Another Ancient Mystery

Today must be mysteries day……

Another mystery may have been solved…..this time it is a religious artifact….the Shroud of Turin…..do you know what it is?

Supposedly it is the shroud that the body of Christ was wrapped in after death and before the resurrection……there have been many theories over the years about is it really or is it not?

The Shroud of Turin is supposedly the burial cloth that was wrapped around Jesus after his crucifixion; bloodstains on the linen shroud, which are said to have been transferred to it during the three days Jesus was in the tomb, form the image of a crucified man. But a new study reported in the Journal of Forensic Sciences finds the bloodstain image was likely faked. Researchers looking at the blood spatter found that the stains appeared to come from someone standing up, rather than someone who was flat on the fabric, Science Alert reports. As the researchers put it, the stains are “totally unrealistic” when compared to what they should look like. The shroud, which is held in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Italy, is considered an icon, as opposed to a genuine religious relic, by the Vatican; Fox News notes “the church has never weighed in on its authenticity.”

“This is the kind of forensic work done all the time in police investigations,” the forensic scientist who conducted the analysis tells BuzzFeed News. “Even a crucified or hanging person should leave a distinct blood pattern on the cloth, which would be fascinating information to have.” The study found inconsistent staining, with researchers concluding multiple poses were used to create the bloodstains—a standing model was likely used to imprint patterns on the cloth at various angles for various body parts. Another bloodstain pattern expert notes that more research could be done to see whether cleaning a body or preparing it for burial might account for the inconsistent staining, though he notes that the stains do appear to have come from flowing blood, meaning a heart that was beating at the time the stains were made. (See previous stories in the real-or-fake debate here.)

This probably will not stop the debate because if you want to believe it is what it is then nothing will change your mind….science is never the friend.

Keep in mind that all sorts of “relics” have been found in the last few decades in the Holy Land  most have been proven to be fakes….but to people that must have hard proof of the religion will grasp at anything that promises to explain everything.

It usually doesn’t explain anything.

My final post of the day….be well, be safe…..chuq

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Will Secularism Return?

When I was working in the Middle East, 1979-1984, I found that many of the countries that I visited were secular…..that is the people were not bound by any religious beliefs or attitudes…..countries like Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, etc…..since I left the Middle East Sectarianism has taken control of the people’s lives……countries that now a days we would consider as governed by religion.

I guess that war will make a lot of people turn to religion for help understanding many things and government would be no exception.

I recently read an article that covers this thinking and what is happening in the Middle East…..

When one thinks of conflict in the Middle East, religious factors are probably among the first that come to mind. But, nowadays, competing strategic interests and imperial ambitions play a much larger role than religious or sectarian cleavages in defining regional politics. This is potentially a positive development.

Consider the struggle for regional influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Despite having long been viewed as a result of the Sunni-Shia divide, the competition is really between two opposing political systems: Iran’s revolutionary regime, bent on changing the regional balance of power, versus Saudi Arabia’s conservative monarchy, which seeks to uphold the old regional order.

In this context, Iran’s support of the Arab Spring uprisings makes sense. In an Arab-dominated Middle East, non-Arab Iran is the natural enemy; but in a Muslim Middle East, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a potential hegemon. So Iran was quick to back free elections, predicting that voters would bring Islamists to power.

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/the-political-decline-of-religion-in-the-middle-east/

I have noticed that social media is help in the spread of more non-religious considerations especially in what may become the new Iraq……

Rayyan Hadidi was 18 years old when he lost his faith. It was July 2006, and he was on his way to school when he stumbled upon a cheering crowd that had gathered near a local mosque. The group, made up mostly of mosque leaders and worshippers, had encircled two men accused of volunteering with the Iraqi police force, which many saw as a puppet of the American occupiers. Al-Qaeda gunmen brandished their arms, preparing to execute the men, as the crowd shouted, “Allahu akbar.” Hadidi stared at the two men, flinching when he made eye contact with one of them just before they were both shot.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/07/iraq-secular-sectarian-election-mosul/564452/

For me that is good news…for like I said before I remember a secular Middle East of my youth….I realize that this will not make a difference to those hateful individuals that wants to blame all problems on a religion.

Part of the rise of extremist Islam came from the sands of Arabia for these Arabs follow an extreme form of Islam known as Wahhabism…..since the King decided to put his son in charge there has been some movement to marginalize the religion……

To cement his power, Prince Mohammed has in the past year marginalized establishment religious scholars, detained critics and neutralized members of the elite by arresting relatives, prominent businessmen, and officials and stripping them of much of their assets.

