We must be FREE TO CRITICIZE RELIGIONS
(Statement by Lars Vilks, Swedish arist and creator of the Rondellhund with the head of Muhammad)
1. Belief in a supernatural power recognized as the creator and governor of the universe.
2. The objective pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.
The world has corrected the Bible. The church never corrects it. (Mark Twain)
"From image maker Colin Purrington: Texans' fondness for Biblical literalism indirectly ruins science education for the rest of the country. Texas is the nation's biggest consumer of textbooks, so authors will often write their books "for" the Texas State Board of Education, which usually has at least one delusional freakazoid who believes that fossils are the result of the Great Flood. On the State School Board!! I kid you not. Really amazing, and sad." (Blog paragraph from Millard Fillmore's Bathtub.)
As this class discussion and the links to online web pages show many religious persons do not think evolution is a factual description of how the world works. It is therefore almost impossible to discuss evolution with such persons without also including religion in that same discussion. Under the best conditions these discussions are "brain exercising intellectual debates", but often, unfortunately, the discussions deteriorate into claims of hurt feelings. Some examples from "both sides": here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Again, as mentioned above, if you only have limited time, or if you have a hard time concentrating on this much material, read this page, which has interesting textbook stickers. (Some school boards have ordered warning stickers to be put in biology textbooks -- this is the science version of the stickers -- it helps if you have humor...).
My personal favorite: "If a fair maiden kisses a frog which instantly changes into a handsome prince we would call it a fairy tale. But if the frog takes 40 million years to turn into a prince we call it evolution. Time is the evolutionist's magic wand. Fairy tales come in many forms!" (Read more about fairy tales here: http://www.bible.ca/tracks/welcome.htm). The animation to the left is from that web site. See copyright and fair use notice below.)
... as if the fairy tale of "the original sin" sounds more educated -- where a magic power takes the rib of a male creature called Adam (made from mud by the magic power) and makes him a sex partner called Eve. If I was a woman I would not be very proud of that cute story. But I guess it is better than having a potato sack over your head...
Some students in these classes have actually stated the opinion that they DO believe this "rib story" to be an actual factual description of how women came about! All I can say is: Wow! These students need to take a basic course in Human Anatomy and Physiology. The course is offered at STC. (Your instructor's, right to have, opinion).
We have learned things about the real world during the last 2000years -- at least some of us have... On one of the pages linked to above one can read: "the crusades took place from approximately 1095 to 1230 A.D. That was between 775 and 910 years ago. Should the unbiblical and un-Christ-like actions of supposed Christians 1000 years ago still be held against Christians today?"
-- Supposed Christians? 1000 years! Yes, of course it should still be held against Christians today, at least as long as they claim that the 2000+ year old Bible should be considered in science today! You cannot have your cake and eat it too!
The world has corrected the Bible. The church never corrects it. Another Mark Twain quote. He was an interesting man, wasn't he? Below is the text, about witches, where that quote can be found. Remember the witches? We used to think they were real -- just like Santa and the Easter Bunny. Society -- in the name of the church used to prosecute and burn witches 400 years ago.
Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry.... There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain."
-- Mark Twain, "Bible Teaching and Religious Practice," Europe and Elsewhere (1923). http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/twain.htm
Some people think the Bible is a true description of the world. So then, witches are real? Hmmm!? Some say that there are many definitions of a witch. Does that matter? They were all burned in the name of Christianity...
Here are some statements from the Apocrypha -- which now is no longer part of the Bible (?) of most denominations.
...For every woman who carries out these schemes will suffer eternal punishment, for it was thus that they led astray with their witchcraft the Nefilim before the flood. (Witches in the Bible and in the Talmud. Meir Bar-Ilan. http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~barilm/witches.html#.)
-- So people were burned in the name of religion. Should this also not be held against Christians today -- claiming the Bible to be all-true?
