Category Archives: Jesus

Death Cult Christianity

I just found another blog post to reblog. This time written by The Brazilian atheist John Zande, a very skillful anti-theist debater and blogger.

In this blog post John Zande analyzes Christianity from a death cult perspective. His post is full of valuable facts and data put together, by him, in a very praiseworthy way.

Maybe he should have analyzed also the concept of Christian martyrdom.Therefore I’m now going to add some facts about that aspect.

To start with, two links that might be of interest:

1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_martyrs ; and

2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lapsi_(Christianity) .

Today we shake our heads when we see or hear about Muslim suicide bombers killing themselves at the same time as they kill innocent people (often seen as religious enemies, non-believers, wrongdoers, apostates etc).

Since the suicide bomber does this evil act in the name of Allah, he or she is promised, by an imam or cleric, to get/have instant access to all the enjoyments in Paradise immediately after his/her death.

But we must not forget that also Christians have practiced martyrdom by killing people belonging to other religions (maybe especially Islam).

By defending Christian religion and values and/or attacking those who refused to see Jesus as the Christ hypostasis of the God Trinity you could become a martyr, if you died (was killed) while trying to do this.

Here is another good article about Christian martyrs: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2012/10/christian_martyrdom_when_did_christians_stop_trying_to_die_for_god.html .

A quote from this article: “[…,] even Christian authorities have abandoned the prohibition against voluntary martyrdom. The diaries of medieval crusaders clearly indicate that they viewed themselves as martyrs, and Pope Urban II offered the fallen complete absolution and immediate passage to heaven. (The status of crusaders as voluntary martyrs is somewhat controversial, because they may have viewed themselves as draftees in a defensive war.)

Let me summarize like this: The concept of “Lying for Jesus” is still today rather well-known. But the idea of “Dying for Jesus” seems to have fallen into oblivion. So it’s about time to resuscitate that notion to show there are more reasons than the ones cited by John Zande to call Christianity a death cult religion. (I myself even consider the Christian Communion to be a cannibalistic ritual.)

David at Applied Faith has a post up, How Evangelicals Can Look Not-So-Crazy about the End Times, concerning the imminent arrival of the Christian End Times

“We’re in a climate where Christians are being mass-murdered and driven out of the Middle East. Russia is violently propping up the Shia regime in Syria, Iran may already have a nuclear weapon, and the United Nations routinely persecutes Israel. Many Christians believe that Islam is evil, and the followers of Muhammad may spawn The Anti-Christ.” 

As you might however have gathered from the article’s title, his worry is not the pending annihilation of our home planet and the eradication of all life at the hands of his particular Middle Eastern god, Yhwh, but rather the somewhat annoying fact that evangelicals, like himself, are broadly considered “crazy” by the general public when they start hollering the end is neigh. It’s an honest complaint, and…

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On Pascal’s wager

A brilliant rebuttal of Pascal’s wager.

Skeptical Exaddict

Pascal’s wager is something I had never heard of until yesterday. It is an excellent example of a false dilemma, also known as a false dichotomy.

Essentially, it states that it is better to believe in God than to risk eternity in Hell. From the rational wiki link, it can be summarized as:

  1. If you believe in God and God does exist, you will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven: thus an infinite gain.
  2. If you do not believe in God and God does exist, you will be condemned to remain in hell forever: thus an infinite loss.
  3. If you believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded: thus a finite loss.
  4. If you do not believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded, but you have lived your own life: thus a finite gain.

It can be…

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Religious Trauma Syndrome: How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems

The existence of a Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS) is often denied by true believers and others who support religious beliefs and think that religious faith is good for humanity.

But the RTS is, indeed, for real. Many tears have been shed because of that sort of traumas.

So, please, read Valerie Tarico’s take on this important topic very carefully.

Also read Marlene Winell’s take (in three parts) on that same subject on the Ex-Christian blog:

Part 1 = http://new.exchristian.net/2011/06/religious-trauma-syndrome-its-time-to.html .

