Pope Potpourri: Don’t Breed Like Rabbits/Will the Pope Go Vegan?

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-walks-back-remark-about-catholics-breeding-like-rabbits/

Pope change his mind on breeding “like rabbits”?

Pope Francis leads his Wednesday general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Jan. 21, 2015. REUTERS

ROME — During his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis sought Wednesday to clarify remarks he made earlier in the week which suggested Catholics should limit the number of children they have, if they can’t afford to take care of them properly.

Aboard the papal plane from Manila to Rome on Monday, the Pope spoke of his disapproval of a woman who was expecting her eighth child.

“Does she want to leave seven orphans?” asked the pontiff, wondering aloud whether she was trying to tempt god by undergoing an eighth birth by cesarean section.

Using the colorful language that has become his hallmark, the Pope said being a good Catholic did not mean people should breed “like rabbits,” and added that there were many church-approved ways to limit births without resourcing to contraceptives, which are banned by the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, he seemed to pull back from that statement. Speaking of his recent trip to the Philippines, where he presided over the largest mass in history, he said “it gives consolation and hope to see so many numerous families who receive children as a real gift of God. They know that every child is a benediction.”

He called “simplistic” the belief that large families were the cause of poverty, blaming it instead on an unjust economic system. “We can all say that the principal cause of poverty is an economic system that has removed the person from the center, and put the god of money there instead.”

Mons. Anthony Figueiredo, a theologian and Director of the North American Pontifical College in Rome, said the two statements are not contradictory.

“When the Pope speaks on the plane, he is speaking as a pastor to ordinary people,” said Figueiredo, who is a CBS News consultant. “When he comes back, he wants to speak as Pope.”

The Monsignor said that while some Popes have put doctrine first, Francis puts the person first.

“It’s a risky business, there is no doubt about it; because when you begin with the person, everyone has their own way of hearing it.”

Putting Pope Francis squarely into any category can be difficult.

Speaking to reporters during Francis’ trip to the Philippines, Archbishop of Manila Luis Antonio Tagle said that when he’s asked whether the pope is a liberal or a conservative, he responds simply: “he is who he is.”

__________________________________________

Will the Pope Go Vegan? | Posted January 20, 2015 | 11:35 AM

I jest not. Never having been one to adhere to any organized religion, in fact I have an utter contempt for them, I find myself nonetheless more than a little happy to hear Pope Francis has made global climate change a top concern. According to the Associated Press

Pope Still a Bit Confused

My fellow animal lovers, it’s time to quit singing praises for the Pope. It turns out Pope Francis has backed away from his alleged statement that (non-human) animals have souls and that our bygone pets (God rest their souls) will be waiting for us in Heaven (presumably with leash at the ready, for us to take them on a long-overdue poody walk).

Whether Pope Francis said that last week or not, the very idea that pets go to heaven has been vehemently denied by Vatican commentators. How would humankind ever square that with their notions of superiority and sense of entitlement to preferential Heavenly treatment?

But the Pope did recently do right by our biological underlings in proclaiming his belief in Evolution and the Big Bang Theory.  God is no ‘magician with a magic wand,’ he quickly added, being sure to assign ultimate credit to the mystical one created in Man’s image. (As to whether magicians are gods he wouldn’t divulge.)

Collective Evolution reported, “Pope Francis continues to shake-up the Christian world with his latest public revelation, announcing that evolution and the big bang theory are in fact real, Speaking to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, [Wait, what? Pontifical sciences? Isn’t that an oxymoron?] Pope Francis’s words lessened the divide between the Christian faith and science with his shocking assertion about mankind’s evolution.”

The fact that originators of the Big Bang Theory never mentioned Heaven or its approximate location within the boundless Universe doesn’t seem to matter to His Holiness, but evidently there’s limited acreage within its gates since non-humans are not officially allowed in. Apparently they still haven’t evolved a savable soul.

Deathdog

Miracles Are for Animals Too

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As the Pope recently decreed, animals are hereby allowed into Heaven (as long as they wipe their feet, shut the door behind them and stay off the furniture). Since non-humans are now part of the in-group permitted into Paradise, it’s only logical to assume that God is granting them the occasional miracle too.

You might be wondering why He would put off eternal bliss for animals until their afterlife, considering that He allows untold misery to befall animals on a daily basis—for example, farmed animals like pigs, chickens, cows, lambs and turkeys spend every day of their short lifetimes in the most inhumane of conditions. Apparently he thinks the odd miracle more than makes up for a lifetime of desolation.

