82% of Americans Believe in Afterlife

March 25, 2008

A new poll cited at the Florida Ledger finds that 82% of Americans say they believe in an afterlife.

A recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showed that about 16 percent of American adults havetunnel no particular religious belief, including about 4 percent who identify themselves as atheists or agnostics. A 2007 Pew survey showed20 percent of adults ages 18 to 25 have no religious affiliation, almost double the percentage in 1986.

The number of 82% early in the article is not cited to a specific source. Assuming 18% of Americans do not believe in an afterlife, that flies in the face of the other statistics in the study because guess what? If you don’t believe in the afterlife, you don’t believe in religion. (The one exception here would be perhaps if you see Buddhism as a religion, in which case there is still an aspect of samsara or return to the world).

I was interesting in the number of 18%. It seems to make the non-religious community seem larger. It’s probably a more accurate number of non-religious people in this country. Whenever polled, the number of atheists will always remain low, like the 4% from the Pew Forum study because people don’t like to be labeled as atheists. They will say they’re not sure they believe in god, but if you call them agnostic, it bothers them. They may say they certainly don’t believe in god, but they won’t label themselves as an atheist because of its negative connotation. But regardless. If the 82% number is accurate, that means that almost a fifth of this nation doesn’t believe in the concepts of heaven and hell! That’s an incredible number.

18% of Americans

  • is equal to roughly 54 Million Americans
  • want immediate withdrawal from Iraq
  • have pre-diabetes.
  • are disabled.
  • do not own cell phones.
  • are drug/alcohol dependent.
  • of adults use Instant Messaging.
  • and get this one.

  • is equal to the estimated COMBINED population of Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • It’s a lot of people. Imagine if the combined population of Iraq and Afghanistan did not believe in an afterlife. I think that would significantly change things for the better. There are possibly that many people HERE in the U.S. who don’t believe in an afterlife.


    Vatican Adds to List of Stuff You Shouldn’t Do

    March 10, 2008

    CNN reports that the Vatican has announced that drugs, pollution and genetic manipulation have been added to the Catholic Churches “you’re gonna have to pay more now to get into Heaven” list.

    Catholic Church adds Sins

    When asked to list the new areas of sinful behavior, (Monsignor Gianfranco) Girotti denounced “certain violations of the fundamental rights of human nature through experiments, genetic manipulations.”

    Also interesting was the fact that:

    Girotti said the Catholic Church continued to be concerned by other sinful acts, including abortion and pedophilia.

    He said Church authorities had reacted with rigorous measures to child abuse scandals within the clergy, but he also claimed that the issue had been excessively emphasized by the media.

    Interesting, considering that some statistics show that 6% of Catholic Priests could be abusive. The Great Realization points out that this would mean 24,000 Abusive Catholic Priests!

    Read more about the new sins here!


    The Ten Commandments: The Work of Hallucinogens?

    March 5, 2008

    From MSNBC:

    JERUSALEM – When Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai, he may have been high on a hallucinogenic plant, according to a new study by an Israeli psychology professor.moses

    Writing in the British philosophy journal Time and Mind, Benny Shanon of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University said two plants in the Sinai desert contain the same psychoactive molecules as those found in plants from which the powerful Amazonian hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca is prepared.

    The thunder, lightning and blaring of a trumpet which the Book of Exodus says emanated from Mount Sinai could just have been the imaginings of a people in an “altered state of awareness,” Shanon hypothesized.

    Read the story here.

    I think they may want to talk to these people, who claim Moses never existed.


    McCain on Religion

    March 5, 2008

    faithwatch
    PFW:29


    Honesty in Youth

    March 4, 2008

    The Price of Atheism

    February 17, 2008

    Sorry I’ve just been posting videos lately. I’m in the middle of the spring tour and haven’t had much time to dedicate to TGR lately.


