Saturday, January 8, 2011

Common Dreams Website

This website describes itself as "an Internet-based progressive news and grassroots activism organization, founded in 1997." It also says "We are a nonprofit, progressive, independent and nonpartisan organization." A look at its home page reveals that it is concerned with a broad range of social, environmental, religious, and political issues, and that its coverage includes both news stories and commentaries.

At the time of my visit, there were front page articles about climate change, ocean pollution, religious persecution of Iraqi women, health care reform, governmental censorship of the internet, gay marriage, undeserved corporate salary bonuses, use of torture during interrogations of suspected terrorists, and protection of rare and endangered species.

To visit this website, go to Common Dreams. The slant of the reporting is obviously liberal, although like many such sites, it prefers to use the word "progressive".

Monday, November 15, 2010

NoBeliefs Website

According to its introduction page, the main goal of this website is to inspire "free thinking". It says that free thinking can enable a person to see through the many dangerous false beliefs that are common in modern societies and cause great harm to the world. It also says that many important social and political reformers have been freethinkers, and mentions Thomas Jefferson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (a fighter for womens' rights), Richard Dawkins, and Thomas Paine as examples.

The coverage includes modern social issues as well as important historical debates and controvercies, especially those which still aren't completely resolved even today. Examples of the types of subjects discussed include future energy shortages, preservation of natural environment and wildlife habitat, religious intolerance, biological evolution, roots of modern terrorism, and needed reforms in modern financial systems.

A section of the site called "The Dark Bible" describes various "atrocities" which the bible attributes to God, such as the great flood, the killing of the first-born Egyptian children, and the destruction of Jericho. It also discusses the devil, demonic possession, and the many modern Christians who ignore the original teachings of Jesus.

Go to to see all the articles. There is also a frequently-updated section of stories about recent news events that relate to political and social causes.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Hard Teachings of Jesus

I recently read an article about the Hard Teachings of Jesus. They are called "hard teachings" because most people find them very demanding and difficult to follow. In fact many people either ignore them or try to find ways to alter their meaning so as to convert them into less demanding forms.

Perhaps the best-known hard teaching is the instruction to "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5:39). Members of a few small groups such as the Quakers are taught to strictly follow this by refusing to fight back even if someone attacks them. But many Christians view it as some kind of anomaly which shouldn't be taken literally. Some people even argue that Jesus wasn't talking about a situation in which someone hits you, even though in the same verse he says "do not resist an evil person."

Another component of Jesus' teaching that causes problems for many Christians was his strong disapproval of attempts to acquire money and wealth. The article cites several of his statements that express this disapproval, such as "woe to you who are rich" (Luke 6:24) and "do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth" (Matthew 6:19). But many people believe that disapproval isn't condemnation, and that wealthy individuals still have a realistic chance to go to heaven after they die if they use their money for good purposes.

The article says that teachings such as these have led some people to regard Jesus as a social reformer or even a communist. But it argues that they actually sprang from his great compassion and willingness to forgive.

To read the complete article, go to Hard Teachings of Jesus. It contains several other examples of his hard teachings in addition those I mentioned here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cryptome Prohibited Documents Website

According to its home page, this site publishes documents that are "prohibited by governments worldwide". It states that this includes secret and classified documents, especially material on freedom of expression, privacy, national security, intelligence, and secret governance. It also states that material can be removed from the site "only by order served directly by a US court having jurisdiction", but that no such order has been received up to now. It adds that threats against the site will be published if humorous but otherwise ignored.

When I visited the site, it appeared to be fairly active, with an average of about ten new documents being published per day. Recent titles included "Radiation Materials and Equipment Manual", "Export License for Iran WMD Proliferators", "Gaza Kill and Maim Photos", "US Enemies List of Ships Ready for Piracy", and "US Foreign Bribery Quarterly Report".

I looked at the Foreign Bribery Report, and found a long list of what were supposedly bribery payments, typically in amounts from 10 million to 100 million dollars, to countries such as Honduras, Ghana, and Armenia. But the purposes of these payments were identified with generic names such as "Land Tenure Project", "Finance Project", and "Water and sanitation Project". Because these names are so general, it wasn't clear to me whether these payments were bribes or not.

To visit this site, go to Cryptome.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The InfoWars website covers the ongoing efforts of governments and large corporations to control the public's access to information and to counteract independent news reporting by disseminating disinformation and propaganda. Although the site includes some global coverage, it focuses much of its attention on the activities of the United States government, particularly its attempts to eliminate or restrict the basic constitutional rights of the American people, such as the rights of free speech and freedom of the press.

When I visited the site, the home page featured an article about how government policies led to the current American economic problems, and how the administration is trying to hide the true extent of the economy's woes. There was also an article comparing the propaganda of the current administration to the Nazi propaganda of the Hitler years.

One article which caught my eye concerned the growing efforts of governments and corporations to gain more control over the internet. The article described proposed changes which would give advantages to large corporate and government sites and hinder access to small sites created by individuals and small businesses. There was also a discussion of attempts by the current administration to force internet service companies to provide records of which sites certain internet users have visited.

To visit this site, go to InfoWars

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ex-Christian Website

This website was created to provide assistance to ex-Christians. Mostly these are people who were raised in Christian families and attended church regularly in their youth, but lost their belief in their teenage or adult years.

Many ex-Christians face hostility from friends and family members who are still Christians. They also discover that American and other western societies discriminate against non-Christians in numerous subtle ways. One of the purposes of this website is to help ex-Christians cope with these difficulties.

A large section of the site is devoted to testimonials. These are accounts by ex-Christians describing how they came to recognize the falsity of basic Christian beliefs. Many of the accounts also describe the problems that the writer encountered after he or she lost their faith.

The site also includes a number of articles which discuss the fallacies and contradictions inherent to Christian belief, and the enslavements, tortures, and murders that Christians have inflicted on other people during conquests of other countries and during attacks on heresies and witchcraft.

To visit this site, go to Ex-Christian