Author Archives: G. R. Pafumi

About G. R. Pafumi

G.R. Pafumi is a former financial engineer and consultant specializing in quantitative investment analysis and financial accounting. He developed risk analysis products for hedge funds and was the chief investment strategist and co-portfolio manager of a São Paulo, Brazil based hedge fund. Mr. Pafumi has over 35 years experience as a security analyst and portfolio manager in domestic and international equities and derivatives (listed equity and index options). He was previously associated with Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and HSBC Bank. Mr. Pafumi was the chief executive officer and founder of InvestmentMetrix Corp., a dot.com startup specializing in investment advice. His most recent website, VictimsSpeakDB.org, provides comprehensive and detailed statistical data about Catholic clergy sex abuse abuse in more than 45 countries worldwide. Mr. Pafumi received his B.S. degree in finance and engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He also has an M.S. degree in Quantitative Analysis as well as an M.B.A. in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University. He has been cited in a variety of financial newspapers, investor magazines and engineering journals. He has appeared on the CNBC, CNN, NBC and PBS television networks. His only formal education in religion and theology is from nearly five years of rigorous study at St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

Podcast on Clergy Abuse

On this episode of the Recovering from Religion podcast we discuss Catholic Church child sexual abuse. We interview G.R. Pafumi, author of Clergy Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church and founder of VictimsSpeakDB.org.  And Emily highlights eleven upcoming secular events. You can check out this episode and previous episodes on iTunes, YouTube, iHeartRadio and all the other main podcast catchers. You can also stream or download the show from: http://www.recoveringfromreligion.org/podcast

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VictimsSpeakDB.org announces the launch of the SACCADAS DB Profiler

The SACADDAS DB Profiler provides summary statistics about clergy abuse for individual states/provinces, countries or regions included in the SACCADAS database.

Extend the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children. Justice delayed is not necessarily justice denied.”    — G.R. Pafumi

 

SPRING VALLEY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, May 10, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — We are pleased to announce a new feature of the VictimsSpeakDB website, the SACCADAS DB Profiler. It provides summary statistics about Catholic clergy abuse for individual states/provinces, countries or regions included in the SACCADAS database. VictimsSpeakDB viewers can request profiles of individual states/ provinces, countries or regions by sending a Profile Request. Profiles of individual clerics, such as priests, brothers or nuns, are also available upon request.

The SACCADAS DB Profiler was created to provide summary data about specific locations and/or individuals. Not every user requires the detail provided on the dozens of charts on this website. In some cases, the user would like to obtain an overview of clergy abuse in his particular state/ province or by a specific abuser. Viewers can request a profile of a specific state/province or abuser by sending a Profile Request. We have included on this website a profile of the entire SACCADAS database as well a sample of an individual state/province. The state/province we chose was the U.S. territory of the Guam. We chose Guam because the pattern exhibited in the data is a primary reason this website was created.

There are 67 records of victims abused in Guam. Of those 67 records, only one victim was abused in this century (in 2015). Of the remaining 66 records, 57 records represent victims abused prior to the 1980s. On the other hand, 57 records of the 67 records represented victims who made the first public accusation of abuse in the 2015-2017 time slot. Why? In September 2016, Guam enacted a law removing the statute of limitations on sex crimes against children. Fifty five of the 67 records are from victims who made their first accusation of abuse after September 2016. Clearly, eliminating the statute of limitations had a major effect. Moreover, when victims come forward it encourages other victims to come forward who might otherwise have continued to remain silent. There is another interesting aspect to abuse in Guam. The most prolific abuser in Guam was Father Louis Brouillard. His abuse represents 37 out of the 67 records. Interestingly enough, not only did Father Brouillard sexually assault a large number of minors, but a large percentage of them came forward. This compares to the overwhelming majority of abusers who are typically accused by three or fewer victims. It is expected that more victims abused by Father Brouillard will come forward. When victims come forward, it encourages other victims to come forward too. As we have indicated in a variety of venues, the statute of limitations needs to be expanded or eliminated. Guam is a great example of how a change in legislation can provide enormous, but long delayed benefits to the victims. Guam has demonstrated that justice delayed is not necessarily justice denied.

The VictimsSpeakDB (DataBase) website was created to provide statistical information about the abuse of children and vulnerable adults by Roman Catholic clergy. Also known as the SACCADAS (Survivor Accounts of Catholic Clergy Abuse, Denial, Accountability and Silence) database, it is derived exclusively from the first-hand accounts and experiences of the victims, or alleged victims. It is the only database which provides comparative information about abuse internationally, divided into five, not necessarily contiguous, regions: the United States, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Developed Countries and LDCs (less-developed countries).

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VictimsSpeakDB.org

Newly Launched Website Details the Alleged Sexual Abuse of Minors by Roman Catholic Clergy in 49 Countries; Advocates Expansion of the Statute of Limitations

New website provides comprehensive statistical information about the alleged abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by Catholic clergy. It covers alleged abuse on six continents during the past century. It was created and designed to encourage legislation to expand the statute of limitations on sex crimes committed against minors.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Spring Valley, NY–April 26, 2017–(PR.com)–Author and quantitative analyst G.R. Pafumi announces the launch of his newest website, VictimsSpeakDB.org. It is derived from the proprietary Survivor Accounts of Catholic Clergy Abuse, Denial, Accountability and Silence (SACCADAS) database. The site provides comprehensive analyses of the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults in 49 countries on six continents. VictimsSpeakDB.org includes statistical data detailing the abuse of over 9,000 victims molested by nearly 3,000 Catholic clergy, dating as far back as the 1920s, and as recently as 2017. The launch of the new website was timed to coincide with pending state legislation to expand the SOL (statute of limitations) for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Key findings of the SACCADAS database include:

• Abuse patterns in Australia/New Zealand and Canada mirror patterns observed in the United States, including the gender of the abused and the decades in which the greatest abuse occurred (1960-1989).
• The average age at the time the abuse was first reported was 43 years for victims who came forward in the 21st century. Their average delay in reporting that abuse was 29 years after the abuse ended. This is strong evidence as to why the statute of limitations to report sex crimes against children must be expanded.
• There is a spike in first reporting of abuse at ages 30-49 for men (nearly half of the male victims) and ages 40-59 for women (nearly half of the female victims).
• Three times as many male abuse victims (8.4%) became substance abusers as compared with females.
• 1 out of 4 molested male minors were altar boys, while only 1 out of 100 females were altar servers.
• Nearly 10% of clergy abusers continued to abuse after their first accusation, in some case for more than 25 years after.
• Attempted suicide rates were 5.3% of clergy-abuse victims, as compared with 8.6% in the general population. However actual suicides identified in the SACCADAS database were over 30 times the rate in the general population (based on Centers for Disease Control–CDC–data).
• Over 80% of the victims abused by priests were male. Nearly 90% of the victims abused by brothers were male. Brothers represented nearly one third of clergy abusers in Australia/New Zealand, as compared with 6% in the United States. This is the result of a greater number of Catholic children who resided in Catholic boarding schools. Well over half of the victims abused by nuns were female. Only 4% of clergy molesters abused children of both sexes.

