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Monday, October 31, 2011

Kim Kardashian Files for Divorce

It is always fascinating that Christians get as upset as they do over the idea of gay marriage. It is not like heterosexuals have been doing a such an amazing job with the institution.

Other short marriages:

Zsa Zsa Gabor and Felipe de Alba
Wedding date: April 13, 1983
Length of marriage: One day
Zsa Zsa Gabor was only married to Felipe de Alba for one day before seeking an annulment. She married her last husband, Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, in 1986, after eight failed marriages.

Robin Givens and Svetozar Marinkovic
Wedding date: Aug. 22, 1997
Length of marriage: One day

Britney Spears and Jason Alexander
Wedding date: Jan. 3, 2004
Length of marriage: Two days

Dennis Hopper and Michelle Phillips
Wedding date: Oct. 31, 1970
Length of marriage: Eight days

Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman
Wedding date: Nov. 14, 1998
Length of marriage: Nine days

Mario Lopez and Ali Landry
Wedding date: Apr. 24, 2004
Length of marriage: Two weeks

Eddie Murphy and Tracey Edmonds
Wedding date: Jan. 1, 2008
Length of marriage: Two weeks

Ethel Merman and Ernest Borgnine
Wedding date: June 27, 1964
Length of marriage: One month

Darva Conger and Rick Rockwell
Wedding date: Feb. 15, 2000
Length of marriage: Two months

Chris Kattan and Sunshine Tutt
Wedding date: June 28, 2008
Length of marriage: Two months

Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon
Wedding date: Oct. 6, 2007
Length of marriage: Two months

Lisa Marie Presley and Nicolas Cage
Wedding date: Aug. 10, 2002
Length of marriage: Three months

Nicky Hilton and Todd Meister
Wedding date: Aug. 15, 2004
Length of marriage: Three months

Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson
Wedding date: July 29, 2006
Length of marriage: Four months

Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney
Wedding date: May 9, 2005
Length of marriage: Four months

Janet Jackson and James DeBarge
Wedding date: Sept. 7, 1984
Length of marriage: Four months

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Esposito
Wedding date: Dec. 21, 2006
Length of marriage: Four months

Charlie Sheen and Donna Peele
Wedding date: Sept. 3, 1996
Length of marriage: Five months

Comparing the bible with other ancient texts

One argument I seem to have with many Christians is over the idea that I treat the bible differently than other older texts. I would agree that I subject the bible to a different degree of scrutiny than other secular books for one simple reason. The other books do not claim to have been inspired by god. The other books do not make claims about eternal salvation. It may be true that Julius Caesar did not do all the things that are attributed to him. However, no one is arguing that a belief in the life of Julius Caesar is necessary for salvation. Yes, there are other religious texts. I also put them through the same type of scrutiny as I do the bible.

The US Constitution was recently brought up in one of these discussions. Now, there are significant differences in what we know about the US Constitution and what we now about the bible.  People are trying to equate a book that has unknown authors, with no original texts, that has been translated many times with a single document that is in its original language, with known authors and actual letters from the founders on the intent of the document. Since there are no originals with the bible, there is absolutely no way to know if the verse you are reading is what was originally written. You have no idea if it has been altered, added to or subtracted from. The current version is compared to older copies, but once again, you have no idea if the oldest copies have any mistakes in them. There are no translations issues with the Constitution. There is no question over who wrote it. There is no comparison whatsoever.

Occasionally I see a bumper sticker that reads: “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.”  My response is always, what if God did not say it?  What if the book you take as giving you God’s words instead contains human words.  What if the Bible doesn’t give a foolproof answer to the questions of the modern age-abortion, women’s rights, gay rights, religious and supremacy, western style democracy and the like?  What if we have to figure out how to live and what to believe on our own, without setting up the Bible as a false idol–or an oracle that gives us a direct line of communication with the Almighty. 


Arguments against god

According to Landua and Lifshitz, authors of Statistical Physics:

---in the general theory of relativity the universe as a whole must not be regarded as a closed system, but as one which is in a variable gravitational field. In this case, the application of the law of increase of entropy does not imply the necessity of statistical equilibrium.

An argument,  which at its core is invalid, even when draped in scientific jargon, will remain invalid.

More importantly, however, the Second Law pertains only to closed systems, which according to many physicists, renders it inapplicable to the universe as a whole. Professor Grunbaum, a physicist, writes:
"An inherent limitation on the applicability of the --- entropy concept to the entire universe lies in the fact that it has no applicability at all to a spatially infinite universe."

If the theist has no difficulty in accepting an uncaused god, why does he complain when asked to accept an uncaused universe? There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the natural universe is in any way dependent upon some supernatural agency. One the contrary, the concept of causality makes sense only within the concept of a natural universe, and to demand a cause of the universe is nonsensical.

Professor John Hospers points out the contradictory nature of the first cause argument:
"--- the causal argument is not merely invalid but self-contradictory: the conconclusion, which says that something (god) does not have a cause, contradicts the premise, which say that everything does have a cause. If that premise is true, the conclusion cannot be true; and if the conclusion is true, the premise cannot be. "

Transcendental Argument for the Nonexistence of God

Some Christian philosophers have made the incredible argument that logic, science and morality presuppose the truth of the Christian world view because logic, science and morality depend on the truth of this world view [1]. Advocates call this argument the Transcendental Argument for Existence of God and I will call it TAG for short. In what follows I will not attempt to refute TAG directly. Rather I will show how one can argue exactly the opposite conclusion, namely, that logic, science and morality presuppose the falsehood of the Christian world view or at least the falsehood of the interpretation of his world view presupposed by TAG. I will call this argument the Transcendental Argument for the Nonexistence of God or TANG for short.

