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Stories you can use to start conversation or to add interest to speeches or presentations


Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Religion Church and God

Miracles

The one rational argument about all miraculous events: in billions of years of the earth’s existence, there is not a single credible instance in which the laws of nature have been abrogated, but, in the sixty thousand years Homo sapiens have been around, there are innumerable instances in which people have made up stories about such abrogations to impress other people with the virtues of their favorite king or god.

Religion and Animals

(Aldous Huxley) "You never see animals going through absurd fooleries of magic and religion. Dogs do not ritually urinate in hope that heaven will send them a bone. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, intelligent enough."

Everybody expected the Spanish Inquisition - they were legally obliged to give 30 days notice.

Statistically speaking the Vatican has 2 popes per square kilometer.

Pastafarians

In July, the Czech Republic approved Lukas Novy's official government ID photo even though he was wearing a kitchen colander on his head. Novy had successfully explained that his religion required it since he is a "Pastafarian" - of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (a prank religion pointing out that all deities' power and wisdom comes from followers' faith rather than from tangible proof of their existence).

Tolerate Religion and Religious Ideas

(Salmon Rushdie) argues that atheists shouldn't tolerate religious viewpoints any more than Christians respect scientific viewpoints when they contradict religious dogma

Different Religions

In 2001, the World Christian Encyclopedia counted 33,850 different Christian denominations

No Need For Religion

Napoleon Bonaparte appointed the great scientific scholar Pierre-Simon Laplace as minister of the interior. Veering a long way from his expertise, Napoleon is reputed to have asked Laplace why his book on the universe made no mention of God. Laplace is said to have replied: “I had no need of that hypothesis.” Laplace was probably referring to the vexatious idea that God intervenes in the universe but his remark might just be the clue to the general decline in Christian observance.

Criticizing Religion

Every time you see the Church up in arms about TV programs such as Popetown, remember that, compared to the damage done by a single predatory priest, the program amounts to the merest pinprick on Catholicism's large and leathery backside

Religion and Bible Literalists

Bible literalists - both Muslim and Christian - insist that Holy Word literally written by God and so unchanging and ever correct - ignoring the fact that have been extensively edited over the centuries

Religion and the Word of God

The most obvious indication that the Bible was not divinely created is the constant need for revision. One would think an infinite being would be capable of the relatively simple act of communicating effectively.

I'm an atheist, but, FTFA:

"We needed a new translation because English is a living language," says retired auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee Richard Sklba, part of the review and editing team.

I believe the idea is that as the language evolves, the words used in translation will shift in meaning. For example, not in a biblical context, but the word "ejaculate" was used once upon a time in a similar way to the word "exclaim", e.g. "'My Lord!', he ejaculated." Today the meaning has become rather more specialized. The same with "ass", which does come up in some biblical translations, and might still technically be correct, but in modern society tends to have a different meaning.

I don't believe the bible was divinely inspired, because that's impossible, but within the context of believing in such things the guy's argument makes sense.

Religion and the Word of God

A parable is anything in the Bible that has a literal meaning that is inconvenient. The universe created in six days? Metaphor! Jesus telling you to hate your mother and father and abandon your family? Parable! God saying Abraham should commit human sacrifice? Parable! God saying you should kill gays? LITERAL TRUTH!

Religious Nutjobs

House bill 54-15-1, passed in the Idaho legislature earlier in 2016, authorizes schools to read Bible verses verbatim daily in classrooms (despite the U.S. Supreme Court's having specifically condemned that practice ever since 1964). The bill's sponsor, Rep. Sage Dixon, said he thought his law was nonetheless constitutional because, "The little Supreme Court in my head says this is okay." (Even so, Gov. C. L. Otter vetoed the bill.)

God has feelings too

The issues director of the fundamentalist American Family Association told his radio audience in November that God's feelings will be hurt if America stops using fossil fuels for energy. "God has buried those treasures there because he loves to see us find them," said Bryan Fischer, who described Americans' campaigns against fossil fuels as similar to the time when Fischer, at age six, told a birthday-present donor that he didn't like his gift. "And it just crushed that person."

Fundies and the Gay Steamroller

Bishop Desmond Tutu on the furore over gay rights: 'What a shame, I mean, well really, what a disgrace, that the church of God, in the face of so much suffering in the world, in the face of conflict, of corruption, of all of the awful things, what is our obsession? Our obsession is not ministering to a world that is aching. Our obsession is about sexual orientation. I'm sure that the Lord of this church, looking down at us, must weep, and say, 'just what did I do wrong now?'