The website is both fee-free and ad-free. It does not require registration, although there is a Contact Us feature for users who wish to be notified about major updates to the site. There is also a companion VictimsSpeakDB Blog. It permits registration for users who wish to keep apprised of ongoing research studies derived from the SACCADAS database.

About the Publisher

G.R. Pafumi is an author, financial engineer, content engineer and quantitative analyst. He developed risk analysis products for hedge funds and was chief investment strategist and co-portfolio manager of a São Paulo based hedge fund. He is the founder and chief executive of InvestmentMetriX Corp., a website-based provider of quantitative financial information, and was a content engineer at NewsGrade.com, Inc., an early internet startup. He has over 40 years’ experience as a research analyst and portfolio manager. He was previously associated with Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and HSBC Bank.

Mr. Pafumi received his B.S. degree in finance and engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. He also has an M.S. in Quantitative Analysis as well as an M.B.A. in Finance from New York University. He has been cited in the financial media and has appeared on the CNBC, CNN, NBC and PBS television networks. His book, “Is Our Vision of God Obsolete? Often What We Believe Is Not What We Observe,” compared the universe and our place in it, as articulated in the Bible, with the evidence available from contemporary science and discovery. In “The Origin and Rise, Decline and Fall of the God Known as Yahweh: Why the God of Abraham Is Incongruous in the 21st Century,” Mr. Pafumi traced the history of the Israelites back 4,000 years to Egypt, based on modern archaeological discoveries. His most recent book, “Bless Me Father, For You Have Sinned: Resident evil in a Catholic Church populated with sexual deviates, psychopaths, sadists and nonbelievers,” delves into the worldwide abuse of children by Catholic clergy.

Contact Information
VictimsSpeakDB.org
Contact
Press Office
Phone: 845-356-2540
Fax: 646 365-1288
PressOffice@VictimsSpeakDB.org
For more information or to receive a Press Kit about the SACCADAS database, which includes an Overview/Introduction as well as illustrative tables and graphs taken from webpages on the site, click Press Kit, Contact Us, or visit VictimsSpeakDB.org. Follow us at us on Facebook. Books authored by G.R. Pafumi can be viewed at Amazon.com/author/grpafumi, which offers the Look inside↓ feature.

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Press Release: New book asks, is the Catholic Church widely populated with psychopaths, pedophiles and atheists? Is the Catholic Church a dinosaur on its way to extinction?

Bless Me Father, For You Have Sinned

Resident evil in a Catholic Church populated with sexual deviates, psychopaths, sadists and nonbelievers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Is the Church widely populated with psychopaths, pedophiles and atheists?

G.R. Pafumi compares what the Church preaches to how its clergy acts in his latest book

Spring Valley, NY– July 09, 2015 – According to the author G.R. Pafumi, the Catholic Church is rife with resident evil. He asks, is the Church widely populated by psychopaths, pedophiles and atheists? How else does one explain nearly 2,000 years of Church history? How does one explain the Church’s involvement in so many evil deeds in the name of Jesus Christ, including persecution, murder, and widespread clergy sex abuse. Revelations of sex abuse by Catholic clergy is the prevailing explanation as to why Catholics are fleeing the Church in droves. The Pew Research Forum recently estimated that 13% of Americans are former Catholics, up from 10% a mere three years ago. That is nearly one out of eight Americans. Is the Church a dinosaur? Catholics seem to be leaving the Church like rats on a sinking ship. These and similar issues are addressed in Mr. Pafumi’s most recent book.

Highlights include:

  • Disturbing comparisons of the Church to the Mafia and the Nazis.
  • A 1,700 year history of sex abuse of children and animals by Catholic clergy.
  • The sale of babies by Church officials for profit, “stolen” from unwed mothers, in Ireland, Australia and Spain.
  • Sadistic physical abuse of young boys at a reform school in the Bronx run by the Catholic Church.
  • Father [Tyrannosaurus] Rex, who molested dozens of Philippine women and children, and was the prime suspect in two murders of young women who rebelled.
  • The Church’s 2002 admission that 200 of its priests had abused women and children in the Philippines. Yet there has never been a successful prosecution of a priest there.
  • A Philippine facility which cares for young women impregnated by Catholic priests to limit illegal abortions.
  • The clergy pedophile manifesto, a manual designed by a priest on how to groom children for sexual abuse.
  • A blueprint for the Holocaust designed at the Vatican; Church assistance to Nazi war criminals to evade justice.
  • Conversations with Cardinals Dolan (New York) and Tagle (Manila) which “never” happened.

Pafumi notes that Brazil, the largest Catholic country in the world, has only a couple of cases where the Church was assessed a fine relating to clergy sex abuse. In Mexico, another large Catholic country, there has only been two well-publicized cases of clergy sex abuse. No clergy in Mexico has ever been convicted of a sex crime. One notorious Mexican priest, had children with two women, and sexually assaulted numerous altar boys. His case was reported to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) when Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, was in charge. The priest was sentenced to life of penitence and prayer. Pafumi concludes, “Children are not well protected in less-developed countries dominated by the Catholic Church.”

The book publication was timed to coincide with Pope Francis’ visit to New York in September 2015. He has begun a petition asking the Pope to require all Catholic personnel to pledge to an honor code patterned after the Cadet Honor Code at U.S. military academies. “I will not abuse women and children, intimidate them or their families, cover-up for fellow clergy or subordinates, nor tolerate among us those who do so.” Pafumi asks the Pope to insist that bishops and supervisors who fail report abusive priests are turned over to the civil authorities for prosecution. In June of this year, the state of Minnesota sued the Catholic Church for failing to supervise appropriately clergy sex abusers. Ten days later, the archbishop and his auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese resigned. Had these two bishops been investigated by the CDF instead, it is not likely they would have resigned, at least not in 10 days.

