Het is vreemd, maar veel christenen menen dat Bijbel en wetenschap natuurlijke vijanden van elkaar zijn. Alles wat wetenschap in feite doet, is echter de wereld om ons heen systematisch beschrijven. Goede wetenschap berust op feiten en doet daar verslag van. Waarom zijn zoveel christenen daar dan bang voor? Vrezen zij dat een al te helder licht op de feiten wellicht zou kunnen aantonen dat hun opvattingen over de uiterste houdbaarheidsdatum heen zijn?
Natuurlijk, er zijn gezaghebbende wetenschappers die hun status misbruiken om hun privé opvattingen over atheïsme gezag te verlenen, zoals er ook theologen zijn die hun gezag als theoloog misbruiken om onverantwoorde uitspraken te doen. Dat
zegt weliswaar veel over de beperkte betrouwbaarheid van mensen, maar nog niets over nut of onnut van wetenschap, of van theologie.
Wat is wetenschap?
Wetenschap beschrijft de werkelijkheid. Je gaat uit van waarnemingen, vaak meetresultaten al hoeft dat niet. Die probeer je te verklaren; dan krijg je een ‘hypothese’. Vervolgens redeneer je: als ik dit doe dan moet er dat gebeuren, en dat ga je dan controleren d.m.v. experimenten. Als het klopt wordt je hypothese een theorie. Die theorie is een mogelijke verklaring/beschrijving van wat je in de natuur waarneemt, en daar mogen geen uitzonderingen op bekend zijn. Het vervelende is alleen dat zo’n uitzondering altijd morgen kan opduiken. Als dat gebeurt moet je je theorie zodanig aanpassen dat die nieuwe waarneming daar ook in past.
Als dat niet lukt, moet je hem weggooien en een andere bedenken. Maar een theorie is altijd gebaseerd op waargenomen feiten. En die zijn in elk geval juist. Alleen de verklaring daarvan zou tekort kunnen schieten. In concreto: dinosaurussen hebben bestaan; de vraag is alleen: hoe zijn we er ooit aangekomen, en hoe zijn we er weer van afgekomen. Dat laatste
is een verklaring, een theorie, waar je over kunt discussiëren. Maar te ontkennen dat die beesten ooit hebben bestaan is niet aan de orde.
Wat is de Bijbel?
Aan de andere kant hebben we de Bijbel, Gods instructieboek aan ons, ons ‘Handboek-soldaat’, dat ons alles vertelt wat we moeten weten om een goed christen te zijn. Zoals dat Handboek-soldaat de dienstplichtige destijds alles vertelde wat hij moest
weten om een goed soldaat te zijn.
Maar de Bijbel vertelt je beslist niet waar de dinosaurus vandaan kwam, of waar hij is gebleven, want dat hoef je als christen niet te weten. Zoals het Handboek-soldaat je niet vertelde wie de Mona Lisa heeft geschilderd, of waar je die nu kunt zien. En zoals de wetenschapper er van uit gaat dat zijn waarnemingen juist zijn – dat zij de feiten zijn waar hij zich op kan baseren – zo gaat de bijbellezer er van uit dat de tekst die hij voor zich heeft juist is, dat die de waarheid is waar hij zich op kan baseren.
Strikt genomen is noch het een noch het ander volledig gegarandeerd. Waarnemingen kunnen achteraf wel eens vals blijken te zijn geweest, en evenzo kan de Bijbeltekst wel eens verkeerd zijn overgeleverd, en wij lezen hem in elk geval altijd in een vertaling!
Maar door de band genomen klopt dat allemaal wel.
Maar zoals feiten op zichzelf geen betekenis hebben, en eerst moeten worden geïnterpreteerd voordat ze iets voor ons betekenen, zo moeten we ook de Bijbeltekst eerst uitleggen voordat die iets voor ons betekent.
En zoals een wetenschappelijke theorie achteraf wel eens onjuist, of op zijn minst onvolledig, kan blijken te zijn, zo hoeft ook een theologische uitleg niet altijd de absolute waarheid te zijn. Anders gezegd: feiten liegen niet, maar wetenschappers soms wel, en die zijn in elk geval niet onfeilbaar. Maar evenzo: Gods woord is weliswaar de waarheid, maar Bijbellezers en Bijbeluitleggers kunnen, al dan niet met de beste bedoelingen, soms heel scheve schaatsen rijden.
Welke raakvlakken zijn er eigenlijk
U vindt een en ander geïllustreerd in het schema. Wetenschap is gebaseerd op waargenomen feiten en christendom op de tekst van de Bijbel.
Die kunnen nooit met elkaar in strijd zijn. Dat kan hooguit met de uitleg van die feiten en teksten, maar hoe groot is die kans? Wetenschap gaat vooral over fysieke zaken, en de Bijbel over geestelijk leven. De meeste ‘conflicten’ ontstaan wanneer christenen in bepaalde teksten een beschrijving gaan lezen van natuurkundige of biologische principes. Zoals de middeleeuwse kerk in de Schrift de bevestiging zag van een wereldbeeld met de aarde als het middelpunt van het heelal. Daar kwamen geleerden als Copernicus en Galileï mee in conflict toen ze beweerden dat de aarde om de zon draaide, in plaats van andersom.