    Why The Ten Commandments Are Unnecessary

    February 5, 2008

    The Ten Commandments are unnecessary as a moral code. This may seem like a bold statement to a non-secular reader, but hear me out. The Ten Commandments are often used as an argument for a be-all, end-all moral “law of the land” and I argue that not only are the Commandments redundant, they are completely unnecessary to a rational, thinking human.

    First let’s take a look at the Ten Commandments as they are stated in Exodus 20:2-17:

    2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;commandments

    3 Do not have any other gods before Me.

    4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

    6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

    7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

    8 Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.

    9 For six days you shall labour and do all your work.

    10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.

    11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.

    12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

    13 You shall not murder.

    14 You shall not commit adultery.

    15 You shall not steal.

    16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

    17 You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.

    Or, in short:
    1.I am the Lord your God/You shall have no other gods before me
    2.You shall not make for yourself an idol
    3.You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God
    4.Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
    5.Honor your Father and Mother
    6.You shall not murder
    7.You shall not commit adultery
    8.You shall not steal
    9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
    10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house/wife

    At this point, I’m going to propose something about what we know as “the golden rule.” I propose that “the golden rule” is a naturally understood feeling in humans. I think humans naturally know to treat others how they wish to be treated. I further propose that any behavior outside of that is taught behavior. It is my belief that humans have an inborn desire to show compassion and are born as good people. I also believe that our natural understanding of the golden rule is proven by societies’ desire to improve and build communities. So this “golden rule” of treating others how you wish to be treated sort of gives us a pretty good moral compass in and of itself just through guiding us to show compassion.

    Now let’s examine how many of the Ten Commandments fall under the scope of The Golden Rule:

    1.I am the Lord your God/You shall have no other gods before me
    2.You shall not make for yourself an idol
    3.You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God
    4.Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
    5.Honor your Father and Mother
    6.You shall not murder
    7.You shall not commit adultery
    8.You shall not steal
    9.You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
    10.You shall not covet your neighbor’s house/wife

    The last six on the list can all be hit with the simple idea of treating people how you would wish to be treated. They’re all “do good, not bad” Commandments. Since I think that showing compassion and treating others how you would wish to be treated are inborn desires, these 6 Commandments can go.

    This leaves us with the first four. And you’ll notice that the first four contain NO moral code. They do not contain anything that would determine anyone’s behavior without an accompanying existing law. Let’s look at them separately.

    1.I am the Lord your God/You shall have no other gods before me This is the “committment commandment” that all religions have. All religions have something in them that says “You will believe in me and nothing else and if you believe in the other stuff, you’re wrong.” Otherwise, there would be no commitment to the religion and people would be hybrid believers. Any one religion can’t thrive and exist without this one, so as a law of the religion this is necessary. However, as a law of moral code, unfortunately it is not.

    2.You shall not make for yourself an idol Sorry, Ruben Studdard. In reality, this is an expansion of #1. If you make yourself an idol, it threatens the authority of the leader guy. Again – necessary for religion, NOT necessary for morality.

    3.You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God So I don’t have to say that this one is not necessary for morality in any way. A person can lead a good and moral life using any language they want. This is otherwise known as the “sticks and stones” theory.

    4.Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy To be quite honest, I can not think of a single reason why a “holy day” is necessary other than to give people time to commit to the religion. As a moral guide, it does nothing for a person.

    Essentially, these first four commandments were never meant to be a moral guide to its followers, but rather a way to honor their creator. The rest of the commandments could be summed up with the words “show compassion.” And showing compassion is an inborn desire.


    Huckabee Wants to Change Constitution to Include “A Living God”

    January 15, 2008

    faithwatch
    PFW:27

    Mike Huckabee, according to the Drudge Report, recently said that The Constitution must change:

    “I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’shuckabee wants to change constitution what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

    This couldn’t be further from what the founding fathers of this nation intended. Please help put a stop to this man’s political endeavors by letting people know what the founding fathers intended when they purposely did not include a mention of “God” in our Constitution.


