Wednesday, August 30, 2006

God was napping but Uncle Sam is generous

The leader of a fundamentalist sect of Mormons was arrested. Warren Jeffs was wanted by police because of his role in arranging marriages for Mormon men to young, underaged girls. Jeffs inherited leadership of the church from his father. Under the "Law of Placing" the prophet hands out girls as wives as he see fits and can also remove them if he deems the husband unworthy. The attorney general for Utah, one of the main centres of Mormon polygamists said that Jeffs had pushed the idea that God was protecting him and he couldn't be arrested. His followers call him The Prophet.

Apparently God was napping.

Directly tied to the theology of the church is another problem faced by practitioners of this odd sect: the Lost Boys. Under the theology of Joseph Smith Mormon men had many wives. The problem was that there are just so many women leading to a surplus of unmarried males. So the extra men have to be removed one way or another.

And since the church heirarchy, men like Jeffs, get first pick on the women that means the surplus men tend to be young men. Thus the church, which runs two communities, takes their teenage boys and dumps thems on the road, literally. These youths have been called the "Lost Boys": "Many of these "Lost Boys", some as young as 13, have simply been dumped on the side of the road in Arizona and Utah, by the leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), and told they will never see their families again or go to heaven."

One former member of the church has established a foundation to try and help these boys. He estimates there could be between 400 and 1,000 of them." The church uses any pretext it can to rid the community of the males who might interest the young girls so it can marry these girls off to the older cult leaders. Jeffs supposedly has 40 wives for himself.

One boy said he was expelled for wearing short sleave shirts. After he was expelled he said he tried to give his mother a Mother's Day gift but she told him to stay away. "I am dead to her now," he said. In spite of hundreds of families losing their children on the orders of the church none of them fought to keep them. And the local police? Like everything else in this town they are controlled by the church. They helped Jeffs expell the boys.

These boys are traumatized by the cult. An attorney helping them said: " "I think anyone who finds themselves ousted from the only environment they ever knew and left in the middle of nowhere, and then is not allowed to be with their family and loved ones, and is led to believe that they can no longer go to heaven, is going to be troubled." The boys are mostly uneducated and have no job skills. These boys didn't fit in anywhere and often gravitated to one another for support.

One young man who had found some construction work took in a group of the boys. But they had no support and often he ran out of money before he could feed them. "I loved them and I was doing everything I could to help them" he said. This desperate young man eventually found his way to the Lost Boys Foundation. He is now going to college and holds down a good job. He said: ""If you had told me when I was living in that trailer park that in a few years I was going to be going to college, getting A's, and working a good job, I would have said you were crazy. Back then, the only thing I hoped for was not to die."

Uneducated, no job skills and so many mouths to feed. So how does the church manage? That's another secret. Polygamy in the US is funded by the government. Millions of dollars of government funds pour into the polygamist communities. One former member said: "If it wasn't for government subsidies, these people couldn't survive. There are people here with 15 wives on welfare." Another former member, Deanna Beagley, said: "I know women out there wouldn't be having as many babies if it weren't for the welfare. I remember being told this was a work for God and it was up to the outside world to make us flourish." A second wife is not legally married and is thus recorded as an unwed mother with dependents needing assistance. Beagley said: "It's a way of life. You get married, you go on welfare, and that's it." Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says of the polygamists: "More than 65 percent of the people are on welfare ...compared with 6 percent of the people of the general population."

A 1998 report showed that a third of the residents in polygamist communities were using government food stamps, almost ten times the average for the state. One household alone had 37 people on food stamps. In addtion to welfare the communities are given millions by various government agencies for roads, schools, housing and other projects. The funds go to "agencies" controlled by the church.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported: " Among towns with a population of more than 2,000, Colorado City and Hildale rank among the top 10 in the Intermountain West in relying on Medicaid, which provides health care for the poor, and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which supplies food to low-income mothers. The twin towns' reliance on WIC and Medicaid rivals only Western Indian reservations and inner cities, where poverty has been a fact of life for decades -- and where government assistance often has fallen short." They wonder "whether [polygmists] can support their large numbers of children without taxpayer assistance."

The homes of 19 polygamists were spruced up with government funds. The mayor of one of the polygamist towns, David Zitting, who is, of course, also a church member, said: "We did our homework. What can I say? It's [government subsidies] there for everybody." And when one Sheriff tried to investigate welfare fraud in the polygamist towns he ws told by the federal agencies involved to stop. The town even received $2.8 million in government funding to build an aiport. What need have they for an airport? Well, The Prophet, has his own personal Lear Jet. An airport manager said: "It took us about 12 years of politicking to get this done."

The photo is of a church temple which the cult recently built in Texas, the location of one their newest communities.

The devil made him do it.

Sounding like some superstitious medievalist Father Gabriele Amorth gave an interview on that exciting ration station, Vatican Radio. Of course sounding like someone out of the Dark Ages puts you on the cutting edge at the Vatican. Amorth, you though he calls himself Father, isn’t anyone’s father (at least not officially) but he does have a rather interesting job. He is the Vatican’s exorcist.

He works for the Pope. You would think his job would entail tossing the old man out of office but apparently not. Amorth has announced some ideas he has.

Two evil monsters from the last century were Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin -- though not the only two, I can still think of Mao, Pol Pot, Lenin deserving a place on the list. But apparently Hitler and Stalin weren’t entirely to blame. They were supposedly occupied by the Devil!

In fact not only was Hitler possessed. Amorth said that the horned one can possess “groups and entire populations” and “that the Nazis were all possessed.” All of them.

Stalin and Hitler, says this priest --- in-between some witch burnings he had scheduled --- were particularly possessed however. “You can tell by their behaviour and their actions, from the horrors they committed and the atrocities that were committed on their orders. That’s why we need to defend society from demons.”

Does this mean that priests and popes of the past were possessed by the Devil when they burned people at the stake and tortured people in the name of Jesus? Of course this was not about to be a question asked of this priest by Vatican Radio.

Apparently some previously secret documents were released which showed that Pope Pius XII, the people during World War II, tried a “long distance” exorcism of Hitler. It didn’t work. Apparently long distance exorcisms aren’t quite like long distance phone calls.

The demon hunter said: “Of course you can pray for someone from a distance but in this case it would not have any effect.” Of course!