De Italiaans natuurkundige, astronoom, wiskundige en filosoof Galilei en Viviani, 1892, Tito Lessi
Maar de Bijbel gaat niet over de fysieke inrichting van het heelal, die gaat over het feit dat God de aarde heeft geschapen als
geestelijk middelpunt van zijn plan met de mens. Wat hier mis gaat is daarom niet de
interpretatie van bepaalde teksten als zodanig, maar het feit dat de Bijbel wordt gelezen vanuit een totaal verkeerde invalshoek. Waarna die invalshoek vervolgens tot zulke misinterpretaties leidt.
Helaas is die middeleeuwse invalshoek tot ons christelijk erfgoed gaan behoren, zodat dit soort misinterpretaties nog steeds voorkomen. Wanneer de wetenschap dan aantoont dat die niet overeenstemmen met onze waarnemingen, ligt dat echt niet aan die waarnemingen. Ja,
de Bijbel is geïnspireerd, en kan niet fout zijn. Maar onze uitleg van die Bijbel is niet geïnspireerd, en kan er wel degelijk mijlenver naast zitten!
Het schema toont ons dat, en we moeten ons dan steeds afvragen of de interpretatie van de feiten onjuist is, of toch onze uitleg (exegese) van de Bijbel. Maar het schema toont ons ook waar het veel vaker mis gaat: feilbare mensen, aan de ene kant of aan de andere, bouwen op hun begrip van de feiten of van de Bijbeltekst een verdere redenering (bij gebrek aan een betere term heb ik dat maar filosofieën genoemd) die in conflict is met wat we aan de andere kant weten. Maar dat mag je de Bijbel niet verwijten, en evenmin de wetenschap. Dat ligt aan de neiging van mensen die iets willen ‘bewijzen’ om daar hun vakgebied
voor te misbruiken, of dat nu Bijbelexegese is of juist wetenschap.
Maar in feite is het geen van beide, in feite is het in beide gevallen een vorm van bijgeloof. In de komende afleveringen willen we daarom een aantal van dit soort confrontaties wat nader beschouwen.
Whatdoes Donald Trump want for America? His supporters don’t know. His party doesn’t know. Even he doesn’t know.
If there is a political vision underlying Trumpism, however, the person to ask is not Trump. It’s his éminence grise, Stephen K. Bannon, the chief strategist of the Trump administration.
Bannon transcended his working-class Virginia roots with a stint in the Navy and a degree from Harvard Business School, followed by a career as a Goldman Sachs financier. He moved to Los Angeles to invest in media and entertainment for Goldman, before starting his own investment bank specializing in media. Through a combination of luck (a fallen-through deal left him with a stake in a hit show called Seinfeld) and a knack for voicing outrage, Bannon remade himself as a minor luminary within the far edge of right-wing politics, writing and directing a slew of increasingly conservative…
Views which do not fit the ideas of Bannon and his entourage are considered by them from the devil and seen as an attack on the liberty of religion, though it are they who want to muzzle those who have an other opinion than they, and are aiming at restrictions in freedom of thought, freedom of religion, and many other liberties our forefathers fought for.
enemy for Bannon = secularism = responsible for progressively diluting pure Christian ideals with all sorts of modern + postmodern ideologies
White House = Steve Bannon’s >Bannon world view > world is in the midst of an epic battle between good + evil,
force of pure good = Christian civilisation > Christian society = greatest civilisation known to man
At the time of Trump’s unexpected election victory, there was much speculation over who would really run the US Government, given the incoming President’s notorious lack of patience and attention to detail. Now that question has been answered: this White House is Steve Bannon’s.
The one element that unites every executive order and every speech the President has given since assuming office is theBannon world view. So if we are to understand the trajectory of this new American administration, we need to invest some time in trying to understand Bannon, his outlook, and where he plans to take us next.
Having studied radical Islamists for more than a decade, as I started to look into Bannon’s perspective and philosophies I started to…
In the United States we not only see that religious groups become endangered. Also the female person seems to be placed in a secondary role. We see the growing tendency by several American citizens to consider the female being as second-class citizen whose place belongs in the kitchen and by her kids. the woman according several man should be subject to a strict social hierarchy. This hierarchy can be observed in every stripe of fundamentalism, from Islamic fundamentalism to Christian fundamentalism and it goes like this:
God/Jesus is the head of the man
Man is the head of the woman, subject only to God
Woman is subjugated to a status which is wholly reliant on having “faith” that her husband will do the right thing because he is specially influenced by God by special decree of the Bible.
Fundamentalist website after website counsels women that if her husband does wrong that the only thing she can do is pray that God will guide him to a different decision, that she is not to disagree with him publicly (or in front of children). She is free (sometimes) to give an opinion, but the ultimate decision is the man’s, because he has special dispensation by God to be in that position. The equal status of women is a threat to this hierarchy, and thus, a threat to God.
According to several writers on the net there is “Anti-intellectualism” at the base of the extremist behaviour of so many evangelicals and for others it is a matter to have everything in control. In order of occupancy of the Oval Office, there is an inverse relationship between the number of Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist presidents of the United States and the percentage of each of those denominations in the broader population. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, there are no evangelicals among the current justices of the Supreme Court!
