White Privilege Conference (WPC) wanting to keep the press out for obvious reasons

WPC organizers reacted very poorly to the discovery that this year’s conference was being reported on from inside. This is unsurprising, since WPC has attempted to totally ban reporters from covering its proceedings and has actively kept them out in the past.

It must not surprise you why it was kept secretly for the press the previous years. When you look at the debates it is clear we should seriously pose several questions by the speakers invited and by the set up of that conference.

Today there is a renewed attack (in the Western world) on anything to do with believing there is a God, a Creator of any kind!

There are even people who hold conferences to make it clear to others that almost every dysfunction in society, from racism and sexism to global warming and a weak economy, is united by the ideology of ‘Christian hegemony.’ That is at least what a lecturer at the 2016 White Privilege Conference (WPC) claimed.

Believers are again open to ridicule. Academics, who are confident they have the answer (or at least acceptable opinions) to everything about how the world began, compete among themselves for the “glory” they can receive from each other and from the public with their notions. Some also want others to believe that all more active believers would be creationists and do not seem to get the difference of believing that there has been a Most High Supreme being ordering everything  and being responsible for the creation.

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality

Contingency, Hegemony, Universality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Certain people, like Paul Kivel, think Christians “colonize our mind.”
Paul Kivel, is a social justice educator, activist, and writer, who to our mind looks not so social at all but is perhaps an atheist socialist against religion and willing to attack it. Though he claims to be an innovative leader in violence prevention for 35 years, it either looks like he has changed gear or has always loved to set up non-believers against believing people .

He defines Christian hegemony as the

everyday, pervasive, and systematic set of Christian values and beliefs, individuals and institutions that dominate all aspects of our society through the social, political, economic, and cultural power they wield. Nothing is unaffected by Christian hegemony (whether we are Christian or not) including our personal beliefs and values, our relationships to other people and to the natural environment, and our economic, political, education, health care, criminal/legal, housing, and other social systems. {Christian hegemony}

For him

All people who are not Christian, as well as most people who are, experience social, political, and economic exploitation, violence, cultural appropriation, marginalization, alienation and constant vulnerability from the dominance of Christian power and values in our society. {Christian hegemony}

It looks like Christendom and/or Christianity (though he constantly refers to Christianity) is/are the badness of this world.

The internalization of dominant western Christian beliefs and values by individuals in our society seems to bring all badness into the world and being the cause of the present problems we have with fundamental Muslims. but it seems also to be in participial white Christian men who are dominating this world and causing inequality and injustice.

He writes

Another level of Christian dominance is within the power elite, the network of 7-10,000 predominantly white Christian men who control the largest and most powerful social, political, economic, and cultural institutions in the country. And finally there is the level which provides the foundation for all the others – the long and deep legacy of Christian ideas, values, practices, policies, icons, and texts that have been produced within dominant western Christianity over the centuries. That legacy continues to shape our language, culture, beliefs, and values and to frame public and foreign policy decisions. {Christian hegemony}

He even wants us tot believe, that we believers are blind. It is true that we cannot go without all those companies and organisations which have their say in our communities and that economical as well as political parties want to have everything in their hands. But we think it over the top, him saying

Christian dominance has become so invisible that its manifestations appear to be secular, i.e. not religious. In this context, the phrase “secular Christian dominance” might be most appropriate, Christian hegemony under the guise of secularism. Of course, there are many forms of Christian fundamentalism which are anything but secular. Often fundamentalists want to create some kind of theocratic state. But the more mainstream, everyday way that dominant Christian values and institutions influence our lives and communities is less evident, although no less significant and certainly not limited to fundamentalists. {Christian hegemony}

According to him Christian leaders have established an annual holiday cycle that extols US militarism/ triumphalism, the nuclear family, consumerism and whiteness. Perhaps he is so much focussed on the U.S.A. that he does not see the holidays of other countries and mistakenly takes many heathen holidays as Christian holidays, though it mostly are also the heathen people who celebrate those and try to lure Christians to celebrate with them.

The holiday cycle which he presents on his website present many secular holidays which he presents as so called holidays of Christianity though Christianity argues a lot against the celebration of those feasts. But we do agree in Christendom we see many people with the name Christian celebrating those heathen festivals as so called Christian holidays.

English: Painting of Christopher Columbus. The...

Painting of Christopher Columbus. The painting Virgen de los Navegantes (in the Sala de los Almirantes, Royal Alcazar, Seville). A painting by Alejo Fernández between 1505 and 1536. It is the only state sponsored portrait of the First Admiral of the Indias called Don Cristoval Colon known today as Christopher Columbus in English. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For him those holidays downplays the violence in our history, holding up a few white Christian men, such as Christopher Columbus and his American presidents,

for uncritical praise and emphasizes faith, family and country.

he writes and continues:

For many in the US, this cycle has come to seem traditional, even though it is constantly recreated and most of the holidays originated within the last 150 years. For some, these holidays have come to feel familiar, unifying and just plain American even though for millions of others they can be painful and alienating. Most of our national holidays are seen as secular, even though their underpinnings are deeply Christian. Even Christmas and Easter are viewed as secular by many. (I have been told that the phrase Merry Christmas in bold letters on the public buses in my
city is not religious but merely a general holiday greeting.)

It looks like he does not know that Jesus was not at all born on the 25th of December and that all the traditions people flirt with have nothing to do at all with the birth of Christ nor with God, and are an abomination in the eyes of God, of which a real Christian should abstain.

That New Year’s day for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mayans and many Native peoples happens at other times of the annual cycle, has nothing to do with Christianity not with Christendom but with choosing an other calendar system.

The fact that western countries imposed this calendar worldwide, even though those in the West are a minority in the world, is never acknowledged.

he writes, but we do think that is a matter of choosing a time indication where the West has chosen to keep to that Gregorian calendar, even after some countries tried the Napoleonic calendar for some time, but whatever calendar they would choose always there would be people able to complain about the system chosen.

We do not see any reason at all why not to say “Happy Chinese New Year” or “Happy Jewish New Year”, like we do in the West of Europe? He should know that these other calendars are also culturally specific and that everybody is free to follow one or the other and that nobody would mind you saying “Happy New Year” when it is a new year for that person.
For us this article is written on the 12th of Nisan, 5776 but in the West most people would not know about which day we are talking therefore we also use the common general practised calendar indicating that it is today April the 20th of the year 2016 of the common Era (CE). For us on 22 April (Taanit Bechorot) Friday night we are looking at the 14th of Nisan, 5776 going to celebrate the Passover, the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” Erev Pesach and on the 23rd the 15th of Nisan, 5776 we look at the holiday yomtov, being part of the “Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread”or “Pesach I”, having on Sunday the 1st day of the Omer (or Pesach II) the period between Passover and Shavuʿot, the 16th of Nisan of the year 5776. {The holiday of Pesach, or Passover, is an annual week long festival commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt and slavery. Before the main festival begins for the Jews, the Christians remember the night that Jesus came together with his apostles for the Last Supper and announcement of the installation of the New Covenant. for us this 14 th of Nisan is the most important day of the year and precedes the Pesach festival which begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew calendar month of Nisan — which derives its name from the passing over of the homes of the Israelite slaves during the tenth plague. It is that liberation and the liberation by Christ that we should remember for ever.} Next year the Passover shall be on Monday, April 10 and in 2018 on Friday, March 30.
But this is all about arrangements and agreements and depending on which calendar you want to base your daily activities.

For economical and practical reasons an agreement has to be made to use what calendar and what to consider the first day of the week: Thursday (certain Hindus), Friday (like Muslims), Friday night – Saturday night or Sabbath (like the Jews), or the week beginning on Sunday or Monday, as such beginning the day at 00.00 hours or when the sun gets down. Here you may find calendars beginning the week with Sunday and others ending with the weekend (which I personally find more practical).
It is true that

holidays can be destructive when they celebrate war or colonialism, are promoted aggressively or when corporations use them to promote values hostile to our environment and us. {The Christian Holiday Cycle}

For sure we need to think seriously about what we celebrate and why, who is included or excluded in the celebration and what values are implicitly or explicitly communicated. But we never should condemn certain groups of people if they want to celebrate certain days, though it is our duty to point out to Christians what they are celebrating and which festivals are alright to take part in and which not.

