October month of witches and spirits

October month and old religions

This week in many regions of the world attention is given to witch culture and spirits, non-corporeal substances contrasted with the material body. We come in a period when it becomes earlier darker and people love to tell ghost stories and look into the matter of incorporeal or immaterial beings, such as demons or deities. Several people love to come in contact with wandering spirits, daemon sprites, supernatural legendary creatures or ghosts.

The prince thanking the Water sprite, from The Princess Nobody by Andrew Lang

In our regions there came a time (Middle Ages) those who practised the Old Religion and worked with herbs and charms were largely ignored by the church and the Inquisition. After the scourge of the Black Death, witchcraft trials began to increase steadily throughout the 14th and 15th centuries.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the figure of the European witch was interpreted and reinterpreted in numerous ways, depending on the orientations of the scholars involved. They described her (typically) as variously an antisocial practitioner of malevolent magic; as a pro-social healer, midwife, and magician condemned by churches and universities; as a victim of mental illness or of accidental poisoning by mind-altering plants; or as a deliberate user of mind-altering plants who sought a shamanic “soul flight.”

Alleged murders by witchcraft and subsequent trials for witchcraft have not disappeared from the world scene, and the fear of cursing, hexing, and causing death by witchcraft remains very powerful in many nations. Black Magic murders have taken place in different states and times.

But some practices intrigued people and the will to know what happens when a person dies made that those intrigued found enough people who were willing to still their hunger to the unknown. fortune tellers always have found popularity and spiritists found always a groups of interested people to come together in private houses to have a special experience with a medium.

The unknown before and after life and Voodoo

Because of the attractive element of the unknown concerning before and after life, plus about the influences on our health, churches made use of the popular ideas of spirits and healing powers. Even in the 20th and 21st century some faith healing is performed in services conducted by the clergy of Christendom and there are communities which celebrate witch nights and halloween. The Noite Meiga (Witch‘s Night), held the last Saturday of August in the municipality Sarria which stands out in the Camino de Santiago for being the population centre with the largest offering of services, is also quite a spectacle and a grand feast in the so called Roman Catholic country of Italy. In many countries where they had negro slaves the pagan rituals and witchcraft melted into the Catholic traditions.

The spiritual practices and beliefs of those enslaved people from Africa and the Caribbean blended. Voodoo became a fusion of their religions which also incorporated Catholicism. {Voodoo in New Orleans}

In countries like Haiti the official religion along with Roman Catholicism is Voodoo, but they are both so interwoven you may find also in the Catholic Church in Haiti voodoo rites.

“In churches, there’s a lot of syncretism (or the combination of multiple religions),”

says David Vanderpool, a missionary and doctor in Haiti.
Vanderpool is the founder and CEO of LiveBeyond, a faith-based, humanitarian organization bringing medical and maternal health care, clean water, education, orphan care, community development and the gospel of Jesus Christ to the oppressed in Thomazeau, Haiti.

“Voodoo is the culture, the way they think. They view the world through a lens of voodoo, and it colours what they do, what they see. They bring it unwittingly into the church, and see mainstream denominations as no different from voodoo.”

Many do not see that they have elements of satanic worship which can be traced to colonization when the French demanded African slaves convert to Catholicism. Rather than fully converting, the slaves named their idols after saints, and the worship of the demons was incorporated into the church.

“The term voodoo,”

says Encyclopædia Britannica,

“is derived from the word vodun, which denotes a god, or spirit, in the language of the Fon people of Benin (formerly Dahomey).”

The most common depiction of the loa Erzulie Dantor is derived from this variant of the sacred icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

In Voodoo they may well tell there is only one god, one Supreme Being who created the universe, and this may link back to the Creator Deity in which the people of Israel also believed. The people who like to practice ‘Voodo art’ say this god elevated earthly beings to spirits known as the Lwa or Loa to run the day to day affairs of the world. It is this taking charge of nature and human nature which is in conflict with Bible teaching. For them there is for instance lwas of the winds, love and fisherman. {Voodoo in New Orleans}

They tell they can be master over demons who actively deceive mankind by means of spiritism, which can involve such things as magic spells, voodoo, and spirit mediums. (Deuteronomy 18:10-13; 2 Chronicles 33:6).

Wanting to get in touch with demons and spirits

This particular time of year many are proud to “get in touch with the demons” directly or through a human medium. This is called spiritism about which the Bible tells us we have to abstain from it. Voodoo, witchcraft, magic, fortune-telling, and inquiring of the dead are all forms of spiritism.

The Bible condemns these things, saying:

“There should not be found in you anyone . . . who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.”—Deuteronomy 18:10-12.

Among non-Christian religions there are voodoo priests, witch doctors, medicine men, and others who also do healing and incantation; they often employ magic and divination. Some “psychic healers” say that their cures have nothing to do with religion.

Coming closer to for many special days to remember spirits, spiritual beings and the dead many want to convince others that

The spirit world is concerned with each and every one of us.

and say that

Our guardian angels take no pleasure seeing us struggle, since they have all been there before. Even though, they comprehend that most times we need the suffering presented to us. But within the confines of letting us survive and learn from our trials, the spirit world actively guides and helps us {How we are assisted during our Trials by the Spirit World}

In the upcoming writings we shall show that there is no such spirit world and that we are not looked after by a spirit world. We also shall show that there is no such thing as a process of reincarnation, which others may confirm may be complex even after birth.  {How we are assisted during our Trials by the Spirit World}

Communicating spirits

It is not because our spirits (our minds) can communicate directly with other people that they would connect with other non-materialistic beings, called “spirits”. In our dreams, our thinking we certainly may learn a lot, but this does not mean that  during our slumber, we learn many valuable lessons from spirits and would “have various conversations with other spirits”. {How we are assisted during our Trials by the Spirit World}  No body was ever able to retain exact memories of such encounters. But some  awaken with general ideas and feelings, which is only because they are fed by such ideas.

If we search for the answer it will come, not because

The spirit world wishes to supply us with all of the tools and inspirations required to prosper while we live on earth. They fully realize the day-to-day problems we encounter, complications which hinder our ability to absorb the lessons we should learn. {How we are assisted during our Trials by the Spirit World}

It is not the spirit world which gently pushes us to the correct solution, but each person is created in the image of God and has an inner feeling implanted by the Supreme Being. We have to listen to our conscience, that governor of our behaviour, with years of experience in many lives, and perform our deeds with moral clarity.

