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Friday, March 14, 2014

Atheist charities

http://www.squidoo.com/Atheist...
http://www.thinkatheist.com/no...
http://techskeptic.blogspot.co...

Why disable posts?

One thing that constantly amuses me is when I see some headline on youtube  or some similar medium that claims that a Christian has won a debate or an argument with an atheist. When I click on the link to see what is going on, the ability to post a comment has often been disabled.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6x_zmTpiZEU

The link provided above is one such example. I am not stating that atheists have never done this. However, I have never seen an example of when an atheist has done this. I also find the claim that the atheist was bested is humorous. Now, I may be biased, but I think the atheist holds their own, if not actually winning the argument. But regardless of my opinion, why not allow people to post their own view on the debate?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

One of my favorite satires. Letter to Dr. Laura




Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him thatLeviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned inExodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination (Lev 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden byLev 19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them?(Lev 24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

Read more at http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/drlaura.asp#MBrPmvzUjSYoMLAb.99

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Are the Ten Commandments the basis for a moral and strong society?

The following is the introduction to an article that states that the Ten Commandments are the only solution for the world's problems.

"There is only one solution to the world’s problems, only one prescription for producing a near-heaven on earth. It is 3,000 years old. And it is known as the Ten Commandments. Properly understood and applied, the Ten Commandments are really all humanity needs to make a beautiful world. While modern men and women, in their hubris, believe that they can and must come up with new ideas to make a good world, the truth is there is almost nothing new to say. If people and countries lived by the Ten Commandments, all the great moral problems would disappear."
Read more at http://joeforamerica.com/2013/08/solution-worlds-problems/#ImZkYcFTX1xxeE1f.99

 
I have this to say on the matter. Does it not seem odd that this all knowing god did not bother to give these Ten Commandments to Adam and Eve or their kids. No, he waited until after humankind was so evil that he had to wipe them off the face of the earth. Would not the knowledge of these Ten Commandments have helped to prevent the people from becoming so deprived? Did he give these commandments to Noah and his kids? Hmm, no, actually he did not do it then either. He waited quite awhile longer. He did not even give them to the Hebrews until they had left Egypt in the million man march across the desert that left absolutely no traces.
You might think that if these Ten Commandments were so important, that god would have provided them right from the start. Or at least as soon as Adam and Eve screwed up right at the beginning. You know, since god is supposedly all knowing and everything.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Rabies and prayer

The miracle of Jeanna Giese
There are so many examples of the power of prayer, but one in particular deserves special consideration because it is so well documented. In December of 2004 a girl named Jeanna Giese survived a bite from a rabid bat through prayer. Hundreds of newspapers (including the Raleigh News and Observer in my home town) ran stories about the miracle of her recovery with headlines such as "Rabies girl in miracle recovery." In Raleigh, the headline was "Web weaves global prayer circle - Petitions circle the world as girl beats rare case of rabies." [Source: by Sharon Roznik, Raleigh News and Observer, December 17, 2004]
The summary of the story goes like this. Jeanna was in a church service in Wisconsin when a brown bat fell into the aisle. She picked the bat up and carried it outside. No one gave it a second thought. A month later it was obvious that something was wrong. Soon Jeanna had a full case of rabies. No human has ever survived this disease without being vaccinated. Up until 2004, full-blown rabies had been 100% fatal. According to the article, a global prayer circle helped Jeanna survive. Once she got sick, Jeanna's father called friends and asked them to pray for Jeanna. People around the world heard about her story through the press and by word of mouth. They prayed. They sent emails. They passed the word along. Millions of people heard about Jeanna's plight and they said prayers for her. And the prayer circle worked. Through the power of God, Jeanna recovered. Jeanna was the first human to survive rabies without the vaccine. Dr. Charles Rupprecht of the CDC in Atlanta called Jeanna's case a miracle. The family and everyone in Jeanna's huge, global prayer circle know that God heard their prayers and answered them. This is amazing stuff. The dictionary defines a miracle as "An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God." [ref] So we must ask a fundamental question: Did an all-loving, all-powerful God hear the prayers from Jeanna's worldwide prayer circle and then reach down from heaven to help Jeanna? Did God actually interact with Jeanna's body, making the impossible happen and curing her case of rabies through a divine miracle? Or did something else happen?
 http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/god5.htm

Well, guess what? Something else did happen. Her doctor cured her and using the same technique, others have cured more people who had rabies. And the story was wrong about no body surviving rabies without being vaccinated or cured as well. How unsurprising.

