WHAT WOULD MAKE ME BELIEVE

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Someone asked me once what evidence I would need to believe in a god. I think that’s a fair question.

What he meant, of course, was his god; that of a Christian god. So I will try my best to keep within this framework. I will mainly use the bible, which is a supposed record of both the words and works of his proposed god.

So here is my list of miracles that will at least force me to rethink my conclusions about god and religion.

 

LEVITATION

The miracle is defined as the rising of a human body and/or other objects into the air by methods other than physical means.

It is claimed in the bible that Christ ascended into heaven forty days after being crucified.

But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

And while they were looking steadfastly into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; who also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven. (Acts 8:9-11)

And if we were to believe in some Middle Ages manuscripts there some priests, friars, nuns, and other holy people who could fly through the air.

So levitation is not unknown in Christianity.

But levitation, like all supposed miracles in this posting has been mostly the result of fraud. I say “mostly” because maybe there is a single person who can levitate himself but is shy and living as a recluse.

Back in the mid 1970’s the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi promised levitation to those people who enrolled in his TM classes. Indeed, there were even photos of young people who appeared to be floating in air and relaxing in a lotus pattern, no less. But those photos were the result of these young people bouncing on a trampoline and using a strobe light. Now they use Photoshop.

And street performers you might see floating in the air are actually supported by a heavy metal fixture under their robes and clothing. A staff attached to the ground completes the illusion.

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You will see them being still, no flight. That’s because they are attached by the heavy metal fixture that is connected to the ground. And they can’t levitate both themselves and the metal fixture at the same time. However, if they could lift themselves, they wouldn’t need heavy metal fixtures.

So, if you can, please levitate for me. Just yourself is OK. No metals, no air currents (like hurricanes), no physical means. And then take a few steps, just to make sure.

 

TELEPORTATION

This is defined as the transfer of matter from one point to another without traversing the physical space between the two points.

Here are some well-known biblical quotes showing how this might be done:

Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  (Mark 11:23-24)

“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’? All things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

So according to the bible, if you have just a little faith, you can teleport a mountain. Now you don’t have to move a mountain. Indeed, it would unfair to all those people who might just be hiking the very mountain you are going to teleport. And think of all those people with expensive homes. Their houses are going to get flooded.

What I am asking, is move something smaller. Like your own home. Or an automobile. Or even a pencil. Don’t blow on the pencil; that’s an old magic trick. Stand at least five feet back and make that pencil move with only your faith.

Can you do that for me? Christ said you could.

 

WALK ON WATER

Christ did it. So did Peter.

Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

 
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

 
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

 
So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,[b] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

 
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. (Matthew 14:23-32) 

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I live in Huntington Beach but any beach city will work. Just walk on the water. Just like Christ and Peter.

 

RAISING THE DEAD

I don’t mean someone who has had a Near Death Experience (NDE). All that means is that they weren’t dead in the first place. And doctors have been known to be wrong about a person being dead. Sometimes the symptoms of being alive are so very faint it’s hard to know if a person is breathing or not.

 

So let’s find someone who has been dead at least a few days. Or even two years. The older the better. Can I please speak to George Washington?

 

Again, there is biblical precedent for this. Actually, there are quite a few.

 

Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.

 

And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid [her] in an upper chamber.
And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring [him] that he would not delay to come to them.

 

Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.

 

But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning [him] to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

 
And he gave her [his] hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.

 

And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. (Acts 9:36-42)

 
Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”

 

Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. …  (Luke 7:11-17)

 

And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. (Matthew 10:7-8)

 

“Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

 

Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”

 

And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” (John 11:38-44)

 
There are numerous gravesites we can visit. Which grave do you want to open?

 

 

REGROWTH

 
This should be easier than raising someone from the dead. Regrow an amputated limb. It could be an arm or a leg – I don’t care.

 
Recently I was at hospital and saw a man about my age who was missing his foot.  He had a look of anguish on his face and it was painfully apparent that he missed his foot.

 
He could really use your help. Would you help him? But you won’t because you can’t.

 
Despite all your fervor about you, your faith, or you god being able to do anything, you can’t still can’t perform any of the “miracles” I listed here.

 
And while you are searching for answers from your non-existence god, or planning to bring your Armageddon (and destroying our world in the process), I will continue to enjoy life and make a positive contribution to the world and the people around me.

 

 

WEDNESDAY WORDS – PET PEEVES

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Sometimes people use words in an effort to exaggerate the importance of a simple accomplishment, thereby diminishing the value of a word. Here are two words that fit that criterion. Their use, or rather overuse, are two pet peeves of mine.

 

Here’s the first word.

 

PRODIGY [n. A young person who is endowed with exceptional qualities or abilities]

 

We use the word to indicate a young person who has an exceptional talent in something, esp. in math, music, or chess. All three of these things are at mostly mental activities.

 

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Yet, this word has been described one who is merely good at something, such as someone who gets an “A” in a music class. I have trouble equating someone who gets an “A” in a public high school class to a Mozart, who wrote his first symphony at age five.

 

And even worse is the occasion in which this word has been to describe a young football player who knows how to throw a football or can run around a person. But surely this is more of a physical activity than a mental one.

 

GIFTED, a recent film, tells the story of a young girl who is solving calculus problems in the first grade and the problems a young person who is so gifted can face in life.

 

Now compare this to the football movie, THE LONGEST YARD (of which two versions are available and viewable). And if you haven’t seen that movie, then just think of the NFL.

 

Why do people use this (and other words) word so incorrectly? Perhaps a case of someone trying to demonstrate his vocabulary and failing miserably.

 

Let’s try another word.

 

HERO [n. One who is admired or idealized for courage, esp. in case of war, disaster, or otherwise facing grave physical danger]

 

I will even add; one who is idolized in a great strength or even a mythological, legendary or literately figure (see Hercules and Jean Valjean).

