Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Advent

"As he lay there, dying in the sun, the sand of desert all around him, Petaris spoke to the rock, not with his lips, but with his mind, and the rock wept tears of fresh water and his thirst was quenched."

Angels, demons, spirits, wizards, gods and witches have peppered folk religions since mankind first started telling stories. Charles Darwin noted this in “The Descent of Man.” “A belief in all-pervading spiritual agencies,” he wrote, “seems to be universal.” According to anthropologists, religions that share certain supernatural features — belief in a noncorporeal God or gods, belief in the afterlife, belief in the ability of prayer or ritual to change the course of human events — are found in virtually every culture on earth.

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Call it God; call it superstition; call it, as Atran does, “belief in hope beyond reason” — whatever you call it, there seems an inherent human drive to believe in something transcendent, unfathomable and otherworldly, something beyond the reach or understanding of science. “Why do we cross our fingers during turbulence, even the most atheistic among us?” asked Atran, an anthropologist at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, with joint appointments at the University of Michigan and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. His research interests include cognitive science and evolutionary biology, and sometimes he presents students with a wooden box that he pretends is an African relic. “If you have negative sentiments toward religion,” he tells them, “the box will destroy whatever you put inside it.” Many of his students say they doubt the existence of God, but in this demonstration they act as if they believe in something. Put your pencil into the magic box, he tells them, and the nonbelievers do so blithely. Put in your driver’s license, he says, and most do, but only after significant hesitation. And when he tells them to put in their hands, few will.

If they don’t believe in God, what exactly are they afraid of? (more...)

Even if YOU don't know what faith YOU are, Belief-O-Maticknows. Answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Maticwill tell you what religion (if any) you practice...or should consider practicing. Try it!
I love books, especially books dealing with philosophy, science, culture and religion. There is an excellent little red book that graces my shelf entitled "Mankind's Search For God." It's put out by Jehova's Witnesses and covers the gamut from mythology, magic and spiritism right thru Judaism, Christianity, Islam --- it's all there. The end pages are basically JW religious propaganda. I think it is good for one to explore all of the 'secrets' that surround the world's religions. Indeed, in Catholicism there were some very scarey situations: like the time when it was decided priests could not marry and the ones who had wives and children saw their loved ones taken away and sold into slavery. Or the fact that less than a hundred years ago, adults were discouraged from reading the Bible. Or the recent rumours that certain Popes may have been Euthanized. In my personal quest for truth and peace and guidance and hope, I have found great comfort in a variety of teachings which have proven to me that the "thread of Allah" is sewn throughout various cultures and beliefs.

Alternatives To A Fiery Hell


Whether or not God wants to torture you is not the issue, that God will torture you is! If you do not please him in this life, if he does not deem you acceptable to him, then you are going to face the Alpha and Omega’s eternal retribution in the next life. Should you die in an unsaved condition, you are going to face the unchecked wrath of an infuriated, emulous God who will stop at nothing to make sure his enemies pay for their crimes against him. So says the Bible, particularly the New Testament of our ”loving Lord and Savior,” Jesus Christ.
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