Miracles for humans are often shrouded in tragedy. When 800,000 people died in the catastrophic day-after-Christmas Indonesian Tsunami, someone surely declared it a miracle that anyone survived. Animal miracles are also often hard to see at first glance, as well.

Here then, is a partial list of some of the animal miracles of 2014:

– Although 426 wolves were mercilessly killed by hunters and trappers in the Great Lakes area this year alone (272 in Minnesota and 154 in Wisconsin) a federal judge miraculously threw out an Obama administration decision to remove the gray wolf population in the western Great Lakes region from the endangered species list — a decision that banned further wolf hunting and trapping in those states.

-Despite the fact that we’re in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history, with so many species going extinct per year that no one can possibly keep track, last year remote cameras miraculously captured images of both an ocelot and a jaguar in southern Arizona.

– While no actual examples of rights to which a nonhuman animal is entitled are given and there is no statement that either orangutans in general, or Sandra in particular, are entitled to any rights, a seemingly miraculous landmark decision in Argentina appears to suggest that some non-human beings (animals) are entitled to some kind of rights, and therefore their protection is required…

– Even though more than 155,000 birds were destroyed after a bird flu virus hit 8 locations in B.C.s’ Fraser Valley, extra turkeys are being shipped to southwest Canada this Christmas to make up the shortage caused by the avian flu outbreak, and officials say birds raised within the province are safe to eat.

Wait a minute, that’s not an animal miracle, it’s just another miracle in favor of we overly-successful humans…

 

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No Offense, but Have Yourselves a Merry Christmas

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year (you’ll notice I didn’t call it Xmas, or “the holidays”). It’s the season of chilly nights, snowy days

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

and cozy mornings by the crackling fire, that I long for during the dry summer months. The Solstice —with its leafless trees, longer days and promise of spring—adds its magic to the spell. To this devout unbeliever—this compassionate atheist—the arrival of winter has always been known as Christmastime.

Make no mistake; I don’t believe in virgin births, any more than I believe in Santa Claus or the Easter bunny or the talking walnut. It’s all a bunch of anthropocentric hooey. But I think it’s sad that Americans aren’t supposed to say “Merry Christmas” any more.

I wouldn’t expect store clerks to assume their customers are all church-going Christians. I for one am not and never have been—my church is the DSC_0082wild forest, mountains, rivers and oceans. Yet I still think of the giving season simply as Christmas. When I’m out shopping for Christmas presents, I’d rather hear a hearty “Merry Christmas” than a sheepish “happy holidays.” Instead of spreading good cheer, the latter comes across as an embarrassed, “the capitalist corporation I work for will fire me if I’m caught wishing you a Merry Christmas.”

I enjoy all kinds of Christmas music—as long as it’s joyous—and all sorts of Christmas decorations, particularly those that celebrate trees and greenery. I’m not offended by manger scenes, especially the ones that include lots of animals bedded down on nice dry straw. But the religious slant can definitely be taken too far. I get irritated when someone includes a cross in their Christmas display.

To me a cross is a symbol of cruelty, suffering and death, not peace, love and generosity. It doesn’t belong anywhere near Christmas. I’ve never believed in needing savior to achieve redemption. And I’m already painfully aware of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man (not to mention, to the pigsDSC_0101 and turkeys, as well as the ducks and geese I hear being shot at out there as I write this—all in the spirit of holiday feasting).

Not that I think anyone’s ever coming back from anywhere, but I can identify with this memorable line in the Woody Allen film, Hannah and her Sisters, when Max Von Sydow’s character, Frederick, laments about the garbage on TV: “You see the whole culture. Nazis, deodorant salesmen, wrestlers, beauty contests, a talk show. Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling? But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers. Third grade con men telling the poor suckers that watch them that they speak with Jesus, and to please send in money. Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

I’ve never thought of December 25th as the birthday of any god-incarnate or the day that reindeer can fly or when Santa visits every house in one night. But I’ll always call it Christmas—the name for a season that ought to last all year long. It’s not just a holiday—the spirit of selfless giving should be a year-round sentiment.

Oh, and if anyone up there really is listening, all I want for Christmas is world peace for all beings— and enough freaking snow to ski on.

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Stop All Animal Sacrifices

https://www.change.org/p/supreme-court-of-nepal-stop-all-animal-sacrifices-gadhimai-temple-mandir-bariyarpur-bara-district-in-the-narayani-zone-of-south-eastern-nepal?

