Reasons To Celebrate

Raising an empty glass to the discovery of religious evidence

The real miracle about evidence is the believers ability to dismiss what doesn’t agree with faith. That same faith that is simply an emotional attachment to an idea that, A: was forced upon them, or B: just feels right, or C: There are so many believers they can’t all be wrong, can they? There are more in there, I’m certain.

This New Year’s Eve, let’s drink to belief, anchoring bias, cognitive dissonance, and to evidence. Not just any evidence, mind you, but real evidence like chariot wheels in the Red Sea, the Shroud of Turin, the Golden Plates™️, Salamander Letters, The Cardiff Giant, Indian Guru Sai Baba’s Legerdemain, the discovery of Noah’s Ark, and the Ossuary of James, brother of Jesus.

All the above are faith promoting because of their fraudulent hoax. The religious love to downplay empirical evidence (until they think they have some) then will embrace pure junk as proof for god. Unwinding such toys is such a nuisance, so they then let them play out on their own.

With 100% certainty they EMBRACE empiricism and are its greatest champion, if they could actually present evidence that supports their beliefs. They then scream, look at the evidence!—JZ. They love evidence, but it first must support their belief. They love it so much they will clamor from sea to shining sea to get a glimpse of even the most outlandish display of quackery.

But who wants to prove themselves wrong in religion? Who will truly look beyond what they want to believe, or what they’ve been saddled with since childhood?

A toast 🥃 to the Apparitional Toast this New Years Eve, and all the best to us all for 2020—maybe a year to see clearly.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

41 thoughts on “Reasons To Celebrate”

  1. I am late, but I noticed your post and I have some proof here.

    “During the months while Vespasian was waiting at Alexandria for the regular season of the summer winds and a settled sea, many marvels continued to mark the favour of heaven and a certain partiality of the gods toward him. One of the common people of Alexandria, well known for his loss of sight, threw himself before Vespasian’s knees, praying him with groans to cure his blindness, being so directed by the god Serapis, whom this most superstitious of nations worships before all others; and he besought the emperor to deign to moisten his cheeks and eyes with his spittle. Another, whose hand was useless, prompted by the same god, begged Caesar to step and trample on it. Vespasian at first ridiculed these appeals and treated them with scorn; then, when the men persisted, he began at one moment to fear the discredit of failure, at another to be inspired with hopes of success by the appeals of the suppliants and the flattery of his courtiers: finally, he directed the physicians to give their opinion as to whether such blindness and infirmity could be overcome by human aid. Their reply treated the two cases differently: they said that in the first the power of sight had not been completely eaten away and it would return if the obstacles were removed; in the other, the joints had slipped and become displaced, but they could be restored if a healing pressure were applied to them. Such perhaps was the wish of the gods, and it might be that the emperor had been chosen for this divine service; in any case, if a cure were obtained, the glory would be Caesar’s, but in the event of failure, ridicule would fall only on the poor suppliants. So Vespasian, believing that his good fortune was capable of anything and that nothing was any longer incredible, with a smiling countenance, and amid intense excitement on the part of the bystanders, did as he was asked to do. The hand was instantly restored to use, and the day again shone for the blind man. Both facts are told by eye-witnesses even now when falsehood brings no reward.” – Tacitus, Histories Book 4

    There you have an attestation of the healing power of Serapis. Also included in this part is a discussion of the origin of the cult to Serapis and the identity of the god. They could not decide if he was Asclepius, Dis Pater, Dionysus, Osiris, or various other deities. In late antiquity a lot of similar gods across different cultures were considered the same(Osiris, Adonis, Tammuz, Dionysus, Sabazius). The cult was basically an overlay of the Dionysus and Demeter mysteries in Greece with the Egyptian worship of Osiris(part of the title Serapis), Apis(the bull manifestation of Ptah), Isis, and Horus. But the fact is that we have here eyewitness accounts attested by Tacitus. If I go through other writers or ancient inscriptions, I could dig up plenty of other miracles for you. In Egypt there is a whole bunch of material from Deir el-Medina that shows common religiosity. There are attestations of divine healings, for example, attributed to gods like Ptah(the creator of everything), Amun, and Osiris(a resurrected savior god and afterlife judge). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deir_el-Medina