For Kivel the choice of calendar use and the days celebrated shows the dominance of a certain group and the normalization of such a group.

It is said that WPC takes tremendous pains to protect everybody’s feelings, but this year many toes were stepped on. To ensure a gender non-conforming person isn’t labeled with a wayward “he,” attendees are asked to always introduce themselves with their name and their pronoun set. Presenters routinely ask for anybody to pipe up if they’re triggered by a presentation, and will apologize if such a complaint arises. Almost half the conference revolves around microaggressions and how to avoid them or defuse them.

A major part of WPC are the daily caucuses, where attendees segregate themselves by race and talk through their feelings on white privilege. They were assembled collectively beforehand and assigned to a specific smaller room ‘because of the large number of white people in attendance’. Organizers warned they could start physically exerting their white privilege by walking too aggressively and not paying heed to their surroundings. If attendees weren’t careful, they said, they risked getting in the way of non-white attendees who would have no choice but to shy away and debase themselves before these barreling vectors of overwhelming privilege.

Disaffected participants in the 2016 White Privilege Conference (WPC) have taken to Twitter to complain that the conference was, ironically, too white and was actually filled to the brim with white supremacy. Adopting the hashtag #WPCSoWhite, inspired by the recent #OscarsSoWhite campaign, Twitter users claimed the conference that was supposed to battle white privilege instead served to entrench it. The tag appears to have been started and pushed with particular vigour by Aeriel Ashlee, an education consultant who attended WPC and objected to several parts of a keynote address delivered by (white) historian James Loewen. Some of his comments where even described as “deeply offensive and traumatizing.”

More than 700 Barbie dolls are displayed during an exhibition which takes place from March 10 to September 18, 2016.       (MATTHIEU ALEXANDRE/AFP/Getty Images)Frederick Gooding, Jr., who styles himself as “The Race Doctor” gave a half-comedic, half-serious lecture intended to point out various moments of subtle white supremacy and white privilege throughout the past year. Near the end of his address, Gooding went after Hollywood for the recently-released film “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which features three Caucasian heroes in the form of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

“I have a quota where it’s just a little too much whiteness, I gotta tap out,”

the Doctor said to a laughing audience.

“One white hero at a time, I can kinda take that, but you have two of them … but then, the White Man said, we gonna show you something. And they throw in a white woman!”

For people discussing other folks it may not be easy today how to call them. All sorts of new terms have to be looked for to talk about people with an other skin colour or with an other faith. In this time of many fleeing from the Middle East and from Africa for discussing different terms are looked for, and one term which could be right at one time a few weeks later may be considered totally wrong to be used.  Undocumented immigrants may still be called “illegals” despite the fact that this also could be a highly inaccurate and pejorative term.  Whether intentional or accidental, the use of such terms has shaped public opinion on immigration policy.  Of course, not everyone who uses these terms intends to colour undocumented immigrants with the stigma that these terms carry with them.  Today the phrase “illegal immigrant” is by many considered

decidedly not okay

During a workshop titled “Nativism 101,” on the topic of immigration and the groups opposed to it, one attendee objected to another’s use of the term “undocumented immigrant.”

Instead of illegal or undocumented, the woman proposed that such immigrants be labeled

“unauthorized immigrants.”

Unauthorised where those who brought out photographs and texts from this conference where very high income prizes where charged, as if the poor people and immigrants ever would be able to pay such fees.

Dividing the people in categories for the debates Kivel finds it are the Christians who divide people and put them in hierarchical order. For him it is in-acceptable that there would be a

“God over people, men over women, parents over children, white people over people of colour,”

inevitably creating systems that justify and even glorify oppression, but was he and the organisers not doing just that?

 

Please do read also:

  1. The 17th annual White Privilege Conference a militantly Christophobic conference held in Philadelphia
  2. White Privilege Conference Attendees Complain Conference Is Too White
  3. White Privilege Conference: Almost Everything Bad Is Tied To Christianity
  4. 7 Things That Offended People At The White Privilege Conference

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Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today

Days shortening and darkness coming over us

When we look at the weather we would not have the impression we are coming to the coldest season of the year. We can not ignore the shorter days, which remind us that we are coming closer to the longest darkness of the year.

That darkness has always frightened people and therefore they looked for ways to get more light again.

Saturnalia, a Roman feast celebrated in mid-December, provided the model for many of the merry-making customs we know now as ‘The time of the Year‘ or ‘Christmas‘. From this celebration, for example, were derived the elaborate feasting, the giving of gifts, and the burning of candles.

Seasons, storms, thunder, darkness and light

In other cultures we also find that many centuries before Jesus was born they celebrated the ‘birth of light‘. The Roman Catholic Church was not shy to take over many traditions from heathen people who celebrated such elements as the ‘turn’ of the position of moon and sun and the change of season. Even the Israelites came to feast such natural elements as the four teḳufot (Teḳufat Nisan, Teḳufat Tammuz, Teḳufat Tishri and the Teḳufat Ṭebet) by which also superstition became connected with the teḳufot. Hai Gaon, in the tenth century, in reply to a question as to the prevalence of the custom in the “West” (i.e., west of Babylon) that all water that may be in the house or stored away in vessels in the first hour of the teḳufah had to be thrown away in the belief that the water is then poisoned, and if drunk would cause swelling of the body, sickness, and sometimes death, said it was followed only in order that the new season might be begun with a supply of fresh, sweet water.

Jupiter Smyrna Louvre Ma13.jpg

Zeus, god of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, justice – The Jupiter de Smyrne, discovered in Smyrna in 1680

When the sun enters Capricornus; this is the beginning of winter, or “‘et ha-ḥoref”(stripping-time), when the night is the longest during the year.For several people it was the time something had to be stripped down or some things that happened in the past had to be done with. The bad things had to be forgotten or to ‘be over with’ and new paths could be taken again. It was the time of a ‘turn over’ or a rebirth. People looked forward to the rebirth of the sun and hoped that everything would go well. For that reason they offered the rest of their food to the gods of nature which had to bear them fruits and good weather, not making the god of thunder (sky and thunder god Zeus) angry by forgetting him or to have bad spirits around, lots of noise was made to get them away from the own house.

Also in Latin America we can find such very noisy parties. For many people the darker nights were there for getting the ‘good’ and ‘goods’ together. All badness had to be down away. On the 24th of December it was the big moment to look for the next day when the goddess of light would return in case they all showed the goodness and willingness to her.

From December 16 through December 23 in Latin America eight posada parties are held and on the 24th, Nochebuena (The Good Night)(Christmas Eve) is celebrated, and families make an effort to be together for a special dinner. Also in West Europe this custom of a Christmas meal has been long a favourite moment.

Roman influences

Statue of three figures, seated side by side

Capitoline Triad – the three godheads side by side transposed in the Roman catholic church and shims of that church to the Trinity, being a God the Father, god the son, and a god the holy spirit.

Constantine the Great had managed to got the church leaders to agree to many of his demands so that the Christians would not any more be persecuted. For that reason they had to agree to the three-headed Roman god and Jeshua could become the ‘counterpart’ or ‘alias’ for Zeus with his name calling ‘hail Zeus‘ or ‘Issou‘ ‘Jesus‘. And they had to keep to the Roman festivals and as such should place their Christian Zeus (Jesus) his birth on the same major feast for the ‘light’ in the Roman world. As such rabbi Jeshua became Jesus , and his birth day became the 25th of December instead of October 17. Constantine insisted that the mighty king of the gods (Jupiter) or the Roman god of the sky, thunderstorms, lightning, weather and air got honoured on his day (December 25).

But it were not only Roman customs which entered Christendom.

