Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday, May 29, 2016

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...

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sunday, June 01, 2014


And any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that cripple the souls—the economic conditions that stagnate the soul and the city governments that may damn the soul—is a dry, dead, do-nothing religion in need of new blood. 

(Dr. Martin Luther King, 27 August 1967)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Curious Find

I had this link in my religion "to post" file and have no idea why. Perhaps it had something to do with people thinking that Paul is near to the same level as Jesus. A curious read nonetheless, especially the last line...

Considering how the quote in all its variants has been used primarily to ridicule the backwardness of unnamed Christians (a farmer, a pious deacon, and so forth) wary of new approaches to the Bible, I highly doubt Ma Ferguson ever said it — or if she did, she probably would have said it in self-effacing jest. My guess is that this was a free-floating bit of preacher humor that unfairly got attached to Ma Ferguson, much as Winston Churchill attracts various apocryphal witticisms.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Are You Smarter Than An Atheist?

Take the quiz and find out!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What? You mean there isn't a War on Christmas?!!?


Friday, December 06, 2013

A Very Overheated Religious War

The situation in the Central African Republic is simply terrible. Roving gangs of Christian extremists in the capital of Bangui have been targeting Muslim neighborhoods and wantonly killing people in the name of their God for retribution against Muslims gangs that have done the same. I'm not sure what God they worship but it certainly isn't the Christian one. Thou shall not kill, remember?

French troops are arriving in the coming days to hopefully keep the peace. They are also sending air support to hopefully quell any future uprisings. AP is reporting that the French are reluctantly going in which strikes me as complete bullshit as they are partly responsible for the situation on the ground. The CAR has never gotten over the Scramble for Africa. French meddling in the region created the power struggles that we see today. So, this is largely blowback from colonization over a century ago.

It's going to take a lot more than 1200 troops to stop what is now clearly genocide. The United Nations needs to have a robust and permanent presence there and the French need to invest far more resources (especially financial) than they are now. It's very quickly becoming too late and far too many people have died.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Opening Minds

Reverend Jim directed me to this truly magnificent piece over at

Yet in many ways, a version of that conversation is taking place today in the West. There are those who side with Paley against Darwin: Life is designed, and therefore did not evolve. There are those who side with Darwin against Paley: Life evolved, and therefore is not designed. There are some for whom Darwin rules out Milton: Animals and humans have always died, so there was no Eden, no Adam, no Eve, and no fall. Then there are those for whom Milton rules out Darwin: Yes, there was, so no, they haven't. 

Still others agree with Darwin and Paley, but not Milton: Evolution is designed by God, but a literal fall never happened. Some even agree with Darwin and Milton but not Paley: Evolution happened, and a literal fall happened, but the design argument is just a God-of-the-gaps thing, and we shouldn't use it. And many proponents of each view get rather angry with people who hold a different one. It's all very confusing. 

To make a complicated situation worse, there is a tiny minority of oddballs who think all three of them were essentially right, and who believe in the fall of Adam and Eve, the argument from design, and Darwinian evolution. Oddballs like me.

Is this an indication that some minds are opening? I hope so!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Demons in St. Louis

It's hard to believe that my point of origin in this country had one of the most famous exorcisms in history. Apparently, people are still talking about it.

One man described living near the suburban St. Louis home where the 13-year-old boy arrived in the winter of 1949 (his Lutheran mother was a St. Louis native who married a Catholic). Another said she was a distant cousin of Father William Bowdern, who led the exorcism ritual after consulting with the archbishop of St. Louis but remained publicly silent about his experiences — though he did tell Allen it was "the real thing.

I've heard the stories myself. My grandparents were in their 30s with two little girls in West County when it all happened. Everyone was talking about it and everyone believed it. Father William Bowdern, who performed the exorcism, was viewed as a savior to the community for many years.

He drove the devil out of the Gateway to the West!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Religious Bigotry Is Not Freedom

I've been putting up quotes from our founding fathers over the last couple of weeks to illustrate that they did not, in fact, believe that it was OK to be a religious bigot. Having religious freedom does not mean you also get to impede the rights of other people. Essentially, this is what the believers of Republican Jesus think is OK as they happily play the victim card, doing the very same thing they supposedly hate (not to mention employing the fallacies of misleading vividness and appeal to fear).

Yet this recent piece over at HuffPo shows that the atheists out there also get it wrong. The founding fathers were not atheists. They very much believed in God, the grand architect of the universe, and drew much of their inspiration for the core philosophy of this country from John Locke. Locke's Second Treatise of Government was the primary source from which Jefferson wrote The Declaration of Independence. It stated that individuals are born with the rights of life, liberty and property that come directly from our Creator. Jefferson changed "property" to "pursuit of happiness" but the spirit is still the same. Our freedom comes from God and atheists don't believe in God. So where does freedom come from in their eyes? Perhaps my atheist commenters can answer that question.

