Posts Tagged philosophy

Evolution of Skepticism Daily – July 5th 2012

Evolution of Skepticism Daily – a new show highlighting Pagan and Atheist news from around the globe. If you have a news article or would like to have something you’ve done highlighted email me at derikeos@gmail.com

Opposing Views – Video: Atheist John Wolff Files Complaint Against Restaurant’s Church-Goer Discount
http://www.opposingviews.com/i/religion/christianity/video-atheist-john-wolff-files-complaint-against-restaurant-s-church-goer

LifeSiteNews – Dismantling the new atheism
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/dismantling-the-new-atheism/

BBC News – Casey Kearney killer ‘told pagan priestess of demon attack’
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-18727098

CNN – American Atheists Fly “Atheism is Patriotic” Banner Over NYC on July 4th
http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-811494?hpt=hp_bn1

Huffington Post – Lose Your Illusions and Find Infinity: A Jewish Mystical Take on Atheism and God
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eitan-press/jewish-mystical-take-on-atheism-and-god_b_1603976.html

TechDirt – UK Pensioner Could Face Arrest For Atheist Poster
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120703/11594019568/uk-pensioner-could-face-arrest-atheist-poster.shtml

News24 – It is really easy to be an atheist
http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/It-is-really-easy-to-be-an-atheist-20120705

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Evolution of Skepticism – Missionary

We spoke about Missionaries in the first and third world as well as how Non-Christian beliefs could use these or a less invasive version of these tactics to spread the concept of Critical Thinking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_thinking) we also answered the question “What do you do when they come knocking?”

http://youtu.be/A1G8nJ2IFjA

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Evolution of Skepticism – Review of “Awakening” by Jews for Jesus

http://www.jewsforjesus.org/
http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/timeline
http://blog.jforj.com/moisherosen/

I was given the opportunity to review a 30 minute video for the group “Jews for Jesus” called Awakening. It was a very interesting video though it left me with more questions than answers.

My questions:

Who are Jews for Jesus?

How can you find Freedom in the Messiah if you are in servitude to the Messiah?

Who is he?

Is the question meant as a challenge for people or is there truly an answer that can be accepted by those they speak to?

Should Jews convert to Christianity to worship Jesus?

“When a person rejects you when you’re in a Jews for Jesus shirt, they are rejecting Jesus” – is that true?

Why use humor in evangelism of something so serious?

Does Jesus need a new sect dedicated to him? Could this be the “real” Christianity since most Christians claim that Jesus established the “correct” church and was a Jew?
Here are the quotes I know of that refer to laughter from the bible:

Old Testament-

Psalms 37:12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
Psalms 37:13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
Psalms 52:5 God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.
Psalms 52:6 The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him:
Genesis 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?
Genesis 18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?
Genesis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
Genesis 18:15 Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

New Testament-

Luke 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
Luke 6:25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
Matthew 9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
Mark 5:40 And they laughed him to scorn. But when he had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel, and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying.
Luke 8:53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
Job 8:21 Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.
Job 8:22 They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.

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Evolution of Skepticism – Metaphysics

In today’s podcast we talk about Metaphysics as it relates to Cosmology, Theology and “the unseen”. We also highlight some women in politics as well as Justin’s attempt at looking like a woman. We round it all off with bringing Andie up to date on our work in progress religious organization.

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Christian Wicca doesn’t exist and Christianity isn’t a religion? Wha?

So, I had an interesting conversation via Twitter last night (June 21, 2012) with a Christian gentleman by the name of Rich Wharton. He had some interesting claims, as you will see in the twitter conversation below it all started with me asking for feedback about the Trinitarian Tradition and the video response I put together regarding it. He got very upset by me even asking the question about it and began to claim it was impossible to exist, when I informed him that it did, he became even more annoyed and so the conversation went as you will see below. I apologize for some parts seeming disjointed, piecing together a Twitter conversation via time stamps can make things a bit weird sometimes.

But I must say the part that really got me confused was that he claimed Christianity was not a religion, and his claims made it seem that to understand the meaning of things within the bible would require knowledge of ancient Hebrew and/or Greek.

I also think he attempted to lie to me, but quickly found out he was dealing with someone who would not take his claim without verifying or having prior knowledge, this happened when he tried to claim that at least 4 different “Historian’s” wrote about Jesus during the time of his life, yet none of them lived until well after 100 years after JC’s supposed death. Then he claimed that because I would not accept Historical claims from well after the death as being written during the life of JC that I was claiming the Holocaust and Civil War did not occur. Which is obviously false, due to the fact that we have writings pertaining to the Civil War that were written during the Civil War, we also have pictorial evidence regarding the time period, and as far as the Holocaust we still have people that lived through the situation that we can refer to for validation of the claims.

I hope you enjoy the read, please feel free to leave your comments.


Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
Im looking for #feedback related to #Christian #Wicca, I posted what I found out on @Youtube – Anyone else have a take? http://youtu.be/wCILDC3aXsk

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS There is no such thing as #Christian #Wicca.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem in fact there is, it’s called the Trinitarian Tradition. Check it out.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Actually those who call themselves Christian and Wiccan are either one or the other. They are not both altho I know they say it

