Voice of Sanity 9/12

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Editor: Joyce Bates
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P. O. Box 5552
Greenville, SC 29606-
5552
September, 2012

The Voice of Sanity

 
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE PIEDMONT SECULAR HUMANISTS
                 
 
 
                                                       CALENDAR
 
Second Saturday Brunch, September 8th, 10:00AM to 12:00 noon, at Denny’s restaurant, 2521 Wade Hampton Blvd.
Fourth Saturday get-together to be announced.
 
The conversation group (non-theist) get-togethers for August are:
1st Sunday (September 2nd) at 11:00AM and
3rd Sunday (September 16th) at 2:00PM
at the Brew and Ewe; 108 West Broad Street; Greenville.
 
The Free-Thought group meets every other Thursday (September 6th and September 20th) 7:00PM at Bailey’s; 2409 Laurens Road; Greenville.
 
The Socrates Club will meet 7:00PM, September 5th and September 19th, at Earth Fare;   
3 Pelham Road (#3620), Greenville.
 
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                                         A JEALOUS VIOLENT GOD
 
Below you will find some excerpts from “Thou Shalt Kill”, a pamphlet by Lee Dietz.
These are only a few of the passages in the Bible that endorse killing. Some of them recommend genocide as well as mass murder. Italics are comments by Lee Deitz. 
 
 
Exodus 22:20, “He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.”
 
COMMENT: In 2012> this would read, “he that believes, pay tithe to, worships any god except Jehovah (Jesus) should be utterly destroyed (killed). Many churches/religions discard the exact interpretation of scripture and fit it to their own religious system. Should those who disagree with your religion or belief be “utterly destroyed?” No freedom of religion with Jehovah!
 
Deuteronomy 13:1-5, “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet at that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death;
 
COMMENT: In this passage, anyone coming into town with a different religious view is to be killed. How would that work in today’s society? This passage is a lesson for us, right?
 
2 Chronicles 15:12-13, “And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.”
 
COMMENT: Forced belief or die. What a wonderful god!!
 
Luke 19:27, “but those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”
 
COMMENT: Did you know that Jesus Christ (prince of peace?) advocated  killing those who disagreed with Him? There it is in black and white! I didn’t write it. Jesus said it.  
 
Exodus 2:11-13, “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked of their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and thwn he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.”
 
COMMENT: Moses killed an Egyptian and was never brought to justice. Note: Moses was the “law giver” but, yet, broke the law. Is Moses a good example?
 
Exodus 32:27-28, “And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.”
 
COMMENT: In this passage “the Lord God of Israel” commanded that the Levites use the sword to kill 3,000 men. I wonder if they were ever brought to court for a trial?
 
2 Kings 2:23-24, “And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”
 
COMMENT: God’s great prophet had 42 children killed because they called him a bald head. Would that be okay for the pastor to do that today?
 
Isaiah 13:18, “Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity of the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.”
 
COMMENT: God takes no pity of the unborn, rather dash them to pieces! Did you know this was in the Bible?
 
(And the first of the Ten Commandments:)
 
Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not kill.”
 
COMMENT: WHAT? With all the killing we are studying here? It takes a lot of nerve to command others to not kill, when it is permitted in various situations.
 
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                                               THE BEST MIRACLE
 
Probably the most annoying thing to an atheist is the question “How could you deny God when he makes such wonderful miracles.” The “miracles” usually apply to the complexity of living forms, but they also describe incredible good luck, such as being the survivor of a tornado, or a horrendous car crash. (act of God in the believer’s eyes).
 
When a religious person comments on the good fortune of the survivor in either case, it’s usually to thank God for watching over him. It may not be a miracle if the poor guy’s family gets crushed under the weight of a house or killed by the drunk driver. In this case there is no miracle in the sparing of his life at the sacrifice of his family. But here the words “sparing” and “sacrifice” again imply the work of some unknown power. So, lucky or not, God had something to do with it.
 
It’s OK to stick to the old fashioned term of “miracle” to describe such events, but in modern times disciplines such as the study of chaos theory and fractal mathematics yield much more information as to the destructive power of a tornado. They at least allow us to make estimates of where it will form and what direction it is likely to take, thus sweetening the odds for good luck for many people. 
 
What I am trying to say here is that we need the impersonality of science to take a cold realistic view of the world around us. We have to, in order to gain access to the tools with which to protect ourselves and our environment. Attributing such things as natural disasters to a work of God or implying that He has some power to save some and sacrifice others is not useful. It discourages motivation to find the causes of such disasters or their possible amelioration. Praying to a personal God does not help us, either, even though it may give temporary emotional relief. Knowing we are not alone, and that others will be motivated by feelings of compassion and responsibility to come to our aid will accomplish more than supplication to God. In the long term, we can also rely on human creativity and persistence to improve our lot in future disasters.
 
When a religious person applies the miraculous to an animal or plant that has amazing construction or behavior, he goes no further than to assume it is the work of some greater power behind the scenes. That’s it. By going no further he kills the wonder of it.
 
It is much more exciting to look for the reasons why and how birds migrate, or to dig into the construction of a living cell and discover that it can break apart hydrogen atoms in order to convert sugar to working energy. How does it do that? How about seeking an answer to how a hurricane gets born, or exploring whether there might be something that travels faster than light, or studying dark matter, or cataloging the bacteria living within the human body or in the soil under our feet. The thing is, the world is a big place, and the more a person learns about it, the bigger and more interesting it becomes. This exploration makes us realize our luck at just being alive, (especially in an industrialized country) and makes us see the advantages and dangers we create for our survival and that of other living things.
 
We can think of science as a spoiler to belief in God. That’s what Dorothy did when she looked behind the curtain and saw, not an all-powerful wizard, but a fumbling old man doing the best he could to create an illusion. On the other hand, we can embrace scientific endeavor and focus on understanding more of our universe and existence. This is the real miracle.                                                                                                                          JB
 
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More quotes:
 
Is God willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is He able but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?       Epicurus
 
I do not think it is necessary that the same God who has given us our senses, reason, and intelligence wished us to abandon their use, giving us by some other means, the information that we could gain through them.                   Galileo     
 
Properly read, the bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
                                                                                            Asimov
 
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