In fact, there aren’t even any Protestants these days!
Dakota O’Leary believes this is why America is seeing so many attacks on women, from trying to pass laws that undermine Roe v. Wade (personhood laws, restrictions on abortions, waiting periods, attempts to push laws to punish abortion doctors, restrictions on being able to get birth control, etc), to going to the trouble of redefining rape as being the woman’s fault, even part of God’s plan, while pushing to give rapists parental rights, to the unfortunate proclamations of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, et. The present president of America even boasted that girls love it to receive the male’s attention and being the prey man has to conquer. Nobody called yet to bring him before court for molesting women, though several women came forward with their story and some even with proof what this man had done to them in the past. To no avail…. He seems to be untouchable.
Many (conservative and evangelical) Americans are convinced that women dress in such a way they demand to be played at and to be raped and that babies born of rape are either a penalty for their attitude or are a blessing from God, (that the female body shuts down its reproductive system when a woman is being raped, etc.).
Controlling women’s bodies while at the same time denouncing “big government” is the popular meme of the fundamentalist mind. Women are simply not meant to destroy that Godly hierarchy set up by the Bible, and in their minds if you can control women, you’ve got half the populace conquered for God.
Fundamentalist anti-intellectualism often manifests itself in a sort of “pseudo-intellectualism” by which those with little or no educational background read a few articles or watch a few videos about a particular subject (usually published by their own religious compatriots, particularly about what a scientific theory is and evolution), and consider themselves “educated” because what they read agreed with their worldview, or, if being highly educated, usually get that education in a fundamentalist educational setting. They even go so far to say that scientists forge or falsify research to mislead pepole and to bring them away from God’s Word. They will then take that “evidence” and proceed to use it against empirical evidence that directly contests and even eviscerates the arguments they have carefully set up around what they have read or seen, and the argument invariably ends with ad hominem attacks against reason, facts, and education — because they have no actual evidence outside of the Bible to use to “win” the argument. A favourite tactic is to call the opposition an “atheist” (or a “liberal”) if someone disagrees with their worldview.
Richard John Santorum
By the extremist evangelicals we also may see that education is then “demonized” as being a covert movement to “indoctrinate” the masses in the secular worldview, and thus, part of the forces of Satan. The American attorney, author, and politician Santorum demonstrates this principle admirably. Although he himself is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and JD from Penn State, his Biblical worldview clearly trumps his empirical education and allows him to disregard it as a fly in the ointment in the “light of Biblical truth,” which is, of course, only empirical in that it is in print, in black and white, not empirical that it can actually be proven.
Faith is evidence enough, and reason becomes a threat to faith, thus, reason is from Satan, not God.
A good case in point is the persecution of Copernicus and Galileo by the Catholic Church, regarding the revolution of the Earth around the sun. This old argument, which has been proven in favor of Copernicus and Galileo, has arisen once again to haunt us.
According to a recent National Science Foundation survey, over twenty percent of the respondents believed in the geocentric model popular during the 1500s, that the sun revolves around the earth instead of the other way around. This is old, disproven thinking that comes from the idea that since humanity is God’s creation, naturally, everything revolves around humanity, with humanity at the centre of creation.
Humanity is thus, special. Anything that challenges the idea that humanity is special is thus a threat against God. After all, you can’t feel the earth move, so it must be stationary. You can’t see the stars move (well, you can with a telescope, something called parallax), but you can’t see it with the naked eye, so thus, the earth must be stationary with the sun moving around it.
This is an example of pseudo-intellectualism. You know what you see, but you don’t investigate to see if your assertions are valid under close scrutiny. Fundamentalists cannot afford to indulge in close scrutiny of their ideas, because close scrutiny would most certainly disprove most of what they believe, and they fear, more than anything else, of the erosion of their own faith.
Susan Jacoby, author of “The Age of American Unreason” and “Freethinkers” sums up the problem of fundamentalist anti-intellectualism succinctly:
This mindless tolerance, which places observable scientific facts, subject to proof, on the same level as unprovable supernatural fantasy, has played a major role in the resurgence of both anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism.
Copernicus and Galileo were persecuted by the Catholic Church for suggesting that humanity on earth was indeed not the centre of the universe. Copernicus did not suffer much persecution while he was alive, but after he was dead, his hypothesis that the earth revolved around the sun certainly did. Galileo dared to revive Copernicus’ idea, and packaged it in a mock debate between characters in a book he wrote called Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo) in 1632. The Catholic Church’s militaristic arm, the Inquisition, caught wind of what he had written, and banned his book, and placed Galileo under house arrest.
Now, the Catholic Church’s disagreement with Galileo and Copernicus did not make their ideas less true, which the idea certainly was, and revealed to be true through empirical scientific investigation over a period of years. Instead, the Church deflected the facts as “heresy,” which is something fundamentalists are particularly adept at doing. Ken Ham’s Creation Museum is a testament to this deflection of scientific facts as heresy.
By dismissing evolution as nothing more than a “theory,” (which goes to show pure, deliberate ignorance of what exactly a scientific theory is), we see again the application of the ad hominem attack Christian fundamentalists so love to employ when inconvenient facts get in the way.