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@derik_EoS Christians and Witchcraft 1 of 3: http://youtu.be/ljoB69MItf8 via @youtube Wiccans are not Christians Never were Never will be!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem How can you be certain of that claim when there are so many variants of #Christianity already?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS There maybe many variants in Christianity but there is only 1 Church that Jesus founded, not many 1 faith , not many.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem is that because you saw it on the internet? I should warn you that the internet is not a guaranteed source of information.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS If the Intenet is not a good source, why did you tell me to check it out?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem yet which one was it? Which belief system did JC found?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS no brainer.. The one Jesus founded over 2 millenia ago is the same one in existence today with NO pagan rituals!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem it is a good starting spot yes, but not always reliable. You should always verify your sources especially on the internet.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS You said the internet is NOT a reliable source!! Which is it?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem non-answer. The question was, which Church did he found? What was the standard of belief?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Read the New Testament and you have the standard belief.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem still non-answer. Since none of the bibles can legitimately be verified as the exact words he said.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS it is an answer, just one you do not accept.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem still non-answer. Since none of the bibles can legitimately be verified as the exact words he said.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS They CAN be verified as accurate by the manuscript evidence internal and external evidence.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem for example, the arguements that the new testament was written in the 1st & 2nd century and not by his true followers.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS documents dating to the 1st century have proven it to be accurate John Ryland Papyrus example

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem No, I asked a direct question. If there are variants of Christianity and they are not hte same, which was the 1 he started?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS There are NOT variants of Christianity, just varieties of religions that use the name Christianity

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem Who can verify them with the writters? There is no ability to verify with the claimed source.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS who can verify the writers? misdated? no all are accurate and can be verified

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem and there is absolutely no way of them being able to be forged? or misdated?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS there is too much ms evidence that coincides for them to have been forgeries

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem Yet they all claim the same superior being as their god. They all claim Jesus was their savoir. Which one is the correct one?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Jesus said of those that He Never Knew Them!! Meaning they are not His

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem Yet they all claim the same superior being as their god. They all claim Jesus was their savoir. Which one is the correct one?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS the correct what?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem Yet they all claim the same superior being as their god. They all claim Jesus was their savoir. Which one is the correct one?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Christianity is not a religion as many believe.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem the correct system of belief in Jesus and the Christian God.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS the belief system of Christianity is dictated by the Bible and anything outside of that is not Christian

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem if #Christianity is not a #religion what is it?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS it is a personal relationship with God

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem sounds like a religions claim to me.
Expand

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS not religious at all #Religion is what the Pharissees had and Jesus called them hypocrites #Christian faith is not religion

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem are #religion & #faith exclusive to one another?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS not really.. Faith is believing in something.. Religion is placing faith in a certain being or idol

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem so #Christians don’t have #faith in their #god?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS That is not what I said Derik! Read and learn

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem so #Christians don’t have #faith in their #god?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Christians have a knowledge of Jesus Christ

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem so #Christians don’t have #faith in their #god?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS You could call it a 4th dimension

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem so I ask again, do Christians not place faith in their god?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS you don’t know?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem as far as belief being intangible, you can’t touch it. It is not material thus intangible. You also can’t touch Christianity.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Like I said, it’s like a 4th dimension and you can’t see it or touch it

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem I don’t know what? where I get my ideas from? they are from experential knowledge and evidence presented to me through research

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS you don’t know PERIOD

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem waiting for a description of the Christian god.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS again Wicca is NOT Christian That was the original argument

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem waiting for a description of the Christian god.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS YOU cannot understand if I explained Him to you thoroughly Blind cannot SEE

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem no Wicca is not Christian, but there are those that have used Christianity as a foundation for Wiccan beliefs.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Those who practice Wicca if they had belonged to a Christian religion forfeited that religion to seek another

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem how are YOU the one who can level judgement upon me and my understanding?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS It is not judgment. It is #truth

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem how do you know they are not following the teachings of Christ in a manner that more closely resembles the way he taught?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS One thing I do know is that Jesus died was buried and rose from the dead on the 3rd day He is alive!!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem is #magic present within the #Christian #bible?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Magic is spoken of as being the works of Satan not of God.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem if he’s alive where is he? @LasVegas?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Nope not Las Vegas closer to home.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem if he’s alive where is he? @LasVegas?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS He is coming again for his own so be ready to meet him!!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem yet #Jesus was born & raised a #Jew & in Judaism there were non-evil magicians.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS no such thing as ‘ non evil’ magic!!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem How is Jesus not a false profit when his words did not come to pass?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS his words WILL come to pass

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem impossible, his statements have already refuted his claim.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS NONE of them has!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true that is a message the Lord has not spoken

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:22)

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:23)

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem Son of Man coming in his kingdom. (Matthew 16:28)

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS ALL true and all came to pass

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. (Matthew 24:34)

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS which generation? how long is a generation? whom was he referring to? Which generation?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem kingdom of God come with power.” (Mark 9:1)

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Kigdom of God IS with power

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. (John 8:51)

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS you are trying to understand the Hebrew slang is w/o knowing the language. Very difficult and almost impossible

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem as far as a generation, I am pretty sure you’re capible of looking up the definition. We are not the same generation as them.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS READ it and it seems he is not talking about THAT generation!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem yet you claim absolute interpretation of the writings of the same time period. Seems you are self refuting.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS The generation during the END times

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Jesus was talking about what was to come not what that generation then would experience

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem where does it say “end times”?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS His own words or the words of His Disciples..

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem pretty sure they’re all dead

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS you do not know and you are assuming that Jesus referred to that generation that is dead.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:27)

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem pretty sure they’re all dead

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS in law that call that ‘assuming facts not in evidence’

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem how am I to not know with the phrase “some who are standing here” were people from the future standing there?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS until they SAW the kingdom Well 3 days later Jesus was trans formed and they SAW His Glory! The KINGDOM

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem my point is that your claim of certainty is false & and attempt at creating a framework for your own beliefs

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS my claim is NOT false and you have no evidence that it IS!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem and that you are not employing fact as a foundation of your claim.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS you base your assumptions on a book written in a language you cannot read or understand and you think you know?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem wow, thank you.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS study the language

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem if I am basing my assumptions on the translation of a book written in a language I cannot read….

