The Overwhelming Power of Blind Belief and Religious Delusion

Benny’s Blog reports:

“Judgment Day on May 21 did come”, said Camping. However, he clarified that the Judgment Day arrived in a spiritual sense rather than manifesting physically.

It is my opinion that this elevates Harold Camping to be the new paragon of religious delusion (as if we didn’t have enough exemplars already). I have yet to hear of any “former followers” who quit because of his failed May 21 prediction. I think this sheds an extremely powerful light on the power of religious and/or ideological delusion. Nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is counted as “evidence” if it contradicts preexisting beliefs.

This is why the world is filled with false religions, like Scientology, Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism, Roman Catholicism, and every form of Protestant Christianity. This is why all dogmatic religions should be rejected out of hand. Non-dogmatic religions and religious philosophy are just fine because they do not destroy the minds of the followers. Dogmatic religion is a mind-killer and should be rejected by all.

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Law Group Suing Harold Camping and Family Radio!

Propagate this linkhttp://www.familyradioclaims.com/aboutus.html – so the victims of Harold Camping will have a better chance of finding it.

It is for a law group that hopes to “send a very strong message to Camping, et al. that actions have consequences; and that they cannot broadcast false and misleading information all across the globe, do everything they possibly can to convince innocent people to rely and act upon that information, and then simply walk away as though nothing ever happened.”

I say MORE POWER TO THEM! It’s time for Harold Camping and Family Radio to be brought to justice.

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My Prediction for Harold Camping and Family Radio after May 21

IJudgment Day May 21 Billboard‘ve read a lot of speculation about what will happen to Harold Camping and his Family Radio empire (with 150 stations, worth over $100 million). Most folks think he and his servants will just regroup, recalculate, and come up with a new date. This is exactly what happened after he falsely predicted the rapture would happen in 1994. But he had an “out” back then. He told his audience he was only 99.9% certain, and that it was possible he could be wrong even though he “believed it with all his heart.” But he had an out, and though stinging from embarrassment, he managed to regroup and regain much of his audience after his failed prediction.But I find that scenario to be simply impossible now because he has been adamantly declaring in countless soundbites for over two years that is is IMPOSSIBLE for him to be wrong because the “BIBLE GUARANTEES IT WILL HAPPEN.” He has said that “Judgment Day May 21 is the Word of God.” He has left himself no way out. None. Zilch. Nada.

So what will happen? Well, let’s follow the money. According to this article on CNN Money, Family Radio Inc brought in 80 MILLION DOLLARS between 2005 – 2009. That’s some “real money.” The article also quotes the Family Radio receptionist as estimating that “about 80% of her coworkers don’t even agree with Camping’s May 21 forecast.”

So here’s my prediction: Family Radio will throw Harold Camping under the bus and distance themselves from him entirely, and then restructure themselves to look like the ultra-conservative Calvinist broadcasting organization that appealed to their very generous (and woefully gullible) original audience. They will basically re-brand themselves as Family Radio with no reference anywhere to Harold The Dingbat Camping. And the Dingbat will almost certainly go along with the plan since he is an exhausted octogenarian who probably would rather have needles stuck in his eyes than to have to spend hour after hour answering for his outrageously arrogant and ludicrous false predictions.

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What a day! Rode from Yakima to White Pass with my friend Preston

I often go for a nice 33 mile bicycle ride around Yakima, stopping at Starbucks to rest, read, and visit with friends before the final eight mile stretch home. I usually do the loop four or five times a week so I’m in pretty good shape. But I wasn’t sure I was ready for the trip Preston (a 19 years old who rode over 5000 miles in the last year) suggested when he invited me to ride with him from Yakima to White Pass. “How far do you think it would be?” I asked. “About a hundred miles, round trip” he said.

“How many feet in elevation?”

“About 4500 feet.”

“That’s almost a mile you know. And I’m 51 years old!”

“You’ll do fine. Do you want to go?”

I hesitantly told him I’d like to go, but wasn’t sure I could make it to the top. He said that would be fine, we could stop when we got to Rimrock lake and return if necessary. So we planned to meet at his house at 7:00 AM Saturday May 14, 2011. I was a little concerned about the weather because there was lots of rain in the forecast. But as it turned out, the day was cool and overcast which was perfect for seven hour climb to the mountain pass. If it had been much warmer I would have had a much more difficult time. Despite drinking about gallon of water, I lost four pounds in fat and perspiration during the trip. Most of which came back (unfortunately) after I rehydrated.

When Rose dropped me off at Preston’s house, I was happy to see my other old friend Jim Milton. He rode with us for about 20 miles before he felt he should return. He’s sixty-six years old and hasn’t been doing much riding lately, so he wasn’t prepared for a long climb, but he did just fine when he was with us.

