Archive for the ‘Superstition’ Category

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: I wish there was a way to combine my love of video games with my love of Deepak Chopra. Well, your day has finally come. Deepak and THQ are combining forces to bring you a game based on his teachings. It’ll be out on the XBox 360 and the Wii this November, and appears to revolve around chakras.

Click here for more pictures, or to read snarky gamer comments about Deepak’s “teachings”.

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Sorry to get this out to everyone so late, but better late than never. I have to warn you about the dangers of Halloween and Halloween candy. I recently read an article by Kimberly Daniels titled “The Danger of Celebrating Halloween”, and needed to share it with everyone. She writes:

The word “holiday” means “holy day.” But there is nothing holy about Halloween. The root word of Halloween is “hallow,” which means “holy, consecrated and set apart for service.” If this holiday is hallowed, whose service is it set apart for? The answer to that question is very easy—Lucifer’s!

Note: Beware of other holidays – such as the Fourth of July (set aside for the worship of the United States) and Labor Day (set aside for worshiping the worker).

During Halloween, time-released curses are always loosed.

Wow, the devil sure is getting high-tech. I thought only pharmaceutical drugs could be time-released. Move over Eli-Lilly.

You may ask, “Doesn’t God have more power than the devil?” Yes, but He has given that power to us.

God’s infinite power has been given to us! Speaking of which, I meant to blame you for not healing grandma. Dick.

During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.

Yeah, I could totally see Hershey Foods and Mars Co. doing that. I mean, hiring witches to pray over food in a when a majority of Americans and a majority of workers are Christians. I mean, that wouldn’t be a public relations nightmare. Nor would any of the thousands of workers ever find out. And Hershey’s has so much to gain from it.

I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference.

Demons: they promote tooth decay, too!

While the lukewarm and ignorant think of these customs as “just harmless fun,” the vortexes of hell are releasing new assignments against souls. Witches take pride in laughing at the ignorance of natural men (those who ignore the spirit realm).

Decorating buildings with Halloween scenes, dressing up for parties, going door-to-door for candy, standing around bonfires and highlighting pumpkin patches are all acts rooted in entertaining familiar spirits. All these activities are demonic and have occult roots.

Yup. Pagan roots. I wonder if she knows the origins of Christmas Trees and Easter Bunnies. I guess All-Saints Day and Reformation Day just weren’t quite popular enough to overshadow the pagan origins of Halloween. I mean Reformation Day – what could be more fun than remembering the Reformation?

The danger of Halloween is not in the scary things we see but in the secret, wicked, cruel activities that go on behind the scenes.

Wait, now danger is not in the scary things we see — like “dressing up for parties, going door-to-door for candy, standing around bonfires and highlighting pumpkin patches”? What about “demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities” and “vortexes of hell”?

These activities include:
* Sex with demons
* Orgies between animals and humans
* Animal and human sacrifices
* Sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood
* Rape and molestation of adults, children and babies
* Revel nights
* Conjuring of demons and casting of spells
* Release of “time-released” curses against the innocent and the ignorant.

Yeash. I’m an atheist, and I don’t even get invited to those parties. Then again, maybe it’s because I don’t have any spare babies to sacrifice. You know us atheists, always short on babies because we kill ’em all-year-round.

If you or your family members have opened the door to any curses that are released during the demonic fall festivals, renounce them and repent. I already have.

Sorry, neighborhood kids: no candy for you. Worship the devil at someone else’s house.

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One of the ideas I hear a lot when someone dies is that “it was his time to go” – as if fate or God dictated the time of a person’s death. Now, I understand that this belief has a certain emotional appeal when someone dies, so it’s not something I’m going to argue about in that circumstance. But, it does bother me from a logical standpoint. If we really sit down and think about this rationally, I think it can be shown that (in general) people are not “fated” to die at a particular time. What would it really mean if each person has a time to die?

