All posts by Paul Johnson

Christian Views on Abortion

After reading Dave’s two posts on America a Christian Nation and Visitor Comment, I got motivated to follow up. Although Dave’s posts were factual and he made good arguments, I disagree with his inclinations of intolerance.

When educating children as well as adults, you have to show patience and refrain from making the readers feel incapable. But enough about writing styles. Let’s talk about the forbidden subject, abortion.

It seems that after the Supreme Court made another of their many mistakes and made sweeping laws by deciding on all cases regarding Roe vs Wade, all rational discussion stopped. Not only was the Supreme Court out of bounds deciding on this issue as a global decision, but they stopped the discussion Americans were having regarding abortion. Since then, the different sides quit coming together and began drifting apart.

America needs to start talking about abortion again, and start coming together on some serious solutions. Obviously all one way or all the other will never work and is bad for America. Too bad, though, that some feel that it doesn’t matter if it’s bad for America, as long as they get their way. If we only had more Americans like that, we’d be back in the Dark Ages.

We need to reopen the discussion of abortion.

What does your church say about abortion?

Let me answer that for you. It doesn’t matter!

Got that? Churches are creations of man, controlled by man, supported by man’s donations, led by men. If you’re Christian, what your church says about abortion means nothing. What matters is what your God says about it.

If your God doesn’t agree with your church, and I can guarantee that for most Christians they don’t, then the man is fallible, your God is not.

The real question is, what does the Christian God say about abortion?

From the few links provided by the post on Christian Nation, we can see that God recommended abortion on multiple occasions to stop the birth of children into infected/heathen villages. The Christian Bible even has a detailed recipe for abortion.

The Bible references life to begin when the breath of life is blown. In other words, life begins at birth, at first breath.

Don’t believe this? Read the Bible. For example, in Exodus:

21:22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
21:23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
21:24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
21:25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

This tells us two things about abortion and Christian belief.

  1. If a man brutalizes a woman causing an abortion/miscarriage, then, meh, he has to pay the lesser of what the husband wants or what the judges might decide. However,
  2. If the woman dies or suffers any other mischief, then he pays “life for life.”

Ponder that. According to the Christian Bible, an unborn child is not a “person” worthy of a life for a life because it isn’t born yet. Is it worth something? Sure, something, but not the same as a life or a “tooth for a tooth.”

If this isn’t what your Christian church teaches, then you are going to the wrong church if you are trying to follow the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught the principles in the Bible. All of the Bible.

I’ll leave you with an important question and ask that you consider it seriously. Why does your church preach things that are the contrary to the principles defined in black and white in the Bible and taught by Jesus? Is yours the church of God or the church of man?

Let’s open up the discussion and come together as a country on how best to deal with the issue of abortion. And let’s leave the troubled churches out of it.

How to Reduce Abortions

How to Reduce Abortions

Paul J.

hanger

What is the best way to reduce the number of abortions each year?

Unfortunately, the majority of Americans don’t remember what it was like before Roe vs Wade.  But let me tell you what I remember.

Back in those days, when it was illegal to have an abortion, there were tens of thousands of them performed every year. That was when they were illegal.

When it was illegal, there was a criminal industry providing the services that people truly needed. There were botch abortions, where girls died. There  were botched self-abortions, you know, the old hanger approach where girls died. There were cases where girls died in childbirth because they were trying to hide their pregnancy. There were lots of deaths of young girls, needless deaths.

But, the rich didn’t die so much. They didn’t use the coat hanger. They got all the abortions they ever wanted in clean hospitals and doctor offices. They used to call them D&Cs. But the poor couldn’t get the safe illegal abortions, so many of the poor girls died.

Plenty of rich girls died, as well, those who were afraid to go to her parents’ doctor for help.

Making it illegal wasn’t working so America woke up and fixed it. Let that sink in a moment. We got wise and woke up and made them legal.

There was no explosion of abortions when they became legal. They just came out of the back alleys. Girls quit dying from botched self-administered abortions.

So if making them illegal doesn’t reduce them and only causes more problems, and making them legal doesn’t stop them, then what will?

It’s simple. It’s so simple everyone can understand. The best way to reduce abortions is to reduce unwanted pregnancies. That is all that there is to it. Simple.

How do you reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies? Obviously telling young adults not to have sex doesn’t work. Obviously pressuring girls into making vows with their daddies not to have sex doesn’t work. You can’t stop people from feeling the urges we were born with. You can’t stop people from having sex.

You can only help people have safe and protected sex. Teach people about safe sex. Make safe sex free by providing free birth control and free condoms. This doesn’t increase the frequency of sex, it just makes for fewer abortions.

If you really care about abortions, then you will agree that the only solution is to make them safe and seldom by helping people make good decisions when the time comes.

