Posts Tagged ‘God’

A boundary where scientists face a choice: invoke a deity or continue the quest for knowledge

Writing in centuries past, many scientists felt compelled to wax poetic about cosmic mysteries and God’s handiwork. Perhaps one should not be surprised at this: most scientists back then, as well as many scientists today, identify themselves as spiritually devout.

But a careful reading of older texts, particularly those concerned with the universe itself, shows that the authors invoke divinity only when they reach the boundaries of their understanding. They appeal to a higher power only when staring into the ocean of their own ignorance. They call on God only from the lonely and precarious edge of incomprehension. Where they feel certain about their explanations, however, God gets hardly a mention.

Let’s start at the top. Isaac Newton was one of the greatest intellects the world has ever seen. His laws of motion and his universal law of gravitation, conceived in the mid-seventeenth century, account for cosmic phenomena that had eluded philosophers for millennia. Through those laws, one could understand the gravitational attraction of bodies in a system, and thus come to understand orbits.

Newton’s law of gravity enables you to calculate the force of attraction between any two objects. If you introduce a third object, then each one attracts the other two, and the orbits they trace become much harder to compute. Add another object, and another, and another, and soon you have the planets in our solar system. Earth and the Sun pull on each other, but Jupiter also pulls on Earth, Saturn pulls on Earth, Mars pulls on Earth, Jupiter pulls on Saturn, Saturn pulls on Mars, and on and on.

Newton feared that all this pulling would render the orbits in the solar system unstable. His equations indicated that the planets should long ago have either fallen into the Sun or flown the coop—leaving the Sun, in either case, devoid of planets. Yet the solar system, as well as the larger cosmos, appeared to be the very model of order and durability. So Newton, in his greatest work, the Principia, concludes that God must occasionally step in and make things right:

The six primary Planets are revolv’d about the Sun, in circles concentric with the Sun, and with motions directed towards the same parts, and almost in the same plane. . . . But it is not to be conceived that mere mechanical causes could give birth to so many regular motions. . . . This most beautiful System of the Sun,

Planets, and Comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.

In the Principia, Newton distinguishes between hypotheses and experimental philosophy, and declares, Hypotheses, whether metaphysical or physical, whether of occult qualities or mechanical, have no place in experimental philosophy. What he wants is data, inferr’d from the phænomena. But in the absence of data, at the border between what he could explain and what he could only honor—the causes he could identify and those he could not—Newton rapturously invokes God:

Eternal and Infinite, Omnipotent and Omniscient; . . . he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. . . . We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final causes; we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion.

A century later, the French astronomer and mathematician Pierre-Simon de Laplace confronted Newton’s dilemma of unstable orbits head-on. Rather than view the mysterious stability of the solar system as the unknowable work of God, Laplace declared it a scientific challenge. In his multipart masterpiece, Mécanique Céleste, the first volume of which appeared in 1798, Laplace demonstrates that the solar system is stable over periods of time longer than Newton could predict. To do so, Laplace pioneered a new kind of mathematics called perturbation theory, which enabled him to examine the cumulative effects of many small forces. According to an oft-repeated but probably embellished account, when Laplace gave a copy of Mécanique Céleste to his physics-literate friend Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon asked him what role God played in the construction and regulation of the heavens. Sire, Laplace replied, I have no need of that hypothesis.

Laplace notwithstanding, plenty of scientists besides Newton have called on God—or the gods—wherever their comprehension fades to ignorance. Consider the second-century a.d. Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy. Armed with a description, but no real understanding, of what the planets were doing up there, he could not contain his religious fervor:

I know that I am mortal by nature, and ephemeral; but when I trace, at my pleasure, the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies, I no longer touch Earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia.

Or consider the seventeenth-century Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, whose achievements include constructing the first working pendulum clock and discovering the rings of Saturn. In his charming book The Celestial Worlds Discover’d, posthumously published in 1696, most of the opening chapter celebrates all that was then known of planetary orbits, shapes, and sizes, as well as the planets’ relative brightness and presumed rockiness. The book even includes foldout charts illustrating the structure of the solar system. God is absent from this discussion—even though a mere century earlier, before Newton’s achievements, planetary orbits were supreme mysteries.

Celestial Worlds also brims with speculations about life in the solar system, and that’s where Huygens raises questions to which he has no answer. That’s where he mentions the biological conundrums of the day, such as the origin of life’s complexity. And sure enough, because seventeenth-century physics was more advanced than seventeenth-century biology, Huygens invokes the hand of God only when he talks about biology:

I suppose no body will deny but that there’s somewhat more of Contrivance, somewhat more of Miracle in the production and growth of Plants and Animals than in lifeless heaps of inanimate Bodies. . . . For the finger of God, and the Wisdom of Divine Providence, is in them much more clearly manifested than in the other.

Today secular philosophers call that kind of divine invocation God of the gaps—which comes in handy, because there has never been a shortage of gaps in people’s knowledge.

As reverent as Newton, Huygens, and other great scientists of earlier centuries may have been, they were also empiricists. They did not retreat from the conclusions their evidence forced them to draw, and when their discoveries conflicted with prevailing articles of faith, they upheld the discoveries. That doesn’t mean it was easy: sometimes they met fierce opposition, as did Galileo, who had to defend his telescopic evidence against formidable objections drawn from both scripture and common sense.

Galileo clearly distinguished the role of religion from the role of science. To him, religion was the service of God and the salvation of souls, whereas science was the source of exact observations and demonstrated truths. In a long, famous, bristly letter written in the summer of 1615 to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany (but, like so many epistles of the day, circulated among the literati), he quotes, in his own defense, an unnamed yet sympathetic church official saying that the Bible tells you how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

The letter to the duchess leaves no doubt about where Galileo stood on the literal word of the Holy Writ:

In expounding the Bible if one were always to confine oneself to the unadorned grammatical meaning, one might fall into error. . . .

Nothing physical which . . . . demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called in question much less condemned) upon the testimony of biblical passages which may have some different meaning beneath their words. . . .

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

A rare exception among scientists, Galileo saw the unknown as a place to explore rather than as an eternal mystery controlled by the hand of God.

As long as the celestial sphere was generally regarded as the domain of the divine, the fact that mere mortals could not explain its workings could safely be cited as proof of the higher wisdom and power of God. But beginning in the sixteenth century, the work of Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton—not to mention Maxwell, Heisenberg, Einstein, and everybody else who discovered fundamental laws of physics—provided rational explanations for an increasing range of phenomena. Little by little, the universe was subjected to the methods and tools of science, and became a demonstrably knowable place.

Then, in what amounts to a stunning yet unheralded philosophical inversion, throngs of ecclesiastics and scholars began to declare that it was the laws of physics themselves that served as proof of the wisdom and power of God.