 

But I have heard, more than once, this term to describe a basketball player. Even more so if this player plays for an NBA championship.

 

Really!

 

Somehow shooting baskets is on the same par as shooting a gun at someone who is shooting his gun at you. Not to mention hand grenades and flame throwers.

 

If someone is shooting a gun at me, I would want an armed soldier next to me than someone who can dribble (a basketball).

 

A basketball player may leap in the air. Astronauts are flying above us. The NBA player may suffer at most, a broken ankle. An astronaut faces incineration if his descent back to Earth is off course.

 

Again, why do people using this word incorrectly? Is it because TV ratings improve with using, even incorrectly, a word indicating, or at least suggesting violence?

 

I rather read a book. Where heroes and prodigies are real.

WEDNESDAY WACKY WORD of the WEEK

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HEXAKOSIOIHEXEKONTAHEXAPHOBIA [n. The fear of the number 666.]

 

But what if this number, 666, is written in binary? It’s 1010011010 if you are interested.

 

And yet no one has the fear of the number 1010011010. The fear vanishes. It’s gone!

 

The same can be said if 666 was written in Roman numbers (DCLXVI or VIVIVI). Again, there is no fear here.

 

When I did a little research for this post I came across many images where the number 666 was supposedly hidden. But such claims were vague, ambiguous, or misleading.

 

 

The numbers sometimes looked like nines. And sometimes there were 4, 5, or even 6 sixes found in these images. One even claimed that commas looked like sixes so they were considered sixes.

 

No one has the fear of the number “999”.
And no one has the fear of the number “6666” or “66666” or “666666”.
And certainly no one has a fear of “,,,”.

 

But the fear of 666 still exists. Among people who should have known better (or maybe not).

 

The fear has reached the White House in the past. Or even more specifically, to someone who actually lived there.

 

This is what I also found during my research.

 

“In 1989 Nancy and Ronald Reagan moved to a new home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles at 666 St. Cloud Road. They soon changed their address to 668.”

 

It should also be noted that Nancy also consulted an astrologer and then forwarded his suggestions to her husband when they occupied the White House. And we wonder why the government seem to be so incompetent at times. Maybe because it CAN be so incompetent.

 

Back to 666. It has to do with numerology. The number is derived from applying a number symbol to Hebrew letters and then adding them together. This was a popular technique in the classical times. The result was that NERO CAESAR (Nero who is Caesar) was found to have the number 666 (although this number is 1005 if Greek letters are used). And the person with this hidden number is revealed to be “the Beast” (the Devil).

 

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Since then other methods have been applied to Presidents, Popes, and politicians in general, some who have apparently deserved it. Most, however, do not appear to warrant this title.

 

But I don’t doubt human ingenuity or fear of finding a convoluted connection between numbers (in binary, decimal, or hexadecimal), letters (of any alphabet), and names, titles, and human beings.

 

WEDNESDAY WINE WORDS OF THE WEEK

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Some of my friends value wines. This list partially due to them. But do we really NEED all these words that could mean all the same thing?

 

ENOLOGY (ENOLOGIES) [n. The study of wine and of wine making; Same as OENOLOGY]

OENOLOGY (OENOLOGIES) [n. The study of wine and of wine making]

OINOLOGY (OINOLOGIES) [n. The study of wine and of wine making; Same as OENOLOGY]

VINICULTURE (+S) [n. The cultivation of grapes and grape vines]

ZYMURGY (ZYMURGIES) [n. The study or science of fermentation]

 

 

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I didn’t get what I wanted …

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…but something better.

 

I originally wanted to capture the eclipse today. A traditional photo of the black circular thing partially blocking a large yellow circular thing.

 

However, some white clouds partially covered both circular things. The result was a large, white, and wonderful glow in the sky. I didn’t need Photoshop to create the effect. The raw image was that good.

 

I didn’t get what I was looking for, but something more.

 

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Like it? I did! =)

Weekday Wednesday Word Wiz

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words

 

As long as I can remember I’ve had interest, or perhaps even a passion, for words and playing with them. Anagrams, palindromes, acronyms, anadromes, oxymorons, puns, eponyms were all fair game. I observed how many words could be made a little more interesting and colorful with just the right amount of play.

 

For example, the word PUN has been defined as “a play on words”. I’ve always wondered why people just don’t use the acronym, POW (Play On Words). It definitely adds a little power to the word.

 

I‘ve created a few (many?) lists of words over my life. The following is a list of wordy questions that I’ve found to be extremely difficult, but surprising easy to solve if you know the answers.

 

Try your luck here. If you get 50% or more, you are doing great!!

 

1) What word changes in pronunciation and meaning when the first letter is capitalized?

 

2) What word gets shorter when two letters are added?

 

3) How many words contain only vowels?

 

4) What US state has the letters USA in it?

 

5) What US states have the letters NEW in them?

 

6) What nation’s current capital city is an anagram of the former capital?

 

7) What six letter words have only two unique letters?

 

8) What words contain 4 U’s?

 

Answers can be found here —> Words_Answers

 

 

Amazing Feat in Race

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In October (2016) I ran in a 5K race in Whittier (it’s in LA county if you need to ask). I did well in the race but I was obviously tired.

 

Last month my sister found a video of that race that was produced by the sponsors. Guess they didn’t tell us runners about it.

 

But we did find it. And I did like for at least two reasons. One is the music and video is a good, uplifting, production of the 5K, and the other is that I am on it!! =) (see 2:50).

 

And if you have enough time, watch the whole thing. =)

 

Here is the link to Whittier Spooktacular 5K race.

 

 

I do like Halloween! =)