Thursday, 26 April 2007

Why Won't God Heal Amputees?

This website makes an interesting assertion. What would happen if all Christians started praying for amputees to regrow lost limbs?

No matter how many people pray. No matter how sincere those people are. No matter how much they believe. No matter how devout and deserving the recipient. Nothing will happen. The legs will not regenerate. Prayer does not restore the severed limbs of amputees. You can electronically search through all the medical journals ever written -- there is no documented case of an amputated leg being restored spontaneously. And we know that God ignores the prayers of amputees through our own observations of the world around us. If God were answering the prayers of amputees to regenerate their lost limbs, we would be seeing amputated legs growing back every day.

Click the pic above to visit the site.

I Joined the Atheist Blogroll

I recently nailed my colours to the mast and joined the Atheist Blogroll.

On to Hell folks! LOL!!!

Join the best atheist themed blogroll!

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Losing Faith: How Scholarship Affects Scholars

Biblical Archaeology Review have an article about 4 scholars and how their vocation affected their faith. They note Bart Ehrman's journey from faith to non-faith.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Newsweek: "Is God Real?" and "The God Debate"

The April 7th, 2007 edition of Newsweek ran a few articles about Atheism and Christianity in the USA. Both articles listed here are worth a read no matter what side of the fence you hang out at.

Is God Real?

Detail Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel via Web Gallery of Art

God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren

The Great Divide: Atheist Sam Harris (right) and evangelist Rick Warren (left) meet to discuss religion and faith in America at Warren's Saddleback Church in California

Barry Smith's Books

If you haven't read my first post about Barry Smith then do so here before you continue reading this post.

I think the funniest thing about Smith's books, at least the first four, are the titles. They all sound so final, and then the next one sounds more final than the last. Smith really did believe he was living in the last days. You don't really don't need to buy all his books to show how loopy Barry Smith was as there are some collections of his bullshit online here and here. The best one is his claim that Jesus would return by the year 2000 (here).

I'll post the original publishing date of each book and an assortment of some of the more freaky chapter titles and headings. You can click on the book cover to go to Smith's own website which gives a more detailed table of contents list.

First Published: 1980
Does The Bible Speak Of The E.E.C.?/ The E.E.C. Leader's Reign/ Galloping Inflation/ Cash Cancelled/ The Five "I Wills" of Satan/ The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion/ The Illuminati/ The Seal of the Illuminati - On The US Dollar/ The Club of Rome/ The Russian Revolution and the Zionist State of Israel/ Christianity Under Attack/ Postscript to the Mystery of Iniquity: Freemasonry

First Published: 1985
Cash Will Crash In A Flash/ Back to The Club Of Rome/ Danger Famine Ahead/ Kissinger Capers/ Ivan Panin Proves Authority of Bible/ Law Systems Become Corrupt/ The Seal on the US $1/ The Plan Behind the Seal/ Education and New Age/ World Government Will Confiscate Guns, Ammunition and Communications Equipment/ Who is the God of Freemasonry?/ British Royal Family Envolvement/ Dangers to the Law System/ The World Church/ The Occult, Witchcraft, Tea Cup and Palm Reading, Divination/ Homosexuality/ Compulsive Gambling, Drug Taking, Tobacco, Alcohol/ Soap Operas/ Stages of Musical Disintegration/ Plastic Cards/

First Published: 1989
Noah's Ark Found/ 666 has arrived/ Where the Big Crash Will Start/ Undermining of Nations Sovereignty/ Mystery of Iniquity/ Henry Kissingers Role in Peace/ Prototype for E.C. 1992/ Illuminati History/ World Domination Aim/ The Protocols/ Link-up Pope John 23rd, R.C. and Mafia/ Cash - The Last Bastion of Privacy/ Spying on Christians/ A False Nuclear Threat/ A False Greenhouse Effect (Ozone Deception)/ The World's Population Needs to be Cut Down/ Aim to Bring Alternative Lifestyle People Out of the Bush and Control All Others/ The Aids Cover-up/ Overthrow of New Zealand Sovereignty/ Others Can Spy Too/ Commos Are Such Nice People/ Reason for USSR Strength/ A Demonic Spirit Controls All Unions/ The U.S.A. in World Government Plans/ Computerization Equals Bondage