One popular theme of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was the clockwork universe—an ordered, rational, predictable mechanism fashioned and run by God and his physical laws. The early telescopes, which all relied on visible light, did little to undercut that image of an ordered system. The Moon revolved around Earth. Earth and other planets rotated on their axes and revolved around the Sun. The stars shone. The nebulae floated freely in space.

Not until the nineteenth century was it evident that visible light is just one band of a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation—the band that human beings just happen to see. Infrared was discovered in 1800, ultraviolet in 1801, radio waves in 1888, X rays in 1895, and gamma rays in 1900. Decade by decade in the following century, new kinds of telescopes came into use, fitted with detectors that could see these formerly invisible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. Now astrophysicists began to unmask the true character of the universe.

Turns out that some celestial bodies give off more light in the invisible bands of the spectrum than in the visible. And the invisible light picked up by the new telescopes showed that mayhem abounds in the cosmos: monstrous gamma-ray bursts, deadly pulsars, matter-crushing gravitational fields, matter-hungry black holes that flay their bloated stellar neighbors, newborn stars igniting within pockets of collapsing gas. And as our ordinary, optical telescopes got bigger and better, more mayhem emerged: galaxies that collide and cannibalize each other, explosions of supermassive stars, chaotic stellar and planetary orbits. Our own cosmic neighborhood—the inner solar system—turned out to be a shooting gallery, full of rogue asteroids and comets that collide with planets from time to time. Occasionally they’ve even wiped out stupendous masses of Earth’s flora and fauna. The evidence all points to the fact that we occupy not a well-mannered clockwork universe, but a destructive, violent, and hostile zoo.

Of course, Earth can be bad for your health too. On land, grizzly bears want to maul you; in the oceans, sharks want to eat you. Snowdrifts can freeze you, deserts dehydrate you, earthquakes bury you, volcanoes incinerate you. Viruses can infect you, parasites suck your vital fluids, cancers take over your body, congenital diseases force an early death. And even if you have the good luck to be healthy, a swarm of locusts could devour your crops, a tsunami could wash away your family, or a hurricane could blow apart your town.

So the universe wants to kill us all. But let’s ignore that complication for the moment.

Many, perhaps countless, questions hover at the front lines of science. In some cases, answers have eluded the best minds of our species for decades or even centuries. And in contemporary America, the notion that a higher intelligence is the single answer to all enigmas has been enjoying a resurgence. This present-day version of God of the gaps goes by a fresh name: “intelligent design.” The term suggests that some entity, endowed with a mental capacity far greater than the human mind can muster, created or enabled all the things in the physical world that we cannot explain through scientific methods.

An interesting hypothesis.

But why confine ourselves to things too wondrous or intricate for us to understand, whose existence and attributes we then credit to a superintelligence? Instead, why not tally all those things whose design is so clunky, goofy, impractical, or unworkable that they reflect the absence of intelligence?

Take the human form. We eat, drink, and breathe through the same hole in the head, and so, despite Henry J. Heimlich’s eponymous maneuver, choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the United States. How about drowning, the fifth leading cause? Water covers almost three-quarters of Earth’s surface, yet we are land creatures—submerge your head for just a few minutes, and you die.

Or take our collection of useless body parts. What good is the pinky toenail? How about the appendix, which stops functioning after childhood and thereafter serves only as the source of appendicitis? Useful parts, too, can be problematic. I happen to like my knees, but nobody ever accused them of being well protected from bumps and bangs. These days, people with problem knees can get them surgically replaced. As for our pain-prone spine, it may be a while before someone finds a way to swap that out.

How about the silent killers? High blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes each cause tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year, but it’s possible not to know you’re afflicted until your coroner tells you so. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had built-in biogauges to warn us of such dangers well in advance? Even cheap cars, after all, have engine gauges.

And what comedian designer configured the region between our legs—an entertainment complex built around a sewage system?

The eye is often held up as a marvel of biological engineering. To the astrophysicist, though, it’s only a so-so detector. A better one would be much more sensitive to dark things in the sky and to all the invisible parts of the spectrum. How much more breathtaking sunsets would be if we could see ultraviolet and infrared. How useful it would be if, at a glance, we could see every source of microwaves in the environment, or know which radio station transmitters were active. How helpful it would be if we could spot police radar detectors at night.

Think how easy it would be to navigate an unfamiliar city if we, like birds, could always tell which way was north because of the magnetite in our heads. Think how much better off we’d be if we had gills as well as lungs, how much more productive if we had six arms instead of two. And if we had eight, we could safely drive a car while simultaneously talking on a cell phone, changing the radio station, applying makeup, sipping a drink, and scratching our left ear.

Stupid design could fuel a movement unto itself. It may not be nature’s default, but it’s ubiquitous. Yet people seem to enjoy thinking that our bodies, our minds, and even our universe represent pinnacles of form and reason. Maybe it’s a good antidepressant to think so. But it’s not science—not now, not in the past, not ever.

Another practice that isn’t science is embracing ignorance. Yet it’s fundamental to the philosophy of intelligent design: I don’t know what this is. I don’t know how it works. It’s too complicated for me to figure out. It’s too complicated for any human being to figure out. So it must be the product of a higher intelligence.

What do you do with that line of reasoning? Do you just cede the solving of problems to someone smarter than you, someone who’s not even human? Do you tell students to pursue only questions with easy answers?

There may be a limit to what the human mind can figure out about our universe. But how presumptuous it would be for me to claim that if I can’t solve a problem, neither can any other person who has ever lived or who will ever be born. Suppose Galileo and Laplace had felt that way? Better yet, what if Newton had not? He might then have solved Laplace’s problem a century earlier, making it possible for Laplace to cross the next frontier of ignorance.

Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance. You cannot build a program of discovery on the assumption that nobody is smart enough to figure out the answer to a problem. Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes. We know when and where they start. We know what drives them. We know what mitigates their destructive power. And anyone who has studied global warming can tell you what makes them worse. The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms.

To deny or erase the rich, colorful history of scientists and other thinkers who have invoked divinity in their work would be intellectually dishonest. Surely there’s an appropriate place for intelligent design to live in the academic landscape. How about the history of religion? How about philosophy or psychology? The one place it doesn’t belong is the science classroom.

If you’re not swayed by academic arguments, consider the financial consequences. Allow intelligent design into science textbooks, lecture halls, and laboratories, and the cost to the frontier of scientific discovery—the frontier that drives the economies of the future—would be incalculable. I don’t want students who could make the next major breakthrough in renewable energy sources or space travel to have been taught that anything they don’t understand, and that nobody yet understands, is divinely constructed and therefore beyond their intellectual capacity. The day that happens, Americans will just sit in awe of what we don’t understand, while we watch the rest of the world boldly go where no mortal has gone before.

BY NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON/NATURAL HISTORY MAGAZINE

Posted by John the Revelator

 

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Its late in the night and sit at my keyboard and ponder. I ponder a thought, that thought is where we are as far as our point of view is concerned. In writing this I remember what my hero of the pen, James Baldwin said, “writing is the scariest thing a person can embark, you open yourself to criticism and vulnerability.” This rings so true, I remember writing my first book “God the Bible and Politics.” I look back on when I wrote it and I ask my self why, I’ve grown since the contents of the book. I will admit, I put myself out there, I stood in front of people with my point of view.

