Voodoo Ritual Burns Child in Massachussetts: Belief Has Real World Consequences

A case in Massachusetts is attracting public interest as a young girl received third degree “disfiguring” burns on her face when her mother and her aunt performed a voodoo spell on her to cleanse her of evil spirits that were causing her to behave badly. Here is the story:

http://randolph.wickedlocal.com/news/20180201/women-disfigure-randolph-child-in-voodoo-ritual-say-police

 

While it might seem at first glance to be unimaginable, websites abound on the Internet promoting these types of rituals and providing the supplies and even prepared kits to reinforce and capitalize on this type of belief system.

Here are some typical set-ups for a cleansing ritual. Note that a candle or open flame is often recommended. The oils very likely have alcohol causing flammability. Often, the ingredients are not even fully disclosed:

The women mentioned that part of the ritual involves the burning of myhrr, also introducing a potential fire hazard into the cleansing and also freely available in voodoo supplies:

Sea salt was cited as one of the components of the ritual cleansing:

Herbal Sea Salt Bath

We offer many types of bath salts. Mixed with herbs for different uses. All rid you of negative energy. Their are ones made to match your Element (Earth, Air, Water, Fire) Healing, Love, Purification, Spirit, Prosperity & Protection. Any of these can be used in a cleansing but have the specific herbs added according to your preference. So be sure to specify on the “notes to seller” section on Paypal. As always 100% Free Shipping inside the U.S.A.

Another spiritual cleansing bath mix. No ingredients listed:

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Anointing oils, possibly containing flammable ingredients making a variety of promises:

Cast Off Evil Oil 2 dram: Anoint temples during prayer or ritual to overcome evil forces. Pure anointing oil for external use only

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Eucalyptus oil was used by the sisters, according to the police.

Repelling–eucalyptus and devil’s shoestrings drive off people and habits that are no longer welcome

 

Devil’s Shoe String spiritual supplies are to tie down and restrain the devil and also human enemies. Contains genuine Devil’s Shoe String Root.

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BANISHING OIL, Full Line of Banishing Products

 

Banishing Oil–Banishing spiritual supplies are to remove unwanted people or conditions; far milder than Hot Foot. Further instructional information can be with Free Magic Spells and Prayers and How to Use Oils in Conjure, From “Hoodoo In Theory and Practice”

The Banishing Ritual kit has been created to aid you in banishing negativity and negative influences from your life, home and self. From evil spirits to curses to bad habits, it can aid you in your ritual craft.

Southern style anointing oils are made with genuine roots, herbs, and minerals. They are used to dress candles, anoint the body, and sprinkle on amulets and conjure hands. We prepare these Magical oils on the premises and package them in 1/2 ounce glass bottles, with vivid graphic labels.

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Frankincense & Myrrh Spiritual Oil

 

Frankincense: For consecration and intensification, spirit work, increase power of conjure, empower oils / perfumes / mojo bags, and peaceful sleep.

Myrrh: Traditionally blended with other herbs. Promotes peace, healing, and protection.

Suggested Use: Anoint candles, magickal tools, feed your spirit / mojo bag, use for spell / rootwork, add to your bath, add to sea salt, add to herbs on charcoal, drip a little on a light bulb, dress your chakra points / wrists / temples.


Protection Oil, no ingredients listed:

 

An important part of many magical practitioners kit, Protection Oil, as the name implies, is a potent anointing oil intended to fortify your protection spells and warding magic. Use it as an anointing oil to help strength the creation of magical circles for summoning and conjuration. Otherwise Protection Oil is also a powerful aid when creating magical talismans, charms, and personal spells intended to help protect you or another from curses, hexes, and the evil eye.

 

 

 

Logical-LA to be held February 9-11, 2018: Scientific Skepticism Celebrated

In support of the scientific skeptic movement, LogiCal-LA creates a place for critical thinkers to meet face-to-face and to experience presentations from nationally recognized speakers who will share their knowledge and insights.

LogiCal-LA 2018 presents internationally known theoretical physicist and cosmologist Professor Lawrence M. Krauss as keynote speaker.

What is scientific skepticism?