Pagan Samhain and Halloween

Some people bring as excuse that they are unaware of the pagan origins of Halloween symbols, decorations, and customs, most of which are related to supernatural beings and occult forces. In many places meetings are given and people are called to witness a witch meeting or even a black mass. Thousands of Wiccans (practitioners of witchcraft), who follow ancient Celtic rituals, still call Halloween by the ancient name Samhain and consider it to be the most sacred night of the year.

“Christians ‘don’t realize it, but they’re celebrating our holiday with us. . . . We like it,’”

stated the newspaper USA Today when quoting a professed witch.

In shops we can find all sorts of costumes and in magazines articles about spirits which find their way to many homes.

Christians may not forget that celebrations like Halloween are in conflict with Bible teachings. The Bible warns:

“There must never be anyone among you who . . . practices divination, who is soothsayer, augur or sorcerer, who uses charms, consults ghosts or spirits, or calls up the dead.” (Deuteronomy 18:10, 11, The Jerusalem Bible)

10 There should not be found in you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire,+ anyone who employs divination,+ anyone practicing magic,+ anyone who looks for omens,+ a sorcerer,+ 11 anyone binding others with a spell, anyone who consults a spirit medium+ or a fortune-teller,+ or anyone who inquires of the dead.+ (Deuteronomy 18:10, 11, NWT)

see also

Leviticus 19:31:

31 “‘Do not turn to the spirit mediums,+ and do not consult fortune-tellers+ so as to become unclean by them. I am Jehovah your God.

Galatians 5:19-21:

19 Now the works of the flesh are plainly seen, and they are sexual immorality,*+ uncleanness, brazen conduct,*+ 20 idolatry, spiritism,*+ hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, dissensions, divisions, sects, 21 envy, drunkenness,+ wild parties,* and things like these.+ I am forewarning you about these things, the same way I already warned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit God’s Kingdom.+

Human Autumn traditions

We are living in this world were there are lots of traditions going on, but that does not mean we do have to take part in those traditional activities or do not have to let others know we do not want to take part in such activities.

From within our heart comes our feeling, which should in accordance to the Will of God. A copper-based alloy may deform in colour and so our being when it has a brazen conduct or “shameless conduct.” We should not be proud of a conduct which is not in line with the teachings of Christ and with the commandments of the Most High Almighty God. We have to cause ourselves and others to move in a certain direction, which is in line with the wishes of God. We do have to comport (oneself) in a specified way which is indicated in the Words of God and which everybody can find. We have to bear or conduct (oneself) in the Christian way, being in agreement, harmony, or conformity with the Word of God.

Mark 7:21, 22: 21 For from inside, out of the heart of men,+ come injurious reasonings, sexual immorality,* thefts, murders, 22 acts of adultery, greed, acts of wickedness, deceit, brazen conduct,* an envious eye, blasphemy, haughtiness, and unreasonableness.

The Bible warns us that people will go away from that Word of God and would prefer to do the things most people do.

Jude 4: My reason is that certain men have slipped in among you who were long ago appointed to this judgment by the Scriptures; they are ungodly men who turn the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for brazen conduct*+ and who prove false to our only owner* and Lord, Jesus Christ.+

Let us take that warning to heart that such people are not real lovers of God but they are ungodly or “wicked men” (UKJV).

They turn the grace of our God into uncontrollable lust and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 4:4 ISV)

We may not make the mercy of God an excuse for profligacy.

Those who like to participate in the October festivities of drinking lots of alcohol [The Oktober Fest: world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair)], witch gatherings, Celtic Autumn meetings, Halloween celebrations, should know that many will follow their licentiousness, following their indulgences and because of them, carrying out every impurity with rapacity, the way of truth will be reviled or blasphemed.

Ephesians 4:19: 19 Having gone past all moral sense, they gave themselves over to brazen conduct*+ to practice every sort of uncleanness with greediness.

2 Peter 2:2: Furthermore, many will follow their brazen conduct,*+ and because of them the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively.+

Reincarnation, spirits and spiritism

Many spiritists believe in reincarnation. One spiritist publication states:

Reincarnation is the only doctrine that measures up to our idea of divine justice; it is the only doctrine that can explain the future and strengthen our hopes.”

Spiritists explain that at death the soul, or “incarnated spirit,” leaves the body—like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. They believe that these spirits are later reincarnated as humans in order to purge sins committed in an earlier life. But there is no recollection of those earlier sins.

“God considered it convenient that a veil be cast over the past,”

says The Gospel According to Spiritism.

“To deny reincarnation is also to deny the words of Christ,”

wrote Allan Kardec. But Jesus never preached incarnation. He knew that for God “reincarnation” is an atrocity and no human being should be busy with this at all. All Christians should see that the Bible tells clearly that at death our life comes to and end and than it is finished with us. Than we shall not be able to think or to do anything.
The sent one from God came to tell that there is hope for the living souls who believe in God and live according His Laws. For him it was clear that he could fulfil the promise made in the Garden of Eden and be the Messiah, bringing grace over mankind. For that reason Jesus taught the resurrection of the dead.

Persons coming out of the dead

During his earthly ministry, the Jewish Nazarene did some spectacular miracles. He also resurrected three people — the son of a widow in Nain, the daughter of the presiding officer of a synagogue, and his close friend Lazarus. (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43; Luke 7:11-15; John 11:1-44) They had been in the grave and had come back to life but had nothing to tell about some other world down in the earth or at some other place. Later they died again and their body decayed like any other body shall do when life goes out of it.

The world of the dead may be mysterious for us and many may be attracted to come to know “what is over there”. Some people, like witches may make use of that situation and present others some rites of passage.

In order to assist a soul cross over at the time of death, those of the Wicca (and those not of the Wicca – but other witchcraft traditions) have a number of rituals called “Crossings.” {Rite of Passage}

Witches, covens and their rites

Witch Riding Backwards On A Goat

Witch Riding Backwards On A Goat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The witches their coven or or covan, which is a gathering or community of witches, much like a congregation in Christian parlance, may present in the continuation of the Witch-Cult and may try others to believe certain herbs can give them special powers and with certain rites they also can come in contact with pieces of the soul that went on or could be left behind and which are prevented from passing on to the next level. Many wiccans feel it is their duty to help these spirits when they are able to assist with passage and transition.

