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  • richardmitnick 9:14 pm on June 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: An indictment of Politics, and Science - Like Oil, Religion, Water and Sulfuric Acid   

    Walter Heisenberg, The Jews, and the Nazis -An indictment of Politics, Religion, and Science – Like Oil, Water and Sulfuric Acid 


    Read it if you can stomach it.

  • richardmitnick 10:19 am on February 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Religion   

    From Discovery: “Iceland Building First Pagan Temple in 1,000 Years” 

    Discovery News
    Discovery News

    Feb 8, 2015
    Matt Finn

    For the first time in 1,000 years a new pagan temple is being constructed in Iceland’s capital city that will house a shrine to the Norse gods Thor, Odin and Frigg.

    Hof Ásatrúarfélagsins í Öskjuhlíð / “Hof” (Temple) of Ásatrú Society in Öskjuhlíð, Reykjavík

    “We see this as so much part of our heritage,” said Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, high priest of the Asatru religion.

    Are there times when the two overlap, when fervent belief in science functions much like devout faith?

    The temple is ten years in the making and is currently under construction. The 4,000 square foot facility will overlook the Icelandic capital and be completed in 2016. It will give Icelanders the opportunity to publicly worship at the shrine to gods.

    “Some people love the idea, they really want to go back to the Viking era,” Hilmarsson said.

    Iceland was originally founded by pagan settlers. Asatru remained the sole religion of the country for over 100 years until it gave way to Christianity in the year 1000. Some Icelanders experienced religious conflicts with northern European countries.

    “Some Icelanders converted to Christianity, but it was a business decision because some business owners would not trade with pagans,” Hilmarsson said.

    The high priest tells Foxnews.com Norse paganism experienced a revival in Iceland beginning in the 1970’s that’s paved the way for the new temple.

    The temple will serve as a place of worship but it won’t be a lively or organized celebration.

    “It’s more like coming together, sanctifying the movement, having a sacred space,” Hilmarsson said. “More close to Hindu ceremonies.”

    Hilmarsson said Thor, Ordin and Frigg are important deities in the religion. Thor is the protector of mankind, Ordin is the god of wisdom and poetry, and Frigg is the goddess of domestic and love.

    If names like Thor ring a bell, it might be because some Asatru gods have recently seen a surge in America thanks to Marvel’s blockbuster films about them.

    “There is a skewed vision because the Marvel version is like a Shakespeare,” Hilmarsson said. “We certainly enjoy them but don’t see them as religious in any sense.

    The priest said the gods are viewed as mystical and symbolic. Most modern worshipers don’t consider them to be living beings that are capable of flying down from the clouds.

    “We don’t tend to be literal in our beliefs in Iceland, not even the Christian ones,” Hilmarsson said.

    The Asatru religion might describe itself as poetic–but if some Christians, especially those in the Western hemisphere, were to take a literal look at the new altar to pagan gods they might consider it satanic. Hilmarsson says Norse is the opposite of devil worship.

    “There is nothing remotely satanic or demonic in this,” Hilmarsson said. “This is a very gentle movement on how to be a good friend, good to your family and an honorable person.”

    Hlynur Gudjonsson, the Consul General and Trade Commissioner of Iceland’s consulate in New York tells Foxnews.com that most American’s might not understand what Asatru is—but those who do realize it’s a peaceful practice.

    “I’ve never met anyone who has anything negative to say about it,” Gudjonsson said.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    • academix2015 12:24 pm on February 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Good to know that there are many people in our world who wish to learn and revive older and forgotten cultures.


  • richardmitnick 9:13 am on December 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Religion   

    From Dennis Overbye at NYT: “Do Aliens Know It’s Christmas?” 

    New York Times

    The New York Times

    DEC. 22, 2014
    NYT Dennis Overbye Older
    Dennis Overbye

    A star appeared in the East.

    Following it, so the biblical story goes, three Magi urged on by a nervous King Herod arrived in Bethlehem and discovered the news that many of us celebrate with bells, lights and too much sugar and alcohol every year at this time: The son of God had come to die for our sins.

    Peace on earth and good will to men is fine, as far as it goes. But some astronomers and forward-thinking theologians wonder how the rest of the universe is supposed to get the message.

    If your dog can go to heaven, can E. T.? Astronomers have discovered in the last two decades that there are probably tens of billions of potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way. Only last week, NASA scientists reported that Mars had blown a methane sigh into the face of the Curiosity rover, though whether from microbes or geochemical grumblings may not be known until there are geologists’ boots on the Red Planet.

    NASA Mars Curiosity Rover

    So it’s not so crazy to imagine other living creatures scattered through the billions of years and light-years of cosmic history.

    Did Christ come to die for their sins, too?

    Or as Geoffrey Marcy, an exoplanet explorer and holder of the Watson and Marilyn Alberts Chair in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at the University of California, Berkeley, said not long ago in an email, “But do they know it’s Christmas?”

    Surely, earthlings were not the only beings in the Milky Way blessed in God’s eyes, he elaborated, saying that he liked to tease public audiences with the question. “Conversations about religion with intelligent beings from an exoplanet might jolt humanity into realizing how parochial our beliefs are,” he said.

    Pope Francis suggested in a homily in May that he would baptize Martians if they landed in St. Peter’s Square and asked for it.

