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Easter

It is believed that Easter originally was a commemorative feast for the Germanic goddess Ostara

   The Germanic goddess Ostara or Ēostre is known as the goddess of spring and dawn. She was mentioned only once by the British historian Bede in his work The Reckoning of Time in the 8th century where he claimed that at that time the pagan Anglo-Saxons named a month of the year after her, Eostur, and held feasts in her honor.

   Later, the month (today April) was replaced by the Christian Paschal, and it became a celebration of the resurrection of Christ which all around the world is known as Easter.

   Because the only source for Ēostre is Bede, it is hard to believe that she was the source of the word “Easter.” Many scholars, including the German mythologist Jacob Grimm, think that maybe the goddess was his invention. There are many theories which connect Ostara with the Germanic Easter customs such as hares and eggs. There is a story of Ēostre from recent times that is very popular among neo-pagans, and it goes something like this: a little girl found a little bird that was freezing to death and turned to Ēostre for help.

   Then, the goddess came from a rainbow bridge, clothed in her red robe of warm, vibrant sunlight which melted the snows and the spring arrived. Because she couldn’t do anything about the bird’s life, she turned it into a snow hare who brought rainbow eggs.

   There are no historical accounts of the egg practice in the neo- pagan holiday of Ostara which is held nearly at the same time as Easter. It is often believed that the painted eggs are a pre-Christian component of the celebration of the goddess.

   In the 19th century, Charles Isaac Elton talked about the association of the goddess with the Easter customs, while Charles J. Billson talked about the history of the hare in Northern Europe in the period of Easter. Other mythologists and scholars connect the hare with Ostara and Freya.

   John Andrew Boyle says that not much is known about Ēostre, but it is suggested that, because she was referred to as a goddess of the dawn (Ēostre derives from Proto-Germanic, which means dawn), the hare were the animals who carried her lights. This information can be found in the etymology dictionary by A. Meillet and A. Ernout.

   Another goddess who is linked to the historical Ēostre is Eastrgena who was worshiped by the Anglo-Saxons around the county Kent in England.

   Many scholars reckon that she was a Germanic matron goddess and this association with the names was made by the linguist Philip Shaw from the Stockholm University. If this presumed connection is real, that would mean that there wasn’t a single goddess, but it was worshiped in triplicate.

   Rickey H. Crosby (Petitor Veritatis) 

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Compare 04/10/2017

I was not an atheist. Few people really are, for that means blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. My intellectual heroes, the chemists, the astronomers, even the evolutionists, suggested vast laws and forces at work. Despite contrary indications, I had little doubt that a mighty purpose and rhythm underlay all. How could there be so much precise and immutable law, and no intelligence? I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation.
  --Bill Wilson (1895 –1971)
Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition, Bill's Story, page 10

(102:0.1-2) To the unbelieving materialist, man is simply an evolutionary accident. His hopes of survival are strung on a figment of mortal imagination; his fears, loves, longings, and beliefs are but the reaction of the incidental juxtaposition of certain lifeless atoms of matter. No display of energy nor expression of trust can carry him beyond the grave. The devotional labors and inspirational genius of the best of men are doomed to be extinguished by death, the long and lonely night of eternal oblivion and soul extinction. Nameless despair is man's only reward for living and toiling under the temporal sun of mortal existence. Each day of life slowly and surely tightens the grasp of a pitiless doom which a hostile and relentless universe of matter has decreed shall be the crowning insult to everything in human desire which is beautiful, noble, lofty, and good.
    But such is not man's end and eternal destiny; such a vision is but the cry of despair uttered by some wandering soul who has become lost in spiritual darkness, and who bravely struggles on in the face of the mechanistic sophistries of a material philosophy, blinded by the confusion and distortion of a complex learning. And all this doom of darkness and all this destiny of despair are forever dispelled by one brave stretch of faith on the part of the most humble and unlearned of God's children on earth.

