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Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christianity. Show all posts

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Build A Longer Table


Sunday, February 05, 2017

Friday, December 25, 2015

A Message of Peace

Reprinted in its entirety...

To our Christian brothers and sisters:
Out of our shared love for the Messiah, Jesus, Son of Mary, Peace Be Upon Him, we greet you with peace and joy during your celebration of his life.
The Bible refers to him as the Messiah and describes the annunciation, his miraculous birth and his numerous miracles.
The Qur’an refers to him as the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary. It teaches about his miraculous birth and how his mother Mary was honored above all the worlds. Muslims are instructed to invoke peace upon him whenever his name is mentioned.
The Qur’an narrates the story of the angel who visited Mary, saying “O Mary, indeed God has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of all the worlds.” (Qur’an 3:42)
The angel said, “O Mary, indeed God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary. He will be honored in this world and the Hereafter and he will be among those closest to God. He will speak to the people in the cradle and in maturity and he will be of the righteous.” (Qur’an 3:44-45)
She said, “My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?” The angel said, “Such is God; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” (3:47)
The Qur’an describes how the baby Jesus, immediately upon birth, looked up to his mother and comforted her: “Do not be sad; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream. And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates. So eat and drink and be contented.” (Qur’an 19:24-26)
The Qur’an describes many instances in the life of Jesus: how he preached the worship of God and compassion to people, how he healed the leper, how he healed the blind, and even how he brought the dead back to life.
Our two religions, Christianity and Islam, which both profess love and reverence for Jesus as a central figure in each of our religions, constitute over half of the population of the world.
Mercy and compassion, charity and love are the divine attributes that the Christmas season evokes among Christians. A mother’s devotion, a child’s love, and the promise of God’s mercy and grace in the coming of Jesus to us are sentiments that Muslims can share and appreciate.
In the Bible, we are told that Jesus, in response to a question about the most important commandment, is said to have answered: “You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is similar. You should love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40) Jesus added that those whose hearts are filled with such love of God and neighbor live not far from the kingdom of God. (Mark 12:34)
Similarly, the Qur’an teaches us that to “worship God being sincere to Him in faith, to incline towards the truth, to establish prayer and to give alms to the poor is the essence of the religion.” (Qur’an 98:5) “ … And you should forgive and overlook: Do you not like God to forgive you? And God is The Merciful Forgiving.”  (Qur’an 24:22)
The Prophet Mohammad, Peace Be Upon Him, taught: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
In the words of St. Paul, let us put on the armor of light which is the teaching of God that we are to love one another that we might together better confront the dark that lies within some human hearts which are far from God. (Romans 13:12)
As Jesus taught so movingly, let our lights so shine together before all people that they may see our good works which glorify our God in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Jesus taught us that we should not live by bread alone but by every word of God. (Matthew 4:4)
Thus, we applaud the good hearts and loving deeds seeking to please God in His mercy and compassion that are befitting for us not only during this Christmas season but also every day of every year. Let all people, Christians and Muslims, who love Jesus, peace be upon him, come together to practice what he preached. Let peace and goodwill spread among us all.
We invite all our Muslim brothers and sisters of goodwill to join us in this open letter at this Christmas season and throughout the year as peace and joy, love of God and neighbor, are to be with us always.
This article was submitted by Imam Asad Zaman, Muslim American Society of Minnesota; Dr. Odeh Muhawesh, Imam Hussain Islamic Center; Shaykha Tamara Gray, Rabata/Daybreak Bookstore; Dr. Tamim Saidi, Masjid Al Kareem; Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota; Dr. Shah Khan, Islamic Center of Minnesota; Dr. Onder Uluyol, Islamic Resource Group; Zafar Siddiqui, Al Amal School; Imam Sharif Mohamed, Islamic Civic Society of America — Masjid Dar Al-Hijrah, and Owais Bayunus, Islamic Center of Minnesota.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

From The Qu'ran?

This video made me laugh my ass right off of my socks...

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Good Sunday Words

"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class. We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all. And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: We will meet one another there." 