Part 2 = http://new.exchristian.net/2011/07/understanding-religious-trauma-syndrome.html .

Part 3 = http://new.exchristian.net/2011/11/trauma-from-leaving-religion.html

It’s not going to extremes calling religion a poisonous method that obstructs and complicates people’s endeavours to find a high quality of life. It also hinders you from becoming a really “free” thinker, one who is allowed to study any books s/he likes.

Many philosophers, politicians and scientists have expressed their gloomy ideas of religion and its future.

For example, Karl Marx said: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”.

Frederick II once said: “Religion is the idol of the mob; it adores everything it does not understand”.

Napoleon Bonaparte said: “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich”.

Friedrich Nietzsche said. “In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point”.

He also said: “The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad”.

Albert Einstein (who didn’t believe in any personal God of the Abrahamic kind) said. Science without religion is lame, [but] religion without science is [also] blind.
At the same time he also said: “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity”.

If Albert Einstein had been alive today, I think he would have stated: Things about religion seemingly have to become worse before they at last can be transformed to a non-poisonous life philosophy. There is still a very long way to go for today’s religions all around the world.

BTW, talking of promoting science and reason, have a look at this blog post: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/about-thinking/201510/what-can-we-learn-ben-carsons-brain .

From that blog post we learn that, unfortunately,neither intelligence nor (high) education is able to promote ‘good thinking’.

And finally, my own take on this:

Religious cults are nowadays mostly confined to having to rely on ‘God of the Gaps’ arguments. The primary goal for today’s cult leaders has become to try to convince their ignorant and incredulous followers that science is, always, wrong, meaning that it’s, also always, better to believe in what holy scriptures like the Bible and Koran say is the truth. That strategy is also known as intellectual dishonesty.

ValerieTarico.com

Religious Trauma Syndrome- AnguishAt age sixteen I began what would be a four year struggle with bulimia.  When the symptoms started, I turned in desperation to adults who knew more than I did about how to stop shameful behavior—my Bible study leader and a visiting youth minister.  “If you ask anything in faith, believing,” they said.  “It will be done.” I knew they were quoting the Word of God. We prayed together, and I went home confident that God had heard my prayers.

But my horrible compulsions didn’t go away. By the fall of my sophomore year in college, I was desperate and depressed enough that I made a suicide attempt. The problem wasn’t just the bulimia.  I was convinced by then that I was a complete spiritual failure. My college counseling department had offered to get me real help (which they later did). But to my mind, at that point, such help…

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Just face the facts, there is no soul, there is no afterlife. It’s your wishful thinking that deceives you.

In the autumn of 2014 Dr. Sam Parnia’s long awaited AWARE study about the authenticity of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) as evidence of a surviving soul was published.

Dr. Parnia’s study can, at best, be described as very disheartening and depressing for those believing that NDEs are evidence of a soul that survives the bodily (physical) death.

Almost exactly a year ago I posted this blog focusing that interesting subject, see: https://bbnewsblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/as-i-said-before/

Now, a year later, I think it’s about time to have a new look at the NDE phenomena and how they can be explained without involving religious bullshit concepts like god(s), soul(s) or afterlife.

Let me start by asking you this question: Are you acquainted with a blog named “Imperfect Cognitions”?
Anyhow, it’s a site where all kinds of delusional beliefs, hallucinations and distorted memories are discussed:
In today’s newsletter from “Imperfect Cognitions” I found this blog post, written by Hayley Dewe, a PhD student from the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. The title is: “Debunking Dualist Notions of Near-Death Experiences”.  You find her article here:  http://imperfectcognitions.blogspot.se/2015/09/debunking-dualist-notions-of-near-death.html .
Hayley Dewe’s research is based in The Selective Attention and Awareness laboratory, directed by Jason Braithwaite. Her research focuses on the neurocognitive correlates of anomalous (for example hallucinatory) experience, specifically pertaining to the ‘self’, embodiment, and consciousness.She explains NDEs in the following way:

NDEs are striking experiences that typically occur when one is close to death or exposed to life-threatening situations of intense physical and/or emotional danger (first coined by Moody 1975, Life after Life. New York: Bantam Books). This unusual experience includes a variety of aberrant components such as: sensations of peace and vivid imagery, bright flashes of light, the sensation of travelling through a dark tunnel towards a bright light, a disconnection from the physical body (a shift in perspective: the Out-of-Body Experience), and the sensation of entering a light / visions of an ‘afterlife’ etc.