By the way, how’s that whole war on drugs going? We’ve been throwing trillions of dollars at drugs trying to eradicate them but we get nowhere with all our efforts. America is waking up to that fact. Making things illegal doesn’t stop people from doing it. It just makes the otherwise normal American a criminal. Or in the case of abortions, it make the otherwise normal American girl, dead in some dark alley.

If you’re a Christian, you can’t possibly believe that making abortions illegal is going to do any good. The only way is to help people who are in need of help. That is what Christ would do and you know it.

But, then again, I’m just a man and this is not my decision. It is the women of America who must decide what is right for each of them in each case and the rest of us need to stay out of it.

Any man you see trying to get involved in restricting abortions is nothing more than a bully trying to control other people. A sick and destructive bully.

What Proves God Exists?

What Proves God Exists?
by
Paul J.

I hear people telling me, all day long, about all the things that proves to them that God exists or that there is intelligent design or whatever.

Sunsets are beautiful because God exists. See? It’s proof. Birds fly because God designed them. See? It’s proof. Back in the cavemen days, they would say, When I jump up, God brings me back down. See? It’s proof.

But when asked for actual evidence, well, no one seems to have the proof. Why would God hide the proof from us when so many are seeking it? A cruel hoax?

Well, let’s change the question around a little bit. If there was one fact, that if proven, would convince you that there is no God, what would that fact be?

What facts do you have that if proven would make you question your god?

If something can’t be disproved can it be proven?

Your God is Here

Where in here is your god?

Your God is Here

Paul J.

I don’t consider myself an atheist by any stretch, but consider any religious person without an open mind to be a slave, and an easy target for religions and the republican party. But, still, with an open mind, I found this concept quite interesting. Which God in there is yours?

Was America Founded on Christian Values?

I’ve heard this argument so many times I decided it needed to be investigated. Was America founded on Christian values?

There are two places for us to look for answers: 1. Do Christian values agree with the values this country were founded upon, and 2. Did our founding fathers make any comments regarding this possibility?

Christian Values

Let’s start with looking at Christian values and American values and see how much overlap there really is. A quick read of the bible or even a quick goolge of Christian morals and values brings up these values defined in the Christian bible.

Jesus Died for Our Sins

This is one of the biggest defining principles of Christian religion. Having one entity/person/god take the punishment so the guilty party can go free is not only immoral but is entirely against the ideas of moral in today’s America and wasn’t considered moral by our founding fathers. Therefore, the biggest principle of Christianity is completely contrary to American morals.

Sacrificing for God

The bible is rich with ritual of sacrifice of both human and animal. No one today or at the founding of our country ever thought that it was acceptable to kill humans or animals for a deity.

Judge Not Lest You be Judged

Again, this is one of the principle definitions of Christianity and is referenced in the bible repeatedly. However, our country’s constitution defines judges as a fundamental part of the government.

Subjugation of Women

America’s founding fathers were mostly pagans but there were a couple devoutly religious in the mix. Still, there is no reference in any of our country’s founding documents, including all the notes on all the discussions leading up to the constitution that makes any reference to women being second class citizens or requiring women to be subservient to their husbands or covering their heads. Yet, these are defining principles in many of the bible’s stories. Even Jesus was quoted as being abusive to his mother.

The list of defining Christian morals that don’t match morals of our country are endless. I could continue but I believe I’ve proven my point.

Secondly, what did our founding fathers say about religion and government?

Founding Fathers’ Religious Comments

Let us start with the most obvious, the first amendment: Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion.

Isn’t that pretty obvious? If it’s not, if you want to interpret it to mean Congress shall make laws respecting… then you might have missed something in your English language class in elementary school. No means no. Even if you wonder if it really means yes, then correspondences with the founding fathers would illuminate that, but as it turns out, documents of their correspondences show that they mean “no”. For example, Thomas Jefferson wrote to say the 1st amendment made a “wall of separation between church and State.”

Madison was quoted as saying, “Strongly guarded. . . is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States.”

Not obvious enough, yet?

In an international treaty, The Treaty of Tripoli, drafted in the late 1700s it states:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The only way to continue to believe that America was founded on Christian principles is to refuse to accept facts. Unfortunately, though, this is also a defining characteristic of Christianity.

Peace Brothers.

America a Christian Nation

America a Christian Nation

Paul J.

Ever wonder if America was founded as a Christian nation? Ever heard that we must be since we are founded on Christian values? Well, if someone said it must be, well, then it must be.

If you are not so inclined to believe just anyone about such a grand assertion, you’re probably wondering where you can find information on the issue. Well, of course, you can find it right here. But, why stop there? Why not read the actual words of America’s founding fathers?

Here is a link to Thomas Paine’s works. See what he says and then come back here and tell me you believe America is a Christian nation.

Is Conservatism a Natural State of Human Nature

Is Conservatism a Natural State of Human Nature

Paul J.