  ---Pope Francis, 22 May 2013

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Lots of Reflection

My question on Quora, How exactly are Christians under attack in the United States?,  has now received nearly 20,000 views. There have really been some great answers and the top one has this great line in it.

In essence, for the first time in living memory Christians are being called out on the ways they've accrued, maintained, and abused privilege in this country. The vast majority are taking this in a remarkably Christ-like way, but the ones making this claim (oh no! we're being persecuted!) are still fighting to restore their dominance.

Right. It's not that they are being persecuted. It's that they are not allowed to be bigoted assholes anymore and that pisses them off. In fact, this comment can be extended to all of conservative land. It's not that the media is liberal. It's that they are telling the truth about conservative BS. It's not that fact checkers are biased. They are calling conservatives on their bullshit and people are finally listening.

Check out this answer.

The comment thread is most illuminating. Here is my favorite.

Your sect may claim that Jesus had something to do with the harsh rules of the Old Testament, but you seem to cherry-pick which rules to keep and which to throw away. You have no evidence that your interpretation of the Bible is accurate or that any deity actually exists. You are not stating the truth. You are preaching the doctrines of your sect, doctrines that are without supporting evidence. Other Christian denominations reject what you teach.

Yep.

Zoinks! Another "fake" Christian!!! Seems like this is becoming a trend. Gee, I wonder why...:)


Sunday, June 07, 2015

Christians Under Attack?




I think there are several reasons why conservatives like to play the victim as detailed here by Bill Maher. The main one is they generate support by fomenting anger, hate and fear. What better way to do it then the garbage Bill points out?

'Tis a bizarre world in which they live. I'm very, very glad I don't go through life constantly feeling persecuted and under attack. Oh well...at least they have guns to fight off the imaginary monsters:)

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Founding Fathers A Go Go

There have been some pretty strange assertions over the past couple of years about our founding fathers. Politifact has a piece up which collects some of them and rates them for their accuracy. Here is a classic:

"By the word religion in the First Amendment, the founders meant Christianity." Bryan Fischer, Tuesday, December 10th, 2013.

Uh, no they did not.

I will always be amazed at the fervor on display by conservatives in regards to the founding fathers. They feel as though they have some sort of deep and special connection with them. More troubling is their invention (quite literally out of their ass) of what the founding fathers really believed.

Do they think that people aren't capable of picking up a book and verifying their assertions?


Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Sunday Reflection


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Jesus Was Married

A fragment of an ancient Egyptian papyrus known as the "Gospel of Jesus's Wife," unveiled in 2012, shows no evidence of being a modern forgery, as some critics had charged, according to an article published in the Harvard Theological ReviewCertainly, this will cause millions of bowels to be blown around our nation and indeed the world but I don't see how this changes anything.

Does it make Him less of the Son of God if He was married? No. He was a rabbi and there were no priests during that time that took vows of celibacy. He and His wife would stand as shining examples of a loving, committed relationship that should be emulated. After all, He spoke frequently of the evil of adultery and how couples should stay committed to one another. It seems now that He not only talked the talk but walked the walk and that illustrates just how perfect and deep his integrity ran.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Signs

My family recently watched the M. Night Shyamalan film, Signs. The film tells the story of an alien invasion and how one rural family copes with the incursion. Really, though, it's about one man's journey back to his faith after his wife is killed in a horrific car accident. It's about the signs that God gives us to show us that He exists and loves us.

I have seen the film many times and love it more with each viewing. I'm not a knee jerk M. Night hater like the Internet has decided must be the case if you are to be "cool" (whatever the fuck that means). This recent viewing made me think about my nearly 35 year friendship with John Waxey, the all too infrequent poster here at Markadelphia. I met John the first day of school in 7th grade and we have been best friends every since. We talk at least once a week and hang out at his cottage in Wisconsin with our families in the summer. We try to see at least two bands a year live either here or in Madison where he lives.