Petitioning Office of Katmandu SUPREME COURT OF NEPAL

This petition will be delivered to:

Office of Katmandu

SUPREME COURT OF NEPAL

Stop all animal sacrifices Gadhimai Temple (Mandir), Bariyarpur, Bara District in the Narayani Zone of south-eastern Nepal.

sante secchi

turate como, Italy

4,995

Supporters

Honorable Lower Courts

Our association appeals to you On 27th 28th 29th of November in Gadhimai Temple (Mandir) Bariyarpur, Bara District in the Narayani Zone of south-eastern Nepal. There will be a Massive slaughter of animals killed for religious sacrifices of 500,000 animals to be Brutally Sacrificed in Nepal across the month of November 2014. This is one of the world’s largest sacrifices. The Gadhimai Festival Held every 5 years. The Main dates for the biggest sacrifice. Is on the, 28th & 29th November. Next to the Gadhimai Temple, where Thousands of animals will be slaughtered, by being slashed to death in just two days. On Facebook there are petitions and events on this Site also Twitter … against this ritual of death but we really do need your help. We consider this Ritual a barbaric violence perpetrated the massacres and sacrifices of animals, and we urge you to stop the sacrifice of animals Because Religion is not death, Religion is not a cult of death please Remember The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated

Letter to

Office of Katmandu SUPREME COURT OF NEPAL

Stop all animal sacrifices Gadhimai Temple (Mandir), Bariyarpur, Bara District in the Narayani Zone of south-eastern Nepal.

Recent updates

4,000 supporters

Nov 27, 2014

Petition started on Oct 31, 2014

Stop all animal sacrifices Gadhimai Temple (Mandir), Bariyarpur, Bara District in the Narayani Zone of south-eastern Nepal.

More on this issue from an Facebook friend:
“And HUMANS wonder why they will never know peace and happiness??!!
We have horrifically betrayed animals and the planet…dishonored our species and ALL others– with our psychopathic, immoral, cruel and irresponsible behavior.
One day, NATURE will kick back…and show no mercy.
~ Stop breeding. ~ Stop enslaving, exploiting & killing.
~ ~ Live, rejoice and prosper VEGAN ~ ~
If there was one image I took out of today that blew my mind its this one…….
This beautiful young calf is standing on its dead mother with its family around slaughtered. Trembling and lonely, I went over to it amongst all the bodies to tell him i loved him immensely and promised this would end this year.”
Photo: If there was one image I took out of today that blew my mind its this one.......  This beautiful young calf is standing on its dead mother with its family around slaughtered. Trembling and lonely, I went over to it amongst all the bodies to tell him i loved him immensely and promised this would end this year.  I'm committed to getting this stopped #gadhimai

 

Rise, Kill & Barf

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Gee, I wish that terrible Ted Nugent had written the forward to my book–NOT! I’m sure Ted wrote (in Crayon, no doubt) a fitting lead-in to the book of drivel pictured above.

Sub-headed A Theology of Hunting from Genesis to Revelation, the author makes claims such as: “If a person looked to Scripture and paid particular attention to the passages within the Bible that address the topic of hunting, then they’d walk away thinking not only is hunting animals tolerated but it is endorsed by God. And that’s exactly what this little book is about: proving that God, from Genesis to Revelation, is extremely cool with hunters and hunting. I’ll go out on a biblical limb and claim right off the bat that you cannot show me, through the balance of the Bible, that the God of the Scripture is against the responsible killing and the grilling of the animals He created.”

If you haven’t yet urped up your fill and you want to read more hate-speak from this sadist, feast your eyes on this bull crap: http://news360.com/article/239678297

Meanwhile, for some truly enlightening and uplifting reading: http://www.earth-books.net/books/exposing-the-big-game

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the use of hounds, traps, and bear baiting. Some animal rights groups claim that these methods are inhumane, unsporting, and unsustainable. Earlier this year the advocacy group Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting submitted nearly 80,000 signatures to put the issue of banning the three hunting methods on the November ballot. The organization notes that Maine is the only state in the nation to allow all three harvest methods.”

Look, doe-eyed Disney movie lover: the most effective way to keep bears away from your kids and grand-kids, your dogs, your plate of doughnuts on your outside deck and your refrigerator is to make them fear you – and the chief way to get that message across is to hunt, shoot and eat them.  Always legally of course.

