A world with or without religion

Last week Europe was shaken like the world got a shock in 2001.

European newspapers could fill their pages with the recent and potential terrorist attacks in France. Analysts, experts, and commentators take time and space to discuss and debate the facts, often with skewed and confused perspectives on Islam, and offer a variety of political and emotional responses.

Since the Wednesday January 7 terrorist attacks on the satirical magazine, there has been not only a sharp increase in anti-Muslim attacks in France, but in many countries, again lots of people are saying that it would be better not having any religion and than we would have more peace. Those claiming it would be better without religions do seem to forget it is not the religions which brings the fighting under people. In case there was no religion and in case people had no faith in certain higher values than life provides at the moment, it even could be that there would be more fighting going on in the world.

Would people seriously think that there would not have any terrorist attacks against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo or against the Jewish supermarket in Paris, when it would not have been Jewish but would have been part of a certain political group or certain chain?

Eurobarometer Poll 2005 Percentage of those wh...

Eurobarometer Poll 2005 Percentage of those who agreed to the statement that “there isn’t any sort of God, spirit, or life force”. Colour enhanced from the original: contrast -0.5; gamma 0.7. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you take away religion you still have people who can think differently over certain matters. Atheism would not guarantee that they all would agree with each other. Having no religion shall not take away the differences in political thinking and shall still give, and perhaps even more, reason to disagree and react heavenly to other political parties. Have a look at how many different political opinions and how many different political parties there are in the world.

Interior Ministries would have much more work with different opposing groups, who would not mind to try to get rid of the others, no matter at what cost, because they would know a human life having no value when it is done with.So, by taking care of other opinions they shall be happy to be the only ruler and would not fear anything but the strongest human being, and therefore shall try to do everything to become the strongest themselves.

Now with ethics still playing a role and with people led by their faith to organise their life, people shall feel restricted in what they are allowed to do or in what can be done. With not ethics their shall be no boundaries.  For those who think when people do not belief in The God or any gods, the world would be safe of fightings, I would like to tell them that atheism in a certain way is also a religion and when it can not be considered like that it is at least also a faith.

In atheism there are also many thoughts, like there are many denominations in Christendom or in any other religion.

When there would not exist religion people would, as they did, find it out. It is true there would not be Islamophobia or Judaism fear, but still homophobia, racism would still exist. Even having no gods around people would create themselves high persons and idols, like they still do today. Even people who do not believe in God or gods call their idol ‘god’. Just look at the titles they give in the world of sport and how many gods can not be found under the footballers, tennis players and boxers.

Please also do not forget that ‘god’ is a tittle, meaning a higher person or being an important person. In the Bible we do find several called god. Angels are called god in the Holy Scriptures, but also Pharaoh, Moses, Apollo, Zeus and others. Some even think because Thomas at one point says “my god” think he is taking Jesus as his god and as God. Those readers do not see or hear the “and” before “my god” and do not understand Thomas is speaking to one person about that one person and about an other person, the God of Jesus, the God of Abraham, Who is the God of gods.

In this world when there would be no religion we also would see various god-men around the world, with whatever title the people then would give them or whatever word may be used in their language to denote such a figure. Everywhere in the world of religious and non-religious people we can find human beings who seem to be having this delusion that they have special powers or abilities that promote them to a pedestal that is higher than that of us mere mortals.

thinks that’s what makes them excel in their line of business. He also thinks it is good to have faith in a guide/teacher/guru and have a direction in life. I also believe it is very important that children have a good example they can look up at and follow. Teachers or educators or leaders in a youth or adult movement have helped many a men realize their potential (in movies, mythology, and real life).

Throughout the ages the world has seen many inspirational teachers, gurus, masters of with, inspirational thinkers, who stimulated others to think for themselves and to make a real quest in life.

Every age has got its master or people where others looked at or wanted to follow. Jeshua, the Nazarene (also called the Christ) was also such a man who got a lot of followers though others did not like that at all. Mahatma Gandhi and Luther King also were preachers of peace who did not want to create a new religion, like Jesus did not want to do that.

