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WHO is God?

A response to message: Ten Commandments Controversy - America Founded on Judaic-Christian Priniciples


From: "ricky"
To: edwardtbabinski.us
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2003 9:47 AM
Subject: WHO is G-d?


Gloria, I can see that you, like myself, are searching for the true G-d, because, for all these years, you have been inundated with conflicting information that has you confused and uncertain. Let me relate a true story of something that happened to me just last week that should help you find an answer.


For the past 35 years I have been an absolute atheist. Raised a Roman Catholic, I, of course, began to question the veracity of the scriptures and the authenticity of the new testament. It has been my belief that the story of Jesus was the greatest hoax perpetrated on mankind in all of history. NOBODY could convince me I was wrong. With this in mind, last week, Monday, September 15, I was checking out the stocks, looking for something to buy low and sell high, watching CNBC, when I realized it was time to take my granddaughter to the schoolbus, which has become a daily ritual for me. Before I disconnected from the trading site I said to G-d, "Father, I TRULY believe that YOU are the one true G-d and Jesus was not your son. I believe that Christians, believing otherwise, are breaking the first commandment. If I am on the right path, and YOU are the one TRUE G-d, please send me a sign...mess up my computer; leave a message across the screen....ANYTHING to give me a sign that I am on the right path."


I, then, shut down, went over to my son's house and picked up my granddaughter. After she wasdriven off, I returned home and returned to the very same website I had been on, only THIS time I couldn't submit a buy order, I couldn't browse, couldn't send or recieve EMail...in other words, my computer had gone haywire.


I packed up my equipment to take it to a computer expert to have it purged of this virus, and, later that night I was washing the supper dishes. My wife was gone, playing Bingo, and, as I rinsed a glass, with the TV on in the backround, I said aloud, "Well, G-d, I guess you showed me."


IMMEDIATELY, one of the characters, I think it was a woman, (and I really don't know what was being shown on the channel, or even WHICH channel I had on) said, "That's what you asked for, Ricardo". I know you must think I'm some lunatic, but the fact that I found your website should convince you that, since I experienced those two miracles, I have done little except try to find out whether this was truly a connection to the one, true G-d. Take it for what it's worth. I swear that EVERY word I have written here is the absolute truth. As hard as it is to go contrary to the Christian faith, I am CONVINCED now that the Jews and the Muslims might just be correct in their assertions that Jesus was no more than a man and that G-d is angry that this carpenter has been given a status
he does not deserve.


What do YOU think?




From: Gloria M.
To: edwardtbabinski.us
Sent: Sunday, September 28, 2003 9:44 AM
Subject: Re: Hello


I read, with interest, your miracle, and certainly will not argue with your interpretation.......except........when I read:
"later that night I was washing the supper dishes."


Now we all know that male/washing dishes do not belong in the same sentence. What planet did you say you live on?


Just joking, I also, have a husband who washes dishes - (lucky me) -


Now for your question: What do YOU think?


You know 'Ricky' it is not for me to question your interpretation of an experience that you call a 'miracle'. I will share with you that my computer crashed last year, and it did not occur to me to put a 'God did it' interpretation on it. - and I will say that I disagree with your characterization of God as 'angry' - (amused, maybe), but we've got to stop attributing to God all these negative human emotions - Isn't it amazing he has not sued for defamation of character a long time ago?


Sincerely, Gloria, ss (struggling soul)

Testimonies of Exorcism

From: Winston
To: ed.babinski
Sent: Sunday, July 18, 2004 7:02 AM
Subject: Link to my article debunking Christian fundamentalist arguments


Hi there,
I just put up my article debunking the main arguments of Christian fundamentalists. Here is the link. I was wondering if you could post it somewhere on your site. It was written to help newly ex-fundamentalists.


Debunking_Christian_Arguments.htm

Thanks,
Winston




From: Ed Babinski
To: Winston
Sent: Monday, July 19, 2004 2:37 AM
Subject: I read your testimony, Winston, very interesting!


Hi Winston,


Thanks for writing edwardtbabinski.us


I enjoyed your personal testimony about leaving fundamentalism at your website.


...especially this part: "My mom... took me to see some Spiritualist healers and Taoist-like temples to try to get help for the mental illness I had for 2 years. Three Different spiritualists who didn't know each other told her that they could 'see' two souls inhabiting me for a past karmic crime I committed against them. She was instructed by the leaders of a Taoist-like temple to perform these strange exorcism rites, which involved putting leaflet spells above the bedroom I slept in and having me take baths in some hot herbal water tossed in with yellow spell leaflets.

It was all weird to me and my Christian world view taught that Satan was behind these kind of things. But I thought oh well, being a Christian never helped me through those 2 hellish years anyway, so why not give Satan a chance at helping me?"


Your testimony parallels that of another former fundie friend of mine, Will Bagley, who lives in Washington state. Will was "born again," but later read the great Catholic mystics, then the great Eastern mystics, and today studies Taoism, vegetarianism, meditation, mental and bodily healing, life extension, channeling, massage, etc. Will sends out a regular e-newsletter on those topics. You two should meet for coffee and tell me all about what you discussed! Will's photo and testimony about how he left fundamentalism can be found in a book I edited, Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists (Prometheus Books, 1995). Though my book was published by that skeptical organization, it included testimonies of former fundamentalists who remained Christians, though more moderate and liberal, as well as the testimonies of two folks who left fundamentalism for Wicca and eastern mysticism, respectively. Only the final third of the book contains the testimonies of former fundamentalists who ecame agnostics and atheists. I thanked Prometheus for including such a broad range of former fundie testimonies.


Today there is a great website run by Steve Locks that features the testimonies of many former fundies, possibly the most well indexed and widest collection of such testimonies on the web. His site is simply named, "Leaving Christianity." Easy to remember, check it out by simply googling, "Leaving Christianity." It's number one.


Will and yourself also agree that the skeptics are too skeptical. Will is quite well read and also quite deeply into spiritual practices, and I am sure you two will find much to talk about, wish I was there to listen! Maybe send me a cassette tape of your conversation! And play a game of chess too! Why not some speed chess? (Will once won the championship of a large prestigious chess club in New Jersey, but hasn't played in years. Like Will, I was a top ranked high school chess player.)


Cheers!
Edward T. Babinski




edwardtbabinski.us writes:
Did you hear the story on the news about a preacher who sat on an autistic boy's chest, the mother believed her son could be healed of the demon causing the illness...


Faith kills boy, 8.


An autistic eight-year-old boy has died during a prayer service held to supposedly cure him of the evil spirits blamed for causing his condition. "[We] didn't do nothing wrong," the pastor, David Hemphill, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper.


US boy dies during 'exorcism' An autistic eight-year-old boy has died during a prayer service held to supposedly cure him of the evil spirits blamed for causing his condition. Torrance Cantrell was wrapped in sheets and held by his hands and feet while members of the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith in the city of Milwaukee prayed over him. This procedure had been taking place three times a week. However, on Friday those involved in the ceremony - including his mother - noticed the boy had stopped breathing. Paramedics were called to the scene but were unable to revive him. The brother of the church's pastor, Ray Hemphill, who was also present at the ceremony, was arrested shortly after the incident on suspicion of physically abusing a child, local police said. "[We] didn't do nothing wrong," the pastor, David Hemphill, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper. "We did what the Book of Matthew said... all we did is ask God to deliver him." 'Tormented' Autism causes children to have severe problems relating to, and communicating with, people around them. In interviews with local newspapers, neighbours of the Cantrell family alleged that Torrance hated being touched and said that having people restrain him would likely have caused him a great deal of stress. However, David Hemphill said that the boy had been wrapped in sheets and had his shoes removed in order to prevent him from being hurt. "We were asking God to take this spirit that was tormenting this little boy to death," Mr Hemphill said. "We were praying that hard, but not to kill." David Hemphill started the independent church in 1997. It has a small congregation of six families. Story from BBC NEWS. Published: 2003/08/25 14:41:23 GMT © BBC MMIII

Evolution of Animals - Species which share traits in common with two species


October 10, 2005 at 22:19:00

Name: levi

Email: levi

Most Interest: Creation vs Evolution

Found edwardtbabinski.us via: Other Search Engine

How found edwardtbabinski: dogpile

Religious Belief: Christian,

If Preterist: pre-millennialist

If Creationist: Other

I believe: Other

comments: Please enter your comments here.


I enjoy you thoughts althought I do disagree on some major points. I was raised a theistic evolutionist who grew up in the episcopol church. I am now a creationist who has done some study and an 18 page report on the creation side. I don't know if you have time to read it. I am not an expert but no one seem to write back to me after I present the evidences I have found. Let me know if you would like it. I like your thoughts on power options and lots of other areas too. God bless p.s. if we can get a mule out of a donkey and a horse... do you think we could get a human from an ape and a pig? :)




Dear Levi,


Hi, Ed here.


You mentioned that you had become a creationist. Did you become a young-earth creationist?