Oh, and by the way, as I point out in my new book, Rise, Kill And Eat: A Theology of Hunting From Genesis to Revelation, animals are supposed to fear us according to this book called the bible.  Check it out …

“Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.’” Gen.9:1-3
Read more at http://clashdaily.com/2014/05/kill-bears-author-says-shooting-bears-will-solve-bearhuman-conflicts-gods-will/#rVxL4LgMepT5rbey.99

Noah Cared for Animals? What Heresy!

The Lessons of Noah
Darren Aronofsky dared to make his Noah care about the animals placed in his charge.

I have still not seen the new movie Noah, although I have a feeling I’m going to like it after reading about the screening party last month, an affair not quite up to the standards of the New York Post’s entertainment writer. “The buffet tables,” he reports, “were loaded with various forms of edible vegetable matter, but there was no meat . . . because director Darren Aronofsky is vegan, as was the hero of his biblical epic, as played by Russell Crowe. . . . Meat = evil. Got it. . . . I wondered, why did Noah go to all that trouble to save the animals, if not to eat at least some of them?”

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The Post’s reporter is used to better free food than that. Imagine the gall of Aronofsky, subjecting guests of Paramount to such privation — a whole evening without a pork loin or a bit of lamb. Usually when Hollywood figures catch grief about their causes, it’s for some glaring inconsistency with the moral ideals they urge upon others. In this case, moral consistency is the offense. The verdict on Page Six: bad manners and a boring buffet table.

A few of the more pious-sounding reviewers of Noah have likewise derided the movie as so much vegan and environmentalist propaganda, in the same exasperated tone of people not getting their accustomed fare. Russell Crowe’s Noah, writes a Washington Post columnist, is “a brooding, misanthropic vegan.” With its “anti-human-exceptionalism” themes, complains NRO’s Wesley Smith, the film could appeal only to “a small group of progressive elites and misanthropic neo-earth religionists.” So twisted is the story that “the vile villain believes it is man’s job ‘to subdue the earth’ — as he eats an animal alive with gluttonous gusto.” Meanwhile, “the ‘good guy,’ Noah, teaches that it is man’s job to ‘serve the innocent.’”

You would think that a man quoting the phrase “serve the innocent” with a sneer would pause for just a moment before going on. He might ask himself, among other questions, why animals in Scripture so often serve as the very symbols of guiltless suffering. The story of how ruin was brought upon the earth by human arrogance and depravity, moreover, is not exactly ripe material for the morally self-congratulatory themes that Aronofsky’s critics expected him to wring from it. And even at the end of the story, when we get our fresh start with the Second Covenant, that covenant is not for man alone. Some misanthropic influence decided to make it “between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

I’ll leave the movie reviewing to others, but just from the standpoint of elementary morality it’s curious how Noah’s detractors keep going back to the film’s emphasis on cruelty to animals, as if it had never even occurred to them that the Lord might pay attention to such things. “The Noah movie is ugly,” warns a conservative screenwriter in The Christian Post. “It’s anti-human-exceptionalism. It’s enviro-agitprop. . . . Christians, you are tools being played if you think that this movie is anything BUT a subversion of the Biblical God and an exaltation of environmentalism and animal rights against humans.”

The same fellow gave us a “Bible-based” analysis of the script at Breitbart.com, describing the Noah character as a “vegan hippie-like gatherer of herbs.” He’s even “a bit psychotic, like an environmentalist or animal rights activist who concludes that people do not deserve to survive because of what they’ve done to the environment and to animals.” And get this: Psychotic Noah even “maintains an animal hospital to take care of wounded creatures or those who survive the evil ‘poachers’ of the land. . . . Noah is the Mother Teresa of animals.”

This shallow caviling comes at a time when, to take just one example, the elephants of the world are being butchered into oblivion by real-life evil poachers and hunters, who perhaps inspired the ones in the movie. It is a horror unfolding right now, an epic and irreversible crime against noble creatures who do not deserve such a fate. In this context, along comes Noah, the story of Creation’s second chance, showing us the hardness of heart that causes such suffering and the human compassion that alone can stop it. When did appeals for mercy to a fellow creature become “enviro-agitprop”?

We could add that in Christianity the people remembered for their kindness to animals are not considered “psychotic.” Sometimes they’re considered saints, and Francis is only the best remembered. Moses, likewise, was chosen because of his compassion for a stray lamb, and the Old Testament is filled with lovely expressions of divine solicitude for animals — who indeed, in Genesis, are “blessed” by their Maker before we even hit the scene. Far from having completely “depersonalized nature,” as that conservative screenwriter puts it on Breitbart.com, the God of Israel knows and cares about each creature He has made, and all are dear to Him for their own sakes.