According to the U.S. Census, the number of individuals professing to be Wiccans rose from the 8,000 reported in 1990 to 134,000 self-proclaimed witches in 2001. A study released in November 2001 by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York found that the number of adults who subscribe to a pagan religion was more than 140,000. {Wicca;Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained, 2003}

Those who follow Wicca, the craft of the wise, maintain that their faith qualifies as a true pagan religion with its beliefs and practices rooted in the processes of nature. {Wicca;Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained, 2003}

Because of Wicca’s rapid growth, however, some adherents now seek more formal organizational plans and credentialing of leaders (priests and priestesses), a trend resisted by those Witches who hold individual and small-group practice and experience to be primary. Wiccans often identify with a particular “tradition”—a school of teaching or an initiatory lineage—but the boundaries between traditions are loosely drawn, and new traditions are constantly being created. {Wicca; Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 2001,The Gale Group Inc.}

Estimates of the number of Wiccans in North America in 2000 ranged from 300,000 to the low millions. Sociological studies of Wicca show its followers as tending to be younger and better-educated than the population overall. {Wicca; Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, 2001,The Gale Group Inc.}

Mmanifestations and phenomena

According to some sources wiccans do not believe that there is anything supernatural about the manifestations and phenomena associated with this extrasensory area of the mind, but others play with phenomena which are very curious. For them it are psychic powers which lie dormant in everyone, to a greater or lesser degree, and their disciplines are designed to develop these to the fullest.

Wicca conceives of spirit as part of the universal creative principle, existing as a thought form. In keeping with its transcendental nature, Wicca views spirit as the convenient expression for a certain kind of matter, which is thought to contain a dynamic energy of its own. This energy is capable of being transmitted by means of mental activity and can be used to transmute other forms of energy into matter. {Wicca;Gale Encyclopedia of the Unusual and Unexplained, 2003}

Working with the Dead

The covens are usually jointly led by a High Priestess and a High Priest, though some are led by only one or the other. In more recent forms of neopagan witchcraft, covens are sometimes run as democracies with a rotating leadership. In the group all try to get control over the elements, how to “whistle up the wind” and call the rain, etc. {Council Cup} They also set out meals for those who are “gone from this world”.  They have a “Dumb Supper” which is a form of group necromancy where they think

the spirits of the dearly departed are set out a special meal (and a meal for yourself too) and is partaken of in silence in order to commune with our dearly departed. {Necromancy and the Dumb Supper}

In some covens, necromancy rituals are performed for 13 nights in a row to summon the appropriate and correct spirits. {Necromancy and the Dumb Supper}

For the wiccans it is a form of working with the Dead{Necromancy and the Dumb Supper} but according God’s Word the dead do know nothing and can do nothing because they are nothing but dust. The idea that a spirit part of humans survives at death and can communicate with the living in not according to God’s Word.

The death, dead people, wicked people, demons and spirits

Jehovah was the first to speak of death. He warned that Adam and Eve would die if they disobeyed him. (Genesis 2:17) What did that mean? Jehovah explained:

“Dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19)

At death the body disintegrates; it goes back to the dust. Life ceases.

In the Holy Scriptures demons and spirits are mentioned. As an adult, Jesus encountered “wicked spirit creatures”. We are even told that they recognized Jesus and addressed him as the “Son of God.” Jesus likewise knew who they were. They were not spirits of dead humans. Rather, Jesus identified them as “demons,” or unclean spirits, people who were ill in their head, or had a disease. — Matthew 8:29-31; 10:8; Mark 5:8.

When there is spoken of Tartarus it is not a particular location, but a condition. Those whose breath goes out of their body are considered death by the Holy Scriptures. As soon as the brain does not function any more, life is gone out of a person and that person is belonging to the dead. The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around. Even the sick persons or the “possessed” or “demons” can no longer materialize and do not have any power or influence over minds and lives. It are the ideas of people which can continue to hover in the minds of folks. Those ideas can continue to grow in our mind and bring us unto other ideas. But it are not persons or some spiritual beings which do that.

The Bible tells us that

“The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all . . . Their love and their hate and their jealousy [all of which they felt while alive] have already perished.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6)

Yes, the Bible teaches that the dead are just that—dead!
They cannot think, act, or even worship God.

“The dead do not praise [God]; nor do any who go down into the silence of death,” says Psalm 115:17.

When the breath goes out of our body we shall not be able to speak any more but also not be able to think or do anything. Everything shall be finished and nobody shall be able to contact us again. Then it is too late for us to do something to others and too late for others to do something for us.

The living and the dead

The living “are conscious”, but dead or not conscious any more. When living on this earth we can do things and shall have to sweat, but once we die it is all finished and we shall not feel anything any more. Having paid for our sins there shall be no need any more to suffer for what we have done wrong and we shall land up were everybody of this world will end, the grave (hell, sheol, sepulchre). Even if we would have lots of money or many titles, we shall not being able to escape death and to become something again.

Genesis 3:19: 19 In the sweat of your face you will eat bread* until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken.+ For dust you are and to dust you will return.”+

Psalm 104:29: 29 When you hide your face, they are disturbed. If you take away their spirit, they die and return to the dust.+

Ecclesiastes 3:20: 20 All are going to the same place.+ They all come from the dust,+ and they all are returning to the dust.+

Ecclesiastes 12:7: Then the dust returns to the earth,+ just as it was, and the spirit* returns to the true God who gave it.+

Job 34:14, 15: 14 If he fixes his attention* on them, If he gathers their spirit and breath to himself,+ 15 All humans* would perish together, And mankind would return to the dust.+

Psalm 146:3, 4: Do not put your trust in princes* Nor in a son of man, who cannot bring salvation. His spirit* goes out, he returns to the ground;+ On that very day his thoughts perish.+

Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20:19 for there is an outcome* for humans and an outcome for animals; they all have the same outcome.+ As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit.+ So man has no superiority over animals, for everything is futile. 20 All are going to the same place.+ They all come from the dust,+ and they all are returning to the dust.+

For our own welfare

For our own welfare, Jehovah warns us against all forms of spiritism. He loves and cares for people, and he knows that those who get involved with demons or spiritism are bound to suffer.

