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    British Census says Paganism is a prank religion

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 10:07 AM [General]

    Again, this is not my work. the orginal passage can be found at the provided web adress below:

    www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/fe...

    Last weekend, a photograph of a witch appeared next to a newspaper story about the 2011 census. This census is reportedly in jeopardy because of "prank responses to questions": 400,000 people listed their religion as "Jedi" in 2001, "in addition to 7,000 people who said they were witches". I paused. Why are witches bunged together with Jedi in the mock-me-I'm-a-twit corner? Why are they being fingered for the disappearance of the census, an institution so boring that, if it were a sport, no one would watch it?

    I know it's easy to laugh at witches. You could say they invite it, although all people who malign minorities would say the minorities invite it. I once met a witch wand-maker who took wood only with the tree's permission and offered gifts – usually tobacco – in return, even though trees are not known to smoke cigarettes. "Trees breathe twice a day," he said. Kevin Carlyon, who calls himself the High Priest of British White Witches, believes the human race originated on Mars and that he personally protects the Loch Ness monster.

    Another witch has told me that when the Nazis were planning to invade Britain in 1940, the witches sent a "don't invade" spell across the Channel to destroy the Nazis' evil plans. Yet another suggested that, should I develop a wart, I was to bury a Plasticine wart at a crossroads and then the genuine wart would melt away. In all this, I suppose, witches can be lumped together with the Jedi and their insane veneration of the late Alec Guinness as a deity.

    But there is more to witchcraft than zapping warts and hexing tyrants. The Pagan Federation, the umbrella organisation for British pagans, does have a PR department, and it sends off emails when they feel particularly aggrieved, such as when someone called Jade Goody a witch on GMTV in 2006. But mostly they are prepared to take the flak from their old enemies, the Sunday papers and Christianity, because it's better now than it used to be. Today, there are pagan oaths in court and pagan chaplains in hospitals and prisons. No witch has been imprisoned for sorcery in Britain since 1944; no witch has been executed since 1727.

    But still I feel an urge to defend the witches. Of all the silly religions – and I think that all religions are silly – I believe that witchcraft is the least dangerous and the most benign. It is also the least understood.

    This is partly because witches have to be secretive to avoid being mocked, fired or burned. Coming out as a witch today is called "coming out of the broom-closet". It is also because no one is sure whether witchcraft is a modern construct that appeared after the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951, or merely the continuation of Britain's pre-Christian paganism. Furthermore, witches disagree on many issues, and different sects – "traditions" – like to fight among themselves. This is called "bitchcraft". One witch told me, on the record, that he thought Carlyon was "an idiot".

    But the things that witches do agree on are benevolent. Witchcraft is the ultimate eco-religion. Witches love our planet. They are pagans who worship the stones and the trees through the prism of their god and goddess, by practising "the art magical". I don't know what this is exactly, because no witch would tell me. It sounds odd, and very time-consuming, but not dangerous. There are no witch Jihadis, and few witch proselytisers.

    But I have seen Kate West, author of The Real Witches Handbook, harangue an audience at the Witchfest convention in Croydon to bully politicians into action on global warming, long before it was fashionable. "Go away and turn into a group of nagging witches," she shouted, dressed, incredibly self-referentially, as Grotbags from Emu's World. "We sing to the Mother Goddess and follow her through the cycles of the seasons. But do we stick up for her when she is in trouble?" She then laid into the curse of spray-can incense and battery-powered "flickering" candles – witches, on the whole, do not care about money.

    Witchcraft is also a religion that venerates the female. During the witch trials, odd, different or freethinking women – outsiders – were tortured and murdered; it's all in the Vincent Price classic Witchfinder General (1968). Many female witches told me they were drawn in for this reason: there are no shaven heads in witchcraft, no shrouding of the female, no submission to the male. I suspect even Jedis think men are superior to women – the worship of the lightsaber is a telling clue.

