Religion in General
August 20, 2019
Whether it’s this guy
or this guy, it’s all the same shuck and jive.
Isn’t religion wonderful?
A 55-year-old woman was murdered by witch doctors during the process of exorcism in Sapahi village under Ramana police station, around 35 kilometres away from the district headquarter, on Saturday night.
The deceased has been identified as Rudani Devi, a native of Kon Mandra village under Ramana police station.
Son of the deceased, Bikesh Oraon lodged an FIR against exorcist Alama Devi and her son Sakendra Oraon.
Binesh mentioned in the FIR that on August 15, his mother was taken to a witch doctor at Sapahi village by his two brothers Dhanesh Oraon and Dinesh Oraon and their wives Vinita and Guddi and his own wife for exorcism.
He informed that on Saturday night during the exorcism, the witch doctor took his mother to a separate room and stabbed her with a trident. Ramana thana in-charge Gosnar Dhan confirmed the information and said, “Police has taken both the accused into custody and are interrogating them.”
Dhan informed that on the complaint of son Bikesh Oraon police registered FIR against Alama Devi and her son Sakendra Oraon under sections of 302 and 34 IPC and section 3 and 4 of The Prevention of Witch (DAAIN) Practices Act, 2001.
July 9, 2019
At least one-fifth of the Netherlands’ 6,900 church buildings have been converted for secular use, a national Dutch newspaper reports ― and hundreds more are expected to follow suit in the coming years.
About 25% of Dutch churches built between 1800 and 1970 are now being used for nonreligious purposes, including as apartment complexes, offices and cultural centers, according to an investigation published by the Trouw in June. Around 20% of Dutch churches built before 1800 have also been redesigned, most often finding new life as community centers, museums or theaters.
Dutch church buildings are often located in central areas, Trouw reports. Old church buildings can be expensive for a dwindling congregation to maintain. Churches built before 1800 are often considered national monuments. All of this means that deciding how to repurpose these old buildings while maintaining their cultural legacy has become a key topic of concern for local communities.
Trouw’s investigation into converted church buildings comes during a time of increased secularization in Dutch society. In 2017, the number of religiously unaffiliated people in the Netherlands surpassed the number of religious folk for the first time in history (51% vs. 49%), according to government data.
Many formerly religious Dutch people say they left their religion because they no longer believe in its teachings, according to the Pew Research Center. A significant number also claimed they just “gradually drifted away.”
Secularization among Christians has been the trend in the Netherlands since the 1960s, according to Jeroen Dewulf, a professor of Dutch studies at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute of European Studies. Dewulf said that the Catholic Church, which has a stronger presence in the Netherlands than Protestant denominations, has also been facing a serious priest shortage.
“Many churches have been standing empty for years and they are so costly to maintain that alternative destinations for these churches have been sought,” Dewulf told HuffPost.
ISIS supporters celebrate deadliest-ever attack with poster of burning Pope, Trump and a statue of the Buddha
April 26, 2019
When people really believe the tenets of their religion what often happens is carnage.
WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
- At least 359 people killed and 500 injured after nine suicide bombers attacked three churches, four hotels and a block of flats in Sri Lanka
- Thirty-nine foreigners were killed including eight Brits, ‘several’ Americans, one Dutch, one Chinese, two Turkish, three Danes and one Portuguese national
- 40 suspects have been arrested
- Authorities name local Islamic terror group National Thowheeth Jama’ath as being responsible for the attacks saying they were helped by ‘international network’ of jihadis
- ISIS claims the suicide bombers were ‘soldiers of the Islamic State’
After claiming responsibility for the atrocity, the brainwashed death cult’s official media channel Amaq issued a disturbing poster.
The chilling propaganda post featured the masked extremists believed to have carried out the bombings in Sri Lanka above images of the Pope, US President Trump and a statue of Buddha.
And a clerk from the downtown Colombo KwikiMart.
Along with splatters of blood, the sinister image also includes depictions of fire.
On the poster, the warped militants wrote: “We will not make you cry of blood, enemies of religion and the first of the clouds shall fall upon the rivers of unclean blood.”
The coordinated attack, which involved nine suicide bombers, is believed to the terror group’s biggest ever mass murder.
ISIS’s previous largest attack was a bomb assault on a shopping district in Karrada, Baghdad, which left 340 dead in 2016.