In addition to being the owner of a private manufacturing firm in Wisconsin, John is also an archaeologist so his views on God are somewhere between atheism and agnosticism. He does not believe in the Christian God nor does he believe that Jesus was the Son of God. He wonders if Jesus ever existed. Yet, he is morally more Christian than most Christians I know. He lives by Jesus' commandment to love one another, treating everyone with more kindness than I certainly have ever done. He is faithfully devoted to his wife of 20 years and their three children. He has never killed anyone, stolen anything or lied in his entire life.

Despite his secular approach to life, I believe God sent him to me for a reason. It was a sign of His love for the people of this earth. Our friendship of over three decades is proof positive that not only His existence but of Christ's core command that we love one another. He usually rolls his eyes when I relate this to him (and I do frequently) and replies by saying that he does try to follow the moral teachings of Jesus but just can't quite believe the spiritual side of it. I remind him that it's all connected and then we invariably have one of our long and most cherished conversations about the meaning of it all.

Isn't it ironic that a sign for me of God's love is an atheist? He does indeed work in mysterious ways!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Interesting Thread

Check out this thread over at the Catholic answers forum. Look familiar?

And this was 9 years ago!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Good Words

It is not fair to expect secular journalists to be biblical scholars, nor should it be anticipated that they would spend the necessary time to research the issue. It is for that reason that they tend to accept uncritically the oft-repeated Evangelical Protestant and Conservative Roman Catholic definitions that the Bible is anti-gay. If these people were honest, they would have to admit that the Bible is also pro-slavery and anti-women. 

There is also a widely accepted mentality that if the Bible is opposed, the idea must be wrong. That is little more than nonsensical fundamentalism. The rise of democracy was contrary to the "clear teaching of the Bible," as the debate over the forced signing of the Magna Carta by King John of England in 1215 revealed. The Bible was quoted to prove that Galileo was wrong; that Darwin was wrong; that Freud was wrong; that allowing women to be educated, to vote, to enter the professions and to be ordained was wrong. So the fact that the Bible is quoted to prove that homosexuality is evil and to be condemned is hardly a strong argument, given the history of how many times the Bible has been wrong. I believe that most bishops know this but the Episcopal Church has some fundamentalist bishops and a few who are "fellow travelers" with fundamentalists. 

The Bible was written between the years 1000 B.C.E. and 135 C.E. Our knowledge of almost everything has increased exponentially since that time. It is the height of ignorance to continue using the Bible as an encyclopedia of knowledge to keep dying prejudices intact. The media seems to cooperate in perpetuating that long ago abandoned biblical attitude. 

That is not surprising since the religious people keep quoting it to justify their continued state of unenlightenment. That attitude is hardly worthy of the time it takes to engage it. I do not debate with members of the flat earth society either. Prejudices all die. The first sign that death is imminent comes when the prejudice is debated publicly.  ---Bishop John Shelby Spong

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Whither the Old Testament

Are we, as Christians, bound by Old Testament law? Conservative Christians sure like to think we are. This is largely because they enjoy the whole "sinners in the hands of an angry god" meme as it frightens them into abstaining from doing "naughty" things. But most Christians say that we aren't completely bound by them anymore and I am one of them. Of course, the Bible says two different things so it's up to each one of us to take the time to study the material and context of what is being said. This article breaks it down quite nicely.

Many traditional Christians have the view that only parts are applicable, many Protestants have the view that none is applicable, dual-covenant theologians have the view that only Noahide Laws apply to Gentiles, and a minority have the view that all are still applicable to believers in Jesus and the New Covenant.

The entire link identifies and describes the various views and has sublinks with well sourced material on the study of the meaning of the passages listed above. Take some time to read through all of it. It becomes clear rather quickly that the people who believe that all of the OT is still applicable are very much in the minority.

I fall into the category of only parts of the Old Covenant are applicable although it's interesting to note that there are many who believe none are. So, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Land Covenant, and the Davidic Covenant are out. An eye for an eye is now gone, as Christ directs in Matthew 5. All of the ceremonial laws are no longer applicable either.