    Satirical Web Site Gets Taken Seriously

    December 27, 2007

    The clever satire on the web site, landoverbaptist.org, has been taken seriously by one Christian website, Cross Nation. The Christian site dedicated to “Bringing Civilization to the Internet” thinks that some people might be confused and actually believe some of the things on landoverbaptist.org, so they make a handy list clearing up the facts. The result is actually something that is not all that different from the satire on landoverbaptist.org! It’s a funny read, and certainly not meant to be so. Here’s their explanation:

    This section is dedicated to detailing the many misrepresentations of Fundamentalist Christianity found at the satirical website known as Landoverbaptist.com or Landoverbaptist.org. The “Terms of Use” link at the bottom of the homepage of Landoverbaptist.com/.org does have a disclaimer acknowledging that Landover Baptist is fictitious, yet no effort has as yet been made by either critics or the website itself to show the disparities between fact and fiction.

    Below is a chart, put in rough alphabetical order, showing in the left column what Landoverbaptist.com claims Fundamentalists believe and showing in the right column what Fundamentalists really believe in their own words.

    And here’s a couple excerpts from their list:

  • What Landoverbaptist.com claims
    Fundamentalists believe.
    • Afterlife

    You are probably asking yourself, “Why will Jesus be removing our reproductive organs and teats before we get to Heaven?” Well, my dear lady, the answer is quite simple. In Heaven, there’ll simply be no need for genitals. My guess is that the Lord is pretty disgusted after having to watch His creatures hump away on each other for the last 4,000 years. I know I’d be! Think of it this way, Jesus and His Daddy have been sitting up there in Heaven watching the longest pornographic film ever made, and frankly, they are no longer amused.
    (http://www.landoverbaptist.org/
    news0704/grandpa.html, accessed 06/20/07)

  • What Fundamentalists
    Believe in their own words.
    • Afterlife

    “Will our resurrection bodies have sex organs? Since men will be men, and women will be women, and since there will be direct continuity between the old bodies and the new, there’s every reason to believe they will.”
    (Alcorn, Randy Heaven Wheaton, Illonois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2004 p.339.)

  • What Landoverbaptist.com claims
    Fundamentalists believe.
    • Cinema: LOTR: The Two Towers

    This time around, you don’t have to be a Bible Scholar or a Creation Scientist to see that The Two Towers are giant structures built to glorify and honor the aroused genitalia of two of the most powerful evil beings in the movie. The imagery is kept discrete only by the merciful fact that both creatures are uncircumcised – otherwise the shape of two enormous, throbbing purple penis heads would have been staring every moviegoer in the face! The citizens of Middle Earth pick which penis they like best and head toward it. (http://www.landoverbaptist.org
    /news1202/twotowers.html, accessed 03/15/07)

  • What Fundamentalists
    Believe in their own words.
    • Cinema: LOTR: The Two Towers

    Families who felt so-so about the violence of Fellowship should be aware that things get darker and more intense here. No more frolicking in the Shire. The scenic splendor of Rivendell gives way to slithering sidekicks and hordes of invading beasts. (Thank goodness for John Rhys-Davies, who provides much-needed comic relief as Gimli the Dwarf.) If things truly are darkest before dawn, director Peter Jackson has gone all out to set up an unbelievably bright “dawn” in act three, next year’s Return of the King. From a storytelling perspective, that makes sense. After all, The Empire Strikes Back was the most foreboding film in the original Star Wars trilogy. But the often dreary onslaught here may be more than some families want to endure (this is not a film for children). (http://www.pluggedinonline.com
    /movies/movies/a0000116.cfm, accessed 03/17/07)


    Idiotic Comment Award

    December 27, 2007

    Every once in awhile, we like to poke fun at those who post comments on the Internet with which we take issue. Today’s Idiotic Comment Award goes to a commenter on another Web site outside of TheGreatRealization.com. I thought it was fair game since the comment was on a story that referenced a Great Realization post questioning the Godliness of the world’s largest philanthropists.

