Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Moral Values

A few years back, police in Hudson, Wisconsin were baffled when an undertaker and his apprenctice were found shot dead. It soon emerged that a Christian organization, the Rest of Jesus Ministry, had been sending threatening letters to funeral homes around the state:

Thus saith the Lord, because you have heard not the words of the Lord, I take from you your sons and daughters into early graves. And prepare for burial yourself. Amen.

It turns out that the Rest of Jesus Ministry is led by Kathryn J. Padilla of Lincoln, Wisconsin, who speaks in tongues and is believed by her followers to be a prophet. According to the Ministry,

Respect for the body comes by wrapping it in white linen and laying it in a place prepared -- pickling of the body, by the draining of the blood, by the draining of the leftover blood, is an abomination to Me and this practice must cease! Failure to comply to cease from the pickling of the body and the adoration of the dead, will bring a judgment of much death upon this land.

The group denied involvement in the murders and as far as I can tell, they were never solved.

Back in 2002, a Hindu scholar wrote a book demonstrating that beef was routinely eaten in the time of the Vedas. Due to death threats, he was obliged to accept police protection. The publisher withdrew the book. But in fact Indian scholars have known this for well over a century.

Real Truth Ministries of Keene, Texas, invites me to a Revelation Seminar, A Biblical Prophecy Adventure. There, the visions of the apocalypse will be made simple and understandable. Who is the Antichrist? What is the Mark of the Beast? 88 Golden Keys to Unlock the Symbols.

Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Cambridge invites me to join them. Is Jesus Good? the flyer asks. Their members have the answer. "Jesus healed me of breast cancer." "Jesus has financially provided for me." "Jesus healed our unborn baby's heart condition." That Jesus is a good guy, for sure, although it's kind of too bad that there so many other people whose breast cancer he hasn't healed, who he hasn't provided for financially, whose babies were born with heart conditions after all. Maybe he's only good when he's in a good mood.

Then there's Tony Alamo, pastor of the Holy Alamo Christian Church of Alma, Arkansas, and Canyon Country, California. I held on to his literature because it contains the only plan of salvation, and he warned me not to toss it. God has given Tony many visiosn, signs wonders and messages that he hasn't written about previously, but Susie and Tony have had an experience with UFOs. I won't go into all the details but it turns out that "God, Who is the Truth, tells us that every abomination on earth comes from the devil who has chosen Rome as the center for his cult and for his government. . . . Noone must know that his church, his false prophet, and hsi one-world system is the incarnation of Satan."

Saint Matthew's Churches of Tulsa Oklahoma has sent me a Holy Annointed Prayer Rug. It's soaked with the power of prayer. After I use it, I just need to send it in to them with my prayer needs checked off on the letter they sent me -- a better job, a new home, a new car, my health -- you name it. Satisfied customers write that "God blessed me with %5,000," "I received $10,000 in a financial blessing," "God made it possible for us to buy 17 acres of land, "I've gotten a new car and a job," etc.

All very amusing. But if you think these religious beliefs are wrong, how do you know that yours are right?


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