Thoroughly researched, the book presents a disturbing description of the Catholic Church over the last 17 centuries. He not only details sex and physical abuse of women and children, but also widespread homosexuality among the Church’s clergy. It is against same-sex marriage. Yet 81% of priestly sexual abuse in the United States is of male minors. The Church is against abortion, but it is also against contraception. It prefers that women die, rather than condoning an abortion when a woman’s life is at stake. It automatically excommunicates clergy who do not keep secret Church tribunals investigating sex abuse. Yet it sometimes sentences the abusers only to a life of prayer. Defrocking a priest can take years, while they sometimes continue to abuse. Whistleblowers are excommunicated in seconds. The Church is against physician-assisted suicide. It would rather people suffer painful deaths. Only one in five Americans are practicing Catholics. But the Church wants to determine the lifestyle for the entire American population. The citizens of Ireland, once residing in a virtual Catholic theocracy, overwhelmingly approved same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Is the Catholic Church a dinosaur on its way to extinction? Pafumi ultimately concludes, indeed it is!

About the Author

G.R. Pafumi is a former financial engineer and consultant specializing in quantitative investment analysis and financial accounting. He developed risk analysis products for hedge funds and was chief investment strategist and co-portfolio manager of a São Paulo based hedge fund. Mr. Pafumi has 40-years’ experience as a security analyst and portfolio manager in domestic equities, international equities, and derivatives (listed equity and index options). He was previously associated with Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and HSBC Bank. Mr. Pafumi received his B.S. degree in Finance and Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He also has an M.S. in Quantitative Analysis as well as an M.B.A. in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University. He has been cited in a variety of financial newspapers and investor magazines and has appeared on the CNBC, CNN, NBC and PBS television networks. His first book, Is Our Vision of God Obsolete? Often What We Believe Is Not What We Observe, compared the universe and our place in it, as articulated in the Bible, with the evidence available from contemporary science and discovery. His second book, The Origin and Rise, Decline and Fall of the God Known as Yahweh: Why the God of Abraham Is Incongruous in the 21st Century, traced the history of the Jewish people back 4,000 years to Egypt, based on recent archaeological discoveries. His most recent book delves into the abuse of women and children by Catholic clergy in less-developed countries.

Bless Me Father, For You Have Sinned

Resident evil in a Catholic Church populated with sexual deviates, psychopaths, sadists and nonbelievers

Publication Date: June 29, 2015

Trade Paperback; $24.99; Kindle Edition; $9.99; 456 pages; ISBN-13: 978-1511887168

For more information, contact Bless Me Father Public Relations at PafumiBooks@Outlook.com, or on the web at http://www.amazon.com/author/grpafumi and http://www.facebook.com/pafumibooks

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Catholic clergy sex abuse and its effect on the declining number of Catholics in the United States

I have recently published a book about Catholic clergy sex abuse and its effect on the declining number of Catholics in the United States. I timed the release of the book and my petition to the Pope to coincide with his arrival in New York. Clergy sex abuse is under a fairly high level of control in the United States due to media coverage, in particular revelations published by The Boston Globe in 2002. We have seen what media coverage can do to calling attention to problems and getting the appropriate laws enacted. Without the revelations in the Boston archdiocese, it is not likely that clergy sex abuse in the United States would have fallen as much as it has. Indeed, the Church resists responsibility for abuse and to do the right thing by the victims. At a hearing of the Maryland legislature to extend the statute of limitations for clergy abuse, the Church testified against the then pending bill. Cardinal Timothy Dolan attempted to shelter $57 million while he was the archbishop of the Milwaukee archdiocese. It took the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule that those funds are available for victim compensation in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy. A priest in Uganda was suspended indefinitely for exposing child sex abuse. He was told to help cover up the crimes because “that’s what one is supposed to do.” He refused and was suspended.

 

My book is primarily about abuse in less-developed countries. I traveled to the Philippines late last year and I was appalled at the status quo. In 2002, when the revelations in Boston became front page news, the Church in the Philippines acknowledged that 200 of its priests had abused women and children. Here we are 13 years later and not a single, solitary priest has been convicted of a sex crime in the Philippines. The same is true in Mexico. A widely publicized case of clergy sex abuse in Mexico resulted in the priest being “sentenced” to a life of prayer and penitence by Pope Benedict XVI. There has never been a priest criminally convicted of a sex crime in Mexico. The Pope has set up a 17-member papal commission on abuse. There is not a single member from SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), which has great expertise in clergy sex abuse. SNAP has over 10,000 abuse victims internationally among its membership. Why isn’t its voice being heard or included?

 

Pope Francis announced that he will be giving the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) the ability to discipline bishops who do not report clergy sex offenders in their charge to the civil authorities. This is the fox watching the chicken coop. On June 5 of this year, the state of Minnesota filed charges against the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Two weeks later, the archbishop and auxiliary bishop of this archdiocese resigned. In April Bishop Finn of the archdiocese of Kansas City–St. Joseph resigned. He was criminally convicted of failing to report a priest who had child pornography on his laptop computer.

 

Pope Francis has the ability to issue a motu proprio (executive order) to require bishops to report clergy sex offenders to the police, in addition to the CDF. It is Church policy that bishops are not required to report offenders to the authorities unless the law requires them to do so. There are few such laws in the less-developed countries. Sadly, there are 23 American states, including New York, which do not have mandatory reporting for clerics.

 

My petition asks the Pope to issue an order requiring bishops to report offending clerics in their charge and in addition make it mandatory for all Catholic personnel to take the following oath, “I will not abuse women and children, intimidate them or their families, cover-up for fellow clergy or subordinates, nor tolerate among us those who do so.” This oath is patterned after the Cadet Honor Code at the U.S. military academies.

 

Let me end this note with a quote from Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for a Free Choice. “Clergy sexual abuse is a global problem. It is imperative that individual nations assume responsibility for the welfare of their young citizens and take steps to protect their youth from this type of abuse…One of the reasons that governments must step up is that we have a clear sign from the Vatican that sex abuse is not a priority.” In less-developed countries, the most likely children and women to be abused are the poorest people. Indeed I describe in my book how priests seek uneducated and indigent parents and target their children for abuse, especially those kids who come from single-parent homes.

 

I would like to call your attention to a clergy abuse petition I have set up online and which I hope to present to the Pope when he arrives in New York in September of this year. It was in October 1517, nearly 500 years ago, that Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This acted is considered the spark which ignited the Protestant Reformation. I plan to post my petition on the door of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I may even dress up like Martin Luther when I post my petition on St. Patrick’s door if I can get the appropriate media attention.

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Book Review of, “Killing Jesus: A History,” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.

More fiction than fact. Poorly researched and certainly not history.