But what about sin? The Old Testament clearly states that God punishes sinners. But with the New Covenant of Jesus, that is longer true. Take note of the verses used in this link. Look familiar?:)

Indeed, the father of Protestantism understood this very well. Martin Luther explained this as Justification by Faith. He wrote “Faith alone is the saving and efficacious use of the word of God.” He then looked to Romans Chapter 10, verse 9 as being absolutely fundamental for believers in Christianity. The passage states, “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” This was his justification of faith. One did not need to pay a penance for sins, whether through confession or indulgences, to get into heaven (recall that indulgences, or the paying of money or service to the church, was one of his major gripes with Catholicism). One simply needed to believe that Christ was God and that he was resurrected and then they would be saved. Luther explained justification this way in his Smalcald Articles:

The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24-25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23-25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law, or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us...Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31).

I bolded the parts that Christian conservatives seem to have trouble understanding in terms of sin, faith and confession. In framing the argument regarding indulgences in this way, Luther was able to remove the people that had inserted themselves between the common man and the Lord: the papacy. Interestingly, Christian conservatives have assumed the role of Pope these days, saying that they and only they are interpreting the Bible correctly. Luther had something to say about them as well.

…Every baptized Christian is a priest already, not by appointment or ordination from the Pope or any other man, but because Christ Himself has begotten him as a priest…in baptism.

What this means is that every man who is baptized and accepts Christ is no less a valid interpreter of the Bible than anyone else. All that is needed are the Five Solas. This launched a larger critique on the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church. In On Papal Power, Luther wrote “when the attempt is made to reprove them with the Scriptures, they raise the objection that only the pope may interpret the scriptures”  In the early 16th century, the pope had the final say on exactly what was meant by the scriptures, not Luther and certainly not the common man. Luther saw this, along with the authority to issue decrees and convening councils as theft, writing, “they have cunningly stolen our three rods from us, that they may go unpunished”

Further, Luther abhorred the decadence of the church, stating that they were hiding behind self created authority “so that they can practice all the knavery and wickedness which we see today” Luther’s teachings were a direct threat to Rome. If people simply looked to the Bible and got their faith “free” from God, with no intermediaries, how long would it take for the power of the papacy to erode? The flow of financial rewards to the church would ebb as well. Luther also challenged church authorities by asserting that there was no hierarchy leading up to God. All men were priests and equal in the eyes of God.

Thus, members of the clergy should not have special accommodations or privileges. Luther again...

Every baptized Christian is a priest already, not by appointment or ordination from the Pope or any other man, but because Christ Himself has begotten him as a priest…in baptism. (But) the preaching office is no more than a public service which happens to be conferred on someone by the entire congregation all the members of which are priests. 

The office of the priest is one that is democratically elected by all of the people, not by papal order. He is no more closer to God than anyone else. This is how Luther’s argument became a much broader threat to church leaders and led to deep erosion with them as well as the clergy. He laid the foundation for Protestantism which, at its core, rejects intermediaries or interpreters of what the Bible "really means."

If, at this point, Luther sounds very New Testament heavy, it's because he is. Recall the New Covenant

The Christian view of the New Covenant is a new relationship between God and humans mediated by Jesus which necessarily includes all people,both Jews and Gentiles, upon sincere declaration that one believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and God. The New Covenant also breaks the generational curse of the original sin on all children of Adam if they believe in Jesus Christ, after people are judged for their own sins, which is expected to happen with the second arrival of Jesus Christ. Thus as the Apostle Paul advises that the Mosaic Covenant of Sinai does not in itself prevent Jews from sinning and dying and is not given to Gentiles at all (only the Noahic covenant is unique in applying to all humanity), Christians believe the New Covenant ends the original sin and death for everyone who becomes a Christian and cannot simply be a renewal of the Mosaic Covenant since it seemingly accomplishes new things. 

New things indeed. This would be where the grace part comes into play. There was no grace in the OT but now there is with the sacrifice of Jesus.