 

Before they presume to set Aronofsky straight on the Judaeo-Christian way, his detractors could stand to learn more about it themselves. Their scoffing has the ring of injured vanity. Not enough “human exceptionalism” cowbell in the movie to drown out actual reflection on the pertinent moral themes its director has chosen to stress. If a chorus of indignant and self-satisfied derision is any measure of such a film’s artistic success, Noah seems to have hit the mark.

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Doubtless the more brutal dramas from the Bible make easier movie viewing when we can comfortably identify with the heroic figures, or at least with the innocent bystanders. Aronofsky could have flattered us along these lines, with a nice, tame tale leaving everyone to feel how special we are, how endlessly wonderful and entitled. Instead of offering up soothing spiritual bromides, however, he has evidently shown his audience respect, appealing to our conscience instead of just our self-regard. By inviting viewers to look beyond themselves, to recall the goodness and beauty of other beings and to question old cruelties of every kind, the movie has done us a service.

In this age of the merciless factory farms, inflicting boundless misery on unnumbered animals, with no regard for their dignity as living creatures, does a film director who challenges us to think about meat and its moral cost really have to explain himself? If it’s vegan propaganda that needs watching, moreover, we can start with Genesis 1:29, clear in its implication that flesh-eating is a mark of the fall and corruption of the world. When we read later on, after the deluge, that “the fear and dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth,” does that have the ring of divine approval? Are we really to take it, as many people do in practice, as some exhortation from the Almighty to go forth and be the earth’s bullies, exploiting, destroying, and devouring as we please?

The drama of the flood and the Second Covenant is an epic of renewal, of divine concession to mankind’s incorrigible weakness and taste for violence, unfolding even as the animals are bestowed another blessing, and as the dove debuts as a symbol of peace. A more peaceful way is the whole point, which may explain why not even the most pedantic of Noah’s critics draws attention to the prophetic visions of the Old Testament, with their ideal of broken bows and reconciliation among all creatures, no violence or bloodshed but only loving kindness. A wildly impractical idea, sure; just like beating swords into plowshares, loving both our neighbor and our enemy, or, when a man asks for your coat, giving him your cloak, too.

If the Bible is your guide in these matters (and reason only points in the same direction), nothing in all its wisdom prevents anyone from witnessing for that merciful alternative in the here and now. And however blurred by the doctrines of man, there’s a good deal in Scripture to encourage the effort. Nowhere does the Lord say, “Kill this in remembrance of me.” There is no mandate to eat meat, and if there are no justifications of survival or health, either, then it’s worth asking what’s left. All sorts of fasting practices, dietary and slaughter rules, and prayers before meals still acknowledge the stain of violence. But instead of trying to sanctify the harm done, how about not harming at all? Why just say grace when we can show it?

The rankest propaganda is the kind we feed ourselves, rationalizing so many harsh things done at the expense of innocent creatures, or else finding new excuses for habits and customs we could long ago have left behind. Noah, whatever its other merits as a work of art, seems to have cast off all those excuses, steering instead toward something closer to the ideal, and there is no insult in that. Take it as a timely reminder that every one of us is free to do the same.

— Matthew Scully, a former special assistant and senior speechwriter to President George W. Bush, is the author of Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy.

Poll: Religion Trumps Belief in Big Bang Theory for Most Americans

This type of willful ignorance does not bode well for the animals or the Earth. If most people don’t “believe in” evolution or climate change, how long will it take to convince them that we are animals and we must curb greenhouse gasses?

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http://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/poll-religion-trumps-belief-big-bang-theory-most-americans-n85806

Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But they express bigger doubts as concepts that scientists consider to be truths get further from our own experiences and the present time, an Associated Press-GfK poll found.

Americans have more skepticism than confidence in global warming, the age of the Earth and evolution and have the most trouble believing a Big Bang created the universe 13.8 billion years ago.

Rather than quizzing scientific knowledge, the survey asked people to rate their confidence in several statements about science and medicine.

On some, there’s broad acceptance. Just 4 percent doubt that smoking causes cancer, 6 percent question whether mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain and 8 percent are skeptical there’s a genetic code inside our cells. More — 15 percent — have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines.

About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority — 51 percent — questions the Big Bang theory.

Those results depress and upset some of America’s top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, who vouched for the science in the statements tested, calling them settled scientific facts.

“Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts,” said 2013 Nobel Prize in medicine winner Randy Schekman of the University of California, Berkeley.

The poll highlights “the iron triangle of science, religion and politics,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

And scientists know they’ve got the shakiest leg in the triangle.