But why? I thought it was God who chased the Horny One out not the priest per se. And surely the creator of the universe could hear these prayers regardless of the location of the supplicant. And since God is everywhere, so they say, surely distance is no restraint on his powers?

This priest is actually the head of something called the International Association of Exorcists, which sounds something like a union. Talk about demon possession!

Amorth also wants to warn the world of other dangers from Satan: Harry Potter! Yes, the boy wizard fantasy is really a devilish plot for demons to take possession of the bodies of young children. I can see why this would upset priests. They don’t like the competition.

Amorth warns: “Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of darkness, the devil.”

Right-wing kooks complain about the “liberal media”, by which they mean the illiberal media. Amorth sees the media as demonic instead. But then many on the Religious Right assume all liberals are devils. Says this man who wrestles with little devils: “There is no doubt that today’s media have done much in favour of Satan, first by the immorality of certain shows, the abundance of movies showing violence, horror or sex. Except this, media have put in the first plan and have given popularity to figures of wizards and magicians, and so they give publicity to their works.”

One thing baffles me however. The priest says that the prayers of the Vatican couldn’t work on ridding the demons which possessed the Nazis. Apparently a few choice battles however did manage this.

Apparently this priest is also a big fan of ignorance. Asked if most bishops of the church are living in “mortal sin” for ignoring the needs to have exorcisms performed he replied: “When I was a child, my old parish priest taught me that there are eight sacraments: the eighth is ignorance. And the eighth saves more than all the others together. To commit a mortal sin, there must exist grave matter, but also full awareness and deliberate consent. To fail to give one's aid is, for bishops, a grave matter. But these bishops are ignorant: there is therefore no deliberate consent and full awareness.”

Also confusing is this priest’s contradictory claims. He is said to have performed 30,000 exorcisms. So that would mean he has “cast out demons” 30,000 times. In another interview he said he has only seen about 100 cases of demonic possession. Even this number of 100 shocked the person interviewing him who replied: “In your book you say that cases of possession are rare.” Amorth then agrees: “And indeed they are.”

So they are rare, he’s seen 100, and he’s performed 30,000 exorcisms. That would mean 29,900 of them didn’t involve possession at all.

By the way reading this priest shows how much the church is back sliding into ignorance -- a good thing to Amorth. This man had nothing but disdain for the previous Pope and even implied he was possessed of the devil. “The smoke of Satan has entered everywhere. Everywhere! Perhaps we were excluded from the audience with the Pope because they were afraid that such a large number of exorcists might succeed in chasing out the legions of demons that have installed themselves in the Vatican.” Now he’s sounding like Mel Gibson.

Today Amorth is on Vatican Radio and official exorcist at the Vatican. The former Hitler Youth sitting on “St. Peter’s Throne” is throw back to Catholicism at it’s worst.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jesus loves the little children?

Joe is a twelve-year-old boy. He is living in Saltillo, Mississippi. Joe is also half-black. Until his mother moved to town Joe was living with Jason and Melinda Kirk, an aunt and uncle. And for some months they were taking the boy with them to the Fellowship Baptist Church.

Joe got converted and then learned first hand of Christian love. The Kirks were considering joining the church but one Sunday evening, when they had visitors come by their home and couldn't attend church, they got a phone call from the pastor. He explained to them that the church membership had voted to not allow them to join since they didn't want the boy possibly bringing black relatives to church with him.

The elderly minister resigned but said that about 80 percent of the church membership don't want blacks to attend. The boy overheard the telephone conversation and was shocked feeling that he was responsible for the minister's resignation. His family tried to explain to him that not all people feel as the church members do. As much as they talk about God's love one can not ignore the fact that born-again Christians are far more likely to be hate filled than "spirit filled".

Another deranged Republican comes out of the closet.

Another theocratic Republican has come out of the closet arguing that the idea of separation of church and state "is a lie we have been told". Katherine Harris is running for the Republican nomination for the US Senate in Florida. And she was doing an interview with a fundamentalist Baptist newspaper.

She claimed that God doesn't want "secular laws". Harris said that everything she does is controlled by God including how she votes in the US Congress. And she said that unless voters elected Christians to office the government would "legislate sin". She said the "average citizen, who are not Christians" "dont know better". Once word got out that Harris made such remarks her office issued a statement saying the woman "continues to be an unwavering advocate of religious rights and freedom." What about the rights and freedoms of people who aren't religious?

South Park triumphs over Scientology

Some months ago Comedy Central pulled the South Park episode on Scientology and Tom Cruise. The rumour was that Cruise, a prominent member of the bizarre cult, threatened the studio, which owned Comedy Central. He said he would not participate in any publicity for the film unless the episode was pulled from airing. But this was just a rumour.

Your blogger can confirm it straight from the horse's mouth -- so to speak. I had occassion, in my other life, to spend some time recently with Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the series. They certainly have no love for Tom Cruise, not that I blame them one bit. And what they said confirmed the rumours. They said they received a phone call from Comedy Central telling them the episode had been cancelled. They said they were specifically told that Cruise made the threats in question. And they were told to tell no one what had happened. But they said in spite of saying nothing the news was all over the internet within 24 hours.

Not only was the news on the internet but it didn't long for people to find downloadable versions of the episode in question. I confess I have a copy of it myself and found it hilarious. But I have permission -- sort of. Parker and Stone also talked about people downloading their episodes and were quite adamant that they love it. They said they have no problem with episodes making the rounds on the internet. They said that one major reason they produce the series is because they want people to see it.

So the rumour that wacko Cruise intervened for his cult to stop the show is apparently true. And here is where it gets good. The studio so threatened has dumped Cruise. Once the darling of Hollywood the star is no longer considered box office magic. His demands are excessive and the returns on having him are relatively small. His last two films did not earn well considering the investment. And the studios had agreed to contracts which gave Cruise disproportionately high percentages of the profits. He was earning more from the films than the people who financed them.

He has also alienated his audience with his cult activities. On one film he demanded that the studio provide a tent where Scientologists could work on getting crew members involved into the cult. He went public with attacks on Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants after the birth of her daughter. Shields dismissed Cruise saying she doesn't take advice from people who believe in aliens -- referring to the bizarre beliefs of Scientology, a religion created by by a SciFi author. And the chairman of Viacom, Sumner Redstone, made it quite clear he was terminating the contract because Cruise's "recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

Actors can't get away with bizarre behaviour and make demands provided the benefits they give the company exceed the costs. But when an actor costs a lot and then cuts profits because of his wacko actions the studio sees their profits declining. The studios invest millions into a film and can't let the religious beliefs of the star undercut their ability to earn a return especially if the star is costing them more than he is worth. So Loony Tom lost his contract. The studio was only following the dictates of the customers who have been avoiding Cruise films in higher and higher numbers. Ultimately the consumer is king in the market.