You asked me whether I believed human beings were a cross between pigs and apes. I don't think so, just a cousin of the apes. So why did you mentioned "pigs?" I do know that pig heart valves have been used to replace human heart valves, but aside from the usefullness of the shape of the pig's heart valves, there is nothing particularly human about pigs. We'd probably be using chimp heart valves if there were more chimps and if there wasn't as great a protest over it. Did you know that Christian Barnhart, the famed surgeon, said he wouldn't operate on such feeling intelligent creatures as chimps in order to use them merely for spare parts?


As for "inbetween" species, the fossil record contains amphibian-like fishes, mammal-like reptiles, bird-like reptiles, and of course many species of extinct ape with shorter arms and longer legs than modern day apes (in terms of arm-to-leg ratios). So the many species of extinct primitive apes were more "human-like" in that respect than modern day apes are. And there's the dog-bears of the Miocene that preceded the later arrivals of both dogs and bears in the fossil record. There's also small four footed mammals that preceded the arrival of larger tapir, elephant and horse species in the fossil record. Tapirs, elephants and horses apparently shared a common ancestor. In fact, elephants and sea-going dugongs also shared a common ancestor as seen in the dugong's snout and the elephant nails on its front fins. And if you've seen my website, there's plenty about cetacean evolution, land-living ancestors of modern day whale species.




"levi" October 11, 2005 PM: I mentioned pigs because my biology teacher (an evolutionist) said we were closer related to pigs than apes.


ED: Hi Levi, Perhaps you could email your professor to ask him what he meant when he said that humans were more closely related to pigs than to apes? The human genome is nearer to the chimpanzee genome than to the genome of any other living species. (See below where I discuss the way even the chromosomes match up between chimp and human, and evidence that the human line underwent a fusion of two ancestral ape chromosomes as still seen inside human chromosome #2.)




LEVI: On the age of the earth I am uncertain just like the age of the universe. Scientist believe some are really old galaxies but when the Hubble telescope did some pictures and measurements and it was way different than what they had thought before and the 2 ideas just did not fit, with one the big bang was possible and with the Hubble there was no way (I will try and send you the report from my other computer sometime). When certain measurements of time are used they always seem to find problems with them and then other measurements contradict many others. There seems to be no real good way to measure time looking back for most things from what I have seen.


ED: There are parameters of uncertainty, but the antiquity of the cosmos is not something that cosmologists are very uncertain about, while a cosmos only thousands of years old is something it would take far more blind faith than scientific evidence to believe in. Also, there are plenty of old-earth creationist Christians who have Ph.D.s in astronomy who continue to point out the ludicrousness of young-cosmos arguments. Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, as well as Dr. Robert C. Newman of the Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute are two such astronomers who have replied to young-cosmos arguments. For links to their websites and to old-earth creationist replies to young-earth arguments.


Also see these admissions made by YOUNG-cosmos astronomers.


Also if you are not averse to reading non-Christian articles, please see Dave Matson's well organized research paper on the age of the earth and cosmos (Dave is not a Christian, and can be intimidating in his speech, however he has done a fine job of collecting replies by scientists to a host of young-earth arguments with bibliographic notes).


Also visit this fully indexed list of creationist arguments and replies, argument by argument.


The abandonment of young-earth geology (or "flood geology") was something that Christian men of science did before Darwin's Origin was published. By the 1850s, leading Christian scholars heading the geology departments at Cambridge and Oxford, agreed the earth was extremely old and that flood geology did not explain the evidence. See, "Reasons Why 'Flood Geology' Was Abandoned in the Mid-1800s by Christian Men of Science".


For the history of modern day "flood geology" and the ridiculous disproven arguments that young-earth creationists began to present in the 1960s as "facts".




LEVI: Also with the speed of light being slowed to the point of 35mph in super cold; if there was a big bang in super heat, could it have been much much faster than we are aware of?


ED: Could the universe have expanded faster than the speed of light during the inflationary period of the Big Bang? Here's one astronomer's inconclusive reply.


Neither does the question concerning the speed of the inflationary period of the Big Bang make the cosmos only a few thousand years old. You should visit some of the old-earth websites that I mentioned above, send them some questions if you think otherwise. Read about the multitudinous evidence for an old-earth and an old cosmos, and read about the way young-earth creationist arguments continue to dry up in respect to the age of the cosmos and the earth, and how the young-earthers are resorting more and more on ad hoc belief to try and reconcile their extremely young-earth and extremely young cosmos beliefs with the evidence that modern astronomers and geologists continue piling high.


One added note. I read about the experiment in which "light" was "stopped" or "paused" by a particular bunch of atoms that the light was made to pass through and that absorbed the light after which an identical bit of "light" or an indentical "photon" came out the other end. The "coldness" had little to do with the pausing of light, since atoms of another element that was not cold, but instead was heated, also paused the photons. Here's the article I googled.


Not just photons (photons travel at the speed of light), but also neutrons (a heavier particle found in the nucleus of every atom) have been slowed down. In the case of neutrons to 15 miles per hour.




LEVI: I know if evolution is real that it is not keeping up with animals that are becoming extinct so the earth as a whole is in big trouble. I don’t believe that we can get life from none life that was also taught by my biology teacher in high school. All I see is more and more animals becoming extinct since the beginning of creation.


ED: What I see is that the earth now contains human beings, apes, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, non-vertebrates, all the way down to single-celled species. (Today's modern world also contains the two largest plant and animal species of all time, the redwood/sequoia, and the blue whale, neither of which are found in the older fossil record.) So diversity and evolution has increased over time. Various branches of the animal and plant kingsoms have each experienced peak periods of diversity, and also experienced eight major trimmings or major extinction periods and many minor extinctions as well. But evolutionary diversity overall has increased as species moved from single cells to multi-cellular species, and from fish to amphibian-like fish, to amphibians, to reptile-like amphibians, to reptiles, and then the reptiles branched off into mammal-like reptiles and bird-like reptiles, and then mammals and birds arose, and then from one branch of the mammals came lemurs, monkeys, then primitive apes, and then modern apes and man both arose from the primitive apes. So greater diversity over geological time has occured.


Glenn Morton's excellent article, Living Fossils? There are None.


Neither is the evidence for such a progressive diversification of species over geological time an illusion created by flood geology depositing layers in such a deceptively pro-evolutionary order. See the website I mentioned above that mentions plain and obvious reasons why flood geology was rejected by the Christian geologists who studied the geologic record before Darwn's Origin was even published. And read the rebuttals by modern day Christians who are geologists. There is an entire society of old-earth Christian geologists you can find linked to this Christian website:


American Scientific Affiliation (ASA)--Investigating issues relating Christian faith and science. Includes on-line back issues of the journal, and news about the organization.
Henry Morris used to be a member of the ASA, above, in the 1950s, until he started reading the works of a 7th Day Adventist janitor, named George MacCready Price [for a full history of creationism see the work by Ronald Numbers, The Creationists], who believed that the entire geologic record was topsy turvy, including the Lewis Mountain Overthrust, that he presumed was not really an overthrust, but topsy turvy strata. Morris used Price's arguments in The Genesis Flood without giving him credit. Morris also tried to interest fellow Christian members of the ASA in Price's "Flood geology" arguments, and got the wind kicked out of him by replies from his fellow Christians and so Morris left the ASA to found his own splinter group, the Institute for Creation Research. A lot of people joined Morris's ICR based on his book, The Genesis Flood, which offered up "Paluxy man prints" and "The Lewis Mountain Overthrust" as "disproofs" of modern geology. Later, even ICR abandoned both the "man print" evidence as questionable, and ceased trying to use the Lewis Mountian Overthrust as evidence against modern geology (Austin and Wise of ICR have both agreed that the evidence is conclusive that the Lewis Moutain Overthrust is indeed the result of an overthrust fault of immense dimensions.)


Also read this admission by a young-earth creationist:
"When I visited the Institute for Creation Research towards the end of 1978... The associate director is Duane T. Gish... When I asked him what were the biggest difficulties for creationist science the points in a debate which he felt least comfortable in answering - he answered after a moment's thought that it was the apparently great age of Earth as shown by the fairly recent advances in radiometric dating; and that the fossil record could be interpreted as showing ecologically complete ages - the age of invertebrates, the age of fishes, the age of reptiles, and so on up to the present. "
Hitching F., "The Neck of the Giraffe: Or Where Darwin Went Wrong," Pan: London, 1982, pp.115-121)




LEVI: If the selacampise (sp) fish caught of Madagascar has not changed in “16 million years” I don’t think anything really does change that much; only slight adaptations and those that don’t just die out. DNA and other such deep designs of life are so complex I just don’t see it coming about by chance.


ED: Concerning the claim that "species have not changed," please see Extinction




LEVI: I think I was brain washed to an extent with evolution being presented as a fact in the schools, TV, and museums etc.


ED: Let me know what kind of new questions your brain asks after studying the above evidence, research articles, and after you have communicated with some old-earth creationist, and/or old-earth evolutionist Christians on the internet.




LEVI: I never even heard that there was a scientific creation side to it until I was 19 and for the most part all it does is point out the problems with the hypothetical reaseach program of evolution. Have you ever read the book “Evolution a theory in Crisis” by an evolutionist? Sorry I can’t think of the authors name.