Most everyone who has studied American history knows that America was built primarily by what was called barn builders. Entire communities got together to help out their neighbors. When someone’s barn burned down, the whole town would get together and chip in a board or a tool and some elbow grease to help build a new one.

America was built on the opposite of the Greed is Good Conservative mindset. But what about Human Nature? Is Greed over Community a natural state for man?

Think of a small community of cave men. If it was natural for the community members to take more than they contributed to the community, the community would die. This is true for any human community of any size. A small town will die if everyone takes a little more away from the town than they contribute. A country will crumble if people take even the slightest little bit more than they contribute.

However, a town, a nation, and a world will flourish if everyone puts in just a little more than they take.

So, a small clan of cave men would only survive if people put in more than they took back.

The only cavemen clans that survived were those who didn’t have conservative leaches sucking the vitality out of the society. Any greedy conservative would spell the denise of the clan and those defective personality traits would be cleaned from the gene pool.

Sure, in the short term, ruthless clans will be able to steal the wealth from the others, like America’s rich have stolen the nations wealth from the rest. But this condition never lasts. Every greedy empire falls. Why? Because greed and conservative policies don’t work in the real world.

The personality defect known as conservatism is not natural in mankind.

 

The Effects of Religion on Society

The Effects of Religion on Society
Paul Johnson

It’s interesting to look at the effects that religion has on society. Below, you will be able to visualize the effects of different social trends, including religiosity, health, teen pregnancy, education, and income disparity. This data was compiled from multiple sources, mostly being from the census data.

Each graph shows two social issues on a state-by-state basis. Look to see how many peaks in one line match peaks in the other line. This indicates that both the social indicators are high in that state. Look for the number of valleys that line up as well. All the states are in alphabetic order so you can find your own state by counting the number of tick marks.

Let’s get started…

Religion tracks poor health in almost all states

The above graph shows that states with highly religious people contains the most unhealthy people. Do sick people become more religious or are more religious states under served in the health industry?

Let’s look at teen pregnancies in religious states:

Teen pregnancies are higher in states that are more religious.
Teen Pregnancies and Religion

The two lines don’t match up nearly as closely as the unhealthy religious graph but the number of peak and valleys that match is well above 50%. It should appear obvious to anyone reading this that the religious communities have a problem with their youth being unprepared for their sexual inclinations. Abstinence education doesn’t stop sex, it stops intelligent decisions regarding sex.

Okay, let’s look at education and religion:

You can see the obvious correlations
Religion and Lack of Education

This graph tracks almost as closely as the first one. There is an obvious correlation between how uneducated a community is and how religious they are. There are endless psychological studies proving that the typical Republican is way below the average IQ of a Democrat, but this data seems to prove that there is also this same marriage of religiosity and duh.

The real question is, which is cause and which is effect? Does being dumb make you more susceptible to religion or does religion discourage knowledge?

Let’s look at Religiousness and Income Disparity:

Religion doesn't track income disparity
Religiosity and Income Disparity

There isn’t much correlation at all between these two. In other words, income disparity isn’t any more prevalent in religious communities than anywhere else.

But, if we compare income disparity and lack of education:

Lack of income tracks income disparity
Education and Income Disparity

These two data sets track each other very closely. It is quite obvious that communities with low educations are exploited by the wealthy. It also indicates that in communities where the mega-wealthy control the community, there is little chance of the people getting out from under their thumb. Education is the best solution to income disparity.

I hope you enjoyed the graphs and the narration that explains each.

Pro-Christian Anti-Christian

Pro-Christian Anti-Christian
Paul Johnson.

If you were to create an organization that was the opposite of Christian, what would it look like? One easy approach is to look at all the things that were important to Jesus and oppose them.

Jesus spent most of his life helping the poor, feeding the poor, clothing the poor, or today would be housing the poor, healing the poor and the sick. He was against mixing church and state. He told his people not to show boast about their faith. He showed humanity and justice for the imprisoned. He opposed wealth and lived a life free of greed.

What other things can you come up with that were important to Jesus? He mentioned gays hardly ever so it’s not something worth associating with Jesus. There was no such thing as abortion in those days so you can interpret anything you want but if it was important to Jesus it would be obvious to all. But, he never talks of abortion.

Go ahead and think up any more things that were important enough to Jesus that he spoke of them often.

So, now we can outline the things that would make an organization anti-Christian.

What other things do you think would characterize an anti-Christian party?

To be a Christian

To be a Christian
by
Paul J.

With all the talk from the Republican candidates about how superior their own personal religious strengths are, it should remind all of us what it really means to be a Christian.

Do you consider yourself a Christian? What are your most important Christian principles?

Considering how Jesus taught and how he lived his life, here are some Christian principles many consider important. How do you rate on these Christian principles?