Scientific skeptics believe that empirical investigation of reality leads to the truth, and that the scientific method is best suited to this purpose. They attempt to evaluate claims based on verifiability and falsifiability and discourage accepting claims on faith or anecdotal evidence.  Scientific skeptics often focus their criticism on claims they consider to be implausible, dubious or clearly contradictory to generally accepted science.

Scientific skeptics do not assert that unusual claims should be automatically rejected out of hand on a priori grounds—rather they argue that claims of paranormal or anomalous phenomena should be critically examined and that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence before they can be accepted. From a scientific point of view, theories are judged on many criteria, such as falsifiability, Occam’s Razor, and explanatory power, as well as the degree to which their predictions match experimental results. Skepticism is part of the scientific method; for instance, an experimental result is not regarded as established until it can be shown to be repeatable independently.

For further information, see this article about scientific skepticism.

For the full schedule:

http://logicalla.com/blog1/schedule/

Ordination & Holiday Ecards Courtesy Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster: A Must Visit Website

Greetings from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

I hope everyone has had a wonderful year and is enjoying a festive Holiday season. This year has felt a bit dark — a little like truth, reason, and accountability have taken a beating — that satire has lost some of it’s power. When reality has become so absurd, how to point out its absurdity with exaggeration?

But I think we’re turning a corner, and I take comfort that the Pastafarian community has remained positive and stable. Another year with Pastafarians standing up for their rights and pushing back against discrimination. Another year of uplifting news stories, free of scandals. That makes me feel better.

What’s coming up for 2018? I’m thinking we should make an FSM book for kids. To indoctrinate the youth with religious propaganda, and so on. And also True Facts about pirates, not the revisionist history that public schools would have us believe. Just feels like maybe it’s time, what with facts having become so pliable, and with this atmosphere where the mixing of religion and education is not so objectionable – maybe it’s time we get into that as well. Just a thought. I’d enjoy brainstorming with the community.

I’m going to make an effort to communicate more often. If you get sick of it, please Opt Out with the link at the bottom of the page and I won’t bother you anymore.

I’ve got a few holiday gift ideas, below. We don’t really do merchandise anymore (though you can surely find knockoff shirts and things on the internet if you look.) The only thing we do now is the Ordinations, and I’d encourage everyone to become Ordinated, or to nominate a friend, if it feels right. Here we go:

• Nominate someone to the Ministry of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Do you know someone of impeccable character, ready to serve as a spiritual leader? This Holiday season why not surprise them with Ordination credentials?

FSM Ministers will receive Lithograph Paper Certificates and PVC Minister’s ID cards, and will be added to the official registry. They cost $25 or $40 including shipping anywhere in the world. You can order as a gift here. (Or for yourself here). I will send something you can present the nominee, before their credentials arrive in the mail. If they decide to not join the Ministry, you can re-nominate or get a refund.

• Send a Holiday e-Card to your friends and family

You can create a festive card with personalized message here. It takes only seconds and costs nothing. Below are a few of the designs. I will not smash any ads into your e-cards, nor will I read them.

 

• Give a gift card to Kiva and encourage your friends/family to join our Kiva Lending Team

Our Kiva Lending Team is near 5000 people strong, and has raised over $3.7 Million for the the poor. Please check out our team and join us.Our Kiva Lending Team

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: THE LAST INTERVIEW & OTHER CONVERSATIONS

“He’s one of the most terrifying rhetoricians that the world has yet seen.” —Martin Amis

“His unworldly fluency never deserted him, his commitment was passionate, and he never deserted his trade. He was the consummate writer, the brilliant friend. In Walter Pater’s famous phrase, he burned ‘with this hard gem-like flame.’ Right to the end.” —Ian McEwan

“He was an intellectual with the instincts of a street brawler, never happier than when engaged in moral or political fisticuffs.” —Salman Rushdie

“There was nothing that Hitch liked to do more than talk— and all the better if talking meant arguing.” —Anna Wintour

Museum of the Bible Opened In Washington DC

Collections

The Museum Collections include artifacts and objects from a range of cultures and time periods, from the Ancient Near East to the modern period. The permanent collection focuses on biblical items, manuscripts, printed Bibles and books, and art. These collections allow the Museum of the Bible to convey the global impact and compelling history of the Bible in a unique and powerful way.