Religion is the opium of the people (Karl Marx)
One of the more frequently quoted statements of Karl Marx (19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary):
The original statement was in German and longer. But the message is that like an opium drug addict, religious believers are "blinded" by the "drug" and cannot deal with the real world. It is unfortunate but religious beliefs have a tendency to "blind" people ("Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes"). In this case an example of the "real world" would be the common ancestry of humans and apes. Apes and Humans have almost identical DNA. Why? Because we are related! Too blind to see that?. This apparently offend some people. Why? How horrible to be related to an Ape, right!?
Are religious people "offended" because they feel their own version of the world is threatened, as evidenced by Christians and Muslims fighting wars for world control -- for centuries since before the Middle Ages? The violent response in 2006 to the Danish cartoons (see below), the page in Jylland-Posten titled "Muhammeds ansigt" (Mohammed's face), is just nonsense excuse for using violence. (The human species is a very violent animal.) If you haven't seen the drawings, Michelle Malkin -- who writes a column in The Monitor, have all drawings collected. Look at them on your own risk! (Offending the Islam religion can be dangerous these days. There is a reason for the left cartoon of a scared Danish cartoon artist illustrated below.) Many places, CNN, for example, don't dare show the cartoons about Islam on their web site: CNN has chosen to not show the cartoons out of respect for Islam. Wikipedia has a fairly large scanned copy of the original page in Jylland-Posten that started this whole religious nonsense (your instructor's, right to have, opinion). (For more on nonsense, and definition of the word, see below.)
-- Drawing cartoons is apparently offending, but it is seemingly OK to bomb people, and burn or walk on Danish flags in response to the cartoons -- and call for a worldwide boycott of Danish products. What happened to responding with the same method? And what about old history books! (See photo to the right; use your mouse to open a bigger picture if you wish.) Jews cannot eat ham. That doesn't mean that people with other faiths also cannot eat ham. Apparently Muslim beliefs prohibit people of Islamic faith to show the face of their prophet. Well, I am not Muslim -- so I can show the face, just as I am not Jewish -- so I can eat ham...
The Danish cartoons are actually pretty innocent, published in a respectful Danish daily local newspaper. In response rather offensive cartoons started showing up worldwide. Those cartoons could not be shown on this web page (but it is pretty easy to find them with a Google search). (Sources: Click on the photographs to take you to the page where I found them. One of the cartoons can no longer be found on that page. Why? I can only guess... Fair Use Notice: se bottom of page. )
I am counting on my students having more humor than the Danish flag burners above.
Discussions involving religion can easily offend people, but it is very important to have free and open discussions, so that we don't end up living in a Taliban world with a potato sack over our heads... (The potato sack is technically called a "burqa".)
-- For balance here is a Christian cartoon -- satire of Michelangelo's "The hand of God".
It is interesting that many students do not recognize the painting by Michelangelo that is behind the Hand of God cartoon. The Hand of God touching Adam is probably one of the most famous paintings of all times. Click on the cartoon or here, to see the original painting that inspired the cartoon.
In September 2006 the Muslims got their feelings hurt again! This time they were insulted by a comment from the Pope Benedict XVI. There were demonstrations all over the world with Muslims burning dolls of the Pope. (CNN, http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/09/15/pope.islam/index.html?section=edition_asia)
In August 2007 it happened again! The Swedish artist Lars Vilks made a drawing of a dog with a human face. Apparently the face was supposed to be Muhammad's. (See below.)
"An Al-Qaeda front organization in Iraq has offered rewards to anyone who kills two Swedes behind a cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog, in a statement posted on the Internet." Al-Qaeda puts bounties on heads of Swedes. 15 September, 2007. The local: Sweden's News in English. http://www.thelocal.se/8498/20070915/
Lars Vilks said the following: "We must be free to criticize religions."
"We must be free to criticize religions. Why should Islam be exempted from the sort of criticism that is commonplace for Judaism and Christianity?" he said. Vilks added that "hot potato" was needed to force a proper discussion." Artist: 'We needed a hot potato'. 5 September, 2007. The local: Sweden's News in English. http://www.thelocal.se/8402/20070905/
Lars Vilks then made a similar dog with the face of what he said was a Jewish religious authority. No Jews have tried to kill him yet...
