5th June 2016
On June 6, a group from the Satanic Temple in Los Angeles will use GPS technology to construct a giant pentagram around the city of Lancaster, which is located in northern Los Angeles County. The goal is to “raise awareness” for Satanism, and it looks like this event has already accomplished that goal.
Of course this particular date was chosen because it corresponds closely to “666” and the Mark of the Beast that we read about in the Book of Revelation, and therefore this little group of Satanists will receive some unusual media attention this week. But as you will see below, there are other things that we should be far more concerned about than this.
The Pentagram is a star with five points. Using GPS technology we will place the five points of the star so that the Pentagram will encompass your entire city. When all of the points are in place, the Pentagram is completed. Drawing this symbol around your city represents a solemn promise from us, the Satanic Temple of Los Angeles. We will stand with the good people of the City of Lancaster and struggle for our constitutional right to individual liberty, freedom of expression and the separation of church and state in your community.
A lot of people are going to get upset about this, and that is quite understandable.
But in the end, we have got to realize that we are not a Christian nation any longer and we have not been one for a very long time. Today, there are a multitude of religious organizations vying for our attention, and Bible-believing Christians are just one of them. I like what Paul McGuire had to say on this matter …
Currently in America there is intense competition among various belief systems, religions, philosophies, and ideologies. This competition is expressed openly as different groups and faiths seek to promote their belief systems and win converts to their religion or cause. We live in a free market place of ideas, and various religions like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, Hinduism, Buddhism, Satanism, Wicca, and others are free to “evangelize,” even though many of these religions would say that they do not believe in evangelism. Wicca, along with witchcraft and paganism, is currently the fastest growing religion in America. Islam is also a fast growing religion. Christianity, and specifically Evangelical Christianity, is declining faster than most people realize.
The reason why so many of these other religions are winning in America is because Christianity is losing ground.
As millions of Americans turn away from the Christian faith, they are seeking to fill the spiritual voids in their hearts in other ways. If we want to change that, we need to start representing Jesus Christ much better, and we need to let our light shine much brighter than we ever have before.
I wrote a major article about the decline of Christianity in America just the other day, and it has been a major theme in my writing for years. The lukewarm, “me-centered” gospel that most churches are preaching today is not going to cut it any longer. We are moving into a time when our world will be shaken like never before, and global events are going to seem like they are spinning out of control. Millions of people are going to be searching for answers, and the number one topic that they are going to be interested in is Bible prophecy. They are going to want to know if the Bible has anything to say about why our planet has gone completely nuts. This is one of the reasons why I wrote my new book and why I recorded a four part teaching series on the last days down at Morningside recently. If you have not gotten a chance to see it yet, you can view the first part right here.
I don’t know if you have noticed, but our weather is starting to get totally crazy. Since the end of last September, there have been 10 major flooding events in the United States. Never before in U.S. history have we ever been hit by so many major flooding events in such a compressed period of time.
The 9th and 10th floods in this series just happened within the last few days. First of all, on Sunday extremely heavy rains caused horrible flooding in parts of Texas and Kansas …
Six people died and at least two others were missing Sunday after heavy rains in Texas and Kansas caused severe flooding. In one case near Austin, which received nine inches of rain this week, a vehicle with two people was swept off a flooded roadway.
Threats of floods prompted authorities to evacuate thousands of prisoners near Houston, and inmates in another prison on Saturday fought with correctional officers after flooding caused a power outage.
Also on Sunday, tropical depression Bonnie caused absolutely nightmarish flooding in some parts of South Carolina. The following comes from USA Today …
Tropical Depression Bonnie caused a holiday traffic nightmare on Interstate 95 Sunday after the storm system dumped heavy rain causing road closures and miles-long backups, officials said.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation said I-95 Southbound at the U.S. 17 exit, about 22 miles north of the Georgia border, was blocked because of water on the road. Traffic was also partially blocked in the northbound lanes.
It would be hard to accurately describe just how bad things were in some parts of the state. At one point, it was being reported that traffic on Interstate 95 was backed up for more than 35 miles and large stretches of the highway were completely underwater.