And now for the irony. Paramount has signed deals with Trey Parket and Matt Stone to make two live action films for them. They are moving up with a bullet. So the duo, who were targets for the wrath of Cruise and the Scientologists, are rather happy and said they would like to fake some credit for the Cruise demotion.

Martha Fischer at Cinematical says she was never a Parker/Stone fan until she "saw This Film Is Not Yet Rated, in which Stone briefly appears. It was really the first time I'd seen him not on for the cameras and the public, and he struck me as both perceptive and intelligent, qualities I hadn't previous known he had." I think she is correct. Over the last couple of days there were times that the duo seemed serious and interesting. But they seemed to feel the need to be, as Fischer put it, "on for the cameras and the public". At other points when they were serious they got quite interesting. But when "on" they were mildly amusing. I think they overdid the amusement myself. True they are entertainers but they didn't need to be constantly performing and they have more to offer the public than just a cartoon. There are comedian who think anytime people are watching they have to be funny. Not true. The same for cartoonists.

And since Trey and Matt said they don't mind downloads of their show above is the episode on Cruise and Scientology. It's funny stuff.

Monday, August 21, 2006

What were they thinking?

Sometimes it is such a pleasure to ridicule the absurdities of the faith driven. But every now and then they do something so obviously ridiculous that the best you can do is show it just as it is. No commentary I could think of would make these people look any more absurd. These are Christian pajamas for children! Now the one great thing is that when these kids grow up they will resent being made to look like complete fools at bed time and they know what to blame: religion. There are going to be lots of fundamentalist parents who can't figure out why their kids moved out the moment they turned 18 and just vanished. Here will be one reason.

Hat tip: To Andrew Sullivan's blog where a guest blogger found this gem. Andrew is off to Amsterdam for the same event I'm attending. So it should be interesting.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm mad as hell about it

These bloody fundamentalist theocrats, tyrants and frauds piss me off like you wouldn't believe. It's bad enough that they want to destroy America, rip up the Bill of Rights and impose "King Jesus" on the rest of us. But when I watch these bastards fleecing naive and stupid people I get angry. I want to smack them down because of the pain they inflict on others in their con games. Con games that poor, pathetic, naive fools convince themselves have to be true. The "miracles" the "resurrection of the dead" all the other lies they promote. And one of the worst is that walking viper Benny Hinn. If I ever wanted to believe in eternal retribution it would be right now and all for Hinn.

I am going against the way I wanted to run this blog. I didn't want to take the easy way out and constantly link to other things such as the videos. I already linked to two today, which is unusual for me. And now I'm linking to a third. I am doing so since I spent the last 40 minutes watching this tape and I'm furious at this man and the way he fleeces people of hundreds of millions of dollars with his lying promises and false claims. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documented the lies of this bastard and the high life he lives. It also looked at people, full of faith, who went to Hinn. It is a top notch expose.

Hinn shows all these miracles on stage. But he has people, who we see filmed with hidden cameras, preventing anyone who is obviously ill from going on stage for a miracle. They follow a sad nine-year-old girl with deformed legs who only wanted to walk. She and her mother believed Jesus would heal her. Bennh Hinn's troops made sure the girl was never allowed on stage. And the lies, Hinns claims every healing he shows on television is verified. The CBC shows some of those miracles and then shows that the people they could track down were never healed. And then there is the lavish lifestyle. The trips to Italy to stay in palatial $10,000 per night hotel rooms. In just four days of vacationing they showed that Hinn spent close to $250,000 and all of it tax free as "ministry expenses". And then Hinn telling the donors that he doesn't get a single cent from all of this. Lies, lies and more lies. And Hinn is not the exception. I have looked at half dozen ministries tonight and see the documented evidence showing their deceit. I intend to make sure each of them is listed here.

I personally watched these faith healers operate. I witnessed the fraud of Kathryn Kuhlman years ago and the vileness of Jimmy Swaggart. I've seen Pat Robertson in action sitting in one of his TV studios with about a dozen other people. There are dozens of lesser known "faith healers" I've watched as well. I know precisely how the cons work, how the audience works itself into emotional hysteria and how these men financially bleed the audience after their "feel good" session with Jesus. They are a den vipers and deserve destruction. They don't worry because they know they won't face a divine judge. I only hope that one day they face an earthly one. Watch and be prepared to be angry.

It's Heteroy

I shouldn't add another video so soon but I thought this one a rather funny satire on one of the more odious religious nut groups. Enjoy the humor. The jokes on them.

Atheism as a Country Western

I have to say this one surprised me. First the song itself is well done. I have a soft spot for Country Western music having grown up with some of it. And to hear a country song with an atheist message is wonderful. The images in the video are disturbing so be warned. If you, like me, find such images disturbing then just listen.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Let's fill in the blanks.

Being a scientist requires rationality and intelligence in your field of study. It does not mean the practitioner would be rational and intelligent in all fields. That ought to be obvious to any of us.

A man who is a decent physician won’t necessarily be a good mechanic. Some of the worst errors that have been made are the result of people speaking out on topics for which they are inadequately trained --- or in some cases not trained at all.

I think of Dr. Paul Ehrlich the entomologist who’s speciality is butterflies. His degree is in zoology. Ehrlich, however, was also a political activist who wrote The Population Bomb which proved to be dismally wrong on almost every front. Ehrlich was not a demographer and he was contemptuous of economics. Since he dismissed economics openly he didn’t understand how markets work and why there were feedback loops which invalidated his own theories. No doubt in entomology Dr. Ehrlich is brilliant man.

Martin Heidegger was no intellectual slouch and considered a major influence in modern philosophy. Yet he was a relatively early member of the Nazi Party and remained a member of Hitler’s organization until the end of the war. His intellect was no guarantee that he wouldn’t make an error in his politics. And there is no shortage of brilliant individuals who support the vile politics of Marxism regardless of how genocidal the record of that ideology.