Their deadliest attack in Europe remains the Paris massacre in November, 2015, which claimed the lives of 130 innocent people.
Meanwhile, one of the suicide bombers who studied in the UK has been identified as Abdul Lathief Jameel Mohamed.
He is believed to have attended a university in the southeast of England between 2006 and 2007, security sources told Sky News.
He was responsible for the smaller suicide blast at the Dehiwala hotel in southern Colombo hours after the later explosions, it has been reported.
Officials earlier revealed that the twisted ISIS extremist also studied for a post-graduate degree in Australia.
It has since emerged that he attended a university in Melbourne, reports the Age.com.
Speaking at a news conference, State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene said: “We believe that one of the suicide bombers studied in the UK and later did his postgraduate studies in Australia before coming back to settle in Sri Lanka.”
The bombshell revelation that one of the depraved extremists studied in the UK has sparked fears that he could have been radicalised while living in this country.
Isn’t religion wonderful?
April 19, 2019
Americans are increasingly unlikely to become formal members of churches and other religious congregations, a new Gallup report has found.
The number of U.S. adults who officially belong to a church or other religious institution has plummeted from 70% in 1999 to 50% in 2018, according to the study published on Thursday.
The decline in church membership dovetails with a concurrent decline in weekly church attendance. There has also been a well-documented rise in religious “nones” ― people who describe themselves as atheistic, agnostic or “nothing in particular.” The percentage of American adults who say they have no religious preference doubled from 8% in 2000 to about 19% in 2018, according to Gallup.
Even among Americans who say they are part of an organized faith tradition, however, Gallup found that church membership has declined. At the turn of the century, 90% of all U.S. adults were affiliated with a religious group and 73% of those religious people belonged to a church or other faith institution. Currently, about 77 percent of all American adults identify with a religion and only 64 percent of those adults are members of a church or other faith institution. That means roughly 1 out of 4 adults today call themselves religious without being members of a church, synagogue or mosque.
The data suggests to Gallup that Americans’ relationship with organized religion is changing.
“They may not see a need to, or have a desire to, belong to a church and participate in a community of people with similar religious beliefs,” Gallup wrote in its report.
In addition, there’s a significant generational gap in church membership that may continue to persist even as those younger generations grow older. Some 68% of Americans born in 1945 or earlier said they were members of a religious institution, compared to just 42% of millennials. In contrast, 20 years ago, when members of Generation X were around the same age as millennials are today, 62% of them belonged to a religious institution.
Americans’ membership in many types of voluntary organizations has been declining for some time. But R. Marie Griffith, a religion scholar at Washington University in St. Louis who studies American Christianity, said the steep decline in church membership is notable and suggests a “growing disaffection with organized religion, in particular.”
“I think a lot of people do identify loosely with the faith tradition of their youth or their choosing, without feeling as if regular participation in congregational life is necessary,” Griffith told HuffPost in an email. “They might feel ‘culturally Protestant,’ for instance, or tied to the ethical teachings and cultural traditions of a particular religion without wanting to attend services.”
The number of people who have no religion has risen 266 per cent – one third of the population – in three decades
April 5, 2019
- People with no religion accounted for 23.1% of the U.S. population in 2018
- By comparison, Catholics make up 23% and Evangelicals account for 22.5%
- The three are now statistically tied as the largest religious groups in America
- Meanwhile, mainline Protestant Christianity has seen a 62.5% decline in believers since 1982, to now account for just 10.8% of the U.S. population
The number of Americans who identify as having no religion has risen 266 percent since 1991, to now tie statistically with the number of Catholics and Evangelicals, according to a new survey.
People with no religion – known as ‘nones’ among statisticians – account for 23.1 percent of the U.S. population, while Catholics make up 23 percent and Evangelicals account for 22.5 percent, according to the General Social Survey.
Those three groups now represent the largest the religious groups in America.
The survey has tracked a broad swath of American trends since 1972, offering comprehensive insight into the evolving face of religion over more than four decades.
Ryan Burge, a political science professor at Eastern Illinois University who analyzed the data, said that experts have several theories about why the number of ‘nones’ has risen so dramatically in recent decades.
‘One of them is that many people used to lie about what they were,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘Many people were (always) atheist or non-religious, but it was previously culturally unacceptable to not have a religion in America.’
