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Notre Dame Professor Debunks Christian Myth of Persecution

 

Professor Candida Moss Portrait

Professor Candida Moss teaches early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame.

Candida Moss, a Professor at Notre Dame University and practicing Catholic, has written a book that tackles the “myth of martyrdom in the Christian faith.”

Sunday school tales of early Christians being rounded up at their secret catacomb meetings and thrown to the lions by evil Romans are mere fairy tales, Moss writes in a new book. In fact, in the first 250 years of Christianity, Romans mostly regarded the religion’s practitioners as meddlesome members of a superstitious cult.

The government actively persecuted Christians for only about 10 years, Moss suggests, and even then intermittently. And, she says, many of the best known early stories of brave Christian martyrs were entirely fabricated.

In Professor Moss’ new book, The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom, she maintains that the Catholic Church and historians have known for centuries that most early Christian martyr stories were exaggerated or invented.

[W]hen Christians were executed, it was often not because of their religious beliefs but because they wouldn’t follow Roman rules. Many laws that led to early Christians’ execution were not specifically targeted at them—such as a law requiring all Roman citizens to engage in a public sacrifice to the gods—but their refusal to observe those laws and other mores of Roman society led to their deaths.

Moss calls early Christians “rude, subversive and disrespectful,” noting that they refused to swear oaths, join the military or participate in any other part of Roman society.

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Shunning: How Jehovah’s Witnesses Discipline Their Own

ShunWhen one of Jehovah’s Witnesses does something that his local elders deem a serious offense against God and Watchtower, he will probably be disfellowshipped and therefore shunned by other Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I say that he’ll be shunned, I don’t mean he won’t get any presents on his birthday or that he won’t be invited over for Christmas. I mean that he is dead to them. In most cases, the Witnesses will simply pretend he’s invisible (like that episode from the Twilight Zone) and many will simply wander off if he attempts to communicate with them in any way. Either that, or they’ll get angry and blast him for it.

They call it “congregation discipline.” When they speak of it, they make it sound like it’s a punishment from Jehovah God himself. In reality, the decision to disfellowship is made during a closed-door session with three local elders. It’s how they keep their followers in line.

So how does it work and how far does it go? Technically, people living in the same household aren’t required to shun one another or expel the wrongdoer. But I know of many cases where the local elders did pressure parents to kick out their adult (18 years old+) children even if those children had no where else to go. Since good Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposed to obey their elders, this can put the parents of the disfellowshipped person in a tight spot. So while the elders can make it hard for the family, at least they do have the right to say no to the elders. That’s mostly because the Society hasn’t made expelling family members from the home mandatory, even though shunning in every other respect is mandatory.

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The MISkeptics May Get Together: 12 Angry Men

12 Angry Men Movie Poster

12 Angry Men Movie Poster

The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young Spanish-American is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open and shut case of murder soon becomes a mini-drama of each of the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other.

This month we are going to watch a classic in critical thinking and a classic in its own right, 12 Angry Men. We’re going to see the movie then review the logical problems in it.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Remember! We are using our summer hours now. We start at 4:00 PM. We will go back to fall/winter hours in September.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary.

You can RSVP on our Meetup page, our Facebook page, or our Google Plus page.

Don’t forget to follow us on Meetup, Facebook, and Google+ for further events, news articles and interesting ideas.

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Our April Get Together is This Saturday!

MISkeptics Get Together

We sell these at our MISkeptics store.

This Saturday, April 13th at 1:00 PM is our April Get Together.

This is a social gathering. There’s a lot that has happened so be ready for good food lots of talk and great conversation!

Please RSVP at one of the following pages:

Our Meetup Page, our Facebook Page, or our Google Plus Page.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Today at 3PM: Peter Sinclair will be a guest on The Magic Sandwich Show

http://www.magicsandwichshow.com/

Peter Sinclair, one of our recent Get Together guests and blogger on Climate Denial Crock of the Week will be a guest on The Magic Sandwich Show.

Peter Sinclair \

Peter Sinclair

The Magic Sandwich Show is a bi-weekly live call in show, broadcast every other Sunday on BlogTV and uStream. During the show a panel of 3 or 4 discuss topical issues relating to religion and science.

You can access the show on BlogTV and uStream.

After the show check out his blog for the latest information on his Dark Show Project.