Francis Collins is a geneticist and no slouch in that field. But he and his religious fans think that means he’s no slouch in the field of philosophy and theology. It’s the Ehrlich/Heidegger error all over again. Collins is one of these born again types and he argues that believing in Jesus is scientific and that skepticism is irrational. His arguments are pretty sad for someone considered intelligent. You can read one essay on his views here, written by Sam Harris, the author of The End of Faith. Harris quoted one passage from Collins which I wanted to comment upon. Here it is:

“If the case in favor of belief in God were utterly airtight, then the world would be full of confident practitioners of a single faith. But imagine such a world, where the opportunity to make a free choice about belief was taken away by the certainty of the evidence. How interesting would that be?”

Collins has to deal with an anomaly. Dumb people tend to be religious and the smarter the person the less religious they tend to be. Study after study confirms that. The dumber the person, on average, the more fundamentalist their faith. For instance 517 members of the National Academy of Sciences were asked what their beliefs were concerning a deity. Only 7% said they held such personal belief while 93% said they either disbelieved or were agnostic on the issue -- in other words the lacked a belief in a deity.

One general marker of intelligence is the level of education a person acquires. Note I said “general marker”. People who don’t have the intelligence tend to fail and don’t move on educationally. Some intelligent people don’t get the levels of education for which they are capable but in general there is a correlation between intelligence and levels of education. Believers are far more likely to have never finished high school or only finished high school than non-believers. On the other end of the spectrum believers are far less likely to work on advanced degrees than non-believers.

Faith, in my opinion, is a substitute for knowledge and intelligence. You believe something to try and fill in the gaps of those things you don’t understand. It is said that nature abhors a vacuum. Well the human psyche abhors ignorance. So if there is something humans don’t understand they have a tendency to fill in the blanks with faith statements. And even intelligent people end up with blanks that trouble them and they are just as capable of inventing an explanation for those areas of their own ignorance as dumb people.

I suspect Collins has done this. And he needs to explain why intelligent people don’t fall for religion as easily as dumb people. So Collins posits why it is that God didn’t make the evidence for existence clearer. He claims that human free will would be eroded if the case for God were clear! What nonsense!!!

Do I have any less free will because the earth is known to revolve around the sun? What Collins is really saying is that the accumulation of knowledge diminishes freedom. If you know something to be true you don’t have free will to believe a lie. Hence the quest for knowledge is the quest for non-freedom. The more we know the less we are free. So why his quest to understand the genome? Doesn’t each new piece of information diminish our free will? Surely if knowledge of God makes us less free all knowledge makes us less free.

Freedom is ignorance and ignorance is freedom. That is the fundamental premise of what Collins has said whether he realizes it or not.

And it gets worse for him I think. He wants to explain why some people don’t see the “rationality” of god so he offers this silly argument. But it isn’t just “some people” who don’t believe it is very specific people. Generally speaking it is intelligent people who don’t believe.

Now that is a problem for him. He wants to argue that belief in God is the intelligent thing to do. If God is rational why is it that intelligent people tend to disbelieve and unintelligent people tend to believe? His attempt to address this lack of evidence still misses the point. He knows that intelligent people understand his genome work better than unintelligent people. He knows intelligent people are more likely to understand science in general than unintelligent people. But he can’t explain why intelligent people are so much less likely to believe in Jesus.

This idea that God made it this way is a bit odd. If you accept Collins’ theory you have to conclude that belief in a god is the only “rational” belief which is accepted more by the unintelligent than the intelligent. To preserve “free will” God made a mystery so mysterious that only the intelligent seem to have great problems understanding it while those who are intellectually closer to plants have no trouble grasping it at all.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Astrologer's prediction and the murdered child

Anyone with any brains at all knows astrology is a bunch of bull. Of course astrologers have their lingo and trot it out while making educated guesses at what might happen. And certain astrology AT Mann did that regarding the horrific murder of the six-year-old girl JonBenet Ramsey. After ten years of mystery the police have announced a suspect has been arrested in Thailand. And supposedly the man has confessed details of the case not known to the public. Of course we still have to see what happens.

But Mr. Mann the astrologer didn’t need investigations. He had the stars and planets to guide him. Right! Here is what he wrote: “The directed Moon squares the Mars/Pluto opposition at the time of the murder, and the transiting Moon activates her Venus(beauty)/Saturn(jealousy) opposition, all of which show me that her mother was responsible for the murder itself, and that her father assisted in the clumsy coverup. In this sense, both parents are guilty of her murder.”

Apparently the stars were very wrong. Instead of the mother killing the child and the father helping in the cover up it was someone entirely different. Mann is the author of such astrological works as A new Vision of Astrology, The Round Art of Astrology, Astrology and Reincarnation. His works have been praised by leading astrologers. But the stars were wrong here.

Of course Mann’s slander of the parents is not unique at all. He was playing the odds. Three people were in the home when the girl was killed. Her parents and her nine-year-old brother. But it also appeared someone else had entered the home, someone unknown at the time. But the police botched the case from the start by not treating the home as a crime scene.

In fact the child was dead in the basement for nine hours before she was found. But the property outside was covered with police footprints. In other words evidence was probably destroyed. In the end it looked as if only these three suspects were left and it was unlikely the young brother did it. So it was a safe bet to name the parents. I suspected them myself though I wasn’t as dumb as Mr. Mann as to put it into print. But all I was doing was make a guess. Pretty much what Mann was doing no matter what mumbo jumbo he attaches to his claims.

The suspect, John Mark Karr, is a former school teacher. It is implied that the sex charges Mr. Karr was arrested for in Thailand involved young girls. And the attorneys for the family say that the parents mentioned Karr to the police early in the investigation. And Karr has supposedly been in touch with someone near the murder who was cooperating with police. We shall see but Karr is looking rather guilty. And it appears the guessers, including the astrologist, were wrong.

German prosecutors need to learn about free speech

German prosecutors say they will be monitoring the Madonna concert in Dusseldorf to consider prosecution because religious groups have, as usual, whined about the content. In one segment of the concert Madonna appears as shown in this photograph.

Cardinal Ersilio Tonino, who was speaking with Papal blessing, said it "blasphemous" and wants Madonna excommunicated. The woman was raised Catholic. Now let me understand this. Mandonna does this concert and top officials at the Vatican want her excommunicated but some priest rapes small children and he gets a wink, a nod and few Hail Marys for penance! Then when a few dozen of these priests are doing the same thing in the same diocese and the local Cardinal finds out and helps cover it up he gets what? Cooperation from other cardinals in the deed but no censure or discipline. Has any priest who raped small children ever been excommunicated? I tried to find any via a google search and couldn't locate one. It's nice to know the Vatican has their moral values in proper order.