Jehovah God’s Law to the nation of Israel also said:

“There should not be found in you anyone . . . who consults a spirit medium or . . . inquires of the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

The Bible also states that those who practice spiritism in any of its forms “will not inherit God’s Kingdom.”— Galatians 5:19-21.

Those who believe in god and believe in God His son, Jesus Christ, will have something positive to look forward, but it will not come to them straight ahead when they die. they shall be in the grave feeling and knowing of nothing, like they were before born. But there shall come a time that Jesus shall return to call the living and the dead together, to judge them and to open the gates to the Kingdom of God for all who lived according the Will of God.

+

Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one

Science, belief, denial and visibility 2

The Importance of the Prophetic

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 3 Black Mass, Horror spectacles and pure puritans

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God

Reaction on the worship of devils in the Kingdom of Essex

All Saints’ Day

All Souls’ Day

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Additional reading:

  1. Religions and Mainliners
  2. 2014 Religion
  3. Bible sayings about God
  4. Human Nature: What does the Bible teach?
  5. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  6. A Living Faith #9 Our Manner of Life
  7. Dying or not
  8. Biblical Ambiguity on Death?
  9. Bible sayings on the situation and place for the dead
  10. What happens when we die?
  11. Ontbinding
  12. Souls and Religions with Nirvana and light
  13. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  14. Decomposition, decay – vergaan, afsterven, ontbinding
  15. Where does Satan lives?
  16. What is life?
  17. The business of this life
  18. The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around
  19. Fear and protection
  20. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  21. Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20
  22. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  23. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  24. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  25. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  26. Self inflicted misery #6 Paying by death
  27. The Soul confronted with Death
  28. Phoenicians sacrificed infants
  29. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  30. Faith antithesis of rationality
  31. Wishing to do the will of God
  32. This month’s survey question: Heaven and Hell
  33. Sheol, Sheool, Sjeool, Hades, Hell, Grave, Tomb, Sepulchre
  34. Departed Souls Await Judgment
  35. Two states of existence before God
  36. A time for everything
  37. We will all be changed
  38. The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
  39. The one who makes us well and gives life
  40. Necessity of a revelation of creation 4 Getting understanding by Word of God 2

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Further reading:

  1. Witchcraft
  2. Witchcraft in Europe, 1450 to 1789
  3. Wiccan, wicca (masc., “wizard”) and wicce (fem., “witch”)
  4. Witchcraft Trials
  5. How Meditation Changes Our Brains
  6. Where is the great Beyond?
  7. My kind of Halloween!
  8. He who goes to a medium should go with a clean inner life!
  9. Voodoo!
  10. What is Vodou?
  11. Voodoo in New Orleans
  12. Voodoo Queen
  13. Devil’s Seed
  14. Things that went BUMP! in the night in15th century Poland
  15. Really?
  16. Adsense Arbitrage Voodoo Review – Hot Or Not?
  17. Voodoo head dies…
  18. Leader Of Haitian Vodou Religion, Max Beauvoir, Dead At 79
  19. Voodoo practitioners mourn the death of leader Max Beauvoir
  20. Old time relijun
  21. Dispelling the myths of Voodoo
  22. New Orleans Experience – Day One!
  23. The Spooky Cemeteries of South Louisiana
  24. 31 Days of Voodoo at Voodoo Farm
  25. The Left-Hand Path, Magic, and Voodoo
  26. Using Creative Arts to Train Haitian Spiritual Leaders on Therapy for “Crooked” Thoughts
  27. Voodoo in Blue
  28. Walker Wednesday – 30/09/15
  29. Voodoo Village: South Africa
  30. An African Village where Dead Children are Made into Voodoo Dolls
  31. Papa Legba
  32. Hollywood Has Zombies all Wrong
  33. The Dark Side of Grace by M.L. Cooper
  34. Voodoo Village: Haiti
  35. Satanic ‘Zombified’ Religion Making Inroads in United States — Charisma News
  36. Soul food with a Voodoo touch
  37. Dirty Hands and Green Thumbs
  38. The Harley Quinn Voodoo String Doll Key Chain Handmade
  39. Jack Sparrow Voodoo String Doll Key Chain Handmade Pirates
  40. Rudimentary Chucky Voodoo String Doll Keychain
  41. Spiritists: When You Sleep You are Being Assisted in Your Quest to Become a Better Spiritist
  42. NDE’s – What people were told
  43. Bronwen’s Two NDE’s and her discoveries
  44. The Life Beyond the Veil – A book Psychographed by an English Reverend – G. Vale Owen
  45. A Course on How to Give Passes
  46. Why we should gladly suffer through our trials here on earth
  47. Want to know the Other Side of the NDE Judgment Experience – Swedenborg has examples
  48. Divine Providence Constantly Makes Sure We See What is True
  49. Mediumship
  50. Dreams and how the Spirit World Assists Us
  51. Spirit court
  52. Spirits, the Dearly Departed … and Reincarnation
  53. Rite of Passage
  54. Incarnation – Necessary for the Progression of the Spirit
  55. Gold Finch [Carduelis Tristis] Symbolic Meaning
  56. Stories of Spirit…Cleaning House [unwanted spirits activity]
  57. Business or Personal Journalling with the Tarot
  58. Seth Speaks: the eternal validity of the soul
  59. The Fox Sisters
  60. Demons and the Unexplained: Demonic Mysteries
  61. Demons USA: Demons in Everyday Life
  62. End Times Quote: Don’t Hang Around Demons
  63. DEMONS: Don't hang around demons.
  64. Exorcism: 10 Observations on Casting Out Demons
  65. Halloween 2014 Quotes: Halloween is Satanic and Demonic
  66. Our Fractal Nature – physics spinning
  67. “P” Poison Has Its Uses #atozchallenge
  68. Grave Silence #art #horrorweek #horror
  69. Reflections #horror #flashfiction #PEN
  70. A Forgotten Life the conclusion Atom
  71. Part One the domino effect
  72. Part Two Strangers
  73. Regret: ‘The Lives We Live’ A Reality Show – 5th Dismissal
  74. Beneath the Tree #2 #Christmas #children #abuse #poetry
  75. Interesting-stuff
  76. Yom Kippur 5776 ~ The Day of Atonement
  77. Submission
  78. The Commands of Yeshua ~ Part 28
  79. CASTING OUT DEMONS: More are familiar with Hollywood rituals than the Bible.
  80. Exposition on Romans 1
  81. Exposition on Romans 2
  82. Departed Souls Await Judgment
  83. The Soul is Not Dead
  84. The “Living” Word
  85. The Whole Point
  86. Created For Responsibility
  87. No More Me but Thee Lord!