ED: Michael Denton. I read that work. Denton was highly praised in the creationist press, especially in Origins Research in the 1980s (a newsletter that eventually evolved into the magazine, Origins and Design, and the Access Research Network). Denton and his book has even been considered a grandfather or forerunner of the I.D. movement. But his arguments were flawed, as pointed out in many reviews by scientists (see for instance the reviews at the National Center for Science Education website: http://www.ncseweb.org/ --and also those at the "Was Darwin Wrong?" website: http://home.wxs.nl/~gkorthof/). Today Denton is an email friend of mine, and about a year or so ago he asked the Discovery Institute to cease listing him as a fellow of that institute. He is an evolutionist, though he was a creationist in his youth. He believes in a supernatural beginning to the cosmos, but that it evolved afterwards, just as stars form naturally (and we still view them forming, the evidence for which continues to pile up in astronomical journals), and just like the whole table of the elements forms inside stars out of simple the simplest of all the elements, hydrogen, and so on, right down to planets forming, and then molecules forming on their surface, and he also is convinced by the smallness of the genetic distances between species that their evolution in the sense of common descent--is a fact. I've exchanged emails with him recently in which he's affirmed his pro-evolution views. As for mutations, they continue to happen, naturally, as we have learned just by comparing the genomes of human beings, which contain individual genomic differences, and regional genomic differences, right on up to whole genome duplication as seen in two species of zebra fish, one of which has nearly twice the genomic material as the other species. Does it need that much extra genomic material? No it doesn't, as the existence of the other zebra fish species demonstrates. But a total genomic duplication has occured, called a whole genome duplication, or WGD, and many of those genes have been analyzed and seen to be duplicates, many of them non-functioning as well, with no on-off codons near them. In fact, geneticists have so far analyzed practically the whole genomes of humans, chimps, mice (or is it rats?) and a few other mammals and reptiles and fish, and they have been able to determine by comparing the whole genomes of species from fish to human that two whole genome duplications took place in the line leading from sea to land vertebrates. That's mutation for you, from the genomic differences that exist between human beings individually and regionally, as I mentioned, right on up to whole genome duplication, which leaves behind lots of duplicated genes (for evolution to further mutate).


I am saying mutations happen all the time, from point mutations to whole genomes being duplicated, and leaving behind plenty of duplicated genes after that process.


Also, take a close look at human chromosome #2. Do some web searches. All of the human chromoseomes and their length and their banding patterns match those of chimp chromosomes, except for human chromosome #2. But that single long human chromosome matches the length and banding patterns of TWO of the chimp chromosomes, thus all the human and chimp chromosomes and banding patterns DO match up. Moreover, inside human chromosome #2 are the remnants of a second centromere, and teleomeric regions where they should not be (they should be at the ends of the chromosome, not inside it, and not in reverse order!), all of which points to clear evidence of a sloppy fusion of two chromosomes that occurred in the ancestor shared by both humans and chimpanzees.




LEVI: There are other things too that has me believe that there is a God


ED: I never said there wasn't a Higher Power. I have even put together a list of Christians who are professors of science and defenders of evolution, including many defenders of Darwin as well.




LEVI: and one is a friend of mine who is not a Christian and leans more toward being a Buddhist (I think) who was first an Atheist. What change him? He saw a buddy of his possessed with at least 3 demons that spoke through him in languages he could not understand and one was a ladys voice all at the same time. I know its wild but this guy has no reason to lie about it.


ED: Did you see the new National Geographic series, "Is it Real?" They did a show recently on exorcisms. It was worth catching. Also I can send you some quotations from other books I've read about the subject, especially quotations from a journalist who toured the U.S. and Canada and was present at hundreds of exorcisms, seeking to learn all he could about the matter.




LEVI: Well that’s all for now. Thanks for writing.


ED: I can't answer all my emails, but the ones written in a friendly manner catch my eye, such as yours. Thanks.




LEVI: W.W.J.D. Two natures in me, One I love, one I hate, the one I feed will dominate.


ED: Hmmm, sure there's only two? The philosopher Mary Midgely wrote in Beast and Man (if I paraphrase her correctly) that human beings are riven by far more than just two natures or two desires. And often it's difficult for us to choose between two or more things we simultaneously desire. It's even difficult to choose how to react to two or more things we are repelled by. To take one example, if you're in the company of some people you like and others you might not admire or get along with very well. Do you stay to be with the ones you like, or leave because of the people in the group you dislike? Or maybe the group as a whole is attending a place whose food you dislike. Such a thing as the menu in that case might tip the balance not to go. There's always choices, always many decisions we each have to make about a wide variety of things from choosing lifelong careers to puruse to choosing which toothpaste to use, and so our basic needs, desires and interests all vie for attention.


Perhaps that's how general rules of ethics came into fashion as well, to try and simplify such decisions, at least in the ethical realm. We also have brains capable of envisioning future consequences of each of our decisions based our accumulated lifetime of knowledge about how different people and different events affect one another.


QUOTATIONS REGARDING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND ETHICS


In 1997 Henry Jordan, a “born again” Christian on the State Board of Education in South Carolina, tried to get a copy of the Ten Commandments hung in every classroom in the state. When it was pointed out to him that members of other religions might not appreciate having only the Judeo-Christian teachings on display, he replied, “Screw the Buddhists and Kill the Muslims.”


Screw and Kill? Lot of good knowing the commandments did for him.


E.T.B.




In the same year and the same state as the above incident the Charleston County Council of South Carolina unanimously passed a motion to post the Ten Commandments on a plaque outside the council chambers. Oddly enough, when a local reporter for the Post and Courier asked the nine council members to name the Ten Commandments, none could recall all ten. Two members refused to even try. Snapped Councilman Barrett Lawrimore, “I don’t have time for this pop quiz.”


Church and State




LET'S COMPARE THE U.S. CONGRESS WITH THE TEN COMMANDMENTS


Beginning with “Do not bear false witness,” don’t all Congresspeople “stretch the truth,” depending on which group of constituents or special interests or foreign dignitaries they are trying to woo or impress?


I also suspect there’s some “Sabbath-breakers” and “adulterers” in Congress.


Does Congress agree with the command, “Do not kill?”


How many Congresspeople have “used the Lord’s name in vain” after discovering that their prize bill (say a bill to display the Ten Commandments) did not receive enough votes to become a law?


I don’t suppose Congress will vote to display the “penalties” that go along with the Ten Commandments, since “death” is mentioned so often, even for “Sabbath-breakers.”


Lastly, I wonder how Congress will address the difference between the ancient Hebrew’s “First Commandment” and our First Amendment? According to the “First Commandment” in the Bible “ye shall have no other gods before me” under penalty of death. While our First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion.


E.T.B.




Preacher Pete: Without the Ten Commandments to lead them, people will wind up doing whatever they like.


Secular Sally: Most of us already do, but we like being liked, and hate being hated. In other words, most of us would sooner make friends than fill our freezers with heads, which, coincidentally, is a way to make enemies.


E.T.B.




“Thou shalt not kill” is as old as life itself. And for this reason a large majority of people in all countries have objected to being murdered.


Robert Ingersoll




How many people have to flip through the Bible, going, “Jeez, I want to screw my neighbor’s wife--don’t know if I should?”


Rick Reynolds, Only the Truth is Funny




I do not believe that ethics “without the Bible” are “completely relative.” People with no Bible to guide them still feel similar pains when stolen from, slapped, or called a stinging name. People with no Bible to guide them also feel similar pleasures when hugged, given a gift, or verbally petted. In other words, “ethical authority” resides in our bodies and brains, and in the multitude of lessons learned during lives of interaction with our fellow human beings. Neither is it easy for a person to turn to anti-social behavior if they have been taught from childhood to view other people’s feelings and needs through the inner lens of their own. People also recognize (regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof) that “joys shared are doubled, while sorrows shared are halved.” Such recognitions even form the basis for wanting to “double” society’s joys, and “halve” society’s sorrows.


Of course not everyone learns morality in the manner described above. Some are raised to “fear hell” and memorize lists of “holy commandments.” Such people are liable to “fear what they (and others) might become” once such “external” holy threats and commands are called into question. Ironically, in nearly all cases, such a “hell” does not exist to promote universal ethical behavior, but to promote belief in the truth of that person’s particular theology/denomination as opposed to rival theologies/denominations. So if you do not share their particular theology nor belong to their particular denomination, then they are convinced you are going to hell regardless of whatever kindnesses you share with them or society at large. Naturally such people understand the idea of a "moral" nation as one that consists solely of “fellow believers.” Of course any morality that tries to base itself upon purely “external” religious threats and commands will break down once the religion supporting it is called into question.


To avoid such “breakdowns” it makes more sense for a nation, culture, or family to emphasize “internal” rather than “external” morality/ethics, just as it makes more sense to raise children to think and act in terms of how “they would feel if what they did was done back to them,” rather than depending on rote memorization of lists to promote ethical understanding in all circumstances and among all people. All the world’s religions enshrine the principle, “Do not do to others what you would not want done to yourself,” and, “Do to others what you would want done to yourself,” which assume in both cases that “you” already possess an “internal” recognition of what you should and shouldn’t do. So, there need not be any overt conflict between “internal” and “external” morality and ethics. However, stressing the “internal” variety seems to have a far greater chance of drawing society together, rather than tearing it apart.