Their view of a Christian nation is a very restricted view where there is only place for their Christian conservative doctrinal teachings and where there can only some place for other trinitarian christians as long as they do not go against their views.
Never mind they are not Constitutional scholars. The Constitutional scholars are a threat to them because even though scholars have differing opinions about interpretation of the Constitution, any opinion that differs from the fundamentalist worldview is a direct attack on God. Never mind that the fundamentalist that lives in the general population is not a scientist.
They know better, because the Australian Christian fundamentalist and young Earth creationist living in the United States, Ken Ham and the Bible tell them that there is No Way God would use evolution to create (even though the Bible says nothing on the subject of evolution)
The Bible is black and white. God created the world as it is now in six days, and rested on the seventh.
You will rarely see a fundamentalist in a secular college or university because secular universities and colleges do not agree with their worldview (logically). This is why for the most part they are homeschooled, and go straight from homeschool to fundamentalist universities that teach their worldview.By presenting homeschooling by the parents themselves, who did not receive any educational formation to be a teacher, the kids are squeezed the truth and deprived of sound formation. Opportunities to go to a proper high school or to a good university is taken away. For such children is there only an opening to universities and colleges churned out fundamentalists who are schooled in law, but only an interpretation of law that fits their Biblical worldview. Lawyers or judges who disagree with them, particularly in Supreme Court cases are dismissed ad hominem as “activist lawyers” and “activist judges” (i.e. enemies of God).
This lack of empirical education is changing American society into one that has eroded science education, particularly with their attempts to force the school voucher issue, which is nothing but a bid to get taxpayers to fund fundamentalist education, yet they object to taxpayer funded public education because “secularism” is persecuting them for their beliefs by simply disagreeing with them (because again, nothing they believe is based on empirical evidence).
The lack of empirical education is eroding American society in favour of a “faith based” education that has nothing whatsoever to do with facts that threaten their worldview. Liberty is something they interpret as the freedom to live in a society based solely on their Biblical worldview and does not at all give any liberty to free expression or freedom of thought. Freedom of religion for others in an inclusive society is anathema to them, because such freedom threatens to sideline them to the fringes. Individual liberty does not exist except for them, because they have an inherent distrust of the individual to make reasonable decisions, unless those decisions are based on their interpretation of Scripture. Thus, mainstream Christians are not their brethren; mainstream Christians are simply misinformed individuals who have deluded themselves into believing they are of the family of Christ, and only the clear lens of fundamentalism can see that mainstream Christians have been deceived by the enemy of God which is secular society. In this lies a big problem. They think they have to spread their ‘true religion’ all over the world and consider themselves as the chosen people of God and therefore they also consider themselves as the connected with the Zionists aiming to have peace in the Middle East. Though they do forget that by their refusal to see and understand that Jesus was not his real name, but that is was Jeshua and that he spoke Aramaic and as such used the word “Allah” for “God” plus that in the present day still millions of pepole use that word “Allah” which disgusts those American fundamentalists. And by their action against that word they bring resentment in several believers their heart. Their action against the use of non-english words for “God” gives not only peevishness, but lets many wonder if they belong to the right Christian religion of worse should not become a worshipper of the Only One true God and have to become Jew or Muslim and leave the Christian Trinity doctrine aside. A pity not more by those extremist Christians offended Christians go looking for an alternative Christianity where there is praised the God of Jeshua (Jesus Christ (Allah, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah) and where they still can use their Catholic or protestant Bibles with that word “Allah” in it when it talks about The God.
The extremist fundamentalist Christians say their sole aim is to “obey” God in creating conditions favourable to the return of Christ – and this one thought, this one design drives American foreign policy with Israel (they believe that when the Jews all return to Israel and the 3rd temple is rebuilt that Christ will return, (but not without sacrificing 2/3 of the Jewish people in the process), then all the remaining Jews will become Christians.
American fundamentalists are only interested in Jewish people and Israel insofar as it furthers the return of Jesus Christ. That is all.
Dakota O’Leary is convinced that because fundamentalists are engaged in the idea that they are warriors in a fight for God, (something Christian fundamentalists hold in common with Islamic fundamentalists), and says
Aimed at conservative Christians, the game’s story line begins in a time after the “rapture”, when fundamentalist dogma contends that Christians will go to heaven. The remaining population on earth must then choose between surrendering to or resisting “the Antichrist”, which the game describes as the “Global Community Peacekeepers” whose objective is the imposition of “one-world government”.
“Part of the object is to kill or convert the opposing forces,”
This is “antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said, adding that he was dismayed by the concept in “Eternal Forces” of using prayer to restore a player’s “spirit points” after killing the enemy.
In the game, combatants on one side pause for prayer, intoning, “Praise the Lord”. A player can lose points for “unnecessary killing” but regain them through prayer.
But Simpson counters,
“The idea that you could pray, and the deleterious effects of one’s foul deeds would simply be wiped away, is a horrible thing to be teaching Christian young people here at Christmas time.”
Troy Lyndon, CEO of Left Behind Games Inc., which is promoting the new video, has defended the game as “inspirational entertainment” and said its critics were exaggerating. The game is based on the popular “Left Behind” novels, a Bible-based end-of-the-world-saga that has sold more than 63 million copies.