    William Griffith Wilson, also known as Bill Wilson or Bill W., was the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), an international mutual aid fellowship with over two million members belonging to 100,800 groups of alcoholics helping other alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. Following AA's Twelfth Tradition of anonymity, Wilson is commonly known as "Bill W." or "Bill." After Wilson's death in 1971, his full name was included in obituaries.
    Wilson's permanent sobriety began December 11, 1934. In 1955 Wilson turned over control of AA to a board of trustees. Wilson died of emphysema complicated by pneumonia in 1971. In 1999 Time listed him as "Bill W.: The Healer" in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.

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Compare 04/03/2017

If you've got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs -- rethinking the world isn't an option.
  --PZ Myers, biology professor (b.1957)

(58:2.3) And yet some of the less imaginative of your mortal mechanists insist on viewing material creation and human evolution as an accident. The Urantia midwayers have assembled over fifty thousand facts of physics and chemistry which they deem to be incompatible with the laws of accidental chance, and which they contend unmistakably demonstrate the presence of intelligent purpose in the material creation. And all of this takes no account of their catalogue of more than one hundred thousand findings outside the domain of physics and chemistry which they maintain prove the presence of mind in the planning, creation, and maintenance of the material cosmos.

    Paul Zachary "PZ" Myers (born March 9, 1957) is an American associate-professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMM). He founded and writes the Pharyngula science-blog, and as of 2016 works with zebrafish in the field of evolutionary developmental biology.
    He is an outspoken critic of intelligent design (ID) and of the creationist movement, where he is widely regarded as a confrontationalist.
    In 2006 the journal Nature listed Myers's Pharyngula as the top-ranked blog by a scientist based on popularity.
    Myers received the American Humanist Association's 2009 Humanist of the Year award and the International Humanist Award in 2011. Asteroid 153298 Paulmyers is named in his honor.

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Compare 03/30/2017

Nature's laws affirm instead of prohibit. If you violate her laws, you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman.
  --Luther Burbank, horticulturist (1849-1926)

(48:6.33) Law is life itself and not the rules of its conduct. Evil is a transgression of law, not a violation of the rules of conduct pertaining to life, which is the law. Falsehood is not a matter of narration technique but something premeditated as a perversion of truth. The creation of new pictures out of old facts, the restatement of parental life in the lives of offspring—these are the artistic triumphs of truth. The shadow of a hair's turning, premeditated for an untrue purpose, the slightest twisting or perversion of that which is principle—these constitute falseness. But the fetish of factualized truth, fossilized truth, the iron band of so-called unchanging truth, holds one blindly in a closed circle of cold fact. One can be technically right as to fact and everlastingly wrong in the truth.

    Luther Burbank was an American botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science. He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career. Burbank's varied creations included fruits, flowers, grains, grasses, and vegetables. He developed (but did not create) a spineless cactus (useful for cattle-feed) and the plumcot.
    Burbank's most successful strains and varieties include the Shasta daisy, the fire poppy (note possible confusion with the California wildflower, Papaver californicum, which is also called a fire poppy), the "July Elberta" peach, the "Santa Rosa" plum, the "Flaming Gold" nectarine, the "Wickson" plum (named after agronomist Edward J. Wickson), the freestone peach, and the white blackberry. A natural genetic variant of the Burbank potato with russet-colored skin later became known as the Russet Burbank potato. This large, brown-skinned, white-fleshed potato has become the world's predominant potato in food processing. The Russet Burbank potato was in fact invented to help with the devastating situation in Ireland during the Irish Potato famine. This particular potato variety was created by Burbank to help "revive the country's leading crop" as it is blight-resistant. The blight is a disease that spread and destroyed potatoes all across Europe but caused extreme chaos in Ireland due to the high dependency on potatoes as a crop by the Irish.

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Compare 03/27/2017

Ignorance is an evil weed, which dictators may cultivate among their dupes, but which no democracy can afford among its citizens.
  --William Beveridge, economist and social reformer (1879-1963)

(71:2.7)  Public opinion, common opinion, has always delayed society; nevertheless, it is valuable, for, while retarding social evolution, it does preserve civilization. Education of public opinion is the only safe and true method of accelerating civilization; force is only a temporary expedient, and cultural growth will increasingly accelerate as bullets give way to ballots. Public opinion, the mores, is the basic and elemental energy in social evolution and state development, but to be of state value it must be nonviolent in expression.