Killing Jesus: A History? Not according to most modern biblical scholars. The authors of this book clearly read the New Testament too literally and rely on it as their basis for much of this book. They do not include footnotes so that the reader can differentiate from what is their opinion and what is the opinion of the few qualified scholars they cite in the appendix to the book. In a footnote (page 22) it says, “thanks to scholarship and archaeology, there is growing acceptance of their overall historicity [the Gospels] and authenticity.” Just the opposite is true. Modern religious historians now view the four Gospels included in the New Testament as only a subset of the knowledge base about the historical Jesus. Indeed with the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library (Gnostic gospels) in Egypt in 1945, we now know there were differing views about the life of Jesus among his followers during the first century and that the Canonical Gospels do not always agree about what is the true story of Jesus. In fact, the Gospels are often inconsistent with one another. Following are some of the errors and misrepresentations in this book. It seems O’Reilly and Dugard did not do their homework or wrote this book with an evangelical bias. (See end of review)

On page 7, the authors describe the killing of less than two-year old Jewish male babies by King Herod. This event is known as the Massacre of the Innocents, which the authors failed to mention. According to the Gospel of Matthew [2:16-18], Herod ordered the execution of all young male children in the vicinity of Bethlehem, so as to avoid the loss of his throne to a newborn King of the Jews whose birth had been announced to him by the Magi. Whether a massacre actually occurred is dubious. The massacre is not attested outside of the New Testament, making its historicity most suspect.

In the footnote on the bottom of page 8, the authors write, “The fact that Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem eight days after his birth, and then again on the fortieth day…,” is misleading. These are stories in the gospels of the New Testament, which biblical scholars generally view as having little verifiable truth. They are not “facts,” as the authors suggest.

In a footnote (page 14), the authors write, “The northern portion of this kingdom (Israel) fell in 722 B.C. to the Philistines.” In fact, the northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians. The Philistines were never a major power nor did they ever control an empire in the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean) during biblical times. In the same footnote they write, “[the term] Israel was once again put into use when the independent Jewish state was founded on May 14, 1948 long – almost 4,000 years after the first Jews crossed into the promised land.” There were no Jews 4,000 years ago. Judaism did not arise until sometime after 1500 B.C.E. This means Judaism is no more than 3,500 years old. The first non-biblical reference to Israel resides in the Egyptian Merneptah Stele, erected circa 1200 BCE.

On page 14, the authors write, “The baby will be born in Bethlehem, the small town where the great King David was born a thousand years before. The third prophesy is that the child must also be a direct descendent of David.” On page 176, “His [Jesus’s] lineage is that of David.” It is generally accepted that Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus, is a descendent of David. However according to Christian theology, the Virgin Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. Thus it makes no difference whether Joseph descended from David. Jesus is not biologically related to Joseph. Jesus is therefore not biologically connected to David. The authors ignore this huge elephant in the room. So much for the belief that Jesus is the Messiah descended from David. The authors do not even address this obvious paradox.

On page 17 the authors write, “The [First] Temple was first built by Solomon in the tenth century B.C.” There is no historical evidence for King Solomon. However there is evidence of both Solomon’s predecessor, King David, and Solomon’s son, King Rehoboam. So Solomon was almost certainly a historical figure. There is also no hard evidence for the existence of the First Temple built by Solomon. Professor Israel Finkelstein, at Tel Aviv University, strongly argues that there was no United Monarchy during the reign of Kings David and Solomon and that Solomon and David reigned over a small kingdom, not one rich enough to construct temples and other monuments. Finkelstein refutes the existence of the First Temple and its construction under Solomon.

On page 58-59, the authors write, “The lineage of Jacob and their devotion to a one true God has not changed since Abraham walked the earth 2000 years ago.” I presume they meant 4,000 years ago or 2,000 years before Jesus, since rabbinical dating puts the life of Abraham at circa 2000 B.C.E. On page 85 they write, “Galilee is the northernmost properties in what was once called Canaan by the patriarch Abraham. One of Abraham’s grandsons was a man named Jacob, who also went by the name Israel and fathered the people would come to be known as the Israelites.” I am not aware of any modern biblical scholar who believes that the story of Abraham and his offspring, Isaac and Jacob, is historical. An even if these three figures from the Old Testament actually are historical, all scholars agree they were not father, son, and grandson. The Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) was written over many centuries during the first millennium B.C.E. The authors of the Old Testament had no way of knowing who lived more than a thousand years prior, other than through the oral traditions which no modern scholar takes literally. To sum up, there is not a shred of evidence that there was a historical Abraham. Most scholars believe the story of Abraham was written sometime during the middle of the Iron Age (1150-600 B.C.E.) describing life during the Iron Age. For instance, Abraham is described as employing camels as domestic beasts of burden. It says in The Bible Unearthed, co-written by Israel Finkelstein, “We now know through archaeological research that camels were not domesticated as beasts of burden earlier than the late second millennium and were not widely used in that capacity in the ancient Near East until well after 1000 BCE.”

In the postscript, the authors write, “The legalization of Christianity by the Roman Empire, in A.D. 313, soon led to his expansion to every part of the Western world.” Christianity was never the official state religion of the empire in the way Islam is today in Iran. Christianity became the quasi-state religion of the empire in 325 C.E. after the First Council of Nicaea. On page 266 they write, “Christianity was officially legalized throughout the Roman Empire in 313, with the edict of Milan.” That edict only required that Christians throughout the Empire be treated benevolently, rather than being persecuted. Whether or not there was a formal “Edict of Milan” document is not known.

On page 80, the authors write, “These men remember the shame attached to the early days of that relationship between Mary and Joseph, when it was announced that she was pregnant out of wedlock. They recall Joseph’s stubborn loyalty and his refusal to shun her.” They did not do their homework and read the Bible (NIV). Joseph was not stubbornly loyal to Mary but planned to divorce her, according to Matthew. In Matthew [1:18-20], it says, “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’”

On page 81 the authors say, “He [Jesus] labor six days a week as a carpenter alongside his father.” On page 90, “because Joseph is a skilled carpenter he is able to pay his taxes.” In the original Gospels composed in Greek, Jesus is described as the son of a τέκτονος (Greek for craftsman). He might have been a stone mason, and not a carpenter, or perhaps both. Describing Jesus as a carpenter or carpenter’s son is not fact, just tradition.

On page 90, the authors write, “She [Mary Magdalene] will grow up to be a prostitute, doing what she must do to survive, though she longs for something better in this world.” On page 144, “Rarely does a woman of ill repute enter the home of a Pharisee. Nevertheless, Mary of Magdala–or Mary Magdalene, as she will go down in history long–now stands behind Jesus…It is well known how Mary makes her living.” The view that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute can be traced to a sermon of Pope Gregory I (“Gregory the Great”) circa 591 C.E. This depiction of Mary has no historical basis. How can the authors claim this is a fact-based book, as they state in the beginning (on page 2) of the book? In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church amended its erroneous view of Mary and no longer claims that she was a prostitute. It appears that the authors, who are both Roman Catholic, are not even aware of the teachings of their own church.