If TANG is a sound argument, then obviously TAG is not, for it is logically impossible that there be two sound arguments with contradictory conclusions. On the other hand, if TANG is unsound, it does not follow that TAG is sound. After all, both arguments could be unsound. Perhaps, logic, science, and objective morality are possible given either a Christian or a nonChristian world view. In any case, the presentation of TANG will provide an indirect challenge to TAG and force its advocates to defend their position. The burden will be on them to refute TANG. Unless they do, TAG is doomed.

How might TANG proceed? Consider logic. Logic presupposes that its principles are necessarily true. However, according to the brand of Christianity assumed by TAG, God created everything, including logic; or at least everything, including logic, is dependent on God. But if something is created by or is dependent on God, it is not necessary--it is contingent on God. And if principles of logic are contingent on God, they are not logically necessary. Moreover, if principles of logic are contingent on God, God could change them. Thus, God could make the law of noncontradiction false; in other words, God could arrange matters so that a proposition and its negation were true at the same time. But this is absurd. How could God arrange matters so that New Zealand is south of China and that New Zealand is not south of it? So, one must conclude that logic is not dependent on God, and, insofar as the Christian world view assumes that logic so dependent, it is false.

Consider science. It presupposes the uniformity of nature: that natural laws govern the world and that there are no violations of such laws. However, Christianity presupposes that there are miracles in which natural laws are violated. Since to make sense of science one must assume that there are no miracles, one must further assume that Christianity is false. To put this in a different way: Miracles by definition are violations of laws of nature that can only be explained by God's intervention. Yet science assumes that insofar as an event as an explanation at all, it has a scientific explanation--one that does not presuppose God [2]. Thus, doing, science assumes that the Christian world view is false.

Consider morality. The type of Christian morality assumed by TAG is some version of the Divine Command Theory, the view that moral obligation is dependent on the will of God. But such a view is incompatible with objective morality. On the one hand, on this view what is moral is a function of the arbitrary will of God; for instance, if God wills that cruelty for its own sake is good, then it is. On the other hand, determining the will of God is impossible since there are different alleged sources of this will (The Bible, the Koran, The Book of Mormon, etc) and different interpretations of what these sources say; moreover; there is no rational way to reconcile these differences. Thus, the existence of an objective morality presupposes the falsehood of the Christian world view assumed by TAG.

There are, of course, ways to avoid the conclusions of TANG. One way is to reject logic, science and objective morality. Another is to maintain belief in God but argue that logic, science and morality are not dependent on God's existence. However, the first way is self-defeating since Christian apologists use logic to defend their position and the second way presumes that TAG is invalid since it assumes that logic, science, and morality do not assume God's existence. Finally, one can object to particular aspects of TANG, for example, the claim that there is no rational way to reconcile different interpretations of the Bible. However, this tack would involve a detailed defence of TAG--something that has yet to be provided.

Michael Martin is Professor of Philosophy at Boston University.


[1] The primary advocate of this argument in contemporary thought is the Christian apologist Greg Bahnsen. For exchanges between Douglas Jones, a follower of Bahnsen, and Keith Parsons and me, see Douglas Jones, The Futility of Non-Christian Thought, Antithesis, Vol II, July/August, 1991, pp 40-42, Keith Parsons, Is Non-Christian Thought Futile? Antithesis, Vol II July/August, 1991, pp 42-44, Michael Martin, Is a Non-Christian Worldview Futile? Antithesis, Vol II, July/August 1991, pp. 44-46. See also Jones' response in Antithesis, Vol II, July/August 1991, pp 46-47.

The origin of Halloween

Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while "some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-an or sow-in)", derived from the Old Irish Samuin meaning "summer's end".[1] Samhain was the first and by far the most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Irish and Scottish[2] calendar[3][4] and, falling on the last day of Autumn, it was a time for stock-taking and preparation for the cold winter months ahead.[1] There was also a sense that this was the time of year when the physical and supernatural worlds were closest and magical things could happen.[3][4] To ward off these spirits, the Gaels built huge, symbolically regenerative bonfires and invoked the help of the gods through animal and perhaps even human sacrifice.[1]

Snap-Apple Night (1832) by Daniel Maclise.

Depicts apple bobbing and divination games at a Halloween party in Blarney, Ireland.Halloween is also thought to have been heavily influenced by the Christian holy days of All Saints' Day (also known as Hallowmas, All Hallows, Hallowtide) and All Souls' Day.[5] Falling on November 1st and 2nd respectively, collectively they were a time for honoring the Saints and praying for the recently departed who had yet to reach heaven. By the end of the 12th century they had become days of holy obligation across Europe and involved such traditions as ringing bells for the souls in purgatory and "souling", the custom of baking bread or soul cakes for "all crysten [christened] souls".[6]

In Britain the rituals of Hallowtide and Halloween came under attack during the Reformation as Protestants denounced purgatory as a "popish" doctrine incompatible with the notion of predestination.[5] In addition the increasing popularity of Guy Fawkes Night from 1605 on saw Halloween become eclipsed in Britain with the notable exception of Scotland.[7] Here, and in Ireland, they had been celebrating Samhain and Halloween since the early Middle Ages,[8] and it is believed the Kirk took a more pragmatic approach towards Halloween, viewing it as important to the life cycle and rites of passage of local communities and thus ensuring its survival in the country.[7]

North American almanacs of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century give no indication that Halloween was recognized as a holiday.[9] The Puritans of New England, for example, maintained strong opposition to the holiday[9] and it was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration during the 19th century that the holiday was introduced to the continent in earnest.[9] Initially confined to the immigrant communities during the mid-nineteenth century, it was gradually assimilated into mainstream society and by the first decade of the twentieth century it was being celebrated coast to coast by people of all social, racial and religious backgrounds.[10]

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Does the bible discuss actual history?

