Radical Reincarnation

Reincarnation is the notion in some Eastern, Indian or Dharmic religions that people who die later return in a different body to start a new life, usually with no memory of their previous life. Often this is paired with the concept of karma, the idea that people go to a higher or lower form of existence based on how they lived in their previous lives.

By contrast, in Western religions that are based on the Jewish and/or Christian scriptures or at least are descended from them, reincarnation is rejected and instead people’s souls are assumed to either go to a place called heaven if they are good (or are true believers) or hell if they were evil (or followed a wrong religion) and never return to life.

I have no empirical reason to believe in reincarnation or indeed any form of an afterlife and it is my understanding that the idea of a soul that can be separated from a body and exist apart from it is simply impossible. Indeed, when a person’s brain is damaged in some way, it is clear that the person is also damaged, so why not just assume that when the person’s brain is completely destroyed at death, the person ceases to exist completely? But that idea seems to frighten most people witless. Why? How did we come up with the idea of an afterlife to begin with? Perhaps because of near death experiences that someone might have had on rare occasions?

Read my earlier statement about spirituality. Because of my open-mindedness on that issue, I have created a concept called “Radical Reincarnation” in which every person and animal that has ever lived was once within every other person and animal that has ever lived. In short, we were all Adolph Hitler, Albert Einstein, dinosaurs, cavemen, and dodos at one time or another and we are also part of the universal life force that we return to when we die. This life force, timeless and incredibly powerful, is what most of us have mistaken for “God”. And it is greater than we will ever know. Of course, I cannot support this idea with any evidence whatsoever, but I also know of nothing against it……..and no, it is NOT the default position to say something is not true just because it has not been proven.    Atheists who assert that are as narrow minded as some religious bigots. Rather, individuals are free to believe or not believe something that has no proof and no disproof. I reject the idea of heaven and hell for eternal souls because it HAS been disproven. Radical reincarnation certainly has not…..yet it does not exist in the Dharmic religions either.

Five Things Most Christians Get Wrong About the Bible

Inspired by atheist YouTube personality Steve Shives, I have compiled the following list of five things Christians, and many other people, typically get wrong about the Bible.

  1. It is treated as a single work, when in fact it was sixty-six (and perhaps more, according to some Christian denominations) SEPARATE works that were never intended by their many original authors to be put together. That did not happen until centuries after the books were written. Imagine a massive English book that assembled some of the works of Dr. Suess, Stephen King, Louis L’Amour, Anne Rice, Barbara Cartland, R. L. Stine, Sidney Sheldon, and Richard Scarry into a single volume to allow people easy access to samples of American literature. Would it ever have been reasonable to claim that those specific works by those specific authors must from then on always be sold together in that specific form?
  2. It combines scriptures from TWO different religions, but misrepresents them in the process. The scriptures of the Jewish religion are called the “Old Testament” and the scriptures of the Christian religion are called the “New Testament”, even though they are actually over 1900 years old and thus are hardly “new” by any standard you can name. The implication that Christians should have any claim to the scriptures of some other religion, even an earlier and related one, would be considered nonsense by most people if we were talking about any other subject. Do Americans have any claim whatsoever to the Constitution of the British government?
  3. It is assumed that these scriptures were intended for all of mankind, when in fact most of the Jewish Scriptures were written by Jews and intended only for Jews. Maybe the Christian Scriptures were intended for all mankind, but…….Jesus only came to the Jewish people and was never known to go outside his people’s homeland. It was only later after his supposed resurrection that he dispatched his disciples to preach the Gospel around the world.
  4. Even more damning, there is NOTHING in the Christian scriptures that came directly from Jesus himself. In fact about half of the Christian Scriptures came from Paul, who was depicted in the book of Acts as originally an enemy of the Christians who later converted to Christianity and helped spread the Gospel among non-Jews. In what context would this be considered credible anywhere else? Imagine if Abraham Lincoln was credited with ending slavery in the USA, but wrote nothing about slavery that we have to verify his involvement, except biographies decades after his death that do not even agree on the circumstances of his birth, and most of the work of ending slavery after him was done by General Robert E. Lee, himself once a slaveowner who fought for the Confederacy during the American Civil War and later became an abolitionist.
  5. Revelation is treated by most Christians as the last thing God ever revealed to mankind. Sure, let us ignore the Quran, the Book of Mormon, the Urantia Book, and Conversations with God, among other things. But if those are not valid, why accept the Christian scriptures……or even the Jewish ones, for that matter?

Tim LaHaye is no more

Read this news story:

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/left-behind-co-author-tim-lahaye-leading-voice-evangelicalism-dies-n616481

‘Left Behind’ Co-Author Tim LaHaye, Leading Voice of Evangelicalism, Dies

Tim LaHaye, an intellectual and popular leader of the evangelical movement whose 16 “Left Behind” novels sold tens of millions of copies, died Monday at age 90 in San Diego following a stroke last week, his ministry and his family said.

The “Left Behind” novels, co-written with Jerry B. Jenkins, were enormously popular, crashing mainstream best-seller lists in the 1990s and the 2000s, which until then had been all but unheard of for Christian-themed fiction.

The books, which were based heavily on the Book of Revelation, chronicled the struggles of the unfortunate people “left behind” on Earth after the Second Coming of Jesus and the “Rapture” of believers into Heaven, introducing the frankly apocalyptic theology to a much wider audience.