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem why are you basing your beliefs on it when you claim it is impossible to know the proper translation?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS I had studied the languages of the Bible both Greek and Hebrew

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem you really have no evidence that your claim isn’t false.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem so you claim divinity then? or at least the ability to do what is said to be impossible?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS claim divinity? Nonsense!! Knowing a language is not claiming anything like that!!

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS you are trying to understand the Hebrew slang is w/o knowing the language. Very difficult and almost impossible
Retweeted by Derik ( EoS )

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem oh & why should I study the language when you claim that the translations of the bible are absolute?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS I studied the language so i COULD understand it better!!

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS the translations are as accurate as they had been and the Dead Sea Scrolls are proof of Old Test accuracy

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem then you are telling me that all current english translations or translations not in original greek or hebrew are unreliable.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS I am saying that the ones we have 2day are accurate. Understanding phrases in Hebrew requires a bit of knowledge of the language

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem so which is it? only the original text is correct or the translations that I am using to understand are correct?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS only the original ones are INSPIRED we have accuracy by comparing MSS

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem so by your statement unless every #Christian studies Hebrew they cannot truly understand what the bible is saying.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS I did not say you had to be #Christian to study Hebrew

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS You need the Ruach Ha Kodesh

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem so I need the Jewish holy spirit? I thought you would claim I needed to find Christ.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem no, you are insinuating that a #Christian cannot understand the #bible without knowing Hebrew and/or Ancient Greek

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS that is not what I insinuated at all I said studying it helps one understand it better! one who thinks in English is not

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS heck yes!! The Jewish Holy Spirit is the best one! After all Jesus was Jewish the HS is not religion

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem but you are claiming that the bibles that I am using for my own understanding of Christianity do not provide me with knowledge

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS What is your reference point?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem and that to have knowledge of the bible I HAVE to study Hebrew. which would mean anyone else trying to understand would also.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS to understand nuances yes to understand what God meant no

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem if Jesus was Jewish why is Judaism considered non-christian?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS dumb question the Jewish people were looking for a Messiah to come and set up kingdom.. acc to them Jesus failed

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem I have access to multiple #Christian #bibles, which one would you like me to use? which one is the best translation?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Use them all, compare them all, it really doesn’t matter which version you use.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem yet Christian’s claim Judaism to be Pagan and non-christian?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS They do not claim Judaism is pagan!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem define pagan.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS pagan origin celtic a country dweller

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem with so many translations of the bible, one must stand out as the best, or else there wouldn’t be a need for more than one.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS that is bull so many translations!! They all agree

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem ok, and how was it used in Christian society?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem then why is there a necessity for so many if they all agree?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem oh & why are all of the books related to Jesus not in the bible? & why is there no other mention of him outside of the bible?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS the term pagan has the connotation of being a religion, which some country dwellers worshiped other gods

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem oh and Pagan is not a religion, it’s an umbrella term.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem so pagan was used to reference country dwellers who followed non-christian gods. ok.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS there is mention of Jesus outside the bible

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem oh? who spoke of him outside of the bible during his life?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Tatian did when addressing the Greeks

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem he didn’t live during the same time period as JC. Next answer?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem as a matter of fact, he lived during the time that many claim the New Testament was actually written. Long after JC.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Hegasippus Apelles Celsus also wrote of him and spoke of him

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
So #Christian’s out there, tell me what you think of @TickedOffDem saying #Christianity is not a #religion?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem still not one person you mentioned lived during the time of JC. I think you’re trying to lie to me.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Both Thallus and Phlegon were ancient historians and both confirmed the fact that the land went dark when Jesus was crucified

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS historians wrote about him that would make him a historical figure wouldn’t it ?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem but neither lived at the time of his death, so how do they know? Now you’re just grasping at straws.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Historians wrote about Jesus and they are very accurate and have to be.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Lucian of Samosata objected to the fact that Christians worshipped a man #Christian The man #Jesus

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem no they don’t, history is written by the victor. ever here that one?

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem still over 100 years after the supposed death of JC. still no evidence of writing about him from someone in his own time

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS if history is not written by historians, then we cannot TRUST history can we????

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem ding ding ding! I think we have a winner. and now you have my pity for spending so much time arguing a fallacy. thanks.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS Civil War never happened Holicost never happened

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS does not matter history is history!!

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS that is IF history cannot be trusted!!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem see the difference between the holicost & your claims are we have the ability to verify through people who have experience.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem see the difference between the holicost & your claims are we have the ability to verify through people who have experience.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem next are you going to say the bible is a history book?

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS NO the Bible is NOT a history book!!

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS you have no claims yet you deny all claims. How convenient of you!

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem I think I’ve made my claims pretty apparent, & found you lacking in evidence of your claim. That’s all I need. Thanks again.

Derik ( EoS ) ‏@Derik_EoS
@TickedOffDem good, then we both agree, it’s not a history book so it didn’t happen. thanks and good night.

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS I didn’t say that YOU did!!

Rich Wharton ‏@TickedOffDem
@Derik_EoS and not good NIGHT GOOD BYE!!

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Evolution of Skepticism – Questioning Reality

As a spin off from my Quick Cast Series, I have begun to answer questions instead of ask them. I hope to keep this going on a weekly basis.

Enjoy.

Questions:

I have a question that is maybe a little different. I recently asked a Filipino friend if they had a Pagan/ Witchcraft tradition in his country, and he said yes they did. But I suspect this is not commonly known. Would you care to research and find out more?

I have been hearing murmurs of “Christian witches” these past couple of years. Appearantly, there are those who hold the Christian beliefs and yet, practice magic and call upon spirits of the Earth to fullfill their needs. What say you about the inherant conflict surrounding their “jealous God”?