‘John of God’ cult leader with millions of followers ‘ran sex slave farm and sold babies to highest bidder’
February 1, 2019
The 77-year-old has been arrested in what prosecutors say could be the worst serial crimes case in Brazil’s history
Joao Teixeira de Faria
Joao Teixeira de Faria was arrested a week after over 600 allegations piled against him in what prosecutors say could be the worst serial crimes case in Brazil’s history.
‘John of God’ cult leader with millions of followers ‘ran sex slave farm and sold babies to highest bidder’
The 77-year-old’s renowned spiritual world crumbled two months ago after he was accused of sexually abusing a Dutch woman on live TV.
The woman’s claims prompted over 600 similar allegations to arise from around the world from countless women – all of which Faria has denied.
Brazilian activist Sabrina Bittencourt has now sensationally claimed the celebrity medium ran a baby trafficking operation, in which children were “farmed” in Brazil before being sold to childless couples around the world.
Bittencourt’s previous investigations led to the spiritual leader’s arrest in December.
She claimed young girls were held captive in remote farms, where they were forced to produce babies.She added that the women were murdered after 10 years of giving birth.
SEX SLAVE FARM
In a video, Bittencourt, whose organisation, Coame, helps women report sexual assault by religious leaders, said she has spoken to women from at least three continents who claimed they bought Brazilian babies from John of God for as much as £40,000, reported the Mirror.
Europe was also listed as one of the three continents where Brazilian babies were bought.
Bittencourt claims she has collected testimony from former members of the John of God cult.
She claims Fariawould offer money to poor girls aged 14 to 18 to go and live in mineral mines or farms he owns in the Brazilian states of Goias and Minas Gerais.
Just one in ten babies in England is baptised into the Church of England with the numbers even lower in London at three in every hundred
January 26, 2019
Here is more evidence of the decline of the Church of England –
Only one in ten babies is baptised into the Church of England – and in London, the figure is even lower at three in every 100, a national breakdown of the Church’s strength has revealed.
The tiny minority of infants who are introduced to Christianity by the CofE in London is mirrored in other major cities.
In Birmingham, only 5 per cent of babies are christened by the Anglican church; in Bristol it’s 6 per cent; in Manchester 8 per cent; and in Nottingham 9 per cent.
Only one in ten babies is baptised into the Church of England. The figures are particularly low in cities +2
Only one in ten babies is baptised into the Church of England. The figures are particularly low in cities
But the proportion of newborn children who are baptised is much higher in provincial towns and rural areas. In the Hereford diocese, for example, one in four babies is christened by the CofE.
The figures come from an analysis of churchgoing in 2017 in the CofE’s 46 dioceses. It shows that across England an average of 10 per cent of babies under one were baptised – down from 14 per cent in 2007.
Less than 50 people attend Sunday services at a typical English parish church. The figures for the London diocese do not include the capital south of the Thames, which is the Southwark diocese, where 5 per cent of babies under one are baptised into the CofE.
The Reverend Sandra Millar, its head of christenings, weddings and funerals, said: ‘Cities often have more transient populations as well as more religious diversity.’
The Church of England has issued guidance on how churches can welcome transgender people into the Anglican faith with a ‘celebratory’ service for those who have transitioned +2
The Church of England has issued guidance on how churches can welcome transgender people into the Anglican faith with a ‘celebratory’ service for those who have transitioned
Belief is accepting something as true in the absence of supporting evidence. Anecdotal evidence, by the way, is not evidence. People lie and exaggerate all the time.
Whether the belief is in the existence of god, the high quality of Italian restaurants on Pluto, reincarnation or anything else doesn’t matter.
All beliefs are equal.
Take one of your own deeply held beliefs and consider the fact that, no matter what ii is, it is as absurd as believing that mice live on the surface of the sun.
For something to be true it must be observable, predictable and repeatable.
The rise of the sun in the morning, for example, is not subject to belief. You can see it. You can predict its next occurrence and it happens daily. It is observable, predictable and repeatable.
If a premise is not supported by evidence the chain of trustfulness, however elaborate, fails. The Catholic church, for example, has an intricate and a somewhat consistent internal structure, If you accept the major premises most of the structure falls into place. But the founding premises, the existence of god, the magic tricks of Jesus, etc. are not supported by evidence so the entire system collapses.
