Tag Archives | Religion

Cross Miraculously Appears Inside Sliced Potato In Albuquerque

New Mexico’s KOAT has your daily dose of irrefutable evidence of the divine hand at work on Earth:

An anonymous Action 7 News viewer sent in a photo of a sliced potato divided by what he calls Lenten crosses. The viewer wishes to remain anonymous. The potato sighting is far from the first time viewers have claimed to see the divine in everyday objects and things.

potato

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Dead Indian Guru Cryogenically Frozen By Followers

guruIf only modern refrigeration technology had existed in the biblical era. Via the BBC:

Devotees of a dead guru in India have told the BBC they put his body in a freezer to preserve him as they believe he will return to life to lead them.

Thought to have been in his seventies, Ashutosh Maharaj was declared dead by authorities in Punjab on January 29. But, confident that he was merely in a state of deep meditation, his followers froze his corpse.

He led the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission) which claims more than 30 million followers.

His spokesman Swami Vishalanand told the BBC that although doctors had declared Maharaj “clinically dead”, he was actually alive and in a state of samadhi, which is the highest plane of meditation.

The website of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan says it was established in 1983 and aims to “achieve world peace”.

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Dying Fred Phelps Excommunicated from Westboro Baptist Church

Fred Phelps 10-29-2002Fred Phelps, notable homophobe (catchphrase, “God Hates Fags”) was the face and voice of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church. Now his estranged son has revealed not only that Phelps is dying, but that he was excommunicated from his own church. What could have happened? Did he have a change of heart about gay culture? From Nathan Phelps’ Facebook page:

I’ve learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the “church” back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.

I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved.

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Is Religion Good for Your Brain?

Eastman Johnson, Child at Prayer, circa 1873A scientific justification for otherwise inexplicable belief systems? From Discovery News:

If you live in Georgia, you’re more likely to have a healthy brain than if you live in Minnesota. That’s according to an annual state-by-state ranking released this week by a national health education campaign called Beautiful Minds.

While Georgians could use more “mental stimulation through reading and game playing,” their high level of religious activity elevated them to a No. 10 ranking. And while Minnesotans read more and are active in their communities, their low level of religious activities contributed to their No. 31 ranking.

Why the emphasis on religion? Research has linked religious activity with everything from reduced stress to better memory retention.

One recent study, published in December of 2013 in JAMA Psychiatry, found that people at risk of depression were much less vulnerable if they identified as religious: Brain MRIs revealed that religious participants had thicker brain cortices than those who weren’t as religious (those with a family history of depression often have a thinning of the cortices).

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Die-Off of India’s Vulture Population Creates Crisis for Zoroastrian Sky Burials

Pic: Cornelius Brown (PD)

Pic: Cornelius Brown (PD)

India has always been a land with a robust vulture population, owing to its 500 million cattle population (almost half of the world’s 1.3 billion) and the taboo associated with eating beef (80% of the country is Hindu).  However this situation has drastically changed in just a generation.

From 1992 to 2007, the Indian population of some 400 million vultures of 9 species has dropped 99.9% due to the widespread use of a drug used to treat inflammatory disorders and pain in cattle called diclofenac.  The indigenous White-rumped Vulture alone, with a population of some 80 million, was described in 1985 as “possibly the most abundant large bird of prey in the world.”  Today the White-rumped Vulture is listed as Critically Endangered.  Tragically, a vulture that eats the flesh of a cow to whom diclofenac was recently administered quickly perishes from acute kidney failure.

This vulture population collapse has led to severe problems in India from undisposed cattle corpses.  Whereas previously a bull could be cleaned in as little as 20 minutes by a pack of vultures, now the carcass putrifies and may cause water contamination from runoff.  Moreover, the open niche has led to a sharp rise in the numbers of roaming wild dogs.  Whereas vultures are an ecological dead-end for pestilence owing to their super-acidic digestive system, dogs and rats are much more liable to spread disease.  Anthrax, plague, and the most fatal disease known to man: rabies, have seen a marked rise since the beginning of the vulture crisis.  Today in India, 30,000 people die from rabies each year, more than half the world’s total.… Read the rest

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Missouri Republicans Propose Bill Requiring Parental Consent For Children To Learn Evolution

schoolVia Talking Points Memo, enabling parents to send their children to school without worry that they will be subjected to science:

A Missouri lawmaker has proposed what ranks among the most anti-evolution legislation in recent years, which would require schools to notify parents if “the theory of evolution by natural selection” was being taught at their child’s school and give them the opportunity to opt out of the class.