On page 147 in a footnote, the authors write, “Miriam worked with her brothers, Moses and Araon, to lead the exodus from Egypt. And of course the prostitute Rahab helped bring about the Israelite victory over Jericho.” More nonsense! There is no evidence for the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and Jericho was destroyed centuries before Israel ever existed. The author’s didn’t even bother to research modern archeological findings.

In the footnote at the bottom of page 22, it says, “The fact that John not only was there at every pivotal moment in Jesus’s ministry, and thus able to describe many scenes with vivid first-person imagery”…In the footnote at the bottom of page 222, it says, “Although none other gospel writers was present during Jesus’s prayer, it is believed that he shared his words and emotions with those present in the garden that night.” In the footnote at the bottom of page 224, it says, “That scene was witnessed by John, who made a focal point of his gospel;” footnote, page 231, “Based on his vivid depiction of that night’s events, is widely believed that John was this individual.” Believed by who? Certainly not modern biblical scholars. Scholars can’t even agree about which historical John the Gospel of John is based. On page 264, they write, “John…[was] exiled to the Greek island of Patmos. There he wrote his gospel.” The reason we refer to the gospels as the Gospel according to Mathew, according to Luke, etc. is because no one knows who wrote the Gospels. By using the phrase “according to,” it gives them an aura of credibility. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke are called synoptic in that they are all similar to each other. The Gospel of John is not similar. Synoptic means presenting or taking the same or common view. The term synoptic comes from the Greek syn, meaning “together,” and optic, meaning “seen.” Because these three Gospels are so similar, it is hypothesized that they came from a common source known as Q, from the German Quelle, meaning source, although no Q source material has thus far been discovered. The authors conflict with current biblical scholarship by asserting that the Gospels were actually written by eyewitnesses, to wit Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There is no evidence to support that view and this book is the first I have read which makes that assertion, other than books written by zealous evangelicals.

On pages 236-240, the authors describe the conversation between Jesus and Pontius Pilate when Jesus was presented to Pilate for judgment. Here again the authors use the New Testament as a reference. Modern scholars are not certain that their conversation was more than a few exchanges, lasting perhaps 10 or 15 minutes for the trial, judgment and sentence. At that point, it is possible that the extremely anti-Jewish Pilate decided it was simply expedient to crucify Jesus, a Jew, and a troublemaker who was making a problem during the Passover. He might incite a rebellion by the large numbers of Jews in town for the Passover celebration. Indeed a rebellion occurred nearly three decades later in the First Jewish-Roman war (66-73 C.E.).

On page 240 the authors write, “It is customary for the Roman prefect to release a prisoner at the time of Passover.” Not true. The authors cite all four Gospels as their source of this “fact.” Actually, there is little to no evidence for any such custom by Roman prefects (governors). “Pilate finds a simple solution to ease out of this politically volatile situation: he will give the crowd a choice between releasing the peaceful Jesus or the horrific Barabbas…Give us Barabbas,” the Jews in the crowd shout. Shame on you O’Reilly! Not only is this story not historically true, as any biblical historian will tell you, but it is the basis of 2,000 years of anti-Semitism ultimately, indirectly leading to the Holocaust. Even the Catholic Church rejects this idea. Nostra Aetate, issued by the Second Vatican Council, and promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965, states that the blame for Jesus’s crucifixion cannot be laid at the door of all those Jews present at that time, nor can the Jews in our time be held as guilty, thus repudiating an indiscriminate charge of Jewish deicide.

On page 241, the authors write, “the Roman governor does not believe that executing such a popular figure as Jesus is a wise decision… I have examined him in your presence and found no basis for your charges against him…Therefore, I will punish him and release him.” This account of Pilate “washing his hands” has also been rejected by the academic community. Pilate couldn’t give a fig about whether Jesus lived or died. Killing Jesus only meant to Pilate that there was one less Jew around who could cause a revolt. This is why some scholars believe Jesus never met Pilate nor was he judged by Pilate. On page 246 the authors describe Pilate “washing his hands” of Jesus’s blood. Washing of the hands was a Hebrew custom and not a Roman one. It is not likely the anti-Jewish Pilate would engage in a Jewish custom to placate the Jews he so despised. Even the authors acknowledge that Pilate was anti-Jew.

On page 263 the authors write, “There is good evidence that Peter is buried beneath St. Peter’s Cathedral in Vatican City.” Where did they dig up this drivel? The Vatican has been quite explicit is stating it is only possible that some of Peter’s bone fragments are buried in the tombs under St. Peter’s. And leading Vatican Jesuits and other archaeologists strongly dispute the bones are those of St. Peter. Why would anyone preserve the bones of a man who was crucified upside down? If anything, they would more likely distance themselves from Peter to avoid the appearance that they endorsed his views.

On page 4 the authors write, “But the incredible story behind the lethal struggle between good and evil has not been fully told. Until now. At least, that is the goal of this book.” The authors failed to tell the full story and what they told is essentially the story told in the New Testament. A reader really interested in the life of the historical Jesus would do far better reading any one of the numerous volumes written by Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Elaine Pagels (Princeton University) or Paula Fredriksen (Boston University). These academics are true experts in the historical Jesus and the New Testament.

Note: Many of the views articulated in this review were previously expressed in my book, The Origin and Rise, Decline and Fall of the God Known as Yahweh (Amazon Digital Services, 2012).

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Book Review of, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” by Reza Aslan

Zealot is the first book about the historical Jesus Christ to rank number one on the NY Times bestseller list. This is most unfortunate in that Reza Aslan is not a recognized New Testament scholar. But worse, it is riddled with factual errors, or at least views not widely accepted by the academic community. The book is sometimes confusing, not always well written, and too often does not distinguish between facts and hypotheses.

My first clue that this was not a scholarly work was on page xxvii in the preface. He dates the Gospel of John to 100-120 CE. Most scholars believe the Gospel of John was written in first century CE. The mouthpiece of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Encyclopedia, dates John’s gospel to around 96-99 CE, the first not the second century. On the same page he writes, “Matthew and Luke also relied on what must have been an early and fairly well distributed collection of Jesus’s sayings that scholars have termed Q (German for Quelle or ‘source’). Although we no longer have any physical copies of this document we can infer its content by comparing those verses that Matthew and Luke share in common but that do not appear in Mark.”