And she continues:

From a parapsychological (or survivalist / supernatural) perspective, NDEs are understood as mystical and spiritual experiences that expose the individual to another world (or afterlife). This is taken as evidence for the survival of bodily death (i.e. dualism); that the mind/consciousness is not dependent on the brain.

In stark contrast is the scientific/neuroscience perspective. Here, it is argued that NDEs are hallucinatory phenomena, generated by a disinhibited and highly confused, dying brain (known as the ‘dying brain account’).

After this introduction she argues that:

#1: There are a host of logical fallacies and methodological discrepancies within the parapsychological literature.
#2: There appears to be no objective study validating the presence of an entirely inactive human brain with the simultaneous occurrence of an NDE!
#3: Even if there were evidence of a completely inactive brain, and subsequent recollection of an NDE, how could one pinpoint the precise time frame during which the NDE components occurred? That is, the NDE itself may well have occurred before levels of brain activity became ‘inactive’ (or ‘flattened’), or even experienced and recalled afterwards, during recovery.
#4: No component of the NDE is actually unique to the ‘near-death’ experience.
#5: As a matter of fact, you needn’t necessarily be ‘near to death’ to experience NDE phenomena.
So the only reasonable and likely conclusion seems to be: Dualist / Survivalist arguments of NDEs are, at the very best, flawed.
And I myself want to add here: They are not only flawed. They are completely wrong, built as they seem to be on wishful magical and religious bullshit thinking .
In short: THERE IS NO SOUL! Forget what you’ve read or heard about that religious bullshit concept.
And if souls don’t exist, the corollary must be: YOU’D BETTER FORGET ABOUT THE BELIEF IN AN AFTERLIFE, TOO.
For more details, see: https://www.skeptic.org.uk/magazine/onlinearticles/497-braithwaite-dying-brain (Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of the Dying Brain), and:  https://www.academia.edu/10060970/Occams_Chainsaw_Neuroscientific_Nails_in_the_coffin_of_dualist_notions_of_the_Near-death_experience_NDE_  (Occam’s Chainsaw: Neuroscientific Nails in the Coffin of Dualist Notions of the Near-death Experience [NDE]).
In the coming weeks or months I hope to have time to blog about the non-existent soul and non-existent afterlife.
But for the time being I have to confine myself to recommend all (true) soul believers – that is those who refuse to abandon their bullshit ideas of soul and afterlife – to study the contents in blog posts like these: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/sean-carroll-we-dont-have-immortal-souls/ , http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2011/05/23/physics-and-the-immortality-of-the-soul/#.Vgrou3qqqko , and http://jayarava.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/there-is-no-life-after-death-sorry.html .
Need I say more? Yes, I think I also need to say that true believers are not so easily convinced that soul and afterlife are typical religious bullshit concepts. Sacrosanct beliefs, anchored in religious faith, are unfortunately extremely difficult to eradicate. For more details, see: https://victorianeuronotes.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/are-brainwashing-techniques-in-the-bible-and-strategically-used-in-churches/ .

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REBLOGGED: Bible vs Quran—Test Your Knowledge of Who Deserves Death in Which Religion. About the correlations between religion, xenophobia, racism and violence.

About the correlations between religion, xenophobia, racism and violence

According to the social sciences religion increases trust among congregants (i.e. among those who already know each other by belonging to the same group). But at the same time religion causes trust to drop towards unfamiliar people (i.e. those outside the congregation or group).