Preston_Jim_Richard.jpg

Me, Preston Wade, and Jim Milton

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The Lost World of Genesis 1 by John Walton

In this book John Walton presents the reader with a compelling exegesis of Genesis 1, focusing on Gods creation of the function and order of the cosmos, rather than the typical account of its seven-day material creation. John delves into the world-view and mindset of the different civilizations of that ancient time period and shows how the author of Genesis would have presented its cosmological story with that “first” audience in mind.

Genesis 1 sets the stage for presenting the function and inauguration of a cosmic temple in which God would dwell, which in turn leads to man being made in his image (and ultimately to being called living temples), and how the seven day pattern of Genesis 1 naturally lends itself to the order and function of what was to become the Jewish temple system.

In taking this approach to interpreting the ancient cosmology of the creation story, the serious Bible student is not obliged to reject scientific evidence of biological evolution or the geological age of the earth to fit a theological paradigm of a material, literal seven-day creation account, because that was never the intent of its author. Instead the Lost World of Genesis 1 works in a realist way with the cosmic ontology of the text, allowing its natural structure of function to build its purpose.

This book has proved to be a very interesting read, written in a flowing, and fluent style that draws the reader into a new understanding of how the mind of ancient man may have viewed the cosmos of Genesis 1. Be prepared to let go of long held traditional interpretations in light of new information regarding the meaning of the text of Scripture.

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“The Making of the Fittest” by Sean Carroll – Must Read!

“The Making of the Fittest” is one of the best introductions to evolutionary science, especially for those who have any doubts about its validity. It is lucid, easy to read, and packed with amazing and convincing facts. The subtitle says it all: “DNA and the Forensic Record of Evolution.” The same kind of evidence that is now universally accepted in all courts as proof of guilt or innocence also provides evidence “beyond all reasonable doubt” about the evolutionary history of all living beings.  Here’s is how Carroll explains his motivation:

More accurate and rigorous than fiber or fingerprint analysis, and far more reliable than eyewitness testimony, DNA analysis can provide conclusive proof about who was or was not at the scene of a crime. The authority of DNA evidence … led to a revolution in the criminal justice system and a vast increase in the use of DNA testing to both convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent. …

The power of DNA testing extends far beyond criminal justice. The determination of paternity is now definitive, and testing for carriers of genetic diseases is now routing, thanks to DNA science. but there is one arena where that power is not yet widely appreciated: in what one might call the philosophical realm.

Just as the sequence of each individual’s DNA is unique, the sequence of each species’ DNA is unique. Every evolutionary change between species, from physical form to digestive metabolism, is due to – and recorded in –  changes in DNA. So, too, is the “paternity” of species. DNA contains, therefore, the ultimate forensic record of evolution.

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Religion and Greed Lead to Murder of Pakistani Family

Being a Christian in Pakistan sounds a lot like being a Jew in medieval Europe under the rule of the Roman Catholic Church. Just as the Jews would often have their property, liberties, and even lives taken with no legal redress, so it is for Christians in twenty-first century Pakistan under Islamic rule. It looks like karma, but really it is just another example of the perpetual evil of organized religions that disable our innate moral sense (which normally prohibits abuse of others) and give evil people a social structure enabling them to exercise unjust control over others. Think about this – history shows that religions tend to disable, rather than enable or exalt, our innate moral sense! Religion creates and justifies a division of humanity into “us” and “them” and this disables our ability to identify with the “other” which is the fundamental root of all our moral intuitions. Here is the story as reported by Compass Direct News (source):

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, September 30 (CDN) — Islamic extremists killed a Christian lawyer, his wife and their five children in northwestern Pakistan this week for mounting a legal challenge against a Muslim who was charging a Christian exorbitant interest, local sources said.

Police found the bodies of attorney and evangelist Edwin Paul and his family on Tuesday morning (Sept. 28) at their home in Haripur, a small town near Abbotabad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (previously known as the North-West Frontier Province, or NWFP), according to Haripur Station House Officer (SHO) Maqbool Khan.

The victim and his wife Ruby Paul, along with their five children ages 6 to 17, had been shot to death.