Complimenting the Collection

Complementing these collections are cooperative agreements with other institutions, such as the Israel Antiquities Authority, which will provide guests an unrivaled opportunity to engage with artifacts and materials related to the Bible. Over 41 institutions have loaned items on display in the museum in Washington, D.C.

A portion of these collections were displayed through the traveling exhibit, Passages, at six different cities nationwide. The collections have also been featured internationally through exhibits in Vatican City; Havana, Cuba; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Ulm and Wittenberg, Germany; and Jerusalem, Israel.

Approximately 1150 items from the museum’s permanent collection are on display in the museum in Washington, D.C, with another 2000 items on loan from other institutions and collections. The curation and registration teams continue to research the items in the collection and develop new exhibitions and displays.

Special exhibits–Full information https://www.museumofthebible.org/

Christmas Illuminated: Prestigious Manuscripts from around the Fifteenth Century in the Bavarian State Library Collection

Explore the Christmas story as presented in rare and precious illuminated manuscripts.

The Art of the Gospels by Makoto Fujimura

A contemporary art exhibition highlighting the work of Makoto Fujimura, as he revisits the legacy of illumination and explores the Bible as a source of creative inspiration.
About Museum of the Bible
Museum of the Bible
 is an innovative, global, educational institution whose purpose is to invite all people to engage with the Bible. In 2017, Museum of the Bible, which aims to be the most technologically advanced museum in the world, opened its 430,000-square-foot nonprofit museum just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Blood Suckers in Malawi Termed Mass Hysteria; Monkey Man a Similar Case

The Society of Medical Doctors in Malawi is now speaking out publicly to declare the current fear of blood suckers to be a case of “mass hysteria” also known as “shared delusion disorder.”

For background information, read:

Vampires, Blood Suckers, Witchcraft, Resurrection and more in Malawi

In a statement, society president Dr. Amos Salimanda Nyaka said: “We are disturbed by the reports of thuggery that has resulted into some health workers being attacked for carrying a stethoscope. Some have had unfortunate incidences of having their vehicles smashed, and in others having their possessions taken off them for being suspected of being blood suckers, and or in pursuit of the non-existent suckers. Some ambulances have also been attacked whilst being used to ferry patients to and or from hospital.”

The society also criticized Malawi President Peter Mutharika and the Malawi media for not fully denouncing the fear of vampires as nonsense and appealing to reason. Mutharika later came out in a more direct statement to the country addressing the rumors as both a hoax and an opportunity to enter homes and rob innocent people.

President Mutharika

Since the panic began in late summer of this year, more than nine people have been killed and more than 100 have been arrested.

THE MONKEY MAN OF NEW DEHLI, 2001

A similar mass hysteria occurred in New Dehli when, in May of 2001, police began receiving inconsistent reports of a clawed entity with glowing red eyes. Some described it as feline-like, while others felt it was a monkey-man. Sometimes it was described wearing a helmet. Folks began to report unexplained bite-like injuries, scratches and bruises, and at least two people died in falls trying to escape the creature. Early on, more than 50 attacks were reported to have occurred in a single night.

Just as in Malawi, the reports in New Dehli began to spread to more and more locations. Also, like Malawi areas affected by blood sucking vampires, most residents were illiterate, superstitious, and often isolated in rural areas with no electric lighting. Also similar to the Malawi situation, there was a belief that rumors were being deliberately created by a foreign source or for a nefarious political motivation. In both cases, the police were severely taxed, forced to patrol areas to control panic as well as make those in genuine fear feel protected.

Two official drawings of Monkey Man were released to the public based on witness accounts.

While at least nine people in Malawi have been killed by mobs on suspicion of being bloodsuckers, in New Dehli an innocent four foot tall man was beaten and delivered to the police. Later, a man driving a van was beaten and suffered multiple broken bones.

At one point, a neighboring village in India reported a wolf-like Bear Man was also attacking citizens. The Bear Man would become invisible if a light were shone upon him.

Christopher Hitchens vs. Douglas Wilson: Collision: Is Christianity Good for the World?

Documentary:

Collision: Is Christianity Good for the World?