That’s why religion (religious faith) correlates so well with xenophobia and racism. For more details, see http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Xenophobia.aspx .

Here’s an interesting quote from that article:

[I]t is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction between racism and xenophobia because they exhibit similar motivations for exclusive behavior designed to demean others and the exercise of political violence. However, there is one element missing in racism that is often present in xenophobia: religious identity. Manifestations of xenophobia occur not only against people with different physical characteristics but also against those of similar background who are believed to hold different and presumably dangerous and hostile religious convictions.

When it comes to the point of relationship, specifically, between religion and violence, see for example http://atheism.about.com/od/religiousviolencecauses/ .

OK, I admit that not all pundits agree with my somewhat simplified correlations that seem to show how toxic religious faith can be with regard to interpersonal relationships. Karen Armstrong, for example, is of a different opinion, see this review of one of her books: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/25/-sp-karen-armstrong-religious-violence-myth-secular .

But if I am to be accused of being a cherry-picker, then all those denying or minimizing the correlations between religion, xenophobia, racism, and violence clearly must be cherry-pickers as well.

As a matter of fact, my views on this relationship are more mainstream than Karen Armstrong’s. Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_violence#Abrahamic_religions .

Let me quote from that Wikipedia article:

Some critics of religion such as Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argue that all monotheistic religions are inherently violent. For example, Nelson-Pallmeyer writes that “Judaism, Christianity and Islam will continue to contribute to the destruction of the world until and unless each challenges violence in “sacred texts” and until each affirms nonviolent power of God.”

Hector Avalos argues that, because religions claim divine favor for themselves, over and against other groups, this sense of righteousness leads to violence because conflicting claims to superiority, based on unverifiable appeals to God, cannot be adjudicated objectively.

Similarly, Eric Hickey writes, “(t)he history of religious violence in the West is as long as the historical record of its three major religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with their involved mutual antagonisms and struggles to adapt and survive the secular forces that threaten their continued existence.”

Regina Schwartz argues that all monotheistic religions, including Christianity, are inherently violent because of an exclusivism that inevitably fosters violence against those that are considered outsiders. Lawrence Wechsler asserts that Schwartz isn’t just arguing that Abrahamic religions have a violent legacy, but that the legacy is actually genocidal in nature.

Bruce Feiler writes that “Jews and Christians who smugly console themselves that Islam is the only violent religion are willfully ignoring their past. Nowhere is the struggle between faith and violence described more vividly, and with more stomach-turning details of ruthlessness, than in the Hebrew Bible”.

(END OF QUOTE)

Anyhow, it would have been very interesting to ponder how Karen Armstrong and her followers would have answered, and commented on, this quiz of 30 holy verses, taken from the Bible or Qu’ran that Valerie Tarico, one of my favorite bloggers, wants her readers to take.

You don’t even need to take the quiz to understand that Abrahamic religions have caused many sufferings and wrong-doings both past and present.

So, thank you very much, Valerie, for this disclosing quiz and blog post!

ValerieTarico.com

quran vs bible 2The world has watched in horror while members of ISIS justify the next mass murder or icy execution with words from the Quran, followed by shouts of Allahu Akbar—God is the greatest! If beliefs have any power whatsoever to drive behavior—and as a psychologist I think they do—there can be little doubt that the Quran’s many endorsements of violence play a role in how exactly ISIS has chosen to pursue religious and political dominion.

At the same time, it should be equally clear a sacred text filled with violence is insufficient to trigger mass brutality unless other conditions are present as well. Culture, empathy, education and empowerment—and other factors that scholars understand only in part—appear to have a protective influence, safeguarding even most fundamentalists against the worst teachings of their own tradition. We know this in part because the Bible contains commandments and stories that are as horrific as…

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Speaking of how religious beliefs can poison the mind of a true believer, here’s just ONE terrifying example.

This story made its way to the newsdesks here in Sweden the other day.

It’s about a 47-year-old man accused of murdering his nine-year-old daughter and assaulting his own wife and an older stepdaughter (plus the boyfriend of this stepdaughter), trying to kill them too.

