Why does God only choose a few of us to save?

I am repeating my answer here from one I gave on Quora

To answer the question posed by the title: You haven’t stated your religion, so I’m going to assume that you believe in the type of god from the Abrahamic Tradition, the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God.

The Range of Beliefs:

According to Wikipedia, there are an estimated 4,200 religions currently in existence.

However, within the Abrahamic Tradition there are many branches or sects holding different forms of their belief systems, such as

  • Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and Secular Jews;
  • Sunni, Shia, Kharijite, Ibadi, Kalām, Traditionalist, Fundamentalist, and Secular Muslims;
  • and amongst Christian sects, too many to mention, but mainly branches of Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Fundamentalism, Protestantism, or Non-Denominational/Secularist

with the majority, except for in the Americas, and some African countries, not really knowing much about their religion, or caring much about it.

Choices and Differences:

Sometimes the differences between branches of a belief system are minor, sometimes major, and they don’t all hold that their chosen version of God chooses to save only a few people.

In some forms of the Abrahamic tradition, such as Protestantism, emphasis is placed on the belief that ‘in God’s house there are many mansions’, meaning that there is a place for people of all cultures.

In Roman Catholicism, there is a prevalent belief that so long as you confess your sins before death, you get to enter Heaven, even if you are a child molester or serial killer.

In Islam, there are different opinions as to whether non-Muslims may enter their version of Heaven — Jannah, although there is a common belief that some animals will be able to enter Jannah, and some will not, whereas throughout Christianity it is generally held that animals have no souls and therefore cannot enter Heaven.

In Judaism, some branches, particularly Orthodox, believe in Heaven, but others are either not so sure, or do not believe in an afterlife of any kind, concentrating, like the secular of other belief systems or of no belief system on good works in this present life. Some Jews, such as the Kabbalists, believe in Reincarnation, similar to some Buddhists and most Hindus.

The Differences in More Recent Sects:

If you do hold the belief that God chooses only a few people to allow into Heaven, you may be a member of one of the minor Christian Sects, such as one of the 8 million or so Jehovah’s Witnesses, who believe, somewhat ironically, that only 144,000 people will be allowed through the holy gates.

But remember that there is a vested interest, particularly in Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and for example, in Roman Catholicism in the poorer countries — where the believers pay one tenth of their income after taxes — in not only perpetuating that belief system, but also in spreading their beliefs, (for such are the good works that may get them into Heaven), or in the case of Mormonism, raise them to Godhood and provide them with their own planet to rule over.


So to get back to your question, the answer that applies to you will differ according to which branch of which particular religion you hold as your own belief system, and it could also differ according to whether or not you attend a place of worship and follow the beliefs of a particular preacher, (Mullahs, Priests, Ministers, Rabbis etc.), because they too can have a great influence on the beliefs of their congregations, and each preacher, of each sect, of each religion, is likely to hold his or her own particular set of beliefs, since environment, education and learning greatly influence each of our beliefs, and they will perhaps attempt to instil their own set of beliefs through the texts, prayers, and in Judaism and most branches of Christianity, songs, chosen throughout that preacher’s reign at the Pulpit, Minibar, or on the Bema.

But with all that in mind, in most belief systems, there is a common belief that doing good works during this life may help ensure your passage to ‘Heaven’. And throughout the Monotheistic Tradition, excluding non-Orthodox Jews, in whichever belief system you adhere to, it is commonly held that your personal belief or faith in that system and in particular in certain tenets of that belief system, are important factors on whether or not you will be allowed through the ‘Heavenly Gates’.

Who said so?

At the end of the day, so to speak, someone, somewhere, sometime, (probably in a tent in the deserts of the Middle East) wrote something on a scroll or other kind of notebook, or passed it down through oral tradition, and that something has become part of your holy book or associated documents, which may say that the number of people allowed into your version of Heaven is restricted to those who comply with certain rules, or do certain things like pay their monthly 10% tithe, dress in a particular way, have sex only with certain people, usually of the opposite gender, under certain conditions, (although in one case a particular animal is also allowed, but only for men), and otherwise comply with what is required by your church, neighbourhood, branch of religion, or preacher.

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Flat Earth Theorists

The Meme of the Flat Earth

The ‘current flat earth’ craze scarcely deserves a mention on Ethical Atheism, because the arguments in favour of a flat earth are so ridiculous that anybody with the least amount of common-sense can counter them easily. People of any kind of wisdom and maturity don’t need me to point out the flaws in Flat Earther theories!

However, for the sake of science and in opposition to the anti-scientific view and the deliberate denial of science, which equals that of religion in its perfect nonsense, I just have to say something…

Flat Earth theory has become an internet meme, and since any idiot can own a smartphone or tablet computer, and many do, the meme has been perpetuating rapidly amongst those who do not understand the world, and who think science is a conspiracy to ‘fool the people’ for some nefarious government reasons.

Ironically there are members of the Flat Earth Society all around the globe, so it is not just a phenomenon isolated to Americans, many of whom deny evolution, and even, believe it or not, deny gravity, it is a phenomenon that has become worldwide.

