Category: Religion

Transubstantiation disproven

| March 29, 2015 | Reply

Explosive headline concerning the alleged transubstantiation. Here’s the title and opening sentence:

Vatican reeling as DNA tests show communion wafers contain 0% Christ

The Vatican is this morning facing a further crisis after routine DNA tests revealed that the communion wafers used in Sunday mass contain 0% of the body and blood of Christ.

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What’s new on Catholic radio

| March 25, 2015 | 3 Replies

Not much is new on Catholic radio.

Here in St. Louis, we have a Catholic radio station. Sometimes I listen to try to understand how Catholics think (I was raised Catholic). Yesterday, a woman called in and reported that her parish priest was serving up grape juice instead of wine to the 7-year old children who were about to receive their First Communion. She was upset because it isn’t proper to drink grape juice. Ten minute conversation ensued, with the radio hosts urging her to confront her priest, and then report this to his superiors if he didn’t change his ways.

I was thinking, “What would Jesus do?” (assuming that there were a divine Jesus). I couldn’t imagine any person with any heart sending a child to hell because she drank grape juice instead of wine.

Next caller wanted a clarification about the doctrine of papal infallibility. Another 10 minute discussion–it left me completely bewildered. Metaphors heaped onto metaphors, framed with utter vagueness. It reminded me of Daniel Dennett’s characterization of theology as “tennis without a net.”

Today, a caller wanted to know why priests couldn’t get married. The expert answer: Ao that they could focus on the important work they do. The voice in my head then said, “That’s why all the CEOs of all the big corporations are celibate and unmarried (as well as all professional athletes, entertainers, politicians, doctors and computer programmers).

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On coming out as an atheist

| March 20, 2015 | Reply

Wendy Thomas Russell came out as an atheist flu years ago and has found it to be a positive experience. “I can candidly say that, for me personally, being “out” has been one of the most surprisingly gratifying choices I’ve ever made.” Here are her four main reasons:

1. It turns out I really enjoy shattering people’s assumptions.
2. I like religious people more now.
3. I’m setting a great example for my child.
4. I’m opening the door for others.

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Original version of the “Pledge of Allegiance” recited by Porky Pig

| March 7, 2015 | Reply

No “under God” in the original. That bit of obvious conflation of church and state was jammed into the pledge in the 50’s:

If saying the pledge makes us better citizens or makes our country better, maybe we should say it 20 times per day, bowing in homage as we chatter those words. Or, of course, we could actually do the hard work of making ourselves better citizens or making our country better.

And here is a version of the pledge that reflects my feelings about forcing kids to repeatedly recite jingoistic formulaic speeches they don’t understand:

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Reasons why heaven would disappoint you.

| February 1, 2015 | 3 Replies

I don’t believe in heaven, but many people do, and they can’t wait to get there. But not so fast. What is heaven like? This article suggests that heaven is not all that it’s cracked up to be.

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Heavenly unanimity

| January 25, 2015 | 1 Reply

I was raised Catholic and I was taught to believe that God was actually three distinct persons in one, somehow, and this was nebulous.  But I was also told that there were a lot of other heavenly characters up there.   I don’t believe that prayer is communicating with any sentient being, but a lot of people do believe this.

It is interesting that whenever someone tells me that they prayed and that they received wisdom,  all members of the Trinity, and Mary, and all the saints and cherubim all agree with each other on all topics. It’s not like people seeking prayer guidance come away with this result: God says take the new job, whereas Jesus says wait a month and think about it, whereas Mary says go back to school, whereas the chorus of angels sings that you should give it all up and join a commune.   It seems like there is a lot of Groupthink going on up there . . .

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The Bible: The most unread cherished book in the world.

| December 26, 2014 | 3 Replies
The Bible: The most unread cherished book in the world.

If one really studies the Bible, one won’t find much, if anything, about homosexuality. One will find plenty of verses telling women to shut up, telling people not to engage in public displays of prayer and telling people to not criticize their politicians.

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Mormon Church start to come clean with truth about Joseph Smith’s many wives

| November 11, 2014 | 1 Reply

It’s a good first step, as presented in the NYT:

Mormon leaders have acknowledged for the first time that the church’s founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old.

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Apathist: New option for declaring one’s religious outlook

| November 4, 2014 | Reply

“Apathist”: someone not particularly interested in the God issue. I do think this is the direction in which I’m headed. Much more of a conversation piece than atheist and agnostic. I learned of the word “apathist” while reading Frans de Waal’s FB wall.

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