Aztec influences

Latin Americans should come to see that American Christmas customs are nothing but Aztec rites. El Universal, a newspaper in Mexico City, commented:

“Friars from different orders took advantage of the fact that festivities of the Indian ritual calendar coincided with the Catholic liturgical calendar, so they used this to support their evangelizing and missionary work. They replaced the commemorations to the pre-Hispanic divinities with festivities to Christian divinities, introduced European festivities and activities, and also took advantage of the Indian festivities, which resulted in a cultural syncretism from which authentically Mexican expressions have arisen.”

The Encyclopedia Americana explains:

Nativity plays early became a part of the Christmas celebration . . . The representation in church of the crèche [the manger scene] is said to have been begun by Saint Francis.”

These plays featuring the birth of Christ were performed in the churches during the beginning of the colonization of Mexico. They were organized by Franciscan monks in order to teach the Indians about the Nativity. Later the posadas became more popular. Whatever the original intention behind them, the way the posadas are held today speaks for itself. If you are in Mexico during this season, you can see or sense something that a writer for El Universal highlighted in his comment:

“The posadas, which were a way to remind us of the pilgrimage of Jesus’ parents looking for a shelter where the Child God could be born, are today only days of drunkenness, excesses, gluttony, vanities, and more and more crime.”

Traditional Nativity scenes

The idea of the nacimiento emerged during Colonial times from the original live representations in churches. While some find it attractive, does it correctly represent what the Bible says?
That is a valid question.

When the so-called three wise men — who in fact were astrologers — visited, Jesus and his family were no longer living in a stable. Time had passed, and the family was living in a house. You will find it interesting to note this detail in the inspired record at Matthew 2:1, 11. You can also note that the Bible does not say how many astrologers there were.

After Jesus had been born in Bethʹle·hem+ of Ju·deʹa in the days of Herod*+ the king, look! astrologers* from the East came to Jerusalem, saying: “Where is the one born king of the Jews?+ For we saw his star when we were in the East, and we have come to do obeisance* to him.” …  10 On seeing the star, they rejoiced with great joy. 11 And when they went into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and falling down, they did obeisance* to him. They also opened their treasures and presented him with gifts—gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:1-2,10-11)

Another detail should not be ignored: In the Mexican nacimiento, the baby is referred to as “the Child God” with the idea that it was God himself who came to earth as a baby. However, the Bible presents Jesus as being the Son of God who was born on earth; he was not the same as or equal to Jehovah, the Almighty God. Consider the truth about this, presented at Luke 1:35; John 3:16; 5:37; 14:1, 6, 9, 28; 17:1, 3; 20:17.

35 In answer the angel said to her: “Holy spirit will come upon you,+ and power of the Most High will overshadow you. And for that reason the one who is born will be called holy,+ God’s Son.+ (Luke 1:35)

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son,+ so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.+ 17 For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.+ 18 Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged.+ Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.+ (John 3:16-18)

Three wise men, Santa and birthday celebrations

In Latin America, the three wise men replace the idea of Santa Claus. Still, as is done in other lands, many parents hide toys in the home. Then on the morning of January 6, the children look for them, as if the three wise men brought them. This is a money-making time for toy sellers, and some have made a fortune on what many honesthearted people recognize is just a fantasy. The myth of the three wise men is losing credibility among a goodly number, even among little children. Though some are displeased that this myth is losing believers, what can anyone expect of a fantasy maintained only for the sake of tradition and for commercial convenience?

Christmas, or the Nativity, was not celebrated by early Christians. One encyclopedia says about this:

“The celebration was not observed in the first centuries of the Christian church, since the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth.”

The Bible links the celebration of birthdays with pagans, not with God’s true worshippers.

But when Herod’s birthday+ was being celebrated, the daughter of He·roʹdi·as danced for the occasion and pleased Herod so much+ that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Then she, at her mother’s prompting, said: “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”+ Grieved though he was, the king, out of regard for his oaths and for those dining* with him, commanded it to be given. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. (Matthew 14:6-10).

This does not, of course, mean that it is not beneficial to learn and remember the actual events involved in the birth of the Son of God. The factual Bible account provides important insights and lessons for all those who want to do God’s will.

Birth of Jesus According to the Bible

You will find reliable information about Jesus’ birth in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. They show that the angel Gabriel visited a young unmarried woman by the name of Mary in the Galilean town of Nazareth. What message did he deliver?

“Look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:31-33.)

Mary was very surprised by this message. Not being married, she said:

“How is this to be, since I am having no intercourse with a man?” The angel answered: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.” Mary, recognizing that this was the will of God, said: “Look! Jehovah’s slave girl! May it take place with me according to your declaration.” (Luke 1:34-38).

An angel told Joseph about the miraculous birth so that he would not divorce Mary, which he was planning to do after he learned of her pregnancy. He was then willing to assume the responsibility of taking care of the Son of God. (Matthew 1:18-25).

Then a decree from Caesar Augustus forced Joseph and Mary to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea, the city of their forefathers, to be registered.

“While they were there, the days came to the full for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her son, the firstborn, and she bound him with cloth bands and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the lodging room.” (Luke 2:1-7).

Luke 2:8-14 describes what followed:

“There were also in that same country shepherds living out of doors and keeping watches in the night over their flocks. And suddenly Jehovah’s angel stood by them, and Jehovah’s glory gleamed around them, and they became very fearful. But the angel said to them: ‘Have no fear, for, look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city. And this is a sign for you: you will find an infant bound in cloth bands and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there came to be with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: ‘Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill.’”

The Astrologers

Matthew’s account mentions that astrologers from the East came to Jerusalem looking for the place where the King of the Jews was born. King Herod was very interested in this — but not with good intentions.

“Sending them to Bethlehem,

he said:

‘Go make a careful search for the young child, and when you have found it report back to me, that I too may go and do it obeisance.’”

The astrologers found the young child and

“opened their treasures and presented it with gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

But they did not go back to Herod.

“They were given divine warning in a dream not to return to Herod.”

God used an angel to warn Joseph of Herod’s intentions. Joseph and Mary then fled to Egypt with their son. Next, in an effort to eliminate the new King, cruel King Herod ordered the killing of boys in the Bethlehem area. Which boys? Those two years of age and under. (Matthew 2:1-16).

What Can We Learn From the Account?

The visiting astrologers — however many of them there were — did not worship the true God. The Bible version La Nueva Biblia Latinoamérica (1989 Edition) states in a footnote:

“The Magi were not kings, but fortune-tellers and priests of a pagan religion.”

They came in line with their knowledge of the stars to which they were devoted. Had God wanted to guide them to the young child, they would have been led to the exact place without needing to go first to Jerusalem and to Herod’s palace. Later on, God did intervene to alter their course to protect the child.

At Christmastime this account is often surrounded by a mythical and romantic atmosphere that obscures the most important thing: that this baby was born to be a magnificent King, as was announced to Mary and to the shepherds. No, Jesus Christ is not a baby anymore, or even a child. He is the ruling King of God’s Kingdom, which very soon will eliminate all rulerships opposed to God’s will, and he will solve all problems of mankind. That is the Kingdom we ask for in the Lord’s Prayer.

44 “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom+ that will never be destroyed.+ And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people.+ It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms,+ and it alone will stand forever,+ (Daniel 2:44)

“You must pray, then, this way:+

“‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name+ be sanctified.*+ 10 Let your Kingdom+ come. Let your will+ take place, as in heaven, also on earth.+ (Matthew 6:9, 10).

Through the angels’ declaration to the shepherds, we learn that the opportunity for salvation is open to all who are willing to hear the message of the good news. Those who gain the favour of God become “men of goodwill.”
There are marvellous prospects for peace in all the world under the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, but people must be willing to do God’s will. Is the Christmas season conducive to this, and does it reflect that desire?
Many sincere people who want to follow the Bible feel that the answer is obvious.

10 But the angel said to them: “Do not be afraid, for look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have. 11 For today there was born to you in David’s city+ a savior,+ who is Christ the Lord.+ 12 And this is a sign for you: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army,+ praising God and saying: 14 “Glory in the heights above to God, and on earth peace among men of goodwill.”* (Luke 2:10, 11, 14).