One of the reoccurring themes by Christian apologists is that the bible is describing real history. Now this is an interesting idea. If the places, people and events in the bible are true, then we  should accept that Jesus lived, was crucified and was resurrected.

Within the past several months there was a major rain storm that hit the East Coast. If I wrote a story about that storm hitting the East Coast, I could talk about actual cities being flooded. I could mention the mayors, governors, the US President, and other actual people who lived through the storm. I could reference actual rivers, and national monuments of the USA that have been affected. That does not mean that if I also said it was caused by space aliens that the space aliens part of the story is also true.

Consider stories that we know to be false. Spiderman stories are set in New York City. New York is certainly a real city. If a Spiderman story mentions the Brooklyn Bridge and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, should we assume that there is actually a person named Peter Parker who has superhuman powers that mimic a spider and that he is a real person? Of course not.

However, that is what Christians are asking of us to accept when stories in the bible reference real places, people and events.

Additionally, there are many stories in the bible that are not accurate at all. There is no evidence that the Hebrews were ever held in captivity in Egypt or that they wandered the desert for 40 years. The city that Jesus grew up in did not exist during the time when he supposedly lived. There is actually no physical evidence that Jesus even lived at all. Jesus was a carpenter. It is not unreasonable to assume he would have made items from wood. If you believed Jesus was the son of god, would you not keep something he made after he was killed and resurrected? It would be the most famous family heirloom ever. But nothing like that exists.

So, the fact that the bible references actual events in history is not proof of the reality of the biblical Jesus.

Was Jesus a Vampire?

During this Halloween season, let us turn our thoughts to the macabre. Hence the idea of Jesus as a vampire.

Well think about it. In order for someone to gain eternal life and immortality they had to drink Jesus' blood. That the ritual that vampires have in order to make someone become a vampire and therefore gain immortality.

Vampires generally share certain characteristics in common. These characteristics most notably include a diet consisting mainly of human blood, a high degree of charisma and magnetism, and the ability to transmit the Vampire virus voluntarily, through oral blood donations. While they frequently retain injuries inflicted upon them at the time of their initial death, their bodies can remain otherwise intact. They are also frequently described as particularly pale in appearance- a startling fact, when one observes the numerous visual depictions of Jesus as pale-skinned, unlike the overwhelming majority of his fellow Palestinians at the time.

While Jesus was not described as having posthumously followed a blood diet, many vampires choose to conceal their dietary preferences from friends and acquaintances, citing a fear of discrimination if this is discovered. Social consequences for revealing hematology can be dire, ranging from social exclusion to cardiac staking. His social circle, however, described in detail their delight at his posthumous vitality, and found him a persuasive and charming companion after his demise. Additionally, while he did not suffer any of the signs of decomposition, his display of his previously-mortal wounds was noted as an engaging party trick, providing immense amusement to his friends and acquaintances. Most notable, however, is the primary method of transmission of the vampire virus. One of the primary characteristics of vampires is what is known as immortality- vampires do not suffer from old age or disease, and only (permanently) die from accident or injury. The primary way in which this virus is transmitted is through oral blood donations- the vampire allows a human to consume his/her blood, possibly at the same time as consuming the blood of the human. Following this donation/exchange, the human may experience an immediate or delayed temporary demise, and then continue their unlife as a vampire. Prior to Jesus’s initial death, he shared his blood with several of his companions, indicating that if they participated in this they would share in his immortality.

Keep in mind I am not actually suggesting that Jesus is a vampire. They are both simply myths.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Does evolution suggest that we should winnow out those who are mentally and/or physically defective?

While this is a common statement in trying to show that evolution is cold-hearted and is not a basis for morality, it is not accurate. For example, evolutionary psychologists have suggested that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may reflect a side-effect of genes with fitness benefits, such as increased creativity. Some individuals with bipolar disorder are especially creative during their manic phases and the close relatives of schizophrenics have been found to be more likely to have creative professions. A 1994 report by the American Psychiatry Association found that people suffered from schizophrenia at roughly the same rate in Western and non-Western cultures, and in industrialized and pastoral societies, suggesting that schizophrenia is not a disease of civilization nor an arbitrary social invention.

In other words, what appears to be a mental defect can actually be an evolutionary benefit.

The Tornado in the Junkyard

In his 1983 book The Intelligent Universe, astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote the following infamous passage:
"A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe." (p.19)
Though Hoyle actually intended this as an argument against abiogenesis, the creationists have since assimilated it and used it against evolution. In creationist literature, this argument has mutated into a diversity of forms: setting off an explosion in a print shop to produce a dictionary, disassembling a watch and shaking up the pieces in a box to reassemble it, and so on, building a bicycle by applying a blowtorch to a pile of bicycle parts, and so on. No matter what form the analogy takes, however, creationists have promoted it as a common-sense proof of the impossibility of evolution producing complex, highly ordered forms. There is even a creationist book titled Tornado in a Junkyard.
This essay will show that this analogy is not an accurate representation of how evolution (or, for that matter, abiogenesis) works. In fact, it is a straw man, a ridiculous caricature that bears no resemblance to what the theory actually says. However, it is first helpful to establish a few things about the credentials of its author. Fred Hoyle was an astronomer, and whatever the validity of his professional opinions on astronomy, he was not trained in biology, paleontology, genetics, or any other field having to do with evolution. He was no more qualified to make pronouncements about evolution than any layman, and indeed his comments demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of the theory. Nevertheless, whatever he was, he was certainly not a creationist.
"The creationist is a sham religious person who, curiously, has no true sense of religion. In the language of religion, it is the facts we observe in the world around us that must be seen to constitute the words of God. Documents, whether the Bible, Qur'an or those writings that held such force for Velikovsky, are only the words of men. To prefer the words of men to those of God is what one can mean by blasphemy. This, we think, is the instinctive point of view of most scientists who, curiously again, have a deeper understanding of the real nature of religion than have the many who delude themselves into a frenzied belief in the words, often the meaningless words, of men. Indeed, the lesser the meaning, the greater the frenzy, in something like inverse proportion."
--Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Our Place in the Cosmos (1993), p.14

