To my mind religion is the worse thing that ever happened to mankind. Sure, it converted the Vikings to civilization, but it also repressed and stifled knowledge that kept humanity in the Dark Ages until now and maybe centuries to come. As long as women are forced to wear a burka, humanity remains enthralled.

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Re: the whole Nigeria thing, when they're not exorcising kids, they're accusing them of being WITCHES (big stomachs, wide-open eyes ... yup, gotta be a witch). From there (if the parents have money [and they usually don't!]), the kids also get to be exorcised, which will involve slapping, biting, ALL MANNER of just swell therapy. If the folks don't have the bread, the kids mostly get abandoned.

Charming, no?
Well, they are doing the right thing according to the bible (Ex 22:18). A shame yahweh didn't explain to his children exactly HOW to identify a witch. What the heck, nobody's perfect. Better luck next time, god. (I assume he's working on another book?)
Oh, the Newer-Bluer-All-Improved-Testament?!? Likely ghost-written by James Dobson and Pat Robertson, at a guess.

Oh, point of information: in Job: A Comedy of Justice, Heinlein alleges that the word used in that bit about "not allowing a witch to live" is not "witch" but "poisoner." If true (and I wouldn't be surprised), just how many women and kids have suffered for THAT mistranslation???
Should have been Jerry Falwell ghost-writing it, but (by Falwell's own faulty logic and syllogism) Falwell must have done something evil and god punished him by killing him. I'm not saying Falwell did NOT do anything evil...
I'll see Barbara at my next Sarasota Humanist meeting. She'll love the question, i.e. How can I identify a witch? I took her to a Christmas party last year and told a conversative writer's group Bush jokes.

Mike, that's really cool that you're into A Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Legends. How about the Fraticelli, a small monastery of about 125 Franciscan brothers, who told the pope that Christians must reject luxury and embrace poverty. Every one of them was burned at the stake.

She mentions one town in Germany that sacrificed 200 witches over a four year period—that’s one per week. For the townspeople it must have been like going to a Sunday footfall game.

I was really pissed off on finishing the section on the Inquisition. And to think it’s still going on. Barbara is about 80 and one of the early feminist writers.

The irony of all this is that the devil is merely our evolutionary reptilian baggage. It all springs out of territoriality which is part of the Prime Directive. The devil is just a misinterpretation of human nature.
So cool that you know Barbara! I haven't read her whole book yet but cite her regarding Pope Gregory "The Great" as well as using Homer Smith, Brian Levack, Hans Lietzmann, Charles Mackay, and others.

Regarding how to identify a witch, Kramer and Sprenger (with Papal approval, Innocent VIII) figured that one out, 1487! What brilliant thinkers.
Tonya, we could take a selfish gene interpretation of "outing" your atheism. Has to do with the hawk/dove gene. You probably avoid fights in other areas, a dove approach.

Most people are doves. I certainly am as my Viet Nam draft record shows. But consider the cat pushed up away the wall with no way to escape. At that point, it turns around and faces the pursuer. It hisses, spits and arches its back to strike. (Mammals have a natural fear of snakes.) Most dogs start whining and walk away, trying to save face. The hawk gene only goes so far.

What I'm getting at is: some day you might face your Christian friends and say, "do you really believe that Biblical bullshit?' Most of them won't answer, especially if they are not in a group.


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