YouTube Search Reveals Stupidity

A search on YouTube is revealing, because it shows the lack of common sense and ignorance of science that is prevalent, and is a must amongst flat earth theorists. For example one video shows a man pouring water on a globe, which obviously falls off the globe to the ground, and he uses this to prove that the world is flat, because if it were not, the water would fall off just like the water fell off his globe.

Take a look at this pseudoscientific video and you will see how the gullible and easily led could be fooled into believing the nonsense in the video. Unfortunately religion has primed many people to be gullible.

Not Quite Like in Ancient Times

In the modern interpretation of the flat earth hypotheses, the world is generally held to be surrounded by a huge wall of ice that prevents the sea from running off the earth. So they are no longer saying as in mythological times that the world rests on the back of an elephant, or that Atlas holds the world on his shoulders. But the arguments are spurious and incredibly stupid. So stupid, in fact, that I’m not going to attempt to prove here that the earth is a slightly flattened globe. There is plenty of proof of that, just as there is plenty of proof of the existence of gravity.

I mean, just how stupid can people get and yet still be able to survive. It is fortunate that we live in a fairly benevolent society that takes pity on the stupid. However, it surprises me that more flat earth theorists have not qualified (yet) for Darwin Awards.

It is a shame that some have already contaminated the human gene pool by procreating, and indoctrinating their children with their stupid theories.

Enough of this nonsense! My next essay will be on a more serious subject.

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What is Ethical Atheism?

Although the words ‘ethical atheism’ seem self-explanatory, they are for some people a contradiction in terms. Many people of religion believe that there can be no such thing as ethical atheism because being an atheist makes a person evil. Without God, what can give us morals, rules to live by, incentive towards being good rather than evil. What is to stop a non-believer from stealing and murdering? With no rules given by a holy book to live by, surely an atheist can do whatever he or she wants without fear of consequences?

This belief in the evils of atheism is particularly prevalent in the United States, where it is almost impossible, for example, to get into public office as an atheist. What this means is that either a politician, judge, or other elected official has to express a belief in God, whether they believe in a deity or not. Almost every politician will end a speech with the words, ‘God bless you and God bless America.’

From Pew Research, Almost All Presidents have been Christians

Another recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that many Americans care about their leaders’ faith. For instance, half of all American adults say it’s important for a president to share their religious beliefs. And more people now say there is too little religious discussion by their political leaders (40%) than say there is too much (27%). (By David Masci, a writer at the Pew Research Centre.)

What naturally follows from this is that in some way most Americans believe that not having religious belief, or at least belief in a deity, means that someone is unsuitable for public office. From Centerforenquiry.net, ‘Most polls still put atheists near or on the top of the list for Americans who donate.’

From the Centre for Enquiry there is a also a quote from Abraham Lincoln, who was probably a closet atheist, given his admiration for Thomas Paine and Voltaire: Lincoln was once asked by an opponent if he planned on going to heaven or hell. Lincoln replied, ‘I intend to go to Congress.’

Some researchers believe that there have been only four atheist or non-religiously affiliated US Presidents, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft, and possibly Chester Alan Arthur, who according to the author Melanie Cornell at the Centre for Enquiry, quotes President Arthur as saying, ‘I may be president of the United States, but my private life is nobody’s damn business.’

There have probably been many more US Presidents who were secretly atheist, but needed the religious vote, so played their cards carefully, dutifully sending out ‘prayers’ to the victim of disasters, and putting in their fair share of ‘God Bless America’.

One can easily imagine political advisers to Presidents editing speeches to get more of the religious vote. As a thinking person, with a healthy degree of scepticism about what politicians think compared to what they actually say, my own view is that the two are often completely different, which is why I take the view that if you want the truth from a politician, listen to what they say, and assume the opposite is true. This practice has worked for me on many occasions.

But I digress. Back to the question, ‘What is Ethical Atheism?’.

This is not really a difficult question to answer. An ethical atheist is simply a person with no belief in any god, but is nevertheless ethical in both public and private life. And I think it is safe to say that atheists who have developed their own ethics based on compassion and human kindness, can be and often are more ethical than people of religion. By ethical, I mean kinder, more compassionate, less prone to hurt others including animals, less likely to go to war (although of course there have been some horrific atheist warmongers), but as I’ve said before in this blog, their atheism was not the cause of their wars, and their soldiers were as a rule, following orders rather than fuelled by religious fanaticism. And their political/military leaders were not ethical atheists.

So where do we atheists get or morals – our ethics – our sense of right and wrong from? For the main part, from the same place that most people of religion get their morals, and that is most definitely not from a holy book, unless they pick and choose the good bits and ignore all the horrors and commands to punish transgressions. Were people of religion to follow the codes effectively written in stone in their holy books, young women would still be stoned to death for having sex before marriage. Gay people and those considered to be witches would still be killed for their practices. And in fact, there is proof of this, because in countries where Sharia Law is the rule of law, as Roman Catholicism had the rule of law during the Spanish Inquisition, witches are still burned, and those who are found to be gay or have had sex before marriage, even if they are victims of rape, are often stoned to death or otherwise killed, often being tortured or whipped first.

