Sunday, June 30, 2013

Oops, I Did It Again

Well, I did it again. I've managed to sully yet another blog with an interview.

Debra, at You, Me, & Religion, has a wonderful blog where she has corralled Agnostics, Animists, Buddhists, Christians, Druids, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Polytheists, and a sprinkling of many other faiths into answering a set of fairly standardized questions regarding their faith, or lack thereof.  I suspect that the present audience is larger than the original target of her questions, but, regardless, the answers across the different faiths are often interesting and insightful.

If you are interested in seeing how different people of different faiths see their own worldview in their replies, check it out!

If you'd like to see my interview, check out this post.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Protect Yourself from Quackery

So I was reading in the USA Today an article entitled "Identify - and protect yourself from - quackery" by Liz Szabo.  Liz was drawing from the work of Arthur Caplan and others who offered advice on how to avoid being fooled by fake, ineffective, or even downright harmful health care providers.  As I was reading, I couldn't help but notice a strong parallel to religion...

  • They Claim to Have Cures No One Else Knows About - Only God can cure your heart and the deep spiritual ills of your soul, not to mention God can provide healing for physical ills without the need for traditional medical assistance.
  • They Claim Others Are Trying to Suppress Their Discoveries - The faithful are persecuted for sharing their beliefs, mainstream science works to suppress the truths that bear witness to the accuracy of their holy books, and demonic forces work to hide and distort the truth.
  • They Want Cash Upfront - Even though God has all He wants and needs, and can easily provide financial assistance to any one or any cause He chooses, God wants you to give up your wealth to His chosen religious institution.
  • The Treatment Is Available Only Outside the USA, Such As in Tijuana, Mexico - Well, we all know that we will not be perfected here on earth, but rather in the afterlife in some form of Paradise, which I'm pretty sure is outside of the USA.  (Not to besmirch the beauty of the USA!)
  • They Make Amazing Claims - If you believe and obey, you will live in a happily-ever-after place with all of your other faithful brethren, where you'll have all you could ever desire and you'll never get sick or injured, never be sad, never make another mistake, never be tempted, never argue or fight, but you will still be you!
  • They Rely on Testimonials - I know that God is real because I've felt His presence in my heart, because He helped me deal with a difficult situation, because it was His power that helped me change and overcome my problem, etc.
These tips go well beyond identifying medical quackery.  They speak to how each of us may be susceptible to believing in something that just isn't so.  It's not that we're stupid.  It's that we want to believe.  We all want a solution to our problems.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Anti-Pope and the End

Hey, did you hear that Pope Benedict XVI has decided to resign?...

OK, so that's old news.  I'm sorry!  Have I mentioned that I've been busy?  ;-)  Enough of that broken record though, and on to the end.

While I know you've heard that Benedict XVI resigned and Francis took his place, did you know that Benedict XVI was the Antichrist?  Oh yes!  Shortly after Benedict XVI became Pope on 19 April 2005, claims sprung up about him being the Antichrist, such as here and here.  I heard about this, and I have been waiting for that old codger to kick the bucket ever since!

Don't get me wrong; I didn't wish any harm on him.  I just wanted yet another foolish "prophesy" to be fully rendered into the gibberish that all such prophesies have been since the dawn of time.  His resignation was good enough, as it will be difficult for him to do what the Antichrist is supposed to do without the Papal seat.  :-)

If you look at those linked sites above, they hedge the claims about Benedict XVI being the Antichrist so as to look less foolish if they are wrong, but years ago that was not the case.

It seems that lots of people have a fetish for the end of the world at this particular moment of history.  Between globalization of business and the exponential boom of technology, the world is changing faster than I change my underwear; and I'm a single-side, single-use, single-day kind of a guy when it comes to that.  ;-)  Not finding any truly rigid point to affix their hopes to, the faithful seem ever-more-anxious to push the reset button and recreate the world into some form of perpetual paradise at the hand of a benevolent God.

For example, way back in 2010, I found this little gem:
"If additional time is granted the world for repentance and the acceptance of Yahuwah’s invitation to accept the sacrifice of His Son, Yahushua’s gift of eternal life, it would be short at best. Any additional time of grace is far from assured. After the fall of 2013, every additional day granted by Yahuwah should be regarded as living on borrowed time."
That's this year!  But don't get too excited.  Now that the end is near, according to that prophesy, they have reworded the page to be much more vague about the dated of the end.  You will not find that quote here anymore.  In fact, I just checked and found the page completely removed, and you can't find any word about Fall 2013.  I guess God must have changed the dates on them, or maybe they didn't want to appear too much like Harold Camping.

There are two important things to remember here.  One point is that predictions of the end, in one form or another, have been made almost since religions got their start.  The second point is that they have all been 100% wrong.  There are no signs of that changing any time soon...

The folks at created this fine info-graphic with a sampling of interesting and funny predictions of the end throughout the centuries.  Enjoy!

End of the World Infographic