Dakota O’Leary reacts
Now, while this is a disturbing element, and the Left Behind books have genocidal scenes that seem to justify killing masses of unbelievers because they are incorrigible (not ever going to convert to the fundamentalist mindset), it should be reiterated that fundamentalists are not yet at the point in the US where they want to kill people, so let us not be alarmist. However, that being said, the way some fundamentalists are choosing to portray institutional racism and genocide (as punishment for sin and disbelief) to school age children is disturbing, and it is the belief of this scholar that the elements for radical action portrayed in the video game are there – but would need utter desperation in order to explode into being. It is the opinion of this writer that fundamentalists are not yet this desperate, but attempts to normalize killing for God are disturbing, to say the least. The Guardian had this to say about the subject in May of 2012:
The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics.
“In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul’s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors,”
writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses (HarperCollins).
In the fall of 2012, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, were scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly “Bible study” course, came from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.
There are now over 3,200 clubs in public elementary schools, up more than sevenfold since the 2001 supreme court decision, Good News Club v Milford Central School, effectively required schools to include such clubs in their after-school programing.
The CEF has been teaching the story of the Amalekites at least since 1973. In its earlier curriculum materials, CEF was euphemistic about the bloodshed, saying simply that “the Amalekites were completely defeated.” In the most recent version of the curriculum, however, the group is quite eager to drive the message home to its elementary school students. The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one:
You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.
“That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?” the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.
Even more important, the Good News Club wants the children to know, the Amalakites were targeted for destruction on account of their religion, or lack of it. The instruction manual reads:
The Amalekites had heard about Israel’s true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment.
The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.
Dakota O’Leary writes
Educating Christian fundamentalists simply doesn’t work. They do not accept any education that is in direct conflict with their worldview. What remains is to educate the rest of the American populace about Christian fundamentalism and dominionism, educating the American populace about the David Bartons of the world, so that when elections occur, an educated populace can reject the infiltration of fundamentalism on the rest of American society, which will, given the right opportunity (usually in a climate of fear like 9/11), erode American democracy entirely and push our nation into the fringes of the world into irrelevance.
Every American should know that Anti-intellectualism – as advocated by large and vocal elements within the Republican Party is dangerous to the future of their nation. but they also should know that those fundamentalist Christians threaten world peace, by their continuous actions against Muslims and against people who use the word “Allah”.
For the future of the States there is also the education danger, by having the students not to see how the world evolves and how everything is related with each other. Students who are protected from “globalist” views and real science will not grow up to be leaders. If the Americans themselves do not take care of providing a sound education to their children and to give them an understanding of other peoples and other languages they shall have to face a downfall of their nation.
Dakota O’Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week.
Dakota O’Leary agrees that America has an infection. We would even say a serious problem, which did not become a lesser problem with the new president. Though that 45th president of the U.S.A. may have Jewish family, he has a racist tendency on some strange and dangerous facets, which seemed to be very much liked by neo-Nazis and extreme right Christian fundamentalists.
From certain reactions on our writings and on what we came to see in certain articles talking about Christian faith and Muslim faith we only can come to the conclusion that there are many extreme conservative and right-wing Christians blogging. A big problem with them is that they do not seem to want to listen or to accept certain things, like matters of language. For example not willing to come to understand that “Allah” is a word which is used in many languages to denote “God“. As such there are many Catholic and protestant Bibles with that word in their printed editions, but those Americans refusing to see that and to see that “Allah” is not a false god but the God of Abraham and the God of many Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Some American writers see in that attitude of their compatriots the lack of their education and give the impression we should feel sorry for them. But than you could wonder why they not adjust their thinking when others do not mind to spend time to react to their wrong ideas and want to give them more correct information. Dakota O’Leary thinks such conservative Christians are infected with the consequence of anti-intellectualism, a steadfast refusal to acknowledge that one’s worldview is mutable, a worldview in which facts are only facts if they fit that worldview, and that anyone who disagrees with a Christian fundamentalist worldview is an “enemy” of God.
The infection has taken hold in conservative politics, where it has spread to a significant portion of the American population, and even into a significant amount of the Canadian population. Though the Religious Right lost some ground in 2000 and in 2008 the Time Magazine dared to declare “The Religious Right’s Era Is Over,” having the Republican party platform containing only two references to God and reaffirming its past positions on issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and gays in the military but not expanding on them. Four years later the party’s platform contained again more references to God (10) and 19 references to faith, but also the first reference to a “war on religion.”Because at that time it really seemed that certain American citizens had declared a war on religion. The first and worst victim of that war were the Muslims and the second victim the true followers of Jesus, who do not worship their Trinity. Clearly we in Europe saw their battle against president Obama, some even claiming he would be a Muslim, and their battle against anything which had a social flavour, loathing it as ‘communist’. Normally one would expect from a good Christian that he is willing to share with others and to help those in need, but the American Christians with a big mouth are not at all prepared to share anything from their wealth with the needy or to contribute to a healthcare system when they are in good health.
Citing what it calls the Obama administration’s
“attempt to compel faith-related institutions, as well as believing individuals, to contravene their deeply held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs regarding health services, traditional marriage, or abortion,”
the platform accused “liberal elites” of trying to
“drive religious beliefs — and religious believers — out of the public square.”