“Thrilled as I am that he is where he has always wanted to be, his departure leaves a void in my soul that I don’t expect to be filled until I see him again,” Jenkins said in a statement Monday.

But the books were only part of the reason the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College named LaHaye the most influential leader in evangelical Christianity in 2001 — ahead of Billy Graham, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell.

Falwell, who died in 2007, credited LaHaye with having inspired him to found the Moral Majority in 1979. And in a 2005 interview with Time magazine, Falwell called LaHaye and Jenkins’ “Left Behind” books the most influential Christian body of literature of the 20th century — behind only the Bible itself.

LaHaye also founded San Diego Christian College, 12 Christian secondary schools and the Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy at Falwell’s Liberty University in Virginia.

Among the first departments at San Diego Christian College was the Institute for Creation Research, which branched out as an influential young-Earth creationist research organization in 1972.

In 2005, Time enshrined LaHaye and his wife of almost 70 years, Beverly LaHaye — an evangelical leader in her own right as founder and chairwoman of the powerful conservative political group Concerned Women of America — as “The Christian Power Couple.”

Combined, their books and their radio and TV shows reached hundreds of millions of conservative Christians around the world for more than a quarter-century — and drew sharp criticism from liberal organizations and fellow pastors on the more progressive side of the Christian spectrum.

In 2009, LaHaye famously called President Barack Obama a socialist whose rise to power was possibly a signal of the approach of the End Times.

In an essay Monday in Christianity Today, Jenkins acknowledged that LaHaye was often called “opinionated, polemic, a right-wing conservative fundamentalist — and some will even accuse him of homophobia.”

But “the Tim LaHaye I got to know had a pastor’s heart and lived to share his faith,” Jenkins wrote. “He listened to and cared about everyone, regardless of age, gender, or social standing.

“If Tim was missing from the table at a book signing or the green room of a network television show, he could usually be found in a corner praying with someone he’d just met — from a reader to a bookstore clerk to a TV network anchorman.”

LaHaye’s ministry said that in addition to his wife, he is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

I first heard about Tim LaHaye when I was still a thoroughly brainwashed Southern Baptist and I had the misfortune to pick up and read his book “The Battle for the Mind”, a right-wing extremist diatribe that demonized secular Humanism as a corrupter of  American society. I wasn’t until I attended college and deconverted from Christianity that I realized the truth. I came to see that Humanists were to LaHaye what Jews were to Adolph Hitler and his Nazis; they were scapegoats that Christian bigots could focus their hatred on instead of the spiritual love that Jesus actually taught about.

As for that series of “Left Behind” novels LaHaye co-wrote with Mr. Jenkins, the entire premise behind those books was an outright lie, as I already showed in this blog entry:

Why the Rapture is a bogus concept

And that is why I prefer to call that fraud Tim LaHELL. He was just like Hal Lindsey, another self-styled expert on Bible prophecy no one should take seriously!

 

My own spiritual experience

In the early 2000s, back when I was devoted to the Baha’i Faith, I was at North East Mall (near Fort Worth, Texas) and was just sitting down to eat lunch at the food court when suddenly I felt this urge to leave the mall! I couldn’t understand why, but I picked up my food (a Chick-Fil-A sandwich) and drink and I left the mall as if I was following a direct order. I got in my car and started for home. As I was passing this mostly deserted shopping complex, I saw a family stranded on the side of the road begging people for help. It was a couple and their two sons and they were suffering in the summer heat! I decided to offer them a lift in my car, so the father sat in the front passenger seat while the mom and boys sat in the back. We traveled together for several miles, me following the father’s directions while the music of an Ottmar Liebert CD played in my car. Finally, I stopped in their neighborhood and dropped the family off. Then I went back home and ate my lunch there.

To this day, I cannot explain what happened. It could have been a coincidence, but I also think I could have been under some outside control, which foresaw the need of that family and sent me to be their “angel” that day.

That is my story….take it or leave it.

Spiritual Orientation

I have come up with the concept of “spiritual orientation” to explain something about human nature that seems to be a puzzle to atheists . Despite the dogmas of major religions like Christianity and Islam being debunked by reality itself, there are still nearly two billion Christians in the world, as well as over one billion Muslims and millions of followers of other religions around the world; there are relatively few atheists and agnostics in the world, and most of them are found in countries like China and North Korea where atheism is forced on the people by Communist governments. The experiences of the 20th Century proved that Communism as an ideology was just as dogmatic, arrogant, and embarrassing as Christianity, so it was eventually discredited. Good riddance!

When there is a conflict between one’s sexual orientation and one’s spiritual orientation, the result is something that can be life destroying. Continue reading

Ken Ammi, Enemy of Truth

Years ago, I discovered a blog which contained some criticism of the Baha’i Faith  and I eagerly copied a blog entry from it to support my own case against the Baha’i Faith, only to discover that the author was a hard-core Christian who was not nearly as critical of his own religion as he was of other faiths, a clear sign of dishonesty and bigotry. This was confirmed today when I found the new version of his blog and read its About page. I will post parts from that page here in green and italics and my responses in blue and bold.

http://www.truefreethinker.com/about

Continue reading