What I’m getting at or too, are we the same person 5 years ago? If you say yes, we have a problem. I can only speak of myself. When I wrote this book my mindset on life differed as it is today. I’ve grown as a human and as person. What I thought I knew then so I thought was balanced and accurate. I looked at things through the lens of spirituality with no practical experience, it was to only prove  Rom 3:4 to be true 4 By no means! Although everyone is a liar, let God be proved true, as it is written,“So that you may be justified in your words, and prevail in your judging.” This scripture alone has three different references or meanings, it is a part of David’s prayer from Psalms 119, or it could mean the justice of god requires the judgment of injustice. I’m looking at it verbatim, people of faith to defend their personal god at all cost. Since I have left the faith, I’ve studied the scriptures not from the eyes of faith but from an historical perspective. We have to read the bible according to its own historical context and not put ourselves within the context. People are awaiting the return of their King yet everyone has gotten it wrong; why! The book of Revelation was written in the context of 1st century Rome, are we suffering under the Emperor of Rome? Each generation who reads this book tries to interrelate to themselves; it doesn’t work that way. I understand people read the scriptures for different reasons, it answers somethings but doesn’t answer other things. If it give comfort…good.

The overreaching question is, are we growing, are we maturing, are we challenging our true selves. I’m currently working on the rewrite for “God the Bible and Politics,” and I can assure you, it will not be the same book. To me, that is a good thing, since the landscape has broadened so has my thinking evolved. The hot buttoned issues during my talks or lectures were abortion and homosexuality. As I speak of the “landscape” I hold to “my”core beliefs with the exception I have to bring race and historical context, without it the conversation becomes stale and muddled, its about the “POV.”I’m at the same time writing my memoir entitled “My journey till know:From nothingness to faith back to life.” This work is special for this reason. We grow, we change, we have a better grasp or understanding of how pieces fit. The most important thing we have is experience, without it you are empty. I now can write with the confidence that I know what I speak is accurate and true. In Africa in order to become a good drummer you have to practice until the age 50 or 60, they believe your not good enough or haven’t reached your full potential.

We all have talents to offer, but we must first endure. We have to enjoy the process. Take for instance the month of February black history month. Folks argue if it should be done away with, I don’t concur. What have you individually done with it, what books have you read to influence your thinking. Our minds are our most precious assets. Its how we communicate with the ancestors and people. Its how our ideas are birthed and bought to light. It also is how we look and make sense of the world. We must have a sharpened or renewed mind. Through meditation and thinking we rid ourselves of bad thinking and vestiges that hinder our furtherance. This black history month has been the most special and productive of my life. I will share two things that you should read and watch. First, all black, brown, white should read the great work of Dr. Carol Anderson “White Rage,” and watch the documentary by James Baldwin “I am not your Negro.” These two works alone will give you a look into the psyche of “state” in which you live and challenge you as an individual.

Continue to sharpen your swords, write, think, let your fingers search for keystrokes to your thoughts…

Lets have a dialogue, share your thoughts…

Written by John the Revelator

Why are we here? What is our purpose? Only science holds the answers, argues “The Big Picture” author Sean Carroll

It is time to face reality, California Institute of Technology theoretical physicist Sean Carroll says: There is just no such thing as God, or ghosts, or human souls that reside outside of the body. Everything in existence belongs to the natural world and is accessible to science, he argues. In his new book “The Big Picture: On the Origin of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself,” out this week from Dutton, Carroll describes a guiding philosophy along these lines that he calls poetic naturalism. It excludes a supernatural or spiritual realm but still allows plenty of room for life to have a purpose.

“I think we can bring ideas like meaning and morality into our discussions of the natural world,” Carroll says. “The ways that we talk about the universe are what make it meaningful.” He eloquently argues that point in his far-ranging book, which takes on the origins of consciousness, the likeliness of God based on a rigorous application of Bayesian probability statistics, and many other “big” questions that scientists are often loath to tackle.

Scientific American spoke with Carroll about his philosophy and how we can all take a closer look at just what we truly, deeply believe.
[An edited transcript of the conversation follows.]

Naturalism is the viewpoint that everything arises from natural causes and that there is no supernatural realm. You coin the term “poetic naturalism” for your own particular brand of this guiding philosophy. Why the need for a new term?

Naturalism has been certainly been around for a very long time, but as more people become naturalists and talk to each other, their disagreements within naturalism are interesting. I thought there was a judicious middle ground, which I call poetic, between “the world is just a bunch of particles,” and “science can be used to discover meaning and morality.”

To me the connotations of “poetic” are that there’s some human choice that comes into how we talk about the world. In particular, when it comes to questions of morality and meaning, the way we go about deciding what is right and wrong, and meaningful or not, is not the same as the way we discover what is true and false.

Just because we have no evidence of another realm of reality beyond the physical world, how can we conclude it doesn’t exist?

It’s not a matter of certainty, ever. I would make the argument that if there were a supernatural element that played a role in our everyday life in some noticeable way, it’s very, very likely we would have noticed it. It just seems weird that this kind of thing would be so crucial and yet so difficult to notice in any controlled scientific way. I would make the case that it is sufficiently unlikely in a fair Bayesian accounting that we don’t need to spend any time thinking about it anymore. Five hundred years ago it would have been a possibility. I think these days we’re ready to move on.

All I can say at the end of the day is we should all be trying as hard as we can to guard against our individual cognitive biases, the things we want to be true. The existence of life after death, for example, I would love that to be true. My cognitive bias is in favor of that. And yet I don’t think it is true. The best we can do is try to be honest.

So do you think it’s impossible for a religious person to believe in poetic naturalism?

Of course that depends on what you mean by religious. There’s actually a movement called religious naturalism. Religion involves a whole bunch of things—practices, casts of mind, morals, etc., so you can certainly imagine calling yourself religious, reading the Bible, going to church and just not believing in God. I suspect the number of people who do that is much larger than the number of people who admit to it.

The mistake comes when we try to pretend that it doesn’t matter what our view of the ontology of the world is. I think it does matter. But having made those decisions [about your worldview], there are many ways you can live a life that’s meaningful and socially relevant and familial. I think we have a misunderstanding of meaning because we relate it to something outside the natural world, when it doesn’t have to be that.

This argument for naturalism feels particularly timely, when politicians and many in society are increasingly hostile to science and evidence-based thinking. How receptive to the approach of naturalism do you think most people are?

I think that scientists have a sort of professional level of understanding of the universe, and scientists are overwhelmingly naturalists. Whereas people on the street, or in Washington, D.C., still don’t admit to this. There aren’t a lot of naturalists in Congress. The way we talk about these things in the public sphere has not caught up with the way we understand the universe as it really is.

