News And Links For Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses: Video And Interview By Max Elfelt

VIDEO: Video & Interview – Jehovah’s Witnesses: An in depth look

Watchtower’s First Step Toward “Tithing”?

More on this can be found at this link as well.

NGO calls on Ministry to probe closed religious groups; Jehovah’s Witnesses under scrutiny

The UUT – the Support group for the Victims of Religions – has asked the Ministry of Justice to study ways in which to intervene in the activities of closed religious communities.  The group released a report Saturday on the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which UUT claims uses its own internal judicial system with a board that interrogates members and hands down sentences for infractions.

The Watchtower and Mental Illness

An article from AAWA.

Being a Jehovah’s Witness is, as they say, “no walk in the park.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses live a very stressful lifestyle. While some find comfort and acceptance within the organization, a growing number realize that they are “living a lie.” They can not possibly live up to the standards the religion sets for them. Their sex lives are restrictive, they can not carry on normal relationships with non-Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they are banned from any contact with former Witnesses – including members of their own families. They have limited options for employment or expanding their education. The Watchtower Society even limits their medical options and choices for professional counseling or treatment.

Watchtower word games – letter orders changes in terminology and assembly arrangements

News And Links For Atheists: A Discussion Between Atheists and Mormons: Exposing Myths and Dispelling Stereotypes

VIDEO: A Discussion Between Atheists and Mormons: Exposing Myths and Dispelling Stereotypes

As a prelude to the American Atheists National Convention taking place this weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah, a panel discussion was held Wednesday night between atheists Dave Silverman and author Joanne Hanks and Mormon authors Drs. J. B. Haws and Richard Holzapfel:

Atheists conduct friendly march around Mormon Temple Square

Most of the marchers were former Mormons and many mailed resignations to the LDS Church at the end of the short trek around the square. Ellis dubbed it “the Mormon exodus and mass resignation event.”
“It’s our right to resign from the LDS Church and support others who would like to,” he told the crowd.

Another related article can be found here.

VIDEO: Scientology’s dirty little secrets

From MobileMedia, the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard washes the family laundry in public.

The worst atheist-bashing article of the year

This one’s actually a response to this article at Salon.

For some reason, Salon is on a crusade to bash the hell out of atheists, living and dead. Their editors might want to question what the deuce is going on (unless it’s a deliberate editorial decision), for the proliferation of anti-atheist pieces is eroding the site’s credibility. It makes Salon look like an apologist for religion. And the latest atheist-bashing piece is particularly bad, because it’s not only written very poorly, but its argument is so incoherent that I can barely even summarize it.
The new piece is by Sana Saeed, and although it might pain you to read it, it’s not too long, and I’m curious what readers make of it: “Richard Dawkins is so wrong it hurts: What the science-vs.-religion debate ignores.” Its point seems to be that there is no conflict between science and religion, but I don’t understand how Saeed’s arguments support that view.
Here’s Saeed’s profile from the Guardian:

NJ bank won’t notarize American Atheist documents for ‘personal reasons’

According to Knief, she and American Atheists president David Silverman were in the process of getting documents notarized by one of the bank’s notaries public when the woman asked them what the documents were for.
“The documents were charitable organizations registrations for American Atheists in several states,” wrote Knief. “So I told her what AA is about. She looked down, then looked at me and Dave Silverman and said she couldn’t sign the documents because of ‘personal reasons’ and went to find another notary who was eating his lunch to come do the authentications.”
“I have been called names, threatened, hated on and all manner of ridiculed because of my atheist activism, but I think sitting in a bank and having another professional refuse to do business with me because I am an atheist was the worst slight I have ever received,” she continued. “This is completely unacceptable, and far from over.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson Shows Why Small-Minded Religious Fundamentalists Are Threatened by Wonders of Universe

Religious belief systems prefer a small cosmos with humans firmly at the center.

