Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
Bill Nye (via luckyaccidents)
Here are some other, independent sources showing that the Golden Rule was already a widespread teaching well before Jesus:
•In The Doctrine of the Mean 13, written about 500 BCE, Confucius says, “What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to others.”
•Isocrates (c. 375 BCE) said, “Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others.”
•The Hindu Mahabharata, written around 150 BCE, teaches, “This is the sum of all true righteousness: deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by.”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus also urged his listeners, “Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt. 5:39, Revised Standard Version) and “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:43-44, Revised Standard Version).
Again, these are generally regarded as uniquely Christian sentiments. But the call to “love your enemies” precedes Jesus and does not even appear in the Old Testament:
• I treat those who are good with goodness. And I also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. I am honest with those who are honest. And I am also honest with those who are dishonest. Thus honesty is attained (Taoism. Tao Te Ching 49).
•Conquer anger by love. Conquer evil by good. Conquer the stingy by giving. Conquer the liar by truth (Buddhism. Dhammapada 223).
•A superior being does not render evil for evil; this is a maxim one should observe; the ornament of virtuous per- sons is their conduct. One should never harm the wicked or the good or even criminals meriting death. A noble soul will ever exercise compassion even towards those who enjoy injuring others or those of cruel deeds when they are actually committing them—for who is without fault? (Hinduism. Ramayana, Yuddha Kanda 115).
No original moral concept of any significance can be found in the New Testament. In the early twentieth century, historian Joseph McCabe noted: “The sentiments attributed to Christ are … already found in the Old Testament… . They were familiar in the Jewish schools, and to all the Pharisees, long before the time of Christ, as they were familiar in all the civilizations of the earth—Egyptian, Babylonian, and Persian, Greek and Hindu.”