So, we aren't really bound by parts of the Old Testament any longer. There are no sinners in the hands of an angry god. Since this is the case, it puts into question many OT ideas (see: homosexuality, noun, not mentioned in the Ten Commandments or by Jesus at all) and, thus, it follows logically that some of it is just wrong. As a people, we evolved culturally over the time period between the OT and the NT and grew spiritually.

Recall that Jesus said, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." This last one is His New Commandment, detailed in John 13: 33-35.

Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Seems pretty straight forward to me.

The Atheist and The Conservative Christian

In the space of about a week, I had an atheist and a conservative Christian tell me that in order to be a "true" Christian, I had to either believe all of the Bible or none of it. At first, this struck me as hilarious considering what polar opposites both of these individuals are. But then it made perfect sense because both of them are conservative which means the world is BLACK or WHITE and NEVER ANYTHING IN BETWEEN! Essentially, this means that they buy in to the myth that you have to believe in Republican Jesus to be a Christian.

The atheist is a buddy of mine with whom I have had many fantastic and sometimes contentious discussions about politics and religion. He is a dyed in the wool libertarian who wants the federal government out of every aspect of people's lives, save for the small, necessary things. He is very anti tax but pro choice, pro legalization of all drugs, doesn't give a shit about gay marriage or people's sex lives and wants the US military (of which he was a member for a few years) out of foreign countries.

The conservative Christian is Reverend Jim's wife, the first great love of my life. I've known her for nearly 30 years and, as she has gotten older, she has become more angry, afraid, and hateful of far too many things that go on in the world. In the course of commenting on my FB wall about the Phil Robertson flap, she said that believes every single thing in the Bible and told me that I have to believe all of it or none of it. When I posited that she does not believe every single thing in the Bible by asking her if she was subservient to her husband, she told me that the Bible told her to be submissive, not subservient, and then she went on to explain (to the horror of many of female friends) how she was just that. I politely informed her that being submissive and being subservient was the same thing and then went on to ask her she thought it was OK to sell her children into slavery. Or stone sinners. She stomped off the thread of the thread after that saying I was being silly so I guess she doesn't believe everything in the Bible.

A few days later, my atheist buddy said the same thing to me as did Reverend Jim's wife. "You aren't a Christian unless you believe all of the Bible," he declared.

"But there are parts that completely contradict each other so that's impossible," I replied.

"Exactly!" he declared. "So why bother believing in any of it?"

My buddy is clearly a baby and bathwater sort of fellow! So, I spend a few days lamenting both of their attitudes. All or nothing...what a crappy way to live your life.

But then I thought about the thirty verses of the Bible which state that women should be submissive to their husbands. These are great examples of how our society has moved past this male dominated view of sexual roles. It simply does not apply to today. Reverend Jim's wife represents a very small part of the Christian community in terms of this belief. Even the most hard core conservative Christians don't treat women the way the Bible allows. Are these millions of women "fake" Christians? Obviously not. Even by her own standards, she is as well.

Homosexuality, mentioned far less than wives being submissive to their husbands, is another example of how our culture has changed. The people of that time viewed it as taboo and learned behavior. Today, we can see that people are born that way and the question we need to ask ourselves is this: if God is so against homosexuals, why does S/He keep making them?

Getting back to my atheist buddy, it's ironic that he is an atheist because he generally lives by Christian principles. He does unto others, is generally peaceful, follows many of Christ's teachings, and actually looks like the westernized image of Jesus, complete with long flowing locks of hair! On a whim, he got ordained as a minister after answering an ad in the back of Rolling Stone. So, there is some spiritual hope for him. Whether he wants to admit it or not, Christianity has had a profound effect on his life. The basis for it is still the bedrock of our society with the New Commandment being something we all try still try to achieve. Why would you want to throw out the notion of loving one another just because of the logical contradictions that occur when cultures evolve?

Now I see the true irony of each of their statements. Neither one of them live up to their self imposed rigidity. She is less of a Christian then she believes and he is more of one. Perhaps they are pissed at themselves for compromising their ideals. After all, the Bible says we shouldn't believe everything.

Proverbs 14:15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Proverbs 26:25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. 

