A message from Rev. Dr. Jack Sara, Palestinian pastor and evangelical Christian

(This message was sent to my sister in England.  She and her family met the writer during a visit to Israel) “Christians in the middle east are both worried and upset by the American declaration that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. They are particularly concerned about the uncritical support given by American Evangelical …

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The prosperity gospel

The so-called prosperity gospel is a set of beliefs that says that God will reward faith , and very generous giving, with financial blessings. Although proponents call themselves christian, there is nothing christian about this idea. The most prominent American prosperity gospeller is currently Paula White, white, married three times and accused of taking advantage …

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American evangelicals, No.2

Hypocrisy is alive and well in the American evangelical community. It was collectively adamant that President Clinton should be punished for the Monica Lewinski affair, but now, faced with accusations of pedophilia against Senate candidate Roy Moore, the latter is an “upright man” who should be forgiven for his sins. Moore’s election win would apparently …

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American evangelicals, No. 1

Historically, American evangelicals were poor and on the margins of society. Evangelicalism in the 19th Century stood for public education, prison reform and the abolition of slavery. They advocated equal rights, including voting rights, for women, and the right of workers to join a union. They also fiercely defended the separation of church and state. …

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The right to die

The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland are the three European countries that permit assisted suicide for non-terminal illnesses that cause unbearable suffering, taken to include mental suffering. A 2007 independent survey found that 80 per cent of people supported assisted dying for the terminally ill, but only 43 per cent did for those who are not …

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The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius

Here are some thoughts, called “The Decent Life” from the philosopher Emperor, whose beliefs were Epicurean: Honour and revere the gods*, treat human beings as they deserve, be tolerant with others and strict with yourself. Remember, nothing belongs to you but your flesh and blood – nothing else is under your control. 5.33 Make sure …

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Winston Churchill on Mohammedanism

The following passage occurs on Winston Churchill’s book, “The River War”, first edition, Vol II, pages 248-250 “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. “The effects are apparent in …

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Epicurus and Judaism

Yet another of my modern philosophy posts. This completes my take on the three main monotheisms. You can read my views on Islam here http://hanrott.com/blog/epicurus-and-islam/, and on Christianity here http://hanrott.com/blog/epicurus-and-christianity/.  Out of the three Abrahamic monotheisms, Judaism is perhaps the most unique. Unlike Christianity and Islam, it does not aspire to convert large portions of the world …

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Is Atheism just another religion (part 2)

Yesterday I quoted a long article that suggested that religious people and atheists are more psychologically alike than they admit. The religionists argue that supernatural beliefs are hard-wired into our brains. Evolution, has left us with a tendency make belief in non-material beings come easily. As highly social and tribal animals, for example, we need …

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Is Atheism just another religion? (Part 1)

Owen did a brilliant piece on Christianity yesterday. So today I follow it up with a piece on atheism, as published recently in the New Scientist: Lois Lee directs the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. She is quoted as saying: “When people say’atheism is just another religion’, …

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Epicurus and Christianity

Another one of my Modern Philosophy posts. I hope I speak with some authority on this one, having been brought up in an Evangelical Christian home, attended church regularly for eighteen years, and familiarised myself with the key tenets of Christian doctrine. Having already written about Islam, I hope to complete an analysis of the …

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The mood of young people in Britain

In many ways, young people in Britain today are the luckiest people to have ever lived. They enjoy a standard of living and access to scientific and technological advancements our ancestors could only have imagined. They are generally a healthy bunch, who exercise regularly, eat healthily, and consequently will enjoy a long life expectancy. Almost …

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Do you consider yourself to be a rational person?

The vast majority of people are religious, which generally entails belief in a supernatural entity or three. And yet amid the oceans of religiosity are archipelagos of non-belief. Accurate numbers are hard to come by, but even conservative estimates suggest that half a billion people around the world (and counting) are non-religious. But scientists who …

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Even Isis can’t stop spread of secularism

The rise of Isis and fanatical Islam might lead you to think that far from fading, religion is making a comeback. But the reverse is true: it’s humanists who are on the march. “The fastest-growing belief system in the world is non-belief.” In Saudi Arabia, 5% of those polled in 2012 described themselves as atheist …

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Musings on the Netherlands and Turkey

On Wednesday 15th March, the Netherlands will hold a general election. In the American and British popular imaginations, the Netherlands is a socially progressive nation with a well-functioning democracy, and a high trust in its institutions. Relatively speaking, that perception is largely correct. But the Dutch increasingly believe their values are under threat, not from …

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Epicureanism matters (something philosophical for Thanksgiving)

You have a choice. You can choose between an array of superstitions, or you can believe in a set of teachings that are rational and common sense. Modern humanism is one alternative, but  it is a little dry as a belief system, skirts round what happens after death, and is less forceful about friendship and …

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