    “So Marcus subdued the Marcomani and the Iazyges after many hard struggles and dangers. A great war against the people called the Quadi also fell to his lot and it was his good fortune to win an unexpected victory, or rather it was vouchsafed him by Heaven. For when the Romans were in peril in the course of the battle, the divine power saved p29 them in a most unexpected manner. The Quadi had surrounded them at a spot favourable for their purpose and the Romans were fighting valiantly with their shields locked together; then the barbarians ceased fighting, expecting to capture them easily as the result of the heat and their thirst. So they posted guards all about and hemmed them in to prevent their getting water anywhere; for the barbarians were far superior in numbers. The Romans, accordingly, were in a terrible plight from fatigue, wounds, the heat of the sun, and thirst, and so could neither fight nor retreat, but were standing and the line and at their several posts, scorched by the heat, when suddenly many clouds gathered and a mighty rain, not without divine interposition, burst upon them. Indeed, there is a story to the effect that Arnuphis, an Egyptian magician, who was a companion of Marcus, had invoked by means of enchantments various deities and in particular Mercury, the god of the air, and by this means attracted the rain.” – Cassius Dio, Roman History Book 72

    This miracle is actually depicted on a Roman triumphal column. You can see the air god(Mercury was often a generic name given to atmospheric deities) raining down on the German warriors. The writer Cassius Dio was a contemporary of this event. I will also note that “magician” could have also meant a foreign priest. Greeks and Romans associated Egyptians and Chaldeans in particular with magic, even things that were just their normal religious rites. Zoroaster was also called a “magician” by them, even though to the Persians(and Parsis today) he was nothing like that. The Zoroastrian religion takes a dim view of magic. Even philosophers like Apollonius, Pythagoras, and Plato attracted this kind of reputation later on.

    “Now when the Delphians heard what danger they were in, great fear fell on them. In their terror they consulted the oracle concerning the holy treasures, and inquired if they should bury them in the ground, or carry them away to some other country. The god, in reply, bade them leave the treasures untouched – “He was able,” he said, “without help to protect his own.” So the Delphians, when they received this answer, began to think about saving themselves. And first of all they sent their women and children across the gulf into Achaea; after which the greater number of them climbed up into the tops of Parnassus, and placed their goods for safety in the Corycian cave; while some effected their escape to Amphissa in Locris. In this way all the Delphians quitted the city, except sixty men, and the Prophet.

    When the barbarian assailants drew near and were in sight of the place, the Prophet, who was named Aceratus, beheld, in front of the temple, a portion of the sacred armour, which it was not lawful for any mortal hand to touch, lying upon the ground, removed from the inner shrine where it was wont to hang. Then went he and told the prodigy to the Delphians who had remained behind. Meanwhile the enemy pressed forward briskly, and had reached the shrine of Minerva Pronaia, when they were overtaken by other prodigies still more wonderful than the first. Truly it was marvel enough, when warlike harness was seen lying outside the temple, removed there by no power but its own; what followed, however, exceeded in strangeness all prodigies that had ever before been seen. The barbarians had just reached in their advance the chapel of Minerva Pronaia, when a storm of thunder burst suddenly over their heads – at the same time two crags split off from Mount Parnassus, and rolled down upon them with a loud noise, crushing vast numbers beneath their weight – while from the temple of Minerva there went up the war-cry and the shout of victory.

    All these things together struck terror into the barbarians, who forthwith turned and fled. The Delphians, seeing this, came down from their hiding-places, and smote them with a great slaughter, from which such as escaped fled straight into Boeotia. These men, on their return, declared (as I am told) that besides the marvels mentioned above, they witnessed also other supernatural sights. Two armed warriors, they said, of a stature more than human, pursued after their flying ranks, pressing them close and slaying them.

    These men, the Delphians maintain, were two Heroes belonging to the place – by name Phylacus and Autonous – each of whom has a sacred precinct near the temple; one, that of Phylacus, hard by the road which runs above the temple of Pronaia; the other, that of Autonous, near the Castalian spring, at the foot of the peak called Hyampeia. The blocks of stone which fell from Parnassus might still be seen in my day; they lay in the precinct of Pronaia, where they stopped, after rolling through the host of the barbarians. Thus was this body of men forced to retire from the temple.”- Herodotus, The History, Book 8

    Here we have a miracle, witnessed by many people and attested by Herodotus(he was a child at the time of these events), witnessed by many people, and with evidence left even decades later. The Persians and their allies were forced back from the sacred Delphi. Delphi itself was not some heavily defended or populous settlement. Even the much more powerful Athens did not dare try to withstand the Persians. The Persians destroyed and looted much as they went through Greece(out of revenge and for religious purposes), but not Delphi. They could not. Two hundred years later, Celts led by Brennus had similar misfortune when they tried to attack Delphi.