"We are inescapably the result of a long heritage of learning, adaptation, mutation and evolution, the product of a history which predates our birth as a biological species and stretches back over many thousand millennia.... Going further back, we share a common ancestry with our fellow primates; and going still further back, we share a common ancestry with all other living creatures and plants down to the simplest microbe. The further back we go, the greater the difference from external appearances and behavior patterns which we observe today.... Darwin's theory, which is now accepted without dissent, is the cornerstone of modern biology. Our own links with the simplest forms of microbial life are well-nigh proven."
--Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Lifecloud: The Origin of Life in the Universe (1978), p.15-16We turn now to the tornado in the junkyard. This analogy says nothing about the validity of evolution, or for that matter abiogenesis, because it fails to represent them in four crucial ways.
  1. It operates purely according to random chance.
  2. It is an example of single-step, rather than cumulative, selection.
  3. It is a saltationary jump - an end product entirely unlike the beginning product.
  4. It has a target specified ahead of time.
The first point is the most important. The tornado in the junkyard is an example of an intricate, complex and highly organized form being produced by nothing more than random chance. But evolution is not chance. (See this article for more on this.) Rather, it operates according to a fixed law - the law of natural selection - which favors some assemblages over others; it preferentially selects for those adaptations which improve fitness and selects against those that do not. The tornado, by contrast, slams parts together and tears them apart with no preference whatsoever, thus completely failing to represent natural selection, the central force which drives evolution. To more accurately represent evolution, one would have to grant the tornado some power to recognize assemblages of parts which could serve as part of a 747 and prevent it from tearing them apart.

Second, the tornado analogy is an example of single-step selection - in one step, it goes from a random pile of parts to a fully assembled airliner. This is completely unlike evolution, which operates according to a process of cumulative selection - complex results that are built up gradually, in a repetitive process guided at each step by selective forces. To more accurately represent evolution, the tornado could be sent through the junkyard not once, but thousands or millions of times, at each step preserving chance assemblages of parts that could make up a jumbo jet.

Third, in relation to the point above, the tornado in the junkyard is an example of saltation - a sudden leap in which the end product is completely different from the beginning product. Evolution does not work this way; birds do not hatch out of dinosaur eggs and monkeys do not give birth to humans. Rather, species grow different over time through a process of slow change in which each new creature is only slightly different from its ancestor. Evolution forms a gradually shading continuum in which any two steps are almost identical, though the creatures at the beginning and end of the continuum may be very different indeed. If we sent a tornado through a junkyard once, we would not expect to see a complete airplane; but if we repeated the process thousands or millions of times, at each step preserving useful assemblages, we might see a jumbo jet gradually taking shape out of slowly accreting collections of parts. The idea is the same with living things. We do not see complex new creatures appearing suddenly in the fossil record; rather, we see them gradually forming by a process of modification from a line of increasingly dissimilar ancestors.

Finally, the tornado analogy fails to represent evolution in one more significant way: it has a target specified ahead of time. Evolution does not. Natural selection is not a forward-looking process; it cannot select for what may become useful in the future, only what is immediately useful in the present. To more accurately represent evolution, we might add the additional stipulation that the tornado be allowed to assemble, not just a jumbo jet, but any functional piece of machinery.
A tornado racing through a junkyard hundreds of thousands of times, at each step somehow preserving rather than tearing apart functional assemblages of parts, with the aim of ultimately producing some sort of working machine, be it a 747, a station wagon or a personal computer - this is still not a very good analogy to describe evolution, but it is far better than the implausible caricature of random, single-step saltation with a predetermined target the creationists put forth. This analogy completely fails to represent evolution in every significant way.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

France Puts a Cap on Ketchup in School Cafeterias

The lunches of French children have just gotten a lot blander. In an effort to fight against obesity and to keep the French youth, well, French, France's government has essentially banned ketchup from primary and secondary school cafeterias. The all-American condiment will be rationed to children only when they are served with, what else, French fries.

But is ketchup really such an evil condiment? Actually, tomato ketchup is good for you. It has cancer fighting elements called lycopene. This can also help fight against heart disease. But now they have found that the best source of lycopene is not in tomatoes, but in ketchup. The Cancer Research Foundation of America has found that cooked tomatoes, like those used to make ketchup, has as much as five times the amount of lycopene as fresh tomatoes.
Lycopene is a nutual antioxicant that protects the heart by preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in your arteries. Lycopene does not lessen the amount of cholesterol, but keeps it from causing damage.

Which religious group commits the most crimes in the USA?

The Federal Bureau of Prisons does have statistics on religious affiliations of inmates. The following are total number of inmates per religion category:

Response Number %
---------------------------- --------
Catholic 29267 39.164%

Protestant 26162 35.008%

Muslim 5435 7.273%

American Indian 2408 3.222%

Nation 1734 2.320%

Rasta 1485 1.987%

Jewish 1325 1.773%

Church of Christ 1303 1.744%

Pentecostal 1093 1.463%

Moorish 1066 1.426%

Buddhist 882 1.180%

Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%

Adventist 621 0.831%

Orthodox 375 0.502%

Mormon 298 0.399%

Scientology 190 0.254%

Atheist 156 0.209%

Hindu 119 0.159%

Santeria 117 0.157%

Sikh 14 0.019%

Bahai 9 0.012%

Krishna 7 0.009%
---------------------------- --------
Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The banana is proof of intelligent design?