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Science, belief, denial and visibility 1

In the previous article we talked about doubt which can be around the believer and non-believer. We have seen in the previous articles that many people have questions about life and surrounding. They wonder if knowledge of science would stand in the way of their belief. Sometimes people may find themselves dangling at the edge of belief not able to take the plunge.

In case you are feeling like that know that “you are not alone”. If  you are ashamed to ask questions or have reservations that seem insurmountable, “you are not alone”.

Some may consider religion “like a merchant selling its own knockoff of the real thing”.  They prefer to look at it as a “similar imitation, but not the authentic product”.

As recognises in 3 Ways Religion Has Failed Us is that it are human beings who made a concoction of religion. He writes:

the problem with religion: it is manmade and lacks the integrity of the real thing. Religion offers the “good enough” instead of the “best.”

But the right religion shall always present the best of what is available at that moment and shall never be satisfied with just offering something which might be “good enough”. In case that is so you are probably looking at the wrong religion.

Churches nearby or far away from home

Percentage of state populations that identify ...

Percentage of state populations that identify with a religion rather than “no religion”, 2001. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those Americans who live in the Bible Belt where most people go to a church in their neighbourhoods may be called lucky that they are able to find a church very near by. In certain countries people have to go far for their service in a church. For example our ecclesia its services make that people have to travel between 40 and 360 km to come to the Breaking of the Bread, having our services taking place in Nivelles/Nijvel, HeverleeLeuven, Mons and Paris. This also makes that we do not have many people wanting to join, or to come regularly, because everybody just wants to have their church at the doorstep.

In Belgium the Catholic church shall have to face the distance problem also from now, because most Catholic churches shall become closed from 2014 because there are not enough priests and not enough churchgoers. Five to ten parishes shall be concentrated to one place from now on. We wonder if those Catholics shall travel such one way of 20 km to go to mass. In protestant circles this has not been strange over the years, so they are used to cover some distance to go to church.

The 26 years old, student, writer, sceptic and worshipper (of … ?) says:

Many people are walking away from God.

Faith and religions are some of those things people get confused with. Also the matter if it has something to do with a god or the True God. Strangely enough several people are searching the internet to get something to know about what “religion is.” The young writer finds that our look at religion and its painful presentation of God may be outdated. He writes:

The truth is, religion missed the bus into the 21st Century and now we are faced with an unpopular decision: starting over or being left behind.

and he has good reason to think so. Many churches did not see how time passed but also how times changed. God, Who is One, does not change, but they wanted to create their own pictures of their god how they wanted to see him fitting their age and time and making up their church according to their denominational construction. Most churches do not want to follow the way church has to be formed according to God, but do want to fit it in according their idea of how church should look like. And that is where church went on the wrong track or got on the line of deviations and delays.

English: A map showing the Norwegian Bible Bel...

A map showing the Norwegian Bible Belt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several churches, certainly in the United States wanted to make science the enemy of religion. In Holland several churches got blinded by the American Mega churches and having more than three hundred television channels to choose from, most home-stayers got pulled away by reality shows, series and some by those television preachers which promise all the gold you can think of. In Belgium, just a few, but also too many, found their way to those television churches, which make it easy to sit at home and say you watched a service, so you have done your Sunday duty.

The fight between science and religion.

We have all the seen the ugly fight between science and religion. Whether it has been in a classroom, a courtroom, or a Sunday morning sermon, we all have heard why one is right and the other is wrong.

continues the writer of 3 Ways Religion Has Failed Us, where he suggests this is just not the case and says he does not believe science is the enemy. He has good reason to believe that science and faith can co-exist and even work together.

In America it is possible, like in Holland to go to schools where they do not want to accept the world evolved. the author of the above mentioned article also was taught in high school that evolution was silly because of all the “missing links.” but did they get deeper into the subject of how the world could have been going on for millions of years? He does not tell. But we can see here at the European continent that more fundamentalist Christian churches and Christian schools want to give their youngsters an idea of the evolution of the world which is not according the real Bible teaching nor according to findings many scientists and archaeologists made.

Also at the television churches they mock with all scientific findings and ridicule archaeologists and other scientists.

Luckily the young writer who graduated in 2006 has seen new discoveries.

He came to understand that science can teach us where we came from and how the world as well as humans are evolving.

But I also believe that there is a certain point where science (logic and reason) are limited and this is the place faith takes over. Science cannot and will not explain everything, but neither can religion.

It has never been the aim of Christian religion to do this. It is wrong to think that the Bible would or should have to be a scientific explanation book and scientific instruction book. God provided a Guide for everybody whatever schooling they might have had or even also for those who did not get the chance to get an education.

God His Word had to be available and understandable for everybody. You do not have to be a theological scholar to understand God’s Word; That is one of the biggest misunderstandings and the biggest cause of having ‘religious institutions’ having deformed God His Words and having them made dogma‘s many people just took over, because they believed they had to believe what those theologians said, because they could not understands such ‘godly and divine matters’. Lots of people also wanted to have religion co-inside with their traditions and as such found it acceptable to have a three headed god for example. The Trinity made it also possible to have something mystic or something special ‘attractive’ because incomprehensible. It also made that they continue to worship pictures and have many saints or people where they could pray to. Otherwise they only had to count on One Something, Who was not a man but a Spirit, and could not be seen or pictured, because the God of Abraham can not be seen and may not be pictured.

So What Now?

One of the greatest tragedies in life is when people hold on to something when they know it has failed. The denial of carrying a corpse around can be a tremendous burden.

The problem with getting people to come and see about the different ways of religion and how the God of the Bible wants to have people around Him, is that people do not want to break with the past, with the attitudes of their ancestors and with the traditions of the region where they are living. It often takes a move to an other country before people would take over … some other traditions …

Or are people willing to come to the facts? Or do they only want to have faith in something they can grasp?