  1. Works of Mercy: Do you support and vote for a political party that is for providing material needs of the weak, sick, and poor? Or do you vote for a party that is against health care for all?
  2. Does your political party seek to take away rights from others, such as gays, or illegal aliens, or Muslims? Or does your political party show mercy for all, regardless of their differences?
  3. Salt and Light: Do you shine like a lamp and show your political party that you believe in “do unto others as you would have done unto you?” Or, do you support a political party that wants tax breaks for the rich while deserting the needs of the poor?
  4. Does your political party want to cut expenses by taking away benefits and services for the poor to help the wealthy? Or does your political party want the wealthy to share in order to feed the hungry, and heal the sick?
  5. Are you sure that your political party shines with the light that you want illuminating you and your family and you community and your country?

If you are a Christian, these are some difficult questions and hopefully will make you stop and think, regardless of your political party.

Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me. [Matthew 25.40]

 

What Does Pro Life Mean?

What Does Pro Life Mean?
Paul J.

What does it mean to be pro-life? Answer some simple questions and rate yourself.

  1. Should the sick be cared for even if they can’t afford health care?
  2. Should the elderly be cared for even if they can’t afford health care?
  3. Should the poor be cared for even if they can’t afford health care?
  4. How about if they have to chose between heat and medicine?
  5. Should the homeless be cared for?
  6. Should illegal aliens be cared for even if they can’t afford our hospitals?
  7. Should the minimum wage be high enough to provide a meaningful way of life for everyone, one that includes medical and retirement?
  8. Are you against the death penalty?
  9. Are you against abortions?

Count up all your “yes” votes. If you have only one “yes” vote, some strange folks would say you’re pro-life. But anyone with even the slightest grasp on reality would say that anyone with less than 90% “yes” vote is just mediocre. Anyone with less than 50% “yes” has a serious problem. If you are below the 50% mark, I strongly suggest you read the Constitution of the United States and start with the introduction, or preamble. Just in case you can’t find it, here is how it starts:

We the People  of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It should be pretty obvious to even the most uneducated in our society that the purpose of our government is so we can provide for the wellbeing of ourselves and our neighbors. The entire introduction to our constitution lays it out in black and white.

The Sacred Text

The Sacred Text
by
Paul Johnson

I heard a fundamentalist Christian warning of the dangers of reading the Bible without having an experienced member of “his” church there to help you interpret. After all, it was the true and real word of God and so there’s no way just a simple layperson could possibly understand the subtle nuances embedded in the holy scripture.

I was so shocked at his comments that I had to actually ask him what he was talking about.

I was shocked at how similar this fundamentalist sounded to the Muslim fundamentalists explaining how just because the Koran says to cut off the hands and feet of thieves, it doesn’t really mean that and you have to have an imam interpret the text for you.

That was a big warning flag for me and it should be a big warning flag for anyone relying on others to interpret their religious texts. Here is why.

There are two possibilities. Either the text is the real word of God or it’s not. So let’s look at the two options:

Your religious text is the true word of God

If this is the case then you can be positive that God knew how to produce the text in such a way that they can’t be misinterpreted. Surely God could do something as simple as that. God would not produce scriptures in code that only those who think they know how, can interpret them. That would destroy the value of  having the word of God at all.

Your religious text is not the true word of God

If, on the other hand, the text is not the true word of God but rather a written history written and transcribed and interpreted by many over the years, then the text has already been interpreted by man, by error prone man with a purpose to spread the word. In other words, it has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Worse yet, the text may be interpreted one way but a century later may need to be interpreted again as languages change over time.

Another issue, still, is the condition of the original writings as preserved over time. The original texts were written is a way that they could not be interpreted without error. The original text had no breaks between the words, no spaces in the text. This means that the original text could have been interpreted many different ways and each way would be correct.

If these are the true words of God, then He wants us to read them as a guide, not as laws.

Beware whenever you encounter someone telling you that you can’t interpret the words, yourself. If you can’t, then your god isn’t much of a god. He can’t even write so average people can understand it. Not too likely, now is it?

Now, since it’s obvious that you should be reading the texts yourself, go out there and start reading. I suggest grabbing a Bible and reading the New Testament if you’re so inclined. It is so much easier than trudging through the books that even Jesus took with a grain of salt.

Religious Matters

Religious Matters
What Moral Matters Matter to America
by
Paul Johnson

The latest US budget designed and approved by almost every single Republican in the House of Representatives takes food right out of the mouths of the starving and gives it to the millionaires and billionaires.

This action has horrified America enough that we are beginning to realize that we are voting for the party that is as opposite our religious and moral values as possible.

How could we have voted for this immoral party? How could we have been made into such suckers that we have voted against all that we know to be right and voted for those intent on giving our country away to the greedy and the rich?

If we don’t stop and figure out how we got here, we’ll never be able to avoid it in the future.

