Religious miracles / Naturalism /
Religion / Faith / "The Way" ...
(Top Posts - Philosophy (FREELOVER) - 050102)

I saw an interesting show on religious miracles
recently.

Crying statues (of Roman Catholic fame) ...
skeptics showed simple ways statues can be
constructed to shed tears, but the most common
way that trick is done is simply by applying
paint or human blood to the statue, followed up
by a claim of a miracle.

Frozen blood of a saint that mysteriously lique-
fies in 'good' years and stays solid in 'bad', Roman
Catholic claim in Italy. Skeptics showed two ways
that liquids can be made to liquefy, quite simply a
chemistry trick, one due to temperature change, the
other due to a type of liquid that only moves when
the container is hit.

A Hindu God (Ganesh), one of the most popular
of Hindu deities, as represented by little elephant-
headed statues, that mysteriously, as if by miracle,
began drinking milk from spoons all over India,
on the same day.

Skeptics showed that any statue (in one example,
the statue used was 'Mickey Mouse') can appear
to suck up milk simply by contact with the spoon
and surface tension.

After thorough investigation, news reporters
discovered the nationwide fraud was set up by
a Hindu holy leader to try to win a court trial
via claims of divinity.

The infamous Shroud of Turin. Three separate
carbon dating tests showed it to be on a cloth
around 700 years old or so, shortly before the
painting showed up for the first time in the 1300s.
One skeptic showed how, with dry powder paint,
a mold onto which a cloth is placed, and some
iron oxide paint, the image could have been
created.

Also, a skeptic showed how, if an actual body
was wrapped in the shroud, the resulting face
image would be very broad, not even close to
the image on the shroud.

Furthermore, the commentator stated a Catholic
bishop -and- the painter who painted the shroud
told the church that the shroud was fabricated
after claims of miracles begin to be circulated.
The church rejected the bishop's / painter's
admission of fabrication.

- - - end of recollection on the show - - -

I'm sitting in a chair, typing this post, watching
TV, and if I were to move my right foot around
rapidly (OK, I just moved my right foot around
rapidly), I could claim god did it. I could speak
babble (hold on while I speak babble) and claim
I was speaking in tongues ... such is the nature
of religious claims - anyone can claim anything,
but claiming something doesn't make it so.

Naturalism is the most reasonable and successful
method of understanding our place in the world ...
physics, can't live without it.

How can you know that the gods didn't create
all that is?

You can disclaim that the beings called "the
gods" did it by a simple lack of evidence and
a thorough definition of what "the gods" are
supposed to be, understanding that if you limit
them, they cannot be considered gods for gods
can do anything, and if you accede that they
can do anything, you are hard-pressed to define
them as loving and caring while excusing them
for all evil - - - for facts such as 3 to 4 percent
of children being born with a serious condition
like spina bifada or cystic fibrosis.

Back to the Big Bang - You can analyze what
happened and, using that most successful of
techniques, the scientific method, proposed
explanations understandable from within the
realm of math and physics - here's a recent
one utilizing the human capability to think of
existence outside the box of what has been
proposed before ...

Wonder of some over everything
being 'just right' ... (030602)
http://prohuman.net/science/just_right.htm
"... the closer one gets to infinite 'openings/possi-
bilities', given *any* chance of something like 'us',
a naturalistic entity in a naturalistic cosmos, it be-
comes all-but certain something like "us" will, in
fact, exist at some point in a physical world, con-
strained by physical law, and probable that multiple
instances of something like 'us' would exist over
the all-but endless --if not endless-- sojourn
throughout all that ever was, is, or ever will be ..."

But what about love and caring for others, what
about being good and feeling good about doing
good, aren't the gods and faith in them responsible
for that?

Those emotions are present via many venues and
they do not require one to submit to faith as a pre-
requisite to -or- supposedly admirable / desirable
way to feel good. That's a mere myth, one of many,
propagandized by the church, religion, faith-follow-
ers, and icons of authority, like politicians, as self-
serving promotion of religion and for political gain,
for the most part. There's a better way, I assure
you.

Religion and faith can also lead to fear, deceit, lack
of responsibility, an encouragement of submitting
to authoritarianism, an OK with the brainwashing
of vulnerable and defenseless children, a long list
of guilt-trips and feeling bad about states of being
by which pleasure is a more viable option, and a
disconcerting lack of facing up to the downsides /
risks of faith which continue to haunt humankind.

Religion / faith / ancient documents / belief in other-
worlds by virtue of the one and only "right faith" /
threats to those who don't believe in the one and
only "right faith", all these factors and more reside
at the core of the problem of religious-inspired
harm to humankind, mindsets apart from logic,
reason, and total responsibility for naturalistically
dealing with the human condition in a world of
mystery, wonder, and pure physics.

What is agreed on universally? It is a big universe,
after all and we are but an infinitesimal part of it.
Being good and caring about others is integral to
pro-humanism. It is a human choice, pure and
simple. Humans are free to choose. It would be-
hoove humans to choose wisely in this matter for
this is our one and only *sure* chance at it.

What is "the way" to live out this one and only
*sure* chance at life?

"The Way" is through inducements for pro-human-
ism. Certainly, anyone can update all of the ancient
documents of faith and free them of the calls to anti-
humanism. It would be best, though, if leaders of
faiths saw the anti-humanism in their so-called "holy"
documents and took it upon themselves (or with
supposed guidance of loving other-worldly beings),
within their areas of authority and responsibility, to
update the documents for a modern world.

Perhaps, "The Best Way" is a replacement for
so-called "holy" documents with what one might
think of as a "holy" document of humankind, for
humankind, free of gods, free of ancient myths,
and free of anti-humanism.

I've proposed that such a document be called the
Humanal, and have pledged to write it and have
it be a revisable / updateable document rather than
a static piece of dogma ... by humans for humans,
for now and forevermore ...