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Evolution-of-Skepticism/326282787451779

http://www.twitter.com/derikatwork

http://pagan-place.com/profile/derikeos

https://plus.google.com/u/0/106014374145528542447/posts

 

Filipino Witchcraft (Kulam):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kulam

http://filipinosorcery.blogspot.com/2007_05_01_archive.html

http://www.stuartxchange.org/Kulam.html

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-kulam.htm

http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Kulam

 

Christian Pagan/Wiccan (Trinitarian Tradition):

http://www.christianwicca.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_and_Neopaganism

http://www.religioustolerance.org/witchcr5.htm

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChristianWicca/

http://www.collegewicca.com/wiccafiles/christianwicca.html

http://amzn.to/NMj1S0

http://www.biblegateway.com/

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Review of Scott Cunningham’s Wicca – Chapter 2 – The Deities

It’s been far to long since I ended up putting this book down. I got caught up in the fight between theism and anti-theism and was pulled from the original mission of this blog in general, which was taking a skeptical approach towards religious texts related to different world views. This was meant to highlight the great and not so great aspects of religion and how it is said to apply to our day to day lives.

So I decided it was time to revisit this book and actually give it the benefit of a thorough read and review. I am happy to be back on this path after a long period of self discovery as well as some promotion of this blog. We are becoming more popular by the day it seems, with a weekly podcast, quick casts on a 2 day a week basis, and even some debates raging all around the blogosphere. We have stretched our arms into some of the most recent scientific discovers as well as going as far as to compare polytheism to monotheism.

Oddly enough though, this did do one thing that I had not intended on doing. It revealed my primary choice of belief to the world well before I had intended it to be revealed. In my opinion this was somewhat a negative because it can be considered that I may shine a bias light on the texts related to my belief system. I am here to tell you that what this really means is that I will most likely scrutinize my own belief systems more so than others, due to the fact that I do not want anyone to understand my beliefs in a relative or nonsensical way.

I hope those that have been reading this understand that my intention is to bring all faiths to an understanding rather than show why one faith is better than another, my hope is that anyone who uses religion as a guiding light within their lives have chosen one that is truly right for them and has not just followed the masses because they are afraid of criticism from the community that they reside in.

With that, lets get into some of the highlights and interesting points of Chapter 2 of this Scott Cunningham’s book.

“Every deity that has received worship upon this planet exists with the archetypal God and Goddess. The complex pantheons of deities that arose in many parts of the world are simply aspects of the two. Every goddess is resident within the concept of the Goddess; every god in the God.”

So what I am understanding Scott is saying is that Wicca allows for a conceptualization of any god or goddess as a representation of “The God and Goddess” of the Wiccan religion. He seems to be stating that ultimately there are only two types supreme beings and those two have been split up and represented as pantheons by many cultures throughout history.

Let’s see what else he has to say…

“The Old Ones didn’t die when the ancient pagan religions fell to Christianity in Europe. Most of the rites vanished, but they weren’t the only effective ones. Wicca is alive and well and the deities respond to our calls and invocations.”

So what I am reading here is that Scott claims Wicca believes any God or Goddess can be attributed to Wicca. It seems he is saying that despite the large surge of Christianity in Europe, those legends and lore stayed with us through word of mouth and story telling passed down through lineage.

“They have been given so many names they have been called the Nameless Ones. In appearance they look exactly as we wish them to, for they’re all the deities that ever were. The Goddess and God are all-powerful because they are the creators of all manifest and unmanifest existence. We can contact and communicate with them because a part of us is in them and they are within us.”

Now this is a piece I have a bit of an uncertainty of, mainly in the commenting of “…creators of all manifest and unmanifest existence.” As I have recently had revealed to me is the concept that existence must be a precursor to everything. Meaning they in fact cannot be the “…creators of all manifest and unmanifest existence.” due to the fact that this means their existence self-refutes that claim, you cannot exist yet be the creator of all existence. My belief is that these superior beings that we worship as a God and Goddess are a bi-product of the existence of the universe, they are the representation of self and nature throughout this world and the universe beyond. This does not mean they created but instead are the rulers of this natural existence.

“Religion based entirely on feminine energy, however, is as unbalanced and unnatural as one totally masculine in focus. The ideal is a perfect balance of the two. The Goddess and God are equal, complementary.”

This seems to relate not only to “Holy Book” fearing religions but also certain forms of Wicca that have chosen to deify the Goddess while casting out the God from their rituals and worship. If you look at nature, there is almost always a masculine and feminine energy present within all of creation, this in itself is said to be representative of the Goddess and God. This does not mean “man and woman” but rather plainly masculine and feminine.

“The Goddess is the universal mother. She is the source of fertility, endless wisdom, and loving caresses. As the Wicca know her, she is often of three aspects: the maiden, the mother, and the crone, symbolized in the waxing, full, and waning moon. She is at once the unploughed field, the full harvest, and the dormant, frost-covered earth. She gives birth to abundance. But as life is her gift, she lends it with the promise of death. This is not darkness and oblivion, but rest from the toils of physical existence. It is human existence between incarnations.”

This is a very detailed description of the Goddess of Wicca, what I find interesting is the description of her as the Maiden, Mother and Crone, this seems very similar to the Christian Father, Son and Holy Ghost. So the question comes to my mind, who exactly had this belief first? There is historical representation of Germanic and Celtic druid sects of all women who worshiped their Goddess (as Mother Nature) which seems eerily similar to the Wiccan definition of the Goddess.

“The Goddess has been depicted as a huntress running with her hounds; a celestial deity striding across the sky with stardust falling from her heels; the eternal Mother heavy with child; the weaver of our lives and deaths; a crone walking by waning moonlight seeking out the weak and forlorn, and as many other beings. But no matter how we envision her, she is omnipresent, changeless, eternal.”

