Sunday School

Sunday School March 22nd 2020

This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    When it comes to hygiene Ken keeps his Ark in ship shape but is now forced to close as his god has not spared Christian visitors from the pestilence of COVID-19. I wonder if he ever seeks advice from the cretinous Jerry Falwell. There are plenty of other scam artists at work.

    Hippocrates laid the foundations of medical science by disassociating it from supernaturalism, 400 years before the alleged birth of Jesus. Once Christianity took control further discovery was hindered for more than 2000 years. Yet today idiotic Christians still blame demons for disease because their imaginary god “does not spread germs and viruses” while others just ignore any advice based on science. They will still gather in large groups to show they just don’t care about their neighbors.

    Then we have Paula White, the spiritual advisor to POTUS, using the pandemic to scam money from her credulous followers.

    Anti-gay Republican voted against coronavirus testing bill because it “redefined family”.

    The Cuddly One and his Italian mob call on Italians to recite the rosary to end the pandemic. Does their god not have a mysterious reason for allowing it to happen in the first place?

    All of the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ at the Museum of the Bible are forgeries. This letter from a former Judge is not and you should read it.

    When Americans think about a specific religion, here are some of the first people who come to mind.

    Who’d be an Atheist in Ireland? Michael Nugent.

    Use of religious beliefs to justify rights violations must be outlawed says UN expert.

    Most Brits don’t pray. It’s time for our institutions to stop imposing worship.

    What The Satanic Temple is and why it’s opening a debate about religion.

    This weeks’ Woo: Don’t fall for these myths about Coronavirus. Good information here and here.

    Climate Crisis: Planet Plastic.

    Visualizing the history of pandemics.

    Coronavirus: three ways the crisis may permanently change our lives.

    Why people buy weird things in times of crisis.

    What if psychological disorders don’t have any underlying cause?

    The body language myth.

    On the meaning of atheism.

    Is Gravity a Force?

    The examined life is worth living.

    Sorry but there was little else in the news this week other than Coronavirus. I almost miss Brexit news. These long reads may help to distract you for a while.

    Long Reads: The scientists working on Notre Dame’s restoration. Real estate for the apocalypse: my journey into a survival bunker. A portrait of Dilley, Texas, home of the largest immigration detention center in the United States. The curious language of grief.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil…..

    Coffee Break Video: Why won’t God just say hello? Paul Bloom: Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. The Tree of Life – Where do humans come from?


    Have a great social distancing week everyone!

    Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.

    –  Hippocrates.

    In 80 A.D. an epidemic swept Rome causing 10,000 deaths daily. During the ages until the present century, wave after wave of pestilence swept over Europe. The plague in 1384 A.D. took no less than 60 million lives. It was estimated that twenty-five per cent. of the population of the then known world perished in that one epidemic. Between 1601 and 1603, 127,000 died of the plague in Moscow. The epidemic of 1630 took 500,000 lives in the Venetian republic; Milan alone lost 88,000. In 1605, London lost 69,000; 70,000 died in Vienna in 1679; the following year Prague lost 83,000, all from this disease.

    The horrors of such visitations are beyond description, and can scarcely be imagined. For a time, attempts were made to collect and bury the dead. Wagons would pass through the streets at night collecting the victims. The drivers, benumbed with drink, frequently failed to ascertain whether death had occurred. Living patients,132 desperately ill, were piled into the wagons with corpses beneath, about, and on them. These gruesome loads were dumped pell-mell into huge pits hastily dug for the purpose. In some instances, living victims crawled out of these pits and survived to tell the tale. As the epidemics progressed, attempts to dispose of the dead were abandoned. Putrefying bodies were everywhere. Whole cities were left desolate, the few survivors having fled.

    It is not to be wondered at that such epidemics swept over Europe when it was taught that these were the vengeance of God. How could it be discovered that the real causes were the crowded conditions and bad sanitation of the cities, the squalor, the misrule, and gross immorality occasioned by the Holy Wars, when hordes of soldier-bandits plagued the countryside? The devout continued to live in their squalor, to trust in the Lord, and to die by the millions.

    In all pestilences down to the present time, the Church authorities, instead of aiding and devising sanitary measures, have preached the necessity of immediate atonement for offenses against the Almighty. The chief cause of the immense sacrifice of lives in these plagues was of course the lack of hygienic precautions. But how could this be discovered when, for ages, living in filth was regarded by great numbers of holy men as an evidence of sanctity!


    @ Jakelafort  – I will publish the references later. There are various sources for the dates and figures – many from religious institutions – so they must be reliable. Sample.

    The worst years were 1348-51 collectively known as the Black Death but it resurfaced for a few decades more under various guises.

    I will check 80 AD as that was the year of the fire when Nero was a fiddlin’.

    And….well spotted. Glad to know everything is challenged 🙂


    Simon Paynton

    The examined life is worth living.

    Students are working harder than ever to pass tests but schools allow no time for true learning in the Socratic tradition.

    I think that learning is the most fascinating thing ever.  When I was at school, we were set projects about comets and nebulae in our Religious Education class.  I always used to turn in about 40 pages.  As an adult, we can study stuff that we find interesting and rediscover the “magic of learning”.  I think that research scientists must enjoy their work.


    Simon Paynton

    If empathy is sometimes misplaced or irrational – I can see and agree with a lot of Paul Bloom’s points.  As for rational compassion, I think it has to be based foremost on a notion of human rights and personhood – everyone is a person equally deserving of consideration for their need to thrive – together with a notion of justice or fairness, so that each person concerned can reasonably be happy with the treatment they receive.

    So, justice and mercy about sums it up in my opinion.  One without the other is incomplete and unbalanced.  They are in fact two sides of the same coin – how we treat others.


    Simon Paynton

    The story in Paul Bloom’s talk, about the little girl who is waiting for life-saving surgery, who gets hypothetically bumped up the queue by the subjects who were asked to put themelves in her shoes and feel her pain, is an illustration of the Golden Rule I think.  This shows very clearly that the Golden Rule is a real thing.

    So, it is psychologically rational to bump the little girl up the queue to save her life, and irrational in the sense that Paul Bloom means – it doesn’t make sense from the point of view of equality of status of persons.

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