India has always been a very fruitful region for spiritual leaders. Also in this century a new special guru has found attention.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insan, as he calls himself (you can’t miss the mass appeal there) happens to be this socio-religious (and I think political as well) leader in India that has a huge following. His ‘fans’ claim that he is a do gooder who is trying to rid youth of the nation from the evil clutches of drugs. He carries out blood donation drives, and his many followers unquestioningly tread on the path illuminated by him. Why should anybody have a problem with such a man who is working for the society? {The God Complex & An Exercise in Absurdity}

This man who is born Gregory House frequently referred to overt acts of philanthropy and generosity as underlying symptoms of a disease.

In his vitriolic style, he mocked people for having the “God Complex”, while it can be debated that he had one too. {The God Complex & An Exercise in Absurdity}…

But then, he decides to make a movie and star in it as a (super)hero. The promotional trailers of MSG-Messenger of God are on the telly and some people like me who are on a highway to hell by India’s religious standards are having a good laugh. His fans have come out all guns  blazing on various social media platforms, silencing the detractors and rooting for their babaji. They counter the arguments by asking questions that are only beaten in absurdity by the movie itself. {The God Complex & An Exercise in Absurdity}

We also love to live a moving picture show, loving to see a better world for us than we can find in this real world. Have a look at Facebook, and you will understand what I mean. There you can find a beautiful example how people present themselves differently than they really are. Also there they love to show others how they can interact and build themselves an empire of friends and activities wherewith they can show off.

Those supporting the movie (most of whom are followers of the baba) innocently question that when other movies can show miraculous escapes and stunt scenes, why can’t Gurmeet Ram Rahim’s movie show him performing miracles?

Second. more important question is that when other movies get away with questioning religion in the name of ‘freedom of expression’, shouldn’t the makers of MSG be allowed to have their freedom too?

The last few days it was all about that freedom in Europe. Having received a big slap in the face we had to cry out loud our anguish at our hurt community. In which way were we to be pushed or to be allowed to go? Where is it that we want to go with our society and ow do want propaganda, brainwashing, infiltration allow our lives to direct?

After the Great War, lots of people thought never such a cruelty would come over them again, but soon World War II was on their doorstep. After that calamity the West soon recovered and thought it was now safe. But on September 11, 2001 the dream of the Western World was demolished by the crash of three air-planes. The material world of successful accomplishments could experience the deadliest attack ever launched on American soil, leaving them asking again:

Why did God permit such a thing to happen?

and

How can human beings be capable of such diabolical savagery in the name of religion?

2015 January 11 in remembrance of 2001 September 11 again an Islamic terrorist act on symbols of the Western society and its freedom - Attack on Charlie Hebdo mazazine in Paris, France

2015 January 7 in remembrance of 2001 September 11 again an Islamic terrorist act on symbols of the Western society and its freedom – Attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, France

On Wednesday January 7, 2015 it was again of the same sort. Once more the West was attacked, fired in the middle of their weak heart.  Again there were people who said it was done in the name of their god, though in the Abrahamic religions there is no such God who would agree with such violence. Others said it was the fault of the religions, but they seem to forget in case there were no religions there still would be other groups fighting each other.

Lots of people do accept opposition from one or the other side but not from certain other sides. But also to be questioned is how much and in which way do we want to accept opposition.

In case there where no religions and no people believing in The God, a god or gods, they would have favouritisms for certain civic believes or political ideas.

Already from the beginning of mankind people sought ways to live with others and to form communities. Therefore different systems where thought of. The different opinions how to make the best of life would also trigger differences to have people arguing and even coming to fight with each other. Economical and political factors would be there to have people coming against each other and even being prepared to kill others for it. History can proof that.

To say therefore that religions are the cause of such misery is doing injustice to those religious people. Most of them look for ways to come at peace with each other in respect of certain values which they consider very important for making a good working human society. They mostly have ethics which they want to give priority to material or personal gain.

What we see from those who claim to be fighting for Allah is that they mostly do not follow the Words of that Allah and even do not mind killing other followers of that God. Boko Haram and ISIS are very good examples of that letting the world see that they are not afraid to rape and kill children, women and men, who also believe in their God. those jihadists also have no scruples to bomb mosques, temples of worship for Allah, and to burn Holy Scriptures like the Quran.