“Internal” ethical recognitions preceded the composition of humanity’s earliest law codes such as those of King Hammurabi, or the moral injunctions found in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or the later but more famous, “Ten Commandments.” Such “internal” recognitions inspired the creation of laws, and still do, and remind us that laws are but dust when people neglect to seek out what is best within themselves and each other.


E.T.B.




A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.


Albert Einstein




Forgiveness is not, as some people seem to believe, a mysterious and sublime idea that we owe to a few millennia of Judeo-Christianity. It did not originate in the minds of people and cannot therefore be appropriated by an ideology or a religion.~The fact that monkeys, apes, and humans all engage in reconciliation behavior (stretching out a hand, smiling, kissing, embracing, and so on) means that it is probably over thirty million years old, preceding the evolutionary divergence of these primates...Reconciliation behavior [is] a shared heritage of the primate order…


When social animals are involved...antagonists do more than estimate their chances of winning before they engage in a fight; they also take into account how much they need their opponent. The contested resource often is simply not worth putting a valuable relationship at risk. And if aggression does occur, both parties may hurry to repair the damage. Victory is rarely absolute among interdependent competitors, whether animal or human.


Frans De Waal, Peacemaking Among Primates




Darwin proposed that creatures like us who, by their nature, are riven by strong emotional conflicts, and who have also the intelligence to be aware of those conflicts, absolutely need to develop a morality because they need a priority system by which to resolve them. The need for morality is a corollary of conflicts plus intellect:


“Man, from the activity of his mental faculties, cannot avoid reflection… Any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well-developed, or anything like as well-developed as in man.”(Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man)


That, Darwin said, is why we have within us the rudiments of such a priority system and why we have also an intense need to develop those rudiments. We try to shape our moralities in accordance with our deepest wishes so that we can in some degree harmonize our muddled and conflict-ridden emotional constitution, thus finding ourselves a way of life that suits it so far as is possible.


These systems are, therefore, something far deeper than mere social contracts made for convenience. They are not optional. They are a profound attempt--though of course usually an unsuccessful one--to shape our conflict-ridden life in a way that gives priority to the things that we care about most.


If this is right, then we are creatures whose evolved nature absolutely requires that we develop a morality. We need it in order to find our way in the world. The idea that we could live without any distinction between right and wrong is as strange as the idea that we--being creatures subject to gravitation--could live without any idea of up and down. That at least is Darwin’s idea and it seems to me to be one that deserves attention.


Mary Midgley, “Wickedness: An Open Debate,” The Philosopher’s Magazine, No. 14, Spring 2001




It is forbidden to decry other [religious] sects; the true believer gives honor to whatever in them is worthy of honor.


Decree of Asoka, famed Buddhist king of India


Return love for hatred. Otherwise, when a great hatred is reconciled, some of it will surely remain. How can this end in goodness? Therefore the sage holds to the left hand of an agreement but does not expect what the other holder ought to do. Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Whoever is self-centered cannot have the love of others.


Taoist wisdom (written centuries before Jesus was born)




That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.


Islamic holy teaching (Sukhanan-i-Muhammad, 63)




People were Christian before Christ ever existed. People were humanistic before humanism was ever organized. People were loving before LSD was ever discovered.


Timothy Leary, as quoted by Paul Krassner, “The Cynic Route from Crazy SANE to Loving Haight,” The Realist, 1967


BORN BELIEVERS?


Thank God He made it easy to find the “one true faith.” So easy that your parents can pick it out for you before you are even born, and, in most places on earth, they do.


It’s even easier to find a “true” Christian as opposed to a false one, or a “true” Moslem as opposed to a false one. The “true” believer who understands what his holy book “really” says, always happens to be the one addressing you.


E.T.B.




They told him a God of Near Eastern origin, the God of Abraham (who evidently had a stupendous bosom) and Isaac and Jacob, had made the whole universe, stars and atoms, from start to finish in six days and made it wonderfully and perfect, and had set it all going and, after some necessary setbacks called the Fall and the Flood, had developed arrangements that were to culminate in the earthly happiness and security and eternal bliss of our little Mr. Davis, which had seemed to him a very agreeable state of affairs. And further they had shown him the most convincing pictures of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel and had given him a Noah’s Ark toy to play with [in times past the only acceptable toy to play with on Sundays was Noah’s ark] and told him simple Bible stories about the patriarchs and the infant Samuel and Solomon and David and their remarkable lessons for us, the promise of salvation spreading out from the Near East until it covered the world, and he had taken it all in without flinching because at the time he had no standards of comparison. Anything might be as true as anything else. Except for difference in color they put him into a world of Green Pastures and there they trained him to be a simply believing little Anglican.


H. G. Wells, “The Mind of Mr. Joseph Davis”




Scientific education and religious education are incompatible. The clergy have ceased to interfere with education at the advanced stage, but they still control that of children. This means that children have to learn about Adam and Noah instead of evolution; about David killing Goliath instead of Koch killing cholera; about Christ’s ascent into heaven instead of Montgolfier’s or Wright’s. [SEE NOTE] Worse than that they are taught that it is a virtue to accept a statement without adequate evidence, which leaves them prey to quacks of every kind and makes it difficult for them to accept the methods of thought that are successful in science.


J. B. Haldane


[NOTE] Montgolfier ascended into the heavens via a balloon filled with hot air, and the Wright brothers designed and piloted the first successful heavier-than-air flying machine.




CHILDREN’S LETTERS TO GOD


“Dear God, Why is Sunday School on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day of rest.”
- Tom L.


“Dear God, What does it mean you are a jealous God. I thought you had everything.”
- Jane


“Dear God, How come you did all those miracles in the old days and don’t do any now?”
- Seymour


Children’s Letters to God: The New Collection, compiled by Stuart Hample and Eric Marshall

Question Regarding Apostasy

From: Mark
To: Ed Babinski
Sent: Monday, January 26, 2004 1:15 PM
Subject: Question regarding Apostasy


Although I have not read your book Leaving the Fold, I am familiar with several of the testimonies as well as many other similar ones. However, I am wondering if you have ever heard of a case where a true 'saved' Christian left the Christian faith temporarily (during which they rejected the faith or viewed themselves as an unbeliever) but eventually returned to a full/orthodox Christian faith. I am doing some research and am trying to address the claim that "it is impossible to renew them unto repentance" (impossible to return to the faith) once one has "fallen away". If you are unable to answer this that is fine. Thank you.


From: Edward T. Babinski
To: Mark
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 7:28 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: Question regarding Apostasy


ED: I am sure that there are cases of people raised Christian who leave the fold temporarily and consider themselves apostates, and then return.


Lots of people are raised Xn, then reject that upbringing, only to return later, like many in the Baby Boomer generation did, according to polls I read in some news magazine a while back, either Time, Newsweek or U.S. News. The Baby Boomers had kids and then many of the Boomers went back to church to give their kids the same nominal Christian upbringing they had had, -- and perhaps because they recalled the way they "raised hell" in their own youths, and hoped that by bringing their kids to church, they would not grow as out of control as they once were. *smile*


One person in my book whose testimony was listed in the agnostic section did return to the fold. He was an Assembly of God minister, but saw the fall of Jim and Tammy Baker up close, knew them, and also saw how the Pentecostal leadership in the Assembly of God spread nasty rumors about him being an adulterer when he wasn't. They ruined his life and ministry. He left and for a while rallied to get taxes levied on churches, and exposed some televangelist tricks. Later he returned to the fold, during the laughter revivals of the 1980s was it? He didn't rejoin the Assemblies of God, but FORMED HIS OWN DENOMINATION, and it was more open than the faith he had previously left. So, in a sense, he didn't return to exactly where he was before, and I spoke with him after he returned and he told me it was O.K. that his testimony was in the AGNOSTIC section of my book, even though he felt more Christian. Truth to tell, in his own book, he said he was giving church and religion a "break," at the end of his autobiography, he didn't say he had definitely left it behind.


As for myself, I don't deny that I have a religious side, a side that really wants to pray and speak with a higher power instead of simply talking to myself when I'm alone. But my studies have not brought me nearer to believing once again in the inspiration of any particular holy book, so I remain outside the fold.


Let's see, there was Lambert Dolphin, who went through a period of doubt, and returned to the fold. I cited his testimony in my reply to chapter 12 of Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict. It's online in the "library" section of www.infidels.org, titled, "The uniqueness of the Christian experience," you can google it by name I'm sure, and then do a word search in the manuscript for Dolphin, or Lambert.


There are also two atheists ASA Jones and someone else named, Jordan, friends of Bob Holding of Tekton Apologetics, who claim that they were once "atheists" and then became fully orthodox Christians. I think they may have been at least nominal Christian prior to becoming atheists. So that could be looked at as a sort of return.


Personally, I think the way you phrased your question raises too many questions, such as what is a "truly saved Christian" and how would you know one if you met one? Everyone who has ever written me, tells me that THEY are "truly saved Christians."