Much of this seems to relate to the concept that the Goddess and God come to us as we choose to envision them, but also these passages show the inherent relation between the Goddess and the Moon. Many, if not most, Wiccans seem to attribute the Goddess to the Moon, I’ll be honest this is one that while I enjoy the concept of, I have left for others to reflect on. That’s not to say I don’t perform my personal rituals towards the Goddess in relation with the Moon, there is just to much shared energy between the Moon and the Earth, but personally I see the Goddess as representation of the fertile bed of the Earth, always renewing and changing while casting her shadow upon the Moon to show us which phase she is in.

“The God has been revered for eons. He is neither the stern, all-powerful deity of Christianity and Judaism, nor is he simply the consort of the Goddess. God or Goddess, they are equal, one.

We see the God in the sun, brilliantly shining overhead during the day, rising and setting in the endless cycle that governs our lives. Without the sun we could not exist; therefore it has been revered as the source of all life, the warmth that bursts the dormant seeds into life and hastens the greening of the earth after the cold snows of winter.”

This is a brilliant definition of the God, though it seems a little lackluster to me all in all. There was a lot put to the Goddess, but so far it seems more like Scott is trying to cover up the concept that the God is just a sperm donor for all of life as we know it. Let’s see what else he has to say about the God before I go to much further in my review.

“As the horned God he is sometimes seen wearing horns on his head, symbolizing his connection with these beasts.”

This has long been considered where the “Horned Devil” has originated. This is the concept formed of the Greek Satyr’s such as Pan and Dionysus, the God is considered to often enjoy revelry as a Satyr.

“With the Goddess, he also celebrates and rules sex. The Wicca don’t avoid sex or speak of it in hushed words. It’s a part of nature and is accepted as such. Since it brings pleasure, shifts our awareness away from the everyday world, and perpetuates our species, it is thought to be sacred. The God lustily imbues us with the urge that ensures our species’ biological future.”

What I am taking from this is that while several faiths, such as Christianity, consider sexual relation for purposes other than procreation is a “sin”, Wicca does not feel the same, instead the teachings of Wicca accept the idea of sexuality and consider it a natural part of existence, not to mention that it advocates lust as long as it is not to a degree of harming one of the participants. The God is the representation of lust, much like men in current society seem to be the ones burdened with the yoke of lusty affairs. Again, this is not a negative to Wicca, instead it should be celebrated, as long as no-one involved is harmed.

Of old, the God was the Sky Father, and the Goddess, the Earth Mother. The God of the sky, of rain and lightning, descended upon and united with the Goddess, spreading seed upon the land, celebrating her fertility.

One of the most well known Mythological figures for this statement would be Uranus and Gaia from Greek Mythology. These were the “first gods”, though they were in fact said to be created by Chaos. Uranus and Gaia were the creators of all things, they created the Titans, Cyclops, Humans, and all life in the Greek Mythology. Though referencing that they came from “Chaos” seems to be a similar story to The Big Bang Theory where everything came from nothing. This seems to me that the early religions may have a better understanding of how the Universe was created than we give them credit for.

Today the deities of Wicca are still firmly associated with fertility, but every aspect of human existence can be linked with the Goddess and God. They can be called upon to help us sort through the vicissitudes of our existences and bring joy into our often spiritually bereft lives.

This doesn’t mean that when problems occur we should leave them in the hands of the Goddess. This is a stalling maneuver, an avoidance of dealing with the bumps on the road of life. As Wiccans, however, we can call on the Goddess and God to clear our minds and to help us help ourselves. Magic is an excellent means of accomplishing this. After attuning with the Goddess and God, Wiccans ask their assistance during the magical rite that usually follows.

My take on what Scott is relaying here is that while we associate our God and Goddess’ to the same forms of guidance as the ancient God’s and Goddess’ we do not rely on them to take care of our problems, instead we ask them for guidance on certain matters. Also he talks about how we don’t leave our problems in the hands of the Goddess to solve, this is far different than the Christian philosophy of God being the one to shoulder all of the spiritual and metaphysical burden. Wiccans instead solve their own issues and ask for assistance only when we cannot use critical thinking and logical thought processes to take care of the situation.

The power is in the hands of every practitioner, not specialized priests or priestesses who perform these feats for the masses. This is what makes Wicca a truly satisfying way of life. We have direct links with the deities. No intermediaries are needed; no priests or confessors or shamans. We are the shamans.

This line spoke volumes to me, it reminds us that we are the ones who must answer for our actions and also we must take charge in our lives rather than appealing to another human for forgiveness or interpretation of a situation that they only have 2nd hand knowledge of. We do not rely on a clergy member to invoke the beings of higher power but instead we are able to do this at our own accord. No lines, no waiting for availability, just a direct line to guidance. The down side is, it leaves it to us to interpret our own experiences and guidance, meaning that if we are new to the Wiccan way we may be wrong. But, this is where another aspect of Wicca comes in, it is an experiential religion, meaning that we are able to share our experience and ask others that may have had a similar experience for their input, but in the end it is for us to interpret for our own personal situation.

If you wish to explore the concepts of the Goddess and God, read books on mythology from any country in the world. Read the myths but look for their underlying themes. The more you read, the more information you’ll have at your fingertips; eventually it will merge into a nonstructured but extremely complex knowledge bank concerning the deities. In other words, you’ll begin to know them.

As I mentioned previously, we can look towards the ancient mythologies as reference materials for the way cultures understood deities. The main difference between those texts and the standard Wiccan philosophy is that they had many Gods and Goddesses, but Wicca has solidified the concept that each of these Gods and/or Goddesses were aspects of the God and Goddess represented in Wicca. It is mentioned quite a bit by Wiccan’s that when we invoke the God or Goddess they will appear in a way in which we can best relate and understand dependent either upon our concept of the God or Goddess or in a way which best relates to the situation. For instance if I chose to invoke the Goddess for Wisdom, she may appear to me in the form of Athena from Greek Mythology due to the fact that Athena’s prime representation was that of Wisdom, yet if I am having marital issues she may appear to me in the form of Hera for counseling. Also what he references here is the fact that the more you know the more power you have pertaining to invocation and understanding of how the deities have represented themselves throughout history when dealing with humanity.