The bill had its first public hearing Thursday after being introduced in late January. State Rep. Rick Brattin (R), who sponsored the bill, told a local TV station last week that teaching only evolution in school was “indoctrination.”

The bill is one of several anti-evolution proposals that have already appeared in statehouses across the country. But Brattin’s bill appears to be the only one, and perhaps the first, that would mandate parental notification that their children were being taught evolution in school.

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A Guide To Psychoactive Plants In The Bible

burning_bushSuppose Christians took a closer look at what their holy book is truly discussing? NeuroBrainstorm looks at a wide range of biblically-key plants with mind-altering properties:

Holy Anointing Oil – (Leviticus 10:6) Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. (Exodus 29:7) Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head and anoint him.

The holy anointing oil is a potent psychedelic extract…essentially an anxiolytic-hallucinogen. The transdermal application of it led to its absorption and psychoactive effects, even in extremely low doses. The bible suggests anointing with a large amount of oil possibly to ensure a psychedelic response.

Manna – (Exodus 16 14, 31) Behold…there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

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Douglas Rushkoff Looks Back On His Graphic Novel ‘Testament’

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 1.06.01 PMDouglas Rushkoff is a well-known social critic and media theorist. While he may be best known for nonfiction works like Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now and Open Source Democracy, his bibliography is a remarkably diverse one, with entries into prose fiction and even graphic novels.

Recently publisher DC Vertigo released a collected digital omnibus of his graphic novel Testament. (Find it here.)

From the imagination of best-selling author Douglas Rushkoff, one of the most iconoclastic and acclaimed minds of our era, comes a graphic novel series that exposes the “real” Bible as it was actually written, and reveals how its mythic tales are repeated today.

Grad student Jake Stern leads an underground band of renegades that uses any means necessary to combat the frightening threats to freedom that permeate the world. They employ technology, alchemy, media hacking and mysticism to fight a modern threat that has its roots in ancient stories destined to recur in the modern age.

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The Conservative Crusade For Christian Sharia Law

Biblia-1-Daily Beast‘s Dean Obeidallah warns that “It’s not just the fringe anymore. Mainstream conservatives are trying to bring America’s laws into agreement with ‘God’s law’”:

The question isn’t: Will conservatives push to enact laws based on the Bible? We are way beyond that.  The real questions are:

1. How many more of these laws do they want to impose? And,

2. What will our nation look like if their crusade is successful to bring America’s laws into agreement with “God’s law”?

To some on the right, America is a “Christian nation”—like Saudi Arabia is a Muslim nation—meaning that our nation’s laws should be based on their religious text. These forces aren’t moved by Thomas Jefferson’s famous letter in which he spoke of the need to create, “a wall of separation between church and state.” Nor will they be swayed by citing Ronald Reagan’s words, “Church and state are, and must remain, separate.”

Just last week we saw another example of creeping Christian Sharia Law with a bill passed by Kansas’ House of Representatives that would allow people and businesses to deny services to same sex couples if it violated their “religious beliefs.” This proposed law would in essence legally sanction discrimination against gay Americans because same sex marriage is not approved by the Bible. Similar bills are pending in other State’s including Mississippi, Idaho, and Arizona.

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Salvation’s Grim Price: Reality Show Snake-Handling Preacher Dies of Snake Bite

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Pic: National Geographic (C)

When Jamie Coots and his family made headlines last year, it was for all the wrong reasons and under quite a dubious cloud. The National Geographic Channel featured Coots and his congregation in the show “Snake Salvation”. Soon, the internet began to light up as the family sold their particular brand of “salvation” and “gospel truth” to the ever hungry meat-grinder of popular media and fast-food reality television.

Jamie Coots was arrested in 2008 in Kentucky for possession of venomous snakes without permit. He had 74 snakes in his home at the time. His legal trouble resurfaced in February of 2013 in a court in Knox County, Tennessee, when he received a year’s probation for transporting venomous snakes through the state of Tennessee while en route to Kentucky. During both investigations, the snakes were found to be severely neglected, infested with parasites, extremely ill and dehydrated. The snakes that were seized from Coots in 2008 and 2013 had to be euthanized.… Read the rest

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