What went so wrong that we got the party of the greedy running our government?

I can’t speak for everyone who has accidentally voted for the party of the greedy, but I can speak for those I know and I can be pretty sure that this is the same mistake made by almost all of those voting for the Republicans.

Wedge Issues

The easiest way to get people to vote against their own best interests and against the best interests of the country is to get them to vote primarily on wedge issues. A wedge issue is an issue that can be used to drive as a wedge between political parties. The Republicans can’t run on providing for the poor, because it would be a a lie, so they need to find something that will get people riled up enough to go and vote for a lousy candidate if he would just address the wedge issue.

The Republican voter is typically a single issue voter. This means that they are the most susceptible to being used as tools in wedge issues.

Effective Marketing

The Republican party has become experts at marketing destructive policies to the American people. Why else would you have a Tea Party out there chanting for more rights and lower taxes on the multinational corporations and billionaires? The Tea Party was created with money from the billionaires and is sponsored by billionaire dollars and marketed with billionaire money all for the purpose of getting Tea Party candidates elected who vote against the interests of Americans and all for the corporations.

Few people even realize that the original Tea Party was a revolution against multinational corporate power and now they’re out there chanting for more power and more money for the multinational corporations. You can’t tell me that’s not pretty darned impressive marketing.

Lies and Deceipt

The percentage of people who are foolish enough to be Tea Baggers is low enough that the Republican party needs more. Hence, the need to lie about what they are and what they plan to do for the billionaires.

This is not a problem limited to the Republican party. There are a few Democrats who run on Progressive principles and then vote straight ticket with the Republicans.

But, this isn’t really all about how bad the Republicans are. This essay is about how some unethical politicians and greedy billionaires can corrupt our political system. It’s not all about Republicans or Democrats. It happens to be the Republican party they have infected, but it could have just as well been the Democratic party. In fact, they’re spending billions of dollars right now, trying to corrupt that party as well.

Taking Back our Country

How on Earth are we ever going to fix this mess with so much money lines up against the American voters? How will we wrestle the media away from big money? How can we change the campaign finance laws when the Supreme Court is so obviously pro-billionaire?

This almost looks like a perfect storm. It may be too late for us to take back the country peacefully, but hopefully we will at least try before it’s too late.

The Real Issues

As I’ve pointed out, political parties don’t run on real moral issues, they run on wedge issues. This means that we voters are stuck without real issues upon which to vote.

What are the most important moral issue to you? Think about it before reading further. What is really important to you morally? Do these moral issue matter enough to affect your voting? In other words, do your morals affect your “real” life or are they just something to talk about at church?

For the vast majority of Americans, moral issues affect their daily lives. Most people try to keep morals in their lives.

Here is a short list of my moral issues. I have a much longer list but it’s not important what mine are, what matters is what your moral list looks like.

  1. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, curing the sick. You know, those things Jesus says need to be part of our lives.
  2. Turn the other cheek. This includes reducing the steel heel of oppressive laws in America and reducing the oppressive governments of other lands. This means no wars. Fix the system where the vast majority of those in our prisons are minorities and poor. You know, the things Jesus said we should keep in our lives.
  3. Discouraging greed. Wow! There’s no end to where this could go. It’s time to get the money changers out of our religions and out of our politics.

There are plenty more, but this is a good start for discussion. Do yourself a favor and come up with your own personal list of important moral issues.

Now ask yourself, how many of those issues on your list are things you actually vote on? How can there be such a great disconnect between what you think is moral and how you vote?

Now, here is a list of wedge issues that are important but are not anywhere near the top of my list and I bet they’re not at the top of yours either:

  1. Abortion. This is not a moral issue. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we need to vote on abortion. Abortions are horrible but if they’re at the top of your morals list, you might want to stop and take a second look at your morals.
  2. Hate the Gay. How many times does your religious book refer to defending the downtrodden compared to the number of times it says we need to disenfranchise gays? This is a big wedge issue but is also a big moral issue as well. Should we be taking rights away from gays? What would your common sense tell you?
  3. Religion in schools and in government. This wedge issue really as no place in a Christian’s political view. Christianity is opposed to the combination of politics and religion. So are our country’s founding documents. So, why would you vote based on this issue? Don’t get me wrong. There are some religions that think that politics and religions should be the same. But most Americans opposed to Muslim laws regarding this.

What are your most important wedge issues and is it wise to vote based on them while excluding the most important moral issues on your list?

Happy Easter!

The Nature of Miracles

What Makes Miracles

by
Paul Johnson

It’s Easter season again and it’s time to think about the nature of our religions, and in particular, the nature of miracles. Easter is full of stories of miracles. In fact, the entire Bible, as most religious texts, is full of miracles. But what, exactly, is a miracle?

This is something that all elementary schools and every church should teach, but unfortunately it is neglected.