"Last year a team of researchers from Peru and the U.S. made a discovery that challenged one of the most widely held assumptions about rabies—that the virus is nearly always fatal unless doctors administer a vaccine before it reaches the brain. Based on the results of blood tests, the scientists learned that half a dozen villagers in a remote part of the Peruvian Amazon had previously been infected—probably through bites from vampire bats, which are common in the area

But instead of suffering the agonizing deaths for which rabies is infamous, the villagers had recovered and apparently developed immunity to further infection.
The discovery put the Peruvians on a short list of people who have survived rabies without a vaccine. The best-known member of that select group is Jeanna Giese, a Wisconsin teenager who lived through the disease in 2004, also after contact with a bat. Out of desperation, Giese's physician improvised a risky treatment that included putting the girl into a controlled coma, which apparently allowed her body enough time to destroy the microscopic intruder. Doctors have since refined the treatment, now known as the Milwaukee protocol, and tried it on at least 39 other never vaccinated patients. Five more people have survived.

The mixed success rates, and the 2012 Peruvian study, underscore how little scientists know about rabies, despite its long history as a menace to humanity. Based on accumulating evidence, though, researchers now recognize that not all rabies infections are equal or universally fatal. Many different animals, including dogs, bats, foxes and raccoons, carry various strains of the rabies virus. The varieties hosted by bats and foxes appear to be weaker, and some people's immune systems may be able to defeat them without a vaccine."

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=rethinking-rabies&WT.mc_id=SA_CAT_HLTH_20130820

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

'Ex-gay' group says it's shutting down; leader apologizes for 'pain and hurt'

 

A Christian ministry that led the so-called ex-gay movement, which professes to rid people of their homosexuality, has announced that it will shut down, and its leader apologized extensively to gays for causing “pain and hurt.”
The ministry, Exodus International, was founded in 1976 and claims more than 200 branches, churches and counselors in the United States and Canada. It had insisted that people could overcome same-sex attraction through prayer and therapy.
Mainstream psychiatric and medical groups have said that the movement, also known as reparative therapy, is unfounded in science and can be harmful. The American Psychiatric Association said 15 years ago that it could cause depression, anxiety and self-depressive behavior in patients.

The president of Exodus, Alan Chambers, said late Wednesday on the ministry’s website that he had “conveniently omitted my ongoing same-sex attractions” but now accepts them “as parts of my life that will like always be there.”
Addressing gays, Chambers, who is married to a woman, wrote: “You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours.”
“I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced,” he wrote. “I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change.”
He added that he could not apologize for his own biblical beliefs about sex and marriage but would not fight gays on their own beliefs or their push for rights.
In a statement, Exodus International, which describes itself as the oldest and largest group of its kind, said that its board of directors had decided to close down after a year of talking and praying about its place in a changing culture.
Polls show that a narrow majority of Americans, a steadily growing share, support gay marriage, which has been legalized in 12 states and the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court is preparing to rule on two landmark gay-rights cases.
“We’re not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change – and they want to be heard,” Tony Moore, an Exodus board member, said on the organization’s website.
Chambers, over the past year, had caused turmoil in the ex-gay movement by changing course and saying that reparative therapy could hurt gays and that there was no cure for same-sex attraction.
"I do not believe that cure is a word that is applicable to really any struggle, homosexuality included," Chambers told The Associated Press last year. "For someone to put out a shingle and say, 'I can cure homosexuality' — that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth."
Evan Hurst, the associate director of Truth Wins Out, a leading organization opposed to the ex-gay movement, applauded Chambers on Thursday for “honesty, integrity and authenticity.”
“It takes a real man to publicly confront the people whose lives were destroyed by his organization’s work,” he said.
"Alan Chambers, and the rest of the Exodus leadership, has fully and completely come to the realization that their so-called 'ministry' has done harm to thousands of people,” said Ross Murray, of of gay rights advocacy group GLAAD. “They are coming to the right decision to end that harm now."
California last year become the first state in the nation to ban such therapy for teens under 18 years of age. New Jersey's state legislature is weighing similar legislation.
Did you undergo therapy at Exodus International? Want to share your thoughts on Exodus' decision to shut down? You can write reporter Miranda Leitsinger with feedback: miranda.leitsinger@msnbc.com 
This story was originally published on
 