Ethical Atheists like most moderate religious believers would never do such things. Atheists do not whip crowds of people into murderous frenzies to kill anyone who has burned or otherwise slandered Christopher Hitchens book, ‘God is Not Great’, or other books of a similar nature.

Yet even the mention of someone in some way misusing the Koran or slandering their ‘holy prophet’ can have whole villages tearing a person apart in some Islamic states. It is like witch burning in pre-enlightened Europe – even a whisper of a rumour, often wrong or instigated by an enemy, can mean the death of an innocent, (they are just assumed to be guilty) and the punishments are fully endorsed in the holy books of Islam – the so-called Religion of Peace, now sometimes being dubbed the Religion of Pieces, as more and more generally young, naive, and full of holy fire radicalised Islamists blow themselves and others to pieces in the name of Allah or the Prophet, with the promise of martyrdom and many virgins to do with as they choose, in the Paradise they imagine where their martyrdom will be rewarded.

The truth is that ethical atheists get their values from their own thoughts on what is right and wrong, what is the compassionate thing to do, and what it is, to quote Professor Anthony Grayling, ‘To live the good life’.

Atheists have as a rule, been shown to give more to (non-religious) charities, more help to the homeless and the poor, and be more compassionate towards animals (since for one thing, they do not believe God gave them dominion over animals).

In a fairly recent study (Current Biology Volume 25, Issue 22, p2951 – 2955, 16 November 2015) the authors reported that

  • Religiousness predicts parent-reported child sensitivity to injustices and empathy
  • Family religious identification decreases children’s altruistic behaviours
  • Children from religious households are harsher in their punitive tendencies

This is about what should be expected, since many of these children have been exposed to information about the religious punishments meted out by their supreme deity and its followers.

So to summarise what was a very easy question to answer, ethical atheists are simply good people doing what good people everywhere do. Using compassion, being kind and generally friendly, using their inbuilt morality and working for the common good of humanity. Religious people could and should learn a lot about kindness and humanity from ethical atheists, because people who think for themselves rather than believe what they have been told are less likely to be prejudiced by those who foster hatred for their political or financial agenda. Today especially is a dangerous time in the history of humanity. There is too much hatred being fostered in the name of religion, and that’s a bad thing about religion!

Finally, it’s worth watching this great video: Atheists On Religion, Science, And Morality (The Point)

I know that I’m preaching to the converted here. But please share this article on Facebook or other social media. We need to get the word out to the world, and to the USA in particular, that atheists are not evil by nature. You can use the links below to share on social media, or this short link when sharing anywhere: http://wp.me/p23b3p-Ly

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Do Atheists have Superior Thinking Skills?

I would assert that not all atheists have superior critical thinking skills. Some, perhaps even the majority, are people who do not believe in any god because they’ve been brought up in a household where religion is never discussed: it’s just not on their agenda, so it is something they have not thought about. Many have never read any of the main religions books of the Abrahamic tradition. In the USA in particular, a lot may never have heard of Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Professor Anthony Grayling, or other prominent atheist thinkers in today’s world. Some may never have read a book since they left school. If questioned on the subject of their atheism, they probably would not have a lot to say. A shrug of the shoulders.

These are atheists without evidence of the massive weaknesses in most religious arguments. In opinion polls they simply identify themselves as non-affiliated. Some may be atheists because they dislike any restrictions on the freedom to do what they like. Others simply may not be bright enough to consider the subtleties of arguments from either side of the atheists-religious divide, although of course many arguments are not subtle. Such people are not part of the new ‘atheism’, they would rather watch TV than take part in a debate. They have allowed themselves to be ‘dumbed down’ by false news and reality TV.

Others just don’t care one way or another. And that’s okay. However, by not taking part in the debate, they are changing nothing. And things do need to be changed. Religion in divisive. It can turn a family against one of their own; one community against another; divide a country into warring factions, and even turn a whole country against another country.

And more to the point, in today’s divided world it can give a powerful country an excuse to destroy a less powerful one, using religion, or ‘religious fanaticism’ as an excuse, whilst meanwhile aiding the extremists with arms, training, and manpower. Meanwhile, fostering hatred through false flag events.

Now we are seeing the effects start to take place. Outraged citizens are beginning to do what we always knew would happen – to emulate the attacks of Islamic extremists, and in this case against ordinary Muslims just as the Islamic extremists and radicalised attack ordinary people. It was inevitable.

Meanwhile the elite few who control the world supply of oil are laughing all the way to the bank, because the more outrage they can muster amongst the public at large, the more excuse they have to overpower middle eastern regimes to either take their oil and gold, as in Libya and Iraq, or to gain a strong foothold in a country with a vitally strategic location, as in Syria. And all the more money the massively powerful arms dealers make. We mostly made and supplied the weapons we are being attacked with.

But in all of this, without religion most of the extremist events of the past twenty years would not have happened.

Is it too late? Is the world condemned to war upon war? Is our next attack going to be an ‘Arab Spring uprising’ against Iran, with the ‘popular uprising’ actually from terrorists and paid mercenaries coming across Iran’s massive borders, and fighting their way inwards, destroying towns and villages en route and blaming it on the Iranian regime?