As a physicist, what inspired you to write a book essentially on philosophy?

It evolved over a very long time. I’ve always been interested in not only physics directly, but also the wider consequences. I was a philosophy minor as an undergraduate. I always have thought that doing physics was part of a larger intellectual project of trying to understand the whole world in different ways.

What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I think there’s a bunch of people who still, because they just haven’t thought about it that much, have the informal idea that science can explain what happens when two atoms bump into each other, but it can’t explain how the universe started or how life began. I hope people get the idea that we’re well on our way to answering those questions. There’s no obstacle in our way that says we’re just not going to be able to.

Written by CLARA MOSKOWITZ/SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

Posted by John the Revelator

As I replay the thoughts through my mind about the writer and his revisionist history, his thoughts not mine. I had to step back and think differently about this. His memories are different from mine in how he see’s his savior. His savior is more apocalyptic, more concerned with destruction and purge. He’s not wrong, this is how he see’s the world to no fault of his own.

It still bothers me(to no fault of his own)that he would think this is the most violent, repulsive society ever created, only from a skewed point of view. Ask the slaves how they felt about being held against their will and were taught this gods will that they stay this way, it was gods will. For them to think freedom was but a right to the oppressor, think what this did to them psychology and spiritually. You are told to worship this god but with stipulations, you were read certain scriptures to retain your obedience since you could not read, purposely to keep you ignorant and in bondage for close to 400 hundred years.

Think the jews and the holocaust, how they were made to fell inferior. How they were made the scape goat for someone else’s amusement. How they were exterminated like vermin. Whats more remarkable about this story is the bible. How an evil ruler(Pontius Pilate)was made into a likable character with endearing qualities. Each gospel writer showed a gentler more kind Pilate. If you read the gospel stories it is written in a way that the jews are culpable for the murder jesus, but it was Rome that killed jesus. What were the thoughts in their minds as they were being pushed into an oven?

We have made great strides to correct history that has been so distorted. America is its own worst enemy. I say this because of the distorted memories people have of history. We have to use practice application in order to view history correctly. Our memories are constructed from our personal outlook, some view the glass half empty others half full.

To say we are living in dire times because of homosexuality and the breakdown of morals is myopic at best. I can’t stress this enough, “the law of the land is the constitution(a noble piece of paper), not the bible.” Remember Jews were under roman rule not the other way around. They were allowed to coexist, Romans believed in homo eroticism, and many gods, whats one or three more; even Caesar(homo eroticism) was seen as a demigod. My point is the bible didn’t legislate rules for a state, not then, not now. We in many was through politics being in bed with religion are leaning towards a facsist theocracy. Believe me you don’t want that, it would to the detriment even to believers. Homosexuality will not destroy “tradition” marriage, what ever that term means. The divorce rate within the church world is only a few percentage points down from secular marriage, whatever that is.

Before I go off the rails, “live and live life.” If you want to talk about this, please comment, I will respond.

Written by John the Revelator

Every so often I hear someone say in despair, “What is this world coming to?” This kind of comment usually comes in response to a doomsday report of some kind. You know the kind I’m talking about…

Statistics show that kids are more sexualized now than ever, and that 70% of kids will have sex before graduating high school!
A new report says that 45% of Americans think that God wants them to be happy more than anything else!
A pew poll report shows that church attendance is at the lowest mark in twenty years!
Studies now indicate that the current presidential administration is the most anti-Christian administration of the modern era!
When we hear these kinds of reports and stats, our gut instinct can be to throw our hands up in despair, panic, or disgust. We are shocked at the behavior of young people these days. Shocked at the levels of immorality at universities. Shocked at the apathy of people toward spiritual things. Shocked at the spike in gay marriages. Shocked at the smut being produced by Hollywood. Shocked at the increase in sexual promiscuity in our culture. What is this world coming to?!?
Whatever happened to the good old days, when a fella could leave his car unlocked without fear of having his stereo stolen? Whatever happened to the days when kids would actually respect authority? Whatever happened to the good old days when young men and women actually treated each other with courtesy, instead of trying to sleep around with each other?

I would venture to say that many conservative television shows, and radio shows, and blogs, and podcasts, perpetuate the “what is this world coming to?” attitude. It’s not uncommon for talk radio hosts to spend three hours lamenting the decay of morals in the world.

But we shouldn’t be shocked or dismayed. The world is coming to exactly what Jesus said it would come to, and this actually gives us a lot of hope.

A GODLESS WORLD

The simple reality is, we live in a godless world. Of course, I don’t mean that there isn’t a God, or that the true and living God is not active in our world. I mean that the natural state of every person is wickedness, godlessness, and evil. It has always been this way, and it always will be this way.

In Genesis 6:5, God looked down on the earth and was grieved by what he saw:

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

God brought the great flood upon the earth because the wickedness of man was great. Every intent, every desire, every thought, bent toward evil. Doesn’t sound that different from today, does it?

Acts 17:16 says, “Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.” As Paul walked through the city of Athens, he became acutely aware that the city was absoutely jam packed with false gods. Athens was not a moral, upright, virtuous city. It was a city full of idolatry.

When we see evil and wickedness in the world, we shouldn’t throw our hands up in despair. We shouldn’t be shocked or surprised. Evil and wickedness is not an anomaly; it’s the norm. The evil we see in the world isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s not like things have suddenly gotten out of control in the last fifty years. Wickedness has been standard practice since Cain killed Abel.

So why does this give us hope? Hold on, I’m getting there.

IT GET’S WORSE

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but things are going to get worse. Before Jesus returns, evil and wickedness is going to increase in the world. Speaking of the last days, Jesus said:

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:12)

Lawlessness and wickedness and godlessness isn’t going to decrease, it’s going to increase. In fact, it’s going to increase to such a degree that many Christians will find their love for Christ going cold. Dang, son. That’s some serious, intense, lawlessness. Contrary to what the Beatles proclaimed, it’s not getting better all the time. It’s not going to get better, it’s going to get worse.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11, Paul spoke of the “man of lawlessness”:

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

At some point, the “lawless one” will come, and he will come in power, with false signs and wonders. He will be so impressive, so powerful, that many unbelievers will be deceived by him. The wickedness promoted and perpetuated by the lawless one will be on a colossal, sickening scale.

It’s already bad, and it’s going to get worse. But don’t throw up your hands in despair. There’s good news.

DON’T DESPAIR

The good news is that, in spite of the wickedness which fills the world, the gospel of Jesus Christ will continue saving sinners! Yes, evil is powerful, but Jesus is more powerful! Yes, Satan prowls about like a roaring lion, but Jesus is the great lion slayer. Jesus encouraged Peter that the church would not be overcome, and would even stand against hell itself:

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

Jesus isn’t particularly concerned with the most recent Barna report, or church growth study, or the state of Hollywood. He will build his church, and there is absolutely nothing that can stop him.