+

Preceding articles:

Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia

Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule

Holidays, holy days and traditions

Focus on outward appearances

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 1: Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet

Traditionalists Vow to Fight Charges of Racism in Netherlands

The imaginational war against Christmas

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Additional reading

  1. Altered to fit a Trinity
  2. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  3. Spelling Yahshuah (יהשע) vs Hebrew using Yehoshuah (יהושע)
  4. First month of the year and predictions
  5. Hosea Say What?
  6. Matthew 1:18-25 – Genesis of Jesus Christ
  7. Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot
  8. Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’
  9. Matthew 2:13-15 – Escaping the Slaughter by a Flight to Egypt
  10. Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents
  11. Matthew 2:19-23 – Out of Egypt to Nazareth
  12. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:26-38 – Gabriel’s Appearance to Mary
  13. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  14. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple
  15. Truth, doubt or blindness
  16. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  17. The place where Jesus was brought up
  18. A Living Faith #7 Prayer

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Further reading

  1. Is Santa Real, Or Is He Really You, Dad?
  2. “Islam may have bad stuff. But …” – What of the other Bronze Age Invented Gods?
  3. Did Electricity kill Religion?
  4. Should we forgo happiness here for the sake of happiness hereafter?
  5. Life Comes in Threes
  6. The three gifts
  7. Wassail Ancient holiday tradition that involves drinking, singing, and making introverts nervous.
  8. A Christmas Wish
  9. America’s First “War on Christmas”
  10. A Breath of Fresh Air
  11. Lapland baby #blogmas day 19
  12. Snowflake Tea Light Cozy
  13. Christmas: The Giver’s Feast
  14. O Christmas Tree!
  15. Christmas Music Matters: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
  16. Preparing for Christmas
  17. Living in the Moment
  18. Jesus is the True and Better David (6/12)
  19. Last Minute Gift Idea
  20. Christmas Tree Farm
  21. A Christmas round up
  22. Mr. Santa’s Boogie
  23. 7 Events Which Turned Our Christmas Upside Down
  24. Jane Austen and old friends to the rescue
  25. 7th and 6th day of Christmas! !
  26. Once Upon a Holiday

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Epicurus’ Problem of Evil

In the philosophy of religion, an ancient discipline, being found in the earliest known manuscripts concerning philosophy, the problem of evil is the question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with that of a deity who is, in either absolute or relative terms, omnipotent, having the quality of having unlimited power with the capacity to know everything and this even in a state of omniscience or ubiquity, the property of being present everywhere, and omnibenevolent (from Latin omni– meaning “all”, and benevolent, meaning “good”) (see theism).

All About Evil

All About Evil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of people have already spend lots of words and time to discussions about the existence in this world and the position of or no position of a deity in this matter.

We may have logic, reason or moral intuition, not derived from purported supernatural revelation or guidance (which is the source of religious ethics), seeing what happens in the world every day. Strangely enough as long as everything goes all right people do not need a god or say they do not believe in God. But as soon as something bad happens they all seem to blame that God Which they say does not exist.

They overlook the fact that through logic and reason, human beings are capable of deriving normative principles of behaviour.

For humanists it is clear that we do have a universal morality based on the commonality of human nature, and that knowledge of right and wrong is based on our best understanding of our individual and joint interests, rather than stemming from a transcendental or arbitrarily local source, therefore rejecting faith completely as a basis for action. When there is some wrong in the world this does not have to come from any supernatural power. No god or not the God has to be called responsible for the wrong-going in this world. Most humanists look for viable individual, social and political principles of conduct.

People who do not believe in God do not exclude our secular ethics, secular beliefs as a matter of influence on good and bad in our environment. Most thinkers are aware that lots of evil that comes over man comes over the human beings by their own fault.

Though lots of people do ask if there is a God willing to prevent evil, but not able? In case, they think, this god is not omnipotent. That is also what the Greek philosopher Epicurus thought. He wrote a riddle which turns out to be loaded with a couple of erroneous presuppositions.

He also questioned:

Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

The problem with a lot of thinkers is that they assume that God must do so in exactly the way we think he ought to, and if he doesn’t, we’re going to get all uppity and tell him that he doesn’t exist.

Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean...

Portrait of Epicurus, founder of the Epicurean school. Roman copy after a lost Hellenistic original. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to Epicurus we do have a a mental perception of our nature which is usually ridiculous. Man having created gods who live eternal lives of contentment in the void of the universe and have no concern with men. There are no rewards or punishments after death; death is extinction, according to him. Dying might reasonably — though mistakenly, he feels — seem a cause for fear; to fear death itself, however, is absurd, since it brings nothing in its wake.

Because we are confronted with elements and with problems we can not cope with, we consider that God to be responsible that He has not given us enough power to avoid such problems and all that suffering it brings with it. We take such an attitude that we blame Him to be responsible for all the badness that comes over this earth. We consider Him responsible and point our finger at Him, finding that He ought to deal with evil. Funny thing is also that most people give the impression that they know just how He ought to do deal with it.

Epicurus continues:

If God exists, then God is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect.
If God is omnipotent, then God has the power to eliminate all evil.
If God is omniscient, then God knows when evil exists.
If God is morally perfect, then God has the desire to eliminate all evil.
Evil exists.
If evil exists and God exists, then either God doesn’t have the power to eliminate all evil, or doesn’t know when evil exists, or doesn’t have the desire to eliminate all evil.
Therefore, God doesn’t exist.

Epicurus does seem to forget that The God can really eliminate all evil, but Epicurus does not question why He allows it to exist. He also in several of his texts gives the impression that God would not know that evil exists, but the Word of God, given to us with the Holy Scriptures let us know very well that God is conscious about the existing evil, but also how evil is in man.

When we look in the Bible, we can get a good impression of what evil is, how it came into being and why there is still evil in this world. All the answers are in the Scriptures. Evil is defined by God as being that which is opposite to him. The “Satan” is any adversary or any person working against the Divine Creator. In every person there is a satan, or a character of opposition or adversary, against the “I am” the own personality and against the “I Am Who I Am” the Divine Superior God in Whose image we are created.

Most people when they look at evil in this world want God to solve it because they have come aware that human is worthless in solving it all. They hope that God can deal with all the problems in this world, the evil the suffering, in such a way that will give them a problem-less world, with no bad things in it. But they themselves would not like to be changed. Because God offers them a world with less problems. He does give the world advice to avoid problems and suffering.But the world does not want to know.

Blaming God is all-right but listening to Him?

Epicureanism afforded a role to gods, they were not thought to be involved in the universe in any way, and it rejected outright the idea of an afterlife. That last bit made it not so loved by many people who loved to have something to look forward to after they had to endure this life full of misery.

English: Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, d...

Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The disdain with which Epicureanism was treated has led to it being misconceived to this day. Epicureanism is still thought of as a commitment to sensual pleasure, to fast living. Though Epicurus did conceive of pleasure as the highest good, his conception of pleasure was far from hedonistic: all that Epicurus sought was a peaceful life free from discomfort and distress. Though for many religious people it seemed so wrong to enjoy life. They all forgot that this is also something God would love His people, to have joy of this world and to live nicely. But for God the nice living does not come undeserved or without any action of man himself. We all have to grow up, have to learn, have to think about matters, have to make decisions, have to act and to react, and by the actions we do take we shall have to bear the consequences of our actions.

Many do think if God is omnipotent He would not allow evil to be, but why not?

There have been many attempts to defend God‘s goodness in view of the existence of evil. They are common to monotheistic religions based on the Abrahamic tradition, namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as these all suffer from the problem of evil.

In short, the problem of evil occurs when specific attributes are ascribed to God:

David Hume argued:

“Why is there any misery at all in the world? Not by chance surely. From some cause then. Is it from the intention of the Deity? But he is perfectly benevolent. Is it contrary to his intention? But he is almighty. Nothing can shake the solidity of this reasoning, so short, so clear, so decisive; except we assert, that these subjects exceed all human capacity”

We would not say that “Free will is assumed to be a greater good than the evil that it causes”, but with free will or free choice human beings have most in their hands. We also would not say that free will is needed by God to serve some purpose. It is a free gift from God, which can be used by people like they want. But they also can leave it for what it is, and God cannot be called responsible for that.

