Sunday School

Sunday School November 24th 2019

This topic contains 17 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Strega 4 months, 1 week ago.

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    A recent Pew survey shows that a majority of Americans want politics and religion to be fully separated.

    In Alaska Christians can not longer discriminate when it comes to giving invocations.

    The Dept. of Biblical Prophecy has decided that the Bible overrules established international law by recognizing Judea and Samaria as part of Israel.

    A further look at the Ohio school bill to allow the expression of indoctrinated beliefs.

    What has happened to the thousands of Catholic priests accused of child sexual abuse? The Catholic Church often does not give a damn about its crimes against humanity while Catholic bishops use their right to religious freedom to discriminate against American citizens.

    This article suggests that the Church of Canada may disappear by 2040. One suggested way to halt this is to indoctrinate more children. The ACLU sues Tennessee school district for using prayer, religious imagery in school to indoctrinate children.

    100 years of Christian Fundamentalism in America.

    This weeks’ Woo: Astrology.

    Climate Crisis: As the Trump administration abandons the Paris Agreement some nations are turning to China instead.

    Can a Flat Earther be a Christian? I mean how can they accept that the Biblical Flood story ever happened? Would not the waters have drained over the edge of the planet and taken the ark with it? If only there were more atheists not praying for rain, we might have prevented the Flood. These deep theological questions keep me awake at night! What if the world really was flat?

    A Polish woman is planning a movie about Jehovah Witnesses and if you would like to help support Debutante there is a link to do so at the end of the article.

    The Japanese had very little time for Jesus.

    Could consciousness all come down to the way things vibrate?

    Scientists may have discovered the fifth force of nature.

    Thinking about one’s birth is as uncanny as thinking of death. Does religion allow people to avoid the existential shock that they, like Caius, are mortal?

    On morality and religious progressivism.

    Nine human species walked the Earth 300,000 years ago. Now there is just one.

    Humans have been put into suspended animation for the first time.

    Is positive psychology all it’s cracked up to be?

    Long Read: How our home delivery habit reshaped the world.

    This week I am reading this book: The Body by Bill Bryson.

    Some photographs taken last week.

    While you are waiting for the kettle to boil……

    Coffee Break Video:  Another lark with the Ark in the Park. A conversation of faith with Sam Harris. The danger of AI is weirder than you think.


    Have a great week everyone!!


    Simon Paynton

    On morality and religious progressivism.

    I think this is a very interesting article.  I think it’s true that we (in the main) want moral certainty, partly because we need to know that we are a “good” person (and the evolutionary pressure here is to be retained as a future collaborator by our group or milieu).  We all need a good moral identity (a clear conscience and a good reputation).  People with dark personality traits will justify their anti-social behaviour so that they can believe they are still a good person.



    Thanks, Reg!



    Ha!  Just bought that Bill Bryson book – thanks!!!


    Simon Paynton

    I am a fan of Martin Seligman and at least some of positive psychology.  I would agree that flourishing is achievable, while happiness is not something that can be planned.  After all, nature intended for us to flourish rather than be happy.  I don’t see what’s wrong with achieving this through moral action, since flourishing, thriving, or well-being is the ultimate (evolutionary) (although not always the “proximate” or immediate) currency of morality.  The Buddhists say that morality leads to peace, and peace leads to wisdom.

    There are worries … that it can be used to prescribe one thing and also its opposite — for example, that well-being consists in living in the moment, but also in being future-oriented.

    What’s wrong with that?  It’s perfectly correct.  “In the moment, I decide to save money for the future”.  That’s a healthy ego at work.

    there “is no major conclusion in positive psychology that has not been challenged, modified or even rejected.”

    So what?  That’s science for you.

    I can sympathise with the criticisms made, and possibly Seligman went on too far with a good thing, and should have stopped theorising about it a long time ago.


    All And One

    On morality and religious progressivism.

    People want to understand something completely and particiate in something continuable.  The interest is in appreciating our circumstance and being understood. People who are difficult are divorcing themselves from what can be continued and added to with this being necessary to move certain sights and sounds to depreciation. People diagnosable as antisocial are believing they are doing something that has to be done (compelled) and it is true even while not appreciated.


    Simon Paynton

    Nine human species walked the Earth 300,000 years ago.

    There’s little reason to think that early Homo sapiens were less territorial, less violent, less intolerant – less human.

    Optimists have painted early hunter-gatherers as peaceful, noble savages, and have argued that our culture, not our nature, creates violence. But field studies, historical accounts, and archaeology all show that war in primitive cultures was intense, pervasive and lethal. Neolithic weapons such as clubs, spears, axes and bows, combined with guerrilla tactics like raids and ambushes, were devastatingly effective. Violence was the leading cause of death among men in these societies, and wars saw higher casualty levels per person than World Wars I and II.

    Old bones and artefacts show this violence is ancient. The 9,000-year-old Kennewick Man, from North America, has a spear point embedded in his pelvis. The 10,000-year-old Nataruk site in Kenya documents the brutal massacre of at least 27 men, women, and children.

    It’s unlikely that the other human species were much more peaceful.

    This is something of a joke.  The author is referring to the period since 10,000 years ago when we know that warfare started.  Before then, there is very little evidence of human-on-human violence.


    The reason we are a violent species (by nature) is not because we are “humans” but because we are mammals. There is plenty of evidence to back this up. I will see if I can get references for it but here is a starting point.


    Thanks All and One. Welcome to Atheist Zone.


    @strega, You have probably read his “A short history of nearly everything”  which is great to dip in and out off.



    Simon Paynton

    We are certainly less violent than our primate relatives.  There is good evidence to suggest that there was no warfare, and very little violence, in humans before the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago.

    I think the key to understanding human violence (or warfare) is our peculiar combination of cooperation and competition (i.e. we cooperate to compete with other coalitions).


    Simon Paynton

    Martin Seligman

    I think it’s valid to introduce mysticism into this area of positive psychology, since the pressure to thrive is functionally equivalent to “God’s unconditional love”.  But I can understand if it freaks people out that a church has got involved.


    Simon Paynton

    human violence (or warfare)

    Chimpanzees do the same thing: form coalitions that compete with other coalitions.


    Simon Paynton


    Mysticism, christian and jewish is not interested in complete understanding by definition. To say that nothing is understandable completely, which is what mysticism does, is to opt of of peace and then as a aconsequence wisdom.

    I agree that the very name, mysticism, implies something that cannot be known.  I think it is very beneficial to try to actually understand it, as then it becomes a more powerful tool to use.

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