    But don't witches believe in the devil? I spent an evening with a witch in Hastings once. We watched Inspector Morse while he told me that "witches do not believe in Satan and they do not believe in the devil" every five minutes, like a malfunctioning witch-themed robot. But don't they practise dark magic? Well, they claim they can but most don't, because they believe any evil spell will rebound three times on them. "I could turn someone into a frog," I was told, "but what would be the point?"

    It is true that witches often like to practise naked – they call it being "sky-clad". Isn't this a bit dodgy; more fuel for the salivating Sunday papers? When I asked another witch about this, he freaked out. "People always say this," he spluttered. "They think that because there is nudity, there has to be sex. It is absolutely untrue. You exude power from the body. And when you are sky-clad, there is no rank." It is only a form of saggy democracy and, he added, 50% of witches like to keep a robe on anyway.

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    A 6 Year Old Boy Debunks Intelligent Design

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 2:34 AM [General]

    This is not my work, I posted it because I thought it was intresting, to see the orginal post, visit this web site:

    www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blog/show?...

     

    I was attempting to explain to my son, Brance, who just turned six two weeks ago, why it was better to refrain from saying “Oh God!” especially around his grandparents. He didn’t understand why it was such a big deal to them and asked if “God” was a bad word.

    This caught me off guard a bit. I had no reason to think that he should have known what or who God was. I half suspected that either the Mormon or Catholic set of grandparents had tried to explain it to him already. By the time I was his age I could tell you who God was and recite most of the common Bible stories chronologically. That’s what threw me off; he was never going to have to struggle with his faith and go through the anguish I torment that I did.

    I had been spending so much time teaching him about evolution by natural selection that I forgot to tell him the lie he would be confronted with someday. Just a few weeks ago I had asked him what evolution was. He responded by saying, “It’s a gradual change in species that happens slowly over really long periods of time.” I couldn’t hope for a better answer from him. Talk about a proud poppa moment; almost made me cry.

    I decided that it was time that he heard the creation story that I grew up with. I hopped on the internet and googled “childrens creation story.” In .2 seconds I was greeted with 2,230,000 results to choose from. I chose the top one from dltk-Bible.com. As soon as I got to “Let there be light,” he started giggling. By the time I got to the morning of the third day he was laughing quite a bit.

    I read on, “So, he put all the water in one place and all the dry land in another.” He stopped laughing instantly so I asked him, “What?”

    “Why do we have to save water then? Wouldn’t God make enough for everybody?” he asked. I smiled and nodded just a bit before reading on.

    After I finished reading about the third day he was beginning to catch on. “So God made everything?” he asked.

    “Well that’s what some people believe,” I stated, “but I don’t think so.” This sent him into hysterics.

    “He made South America!” I wasn’t sure why this was so funny to him but he continued to laugh and list the things that God had “made.” Squirrels, Dr. Seuss, and cat butts had him laughing especially hard. “Doesn’t he have any brains? Cause he made some weird stuff in this world.” A six year old debunks Intelligent Design with a simple observational idea that ID proponents can’t even grasp. That had me chuckling for a moment before I read on.

    When I told him about the creation of the sun on the fourth day he became serious again. He wrinkled up one eye and stated matter-of-factly, “Light has to be from the sun.” And I thought I was the only one in the room that would have a problem with light being created three days before the sun. My six year old was quickly demonstrating that he was a better critical thinker than people who believe the creation story.

    “Then he made the stars to add a bit of sparkle to the night,” I read. Again the skeptical look so I waited for his comment.

    “The sun is a star.” He seemed to be getting annoyed with the story now. He remained quiet as I finished through the fifth day. “Why did he make sharks?” He seemed repulsed by this idea. “And why did he even make the fish if the sharks are just going to eat them?” I laughed aloud but decided not to give him my opinion as he clearly was about to spout off another question. “How did they turn into octopuses?” - Brilliant. He had caught the fact that the bible considers everything in the ocean to be a fish and says nothing about the other phyla or classes. “Platypus, too?” He laughed hysterically when I nodded confirmation.