To the public “most often values and beliefs trump science” when they conflict, said Alan Leshner, chief executive of the world’s largest scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts.”

Political values were closely tied to views on science in the poll, with Democrats more apt than Republicans to express confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change.

Religious values are similarly important.

Confidence in evolution, the Big Bang, the age of the Earth and climate change decline sharply as faith in a supreme being rises, according to the poll. Likewise, those who regularly attend religious services or are evangelical Christians express much greater doubts about scientific concepts they may see as contradictory to their faith.

“When you are putting up facts against faith, facts can’t argue against faith,” said 2012 Nobel Prize winning biochemistry professor Robert Lefkowitz of Duke University. “It makes sense now that science would have made no headway because faith is untestable.”

But evolution, the age of the Earth and the Big Bang are all compatible with God, except to Bible literalists, said Francisco Ayala, a former priest and professor of biology, philosophy and logic at the University of California, Irvine. And Darrel Falk, a biology professor at Point Loma Nazarene University and an evangelical Christian, agreed, adding: “The story of the cosmos and the Big Bang of creation is not inconsistent with the message of Genesis 1, and there is much profound biblical scholarship to demonstrate this.”

Beyond religious belief, views on science may be tied to what we see with our own eyes. The closer an issue is to our bodies and the less complicated, the easier it is for people to believe, said John Staudenmaier, a Jesuit priest and historian of technology at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Marsha Brooks, a 59-year-old nanny who lives in Washington, D.C., said she’s certain smoking causes cancer because she saw her mother, aunts and uncles, all smokers, die of cancer. But when it comes to the universe beginning with a Big Bang or the Earth being about 4.5 billion years old, she has doubts. She explained: “It could be a lack of knowledge. It seems so far” away.

Jorge Delarosa, a 39-year-old architect from Bridgewater, N.J., pointed to a warm 2012 without a winter and said, “I feel the change. There must be a reason.” But when it came to Earth’s beginnings 4.5 billion years ago, he has doubts simply because “I wasn’t there.”

Experience and faith aren’t the only things affecting people’s views on science. Duke University’s Lefkowitz sees “the force of concerted campaigns to discredit scientific fact” as a more striking factor, citing significant interest groups — political, business and religious — campaigning against scientific truths on vaccines, climate change and evolution.

Yale’s Leiserowitz agreed but noted sometimes science wins out even against well-financed and loud opposition, as with smoking.

Widespread belief that smoking causes cancer “has come about because of very public, very focused public health campaigns,” AAAS’s Leshner said. A former acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Leshner said he was encouraged by the public’s acceptance that mental illness is a brain disease, something few believed 25 years ago, before just such a campaign.

That gives Leiserowitz hope for a greater public acceptance of climate change. But he fears it may be too late to do anything about it.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted March 20-24, 2014, using KnowledgePanel, GfK’s probability-based online panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. It involved online interviews with 1,012 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and were later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn’t otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to access the Internet at no cost to them.

— Seth Borenstein and Jennifer Agiesta, The Associated Press

Maybe If We Had Worshipped the Creation

Created by Jim Robertson

Sunday school children are taught that it is blasphemy to worship the creation instead of the Creator. Rather than encouraging people to praise the miraculous (in the non-secular sense of the word) living planet and all its incredible diversity of sentient life forms, western religions threaten eternal damnation if you don’t swear blind allegiance to some patriarchal creation of the human imagination, created in the image of man.

Hence, Homo sapiens has run roughshod over the Earth, destroying the very same natural systems that allowed us to come into being and trampling the rights of all other beings in our obsessed quest for domination over a world we’ve proven unworthy of even having dominion over.

Now, with so much of the land divided and conquered, the seas losing oxygen and turning acidic and the air encrusted in carbon, only fire remains untamed. Maybe if we had worshipped the creation and treated the Mother Earth with the respect she deserves, we would be feeling her love—instead of her punishing wrath.

Why is it so hard for otherwise hyper-intelligent humans to feel a sense of awe for a living world that came into form through the process of evolution, rather than one created by a mythical man-like creature? We see it happen every year, when life springs forth from a formerly frozen “wasteland.” Do people really believe some grey-bearded Santa Claus look-alike (minus the jolly disposition) waves a magic wand at every plant that shoots up to the heavens and every animal who, in their own way, rejoices?

Religion is supposed to teach humility, but after constantly being reminded that they are the Creator’s crowning achievement, humankind is anything but humble.

Holy bear