Those people who terrorise others misuse religion to bring more reason to frighten others for what they are doing. The jihad-fighters want people to believe that the Quran justifies their actions. Others do want to believe them and do want to believe others

Islam’s “victorious-with-terror” prophet (Hadith, Bukhari 2977) commands Muslims to mimic his example (Qur’an Sura 33:21) by ruthlessly pursuing non-Muslims (Sura 4:104, 48:29) to “terrorize” them (Sura 3:151, 8:12, 8:57-60), to “siege and slay them” (Sura 4:89, 33:57-61), to “murder” and to maim (Sura 5:33; Hadith, Tabari 9:69) in order that they be “subdued” and “destroyed” by Allah at the hands of Muslims for the cause of Islam (Sura 2:244, 4:76, 8:39, 9:14, 29-30, 9:38-39, 9:111, 61:10-12). Yet when the light of truth is shone upon the horror that is Islam the willingly ignorant still choose to remain in the dark, for to expose pure evil is to expose a monster they’d rather not see … {The Ghost Of Charlie Hebdo And The Purple Beret}

Many do not want to show true respect for those who believe in certain values and in certain elements which are above our human intellect, like spiritual beings and The God of gods.

Pope Francis I, who has urged Muslim leaders in particular to speak out against Islamic extremism, went a step further when asked by a French journalist about whether there were limits when freedom of expression meets freedom of religion. The leader of the Roman Catholics insisted that it was an “aberration” to kill in the name of God and said religion can never be used to justify violence.
But he said there was a limit to free speech when it concerned offending someone’s religious beliefs.

“There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others,”

he said.

Religious or not, we all should see what happens in the context, of how human beings act. We should see that even without religions we would have agitators and “provocateurs”. They often are not interested in ethics and what a majority wants. They want to push their believes and their wants on others. They just want to have power over the rest of the world.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, the Vatican has sought to downplay reports that it is a potential target for Islamic extremists, saying it is being vigilant but has received no specific threat. Francis I said he was concerned primarily for the faithful, and said he had spoken to Vatican security officials who are taking “prudent and secure measures.”

In many countries it is the unbalance of one group opposite the other that creates problems. In France for example we can see that 5 million Muslims account for 10 to 12 percent of the country’s total population (the largest Muslim population in Europe) and Jews (478,000) are outnumbered by its Muslims 10 to 1. The extreme right party National Front receiving 4,712,461 votes in the 2014 European Parliament election, finishing first with 24.86% of the vote and 24 of France’s 74 seats, should give a clear sign of the danger that could come up to France even when those Jews would not be religious Jews and the Muslims would not exist but still be from foreign origin. The Algerians, Moroccans a.o. North Africans and Turkish people would face the same danger as now with their own religions.

Reburied in Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem the Jewish cell phone salesman Ilan Halimi got a garden named after him in Paris where he was kidnapped on 21 January 2006 by a group called the Gang of Barbarians and subsequently tortured, over a period of three weeks, resulting in his death.

Without religions we also would have headlines about the hatred between people and could find articles about unspeakable murders like the one of the French Jewish man of Moroccan descent Ilan Halimi in 2006 which heralded a sharp turn back to Europe’s most notorious hatred, at the hands of its newest population. More than 1,000 people marched through the streets of Paris, demanding justice for Halimi, on Sunday February 26, 2006. Initially buried in the Cimetière parisien de Pantin near Paris his funeral in Paris drew a large Jewish crowd. It could not stop the violence against Judaic people. There have been thousands of attacks on French Jews and Jewish sites in the years since Halimi was killed.

We should know that not only

nationalism is a foundational aspect of French life. Old nationalist allegiances have made it hard for well-meaning Muslim immigrants to integrate into society, as they have no direct ties to Metropolitan France. They live largely among themselves in banlieues, whose customs and norms closely resemble those of the inhabitants’ countries of origin—not those of their new home. {The Existential Necessity of Zionism After Paris: a commentary Editorial}

America’s premier monthly magazine of opinion and a pivotal voice in American intellectual life “Commentary” does see the problem of our European community. Also when there would be no religions we would have people from all sorts of places in the world gathered in our regions. After the second world war we had great dreams of a united world. In the postwar age we needed workforce to build up the country again and invited people from other continents to work for us. The doctrine of multiculturalism, the idée fixe of postwar Europe, has not only a strange relationship with French nationalism:

Though it would seem nationalism’s ideological opposite, multiculturalism offers rosy-cheeked cover to France’s deep unwillingness to allow anyone without centuries-old roots to become “French.” Nominally, according to the postmodern ideal of multiculturalism, no one culture is more virtuous than another.