    At this point he said, as he was running up the stairs and laughing through his words, that he had to get his animal books to see what other absurd creations God made. We read about some animals for a while before recapping and completing the Genesis story. When it was finally over he asked, “So he’s like a big daddy and we’re his children?” I mused at this observation for a moment before replying.

    “A lot of people think that,” I said.

    “So where’s our momma?”

    “There is no momma in this story.”

    “So we came out of his stomach?” I laughed again and shook my head. I could see that I was going to have to tell him the story of Adam and Eve.

    After telling him that God breathed life into Adam I could see the skeptical look appear on his little face again so I waited. He clearly didn’t believe that Adam was made from molded clay but asked if he breathed life into all animals.

    “No, Buddy, just Adam.”

    “Not even us?”

    “No,” I said.

    “That’s stupid; only Adam. Why not us too? He hates us doesn’t he?” I just laughed at this query as I really didn’t feel like telling the snake and apple part of the story at this point. I continued on with the rib story. He winced and a pained look came over his face as he asked, “Ooh! Did he die?”

    I chuckled once more and decided to end this conversation but he went into another rant on all the other things that God created. When he said, “And Uncle Dray, too, and the bad guys that shoot at him,” he stopped and shook his head. “Why would he create bad guy shooters?” He saw the absurdity of God allowing this. I didn’t answer (I don’t know, of course) but asked another question instead:

    “So do you think this could have happened?”

    “Yeah, I believe it now; I believe him,” he said, sort of reluctantly.

    “Why?” I asked.

    “Cause he’s such an idiot that he had to be the one that made all this killing and stuff.” I’ve never heard that one before! He decided he’d had enough of this conversation and wanted to go watch a movie upstairs. As he walked away he said, “That was a funny story though; made me laugh about four thousand times!”

    Just a few moments later he returned from the stairwell and asked, “Wait; Is God invisible?” Again I chuckled and nodded. “That’s dumb. Why wouldn’t he show himself to us?” I shrugged my shoulders.

    Why wouldn’t he, indeed?

    We talked about the story of our beginnings that science has helped us put together for a while but he quickly became bored with this topic. Invisible sky daddies are more entertaining. He did laugh at the idea of the universe being so small at one point. I think he’s skeptical of that but he had some interesting questions about gasses and energy and what the earth was made of and how it got “painted.” After answering his questions he volunteered the following observation:

    “I think the scientists are correct and the other guy sounds crazy. I think I want to be a scientist when I grow up and study water, animals, and space.” What an amusing array of choices. I had to inquire about them. “I want to find out where the water came from, for real, and dig up animal bones and put them together.”

    “What about space?”

    “I want to go there…”

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    My Belief-O-Matic results

    Monday, February 15, 2010, 3:35 AM [General]

    1.  Neo-Pagan (100%)
    2.  Unitarian Universalism (97%)
    3.  New Age (89%)
    4.  Liberal Quakers (89%)
    5.  Mahayana Buddhism (89%)
    6.  Orthodox Quaker (86%)
    7.  Hinduism (85%)
    8.  Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (85%)
    9.  Theravada Buddhism (77%)
    10.  Jainism (73%)
    11.  Taoism (66%)
    12.  Secular Humanism (62%)
    13.  Sikhism (56%)
    14.  New Thought (55%)
    15.  Seventh Day Adventist (55%)
    16.  Reform Judaism (52%)
    17.  Scientology (52%)
    18.  Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (52%)
    19.  Baha'i Faith (44%)
    20.  Eastern Orthodox (42%)
    21.  Roman Catholic (42%)
    22.  Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (39%)
    23.  Nontheist (35%)
    24.  Orthodox Judaism (35%)
    25.  Islam (23%)
    26.  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (23%)
    27.  Jehovah's Witness (23%)
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