This is one of the secrets of Wicca – deity dwells within.

As a nature based religion Wicca believes that the deities are not only within the world around us but also a part of us. We are a piece of the universe and the universe is a piece of us, meaning that anything that resides within the universe is also a part of us. Including the God and Goddess.

The Goddess and God are real, viable entities, possessing the force that created the universe. Attuning with them changes us forever. It also sparks new hope for our planet and for our continued existence upon it.

Here is a piece that I actually disagree with Scott over. Perhaps the universe we exist in may be a creation of the God and Goddess, but I don’t believe Scott was meaning to state that the God and Goddess are residents of a multiverse when he wrote this, obviously I cannot guarantee this was his concept of the residency of the God and Goddess. While I do subscribe to the concept of a multiverse and even an omniverse, I believe that the God and Goddess of this universe was created along side the universe rather than being the creators of the universe. I also believe that the only reason we call them a God and Goddess is due to the fact we have no better description for such beings, if they even require such a description.

If this rite is too formalized for you, change it or write your own. This is the basic thrust of this book: do it your way, not my way simply because I’ve set it down on paper. I can never fit my feet into someone else’s footprints on the sand. There’s no one true right and only way in Wicca; that thinking belongs to monotheistic religions that have largely become political and business institutions.

Scott truly highlights one of the main tenants of Wicca which is freedom and liberty. We are free to tailor our beliefs to our methods of acceptance. Though I must admit eventually Wicca will no longer be Wicca if it becomes “to tailored”, it will eventually either evolve into another preexisting religion or a religious alternative that is exclusive to yourself. Wicca is quickly becoming a term similar to Pagan, its real meaning is becoming to transparent and broad that the term Wicca is becoming an umbrella instead of a true description.

Discovering the deities of Wicca is a never-ending experience. They constantly reveal themselves. As the shamans say, “Be attentive.” All nature is singing to us of her secrets. The Goddess constantly draws aside her veil; the God lights us up with inspiration and illumination. We simply don’t notice.

This is another reference to the fact that Wicca is an experiential religion that you must actually be an active participant to understand and receive guidance. Not everyone, even in Wicca, requires the guidance of the God or Goddess, but by being aware of the signs around them they can understand the path that they are walking without invocation the deities.

There are some who say that we (and anyone else who won’t follow their rituals or embrace their theology) are worshiping Satan. Not that we know it, of course; Satan is too tricky for that, according to these experts.

Such people can’t believe that any religion but their own can be meaningful, fulfilling, and true to its adherent. So if we worship the God and Goddess, they say, we’re denying all good and are worshiping Satan, the embodiment of all negativity and evil.

Wiccans aren’t so close-minded. Perhaps it’s the greatest of all human vanities to assume that one’s religion is the only way to deity. Such beliefs have caused incalculable bloodshed and the rise of the hideous concept of holy wars.

The basis of this misconception seems to be the concept of a pristine, pure, positive being – God. If this deity is the sum of all good, worshippers believe that there must be an equally negative one as well. Thus, Satan.

The Wicca don’t accept such ideas. We acknowledge the dark aspects of the Goddess and the God as well as the bright. All nature is composed of opposites, and this polarity is also resident within ourselves. Thus darkest human traits as well as the brightest are locked within our unconsciousness. It is only our ability to rise above destructive urges, to channel such energies into positive thoughts and actions, that separates us from mass-murderers and sociopaths.

This is a reference to such religions as Christianity where they believe they have the one and only way to clarity and/or perfection, and if you don’t subscribe to their concepts you have no option, but to unwittingly worship their entity of evil. Instead Wiccans accept that we all have both good and “evil” in us, and the God and Goddess are not immune to this duality of nature. For instance, the wolf is a vicious hunter, often taking down the weak for food, but this same creature is one of the most social creatures in the world, it builds a small community that is sustained by the packs local food sources, they are also vicious protectors of their pack mates, they will come at a moments notice to aid another pack member if they are in trouble.

Any and all religions are real, the genuine article, to their practitioners. There can never be one religion, prophet, or savior that will satisfy all six billion humans. Each of us must find our ideal way to attune with deity. For some, it’s Wicca.

Wiccan’s and most Polytheist/Pagans do not believe that any single religion is incorrect. We believe that each person must find their own path and in that search and understanding we find what is right for us. Due to the fact that we are all different parts of the same universe we all have a role to play and within that role we have a belief that is proper for our view of the world and the life that we must live.

Wiccans emphasize the bright aspects of the deities because this gives us purpose to grow and evolve to the highest realm of existence. When death, destruction, hurt, pain and anger appear in our lives (as they must), we can turn to the Goddess and God and know that this is a part of them too. We needn’t blame a devil on these natural aspects of life and call upon a pure-white god to fend them off.

This piece is very similar to the “we don’t follow their god so they believe we worship their devil” portion from above. Wiccan’s and most nature based religions understand that death, destruction and sorrow are all parts of the life cycle of nature. These experiences help us grow and understand ourselves, as well as remind us that we are not immune to hardship but instead should welcome these as a potential for clarity and understanding of our lives. This also gives us a great point to attune with the God and Goddess because they too experience loss and sorrow, but instead of relying on us to bring their morality up they can help us better understand how to grow and develop through this loss.

