Posts tagged ‘Bible’

09/07/2011

Religulous By Bill Maher: Worth Viewing

Bill Maher’s movie Religulous was on last night, and as expected it was funny, but also a serious political commentary on religion.

Maher had a Jewish mother and Catholic father, who sent him to a parochial school, when the church was going through the great questioning and change of the 1960s. Like millions, Bill quit the church, as it failed to answer his basic questions. He is now an Agnostic, who freely admits he has absolutely no idea why he exists.

Religion can be broken down into two groups, the supernatural school, and those who do good things on earth. Maher left alone those who feed the poor, take care of the sick, and educate the illiterate. He instead unleashed his fury on the supernatural.

MARY: Bill mocked the idea Mary was impregnated by a Holy Ghost, and had an Immaculate Conception.

JESUS: He questioned what we know about Jesus, first mentioned in Gospels written hundreds of years after he died, by men who never met him. He reminded us there are no eye-witness accounts of his life. He asked why god’s only son would voluntarily go on a “suicide mission.”

BIBLE: Bill made fun of fictitious or exaggerated Biblical stories, like the tale of Jonah, who lived inside a whale for three days. Creation was also said to be obviously incorrect, since scientists proved the earth is far more than 5,000 years old.

OTHER HOLY BOOKS: The story of Christ, Maher noted, appears to have been plagiarized, as it is oddly the same as Krishna of India, the Persian Mithra, and an Egyptian god.

EVOLUTION Bill asked how anyone could believe the Bible’s account of Creation, since all credible scientists agree man evolved from the ape. Even Pope John Paul accepted evolution.

GOD: If there is a good god: Why would he have allowed the Holocaust? Bill said the notion of a god is as ridiculous as Santa.

PRAYER: Maher challenges those who communicate with an Almighty. The idea Moses talked to god on a mountain through a burning bush is crazy. Many who hear god’s voice just before a homicide are mentally ill. The Lord is not really speaking to them. If you pray for rain, and it happens, it is coincidence, Maher said.

DEVIL: If god is all powerful, why doesn’t he destroy the devil?

HEAVEN/HELL: We don’t know what happens when we die. Why believe in a theory that suggests you may roast in hell?

BELIEFS: Why is faith good? He questioned those certain of their beliefs. People have religion, because they were born into it; they have always had it. Why do they not question the existence of god? Why do they refuse to discuss religion in an intelligent way?

SCIENCE: Bill said religion is not based on science, as it came about during an era when people thought the world was flat. While the scriptures were written between 2,000 BC and 200 AD, modern science has only been around the past 500 years.

FEAR: The movie showed many believed based on nothing more than unfounded fears. Several asked Bill: What if you are wrong? It is this fear of being wrong that keeps them within the flock.

POLITICS: The biggest problem is mixing religion and politics. Maher criticized conservatives who pander to religion in debates, or while campaigning. He worries about preachers who say it’s time for God’s people to vote. He fears those who want a Christian nation, even though Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson had serious doubts about organized religion. Maher laments the fact that non-believers, who constitute 16% of the public, and form a substantial minority, are largely ignored.

10 COMMANDMENTS: Except for “do not steal” and “do not kill,” Maher challenged the usefulness of the 10 Commandments.

GAYS: Bill attacked the treatment of gays in the Old Testament. He doubts a good god, who made them gay in the first place, would hate his own creation. Jesus never spoke of gays at all, he said. There is no reason for Christians to be hostile towards them.

CAUSE OF WAR: The biggest problem is the destruction and death ravaged upon human kind over the years in the name of religion. He concludes religion is an irrational danger, and we need to either grow up, or risk death in another religious war.

08/19/2011

Zero Population Growth: Do They Care?

Most of the Republican presidential candidates have relatively large numbers of children, and have not personally shown any concern about population growth, an important global issue.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, a conservative Catholic, has seven children; former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, a Mormon, has seven; former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, another Mormon, has five; Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a Baptist, has five; and the queen bee of them all, Evangelical Lutheran Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, has five of her own.

40 years ago, there was a movement on college campuses warning students that unrestrained growth in global population would lead to food shortages, disease, conflict, and other such consequences. It was based on the writings of Thomas Malthus. To save the earth, Zero Population Growth (ZPG), as it was known, encouraged young people to limit families to one or two children.

The Peoples Republic of China also recognized the need to limit unrestrained families. While their large population was growing geometrically, food supplies were only increasing arithmetically. Chinese leaders acted boldly, and moved aggressively, as they adopted a one-child policy, and derailed a potential catastrophe.

In the democracies of Europe and North America, no government mandate was needed, as most young Europeans and Americans understood the math, and voluntarily adopted ZPG principles, limiting their families to no more than one or two children.

While Ron Paul had his children before the enlightenment of the 1960s and 1970s, questions should be put to Bachmann, Santorum, Romney and Huntsman. Why did they have such large families? Do they deny the math and science of the problem?

The answer is these Republicans simply don’t care about Thomas Malthus, ZPG, or others who use math, science, and logic to guide their lives. They are instead blind followers of Biblical teachings, and fundamentalist religious beliefs. If everyone thought like them 40 years ago, the planet would now be in a serious state of chaos.

Although very few openly discuss the ongoing need for Zero Population Growth today, this does not mean the problem was solved. We still need leaders who understand the dangers of unrestrained growth, and have taken the initiative to limit their own families to one or two children. Most Republicans would be in no position to lead on this issue, since even now they just don’t seem to get it.

04/05/2011

Koran, Bibles and Book-Burning

While the confused Newt Gingrich worried recently the U.S. could become an atheist country dominated by radical Islam, an extremist pastor in Florida conducted a Koran burning, which caused Muslim mobs in Afghanistan to kill westerners.

I don’t know who is crazier: Gingrich, the pastor, or the Muslims?

While it’s not likely the U.S. will become atheist any time soon, it wouldn’t be so bad. How many Atheists have conducted book-burnings, or have rioted because of one? As to their cousin, the Agnostic, there again wouldn’t be anything to worry about, since they just ask questions and admit they don’t know. Is that so bad?

Fortunately, non-believers have the Constitution to protect them against radicals like Gingrich and the pastor, who apparently would create a Christian nation. The founders wanted to avoid the religious wars that wrecked Europe in the 16th and 17th Centuries. They separated religion from state, as they wrote: “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the U.S.” (Art. VI). They added in the 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” They also gave people like the demented Florida pastor a Free Speech right to burn the Koran, a right that would also apply to Bible-burning.

What is hard to understand is why anyone would want to burn a holy book, and why book-burning would be taken so seriously that it would cause innocent people to die. The Koran and the Bible are just books. The first Bible was not printed until Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1456. When the Prophet Muhammad founded Islam in the 7th Century, there were no printed books. The same was true when Christianity started. And much of what is contained in the holy books wasn’t even written, until years after the alleged events.

The Florida pastor, Newt and the Muslims should all reflect upon the origins of their beliefs. Did they research religion and pick the one that made the most sense? Not likely. They probably inherited their beliefs from their family, or perhaps their culture. The beliefs of most people are consistent with those of their culture. This is why Mexicans are Catholic; Chinese are Buddhists; Indians are Hindus; Israelis are Jews; and Saudi Arabians are Muslims. Have you ever met a Saudi Arabian Lutheran?

Religion is like language. I speak English, because I was raised in Wisconsin. The people of France speak French, and those in Italy speak Italian. Like language, people inherit religion. The point is, if you were born in the U.S., you were probably raised Christian. If you were born in Afghanistan, you are most likely a Muslim. That’s just the way it is, and it is simply not worth a book-burning, or a riot that leads to death.