Spirit or person, reality or tradition

To get people to decide for their own, taking the words for what they are and how they are written down in the Bible is very difficult. When we do our preaching and read parts from the Bible, lots of people continue to bring into it always their background of their trinitarian teaching. when there is written “this person” does this or that, they consider that there is also said that “that person” does this or that, instead of willing to take the “this” person where is written “this” and the “that” person where is written “that”. And as such they keep mixing figures but keep also not seeing clear.
That way we also do find Christian denominations which say God is a woman because God is Wisdom and the Bible talks about “her” and “she”. Also others say God is a woman because God is Love and love is feminine and the Scriptures talk about “She” when it describes that love. Others say God is a man because He is a warrior, or something else which is masculine. But God is none of them because He is a Spirit.

” (24)  “Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him need to worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 The Scriptures 1998+)

People should try to accept that there can be a Supreme Being that is not like them or does not fit their images. God can not be pictured, except that we know He has some elements of us because we are created in His image. Because nobody has ever been able to see God, we also can have no real picture of Him in our mind and we may not make a picture of Him in our life.

” (1)  And Elohim spoke all these Words, saying,  (2)  “I am יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery.  (3)  “You have no other mighty ones against My face.  (4)  “You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth,  (5)  you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  (6)  but showing kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.” (Exodus 20:1-6 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (19)  And He said, “I shall cause all My goodness to pass before you, and I shall proclaim the Name of יהוה {Jehovah} before you. And I shall favour him whom I favour, and shall have compassion on him whom I have compassion.”  (20)  But He said, “You are unable to see My face, for no man does see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:19-20 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (17)  Now to the Sovereign of the ages, incorruptible, invisible, to Elohim who alone is wise, be respect and esteem forever and ever. Amĕn.” (1Ti 1:17 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (16)  who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or is able to see, to whom be respect and everlasting might. Amĕn.” (1Ti 6:16 The Scriptures 1998+)

Visible or invisible

How many people are wiling to accept that God the Immortal King of the King of kings is and was invisible? In case Jesus was God than nobody could have seen him and stayed alive. Many people saw Jesus of whom the Father in heaven declared that it was His son. In case God twisted His words and the above verses would not be true, nor that what God said from heaven was totally true than people could and should consider God a liar. But God does not tell lies. Though many churches of the Christian Faith made Him one who was not telling the truth or not keeping His words. Those who think Jesus is God should question if Jesus told the truth when he was asked if they could sit next to him or when he would return or when the end times would come. Every time Jesus told them it was not given to him to decide who was to be seated where or when he would come back. He told them he did not know such things. But God does know everything, so those who do not accept Jesus as the son of God but make him the god son are making God into a liar. He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony or witness in himself; he who does not believe God, has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony or record that Jehovah the God of heaven and earth has given concerning His son.

” (10)  The one who believes in the Son of Elohim has the witness in himself, the one who does not believe Elohim has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the witness that Elohim has given concerning His Son.” (1 John 5:10 The Scriptures 1998+)

Denial

Religion Stencil

Religion Stencil (Photo credit: murdelta)

Atheism brings the denial of the existence of God or gods, but those who have faith in the Creator should know that the God of gods exists and that man still make many gods today.

It is narrow-minded to reduce a naturalist’s worldview down to its negative component of atheism, just as it is narrow minded for a Muslim to consider a Christian anti-Muhhamad.

Theo • philogue writes in Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction:

Such reductionist labeling can feed into prejudices and hinder mutual respect and productive dialogue.  On the other hand, … I don’t necessarily think the argument Baggini advances in order to accomplish his redefinition of the word “atheism” is sound.

But he also warns:

It seems to me that evangelicals who hold to exclusivists positions ideologically (i.e. that only Christianity is true and all other religions false) have no choice but to admit with Baggini that human beings in general are not good at interpreting their experiences — especially religious experiences.  How can Muslims be so skeptical about the religious experiences of Christians (or vice versa), but be so confident in their own?

Scientific understanding having more continuity globally than religious understanding

According to the Bible when people die they are just death and can do nothing or think anything. But there are religious people who think their soul is some extra element in their body which shall go out of it. In such an instance, when there would be a soul leaving the body, able to think and do things, this ‘soul’ should remain fully conscious after death. When this would the case you should wonder why the soul does not retain memories for those with brain disease, dementia , Alzheimer, etc..

Here it seems that views of consciousness after death are problematic in light of the dependency relationship established by science between consciousness and brain activity.  This area of science is forcing some evangelicals, for example, to rethink their interpretation of biblical language about souls to accommodate the scientific data. {Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

Several people say there is strong evidence for consciousness after death by the “testimony of mediums, supposed appearances of ghosts, and near-death experiences.” First of all they forget the near death experience is an experience the person had when he or she was not death but alive. It is an experience of a ‘living soul’, being the ‘being’ of a person.

Psyche and Amor, also known as Psyche Receiving Cupid’s First Kiss (1798), by François Gérard: a symbolic butterfly hovers over Psyche in a moment of innocence poised before sexual awakening.

In the Bibletranslations we do find the Hebrew ne′phesh and the Greek psy·khe′ in certain languages being translated as “soul” and “psyche”. It is not about Psyche (/ˈsk/, Greek: Ψυχή, “Soul” or “Breath of Life”) or Eros the mythical figure which fell in love with Cupid or Amor. It is about the Psyche (psychology) which is the totality of the human mind, conscious, and unconscious.

When we look at the different texts in the Holy Scriptures we can see that it was God Who placed His Breath in the first human beings, plus in the animals,  and as such the person or animal came into a living being. When spoken about a soul, this person or animal was meant. The soul is the life that a person or an animal enjoys and it does not mean an immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. The Bible tells us that when God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life that after that action man became a living soul.

“(7)  And יהוה {Jehovah} Elohim formed the man out of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils breath of life. And the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7 The Scriptures 1998+)

It does not say that man was given a soul but that he became a soul, a living person.

“(5)  “But only your blood for your lives I require, from the hand of every beast I require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I require the life of man.” (Genesis 9:5 The Scriptures 1998+)

The “blood of your lives” or the blood of your souls” is not the blood of something different than the normal body we can see. When we see the same word in the original text we should translate it the same or when we use once ‘soul’ and the other time ‘live’ or ‘body’ in the same translation we should know that it is all speaking about the same thing ‘the corps’ the being of something or someone’. The Greek word translated in 1 Corinthians 15:45 for “soul” in many translations is the accusative case of psy·khe′. KJ, AS, Dy, JB, NAB, and Kx also read “soul.” RS, NE, and TEV say “being.”