From many writings on several blogs we in Europe could only conclude that several Tea-party members and extreme conservative Christians, mostly Creationists, wanted to gag the more liberal or freethinking Christian authors.
I don’t believe for a moment that this hysterical voice [Christian fundamentalism] that screeches in America’s political sphere is the authentic voice of religion in America. Most religious Americans want to mix it up at lunch! They want to make friends across party lines, and they want to help people who are less fortunate. A survey by the Public Religious Research Institute, released on 24 October, reveals that 60% of Catholics believe the Church should place a greater emphasis on social justice issues and their obligation to the poor, even if that means focusing less on culture war issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, in response to the Ryan budget, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops joined other Christian leaders in insisting that a “circle of protection” be drawn around “essential programs that serve poor and vulnerable people”.
So why is it that the so-called “values voters” are urged to vote against the politician who supports choice, not the politician who wants to shred that “circle of protection” for the poor and vulnerable? Why is it that when politicians want to demonstrate just how religiously righteous they are, they talk about banning same-sex marriage and making contraceptives hard to get, instead of showing what they have done to protect the weak?
There is an obvious answer, and it is, in a sense, staring you in the face every time you watch a political debate or read about the latest antics of Focus on the Family and the AFA. The kind of religion that succeeds in politics tends to focus on the divisive element of religion. If you want to use religion to advance a partisan political agenda, the main objective you use it for is to divide people between us and them, between the in-group and the out-group, the believers and the infidels.
The result is a reduction of religion to a small handful of wedge issues. According to the religious leaders and policy organizations urging Americans to vote with their “Biblical values”, to be Christian now means to support one or, at most, a small handful of policy positions. And it means voting for the Republican party.
Dakota O’Leary says
Christian fundamentalists are not to be confused with mainstream evangelical Christians.
and he might be right because it seems to apply mainly on principally North American evangelicals. But we must be aware their language or their voice is spreading as a virus, and could come to infect several European, African and Asiatic evangelical and Pentecostal churches, coming to brew mischief between all the denominations who have people who in their language have “Allah” for the English word “God”. They also stir up trouble in regions where there are many Muslims who than find a stick to throw at the Christians. It gives than reason for Muslims to get on the wrong side because it makes it clear that Christians would prefer to worship an other God than the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus and his disciples. In Christendom and in Christianity there is already the problem that those words gets mixed up and that the majority of people who call themselves Christian worship three gods instead of the One God, like real Christians worship the God of Abraham, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah Who is Only One. But those real Christians also come into problems by those extremist Christians who claim they are worshipping Satan or Baal, and as such give every Muslim reason to believe so.
One good thing about is is that several trinitarian Christians are noticing to Whom Jesus prayed (“Allah” Jehovah God) and that they are seeing that the doctrine of the Trinity is a false human doctrine. Bad thing or a regrettable matter caused by those North American writers is that they are pushing away many Christians in the hands of Muslims teachers so that they become Islamic converts, instead of coming to non-trinitarian Christian groups which there is choice enough here in our regions. We encountered already many previous Catholics who now became Muslim and to whom we try to show that Jesus is the way to God and that real Christianity is the following of Jesus as the son of God and not as a god son.
Not only on the level of loosing Catholic and protestant believers to the Muslim Faith because of those Christian fundamentalists we also see that the position of our teachers and preachers gets undermined. The symptoms of the infection of anti-intellectualism brings an erosion on education, not only in the States but also in the Old World. Escalating attacks on teachers as bad citizens, teachers’ unions as greedy “takers”, the evolution vs. creationism debate, resistance to stem cell research (or any kind of scientific research that conflicts with their Biblical worldview), fundamentalist emphasis on voucher system to create taxpayer funded fundamentalist schools, fear of a changing, increasingly pluralistic society (the current face of which is the extraordinary power fundamentalists give to the LGBT community as the force eroding American morality and bringing down the entire nation), and a negative economy which is generating public support by those who consider themselves members of the Religious Right by demonizing public education as a “liberal conspiracy” to take their children away from God. Many who see how those extremist want to have their will also on educational matters, prohibiting children to learn about the normal evolution in this world and coming to accept that dinosaurs really existed and that our world still evolves, makes many now wanting to be part of a religion that prohibits to see the reality of our world.
Calling anything that disagrees with a fundamentalist interpretation of the Bible a product of Satanic manipulation makes many religious people to doubt their faith and to abandon it.
Today we also might find an oversimplification by the idea that there is a clear right and wrong (based on Biblical laws, or cherry-picked verses), the universe is either moral or immoral, and that so-called “assaults” on religious “freedom” of fundamentalists signify an invisible war between the forces of God (or “good”) and the forces of Satan (or “evil”).
American essayist and Federalist politician of the 1790s who was an archopponent of Jeffersonian democracy Fisher Ames.
According to the North American extremists there may not be such thing as Religious Freedom or Freedom of belief, because every one all over the world has to come to speak English and using their words and terms on all levels and should come to believe that what they believe. Lots of Americans do forget many of their ancestors just left the Old Word to get more freedom. They also seem to have forgotten that the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was signed January 16, 1786, and is commemorated each year on National Religious Freedom Day. Thomas Jefferson’s landmark statute became the basis for Congressman Fisher Ames’ establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Consitution.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Today the majority of North Americans seem to want against that idea and do not want to leave other people enter their nation and want to make sure no person shall have an other faith than they.