Note that Edwin Paul was an evangelist. How many Muslims did he offend in his effort to draw them away from the religion of their youth? It’s like he stuck his hand in a meat grinder. It’s like he whacked a nest of hornets with a stick. Muslims in Islamic societies are brainwashed from youth to violently oppose anyone who tries to draw them away from their religion, precisely as were the Jews under Moses:

Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

The Muslims are acting in perfect accord with the spirit of this Biblical teaching which also is supported by a variety of passages from the Quran. What we see here is the patent absurdity of one Abrahamic religion at war with another Abrahamic religion because of a teaching they both hold in common! Therefore, the death of this family is directly attributable (at least in part) to the Christian doctrine that people of other religions MUST be converted and “saved” from the religion of their youth. This is usually based on the abominable and incoherent Doctrine of Hell that teaches anyone not submitted to the Christian religion is destined for eternal conscious torment. It is the Protestant variation of the “infallible” fourteenth century Papal Bull(shit) Unum Sanctum that emphatically stated:

Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

This doctrine finds many parallels in the Quran which teaches that Christians and Jews must “submit” to Islamic rule, pay a special tax, and be subjected as second class citizens. Here is one of the classic texts used to suppress Jews and Christians in Islamic societies:

Quran 9:29 Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture [i.e. Jews and Christians] as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

It’s all the same. When Religion is married to the State, the same evils always result whether the religion is Islam, Christianity, or Judaism.

Now there’s a lot more to this story than mere religious violence. It is really a story of extortion of the underclass established by the State Religion of Islam.  Edwin Paul was a lawyer defending a Christian taxi-driver who had taken a 150,000 Rupee loan from a prominent Muslim with the agreement that he would pay 50% interest after one year (224,000 Rupees). Never mind that usury is forbidden in Islam. Nobody is so foolish as to believe that these murderous madmen are really “Muslim” in any meaningful sense of the word. They are just filthy thugs no different than the “Roman Catholic” mafia. So anyway, the Muslim loan-shark saw an opportunity to extort more money from the weak Christian underclass, so he demanded the taxi-driver pay 500% (1.12 million Rupees) rather than the already exorbitant 50%. Edwin Paul had the audacity to take this case to the police, and for that, he and his family were ruthlessly murdered by people who had had their innate moral sense destroyed by a religion that said Christians are fundamentally inferior to Muslims. And as irony would have it, we can be fairly confident that the murdered Christian evangelist believed that being Muslim was fundamentally inferior to being Christian. It takes two to tango.

I say it’s time to quit this bloody dance.

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I’m not an atheist, BUT … Dawkin’s “God Delusion” is brilliant!

The title of this post is a play on Richard Dawkin’s article called I’m an atheist, BUT … which he incorporated into the preface to the paperback edition of The God Delusion. The article expresses his frustration with atheists who agree with his arguments but continue to support religion as a “helpful delusion” or some such twaddle. I share his frustration. In as much as most religionists, and indeed, all religious fundamentalists, see all other religions as false (since they are based on mutually exclusive assertions), atheists and theists differ at most in their disbelief of a single religion (the one held by the theist). Thus most Christians stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the atheists when they decry the absurdity of voodoo or the thousands of gods of Hinduism. And when Dawkin’s book is read as if it were arguing only against all the religions that Christians reject, then few if any Christians would find anything to dispute! They would admit all his arguments in a heart-beat since they do, after all, support their personal prejudices (which in theology is often the touchstone for truth). They have reason to fight against Dawkins only when he steps on their personal religious toes.

I need not repeat how eloquent, erudite, and entertaining Dawkins is as a writer. That’s been done a hundred times before me. But this I will say – while Dawkins does not have the “final word” on the question of God’s existence, he certainly has presented a powerful argument against the continued existence of religious organizations that demand the allegiance of human souls. I’m not an atheist, but I stand with Dawkins and all other freethinking humans who refuse to subject themselves to the  rule of some typically ignorant and deceitful self-appointed self-anointed religious leaders who would rule over our minds and wallets with claims of divine knowledge and threats of everlasting damnation in hellfire. That is something I am now free from, and I thank Richard Dawkins for helping me to clarify my thinking in this area. I strongly recommend everyone read this book.

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Want to know what teachers make? Listen to this …

h/t Larry Moran

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Catholic Answers Censored the Bible Wheel!

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Update 9/28/10: For general accuracy and respect towards Catholics, I have edited this post to remove some of the unnecessarily inflammatory comments that I wrote in the heat of the moment. I was utterly shocked and dismayed to have the conversation cut short just when I felt progress was being made, and I think I over-reacted and even conflated some of these events with some past abuse I have received on other (Protestant) forums. After posting and reviewing the entire thread, I see that my comments were not completely accurate. I apologize to any and all who may have been offended, and I will seek to do better from now on.

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On Sept 14, 2010 a user v1gilbert began a thread on the Catholic Answers forum with these words:

I was challenged by a person to look, with an open mind, at the claims of The Bible Wheel; those claims basically add up to the following: The Protestant Canon of Scripture was divinely inspired, thus excluding Catholic and Orthodox. It was all very mathematical, complex and convoluted so I don’t want to take my time in trying to understand it to refute it; I was hoping someone here had already come across a good debunking article or website.