Ray Comfort, Christian apologist and professional liar for Jesus, makes the outlandish claim that the banana is proof that the Christian god created bananas for humans.

Below is a video in which Ray makes this claim.

However, Ray seems to be unaware of a few facts about the banana he is discussing. All widely cultivated bananas today descend from the two wild bananas Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. While the original wild bananas contained large seeds, diploid or polyploid cultivars (some being hybrids) with tiny seeds are preferred for human raw fruit consumption.[33] These are propagated asexually from offshoots. The plant is allowed to produce 2 shoots at a time; a larger one for immediate fruiting and a smaller "sucker" or "follower" to produce fruit in 6–8 months. The life of a banana plantation is 25 years or longer, during which time the individual stools or planting sites may move slightly from their original positions as lateral rhizome formation dictates.

Cultivated bananas are parthenocarpic, which makes them sterile and unable to produce viable seeds. Lacking seeds, propagation typically involves farmers removing and transplanting part of the underground stem (called a corm). Usually this is done by carefully removing a sucker (a vertical shoot that develops from the base of the banana pseudostem) with some roots intact. However, small sympodial corms, representing not yet elongated suckers, are easier to transplant and can be left out of the ground for up to 2 weeks; they require minimal care and can be shipped in bulk.

So, yes, the modern banana we enjoy was designed. However, it was designed by men.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Should the Muslims be allowed to build a community center near the 9/11 site in NY?

There are plans to build a Muslim community center a few blocks from the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, and some American nationalists are not happy about it. Some of those opposing the construction have tried to compare it to hypothetical situations that would outrage Americans. Since the shock induced by the 9/11 attacks had often been compared to Pearl Harbor, a few people have tried to argue that a mosque near Ground Zero in New York would be just as offensive as Japanese building a Shinto Shrine near Pearl Harbor.

If they’d bothered to do some fact checking before opening their mouths, they’d probably know that there are already some Shinto Shrines in Hawaii, with a couple not far from Pearl Harbor. There are also some Buddhist Temples in the area.

Many people seem unaware of the fact that Urakami Cathedral is one of the major landmarks associated with the Nagasaki bombing. There were also churches in Hiroshima in 1945, with at least one near their ground zero. Of course, both cities have Christian churches today.

Does the bible consider the Earth to be flat?

The Bible claims that Earth has four ends and four corners. Nobody can ever think a ball or a sphere to have corners and ends! Only flat items can have corners and ends, and this is exactly what the bible is trying to express regarding the shape of the earth.

Isaiah 11:12

12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH. (KJV) Report

Revelation 7:1

1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. (KJV)

Job 38:13

13 That it might take hold of the ENDS OF THE EARTH, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? (KJV)

We also have these verses:

Proverbs 8:27- When he prepared the heavens, I was there, When he drew a circle on the face of the deep

Isaiah 40:22- It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And it's inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

But anyone with a basic grasp of geometry knows what a circle is. It's a flat, two dimensional object. According to these scriptures, the earth is shaped like a CD.

Disregarding the dome, the essential flatness of the earth's surface is required by verses like Daniel 4:10-11. In Daniel, the king “saw a tree of great height at the centre of the earth...reaching with its top to the sky and visible to the earth's farthest bounds.” If the earth were flat, a sufficiently tall tree would be visible to “the earth's farthest bounds,” but this is impossible on a spherical earth. Likewise, in describing the temptation of Jesus by Satan, Matthew 4:8 says, “Once again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world [cosmos] in their glory.” Obviously, this would be possible only if the earth were flat. The same is true of Revelation 1:7: “Behold, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye shall see him...”

Mark Twain Quotes

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
-Mark Twain

A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar.
-Mark Twain

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.
-Mark Twain

A man's character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.
-Mark Twain

A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.
-Mark Twain

A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.
-Mark Twain

A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape.
-Mark Twain

Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.
-Mark Twain

Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
-Mark Twain

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.
-Mark Twain

All generalizations are false, including this one.
-Mark Twain

All right, then, I'll go to hell.
-Mark Twain

All you need is ignorance and confidence and the success is sure.
-Mark Twain

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.
-Mark Twain

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
-Mark Twain

Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written.
-Mark Twain

But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?
-Mark Twain

Buy land, they're not making it anymore.
-Mark Twain

By trying we can easily endure adversity. Another man's, I mean.
-Mark Twain

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.
-Mark Twain

Don't let schooling interfere with your education.
-Mark Twain

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.
-Mark Twain

Don't tell fish stories where the people know you; but particularly, don't tell them where they know the fish.
-Mark Twain

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.
-Mark Twain

Familiarity breeds contempt - and children.
-Mark Twain

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
-Mark Twain

Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
-Mark Twain

Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.
-Mark Twain

Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.
-Mark Twain

Humor must not professedly teach and it must not professedly preach, but it must do both if it would live forever.
-Mark Twain

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.
-Mark Twain

I can live for two months on a good compliment.
-Mark Twain

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-Mark Twain

It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
-Mark Twain

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
-Mark Twain

It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress.
-Mark Twain

It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them.
-Mark Twain

I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.
-Mark Twain

I have been complimented many times and they always embarrass me; I always feel that they have not said enough.
-Mark Twain

I must have a prodigious quantity of mind; it takes me as much as a week sometimes to make it up.
-Mark Twain