Well, we’ve done it before, and we will do it again. We will kill or exile millions in the name of prevention of religious terrorism. Now, am I wrong, or do you think that’s a bad thing about religion?

Wake up, sleeping atheists. Hone your critical thinking skills and speak out for ethical atheism. The religious are trying hard to impose their views on you. They are trying to stop critical thinking by attempting to give creationism, that outdated concept from before science, on the curriculum of the schools your children attend. They are trying to indoctrinate your children and the population at large away from critical thinking, to believe what they are told. They criticise science for damaging religious beliefs, but what are scientists supposed to do? Are they supposed to lie and say that the word is flat; that the earth is the centre of the universe, that the world was created in six days, that religious prophets of all faiths are correct?

If that is the case, I have a question to ask of you. Provide  a single example of a scientific formula, thesis, or theory that has been recently replaced with a supernatural explanation. You can comment below.

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Mormonism – The Sect.

I’m going to write more on religious sects, but today I want to focus on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormonism).

Before I start, I would like to point out that everything below is supported by and documented in official Mormon Documentation, which Mormons hold sacred, namely, The BOOK OF MORMON, THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE, and THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS, as well as official Mormon articles in newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets, and Revelations of the Prophets/Presidents of the Mormon Church. As well as reliable outside and ex-Mormon sources.

As a shortcut, people use LDS to denote the cult/religion, so I will follow that convention.

As an atheist, I do not believe in any gods and that includes the god or holy trinity of Christians, or the other Abrahamic traditions. I have no reason to do so. But even within that ‘limitation’, LDS stand out as a particularly ridiculous belief system.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was invented by a character called Joseph Smith, a convicted fraudster who pretended to predict people’s future or tell the the location of hidden treasure by gazing into a seer stone.

A fool and his money are soon parted, as the old saying accurately has it.

There is no evidence that Joseph Smith ever once found the location of hidden treasure, and if there were such evidence the LDS Church would be citing that as evidence of his prophetic qualities. Instead they don’t talk about such things, and play down or deny his convictions. Some members do not even know about them. Many leave the church when they discover previously hidden facts about Joseph Smith’s background.

So where to start? I could start with a list of Joseph Smith’s criminal convictions, his holier than thou character, even as a boy, his claim to have done more than Jesus, his blatant polytheism, his wholesale adoption of masonic rituals into LDS temples, his inconsistencies and lies, his racist policies, his entirely fictitious Book of Abraham, his piss-taking, (where the greatest prophet in the Book of Mormon is called Moron! ) – yes, he had a sense of humour, or with some of the absurd statements of the so-called line of living prophets. But I have to start somewhere, so here goes. And I think this is a good place to start, because a single false prophecy from a so-called living prophet of god gives the lie to the whole affair.

Some people have put a lot more research into this than I have, so forgive me for using extensive quotes in this article. I don’t usually do much quoting in my articles, my belief being that simple reasoning and a basic knowledge of science and logic can usually point out the errors in most religious belief systems, but in the case of religious sects, there is not a lot of  point in that way of writing because most of what applies to the main monotheistic religions and others, also applies to Mormonism, and I’ve made my point about what is wrong about most religions in many other articles on this website, so there is little point in covering old ground.

Mormonism is a particular case where my thoughts on the subject have already been extensively researched by others. However, despite the extensive research out there, many faithful mormons are not aware of much of the content covered in this article, because they are encouraged not to read anything critical to their belief system that could challenge their faith. I don’t know if it is worth my while saying this, but if you are a Mormon, let your faith be tested. If you still hold onto your faith after reading this article and following the embedded links, you must have a very strong faith. Good for you. If you are afraid to test your faith that means that you are insecure in your belief system, and you may as well admit that you are a coward, just holding on to something because it’s all you’ve got. In that case, you are like the coward who is too afraid to challenge an unfaithful wife in case you lose her.

From Carm.org

False prophecies of Joseph Smith:

History of the Church

  • Prophecy about Jesus’ return within 56 years–“President Smith then stated that the meeting had been called, because God had commanded it; and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit. He then gave a relation of some of the circumstances attending us while journeying to Zion–our trials, sufferings; and said God had not designed all this for nothing, but He had it in remembrance yet; and it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, for the coming of the Lord, which was nigh–even fifty-six years should wind up the scene…” (History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 189). See context.

Jesus did not return within fifty-six years when 1891 arrived!

Doctrine and Covenants:

  • Prophecy that the temple would be built in Missouri within Smith’s Generation–“Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased. Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house . . . Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed…” (Doctrines and Covenants 84:2-5, 31). See context
      1. The Mormons were driven out of Jackson County in 1833. They were not gathered there in accordance to this prophecy dealing with building the temple.
      2. The prophecy clearly states that the generation present when the prophecy was given would not pass away until the temple was built at the western boundaries of the state of Missouri which is in Independence. This clearly failed.
  • All Nations would be involved in the American Civil War–“Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations…” (Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-3).  See context

This is clearly another false prophecy since all nations did not get involved in the American Civil War!

Apologists say, “Ah, maybe he was not referring to that war, but in a future war, they will be.”