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Quite Popular

Pope Francis is quite popular, as in, sky high approval ratings. A whopping 88 percent of American Catholics highly approve of Pope Francis. Among the American people as a whole, his approval rating stands at an incredible 75 percent.

So even though conservatives have made the pontiff the newest target of their hatred, Americans overwhelmingly side with him. This suggests that even many conservatives love the Pope despite what right-wing leaders think. After all, it’s unlikely that these numbers are composed only of those who lean liberal.

Man, that's a whole lot of "fake" Christians!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

No Need To Confess

Paul Ellis has a great essay on why there is no need to confess your sins in order to be saved. He lists 12 main reasons and each one is well sourced with Biblical verse. Make sure you read the sub links to each one as well.

Nikto had a comment recently that I wanted to bring out front in its entirety as it relates to this post. He was replying to a comment that Not My Name made regarding a verse from the Bible.

Your description of that passage is exactly why it makes little sense to dwell on every little nuance in the bible. It doesn't appear to have been written down until centuries after the events occurred. There were numerous copies that disagree with each other. Councils like that in Nicaea picked and chose which books to include in or exclude from the bible, which passages in those books to include or exclude. They made those decisions for political and social reasons as much as theological ones. 

In this day and age most every passage is interpreted differently by one Christian sect or the other, again to suit their particular political or social agenda. The end result is that there is no way for any human alive today to claim to have any knowledge whatsoever what the true word of the lord can possibly be. 

That means that the hundreds of Christian sects claiming to be the sole purveyors of the word of god are misled at best or lying at worst. All of them are guilty of the greatest hubris, thinking that they alone can possibly speak for god. If one sect happens to get everything right, how can we meager humans possibly decide which one that is? 

If it's impossible for us to pick the one true sect of Christianity, what does that say about a god who condemns us to eternal damnation for failing to adhere to a set of rules that he has completely failed to lay out clearly and concisely? The federal government manages to publish a new set of tax forms every year; why can't the creator of the universe be bothered to send down a new set of stone tablets every century or so? 

Any rational person must therefore come to one of two conclusions: either all religion is hogwash, or the exact details and rules are irrelevant. In either case, the only thing we can do is make a good-faith effort to be moral and ethical, and exercise humility. 

Condemning others for failing to abide by your particular set of religious dictates is the height of arrogance. You can pick the bible apart all you want to justify your dogmas, but you have no authority to impose your beliefs on others. If someone tries to do that -- be they Osama bin Laden, Ayatollah Khamenei, Patriarch Kirill 1, David Koresh, Joe Smith, Pat Robertson, or Charles Taze Russell -- you know they're either trying to steal your money or gain political power. 

Interestingly, Pope Francis has in recent days spoken with much less hubris than previous popes. Whether that will result in major changes in the Catholic Church remains to be seen, but it is a hopeful sign.

Yep.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Meaning of the Bible

A reader sent me this link to use as "ammunition" against my regular commenters. I also found this page within the site that illustrates many of the contradictions, by category, contained in the Bible.  My own research has already led me to address many of these concerns for my own journey of faith so there isn't much new here but I wanted to have a thread up on the importance of looking at everything written in the Bible and not just one or two passages.

I'm sure I'll disappoint the reader who sent me this link because I think he was under the impression that I would reject the Bible as a result of all these contradictions. Not gonna happen. But what this site does show is that it's impossible to believe and live by every single word in the Bible without being in dichotomy. It was written by men who were not as advanced as we are on a number of different cultural levels.

So, a thinking person has to recognize what was right for their times and what is right for today...what has been lost in translation from Aramaic to Greek to English and what has not...what was metaphor and hyperbole what is fundamental and basic. Coming to grips with these contradictions is very hard for some Christians. In the final analysis, though, it doesn't matter if you accept Jesus as your savior and do your best to live by His teachings. That's how I can cast many of these contradictions aside. Once you figure out what is backwards thinking and what is forward thinking, it's quite easy to accomplish.

Celebrating his birth tomorrow means being filled with the light of love, peace, and hope and rejecting anger, hate, fear, and guilt.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Amen