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Rabbis take to wing and a prayer vs. flu

MIDEAST ISRAEL WING AND A PRAYERJERUSALEM — A planeload of Israeli rabbis and Jewish mystics held an airborne prayer meeting in the belief that it could help check the spread of swine flu in Israel, an Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday.

The Yediot Ahronot daily said a plane with 50 people on board circled over Israel on Monday, with the passengers chanting prayers and sounding the ritual ram’s horn.

The newspaper report carried a photo showing bearded and black-clad Orthodox Jewish men standing on the steps of an aircraft of Israeli short-haul airline Arkia.

“The purpose of the flight was to stop the (swine flu) epidemic so that people will not keep dying from it,” Rabbi Yitzhak Basri, one of the participants, told the newspaper.

Israel’s Health Ministry has confirmed more than 2,000 cases of swine flu, with five fatalities in the country so far.

August 13, 2009 at 10:52 am 26 comments

Jesus loves you. But…

(Found this on the web. And just ’cause humor is so funny, I’m sharing it here.)

Jesus loves you. But he has a messiah complex.
Jesus loves you. But then again he is under contract.
Jesus loves you! But he is high maintenance.
Jesus loves you! But it’s complicated.
Jesus loves you! Apparently it runs in the family.
Jesus loves you! But he seriously needs to update his status.
Jesus Loves You! But I hear he’s polyamorous.
Jesus Loves You! But does he LIKE you???
Jesus Loves You! But he ADORES Madonna!!
Jesus Loves You! But his handlers can be quite difficult.
Jesus Loves You! But I hear he’s clingy.
Jesus Loves You! But he may be missing a Y chromosome
Jesus Loves You! But I hear he is sick and in prison.
Jesus Loves You! And with your tax-deductible seed gift…
Jesus Loves You! But for a limited time only; while supplies last.
Jesus Loves You! But I’ve heard rumors…
Jesus Loves You! Or it might just be gas.
Jesus Loves You! He doesn’t mind the scars one bit.
Jesus Loves You! But he was caught up in that whole prisoner abuse scandal.
Jesus Loves You! He’s the Real Thing™ Now w/ convenient eco-friendly Emergent Church® twist-off cap.
Jesus Loves You! But he may be a little too old for you.
Jesus Loves You! For the Bible tells him to.
Jesus Loves You! But he does play favorites…

Continue Reading July 20, 2009 at 6:42 pm 39 comments

The death of a pet (and how it relates to religion)

07/02/09 [A draft written in some haste, so bear with me if it's not polished.]

Why is the death of a pet so hard on us animal lovers?

Today, in my home, we are facing the death of my daughter’s much beloved, 8-year-old calico cat Chip. She was my daughter’s 8th birthday present. Of course she’s much too young to die. We expected many more years with her sweet, purry, nature. Now this beautiful creature will pass from our lives before sunset. For whatever reason her kidneys have failed, and there is nothing that can be done. It quite took us by surprise. We have a photo of her walking about in the yard less than a week ago and she seemed OK then.

The pretty calico above is ChipToday Chip is here. She’s so lethargic. We’ll take her to be put down once the summer school day is over and everyone is home. Right now we are so quiet. At various times we sit down and pet the little sweetheart and tell her how sorry we are for this, and tell her how much she is loved and always has been. We think how shocked we feel that one who so recently was wrestling with her fellow cat could now be so obviously ill and dying.

How and why does all this hurt so?…

Continue Reading July 2, 2009 at 4:17 pm 16 comments

My steps out of Christianity

[This post has been sitting in my files for a while. Finally pulled it out and "finished" it. Writing never really seems finished, does it?]

Noting that my journey out of Christianity is different from most (in fact, unique in my experience so far*), I took some time to try to recall the steps I took over the years. I list them here in no particular order (though they are roughly chronological). *For any who don’t know, my path was, very briefly: “saved” at 19; evy/fundy for many years; converted to Eastern Orthodoxy for about 3 years; left the faith entirely.

- I sought to base my morality, politics, and behaviors in more than just, “the Bible or my church says so”. After all, if something is right, it ought to be right for everyone, Bible or no Bible. I mean isn’t that what’s really meant by, “the absolute truth of God”?

Funny thing is that I did this right from the beginning of my Christian life. So maybe I was just doomed from the outset eh?

- I got sick of the shallowness. Those damn praise choruses [“Jesus I luuuuv yew. Jesus I neeeeed yew. Jesus I luuuuv yew. Yes I doooo.”] are just drivel. So is the “Jesus, my buddy” flatulence. There’s just gotta be more to a faith than lousy songs and Forest Gump level theology. This garbage was/is growing by leaps and bounds throughout Protestant churches, and was even making headway in some Catholic parishes.

- I got it through my head that young-earth creationism was WRONG. I.e. that evolution did happen, that the fossils were really old, that the flood of Noah was not global, that dinosaurs and humans never lived together, that the speed of light is in fact a constant, and so on. (I can’t tell you how humiliating it is to admit that I was idiotic enough to ever believe that crap.)…

Continue Reading June 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm 67 comments

Now the kids know (about my de-Conversion)

So last week I was talking with my daughter. The conversation just kind of meandered in a way that my de-conversion came out fairly easily and naturally. She seemed to take it pretty well at the time (brought up some friends who were atheists). She was upset though, as I found out a couple days later when my wife asked me about it. Apparently daughter did some crying later.

My middle son also knows because he was in ear shot when mom and daughter were talking. He apparently just said that he liked church and his friends, and there better not be any talk of not continuing to go to church. (Of course I have no problem with this, as I’ve said around here before.)

Oldest son (in military) does not know still, and as always I’m in no hurry to tell anyone, his sibs may be the ones to tell him; who knows?

My wife did have some concern that I would now make it my project to de-convert the family. [Apparently evangelism is only OK for Christians.] To say that she does not at all comprehend where I’m at would be a severe understatement.

Anyway, it’s out now. The kids seem to be taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. Basically, if Dad is still just Dad, I guess they’ll judge everything to be OK. Not sure if they will try asking any questions directly. But at least there was no big hullaballoo.

June 5, 2009 at 4:11 pm 73 comments

Resurrection Challenge results

OK. As I promised, I tried the Resurrection Challenge. That’s an effort to harmonize the accounts of the resurrection of Jesus as depicted in the four Gospels, the beginning of Acts, and a short passage in I Cor 15. Of course it’s impossible to harmonize them, so what I’ve done is list each event in the order they occurred and given them numbers to show that order. Where more than one thing happened at one time, or where I couldn’t tell what happened, I added a letter to the number. So for events 1,2,3 the accounts accord OK. Then you hit 4a-d where more than one story comes out of the different accounts. As you’ll see, these differing accounts are usually mutually exclusive. Really and truly these contradictions cannot be reconciled.

Resurrection rectification effort:

1- Some women went to the tomb early Sunday morning. (Mary, Mary, Salome, more?)

2- Before the women got to the tomb, the stone was rolled away. This involved an angel descending, an earthquake happening, and guards being stunned. The guards recovered and ran off.

3- The women arrived at the tomb.

4a – (Matt) The women saw an angel outside the tomb and he told them to go in a see that it was empty…

Continue Reading May 14, 2009 at 6:59 pm 35 comments

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.



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