And that was Chapter 2, I hope you all enjoyed this and are looking forward to Chapter 3. I should get it out in a much better timed fashion than the space between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. As you notice, my ending of Chapter 2′s review ends on a much different note than my Chapter 1. Chapter 1 I feel shows this books age and lack of understanding that has developed over the last 10+ years. Everyone must remember this book was originally published in 1988 and Scott Cunningham passed onto his next life in 1993, so there cannot be any rewrites of his work or updating his views as his understanding evolves through the years.

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Christian Apologists – Acting the Fool?

Christian Apologetics

 

This Screen shot was taken from the Facebook wall of Tommy Rodriguez where Sye and those like him decided to interact and contend with a few Atheists. The part that stood out for me was written by Aldo Gutierrez, and specifically where he says ” And like I’ve told the other Christian fellows here I’m not really wasting my time trying to reason with you since the point of presup apologetics is not to really convince you but to “answer the fool according to his folly lest he be wise in his own eyes”, and I’m confident this has been achieved already.”

Now this seems interesting to me because it seems like Aldo is saying that Christian Apologists are “acting the fool” as a means to “answer the fool”. While I am not about to start calling anybody a fool, I can say one thing, several Christian Apologists have quoted something else of intrigue to me. Which is:

Proverbs 26:4 - Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

So what this tells me, and if you think this is wrong I welcome comments to explain why, is that Christian Apologists are acting in direct opposition to this statement, which from what I have been told is acting in direct opposition to their God.

So maybe Aldo is wrong here? Maybe he didn’t quite think his comment through before posting it on Facebook and allowing the interested world to see it. Aldo is following this command, kinda (but we won’t get into how he is violating this), but he is pointing out that his Apologetic friends are following Proverbs 26:5 with blatant disregard to the passage right before it.

Let’s take a quick look at this, remember I have not read the complete bible, but I do know that Christian Apologists believe in the Law of Non-Contradiction, meaning A cannot be A and not A at the same time.

Proverbs 26:4 - Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

Proverbs 26:5 - Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

So as a person that sits outside of the Theist/Atheist argument this seems kind of counter-intuitive, to say “don’t answer… according to his folly” then in the next line say “answer according to his folly…” is pretty confusing. Now mind you I took both of these passages from the NIV version of the bible, because it is commonly quoted by the Christian Presuppers, and as a non-Christian I have to rely on the use of the common argument to base my opinion off of.

So what is it Christians, do you answer according to his folly or not answer according to his folly? Having both statements back to back seems like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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Evolution of Skepticism – Quick Cast – What Would You Do?

Derik asks what you would do if you faced with the fact of your faith or lack of faith being wrong.

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Review of Scott Cunningham’s Wicca – Preface / Intro / Chapter 1 – Theory

Here is the first review of the Wiccan book: Wicca A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham.

Preface -

Scott Cunningham’s Wicca is new and not rooted in the past. Yet he claims that it does find its traditional roots in these ancient shamanistic cultures. Scott also details in the preface that he believes that we all have the personal power to oversee the outcome of the rituals and magics the Wiccan uses. Wicca is a highly segmented religion making it hard to find viable resources or other Wiccans to validate claims or experiences. Also it seems Wiccans don’t proselytize as a matter of fact Scott encourages those reading his book to not proselytize, though he mentions that he had a very difficult time locating information when first starting out. This would easily be remedied through gentle forms of proselytization, I’m not talking Jehovah’s Witness type or even Mormon type, but maybe a billboard in a few major cities, or even coordinating a central group to govern the potential financial aspects of bringing Wiccan temples to major cities (you know, a Wiccan sanctioned park in a major city), these would all go far in helping curious people find out more about Wicca than what they read on the internet.

Intro -

One thing that impressed me almost immediately when reading the intro was that Scott blatantly states Wicca doesn’t claim to be the one true way.

Here’s the quote,

“Wicca doesn’t solicit because, unlike most western religions, it doesn’t claim to be the one true way to deity.”

This means that as a Wiccan you know you’re likely following a fairy tale, but who cares? It is your fairy tale and your beliefs make it real. Or at least that’s the way this type of claim seems in the eyes of a skeptic.

“Wicca is a joyous religion springing from our kinship with nature. It is a merging with the goddesses and gods, the universal energies that created all in existence. it is a personal, positive celebration of life.

And now it is available to all.”

This comment will take me some time to come to terms with, because I don’t believe he truly believes his last line at all. But other than that I believe this statement to be fairly believable, Wicca so far does seem to be a religion deeply embedded in nature and existence.

Chapter 1 – Theory

“Shamanism has been defined as the first religion.”

This is the first quote of the chapter and it speaks volumes to what I am about to experience. It brings up the fact that religion has been a part of our culture even before the written word. Shaman were the people a tribe would go to for medicinal attention, wisdom and knowledge, they were the ones who would discover knowledge and dispense such knowledge as either public or private knowledge. They were said to use tools like, fasts, thirsts, self-infliction of pain, ingestion of hallucinogenic substances, and concentration to gain such knowledge. All of these were supposed to place them in an altered-state of consciousness, within which they were able to communicate and commune with the gods and goddesses. The term most commonly used in the book to describe this altered-state of consciousness is ecstasy, which makes me think that Scott is leaving a few “tools” out. As stated in the primer I wrote a couple days ago, this subject highly excited my wife because she has always been of pagan belief and often was referred to the Wiccan belief systems, the one thing that usually kept her away was a concern over her personal choice of magic, which heavily related to sexuality and the belief that energies created during copulation could be used as a focal point of magical energies. So to have Scott say that the mindset that allows communing and communicating with the gods and goddesses was in fact ecstasy genuinely impressed upon her that those people she spoke to may have been right, she may in fact be a Wiccan, but only time and more chapters will tell. Let’s get into the rest of this chapter.