Even as Jesus talked about the spike in lawlessness, he also promised that the gospel would be proclaimed in ALL nations:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

And when the big, bad, man of lawlessness appears, Jesus will take care of him too:

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

When Jesus returns, he will utterly decimate the man of lawlessness. Farewell, lawless one! King Jesus has arrived!

DON’T LOSE HOPE

Should we be concerned about increasing immorality in the schools, and on television, and in politics? Sure. Where appropriate, we should stand for righteousness. And, of course, we should instruct our kids how to think biblically about the sin they will most certainly encounter.

But if we’re constantly outraged, disgusted, discouraged, or panicked, then we haven’t come to grips with the Bible’s grim description of the world, and we aren’t fully trusting in our coming, conquering, reigning king.

Yeah it’s bad. Yeah, it’s gonna get worse. But the gospel will continue to triumph, Jesus will remain on the throne, and Jesus will finally rid the world of wickedness.

Response

My first contention is to say, who ever wrote this has to be a high school student, no adult would have written this drivel. To be fair without sounding ostententious maybe the person was a very young adult or maybe he was full of fervor and passion with no real world experience. Whatever the case this article wreaks of hyperbole.

Firstly, please throw up your hands because your immorality clause has ran out. Your litany of things you are against, your, what is the world coming to moment is very disingenuous. What you are doing is judging people who differ with you, they are correct in their claim to believe how ever they please. Lets take a look at why you’re throwing up your hands.

  1. shocked at the behavior of young people these days
  2. Shocked at the levels of immorality at universities
  3. Shocked at the apathy of people toward spiritual things
  4. Shocked at the spike in gay marriages
  5. Shocked at the smut being produced by Hollywood
  6. Shocked at the increase in sexual promiscuity in our culture

Instead of answering point by point, I will say this. The world hasn’t changed, the world has gotten better without christianity as the major influence, people are now critical thinkers. Without christianity as the influence people are allowed to be critical thinkers. could some be better or change, generations before us thought so, they also probably thought the world during there  time was going to hell in a hand basket. Instead of being narrow people have choices, they can choose how to better live there life instead of a deity they don’t know, they know what’s best for them. What you  are offering is fascist   theocracy. Churches have the right to exist as other have the right to exist. The law of the land is the constitution, not the bible! The bible should never be used to create laws, for it is for the believer to follow. And what about the revisionist decade of peacefulness youre’re speaking off when people didn’t have rights except people that were born the right color.

The being that you speak off is confusing, he creates man (mind you he’s perfect and cannot make mistakes) then repents for creating mankind then destroys mankind for a do over. The first mankind was evil, no good thoughts, what you described earlier sounds basically the same. You on the other hand is awaiting the destruction of the world. You go on to say the world is worse or has gotten or gotten worse, you even throw in some scriptures to substantiate your claim, when you’re not looking at the obvious.

Since you cherry pick, I’ll do the same 2 Cor 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.

Say Satan is the God of this world(the name God/title is a 19th century creation)we have other proofs he is. Read Math 4:1-11 focus carefully on verse 8,9 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

If Satan didn’t have charge he couldn’t have offered the kingdoms of the world. When prophecy  was written it was written for a certain time, the people it was was intended for! I suggest you clean your temple first, your churches. No one can seem to agree on simple doctrine. I’m pretty sure what you believe you believe it to be true…as with everyone else.

Crime has been trending downward, life has gotten better since the 16th, 17th, 18th and early 19th century, life has improved since the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s. You can have your bible and revisionist history. To cherry pick once more I live by Ecc 9 verses 7,5 7 Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already approved what you do. 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost.

I believe in the rights of individuals, justice and non aggression, and the right to coexist. You also have the right to live life as you see fitting.

Written by John the Revelator

There are quite a few prescriptions for terrorism in the Bible.

Last fall, Dutch pranksters put a cover from a Quran over a Bible and then asked passersby to read aloud homophobic, violent or sexist passages that violate modern moral sensibilities. The texts shocked people who had never immersed themselves in the Iron Age world of the Bible writers, a world in which daughters can be sold as sexual slaves and most of us deserve the death penalty: you included.

By one count, the Quran has only 532 cruel or violent passages, while the Bible has 1,321. Christians respond that the Bible is longer, so the cruel, violent passages make up a smaller percent of the whole.

ISIS terrorists claim that their scripts for jihad, executions, sexual slavery and theocracy come straight from the Quran, and they cite chapter and verse to back up their claim. But Christians who find ISIS horrifying might be even more horrified to learn that similar scripts can be found in their own Good Book, including endorsements of terrorism that rival the most vile atrocities committed in the name of Allah.

Terrorism is notoriously difficult to define. Some limit terrorist acts to those committed illegally by groups seeking social power. Others argue that the state itself may systematically terrorize a civilian population. James Poland, author of Understanding Terrorism, defines terrorism as a means (intimidation) to an end (social control over someone other than the victim):

Terrorism is the premeditated, deliberate, systematic murder, mayhem, and threatening of the innocent to create fear and intimidation in order to gain a political or tactical advantage, usually to influence an audience.

Our Iron Age ancestors who wrote the Bible lacked explosive devices and the ability to spread gruesome images via mass media. They lacked jetliners and drones and napalm and nerve gas. But they definitely understood mass intimidation as a tool of social control, and they sanctified their own terrorist tendencies by projecting the same tendencies onto God himself.

Here are some acts of terrorism from the Bible.

1. In the Bible God controls humans by raining down death, destruction and terror on those who defy or anger him.

I kill … I wound … I will make mine arrows drunk with blood and my sword shall devour flesh. So says Yahweh in Deuteronomy 32:39-42, and this is no idle threat. You’ve heard the story of Noah’s flood, and about the fire God rains down on Sodom and Gomorrah, and about the 12 plagues of Egypt, but did you know that in the Bible God kills 158 times? The full list can be found in the Steve Wells book, Drunk With Blood.

Like ISIS, God sometimes acts as an executioner with a laser focus, as when he kills a baby to punish King David’s sexual infidelity (2 Samuel 12), or strikes dead a couple who falsely claim to have given their money to the church (Acts 5: 1-10). But also, like ISIS, he often wreaks death and destruction on those who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time or who were born into the wrong culture. For example, when the same King David conducts a forbidden census, God gives him a choice of punishments: Three years of famine, three months of attacks by neighboring tribes, or three days of plague. David chooses the plague, which kills 70,000 Israelites who had done nothing but let themselves be counted (1 Chronicles 21:1-17).

2. The Bible both opens and closes with graphic descriptions of torment and fear inflicted by God and designed to keep the faithful in line.In the Torah, God’s reign of terror is described in a series of graphic histories. In the book of Revelation, it is described in a series of graphic prophecies. In the books between, threats of torture and death hang over every interaction between God and humankind. God himself leans into his role as terrorist-in-chief.