  • Prophesy that the earth will tremble and the sun be hidden in “not many days”: “For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree,” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:87). See context
    1. The sun hasn’t yet been hidden nor has the moon hidden its face.
    2. This prophecy was given on 12/27/1832. “Not many days hence”? Since the writing of this article on 6/22/06, it has been 63,364 days or 173 years, 5 months, 26 days. I think that 63,364 days is more than “not many days.”
    3. For reference to January 1, 2000, it was 61,000 days (even) or 167 years, 5 days.

From “The Pearl of Great Price”

  • Prophecy that Isaiah 11 was about to be fulfilled–“In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, s aying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when ‘they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,’ but soon would come,” (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith, History, verse 40). See context
    1. Isaiah 11:6-9 says, “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the kid, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze; Their young will lie down together; And the lion will eat straw like the ox. And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.”This has not yet been fulfilled. The wolf is not dwelling with the lamb, the calf and the lion are not together, nor are the cow and bear grazing together. The lion is not eating straw like an ox. Nursing children are not playing in the dens of cobras.

Not exactly the story of someone truthfully inspired by his god, is it? Continued false prophecies simply do not point to inspiration from God, and that cannot be argued with except by duplicitious and perfidious means.

Time to let an ex-bishop of the LDS Church have a say:

I’m Lee Baker, an Ex-Mormon and Former Bishop – YouTube  This guy is a Christian, but he makes good points.

On the origin of the Book of Mormon

What seems more likely, that angels should repeatedly appear to a convicted con-artist called Joseph Smith or that The Book of Mormon was a work constructed partly from Joseph Smith’s vivid imagination and partly copied from other works.

Again, from Wikipedia:

“In the early 20th century, Mormon apologist B. H. Roberts authored a manuscript titled Studies of the Book of Mormon, in which he compared the content of the Book of Mormon with View of the Hebrews. Roberts’s conclusion was that, assuming a hemispheric geography theory for the Book of Mormon, sufficient parallels existed that future critics could claim that View of the Hebrews could have provided a structural foundation for the Book of Mormon story… Roberts’s manuscript was private and shared only with church leadership at the time he did the analysis. Publicly, Roberts continued to support the miraculous origin theory of the Book of Mormon…

Roberts’s list of parallels included:

  • extensive quotation from the prophecies of Isaiah in the Old Testament;
  • the Israelite origin of the American Indian;
  • the future gathering of Israel and restoration of the Ten Lost Tribes;
  • the peopling of the New World from the Old via a long journey northward which encountered “seas” of “many waters;”
  • a religious motive for the migration;
  • the division of the migrants into civilized and uncivilized groups with long wars between them and the eventual destruction of the civilized by the uncivilized;
  • the assumption that all native peoples were descended from Israelites and their languages from Hebrew;
  • the burial of a “lost book” with “yellow leaves;”
  • the description of extensive military fortifications with military observatories or “watch towers” overlooking them;
  • a change from monarchy to republican forms of government; and
  • the preaching of the gospel in ancient America.

David Persuitte has presented a large number of parallels between passages in View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon, but notes that there are no instances of direct copying. The parallels between the two books that Persuitte presents cover a broad range of topics, including religious ideas about the responsibility of the American people in convincing the Indians of their “Israelite” origins and converting them to Christianity. Persuitte quotes from View of the Hebrews Ethan Smith’s theory about what happened to the ancient Israelites after they arrived in America. That theory is also essentially a summary of the basic story line of the Book of Mormon, including the idea that the ancient Israelite immigrants to America split into two factions: a civilized group and a savage group that subsequently exterminated the civilized group. Persuitte also quotes from the two books several similar descriptions of structures built by the civilized faction and wars that were fought between the two factions, as well as numerous other similarities. According to Persuitte, the ideas that can be found in View of the Hebrews are sufficient to have “inspired” Joseph Smith to have written the Book of Mormon had he read it. Joseph Smith himself mentioned Ethan Smith and cited passages from View of the Hebrews in an article published in the Times and Seasons in June 1842.”

There were also a number of other contemporary but preceding works with parallels in the Book of Mormon. It seems therefore to have been a compilation of other works, but with many of Joseph Smith’s own ideas incorporated.

To turn to other matters, first have a look at http://americablog.com/2014/11/the-mormon-churchs-odd-explanation-for-joseph-smiths-polygamy.html.

Not only did Joseph Smith have many wives, he publicly lied about it, and to members of his own church.

The graphic below is from:


The Many Wives of Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith’s Criminal Record

I think I’ve done enough quoting in this article but I want to point readers to the fact that Joseph Smith was a convicted criminal, and was charged many time for everything from fraudulently taking money from people by pretending that he could tell them where buried treasure was, to setting up a fraudulent bank and issuing fraudulent bank notes, to treason, which he would almost certainly have been sentenced to death for had not a furious mob broken into his jail cell and killed his brother (Joseph Smith shot three of the assaulters, killing two) before trying to escape through a window when he himself was shot and killed by people outside on the ground floor.