Best, Ed

Questions on the Pentecostal Religion

Hello, my name is VerĂ³nica. I was searching on the web some sites related to Pentecostal religion but I need information about some specific points, that's the reason why I'm writing to you. I'll be very thankful if you help me to answer the following questions about this religion:


1) Is economical support to the religious community compulsory? If yes, how?
2) Are there any precepts regarding food?
3) Does hell exist?
4) Is divorce allowed?
5) Is marriage with somebody of a different religion allowed?


Once again, I will really appreciate your help, I'm doing a homework for college.


Thanks, bye!




Ed Babinski: I ONLY HAD A PENTECOSTAL MINISTER FRIEND IN COLLEGE AND ATTENDED A FEW PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES FROM TIME TO TIME. MOST OF THE TIME I ATTENDED NON-PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES.


I THINK THE LARGEST SINGLE PENTECOSTAL DENOMINATION IS THE "ASSEMBLIES OF GOD," CHECK THEM OUT ON THE WEB FOR DEFINITIVE ANSWERS


1) Is economical support to the religious community compulsory? If yes, how?


ED: All churches try to get people to give them money, the usual scheme is called, "tithing," based on some misunderstood bible verses that appear to say you should give 10% of your income to the church, priests, whatever.


2) Are there any precepts regarding food?


ED: In Pentecostalism? None that I know of. Though Pentecostalism includes many weird sub-sects with odd beliefs.


3) Does hell exist?


ED: For most of them yes. In fact, I believe I recently read in CHRISTIANITY TODAY about a Pentecostal minister who became a universalist and who was forced out of his denomination because of that.


4) Is divorce allowed?


ED: Heavily frowned upon, though it happens.


5) Is marriage with somebody of a different religion allowed?


ED: Again, frowned upon. Anyone who marries a devout Pentecostal will likely be taken to church by their spouse until they either convert or frictions develop. That's true of all heavily devout evangelical religions.


Once again, I will really appreciate your help, I'm doing a homework for college.


Thanks, bye!

More on Mother Teresa

From: "ed babinski"
To: annica
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 8:47 PM
Subject: Mother T.


"annica..." writes:
I read your article on the web about Mother Theresa and was amazed at what a nerd you are;


ED: Dearest Annica, thank you for introducing yourself. My name's Ed. May I remind you at this early juncture in our conversation, invective is not argument. As for you being "amazed," it appears that my tiny little piece is the sole piece you have ever read questioning Mother Teresa. There are others on the web, and in books and in newspapers. I mention some that I have run across below. May your "amazement" continue.


I pity the woman who ends up with a pinhead that has no deeper sense of (what you believe) analysis than what you have presented.


I am not a christian. Nor am I any follower of Mother Theresa.


------------


ED: And I am neither a christian nor an atheist. I think Mother T. was fine at what she did, but her legend has been puffed up, blown out of proportion. Other Indian charities were not given as much press after she became famous, while her activities and doings were puffed up by the press and by Western Christians from the Pope to Malcolm Muggeridge. She ignorantly opposed birth control in a land where the population is growing faster than the economy (India will soon have more people than China; and India's water needs have grown so much that she is building dams near the source of her major rivers, rivers that also flow into Pakistan, and Pakistan also is dry and her water needs are increasing, so disputes over water may lead to further wars between those two nations), even justifying her views with the platitude that "There can never be enough children."


Mother Teresa used to say, "God always provides. He provides for the flowers and the birds, for everything in the world that he has created. And those little children are his life. There can never be enough."


"God provides? . provides for the birds ... There can never be enough?" Scientists who study birds have found that one-third of adult birds and four-fifths of their offspring die of starvation every year. (David Lack, "Of Birds and Men," New Scientist, Jan., 1996).


She was opposed to pain killers even in cases of a man with severe pain from cancer.


She accepted money from a wall street banker who had gained that money via frauds and who went to prison, and then she kept that money, not returning it to the American judge so it could be sent back to the people whom Keating had stolen it from. She also kept asking for money when she already had tons of it in different banks the she wasn't even spending.


When the Bofal chemical plant explosion took place in India, the presence of her sisters of charity was front page news while most of the rescue and relief there was done by others and other organizations. The Western press idolized her.


I read an article about another woman in India, not Mother Teresa, but a native Hindu woman who teaches birth control. She discovered that when women practice birth control, they have fewer children and the children they have also have a lower mortality rate and are taken care of better. While the women who don't practice birth control wind up having more children, more of whom die, and the woman herself is sicker as well, from having undergone so many pregnancies and also despair over her dying children.


I agree that picking up people off the street who were extremely sick or near death and showing them some compassion before they died is admirable. But what about the folks seeking to end all caste divisions (they are already outlawed in India, but like racism in America, will take time to eradicate), and people working for birth control and a better economy and better health care and better education?


Moreover, various people have gone to India and stayed with Mother Teresa and her sisters and seen things that are less than admirable. I read a lengthy newspaper account in the London Times not too long ago of one woman from London who visited India to see up close what the Sisters of Charity were doing. That woman loved Mother T. but her view changed, not to hatred, but to less than adoration, after seeing how things are really run there by the Sisters. She cited specific examples in her article and stayed there for a while. Her piece was long, appearing in three separate installments.


All in all, I do not find Mother T. to be the saint that some have made her out to be. One could of course read some of the news articles and books concering such matters:


Food for Thought, The Other Side of Mother Teresa by Dr Rana Jawad Asghar


---------------


But it is very easy to see that you completely miss the point of everything that Mother Theresa stood for.


ED: As you perhaps miss the point of what I stand for?


--------------


I lived in India for 10 years and met many spiritual teachers, political leaders and so forth, and interacted with people from all over the country, and also poor people. Your assumptions of Mother Theresa comes not from mistakes on Mother Theresa's part, but from your lack of understanding what the spiritual path is.


ED: I have read Gandhi. I applaud many of his views and his courage. I also have read about the 1997 winner of the million dollar Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. The winner in 1997 was a Hindu, Shastri Athavale, whose spiritual and social activism was inspired by the The Bhagavad Gita. Athavale has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to spend two weeks or more visiting India's poorest villages where they seek to advance the self-respect and economic condition of those they visit. For more than four decades Athavale has taught that service to God is incomplete without service to humanity.


-------


I spoke with a lot of Indians who had interacted with Mother Theresa. They actual thing that had impressed them is not as you state that she and her nuns were trying to "convert" people under force of charity, but the fact that they had BELIEVED she wanted to convert everyone (as many foreigners do, when they come on missions to India) and discovered she wasnt at all: she was simply following her own path.


Mother Theresa made a vow as a very young woman. Even at an old age when the donations could have made all the nuns live comfortably, she still kept to her vow.


ED: Most of the poor people in the world don't have to take a vow to remain poor. Mother Teresa was assured that Mother Church would at least take care of her material essentials for life (and also in the life of the world to come as well). *smile* She also got the satisfaction of being the "head" of her own order, which must bring some sort of satisfaction that even money cannot buy, I imagine. She also had excellent hospital care when she became seriously ill at the end.


------------


I bet you cant keep a promise even for a day or two, but you pelt stones at someone who kept one single promise her entire life.


ED: If I "pelted stones" then what exactly does the name-calling that you showered me with in this email constitute?


-----------


In spiritual practices (and especially in the east they can often understand this) it is essential to have the disciplin to keep ones word without fail, if you should 'grow' spiritually (meaning, if you should expand your soul). Nother Theresa certainly had that disciplin. If you are not interested to join any religious order, why do you spend your time defaming them?


ED: Not like I wrote a book defaming religious orders, I wrote a little piece is all, and it "amazed" you. There are two books above, written by people indeed have spent far more time "defaming" Mother Teresa as you call it. I happen to call it examining, not defaming. Famous people draw other people's interest and those people often grow curious to learn more about those famous people. Is that a sin? Why read about any famous religious person at all if you're not curious about their story, their fame, their activities? And if you do find things that are unedifying about such people, or questinable about their beliefs or activities, are you supposed to never discuss such matters? I think idolizing famous people can lead to blind devotion, and to lack of thought in general, and to ignorant decisions being made, and such things can be harmful. I also agree with you that talk is cheap. And anyone who performs acts of charity or philanthropy deserves some praise, as did Mother Teresa.
Florence Nightengale, the woman who made nursing a legitimate profession, also deserves praise, though she was disdainful of organized Christianity. I have also pointed out elsewhere the following:


WHAT DO ATHEISTS DO TO HELP?
If it wasn't for a host of scientists who happened to be either lapsed churchgoers, heretics, apostates, infidels, agnostics, or atheists, and their successes in the fields of agricultural and medical science, hundreds of millions would have starved to death or suffered innumerable diseases this past century. Those agricultural and medical scientists "multiplied more loaves of bread" and "prevented/healed more diseases" in the past hundred years than Christianity has in the past two thousand.
Florence Nightengale, the woman who made nursing a legitimate profession, was a bi-sexual who disdained institutionalized religion. The founder of the International Red Cross, Andre Dunant, was gay. The founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton, was a freethinker. Helen Keller, the blind and deaf woman who proved an inspiration to sufferers of severe disabilities, was a member of the American Humanist Society (and a Swedenborgian).
- E.T.B.