It seems that Scott has decided that modern Wiccans no longer do things like self inflicted pain and using hallucinogens to invoke this altered-state of consciousness. He instead believes a majority of Wiccans use things like chanting, meditation, visualization, music, and dance to “commune with deity”. He believes that these gentler methods can attain similar states of consciousness as even the most brutal of barbaric rituals. I must be honest I tend to disagree with this, because if these rituals were able to impart information like how to make fire to a species that never used fire, or how to make the wheel, why could we not enter into these altered-states to find secrets and knowledge that can help us with our day to day lives currently? We are a much more enlightened culture these days, there is no reason why we couldn’t have a single shaman within a family or all of us be shaman if these gentler methods were able to work in similar ways, there had to be a price for knowledge, they is always a price, whether it be time, money or in the Shamans case, blood and flesh. I believe that the modern Wiccan has evolved past those rituals because of the social stigma behind them, but as I said this is a belief of my own and I do intend to find out others opinion on the fact, moving on.

“Wicca teaches that nature includes a broad spectrum of mental and spiritual states of which most of us are ignorant.”

This is an interesting statement because previously in his text he mentions that you cannot be enlightened through a book, but to no longer be ignorant of these other states wouldn’t we need some form of guidance into these other states? This does not seem to afford much for the solitary practitioner. How am I to know, if I am ignorant, whether I am speaking to the Gods and Goddesses or to Steve down the block who is actually talking on a CB radio being picked up through the fillings in my teeth?

“Wicca doesn’t view deity as distant.”

This is an awesome statement, because one things I’ve always been interested in when speaking to Christians, is the fact that their God sits on a throne in Heaven, and can hear everyone in the world through his magic wireless telephone from the Jurassic period of invention. Now this may not have been an issue when it was a few hundred people, but suppose he is listening to over 6 billion people, wouldn’t that get confusing? I have to tell people to shut up when three are talking at the same time, I can’t imagine 100, let alone 1 million, now increase that by 6 thousand times through one phone line, his wireless carrier must make truckloads of cash from his overage fees. But back to Wicca and Wiccan deities, the fact that they believe their Gods and Goddesses sit beside, and rest within, them and must be called upon to speak to is a very acceptable concept to me, because I know when I want to speak with someone I either need to knock on their door or call them up, I can’t just start talking and expect them to hear me, and I imagine Gods and Goddesses are busy people they don’t have time to just drop everything when not properly asked to listen.

“The Wiccan ideal of morality is simple: do what you want as long as you harm none.” and “do nothing that will harm yourself.”

This is a very good lesson, it is the standard do unto others as you would have done unto you. But this one is like 7 up, it has a twist, it actually tells you not to harm yourself making it so that you cannot use self mutilation or other self induced pain as justification for harming others. You go Wiccans, maybe we should find a way to work this one into a Christian Bible story, I bet it would end a couple wars.

“Many people confuse Wicca and magic as if the two words were interchangeable. Wicca is a religion that embraces magic. If you seek only to practice magic, Wicca probably isn’t the answer for you.”

So what I get from this is that Wicca believes that other religions use magic, even if that religion does not, it is highlighted with the statement earlier in the chapter “Catholic priests use ‘magic’ to transform a piece of bread into the body of a long-deceased ‘savior.’” But also Wiccans believe magic to be a natural presence within nature fully accessible by anyone willing to try and harness its energies. Meaning Wiccans believe magic does not hold prejudice based on age, sex, race, creed, religion, or any other means of uniquely identifying yourself.

“Most Wiccans don’t believe in predestination. Although we honor and revere the Goddess and God, we know that we’re free souls with full control and responsibility of our lives. we can’t point at an image of an evil god, such as Satan, and blame it for our faults and weaknesses. we can’t blame fate. Every second of each day we’re creating our futures, shaping the courses of our lives. Once a Wiccan takes full responsibility for all that she or he has done (in this life and past ones) and determines that future actions will be in accord with higher ideals and goals, magic will blossom and life will be a joy.”

I liked when I first read this paragraph, it made me smile that Wiccans believe that they set their own path, they are trailblazers and don’t hold imaginary evils accountable for the other 6 days of the week. They understand that they are responsible and will be held accountable for their actions, but they will not always be held accountable in this life, but it seems in the next also. Wiccans believe in reincarnation, meaning that they believe you must account for your past deeds as well as your future deeds, this bothers me. It bothers me, because we roll back to the Christian issue of Damned from the Start. Meaning that even though I cannot, in this life, change the outcome of a situation I may have caused in a past life, I should still have to be punished for it. I don’t agree with this at all, I would almost prefer to be bad in this life and then end up a slug in the next but absolved from all of my bad deeds due to my life as a slug. Like I said, while I liked this paragraph at the beginning it ended up causing me some issues by the end, I don’t believe accountability for actions you have no control over is a good motivator for “higher ideals and goals”.

“When a Wicca is outdoors, she or he is actually surrounded by sanctity, much as is a Christian when entering a church or cathedral.”

So Scott, you’re telling me that if I was a Wiccan each time I walked outside it would be the same as if a Christian walked into a church? Ha beat that Bible thumpers! Wiccan’s are holy everywhere! Scott attempts to solidify his claim with this phrase, “Additionally, all nature is constantly singing to us, revealing her secrets. Wiccans listen to the earth.” This would almost be like the Wiccan equivalent Christians of hearing God’s voice I assume.

“The way is open. The ancient Goddess and God await within and around you. May they bless you with wisdom and power.”

I think I am going to have to give him a small pass on his initial claim that he doesn’t believe enlightenment can come from a book, I believe he truly thinks he is going to show us the path to being a solitary practitioner of Wicca.

We’ll see… honestly I’m getting more and more skeptical about his methods.

Check out my review of Chapter 2.

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