The Swedish government said the following: "We can't apologize for the cartoons because we did not publish them"
"SWEDEN 'REGRETS' PROPHET CARTOON. Sweden's embassy in Pakistan has expressed regret over the publication of a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad in a Swedish newspaper. Pakistan had complained about the cartoon, which depicted the head of the Prophet on the body of a dog. Sweden's government said it regretted any hurt but could not apologize as it was not responsible for the drawing and could not prevent its publication. Other cartoons depicting the Prophet sparked worldwide protests last year. Thousands of Muslims took to the streets in several countries in early 2006 in protest at the drawings, which were initially published by a Danish daily and later reproduced elsewhere. Muslims regard any visual representation of the Prophet as blasphemous. Many Muslims also regard the dog as an impure animal."
"Press freedom. The new drawing depicting the Prophet's head on the body of a dog was published in the Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda on Sunday. The cartoon's creator, Lars Vilks, told the Associated Press news agency the drawing was art. "I'm not against Islam. Everybody knows that," he is quoted as saying. The publication prompted the Iranian government to complain to Swedish diplomats earlier this week. The Pakistani foreign ministry delivered its complaint to a Swedish diplomat in Islamabad on Thursday. A Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman said the government had "expressed regret that the publication of the cartoons had hurt the feelings of Muslims". "We can't apologize for the cartoons because we did not publish them," spokeswoman Sofia Karlberg told the BBC News website. Ms Karlberg said the government could not influence the publication of such cartoons because of rules concerning media freedom in the country." (SWEDEN 'REGRETS' PROPHET CARTOON. BBC News 31/8/2007- on this web site (ICARE -- Intelligence Center Anti Racism Europe) http://www.icare.to/article.php?id=10988&lang=en)
Here is another example to be really proud of: "Last weekend more than a dozen envelopes bearing the image of skull and crossbones and containing letters threatening the lives of CU-Boulder evolutionary biology professors were slipped under the doors of CU-Boulder buildings." (Click on the text for the full story.) Need another source? Click here.
I haven't even mentioned the Devil (Satan) in "The Serve", until now, because I don't know where to position him in a discussion about EVOLUTION. (By the way, who sad Satan was male?) Mentioning Satan in the Town Hall class discussion usually upset one or two students -- or the student's parents. (Note that this is college. College is for ADULT students. Unlike high school you are responsible for your own education -- not your mommy or daddy.) Yet, Satan is mentioned on many religious web sites. Scary stuff, huh? What if I say that the eyes are the eyes of a cat and not an imaginary thing with a forked tail?
So, I will not mention him/her/it. Instead I will let RELIGIOUS people do that, and here is an informative web site. NOTE THAT THE IT IS CHRISTIAN WEB SITE. SO NO FLAG BURNING IS NEEDED! The moving eyes are from the same web site: http://www.bible.ca/indexsuper.htm. Click on the big eyes above...
Another web site (blog) brings up Satan in criticizing The Creationist Museum (From Faithdoubts -- "Creation and Evolution- Satan's having a lot of fun with this one".) Click on the link to read the full blog statement.
"For proof positive that man's intelligence has not evolved in eons, consider the Cro-Magnon braned imbeciles behind the recently opened Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky." (Artist of the poster below.)
Untutored people to drag our science education back into the bronze age?
"The basic problem is that NONE of the people who attack evolution have actually studied it. If they did, they would of course see that there's nothing TO attack. It isn't a Satanic Conspiracy, it's simply the description of a process providing a very useful taxonomy and a way to understand relationships. I see no way around this problem of ignorance. And it will become far worse if we allow these untutored people to drag our science education back into the bronze age." (Imaginefree69 on YouTube.)
Man's intelligence has not evolved in eons?
"Finally there is compelling evidence that the theory of evolution is wrong! For proof positive that man's intelligence has not evolved in eons, consider the Cro-Magnon brained imbeciles behind the recently opened Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The museum's exhibits don't merely challenge science, they ignore it completely! It's the only place in the world you can see man riding bareback on a dinosaur -- except of course, in an old episode of The Flintstones." (As per the text in the poster above with Charles Darwin's Night at the Creation Museum.)
