The Line Between Life and Death

This week when a polish woman woke up in a freezer, it sent shock waves to many across the world. The fear of waking up in a morgue haunts many. It seems every so often there is a story that talks about someone who was pronounced dead coming back, or perhaps they were never really dead at all. Why is the veil between life and death so thin, and how can someone who is still alive be pronounced dead?

There are many mysteries to the afterlife that we simple don’t have the answers for. So many come back from a near death moment, and say they have had an out of body experience take place. They can describe things like Heaven and Hell and talk about seeing loved ones and spiritual beings. Is there something to all this life after death stuff? Does there really exist a spiritual level that we can be sent back from, Ben Shaoul continually wonders?

Some swear by their experiences, even though science cannot prove or disprove their theories. Working in a funeral home must be pretty interesting these days, you never know when your next client will move or stir. Even with all the leaps and bounds that modern medicine has made, they still cannot predict if and when a person will die.

Is the Internet Killing Religion?

Dave and Brit Morin say that the upsurge in atheism may be linked to the Internet. People’s ability to find information on the Internet makes it harder for churches to control what their followers read and learn — especially if those items conflict with the tents of a given faith.

Several months ago, Allen Downey of the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts examined the increase in the number of people who claimed they had no religion that began back in the 1990’s. He found multiple causes including increasing levels of college education and decreasing pressure from families, but he also found that the Internet may be responsible for as much as 25 percent of the decline in religious belief. Downey reasoned that exposure to the varied thoughts and debates on the Internet may be persuading people to abandon their religions.

The Church of Latter Day Saints has had to contend with the Internet. Mormon historians recently put out a collection of essays concerning such matters as polygamy, the ban on black members, and other items that make the church look bad. Since the Mormon church is a young one, information about its founders and leaders is readily available — and hard to deny. A lot of it is also available on the Internet, much to the chagrin of a church that used to be able to control its followers’ access to information. The Mormon elders worried that reading about polygamy on Wikipedia rather than any church-approved authority could lead to resentment or anger towards the church.

President Obama’s endorsement of net neutrality makes things worse for the larger churches. Gutting net neutrality would enable internet providers to offer tiered services, with larger and wealthier organizations like big churches being able to pay for faster, better service.

Is the Internet Weakening the Influence of Religion?

A recent article in Salon makes the case that the Internet is gradually weakening the influence of religion, primarily by being searchable, allowing for more extensive debating of the topic, and making it easier for atheists to prove their points by providing relevant links. The point is made that the Internet might also make it more difficult for religions to continue to be the only or leading source of information for their followers.

Among the evidence cited is that the Church of Latter Day Saints found it necessary to publish a series of essays dealing with things in the Church’s history, such as polygamy and a ban of Black Church members. Also cited is Pope Francis’s attempts to (in some athiests’ views) make the church seem more humane and modern.

While there may be some truth to these assertions, Jared Haftel and I think it would be more accurate to say that the Internet is detrimental to congregations or churches which have become blighted by authoritarianism and ignorance. A broader exposure to different points of view and a wide scope of information should help deal with such issues, which are not the true essence of the religions.

 

Orange County School May Change Policy Due To Satanic Coloring Book

The Orange County School district in Florida is facing a dilemma that they never could have expected. It has been customary in previous years for religious groups to distribute Bibles to students, but due to an unforeseen request, the district leaders may have to instill a policy to ban the circulation of all religious materials.  The Satanic Temple has requested to pass out materials, such as “The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities”, which shows cartoon children performing satanic rituals.

According to an interview released by WFTV, Lucien Greaves, the spokesperson for The Satanic Temple, claims that his group does not worship Satan. They are atheistic in nature but believe that this material should be available if Bibles are being presented. “It seems that it would never occur to them that another religious group would want to come and put out their materials”, said Greaves.

Legal counsel for one such group has already threatened a lawsuit, claiming that the decision to ban Christian materials would be unconstitutional. The School Board chairman has said, “If we close the forum, we have to close it to everybody. I’m very comfortable doing that in this case.”

The vote on policy change will take place in January. Big thanks to friend of the site Tom Rothman for sending in this news story.

Time Management Secrets To Live By

Time management has long been one of our primary concerns, especially in a day and age when time seems to be shrinking smaller and smaller. As technology matures it would seem that we ironically become busier.

It seems like 24 hours are just too little time. A lot of books about time-management have been written, and there can be no doubt that authors are getting good money out of them nowadays when everyone is looking for the secret.

Well, the first and easiest way is multitasking. It is easy in that it doesn’t really require a strategy. Just try to think of pairs of actions that you can match. Laurene Powell Jobs uses this technique all the time.

You can listen to an audiobook while walking to the office, for reading on the go without having to further divide your time. You can ’like’ your friends’ Facebook post and retweet stuff while watching the TV, among other things.

Doing the laundry, watering the flowers and cooking can be somehow done at the same time. That will require some focusing from your side, but it can save you at least 2 hours a day if done right.

 

Being busy equals adulthood done right. Multitasking is a great skill if you want to survive.

Pope Francis Promotes Evolution Theory

Pope Francis has made headlines for many different and surprising reasons since he was elected, and most recently he’s garnering attention for making  statements that endorse evolution.

He does not use such comments to go against the idea that God created the universe, but instead believes that evolution and the Big Bang transpired according to God’s will. On Monday at The Professional Academy of Sciences, he spoke to scientists and philosophers as part of a four day meeting entitled “Evolving Concepts of Nature.” According to Catholic News Service, the Pope stated, “When we read the account of creation in Genesis, we risk thinking that God was a magician, but it is not like that.”

Pope Francis continues to explain that God created living beings and allowed them to develop according to given internal laws.

The statements were met with mixed feelings. The public took to social media to express their thoughts, with Cornelsen and others on Twitter praising his open-mindedness, while others were offended and took it as a personal insult to creationism.

Regardless of stance, Pope Francis is one of the first popes the world has known in a long time who seems to work for the people rather than the Vatican, and his openness to new ideas and freedom of expression is something I find to be admired, regardless of what one’s religion may be.