(71:3.1)  And after all, no state can transcend the moral values of its citizenry as exemplified in their chosen leaders. Ignorance and selfishness will insure the downfall of even the highest type of government.

(100:1.2) The chief inhibitors of growth are prejudice and ignorance.

    William Henry Beveridge was a British economist, noted progressive and social reformer. He is best known for his 1942 report Social Insurance and Allied Services (known as the Beveridge Report) which served as the basis for the post-World War II welfare state put in place by the Labour government elected in 1945. He was considered an authority on unemployment insurance from early in his career, served under Winston Churchill on the Board of Trade as Director of the newly created labour exchanges and later as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Food. He was Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science from 1919 until 1937, when he was elected Master of University College, Oxford. Beveridge published widely on unemployment and social security, his most notable works being: Unemployment: A Problem of Industry (1909), Planning Under Socialism (1936), Full Employment in a Free Society (1944), Pillars of Security (1943), Power and Influence (1953), and A Defence of Free Learning (1959).

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First Printing Urantia Book Project

Friends,

Larry Mullins is involved with the noble effort to preserve the first printing of the Urantia Book. 

If you would like to help out this worthy venture, here is the link to find out more about it:

Reprinting the First Edition of the Urantia Book

Tom Allen

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Compare 03/20/2017

Society is like a stew. If you don't keep it stirred up you get a lot of scum on the top.
  --Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

(99:4.6) During the psychologically unsettled times of the twentieth century, amid the economic upheavals, the moral crosscurrents, and the sociologic rip tides of the cyclonic transitions of a scientific era, thousands upon thousands of men and women have become humanly dislocated; they are anxious, restless, fearful, uncertain, and unsettled; as never before in the world's history they need the consolation and stabilization of sound religion. In the face of unprecedented scientific achievement and mechanical development there is spiritual stagnation and philosophic chaos.

    Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by environmental groups, and the non-fiction wo

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Compare 03/16/2017

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.
  --Peter De Vries, editor, novelist (1910-1993)

(34:7.8) Having started out on the way of life everlasting, having accepted the assignment and received your orders to advance, do not fear the dangers of human forgetfulness and mortal inconstancy, do not be troubled with doubts of failure or by perplexing confusion, do not falter and question your status and standing, for in every dark hour, at every crossroad in the forward struggle, the Spirit of Truth will always speak, saying, "This is the way."

(111:6.8) It is only natural that mortal man should be harassed by feelings of insecurity as he views himself inextricably bound to nature while he possesses spiritual powers wholly transcendent to all things temporal and finite. Only religious confidence—living faith—can sustain man amid such difficult and perplexing problems.

(160:1.8) Only honest and brave individuals are able to follow valiantly through the perplexing and confusing maze of living to where the logic of a fearless mind may lead.

    Peter De Vries was an American editor and novelist known for his satiric wit. He has been described by the philosopher Daniel Dennett as "probably the funniest writer on religion ever".
    De Vries was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1910. He was educated in Dutch Christian Reformed Church schools, graduating from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1931. He also studied at Northwestern University. He supported himself with a number of different jobs, including those of vending machine operator, toffee-apple salesman, radio actor in the 1930s, and editor for Poetry magazine from 1938 to 1944. During World War II De Vries served in the U.S. Marines, attaining the rank of Captain and was seconded to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Very little is known about his time in the military or with that secret organization, the predecessor to the CIA.
    He joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine at the insistence of James Thurber and worked there from 1944 to 1987, writing stories and touching up cartoon captions. A prolific writer, De Vries wrote short stories, reviews, poetry, essays, a play, novellas, and twenty-three novels. Films made from De Vries's novels include The Tunnel of Love (1958), which also was a successful Broadway play; How Do I Love Thee? (1970, based on Let Me Count the Ways); Pete 'n' Tillie (1972, based on Witch’s Milk); and Reuben, Reuben (1970), which also inspired a Broadway play, Spofford. Earlier, in 1952, De Vries also contributed to the writing of the Broadway revue New Faces of 1952. Although he enjoyed success for five decades, all his novels were out of print by the time of his death.
    James Bratt describes De Vries as "a secular Jeremiah, a renegade CRC missionary to the smart set."