1. Geographical and historical differences in life spans are due to “fate” or “God”, not external factors like medicine, diet, sanitation, or safety.

In the real-world, life-spans appear to be correlated with access to health care and sanitation. The world map shows life-expectancies by nation. (Green is 67 years or longer. Yellow is 60-67 years. Red is 40-60 years. Black is less than 40 years.)
Apparently, “fate” or “God” decided that people in less-developed nations die much younger on average than people living in developed nations.

Historically, lifespans have also been much shorter. Even a few hundred years ago in Europe, diseases killed a lot of children before they reached adulthood, and lots of women died in childbirth.

Humans by Era Average Lifespan at Birth (years)
Upper Paleolithic 33
Neolithic 20
Bronze Age 18
Classical Greece 20-30
Classical Rome 20-30
Pre-Columbian North America 25-35
Medieval Britain 20-30
Early 20th Century 30-40
Current world average 66.12

Admittedly, life-expectancy numbers are skewed by high infant morality, but adult mortality was also higher than they are modern times.

The existence of these differences should be puzzling for anyone who thinks that fate or God determines the time of our deaths.

2. If fate or God determines the time of our death, then, logically, we shouldn’t be concerned about safety or health. If you want to smoke or skip the seat-belt, it shouldn’t matter because the time of your death has already been determined. Disease isn’t the cause of death, but merely a tool used to bring about death at the appointed time. If we correct any of these problems, then we should expect something else to bring about death, instead. These actions should have no effect the average lifespan within a society:

* Finding a cure for a disease
* Reducing gang violence
* Preventing the spread of HIV with condoms or abstinence
* Getting a vaccine, an antibiotic, or going to the doctor
* Increased sanitation (leading to a reduction in water-borne illness, such as cholera)
* Quitting smoking
* Increased safety on work sites, such as mining or construction
* Increased automobile safety, including seatbelts, crash-test standards, etc

Of course, we don’t believe any of this is actually true. We do believe that eradicating smallpox saved lives, that sanitation leads to fewer cases of cholera and reduced mortality. When the panama canal was being built, it was discovered that mosquitoes transmitted malaria. It’s very evident that the death-rates of panama-canal workers dropped significantly when they controlled the mosquito populations.

3. If the time of our deaths is predetermined, then we cannot blame people for actions that cause death. Murderers are merely acting as tools to bring-about death at the appointed time. If the murder hadn’t killed that person, they would’ve died from some other cause. Hitler cannot be blamed for the deaths of tens of millions (both in the holocaust and the war). The 3,000 people who died on 9/11 would’ve died anyway. “Fate” decided it was their time to die. And, it’s not your fault if you drive drunk and kill someone. That person would’ve died regardless.

Therefore, we cannot blame murderers or reckless behavior for causing the deaths of others. In fact, it would be pointless to spend time and money tracking down murderers – because doing so will not decrease the number of deaths in a society. The whole idea of tracking down a killer “before he kills again” is nonsense if each death is predetermined.

Now, I realize that someone could argue that there are human-caused deaths and “fated” deaths. This would allow them to condemn the murderer or the reckless driver. (Although, I’d bet there are plenty of people killed in drunk-driving accidents where people say, “it was their time”.) In general, I think people tend to use the “fate” or “God” idea when the death is outside any reasonable human ability to prevent it. If that really was the case, it should be pointless to find cures for diseases, and the geographical/historical gaps in life-expectancy should be perplexing (at least when those deaths are not caused by humans).

Of course, once you abandon the idea that God determines each person’s lifespan, and realize that people’s deaths occur for mundane reasons (rather than unknowable divine ones), it raises the question: “Why doesn’t God intervene to prevent death?” I have an answer to that, but it isn’t one theists are comfortable with.

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Forecast 2012

This what the forecast will look like in 2012:

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Sometimes I worry about humanity.