Don’t criticize the beliefs of others. What people think is unimportant. What they do and say is.
We all have an ethical duty to criticize people when they use those beliefs to harm or promote harming others.
from the moderator
September 6, 2018
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
September 7, 2018
The world didn’t end yesterday.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
Birth of ‘first red heifer in 2000 years’ fulfills Bible prophecy and signals ‘end of days’
The Temple Institute announced the birth of the red heifer in Israel on their YouTube channel and said the calf underwent ‘extensive examination by rabbinical experts’
You can’t get anymore scientific than that, right?
The birth and sacrifice of the red cow is said to precede the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem.
In mainstream Orthodox Judaism, the rebuilding of the Temple will happen before the coming of the Jewish Messiah.
The two previous temples have been destroyed.
However, The Temple Institute and other organisations have been established with the goal of building the Third Temple on Mount Moriah or the Temple Mount.
But some theologians believe the construction of the Third Temple is linked to ‘Judgement Day’ or the ‘end of times’.
These are adult human beings discussing this seriously. Welcome back to the Bronze Age.
August 30, 2018
… ignore him because he’s at least as crazy as you are.
When 32-year-old Timothy Hernandez’s parents arrived at their Mount Vernon home after church Sunday afternoon, they found his girlfriend on the ground, with her head removed from her body and placed on the back of her torso, according to Mount Vernon police reports.
Hernandez is now charged with first-degree murder in Skagit County Superior Court, accused of plotting his 27-year-old girlfriend’s death that morning. He would later tell police that he “had spoken with God,” who told him to “strike down” his girlfriend. Their 3-year-old daughter also told investigators she witnessed the slaying.
After the parents called 911, cops arrived to find Vanessa Cons’ body on the floor of the bedroom she shared with Hernandez, at the parents’ house in the 1200 block of North 18th Street in the city about 60 miles north of Seattle.
The parents told officers that they had left for church between 9:30 and 10 a.m. that morning without seeing Hernandez or Cons. They found her body when they returned home about 12:45 p.m. The parents claimed the couple argued before going to bed the previous night.
Investigators found a butcher knife in the kitchen sink with a clean blade, but blood and human hair on the handle. They also spotted multiple stab wounds to Cons’ back and the back of her head. They believe Hernandez sawed her head off from her body and placed it on the back of her torso, according to the incident report.
July 19, 2018
- Researchers at the universities of Bristol and Tennessee carried out the study
- They found nations losing their religion could bring lucrative financial rewards
- Secularisation corresponded to an average £800 increase in output per head
Researchers at the universities of Bristol and Tennessee found that higher levels of secularism led to higher wealth and a greater tolerance for individual rights.
They examined output figures for 109 countries and the importance of religious faith in those states.
A modest increase in secularisation corresponded to an average £800 increase in output per head within a decade, a £2,000 increase in 20 years and a £4,000 increase within 30. But Damian Ruck, of the University of Bristol’s population health sciences institute, told The Times: ‘Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t be religious and also respect individual rights.’
The researchers noted: ‘A century ago, Emile Durkheim [a French sociologist] proposed that technological and socioeconomic advances come to displace the functions of religion, whereas Max Weber [a German Philosopher] contended the opposite, that monotheistic religion, the so-called Protestant ethic, made the development of capitalism possible.’
Belief and religious participation have been on the decline in recent decades in most rich nations – but have remained high in developing countries.
Between 1947 and 2001, belief in the divine declined by 33.6 per cent in Sweden, 19.9 per cent in Australia and 7.2 per cent in Canada, according to research by a Harvard academic.
Countries with high rates of religiosity tend to be clustered in poor regions, with some of the largest rates recorded in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
For the first time, more than half of the UK population say they have no religion, according to a British Social Attitudes survey last year.
Only 3 per cent of adults under 24 described themselves as Anglican – fewer than the 5 per cent who identify as Catholic. Almost three out of four 18- to 24-year-olds say they have no religion, a rise of nine percentage points since 2015.
June 30, 2018
Good. Leave the kids out of this and other religious cults.
Numerous commentators have raised concerns about a proposed bill currently in the California Senate, Assembly Bill 2943. The bill would amend the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act to prohibit “sexual orientation change efforts.”
