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Debunking the myth of hell


I’m writing about hell because it is an unthinkable, horrible, destructive concept that can’t possibly be true. I frankly can’t even imagine how anyone came up with something so horrific. Could any wrong merit the terrible pain of burning in fire, while fully conscious, for a week or a year, much less eternity? What kind of a monster would inflict that on anyone? How could such cruelty and sadism be consistent with a God of love? I don’t buy it for a minute.

I don’t care if scripture mentions hell or Jesus talked about it, if saints had visions of it, or if it’s a time-honored Catholic teaching. It simply can’t be justified on any level. We have no proof of its existence. It doesn’t work as a preventative for wrong. Fear is the lowest form of motivation in moral development, and has probably been more the cause of the terrible crimes of humanity than any deterrent. People laugh and joke about burning in hell and draw cartoons about it, but almost no one takes it seriously.

February's star of the month: Menkib


Fourth-magnitude star Menkib (Arabic for "shoulder") in the constellation Perseus is one of the hottest stars visible to the unaided eye and one of the most massive. Located about 1,600 light years away, this blue-white giant's visible light is believed to be over 13,000 times as bright as our Sun. The star is also six times hotter with a temperature of 37,000 Kelvin. It is thought that this luminous giant is about 40 solar masses in size. Interstellar dust may dim its brightness, but Menkib itself illuminates the large California Nebula, a star forming region located in Perseus. The young star is only a few million years old, is unstable and may someday explode. It is also one of the rare "runaway" stars of our galaxy, rapidly accelerating with its dim companion away from its birthplace in Perseus.

Menkib and the constellation Perseus are visible overhead on February nights in North America.

Digging out from the storm


Digging out is what we do after a major storm, and that’s what I did this morning in urban Kansas City, Mo. after a colossal storm that at one point was bringing a blizzard to Oklahoma City at the same time it was flinging snow in far eastern Illinois. The entire state of Missouri has been declared a disaster area.

A trucker, one of the”knights of the road,” reported that he couldn’t even find the highway he was traversing it was so obliterated by drifting snow yesterday. He crashed and spent the day contemplating weather from the truck cab.

'Praise the Holy One from the Earth': Scripture verses about our relationship with the planet


They put their hand to the flinty rock and overturn mountains by the roots. They cut out channels in the rocks, and their eyes see every precious thing. The sources of the rivers they probe; hidden things they bring to light. But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Job 28:9-12

Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land. Isaiah 5:8

God will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. Psalm 104:27-28

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use, to bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the human heart, oil to make the face shine, and bread to strengthen the human heart. Psalm 104:14-15

'Science and religion in fruitful partnership' forum tonight


Tonight, at 5:00pm Pacific/8:00pm Eastern, Michael Dowd will be joined by Catholic evolutionary sacramentalist Linda Gibler, historian of science and former president of the American Scientific Affiliation Ted Davis, and evolutionary theologians, liturgists, and Progressive Christianity leaders Michael Morwood and Jim Burklo. The theme of the final roundtable discussion is: "Science and Religion in Fruitful Partnership".

Sign up and receive information on how to access the forum on the Advent of Evolutionary Christianity blog's home page.

If the world is to be fed....


Our continued failure to prevent hunger for more than a billion people worldwide is one of our most fundamental moral challenges. By contrast, a billion people are harming their own health – and, along the way, the planet – through overeating. To quote Pope Benedict XVI in his encyclical Caritas in Veritate: “Hunger still reaps enormous numbers of victims among those who, like Lazarus, are not permitted to take their place at the rich man’s table.”

Tim Aldred in a feature article in the UK's The Tablet discusses food supplies and sustainability.

'One million electric vehicles on the road by 2015'


"We can break our dependence on oil ... and become the first country to have one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015," said President Obama in last week's State of the Union address.

How far are we from this amibitious goal? The Sierra Club's blog Compass: Pointing the Way to a Clean Energy Future features an article that will answer that question for you.


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In This Issue

March 27-April 9, 2015


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