The man is suspected to suffer from severe religious delusions. *well, I’m not the least surprised*

He has himself told the police that God ordered him to wring the neck of her daughter in order to kill her. When he hesitated, he was promised by God that this “act of love” would guarantee his daughter an eternal life in Heaven.

“I was deceived by the devil all the time”, the man said in the first hearing after the murder.

On 9 July this summer the 47-year-old company director was arrested in his own home, suspected to have stabbed her nine-year-old daughter to death in that same family house.

The man was taken by police to a psychiatric emergency department.

The day after the girl’s death the first hearing was held with the murderer. According to the interrogation documents the 47-year-old-man asked the interrogator to let him meet his nine-year-old daughter again, whom he was convinced now had been resurrected to a new life, because God the Almighty had promised him that would be the case.

Later in the same interrogation the man tells the interrogator that he obviously, during the last months, seems to have been duped by the Devil. Satan must have pretended to be God and being the one communicating with him.

“One minute I feel like I have sold my soul to God, the other second, it feels like I’ve sold my soul to the devil, the man told the interrogator.

The man also says that he grew up in a religious home and that his own father was a pastor in a Pentecostal church he himself had founded.

In subsequent questionings, the man tells the interrogator that he has been on heavy medication due to sleep problems. He also discloses that earlier in his life he has been a drug addict, and that psychiatric doctors have told him that he manifested distinct psychotic symptoms.

During the interrogations the man also admits that he obviously must have suffered from religious delusions. He says that God used to speak to him through persons, particularly children, in his surroundings and through radio or television broadcasts.

The man also tells what happened on that special day he murdered his own nine-year-old daughter. He says the delusions took a new turn during the day when his daughter was murdered. He felt as if God spoke directly into his brain that day.

“The voice of God told me to go out in the backyard of the house and ask my daughter, who was playing there, to join him.

While standing there in the backyard waiting for his daughter to come to him. he says he was instructed by God to count down from three to zero. He was also told, by God, that when saying ZERO, he would immediately be shot to death.

Since the man wanted to obey God, he began counting down and came to ZERO, without anything happening. He was of course surprised, but interpreted it as he, like once Abraham, just had passed a divine test.

The man also says that he was convinced that if he refused to obey what God told him to do, then he would be punished. And the punishment for disobedience of God’s will is, as “all know”, an eternity of suffering in Hell.

Back in the house, now together with his daughter, the voices in his head soon returned, leading to devastating consequences.

During the interrogation, the man says that God soon demanded him to break the neck of his own nine-year-old daughter.

When he hesitated, God promised him that his daughter would of course be resurrected, She would wake up to eternal life.Because he loved his daughter so much, the man couldn’t resist that promise or offer by God. Who wants to prohibit an eternal life in Heaven for his own children?

So the man made now a first attempt to break the neck of her daughter, but was unsuccessful.

The daughter was able to break free and ran up to her room on the upper floor in the house and tried to block the door.

The man tried to open the door, but realized he couldn’t. So he went back, downstairs, heading for the kitchen. There he took a knife from a drawer. With the knife in his right hand he returned back to the girl’s room and soon managed to open the door.

The man’s wife (and also the girl’s mother) heard there was a fuss, with a lot of screaming, going on upstairs, so she decided to find out what was going on.

Despite attempts by the mother to prevent him, the husband managed to give his (and her) own daughter multiple stabs with the kitchen knife, and soon those stab wounds caused the girl’s death.Afterwards the man attacked his own wife with his knife. And also the wife’s adult daughter from a previous relationship, who now appeared on the upper floor of the house, together with her boyfriend.

All three were attacked by the the 47-year-old man, and hurt by him and his knife. But he didn’t manage to give them any deadly wounds.

The man admits that everything points toward the fact that his own physical body must have performed all these terrifying acts, but he claims that he himself – that is his soul – can’t have been present when all these wrongdoings happened in the house. So the real murderer is no other than – Satan. The Devil Himself.