Renowned political journalist and best-selling author Christopher Hitchens is pitted against fellow author, satirist and evangelical Christian Douglas Wilson, as they go on the road to exchange debate over the question: Is Christianity Good for the World? The two theologians argue, confide and even laugh together as they journey through three cities presenting the debate. This film documents the journey, bringing the sharp points together to provide a critical analysis of religion and its perpetuation.

Full Film: https://thoughtmaybe.com/collision/

Directed by Darren Doane

Starring Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson

Distributed by LEVEL4

Release date October 27, 2009

Running time 90 minutes

Inspired by the book Is Christianity Good for the World?

The gloves come off in this electric exchange, originally hosted by Christianity Today, as leading atheist Christopher Hitchens (author of God Is Not Great) and Christian apologist Douglas Wilson (author of Letter from a Christian Citizen) go head-to-head on this divisive question. The result is entertaining and provocative—a glimpse into the ongoing debate.

Publisher: Canon Press (September 2, 2008)

About the Authors

 

A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God: Documentary, Book, Podcast

The Documentary

There is no God. Now what? If this is the only life we have, how does that affect how we live our lives, how we treat each other, and cope with death.

In this fascinating documentary, join filmmaker Chris Johnson as he introduces us to people from all walks of life and backgrounds who challenge the false stereotypes of atheists as immoral and evil. From Daniel Dennett and A.C. Grayling, to Julia Sweeney and Robert Llewellyn —learn the various ways many atheists have left religion to a better life filled with love, compassion, hope, and wonder.

A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God

Director: Chris Johnson

Featuring: A.C. Grayling, Adam Pascal, AJ Johnson, Alex Honnold, Andrew Copson, Cara Santa Maria, Dan Barker, Daniel Dennett, Donald C. Johanson, Helena Guzik, Julia Sweeney, Matt Dillahunty, Nahla Mahmoud, Patricia S. Churchland, Robert Llewellyn, Sean Carroll, Tracie Harris.

https://www.theatheistbook.com/pages/about-us

Available Formats: Streaming rental, HD Download, DVD

 

Upcoming Screenings & Lectures through 2017

Thursday, November 2 Screening – Houston, TX (Rice University)

Thursday, November 9 Screening – Frostburg State University

Saturday, November 11 Lecture – New Haven, CT

Sunday, November 19 Screening – Jackson, MS

Friday, December 1 Screening – Ontinyent, Valencia, Spain

The book

Explore the meaning and joy of life with 100 atheists in this book of photos and commentary featuring Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Steven Pinker, Penn & Teller, Julia Sweeney, Alex Honnold, Derren Brown, and more!

The myth persists. Even in our modern world, countless people believe that without God, one’s life has no purpose or meaning — that the lives of atheists are devoid of joy and happiness because they are not religious.

Starting out as one of the highest-grossing publishing projects on Kickstarter, A Better Life highlights the various ways that those who are not religious find joy, meaning, and purpose in life. Photographer Chris Johnson spent two years traveling the world speaking with and photographing atheists from all walks of life to create this hardcover photography coffeetable book.

Subjects in the book include:

A.C. Grayling, Philosopher

Adam Pascal, Musician/Actor

Alex Honnold, Rock climber

Cara Santa Maria, Television personality

Carol Blue & (the late) Christopher Hitchens

Charles Strouse, Broadway composer

Daniel Dennett, Philosopher and cognitive scientist

Daniel Dennett

Derren Brown, British illusionist

Donald C. Johanson, Paleoanthropologist

James Randi, Magician

James Watson, Molecular biologist/co-discoverer of the structure of DNA

Janet Asimov, Psychiatrist/Author

Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of physics, author and broadcaster

Julia Sweeney, Actress, comedian & author

Julia Sweeney

Lawrence M. Krauss, Physicist

Michael Shermer, Founder/Publisher of Skeptic magazine

Patricia S. Churchland, Neurophilosopher

Penn & Teller, magicians

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Philosopher and novelist

Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary biologist, and author

Robert Llewellyn, Writer, TV presenter, actor

Sean Carroll, Theoretical Physicist

Steven Pinker, Cognitive scientist

Yau-Man Chan, Contestant; Survivor: Fiji

…and many, many more!