Those who want prayers being said in class should remember that all religious people should be respected and in such instance should have prayers according to their faith too. If they want certain specific prayers being said they should do that in their own private schools, like Catholic Schools, Anglican Schools, Presbyterian, Evangelical etc religious schools, like there should also to be the freedom to have a Muslim or a Hindu school. But the State School should be open to everybody, allowing people to wear their own religious symbols, be it a little cross, a fish, a Davidstar, a yarmulka or other head covering. Each government all over the world should take care that every person can feel himself or herself happy in an environment where there is no discrimination for skin-colour or religious affection.
Some Americans do forget that they want to limit freedom of speech and freedom of religion by demanding to have only their religion presented in public schools.
Breitbart News’s Senior Editor-at-Large Rebecca Mansour goes so far to say taht
“The symbols and celebration of Christmas have shaped our history [and] Western Civilization,
having so called christians to think that she noted Christianity’s “transformative” impact on the old pagan world and the culture of Germanic barbarian warrior tribes, forgetting Christmas is totally a presentation of all the pagan elements, and is even an abomination in the eyes of God.
Christianity and broader Judeo-Christian values, suggested both Bannon and Mansour, reinforce Western Civilization’s sense of purpose in the face of internal and external threats.
In the thirteenth century Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory IX established the dreaded institution to combat heretical groups and gave an easy instrument or weapon in the hands of rivals so that they could kill the ones standing in competition and to get their treasures, enabling them to enrich their own convent or cleric group.
Those in charge of the inquisition were so violently we can not imagine how lots of innocent people had to suffer greatly. The severity of both the questioning and the punishment is not so far off from the techniques used today in Africa and the Middle East. Like today those charged had no rights granted and those who came in the defence of the accused made them selves vulnerable and next prey of the inquisitors. Those who “snitched” on them could do so secretly. A victim was not permitted to challenge the witnesses against him or her.
In the country where for 7 centuries people of Jewish-, Christian- and Muslim- faith could live in peace and wealth under Muslim rulership,beautiful constructions where made and science developed magically. The Muslim Empire extended from North Africa to the Chinese border and in all the regions the people where allowed to have their own religion and where appreciated for their own craftsmanship. Thanks to the Moors we also got citrus, avocado and other exotic crops which quickly spread across Europe. The Moors also introduced universal literacy and whilst the Greek philosophers were not wanted or allowed by the Papists in Spain they could be freely read.
During the 12th century, scholars from all over Europe flocked to the great libraries at Toledo to translate (into Latin) classical Greek and Arabic texts. These scholars would introduce a new approach to knowledge, based on rational inquiry, that would inspire the founding of prestigious universities at Oxford, Paris and elsewhere.
The wealth of the south was a thorn in the eye and Christian armies from northern Spain managed slowly to retake Moorish cities from their Muslim rules. By 1250, only Grenada at the southern tip of Spain remained under Muslim rule.
Isabella I Queen of Castile wife of Ferdinand II of Aragon
Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada
When the Queen of Castille, Isabella married the king of Aragon (her second cousin Ferdinand) their armies succeeded to seize Grenada so that Spain could be unified in 1479. But they where not so at ease and were almost paranoid with fear of revolt. This made them highly susceptible to the whispers of the queen’s confessor, the Dominican Tomas de Torquemada. Of Jewish origin himself, he told her that Christianized Jews were secretly practising their Hebrew faith and corrupting good Christians. Isabella horrified and frightened asked the pope for permission to establish the inquisition in Spain, which was granted.
In his capacity as grand inquisitor, Torquemada reorganized the Spanish Inquisition, which had been set up in Castile in 1478, establishing tribunals at Sevilla (Seville), Jaén, Córdoba, Ciudad Real, and, later, Zaragoza. For him all sorts of ‘other behaviour’ where good to make some one suspicious and to torture people. Not only so called crimes of heresy and apostasy but also sorcery, sodomy, polygamy, blasphemy, usury, and other offences where punished hard. Our Christian brothers who like Jews and Muslims only believed in the One True God became now also persecuted in the south of Europe.
Torquemada’s implacable hostility to the Jews probably exercised an influence on the decision of Ferdinand and Isabella to expel from their dominions all Jews who had not embraced Christianity. Under the edict of March 31, 1492, more than 40,000 Jews left Spain.
In all cases of doubt torture was authorized in order to obtain evidence and under continuous sadistic torture, suspects incriminated other people. These in turn accused almost anyone they could think of just to please their captors and win a reprieve from their torment. Every confession added to the alarm of the Catholic king and queen, suggesting widespread corruption of the Christian faith.
The first Spanish “Auto da fe” (meaning “Act of Fait.)” was held on this day February 6, 1481, when six men and six women, who refused to repent of alleged backsliding, were burned at the stake. They were but the first. 13,000 “heretics” were tried in the first twelve years of the Spanish Inquisition. The number of burnings of so called “heretics” at the stake during Torquemada’s tenure has been estimated at about 2,000. Dressed in a penitent’s gown, they were marched in processionals to the stake and urged to repent even as they were bound for the ordeal. Those who confessed were strangled before the fire was lit. Those who refused to admit wrongdoing, or who defiantly clung to their “heresies” were burned alive.