Are there still any followers of my blog who don’t understand why I call religion a poisonous and detrimental delusion?

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Are Brainwashing Techniques in the Bible and Strategically Used in Churches? Facts and consequences of priming.

Thanks to God (?) – yeah, praise the Lord! Amen! – I recently became acquainted with Victoria Neuronotes. She’s a BRILLIANT antitheist blogger, full of both wits and knowledge. And yes, sometimes she also speaks words of wisdom. She knows from her own experience how poisonous religious thoughts can be. So i will in the weeks to come reblog some of her many clever posts on my own blog, starting with this one. Indeed, she deserves many readers. And followers.

In her blog post Victoria – her name means “the victorious one”; God seemingly chose a good name for her – Amen! – focuses on different brainwashing techniques, used by spokesmen who promote the belief that there is an equivalent of childhood’s imaginary friend (sometimes more than just one, though) living somewhere in the sky (heavens).

An imaginary friend, usually full of benevolence, omniscience, and omnipotence – and, of course, always loving and caring for you, provided that you 1) believe He exists, and 2) are willing to help promoting His good advice and commandments by donating money to people, often called priests, chosen by God to spread His message all around the world.

A very interesting question is this one: How can grown-up persons continue to embrace the “out of this world” concept of an imaginary friend living, usually hidden, somewhere in the sky? (As I myself use to say to answer that question, “Only God knows…”)

Anyhow, in this reblogged post Victoria describes common techniques used by those who promote God’s lovable (?) and caring (?) message.

These techniques can be summarized in one word, BRAINWASHING.

Another word for brainwashing is PRIMING. Just google the words RELIGIOUS + PRIMING, and you’ll find almost countless of good articles and papers dealing with the effects of religious priming (a.k.a. brainwashing).

For example this one, https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/47943/priming%20papers/ejsp834.pdf .

Or this one, https://www.uclouvain.be/cps/ucl/doc/psyreli/documents/2009.IJPR.Submission.pdf .

Some details about paper #1:

TITLE: When authoritarianism meets religion: Sacrificing others in the name of
abstract deontology.

AUTHORS: Matthieu van Pachterbeke, Christopher Freyer, and Vassilis Saroglou.

ABSTRACT: Authoritarianism is a stable construct in terms of individual differences (social attitudes based on personality and values), but its manifestations and behavioral outcomes may depend on contextual factors. In the present experiment, we investigated whether authoritarianism is sensitive to religious influences in predicting rigid morality. Specifically, we investigated whether authoritarians, after supraliminal religious priming, would show, in hypothetical moral dilemmas, preference for impersonal societal norms even at the detriment of interpersonal, care-based prosociality toward proximal persons and acquaintances in need. The results confirmed the expectations, with a small effect size for the religious priming vs. authoritarianism interaction. In addition, these results were specific to participants’ authoritarianism and not to their individual religiosity. The interaction between authoritarian dispositions and religious ideas may constitute a powerful combination leading to behaviors that are detrimental for the well-being and the life of others, even proximal people, in the name of abstract deontology.

Some details about paper #2:

TITLE: “Speak, Lord, Your Servant Is Listening”: Religious Priming Activates Submissive Thoughts and Behaviors.

AUTHORS: Vassilis Saroglou, Olivier Corneille, and Patty Van Cappellen.

ABSTRACT: According to many theoretical perspectives, religion is positively associated with submission and conformity. However, no study to date provided xperimental evidence for this hypothesis. We did so in two experiments that relied on priming procedures. In Experiment 1, participants were tested for the strength of their religion-submission associations by using a lexical decision task. In Experiment 2, participants were primed with either religious or neutral concepts and were invited or not by the experimenter to take revenge on an individual who had allegedly criticized them. Both studies provided evidence for the expected religion-submission association, although the effects were limited to participants scoring high in personal submissiveness. Among these individuals, religious priming increased the accessibility of submission-related concepts (Experiment 1) and the acceptance of a morally problematic request for revenge (Experiment 2). Discussion focuses on questions for future research and implications for our understanding of religion’s role in morality and interpersonal relations.