It is true God could have created humans such that they would always freely choose the good. This He did not do and therefore many call Him ultimately responsible and blameworthy for any evil act which humans perform. This gives the indication that they preferred the God having created human beings who only would follow His Will and only could do what He wanted.

Humans must be free to commit actions which would qualify as “evil” as well as “good” in our argument, in order to have free will. When they only would be made to have restriction, only doing the Will of God, they would be like robots or machines not able to think and act for themselves. Those who want God having to have created beings which only could do good, should wonder if such a being uberhaut has any free will or free choice to do something. In this case, all humans born without this capability, possess no free will. Should then all human beings all be the same? Because what is going to determine that one person is going to do this or an other job, having an advantage of strength, size, or skill. This are factors now determined by the choices being made by that person. The development of a human being depends on how he or she wants to use his or her free will. Are then the potentially smaller, weaker, or less skilled persons than victims? Would a difference in capability also not be part of evil or part of the good?

In case all would do the same job and would be totally the same that would place God in a worse light than now. This would put God in the position of denying free will to someone regardless of God’s position on an action, whether God intervenes, or not.

People limiting God by not allowing Him to let nature develop and have what we call natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes, do not want to see the necessity of certain developments in nature, or they would not want nature to evolve. Natural disasters are not to be defined as evil. The fact that they occur, and that God does not prevent them or the deaths and suffering they cause, people should question if those people were living at areas provided by God to live. Often people do want to take parts from nature to house themselves, whilst they were provided for the animals or as natural buffer. A lot of people just think they are master of nature and can decide where they may live and where animals may not live. Now lots of people do not take enough account of nature and ignore the laws of nature. By not showing any respect for nature and its laws they do have to bear the consequences of their bad behaviour against the universe.

God is not unaware of people’s suffering, but He has given them on their demand, what too many do forget, the right to decide for themselves what they want to do, which way to go and how to behave. He is not therefore not omniscient; or He is therefore not unable to do anything, and therefore not omnipotent. Some may find it not right that He does not want to intervene. Because He is unwilling to intervene they do find Him not omnibenevolent. The latter word being primarily used as a technical term within academic literature on the philosophy of religion, mainly in context of the problem of evil and theodical responses to such. Although even in said contexts the phrases “perfect goodness” or “moral perfection” are often preferred because of the difficulties in defining what exactly constitutes ‘infinite benevolence’.

For many God not showing directly infinitely compassion makes Him not worthy to be called a Omnibenevolent Deity. But is it not like any parent who has his children doing things and when something did something wrong and therefore got himself or herself in problems tells them that if they did not want to listen had to learn from what happened to them because they were not willing to listen to what the father said beforehand.

Belief in a God’s omnibenevolence is an essential foundation in traditional Christianity; this can be seen in Scriptures such as Psalms 18:30:

“(18:31) “as for god, his way is perfect, the word of ADONAI has been tested by fire; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (Psalms 18:30 CJB)

According to the Bible Jehovah, the Elohim is The Rock Whose work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. (Deuteronomy 32:4) Too many people are forgetting that This God of faithfulness and without iniquity is Just and right, having a perfect law which restores the soul. The people should remember they are nothing without God and that His testimony is sure, making wise the simple.

“(19:8) the torah of ADONAI is perfect, restoring the inner person. the instruction of ADONAI is sure, making wise the thoughtless.” (Psalms 19:7 CJB)

Jehovah is righteous in all His ways, and gracious in all His works (Psalms 145:17). It is not because we do not understand why certain things happen in nature, earthquakes, flows of water, etc. that they do not have the right purpose or are meant for the better, because we do not see straight ahead the good results.

Too many people do believe their way of thinking is the best. Often they consider others their idea less good than their own. And most people consider it impossible that there could be a Supreme Being which nobody can see or feel, would be even better and more knowledgeable than they. For them it is difficult to accept that great and marvellous would the works of that One God, the Almighty and that His ways would be righteous and true (Revelation 15:3 )

Many ancient authorities read nations:

“who would not fear you, king of the nations? for it is your due! —since among all the wise of the nations and among all their royalty, there is no one like you.” (Jeremiah 10:7 CJB)

This understanding is evident in the following statement by the First Vatican Council

The Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church believes and acknowledges that there is one true and living God, Creator and Lord of Heaven and earth, almighty, eternal, immeasurable, incomprehensible, infinite in will, understanding and every perfection. Since He is one, singular, completely simple and unchangeable spiritual substance, He must be declared to be in reality and in essence, distinct from the world, supremely happy in Himself and from Himself, and inexpressibly loftier than anything besides Himself which either exists or can be imagined. {“First Vatican Council”. dailycatholic.org. Retrieved 2008-05-02.}

Notice how also the Catholic Church agrees that The God of gods “is one, singular”, but also an “unchangeable spiritual substance”. According to the Bible God is a Spirit, Who was, is and ever shall be the same. so He did not became one moment a man who could be seen and be tempted, because God can not be seen and can not be tempted. God His divine qualities are consistent.It is only those who want to believe in the human doctrine of the trinity who can see inconsistency, which would be normal because God and Jesus are two totally different characters.

God contains within himself the cause of himself. Being self-sufficient, having within Himself the sufficient reason for His own existence, He also has given others, His creation, the ability to be and to have cause for existence. It is not that God would be without emotion or is “impassible”, because in the Bible lots of times is given an indication how God feels and is given an idea of His emotions.

All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being. The aorist tense implies that everything that exists (other than God) came into being at some time in the past. This verse carries the weighty metaphysical implication that there are no eternal entities apart from God, eternal either in the sense of existing atemporally or of existing sempiternally. Rather everything that exists, with the exception of God Himself, is the product of temporal becoming.

We also should come to understand that everything is as such also temporarily. The badness we see now can turn out something good in the future. And in the end we do know that God shall provide the best for every creature, man, animal, plant, in His Kingdom.

Human beings should know that there is nothing God needs from us and that there is nothing we can do to improve on God. God is sufficient unto Himself. Human Beings should know that the “end purpose of all things” is God. God loves mankind but like any father who loves his children it does not have to mean he does not allow bad things to come over them. Lots of people do not seem to notice how He His caring for those who suffer, His desire to be in communion with us. The “grand object” of Scripture is God’s saving purpose worked out in human history.

We should come to understand that every journey is a process, from beginning to end, by which we have choices and can have faith in some things some ones and/or in Some One, whereby the energy in the beginning can be matter and be the product of Faith. When there is faith in the One God matters can become clear, and than we can understand cause of pain and how we can live wit it.

All those who are willing to find the one, and Only True God, by seeking Him, shall find assurance, even when they do suffer, that God shall be prepared to listen to them and to be near to them. When you seek, the One and Only True God, with an honest, open heart, and with humility, you shall be able to come to understand lots of things. God wants to enter your life. He shall give you insight.

Many may say

“Where is God when a child cries from hunger, fear, loneliness?”
“Where is God when a young mother dies of breast cancer?”
“Where is God when we cry out in the night?” {Where Is God?}

People may not forget that always God is here waiting for us to reach out, to invite Him into our lives. He has given us the world to live in and to develop. He has given us the taks to name the animals and the plants, but he did not ask us to destroy His creation by our selfishness and by polluting “our Earth”. God is love. God does not hate. God does not kill. God does not make war, God has never given any man the authority to kill another man in his name.  That is man again, doing the evil that men do for their own evil reasons.
God is waiting for us “in our hearts, if only we would call.”

