It is becoming increasing clear that humans are naturally attracted to spirituality (they perhaps have a God shaped hole in their heart), and atheism clearly cannot account for that attraction. This is why a predominantly atheist society would fail.
While others of us fit our “something more” into our understanding of psychology. I have no problem with people being irrational. It is a dogged insistence on pure rationality which I find poor fit with our human condition.
I know five women who would have burned as witches 100 years ago. They are the most insightful people that I know and all are to some degree clairvoyant. These type of people posed a threat to the power base of the church and were destroyed for this purpose alone. They knew the lies of the priests and their immoral acts, and were killed for this gift.
If you are this type of witch, I support you every step of the way! If you are witch looking for demonic powers, I would urge caution. You will not be thrown into hell, but you might hurt people near you or yourself. Don’t invite any demons in, they are really hard to get rid of.
I think the Biblical prohibition on witchcraft is basically a commentary (midrash maybe) on the idolatry prohibition. It involves one seeking the aid of a force other than God. This does not necessarily make acts of witchcraft real.
There is no doubt that many women have suffered and been killed for being too different. They aren’t alone. Nobody needs such “special gifts” to be privy to and critical of hypocrisies and abuses by various clergy through history.
Nor does there have to be any sinister, over-arching clerical conspiracy in place to motivate violence toward anyone thought to be different. Populist bigotry thrives quite well enough on its own with or without any organized religion it may leverage as a convenient tool at hand.
Sorry, what? Atheism is just the lack of belief in gods. It doesn’t need to “account for” the existence of religious belief. Of course, there are fully rational explanations on offer for the existence of religious belief, so your implication is also false. (I’m thinking of the cognitive science of religious belief, and work by Justin Barrett and Pascal Boyer for instance.)
Joan of Arc was the last incarnation of the Archangel Michael’s mate. The ancient Greeks called her Athena and Ezekiel called her Aholibah. After this young woman rid France of 100 years of English occupation, the church burned her at the stake as a witch. Why would they do this to the savior of France? It was not because she heard voices, it was because the voices she heard contradicted everything the church stood for. They knew that if she lived, she would have destroyed the church’s reign over the west as quickly as she had the English’s.
Joan, with Michael at her side, was too great of threat to the church. This is the most famous story of the church’s heavy handedness towards witches. Can you imagine anyone being burned at the stake for disagreeing with the church? Oh, they do behead them in other cultures…
So let’s get this straight … you postulate then that archangel Michael (and his … ummm ‘wife’) along the angelic host he no doubt commands were defeated by … some angry churchmen?
Methinks you are spoofing us here, Shawn to see what you can get written into the discussion of a Christian forum here. Why would you expect anyone in a Christian forum here to take any of this seriously?
France has only one savior, the same savior we all now have: Jesus Christ.
You know, I also laughed at the calm, confident assertion of nonsense about Mike’s wife. But maybe while mocking these silly claims, believers here at BL might keep in mind that the forum recently hosted lengthy quasi-scientific explorations of the notion that all humanity is descended from a single pair of humans, as suggested by Iron Age writings that include instructions on how to commit genocide. If the claims about Joan of Arc are ridiculous–and oh boy, but they are–then the topics of at least half of the conversations in this forum are merely less ridiculous. Word to the wise, maybe.
I would think the pushback here is more due to the fact that this reincarnation bit (or whatever is being asserted) is quite clearly outside the bounds of orthodox Christianity (despite the many differences within it), not because it’s merely supernatural. We are all well aware that Christianity is evaluated in different ways than scientific evidence, which is why we have discussions like these about how faith interacts with science.
Those comparisons were certainly not lost on me, and my response to Shawn was far from completely flippant (or unreflected). The comparison I had in mind was that just because some leader is killed in behalf of some cause doesn’t mean that she / he was defeated. At least Christians should never forget how the crucifixion of Jesus was the end of the road for all the disciples of the time. And no doubt when disciples later tried to declare it a victory there were many who would have greeted that news with sneers.
But to hear Christians tell it, it wasn’t the end of the story because Jesus returned. Of course claims of resurrection are far from compelling for many - I recognize that too. But as Elle notes, within a Christian context there is a tried and accepted context for discussing this with each other. That context is entirely lacking for Shawn (here, anyway). No doubt he will have some small enclave of like-minded folks that enjoy chasing down fringe conspiracy theories. This just isn’t the forum for that.
In that regard, I feel much more like you do, Stephen. And have much of the same reactions too.