Please see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith_and_the_criminal_justice_system

You can read more about his criminal convictions here:


Racism in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith Condoning Slavery Until that Position became Untenable, Denial until Recently of Black People  to Positions of Power in the LDS Church, and the Assertion by Brigham Young that Black People could Receive Exaltation but Would be Servants of White People in Heaven.

See the link below for information one these subjects.


Magic Underwear and Getting your own Planet when you Die

Unbelievably, (and there are genuine Mormon Sources for these beliefs, some Mormons believe that the special underwear can protect them from bullets, fire, and many other physical assaults.

See this piece from “The Mormon Curtain”


Also see the YouTube videos below.



Mormon Temple Rituals

It is interesting to note that Mormon Temple Rituals have very much in common with Freemasonry rituals and symbols, these having been introduced to the Mormon Church just two weeks after Joseph Smith was initiated into the Freemasons. They even have a special handshake.

See the below website for more details.


All of the above covers perhaps a quarter of the problems I see with the Mormon Church. It is a religion that expects believers to become very involved, it demands a tithe, (a tenth of all your income plus generous payments over and above that for ‘special circumstances’. And this is taken so seriously that if you miss tithing for a period, you must pay it back.

It is said by some Mormons that it is better to go hungry than miss paying your tithe. It is a very wealthy religion which does not release its financial record in the USA for inspection by the authorities or public. It owns everything from huge shopping malls to Business and private properties that they rent out.

Time magazine estimated in 1996 that the church’s assets exceeded $30 billion. It’s fair to assume that quite a few billion have been added to to those assets by now.

Mormonism also takes up a lot of an individual’s free time. Mormons are expected to be part of the Mormon community where they live, visit people and take part in converting them to Mormonism. They are encouraged not to read anything that would test their faith. Watching television is forbidden to Missionaries, and I believe discouraged in other Mormons because ignorance is the basis on which the church/cult operates best. They don’t want you knowing too much about the world, history, facts, astronomy, science, or anything else that might cause you to doubt their statements.

Is it little wonder that, almost alone amongst religions, no Mormon has ever gained a Nobel Prize? (Although one ex-Mormon did after leaving the church allowing his mind to work properly again…)

From http://packham.n4m.org/cult.htm

Please visit the website to see much more:

“Leadership uses deception, both to the public and to its own members.

From the beginning, and continuing to the present, the Mormon leaders have used all kinds of deception, both with their own members and with the public at large. They have stated falsehoods as truth, they have concealed crucial information, they have altered documents, “doctored” their history, and continue to practice the art of “plausible denial.” Their principle seems to be that such actions are justified if it “furthers the work.” It is frequently referred to as “lying for the Lord.” For a long listing of examples, see “Mormon Lying”. ”

Enough for now. I hope this has been an informative article. If you are thinking of or being encouraged to join the Mormon Church, I do hope the above gives you pause for thought.

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Atheist Ethics and Abortion

Some atheists seem to have strongly held beliefs about a whole host of things that have nothing to do with the existence or non-existence any deity/god/supreme being. And they are not always as clear about the evidence behind  those beliefs as they could be.

 For example, there is the ‘supernatural’. Most atheists do not believe in any form of telepathy, extra sensory perception, reincarnation, out of the body experiences, (except where that feeling has been induced by science) or any form of life after death. The reason is that there appears to be little or no evidence to support such beliefs. 

And I say the same thing – show me the evidence. 

But there are other areas where atheists are expected (or perhaps more respected within scientific circles for a particular attitude), to have certain views as a part of their atheistic ‘persona’, such as being pro-abortion.

Says who? Just because most churches are anti-abortion does not mean that atheists should automatically take the opposite point of view. Let’s take it from the women’s health point of view. Women should have control over their own body, and that’s not in doubt, but the growing body inside them is a separate entity. The argument can be made that an unwanted child would not have a good life and would have been better not to have been born. The mother may have to interrupt her career. The rest of the family may have a bit less in terms of material comforts. The unwanted child may be treated badly (although surely death is the worst form of child abuse) or grow up in a deprived environment. The parents may be able to save up less towards their first house. 

All this is true, of course, and yet there is still the fact that the growing body inside the pregnant mother-to-be is not a part of the mother’s body it is a separate (but dependant) entity, and if given the chance to live would no doubt be grateful for being alive unless so badly abused that it were suicidal, or (and this does not follow) so badly brought up that the child grew into a criminal providing no contribution to our society. 

The fact is that most of us are grateful to be alive and are a productive part of our society. And who knows what an aborted child (or whatever you want to call it at various stages of development) would have grown up to be? Sure, it could have been a couch potato spending its most productive years in front of the TV, scrounging on benefits. But it could have become a doctor or nurse. Or a physicist teaching us about the universe that surrounds us. Imagine the test were available to Steven Hawkins’ parents to diagnose that the child would grow up to have Motor Neurone Disease. The advice would probably be to have an abortion. And yet Hawkins has proved to be one of the most important thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries. A contributor whose unique mind has given us insights into sub-atomic physics, astrophysics, time, space, gravity, black holes, and many other areas of science which he has popularised through his painstakingly written books. The world would be a much poorer place without him. Should he have been aborted before birth to save him the pain that the illness that started to strike him down whilst he was still a student would bring him? I think most people would answer ‘no’. He is, incidentally, an atheist. And glad to be alive.