And so the anti-Western, anti-Semitic Islamism practiced by France’s most dangerous citizens is not to be vilified, but rather understood and, ultimately, tolerated. As a matter of daily reality, however, multiculturalism allows the French to keep the Muslims separate—and unequal. And it allows some in France to entertain the belief that Jews, too, can never be French. {The Existential Necessity of Zionism After Paris: a commentary Editorial}

Several may wonder now what France and its neighbour countries are going to do now they seem to be caught between the deadly reality of radical Islam and the potential manifestation of a neo-fascist revival. In case there would have been no religion there was still the matter of all those ‘foreigners’ and all those ‘coloured’ living in Europe, the same as in America you could find immigrants and coloured people.

In Europe we notice that there has come a certain pressure on many, who have seen in the economical crisis and the political evolution a similar situation as in the 1930s. Therefore many religious as well as non-treligious Jews have chosen to go to their promised Holy Land. Last year, a record-high 7,000 French Jews immigrated to the Jewish state — more than double the year before. The Jewish Agency, which oversees immigration of Jews to Israel, now estimates that some 15,000 French Jews will make aliyah in 2015.

In case there would have been no thought or no idea of a god or gods and no religions, people would have invented something to classify the different groups and ideas between the many different folks. Those classification would be there like we already classify the continents with different names and can find in each of them a multitude of political parties, which have nothing to do with religion. We can see between those political parties there are also battles going on the same as their is competition between economical forces.

With or without God, people would find enough time, arguments, money and weaponry to make their differences hard.

+

You may also find to read:

  1. About what happened in France: , Being Charlie 2, Being Charlie 3, Being Charlie 4, Being Charlie 5, Being Charlie 6, Being Charlie 7, Being Charlie 8, Being Charlie 9, Being Charlie 10, It’s beautiful to watch the spread of #JeSuisCharlie across the world, Where do we stand in the backdrop of Charlie Hebdo Massacre ?, Charlie Hebdo, offensive satire and why ‘Freedom of Speech’ needs more discussion
  2. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  3. Religious Practices around the world
  4. Are you religious, spiritual, or do you belong to a religion, having a faith or interfaith
  5. Faith because of the questions
  6. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  7. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  8. Science and God’s existence
  9. Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws
  10. Economic crisis danger for the rise of political extremism
  11. Zionism comments and the place of Jerusalem in the world
  12. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  13. Immigration consternation
  14. Green Claims in Europe
  15. Arson attack carried out on Stevenage Central Mosque
  16. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  17. Christian fundamentalism as dangerous as Muslim fundamentalism
  18. Muslim Grooming (Rape) Gangs and Sharia
  19. ISIS, Mosul Dam and threatening lives of those who want to live in freedom
  20. Condemning QSIS or the self-claimed Islamic state ruler, al- Baghdadi their extremist ideologies and to clarify the true teachings of Islam
  21. Europe and much-vaunted bastions of multiculturalism becoming No God Zones
  22. Subcutaneous power for humanity 5 Loneliness, Virtual and real friends
  23. Do we have to be an anarchist to react
  24. Apartheid or Apartness #1 Suppression and Apartness
  25. Occupy South African Embassies
  26. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  27. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  28. Classes of people and Cronyism
  29. Economics and Degradation
  30. How do you define religion?
  31. Atheists, deists, and sleepers
  32. Where is the edge
  33. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  34. Misleading world, stress, technique, superficiality, past, future and positivism
  35. Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?
  36. Christian values and voting not just a game
  37. Sharing a common security and a common set of values
  38. Not true or True Catholicism and True Islam
  39. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  40. Migrants to the West #1
  41. Migrants to the West #2
  42. Migrants to the West #3
  43. Migrants to the West #5
  44. Migrants to the West #6
  45. Migrants to the West #8 Welbeing
  46. Migrants to the West #10 Religious freedom
  47. Economic crisis danger for the rise of political extremism
  48. Quran versus older Holy Writings of Divine Creator
  49. Quran can convert to Christianity
  50. Liberal and evangelical Christians
  51. With Positive Attitude
  52. Stand Up
  53. Helping against or causing more homophobia
  54. Reflect on how much idolizing happens
  55. Martin Luther King’s Dream Today

