Monday, 16 February 2015

Today, I went to Church.

Today, I went to Church... A Charismatic Evangelical Church.

Four members of High Wycombe Skeptics in the Pub went in response to an open invite from the Kings Church High Wycombe.

Kings Church are running a series of responses to the major objections to various aspects of the Christian faith. The series is called "The Big Objections".

This Sunday's Topic was "What sort of a God would send good people to hell?"

The Promotion for the event read thusly:-
"What are your doubts, objections and criticisms of Christianity? We asked our local community this question and stressed that no subject was off-limits or too honest. We had many objections raised about all sorts of issues including sexuality, science, suffering, hypocrisy and world religions. 
Over six weeks during February and March we will be addressing the most commonly raised objections. We would love it if you could join us on those Sundays at either 9.30am or 11.30am to hear the responses."

The fist half of the event was specifically to address the "Hell" objections after which we Atheists could leave if we wanted or we could sit through the regular Sunday service.

I have a lot of questions and objections to this fundamentally Evil belief so it seemed like a good opportunity to engage with the local Christian community and express our utter disgust with the concept of eternal torment in the fires of Hell.

Dan from HW SitP and myself arrived early and the Church Elders seemed to zero in on us asking lot's of questions about our background, nothing too intense, in-fact it was mostly polite conversation. Neil and Paul arrived just before the start of the event and were spared the awkwardness of the overly polite niceties.

The Event started with a Happy-Clappy song accompanied by a 7 piece band. Within 10 seconds people responded to Pavlovian style triggers, up went the arms, eyes closed or glazed over, swaying from side to side or bouncing up and down.

I found this disturbing and I'm not sure why. I've seen this behavior on religious TV channels and knew roughly what to expect.

I know these people are conditioned for this at least once a week and I was aware of the focused anticipation immediately beforehand.  These people were clearly in some trance-like euphoric state triggered by the Elders raising their arms and the music. But it was instantaneous, no build up, no preamble, just instant zombification. When the music stopped, everyone immediately switched back to "Normal" mode again.

We were sat front and center. I now wished we had sat further back to get a better view of the audience because the body language and the responses of the audience were far more interesting than the sermon we received.

Yes, it was a sermon, we were being preached at. There was no discussion about Hell, none of the objections raised by the community were mentioned. We had to sit for 60 minutes to be told that our objections (which were not asked for) were all invalid and of course that Jesus loves us and died for our sins. Hell is apparently not a fiery place where you are sent, Hell is a state of mind caused by separation from God. It is confusion, anger and discontentment that grows "Like a fire", not a literal fiery place.

The speaker was reasonably good, clear, concise and he presented well. But, There was no Q&A and there was no opportunity to present our own objections. This was clearly not going to be a 2 way dialogue.

I felt somewhat deceived, tricked into attending their sermon on the pretense that we would be exploring the issues around the concept of eternal punishment.

We now had the opportunity to stay for the main service, but to be honest I had a urgent need to escape from this stifling atmosphere of religious fervor. If susceptible people can be induced into a euphoric religious state so easily, the main service was sure to generate spontaneous weapons grade outbursts of Speaking in Tongs, flopping on the floor like a stranded fish and other forms of induced hysteria. I already felt extremely uncomfortable, It was time to go.  

Before we could leave, senior Church members descended on us again. Still polite, no pressure, but somewhat distant. We eventually made it to the foyer were we found the speaker and more senior Church members. This was my opportunity to find out about the theological beliefs of this Church.

This was again a fruitless exercise. No one seemed to have any understanding of formal Theology or Philosophy. I was told "all that stuff seems a little to complicated for me".  Even on issues like Creationism, they didn't seem to have any understanding of the debate. All that mattered was that Jesus loves you and he died for your sins.  I attempted to get a discussion going on Truth claims and Faith but got blank looks of puzzlement.  Faith IS Truth... Oh and now the speaker informs me that Hell IS an actual place after all and that people do get sent there by God but he was unable to define any of the attributes of this place.

They were pleasant good people with a strong community spirit but with very little understanding or concern for hardcore Theology. I would suspect that community spirit and the emotional intensity of religious euphoria are the driving forces in this church.