As for excommunication from the Catholic Church. Anyone who hasn't been excommunicated is brain dead. Excommunication from such a corrupt and evil insititutions is a badge of honor.

German prosecutors should remember that censorship ought to have gone out the windown in 1945 when the war ended. It strikes me that an awful lot of people take a strange view about freedom of speech. The seem to think that what made Nazi censorship bad was not the censorship at all but what was censored. Now if someone proposed the idea that the concentration camps themselves were okay but they just held the wrong groups we would immediately see the flaw in the logic. But some people never learn. I heartedly support the slogan "Never Again" and to me that means offering freedom where the Nazis offered control and oppression. It doesn't mean just a different form of control and oppression.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Atheist video

It's got a few flaws but this student video is still well done and makes some key points. I want to thank the "non-entity" who brought it to my attention.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Pope speaks

Putting down rumours that he had been dead for months Pope Benedict gave an interview with the media. It is claimed by some that one could actually see his lips move.

The Pople said he wanted to put to rest the idea that Catholicsm was simply just a series of prohibitions.

Personally I thought the scandals of the last few decades, regarding the priesthood, had put the idea that Catholicism was a series of prohibitions to bed long ago.

Kill Bunny

Christians like to say that Jesus is coming back and this time he's pissed. Here is the cinemagraphic proof.

Can you tell who said it?

I will reprint here remarks from an interview by an unnamed individual. Read through it and see if you can tell who Mr. X is.

Mr. X: Kerry, who ran against Bush, was supported by homosexuals and nudists. But it was Bush who won [the elections], because he is Christian, right-wing, tenacious, and unyielding. In other words, the religious overcame the perverted. ...

But unfortunately, because [politicians] want to flatter these people on account of the elections, a disaster occurs. In order to succeed and win the elections, he flatters these people, rather than saying to them: No, you are sinning against yourselves, against society, and against humanity. This is forbidden. Instead of leveling with them, people flatter them to win their votes. This is the disaster that has befallen humanity.


Interviewer: How should a homosexual or a lesbian be punished? ...

Mr. x The same punishment as any sexual pervert - the same as the fornicator.


The schools of thought disagree about the punishment.... There is disagreement....The important thing is to treat this act as a crime.

Mr. X: Lesbianism is not as bad as homosexuality, in practical terms.


Interviewer: Should a man be punished for having homosexual tendencies?

Mr. X : Yes, he should.

Interviewer: Or maybe he should be punished only for committing this sin?

Mr. X: He should be punished just like a fornicator. What is fornication? It is a sexual perversion. A perversion cannot possibly be innate.


Interviewer: Some ... authors ...discuss this openly, in newspapers and in their books. Homosexual characters appear in some ... films. In addition, homosexuals gather in public, and show up at parties.....

Mr. X: This is the calamity of societies. When sin and abomination are concealed, they don't cause much harm.


But the calamity becomes widespread, when it stops being a secret and becomes public.


We are not hostile towards these people. On the contrary, we pity them. But we do not want to give them an opportunity, like the Westerners, who consider this a normal phenomenon, and it has become widespread, I'm sad to say.

So who do you think said it? Maybe I'm not being fair. In broad terms who do you think said. Don't identify the individual just give think what is the likely political affiliation of the speaker? What is their theological viewpoint? It would be hard to name a specific individual wouldn't it. He sounds so much like all of them: Falwell, Robertson, Dobson ad infinitum. There is an endless supply of leaders on the Religious Right who say exactly the same thing.

I'll give you another clue. The speaker is opposed to secular rule saying that secularism denies "Divine guidance" and is a rejection of the injunctions of God. He argues that God's laws "cannot be amended to conform to changing human values and standards, rather, it is the absolute norm to which all human values and conduct must conform." Still having problems since it sounds like most of them. Give up?

The actual speaker is radical Islamist and cleric Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi. Sometimes it's damn difficult to tell one fundamentalist from another isn't it.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The day I die or that's life.

What does the first Monday in June, 1834 have in common with the last Tuesday in September of 2103?

I can name one thing for sure. I wasn’t live on the first and won’t be alive on the second. Neither were you alive on the first nor will you be alive on the second.

And that brings us to the main, cheery topic of today: death.

It is said by believers that there are no atheists in foxholes. Okay, believers aren’t that bright. Of course there have been atheists in foxholes. Both in literal foxholes and in metaphorical ones.

But the believer has to assure himself that there are no honest atheists who reject what they so willingly and unthinkingly accept.

I’ve had my own foxholes over the years. One near drowning and two armed assaults. Once in the Indian Ocean I got too far out and was having trouble getting back to shore and exhaustion took over. I was close to shore but not close enough. I felt myself sinking. I looked over at someone near me and said “Help” and the man gave me a giant push toward shore. It was enough for me to finally feel bottom and I got to shore and lived to tell about it. Though I rarely find a reason to do so.

The other occasions are more memorable and horrifying. On one occasion three armed men attacked my home. I won’t go into the details but at one point I was sure they would kill the one person in the world who I love the most, then and still. I lied to these men to distract them, in order to get them out of the room so that they got distracted from the promise to pull the trigger in front of me. I knew there was nothing the were looking for in the lounge. I was just diverting them. I thought there was a good chance they would kill me or both of us. When they found nothing they beat me but it distracted them enough that we both lived.

On the next occasion there were two armed men waiting outside the house. They grabbed my partner outside and demanded to know where I was. I was standing in the bedroom looking out the window when I saw them. They turned and fired at me. The bullet went into the window frame a few inches to the left of my head. I called the police and the two armed men fled the scene.

There were not literal foxholes but close enough. On two occasions I thought I would die. The third happened so fast I didn’t consider the possibility until after it happened. And none of it changed my mind as to the non-existence of a deity. Why? Because whether or not there is or is not a god is not dependent upon my circumstances. If there is a god not facing death doesn’t make him/her/it disappear. And if I do face death again, as some day I shall, doesn’t suddenly make him/her/it real.

The existence of a deity is not dependent on what happens to us. This is something that many Christians don’t actually seem to grasp.