The quotes that I have been putting up illustrate this core belief. The people that believe in Republican Jesus have always had trouble understanding nuance (you are either with us or agin us!) so it's very likely that they would disagree with Lockian thought which holds that there is no such thing as original sin, for example. People are born as blank slates given only the rights I listed above. How they live their lives after that comes the choices they make with that freedom. Because of this, Locke was often accused of not being a "true Christian"...just like yours truly.

Yet he was clearly a true Christian because he loathed atheism and warned repeatedly that it could lead to chaos. In many ways, I agree with this philosophy and so did the founding fathers. The morality of Christ is what we base our laws upon in America. That doesn't necessarily makes us a Christian nation as many other religions have this same morality. Locke truly believed that reason and Christianity were intertwined and that fundamental human equality arose from this combination. Since all humans were created free, governments need the consent of the governed to make sure that everyone is treated equally under the law. In short, practicing religious bigotry is not freedom. No one has the right to treat people differently because their religion tell them it's ok. Claiming victimhood, as a few jack wagons have done who are refusing to serve gay people at their place of business, is yet another nauseating example of this. The people who are supportive of such folks have yet to tell me where the line is drawn. Would they be allowed to not serve women who were not submissive to their husbands as the Bible says? Or not serve black people because of racial purity beliefs? As of today, all I hear are crickets on these questions. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.

So, the quotes that I am putting from our founding fathers are examples of how religious zealots should never be allowed to hijack our government and curtail our freedom that comes directly from God. My beliefs about God coincide with those prevalent at the height of the Age of Enlightenment. The thinkers of the that time, many of whom were our founding fathers, scoffed at both religious zealots and atheists in the same breath. So do I. Our founding fathers sought to protect religion from government, no doubt a large problem as divine right of kings thinking was still quite prevalent at the time. God and Jesus were for everyone, not just those in the aristocracy. No one was closer to God than anyone else...just as the Bible says. That includes believers in Republican Jesus.

Isn't it ironic, though, that with the American Taliban running around, we now have to protect government from religion?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Limited God

Recently, I have realized that my non belief in Republican Jesus is too simple a way to characterize my distaste for the beliefs of most conservative Christians. Over the last couple of weeks, I've thought about how to expand my critique of their child like view of the Bible and have come to the conclusion that they start from a point of a very limited God.

For them, it's all about being naughty and hoping that the authority will forgive them. They are incredibly vain in assuming that we, as human beings, are the most important things in God's universe (especially our sexual habits which I will never understand as the Bible rarely talks about sex). One of my recent posts shows that if look at the percentage of time man has been on the earth as a part of the age of the earth...well...we really aren't all that important. Now, I know the Bible says we are but that was written by men so, honestly, would we expect anything less than such vanity?

Compare the small percentage of time man has been on the earth to to the age of the universe and we seem even less significant which is astounding. This general theme is explored in the wonderful Terrence Malick film entitled The Tree of Life. If you haven't seen this film, I highly recommend it. Here is the trailer.

All of this makes me ask the significant are we to God? Given how long the universe has been big it it's very likely that there is plenty of life out there we have not yet long the earth has been big it there is life on this planet we have not yet discovered...where do we fit in? God obviously has a wide variety and high number of other things with which to handle. Of course, it's God so H/She can deal with it:)

Generally speaking, starting with faith is good idea. My faith tells me that the most important thing we can do is love one another as we would want to be loved. We can care for each other and help out the poor and the sick, individually and collectively, privately or publicly. Doing His works and greater than these...

We don't do a very good job with the Golden Rule these days but we are better than we used to be. In some ways, we are ready to take the next step in human evolution and that's just what I think God wants us to do. We are very close to technology extending life indefinitely. Think of what it's like to be a parent. You want your children to do better than you did in every aspect of life (money, friendship, love, school, career). God wants the same thing for us. Science is indeed a part of God's creation so we need to take that as far as we can. Why limit ourselves/ Again, doing His works and greater than these...

I think our culture is on the cusp of a shift. It's time to shrug off thousand year old perceptions of God and not be content with having such a simple approach to our creator. The people that believe in Republican Jesus have a hostile fear of progress in just about every aspect of our society and that needs to left behind in history's dustbin along with the heavenly sphere, flat earth, and leech bleed believers.

We are clearly a small part of God's vision and we need to imagine how we, his children, might grow to a bigger role. Again, isn't what all parents want of their offspring?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Voices in My Head

Evidence the illogic, hypocrisy, and coercion of the state's secular "neutrality." Western democracies continue to head towards demanding ultimate allegiance to the state. Any who refuse will be eventually treated as the enemies of peace and unity--(Reverend Jim, Facebook friend).

Man, we still have a long way to go in this country...

Monday, September 09, 2013

Sunday, September 08, 2013