In doing so, Prince Mohammed has subjugated the kingdom’s ultra-conservative religious leaders through a combination of intimidation, coercion and exploitation of religious dogma particular to a Saudi strain of ultra-conservatism that stipulates that Muslims should obey their ruler even if he is unjust. Islam “dictates that we should obey and hear the ruler,” Prince Mohammed said.

https://lobelog.com/whither-wahhabism/

Are the Saudis leading the way?  Not in my book…they are just given the illusion of change……some minor reforms but the religion thing will remain.

And why is the MSM ignoring all the protests in Iraq since the election?

Although popular unrest is nothing unusual in Iraq, one key factor that has emerged is that all Iraqis have the same concerns, irrespective of their ethno-sectarian background. This fact could be a reason why the mainstream media have attempted to sidestep the protests and failed to give the demonstrations the attention they deserve because they prove that Iraqis are sick and tired of the sectarian nightmare that Iran exported to their country.

http://www.iraqdailyjournal.com/story-z17501228

Closing Thought–20Jun18

These days with the children thing and the quotes saying that the Bible made them do it….I thought I would look at the Founders and their religious convictions….

I get tickled because so-called conservs say that we must keep Jesus in the Constitution…well actually he was not named God was but Jesus was left out for some reason.

The reason basically many of the Founders were “Deists” and not Christians……but why not take a look at 5 of the Founding Fathers that probably could not get elected these days because of their religious beliefs……

To hear the Religious Right tell it, men like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were 18th-century versions of Jerry Falwell in powdered wigs and stockings. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Unlike many of today’s candidates, the founders didn’t find it necessary to constantly wear religion on their sleeves. They considered faith a private affair. Contrast them to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (who says he wouldn’t vote for an atheist for president because non-believers lack the proper moral grounding to guide the American ship of state), Texas Gov. Rick Perry (who hosted a prayer rally and issued an infamous ad accusing President Barack Obama of waging a “war on religion”) and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (whose uber-Catholicism leads him to oppose not just abortion but birth control).

https://www.alternet.org/here-are-5-founding-fathers-whose-skepticism-about-christianity-would-make-them-unelectable-today

Did you know that Jefferson put together his own version of the New Testament?

Jefferson’s goal was to clarify the teachings of Jesus which he believed provided “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has ever been offered to man.”

But do yourself a favor and read for yourself…..

http://thejeffersonbible.com/

Time for my posting day to come to an end…..be well….chuq

Closing Thought–15Jun18

No need to sweat the implementation of Sharia Law in the US…..because we have own version of the stupidity…..

But first our AG has made it clear where the laws of this country will be governed from……

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible on Thursday in defense of his border policy, which is resulting in hundreds of immigrant children being separated from their parents after they enter the US illegally. Sessions, speaking in Fort Wayne, Ind., on immigration, pushed back against criticism he had received over the policy, reports the AP. On Wednesday, a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church said that separating mothers from their babies was “immoral.” Sessions said many of the recent criticisms were unfair and some contrary to law. “I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order,” he said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”

Last month, the attorney general announced a “zero tolerance” policy that any adult who enters the country illegally will be criminally prosecuted. US protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are. According to US Customs and Border Protection, more than 650 children were separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border during a two-week period in May. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that she hadn’t seen Sessions’ comments but affirmed that the Bible did back up the administration’s actions. “I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” she said. “It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law.”

No religious text should decide what the laws should say…..a guideline maybe….but word for word…NEVER!

This is silly!  NO child should be separated from its mother/father for any reason….this smacks of the old concentration camp days…..I for one do not want my country thought of in those terms.

There are more and more policies that are smacking of authoritarianism……this is just one or many…..

As our country slides into an ugly Americanized form of neofascism, there’s good news: nonviolent protest, when in the service of progressive, egalitarian goals, almost always wins out when it reaches a national critical mass. And we may well be on the verge of that right now. But we must understand what we’re up against.

Donald Trump and his neo-authoritarian acolytes are following an ancient playbook.

Part Machiavelli, part Caesar, part Mugabe/Duterte/Mao, it always includes a few simple and primary elements of seizing and subverting normal political power.

https://www.alternet.org/right-wing/9-ways-trumps-authoritarianism-taking-hold

Of course this cannot be with Trump running things right?

How does bullsh*t sound?

It was one particular remark about Kim Jong Un, however, that has raised the most eyebrows: “He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.” When asked by a reporter after the interview what he meant by that, Trump replied, “I’m kidding, you don’t understand sarcasm.” Watch the interview in full here and here.

Anybody that favors dictators to western democrats is just a budding fascist…whether joking or not.

Meanwhile back to the children…….

This is disgraceful and needs to be reversed as soon as possible…..but do not count on Congress that bag of manure will be no help…..the ballot box is the only hope these children have….it is the only hope this country has……I will do my part….will you?

Is It Religion Or Politics?