I will send my fear before thee, God promises the marauding Israelites (Exodus 23:27). This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee (Deuteronomy 2:25). The terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, reports a narrator in Genesis(35:5).

The book of Proverbs advised Hebrew readers that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10 KJV). Centuries later, in New Testament times, the “fear of the LORD” is alive and well—and still useful. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, says the writer of 2 Corinthians (5:11).

3. In addition to inflicting terror directly, God does so via human and nonhuman agents.He sends a bear to tear apart 40 boys who are teasing a prophet, presumably as a warning to others. In the story of Job, God gives Satan permission to destroy a house in which Job’s sons and daughters have come together for a celebration, killing them all—this time as part of a divine wager that will become a morality tale. He later gives superhuman strength to Samson (the Bible’s version of Hercules) so that Samson can complete an Iron Age suicide mission. He pulls down the pillars of a pagan temple so that it collapses, killing 3,000 civilians. Samson himself dies in a blaze of glory (Judges 16:27-30).

When Moses as leader of the Israelites catches some of them worshiping a golden calf, he orders those who have remained loyal to Yahweh to take up swords and slaughter their family members and neighbors (Exodus 32:21-24). They do so by the thousands. In the Exodus story, an angel of death passes from house to house, killing the firstborn son in each Egyptian family whether the parents are poor slaves or royalty and whether their child is an infant or youth (Exodus 7-12).

Of all the Bible writers who sought to terrify pagans and other sinners, none exceeds the writer of Revelation, who fantasized supernatural monsters, each with some special capacity for inflicting torture or death. In one passage, a cloud of giant insects with human faces and the teeth of lions descends on those who lack a special mark from God.

“And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were not allowed to kill them but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes. During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them” (Revelation 9:4-6).

4. During armed conflict, God and his messengers command the Israelites to slaughter civilians and destroy their homes and means of food production including livestock and orchards.During World War II, the American military engaged in “terror bombing” of civilian centers including Hamburg, Dresden, and Tokyo, as the Nazis terror-bombed London. If the Old Testament stories are to be believed, the ancient Israelites similarly targeted and terrorized ordinary villagers during their military campaigns, only they did so at God’s command and with his blessing.

Bible believers sometimes defend the slaughters depicted in the Old Testament by arguing that they serve a practical purpose. Ethnic cleansing is the only way to rid the Promised Land of evil idolaters, which is why God frequently orders the death of even children and slaves in conquered towns. But the stories themselves include graphic tortures and humiliations that would be of little value if the only goal were ethnic cleansing. A close reading suggests that many of the killings are simply God-sponsored terrorism: mass murder as a display of power and means of social control.

In one account, God commands human assassins to wreak havoc on civilians literally hundreds of years after an offense. Just when you think He has forgiven or forgotten….Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass (1 Samuel 15:2-3).

5. As in ISIS, sexual enslavement of conquered women is one means of humiliating enemy combatants.In the book of Numbers, God’s messenger commands the Chosen People to kill every Midianite man, woman or child, except for virgin girls who are to be turned into sex slaves according to very explicit instructions. Many Americans were horrified at the story of an ISIS fighter who bound and gagged a captive girl, praying and quoting the Quran to her before commencing rape. The Bible’s instructions for claiming a captive virgin suggest shaving her head rather than applying duct tape to her wrists and mouth (Numbers 31).

Why might this be considered terrorism? In the Bible, as in the Quran, women and children are literally possessions of men, which is why a man can sell his daughter into slavery or a rapist can be forced to buy his victim. In the Iron Age honor cultures of the Ancient Near East, female consent mattered little, but a man’s honor could be destroyed by the sexual violation of a female. Enslaving and impregnating the women of a conquered tribe or religion sends a graphic message to other men about who is on top.

6. In the New Testament gospels, even Jesus threatens violence and torment against those who don’t fall in line. In one parable, he likens God to the Master of a great estate who says, “These enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence (Luke 19:26-27). In a sermon, he says that those who fail to repent in time will be cast into outer darkness where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:22-30).

Jesus even uses words that invoke the slaughter commanded by Moses at Mt. Sinai, “Do not think that I have come to send peace on earth. I did not come to send peace, but a sword. I am sent to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Matthew 10:34-35).

From Genesis to Revelation, God terrorizes those who fail to fall at his feet and worship in the way he demands. His followers inflict divinely sanctioned torture and death, knowing that if they don’t they may end up on the receiving end—or at least with less real estate and booty.

The Chosen People see the horrors God rains down on evildoers, meaning anyone who worships another god, and despite having dedicated themselves to the cult of Yahweh, they walk on eggshells, following an intricate set of rules and rituals and offering up burnt offerings in order to avoid his wrath. In the New Testament narrative, even these burnt offerings and rituals fall short, and the only way God can be appeased is with the sacrifice of Jesus, “the lamb without blemish.”

The Bible is filled with histories of God-blessed slaughter and threats of supernatural torture for a reason: To create fear and intimidation. To gain political or tactical advantage. To influence an audience.Specifically, to keep the faithful and to justify their recurrent bouts of conquest and mass murder. And that is exactly what Bible texts have done for as far back as we can trace the history of Abrahamic religion.

Fortunately, most modern believers are both wiser and kinder than the writers of their sacred texts, who could not even imagine the varied, intricate world of landscapes and cultures. Many Christians claim what is spiritually nourishing from Bible (like passages opposing terrorism) and discard the rest.

But the rot remains. Christian fundamentalists who see themselves on a crusade against godless infidels, and right-wing politicians who pander to those fundamentalists, find biblical sanction for bigotry and atrocity when they seek it. This fact is not lost on Islamists, who assert that they are fighting defensive jihad while simultaneously inflicting their own Quranic version of bigotry and atrocity on anyone within reach.

As long as Christians continue to bind together the words of our Iron Age ancestors and call them Good and Holy and “God breathed,” they will have little argument against terrorists who cite other sacred texts to justify destruction and death in the name of God.

