Leaving Christianity – Oh What A Relief It Is!

Oh What A Relief It Is!Although I left Christianity over 20 years ago, it took a long while for me to erase the doctrines that had been embedded within my consciousness for 15+ years. It was not an easy road.

As Stephen Van Eck wrote on the Deism.com website: “Once sucked into the parallel universe of Christianity, [a person] is too intimidated by threats and rationalizations to attempt escape. Even thinking along alternative lines will induce severe feelings of guilt.”
Writing my book helped tremendously because of all the research and reading I did. Learning how and why certain doctrines of the Christian faith (e.g., final judgment, burning fires of hell, Satan and his demons, the end-times) were introduced into the faith was extremely liberating … and removed a ton of guilt and fear.

I also found out some things about the Bible. As many others, I had been taught the Bible was “God’s Word” (even though the interpretation of what “He” said varies considerably among denominations). Through my studies, I discovered that much of what is in the bible is the result of stories, epics, myths, legends, proverbs, etc. that were passed by word of mouth from one generation to another. This is particularly true of the Hebrew Bible, but intrinsically typical of the New Testament scriptures as well. Can you imagine the burden that was lifted when I found out I wasn’t genetically inclined to sin and thus in need of someone to save me from being human??!?

Contrary to what one might think, the many discoveries I made did not turn me into an atheist. However, I definitely do not believe in a supernatural being who lives somewhere “up there,” who can be manipulated by prayer, or who has a “will.” Rather, my image of “God” is far more encompassing and has nothing to do with religious belief. In fact, I’m extremely reluctant to even use the word “god” because of all its connotations.

In any case, I find my life so much more fulfilling now. Truly, what a relief it has been!

Why Obesity?

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Do you believe that obesity is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended? If you do, then you’re in agreement with the long standing conclusion of obesity science, which revolves around the balance principle, i.e., “People get fat because they take in more calories than they expend. They stay lean when they don’t.”

Or perhaps you might agree with the philosophy that was popular in the decades between the World Wars that … “some people are born predisposed to accumulate excess fat just as some are predestined to grow tall.”

According to this article, you would be mistaken on both counts. 

The article author writes that he would have agreed with the balance principle “if the prevalence of obesity had not risen relentlessly for the past half century — along with type 2 diabetes” to the extent that is has become the dominant non-Covid health crisis of our time. 

That’s why he and 16 other academic researchers put together a report in September 2021 entitled, The carbohydrate-insulin model: a physiological perspective on the obesity pandemic. In the Abstract of the report it is noted thus:

According to a commonly held view, the obesity pandemic is caused by overconsumption of modern, highly palatable, energy-dense processed foods, exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle. However, obesity rates remain at historic highs, despite a persistent focus on eating less and moving more, as guided by the energy balance model (EBM). Conceptualizing obesity as a disorder of energy balance restates a principle of physics without considering the biological mechanisms that promote weight gain. An alternative paradigm, the carbohydrate-insulin model (CIM), proposes a reversal of causal direction.

(NOTE: At the time of this blog post, only the abstract is available.) 

These researchers argue that the energy-in/energy-out conception of weight regulation is fatally, tragically flawed … that obesity is not an energy balance disorder, but a hormonal or constitutional disorder.

In other words, “people don’t get fat because they eat too much, consuming more calories than they expend, but because the carbohydrates in their diets — both the quantity of carbohydrates and their quality — establish a hormonal milieu that fosters the accumulation of excess fat.”

As many have noted, along with the article’s author, obesity in the U.S. has risen over the past several years. In fact, more than 40% of Americans live with it today as compared to 12% sixty years ago. What has caused this dramatic rise? Is it nature or nurture? Is it behavior or physiology? 

Another website related to this topic asks the question: “Is Obesity a Disease?” and provides some Pro and Con arguments where …

Proponents contend that obesity is a disease because it meets the definition of disease; it decreases life expectancy and impairs the normal functioning of the body; and it can be caused by genetic factors.

Opponents contend that obesity is not a disease because it is a preventable risk factor for other diseases; is the result of eating too much; and is caused by exercising too little.

And finally, this article provides a look at 10 foods that overweight people regularly eat.

If you are one of the fortunate individuals who has never experienced problems with weight gain, then none of this information may be relevant. But since statistics indicate MANY people do have regular battles with the bathroom scales, such information may very well be eye-opening.

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Image by Memed_Nurrohmad from Pixabay

Afghanistan: A Different Perspective

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The Afghanistan situation has produced an extensive collection of opinions and judgments from both the armchair world affair devotees, as well as the average folk who spend marginal time perusing the latest news but enjoy offering their “studied” feedback. And of course, from the many and assorted “experts.”

Personally, I rarely delve into any kind of intense study related to major world events. My practice is to read just enough to get a general idea of what’s going on but not enough to enter a debate. Thus, you’ll rarely find me offering any kind of “studied” opinion on the topic. 

I’ve adopted this formula related to the Afghanistan situation. I know what’s going on and have perused the several “for and against” perspectives. However, while I’ve formed somewhat of a personal opinion, I would not be comfortable presenting it for discussion.

Having said this, I came across a blog post on the topic that I found rather interesting. It was written by a person who recently started following my blog and appears to be from India. Thus, the post is written from a slightly different viewpoint than what many of us are used to seeing. 

Since my knowledge of the entire Afghanistan situation is fairly rudimentary, I don’t know if what this person has written is –or is not– accurate. Nevertheless, I found her perspective rather interesting and hope my readers will share their thoughts and observations.

You can find the blog post here. (Note that it was written before the August 31st deadline.)

The Spread of COVID-19

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Unless you’ve really hard-headed, it’s pretty difficult to argue with these statistics and visual examples.

How Coronavirus Spreads Through a Population

The illustrations pinpoint the R0 factor (basic reproduction number), and indicate how many new cases one infected person generates. There are also examples on how the virus compares with other diseases (you may be surprised).