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Preceding articles:

  1. Does God stands behind all evil on earth
  2. Is God behind all suffering here on earth
  3. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  4. Why God permits evil
  5. Evil Never Ceases
  6. Pain, sanctification and salvation
  7. From Despair to Victory

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Additional reading:

  1. Epicurus and the problem of evil
  2. Satan the evil within
  3. It is a free will choice
  4. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  5. Tragic coach crash in the Swiss Alps
  6. Facing disaster fatigue
  7. Profitable disasters
  8. Reacting to Disasters
  9. From pain to purpose
  10. Bad things no punishment from God
  11. Doubting the reality, genuineness and effectiveness of God’s love
  12. We are ourselves responsible
  13. I said God it hurts
  14. Dealing with worries in our lives
  15. I Only hope we find God again before it is too late !
  16. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #1 Listening Sovereign Maker
  17. Faith Over Fear
  18. Faith because of the questions
  19. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  20. God is my refuge and my fortress in Him I will trust

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  • What Role Did Psychology Play? (psychologytoday.com)
  • Happiness (todayssigns.wordpress.com)
    Not understanding that has to be the main reason for why criticism of hedonism involves pursuit of pleasure as an end in itself. Any student of Epicurus knows that happiness results as a byproduct of pleasurable activities. Any student properly schooled in American history knows that “the pursuit of happiness was included in the basic philosophy upon which America was founded. Think of this the next time someone tells you America was founded as a Christian nation. We are a nation of hedonists very ignorant of how to apply that fact.
  • Letter: Whose ‘right’ should we follow? (norwichbulletin.com)

    Whose right and wrong? That of the American Atheists Inc.? Mine? How about ISIS? If you throw away the “whims of some bronze age mythological figure,” whose whims rule the day?

    As for leaving religion in the history books, isn’t that what we’ve done as least as far as the schools go? How’s that working?

  • What is Morality? (seesharppress.wordpress.com) > What is Morality?
    The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry defines morality as “Morality is the distinction between right and wrong. It is the determination of what should be done and what should not be done. Morals deal with behaviours as well as motives. There is a great deal of discussion on what is the source of morals and whether or not they are objective. Biblically, morals are derived from God’s character and revealed to us through the Scriptures”
  • Above the Gray: How We Approach Ethics As An Organization (prsay.prsa.org)
    As a Society, we represent the very largest and smallest of enterprises worldwide. Issues such as transparency, privacy and personal identity are now far more challenging, thereby increasing our responsibility as public relations professionals. Transparency is part of the larger conversation around ethics, which frames it with other such conventions as truth, accuracy, fairness and a responsibility to the public. While it’s tempting to think of ethics as the domain of philosophers debating theoretical concepts, the reality is that we all face ethical decisions every day, and they are almost never black and white.
  • Is SEO Immoral? (moz.com)
    By learning and manipulating the system to accomplish its goal, SEO makes it more likely that you will come upon a target that is irrelevant.
  • Epicurus’ Problem of Evil (keskyisnotbusy.wordpress.com)
  • Jesus Was Tortured And Killed, Today Most Christians Are Highly Supportive Of Torture (blacklistednews.com)
    Let’s get this straight, Jesus who was interrogated, tortured and then killed has modern followers who actually support government sanctioned torture. If they are Christians and are familiar with his history then they would know what happened and reject such savage methods. Today so-called terrorists are picked up on the street and hurt severely without even being put before a judge and jury. These people are the antithesis of Jesus and have nothing in common with him.
  • ▶ Nullification The Rightful Remedy – YouTube (chasvoice.blogspot.com)

Is God behind all suffering here on earth

At Bijbelvorsers, vereniging voor Bijbelstudie – Bible Scholars, Association for Bible study on June 29, 2011 at 9:42 am was written by Bible scholar Marcus Ampe. Until 2014, December 22 it got 400 viewings

Often we do find people saying it is a vengeance of God when people suffer. By earthquakes, tsunamis and other disasters they like to warn people that it is a penalty from God and that they should change their way of life.

The central character of the Book of Job, Job (Arabic: أيّوب, Ayyūb‎), as portrayed by Bonnat

In the ancient Hebrew writing The Book of Job we can find a story of the suffering Job and the attempted explanation of these events by his friends. But at the end we also do get to know God’s answer. This is so much different from what lots of people do want us to believe.

In some Christian denomination the preachers even do focus on the terror. They proclaim that it is God who punishes the evil doers. And because the people do such wrong they and their environment has to undergo all the suffering.

If that was not enough they even tell those people that after all the suffering on this earth it shall not be finished. God shall punish them even more. (That is what they tell them.) Those preachers say that those evildoers are going to be tortured for ever after they die. They present them a picture of a hell, which is going to be a torture room full of fire for all those people who sinned veraciously. They want to give the others, who did some little sins, some hope, and present that they also have to face some extra punishment, but that will only happen for a short time in the purgatory.

But as you shall see when you read the Book of Books,  the Bible, you shall be able to come to the conclusion that this is not the truth they are telling. They do the same thing as the friends of Job and try to mislead the people who have trust in them.

In the world around us we are able to find believers and non-believers. People who do good and people who do wrong. Those who do bad things have mostly the opportunity to be confronted with more problems than those who do good. But do not make the mistake, that the ones who do good shall have it always good. No, also they can become confronted with a lot of badness and have to suffer a lot. Their doing good is no free way to have a life without problems.

Perhaps you think it being righteous that everything goes well with such people who do good. But you’ll notice that the world does not turn like that. Everywhere you look you shall be able to find good an bad things.

Throughout the history of humankind we found a lot of troubles coming over people who had nothing to do with it. Wars seem to be insurmountable. History books have pages over battles between different people. Those battles brought a lot of pain to many people. But it are not only such big events which can bring pain to humans or animals. Even the flora world came and still comes into problems many times

Job's Evil Dreams (illustration)

Job’s Evil Dreams (illustration) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Book of Books, the Bible, we can find a Guide Book to Life and a Guide to our Suffering. Each of those Books in that Library can give us the the power to change. We can find the history of humankind but especially also the history of the chosen people, who wanted to stay under the wings of their Creator, the Only One God.

It is normal that when we live that we wonder what on earth we are doing here. It is not so weird to question the reason of us being here and to think about what we have to do or to think about what is expected and by whom here on earth.
Would there be a reason to be here, and to go through all those problems to grow up, to get a job, a way of living, etcetera.

Do you know there is a Higher Being who took care that we can find the answers to many life questions? His Words are written down by patient scriptors who opened up a world of knowledge which had first to be brought over verbally, then written on tablets, later scrolls and at last found a better way to got multiplied so that They could become available to as many interested persons as possible. Thanks to Gutenberg and many Biblestudents the Words of God became spread over the whole world and were put against the human teachings of several persons and institutions which proclaimed being spokesmen of God.

But be careful, as you shall be able to see in the book of Job, those so called friends can bring misleading messages and even can tell you things which are not according the Truth. Therefore we always have to listen carefully but also look at their sayings and compare them with other sayings or with reactions on their words.

Also in the book of Job we get to hear at first many things about God, which seem to be very acceptable. Some denominations use those words of the friends quite often to tell their story of the picture. But they forget to bring into attention the lost chapter of that Book, when God gives His reply to Job and his three friends. For some people that chapter does not give them the satisfying answers, but their at least we get the real answer from God who we do have to believe.

The bible is full of examples of difficulties people had to encounter. But the Book of Job is in a certain special, because it treats the subject of Suffering in particular.

We can find a more than blessed man who had at first nothing to complain of. But at a finger click everything can change quickly. Such a wealthy man got pulled down under until he did not see any light any more. Though he considered himself as a man of God he did not see any use any more to live longer. He just wanted that his life would come to an end soon, because he had enough of all those problems.

As in the other stories of the assemblage of scriptures we can find an example of a person in need who can not be helped by his friends. We get to see that man is not always the right guide nor able to help sufficiently. Perhaps people can give us wrong advice. But we may find that there are also others who sincerely try to help us but who are also not always able to bring the right solution.

In the Holy Scriptures we do find on several places One Helper who always came back into the picture. Several people were helped by Him and it is not because we do not seem to get any answers or signs from Him this day that He would not be around us. Job also thought that God had abounded Him. Do you think at certain moments that God has left you? Do you think God would leave you on your own?

