Contrary to the belief in some circles, there is no persecution of Christianity in the United States. But the narrative that there is, based on cases where the Christian majority was not allowed to oppress a minority or to impose itself on to a minority, is still strong. In Akron, Ohio, some ranking church members took it one step further, and asked the local sheriff’s department to stage arrests of their pastors to make a point during their Sunday sermons. But then, the footage of the arrests was posted on the internet as if the arrests were real.
From a historical perspective, meatless Fridays are dubious at best. Modern scholars have no idea what Jesus actually ate when he was in the desert. He didn’t post any pictures of his food on Instagram or leave any well-preserved stool samples. I already checked the bottoms of my shoes just in case. Stepping on a Jesus turd would be the archeological discovery of the century. Given the current dearth of evidence, scientists can’t rule out that Jesus ate steak every night. For all we know, in 30 A.D. the desert could’ve been full of Texas Roadhouses. It’s impossible to prove a negative. If the theologians can use that argument to support the existence of God, then I can use it to support the existence of moderately priced chain restaurants.
Lets start off with an excellent quote from the homepage of No Answers In Genesis,
“Creationism is not the alternative to Evolution - ignorance is”
“No Answers In Genesis” as you might imagine, is an old website devoted to refuting Ken Ham’s nonsensical Answers in Genesis
Speaking of that guy, I should have wrote this right after the recent Bill Nye vs Ken ham debate, but I wasn’t able to get around to it at the time. This however sums up what went on with the debate pretty nicely.
— Tim (TPO) (@tpobserver) February 5, 2014
Contrary to whatever creationists, including Ham will tell you, creationism isn’t science and never will be, while evolution is science. The evidence for evolution is so overwhelming that nearly all scientists accept it. Creationists of course deny this reality and even try to convince us that evolution is not science.
On the other hand, despite what creationist may say, they can’t back up just about any of their claims with actually evidence. In the instances when we can test their claims, they pretty much always turn out to be flat out false. Here’s just one example. If the fanciful myth of Noah’s Ark for were true, all animals should have dangerously low genetic diversity like the Cheetah. Ironically in order to try to explain how all the animals alive today could have come from just one male and one female that survived the great flood, creationists have embraced a ridiculous type of hyper evolution. Or rather, super evolution as cdk007 calls it.
Yet despite this fact, creationism often gets taught in US public schools, at the tax payer’s expense. The good news is that this isn’t constitutional. The courts have repeatedly struck down laws designed to cast doubt on evolution in American schools. Since creationism is not only anti science, but a religious belief, masquerading as science, promoting it with public funds, violates the Establishment Clause. Despite the fact that under our constitution they’re not allowed to do it, they’re doing it anyway. They’re trying to get around the supreme court rulings by funneling money to private schools, through vouchers as Julie Crothers points out,
Indiana’s rapidly expanding voucher program, which funnels millions of taxpayer dollars into private schools, now funds some Christian schools that teach creationism or intelligent design.
Laws and court rulings limit what the state’s public and charter schools can teach in science classes based on separation of church and state challenges. But the curricula of private schools that enroll voucher students haven’t reached the courtroom.
The rapid growth of the program opens the door to an unanswered question: Can local private schools continue to teach intelligent design and creationism with state-funded voucher money flowing into the schools?
We need scientists to develop cures for diseases that threaten our lives and new technology to help solve our problems. But if people don’t understand science or are not interested in science, where will those scientists come from? If large numbers of people in the United States believe creationism over real science, it threatens our future.
Creationism of course isn’t unique to the United States, although here it seems to be the most widespread. No Answers In Genesis, awhile back compiled a list of articles debunking Australian creationists. Creationism is a problem in Australia to this day. US Creationists may even try to use the tactics used by Australian creationists to successfully pervert science education over there, here in the US.
Creationism takes many forms in addition to the Christian young earth version that we are used to here in America or in Australia. Intelligent Design is just one example.
Plus Christianity is not the only religion with adherents who reject the science of evolution. There is Islamic creationism. Many Muslims reject evolution as well, and what they believe is just as nonsensical as what Christians who reject evolution believe. One prominent Muslim creationist is Harun Yahya.
More exotic to most Westerners, is Hindu Creationism. In addition some Native Americans reject evolution, in favor of their tribal creation myths. Recently a group of Native American creationists interfered with an Archeological dig. But all forms of creationism, no matter what form it takes, and what creation myths people are trying to convince you are fact, are total hogwash. I’m not a scientist, but I can tell you based on what scientists have said, creationism is always pseudoscience. Wherever it is creationism is regarded as science by a large number of people, you have a large number of ignorant people.
Evolution is not incompatible with the idea of God. I don’t know who first said that, but its true. You can be a religious person and accept that evolution is a scientific fact. You don’t need to reject God to accept evolution, unless you insist that for God to be real, every single word of your “sacred texts” must be literally true. Evolution doesn’t threaten God. If there’s a God, he created all life on Earth through evolution.