Custom Design Your Own Religion

Neil Gaiman once made an interesting confession: if he had not been a writer, he would have liked to design religions (rather like Hubbard, in fact): 'I'd have a little shop, and people would phone up or come into the shop and they'd say, 'I'd like a religion.' And I'd say, 'Cool, OK. Where do you stand on guilt, and how do you want to fund it?'

Religion and Women

Christians maintain that God became incarnate in ancient Palestine 2,000 years ago. It was a contingent circumstance of history that Jesus was a man and chose only men as his disciples, for this was a male-dominated culture. The culture in which the Church of England proclaims the gospel is different. Our society is pluralist and secular, and discrimination on the morally irrelevant grounds of sex is almost universally condemned as unjust. A truly national church cannot behave as if this does not matter.

In mid-April [2010], senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi warned that recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere were caused by women's loose sex and immodest dress. Immediately, Australian Jennifer McCreight responded on Facebook by urging women worldwide to dress provocatively on April 26th [2010], to create "boobquake" and test the cleric's theory, and at least 90,000 women promised they would reveal serious cleavage on that date. On April 26th, following a several-day absence of earthquakes, a Richter-scale-measuring 6.5 quake hit just south of Taiwan. (Slight advantage to the Ayatollah, since a Purdue University seismologist observed that a 6.5 quake was not uncommon for that region).

Religion and Islam

"Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science -the science against which it had vainly struggled -the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome."-Winston Churchill

Religion and Islam

In Iran,especially, a "virtual cottage industry" has developed of clerics turning into amateur sexologists, according to the May/June Foreign Policy - often with mockable results. For example, one cleric declared, "If a person has intercourse with a cow, a sheep, or a camel," it is not proper to consume the animal's milk. Leaders, from former president Abolhassan Bani-Sadr (who believed that women's hair emits sexual rays) to the current Ayatollah Khamenei (who approves the concept of Islamic "temporary marriages" that justify quick assignations) promote internal friskiness while at the same time denouncing outsiders (especially America)for attempting to corrupt the country's morals.

Religion and Islam

In Pakistan blasphemy is still a contact sport, where dancing crowds get to stomp people to death.

Religion and Jews

Many in conservative Jewish communities still practice the tradition of Kaporos on the day of atonement, but the critics were out in force in New York City's Borough Park neighborhood in September to protest the ritual's slaughter there of 50,000 chickens. (A synagogue raises money by "selling" chickens to members, who then have butchers swing the chickens overhead three times, thus transferring the owners' sins to the chickens. Ultimately, the chickens are beheaded, supposedly erasing the humans' sins. Protesters ask why not just donate money.) A judge refused to block the ritual but ordered police to enforce the sanitation laws governing the beheadings

God and Religion in Nature

Religion stresses the centrality of humanity, but we are in reality an intermediate stage.

Religion and Science

The Sydney Morning Herald's offered expansion on the nature of the latest entrant to the particle zoo: "A friend was door-knocked the other day by two religious people," Jill Martin of Keiraville, New South Wales, told the column. "Did you know," they assured their unwilling host, "even the scientists now acknowledge that there is a God - they found him in their Hadron Kaleidoscope!"

Religious Dogma

I remember the epiphany when I worked out how laughable it was that the adults believed that the sherry my grandmother, the verger, had bought at the Co-op the day before had been somehow transformed into the blood of Christ. That was the first instance of what I now regard as an axiom: that there is no religious precept that can survive the insistent questioning of a clever seven year old.

Wacky Religious Groups

Pentecostal preacher Sammy Rodriguez, 29, and 19 relatives from Floydada, Tex., set out in one vehicle on a pilgrimage, but as they passed through Vinton, La., Rodriguez sped away from police trying to make a traffic stop. When the chase ended, police discovered that all 20 people in the vehicle were naked. Rodriguez explained that the Holy Spirit had ordered him and his family on a journey and that they were to leave behind all possessions (supposedly to confuse Satan), which Rodriguez took to mean clothing, also. He pleaded guilty to the traffic charge, and, with donated clothing, the group went on their way.

What Religious Groups Believe

At the religious festival of Pon, thousands of Muslims travel to Gunung Kemukus, on Indonesia's main island of Java, to have the required sexual intercourse with a stranger. The experience, which supposedly brings good fortune, has become heavily commercialized, but nevertheless, about half the participants are "pure," in that no money changes hands. More than a quick tryst is involved, according to an October Global Mail dispatch. The pilgrims must first pray, then bathe themselves, then select their proper stranger, then bathe themselves afterward (carefully saving the water for later re-use), and finally return seven times at 35-day intervals to refresh their ritual.

