How Meaningful Can a Relationship with God Be If There’s a Threat Involved?

DarkMatter2525 explains how God’s worst idea may have been to use Heaven and Hell as a threat over people in order to inspire “meaningful” relationships with them.

(It may help to watch the first two episodes in this trilogy beforehand, though it’s not necessary.)



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CNN Will Air a Special on Atheists This Tuesday

Since a lot of you may be interested, CNN will be airing a special on atheists Tuesday night: “Atheists: Inside the World of Non-believers.”



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Christians Have Destroyed Almost All the Mosques In the Central African Republic; an American Fan Cheers Them On

Christian and Muslim militias have been battling each other in the Central African Republic since 2012. First, a group of Muslim combatants called the Seleka started an aggressive trek into Christian areas, and the Christians in turn organized their own armed rebel force, the Antibalaka, which quickly morphed from a defensive civilian army into a genocidal horde that wants to eliminate Muslims from the country of 4.5 million people.

The Christian fighters have been especially successful, if you define success by the scope of the destruction.

Via the Associated Press:

Almost all of the 436 mosques in the Central African Republic have been destroyed by months of vicious fighting between Christians and Muslims, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said.

Samantha Power spoke to reporters on Tuesday after a Security Council visit last week to the country, calling the devastation “kind of crazy, chilling”. …

Power said 417 of the country’s mosques have been destroyed. She visited the one remaining Muslim neighbourhood in the capital, Bangui, and described the residents as “a terrified population.”



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20 Years Ago Today, the Aum Shinrikyo Cult Attacked the Tokyo Subway System With Nerve Gas, Killing 12

A group that’s based on Buddhism and yoga sounds like it would be about as dangerous as the sixth-grade chess team at Pleasant Valley Elementary. And yet:

On this day, March 20, in 1995, 12 people were killed and thousands were sickened in Tokyo when members of [Shoko] Asahara’s cult, Aum Shinrikyo, released sarin during the Monday-morning rush hour in one of the world’s most crowded subway systems. Members of the cult used the tips of their umbrellas to puncture plastic bags filled with liquid sarin on five crowded cars before hurrying off at subway stops and leaving their fellow riders trapped with the toxic gas.

It was an unusual move for a religious movement based on Buddhist and Hindu principles and centered on the practice of yoga, but Asahara was an unusual spiritual leader. TIME described him, in a 1995 story about the gas attack, as a long-haired, bushy-bearded bully, “usually pictured wearing satiny pajamas,” who claimed he could levitate and promised to give his followers superhuman powers.



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Sharia Spreads: It’s Now the Law in Part of Malaysia

Islamic countries that have embraced sharia include Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Nigeria. Last year, Brunei became the first Southeast Asian country to join that wretched club, and now neighboring Malaysia has done the same. More precisely, the state of Kelantan has, despite the fact that sharia is incompatible with the country’s constitution.

Among the punishments: limb amputations for theft; crucifixion for deadly robberies; 40 to 80 lashes for consuming any quantity of alcohol; and, of course, good old-fashioned stoning for adultery. The law also prescribes death for apostasy (remember that when Muslims quote Al-Baqara 256 from the Qur’an and try to tell you that “there is no compunction” in their religion).



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