Pope Francis asks forgiveness for priests who sexually abused children

It’s more than the Watchtower Society has done…

A Postscript on My Post about Evidence for Dinosaurs and Jesus

I’m actually not all that impressed with books that claim to debunk the “Jesus myth.” Not because I’m a believer, but mostly because those books seem to have a knack for getting their facts wrong. I’m not saying there really was a Jesus (even a merely mortal Jesus) only that there could have been. For those who subscribe to the Jesus myth books, I would only recommend you research secular sources for the other side as well.

What scholars like Bart Ehrman don’t tell you (likely because they don’t fully comprehend it themselves) is that the Jewish-Christian world was totally awash with forged stories of divine divine men of miracles. Ancient Biblical figures from Israel’s mythic past had either written new books about themselves or were written about by unnamed Jewish authorities who were in the know. Although I did my under graduate work in Bible and graduate work in Christianity while having been an active Church member most of my life, I had never realized, nor was I told, that there were more than 295 divine histories and sacred texts about miracle workers sent from God. (I discussed these HERE )

Fred Phelps Created the Monster that Betrayed Him

One can only wonder if the phrase, “et tu, Brute” ran through Fred Phelps mind when the congregation he nurtured and, in most cases, literally spawned, excommunicated him from the Westboro Baptist Church. The sense of betrayal must have been crushing. As Fred’s estranged son Nathan Phelps said, “They took the one thing that meant everything to the man…That old man and his reason to exist have gone away.”

PODCAST: The Angry Atheist #137 w/ Lucien Greaves from The Satanic Temple

The Gospel Isn’t Gospel

This one has a chart examining contradictions in the Gospels and how different groups cope with them.

9 Questions That Atheists Might Find Insulting (And the Answers)

10 Mistakes New Atheists Make

News And Links For Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses: Terrence Howard Says, “If I Could I Would Be A Jehovah’s Witness.”

VIDEO: TERRENCE HOWARD :- “IF I COULD I WOULD BE A JEHOVAHS WITNESS

I list this, in part, because there continues to be an ongoing conversation about Terrence Howard’s comments. I began following the thread after leaving a comment several months ago. They are … interesting.

Watchtower continues assault on ‘devious’ and ‘hypocritical’ former believers

By Cedars. The Society’s website has online versions of the articles addressed in Cedar’s commentary here.

How the Watchtower Uses Undue Influence to Enforce Its Blood Policy

In my introduction, I asked the audience to think about the “Advanced Medical Directive” and to consider whether “undue influence” could ever play a role in the interference with and subsequent autonomy of any decisions made by an individual.
I then explained how the use of repetitive indoctrination teaches JWs from birth that to even consider having a blood transfusion would be incomprehensible “to anyone who really loved Jehovah God.” Yes, that would be the mindset for all JWs should they ever be confronted by a medical clinician informing them that they might need some type of blood treatment.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Branch Visit in November 2014 (USA only)

In other words, exxers like you and me might be getting visits soon. Gird your loins, people.

Letter to all Bodies of Elders about District Overseers

According to this letter, District Overseers will soon be a thing of the past. Their duties will be falling to Circuit Overseers. My experience with traveling overseers in general is that they are more about giving average Witnesses a chance to blow off steam about their local elders. They never did much for my old congregation, despite the fact that people were lining up to talk to them. Your mileage may have varied.

The Memorial of Christ’s Death – Why Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Observe it Annually?

In case you haven’t been invited yet, The Memorial approaches. I’ve already been invited in several languages. :)

Review: “Doctor Who Christmas Special 2013: The Time of the Doctor”

The Time of the Doctor I watched the new Doctor Who Christmas Special 2013, called The Time of the Doctor, the day after it first aired. For my money, Doctor Who has always been one of the more uneven TV shows out there (please don’t burn down my house) and the Christmas Specials even more so. Alas, some of them have been truly awful, while others have been truly great. I realize that part of this is because Doctor Who is first and foremost a kid’s show. But I’m not a kid. I have, at times, wished for a more adult version of Doctor Who. And no, Torchwood isn’t it, so don’t even go there.

So, was this Christmas Special a good one or a bad one?

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