In 1998 10,110 American women insured themselves against Virgin Birth at the turn of the Millenium

Forbidden

Leviticus forbids consumption of cuckoos, ferrets, camels, swans, crabs, frogs, chameleons, eels, hares, snails, lizards, moles, ravens, ospreys, vultures, lobsters, owls, storks, herons, bats, ravens, pelicans, lapwings, prawns and eagles.

Jihadists governing ISIS's Euphrates province recently outlawed the popular hobby of breeding pigeons and threatened violators with flogging and imprisonment. The ban was initially thought aimed at frustrating pigeon-messaging to the outside world, but the published prohibition mentions other justifications--the hobby's frivolity (wasting time that could better be spent praying) and the special offense to God (because pigeons are "uncovered," with exposed genitals).

How Children Hear The Words

More gems from the mouths of babes, if not sucklings, in church. Frank Robinson, of Nottingham, heard the Lord's Prayer rendered as "Forgive us our Christmasses", Pat Brooke's brother recited “Our Father was shot in Heaven”, and Shirley Blackford, who lived in Santiago, Chile, when her children were small, heard her elder son praying "Deliver us from eagles". Jane Gordon-Clark, of Guildford, recalls a young relative singing "Away in a manger, no crisps for a bed", which is a lovely image. Brian Johnson, of Battle, used to sing "Dick the horse with boughs of holly" and Janet Baldock, of Over Wallop, shows why including a word such as sufficient in your lyrics is fraught with hazards: "The grace of the Lord like a fathomless sea, some fishes for you and some fishes for me."

God Is Love:

(1) In a June YouTube video reported by various news sites, Tempe, Ariz., pastor Steven Anderson (Faithful Word Baptist Church) prayed for God to "rip out the heart" of Caitlyn Jenner, for whom Anderson expresses "a perfect hatred" for announcing she was no longer Bruce. (2) On his "700 Club" TV program in June, Pat Robertson patiently explained to a grieving mother why God could have allowed her 3-year-old son to die of illness--that God saw the big picture and knew, for instance, that the kid could have become a serial killer or contracted a hideous disease, and that she should be relieved that God took him early.

God Dun It

After seeing my first dead body at Euston Station as a boy, I'd always associated the station with death so I was recently fascinated to discover the Wellcome Collection, which lies virtually opposite the place and houses all manner of macabre exhibits. In it they have the brain of a Victorian preacher who was renowned for his Christian virtue but unfortunately had the frontal lobe of his brain smashed in a stagecoach accident.The frontal lobe is the bit of the brain that processes right and wrong, a moral sieve if you like, and as a result, the preacher changed into a hard-drinking, street-fighting, whore-shagging monster. It made me think what a story that would make if, God forbid, something like that happened to Rowan Williams.

Holy Water

Recent separate testings in 21 springs in Austria and 18 fountains in Vienna yielded a conclusion that 86 percent of the holy water in the country's churches was not safe to drink - most commonly infected with diarrhea-causing E.coli and Campylobacter. University of Vienna researchers found samples with up to 62 million bacteria per milliliter of water, and the busier the church, the higher the count.

Televangelists and Religion and Satan

(Well it worked for Oral Roberts) Televangelist Rod Parsley informed his flock in December that he urgently needed several million dollars because of financial problems attributed directly to Satan. According to a report in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, Parsley's World Harvest Church was facing a $3 million deficit for the quarter ending in December after earlier in the year paying $3.1 million to settle a lawsuit over its daycare center's having too brutally spanked a boy. Wrote Parsley, "Will you help me take back what the devil stole?"

Fay Weldon Talking About Religion

Fay Weldon on why she has started going to church at 77: These days, she claims she goes to church because she likes singing hymns - but she was serious enough about it to be baptised recently in the Christian faith and later agrees it is a good to "pray for the sick and stop thinking about yourself"

Religion and Creation Myths

Creation stories - Native Indian myths encouraging balance and social co-operation. Christian equivalents endorse competitiveness and xenophobia - hence the white people's tendency to grab things

God and Religion in Nature

Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he gets hate mail from viewers for not crediting God in his documentaries. The veteran broadcaster said that he has received letters telling him to burn in hell because of his views on evolution. He told Radio Times that he is often asked why he does not credit God when talking about some of the creatures featured on his shows: "They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator." He also said he wasn't in favour of creationism being taught alongside evolution in schools. "It's like saying that two and two equals four, but if you wish to believe it, it could also be five," he said.

Religion and Creation Myths

Sir David Attenborough "Every society has its creation myths. How do you decide which one to believe? The answer is not to look at the written word but at the world. Whether you're in Australia or Austria the facts revealed are the same. That's what the truth is."


