“Father Gabriele Amorth, who for years was the Vatican’s chief exorcist and claims to have cleansed hundreds of people of evil spirits, said yoga is Satanic because it leads to a worship of Hinduism and “all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation”.
Reading JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books is no less dangerous, said the 86-year-old priest, who is the honorary president for life of the International Association of Exorcists, which he founded in 1990, and whose favourite film is the 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist.
The Harry Potter books, which have sold millions of copies worldwide, “seem innocuous” but in fact encourage children to believe in black magic and wizardry, Father Amorth said.
“Practising yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter,” he told a film festival in Umbria this week, where he was invited to introduce The Rite, a film about exorcism starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as a Jesuit priest.
“In Harry Potter the Devil acts in a crafty and covert manner, under the guise of extraordinary powers, magic spells and curses,” said the priest, who in 1986 was appointed the chief exorcist for the Diocese of Rome.
“Satan is always hidden and what he most wants is for us not to believe in his existence. He studies every one of us and our tendencies towards good and evil, and then he offers temptations.” Science was incapable of explaining evil, said Father Amorth, who has written two books on his experiences as an exorcist. “It’s not worth a jot.”
Read more at The Telegraph (Thanks Annette)
“Taking supplements may lead to poorer health, not because of what they do to your body, but what they do to your mind.
When people take supplements they get a false sense of invulnerability, a new study shows. And that can translate into a greater tendency to head down the path of risky behavior.
The intriguing study published in Psychological Science, found that people didn’t even need to be given real supplements for this devil-may-care attitude to develop – they just needed to be told they were swallowing something healthful.
For their study, Taiwanese researchers gave placebo pills to 82 volunteers, half of whom were told the capsules contained vitamins. The rest were told the truth – that these were simply sugar pills.
The big surprise came when the researchers surveyed the two groups. Those taking phony supplements reported a greater sense of invulnerability and less of a desire to exercise. They also were more likely to consider engaging in casual sex, sunbathing and binge-drinking.
At the end of the study the two groups were told they could choose between a healthful meal and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Sure enough, more of those in the group who were told they’d taken a supplement said they’d prefer the buffet.”
Read more at MSNBC (Thanks Annette)
“The comic-book writer Alan Moore is not usually surprised when his creations find a life for themselves away from the printed page. Strips he penned in the 1980s and 90s have been fed through the Hollywood patty-maker, never to his great satisfaction, resulting in both critical hits and terrible flops; fads for T-shirts, badges and shouted slogans have emerged from characters and conceits he has dreamed up for titles such as Watchmen and From Hell. “I suppose I’ve gotten used to the fact,” says the 58-year-old, “that some of my fictions percolate out into the material world.”
But Moore has been caught off-guard in recent years, and particularly in 2011, by the inescapable presence of a certain mask being worn at protests around the world. A sallow, smirking likeness of Guy Fawkes – created by Moore and the artist David Lloyd for their 1982 series V for Vendetta. It has a confused lineage, this mask: the plastic replica that thousands of demonstrators have been wearing is actually a bit of tie-in merchandise from the film version of V for Vendetta, a Joel Silver production made (quite badly) in 2006. Nevertheless, at the disparate Occupy sit-ins this year – in New York, Moscow, Rio, Rome and elsewhere – as well as the repeated anti-government actions in Athens and the gatherings outside G20 and G8 conferences in London and L’Aquila in 2009, the V for Vendetta mask has been a fixture. Julian Assange recently stepped out wearing one, and last week there was a sort of official embalmment of the mask as a symbol of popular feeling when Shepard Fairey altered his famous “Hope” image of Barack Obama to portray a protester wearing one.
It all comes back to Moore – a private man with knotty greying hair and a magnificent beard, who prefers to live without an internet connection and who has not had a working telly for months “on an obscure point of principle” about the digital signal in his hometown of Northampton. He has never yet properly commented on the Vendetta mask phenomenon, and speaking on the phone from his home, Moore seems variously baffled, tickled, roused and quite pleased that his creation has become such a prominent emblem of modern activism.
“I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn’t it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It’s peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction.”"
Read more at The Guardian (Thanks @JoJoe69369)
“Fans of the Terminator franchise may be thrilled but others may be confused over just what a bionic contact lens adds to humanity. According to the developers at Washington University, users could view floating emails and text messages as well as augment their sight with computer-generated images. They say it has been successfully tested on animals (presumably those with email accounts) and when problems such as finding a decent power source are ironed out it could be ready for market.
Is this what the world has been waiting for – or is technology bringing us a load of pointless new kit? What, given a top team of boffins and a whopping budget, would be the innovation of the future you’d like to see?”
Via Guardian (Thanks Annette)
“This week, the American Humanist Association announced the launch of their holiday advertisement campaign aimed to raise awareness of discrimination against nonbelievers in America.
The billboards and full-page newspaper ads contain the message, “Bias Against Atheists is Naughty, Not Nice,” and features Santa Claus making up his “naughty” list. The ads are placed in cities across the United States where atheists have experienced discrimination due to their lack of belief in a traditional god.
“Nonbelievers in America continue to be the object of discrimination,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “We hope this campaign will spur a conversation about this problem that moves us in a positive direction.”
Speckhardt continued, “Many humanists and atheists in America experience hatred in their own communities when simply standing up for the separation of church and state, or fighting for other rights that should be afforded without question.”
For example, the AHA placed an ad in the Cranston Herald newspaper because a high school student, Jessica Ahlquist, endured harassment and threats—one even called her a “stupid atheist”—for objecting to the display of a religious prayer banner hanging in her public high school auditorium.
Another ad was placed in a newspaper near Bastrop, Louisiana, where a student named Damon Fowler was ostracized by his community—even his own parents kicked him out of his home—for objecting to a Christian prayer that would be held during his graduation ceremony.”
Read more at Secular News Daily (Thanks Annette)