The Devil and His Dastardly Deeds

 Watched “Beyond Belief: Battle with the Devil” on ABC’s Primetime last night and couldn’t stop shaking my head.

The gullibility of people never ceases to amaze me! But then, teachings that have been around several centuries are hard to shake. And group mentality/consciousness can be very strong.

The show spotlighted several individuals who believed they were ‘possessed’ by the devil because they had ‘opened themselves up’ to his powers.

Oh puleeeeze.

Some of them apparently got rid of the “Evil One” by retching into paper bags. Others relied on specially trained members of the Catholic Church to rid them of the “Prince of Darkness” through exorcism.

Believers say the Devil’s greatest trick is convincing people he doesn’t exist. Guess I’ve been hornswoggled because I, for one, do not believe in his existence. This is not to say there isn’t evil in the world, but is there a powerful and terrifying supernatural being promoting and generating that evil? Is there truly a supernatural entity with the power to “possess” people and control their actions? Is there some unseen spirit lurking in the shadows of humankind, just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting individuals?

The facts are this: Satan was contrived during the post-exilic period by some creative Jewish writers to explain why the people were suffering under the rule of foreign nations. Obviously, they couldn’t blame Yahweh for their misfortune, so voila! The Big Bad Guy was born. (Zoroastrianism and Greek philosophy helped.) And, as we have seen, this malevolent monster has grown and thrived over the centuries.

Don’t believe me? Do the research. I did.

The Casey Anthony Conundrum

Oh my. I just can’t help myself. I simply have to comment on Casey Anthony. Yup, I got sucked in the same as hundreds of others. Maybe not to the point of watching the actual trial while it was going on, but I did watch Nancy Grace (oops) to get all the highlights.

Here’s my scenario. I do think Casey killed her daughter, but I also think it was an accident. No, Caylee didn’t drown in the pool. She was suffocated to death. I won’t speculate on whether or not chloroform was used, but I do think some type of relaxant put Caylee to sleep so Casey could do her thing, whether it was going to a party, being with her boyfriend, whatever. She just wanted to make sure her daughter didn’t interfere with her plans. She added the duct tape in case Caylee woke up and started crying.

Of course, as we know, Caylee never woke up.

casey-and-caylee There is no doubt Casey panicked when she discovered her daughter was dead. How in the world was she going to explain what happened? She decides to put her little body in a garbage bag and place it in the back of the car until she can decide what to do. I think she added the heart sticker and wrapped her in the Winnie the Poo blanket because she truly loved her daughter (as confirmed by several witnesses).

She then goes about her business for the next several days, which included partying and trying to act as if nothing is wrong in her life. As we already know, she doesn’t tell anyone Caylee is missing. But then the body begins to smell. This is when she realizes she has to do something, so she decides to place Caylee in the wooded area.

The car, however, still reeks of the decomposing body, so she abandons it in a parking lot – probably hoping the smell will dissipate and no one will be the wiser.

The rest is history.

Now here’s the rub in my scenario. Did Casey intentionally cover Caylee’s nose as well as her mouth? If she did, then I’m all wrong. It was murder. But if she, perhaps, accidentally covered her nose in the process, then we’re back to square one.

As for the jury’s decision – I have served on two murder trials. On one, everyone was in agreement the person was guilty and he got the death penalty. In the other, the prosecution asked for first degree murder but we had to return a verdict of second degree. Why? Even though every single one of us knew the guy was stone cold guilty, there simply wasn’t enough evidence to convict him of first degree.

scales These two experiences made me very aware that as a member of the jury, you  carry a very heavy burden. A person’s life could be in your hands. That’s why you MUST be convinced – beyond any reasonable doubt — that the evidence presented convicts the individual of the intended charge.

Did Casey Anthony kill her daughter? I think so. Did she do it intentionally? I doubt it. Did she react appropriately when she discovered the death? Probably not, but what would you have done?

Aided by the media, the public has tried and convicted Casey Anthony of murder and are upset she has been set free. But if my scenario is correct, she isn’t really free. She will live with this event for the rest of her life … knowing she killed her daughter. And for what? A few moments of fun?

Religion in Politics – The Ongoing Battle

religion

The following is the introduction to an article written by Rev. Howard Bess on ConsortiumNews.com:

Though the United States has a tradition of separating church and state, the 2012 presidential campaign may test the limits of that tolerance. Not only do some Republicans continue to question Barack Obama’s Christianity, but GOP front-runner Mitt Romney is a Mormon and other contenders, such as Sarah Palin, are Christian fundamentalists.

In my opinion (and I don’t think I’m alone in this), politics and religion do not mix! Religion (worship of one’s god in whatever form desired) belongs in a church, temple, or other religious edifice. It DOES NOT belong in politics. NO person, no matter what their faith or political affiliation, has the right to push their particular theology onto the American people.

Issues such as pro-life (anti-abortion), gay marriage, family values, or any other moral concern are individual matters and should NEVER be part of politics. Good grief! Every person that votes is considered an adult — and adults can think for themselves. We don’t need or want someone else forcing us to live according to their beliefs.

I admit, I used to be very conservative in my beliefs and strongly supported “born again” presidents such as Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush for their unwavering stand for Christianity. But I’ve changed. I guess I became an adult.

Contrary to what many, many people believe, this country is not a “Christian Nation” (see this article). Even though Fundamentalist Christians would like the American public to believe the so-called founding fathers intended to establish this country on “biblical principles,” history simply does not support this view. The original leaders of our nation were not Bible-believing Christians; they were Deists.

An individual (docfloss) contributed what I believe was a very thoughtful comment to the article by Rev. Bess (referenced at the beginning of this posting). I urge you to read it.

The Existence of God – Or Not

I found the video below quite fascinating. While I am not an atheist, I am interested in the many and varied perspectives that people have of who and/or what god is.
Before viewing the video, I had never heard of Alvin Plantinga so I didn’t have any idea what to expect. Since then, I have done a little research and find he is described as a “philosopher/theologian.” Wikipedia states he is a Christian who applies “methods of analytic philosophy to defend orthodox Christian beliefs.”

When presented with questions about God’s existence, he certainly answers in the same tenor of every Christian I have ever heard.

I found many of his answers to be nothing more than a nonsensical jumble of words. Instead of taking a true stand on his beliefs and offering solid evidence, he meandered through the usual language of the Christian religious.

The other thing that stood out to me is the constant reference by both parties to “God” as gender-specific. To me, God is an intangible spirit and therefore has no gender but of course, the debate passionately rages on.