Back 3,000 years ago (or 6,000 according to some), when the Bible begins, there were things that we humans saw that had no explanation other than being the hand of God. Today, we would see most of those miracles and realize they come from the laws of physics or the laws of nature. A simple example is the miracle of an eclipse.

So we must ask ourselves, which of those miracles that we’ve heard about thousands of years ago were really miracles and which were easily explained with the knowledge available today?

A Miracle History

Imagine that you were to see a miracle today. It’s your imagination, so imagine what you want. I’ll imagine a neighbor who has such great skill at hypnosis that he can help people regrow amputated limbs.

Over time, two things could happen.

  1. Others, standing on the shoulders of giants, would find ways to do this same service, in which case it would no longer be a miracle, or
  2. No one can repeat the miracle in which case it remains a miracle.

If the case was situation #1 above, then the only way that it would remain a miracle is if a group of followers demanded that this miracle worker did things differently or better than everyone else following. That burning bush was a miracle, that sunset was a miracle, that eclipse was a miracle. This would require a very dedicated following with very rigid books of examples of how their miracle worker was different.

If the case was #2 above, then after enough time the miracle would just fade away into folklore. Even books and literature reminding us of the miracle would eventually become suspect as there will eventually be no evidence of the miracle.

To summarize, history will eventually fade all miracles into obscurity. Eventually even the translated books of the translated books of the translated books of the miracle will become suspect. This is a problem that all modern day miracle-based religious books suffer with and put considerable time into trying to address.

The Miracle Impostors

As we’ve discussed above, there will often be groups who want to memorialize the miracle even if it’s proven to be less a miracle than a law of nature. How many times do you hear people explaining how “their God” did this or did that? It’s quite common.

That’s not to say that these are bad or evil people. They are trying to save the life of a religion that they believe is the only true one. They are trying to convince themselves by trying to convince others of the validity of the miracle that they can no longer prove.

God’s Solution to Forgetfulness

So, how does God go about performing miracles and keeping them around so He doesn’t have to keep proving His magical powers?

If I can start a cult with a counterfeit book of miracles and have a following that will keep the lies alive for centuries, then who will know it’s any different than the real book of miracles which no longer has evidence? No one can tell for certain that one is the real one the other is not.

It is obvious that the only solution to this forgetfulness is the constant display of miracles.

This assumes that the miracles are a fundamental part of the religion!

Let that sink in. That is the point of the entire essay. If the miracles cannot be proven then either God will recreate the miracles to keep people believing or he will put more emphasis on the other aspects of the religion.

God Knows Everything

Or, at least God knows everything there is to know about mankind.  So, why does he hide his miracles from us?

God knows that we’ll forget the miracles over time. He knows we’ll question the miracles. He knows that well-meaning cults will rise up that have their own false miracles.

He lets us forget the miracles because they are not a fundamental part of the religion.

Say What?!!! You’re saying the miracles of Lent, Good Friday, Easter are not a fundamental part of Christianity?

Yes. That’s the whole point. And, that’s why we aren’t presented with reruns of the miracles regularly.

It’s not the miracles that are the important part of Christianity, it is the underlying principles.

Now, stop, take a breath, and ask yourself, what are the fundamental underlying important principles of your religion? Is it because of the miracle that God gave his life to save you from your sins or is the important principle of your religion rules on how to live your life?

The Need for Repetition

In order for the new generations to continue to believe the miracles, they can either believe blindly or they can be privileged enough to see miracles for themselves.

Why would God let his miracles fade to the same level of validity as any hoax or cult? Because it’s not the miracle that’s important.

Who Do You Believe?

You and I live in a day when we don’t see miracles. Many people around us will try to attribute common sense things to the miracle of God but we all know they are just laws of nature. I hear the term, the miracle of a new born or the miracle of a beautiful sunset or this miracle or that, but we are expected to believe in a God that no longer shows himself to us.

Are we left trying to decide which of the countless different histories of miracles to believe and hopefully we’ll be lucky enough to choose the right one, or risk living eternity in punishment? No, that’s not the actions of any God I can imagine.

Hopefully by now you’re beginning to see that it’s not the miracle or the history of the miracle (Bible) that matters but what matters is how we decide to live our lives, without the miracles. Do we choose the path of “Greed is Good” (the Republican way and the Ayn Rand way) or do we choose the path of helping ourselves, our neighbors, and our world? These are the decisions we must make, and quit paying attention to the stories of miracles.

Stop with the miracles. Use the opportunity of Easter to celebrate the teachings of Jesus. Help thy neighbor, heal the sick, feed the hungry, and vote out the money changers.

American Taliban

American Taliban
by
Paul Johnson

It’s been a while since I’ve come by this way but wanted to share this wonderful book with everyone who can read.