Austin Farrer, Michael Goulder, and Mark Goodacre have argued against Q, maintaining Mark was the first gospel written and claiming the use of Matthew by Luke. This view has come to be known as the Farrer hypothesis. Farrer, in his 1955 paper which first outlined this hypothesis, notes that when two documents are found which contain common material, identical in the words and phrases they use to describe some scenes, the simplest explanation is that one of the two used the other as a source, rather than both using a third document as a source. Goulder points to common Matthean phrases such as “brood of vipers who,” “make fruit,” and “cast into the fire,” which each appear in Luke only once, in a Q passage. Goulder’s conclusion, based on writing styles, is that Matthew is the actual source for these “Q” sayings. Goodacre notes that there is no extant copy of Q and that no early church writer makes an unambiguous reference to a document resembling the Q that modern scholars have reconstructed from the common material in Luke and Matthew. It is worth noting that there is no manuscript of Q in existence. No one has yet found even a fragment of Q. On pages 105, 111, 175, and 190, Aslan refers to Q as source material. I repeat, there is no extant copy of Q, not even a fragment.

On page xxviii Aslan writes, “crucifixion was a punishment that Rome reserved almost exclusively for the crime of sedition…The Gospels claim that on either side of Jesus hung men who in Greek are called lestai, a word often rendered into English as ‘thieves’ but which actually means ‘bandits’ and was the most common Roman designation for an insurrectionist or rebel.” Both the King James Version (KJV) of the New Testament and the Vulgate (the Latin bible used in the Catholic Church) state that the men crucified with Jesus were thieves. That is what I was taught in Catholic school and during Bible readings at Sunday Holy Mass. How could both sources (the KJV and the Vulgate) get it wrong? There were times when Romans ran out of pine wood needed for crucifixions. They would not have wasted it on thieves. It is far more likely thieves would have been beheaded. I believe that the story of Jesus being crucified with common thieves was made up by the authors. It seems to me, Jesus was more likely to be crucified alone to make a clear example of what happens to people who claim to be a king. The king of the Jews was Herod Antipas, who was appointed king by the Roman government.

On page 100 Aslan writes, “It is the high priest Caiaphas who will become the main instigator of the plot to execute Jesus precisely because he was a threat to the [priests’] authority.” Aslan sounds like the anti-Semitic Mel Gibson. Aslan should have read Nostra Aetate, the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, issued by the Second Vatican Council and approved in October 1965 under the aegis of Pope Paul VI. It states that even though some Jewish authorities and those who followed them may have called for Jesus’ death, the blame for this cannot be against those Jews present at that time, nor can the Jews in our time be held as guilty, thus repudiating an indiscriminate charge of Jewish deicide. There are various hypotheses as to why Jesus was crucified. I like the one which blames Antipas. He had the motive (he, not Jesus, was the real King of the Jews) and the opportunity (his relationship with Pontius Pilate made having Jesus crucified no more than a simple text message to Pilate, or whatever they used to communicate back then).

On page 138, Aslan asserts that the Jewish religion is 5,000 years old. The oldest known non-biblical reference to the early Israelites is the Merneptah Stele. It is the first documented instance of the name Israel in the historical record and its only mention in Ancient Egypt. If the Jewish faith began with the expulsion of the Hyksos out of Egypt in the 16th century BCE, then Hebrewism is no more than 3,500 years old. Five thousand years ago would put the origin of Jewish faith to one thousand years before the time of Abraham, the time of Noah and the Ark. The Hebrew Bible is not considered to be a valid source for events back that far back in history. Actually, there is no evidence that Noah and Abraham ever even existed. Aslan reminds me of the moon-walking astronaut James Irwin, who spent the last 20 years of his life searching for Noah’s Ark. What a waste of time and energy.

On page 262, Aslan says, “Moses saw the burning bush on Mount Sinai when in fact it appeared to him on Mount Horeb, which, despite some arguments to the contrary, was not the same place as Sinai (Exodus 3:1).” The Hebrew Bible is not a valid source and scholars debate whether Sinai and Horeb are the same place. Some say yes, others no. The Jewish Encyclopedia says, “The Rabbis consider ‘Sinai’ and ‘Horeb’ to be two names of the same mountain, which had besides three other names.” Aslan should separate fact from opinion.

On page 172, Aslan writes, “it was, the Gospels say, the sixth hour of the day–three o’clock in the afternoon–on the day before the Sabbath when Jesus of Nazareth breathing his last… At the ninth hour, Jesus suddenly cried out, ‘my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” How could Jesus cry out at the ninth hour if he breathed his last at the sixth hour? According to Scripture, Jesus came back to life on the third day, not three hours after he breathed his last.

On page 177, Aslan writes, “Jesus’s is body was stolen? How so, when Matthew has conveniently placed armed guards at his tomb–guards who saw for themselves the risen Jesus but who were bribed by the priests to say the disciples had stolen the body from under their noses?” Here we go again, Aslan blaming the Jews. He is arguing that Jewish priests bribed Roman guards to contradict the “Jesus has ridden” story which was making the rounds.

Finally on page 60, Aslan describes the mass suicide at the fortress Masada by the Sicarii (Jewish zealots) in 74 CE. He writes, “This speech [by the Sicarii leader Eleazar] had its desired effect. As the Romans prepared for their final assault on Masada, the rebels drew lots among them to decide the order in which they would proceed with their gruesome plan. They then pulled out their daggers…and began to kill their wives and their children, before turning the knives upon each other. The last 10 men chose one among them to kill the remaining nine. The final man set the entire palace ablaze. Then he killed himself.” This story was likely embellished by Flavius Josephus, the noted first century Jewish historian. It is not accepted as historic. In The Credibility of Josephus, Shaye Cohen, the Jewish historian currently teaching at Harvard University, writes “We do not know what happened on the summit of Masada on the fifteenth of Xanthicus in 74 CE. The archaeological discoveries of Professor Yadin show that Masada was besieged by the Romans in the fashion described by Josephus, but they do not tell us how the defenders of Masada were killed. For this and for all the other details of Masada’s history, we are dependent upon Josephus alone…We know that Josephus’ account is false. Silva did not order a premature withdrawal, Eleazar did not have an opportunity for two magnificent orations, the Jews did not have a long evening for the leisurely slaughter of their wives and children, the deliberate collection of all their possessions in one pile and the methodical murder of all the remaining men. This scenario is implausible, contradicted by the archaeological discoveries, and motivated in part by Josephus’ polemical and literary concerns.”

