EppsNet Archive: Religion

Praised Be Blindness

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, published in Rome his spiritual exercises. There he wrote this testimony of blind submission: “Take, Lord, and receive all my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will.” And as if that were not enough: “To get everything right, I must always believe that what I see as white is black, if the Church hierarchy so determines.” — Eduardo Galeano, Mirrors Read more →

Happy Birthday, Pope Urban VIII

Pope Urban VIII, the most recent pope to use the pontifical name of Urban, was born on this date, April 5, 1568. He is probably best remembered for his demon-killing exorcisms used to chase from the head of Galileo Galilei the devilish notion that the earth revolved around the sun . . . Read more →

Arguments of the Faith

For six centuries and in several countries, the Holy Inquisition punished rebels, heretics, witches, homosexuals, pagans . . . Many ended up at the stake, sentenced to roast over a slow fire fed with green wood. Many more were subjected to torture. Here are some of the instruments used to extract confessions, modify beliefs, and sow panic: the barbed collar, the hanging cage, the iron gag that stifled unwanted screams, the saw that cut you slowly in two, the finger-stretching tourniquet, the head-flattening tourniquet, the bone-breaking pendulum, the seat of pins, the long needle that perforated the devil’s moles, the iron claw that shredded flesh, the pincer and tongs heated to fiery red, the sarcophagus lined with sharp nails, the iron bed that extended until arms and legs got pulled out of their sockets, the whip with a nail or knife a the tip, the barrel filled with shit, the… Read more →

Defend your right to think. Thinking wrongly is better than not thinking at all. — Hypatia of Alexandria, murdered by a Christian mob in the year 415

The Stick Works Better Than the Carrot

Six days may work be done; but on the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord; whoever doeth any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. — Exodus 31:15 He that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall surely stone him. — Leviticus 24:16 I will send out against you the beasts of the field . . . I will chastise you sevenfold for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat . . . I will draw out after you the sword; and your land shall be a desolate wild, and your cities shall be a waste. — Leviticus 26 Read more →

Fake News?

According to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Herod the Great died in the year 4 BCE. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Herod was the ruler of Judea who ordered the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus. Which would mean that Jesus was born at least four years before the birth of Christ . . . Read more →

I’d Like to Believe in the Existence of a Loving God . . .

. . . but I can’t. The quality of evidence is very poor. Do you believe in ghosts, fortune tellers, psychics, werewolves, vampires, astrology, alien visitations . . .? I don’t believe in any of those things, but they’re all out there and a lot of people do believe in a lot of things for which the quality of evidence is very poor. Do you believe that a cow jumped over the moon? I remember reading about it but the quality of evidence is very poor. It seems to be just another made-up story . . . Read more →

Another Reason I Don’t Believe in God

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never… Read more →

Praying for Sleeping Bags

I was having a conversation with someone last night about the efficacy of prayer . . . “Prayers are always answered,” I was informed, “but sometimes the answer is no, or not right now.” What’s the point of the prayer if God is going to do whatever he wants to do anyway? Your results would be just as good if you offered prayers to me. Some of your prayers would be answered and some wouldn’t. Has anyone done a study on this? A control group wants things but doesn’t pray for them, a second group prays to God for what they want, and a third group prays to a random entity — me, or maybe a shopping cart. Would there be any difference in results between the groups? I’m going to say no. It’s also hard to assess the efficacy of prayer because people never pray for anything tangible .… Read more →

God Bless Us, Every One

I saw a Facebook status update this weekend asking for prayers for anyone with family problems, health struggles, job issues or worries of any kind who just need to know that someone cares. The deal is that you have to copy and paste the status to your own Facebook page. Full disclosure: I don’t believe in God or prayer, although I do believe that a lot of people need to know that someone cares about them. That being said, depending on how lost I feel at any given time, I’m willing to try things even though I’m pretty certain that they’re not going to work. But I have not tried prayer. Why would I need to post something on Facebook to indicate that I prayed for you? Because prayer is not a real thing that’s going to produce a tangible result in the world. So you have to tell people… Read more →

Shake it Off (aka Haters Gonna Hate)

A Chinese woman tells me that being around white guys inhibits her ability to make edgy (i.e., racist) comments about white guys . . . I reply, “White guys didn’t get to be what we are by peeing in our pants and crying for our mamas every time someone calls us a name. Haters gonna hate. That has been amply demonstrated. We’re just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake it off.”   Some people are offended by absolutely everything, some people are offended by nothing, and everyone else is somewhere in between. The people at the easily offended end of the spectrum get most of the attention. People who hear a trigger word or a dog whistle that wouldn’t bother a normal person and they’re bleeding out all over the place like hemophiliacs. That’s where most of the focus is, it seems to me. It’s a distorted view of reality. My… Read more →

One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance: BYU Edition

What values are we talking about? Tolerance for sexual preferences? What about tolerance for religious beliefs? You want tolerance for what makes you different but you’re not willing to extend tolerance to what makes others different? That’s not tolerance. There’s a word for what that is, and it’s not tolerance. What about inclusiveness? Is inclusiveness a good value? Should the Big 12 exclude BYU to promote inclusiveness? That’s not inclusiveness. Read more →

Bad Religion

If it brings me to my knees It’s a bad religion. — Frank Ocean Read more →

When Was That? I Missed It.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him. — Romans 8:28 Read more →

Your Attitude to Women is a Disgrace

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What Are the Rules on Refusing a Religious Funeral?

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. —- The father of the Orlando gunman said his son was buried at a Florida cemetery this week. Seddique Mateen would not say where his son, Oman Mateen, was buried, but said it was an Islamic burial. — WPBF.com Is a Muslim entitled to an Islamic funeral no matter what kind of atrocity he commits, in particular, an atrocity committed in the name of Islam? What are the rules on this? Would a Catholic, for example, who pledged allegiance to the Pope before shooting 100 people be entitled to a funeral mass in the Church? I remember a couple of years ago in Australia when an Islamic extremist got himself and a couple of hostages killed in a siege, the funeral director with the Lebanese Muslim ­Association said this: We don’t care about him, we don’t know him, chuck him in the bloody shithouse. Nobody’s going… Read more →

Praying for Startups

A new Meetup group called Praying for Startups sent me the following email: Are you involved in a startup? Are you a Christian? Meet fellow Christians from all walks of the entrepreneurial eco-sphere, as we share and pray for our teams and the startup community, both locally and abroad. I’d be interested to see some numbers on the correlation between prayer and startup success. I suspect there isn’t any. Also the relative efficacy of prayers to a Christian God vs. Allah, Buddha, Satan, Zeus and all other supernatural beings. Read more →

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