In Japan, you are what your blood type is

In the year just ended, four of Japan’s top 10 best-sellers were about how blood type determines personality, according to Japan’s largest book distributor, Tohan Co. The books’ publisher, Bungeisha, says the series – one each for types B, O, A, and AB – has combined sales of well over 5 million copies.

As defined by the books, type As are sensitive perfectionists but overanxious; Type Bs are cheerful but eccentric and selfish; Os are curious, generous but stubborn; and ABs are arty but mysterious and unpredictable.

All that may sound like a horoscope, but the public doesn’t seem to care.

Matchmaking agencies provide blood-type compatibility tests, and some companies make decisions about assignments based on employees’ blood types.

Children at some kindergartens are divided up by blood type, and the women’s softball team that won gold at the Beijing Olympics used the theory to customize each player’s training.

Not all see the craze as harmless fun, and the Japanese now have a term, “bura-hara,” meaning blood-type harassment.

And, despite repeated warnings, many employers continue to ask blood types at job interviews, said Junichi Wadayama, an official at the Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry.

Wow. All of those blood type personalities are so totally me.

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Oh, oh – I know the answer to that question! Unfortunately, the 2012 mania is already in swing. I happened to stumble onto this movie preview the other day (put out by the appropriately named “the disinformation company”):

Another video about the same movie here. Seems to follow the same pattern set down by “What the Bleep do we know?” – put a bunch of “expert” talking-heads on video, as if they know what they’re talking about. At least this seems to be going straight to video. But, it’s not the only one jumping on the 2012 bandwagon. The History Channel is putting out “Nostradamus 2012” next week, too.

Of course, I’m not particularly worried. I’ve lived through my share of apocalypses. I lived through “88 reasons Jesus will return in 1988” (a best seller) and the slightly-less popular sequel: “89 reasons Jesus will return in 1989“. And, the Concerned Christian’s destruction of Denver, Colorado on October 10, 1998. I survived the Y2K timebomb. Then, only five months later, I survived the ultimate disaster: 5/5/2000. The end of the world in 2001. I lived through the House of Yahweh’s nuclear war on Sept 12, 2006. (I mean June 12, 2007 .. er, June 12, 2008.)

It would be nice if people would actually learn something when December 21, 2012 comes and goes uneventfully, but we’ve already got plenty of failed predictions through history, and plenty clustering around the year 2000. They haven’t learned yet.

Now all I have to do is find some people willing to bet that December 21, 2012 is actually going to be the apocalypse. Easy money.

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This is a rather sad story: people have killed albinos in Tanzania because they believe albinos are the result of a curse, and that their bodies have magical properties. In the past, I’ve heard of magical thinking being the basis for killing all kinds of wild animals (gorillas, rhinos, and other endangered animals) based on a belief that their body parts can be used in magical potions, but never human beings. How frightening it must be for albinos.

[BBC] Tanzania’s Albino Society has accused the government of turning a blind eye to the killing of albinos, after four deaths in the past three months.

An albino spokesman said there was a belief that the condition was the result of a curse put on the family.

Some witch-doctors also say they can use albino body parts in a potion to make people rich.

A teacher in the northern town of Arusha has been arrested for killing his own child, who was albino.

(Full story available here / December 2007)

According to a more recent story (April 2008), the government has begun doing a crackdown on attacks against Albinos, but the numbers aren’t comforting:

Twenty people with albinism have been murdered in the past year in Tanzania, where there is a widespread belief that the condition is the result of a curse.

Our correspondent says that in some parts of the country, people think albinos bring bad luck to the whole community.

While there have not yet been any prosecutions regarding the recent spate of murders, 172 were last month arrested in connection to the cases – 71 of whom said they had been told by witch doctors to bring them albino body parts.

And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, in Zimbabwe, albinos have other problems fueled by superstition – the threat of rape by HIV-infected men:

But now, besides being treated like lepers, albino women have increasingly been the victims of rape – a practice fuelled by myths that if an HIV infected man sleeps with an albino woman, he will be cured.

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