” (45)  And so it has been written, “The first man Aḏam became a living being,” the last Aḏam a life-giving Spirit.  (46)  The spiritual, however, was not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.  (47)  The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second Man is the Master from heaven.  (48)  As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.  (49)  And as we have borne the likeness of the earthy, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly.  (50)  And this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood is unable to inherit the reign of Elohim, neither does corruption inherit incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-50 The Scriptures 1998+)

When something happens with people the Bible says this or that happened with the souls.

“who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” (1 Peter 3:20 HNV) (NHBESY, NKJV, RNKJV, RV,Sawyer, WORNT,
“eight, souls were brought safely through water.” (WPNT); “eight souls, were delivered through water” (NET)
eight souls, were saved by water (RHB)
“wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (KJV, BRG, LEB, LITV, a.o..)
“Those who in the past were disobedient; and in the days of Noah, when the Spirit of God had patience, he commanded an ark to be made in the hope of their repentance, but only eight souls entered into it, and were saved by it floating upon the water.” (1 Peter 3:20 Lamsa NT ) “which were formerly disobedient, in the days of Noah, when the long suffering of Alaha commanded an ark to be made, in hope of their repentance; and eight souls only entered into it, and were kept alive in the waters.” (1 Peter 3:20 Re. Murdock);  “a few folks” (JMNT)
“those who disobeyed long ago in the days of Noah, when YHVH in extreme patience, commanded an ark to be made, hoping that they would amend their ways, but only eight people entered it and survived the water during the flood.” (1 Peter 3:20 ToY+ )

In several places, like in Joshua 11:11 we can find that those “souls” could be “stricken” or “killed” or could fall under the edge of the sword.Theo Philo writes:

It seems impossible to contest that the traditional Christian anthropology of body-soul dualism is problematic because it requires one to believe that “non-material thinking souls exist along side brains and somehow interact with them, and that, further, the dependency of consciousness on brain activity miraculously disappears at death, when the soul lives on without the body”

But according to the Bible there is no body-soul dualism at all and when people fall asleep, leaving the world of the living they shall be death and will not be able to do anything with what they collected in their life nor shall they be able to think something or do something, except having their body decaying or to dust or in the incinerator coming to ashes. When life comes to an end it is the breath of the person which goes out the person but not to live somewhere else. The breath is the transfer of air caused by breathing or by being alive.

” (2)  While I live I praise יהוה {Jehovah}; I sing praises to my Elohim while I exist.  (3)  Do not put your trust in princes, In a son of man, in whom is no deliverance.  (4)  His spirit goes out, he returns to his earth; In that day his plans perish.” (Psalm 146:2-4 The Scriptures 1998+)
” (5)  For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know naught, nor do they have any more reward, for their remembrance is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 The Scriptures 1998+)
” (9)  See life with the wife whom you love all the days of your futile life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of futility. For that is your share in life, and in your toil which you have laboured under the sun.  (10)  All that your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9-10 The Scriptures 1998+)
” (14)  I know that whatever Elohim does is forever. There is no adding to it, and there is no taking from it. Elohim does it, that men should fear before Him.  (15)  Whatever is has already been, and what shall be has been before. But Elohim seeks out what has been pursued.  (16)  Then again I saw under the sun: In the place of right-ruling, wrongness was there. And in the place of righteousness, wrongness was there.  (17)  I said in my heart, “Elohim judges the righteous and the wrong, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.”  (18)  I said in my heart, “Concerning the matter of the sons of men, Elohim selects them, so as to see that they themselves are beasts.”  (19)  For the event of the sons of men is also the event of beasts – one event befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Indeed, they all have one breath – man has no advantage over beasts. For all is futile.  (20)  All are going to one place – all came from the dust, and all return to dust.  (21)  Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the beast, which goes down to the earth?  (22)  So I saw that man could do no better but to rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion. For who would bring him to see what shall be after him?” (Ecclesiastes 3:14-22 The Scriptures 1998+)

For us will happen the same as the animals. Our penalty for the sins we have done shall be paid by our death, where we shall end up breathing, thinking, speaking or being able to do anything. For that which happens to us happens also to animals. Even one thing happens to both of us, man and animal alike. As the one dies, so the other dies. Yes, they have all one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity. There is no evidence at all for life after death and the Holy Scriptures tells us what is going to happen to our body (our souls). We shall all return to dust. Decay shall come over human beings as it comes over plants and animals. We better believe in the stronger evidence for human mortality than in evidence for immortality of human ‘souls’ being some extra spiritual being in man.It is the philosophical ideas of the early writers and of later fantasts which made people dream of adventures lives in some strange after-life worlds or underground-worlds, or several heaven-levels (be it 8 or 12 heavens according some worldly writers).We can not see any different soul than the souls running around on this planet, the masculine and feminine beings, called man and animal. No scientific X-rays or special screening could prove there would be some alternative ‘ghost’ or ‘spirit’ in the human beings. What is scientifically proven is the aura or a sort of temperature change around each living being. The aura appears by humans but also by animals and plants. so that also does not proof any existence of an extra spirit in the human beings which would be an other ‘soul’ than the ‘soul’ spoken of in the many books of the Bible where it is meant the persons.

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Next: Science, belief, denial and visibility 2

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Please do find additional reading:

  1. Faith
  2. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  3. The Trinity – the Truth
  4. Idolatry or idol worship
  5. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. #1 Creator and His Prophets
  6. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  7. Edward Wightman
  8. Dying or not
  9. What happens when we die?
  10. The Soul confronted with Death
  11. Dead and after
  12. Destination of righteous
  13. Destination of the earth
  14. Sheol or the grave
  15. Soul
  16. The Soul not a ghost
  17. Is there an Immortal soul
  18. Human Nature: What does the Bible teach?
  19. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  20. How are the dead?
  21. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  22. Let not sin reign in your mortal body
  23. We will all be changed

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Also of interest:

  1. 3 Ways Religion Has Failed Us
  2. Direct Faith & Belief
  3. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction

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  • No religion ‘is the new establishment’ (christiantoday.com)
    Two surveys conducted by YouGov reveal that out of 8,455 British adults polled, 38 per cent – 3,199 in total – said they have ‘no religion’.

    This is most notable in younger generations, with almost half (48 per cent) of those under 30 identifying themselves as having no religion, while only 27 per cent of over 60s said the same.