    How, you may ask, might E.T. have sinned? On Earth, violence and suffering are embedded in the Darwinian struggle for survival that produced us, says Ted Peters, a professor who runs a group on “astrotheology” at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley. If aliens are made of the same stuff we are, Dr. Peters wrote in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 2011, “might they also share the ambiguity between good and evil that we are familiar with?”

    But what if they are computers or other forms of artificial intelligence that futurists say might ultimately supplant us as masters of the universe?

    Christian scholars like Dr. Peters and indeed the pope agree that the possibility of redemption probably extends to all of creation, even perhaps the inanimate world.

    “How could he be God and leave extraterrestrials in sin?” asks the Rev. George V. Coyne, the former director of the Vatican Observatory and now a Jesuit priest who holds the McDevitt Chair of Religious Philosophy at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, in the 2000 book Many Worlds: The New Universe, Extraterrestrial Life and the Theological Implications, edited by the astronomer Steven J. Dick, a former chief historian for NASA. “After all, he was good to us. Why should he not be good to them?”

    This has engendered a sort of how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin argument about whether Christ died for the entire cosmos, or whether the son of God or the metaphysical equivalent has to be born and die on every populated planet.

    Each alternative sounds ridiculous on the face of it. The first alternative would make Earth the center of the universe again, not just in space but in time, carrying the hopes for the salvation of beings that lived and died millions or billions of years ago and far, far away.

    The second alternative would be multiple incarnations, requiring every civilization to have its own redeemer — “its own adventure with God,” in the words of Professor Peters. That is hardly better. As the old troublemaker Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason, “In this case, the person who is irreverently called the son of God, and sometimes God himself, would have nothing else to do than to travel from world to world, in an endless succession of deaths, with scarcely a momentary interval of life.”

    Distinguished theologians have come down on different sides of this issue; after all, it’s not up to us to say what God could or could not do. “God doesn’t seem to be limited by history and communication,” Dr. Peters said in an interview, playing the devil’s advocate, so to speak, for the notion of a single incarnation for the entire cosmos. In that case, the consequences would not be limited to “people who get emails about it.”

    “Every sentient being is blessed by God’s grace whether they know about it or not,” he said.

    Seeking scientific as well as spiritual guidance, I dialed up Guy Consolmagno at the Vatican Observatory. He is a Jesuit priest and a co-author, with his fellow Jesuit Paul Mueller, of Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? … And Other Questions from the Astronomer’s In-box at the Vatican Observatory.

    Vatican Observatory
    Vatican Observatory Interior
    Vatican Observatory

    Brother Consolmagno spent 10 years working and teaching as a planetary scientist, specializing in meteorites, before joining the Jesuits. Last year, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal by the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society, for communication in planetary science. He said that Christmas for aliens could be a wonderful story, but that he didn’t have any answers and that that was part of the fun.

    “One incarnation seems absurd but not inconsistent with the data,” he said by phone from Florida, where he was watching manatees.

    There is no data, I pointed out.

    “Exactly!” he responded, laughing.

    Contrary to popular perception, he said, religion, like science, is not a closed book. “Science,” he said, “is stuff we understand about truths we only partially grasp. Religion is trying to get closer to truths we don’t understand.”

    The more you know, the more you know you don’t understand, he said. “That’s called progress.”

    The challenge in any person’s or species’ life, he added, is how to learn others’ truths without giving up your own.

    Dr. Marcy, with tongue fairly firmly in cheek, evoked what he called “the multigod model of the universe.”

    There might be room in the universe for more than one truth, he said, if every inhabited planet had its own gods. The inhabitants might be as certain of their beliefs as we humans are of ours.

    “The deities have carved out their operating galactic territories, like so many cosmic Corleone families,” Dr. Marcy said.

    “Only with SETI research,” he went on, referring to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, “will we learn whether our particular God is alone in the universe.”

    His point was echoed, if less ironically, by Nancy Ellen Abrams, a lawyer, philosopher and author of a forthcoming book, A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science and the Future of Our Planet, which argues that God is an emergent phenomenon, a result of the complexity of the universe and human aspirations rather than the cause of them — although no less real for that. “Our god is the god of humanity; it has nothing to do with aliens,” she said in an interview.

    In the best of all possible universes, all these truths and gods would mysteriously and perhaps revelatorily overlap. But maybe that is wishful thinking and there is another, more chilling answer to Christmas.

    Take that star in the East; it was the subject of a classic story by Arthur C. Clarke, a science fiction author and space visionary.

    In The Star, published in 1955, an expedition to the site of an old supernova explosion discovers the remains of an ancient civilization, carefully preserved because its members knew they were about to be obliterated. The story is told through the eyes of the astrophysicist onboard, a Jesuit. He is able to figure out exactly when the explosion that doomed this race took place, and exactly what it would have looked like 2,000 years ago from Earth.

    “There can be no reasonable doubt,” he concludes, “the ancient mystery is solved at last. Yet, oh God, there were so many stars you could have used. What was the need to give these people to the fire, that the symbol of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?”

    Brother Consolmagno, who was a science fiction aficionado as an undergraduate at M.I.T., knows the story.

    “That’s not the kind of god I’m happy with,” he said.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

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