By Valerie Tarico/Alternet

Posted by John the Revelator

Christianity is the most popular religion in the world, and the center of gravity for the faithful is in Africa.
As The Economist recently reported, Black people are the most devout Christians. Although Europe remains the continent with the largest number of Christians, church attendance in Europe is falling due to “creeping secularism,” an emphasis on individual spirituality over organized religion among younger people, and affluence.
The Economist report makes the point that in richer countries, such as those among Western Europe, citizens attend services less frequently. This makes the U.S., with its 58 percent church attendance among self-identifying Christians, somewhat of an outlier.
“The odds that an individual will attend church are 15 percentage points higher in the world’s 29 most unequal countries than they are in the most equal ones,” The Economist reported. “And people on the lower rungs of their own country’s economic ladder tend to be more observant than those at the top.”
In America, which is a wealthy nation with unusual inequality, African-Americans and Latino immigrants are poorer than the national average, and very devout.
While a mere 9 percent of the 100 million people living in Africa were Christians in 1910, 55 percent of the billion people living in Africa today are Christian, according to the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Of five sub-Saharan nations–Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe—90 percent of self-identifying Christians reportedly attend church regularly, meaning there could be as many as 469 million churchgoers in Africa. To put that in perspective, 335 million people who attend church live in Latin America, which is 60 percent more than in Europe, according to The Economist.
It is instructive to examine why the formerly colonized—for our purposes, people of African descent—are the most religious Christians. Why is it that the people who are the most entrenched in poverty and suffering the most, whether Black people in Africa or Black people in America, thump their Bibles the hardest?
Surely, one can understand the role of liberation theology, of social justice Christianity, the notion of Jesus the Black freedom fighter who rights wrongs and helps Black people as they struggle through hard times.
But what happens when the colonization of a people is mental? Missionaries came to Africa to “soften up” the local populations, making them pliable and ready for white supremacy, the exploitation of their land, resources and bodies inherent in colonization. They were given, and gladly clung onto, the least empowering narratives–of God as a white man and a white master, and the notion of blind faith and forgiveness, and enduring suffering in life so that you go to Heaven once you die. But what about having Heaven on Earth? What of the concept of accumulating wealth so as to provide a secure future for one’s children and successive generations? We are not talking about prosperity gospel, which is simply pimping with a collar and cross, but rather a demand for basic human rights, of economic security, dignity, freedom, and justice.

In other words, if our devoutness is related to our continued exploitation and economic subjugation, then what benefits have we derived from our faith, when Christians in the advanced world are not made to sacrifice their wealth for their faith? And that’s wealth they stole from Africans, by the way, with compounded interest.
The key for Black people is to channel their faith—whatever their religion, or lack thereof– in a manner that speaks to their condition, their culture and their values. Certainly, Kwanzaa is an effort to make Black spirituality real, regardless of one’s religion, in promoting strong values, perpetuating institution building, and bringing about positive outcomes in the community.
“I’m saying that you are closer to God the further you get away from organized religions that are all handmaidens of conquest,” Dr. John Henrik Clarke once said. “And these belief systems that had their origins in Africa–all of them, and there is no exception–turned on African people. Everything that was brought into this continent–everything, every idea, every so called religion–was meant to dominate and to control. Every element that was put into the making of every major religion started in Africa. Why is it you are so naïve, you let people redress something you invented, send it back to you and enslave you through it?”

Written by David Love/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by John the Revelator

Thank “God” for abortion. More specifically, thank the Christian god, the vengeful omniscient one that white anti-abortion terrorists ritually invoke to justify the murder, mayhem and fear they inflict on thousands of American women in the name of Jesus. At each of the two clinics where I gratefully got abortions in the 1990’s lone white men were stationed outside with bloody signs of fetal apocalypse.

As white men protesting in predominantly black and brown communities their presence was unchallenged, their bodies unhindered by the policing and criminal surveillance that all people of color in the public sphere face. This was the high water mark of Operation Rescue, the radical anti-abortion group which laid the groundwork for the current wave of anti-abortion militancy. Then, as now, mainstream pro-choice activists ceded the moral high ground to the anti-abortion regime, wavering between whether to frame abortion as a matter of personal choice or as an inalienable right. It’s a legacy that has had grave consequences for intersectionality as the “post-feminist” trope of sluttish immoral women recklessly using birth control and abortion has become legion in American political discourse.

As a black atheist already damned to a smokin’ Christian hell it’s gratifying to know that the Christian god has failed to completely prevent women from exercising their basic right to self-determination. But the Christian soldiers, fascists and terrorists of the American right have doubled down with hundreds of new restrictions on birth control, abortion and clinic access which have the most insidious implications for poor and working class women of color. In Texas, Mississippi and Montana, clinic closures, vandalized clinics, restrictions on abortion physicians and providers and the GOP’s refusal to expand Medicaid further jeopardize the socioeconomic sustainability of communities of color. These attacks, concomitant with the Supreme Court’s pending decision on right wing retailer Hobby Lobby’s “religious freedom” challenge to the Affordable Care Act, could gut the rights American women have taken for granted for decades.

Pro-death, anti-abortion public policy and protest are a form of race, class and gender warfare disguised as religious morality crusades to “protect” innocent “babies”. Challenging the abortion as “black genocide” billboard campaign mounted by right wing foundations a few years ago, reproductive justice activist Loretta Ross said, “We decided to have abortions. We invited Margaret Sanger to place clinics in black neighborhoods. We are part of the civil and human rights movement. We protected the future of black children, not our opponents.” Despite their high levels of religiosity, a solid majority of African Americans support safe and legal access to abortion. And African American women have the highest rate of abortion amongst all groups of American women. The reasons are not mysterious—black women are disproportionately poor, under-employed, single and living in highly segregated communities with limited health care access which have borne the brunt of the economic depression. Due to slavery and the violent legacy of Jim Crow, black women have a history of coercive control over their reproduction. Thus abortion is an essential right in a white supremacist capitalist economy that neither supports nor values women of color and their children.

For black women, the radical push for abortion on demand is not an abstract concept. Abortion on demand cannot be separated from the conditions of racial apartheid that black women find themselves in, especially vis-à-vis the wealth gap and the criminal justice system. Nationwide, unemployment rates amongst African American women have skyrocketed, as have sentencing rates for non-violent offenses committed by African American women. Unlike white women, there is never a presumption of innocence or extension of “feminine” protection for black women who defend themselves against abusive partners (as the egregious sentencing and imprisonment of Marissa Alexander demonstrates), engage in sex work or consume/sell illegal drugs. Unlike white women, black women who do so are rarely deemed misguided, victimized or troubled but simply criminal; bad mothers, bad bitches, bad “hos” and everything in between. The intersectional work of the National Association for Pregnant Women organization has been critical to challenging the disproportionate criminalization of women of color for drug-related fetal homicide and fetal endangerment offenses.

Given the dire nature of these public, highly politicized assaults, there has been a shift in the tenor of discussions on abortion in my high school classes. Several years ago, religious-based anti-abortion pushback dominated. Male and female students routinely condemned abortion as a sin. Many trotted out the refrain that a “baby” shouldn’t be made to suffer or pay for a woman’s “mistakes.” Now there is more vocal support for abortion as a necessary life choice. Some girls of color express their desire to remain childless, pointing to the burdens child care and caregiving have placed on the lives and ambitions of their female relatives and friends.

But most of my students would be hard-pressed to attend a pro-choice rally or protest precisely because abortion is still identified in the mainstream as a single issue “white woman’s” cause, divorced from a more overarching reproductive and economic justice context. At the same time, pro-choice sanitization of abortion discourse, promoted by liberal politicians and religious progressives, continues to obscure the mortal danger posed by a teetering Supreme Court and near daily attacks on reproductive health care. As the organization Stop Patriarchy notes, “For far too long, pro-choice people have hoped that the Democrats or the courts would somehow stop this fascist assault on women. Too many people have remained passive, or funneled all their energies into supporting politicians who have openly promised to seek ‘common ground’ with forces who are fighting for female enslavement. Seeking ‘common ground’ has really meant ceding ground to this whole onslaught. There can be no common ground with those who are fighting for female enslavement.