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    1. That is very interesting. Tacitus mention of Jesus is proof enough for his existence (which begs proof of his miracles) so why not the miracles at delphious?
      The Mormons also have an ace in the hole by way of Spaniard commentary of a large, white man who performed many miracles (even fixing the land) after a cataclysmic event. In “The second part of the Chronicle of Peru”
      by Cieza de León, it mirrors third Nephi. But de León also chronicles other traditions of the Incas like brothers being turned to stone, which the Mormons reject. Seems the most corroborate evidence has to align with what you already believe in any faith, for it to be valid. Great comment K (in book form, haha) again. Always appreciate you weighing in.

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      1. You must mean the stories about Viracocha. Him and Quetzalcoatl, the Mormons seem to have a thing for. They want to use them to prove that Jesus was in the Americas. Some Jesuits even wanted to equate Viracocha with Jesus, before the Mormons even existed. That might be what inspired the whole idea.

        You got the point of my comment, I am glad of that. What distinguishes the instances I picked out is that the writers were in close proximity to them. They were not trying to convert anyone to some religion either. The idea that some account or story must be believed or you will be punished in some afterlife was alien to this environment(for the most part). You weren’t going to be saved by believing something. Even Tacitus had no reason in particular to care about shoring up the Flavians, as they were not in power when he wrote that. These writers were in range of eyewitnesses and contemporary to these events. The only reason the “pagan” accounts are not given at least a bit of a chance is Christian bias, bias that even non-Christians often have. The philosopher Celsus called the Christians out on that long ago. They dismiss out of hand any story except the Jewish fables and Christian dogmas(texts that they made up) that they had already decided to believe. The Jews and Christians made it a point to believe their doctrines to the exclusion of anything else, reason or argument had little to do with it.

        The Old Testament is full of stories that look like they were ripped off of older stories and modified for sectarian purposes. Christianity does the same thing using Jewish sources. This is ridiculous to me. It is like claiming that you have the “true revelation” when all you did was do two rewrites of the Babylonian flood myth. People like the Greeks at least admitted that a story of theirs was adapted from some foreign myth, they had discussions about it in learned circles. The gods were never considered obliged to grant every prayer either, so people were not apt to disappointment when they did not get what they wanted. Promises of miracles, magic powers for believers, and answered prayers came with newer movements like Christianity(though there were others).

        Here is another example:

        “He therefore called together the Ephesians, and said: “Take courage, for I will today put a stop to the course of the disease.” And with these words he led the population entire to the theater, where the image of the Averting god has been set up. And there he saw what seemed an old mendicant artfully blinking his eyes as if blind, as he carried a wallet and a crust of bread in it; and he was clad in rags and was very squalid of countenance. Apollonius therefore ranged the Ephesians around him and said: “Pick up as many stones as you can and hurl them at this enemy of the gods.”

        Now the Ephesians wondered what he meant, and were shocked at the idea of murdering a stranger so manifestly miserable; for he was begging and praying them to take mercy upon him. Nevertheless Apollonius insisted and egged on the Ephesians to launch themselves on him and not let him go. And as soon as some of them began to take shots and hit him with their stones, the beggar who had seemed to blink and be blind, gave them all a sudden glance and his eyes were full of fire. Then the Ephesians recognized that he was a demon, and they stoned him so thoroughly that their stones were heaped into a great cairn around him.

        After a little pause Apollonius bade them remove the stones and acquaint themselves with the wild animal they had slain. When therefore they had exposed the object which they thought they had thrown their missiles at, they found that he had disappeared and instead of him there was a hound who resembled in form and look a Molossian dog, but was in size the equal of the largest lion; there he lay before their eyes, pounded to a pulp by their stones and vomiting foam as mad dogs do. Accordingly the statue of the Averting god, Heracles, has been set up over the spot where the ghost was slain.”-Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Book 4

        Here we have Apollonius driving a disease demon out of Ephesus, ending a plague. I bet this sort of thing looks familiar. Reading through the whole thing, it is a lot like later Christian lives of the saints, but for Apollonius of Tyana. This is older than any of those, but the content is so similar. He raises the dead, converses with ancient heroes, cures plagues, and ascends to heaven. It has a much more fantastic kind of content than anything from the other writers I quoted. It was written as a pagan(Pythagorean specifically) hagiography, and to defend Apollonius. One of the sources for it was an account written by a disciple of Apollonius. Christians did not even deny that Apollonius had been a miracle worker, they just countered that he was a wizard.