++

Additional reading

  1. Pope on Charlie Hebdo: There are limits to freedom of expression when faith is insulted
  2. Krauthammer: Obama: Charlie who?
  3. Of tweets, twits and the factually deficient
  4. Pope Says He’d Punch Someone Who Insulted His Mother
  5. Invention of religion

+++

  • What the Charlie Hebdo terrorists have won so far (bangordailynews.com)
    Although French police have hunted down and killed the suspects in Wednesday’s Charlie Hebdo attack, the terrorists have, on at least two levels, already won: They’ve scared a number of powerful news organizations into submission, and they’ve stoked European Islamophobia, whose rise will help militant Islamists recruit more supporters.
  • Anti-Islam Rallies Growing in Germany (guardianlv.com)
    After the attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices in France last week, anti-Islam rallies in Germany are seen to be growing rapidly. The rallies are being held by a group known as Pegida, which means in English: Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident.Pegida is a right wing organization in Germany that is holding protests in various cities to fight against the growing influence of Islam in the everyday life of the country. The organization claims that the influence of Islam is slowly destroying the European culture. They also are against certain immigration practices, asylum seekers, and they want the “protection of Judeo-Christian culture” for the Western world.Although the protests in Germany have been taking place for some time, the number of attendees has been rather small in the past. On October 20 of last year, the first rally only had about 350 people present. At a meeting on January 5, there were 18,000 protestors there. Once the killings at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices had taken place, the number of participants has grown greatly.
  • Hypocrisy Abounds: Free Speech as Cover for Islamophobia (truthdig.com)
    A magazine that most people outside France had never heard of before Jan. 7 now has legions of followers and fans around the world. The dominant narrative that has emerged from the horrific massacre of 10 staffers of Charlie Hebdo (plus police officers and hostages) is that the very foundation of freedom itself was attacked last week in Paris, and that the best way to fight Islamic fundamentalism is to uphold the ethos of Charlie Hebdo’s irreverence and satire. After all, in seeing their own values embodied in Charlie Hebdo, holders of “Je Suis Charlie” signsseem to be positioning themselves on the “right” side of freedom and democracy.
  • Anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rallies grow in Europe (thestar.com)

    A grassroots anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant movement is continuing to move across Europe in wake of the terror attacks that hit Paris last week.

    A crowd of nearly 25,000 attended an anti-Muslim rally in Dresden on Monday. For the last several months, the German group Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, has been holding the demonstrations, calling for stricter controls on asylum rules and tighter immigration policies.

    Germany, along with northern European countries, is experiencing massive influxes of migrants from conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa. Vast numbers of Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis and others caught up in war, persecution and poverty are all trying to settle in wealthier European countries to begin new lives.

  • A dying Western culture is the problem (thecommentator.com)
    The German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We need to say that right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism should not be allowed any place in our society.” That was the German Chancellor’s response to Pegida, the burgeoning movement in Germany against what its supporters see as the relentless Islamisation of Europe.Ms Merkel’s comment was a politician’s slur. The problem for Angela Merkel is that it’s not Pegida that is anti-Semitic, but large numbers of Europe’s Muslims. This is a truth that the EU political establishment refuses to acknowledge, even when its own bureaucrats produce the hard evidence.For example, a 2003 European Union study on anti-Semitism found that Europe’s anti-Semites were not the usual stereotypical suspects (white, skin-headed Nazis), but Muslim gangs. The report was suppressed — Europe’s PC politicians did not like the findings — and only became public when details were leaked to the Jerusalem Post.But who needs a study to show who the anti-Semites are? You can hear it and see it on Europe’s streets.
  • ‘Charlie Hebdo’: why jihad came to Paris (irishtimes.com)
    Nearly 1,300 years have passed since Charles Martel turned back the Islamic invasion at Tours, and there was a historic resonance to the policeman’s words.
    +
    Amid the blur of stained glass, incense and candles inside the cathedral, Fr Emmanuel Da alluded to the atrocity. “Whatever his religion, whatever his culture, a human being is your brother, and violence is a prison,” he preached. “Harming one brother with homicidal violence is harming God. There is no act more repugnant to God than homicide.”
  • Charlie Hebdo Attack Could Induce Spread Of Anti-Muslim Sentiments In Europe (eurasiareview.com)
    Elmas stated that Turkey stands as one of the most exemplary countries in terms of showing that Islam can coexist with the values of democracy, rule of law, etc. Here, Elmas underlined that Turkey should continue to cooperate with the EU and that the two parties would greatly benefit from identifying and acting upon the lowest common denominator between them when it comes to the issue.
  • European Powers Implement Police State Measures in Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
    Governments throughout Europe have responded to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in France by moving quickly to push through a raft of anti-democratic measures. They are exploiting the shock and confusion generated by the event in Paris to take actions… European Powers Implement Police State Measures in Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack
  • Timeline of European terror attacks (seattletimes.com)
    A gun assault on the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo Wednesday was the deadliest terrorist attack in France’s recent history. Some other terror attacks in Western Europe:
Advertisements