Most discussion of the bill has focused on its potential ban on Bible sales. It seems much more likely that the bill will make religious education programs the target of “death by litigation.”
The proposed bill states: “The following unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer are unlawful:…Advertising, offering for sale, or selling services constituting sexual orientation change efforts to an individual.”
AB 2943 is based in part on California Business and Professions Code. Section 865 defines “sexual orientation change efforts” as “any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” Section 865.1 provides, “Under no circumstances shall a mental health provider engage in sexual orientation change efforts with a patient under 18 years of age.”
Bill Bans ‘Any Practice’ that Proclaims Christian Doctrine
Unlike this section of existing law, AB 2943’s definition of “sexual change orientation efforts” is not limited to “practices by mental health providers,” and its prohibitions are not limited to minors. AB 2943 defines “sexual orientation change efforts” as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”
The bill’s only express exclusion from “any practices” are “psychotherapies that: (A) provide acceptance, support, and understanding of clients or the facilitation of clients’ coping, social support, and identity exploration and development, including sexual orientation-neutral interventions to prevent or address unlawful conduct or unsafe sexual practices; and (B) do not seek to change sexual orientation.”
Thus, under AB 2943, “any practice,” except certain psychotherapies, would qualify as an unfair and deceptive business practice, so long as it is intended as part of a sale of goods or services. There is no guidance as to what qualifies as “seek[ing] to change an individual’s sexual orientation.”
This Easily Includes Catechism Classes
Under these broad and ill-defined terms, “any practice” could include Catholic catechism classes, commonly known as CCD, in which every Catholic child who attends public school must participate to make First Communion and Confirmation. Parents pay for their children to attend these classes, so they are purchasing a service. The purpose of these classes is to teach the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to teach the students to live in accordance with the church’s teachings.
The catechism is very clear on the church’s position on homosexuality in three sections:
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
To the extent the issue of human sexuality is raised in a CCD class, the catechist is obligated to tell the students what the church’s view on homosexuality is. That would certainly qualify as attempting to “change behaviors” in the context of sexual orientation. Sections 2357 and 2359 of the catechism expressly call on persons who are attracted to the same sex to refrain from such behaviors by living a life of chastity, and Section 2357 states that “under no circumstances can [homosexual acts] be approved.”
The students in CCD classes for First Communion can range from ages 7 to even 12, for children whose parents failed to enroll them in second grade. Confirmation classes have students who are between 15 and 16 years old. Classes for children who were not baptized and seek to be baptized into the church at a later age can include students up to 17 years old.
Given these age ranges, questions about the church’s position on marriage, sexuality, sexual orientation, cohabitation, and divorce will most certainly arise. If the teacher performs his or her duties accordingly, he or she is obligated to refer to sections 2357-2359 of the catechism and, if AB 2943 is in place, expose the parish to a potential lawsuit.
This Law Could Also Ban Christian Schools
The potential risk that parochial schools, particularly high schools where issues of sex and sexuality are a major part of students’ lives, will be ensnared by AB 2943 is also high. Parents at these schools pay tuition and are therefore paying for services and goods. The mission of Catholic schools, like CCD classes, is to educate students in the teachings of the Catholic Church, including Sections 2357 to 2359 of the catechism.
AB 2943 would force teachers at these schools to choose between fully and freely teaching the full catechism, thereby exposing the school to a potential lawsuit under AB 2943, and censoring the portions of the catechism taught to avoid litigation. AB 2943 would chill any discussion of the church’s position on homosexuality and homosexual acts in religious education classes, including debate among students regarding the merits of that position.
More than 10 million adults in California identify as Catholic. There are 306 parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles alone. There are also hundreds of Catholic elementary and high schools all over California. AB 2943 would chill the religious freedom of Catholics to study and examine the tenets of their faith.
AB 2943 is impermissibly vague and broad. As drafted, it will impinge on the First Amendment rights of numerous religious groups. Many religious education programs will self-censor due to potential lawsuits. Those who refuse to do so risk being sued out of existence or into submission.
AB 2943 is not yet law and is currently still in committee. Perhaps with sufficient opposition, it will never become law. The bill is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee. A hearing on the bill is set for July 2, 2018. The Senate Appropriations Committee meets every Monday at 10 a.m. in Room 4203. The committee’s mailing address is State Capitol, Room 2206 Sacramento, CA 95814.