The Spanish Inquisition ran for 327 years and was not abolished until 1808, during the brief reign of Joseph Bonaparte. In those three centuries, close to 32,000 people perished in the flames. About 300,000 others were forced to make some kind of reconciliation with the church. Even the 1808 “end” to the Spanish Inquisition wasn’t really the end. Incredible as it may seem, King Ferdinand VII re-established the dreadful apparatus in 1814! Six years later, revolution swept it away, but that did not mean all hostility against other believers than Roman Catholics had gone.
Today in several countries we see again some people who call themselves ‘Christian’ to stand up and demanding to fight against those who belief differently than them. Mainly from North America are messages or text spread with false messages, trying to have others believe that Europe is totally invade by Muslims who molest or attack European women.
The apparatus of the inquisition which was not restricted to Europe got exported it to the new world by Spain, where Mexican and Peruvian authorities burned men and women to death, starting in the sixteenth century. Portuguese priests also operated an inquisition in South America, Goa, India. and today there are fundamentalist preachers and neo-Nazis who cry for a new religious war against those who do not have the same faith as they.
David Matthew a committed Christian since the age of twelve who reached the blessed age of 77 and was a schoolteacher for 14 years, then went into the Christian ministry, to be by now still very much on a journey of faith having become now a lot less dogmatic on doctrinal issues than he used to be, and a lot more Jesus-focused, always tried to keep up with current thinking on evangelical Christianity and wrote about it.
He has been disturbed to keep coming across once-keen Christians, including some church leaders, who, in the face of the challenges of raising questions about traditional views or proposing new ways of looking at certain biblical passages, have lost their faith altogether. He therefore wrote a.o. the book: “A Poke In The Faith: Challenges to evangelical faith and how to survive them”.
He also looked at “Did God Kill Jesus?: Searching for love in history’s most famous execution by Tony Jones (HarperOne, 2015).” and asks “What happened to the cross“. He also made a very nice “synopsis of the book” in which we found the following text we do like to share with you:
History’s Most Famous Execution
We should be clear on the basics about Jesus. Born in 6 or 4BCE, he was reared in Nazareth, in the fairly prosperous region of Galilee. He was, like Joseph, a tekton, ‘craftsman’ — not necessarily a carpenter. At the age of 30 he merged from obscurity into his public ministry. The core of his message was:
‘A new age is dawning — the rules by which followers of Yahweh lived their lives, while not irrelevant, are in need of
a serious overhaul; the spirit of those rules has been forgotten amid the attempts to keep those rules; I’ve come to redefine the relationship between God and humanity.’ (p70)
The ultimate rule, he taught, is love —which should extend even to one’s enemies.
The apocalyptic aspects of his teaching (a common and popular genre at the time) were directed chiefly at the political situations of his day. His miracles were not primarily to show his deity but to demonstrate God’s rule and show how it reaches out to the marginalised in society.
Jerusalem, where Jesus headed at the end of his ministry, was the centre of Jewish religious life. The Gospel writers focus on his last week there. Each of the four has its own angle on it. They focus on his trial, sufferings and death.
The Gospels show little interest in who actually killed Jesus (or, indeed, in what his death accomplished), but together they portray him as crucified by the Romans at the instigation of the Jewish leaders.
His resurrection led his followers to see his death cosmically and theologically, as an act of God.
At a human level, the early church put the blame chiefly on the Jews, while later centuries blamed them entirely, on the basis of Matt 27:25 — a verse which has had a terrible anti-Semitic legacy. The Gospels do tie Jesus’ death to the Passover. His passion takes place during the build-up to Passover. His last act is to eat the Passover meal with his followers. Like the original Passover lamb, the blood of Jesus liberates the people.
Paul got to know the Jesus story backwards: starting with the resurrected Lord. He never heard Jesus teach, nor witnessed his miracles (note of the editor: he might have witnessed some miracles, but we do not know that, but for sure he would have heard about them from first hand witnesses) , and never mentions his life — the focus is on his death and resurrection.
He sets these in the context of Israel’s story, a key feature of which was the law. Paul concludes that the law killed Jesus (Gal 3:13).
‘The cross’, for Paul, means ‘the gospel’, and it is the lens through which he interprets everything else. He opens up his thinking on it chiefly in Romans 3, and Romans 7 – 8. In Rom 3 God is faithful, and it is through Jesus, the faithful Israelite, that he fulfils his covenant promises. Jesus is the ‘sacrifice of atonement’ — literally the place of atonement, or Mercy Seat. In other words, he sums up everything that has gone before in Israel’s history. In Rom 7 – 8, all of human sin is concentrated in Jesus, and in him on the cross all sin is condemned.
If the Gospels show Jesus as the Passover sacrifice, Paul presents him as the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) sacrifice. Both are valid emphases, but different.
According to Paul, in the cross God showed himself to be on the side of all human beings, Jews and Gentiles alike, and through the cross he shows us how to live right, recognising that we have been crucified with Jesus. We are called to live out the example that God set on the cross: self-limitation, humility and submission.