If a god exists he is going to exist whether or not I believe in him. If he doesn’t exist then he doesn’t exist and it does not matter one iota how many other people say he does exist. They can shout and warble in tongues all they want. The shouting doesn’t mean he exists. They can feel every emotional high that we as humans can induce in ourselves and it makes not one shred of difference. If is he is there then he is there regardless. And if he isn’t there then he isn’t there regardless.

I remember starting to go under the water that day and thinking to myself that this was it. I wondered if it would hurt but I wasn’t particularly afraid. During the armed attacks I remained surprisingly calm and had myself untied almost the second they tied me up. When they were outside checking other buildings on my property I called the police and then ran back to where they had left me in case they came back in. I couldn’t get out as they had us locked in. In fact I remember how I acted when I turned and saw the three of them coming in the back door with their hostage. They left the door open and I very politely asked if they would mind going back and shutting the door so the cats wouldn’t get out. More surpassingly one of them did it.

It is not death I fear at all. How I die is of some concern but not the state of death. Why?

Go back to those two days. To me they are the same thing. Today I am alive. On August 1, 1945 I was not alive. I didn’t suffer as a result. I simply wasn’t. I didn’t exist then. And some day in the future I will be in the same state. I have no reason to dread that day anymore than I do the eternity behind me when I didn’t exist. From non-existence we come and into non-existence we go. That we have an interlude of existence and life is wonderful. I’m glad I’m here. But I have no fear of not being here. There is no fear in death. Dying is a different matter.

There are causes of death I would prefer to avoid. I don’t want the pain or the suffering of some drawn out illness. I would rather have it over with by choice under those circumstances. I don’t even mind having some knowledge it is coming just so I can take care things that I would rather not have others have to do. If someone said to me that they had the ability to promise that I could either die in 10 years time in my sleep or live 20 years more but die of painful cancer I would pick the former not the latter. Of course my real preference would be go 19 years and check out voluntarily when the cancer hit.

Believers are the ones who actually fear death not atheists. We have nothing to fear. We believe life ends when life ends. I have no other reason to think otherwise. And even if there is some form of existence beyond the grave, which I doubt, there is nothing I can do about it now. I’ll find out soon enough thank you very much. Making up a deity with supernatural powers doesn’t tell me anything more than I know now. I can imagine all I want and invent theories but I can’t know. And if my suspicions are correct, and this is all the existence we have, then I will never know since I will cease to be. There will be no “I’ to “know” that my theory was correct. That is a bit disappointing in a way. I think that all those believers who believe in Heaven for themselves and Hell for the rest of us are wrong. The only conclusive proof they are wrong, to them, is dying and being dead. But then they cease to exist and thus never discover they were wrong. Oh, well, that’s life.

Friday, August 11, 2006

How odd of God

I've covered the lunatics who believe the New Testament requires them to pick up poisonous snakes and dance around with them in church. The believe the Bible requires this sort of action. In other words, they think God mandated this sort of nutty behavior.

But how odd of God to do this. How can a god, who is supposedly the god of the entire planent, mandate something which is impossible to do in various places of the world. You couldn't follow this rule in New Zealand for instance. No serpents at all, let alone poisonous ones. Yet they have the same New Testament. How negligent of God to command they "take up serpents" and then forget to provide serpents. Some Christins will point to the camel' s hump as God's design allowing a camel to survive in a dry climate. Fine, but why did God remember the camel while forgetting he told his followers to dunk each other in pools of water which he neglected to provide?

Of course they don't mean just any serpent but poisonous ones. Again you run into trouble. God forgot to put poisonous snakes in Maine, Alaska and Hawaii as well. It gets a bit more confusing with Ireland. One sect says God wants you to pick up snakes but another, the Irish Catholics, said St. Patrick, under the power of God chased them out. No poisonous snakes in Ireland either. In the UK it is very difficult to see any snake at all let alone waltz with them in church. In fact there are various places around where, even if there are snakes, they are so rare and difficult to find that obey God's command would be almost impossible.

Take the "ordinance" (or sacrament if Catholic) of baptism. Now most fundamentalists want to dunk you completely under. Yet there are places in the world where finding that much water in one spot would be damn difficult. You can survive but accumulating that much water is not an easy thing. Today it's not so difficult since we have modern plumbing and so forth. But when God issued the orders that wasn't the case making it more difficult.

Another thing to consider is the issue of communion. Here we have wine, for most people, or grape juice for the fun-hating fundamentalists. Either way you can't have wine or grape juice without grapes and for that you need vineyards. But not all regions of the world are endowed with vineyards. Of course international trade now makes such things available everywhere. But there was a time when a Christian couldn't rush down to the grocery store for the "fruit of the vine" to follow the commands of God.

In many ways God was negligent. He really didn't think things through very well. He comes up with his "word". I don't care if you mean Old Testament, New Testament or Qu'ran. Take any of them it doesn't change the point. So here he has his "word" and he wants people to read it. So what does he do? He brings it out at a time when almost no one reads and there was no easy way to publish it. And even if people could read it wouldn't make difference since there was nothing for them to read. It took the invention of the printing press to make books affordable and easily reproduceable.

So why would God put his word in a book at a time when producing books was extremely difficult?

If God had just waited until the printing press came along, or had given that invention a bit of a push himself, then the distribution of his word would have been much easier. Apparently he didn't think of that.

He supposedly send his son down to preach before there was any means of accurately recording what he said. Now imagine you are God and you want your son's message to get round. Would you send him to some backwater region of the world to preach in an enviroment where the accurate recording of his message was nigh unto impossible? Surely he should have waited until television or at least motion pictures were invented. Then we could get an accurate record of what he really did say. But again it appears Jehovah didn't think of that. And if a god is this negligent in his duties well, can one really call him a god?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Outraged Christians! So what's new?

One of the traits of the born again is a state of permanent indignation and condemnation. As much as they drool about the love of God their principle emotion is one of rage and fury. They are a bitter people. And don't forget, humorless. Now one of these puritanical pontificating pundits from the Religious Right is condemning the new Will Ferrell satire on NASCAR racing, Talladega Nights.

Quiet honestly if there are two things that hold zero interest for me they would be NASCAR and Will Ferrell. But they apparently hold a certain charm for the, how shall I put it, well, for the hoi polloi. I suggest the fans of such a film are most likely to be the Bush-worshipping, pick-up-truck-driving, beer-guzzling crowd. Not what you'd call an intellectually inclined crowd by any means and likely to think that higher education IS finishing high school.