First Published: 1992
Communism Not Dead/ Aids Created by Man/ Nuclear Scam/ Japanese Real Estate Collapse/ Masonic Symbols in Washington's Streets/ Mason's Say 'Lucifer is God'/ Methods to Ruin Each Sector of Society/ Small Business to Shut Down/ E.C. to Control All Trade/ Global Army/ One World Religion/ Silicon Chips - Microdots/ Trapped in Your Own Home/ Why go to Hell?

First Published: 1996
These chapter titles seem to be much like the last book.

First Published: 1998
South East Asia Ready for the High Jump/ The Berlin Wall/ What About Great Britain?/ All Countries are Linked in Trouble/ Goodbye China/ The U.S. Role in the Conspiracy/ The Kabalah/ America is Run by the Devil/ The Russian Invasion of Israel/ The Millennium Bug/ The Great Pyramid of Giza

First Published: 1999
Proof of a Conspiracy/ The Illuminati and America the Horrible/ The Illuminati Chooses U.S. Presidents/ The Y2K Bug/ Come Back Henry Kissinger

OK, so it all sounds really, really kooky. You may be wondering how I ever got sucked in by something so whacky. Well, that's the million dollar question really isn't it? I was young, and impressionable I guess. I also (wrongly) put a lot of trust in those in authority in the Pentecostal scene. Smith is also, like most end-times conspiracy preachers, very good at collecting facts, half-truths and complete bullshit and putting them all together with just enough spin to make it say whatever he wants it all to say. Remember, not all that he says is crap, just most of it and definitely the conclusions he draws. A lot of what he says is not verifiable as he claims 'indier information' at times. Let's just hope I learned some valuable lessons about verifying the claims of others, too easily accepting 'expert' opinions from less-than-experts, and blindly following people.

There is no doubt about it, this end-times nonsense is really that, pure nonsense. Smith and guys like him repeatedly get it wrong or at best, take current events (not future events) and position them onto their doctrines of Bible prophecy. In other words they have a revisionist view of Bible prophecy (it sounds like an oxymoron because it is!). They rarely get any of their predictions right and erroneous predictions are quickly forgotten. For the last 2000 years or so, none of them have seen Jesus return yet!

Barry Smith

Back in my AOG days, there was one End-Times preacher who was both well-known and well able to draw sizable crowds to his meetings whenever he visited Australia. He was a New Zealand AOG preacher named Barry Smith. Most of us had either read one of Smith's books, watched his video tapes or been to a meeting.

While I never immersed myself in Smith's teachings, though many did, his stuff had enough of an impact on me to warrant a post here. In fact, back around 1991 or 1992 I watched one of his videos which predicted 'the Lord' might return by 1996. Of course Smith was careful to word this prediction right so as not to make it sound like he knew 'the day or hour'. Nevertheless, my friend and I both commented that there was no point living as if this world had long to go. In other words, it effected the way we lived and planned for the future. There is no doubt that his End-Times nonsense instilled some irrational fear in me that had to be later dealt with.

Well everyone has 20/20 vision in hindsight and I now realise that Smith was full of shit. He was, quite simply, a religious conspiracy theorist. I don't believe Smith was a con-man or anything. I think Smith really believed what he preached which makes it worse really as it means he was simply a nutter. One person summed up Barry and one of his last books as 'a hotchpotch and steaming mish-mash of paranoiac confusion'.

I seriously considered buying his books and going through them to see how many of his prophecies fell flat or how much of his material is based on paranoid conspiracy nonsense. I may still do this, but for now I will just post some of the chapter headings of his books and a few comments along the way. That post can be found here.

By the way, Barry Smith is dead. Yes, even he didn't live to see the imminent return of Jesus. "He's coming soon." Not soon enough for Barry it seems.