Articles about Religion, Atheism, and Odd Theology

There’s a lot of weird stuff out there. I’m fascinated by what people believe, and why…so this is fun for me. However: ideas have consequences, so I also take the ideas in these articles seriously.

I'm guessing that most of you don't know anything about this group. They're not a huge group by any stretch...they have just over 200 churches ("centers") worldwide. They don't formally track membership, but estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000.

OT stands for Operating Thetan. According to Scientologists, that's a level of spiritual being where one has "knowing and willing cause over life, thought, matter, energy, space and time." Confused? You should be.

According to the Roman Catholic church, there are two types of sins:

Venial sins, which are relatively minor, and Capital (or Mortal) sins, which put one in danger of eternal damnation. The traditionally-held Seven Deadly Sins are, in order of seriousness:

It's sometimes really difficult to encapsulate a belief system in a few words. Sometimes it's helpful to describe it with pictures, and it's often beneficial if those pictures also move. Here's a thumbnail sketch of what Scientologists believe:

For those who haven't been paying attention, the "church" of Scientology fits almost any definition of the word cult. More than a few people have left Scientology over their under-handed and domineering tactics, and support networks appear to be springing up all over.

For those who haven't been paying attention, the "church" of Scientology fits almost any definition of the word cult. More than a few people have left Scientology over their under-handed and domineering tactics, and support networks appear to be springing up all over.

The Roman Catholic church apparently considers this to be an unofficial list of "capital" or "mortal" sins...that is, one cannot commit this kind of sin without being in danger of hell.

No matter what anyone tells you, know this: Christianity isn't a ticket to the good life. If it were, Jesus' disciples would have ruled the world. Instead, most of them were martyred for their faith. If you're tempted to believe that guy on TV when he says that God wants every Christian to be rich, consider the words of Jesus Himself:

Most people assume that L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and Scientology sprang fully-formed from his science-fiction-creating imagination. It could be that nothing is further from the truth.

Nope. Here are a few reasons why we know that Leonardo da Vinci's painting doesn't tell the same story we read in the Bible: In the painting, it's daytime. The Passover meal would have been eaten after sundown.

The book is fiction. Historical fiction takes an imaginary story and surrounds it with historical facts or historical supposition. Despite my (marginal) interest in conspiracy theories, there's not enough historical data to make the story of Mary's involvement in the Knights Templar.

Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper was painted to show the reaction of each apostle after Jesus said that one of them would betray him. The men in the painting were identified using the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, which were found in the 1800's.

Heaven is for Hamsters is fairly long, but worth reading. It's part of an actual conversation between PW and Honus, in which PW is trying to convince Honus to share the Gospel of Jesus with his hamster. Really...I'm not joking.

Foundational Principle: Humans are actually invisible space creatures called Thetans. We don't realize our true nature because of traumatic experiences. If we could overcome these traumas, we would realize who and what we are.

Born Ras Tafari, Ethopian emperor Haile Selassie is considered by Rastafarians to have been the Lion of Judah, and a manifestation of God. Selassie claimed direct descendence from King David, the 225th ruler in an unbroken line of Ethiopian Kings from the time of Solomon and Sheba.

Also known as "Moonies." Also known as "The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity." Founder: Yong Myung Moon (Sun Myung Moon).

Also known as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." Founder: Joseph Smith, Jr. Born 1805 in Sharon, VT. Founded: April 6, 1830. Founding Occasion:

Founder: Charles Taze Russell. Born 1852 in Pittsburgh, PA. Founded: Approximately 1876. Also known as: originally "International Bible Students Association."

Founder: Muhammad. Born in Mecca in 570 AD. Founded: Approximately 610 AD. Founding Occasion: Muhammad claimed to receive revelations from the angel Gabriel.

Founder: Jesus (also known as Jesus Christ). Born approximately 7 AD in Bethlehem, Judea. Founded: While it could be said that Christianity had no beginning, the Christian church as we know it began in the 1st century AD.

Some people believe that the Bible doesn't just contain God's message to mankind, they also believe that it contains hidden messages for us to ferret out. One method of ferreting is known as ELS, or Equidistant Letter Sequencing.

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