Posts Tagged ‘Paul’
Fear of death has long been considered a basic reason why people choose irrationally to believe in God rather than face up to the reality of mortality. God will save Christians from death merely because they are Christians, or so many of them believe, following S Paul’s distortions of Jewish Christianity. Even so, most are not so convinced of the certainty of the afterlife to want to test it personally ahead of their alloted time, and anxiety about it remains. Attendance at church and mass seems to increase once people are old and conscious of their impending death.
Researchers, University of British Columbia psychology professor, Jessica Tracy, Union College (Schenectady, NY) psychology professor, Joshua Hart, and UBC psychology PhD student Jason Martens, have now shown that people support theories of intelligent design and reject evolutionary theory because of their anxiety about death. The paper is the first to examine the implicit psychological motives that underpin one of the most heated debates in North America. Although so called intelligent design theory is not science, 25 percent of high school biology teachers in the US unconstitutionally spend class time on intelligent design. Most get away with it without reprimand, but very occasionally they are diciplined. Even in Canada, often thought to be sensible by comparison with the USA, Alberta passed a law in 2009 for parents to remove children from courses covering evolution.
The research showed that death anxiety also inclined people towards Michael Behe, intelligent design’s main proponent, and against British evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, perhaps the best known proponent of evolution. Professor Dawkins, like all but a handful of the myriads of scientists in the world, argues that the origins of species are best explained by Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Intelligent design advocates like Professor Behe, a US author and biochemist, say that some biochemical and cellular structures are too complex to be explained by evolutionary mechanisms and should be attributed to a supernatural creator. It is a “God of the Gaps” argument—the Christian idea that what science has not explained must be an act of God. Repeatedly it has been shown to be false, and such a prominent Christian as the professor of theoretical chemistry, professor C A Coulson warned against it, as disastrous for Christianity because every scientific explanation of a Gap filled by God, erodes God and belief in Him further. Jessica Tracy, leading author of the paper, says:
Our results suggest that when confronted with existential concerns, people respond by searching for a sense of meaning and purpose in life. For many, it appears that evolutionary theory doesn’t offer enough of a compelling answer to deal with these big questions.
The researchers carried out five studies with 1,674 US and Canadian participants of different ages and a broad range of educational, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds. In each study, participants were asked to imagine their own death and write about their subsequent thoughts and feelings, or they were assigned to a control condition—imagining dental pain and writing about that. The participants were then asked to read two similarly styled, 174 word excerpts from the writings of Behe and Dawkins, which make no mention of religion or belief, but describe the scientific and empirical support for their respective positions.
After going through these steps, participants who imagined their own death showed greater support for intelligent design and greater liking for Behe, or a rejection of evolution theory coupled with disliking for Dawkins, compared to participants in the control condition.
However, the research team saw reversed effects during the fourth study which had a new condition. Along with writings by Behe and Dawkins, there was an additional passage by Carl Sagan. A cosmologist and science writer, Sagan argues that naturalism—the scientific approach that underlies evolution, but not intelligent design—can also provide a sense of meaning. In response, these participants showed reduced belief in intelligent design after being reminded of their own mortality. Tracy says:
These findings suggest that individuals can come to see evolution as a meaningful solution to existential concerns, but may need to be explicitly taught that taking a naturalistic approach to understanding life can be highly meaningful.
Similar results emerged in the fifth study, carried out entirely with natural science students at graduate and undergraduate levels. After thinking about death, these participants also showed greater support for the theory of evolution and liking of Dawkins, compared to control participants. Tracy says:
Natural science students have been taught to view evolutionary theory as compatible with the desire to find a greater sense of meaning in life. Presumably, they already attain a sense of existential meaning from evolution.
The researchers say these findings indicate a possible means of encouraging students to accept evolution and reject intelligent design.
The New Statesman has an item which asks, “Was Jesus Christ a lefty?”. Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, thought he was. The article even cites the right wing Daily Mail journalist, Quentin Letts, as admitting that “Jesus preached fairness—you could almost call him a lefty”.
The author cites several bits of evidence that any Christian ought to be able to recognize. Christ in his earthly incarnation makes it clear according to the synoptic gospels particularly that the poor were blessed and the rich would have a hard time to get into heaven unless they gave their wealth to the poor. In short, salvation of the Christian’s soul depended on them being poor or giving their wealth to the poor to alleviate their poverty and suffering. It is called by modern politicians redistribution of wealth, and is central to socialist policies from communists to social democrats, albeit with different levels of determination. Today, it is meant to be achieved by progressive personal taxation, but conservatives, rich and poor call it the “politics of envy”, and the control of the media by the mega rich like Rupert Murdock ensure that plenty of poor people unable to think for themselves agree.
By the same token, anyone intelligent enough to comprehend current affairs knows that the bankers have organized a coup to rob the treasuries of the leading capitalist countries to redistribute the wealth of these rich nations grossly in the opposite direction—from the poor to the rich. Consequently, people are increasingly showing their anger as they slowly catch on to the reality. They are beginning to riot in the streets, throw bricks through the windows of rich bankers and their political puppets, and will doubtless begin to clear out the bankers when they feel strong enough to do it. Isn’t this just what Jesus did when he took a whip to scourge the money changers dealing in the temple forecourts? The question is rhetorical. The answer is that it is indeed what he did!
