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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/19/20

Everyone is a Skeptic

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Message James A. Haught
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Are you a religious believer or a doubter? Let's find out. I'll cite some sacred, holy, divine, religious tenets, and you tell me if you believe them.

Aztec priests sacrificed about 20,000 people a year to many gods including an invisible feathered serpent. Do you think an invisible feathered serpent wanted human lives offered to it? Or are you a skeptic?

Muslim suicide volunteers who flew airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon left behind a testament saying they were martyrs for Allah and would go instantly to the "women of paradise." Do you think the 9/11 terrorists are now in heaven with beautiful female houri nymphs? Or are you a doubter?

Mormons teach that Jesus came to America after his resurrection? Do you agree or are you a skeptic?

Time after time, Catholic throngs report seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary (although she never appears to Jews, Muslims or Protestants). Do you think a divine Virgin Mary makes herself visible occasionally to Catholics? Or do you doubt it?

In ancient Greece, even at the time of the great philosophers, priests sacrificed thousands of sheep, goats, pigs, dogs, horses, bulls and other animals to gods on Mount Olympus. Do you think a mountaintop Pantheon wanted animals killed? Or are you a doubter?

Today, Florida's Santeria worshippers sacrifice dogs, goats, chickens, etc., and toss their bodies into waterways. A Miami police water patrol fishes out the corpses. Do you think Santeria gods want animals killed? Or are you a skeptic?

Millions of Hindus pray over the linga, a stylized model of Shiva's erect penis. Do you think an invisible Shiva wants his phallus venerated? Or are you a doubter?

The Unification Church preaches that Jesus visited Master Moon and told him to convert all people as "Moonies." Do you believe it or are you a skeptic?

Jehovah's Witnesses believe that, any day now, Jesus will descend from the sky with an army of angels, and Satan will emerge from the ground with an army of demons, and they will fight the Battle of Armageddon, which will kill most of humanity. Do you agree or are you a doubter?

A central belief of Catholicism is that when bells are rung and prayers are chanted, the communion host wafer magically turns into the actual flesh of Jesus, and the communion wine miraculously becomes his physical blood. Do you believe this Doctrine of Transubstantiation, or are you a skeptic?

The Bible says that everyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death. Do you think Sunday workers should be killed or do you doubt this holy scripture?

Millions of American Pentecostals spout the "unknown tongue," which they contend is the Holy Ghost speaking through them. Do you think the third member of the Trinity makes these noises? Or are you a skeptic?

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James A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia's largest newspaper, The Charleston Gazette-Mail.  Mr. Haught has won two dozen national news writing awards. He has written 12 books and hundreds of magazine essays and blog posts. Around 450 of his essays are online. He is a senior editor of Free Inquiry magazine, a weekly blogger at Daylight Atheism, (more...)

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