Claims of Religion

Virtually every claim the Church has made about the physical world has been disproved

Incidentally there is more proof for the existence of Santa Claus than there is for god. We know there is a north pole, sleighs, reindeer and bearded men are all real.

Religion

Cancer patients who rely on religion to cope with their terminal illnesses are more likely to use intensive life-prolonging care, according to a study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Aggressive treatments such as machine ventilation and resuscitation keep the patients alive, but they ultimately don't cure them. "Religious copers may decide to undergo therapies with high risks and uncertain benefits because they trust that God could heal them through the proposed treatment," the study authors wrote. (This originally appeared on Fark.com with the tag headline "God makes religious wait longer before He lets them in"

Religion and 'Morality'

Distinction between "moral" and "ethical".Because morality is defined by societal mores that may or may not be ethical in nature. For example, the concept of forcing women into subservient roles is "moral" in certain cutlures but not, under any objective definition, ethical.

Religion and Gays

Hard Month for Gays and Lesbians: Internet video excerpts of church services, all posted during May, recorded Christian pastors prescribing harsh futures for homosexuals. Pastor Sean Harris (Fayetteville, N.C.) recommended roughing up a limp-wristed son if the boy acts effeminately (but said later he was joking). Pastor Ron Baity (Winston-Salem, N.C.) wants gays and lesbians "prosecuted" (though the excerpt was not clear what particular statute was violated). Pastor Charles Worley (Maiden, N.C.) wants gays and lesbians rounded up and isolated behind an electrified fence so they won't breed to the larger population. Pastor Curtis Knapp (Seneca, Kan.) said "the government" should just kill them all (according to Biblical commandment, he said). Pastor Dennis Leatherman (Oakland, Md.) likes "the idea" of killing them but added that it would be wrong. And at the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Ind., a 3-year-old boy's rendition of "Ain't no homo going to make it to heaven" also made it around the world on the Internet.

Religion and Gays

So Christians ignore the bits of the OT they don't like (stoning divorcee women to death, killing a woman if she is not a virgin when she marries, stoning disobedient children etc) but the rest is the immutable Word of God and must be obeyed to the letter.

Religion and Sex

In September, the Seattle-based Mars Hill "megachurch" announced it would close several branches as founding preacher Mark Driscoll takes personal leave to contemplate over-the-top messages in past sermons about women. Among the most striking statements (as gathered by the "Wenatchee the Hatchet" blog in Wenatchee, Wash.) were those expressing certainty that women exist solely to support men. A man's "penis is not your [personal] penis," he told men. "Ultimately, God created you, and it is his penis." "Knowing that his penis would need a home . . . God created a woman [who] makes a very nice home." Driscoll added, helpfully, "But, though you may believe your hand is shaped like a home, it is not."

Indian Religions

Karma makes life less disappointing: There's a well described phenomenon called disconfirmation sensitivity, that describes how a mismatch between expectations and reality can lead to disappointment. But what happens if you believe that the Universe is structured in a way that compensates for your disappointments? Researchers performed a study of disconfirmation sensitivity in India, and found that the strength of one's belief in karma correlated with a decrease in subjects' tendency to experience the disappointment.

Bible and Politics

"We hired you as our public leaders to lead us in justice, not to determine religious doctrine," said the Rev. Jane Florence of First United Methodist Church in Omaha. "It's a disgrace when Scripture is used to exclude and condemn and marginalize people, beloved people of God."

Fear of the Devil and Religious Beliefs

A 20-year veteran Houston, Tex., cop who wears badge number 666 told the Houston Chronicle in a December profile that once, 17 years ago, a dangerous perp who had been defiant that he would not be captured suddenly dropped to his knees and surrendered. He had glanced at the badge. Said he, "I ain't fighting the devil."

Religious Beliefs

"Dogmatic opinions, when not knowing all of everything, is dangerous". Think about it, everything is not known, science admits this quite freely, however religion states that it *knows* all the answers. The fact that it cannot provide credible evidence for this makes it an 'opinion', the fact that they force this opinion on everyone makes it dogmatic. Science, on the other hand, will never state that it knows something without having evidence for it.

Religious Beliefs

Let me define delusion for you.

"A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everyone else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture (e.g. it is not an article of religious faith)..." - DSM-IV, p. 765.

False Beliefs

Ancient aliens theory is grounded in a logical fallacy called argumentum ad ignorantiam, or “argument from ignorance.” The illogical reasoning goes like this: if there is no satisfactory terrestrial explanation for, say, the Nazca lines of Peru, the Easter Island statues or the Egyptian pyramids, then the theory that they were built by aliens from outer space must be true.