How many brilliant minds has the world lost through abortion? How many chemical engineers, doctors, physicists, inventors, researchers, architects, humanitarians, Nobel Prize winners, and ordinary people who nevertheless would have played some part in this world, have we lost through abortion?

So back to women’s health. It is definitely a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. HER BODY. But I don’t see how it can possibly be her right to choose what she does with little James or Sareem growing inside her. 

And what harm does the abortion cause to the woman having the abortion?

Women’s Health after Abortion


Some short extracts:

  • Abortion increases a woman’s overall risk of breast cancer by 30 per cent.
  • The risk is likely much higher in women who have a first abortion at a young age, or who have a family history of breast cancer.
  • Since 1957, 23 of 37 worldwide studies show an increased breast cancer risk with abortion, a risk as high as 310 per cent.
  • Ten of fifteen U.S. studies confirm the abortion-breast cancer link.
  • The biological rationale for breast cancer development is related to the woman’s unprotected internal exposure to estrogen when a pregnancy is abruptly terminated early in gestation.
  • The magnitude of the risk has, until recently, been hidden by studies of poor quality, many of which have failed to separate induced abortion from low-risk spontaneous miscarriage.
  • The medical establishment is often slow to accept and respond to emerging data, slowed further, in this case, by the conflicting politics of abortion.
  • Recent studies have connected a higher risk of cervical and ovarian cancers to previous abortions, though the degree of risk varies from study to study.
  • A consistent finding has been the protective effect of full-term pregnancies against the onset of cancers of the reproductive system.
  • Researchers have found a connection between abortion and rectal cancer.
  • With reproductive and rectal cancers on the increase in women, more studies are needed, specifically to examine the connection between abortion and cancer.
  • A large-scale, authoritative Scandinavian study establishes post-pregnancy death rates within one year that are nearly four times greater among women who abort their pregnancies than among women who bear their babies. The suicide rate is nearly six times greater among aborting women than among women who give birth. These findings refute the oft-heard claim that induced abortion is safer than childbirth.
  • There is an urgent need for independent studies of maternal mortality related to abortion, and medical facilities should be required to keep more accurate and informative records so that women may be better served in this area.
  • Women report pain levels that are usually much worse than suggested in pre-abortion counseling.
  • Severe pain after abortion is strongly linked to depression before and after abortion.
  • Pain can be a key indicator of serious medical complications, a fact not often told to women.
  • Pain levels reported by women may be dismissed or minimized in surveys conducted by abortion practitioners.
  • There need to be more independent studies on the connection of abortion to pain.
  • After an abortion, women are more likely to display self-destructive behaviors including suicide and attempts at suicide; mutilation and various forms of punishment (including repeat abortions and sterilization); drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse; and eating disorders as a way of denying or minimizing the guilt, pain and numbness they feel. 
  • Women who abort often have trouble bonding with the children of future pregnancies and have a higher chance of eventually abusing them, which leads to a cyclical pattern of abuse-abortion- abuse.
  • It seems clear, given the frequency of negative behavioral outcomes for women after abortion, that more thought needs to be given to appropriate therapy for women (and their children) who are at risk.


How abortion hurts women | NRL News Today


Aug 23, 2013 – In addition to its risks to a woman’s physical healthabortion can have …  with her partner and others and can adversely affect men and children.

A short extract:

Psychological risks of abortion

In addition to its risks to a woman’s physical health, abortion can have negative psycho-social consequences. A 2011 meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found an 81 percent increased risk of mental health problems among women who had undergone abortions; nearly 10 percent of the incidence of psychological problems was directly attributable to abortion. These problems included anxiety, depression, alcohol use, drug use and suicidal behavior.

A large-scale Finnish study found that the suicide rate following abortion was nearly six times greater than the suicide rate following childbirth. Conversely, although abortion is sometimes justified on the basis of mental health, a 2013 study concluded that the termination of unintended pregnancies had no therapeutic psychological benefit.

Abortion can also damage a woman’s relationships with her partner and others and can adversely affect men and children. Many women and men now regret their decision to procure or encourage an abortion, and many seek support and help to deal with their grief.

Dangers should not be ignored


To go on, A Woman’s Right to Choose is the most common pro-abortion statement. However, what has become clear is that women are not being given the full right to choose because the majority of women who have abortions are not aware of the risks, both short-term and long term. It seems fairly clear that in particular private abortion clinics would be going against their own self-interest to fully inform abortion candidates of the risks involved. They’d lose money. A Swedish study on the first link above, shows that the majority of women given pre-abortion counselling and informed of the risks, chose not to go ahead with the abortion. So yes, give women the right to choose, but ensure that they are fully informed of the risks involved.

I’ve made the point here that abortion is a matter of women’s rights, but the right to choose should lead to a fully informed choice, not simply a choice that is made and carried out without being fully informed of the risks and the latest research, and that abortion may harm a woman far more than carrying on with the pregnancy. This is a matter of fact that every candidate for abortion should be made aware of.