Suffering through the unusually hideous world events of the past couple of weeks, appalled by the role of religious belief in events as overwhelming as the atrocities in the Middle East and India, I find myself becoming less sanguine about the place of religion itself in public life.


For some reason, we don't read about mobs of atheists stoning and burning alive human beings who do not share their non-beliefs. So far, no agnostics have blown themselves up in discos, taking someone's children with them. No scientific determinists have been kidnapped and murdered by supporters of chaos theory. Moral relativists are not organizing militias for the purpose of putting people in jail for possession of the Ten Commandments; nor are agnostics firing rockets at pantheists from helicopter gunships.


It makes you think: Given the events of the past half year, why do non-believers continue on the defensive? Why do relativism and secular humanism continue to have such negative associations, especially in the conservative mind? Why does the word "liberal" inevitably trail the words "elitist" and "hypocrite" in its wake? Who is an elitist, if not the Taliban? Who is a hypocrite if not a Christian who shoots a gynecologist over the "right to life"?


For some reason, despite all evidence to the contrary, we uphold a persistent conviction that people who haven't found religion are more prone to do evil; that a secular family is lacking in family values; that a pragmatic administration is a soulless machine.


True, one could point to godless communism as the dystopia to be feared. And yet, looking back, it seems obvious that Stalin and Mao did not want to eliminate religion so much as to become gods themselves; that Pol Pot had more in common with the believer Adolf Hitler than with the atheist Karl Marx.


More to the point, confronted on an almost daily basis with the dangerous capacity of religious belief to drive people off the deep end (to induce a woman to murder her children, for example), why does belief continue to be encouraged, protected and accorded a special place in North American society? Why is a given belief system worthy of public support, simply because a given number of people believe it? Why, unlike the arts -- which are similarly nonprofit, state-supported, non-materialistic activities -- are religious institutions exempt from having to explain themselves to non-supporters, to demonstrate that they are a benefit to the community with graphs and multiplier effects and all the rest of it?


I'm not saying that believers could not make such a case for themselves to a public forum or a jury of their peers (think of the music, not to mention Good Works). What puzzles me is that they aren't called on to make it at all, before they achieve tax-exempt status, before they start a school.


At minimum, when a believer runs for public office, is it unreasonable to expect him to explain his convictions to people who don't share them? Should a candidate happen to believe in a coming Apocalypse and final judgment, should she not explain to the rest of us how this might tie in with her views on, say, crime and the environment? If you believe in predestination, what are the implications for health care? If you believe in karma and reincarnation, what is the point of a social safety net? After Sept. 11, can any political leader proclaim his beliefs to be "private"?


As North Americans muddle our way through the crises of terrorism and its aftermath, in which religion and a belief in the afterlife are demonstrably part of the problem and not part of the solution, isn't it a bit creepy to see the President of the United States spreading a religiously freighted abstraction ("evil" -- as in "axis of") whose purpose is to marshal support for an expansion of the war against terrorism to a level not unlike the Crusades? Why does the Commander-in-Chief have himself photographed in prayer, and not in discussion or thought?


-- John MacLachlan Gray, "Do We Have A Misplaced Faith in Religious Belief?" The Globe and Mail, Wednesday, March 13, 2002
globeandmail.com & jmgray@globeandmail.ca


----------


Seems you are trying to "convert" them to atheism!


ED: "Atheism?" No. but a little more agnosticism wouldn't hurt.


I am currently in India with my wife who is of Indian origin.~I always find it a little humorous when the Hindus and Muslims parade down the main streets waving their flags and banging their drums.~Naturally they don't hold their parades at the same time as they would kill each other . and they always make a point of marching through each other's turf.


The part I find funny is that they use the exact same identifying colors as the two major Christian opposites in the west, i.e., Catholics are green, and Protestants are orange.~ Here in India the Musilms' color is green, and the Hindus' is orange.
- Craig and Yesamma (craighendry@yahoo.com)


Devout Israeli Jews continue to march at least once a year through the Moslem half of the city of Jerusalem, and proclaim loudly that God has given the Jews "all the land." -- E.T.B.


So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind,
Is all the sad world needs.


-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)


-----------


So what's really the difference between religious groups that annoy you, and your own efforts. None whatsoever.


Your comments on the donations are also ridiculous. You are forgetting that people who donated to Mother Theresa's organisation, donated in the wish that they funds would be used according to Mother Theresa's instructions. No one forced them to donate anything. They could have donated the money to UNICEF or some other organisation who spends most of their monies on salaries and advertisement, if they had wanted to. It was up to them.


ED: Which raises the question exactly of where Mother T.'s money went. I mean, according to one London Times reporter who visited the Sisters of Mercy, they reused dirty diapers as wash cloths, they even reused needles. They spent no money on air conditioning, no money on anything apparently, yet Mother T.'s fame brought her tons and tons of money, including the Nobel Peace prize. I certainly would like to know where it all eventually went.


---------


You're pretty callous: you have more concern for the donation money than the fact that she wanted to offer love to these people. What love have you given to anyone in your life?


ED: Which brings up the question, what love are you giving me right now? There are people I work with each day, a Mom and Dad I love, I give of myself to help people who ask around me, and listen when people are talking, and share music and humor. I like to lighten people's day.


-----------


Probably hardly even noticeable.


ED: Sounds like you're on the right spiritual path all right, believing that only you and your spiritual path gives love to other people. (Come to think of it I read somewhere recently about a study done on regular meditators in which it was found that a proportion of people who meditate often are prone to sudden explosions of anger and resentment. I think it may have even been in Time magazine.)


------------


There is no price on love. You may love someone but it doesn mean they love you back, or feel that you love them. Even in Mother Theresa's case there will always be some who had complaints and were not happy. I could ask in your friendship circle, and lets see how much crap people would talk behind your back!


ED: My philosophy about "crap behind my back" is that it doesn't bother at all. Most people know more about you than you suspect, and also are less likely to care about what they know, than you fear they do.


--------


People simply talk and view the world and the people around them according to their own feelings and not necessarily according to accurate assumptions. Your writings simply show your own shallowness and does not reflect on necessary wrongs on the part of Mother Theresa's efforts.


Your writings that you have posted on the web doesnt make you look neither intelligent or reasonable. But hey, if that's what makes you happy, go ahead! After all, its happiness that counts.


ED: Does that mean you're against happiness? (I'm being fasecious of course.) I happen to like a saying in the Koran, "He who can make his companions laugh, deserves paradise."


--------


Annica




From: Ed Babinski
To: Annica
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 1:52 PM
Subject: Re: Mother T.


Annica: Ed, dear, with all respect to your personal evaluation of Mother Theresa, she has done TREMENDOUS work in India and your points are really meaningless.


ED: As are yours. Lots of organizations have been doing work in India, many indigenous organizations. For what Mother T. did, she received the lion's share of the publicity and funding from overseas by relatively wealthy Western contributors (including the stock market thief, Keating, who gave her millions he had stolen from investors). The point is that there were many organizations of charity in India doing more work than hers. They were ignored while she was recently beautified by the Pope. I told you about the Bofal plant explosion that killed many from cyanide gas, Mother T. sent a few sisters and they all arrived late, and they didn't do anywhere near what the other organizations did, yet she rec'd even there, the lion's share of the publicity. Moreover, Mother T. used her publicity to argue against birth control in INDIA of all countries (soon to be the most populous nation on earth, and soon to surpass China in population.)


Annica: As I mentioned before, I spent nearly 10 years in India and if you know India from actually LIVING there and not being a tourist (a tourist doesnt know anything of the real India) then you are simply blown-away at how she managed to accomplish everything she did. It is VERY, very difficult to even do a fraction of what she did in her life in that country - even with an army of a 1000 helpers.


What is interesting with Mother Theresa, is that she was even taking care of her enemies when they were dying too.


ED: If her "enemies" were dying in the streets of India, then how potent an "enemy" could they have been?


Annica: And these enemies where of concervative religious views and had done everything they could to stop and destroy her work over the years. You know yourself how unreceptive christians can be to other religions, but Mother Theresa not only allowed anyone from ANY religion to utilize her facilities but she also arranged for funeral procedures according to THEIR religion and not to her own christian belief.


ED: That's O.K., they were secretly baptized right before they died.


Annica: Therefore, any assumption that she was trying to convert people are really nothing but assumptions. Indians are really very resentful to christians and I am certain they have analyzed her efforts with a magnifying glass for years in Calcultta before even leaving her alone from harassment!


ED: I don't doubt she did some good. What I doubt is the trumpeting of her goodness above all others.


Annica: It is possible her organisation has been blown out of proportion and all that. But that is certainly not Mother Theresa's fault but the sensationalism of the press! They need something sensational to write about.


ED: Yes, they do. But I want to know where all the money went that she kept collecting, and why she constantly kept asking for more and more before she had spent much of what she already had collected. And why she refused to return the money that have been gained via thievery (Keating).


