Mikey Pullman is back and we talk about mysticism, conspiracies, and Christian nationalism.
Stepping Stones is raising money for back to school backpacks for impoverished kids.
Dustin’ off the Degree – Mysticism
The term “mysticism” has been around since at least Classical Greece, but the practice definitely dates back much earlier and I would suspect it predates religion itself. Historically it’s definition has shifted and in modern times it’s controversial, but generally speaking mysticism is finding oneness with the divine or absolute through altered states of mind. In some cases this is called enlightenment.
You’ll find mystics in virtually all religions. In Islam it’s most commonly found in Sufism, in Judaism it’s Kabbalah and Merkabah, in Christianity it’s Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and Pentecostals, in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism it’s called enlightenment. When you get to a lot of the New Age religions, then mysticism is basically the core.
How people attain these altered states varies and fasting is probably the most common, which we talked about in length a few weeks ago, but other forms of acetic practice, especially extreme exposure to heat, cold, or sun can be sufficient. Meditation in the Eastern religions has the goal of enlightenment, which is mystic. Some traditional religions, such as Native American religions, and many of the New Age religions will use “plant medicine”, more commonly referred to as psychedelics like peyote or ayahuasca. Music and prayer can be enough to change mind states, such as in the case of Pentecostals. The mind states for mystical experiences can also be created by mental illness or brain damage, such as in the case of Ellen White.
Protestant Christianity, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, and Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism are generally very skeptical of mysticism, despite every prophet they revere having been inherently a mystic.
I actually think mysticism is the strongest argument for religion, since there is something that is actually going on in the brain that can be measured and the events of mystical experiences are very real to the people experiencing them. However, if this were actually good evidence, then I would have to lean toward God not being a being or force, but drugs.
‘Atheist PM’ to blame for deadly fires, says Greek bishop
Greece has been enduring horrific and very deadly wildfires and despite the cause being well known to be arson, Bishop Amvrosios of the Greek Orthodox Church knows the real reason:
“Atheist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras draws the wrath of God. The atheists of SYRIZA are the causes of the general disaster! Their atheism, draws the wrath of God!”
Just about everyone in Greece disagrees, including the Archbishopric of Athens which said that was just his personal opinion.
9th Circuit Court panel rejects prayer at Chino Valley school board meetings
A three judge panel of the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction against the Chino Valley Unified School District in California for their prayers, Bible readings, and various proselytizing. The district claimed that this was protected by the exception for traditional prayers in legislative bodies. The court rejected that claim saying,
“These prayers typically take place before groups of schoolchildren whose attendance is not truly voluntary and whose relationship to school district officials, including the board, is not one of full parity.”
‘In God We Trust’ motto required in Tennessee schools this year
When school starts in a few weeks in Tennessee every school will be required to have “In God We Trust” displayed prominently. While there is no penalty WKRN checked with the four counties of the Nashville metro area and found that every school will be in compliance by the start of school.
Lesbian couple denied housing in Sunset Hills senior living community, lawsuit claims
A senior community in St Louis has denied allowing a lesbian couple who are married and have been together or nearly 40 years to move in citing their policy that only allows married people to cohabitate and their policy which defines marriage as:
“The union of one man and one woman, as marriage is understood in the Bible”
They had selected this community because it’s the only place in the area that can provide that level of care, and does it at no extra cost and they went through many tours and conversations with the staff, and paid a $2000 deposit.
The couple is suing claiming that the denial violates the Fair Housing Act and Missouri Human Rights Act. Friendship Village hasn’t responded yet, but odds are they will claim that as a senior community founded on religious values they are entitled to sincerely held religious beliefs.
State Department retroactively revoking passports from transgender women
Danni Askini is a trans activist based out of Seattle and transitioned at the age of 16 in 1998 with sealed court records while she was a warde of the state. She found that she needed to leave Seattle and spend some time in Sweden because of getting a bunch of death threats by nazis in Seattle. Unfortunately she needed to renew her passport and the application was rejected because she had failed to disclose she was transgender. She got her representative involved and the state department issued a 2 year temporary passport and she is now safely in Sweden.
Janus Rose is a technology researcher who got her passport updated with the legal name and gender marker changed in November. Then she got a call last week telling her that the government made a mistake in updating her gender marker because the medical documentation was invalid.
Why? It was signed by a nurse practitioner, not an MD, despite the fact that this has never been a problem before for any patient at her clinic.
Jeff Sessions’ ‘religious liberty task force’ part of a dangerous Christian nationalist campaign of discrimination
A few months ago Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced his religious liberty task force, now at the Department of Justice’s Religious Liberty Summit, he said the following before extolling the value of faith and introducing a Catholic Archbishop.
DISCUSSION – Conspiracies
YouTube removes ‘hate speech’ videos from InfoWars
– Jimmy Ninetoes via email
This episode is brought to you by:
* Mike M
* Danielle M
* Darryl G
* Arthur K
* Rachel B
* Mikey Pullman
* Jimmy Ninetoes
* Al from Cestus Three
* Kim B
* Alexandra T
* John A
* Levi C
* Rob C
* Henry K
* Alan M
* The Flying Skeptic
* George G
Theme music is provided by Sturdy Fred.