Look very carefully around you and you shall be able to see the Hand of God. He is there at places where you would not expect Him.

Today we can have the opportunity to find God His Words at our coffee-table. The only thing is that we do have to take the Book and have to open it and read it. Without reading it we are not going to get as much answers as God is willing to give to us. Also in our time of affliction He is there to guide us, but we do have to want to see His stretched out arm. Let Him carry you through the storms.

The Bible is not just a book from and for the old days. It still can be very very useful. Also today we find a lot of people who are wrongly accused of something. More and more we can find people being bullied. This often because they dare to be different or to do good. It is as if today the world does not like people who want to be goodhearted. Working hard and doing what is expected from you by the higher ones is being looked at as being week. The world today does not like to have people who want to live according to rules, morals and ethics, and they prefer to scum them.

In case we have to face problems it can be good to look at the problems of some one else like Job.

Let us be aware that everything we have to undergo in this life can be a learning experience. Even from the moments we do not like we can learn. We also can learn from suffering. The experience of the pain, having to face problems can bring us to moments to look for solutions and give us the chance to grow stronger.

I do agree than we have to make a big shift in our attitude how to look at that suffering. But we should be able to manage.

The Book of Job can be a very good teaching tool for us to make a new start or to find new ways to dope with our suffering and with all the problems which seem to be too much for us.

Therefore I would like to advice you to take that Old Book at hand and to read it. Perhaps my Bible Study I wrote on our ecclesia site can help you to go through it and to see solutions to your own situation.

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Please do find out in the Bible Study at the Christadelphian Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven.

  1. Bad things no punishment from God
  2. Profitable disasters
  3. Facing disaster fatigue
  4. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  7. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  9. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  10. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  11. Let us recognise how great God is

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Additional reading:

  1. A world in denial
  2. Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?
  3. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  4. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #15 Exposition before the Creator
  5. A risk taking society
  6. Securing risks
  7. God does not change
  8. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  9. Bad things no punishment from God
  10. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  11. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  12. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  13. Newsweek asks: How ignorant are you?
  14. We are ourselves responsible
  15. Weekly World Watch 24th – 30th Oct 2010‏
  16. Reacting to Disasters
  17. Certainty in a troubled world
  18. Tragic coach crash in the Swiss Alps
  19. If there is bitterness in the heart
  20. A great man does not lose his self-possession when he is afflicted
  21. The blessing of a broken leg
  22. Signs of the Last Days
  23. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  24. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  25. Just be yourself…
  26. What happens when we die?
  27. All Souls’ Day
  28. Fear and protection
  29. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  30. Finish each day and be done with it

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  • The Secret Book of Job (npr.org)
    the tornado went away. Wait, wait – the things the tornado said came to pass. My harvest was bountiful. My flock stretched out like the sea. My wife, she gave me more children, 10 sons. And once again, she held her head high in the marketplace, servants trailing after her. And only I heard her sobs at night.
  • ‘The Norton Anthology of World Religions: Volume II’ (rss.nytimes.com)
    the selected Jewish writings show that contrary to some popular assumptions, religion does not offer unsustainable certainty. The biblical story of the binding of Isaac leaves us with hard questions about Abraham’s God, and later, when Moses asks this baffling deity for his name, he simply answers: “Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh”, which can be roughly translated: “Never mind who I am!” The Book of Job finds no answer to the problem of human suffering, and Ecclesiastes dismisses human life as “utter futility.” This bleak honesty finds its ultimate expression in Elie Wiesel’s proclamation of the death of God in Auschwitz.
  • The Norton Anthology of World Religions (3quarksdaily.com)
    At a time when religious faith is coming under intense scrutiny, “The Norton Anthology of World Religions” is presenting a documentary history of six major faiths with sufficient editorial explanation to make their major texts intelligible across the barriers of time and space. – See more at: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/12/the-norton-anthology-of-world-religions.html#sthash.msely1Oh.dpuf

     

  • Leviathan wins best film award at IFFI in Goa (in.rbth.com)
    The film is a modern reworking of the biblical book of Job. It is set on a Barents Sea peninsula and tells the story of a man who struggles against a corrupt mayor who wants his piece of land. 
  • In One of William Blake’s Final Works, the Engraved Trials of an Unfortunate Soul (hyperallergic.com)
    When his younger brother died of tuberculosis in 1787, the Metropolitan Museum of Art explains, Blake “reported discovering his wholly original method of ‘relief etching’ — which creates a single, raised printing surface for both text and image — in a vision of Robert soon after his death.” This technique also meant he had total control over his books, even if it involved incredible patience, including writing backwards onto the plates for the types of dense borders that are part of the Illustrations of the Book of Job.
  • Is Atheism a Specifically Western Phenomenon? (the-american-interest.com)
    dam Garfinkle, the editor of The American Interest, asked me this question. He told me that he had met a Saudi who claimed to be an atheist: What does this mean? We know atheism in its Jewish or Christian context, as a rejection of the Biblical God. What would atheism mean in a Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist context?
  • Russian film Leviathan nominated for Golden Globe awards (tass.ru)
    A 2014 Russian drama film Leviathan directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev has been nominated for the Golden Globe’s Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Wrestling with the Big Questions: A Day In Job at LICC (bibleandmission.redcliffe.org)
    The book of Job speaks a compelling word of honesty and hope into the deepest and most difficult of human experiences. Job’s story of suffering and the process he goes through with his comforters and with God is just as relevant for Christians and local churches today as we wrestle with our own questions and the questions of those around us.

Running away from the past

Being born, growing up. Days which start and days which finish. Days and nights, working hours, moments of rest and relaxation. From baby, encountering lots of difficulties in our will to try to find out and to try to do things. when times come before our eyes and we see them go past, we can only see that somehow we keep carrying them with us for the rest of our life. We sometimes we think we forget them, but suddenly they reappear. Sometimes we can not let the past  for something what is gone. It may have been fortunate or may have been awful.

English: Students look at a section of the exp...

Students look at a section of the exposed Wasatch Fault, a classic normal fault located in North Salt Lake, Utah. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How many people do we not know who are trying to run away from their past? Sometimes we meet people who do not want to be remembered of their past. Several people do everything they can to get all remembrances of their past out of their way. Others only want to keep certain pictures going around to show the better part of their passed moments. As such they can get the less nice moments into oblivion.

Nobody wants to remind those painful moments of their life. We all want to dream of better moments and of miraculous and magical life. If things happened in our lives which we did not like, we prefer to put the fault to something or some one else. Mostly we do not want to see the fault by ourselves, and when we see that we ourselves where at fault often we do not want to admit it. Most of us do not want to have the pain to be remembered at those bad things that happened in our lives.

We would love to see that no bad things would happen to us. As soon as everything seems to go so smoothly, then with a finger snatch everything seems to go wrong. Moods change so easily.

Many of us do not like it when things go wrong or when we are brought in a bad mood. Most of us do not want to be angry or in a bad mood, but the anger and bad mood come again and again.

What can we do against it?

One moment everything looks to go enormously well, the other moment everything turns out to go terrible. The world has seen times were people had peace with each other and at other moments they seemed not to be able to cope with each-other. At times people had difficulty to survive and had to face thirst and hunger. Sometimes even the same people could find more than enough of it all. Often the might have found abundance, but really did not appreciate it or did not know they had so much, until they had lost it.

All of us probably have seen times of joy but also times of sorrow.

We are just a ball in the game of life, rolling from one side to the other.

How often we do like it to be rolled from one place to the other in case it could bring us something better (we think)? But how often did we not make the wrong choice, did we choose for the wrong party? How many times did we want to blame ourselves when it did not turn out like we had hoped?

In certain religions, people created somebody they could blame for what went wrong. Some like to think on their left shoulder is sitting a bad ‘ghost‘ or ‘devil‘ which lures them in the bad situations. It is that devil which makes them to have bad choices, doing things wrong, having bad or making them cross with others. Is that not easy to blame such a devil?

Like the pendulum of the always ticking clock we are pulled form the right to the left, from the good to the wrong or to the bad, and than there are others who want us to choose. Is that not difficult?