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn't know.
-Mark Twain

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.
-Mark Twain

It is easier to stay out than get out.
-Mark Twain

It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.
-Mark Twain

It is not best that we should all think alike; it is a difference of opinion that makes horse races.
-Mark Twain

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
-Mark Twain

It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.
-Mark Twain

It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.
-Mark Twain

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
-Mark Twain

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
-Mark Twain

Laws control the lesser man... Right conduct controls the greater one.
-Mark Twain

Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
-Mark Twain

Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.
-Mark Twain

Let us not be too particular; it is better to have old secondhand diamonds than none at all.
-Mark Twain

Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.
-Mark Twain

Lord save us all from a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.
-Mark Twain

Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.
-Mark Twain

Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.
-Mark Twain

Man - a creature made at the end of the week's work when God was tired.
-Mark Twain

Man is the only animal that blushes - or needs to.
-Mark Twain

Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied.
-Mark Twain

Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.
-Mark Twain

Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins.
-Mark Twain

My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. (Fortunately) everybody drinks water.
-Mark Twain

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.
-Mark Twain

Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.
-Mark Twain

Necessity is the mother of taking chances.
-Mark Twain

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
-Mark Twain

No sinner is ever saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.
-Mark Twain

Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits.
-Mark Twain

Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat.
-Mark Twain

One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
-Mark Twain

Patriot: the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.
-Mark Twain

Principles have no real force except when one is well-fed.
-Mark Twain

Prophesy is a good line of business, but it is full of risks.
-Mark Twain

Prosperity is the best protector of principle.
-Mark Twain

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
-Mark Twain

Repartee is something we think of twenty-four hours too late.
-Mark Twain

Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.
-Mark Twain

Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough.
-Mark Twain

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
-Mark Twain

The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
-Mark Twain

The lack of money is the root of all evil.
-Mark Twain

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
-Mark Twain

The man who is a pessimist before 48 knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.
-Mark Twain

The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become.
-Mark Twain

The more you explain it, the more I don't understand it.
-Mark Twain

The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.
-Mark Twain

The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not.
-Mark Twain

The Public is merely a multiplied "me."
-Mark Twain

The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.
-Mark Twain

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
-Mark Twain

The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.
-Mark Twain

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
-Mark Twain

The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow; there is no humor in Heaven.
-Mark Twain

The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right.
-Mark Twain

The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
-Mark Twain

The wit knows that his place is at the tail of a procession.
-Mark Twain

There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.
-Mark Twain

There are lies, damned lies and statistics.
-Mark Twain

There are people who can do all fine and heroic things but one - keep from telling their happiness to the unhappy.
-Mark Twain

There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.
-Mark Twain

There are times when one would like to hang the whole human race, and finish the farce.
-Mark Twain

There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.
-Mark Twain

There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress.
-Mark Twain

There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist.
-Mark Twain

Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others.
-Mark Twain

Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.
Mark Twain

To be good is noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and no trouble.
-Mark Twain

To refuse awards is another way of accepting them with more noise than is normal.
-Mark Twain

To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.
-Mark Twain

Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing wrong with this, except that it ain't so.
-Mark Twain

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Is Jesus racist?

Jesus shows his racism with this verse. He calls a woman from a different race a "dog", unworthy of his attention until she proclaims herself to be inferior to the people of Israel. Only then, after she demonstrates her inferior status is he willing to attend to her problems.

Matthew 15:22-28:
A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

However, I was curious how the Christians explain this.  Therefore, I looked up the explanation for this on the Christian Apologist site

Here is how they attempt to explain it -
"The image Jesus has chosen is an image of endearment, not insult. The picture of supper-time, with little kids at the table, and their pet “puppies” (the Greek word for ‘dog’ here is not the standard, ‘outside’ dog–which MIGHT BE an insult–, but is the diminutive word, meaning ‘household pets, little dogs’…) at their feet, maybe tugging on their robes for food or play. The puppies, dear to the children and probably so too to the master (cf. 2 Sam 12.3f: but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.), were to be fed AFTER the children (notice: not DENIED food–there was no “NO” in Jesus image–only “WAIT”). But the temporal order is clear–Jesus must take care of His disciples FIRST, and if meeting her need involved interrupting their rest and GOING SOMEWHERE, then it was going to have to wait."

Religious zealots of all hues will find some sublime interpretation for every naive and/or idiotic words of the makers of their scripture.

Look at these facts :

The woman did not ask to be enlightened, baptised or sermonized. She had a simple and human appeal: please heal my suffering child.

Did the son of god have to wait till all the suffering Jews were healed? Couldn’t the guy who made bread for thousands from a few crumbs heal one gentile child while also healing others?

If god loves all his children, why a priority listing for Jews? Showing favoritism to one race over another is exactly what racism is.

Jesus didn’t ask the woman to wait nor tell her come later. He simply ignored her.

It was the disciples who took pity on her and begged him to heal the child.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Is the phrase seperation of church and state in the US Constitution?

Nope. No one who accepts the idea ever says that it is. So, if the words are not in the Constitution, then that means that there is no separation, correct? Um, wrong, of course there is a separation.
The specific words do not have to be there in order for the idea or concept to exist in the document. As an example, consider the concept of the Trinity as it is accepted in the Christian religion. No where in the bible is the word Trinity ever written. According to the standards that many want to apply to the Constitution, if the exact words are not used, then it does not exist. However, I doubt there are many Christians who do not accept that the Trinity is a real concept. How is that possible if the word does not appear in the Bible? As Christians are so fond of parroting, it is context, context, context. If the idea or meaning is in the document, it is understood to exist.

