not discourage him, he goes on praying just the same. There is something almost fine about this perseverance. I must put one more strain upon you: he thinks he is going to heaven!”

“He has salaried teachers who tell him that. They also tell him there is a hell, of everlasting fire, and that he will go to it if he doesn’t keep the Commandments. What are Commandments? They are a curiosity. I will tell you about them by and by…”  Letters from Earth, Mark Twain, c.1909

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Religion Wants to Rule YOU

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

The link above will take you to a talkorigins.org web pages index that explains the faulty reasoning of most Young Earth Creationist, Intelligent Design, and evangelical fundamentalist claims that science and evolution does not explain our world.

My apologies to those who already know of this fantastic trove of information.

If you are a new convert to non-Christianity , atheism, or agnosticism and wish to have more ammunition to fight the evil plot by Christians to take over the world :-); then this spot is for you. I lost count of the number of answers, but it’s probably well over 600.

We have to confront the bad logic of Christian religion claims…with real science, and expose their claims for what they are…junk.

I have found over the years that I have been exploring todays ‘religious right’ that they have no regrets and will lie to anyone to try to advance their agenda. Although lying is generally condemned in the Bible, todays evangelical fundamentalist proselytizers, ministers, pastors, and church leaders are thinking that ‘whatever it takes’ is not a problem when you are faced with declining attendance, slim tithing, and mild cuss words on TV.

The religious right, perhaps best exemplified by Jerry Falwell Jr., Creation Research Institution, the Republican Party, Moral Majority, Christian Voice, Christian Coalition of America, Pat Robertson, Family Research Council, Joel Osteen, Discovery Institute, and many more.

Bill Moyers,

    “True, people of faith have always tried to bring their interpretation of the Bible to bear on American laws and morals … it’s the American way, encouraged and protected by the First Amendment. But what is unique today is that the radical religious right has succeeded in taking over one of America’s great political parties. The country is not yet a theocracy but the Republican Party is, and they are driving American politics, using God as a a battering ram on almost every issue: crime and punishment, foreign policy, health care, taxation, energy, regulation, social services and so on.”

    I’m sure they have more planned; such as clamping down on same sex marriage, homosexuality in general, loose morals, Playboy magazine 🙂 (had to thrown that in) sexy dresses, mandatory attendance at church, no movies or TV that violates their sense of propriety and morals…PG all the time, how to properly raise your children, prayer (to A Christian God) in schools, teaching Intelligent Design and Creationism in all schools, teach only abstinence to young ones, preparation by all for the Second Coming and/or the Rapture, stop federal funding to all sciences that disprove their views of the Bible, get rid of ‘liberal’ judges, making and enforcing a ‘Blasphemy Law’, Support for religious institutions within government… Department of Homeland Religion…headed by Bishop Chertoff maybe :-), opposition to premarital sex, promiscuity, prostitution, sex trafficking, use of birth control or contraceptives, emergency contraceptive methods…Wow, when I started this list I couldn’t stop.

    There are many more reasons to stop this evil plot…remember, “A brain is a terrible thing to waste”.

    Believe me, religion is not all warm and fuzzy.

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