Friday, June 7, 2013

School prayer and the Constitution

In 1992, the Court ruled in Lee v. Weisman that prayers at public school commencements are an impermissible establishment of religion: "The lessons of the First Amendment are as urgent in the modern world as the 18th Century when it was written. One timeless lesson is that if citizens are subjected to state-sponsored religious exercises, the State disavows its own duty to guard and respect that sphere of inviolable conscience and belief which is the mark of a free people," wrote Justice Kennedy for the majority. He dismissed as unacceptable the cruel idea that a student should forfeit her own graduation in order to be free from such an establishment of religion.

Our founders wisely adopted a secular constitution, the first to derive its powers from "We, the People" and the consent of the governed, rather than claiming divine authority. They knew from the experience of religious persecution, witch hunts and religious discrimination in the Thirteen Colonies, and from the bloody history left behind in Europe, that the surest path to tyranny was to entangle church and state. That is why they adopted a secular constitution whose only references to religion are exclusionary, such as that there shall be no religious test for public office (Art. VI). There were no prayers offered at the Constitutional Convention, which shows their intent to separate religion from secular affairs.

"There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed."

- Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Weiss v. District Board, March 18, 1890

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -James Madison

Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity in exclusion of all other religions may establish, with the same ease, any particular sect of Christians in exclusion of all other sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute threepence only of his property for the support of any one establishment may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever? (James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance," addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1785; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: The Citadel Press, pp. 459-460. According to Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, pp. 39 ff., Madison's "Remonstrance" was instrumental in blocking the multiple establishment of all denominations of Christianity in Virginia.)

"Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private school, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate."

- Ulysses S. Grant, "The President's Speech at Des Moines" (1875)

Thomas Jefferson, author of the sweeping Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, stating that no citizen "shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever..." and that to "compell a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of [religious] opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical."

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law 'respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

- President Thomas Jefferson, 1802 letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut

Jefferson's Danbury letter has been cited favorably by the Supreme Court many times. In its 1879 Reynolds v. U.S. decision the high court said Jefferson's observations "may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment."

Supreme Court Cases Opposing Religious Worship in Schools

McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203, 212 (1948).Struck down religious instruction in public schools. The case involved school-sponsored religious instruction in which the sole nonreligious student, Jim McCollum, was placed in detention and persecuted by schoolmates in Champaign, Illinois.

Tudor v. Board of Education of Rutherford, 14 J.N. 31 (1953), cert. denied 348 U.S. 816 (1954).Let stand a lower court ruling that the practice of allowing volunteers to distribute Gideon Bibles at public school was unconstitutional.

Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962).Declared prayers in public school unconstitutional.

Abington Township School District v. Schempp, 374. U.S. 203 (1963).Declared unconstitutional devotional Bible reading and recitation of the Lord's Prayer in public schools.

Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S., 97, 104 (1968).Struck down state law forbidding schools to teach the science of evolution.

Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39 (1980).Declared unconstitutional the posting of the Ten Commandments in classrooms.

Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 72 (1985).Overturned law requiring daily "period of silence not to exceed one minute... for meditation or daily prayer."

Jager v. Douglas County School District, 862 F.2d 824 (11th Cir.), Cert. den. 490 U.S. 1090 (1989).Let stand a lower court ruling in Georgia that pre-game invocations at high school football games are unconstitutional.

Lee v. Weisman, 120 L.E. 2d 467/ 112 S.C.T. 2649 (1992).Ruled prayers at public school graduations an impermissible establishment of religion.

Berger v. Rensselaer, 982 F.2d, 1160 (7th Cir.) Cert. denied. 124 L.E. 2d 254 (1993).Let stand ruling barring access to Gideons to pass out bibles in Indiana schools.

Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290 (2000).Barred student-led prayers at public school functions.