The fight over abortion has never been about babies it has been about control over women.” A crucial part of the fight is framing abortion for Millennials who believe same sex marriage and sex education are “morally acceptable” but view abortion as morally questionable. Despite their increased secularity, Millennials are still just as conflicted about abortion as older generations. Many believe that abortion is simply a matter of personal “choice”, rather than a moral right. This disconnect has not only been fostered by decades of high profile Religious Right campaigns against abortion but by “left wing” appeasement/equivocation—both sides clamoring to be on the right side of an imaginary God.

By Sikivu Hutchinson

Posted by John The Revelator

Two years ago this question would have been odd to me. I was assured in my answer as well as my belief so I thought. I wrapped myself in a cloak of invisibility, not allowing my scars to show. Yet I maneuvered ready to pounce on anyone who thought differently. Then I came from my mountain high and surrounded with differing opinions, this was most dangerous. I began to arm myself with unfamiliar material from people I hadn’t yet heard of. As I read and studied I became the artist about to paint a masterpiece, I was the blank slate. From there I became a sponge, I absorbed without hesitancy a new way to view the troubling question of God. As I took on this journey it hurt, it caused great pain. Pain is the process to rebuild. It is the process for us to reach the other side of doubt and ignorance.

You may ask, where is your God? I have to say; “YOU!” You are your God. Since you (white invaders) created him. For me to let go still takes me through journeys. My travels take me to a mirror, a mirror that represents truth. It shows a black face, and then I look at Jesus, a white face. I began to look at all the other religions and I notice the faces match the region. The quandary is this Jesus person. Why doesn’t he look or resemble me? This is fair enough question, one that should be constantly asked; but! The most common answer is always the same. What difference does it make? Again two years ago this would have been my answer, today, not so much.

The culture that creates God creates the God in their image. Look at all the other religions, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Daoism; accept for Christianity all of the Gods resemble the culture. This type of brainwashing and dishonesty has the black mind in an influx, even in the darkest part of Africa Jesus is white. To me this is baffling bordering on insanity. Love, love, it’s about love and nothing else. We get misdirected and we lose the point of it all. To go even further, didn’t we have a religion before the invaders, but since it was wrapped and shrouded in dark mysteries without understanding it is thrown away and placed in the category of occultism. Notice who sets the rules, by simply saying that they didn’t say it, but the mythist god of the bible did. If we take a closer look at the word “God,” even it was a created word as recent as the nineteenth century. This word “God” has different meanings; it’s not a cohesive word.

Overall we have to look at this figure whom Paul the self-appointed Apostle created. Before I continue you do realize this is all faith based there is no evidence to prove a belief; belief is a hope, not a fact! Oddly enough Luke and a very good friend of Paul, whom walked talked, drank, prayed, laughed, yet Paul never met Jesus, even in passing. The question arises, did Jesus exist. Why not? I believe him to be a man not a deity that Paul has created for us to believe. We really have no proof of his existence except for some scant references. The best and honest source I’ve found is “The New Testament its background, growth, and content by Bruce M. Metzger,” who also is a believer. Chapter 4 the sources for our knowledge of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ Pages 74-78, not much evidence at all. Jesus is the most important figure in our time, yet he’s a mystery. We know more about his predecessors in the cult religions than we know of him. So what is the black man to believe? Our natural rights were taken. Your rights were given to “us” by a deity; taken. All men were created equal; taken. If we weren’t given the right to read and think, what makes us to believe we were given correct religion? If we need a deity or a creator being, do as the invader and create one, in “our” image.

Lastly I have a major issue with a white Jesus. It’s important that it’s recognized this way. How is it that all creation comes from Africa but the god is white? When Jesus and family had to flee they went to Egypt to blend in. Egypt then was known as ancient Kemet, meaning “the land of the blacks.” If you want to believe in a deity, at least make him black even this separates you from the dominant society and creators of this myth.

It is said that history is written by the victor, that much has been proven to be true. Our history, black history, which much more profound, it begins before slavery and after slavery. We must write and contend for our own history.

I will be soon starting a podcast on this very post, in which I will expound on in detail. It’s one thing to have an opinion; it’s another to have an informed opinion. Stay tuned for more original content. I haven’t post much original content, for I’ve been busy working a new book, which requires a lot of research. As of know, it is entitled “Woman art thou really loosed.” I take a look at how the bible views women, and you wonder why women are so mistreated in ministry. I also want to put “Kicking over sacred cows,” in long form, a teaching format; which should be a lot fun.

Written by John The Revelator

Theirs a young man, not that young that I speak to daily. Jesus has turned his brain to mush. He so wants everyone often by sheer will to believe as him. He will often say in his defense “it doesn’t matter what a person believes because they will all be saved” i.e. Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, everybody. That’s a clever way to make everyone believe as you, even if they don’t. Our latest round of disagreements started with the belief systems of Jehovah’s witnesses. Mind you, he has no idea of what they believe, yet he uses his nonsensical arguments to cement his points. This is from JW.org Yes. We believe in Jesus, who said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) We have faith that Jesus came to earth from heaven and gave his perfect human life as a ransom sacrifice. (Matthew 20:28) His death and resurrection make it possible for those exercising faith in him to gain everlasting life. (John 3:16) We also believe that Jesus is now ruling as King of God’s heavenly Kingdom, which will soon bring peace to the entire earth. (Revelation 11:15) However, we take Jesus at his word when he said: “The Father is greater than I am.” (John 14:28) So we do not worship Jesus, as we do not believe that he is Almighty God. Notice the last sentence, that clearly states “So we do not worship Jesus, as we do not believe that he is Almighty God.” 

Another point I want to briefly bring to light is whom the JW’s believe Jesus to be.

According to some Watchtower literature, it is taught that Michael the Archangel is Jesus and that Jesus, after He ascended into heaven, resumed the name of Michael.

“It proves Michael the archangel is no other than the only begotten son of God, now Jesus Christ. The very name Michael means who is like God and indicates Jehovah God is without like or equal.” (New Heavens and New Earth pg.30-31).

Jesus is actually the incarnation of Michael the Arch angel and resumed the name when he ascended into heaven ( ibid. pg.30 Your will be done on earth pg.316 )
Do Jehovah’s Witnesses still believe this, and, if so, what is the biblical basis from which these teachings are derived? 

We need to allow others who believe as they do, believe as they do. Religion is belief system that gets you along when you’re feeling down or low. We all have things we believe in. I would never tell anyone my belief is the truth in any way. For my belief is not a fact. Do the research before you start defending someones belief, before taking time to understand it. The JW”s also don’t believe in the trinity, in which they say it derived from Satan. Again, do the research before contending for their faith.

Written by John the Revelator