Amish Religion and Religious Beliefs

Do be ready to build a lot of barns. You probably already know that Amish construct their own, and their neighbors', in massive 24-hour barn raising parties. But, because many Amish groups don't believe in using "worldly" devices like lightning rods, those hand-built barns often end up having to be re-hand-built.

Quiverfull Children and Religion

A group of an estimated 10,000 believers is attempting to reverse American Christianity's declining birthrate by shunning all contraception, in obedience to Psalm 127, which likens the advantage of big families to having a "quiver" full of "arrows" (and which calls itself the Quiverfull movement). "God opens and closes the womb," explained one advocate, to National Public Radio in March, noting that in her own church in Shelby, Mich., the mothers average 8.5 children. "The womb is such a powerful weapon . . . against the enemy," she said. "The more children I have, the more ability I have to impact the world for God."

Religion and The Tax Laws

Chicago banker George Michael, seeking to avoid $80,000 a year in property taxes, decided to call his $3 million mansion a "church" and apply for tax exemption as pastor, and in July 2008, his application was somehow preliminarily approved by the Illinois Department of Revenue. According to a Chicago Tribune report, the application included a photograph of the "church," which was just a shot of an outer wall of Michael's house with a large cross on it, except that the cross was later discovered to have been merely placed on the photograph in marker pen. In July 2009, a state administrative law judge finally reversed the earlier approval.

Religion and Money

Pastor John Goodman of the Houston (Tex.) Unity Baptist Church tried a different approach, calling on parishioners to cede their income-tax refunds to the church and warning that anyone who failed to come to the aid of the church is a "devil" and could be refused communion.

Catholic Church and Homosexuality

Stephen Fry criticises the Catholic Church not only for the horrors it has perpetrated in the past, but also for its ideology, and for its sinister temerity to preach that there is no salvation outside of the Church. With two words he refutes Anne Widdecombe’s suggestion that the Catholic Church does not have the powers of a nation state: The Vatican. As a homosexual, Fry reflects how bizarre it is to be accused of being immoral and a pervert by an institution that has persistently hushed up the rape and abuse of children under its care, and whose leading members, abstentious nuns and priests, all share an attitude towards sex that is utterly unnatural and dysfunctional. He concludes by questioning whether Jesus, as a humble Jewish carpenter, would have approved of all the pomp and excess of the Catholic Church, and whether he would even have been accepted by such an arrogant organisation.

Religious Beliefs

Here is a quote I found online which makes religion sound equally as ridiculous: "A cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."

Religious Beliefs

In 1978, beset by protests, the president of the Mormons announced that God had changed his mind about black people.

Superstitious Beliefs

Arni Johnsen, a member of Iceland's Parliament, survived a serious 2010 automobile crash - a stroke of good fortune he has since attributed to a family of elves (three generations, in fact, according to an "elf specialist") who live in a boulder near the crash site. Iceland's Morgunbladid newspaper reported that Johnsen recently had the 30-ton boulder relocated to his own property, which he said affords the elves a better view than at their previous home. (Another elf "authority" told reporters, however, that relocating the family was bound to bring Johnsen bad luck.)

Atheists

If you openly declare that you are an atheist, then you aren't to be trusted, because you do not follow god's laws and have no imperative to live a moral or ethical life.
,br> However, you can be a complete criminal and declare yourself a christian, at which point, you'll have to be given the benefit of the doubt until you've absolutely proven otherwise. Even then, after committing all nature of crimes, you can claim that it was because you'd lost your way and strayed from god

Atheists

A common claim is that Atheism is a Religion.

Translation: religion and religious belief are such a core component of my worldview that I cannot imagine that it can not be present in certain people, so I have to classify their absence of belief in the same terms as I classify my belief, lest my head asplode.

Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color and not collecting stamps is a hobby.
Its true: being sober is another kind of alcoholism, except you just get drunk on nothing.

Athiests

I'm just sick of the blithering bullshiat that comes out of many atheists' mouths.

"Stop making fun of me for believing in invisible sky wizards and magic! You have no right to tell me that magic doesn't exist. You don't know that! And this very old book says it does."

Atheists

If They Were Atheists, They'd Still Be Alive: In Bamako, Mali, 36 people were trampled to death at a Muslim holy week ceremony. In California (70 miles east of Los Angeles), one person was killed when a bus plunged off the highway while returning from a religious retreat. In Brooklyn, N.Y., a woman died when the candles for a voodoo ceremony set a fire in an apartment. And of course the four yachties murdered by Somalian pirates were on a religious mission ("We seek fertile ground for the Word and homes for our [crates of] Bibles" they carried on board).