The wordings in both abstracts can, according to me, be reworded in the following manner:

Religion is built on associative, emotional thinking (which is the opposite of logical and critically analyzing thinking), and is full of intellectual vices. For more details, have a look at this Wikipedia article; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_thinking . And this article, found in the Aeon Magazine: http://aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/intellectual-character-of-conspiracy-theorists/ .

Qualities like submissive behavior, obedience, and belief in authorities are encouraged and exhorted. Religious people are strongly advised and admonished to be accepting, not criticizing, what their leaders tell them to do, act, and believe. The key word here is CONFORMITY. Discord leads to bad feeling, feuding, and conflicts. So tell me, is that the higher “meaning of life”? (See there a so-called rhetorical question.)

Anyhow, this is why priming/brainwashing is a common technique used in religious groups in order to establish concord and unity. (And it also opens up to thinking of we and them, i.e. we are better than those others not sharing our beliefs, faith and values.)

Victoria NeuroNotes

Brainwashing and mind control techniques have been used by dictators, their agents and cult leaders throughout history. While it took me years to come to this understanding, it became apparent to me, through my research, that the Bible could be used as a tool for

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Rosa Rubicondior has written and published a book entitled The Light of Reason: And Other Atheist Writing.

Rosa Rubicondior: So I’ve Written This Book….
At last!

In response to numerous requests, Rosa Rubicondior has finally produced an ebook, based on a selection of her Atheism and Science blogs. The inspiring title is “The Light Of Reason: And Other Atheist Writing”.

I’m darn sure this ebook will enlighten many atheists’s lives.

The articles are arranged into four sections, each dealing with a different aspect of Atheism and science and the interface between science and religion.

Those sections are:

#1: Religion and Atheism, which looks at the reasons why Atheism is the position of choice for critical thinkers and people who allow the evidence to determine their beliefs and who suspend judgement in the absence of evidence.

#2: Evolution and Other Science, which deals with aspects of science which normally feature in creationist and other religious apologetics and about which most creationists are ignorant or at least feign ignorance.
#3: Religious Apologetics, dealing with the common apologetic fallacies (and believe me, there are plenty of them to be ridiculed.
#4: Silly Bible, exposing the utter nonsense and implausibility of the stories found throughout the Bible.
I guess section #4 will become my personal favorite part of Rosa’s ebook since the Bible (a.k.a. the Holy Scripture) is really a silly book, with lots of even more stupid narratives – like the talking (and maybe lisping) and upright walking Serpent in the Garden of Eden. 
 
Hey, hold the horses! Wait a sec. An upright walking Snake? Yes, obviously it must have been that way; i.e. after the Fall God seemingly felt revengeful (although what happened in the Garden of Eden couldn’t have come as a surprise to Him) and therefore commanded all snakes from now on to become crawling reptiles on the ground. Otherwise it’s very hard to understand and accept what can be read in Genesis 3:14: And the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life:” 
 
(Hence, before that the snakes weren’t crawling on the ground.)  
 
Back now to Rosa’s ebook. There is no plot to follow in it, so so the table of contents each article can be read independently of the others. 
 
Click the link above to get more information about Rosa Rubicondior’s ebook. 
 
I haven’t yet bought Rosa’s ebook, so the table of contents is unknown to me. But I’m pretty sure this article will be included, http://rosarubicondior.blogspot.se/2015/04/origin-of-adam-eve-myth.html .
 
The Kindle version of Rosa’s ebook consists of 747 (!) pages, so you’ll get a lot of knowledge for a small amount of money. Don’t hesitate to buy it. I bet your atheist life will be much funnier to live afterwards, because Rosa Rubicondior is an unusually “divinely” gifted writer.

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Christian Belief Through the Lens of Cognitive Science: Part 2

This is a very interesting article by Valerie Tarico about God’s mostly anthropomorphic bodily appearance and nearly always humanlike mind.