Finally, you may want to read www.easyabortion.com

John Bremner

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Fundamentalist Islam

Today Islamic fundamentalists once again proved that they have no place in civilised society. Free speech is a basic human right in the west and we must fight to defend it. So while nobody likes the idea of the state monitoring all our emails our telephone calls our twitter messages, text messages and other communications, I’ve come to believe that we have to give up the right to that privacy in order to allow fundamentalists and the radicalised to be identified.

I think anyway there is a basic misunderstanding involved. Nobody is listening to the sweet nothings you whisper to your lover on the telephone. It would take millions of people to monitor millions of people. It must be done by software identifying patterns of behaviour or trigger words keywords and codewords. So if you’re doing nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to worry about, on the other hand if someone is planning an atrocity it can only be a good thing that the authorities have some way of finding out beforehand and stopping it before it happens.

That however does not mean that we can afford to be complacent. Terrorists, unless they are particularly stupid terrorists, have ways of hiding what they are planning. But it must be the case that someone or some people outside the terrorist group will suspect that something bad is being planned so it is up to ordinary people to report that to the authorities. If you’re wrong no harm done. If you’re right you may save lives.

The concept of neighbourhood watch should now include watching for suspicious behaviour. If everyone does that we can stop the terrorists in their tracks.

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Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is one of the toughest psychological effects to overcome because the internal conflicts that it creates can have social, cultural and life-altering implications. In other words, the effects of cognitive dissonance can disrupt every aspect of life. And it does. Soldiers who believe in the cause they are fighting for experience cognitive dissonance when they begin to see injustices in how their ‘enemy’ is being treated. People who get caught committing adultery experience cognitive dissonance when they have to try to bring together the hidden aspects of their life with the person they project themselves to be to others. Religious followers experience cognitive dissonance when their scientific education shows them that most claims of their religious books are scientifically false to the point of being absurdities.

Wikipedia says the following:

Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals largely become psychologically distressed. His basic hypotheses are listed below:

“The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance.”
“When dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance.”

Cognitive dissonance is therefore one important reason why people will cling to existing belief systems rather than allowing fresh information to change their minds. It is such a powerful force that people will fight and die rather than bear the psychological stress of realising they have been under a false apprehension. And of course people have different levels of self-awareness, with more intelligent people generally being more self-aware. But intelligence does not always help – we can fool ourselves easier than others can fool us, no matter how intelligent we are, and we tend to fool ourselves a lot to avoid cognitive dissonance. We fool ourselves about who loves us, about who is good for us, and about most of the things we care about. This effectively means that we are wrong about most of the things we think we are right about.

As Einstein said famously, “We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know.”

So where does that leave us in our constant battle against cognitive dissonance? I believe we can learn something from Einstein and the others whose giant shoulders he stood on. Accept that we know next to nothing for certain. Question everything. Be a sceptic. Do not believe others without finding out for ourselves. And accept that there is a kind of war going on between those who would rather close their eyes and ears than subject themselves to a cognitive dissonance that they would have to deal with. Some people have the courage to face reality, and others do not, and that is probably why religion perpetuates itself in our technological world. And why religious people will kill for their particular version of reality to be the one that comes out top.

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The Spirit of Enquiry

Doubt is the basis of all scientific progress. Without doubt, there is no enquiry, and without enquiry, there is no progress. Every scientific advance we have made is because of the spirit of enquiry.

We have to question ourselves constantly. Even with an expected result in an experiment, the scientist thinks, “Perhaps this is not true. Perhaps I should investigate… Let me find something wrong, maybe an inconsistency, and look for another answer.”

Imagine if things were different. Imagine if scientists just had faith in their results. Imagine vehicles built by engineers who put them out to the public without any testing because they had faith in their designs. Without questioning, without doubt, without the spirit of enquiry, there can be no progress.

Assume you believe in one or other religion. The same questions should be on your mind. What you have assumed to be true may not be true at all no matter how much faith you have.

The worst that can happen when questioning any belief is that we find we were previously wrong. Ask the same questions as the scientist. “Perhaps this is not true. Perhaps I should investigate… Let me find something wrong, maybe an inconsistency, and look for another answer.”

In a scientist, this involves perhaps submitting a paper to a peer-reviewed magazine where people will look sceptically at the conclusions of the scientist, follow the data sets and follow the reasoning before deciding whether to recommend rejection or publishing.

For someone questioning their own religious beliefs, perhaps they should start by reading the works of people who can expose the fallacies behind religious belief systems, not merely reading reinforcing works by others of the same faith. Tough questions are needed.

Of course, some people are scared to ask themselves those questions because deep in their hearts they know that their beliefs have no basis in reality, but to quote Socrates, who took great pleasure in exposing people who pretended to know things that they could not possibly know, such as the mind of a god, “The life which is unexamined is not worth living”.

All I know is that I know nothing. Socrates

But those with the courage to question themselves, to question their beliefs, to question what other people say, may be surprised by the light that comes into their lives.

John Bremner

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Ricky Gervais on Atheism – You must see this!

This is worth watching. Both Ricky and his commenter make great points. You just can’t argue with them.

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