Catholic Church and Homosexuality

Catholic Church maintains that celibacy has nothing to do with paedophilia. But problem that celibacy has so narrowed the pool of people willing to become priests that a disproportionate number of sexually confused people, and self-denying homosexuals, entering the profession. But even without the paedophiles, mandatory sexual repression just doesn't work.

Catholic Church and Homosexuality

Catholic priests: not all of them want to harm children; some of them just want to gently reassure children that if they do something naughty they'll be cast into a fiery hell-pit for all eternity. God bless them. The fact that both the good priests and the monster-bugger-the-children priests dress exactly the same, along with the fact that they all claim to be god's agents on Earth, plus the fact that the Catholic Church won't tell us who are the naughty priests...

Catholic Church and Homosexuality

Legalising gay marriage goes against natural law, says man who has spent most of his life in an organization that forbids its workers from having sexual relationships

(FARK) This from the world's largest organized crime syndicate. It's the world's stupidest crime syndicate. "Do what we say!" "Or else what?" "Or else... we punish you! After you're dead!"

If history is any judge, there is no such thing as natural law. Almost anything, under certain circumstances, has been A-OK sometime, somewhere, to some people. "Natural law", in a Catholic context, is just a euphemism meaning "whatever the bishops and Pope say". It's not in any way connected to any rational notion of what's "natural".

What fundamental human right is being dismantled by legalizing gay marriage? Oh, that's right, none.

A parable is anything in the Bible that has a literal meaning that is inconvenient. The universe created in six days? Metaphor! Jesus telling you to hate your mother and father and abandon your family? Parable! God saying Abraham should commit human sacrifice? Parable! God saying you should kill gays? LITERAL TRUTH!

In the words of Mark Twain, regarding the Church and slavery:

In all the ages the Roman Church has owned slaves, bought and sold slaves, authorized and encouraged her children to trade in them. Long after some Christian peoples had freed their slaves the Church still held on to hers. If any could know, to absolute certainty, that all this was right, and according to God's will and desire, surely it was she, since she was God's specially appointed representative in the earth and sole authorized and infallible expounder of his Bible. There were the texts; there was no mistaking their meaning; she was right, she was doing in this thing what the Bible had mapped out for her to do. So unassailable was her position that in all the centuries she had no word to say against human slavery. Yet now at last, in our immediate day, we hear a Pope saying slave trading is wrong, and we see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it. The texts remain: it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible. The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession - and take the credit of the correction. As she will presently do in this instance.

Religious Books

A while back on Digg, I saw this interpretation of Islam, Judaism, & Christianity. It's been posted on Fark a few times, too: Think of it like a movie series. The Torah is the first one; the New Testament is the sequel. Then, the Qu'ran comes out, and it retcons the last one like it never happened. There's still Jesus, but he's not the main character any more, and the messiah hasn't shown up yet. Jews like the first movie, but ignore the sequels. Christians think you need to watch the first two, but the third movie doesn't count. Muslims think the third one was the best. Mormons like the second one so much, they started writing fan fiction that doesn't fit with any of the series canon.

Religion and Popes

Leo X , a Medici Pope had some creative enemies - one group, led by a disaffected Cardinal, tried to kill him by poisoning the bandages he used on his hemorrhoids. But Leo found out and had him strangled by his Muslim executioner, employed solely to eliminate men of the cloth that catholic hitmen too squeamish to dispatch

The History of Religion

Historians of religion like to say that Christianity began in the Middle East as a religion, moved to Greece and became a philosophy, moved to Rome and became a legal system, then to Europe as a culture, and finally to the US as Big Business.

Religion Declining

The ranks of those unaffiliated with any religion, meanwhile, are growing not so much because of a lack of religious belief but because of disenchantment with religious leaders and institutions. The report estimates that between 47 percent and 59 percent of U.S. adults have changed affiliation at least once. Most described just gradually drifting away from their childhood faith. "This shows a sort of religion a la carte and how pervasive it is," said D. Michael Lindsay, a Rice University sociologist of religion. "In some ways, it's an indictment of organized Christianity. It suggests there's a big open door for newcomers, but a wide back door where people are leaving."

Religion Declining

Interviewed in 1989, a decade before his death, Westwood speculated that many Anglicans found it easier to focus on social policy than theology. “Many of our young men”, he said, referring to what was then an allmale clergy, “want to head for the inner cities, where the going may be hard but where they can find people waiting to be looked after. If you go to the suburbs, on the other hand, half the congregation may have been to university, they ask a lot of questions and you’ve got to be on your toes.”