So now we can add these two to the eight other major flooding events that have taken place over the past eight months. In case you haven’t been following my work on a regular basis, here in the list:
October: Hurricane Joaquin never makes landfall, but it tracks up the east coast of the United States causing nightmarish rainfall and flooding all over the eastern seaboard. Things were particularly bad in South Carolina, where the governor declared that it was the worst rainfall that many areas of her state had seen in 1,000 years.
October: Violent storms in southern California caused flash flooding that buried some highways in “rivers of mud” that were up to six feet deep. Hundreds of vehicles got buried in the fast moving mud, and the lifeless body of one man that had his vehicle completely encased by several feet of mud was recovered only after a few days had passed because that is how long it took emergency workers to dig him out.
October: Hurricane Patricia was the second most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the entire world, and remnants from that storm caused absolutely horrible flooding in some parts of Texas. The flood waters were moving so fast at one point that a freight train was actually knocked entirely off the tracks.
November-December: A “conveyor belt” of violent storms barreled into coastal areas of Oregon and Washington causing nightmarish flooding in many areas. The resulting landslides and floods made headlines all over the country, and it is going to be a long time before the region fully recovers. In early December we witnessed the wettest day in the history of Portland, Oregon, and things were also extremely bad at that time up in the Seattle area.
January: The middle part of the country experienced record-breaking flooding as the calendar rolled over from 2015 to 2016. The only thing that people could really compare it to was the great flood of 1993, and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said that some communities saw floodwaters get to “places they’ve never been before.” Normally, if the middle of the country is going to see flooding like this, it is going to take place when the snow begins to thaw in the spring. For something like this to happen in the middle of the winter was absolutely unprecedented.
January: On January 22nd, one of the worst east coast blizzards in history slammed into Washington D.C., New York City and other major metropolitan areas. More than three feet of snow was dumped on some areas, hundreds of thousands of people were left without power, and coastal cities all long the eastern seaboard experienced flooding that was described as “worse than Hurricane Sandy.” It is also interesting to note that this storm was known as “Jonas,” which is actually a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew name “Jonah.” Jonah, of course, was a Hebrew prophet that was sent to the capital city of Assyria (Ninevah) to warn that the judgment of God was coming. Well, it turns out that this storm called Jonas also hit our capital city (Washington D.C.) on the exact anniversary of Roe v. Wade and in the exact location where Roe v. Wade was decided.
March: Almost two feet of rain triggered historic flooding in parts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Flooding along one area of the Sabine River broke the previous record by more than five feet, and some sections of Interstate 10 were closed for four days.
April: City officials in Houston declared that the flooding that struck that city was “a life-threatening emergency,” and substantial sections of Interstate 10 and Interstate 45 near downtown were fully underwater. Authorities admitted that water was getting to areas that it had never been before, and Fire Department spokesman Jay Evans said that the water was 10 to 15 feet deep in some areas.
In addition, let us also remember that 2015 was the worst year for wildfires in all of U.S. history, and right at this moment we are more than a million acres ahead of the pace set last year.
So no, we don’t need a bunch of Satanists to curse us, because we are already cursed. We have killed more than 58 million babies since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, there are 20 million new STD cases in the United States each year, the suicide rate in this country has spiked to the highest level in almost 30 years, and most of our churches have already gone completely apostate.
If you want to get upset about what a small group of Satanists is doing out in southern California, I completely understand.
But in the end, we have problems that are far, far greater than that, don’t you think?
The United States formally separates Church and State, but it’s hard to deny that America is inundated with religious innuendo, from its controversial pledge of allegiance all the way down to its Judeo-Christian courthouse displays and faith-espousing legal tender. Yet fewer Americans pray or believe in God than ever before, according to a new study in the journal Sage Open.
Researchers found that the percentage of Americans who claim they never pray reached an all-time high in 2014, up five-fold since the 1980s. Over the same time period, belief in God and interest in spirituality appears to have similarly declined, especially among young adults.
The findings suggest that, “millennials are the least religious generation in memory, and possibly in American history,” says Jean M. Twenge, psychology professor at San Diego State University and coauthor on the study, in a press statement. “Most previous studies concluded that fewer Americans were publicly affiliating with a religion, but that Americans were just as religious in private ways. That’s no longer the case, especially in the last few years.”