        If you look through Egyptian or Babylonian literature, there is abundant evidence for the idea of evil spirits bringing misfortune. This had a great influence on the later Greeks, and the Jews as well. The Babylonians were almost obsessed with this idea. They would bless water in the name of Marduk, Ea, and Shamash and sprinkle it around to drive away the demons. There was also the idea that if your personal protector spirit or patron god abandoned you(due to some offense or sin) then demons had an opening to get at you. The text linked below demonstrates this idea, from the perspective of a righteous man who does not understand why all these awful things are happening to him. The whole story will sound very familiar. This is only transcribed in the link in part though, eventually Marduk has mercy on the righteous sufferer, though the question of “Why?” is never really answered.

        https://www.soas.ac.uk/baplar/recordings/the-poem-of-the-righteous-sufferer-ludlul-bl-nmeqi-tablet-ii-entire-tablet-read-by-karl-hecker.html

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    1. I have a feeling I won’t get bitten. Christianity is a bit like a bed bug though. You know they reproduce about every four hours and infestations are long lasting, even after you think you’ve rid yourself of it, the idea can even make you scratch your head, long after the incident.

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      1. Indeed, and that is a major problem. For some people, when the itch continues, they think it’s because they left the religion and so they return to it. Then, being herded with same group think they can ignore the itch or pretend it’s God talking to them… Btw I read a thing recently about a guy who said he left his church because God came out of the closet and declared to him that he (God) had become an atheist. I thought that was pretty good and it should be spread around. Just wish God wasn’t such a chicken shit and come out publicly on this… hahahahahaha!!! I can see it now, a new church: “The New Church of God the Atheist – Join us this Sunday and listen to God refute all the major claims in the bible and hear Jesus say that Christianity was always meant to be fake news.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There is actually a little ring of truth to this. God wouldn’t believe he was god as much as we deny we are. Always kidding ourselves that we are not it. Considering the electrical nature of the universe as a singular, conscious entity, would god even know he was god? Would he not question the meaning of all the other existence. All life, naturally radiating off his existence would be as the oceans of life, each part clueless as to why, or even aware of the far reaches They just are. That is us. We are it and just can’t see it because is it that obvious.

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          1. In our ignorance we elevated “god” which is life-generic- to God as a judge of life, an idea that can only be sustained in utter ignorance, hence the need to fabricate religions to shore up a baseless concept.

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            1. Very well put. This is a gem of a comment. And the churches have done what an army of Kim Jung’s could not do nor maintain, where man voluntarily submits to elitism.

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  2. Right on, Jim! Here’s to evidence, cheers! Evidence, such a plain, direct word. Ask a believer if they really believe in heaven and they look at you like you’re crazy and wave at the sky! Have a good one, everyone. GROG

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    1. It’s best not to think about the “heaven thing” in too much detail, or it sounds like hell. I’ve seen totalitarian governing—mix that with the Old Testament Yahweh and boom!
      It is however likely there is a continuation of the whole organism, which can be reasoned without contradicting the laws of energy and ideas of good and evil.

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    1. Having faith in spite of evidence is like a contest of sorts. They’re waiting, just knowing god will provide that bombshell in due time. Many, also hold hope it will be the end of the world that does the trick.

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  3. The word “faith” when used in the context of religious belief, is a contrived virtue used for assuming the truth of a god claim in lieu of what constitutes the baseline for demonstrable, measurable, repeatable, verifiable evidence for any other claim.
    There is a certain level of pride the believers have for using faith in this way. Mind over matter? Whatever. Just makes them look, well, foolish.

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    1. By their foolish persistence they have been made wise in their own mind. The king has no clothes, but by belief they just dismiss that because onus is put back in the believer for not applying it well enough.

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    1. But isn’t the result of faith observable evidence? I’d say it’s not taken us where they said it would take us. At least they have provided a second savior, a second chance at bliss in the White House to right the ship.

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