Religions Splitting

(The pious do, however, tend to be fissiparous. As Jones observes, 'The Mormons have in their brief existence splintered into 70 factions, from the Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Time to that of the School of the Prophets. Even the Church of God with Signs Following faces a schism between the brethren who handle snakes to demonstrate their trust in the Lord and those who drink poison instead. A recent outbreak of forcible beard-cutting among sects of the Old Order Amish has the same roots.')(Stephen Jones, The Serpent's Promise)

Unusual Churches and Religions


Religious sects - First Church of Tiger Woods, First Church of Elvis the Divine (face Memphis daily and bow) Church of Diana (stay young and beautiful forever)

Unusual Churches and Religions

The Facebook group called Dudeism for the 2011 Census has more than 500 disciples. It was set up by Kristian Lewin, 30, a sales manager from York, who is one of 100,000 self-proclaimed 'ministers' of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude. The 'Heavy Metal for the 2011 Census' group last week had the largest support to be recognised as a new religion, with more than 30,000 members on Facebook.The question on religion is the only one that is voluntary. Lying on other questions, including marital status or types of central heating, is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000. A decade ago the Jedi phenomenon was inspired by an internet campaign and fuelled by protesters unhappy with the inclusion of a question on religion in census forms. Those claiming to be Jedi knights had outnumbered Britain's Jews, Sikhs and Buddhists.

Alternative Religion

Pagan police officers in Britain have been given the right to take eight days off work a year to celebrate "religious holidays" including Hallowe'en and the summer solstice. Hertfordshire Police allows Pc Pardy the eight pagan holidays off each year, including Hallowe'en, which signifies the Pagan new year, and the summer solstice in June. The days are deducted from his annual leave. The neighbourhood beat manager, who has been an officer for the past seven years, is a heathen which means he worships Norse gods, including the hammer-wielding Thor, the one-eyed Odin and Freyr, the god of fertility.

Unusual Churches and Religions

Group called the Second Coming, planning to clone Jesus from the various relics around world (his blood, his hair, his foreskin???)

Unusual Churches and Religions

An administrative court in Sweden overruled a government agency in November, thus requiring that the Madonna of Orgasm Church founded by artist Carlos Bebeacua be registered as a legitimate religious community. "The orgasm is God," he said, and "should be worshiped" as a "metaphor of life." It should not be limited to ejaculation but can be taught "through art or by looking at a landscape and thinking, 'Wow!'" Bebeacua already claims "a few hundred" followers

Church of Jedi

What started out as a statistically harmless joke has rocketed in recent censuses. In 2011, a staggering 65,486 Australian citizens marked The Force as their religion. That's just slightly less people than the Sikh community and definitely more than Seven Day Adventists, Salvation Army, most Orthodox churches and other non-made-up groups.

Religion and Miracles

One church in Britain promised miracle babies to post-menopausal women - a BBC investigation found that women were flown to Kenya, where, after a surprisingly short pregnancy, they gave birth to s child with DNA different to their own.

Religion and Jesus

After all the Jesus food (cheeseburgers and sandwiches etc with face of Jesus or Mary) an entrepreneur stepped into the obvious market with a pan to help you create these lucrative food items.

And he keeps on coming ....

Recent, Apparently Dramatic Public Appearances of Jesus: Beeville, Tex., August (Jesus in a breakfast taco). Belfast, Northern Ireland, August (Jesus on a tree stump in the Belfast City Cemetery). Sunderland, England, June (Jesus among the peeling paint on the door of a Chinese-food takeout stand). Port St. Lucie, Fla., May (Jesus on the television show "The Bachelor"--at least as per a woman's photo of the TV screen during the show). Splendora, Tex., May (Jesus on a bathroom wall). New Orleans, April (Jesus in a shadow cast through a chandelier in the Ursuline Academy Chapel). Charleston, S.C., April (Jesus on the back of a dead stingray). Clermont, Fla. (March), Jesus on an electric company meter at the Torchlite RV Park.

And if he comes ....

"Coming Up Next! The Resurrection! Live!": "If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible," wrote the Los Angeles Times in an October dispatch from Jerusalem, the two largest Christian television networks in the U.S. promise to cover the arrival live from a hilltop in the city. Daystar Television has already been beaming a 24/7 webcam view, and Trinity Broadcasting Network bought the building next door to Daystar's in September and has already begun staging live and pre-recorded programs using the broad expanse of the Holy Land city as background.