The notion that the U.S. is inching away from organized religion is nothing new. Throughout the 2000s, studies repeatedly found that many Americans had lost faith in religious institutions. But scientists suspected the shift was from organized religion, rather than spirituality—that Americans had stopped attending formal services, but that they still prayed and believed in private.
And it made sense. The Catholic Church’s highly publicized sexual abuse scandals had shaken America’s faith in religious leadership right around the same time that our faith in non-religious institutions was beginning to wane. One 2014 study found that Americans had grown skeptical of Church power in much the same way that they had grown suspicious of all major institutions, including the media, the medical establishment and Congress.
But this new study suggests that Americans have a problem with God—and that our spiritual issues run deeper than paltry mistrust of religious institutions.
For the study, researchers pulled 58,893 entries from the GSS, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults. The results suggest a steep decline in the number of Americans who pray, believe in God, take the Bible literally, attend religious services or identified as religious—all factors that should have relatively little to do with America’s skepticism of large institutions.
As of 2014, nearly one third of thirty-somethings who matured in the 2000s said they were “secular” and one fifth reported that they were not even “spiritual”, suggesting a decline not only in religious affiliated but also in the core beliefs of Generation Y. “Decline in religious affiliation and participation has now extended to private practices and beliefs,” the authors write.
The next generation, often referred to as iGen, is even more secular. By 2014, the number of 18 to 22-year-olds who reported no religious affiliation rose from 11 percent in the 1970s to 36 percent; the percentage who said they never pray rose from 4 percent to 28 percent. Belief in God and attendance at religious serviced declined by half while self-reported spirituality declined five-fold. “This suggests that iGen will continue the decrease in religious orientation rather than reversing it, even in spirituality,” the authors write.
One odd quirk, however—Americans have become slightly more likely to believe in an afterlife, even as they are abandoning prayer, belief in God and rituals. This, too, is perhaps a telling sign of America’s newfound relationship with old-time religion. “It might be part of a growing entitlement mentality,” Twenge said. “Thinking you can get something for nothing.”
If you don’t believe in God, you might want to move to the Pacific Northwest.
Portland, Ore., is No. 1 on the list of metropolitan areas with the most religiously unaffiliated residents (42%), according to the nonpartisan and nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Atlas, a survey of 50,000 people. Seattle and San Francisco were tied at second place (with 33%) on the list, and Denver (32%) and Phoenix (26%) were third and fourth.
On the other end of the spectrum, Nashville was the metropolitan area with the fewest people without any religious affiliation (15%), followed by Charlotte, N.C. (17%), and Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando and Pittsburgh (all with 18%). Some caveats: While many people who don’t believe in God may not attend religious services, there are (of course) faith traditions such as Unitarian Universalism that welcome and include humanists and atheists; many people who might not believe in God may just as likely go to church for spiritual reasons too, or merely because they like it.
Why the regional differences? “Portland is quirky and different, and very attractive to people who may not feel comfortable in other social environments, particularly with a stigma against those who are atheists,” says Daniel Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute. In fact, “The Big Sort,” a 2008 book by Bill Bishop, documented the “clustering” of like-minded Americans around politics and culture. While 94% of people said they would vote for a Catholic for president and only 5% say they would not, 54% said they would vote for an atheist while 43% said they would not, a nationwide 2014 Gallup survey found.
“The strong religious culture in the South reflects a variety of factors, including history, cultural norms and the fact that these states have high Protestant and black populations — both of which are above average in their self-reported religious service attendance,” according to a separate Gallup survey of over 177,030 U.S. adults this year on church attendance. And 10 of the 12 states with the highest self-reported religious-service attendance are in the South, along with Utah and Oklahoma. (Utah ranked as No. 1 because of the 59% Mormon population there, and Mormons have the highest religious attendance of any major religious group in the U.S.)