Apparently a talking sphincter named Ted Baehr, who we have encountered before, is attacking the film as a "racist, bigoted work that ridicules the Bible Belt, Southern white men, Christianity, Jesus Christ, the family and American masculinity." Note that this film doesn't ridicule French masculinity, Danish masculinity, or German masculinity. No sir, it ridicules God-given, Jesus-sanctified, Bible-believing "American masculinity". We are talking masculinity that is so masculine it makes the girl's gym teacher appear feminine. Yes sir, that is the kind of Christian masculinity that blows the heads off doves for the fun of it and invades hell holes at the drop of the hat. It's the kind of Bushian masculinity that doesn't care how many men one sends off to die just to get the damn job done because, well, because it's there.

Now if there is someone the fuming fundamentalists love to hate it is "Hollywierd", that home of evil humanistic propaganda. And don't forget it's run by Jews, just ask Mel Gibson. Speaking of Gibson the sphincter can't figure out the difference between satire and Gibson's actual beliefs. The whinning sphincter says: "Will Hollywood and the news media repudiate Will Farrell's (sic., yep the film reviewer can't spell the stars name correctly) ridicule of Southern white Christian mles as well as Mel Gibson's Anti-Semitic comments? Don't hold your breath!" I wish the sphincter would hold his breath. But let's explain the difference in a way that hopefull, even the sphincter can understand.

Will Ferrell -- satire.
Mel Gibson -- beliefs.

Mel Brooks did satirical films which presented Nazis but made fun of them. Hitler was a real Nazi who hated Jews. Satire is for fun, it's for laughs. Ferrell's film is satire. Mel Gibson's tirade is the hate-mongering he learned as his father's knee. The sphincter can't tell the difference. But then sphincters aren't known for having the best vantage point either.

Now there are two agendas here for the sphincter. One is to attack the Ferrell film. The other is to defend Mel Gibson. Baehr was a big defender of Gibson's The Passion of the Christ which had anti-Semitic overtones to it adopted from some Catholic mystic from the Dark Ages -- the height of Christian culture. One of the interesting things about the sphincter is that he claims, on one hand, to offer Christian film reviews while on the other hand he is paid to promote certain films. At least that is what Christianity Today magazine had to say about the man. Baehr was paid to promote at least six films including the god-awful (pun inteneded) Left Behind, promoting the fundie view of the end of the world. The magazine said: "Several film reviewers say they've never heard of a movie critic taking money to pomote films. One prominent reviewer said that it's ethically 'about as far over the line as you can go.'"

One commentator noted that Baehr's "rebuttal" to the article "includes at least half a dozen inaccuracies, misquoting Allen’s article and accusing him of sloppy reporting. Worse, Baehr stooped almost to the level of slander with accusations of anti-trust behavior, bias and hypocrisy. He went so far as to resurrect a lawsuit from almost a quarter-century ago in an effort to smear the magazine." The good Christian sphincter claimed this magazine, run by fellow believers, is run by people who are "greedy, unethical, dishonest and corrupt."

As for the conflict of interest the sphincter says there isn't one because his outfit doesn't review films. They are an advocacy group instead. A film critic, or a movie reviewer in more common jargon, offers opinions that are supposedly not influenced by factors outside the film itself. They may have their ideological viewpoint, such as the delusion that there is a god, but that is their business and they can even bring their biases to play in their review. But when they take money to promote films, and review films at the same time, there is a conflict of interest. So is Baehr an advocte or a critic/reviewer of films? In his absurd review of V for Vendetta Baehr is described, in his own biography line, as "a well-known movie critic" not as a well known lobbyist for Jesus. His own website refers to his little diatribes as "current reviews". Baehr wants to eat his cake and have it too. He is and isn't a film critic. He is and isn't a movie reviewer.

One has to understand what this man concentrates on in his film reviews. He is a bookkeeper for cursing. He counts how many times the word "hell" or "shit" appears in a film. He sits in his darkened theater feverishly writing down warnings like "no sex scenes but two married couples shown sleeping in the same bed". Exactly what kind of mind finds it so critical to warn people that a film shows a married couple sleeping in the same bed? And it wasn't even a gay married couple! He also warns: "married couple holds one another in bed, and husband kisses pregnant wife in bed." He warns of "upper male nudity" which means showing a man's chest. He tells us that the film World Trade Center has "16 obscenities (including one 'f' word)" and "12 profanities". He is the cursing accountant.

In this reviewers opinion, and I don't get money from anyone, the man is one sick ... (insert "f" word here).

This review shows a non-Christian, humanist world view. There is one profanity and two obscenities. There is no nudity and no married couples sleeping in the same, horrors, bed. Or to quote the sphincter himself: " lawless, attitude toward religious faith, morality and the Bible, including very strong, politically correct attacks on Christian characters and their beliefs, especially Christian traditionalists or conservatives, who are often viewed as hypocrites or mean or stupid or all three." There are 11 references to a bodily orifice deeply offensive to the sphincter (make that 12 references) himself.

Monday, August 07, 2006

What does Jesus look like?

Here is a question for you. What does Jesus look like? Now we can't rush off to see his DMV photo to be sure. Anyway if he had a DMV photo it wouldn't look anything like him. Georgie Bush may have all your details in a data base but there is no passport photo of the supposed Saviour of the world. None of the disciples sketched a quick one of the Lord of the Universe taken a snooze either. No one snapped a Polaroid when he was extolling the virtues of whatever.

And the only texts purported to be written by people who knew him seem totally uninterested in giving us any description of the man. You would think that if these books were written by people who actually knew him they would at least give a description of him somewhere along the line. Virtually any other biography does that. Of course the people who did the written probably never saw the man. I can describe Paris but not Rio. I've seen Paris several times but never been to Rio.

Now the only manuscripts that attempt to tell us anything about this man never describe him at all. So in reality no one has any idea what he looked like. He could 5'5" for all we know or 6' tall. He could be thin or fat, have brown eyes or green. Maybe he had longish hair and maybe he didn't. When it comes to his looks we are clueless. And that raises an interesting question. If we don't know what he looks like we wouldn't recognize him if he sat down next to us at McDonald's.

Of course there is a traditional image that arose from religious paintings done centuries after the man was dead and buried. And people think of that image. But there is no reason to think that image is Jesus.