With that example to refer to, let us take a look at what is actually written. The First Amendment to the Constitution says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." This gets broken down into two areas. The first is the Establishment Clause, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.". Thomas Jefferson made sure the intent of this clause was well understood with his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802. In this letter he stated very clearly that there was a "wall of separation between church and state," which led to the expression "Separation of church and state."

The second part of the amendment, the Free Exercise Clause", is what the Christians try to hang their hat on in regards to be allowed to do anything in regards to their religion. However, the courts have generally ruled that while most individual religious exercise is allowed, this does not prohibit the government from passing laws that impact certain religious practices. The first case to examine this clause was Reynolds v. United States. This was a case dealing with the prosecution of a polygamist. He tried to argue protection under the Free Exercise Clause, but the court ruled against him.

We have one of founders of the country who is providing an explanation of what the intent of the First Amendment is. Do other government agencies agree with him? Not surprisingly, yes. 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."

But I can already hear the protests. Jefferson is just one of the founders. That is true. However, others agreed with him.

From James Madison:

Here [in the Virginia statute for religious liberty] the separation between the authority of human laws, and the natural rights of Man excepted from the grant on which all authority is founded, is traced as distinctly as words can admit, and the limits to this authority established with as much solemnity as the forms of legislation can express. The law has the further advantage of having been the result of a formal appeal to the sense of the Community and a deliberate sanction of a vast majority, comprizing [sic] every sect of Christians in the State. This act is a true standard of Religious liberty; its principle the great barrier agst [against] usurpations on the rights of conscience. As long as it is respected & no longer, these will be safe. Every provision for them short of this principle, will be found to leave crevices, at least thro' which bigotry may introduce persecution; a monster, that feeding & thriving on its own venom, gradually swells to a size and strength overwhelming all laws divine & human. (James Madison, "Monopolies. Perpetuities. Corporations. Ecclesiastical Endowments," as reprinted in Elizabeth Fleet, "Madison's Detatched Memoranda," William & Mary Quarterly, Third series: Vol. III, No. 4 [October, 1946], pp. 554-555. The "Detatched Memoranda" is a manuscript, written sometime after Madison left office in 1817, in Madison's own hand, with notes he made in preparation for the arrangement and publication of his public papers, a task he did not complete before his death in 1836.)

Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history. (See the cases in which negatives were put by J. M. on two bills passd by Congs and his signature withheld from another. See also attempt in Kentucky for example, where it was proposed to exempt Houses of Worship from taxes. (James Madison, "Monopolies. Perpetuities. Corporations. Ecclesiastical Endowments," as reprinted in Elizabeth Fleet, "Madison's Detatched Memoranda," William & Mary Quarterly, Third series: Vol. III, No. 4 [October, 1946], p. 555. The parenthetical note at the end, which lacks a closed parenthesis in Fleet, was apparently a note Madison made to himself regarding examples of improper encroachment to use when the "Detatched Memoranda" were edited and published, and seems to imply clearly that Madison supported taxing churches. )

The only ultimate protection for religious liberty in a country like ours, Madison pointed out--echoing Jefferson;--is public opinion: a firm and pervading opinion that the First Amendment works. "Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance." (Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 56. Madison's words, according to Gaustad, are from his letter of 10 July 1822 to Edward Livingston.)

From George Washington:
The following year [1784], when asking Tench Tilghman to secure a carpenter and a bricklayer for his Mount Vernon estate, he [Washington] remarked: "If they are good workmen, they may be of Asia, Africa, or Europe. They may be Mohometans, Jews or Christians of any Sect, or they may be Atheists." As he told a Mennonite minister who sought refuge in the United States after the Revolution: "I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable Asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong...." He was, as John Bell pointed out in 1779, "a total stranger to religious prejudices, which have so often excited Christians of one denomination to cut the throats of those of another." (Paul F. Boller, George Washington & Religion, Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1963, p. 118. According to Boller, Washington wrote his remarks to Tilghman in a letter dated March 24, 1784; his remarks to the Mennonite--Francis Adrian Van der Kemp--were in a letter dated May 28, 1788.)
Government being, among other purposes, instituted to protect the consciences of men from oppression, it is certainly the duty of Rulers, not only to abstain from it themselves, but according to their stations, to prevent it in others. (George Washington, letter to the Religious Society called the Quakers, September 28, 1789. From Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, eds., The Harper Book of American Quotations, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 500.)

From John Adams:

The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.... (John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788]; from Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York: George Braziller, 1965, p. 258.)

Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind. (John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" [1787-1788]; from Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York: George Braziller, 1965, p. 258.)

From Benjamin Franklin:

I am fully of your Opinion respecting religious Tests; but, tho' the People of Massachusetts have not in their new Constitution kept quite clear of them, yet, if we consider what that People were 100 Years ago, we must allow they have gone great Lengths in Liberality of Sentiment on religious Subjects; and we may hope for greater Degrees of Perfection, when their Constitution, some years hence, shall be revised. If Christian Preachers had continued to teach as Christ and his Apostles did, without Salaries, and as the Quakers now do, I imagine Tests would never have existed; for I think they were invented, not so much to secure Religion itself, as the Emoluments of it. When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. (Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, American statesman, diplomat, scientist, and printer, from a letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1780; from Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York: George Braziller, 1965, p. 93.)

And, of course, there are so many references from some of the other founders who immediately wrote an opposing viewpoint once Jefferson expressed his opinion, right? Please list the comments from one of the other founders who disagreed with what Jefferson wrote. You will not find an opposing viewpoint, because the other founders did not disagree with him.

Consider this following quote and how America offers more religious freedom than any other country in the world.

"The constitutional principle of separation of church and state has given Americans more religious freedom than any people in world history. Around the globe, those suffering under the heavy heel of government-sponsored religious oppression look to America's church-state model with longing. The "wall of separation between church and state" is America's bulwark of true religious liberty."

-Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Math Teacher Arrested!

A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction. ‘Al-Gebra is a problem for us’, the Attorney General said. ‘They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.’ They use secret code names like ‘X’ and ‘Y’ and refer to themselves as ‘unknowns’, but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, ‘There are 3 sides to every triangle’.

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Obama said, ‘If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.’ White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President. It is believed that another Nobel Prize will follow.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Who believes in a one world government?

One of the big fears that Christians often attribute to Muslims is that their religion demands that Muslims take over the world. I am not sure why this seems to be unusual to Christians. After all, what is humorous about this is that Christianity has the same requirement and goal. In fact, since the bible, in the book of Revelations, states that Jesus will return to earth and usher in a one world government, it is absurd for them to claim anything differently. According to the Dictionary of the Bible Revelation "accurately foretells what will happen in the last days of history before the end of the world." The Illustrated Bible Dictionary is of similar opinion: "happenings that will take place in connection with the second coming of the Lord . . . leads up to the final establishment of the rule of God. The Book of Revelation envisages terrific opposition to God and the believers, but that in the end God will triumph over every evil thing. Let us not forget what is stated in  Philippians 2:10: "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth". After all, Revelations also says the following: "The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:  “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”. That is pretty straightforward, without much room for ambiguity.

Now, I am sure that in their mind the difference is that Muslims worship a false god and Christians worship the one true god, therefore, there is a huge difference between the two. However, as with most of the supposed differences between Islam and Christianity, there is no real difference here at all.

So, what can we expect this reign of Jesus to be like? After all, Jesus is a kind and loving person, right? Actually, contrary to the idea of Jesus being a gentle, loving person who cares for all mankind, the bible actually presents a different image. Here in Revelation 9, we have a description of what Jesus has planned for all the unbelievers.

"The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3 And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. 6 During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8 Their hair was like women’s hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. 9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10 They had tails with stingers, like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. 11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).

12 The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come.
13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God. 14 It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of the mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand. I heard their number.
17 The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. 18 A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. 19 The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What makes a good marriage according to the bible?

Proverbs 18:22     
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord
(Ok, a man needs to find his own wife and doing this is a good thing)

Proverbs 19:14     
House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
(So, even though a man needs to find his own wife, god will provide a prudent wife to just some people. Obviously, not all wife's are prudent)

Eph. 5:23-32
For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his body, the church; he gave his life to be her Savior. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives must submit to your husbands in everything.
And you husbands must love your wives with the same love Christ showed the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by baptism and God's word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man is actually loving himself when he loves his wife. No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church. And we are his body.
As the Scriptures say, "A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
(So, the man is in charge, but it is a mystery how they become one flesh. I think it has to do with the begetting part of the bible)

Romans 7:1-3
Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
(It is ok for a widow to marry another. But as we will see later, that will be a problem, since a man should only marry a virgin)

1 Peter 3:1-5, 7
Likewise, you wives should be subordinate to your husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives' conduct when they observe your reverent and chaste behavior.

Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God. For this is also how the holy women who hoped in God once used to adorn themselves and were subordinate to their husbands;

Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
(Men are in charge, even if they are unbelievers)

1 Corinthians 7:12-15
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.
(Having a spouse who does not believe will not effect the children. Good to know)

2 Corinthians 6:14     

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
(However, one should never be with an unbeliever)

1 Corinthians 7:1-40     

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
(Actually, men should not have sex at all. But since they have no self control, they should at least be married)

1 Corinthians 7:24-40     
So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God. Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord's mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. ...
(Once again, men should not be married. But if they have already gotten married, they will need to suffer through it)

1 Corinthians 13:1-13     
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; ...
(But if you do not find love, you will not have it all)

Proverbs 21:9     
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
(Check, stay away from fussy women. But what if the quarrelsome wife is prudent? Would she still be a gift from god)

Proverbs 21:19     
It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman.
(There are some spouses that a person cannot live with even in the corner of the housetop. You need to get as far away as possible. But do not divorce them, of course.)

1 Corinthians 6:16     
Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”
(If you marry a prostitute, you still become one flesh. I would think there would be a lot more flesh in that marriage equation, but I digress)

Leviticus 21:7     
They shall not marry a prostitute or a woman who has been defiled, neither shall they marry a woman divorced from her husband, for the priest is holy to his God.
(But, one should not marry a prostitute, or someone who has been raped, or someone divorced. Check)

Matthew 19:2-9     
And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” ...
(Ok, no divorces allowed)

Matthew 5:32     
But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
(Well, except if that woman is sleeping around. Afterall, there has to some guidelines. Fair is fair.)

Leviticus 20:14     
If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you.
(Ok, no threesomes with a mother and daughter. Did that really need to be commanded?????)


Leviticus 21:13-15     
And he shall take a wife in her virginity. A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute, these he shall not marry. But he shall take as his wife a virgin of his own people, that he may not profane his offspring among his people, for I am the Lord who sanctifies him.”
(A wife must be a virgin and from his own people)

1 Timothy 5:14     
So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.
(Whom are these widows getting married to since a man should only marry a virgin?)

 Genesis 20:9-16     
Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done.” And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What did you see, that you did this thing?” Abraham said, “I did it because I thought, There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife. Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. And when God caused me to wander from my father's house, I said to her, ‘This is the kindness you must do me: at every place to which we come, say of me, He is my brother.’” ...    
(Marrying one's sister is ok?) 

 Luke 20:28     
And they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.
(So, if he has his own children, the widow and her children are on their own)

Mark 12:19-23     

“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
(How would you like to be brother number seven in this love story?)