This was not the case in the Pacific Northwest. A 2004 book, “Religion and Public Life in the Pacific Northwest: The None Zone,” found that there was no influx of one major denomination there, so religious groups, spiritual environmentalists, and secularists “must vie or sometimes must cooperate” with each other to address the region’s pressing economic, environmental and social issues. “A clearly recognizable religious reference group functions as a social mirror, alongside or against which an individual can define himself or herself. The Pacific Northwest has neither,” the writers concluded, adding, “Most people who come into the region do not come seeking to replicate what they left behind.”
Overall, one-fifth of the U.S. population has no religious affiliation whatsoever, studies show. Some 16% of Americans said they had no religious affiliation, according to research published last year by polling firm Gallup, up from 15% the year before and 10% a decade ago, and up from 1% in the 1950s; the figure for those who have no religious affiliation is closer to 22%, according to the American Values Atlas. The Gallup polling concludes that 37% of people identify as Protestant, 10% as Christian, 23% as Catholic, 2% as Jewish and 2% as Mormon, while another 4% gave no answer to the question.
How Americans feel about religious groups also varies, influenced in part by the religious demographics of the rest of the population, according to a 2014 survey of over 10,000 adults by Pew Research Center. On a rating from zero to 100 — where zero reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating — Jews received 63%, the most positive rating, followed by Catholics, at 62%, and evangelical Christians, at 61%. Buddhists received a 53% rating, while Hindus received a more neutral 50% and Mormons 48%. Atheists and Muslims received just 41% and 40%, respectively.
16th Oct 2015
Here’s the breathless headline: “Scientists claim they can change your belief on immigrants and God — with MAGNETS.”
Wait. Attitudes toward God and immigrants? Are these a natural pair? The newspaper thought so. They tell of an experiment which “claims to be able to make Christians no longer believe in God and make Britons open their arms to migrants.” How’s it done? “Using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation” researchers can “safely shut down certain groups of neurones” in the brain.
It seems to have worked. Volunteers were coaxed into having their brains zapped by giant magnets. And, lo! “Belief in God was reduced almost by a third, while participants became 28.5 per cent less bothered by immigration numbers.”
The news report was based on the paper “Neuromodulation of group prejudice and religious belief” by Colin Holbrook and four others in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. This paper is one in a long line of studies that purport to explain the workings of the human mind based on responses to simple questionnaires.
It’s true. Scientists in some fields have convinced themselves they can quantify the unquantifiable. They believe hideously complex human emotions can be adequately represented on scales of 1 to 5 (or some other bounds). For instance, on a scale of -4 to 4, how much do you agree with the statement, “There exists an all-powerful, all-knowing, loving God”?
Before you answer, consider. Is the distance in belief from 3 to 4 the same as it is from 2 to 3, and from 1 to 2, and so on? Are these distances exactly the same in all people? What happens if the scale were to be changed from -4 to 4 to one from 1 to 9, which is the same length? Would the results be the same? Does everybody agree on the precise definitions of “all-powerful,” “all-knowing” and so on?
The answer is obviously no to all these questions, but Holbrook’s results, and the results from thousands of such investigations, assume the answer is yes. It’s worse than this. Consider the same question about God but after you answer these two questions: “Please briefly describe the emotions that the thought of your own death arouses in you” and “Please jot down, as specifically as you can, what you think will happen to your body as you physically die and once you are physically dead.”
Why? Because, the authors say (in the supplementary material to the main article), these “threat-inductions” have an “evident link between the prospect of death and palliative thoughts of God and the afterlife, and also because” thinking about your own death “has been shown to reliably heighten both intergroup prejudice and religiosity in prior studies.” Thinking about life after death increases intergroup prejudices? That must explain the riot in the pews each Sunday after the Nicene creed is read (“I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come”). And are palliative thoughts about death the only reason people believe in God? Of course not. This prejudicial prompting is of dubious value.
In the study, questions about belief in God, the niceness of immigrants, and several other subjects were asked of volunteers, half of whom were zapped with magnets. These magnets were aimed at a region in the brain the researchers thought was related to emotions about God and immigrants. Yet brain “regions” of complex emotions are far from well understood. In Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience Sally Satel (psychiatrist) and Scott Lilienfeld (psychologist) say “the half-life of facts can be especially brief” in this field. New results disprove older ones continuously.