Last week the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, fired the sitting chaplain……possibly the first time ever that this has happened……

Did Paul Ryan think the House chaplain was a meddlesome priest? Father Pat Conroy says that two weeks ago, the House speaker asked for his resignation but did not provide a reason, Politico reports. Democrats believe the priest, who was nominated by John Boehner in 2011, was forced out over a November prayer in which he mentioned the GOP tax bill and said the efforts of lawmakers should result in “benefits balanced and shared by all Americans” instead of “winners and losers.” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley says Ryan’s move was “reprehensible.” That Conroy “be the first chaplain of the House of Representatives to be fired in the history of the United States is just outrageous,” he says.

Conroy is the 60th House chaplain in US history, but only the second Catholic. The priest, whose last day will be May 24, tells the New York Times that “Catholic members on both sides are furious.” The Jesuit declined to comment on whether politics was a factor in the actions of Ryan, a conservative Catholic, though he says the House is inherently political. “I don’t know if there is a religious divide; there certainly is a political one.” A bipartisan group of lawmakers is demanding more information on the firing. Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly blames “anti-Catholic sentiment” for the ouster, though Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong says the speaker is a proud Catholic and the charge is “false and outrageous.”

Soon to be gone Paul Ryan has just exercised his prerogative by ousted a man of the cloth because he thought he was too political…..seriously?  That is bullsh*t from a bullsh*t pro.

But we can avoid this sort of thing by doing what James Madison suggested…..keep religion out of government and that means chaplains.

“…Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom?

In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation.

The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority] shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority.

Better also to disarm in the same way, the precedent of Chaplainships for the army and navy, than erect them into a political authority in matters of religion.

My paraphrase of Madison’s thoughts…..”If politicians want prayer then let them adjourn to the offices, close the windows and pray their asses off.”
But that is just my take on it.

Closing Thought–27Apr18

Most everyone knows about the so-called “Islamic Extremists” that are causing most of the violent attacks in this world.

Salafi brand of Islam is one of the beliefs these killers hold on to and now one country is trying to slove that problem……

Kazakhstan’s newly created Ministry of Religious Issues and Civil Society says it is taking steps to ban the Salafi branch of Islam in the country.

Minister Nurlan Ermekbaev said on October 14 in Astana that Salafism “poses a destructive threat to Kazakhstan” and his ministry was working on steps to legally ban it.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has said that a series of deadly attacks in June in the northwestern city of Aqtobe were carried out by Salafists.

The Salafi branch of Islam has been branded as extremist and banned in some former Soviet republics.

Salafists follow a strict form of Sunni Islam and do not recognize other branches of Islam, such as Shi’ism and Sufism.

The majority of Muslims in Central Asia are followers of Hanafi, a more moderate branch of Sunni Islam.

(Radio Free Europe)

That could control the violence in the Central Asian country….however I find it a bad thing when religion is banned…..I can see both sides of this…..but since the country of Saudi Arabia is the originator of this brand of Islam maybe there is where the program to eliminate the problem should begin…..

Plus the countries around this nation are all Islam as a majority….so any hardships and the bad guys will slink across a border and regroup and return to do whatever damage they were thinking of committing.  So the ban may be ineffective as stopping the salafists.

Just a thought.

Closing Thought–09Apr18

Remember Jim Bakker?

He  had a evangelical TV show for years, the PTL Club…that is until he got caught with his drawers down with one Jessica Hahn….then he got nailed to fraud….well he got out of prison and started a new religious scam…..

Anyway I give you this short history lesson because he has weighed in on the Stormy vs Trump thingy……

Squashing accusations that President Trump had a sexual encounter with porn star “Stormy Daniels” while he was married to Melania, televangelist Jim Bakker explained to his audience Friday that he had confirmed that Trump was merely scheduling private time with the woman in a hotel suite in order to share with her the good news of Jesus Christ, as he had become acquainted with her and was very concerned that she was not a Christian.

“It is preposterous to assert that a virtuous believer like Mr. Trump would cheat on his beautiful wife so callously, and while their child was only months old,” a solemn Bakker said into the camera as colorful balloons provided a backdrop for some reason. “He was so concerned with the eternal state of Miss Daniels’ soul that he scheduled some alone time with just the two of them, so he could share with her how Jesus Christ had changed his life and how He could also save her from her sins.”

Nearly choking up with tears, Bakker went on to explain how much he loves and looks up to Trump as a model saint.

“Our president even arranged through his attorney to give this woman $130,000 in an attempt to help rescue her from the destructive adult film industry and get her life back on track. What a man of God!”

The televangelist ended his broadcast by wagering that there were probably “many, many more” sex-industry workers like Daniels who could tell a similarly inspiring story about President Trump.

(thebabylonbee.com)

Can I get an Amen?

AS I have said…the religious right has been silent or supporting Trump during all this sex stuff……to me they have LOST THE MORAL HIGH GROUND!