Why do so many people want to make it so complicated whilst life can be less complicated?

When something happened, why do we want to forget it and leave it in the past like it never happened. Why do we not want to take the opportunity to learn from it and to keep it in our mind to remember ourselves how we next time should not do it that way or should not let it turn out like it did previously?

It is impossible to turn back the time. What happened happened. How many times did we give the excuse we needed more time?

Did we ever think that if we would have accepted our own strength and would have shared it more with the other we could have reached much more? How many times did we want to hear the other for the good of us growing and did we want to work together to make everything better without having ourselves in the picture as the one who could make everything better? So often people do not want to hear the voice of an other in their mind, telling them to do what they should do. But when they did something others do not like, they are the first one to tell tit was somebody else his idea, or somebody else’s fault something went wrong.

Lots of people do enjoy it to look at others their mistakes or failings. How many do not like to listen to gossip and rumours and evil insinuations? when we hear people talking around us talking about others, how many do not derive pleasure from the shortcomings of others, especially those who have previously appeared to be models of uprightness or have been in the footlights?

Have you tried to hear the voice which comes over all the din of the market, the buzz of social gossip, the stamping and mirth of the pleasure spots?

How often we feel that wrong is done to us and do we want to have revenge? How many of us when we long to retaliate for wrongs done to us, hear again that calming voice penetrates our hurt and our angry frustration?

We should come to know that vengeance only belongs to the Supreme Being. It is not up to us to take the law into our own hands, for God has allowed the justice system and He will repay.  (see Romans 12:19). Anger is a great bungler, and it has well been said that we get at odds when we try to get even.

It Ain't My Fault

It Ain’t My Fault (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We can all remember moments in our life where we were angry, with or without reason. Many times in our life we had moments we could not pretend that nothing was happening that we did not like. More than once we got to the point we had to do something to make it better or to change the situations so that we could find a better way to handle or to deal with the situation or person in a non-attached way. We had moments in our life where we had to take care of what needed to be done, responding with patience and understanding, and moving on.

In our life we should come to a point realising we do have to move on. Than we should try to break the habit of a lifetime and should want to try and reinforce a new approach to how we view ourself. How we look at our self and what happened in the past is something we only ourself can change. With time we can slowly try and retrain our thinking to no longer be so hard on ourself.

We have to stop giving others but also ourselves the fault. We have to stop thinking the others are bad but also have to stop thinking we are bad. At times we might have taught we were the reason we were hurt and that it was our fault. When we were ridiculed at school or did fail to get top marks (sometimes finding 9/10 in a test wasn’t good enough and anything less than an A+ was a fail in our parents eyes).  How many people are not surrounded in their youth with negativity, blame and ridicule just kept heaping one on top of the other and that made them feel absolutely worthless.

But in the creation of the Most High nobody is worthless. Nobody is guilty for his total life. A person may have stolen bullied, not having told the truth, having sexual and other escapades, it might even be someone may have brought damage to somebody else or even murdered some one, there is hope for that person.

There has been a man in history who made arrangement than any evil person can be pardoned for the atrocities he or she might have done. Every person on this planet has his past, which can be seen as the past that has been but is also gone. We do not have to carry the past with us as a burden or like a ball of plumb hanging at our legs, like by the prisoners in the old times. All chains are broken today by one person to whom we may look up.

Today there are still lots of people who say it is impossible that there could exist a man of flesh and blood who would be willing to swipe over the faults of other people, forgive what they have done, and would not mind taking them in a reign where everybody is considered equal and live together in peace for ever.

But a barrister is provided who works pro-deo. At no cost for us that advocate will take counsel for anybody of the world who is willing to accept him to be his solicitor. He does not charge anything. The only thing he demands is that we recognise his Father and his position and that we would like to try to do the Will of his Father like he only wanted to do the Will of his Father and not his will.

When you are willing to accept that man in your life and understand what he has done for mankind, than you may forget all your previous life and start all over again. With a new slate you may start afresh. Is that not great? Would that not give any hope?

Yes you may forget your past in such circumstance, but you shall have to run away from your past also. That solicitor will require from you that you really want to turn over the page and start anew.  He will be a mediator between you and his Father, who he wants that you shall accept also as your Father in heaven. Turning over the page shall require that you run away from your past, let it be what it was, but not without forgetting to learn your lessons from it.

All people should come to see that they are fortunate and that they are saved, valued, loved and accepted for whom they are and for what they have done but even more for what they shall try to do. They all should try to see and find the good persons around them, their family who love them and care for them, and their good friends who support them, and those who are willing to accompany them to better pastures.

Let this be your time also to value yourself and to challenge and change the habit of a lifetime.

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Find to read:

  1. Malefactors becoming your master
  2. The first on the list of the concerns of the saint
  3. Doest thou well to be Angry?
  4. Be ye angry and sin not
  5. She who sows thistles will reap prickles
  6. The mistake is the one from which we learn nothing
  7. Never making mistakes because never doing anything
  8. He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger
  9. The business of this life
  10. Be holy
  11. God does not change
  12. Singing gift from God
  13. Unconditional love
  14. No good thing will he withhold
  15. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  16. Change
  17. A Living Faith #8 Change
  18. Only I can change my life
  19. Wishing to do the will of God
  20. One mediator

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Please do find also to read:

  1. Simplicity, Clarity, Beauty
  2. Tiny Seed Within
  3. Touching Peace
  • Who’s fault is it anyway? (wenonachad.wordpress.com)
    He can be dramatic and take offense at little things if he’s in the right mood. He goes from one mood to the other very quickly sometimes and he has a very anxious personality at times. Lily is the only girl. She is artistic and crafty. She is also the most spiritually minded. She has been asking questions and talking about Jesus pretty much since she learned to talk. We already feel like she had a ministry calling on her life. But she is also bossy sometimes and demanding. She likes things done her way and she will tell you that! I absolutely love my kids and daily they teach me some kind of lesson.
  • My Fault (shruti14.wordpress.com)

    Cant forget those black days you gave to me / those stains aren’t easy to wash off / Which keep me reminding of our dusk / Never can I forget that bitter words which pierced my heart

  • it is his fault (wonderlandbytatu.wordpress.com)
    One of the glorious aspects of being pregnant (again) is that I can literally blame Eeverything on the little guy inside.
  • “Its Not My Fault” (emankawas.wordpress.com)
    I have noticed a dramatic change in myself: energy is low, ambition is limited, and motivation is dissolved. It was painful to wake up to reality that “I have changed”. Now it started to become clear to me why, it’s because I have been in the defense mode for so long that I started to put it on the top my priorities and let other important things go, like (motivation, ambition, drive, humility and passion).
  • Letter to my mother (notdazedorconfused.wordpress.com)
    With no conditions. I was your baby. Then suddenly I was stupid, ugly, useless. I was nothing. Then you kept apologizing. Your temper, your mood wasn’t helping. Yelling was how you talked. I had to tolerate that. I had to hear you yelling. And believe you when you said it wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t bad in any way. I was healthy and capable. But I was also abused. Abused by the people I trusted the most. Cause I was a child. Your child. And your world. It was also mine. I can feel my heart aching as I am writing these words. So much yelling. So much pain. So much confusion. And it wasn’t my fault. As you said you were unwell. Unwell and sick.
  • Does the Truth Help or Hurt Relationships? (robertjrgraham.com)
    I really thought that if I let people know the ugly thoughts, not only would they be hurt – but they would probably become angry and disown me – betray me, talk shit behind my back. I would be the outcast.

    So I beat them to the punch! Hah! I’d banish myself to my own room (or apartment, as I got older). I’d banish myself to silence.

    You can either have a N.I.C.E. (Not Interested in Connecting Emotionally) relationship… where you hide what is true out of fear. Or you can have an alive, real relationship with intimacy, compassion and understanding.

  • S for Sorry (saikounikkou.wordpress.com)
    I’m sorry for being too selfish / sorry for always blaming / and forgot where I stand and where you stay
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