However, rejecting science en mass threatens the future of our species. Just look at climate change denial. Many species may go exitint due to human activity not to mention the negative effects on human health caused by man made climate change. Lets not also forget rise in sea level that threatens coastal communities.
Lets also not forget the harm caused by the anti Vaccine movement. Just look at all the people who should have lived, but died because they didn’t get vaccinated.
In addition, here in the US we need good science education if we are to continue to compete with the rest of the world. Creationism doesn’t help anyone except those who profit from selling creationists materials or those who want to create a theocracy based on their religious beliefs. We need to continue fighting to keep creationism out of our schools and continue to promote the genuine science of evolution, regardless of how anyone may feel about it.
Check out each of the “Fox News” guests cutting out the “news” anchor’s entrails and feeding it to them on a silver platter. Bet they didn’t feel good afterwards!
Mark Thompson at Discovery News takes a look at an enduring Christmas mystery. What was the star that according to the Bible, guided the three wise men to Jesus?
Star Of Bethlehem
Like many children, I was brought up with the magical story of The Star of Bethlehem that led the Three Wise Men to the baby Jesus. The same story that captivated generations of children has kept astronomers guessing as to the nature of the mysterious star — if it was indeed a ‘star.’ Reliable and accurate observational and historical records are limited, so instead scientists have turned to computer simulations of the sky during that time to investigate the possible celestial suspects. There are a number of possible explanations that have been mulled over the years, but four of them seem most likely.
Image: Illustration of Three Wise Men Viewing Star of Bethlehem by W.L. Taylor
You might remember that a few months ago the entire Internet — me included — simultaneously stumbled on the thrilling and mystifying world of monsterotica e-books. It turns out that cheap, short porn stories for people who really, really want to have sex with dinosaurs and D&D monsters is a thriving business, so it probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise that, like every other form of media, there’s a subgenre of a subgenre devoted entirely to Christmas. And it’s mostly about ladies who want rough sex from the Krampus.“The only thing on your mom’s wish list was for me, the pope, and Teddy Roosevelt to give her a ‘White Christmas.’ Sorry, kids.”
Robert Spencer is such a “good scholar” when comes to Islam and the Middle East, that he couldn’t get his work published by a university or reputable trade press. Instead he got his work published by Regnery Publishing, a propaganda outlet with standards low enough to print creationist garbage. Now he is worried about our president and we are supposed to take him seriously. He thinks its very likely he maybe a secret Muslim waging “stealth jihad” against America.
Now I partially agree with Spencer, despite the fact he’s promoting a conspiracy theory and thinks that having a Muslim president in and of itself would be a bad thing. It’s unlikely that Obama would be acting that much differently if he were a Muslim, but that’s only because contrary to Spencer, most American Muslims are nothing like the negative stereotype people like him put forward. Policy wise, I don’t think we’d see a lot of difference, only because being a Muslim doesn’t say that much about you. Even if he were a Muslim, ( which we have no good reason to think he is ) I doubt that as president of the United States, Obama would support our nation’s enemies, even if they were also Muslims.
Other wingnuts of course have also claimed that he’s helping Al Qaeda, ignoring the fact that he’s been responsible for killing large numbers of Al Qaeda terrorists not to mention the fact that Osama Bin Laden was killed by US special forces under his watch, and he praised them for it. Do you really not think that this is something that would not anger fanatical supporters of groups like Al Qaeda more than him leaving Islam? Even if he where a Muslim, he’s not acting like a friend to Jihadists at all.
The idea that Obama is part of some kind of “stealth jihad” is ridiculous. It’s laughable at best, but so is the entire idea of the “stealth jihad” conspiracy. Most US Muslims do not want to live in theocracies like Iran or Saudi Arabia. The biggest American Muslim Organization Supported a bill to ban discrimination against LGBT people for example. Something you would not expect if they thought the way people in the “counter Jihad” expect us to believe they do. The Muslim Public Affairs Council also put out a declaration condemning extremism, which condemned Muslim extremists as well. In addition there’s something else that makes the whole “stealth jihad / creeping sharia” idea ridiculous.
Muslims in fact are less than one percent of the total US population. Just look at this graph from the Pew Research Center
If you want a group that really threatens our freedom, that may destroy America as we know it, from within, look no further than the religious right, which Spencer is a part of. Radical Christians will be the ones to do it, if anyone will turn America into a theocracy. Some of them outright deny that non Christians have any right to practice their faiths under our constitution, despite the fact that first amendment protects religious liberty for everyone. Many of them have whined about persecution while promoting and defending regimes guilty of the real thing.