Annica: Some 3-4 years ago I had a talk with Mr. Chawla, who wrote a book on Mother Theresa in India. He knew her since she was unknown. He always used to tell me that she really NEVER liked the publicity and the constant hounding from press and people created around her but accepted it to the best of her ability.


From persons like Chawla, I could inform you as to why Mother Theresa didnt support abortions and birth-control as I myself had wondered about this: her statement was that if women begin to use abortion each time they get pregnant, they lose their sense value for human life.


ED: I'm not talking about abortion, I'm talking birth control, condoms, the pill, etc. She was against those. She said there can't be enough children, God will provide, when obviously God doesn't even provide for birds, a third of whose young die from starvation each year.


Annica: Not only that, but too much uncontrolled sex (and believe me, the Indians are not one billion from self-control!) create an even worse situation for Indian women. By trying to encourage people to learn SELF-CONTROL instead of copulating like dogs


ED: More like Dogs with condoms who learn to CONTROL what vessel their semen is spilled into.


Annica: and aborting children or even killing them (which was common in India when I was there) her idea was that the force of self-control would keep sexual abuse of women in somewhat control than free sex ever would accomplish.


ED: Who said I was for "free sex?" I am in favor of birth control between consenting sexual partners. That goes for married couples too.


Annica: It may sound crazy to you, but believe me; out western reasoning does NOT work in a country with ancient cultural views like India.


ED: It does work, there are women laboring to spread the news about birth control in India and they have been very successful. Indian women often try to have lots of children, planning on several of them dying young. But they learned that if you used birth control and concentrated on one child at a time, the survival rate when up and the need to get pregnant often to ensure offspring went down, and the offspring were also far better taken care of than in cases of multiple births that tried to ensure surviving children. There is a group of women teaching birth control in India and producing better results than you could imagine. Mother T.'s views are medieval Catholic.


Annica: Also, it is somewhat difficult to generalize Mother Theresa because there are cases where she actually recommended birth control!!! I got the impression that while she had her own reasons for keeping to strict views and disciplines, she also was adjustable in many instances to personal cases of some individuals.


ED: Please share the cases with me. You mean in cases where the mother's life was endangered by an ectopic pregnancy?


Annica: There is no doubt that a lot of the topics and issued that confuse some people, seem to originate from decisions made by her order from their spiritual vows and for certain spiritual growth that they believe will occur if they follow these rules and regulations. I am familiar that in the east it is common to believe that if one allows ones own suffering to continue and learns to live through it, by overcoming the emotional resistance to it rather then seeking always to escape it or cover it up, you 'master' it and thus become free from its effect forever.


I believe a lot of Mother Theresa's views and decisions follow these eastern principles. Your own statements on cases from her life which I have not been familiar with, further convinces me of it and are quite interesting.


My point to you is: just leave them alone.


ED: They are doing what they are doing. The leader is gone but she's probably going to be made a saint.


Annica: They are doing GOOD work, no matter what petty people think or find to criticise. We should respect people like this no matter what religion or background they are.


ED: I am not arguing with what people do right.


Annica: Truly speaking, how many people have WE ever helped in our life and given up all our comforts for?


ED: Doing and saying what you believe in, is a great comfort to most people. She became the head of a holy order and got to have her say in worldwide media and now you are telling me she gave up all "comfort." There are different types of "comfort."


Annica: I think the numbers are very few. I have done a bunch of volunteer work but I really could NEVER be in a position to criticise and analyse anyone in a negative way who tries their best to bring changes of betterment to people.


ED: Ignorant anti-birth control views such as hers will damn India in the long run, just as the Vatican today is lying in Africa that "condoms spread AIDS" and "the AIDS virus can easily get through condoms," both of which are lies.


Annica: We simply have to respect and accept people's effort to try their best, to their own capacity.


To me its simply amazing that pencil pushers sit and publizise negative stories about someone sacrifizing so much in life. People worship Princess Diane, who really contributed little else but cutting ribbons, looking pretty and living a rich life


ED: Actually she wanted to help people. She was in love with a doctor before she died and both had quite an urge to help people. But yes, I don't adore the worship of such icons.


Annica: but jump on Mother Theresa and her simple and uneducated (some of them are) bunch who keep the slums somewhat less from expansion.


ED: A lot of factors could help keep slums from expansion, but I don't see anyone but Mother T. receiving "sainthoods" for their efforts to help educate and heal and better the economic growth of India. Mother T.'s views would bury India in bodies, fill every grave. Her love of every conjugal union, of every incipient sperm and egg about to meet, would spell the death of mankind as a whole. We see the world unraveling even now. Ignorance must not be welded to sainthood, whether it is an ignorant sister of charity or an ignorant pope.


Annica: Just makes no sense!

Too much secular influence in media and schools

Date: 5/10/2004 19:35:55 -0700
From: Michael M.
To: ed.babinski
Subject: Hello
Dear Sir:


It is a real place. I would suggest that you reconsider your positions. You can't intellectualize yourself to be God. Sorry...it doesn't work that way.


An Intellectual Christian who knows your viewpoints are complete bunk.


From: Ed Babinski
To: Micheal M.
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2004 2:52 PM
Subject: Intellectual Xtian knows your view r complete bunk-o


Hello Michael,


How did you hear about www.edwardtbabinski.us ?


If you disagree with what is on somebody else's website and have nothing to say to them except to email them a threat and an insult, why not simply go visit another website? I don't visit Christian sites just to leave insults.


Was there a particular Christian web-apologist whom you were trying to emulate in your email message to me?


Cheers,


Ed


From: Ed Babinski
To: Michael M.
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2004 6:07 PM
Subject: Re: Intellectual Xtian knows your view r complete bunk-o


ed babinski writes:
Michael M. writes:


Mr. Babinski:


There is too much of the secular ideas promoted in the media and collge campuses.


ED: There might also possibly be too much "know-nothing theology" preached in
1) churches across the country,
2) in church-schools,
3) on Christian radio and TV,
4) in Christian books sold in Christian bookstores and at Walmarts across the nation,
5) in Christian websites and emails,
6) on Evangelical Christian campuses,
7) in Christian campus groups on secular campuses,
8) in Christian home-schooling courses, etc.


But I don't get involved with arguing THAT point so much as explaining at my website why I personally left the fold. There are other websites like mine, as Steve Locks at "Leaving Christianity" proves with his list of links. (Just google, "Leaving Christianity")




In fact, Christianity is under constant attack from persons of the more liberal bent just because it evokes the concept of absolutes.


ED: Christianity is in constant martyr mode. "We're being attacked!" But in fact, we have a president who says Jesus is his favorite "philosopher" (sic). We have a fundamentalist Attorney General, Ashcroft.


We have Washington Prayer Groups galore, and influencial preachers meeting with Senators and Congressmen. The Bush Administration has spent hundreds of millions on faith related programs and on training churches how to apply for such programs. Christians have their own news (700 Club), radio, satellite networks (Catholic and Pentecostal), bookstores (Zondervan and others), Christian book and music kiosks in WalMarts.


Polls reveal that people with Evangelical Christian views number about a third of the U.S. population, that's enough votes to take over the country (since most of the eligible U.S. voting population doesn't even vote). If all Christians voted together, politically, they could take over.


As for absolutes, even Christians have not been able to demonstrate to fellow Christians exactly what those absolutes are across the board.


Christians who agree that the Bible is uniquely inspired, and/or without error -- and who agree that the Bible interprets itself ("Sola Scriptura") -- and who agree that the "Holy Spirit" guides them into "all truth" -- still find themselves disagreeing over what the Bible "really says." Protestant Reformers damned Biblical interpretations by fellow Reformers. Puritans split with Puritans. In our own day, America's single largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, fired missionaries and professors, split from the World Baptist Alliance, and incited the founding of the more moderate Baptist Cooperative Fellowship -- over differences in Biblical interpretation. Christian seminaries and universities have been founded in reaction to one anothers' differing Biblical interpretations. New translations of the Bible have been made to counter other translations.


Concerning differences in Biblical interpretation, the famed Scottish Christian, Thomas Erskine, said, "The most zealous defenders of the verbal inspiration of the Bible admit that there are parts of it of less importance than others. This is a great admission, because another is involved in it, namely that we ourselves must be judges of the comparative importance of these different parts."


At the very least, one must admit that disagreements and ambiguities exist among Christian interpretations of the Bible just as they do elsewhere in life and learning, so there is no evidence of the superiority of "revealled religion" when it comes to that.


Speaking of such disagreements and ambiguities, two Evangelical Christian presses, InterVarsity Press and Zondervan, began publishing books in the 1980s in which Evangelical Christian theologians explained their views and questioned each others' reasons for holding them. Keep in mind that the disagreements discussed in the books below are only between Evangelical Protestants (and E.P.'s do not constitute the biggest bulk of Christianity which remains Catholic). If the publishers began editing books that featured not only Protestant but also Catholic and Eastern Orthodox views, there would undoubtedly be more topics and more books required to discuss them. Moreover, there are disagreements between conservatives, moderates, and liberals within each major church division or denomination. The books below feature mostly the differing views of conservative Evangelical Protestants, while moderate and liberal views are under-represented (perhaps because moderates and liberals doubt that the Bible speaks perfectly clearly on as many matters as conservatives assume it does). Nor do the books below address many moderate/liberal questions concerning the historical development of Christian ideas and doctrines.