Don’t forget to subscribe to his YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter!

Our March Get Together: MUFON

Michigan MUFON Logo

This month we are pleased to welcome William Konkolesky, the State Director for MUFON, The Mutual UFO Network. He’s going to talk to us about aliens and UFOs.

Because of the large field of of the topic we need to limit today to just UFOs. If there’s time afterwards, we can entertain other questions. We will ask Mr. Konkolesky back to discuss other topics such like abductions, crop circles, and that guy on the History Channel with the crazy hair.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary. We’re expecting a large crowd for this so be sure to RSVP early. You can RSVP at our Meetup site, our Facebook Event Page, or our Google Plus Event Page.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Audio Now Available From Recent Get Togethers

We’ve recorded the audio from the last several Get Togethers that had special guests, and with the help of our super audio engineer, they are now available for download.

We only have two available so far but they are good ones.

Dr. Ron Fleming

 

 

 

Click here to download Dr. Ron Fleming‘s talk on Thorium as a nuclear fuel.

 

 

Dr. Zachary Blount

Dr. Zachary Blount

 

 

 

Click here to download Dr. Zachary Blount‘s talk on his paper about documenting the steps of evolution.

 

 

 

We also recorded Peter Sinclair‘s talk about Climate Change and will be posting that as well. In the future we hope to record as many of our guests so that members that cannot make the Get Togethers can still listen and take part. Stay tuned! There will be more great discussions available in the near future.

It’s Time For Our Annual Darwin Day Event

Image of Darwin

February 12th is Darwin’s 204th birthday

This month we are going to celebrate Darwin Day. February marks Charles Darwin’s 204th birthday.

For our third Darwin Day celebration, we are going to watch “Charles Darwin and The Tree of Life”. A stunning BBC documentary hosted by Sir David Attenborough. Last year we tried to see this documentary but no one could hear it because the venue was too loud. We have a better venue this time around and we will finally be able to see the movie.

We’re going to follow that up with a presentation on how Darwin’s work has been twisted into murderous intent.

And we will finish up with one of Chris Lindsay‘s famous games. Which will include prizes for the winners. (Yes, we promise there will be winners.)

You can RSVP for the celebration by going to our Meetup Site, our Facebook Page or our Google Plus Page. Please be sure to RSVP, these events fill up quickly.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

 

Minority Atheists of Michigan Presents, You Are Not Alone: Blacknones

Dr. Darrell C. Smith

Dr. Darrell C. Smith is the author of the new book ‘You Are Not Alone: Blacknones”

On February 2nd Minority Atheists of Michigan will be hosting Dr. Darrell C. Smith as a guest speaker. Dr. Smith will be discussing his new book “You Are Not Alone: Blacknones“.

“You Are Not Alone”….brings together Black NonBelievers from Cities, States and Provinces throughout the US and Canada to journey with them as they recount their personal stories of why they left and/or rejected their faith-based religious experiences to adopt a lifestyle that is doctrine free.”

This event is open to everyone and is will be a very informative and entertaining afternoon.

To RSVP for this event click here.

The First Get Together of 2013!

It’s been two months since we last got together. Unfortunately we had to cancel our December events, including out End of the World Party. But don’t worry, another one is coming up. Another one always is.

So for our January Get Together we have a special guest who is returning to talk to us again.

Photo of Peter Sinclair

Peter Sinclair runs ClimateCrocks.com and is a popular speaker on the environment.

This month we welcome back Peter Sinclair of Climatecrocks.com to update us on the science and politics of climate change/denial. He was last with us two years ago and there’s a lot to be updated about.

Peter Sinclair is a long time advocate of environmental awareness and energy alternatives. An award-winning graphic artist, illustrator, and animator, Mr. Sinclair runs Greenman Studio from his home in Midland, MI.

Come and join us for lively discussion, drinks, dinner and debate! This is a good event for Skeptics of Michigan to come together and discuss local, national, worldwide items affecting skeptics. All are welcome to listen and participate.

We also have special guests and speakers that contribute to the conversation and/or debate.

Please be sure to RSVP so I know how many are coming. That way I can modify the reservation if necessary. You can RSVP at out Meetup Site, our Facebook Page, or our Google Plus Page.

I hope to see you all there!

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