This isn’t because Christianity is inherently evil, its not, anymore so than Islam or any other religion for that matter. It’s just that the Christian religious right has wide spread support here in the US, the Muslim religious right does not. Even if the average American conservative doesn’t support their agenda wholesale, it’s far more likely to appeal to him, than the agenda of some radical Muslim extremist group.
Spencer and his supporters in fact have come out against the rights of Muslims on more than one occasion. In fact the “counter jihad” only supports things like freedom of speech and freedom of religion when its their rights that are being violated*
This is why you rarely see them condemn attempts to take our rights away that are endorsed by people who are not Muslims or groups like the American Religious Right, that are not comprised of Muslims.
Yet in spite of the total lack of evidence, and even evidence to the contrary, we are told we should be worried that Obama is a “secret Muslim” working with our enemies. The shear fact that Spencer even thinks that conspiracy theory is plausible, should be seen as more proof that he’s little more than a propagandist and an anti Muslim bigot.
*While I don’t entirely agree with Jacob Mchangama regarding the decision the court made dealing with MTA refusing to run Geller’s bus adds, everything else he wrote here is spot on.
In A Town In Syria, People Speak Aramaic, The language of Jesus & Christians & Muslims Live Side by Side
From the youtube video description
In a remote village nestled in Syrias picturesque Oalamoun mountains, resides a small Aramaic community. It is one of the last and it is devoted to preserving Aramaic: the language that Jesus spoke.
Protecting this 3000-year-old language has united Malulas residents: Christians and Muslims are like brothers in this town, says local resident Ibrahim Kamar. Whilst Mel Gibsons The Passion of Christ has revived interest in the language, fears that Aramaic is dying out continue. Malula, where the orphans must recite in Aramaic, is one of the last bastions for a language Mother Superior Savaf describes as a gift from God.
Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures
Some Spencer/Geller bait.
Five’ll getcha ten that they ignore some of the mitigating statistics in the last quoted paragraph.
One narrative about Muslim immigrants in Europe is that only a relatively small proportion holds views that are sometimes labeled as “fundamentalist.” Ruud Koopmans from the Wissenschaftszentrum in Berlin argues that this perspective is incorrect. He conducted a telephone survey of 9,000 respondents in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, and Sweden and interviewed both Turkish and Moroccan immigrants as well as a comparison group of Christians.
His first finding is that majorities of Muslim immigrants believe that there is only one interpretation of the Koran possible to which every Muslim should stick (75 percent), and that religious rules are more important than the laws of the country in which they live (65 percent). Moreover, these views are as widespread among younger Muslims as among older generations.
He then looks at hostility toward out-groups. Fifty-eight percent do not want homosexual friends, 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted, and 54 percent believe that the West is out to destroy Muslim culture. Among Christians, 23 percent believe that Muslims are out to destroy Western culture. Koopmans says these results hold when you control for the varying socio-economic characteristics of these groups (although the analyses are not presented).
Religious fundamentalism is the strongest correlate of out-group hostility both among Muslims and Christians. Fundamentalism here is taken to mean beliefs that believers should return to unchangeable rules from the past, that the Bible/Koran should be taken literally, and that religious rules are more important than secular laws. Although Muslims are more likely to be fundamentalist and hostile toward out-groups than Christians, there are many more Christians in these countries. So, the overall numbers of Christians who feel hostile toward Muslims still vastly outnumber the Muslims who believe the West is out to destroy Muslim culture. This accounts for the success of extremist parties in many of the countries in which the survey was conducted. It may be that Muslim perceptions are partially a response to this but we can’t tell. (The study, as far as I can tell, has little to say about the sources of these attitudes).
Rush Claims the left wants to destroy Christmas, Ignores the Fact That Most US Liberals Celebrate It
Here’s the audio from Media Matters of Rush Talking about the Left’s “War On Christmas” which I can prove beyond reasonable doubt does not exist.
Okay, Than Mr. Limbaugh why do so many people On the American Left Celebrate Christmas? These don’t look like people who “hate Christmas”
President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Celebrated it.
See that big Christmas tree in front of the capital building only a few years ago?
Wow looks like Obama and his family really “hate” Christmas. Why aren’t other liberals complaining if they really want to destroy the holiday, eh Rush?
Also why do we hear about things like this
Happy Holidays From the Democrats. No matter What Holiday You Celebrate and that includes Christmas
The Senate Democrats have also set up a “Capital Christmas Tree Webcam”
Hardly sounds like the left has an anti Christmas agenda does it?
Of course many leftwing non Christians Americans don’t celebrate Christmas, but that hardly constitutes a war on Christmas by the left or even those leftists that don’t celebrate the holiday. You’d then have to also ignore the small number of conservative Americans who also don’t celebrate Christmas. Rush and the “War On Christmas” nonsense have been debunked yet again, as if it hadn’t been already. I could have even done a much better job if I wanted to really take my time with this.