Books by InterVarsity Press:


Two Views of Hell: A Biblical and Theological Dialog
Four Views on Divine sovereignty and Human Freedom
Four Christian Views of Economics
Four Theologians Debate the Major Millennial Views
Women in Ministry: Four Views
Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views
Theologians and Philosophers Examine Four Approaches to War


Books by Zondervan Press, part of their Counterpoints Series:


Two Views on Women in Ministry
Three Views on the Rapture
Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond
Three Views on Creation and Evolution
Are Miraculous Gifts for Today: Four Views
Show Them No Mercy: Four Views on God and Canaanite Genocide
Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World
Four Views on the Book of Revelation
Four Views on Eternal Security
Four Views on Hell
Five Views of Law and Gospel
Five Views on Sanctification
Five Views on Apologetics


The Society of Christian Philosophers has also gotten into the act and published a debate book: Contemporary Debate in the Philosophy of Religion (Section III. features debates between Christian philosophers on questions such as "Can Only One Religion Be True?" "Does God Take Risks in Governing the World?" "Does God Respond to Petitionary Prayer?" "Is Eternal Damnation Compatible with the Christian Concept of God?" "Is Morality Based on God's Commands?" "Should a Christian Be a Mind-Body Dualist?" Concerning such questions, none of the Christian/theistic philosophers were convinced by the others' arguments.)


Or take the disagreements within Protestantism between conservatives and moderates concerning Biblical inerrancy. One such debate took place in the pages of The Churchman (published in Great Britain): The moderate Protestant Christian theologian, James D.G. Dunn, argued for a less than inerrant view of the Bible in his article, "The Authority of Scripture According to Scripture" (in two parts that appeared in The Churchman 96.2 & 96.3, 1982) Dunn's article was challenged in that same journal by Roger Nicole (a founder and charter member of the Evangelical Theological Society). Dunn was not swayed by Nicole's lengthy three-part rebuttal, and answered Nicole briefly and with equanimity, seeking to widen the circle of Christianity that they may both inhabit it, even though Nicole filled pages of his reply with what can only be called "preaching" -- or quotations from past theologians who sounded more like preachers than anything else -- to try and rouse Dunn to convert back to Nicole's view of inerrancy.


James D.G. Dunn is a major theological figure among moderate Protestant Christians. His latest work, Jesus Remembered, is the first of a planned trilogy on the first 120 years of Christianity. Dunn argues that The Gospel of John's narrative is not reliable, nor the claims it makes for Jesus' quasi-divine status. (In his earlier work, Evidence for Jesus, Dunn didn't imagine that Jesus spoke even one word reported in John.) Dunn admits there is little to support the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke, and little evidence that Jesus supported a mission to the gentiles, and no evidence that Jesus saw himself as any kind of messiah. (The term does not even appear in Q.) Nor is there much left of the "Son of Man," except for a few uncertain eschatological allusions. Dunn argues that Jesus did not claim any title for himself. Jesus may have believed that he was going to die, but he did not believe he was dying to redeem the sins of the world. "If Jesus hoped for resurrection it was presumably to share in the general and final resurrection of the dead." There is astonishingly little support for what Jesus' last words were. There is a certain squirming as Dunn admits that Jesus believed in an imminent eschatological climax that, of course, did not happen. "Putting it bluntly, Jesus was proved wrong by the course of events." Then he goes on for four pages trying to argue that we shouldn't be too concerned about this. Dunn's account of the resurrection notes all of the weaknesses of the tradition: The link of Jesus' resurrection to a falsely imminent general resurrection, confusion as to what sort of Jesus the witnesses were seeing, a persistent theme of failure of the witnesses to recognize Jesus (in Matthew 28:17 the disciples are seeing him in Galilee yet "some doubted," not just Thomas), confusion as to where they were seeing Jesus (in Jerusalem and Galilee? On earth or in heaven?). Which is not to say that Dunn does not affirm the resurrection -- he does, which is what still puts him in the Christian camp (though somewhat doubtfully in the eyes of conservative Evangelical inerrantists like Roger Nicole).


Another leading moderate whose views conservatives find unsettling is William G. Dever, the son of a fundamentalist preacher. After starting his education at a small Christian liberal arts college in Tennessee he went to a Protestant theological seminary that exposed him to critical study of the Bible, a study that at first he resisted. In 1960 it was on to Harvard and a doctorate in Biblical theology. For thirty-five years he worked as an archaeologist, excavating in the Near East, and he is now professor of Near Eastern archaeology and anthropology at the University of Arizona. In his book, What Did the Bible Writers Know and When Did They Know It?, he writes, "While the Hebrew Bible in its present, heavily edited form cannot be taken at face value as history in the modern sense, it nevertheless contains much history." He adds: "After a century of exhaustive investigation, all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob credible 'historical figures.'" He writes of archaeological investigations of Moses and the Exodus as having been "discarded as a fruitless pursuit." He is not saying that the Biblical Moses was entirely mythical, though he does admit that ".the overwhelming archaeological evidence today of largely indigenous origins for early Israel leaves no room for an exodus from Egypt or a 40-year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness. A Moses-like figure may have existed somewhere in southern Transjordan in the mid-late13th century B.C., where many scholars think the Biblical traditions concerning the god Yahweh arose. But archaeology can do nothing to confirm such a figure as a historical personage, much less prove that he was the founder of later Israelite region." About Leviticus and Numbers he writes that these are "clearly additions to the 'pre-history' by very late Priestly editorial hands, preoccupied with notions of ritual purity, themes of the 'promised land,' and other literary motifs that most modern readers will scarcely find edifying much less historical." Dever writes that "the whole 'Exodus-Conquest' cycle of stories must now be set aside as largely mythical, but in the proper sense of the term 'myth': perhaps 'historical fiction,' but tales told primarily to validate religious beliefs."


Dever's conclusions about what archaeology tells us about the Bible are not very pleasing to fundamentalists or conservative Evangelicals, and I gather that Dever and his colleagues of high standing likewise dismiss fundamentalists and hard-core conservative Evangelicals who want to consider themselves scholars without accepting that which good scholars must do: engage in extensive critical analysis. Those testifying for Dever's book (on the back cover) are: Paul D. Hanson, Professor of Divinity and Old Testament at Harvard University; David Noel Freedman, Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Michigan; Philip M. King, Professor at Boston College and author of Jeremiah; William W. Hallo, Professor of Assyriology and Babylonian Literature at Yale University; and Bernhard W. Anderson, Professor of Old Testament, Boston University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary. Like Dever, these are not a bunch of radical revisionists, but moderates in the field of Christian archeology. Dever's latest book is, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? Conservative and fundamentalist Christians who interpret the Bible literally will gain no encouragement after reading it.


Like Dever and Dunn, Bart D. Ehrman apparently started out as a conservative Christian, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. from Wheaton College, Illinois (an Evangelical Christian institution) before attending Princeton Seminary and obtaining his doctorate. His highly successful introduction to the New Testament, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (published by Oxford University Press) is now in its third edition -- "It approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Rather than shying away from the critical problems presented by these books, Ehrman addresses the historical and literary challenges they pose and shows why scholars continue to argue over such significant issues as how the books of the New Testament came into being, what they mean, how they relate to contemporary Christian and non-Christian literature, and how they came to be collected into a canon of Scripture." Dr. Ehrman's university lectures are also sold by The Teaching Company which features tapes and CDs by leading educators




My apologies if you were offended. However, I often believe it is necessary to stand up for faith that makes sense in a world where "right" and "wrong" is an invention of man.


ED: I fear that in your original email you may have confused "standing up for your faith" with "sending out a hell-threatening insulting email void of content, except for a threat and an insult."




I don't believe that concept in the interests of our survival.


ED: I try to think in terms of here and now. Here's an interesting fact, you know all the killing going on in the Middle East? Most of the people there don't have problems with believing in life after death. To believe in life before death -- a life which is worth living -- that's the difficulty.


Speaking of a connection between belief in the afterlife and a less than noble regard for the lives of those in this world, I once read about a Catholic ruler and leader in war who apparently commanded his troops to "Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out."


On the other hand, there's also fanatical atheists and people imbued with a superstition-based egoism, who have killed en masse, from Attila the Hun to Ghengiz Khan (Ghengiz was superstitious and believed he was chosen at birth to conquer the world); to Hitler (again, not an atheist, but a man of superstition who also had a sense of having been chosen); to Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot (communistic atheists three, though it must be admitted, communism echoed the religious mentality since it promised paradise, a "worker's paradise" following an "apocalyptic" overturning of the feared and hated "bourgouisie"--it seems that every religion needs its promise of a new jerusalem rising out of the ashes and also needs "demons" upon which to project the in-group's fears, failures and insecurities).


But the main thing that kills in all cases, either in cases of religion or atheism or egoistic superstition, is applying one's beliefs "fanatically."


As a satirical t-shirt suggest, "Death to All Fanatics!" --or at least death to the bloodthirsty fanatics who fire bullets rather than aphorisms at each other.


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