Religion and Prayer on The Internet

The website InformationAgePrayer.com offers, for people too busy to speak to God themselves, a daily service of invocations (using voice-synthesizing software), for Catholics, Protestants, Jews, or Muslims. Starting each day "reciting" the Lord's Prayer (or the Islamic Fajr) is $3.95 a month. "Hail Mary"s are 70 cents a day for ten. A "Complete Rosary Package is $49.95 a month. Each prayer is voiced individually, according to a March report on LiveScience.com, with the subscriber's name on the screen, and for Muslim prayers, the computer's speakers point toward Mecca.

Islam

Police in Hyderabad, Pakistan, recently arrested a doctor for the increasingly suspect crime of insulting Islam--after he merely tossed away the business card of a man who happened to have the last name "Muhammad." According to a December Associated Press dispatch, "dozens" of Pakistanis are sentenced to death each year for such tangential references to the holy name of Muhammad, but the government fears that trying to repeal the law might incite Muslim extremism.

Religion and Belief in Prayer

Herbert and Catherine Schaible, members of the First Century Gospel Church in Philadelphia and believers in faith-healing rather than medical care, were convicted in 2011 in the bacterial-pneumonia death of their 2-year-old son Kent. As a condition of probation, they promised medical care for their remaining eight children, but in April 2013, their youngest son Brandon died after severe diarrhea, again treated only by prayer, and they were arrested - and the other children removed from the home. The medical examiner called Brandon's death a homicide, and the couple also face 5-10 years in prison for violating probation.

Religion and Harmful Beliefs

Rita Swan, director of the Sioux City, Iowa-based advocacy group Children's Healthcare is a Legal Duty, which lobbies states to repeal such laws, said that since 1975, there have been at least 274 known cases of U.S. children who have died after medical care was withheld on religious grounds.

Religion and Harmful Beliefs

According to Roman legend, there once was a cruel boy who tortured a fox by tying straw to its tail and then setting the straw ablaze. The god Robigus was so outraged that he punished humanity with wheat rust, a fungal nightmare that leaves crops looking as though they had been burned. For centuries afterward, the Romans sought to appease the deity through annual sacrifices of dogs and cows unlucky enough to have rust-colored fur.

Religion and Harmful Beliefs

Ms. Indra Ningsih, a 26-year-old maid, was detained by a court in Hong Kong in April after her employer accused her of spiking her vegetable soup with menstrual blood. According to a report of the case in Hong Kong's The Standard, the maid was employing a belief in some southeast Asian cultures that menstrual blood has special powers and would improve an otherwise-contentious relationship between the maid and the employer.

Religion and Evolution

Not all Christians choose to ignore evidence...
This is from the Clergy Letter project
We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as "one theory among others" is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children.

Palmistry

Among people earnestly devoted to palmistry (the foretelling of the future by "expert" examination of the inner surface of the hand), a few in Japan have resorted to what seems like cheating: altering their palm lines with cosmetic surgery. According to a July Daily Beast dispatch from Tokyo, Dr.Takaaki Matsuoka is a leading practitioner, preferring an electric scalpel over laser surgery in that the latter more often eventually heals over, obviously defeating the purpose. He must be careful to add or move only the lines requested by the patient (e.g., "marriage" line, "romance" line, "money-luck" line, "financial" success line).

Lighter Conversation Starters About Religion

Do you notice a lot of Christians wear crosses around their neck? Don't you think that if Jesus ever does come back, he'll want to see a cross again?

Jesus Saves! (but the Mongrel Hordes)
Jesus Lives! (does this mean no Easter Holidays?)

A huge collection of religious jokes that have apparently gone through a translator/shredder

John Smith was the only Baptist to move into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of Lent, John was outside grilling a big juicy steak on his grill. -
Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were eating cold tuna or fried fish for supper. This went on each Friday of Lent. On the last Friday of Lent, the neighborhood men got together and decided that something had to be done about John, he was tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent, and they couldn't take it anymore. -
They decided to try and convert John to be a Catholic. They went over and talked to him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his neighbors and become a Catholic. They took him to church, and the Priest sprinkled some water over him and said, "You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are a Catholic." -
The men were so relieved, now their biggest Lenten temptation was resolved. The next year's Lenten season rolled around. The first Friday of Lent came, and just at supper time, when the neighborhood was sitting down to their fish dinner, came the wafting smell of steak cooking on a grill. -
The neighborhood men not believin' what their noses were tellin; them were in an uproarx! WHAT WAS GOING ON? They called each other up and decided to meet over in John's yard to see if he had forgotten it was the first Friday of Lent.
- The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was sprinkling some water over his steak on the grill, saying, "You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish."


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Book Extracts on Religion

William Flew Client 1 William Flew Client 2 William Flew Client 3 William Flew Client 4 William Flew Client 5