    Furthermore, for the first time ever, ‘no religion’ has become the identity of the absolute majority of those aged 18 and 19.

    It is important to note that ‘no religion’ is not synonymous with ‘atheist’.

  • UK Supreme Court: Religion Does Not Require God (clrforum.org)
    Last week, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom–since 2009, the highest court in the UK–handed down what looks to be a significant decision on the meaning of “religion” in English law. The decision suggests that, for legal purposes, religion does not require a belief in God.
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    Lord Toulson made clear he was not announcing a categorical test for all circumstances–Scientology qualifies as a religion. The court ordered the government to certify the couple’s church as a place where valid marriages could take place.
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    Religion is inherently communal, and some of the most important benefits the state derives from religion–for example, greater civic participation–depend on religion’s being a group activity. In America, some people have begun to argue for a very individualistic definition of religion, one in which a sole practitioner, following her own inner voice, can qualify as a religion for legal purposes. Earlier this year, a federal appeals court rejected this view, and there are good reasons to do so. I’ll have more to say about all this is a forthcoming paper, to be published next month by the European University Institute. I’ll post more on this subject then.
  • New Statistics: the religious make-up of America (skeptical-science.com)
    The Washington Post has published a rather detailed breakdown of religion in the US … alas statistics, so yes it can indeed be potentially quite dull stuff, I’ll skip a lot of details and cut to the chase of what it is of interest – non-belief is rapidly increasing.
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    40 per cent of people in Boston have no religion at all, and it’s more than half in many counties. As for the 47 per cent of Bostonians who are Catholic “participants” – well, there isn’t much participation going on come Sunday morning. We’re talking about 17 per cent Mass attendance these days –and it was only 20 per cent before the clergy scandals broke. The story is the same in many other supposedly Catholic cities – fewer than one in five Catholics go to church regularly. Compare that to the 70 per cent in the 1950s
  • Ask an Atheist: The Usual Questions (csgroome.wordpress.com)
    I am not 100% certain. I am certain beyond reasonable doubt, enough to state that I see no reason to think supernatural beings exist. Any academic and self respecting atheist who embraces science and reasoning would always leave their opinions open for change and new evidence. This is where Atheism differs from religion, because we are not certain and would change our views if given evidence, but we are convinced by the lack of evidence and by all rational argument, that appealing to myths from intellectually dark parts of human history can not even begin to give us answers to any questions, even moral or epistemological ones.
  • Haunting the chapel: my thoughts on heavy metal and religion. (seanmunger.com)
    Is heavy metal inherently anti-religious? Having been virtually a lifelong metalhead, I can say from experience that many people, both within and without the scene, believe that it is, or should be. Critique of organized religion or aspects of it has been a common lyrical and thematic element in metal for decades.
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    Even without analyzing the long history of Satanic themes in metal, the music itself has always celebrated nonconformity. Its heavy and dissonant tones, developing beginning in the 1950s, by their nature challenge the normal, the usual and the mainstream. Religion, especially orthodox or fundamentalist religion, is the ultimate conformity. It certainly didn’t help that some religious organizations and people, especially evangelical Americans, made metal music a target in the 1970s and 1980s, blaming it for causing suicides, school shootings or indoctrinating kids with Satanism. Against this background, the heavy-handed anti-religiosity of figures like Glen Benton (Deicide) seems more like retaliation than provocation.
  • Visible Religion: Beliefs permeate life in Indonesia (indonesiaful.com)
    Students praying in West Java. (Elizabeth Kennedy/Indonesiaful)

    Students praying in West Java. (Elizabeth Kennedy/Indonesiaful)

    Indonesia has six accepted religions: Islam, Catholicism, Christianity (which really means Protestantism), Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It is not acceptable, however, to be atheist, agnostic, or Jewish. The first pillar of pancasila, Indonesia’s guiding political policy, is “belief in one God,” which has enough room in it to accept Indonesian versions of Hinduism and Buddhism, but definitely not the lack of any God at all.

    As a result of “knowing” that everyone has more or less similar beliefs, religion takes a highly visible role in everyday society here. My school’s flag ceremony alternates every other week with school-wide prayer, which is separate for Muslims, Christians, and Catholics. There are different uniforms for Muslim girls (long skirts and sleeves for girls, with headscarf) and Christian girls (short sleeves and knee-length skirts). All students take classes in their own religions, and each school has rooms for each religion.

  • Religion and Young People: The Lost Generation? (collectionofclancy.wordpress.com)
    I know of many relatives, friends and people I’ve met in general who are either agnostic or atheist and I don’t judge them for it. However what kills me is that their status gives me the feeling that they are the smarter and more enlightened people. But on the other side, the church gives me the feeling that because I have more liberal beliefs means I cannot truly be as good as the devout. A rock/hard place moment.
  • Does Religion Shape a Person? (meesh14102.wordpress.com)
    My Catholic education and religious family background influenced me to be a devout Catholic; no doubt about it. I attended Church every Sunday, received the sacraments, prayed every night, etc. I was a firm believer in God, heaven, and hell. However, as I matured in my college years, I began to have a few doubts about my religion. There was no traumatic life event or epiphany to lead me to these doubts, I just simply began to question. I began researching different religions, asking people of different beliefs their opinions on God (or lack there of) and finally I read a book. I was assigned to read, “God No!” by author Penn Jillette during my Communication Ethics course.
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    I don’t need a God to influence a good and honest behavior. My mom told me to never speak of my new belief (or lack  there of) ever again and to Never tell my father. I respected these wishes and continue to keep my thoughts about God and religion to myself. I believe a persons’ inner self shapes their character. I do not believe religion is what influences a good or bad character.
  • Religion? (lordmontello.wordpress.com)
    The cause and effect of religion leads to nothing but groups of different beliefs that have waged war on each other for not accepting their beliefs. Without religion their would be no blood shed by religious cults and will prevent mass war between other civilizations belifs.
  • The False Compatibility Of Religion And Science (amitoben.com)
    Religious counterparts will often point out that many scientists are religious, and that most, if not all, scientists in the past were religious as well. This claim is often propped up by such big names as Kepler, Galileo and Newton, and is commonly capped off with a challenge to nonbelievers that takes the form of “Who are you to claim to be smarter than those great religious scientists?”.
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