The president of the USA, Barack Obama, tried to get a rudimentary bill accepted to allow health care for the poor. He succeeded but the child is itself sick. The UK has a successful National health Service and has enjoyed it for over fifty years, but neoconservative governments under Thatcher, Blair, Brown and now Cameron have deliberately chopped and changed its funding and organization so that it is gradually sinking into despair and helplessness. The modern right wing is utterly opposed to health care for the poor and sick unless they are willing to sell everything they have to the predatory rich to finance it.
What of Jesus? He is remembered as much as anything for his acts of healing, freely healing the blind the deaf, the lame, the mute, the mad, and the leprous. He required no payment for it and did not confine it to the rich. Christians are supposed to believe Christ was God incarnate, and so God Himself acted to cure sick people free, gratis and for nothing! No Christian can think poor people devoid of the money to pay a doctor should be left to die, and Jesus had a parable, the Good Samaritan, that showed a despised figure acting as the Christian should, when the supposedly good men had left the wounded stranger for dead. Today, the story would be the Good Communist, to convey its full significance to smug self-saved pharisees. Christ instructed Christians to do the same as he did, to go into each town and “heal the sick who are in it” (Luke 10:9), not to deny them health and healing unless they had paid fat insurances for half a lifetime.
What would Jesus do over the constant wars our leaders pick with strangers elsewhere, often thousands of miles away? Would he have supported Bush and Blair, or would he have organized a protest? In his famous sermon on the mount, effectively a demonstration because the Romans and their Herodian puppets got anxious when people assembled as the gospels indicate, Christ blessed “the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). He adds that no one should carry arms, “for all who take the sword will perish by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Those great Christians Bush and Blair had obviously not registered that Christ explained:
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.Matthew 5:38-39
The two great Christian leaders had agreed that because some Saudi Moslems had blown up the iconic twin towers in New York, God meant them to kill a million Iraqis in some sort of distorted principle of “an eye for an eye”, while remaining chums with the relatives of the man actually responsible, another Saudi prince.
The response to the posting of this perfectly valid item on a right wing blog was as expected—a large right wing and US Christian response! The politest was simply, “Christ, a leftist. I think not.”, and many mimicked Moslem jihadist talk but aimed at the Moslems and the New Statesman. Even the magazine’s editorial pages were reprinted so that the Republican Christian jihadists could wreak their revenge, if they wished. Few thought it worth trying to find some way of rebutting the supposed misrepresentation of their faith. One did claim that what Jesus taught as God incarnated into history was irrelevant because his nature changed completely—from commie to nazi, presumably—when he arose from the dead! Everything then that Christ took the trouble to teach by relinquishing his nature as a God and appearing on earth is totally refuted by his rising as a spirit! Why then did God bother incarnating and suffering?
Needless to say, although God Himself appearing on earth, teaching and making speeches was irrelevant, the mere man called Paul who set himself the task, and evidently succeeded, of refuting everything the Christians’ God had done and said, is quoted often in those who did attempt some sort of reply.
What is astonishing is that these people believe that they can be disciples of Christ with the rancid views they have. But they have, indeed, since the very beginning of their own religion, found their own God’s actual teaching far too difficult, and they quickly adopted the anti-Christ, Paul, in preference—its much easier to believe that you need not be kind, loving and compassionate to your fellow human beings because Christ has done it all for you, so all you have to do is believe in his body, and Lo! you are saved, by pure magic! So you can carry on being as obnoxious as you like in real life.
These poor people make no bones about redefining what Christ said while he lived. They are supposed to think he was God, but happily say it is impossible to be peaceful when evil abounds, and so impossible to do as God taught, thereby utterly rejecting God’s own inerrant word! God on earth is irrelevant but some unstable character is treated for all the world as if he is God instead.
They cite descriptions of the apocalypse in Revelation, and are so convinced it cannot apply to them that they pray for it to happen soon! The Jewish tradition of the apocalypse was as the day of God’s vengeance, and the vengeance is against all sinners! But because they ignore what Christ told them in favour of Paul’s blandishments, they cannot see any of it as applying to them. Christ repeatedly explained how hard it was to be sufficiently free of sin to get into heaven—it was by a narrow gate, whereas the gate to hell was broad. His explanation was graphic—your hand is sinning? then cut it off rather than go to hell on its behalf. Yet these smug idiots think their reading is necessarily the right one, even though people on the left, some of whom remain atheists, can read it all prerfectly well themselves, without a Republican Pastor telling them what he want them to think it means.
Still, there is no chance they will learn. Their Christ is Satan, and they are so drunk with their faith in him, they cannot see it.
I do not profess to be a Christian, but I can read fairly well, and can understand most things I need to. Yet my understanding of Christian belief is that Christ is God incarnate. When Christ speaks, it is God speaking, so Christ’s words are God’s words. Doesn’t that mean they ought to carry particular weight when deciding what Christians should believe?
Christians might say that the whole bible is God’s word, so all of it has to be taken into account, but that makes no sense, because it reduces the words, deeds and commandments of Christ to being no more than those of Paul of Tarsus, or anyone else whose words and deeds are reported.
Christianity is so called because Christians believe Christ is God, not that Paul is God. Why then do Christians treat Paul as if he were God, and prefer his words over whatever Christ said. Christ was clear about how the Christian was saved, but few Christians bother about that. Instead they follow what Paul said. They are ignoring God and believing Paul who was merely a man.
If Christians truly are Christian, then, surely, they must follow what God in the bodily form of Christ told them, and whenever Paul contradicts it, Paul is wrong, not God. Indeed, when Paul contradicts Christ, he is being an Antichristian, not a Christian. Most Christians are actually Antichristians because they follow the Antichrist, Paul, who persuades them that their own God, Christ is wrong.