American Taliban is a wonderful book by Markos Moulitsas that puts serious work into showing just how dangerous the radical right fringe of the Republican part has become. They are without a doubt just as bad and possibly worse for America than the Taliban in Afghanistan.

We have to be worried about these radicals getting even the slightest foothold in American. We have no room here for nut cases like the Taliban. The Tea Party is so full of these nut cases that America is looking over the cliff at what can become of our country.

If they get into power, Osama bin Laden has certainly won.

Get the book, read it, and do everything you can to protect America from the American Taliban.

Consider this an open thread to discuss the book.

Celebrating Jesus

Celebrating Jesus
by
Paul Johnson

Today I saw a sticker on the back window of a car that made me sad. Why was I sad?

The sticker was a picture of a tortured pained grimacing face of Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns. How very strange that we celebrate Jesus’ life by endlessly showing icons of his darkest hour.

Should Jesus come to earth today he would be shocked and horrified to see his icon in every Christian church being a cross depicting his final hours.

Jesus did many wonderful things during his life here on earth but we don’t idolize that part of his life. No. We idolize his death. Why?

Jesus spent his life helping educate people, helping the poor and downtrodden. He healed the sick, especially those without insurance. He fed the poor. He spent his life helping those struggling to survive.

Why don’t we make an icon that depicts something more representative of his life? Because it’s not what matters most to us. What matters most to us is what we can get out of it. We iconize the cross because it’s what’s in it for us. We got cleansed for our sins. We have a chip in the big game, now. How selfish!

If Jesus came to earth today he would be as hateful of most of the Christian churches as he was in The Book of Revelation. The churches don’t try to follow his teachings or his hopes. They don’t even support a national health plan that would help the sick. All the things Jesus tried to do like help the poor, are the political things almost every Christian church opposes. He would be so very disappointed.

And that makes me sad for all of us who have lost track of what Jesus thought was important in his life. We go to church and pretend to be good Christians, we give lip service, and all the while we’re too selfish and greedy to help  the sick and the poor. Helping means more than giving money. It means living the dream of Jesus. Oh, my, he would hate these churches as much as he did those before, and for much the same reasons. Sad!

So, tell me. When is the last time your church taught you about how Jesus died for your sins and when was the last time your church reminded you how important it is to feed the poor and heal the sick? If your church is anything like the many I’ve been to in the past ten years, every sermon is about being saved by Jesus’ death (the selfish sermons) and none have been about voting for the party that wants to clothe the poor and heal the sick.

What would Jesus think of your church? Sad!

[poll id=”14″]

Email Silliness

Email Silliness
by
Paul Johnson

Got a funny one in my email today and just had to share with you. The message:

AGREE  OR DELETE

If You Choose To Delete You Are Part Of The Problem

Me? I’m Passing It On.
It seems to get worse daily.

This is by a daughter of a murdered couple in   Raytown ,   MO , who had a Bible and Bookstore on   63rd street ….

Just one more example:

When I had to testify at the murder trial of my parents a week ago, I
was asked to raise my right hand. The bailiff started out “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

I stood there and waited but she said nothing. She said “Do you?”

I was so stunned I blurted out “What happened to “so help me God’?”

She came back with “Do you?” I replied yes, but I was perplexed.

Then the judge said .. “You can say that if you want to.”

I stopped, raised my right hand, and finished with “So help me God!”

I told my son and daughter that when it came time for them to testify, they should do the same.

It’s no wonder we have so many problems in this country. If I’d had my wits about me I’d have told them that taking God out of the courtroom is only going to result in more criminals and murderers.

I don’t know what can be done about it, but it’s time for us to step up and DO something.

NBC this morning had a poll on this question.. They had the highest number of responses that they have ever had for one of their polls, and the percentage was the same as this:

86% to keep the words, 14% against. That is a pretty ‘commanding’ public response.

I was asked to send this on if I agreed or delete if I didn’t.

Now it is your turn.. It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God.

Therefore, I have a very hard time understanding why there is such a mess about having “In God We Trust” on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Why is the world catering to this 14%?

If you agree, pass this on, if not, simply delete…..

In God We Trust

A quick trip to snopes.com and we see that this email message has been started and restarted and restarted since 2004. If the sender had a shred of respect for his credibility, he really should verify things before forwarding them off to everyone under the sun. The questionable source of this should be enough to stop anyone with any self respect from forwarding, but alas, someone sent it to someone who sent it to me.

Obviously this fictitious author never took or failed in her civics and American History courses, either one which would have educated her about why we have and should maintain a separation of church and state.

Ms. Anonymous, have you even looked at countries where there is no separation of church and state and can you find even one that you would like to live in? How about looking at the obvious examples of church run governments, the Muslims. It is obvious, even for a closed minded fanatic, that the governments always end up exploiting religion to control the people. America’s creators were determined to ensure that there was a clear separation for just that reason. Read your history, sister.