Yet people claim to see Jesus in the oddest of places. They usually see some vague shape which they associate with the traditional image of Jesus. And they proclaim it a miracle, a sign, a wonder of God, etc. People are so easily deluded. For instance a California man says he saw a sign from God when the face of Jesus was spotted on the tail of a piece of a shrimp.

But in Florida some people insist Jesus is appearing in the bottom of a pan that is used to heat nachos. The restaurant announced they would not use the pan for cooking any more.

But in Phoenix a dentist and his staff insist that this x-ray shows Jesus inside a man's mouth. You really have to look closely to find this sort of thing. Of course the places that Jesus pops up is only limited by human imagination. People think they see him, think they talk to him and the really balmy ones think he talks to them.

I mean look at those images. Couldn't it be Charles Manson?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Faithful accounts of Jefferson and Jesus?

I have covered in the past the problems concerning the New Testament. It is a document written by numerous individuals over a period of about a century and the authors are often not the ones to whom the books are ascribed. They recount events which they did not witness and then the original manuscripts vanished. All we have are copies of copies. They were written in one language then translated into another and the translations were transcribed by various individuals not entirely reluctant to do some editing of their own.

I mention this to put into context the remarks by one these fundamentalists who spend all their time “defending the faith”. Something which is no doubt more than a full time job as nasty facts keep getting in the way. This defender of the Gospels writes: “The New Testament has far better textual support than do the works of Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, or Tacitus, whose contents no one seriously questions. In addition, the New Testament documents have always been both public, and widely-disseminated. Thus it would be impossible for any party to have materially changed their contents, just as the Declaration of Independence, for example, as a public document, could not have been privately altered without raising notice and creating public furor."

None of the Gospels date from the time of Christ nor were any written by Christ. In fact we aren’t sure who wrote what or when. This is very different than the works of Plato. We know Plato wrote the works of Plato which is why they are called “Plato’s works”. Elementary. Now imagine if the works of Plato were actually not written by Plato but by someone a century later claiming to tell us what Plato said. Their reliability would be shot at that point. We may not know if the wording we have is precise but we have a good idea that Plato wrote it. But we don’t know who wrote the Gospels.

Now let us assume that the version of the Gospels we use today are 99% similar to the first versions written. What does that tell us? Only that they would be similar to the versions that were manufactured decades after the death of Christ. That gives us no indication whatsoever that they are reliable accounts of the life, works and teachings of someone named Jesus. Even if they are 100%, spot on duplications of the first Gospels ever written it doesn’t change the fact the Gospels were written long after the events they purport to describe. We still have a very long gap between the events and the texts. And we know how fallible human memory can be over the short term let alone over decades. Worse yet we know how people like to exaggerate and tell tall tales.

There is no such gap between Plato’s words and the text being recorded since Plato recorded the original text himself. Jesus did not. So what we start out with when it comes to Plato are his words and we only need to have some assurance that the texts that survived were relatively similar to what he wrote. With Jesus we start out with text written decades later by other people.

Another important difference is that no one goes around preaching in the name of Plato and demanding that America become “a Platonic nation as God intended” in the way they wish to foist Christianity by the force of law on others. No one was burned at the stake for disbelieving in Plato. No one was imprisoned for doubting the worlds of Plato. Platonists are not running around trying to push censorship, ban abortion and make gays second class citizens. No one thinks they are doomed to eternal hell fire because of something Plato wrote.

Let us also look at the silly comparison of the Declaration of Independence versus the New Testament. Now if I weren’t an atheist I would say the Declaration was inspired by God. I am an atheist. It was not inspired by God but by Jefferson and that is close enough for me. It was written in 1776, the drafts of it exist and so does the original. It was written in English and published in English without a process of centuries of human transcription. It was immediately and widely published. And it was done at a time, when, contrary to popular misconception, most people could read and printed books and newspapers were widely available.

Now I have heard the Declaration misquoted frequently. But it is easily verified. And if you really have doubts make your way off to look at the original. Imagine if the Declaration were like the New Testament instead. Let us say that Jefferson got up in a room and spoke his immortal words. But no one present wrote them down and neither did Jefferson. Now imagine that about 80 to 100 years later some unknown individuals wrote four accounts of that day and what Jefferson said. They agree on some details and disagree on others. They sometimes even contradict one another.
All four of them write out the words but they differ as well. And there is good reason to believe that they are quoting another manuscript which we don’t even have.

Now those four accounts are written down and for another few hundred years get copied by hand. And we end up with versions that are similar but have different endings or other comments added in. We couldn’t go check the original since there is no original. We couldn’t be sure of very much.

We are sure about the Declaration, not because it is a public document since people still misquote it rather regularly, but because we have the original. We have Jefferson’s notes from when he wrote it. We have first hand records from eye witnesses describing what happened that day. And these original, first hand accounts still exist and are the final arbitrator in any dispute. We have no such luxury with the New Testament. Instead we have most of the books written by a man who never met Jesus -- Paul. He never read any of the four Gospels, never witnessed Jesus in life, never heard him preach or even speak. And then we have four different accounts of the same story written by people unknown but unlikely to have been witnesses themselves. I certainly have no difficulty in believing we have good copies of the Declaration of Independence. But the New Testament has none of the recorded provenance that the Declaration has.

As for it being public record remember the Declaration came out at a time when most people were literate. The Gospels were written at a time when most people could not read. The Declaration was immediately widely disseminated. The Gospels were not even written till decades after the events they purport to report. The Declaration was not transcribed but was printed in the newspapers. Each paper had the same text. The Gospels were hand copied. The Declaration had wide circulation in cheap formats. The Gospels had a small circulation and were very expensive to produce. Remember the average person didn’t own any book until after the invention of the printing press. If some scribe changed a verse of two in the Gospels it is very unlikely that very many people, if any, would have noticed. And if they did notice they had no original with which to compare it. Not only could such changes be made without public furor but the public wouldn’t know. And considering that for hundreds of years most the public were not Christian they wouldn’t care if they did know. The very idea that a pagan public would scale the ramparts in indignation if the words of Jesus were altered is simply absurd.

We have a faithful replica of Jefferson’s own words. We have no assurance regarding the worlds of Jesus. And by the way, if you don't believe me I'm post a picture of the original version of the Declaration of Independence. I anxiously await for someone to do that with even book sentence of the New Testament. I'll wait but I won't hold my breath.


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