Here is the website: www.biblewheel.com

The post continued with an explanation of the Bible Wheel that I had written on some forum long ago.

The thread quickly took off. In less than two weeks it had nearly 3000 views. I was assaulted with all the typical and predictable ignorant, moronic, and indeed, godless comments that most “Christians” seem to have built in as part of their genetic code. They asked if I had taken my meds. They made jokes about dartboards and steering wheels. They likened me to Joseph Smith and called the Bible Wheel “anti-Christian.” One person implied I was schizophrenic and another said I was either a heretic or an unbeliever.

As many of these empty, ignorant, and abusive posts began to accumulate, one member, InspiritCarol, declared that the Bible Wheel had been completely refuted and so there was no need to present any more evidence since it would just fall on “deaf ears.” Here is the interaction I had with her in Post #137 in which she had presented a ludicrous list of moronic posts as if they actually contained some refutation of the Bible Wheel:

Originally Posted by InspritCarol

I invite you to please revisit post #’s: 2, 3, 7, 11, 13, 14, 17, 19, 21, especially 29, 30, especially 40, 44, especially 48, 61, 73 an on and on; I feel that I could sit here all night typing examples of what is wrong with the “Bible Wheel” but it would fall on deaf ears. For a powerful example of pattern application check out the Ron Howard film “A Beautiful Mind”.

Originally Posted by RichardMcGough

Your comment contains three fundamental errors.

  1. Most of the posts you cite do not even contain an attempt to refute the BW, let alone a valid refutation. Indeed, most of the posts you cite have little if anything to do with anything I have ever written! For example, the first post you cite (#2) begins with a string of unsupported assertions like it’s “hogwash” and “a game that anyone can play.” There is nothing in that post that actually engages any statement that I have ever made. It is therefore absurd in the extreme for you to include it in your list. Likewise, post #3 begins with the completely irrelevant comment that “The Bible is not a code to deciphered.” Again, this has nothing to do with anything I have ever asserted about the BW. And the pattern continues. The next post your cite (#7) makes no direct statement about anything I have written. And the next post you cite (#11) makes the false assertion that I appealed to the Sepher Yetzirah as an authoritative basis for the BW. Victor corrected this error when he explained the obvious, namely, that the Sepher Yetzirah gave me an heuristic motivation to put the books in a circle. I have NEVER claimed it has any authority. I could go on like this through nearly every post your cited. Your list is absurd in the extreme. How in the world did you think you could fool people? Did you think that no one would actually read the posts you cited???
  2. I am not deaf. On the contrary, I have been gifted with a most acute sense of “hearing” false arguments against the BW and I am always eager to answer any attempt at any refutation.
  3. I read “A Beautiful Mind” and I saw the movie. Your implicit association of my work with the schizophrenic ravings of John Nash is outside the bounds of rational discourse. You owe me an apology.

You now have a choice. You can produce one serious refutation of something I have written, or you can admit that your feeling that you “could sit here all night typing examples of what is wrong with the Bible Wheel” is not based on fact. Personally, I hope you choose the former. It should be interesting. And besides, given your level of confidence, it should only take you a few minutes, right?

May God bless you richly,

Richard

To Carol’s credit, she apologized for implying I was “schizophrenic.” One other user, teak421, also apologized for speaking out of ignorance. I was beginning to get hopeful that a genuine fruitful discussion of my work might finally be possible.

As the thread continued, I answered every question with ease and with each answer the evidence for the validity of the Bible Wheel began to blaze like the noontime sun in a cloudless sky. So Catholic Answers had no choice. They could not merely ban me and leave the thread, since that would leave all the evidence in place. So they followed the path of all tyrants  – they censored the evidence! Catholic Answers DELETED THE ENTIRE THREAD!

The thread was pretty young. It only had 12 pages but already outranked most other threads for views. Thankfully, I was able to save the last four pages (which were the pages I had participated in) because they were in the cache on my own machine, and I was able to save most of the other pages because they were already cached on Google (link). So I have all the evidence of the suppression of truth by Catholic Answers.

I consider this a PUBLIC DECLARATION by Catholic Answers that they are absolutely incapable of refuting the Bible Wheel.

I invite all Catholics (and any other interested parties) to this blog (or my forum where this is also being discussed) to correct anything they think might be a misrepresentation of this situation. And don’t worry, I won’t CENSOR THE EVIDENCE to protect my position.

I have posted the entire thread that Catholic Answers foolishly thought the could hide. The first 100 posts can be read here, and the final 76 posts here.

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