Another example is Israel. Again, is that the kind of country you think America should be? God, I hope not. If it is, go there and leave us to a country that respects the wishes of our forefathers and respects the separation of church and state.

But, of course, there is no real Ms. Anonymous, it’s just a scam written up by someone with an agenda and sent out over and over for the past five years and people are still naive enough to continue to forward it.

Think! And do a little Snopes research before forwarding things that may make you look naive or worse. And, when you get tired of the stupidity and lies, it’s never too late to write the sender and point them to this post or just ask them politely to have a little self respect and to show you some while they’re at it.

Queers are Destroying Mankind

Queers are Destroying Mankind
by
Paul Jonhson

The Pope says Queers are destroying Mankind. He’s Sick! Just plain SICK!

Isn’t it time for another Jesus to rise up and shine some light on the folly and poisons coming from the orthodoxy?

No better way to show your love for you fellow man than by spewing this hatred, and no better time than Christmas to show the sickness known as organized religion.

Benedict, you should be ashamed and you should be removed, but the entire organization is so corrupt that it will not clean out the posions.

Merry Christmas!

How to Celebrate Christmas

How to Celebrate Christmas
by
Paul Johnson

Here we are, my fellow Eathlings, celebrating the end of another year on this planet and being thankful that we’re still here to celebrate. Now that the past 20 years of foolish economic policies have destroyed our nation’s and the world economy AGAIN, we’re taking a second look at what’s really important. That’s the sliver lining around the otherwise gloomy economy.

We’re still inundated with commercials on the TV and on the radio and in the papers. It makes one think that it’s not Christmas without all the presents, and it’s bad taste to not over spend for Christmas. How did we get to this notion? Christ was against commercialism, or physical glutony as it better defined. The real notions of celebrating Christ’s birthday (which was really in June, by the way) is celebrating what Christ was about, about being not being a consumer or a glutton, but remembering to help those less fortunate. Yes, Jesus was a Progressive.

Do you ever wonder why organized religion moved the birth of Christ (lied about the date, in other words) to the Winter Solstice? Why? Was it better for you and me? Obviously not. It was a lie for the benefit of the organized religion. And now there are numerous reasons to celebrate at the end of the year. Many religions and many non-religions have events to remind us to pay attention to what’s important and to ignore all the advertisements.

What kind of a religion would move their celebration to compete with other celebrations in December and then complain because people say more than just Merry Christmas? Obvously only a religion like the Taleban’s Islam, that wants to destroy all other thoughts but following blindly behind the anointed ones. In other words, only a non-Christian religion would refuse to show tolerance. The Bill O’Reilly religion?

So, how best to celebrate the holidays? Here are my suggestions:

  • Regardless if you’re Christian or not, there are plenty of principles promoted by Christ and many other religions. Be more tolerant (blacks, gays, anyone different), keep the money out of church, like Jesus, challenge your own organized religion, help the needy (low and middle class).
  • Avoid gluttony in all things, especially in what you buy and what you eat.
  • Be thankful, and really mean it. You’re not on this earth because you’re chosen or elite or special. You’re here only because we have communities that support one another. If you’re a successful business owner, be thankful to your employees.
  • Be thankful to your community, local and global. We wouldn’t be here and won’t be here for long if we don’t all work together to make this a better world.
  • Tell your loved ones that you love them, and really mean it.
  • Smile, laugh, celebrate

Happy holidays: Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, Happy New Year, Happy Hanuka, Happy Thank the Earth Day, and happy tolerance.

Republican Morals?

Republican Morals?
by
Paul Johnson

Keep Abortions Safe

Explain to me, please. What kind of person would vote for a political party that wants to both outlaw safe (comparatively) legal abortion and force these poor girls to the back alleys? What kind of person would support such a party, especially when that party makes the unwanted pregnancy epidemic worse by refusing to teach kids about sex education? And, what kind of person would prefer all these and even want to teach abstinence only education when it’s been proven over and over not to work?

Imagine someone in the 21st century voting like this and the rest of the educated country failing to confine those to mental institutions. That must be some seriously backward country.

Did you vote for these Republicans? Shame on you! How could you? I know you’re not that foolish to think that this will somehow reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies or the number of abortions. Nobody’s that stupid. There must be some other reason why you were lured into this mindset. What was it? Please tell me. And, please tell the rest of America that you’re sorry and you better pray that your voting for the monsters didn’t lead to a single death of a poor uninformed girl with no other options than to carry the unwanted fetus to term.

Shame on you.

I’m sure there must be some excuse for this behavior. We both know that it’s not a spiritual decision because there’s nothing in the bible, any holy book, that forbids abortions. Someone’s been using you.

If you support such a party, don’t insult Jesus by saying you’re Christian. Jesus would pity you as much as I do.

So, please tell me, what caused you to support such a monstrosity of a party.