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Compare 03/13/2017

We're here to put a dent in the universe.
  --Steve Jobs, entrepreneur and inventor (1955-2011)

(117:4.10) The great challenge that has been given to mortal man is this: Will you decide to personalize the experiencible value meanings of the cosmos into your own evolving selfhood? or by rejecting survival, will you allow these secrets of Supremacy to lie dormant, awaiting the action of another creature at some other time who will in his way attempt a creature contribution to the evolution of the finite God? But that will be his contribution to the Supreme, not yours.

    Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs was an American entrepreneur, businessman, inventor, and industrial designer. He was the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of Apple Inc.; CEO and majority shareholder of Pixar; a member of The Walt Disney Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar; and founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT. Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are widely recognized as pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.
    Jobs was born in San Francisco and adopted at birth; he was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 1960s. Jobs briefly attended Reed College in 1972 before dropping out. He then decided to travel through India in 1974 seeking enlightenment and studying Zen Buddhism. Jobs's declassified FBI report stated that an acquaintance knew that Jobs had used the illegal drugs marijuana and LSD while he was in college. Jobs once told a reporter that taking LSD was "one of the two or three most important things" he did in his life.
    Jobs and Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1976 to sell Wozniak's Apple I personal computer. The visionaries gained fame and wealth a year later for the Apple II, one of the first highly successful mass-produced personal computers. In 1979, after a tour of PARC, Jobs saw the commercial potential of the Xerox Alto, which was mouse-driven and had a graphical user interface (GUI). This led to development of the unsuccessful Apple Lisa in 1983, followed by the breakthrough Macintosh in 1984. In addition to being the first mass-produced computer with a GUI, the Macintosh introduced the sudden rise of the desktop publishing industry in 1985 with the addition of the Apple LaserWriter, the first laser printer to feature vector graphics. Following a long power struggle, Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985.
    After leaving Apple, Jobs took a few of its members with him to found NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in state-of-the-art computers for higher-education and business markets. In addition, Jobs helped to initiate the development of the visual effects industry when he funded the spinout of the computer graphics division of George Lucas's Lucasfilm in 1986. The new company, Pixar, would eventually produce the first fully computer-animated film, Toy Story—an event made possible in part because of Jobs's financial support.
    In 1997, Apple merged with NeXT. Within a few months of the merger, Jobs became CEO of his former company, reviving Apple at the verge of bankruptcy. Beginning in 1997 with the "Think different" advertising campaign, Jobs worked closely with designer Jonathan Ive to develop a line of products that would have larger cultural ramifications: the iMac, iTunes and iTunes Store, Apple Store, iPod, iPhone, App Store, and the iPad. Mac OS was also revamped into OS X (renamed “macOS” in 2016), based on NeXT's NeXTSTEP platform.
    Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor in 2003 and died on October 5, 2011 of respiratory arrest related to the tumor.

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Compare 03/06/2017

Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.
  --Carl Sagan, astronomer and author (1934-1996)

(118:8.6) The slowness of evolution, of human cultural progress, testifies to the effectiveness of that brake—material inertia—which so efficiently operates to retard dangerous velocities of progress. Thus does time itself cushion and distribute the otherwise lethal results of premature escape from the next-encompassing barriers to human action. For when culture advances overfast, when material achievement outruns the evolution of worship-wisdom, then does civilization contain within itself the seeds of retrogression; and unless buttressed by the swift augmentation of experiential wisdom, such human societies will recede from high but premature levels of attainment, and the "dark ages" of the interregnum of wisdom will bear witness to the inexorable restoration of the imbalance between self-liberty and self-control.

    Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. He is best known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.
    Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of Eden, Broca's Brain and Pale Blue Dot, and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos has been seen by at least 500 million people across 60 different countries. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items, are archived at The Library of Congress.
    Sagan always advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.

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