After the zapping, all participants were re-asked the same questions. Turns out participants “reported an average of 32.8% less conviction in positive religious beliefs” than those who weren’t zapped. That’s 32.8% and not 32.7%, mind you. In science we demand precision! A wee p-value confirmed that this change was “statistically significant.” There isn’t space here to explain the horror of this statistical approach, but interested readers can learn more here.
This is where it gets interesting. There was, as we have just seen, a small change in the answers to pseudo-quantified questions about positive religious beliefs, but there weren’t any “significant” changes in the answers to pseudo-quantified questions about negative religious beliefs. The same sort of thing happened in the questions about immigrants: Some had wee p-values and some did not. And there were no changes in any of the other questions asked. Yet which “findings” got the headlines?
We still haven’t answered the big question: why. Why did the authors design a study about belief in God and attitudes about immigrants? From their conclusion, written in the impenetrable prose typical of such “studies”:
History teaches that investment in cherished group and religious values can bring forth acts of both heroic valor and horrific injustice. Understanding the psychological and biological determinants of increases in ideological commitment may ultimately help us to identify the situational triggers of, and individuals most susceptible to, this phenomenon, and thereby gain some leverage over the zealous acts that follow. …The results provide evidence that relatively abstract personal and social attitudes are susceptible to targeted neuromodulation, opening the way for researchers to not only describe the biological mechanisms undergirding high-level attitudes and beliefs, but also to establish causality via experimental intervention.
Did you catch that? These scientists hope that in the future belief in God, or in some other politically incorrect question that might — only might — lead to “zealous acts,” can be treated, maybe even cured, by magnet zappings. And there you have the real danger that follows from believing you can quantify the unquantifiable.
8th July 2015
A group advocating for separation of church and state may propose that a Satanic statue be placed outside the Arkansas Statehouse after their first choice of the Oklahoma Capitol grounds was scuttled by a state Supreme Court ruling barring all religious monuments.
The Satanic Temple says Arkansas’ approval of a Ten Commandments display gives the group a right to erect the statue.
Oklahoma’s Supreme Court last week ordered the Ten Commandments display outside the Capitol building in Oklahoma City taken down because the state constitution bars the government from doing anything to benefit a religion.
The group says Arkansas is an alternative site for the 8 ½-foot-tall Baphomet statue, depicting Satan as a goat-headed figure. Arkansas legislators have passed a bill similar to one establishing Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments monument.
19th Feb 2015
Attorneys for a California State University, Northridge scientist who was terminated from his job after discovering soft tissue on a triceratops fossil have filed a lawsuit against the university.
While at the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montana, researcher Mark Armitage discovered what he believed to be the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the site, according to attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute.
Upon examination of the horn under a high-powered microscope back at CSUN, Dacus says Armitage was “fascinated” to find soft tissue on the sample – a discovery Bacus said stunned members of the school’s biology department and even some students “because it indicates that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago.”
“Since some creationists, like [Armitage], believe that the triceratops bones are only 4,000 years old at most, [Armitage’s] work vindicated his view that these dinosaurs roamed the planet relatively recently,” according to the complaint filed July 22 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The lawsuit against the CSUN board of trustees cites discrimination for perceived religious views.
Armitage’s findings were eventually published in July 2013 in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
According to court documents, shortly after the original soft tissue discovery, a CSUN official told Armitage, “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!”
Armitage, a published scientist of over 30 years, was subsequently let go after CSUN abruptly claimed his appointment at the university of 38 months had been temporary, and claimed a lack of funding for his position, according to attorneys.
“Terminating an employee because of their religious views is completely inappropriate and illegal,” Dacus said in a statement. “But doing so in an attempt to silence scientific speech at a public university is even more alarming. This should be a wakeup call and warning to the entire world of academia.”
CSUN spokesperson Carmen Ramos Chandler told CBSLA Armitage was a a temporary hire between 2010-2013 and worked as an electron microscopy technician. She could not comment on the lawsuit as university officials had not yet received the complaint.
The discovery is the latest in several recent – and controversial – soft tissue finds by archaeologists: researchers last November claimed the controversial discovery of purported 68-million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex can be explained by iron in the dinosaur’s body, which they say preserved the tissue before it could decay.