 

Release Date: January 1, 2014

Author: Chris Johnson

Publisher: Cosmic Teapot/Chris Johnson; First Edition (December 2013)

A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God

Podcast

https://www.theatheistbook.com/pages/podcast

In this new podcast, join Chris as he revisits with some of the people from the book and the film, as well as introduces you to people he’s met since doing the project that would have been great additions.

Sample podcast guests include:

Anthony Magnabosco

Lawrence Krauss

Matt Dillahunty

Mandisa Thomas

Dan Arel

Cara Santa Maria

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker. He received his undergraduate degree in film production (along with a minor in religious studies) from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. His photography has been seen in various outlets, including The New York Times. He is the author of the coffee table photography book, A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God as well as the documentary film version, A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God. He has travelled the world on a screening/lecture tour about A Better Life, speaking and screening the film in over 60 cities on four continents — from Reykjavik to Shanghai.

For the book and film of A Better Life, he interviewed many prominent atheist figures such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Dan Dennett, Derren Brown, Pat Churchland, Julia Sweeney, Penn & Teller, and many more. He has given talks on atheism and his work at conferences, universities, non-profit organizations, and community groups. In addition, he has also been a guest on numerous podcasts and TV shows around the globe.

https://www.theatheistbook.com/

Religious Privilege Around the World: Pew Research

Many Countries Favor Specific Religions, Officially or Unofficially

Islam is the most common state religion, but many governments give privileges to Christianity

More than 80 countries favor a specific religion, either as an official, government-endorsed religion or by affording one religion preferential treatment over other faiths, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data covering 199 countries and territories around the world.1

Islam is the most common government-endorsed faith, with 27 countries (including most in the Middle East-North Africa region) officially enshrining Islam as their state religion. By comparison, just 13 countries (including nine European nations) designate Christianity or a particular Christian denomination as their state religion.

But an additional 40 governments around the globe unofficially favor a particular religion, and in most cases the preferred faith is a branch of Christianity. Indeed, Christian churches receive preferential treatment in more countries – 28 – than any other unofficial but favored faith.

In some cases, state religions have roles that are largely ceremonial. But often the distinction comes with tangible advantages in terms of legal or tax status, ownership of real estate or other property, and access to financial support from the state. In addition, countries with state-endorsed (or “established”) faiths tend to more severely regulate religious practice, including placing restrictions or bans on minority religious groups.

In 10 countries, the state either tightly regulates all religious institutions or is actively hostile to religion in general. These countries include China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and several former Soviet republics – places where government officials seek to control worship practices, public expressions of religion and political activity by religious groups.

Most governments around the globe, however, are generally neutral toward religion. More than 100 countries and territories included in the study have no official or preferred religion as of 2015. These include countries like the United States that may give benefits or privileges to religious groups, but generally do so without systematically favoring a specific group over others.

These are among the key findings of a new Pew Research Center analysis of country constitutions and basic laws as well as secondary sources from governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

  • States with no official or preferred religion seek to avoid giving tangible benefits to one religious group over others (although they may evenhandedly provide benefits to many religious groups). For example, the U.S. government gives tax exemptions to religious organizations under rules that apply equally to all denominations. Many countries in this category have constitutional language calling for freedom of religion, although that language alone is not enough to include a country in this group; coders must determine that these countries do not systematically favor one or more religions over others.

Many Countries Favor Specific Religions, Officially or Unofficially

Scottish Social Attitudes Survey reveals highest ever proportion of non-religious

Figures from the annual Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, run by ScotCen social researchers, have shown the highest ever proportion of non-religious people.

The new findings from Scotland’s most authoritative survey of public attitudes show that nearly six in ten (58%) now say that they have no religion, up 18 points on 1999 when the figure stood at four in ten (40%).

Young people are least likely to be religious; three quarters of young people (74% of 18-34s) say they have no religion compared with 34% of those over 65.

Commenting on the new figures, Gordon MacRae, Chief Executive of Humanist Society Scotland said:

Gordon MacRae, HSS Chief Executive

“This change is part of a long term trend that has seen more and more people in Scotland live happy and fulfilled lives without a religious belief.

“Humanist weddings for example are now more numerous in Scotland than any religious service.

“Today’s figures help support Humanist Society Scotland’s long held view that we should end privileges that some faith groups unfairly enjoy. A modern Scotland should ensure individuals of all faiths and none are equally respected.”