Conclusion: Aslan wrote an interesting book and it provides a brief summary of the life of the historical Jesus, as best as historians can tell. But it is not ready for prime time or the classroom. A reader really interested in the life of the historical Jesus would do far better reading any one of the numerous volumes written by Bart Ehrman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Elaine Pagels (Princeton University) or Paula Fredriksen (Boston University). These academics are true experts in the historical Jesus and the New Testament. Ehrman has read all of the gospels in their original language, Koine Greek. He would know best whether the story of Jesus being crucified with common thieves is a misperception and why. Ehrman teaches that the Bible isn’t consistent. He discovered the inconsistencies grew exponentially as he traced translations through the centuries. There are some 5,700 known ancient Greek manuscripts which are the basis of modern versions of the New Testament. Scholars have uncovered 400,000 textual variants (differences) in those texts. “Put it this way: There are more variances among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament,” Ehrman lectures his students. How could Aslan write a book about Jesus and Greek translations of the manuscripts without consulting Ehrman. There is not one reference to Ehrman, Pagels or Fredriksen in the text or in the footnotes of Aslan’s book. Perhaps his book would have been more historically accurate if he had reviewed their vast body of work and knowledge.

The most important question about the historical Jesus is, “Why was Jesus the only messiah to become a source of a religion?” For believers the answer is quite simple. Jesus is god and/or the son of god. For nonbelievers, the answer is not simple. Aslan describes a variety of messiahs both before and after Jesus. But none, save for Jesus, either was the basis for a major religion or even remembered after his death. Were it not for biblical historians, we would never know about the other messiahs.

On page 215, Aslan writes, “Paul’s conception of Christianity may have been anathema before 70 C.E. But afterward, his notion of a wholly new religion free from the authority of the Temple that no longer existed, unburdened by a law that no longer mattered, and divorced from a Judaism that had become a pariah was enthusiastically embraced by converts throughout the Roman Empire… Christianity after the destruction of Jerusalem was almost exclusively a gentile religion; it needed a gentile theology. And that is precisely what Paul provided. The choice between James’s [James the Just, brother or half-brother of Jesus] vision of the Jewish religion anchored in the Law of Moses and derived from a Jewish nationalist who fought against Rome, and Paul’s vision of a Roman religion that divorced itself from Jewish provincialism and required nothing for salvation save belief in Christ, was not a difficult one for the second and third generation of Jesus’s followers to make.”

Aslan argues that Roman gentiles comprised the majority of Christians in the immediate generations after Jesus. Somehow Aslan suggests that the Romans abandoned their pantheon of Roman gods and replaced them with a singular human being who was the son of god, god almighty, or both. I find this implausible. If the Romans needed a man-god, there was Julius Caesar, who was decreed god by the Roman Senate in 42 BCE. In 27 BCE, Octavian, aka Caesar Augustus, the adoptive son of Caesar, assumed the title of Divi Filius (son of a god). Why did Romans believe Jesus was god or the son of god instead of Julius Caesar or Caesar Augustus? According to Marvin Meyer, deceased professor of religious studies at Chapman University, the Gnostics believed Jesus taught that we can all become sons (or daughters) of god. Certainly the Jews would have never accepted Jesus as god since the Jewish tradition has no belief in a human being who is also god. That would be considered both blasphemous as well as polytheistic. There are no major religions today, except Christianity, which believe that a human being, now or in the past, is god or the son of god. I think Aslan would have served his readers far better had he spent his entire book researching this all-important question. Sadly, after reading this book, I know little more about the historical Jesus Christ than before.

G.R. Pafumi
Author, Is Our Vision of God Obsolete?

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God Is Dead! Don’t Blame Nietzsche: It Was Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking Who Killed Him

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Analyzing Religious Beliefs from a Historical and Scientific Perspective

G.R. Pafumi separates ill-founded beliefs from pragmatic knowledge in his new book

Spring Valley, NY– March 31, 2013 – According to author G.R. Pafumi, this book was originally intended to be an update of his first book, Is Our Vision of God Obsolete? Often What We Believe Is Not What We Observe. However the modifications were so extensive that he realized this was a new book which required a new title. Since his first book was written, science has come to believe that the universe had no beginning (it always existed and was not created) and he philosophically moved from being an agnostic to a full-blown atheist. Why believe in a creator who does not create, asks Pafumi? In a universe with no beginning, the concept of god the creator no longer has any meaning or relevance.

The book’s cover reflects the hypothesis behind this book’s new title. The image portrays the crucifixion of Jesus which ended with his death. Jesus is god, according to Christian theology, and Jesus is dead in the portrait; hence god is dead. “God is dead” is a quote made by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche from his classic work Thus Spoke Zarathustra. “God is dead” never meant that Nietzsche believed in an actual god who first existed and then died in a literal sense. It was Nietzsche’s way of saying that the increasing secularization of European society had effectively “killed” the Abrahamic god, who had served as the basis for meaning and value in the West for more than a thousand years. Christian values and dogma could no longer be the source of our moral compass. But it was not Nietzsche who killed god. It was the science of Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking.

However the origin of the universe stood in the way of his eventual atheistic beliefs. Newton second law of motion deals with cause and effect. Most college science students learn about the Big Bang theory and that the universe began from a single point in space and time. But what happened before the Big Bang? Steven Hawking has argued that asking about what happened before the Big Bang is like asking what is north of the North Pole. Pafumi is not satisfied with this notion. How could a universe be created from nothing? And if the answer is god or “The Creator,” who or what created the creator? Who or what created the creator who created the universe? This presents an endless circle of questions for which there are no answers. Thus for a while Pafumi was an agnostic in that he could not reconcile in his mind what happened before the Big Bang or who or what was responsible for it.

The question remained, if the universe was not created, how did it come into existence? Lawrence Krauss provided some possible answers to this inquiry in his book, A Universe From Nothing, Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing. Everything we see could have emerged as a purposeless quantum burp in space or perhaps a quantum burp of space itself. As Krauss explained, there really is no such thing as nothing. Even if all of the atoms are pumped out of a space and a perfect vacuum is created, the space is not really empty. There is still the energy which resides in the empty space. In empty space, the resident energy creates particles out of pure energy. In our universe, empty space creates particles and antiparticle partners continuously. They exist for a moment but as soon as they make contact, they annihilate themselves and convert the matter they contain back into pure energy. No matter or energy is created or destroyed. Energy is simply converted to matter and then matter is converted back to energy. This same concept can be applied to singularities, the particles which reside inside of black holes. A black hole can erupt into a universe when sufficient energy is provided to it by the fabric of the cosmos, in the same way that particle-antiparticle pairs are created continuously in the universe. Thus universes are created out of nothing all of the time, if one defines the fabric of the cosmos, which is a true vacuum, as nothing in that it has no matter. It is simply pure energy. God is not necessary to explain the origin of universe, and by extension, the origin of man.

If you wish to know why over half of the world’s population believes in the god of Abraham, not to mention the gods worshipped in African and Eastern religions, read Pafumi’s latest book.