    Before we get to the comment, here’s the article.

    [DRUM ROLL PLEASE] And the idiotic comment award goes to a user by the name of “Patrick” for the following gem!

    I don’t know any religious thinker who says “without religious belief you cannot be moral.” I don’t doubt that there are some religious people who think so, but this is not a serious argument. I know many religious people who say that without religion, society cannot transmit morals, moral behavior is not promoted in society, and that immoral behavior is not discouraged. I don’t think a feeling of empathy can get a society to that point.

    As far as the effect of religion on Buffet and Gates, I wonder if they haven’t been raised in religious homes. I don’t know. Maybe their motivations are simply altruistic, in which case they are the exception to the rule. Still, the American culture and environment in which they operate is religious. Good behavior is determined largely by the values that the Judeo-Christian tradition has engendered. As Arthur Brooks has shown, religious people give more than secular people. Of course that is not true in every particular. Regardless of their religious (or lack of) motivation, Gates and Buffet are doing good things.

    stupidOkay, Patrick. Let’s take this piece by piece. First of all – there are MANY religious thinkers (if not most) that argue that religion is essential for morality. Just recently Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney made that exact argument in a speech about religion. Christian writers argue all the time that without Religion, we’re relegated to being a bunch of immoral monkeys running amuck around the planet. Just yesterday, Chuck Colson used a twisted understanding of the philosophy of Nietzsche to argue in the Christian post that:

    One atheist understood the moral consequences of his unbelief: That was Nietzsche, who argued that God is dead, but acknowledged that without God there could be no binding and objective moral order.

    Of course, the “New Atheists” deny this. Instead, they unconvincingly argue that you can have the benefits of an altruistic, Christian-like morality without God.

    Of course, it should also be noted that Colson thinks that “You won’t find many atheists feeding the hungry and ministering to the sick in places like Africa or Mother Teresa’s Calcutta.” Apparently he doesn’t read this blog.

    Look – I probably shouldn’t even use Colson as support here. He’s obviously got a screw loose and furthermore doesn’t understand science very well.

    The point is – as an atheist, one sometimes fears telling other people about their lack of belief because of situations like this:

    magikent: …so I helped serve food to the homeless at the shelter over Thanksgiving and then I delivered cookies to all the grandma’s in a three state area.

    believer: Really, that’s so nice of you.

    magikent: Yeah, then I went home and wrote a blog entry for “The Great Realization,” my atheist blog.

    believer: What? You’re an atheist? I thought you said you helped feed the homeless? [HEAD EXPLODES]

    dumb

    I hear stories like this all the time. There are sadly many that simply can’t imagine a human possessing morals and values without the threat of eternal damnation.

    Patrick also argues that “Good behavior is determined largely by the values that the Judeo-Christian tradition has engendered.” What? Patrick, my dogs can exhibit good behavior and I’m pretty sure they haven’t been up watching the 500 Club. Good behavior has to do with several things. The innate desire to end suffering, the natural understanding of “the golden rule,” and the desire to show compassion to others. These are things that are possible without any religious beliefs. They’re simply a condition of being human. We want to be happy and in order to be happy, we learn what makes us end our sufferings. One of the most obvious of these is to treat other people the way we would want to be treated. Even more sophisticated “learned behavior” could be attributed to mimicking of parenting styles and role models more than religion. However most Christians would tell you that it is the code of the Bible (most of the things above are mentioned as God’s word in the Bible) that is necessary to know these tips for good behavior. Because many of the Judeo-Christian God’s rules are natural, inborn desires and feelings in humans, the Bible is unnecessary for good or moral behavior. How many of the “Ten Commandments” can be explained through “Treat others as you wish to be treated?” Almost all of them. Yet Christians will argue that without understanding and living through God’s law, one can not be moral.

    Patrick doesn’t believe it, so he get’s today’s idiotic comment award. YAY.