I wish them well but I will not be attending the remaining "Objections" meetings.

We retired to the Bootlegger Pub for Rehabilitation of the liquid variety.

Next week there is an open forum at the local Sunni Mosque so I'll need to dig out my "Jesus and Mo" T-Shirt and Dan can point out some rather interesting articles in his Charlie Hebdo magazine.
 
The Big Objections Promo.
http://kingshighwycombe.org.uk/the-big-objections/


Friday, 28 November 2014

A Secular Humanist and a Fundamentalist Preacher do battle again.

The Skepticule Podcast Presents:
Episode #17 of the Skepticule Record.

A Secular Humanist and a Fundamentalist Preacher do battle again. 
Theological jousting that will really harsh your mellow.

  • Feminism
  • The Nativity and the Synoptic Problem
  • Slavery
  • The Old Testament Law 

Show notes are at:-
http://www.skepticule.co.uk/2014/11/skeprec-017-20141115.html

Or download the audio at:-
http://traffic.libsyn.com/revup/SkepRec-017-20141115.mp3

Or subscribe to the RSS Feed at:-
http://feeds2.feedburner.com/skepticule

Or subscribe to us on iTunes at:-
https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/skepticule/id330565544?mt=2

Monday, 9 June 2014

Catholic home for fallen women - 800 dead babies found in septic tank

This is shocking beyond belief. Words fail me.
This Catholic home for "Fallen Women" (Pregnant out of Wedlock) disposed of nearly 800 babies in a septic tank.
There are 10 other similar homes in Ireland, where there are an estimated 3,200 bodies of babies.
If this had happened in Serbia, Iraq or Syria, there would be an outcry for an immediate investigation into crimes against humanity. But when it's the Catholic Church, everyone turns a blind eye.
Police say "there is no criminal investigation at present as there is no evidence of a crime taking place".
WTF.... Apart from 800 dead babies in a septic tank.
The Catholics go to great lengths to prevent any abortion. But once your born, you'd better pray to God you're not in the care of the Catholic Church.


More Atrocities by the Catholic Church in Ireland



Sunday, 18 May 2014

The Skepticule Podcast 072 - The Susan Gerbic Special.

This is a special episode of The Skepticule Podcast with +Susan Gerbic  of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia (GSoW). 

A one-and-a-half-hour orgy of pure Guerrilla Skepticism.

We discuss with Susan the Who, What, Why, When and How of GSoW.

The Podcast Page and Show Notes are here:
http://www.skepticule.co.uk/2014/05/skepticule-072-20140513.html

Or you can go straight to the MP3 file here:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/revup/Skepticule-072-20140513.mp3


Susan Gerbic

Susan Gerbic
http://about.me/susangerbic
Email:- gsowteam@_NOSPAM_gmail.com (Remove "_NOPSPAM_")

Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia
http://guerrillaskepticismonwikipedia.blogspot.co.uk/

CSI 
http://www.csicop.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_for_Skeptical_Inquiry

Skeptical Inquirer magazine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeptical_Inquirer

Mark Edward
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Edward

Tim Farley
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Farley

Skeptools
http://skeptools.com/

Iggy
http://montereycountyskeptics.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/susan-and-iggy-honeybadger.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r7wHMg5Yjg

Independent Investigations Group (IIG)
http://iighq.org/

Jim Underdown
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Underdown

Center for Inquiry (CFI)
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_for_Inquiry

Dundee Skeptics
http://www.dundee.skepticsinthepub.org/

Brian Dunning
http://skeptoid.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Dunning_(author)

Skepticamp
http://skepticamp.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SkeptiCamp

Penny For NASA
http://www.penny4nasa.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny4NASA

Jimmy Wales
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Wales

James Randi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Randi

JREF
http://www.randi.org/site/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JREF

Neil deGrasse Tyson
http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_deGrasse_Tyson

Phil Plait
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Plait

Carl Sagan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Sagan

Ray Hyman
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Hyman

Barry Byersteine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Beyerstein

Jerry Andrus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Andrus

Faye Flam
Coming Soon

Nathan Phelps
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Phelps

Lawrence Krauss
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Krauss

Simon Singh - pages edited by Vera de Kok & Leon Korteweg
Dutch: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Singh
English: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Singh

Burzynski Clinic Wikipedia Talk Page
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Burzynski_Clinic

A Rather Embarrassing Night for Psychic Sally in Middlesbrough

Today is a great day for bad publicity.