For more information on God Is Dead! Don’t Blame Nietzsche: It Was Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking Who Killed Him, please visit Amazon.com/author/grpafumi.

About the Author

G.R. Pafumi was a financial engineer and consultant specializing in investment and financial accounting analysis. He developed risk analysis products for hedge funds and was chief investment strategist and co-portfolio manager of a São Paulo based hedge fund. Mr. Pafumi has 40 years experience as a security analyst and portfolio manager in domestic equities, international equities, and derivatives (listed equity and index options). He was previously associated with Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and HSBC Bank.  Mr. Pafumi received his B.S. degree in Finance and Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. He also has an M.S. in Quantitative Analysis as well as an M.B.A. in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University. He has been cited in a variety of financial newspapers and investor magazines and has appeared on the CNBC, CNN, NBC and PBS television networks. His first book, Is Our Vision of God Obsolete? Often What We Believe Is Not What We Observe, compared the universe and our place in it, as articulated in the Bible, with the evidence available from contemporary science and discovery. His second book, The Origin and Rise, Decline and Fall of the God Known as Yahweh: Why the God of Abraham Is Incongruous in the 21st Century, traced the history of the Jewish people back 4,000 years to Egypt, based on recent archaeological discoveries. Both books present powerful evidence that god is a product of the human imagination and a relic from centuries past, when man was imprisoned by his ignorance of the universe which surrounds us.

 

God is Dead! Don’t Blame Nietzsche

It Was Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking Who Killed Him

Publication Date: March 24, 2013

Trade Paperback; $24.99; Kindle Edition; $9.99; 434 pages; ISBN-13: 978-1482303483

 

For more information, contact VisionOfGod Public Relations at (845) 538-1892 or on the web at Amazon.com/author/grpafumi.

 

 


 

For a limited time Createspace, the publisher, is offering a new-publication discount. At checkout, please enter the Discount Code DPCMMJ7K. This will discount the purchase price by $10.00 to $14.99. The book is also offered at $9.99 in PDF format for readers who do not own a Kindle or other e-Reader. Please go to http://www.scribd.com/doc/132676477/God-is-Dead-Don-t-Blame-Nietzsche. Image

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Dr. Oz: Shaman and Charlatan

Following is an email I sent to the Dr. Oz Show on November 17, 2011. As expected, I got no response.

Please thank Mehmet Oz for today’s show featuring Joel OSteen. I had written an essay, partially included in my forthcoming book, entitled, “Dr. Oz the Evangelist: Surgeon or Shaman?” I can now update my essay and change the title to, “Dr. Oz: Shaman and Charlatan.” A few weeks ago Oz did a show suggesting that there was scientific evidence for life after death. There is NO scientific evidence. All evidence for life after death in anecdotal and anecdotal evidence is NOT science. OZ is a professor of medicine. He should know better.

Now he has Osteen identifying prayer with miracles. There is plenty of evidence that miracles occur. The Catholic Church identifies dozens of people every year who have been the recipients of miracles. The issue is, is there a scientific explanation? And there is: the placebo mechanism, among others. All of the miracles documented by the Church have to do with remission from cancer. There are no cases of spontaneous remission from muscular dystrophy or Parkinson’s disease. Does god only care about people who are afflicted with cancer? Osteen’s mother was “cured” from liver cancer.

This phenomenon has been known for a century. It is called spontaneous remission from cancer and one study shows spontaneous remission in about one out of 100,000 patients. In a carefully designed 2008 study on mammography, it was found that 22% of all breast cancer cases underwent spontaneous remission. A majority of spontaneous regressions from cancer occurred after a feverish infection, according to two other studies. Triggering the placebo mechanism is another explanation of how the body heals itself. If nothing else, these scientific explanations should have been offered to your audience. It was not.

Joel Osteen sells Jesus to ignorant people, one dollar at a time. It seems Oz does something similar and it would appear that the audience of the Dr. Oz Show is quite unsophisticated. Doesn’t Oz feel any social responsibility to educate the undereducated public with science instead of science fiction? Medicine is making great strides and Oz comes up with non-scientific explanations for miracles and suggests there is tangible evidence for life after death. Neither is the case.This leads to one, and only one, conclusion. Mehmet Oz is a shaman and charlatan. If he is going to talk about faith, he ought to become an imam and not refer to himself as a doctor, a man of medical science, on his show.

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Dr. Oz the Evangelist: Surgeon or Shaman?

In my book, The Origin and Rise, Decline and Fall of the God Known as Yahweh; Why the God of Abraham is Incongruous in the 21st Century, I wrote: “And Billy is not alone in believing in nonsense. In a July 2009 newsletter from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association his son, William Franklin Graham III, said, ‘First of all, the Bible says we’re going to worship God and reign with him. He’s also got specific jobs for us to do. So, we’re not going to be just sitting up there playing a harp. But we’re not going to get tired. We’re not going to have sore feet. We’re not going to be sick. Listen, God’s got a plan, and our minds can’t even begin to conceive all that he has for us.’” This makes me wonder, is Billy Jr. a con man or a schizophrenic? Does god talk to Billy Jr. or does Billy Jr. hear voices in his head? Inquiring minds want to know, Billy!

And I am really appalled that Mehmet Oz also promotes nonsense on The Dr. Oz Show. In a September 2011 episode, Oz discussed life after death. On his website he put up a video of the episode under the banner, “The Science of Near Death.” There is no science of near-death experiences, scientifically speaking, when it comes to out-of-body experiences or visits to “the other side,” as the psychic medium John Edward likes to put it. All of the evidence for life after death is anecdotal. Anecdotes are not science. That is why Carl Sagan did not believe we have been visited by aliens or UFOs. There is not one peer-reviewed medical study which supports Oz’s view about life after death. If there was, he would have undoubtedly told us about it. Oz says he believes in the hereafter. Good for him. But there is not a shred of evidence that anyone has died and come back from the dead. Perhaps Oz should become a Christian and accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ, just like Bill Graham, senior and junior. (Oz is a Muslim.) He is a cardiothoracic surgeon. In English this means that Oz’s job is to cut out people’s hearts. He is also a professor of surgery at Columbia University. Oz is a scientist and his views about life after death are totally unscientific. I would not want a surgeon cutting up my heart (in heart bypass surgery) who might regard that any patient lost on the operating table is better off because he is now in heaven. As a scientist, Oz should know the difference between matters of science versus matters of faith. And when it comes to heaven, I accept the opinion of the world’s most famous scientist, Stephen Hawking. “Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Mehmet, are you afraid of the dark? It seems so. The real question is,”is the wizard of Mehmet Oz a surgeon or a shaman?

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