Crazy people are people who don't let facts get in the way of their beliefs. (James Burns)
When this topic (evolution and related subjects) is discussed in class many students "hang on" to their religion as the only true religion. When Pope John Paul II is used as an educated example of a religious person who has accepted religion, students often comment to that with something like this: "Well, I am not Catholic. I don't care what the Pope thinks." So a student just out of high school thinks he/she knows better than the Pope, with graduate level university studies and a lifetime of practical experience? But then, the same just out of high school students also thinks he/she knows better than this biology instructor.
So, which religion is the correct religion? I found an answer on Answers.com that made a lot of sense:
"Some claim that a specific religion is the right one and all the others are wrong. However they are in conflict with everyone that believes in any other religion. Another possibility is that perhaps parts of all or some religions are right or partially right and they are just different paths to the same place. Finally perhaps all religions are wrong as there is vary little hard evidence for any of them." (Answers.com )
Even though the writer of this "tennis serve" is not religious, I feel this is not a very hard question to answer.
The religion with the least outdated misinformation about the real world is the "correct" religion. "Correct" in the sense that it is the least damaging religion to the world. But as far as being factually correct I agree with the last part of the statement that say, "all religions are wrong as there is vary little hard evidence for any of them." But I would modified the statement this way:
Theistic religions are wrong because there is NO evidence for any of them.
Religion comes in two forms: Theism and Deism.
Here is some pertinent terminology: A "theist" is a person who believes in a supernatural intelligence, who after creating the universe also oversee and influence the creation -- consequently will hear your prayer and do miracles.
A "deist" also believes in a supernatural intelligence but one that after the creation never intervenes -- consequently will never hear your prayer and never do miracles.
An "atheist" believes that there is no supernatural intelligence.
An "agnostic" believes that there is no way for humans to tell if there is a god or not.
According to a survey mentioned on the MSNBC TV channel, about 85 percent of the scientists in this country are atheists or agnostics. On the other hand 85 percent of all Americans are either theists or deists, compared to the people in Scandinavian countries where about 90 percent are atheists or agnostics.
Theism is wrong, because there is no God that hear your prayer or create women from ribs of men (it has never been proven, it is just a VERY OLD human idea -- going all the way back to the Stone Age). Deism, however, fits in some way with the agnostic views that states that we cannot really know for sure if there is God. Perhaps what we call God was an alien organism, or race, that seeded our planet with life? Hmmm!!!??? Perhaps God was an energy source that started the Big Band -- thereby starting EVOLUTION? HMMM!!!??? Food for thought?
I personally don't think "what started it all" should be called a God -- it was just a natural physical process. However, I understand -- and RESPECT that kind of deistic thinking. But I do NOT respect the theistic idea that there is a God who hears prayers or creates people from ribs. It is laughable, but even more so it is sad, that humankind the year 2009 has these ignorant, misinformed, uneducated nonsense. Have you ever wondered why, and perhaps even become upset, when people make fun of your religion? There is the explanation -- we make fun of it because the idea, that one can ask an energy source for favors -- an energy source that religious people think made the universe with it's trillions of light year size galaxies, that IS laughable.
Below is an example, an article of something laughable. To not hurt anyone's feelings I have selected an article about Mayan religion. There are not too many left who believe in Mayan gods. Anyone in class? Oh, well, if so cannot be helped. As you can read in the article, even the remaining Mayan people apparently pay very little attention to it, and the idea that something must "happen" came from somewhere else...
So in 2012 is it goodbye cruel world? Or is that just religious nonsense? In this case Mayan nonsense. But is it any better than a woman made from a rib, or that we cannot draw pictures of Mohammad?
Click on the cartoons for source.
We have (or at least this instructor has) established that we are at war, but it is NOT a war between or against different religions, and it is NOT a war about whether there is a God or not -- it is a war against uneducated NONSENSE. If some EDUCATED religious people can accept evolution, so can students obtaining an EDUCATION at STC. (Your instructor's -- right to have -- opinion). To proceed to chapter 7 click on the link in the left frame or click here.
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