Here are some examples of what we learn by reading Valerie’s text:

1) We learn that the orthodox Jesus story, as it appears in our gospels, follows a specific sacred or mythic template that existed in the Ancient Near East (actually long before Christianity or even Judaism). Cf. what is said about The Hero’s Journey, a pattern of narrative, once identified by Joseph Campbell, that is applicable in both secular storytelling and religious myths.

2) Our supernatural notions are shaped by built-in structures in our brains.

3) Those “default” systems/networks in the brain are unconsciously (and, in a way, you may say compulsively) searching for recognizable patterns for events and experiences in our surroundings. These processes allow us to generalize, i.e. from just a few bits of data or details we are able to construe some kind of wholeness (a more or less consistent pattern).

These pattern-seeking neural processes are usually summarized as apophenia or patternicity (apophenia can be defined as the experience of seeing and identifying meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data, while patternicity is the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless noise.

4) The found patterns – they are closely related to memories – have to be filed somewhere in the brain. That’s why the brain has got different filing systems.

We invent labels to tag each object (i.e. element or property), so that similar objects (i.e. the same sort of memories) can be directed to and saved in the same file(s). Those built-in filing systems are steadily increasing and refined over time.

5) Valerie also tells us that the labels usually start out blank. But actually some of them don’t. We all seem to have a couple of “preprinted labels” (cf. C.G. Jung and his idea that there are so-called innate archetype patterns residing in the “collective unconscious” of all humans).

But Valerie prefers to give the labels more mundane names, like “Humans”, “Non-humans”, “Animals”, “Plants”, “Man-made objects”, “Natural objects” and the like.

6) A very important pattern-seeking process (maybe the most important of them all) is about facial recognition. This (facial recognition) system can sometimes overfunction (giving rise to a phenomenon called pareidolia), and sometimes be underfunctioning (causing face blindness, prosopagnosia).

And now, at last, we are approaching the religious aspects and consequences of how our brains are wired. In short, Valerie Tarico tells us that the neural wirings in the brain can explain why most religions imagine and teach that their divine beings are both bodily anthropomorfic and also feeling, thinking, reasoning, and (at least partially) acting like we humans usually do (for example eating food that we put on a sacrificial altar, being angry, disappointed and so on).

ValerieTarico.com

Why God has a Human Mind 

Jesus was a human, fathered by a god and born to a virgin. He died for three days and was resurrected.  His death was a sacrifice, an offering or propitiation.  It brings favor for humans. He lives now in a realm where other supernatural beings interact with each other and sometimes intervene in human affairs.

Gradually the mainstream of the American public is becoming aware that none of these elements is unique to Christianity.  Symbologists or scholars who specialize in understanding ancient symbols, tell us that the orthodox Jesus story, as it appears in our gospels, follows a specific sacred or mythic template that existed in the Ancient Near East long before Christianity or even Judaism.  In part this is due to the flow of history.  Religions emerge out of ancestor religions.  Though the characters and details merge and morph, elements get carried through…

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64. Did Jesus set a deadline for his return?

This post by “500 Questions” answers the question, Did Jesus set a deadline for his return? And the answer is, YES, he did!

This brilliant article refers to verses in both the Old and New Testament. And those verses are all indicating that The Second Coming of Jesus/Messiah is just round the corner.

Anyone who tries to interpret those verses in another way must be described as delusional.

And as you all know (I hope), delusions are necessary to have, if you really want to believe in religious (also called magical) thinking.

BTW, here’s a good site for those who want to learn more about magical & religious woo-bullshit thinking, https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/magical-thinking .

I recommend you to visit that site.

500 Questions about God & Christianity

The end of all things is near.
— 1 Peter 4:7

“Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.” It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.
— C.S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night: And Other Essays, p.97

Jesus and his FollowersThe late, great C.S. Lewis once confessed to believing that Jesus had made several “embarrassing” predictions about…

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