It has been reported, allegedly that Psychic Sally may (or may not) have been communicating with the spirit of a lady who had passed over to the spirit realm in the 90s.... and was also alive and well and sat in the audience.

Middlesbrough was definitely not impressed.

Psychic Sally fails to impress Middlesbrough 
Get the full story at the Myles Power Blog:-
http://mylespower.co.uk/2014/05/18/a-rather-embarrassing-night-for-psychic-sally-in-middlesbrough/



Monday, 12 May 2014

Skepticule Podcast 71 - Interview with Mark Edward; Psychic Buster

We have another great interview from QED Con 2014. Mark Edward, Mentalist and Psychic Buster talks to us about Fake Psychics, their methods, preying on the gullible and the vulnerable and what we can do to stop these grief vampires.

Anonymous Steve's contribution discusses the BBC's uncritical documentary on how starlings use aromatherapy. Are the BBC presenting unscientific modalities as real science? 

Johno Pearce's contribution is a counter-response to our discussion on the ethics of vegetarianism.

The Podcast and the show notes are [Here]

... Or you can stream the audio [Here]


Mark Edward - Mentalist & Psychic Entertainer

Mark Edward
http://www.themarkedward.com

[Book] Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium
http://www.amazon.com/Psychic-Blues-Confessions-Conflicted-Medium/dp/1936239272

CFI
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/

Skeptologists TV Show
http://www.skeptologists.com/

QED 2014 (Lanyrd)
http://lanyrd.com/2014/qedcon/

English Defamation Law
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_defamation_law

The Odds Must be Crazy
http://www.theoddsmustbecrazy.com/

Belgian Psychic - Amazing mind reader reveals his 'gift' YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7pYHN9iC9I

Dunninger
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Dunninger

Sylvia Browne
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Browne

Hayley Stevens - The Barnum Project
http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/retiring-project-barnum/
http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/taking-out-garbage/

Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia
http://guerrillaskepticismonwikipedia.blogspot.co.uk/

Susan Gerbic
http://about.me/susangerbic

Simon Singh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Singh



[YouTube] Weird Nature BBC Documentary
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00zbtvf

David Bellamy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bellamy

Incense from Nepal
http://www.essenceoftheages.com/stupa/stu1.html



Halal meat.
WARNING - Very Graphic.
http://skepticalprobe.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/halal-meat-production-brutal-or-humane.html

Kissing Hank's Ass (2013)

Here's a great new version of a very old dialog.

Still remarkably relevant.

Skepticule 70 - Interview with Nate Phelps

The Skepticule Team attended QED Con 2014 in Manchester.

Nathan Phelps, son of the late Fred Phelps, founder of the (God Hates Fags) Westboro Baptist Church was kind enough to spend some time with us.

The Skepticule Podcast #70 includes a long interview with Nate.

The Podcast and the show notes are [Here]

... Or you can stream the audio [Here]


Nate Phelps speaking at QED Con 2014
Nate and me at QED Con 2014
[Photo by Susan Gerbic]


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Skepticule 69 - Abhishek Phadnis - Jesus and Mo

The latest Skepticule Podcast is out now and features an interview with Abhishek Phadnis, who wore a Jesus and Mo cartoon on his t-shirt at the university Freshers Fair (LSE), which resulted in him being removed from the event and in the cartoon being shown on BBCs Newsnight.

The Podcast is available here: Skepticule #69

Abishek Phadnis and Chris Moos

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Cancer Cure found in The Bible

Did our Creator “encode” a
on the 859th page of an ancient Bible?

Get ready for a dislocated face.

Not many people can tolerate this amount of face palming.

This long video is an orgy of Cancer Cure, Bible Code, Big Pharma Conspiracy, Miracle Healing, Naturopathy and Bullshit.

http://healthrevelations.net/HTML5/Encode_S_OL/