Stepping Toes 2014 in review

For the Belgian Christadelphians 2014 was not the ideal year. But it was not a a year they consider waisted and where they waited and wanted to see how everything went without doing something new.

Having transferred Stepping Toes from Xanga to WordPress, we had to start all over again and continued in the same way we had done on Xanga, though did not find so  many articles of like minded people to reblog. We had also invited many Christadelphians to join us here on WordPress but shamefully did not receive many  positive replies. We regret that there have not yet presented many volunteers to help preaching the Good News.

From Guestwriters 2014 Jan 1Also for the new lifestyle magazine From Guestwriters there have not many people presented themselves to help to bring more awareness into this world or to talk about life matters. We also had hoped some photographers would have be willing to share their work to show the beauty of nature, the creation which more people should come to respect more.

Perhaps the received 3100 viewers for the 228 posts in the first year of From Guestwriters can convince others to join the team to reach even more people.

As founder of the lifestyle magazines Stepping Toes and From Guestwriters, I came to close down my other foundation Bijbelvorsers, Vereniging voor Bijbelestudie, Bible Scholars the association for Bible Study, because it turned out always to be the same persons to be doing all the work and not really many interested to put their hands out of the sleeves. Though I still believe in the free sharing and of the necessity of giving our values and assets also to others I was negatively surprised to find that not many are really willing to take up the action of sharing for nothing in return. Our society is still so directed to speak in terms of money and personal gain that we still have to go a long way before we can find enough people willing to share what they have with others for free or for not asking anything in return.

For this website Stepping Toes

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Having most visitors came from the United States, Australia & U.K. were not far behind, we only received 330 visitors from Holland and only 223 viewers from Belgium, the country we are based.

Our busiest day of the year for Stepping Toes was March 20th with 59 views. The most popular post that day was Reblog: Happy International Happiness Day!.

For 2014, having not so many people willing to contribute we only had 156 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 307 posts or 310 on December 30. For a Christian blog about not such easy subjects it is perhaps not bad, but to be honest, we could not be so happy, because we would have loved to have found many more contributors.

We also did not manage to get many followers, though at one time we had 56 but got it fast reduced to 16 when we spoke about the Holy Trinity. Now we are back to 51 followers.
We are thankful for those who followed us from the early hours, like Clay J Mize who is our longest member, 1 year, 2 months, with ethicsbeyondcompliance, The Semifeminist, Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger, Raluca Stoica, The CoF, AConservativeEdge, Joxua Luxor and purpleraysblog

We are grateful for those who clicked on the ‘Like’ button or shared a link to one of our articles on Facebook or Twitter which brought us 128 and 41 readers respectively.

We are also thankful we could get 27 extra views by referrals from Tasmedes.wordpress.comTaede A. Smedes and  20 views from James Paulgaard his WordPress site:Farewell to Shadowlands.

He like us, does know that there is a better future coming and how we need to prepare so that we are ready to get on board when it comes. At the moment it is really a shame that we do not see more Christians involved in sharing the Good News. Like the author of People Get Ready writes:

We want, with every fibre of our being, to fully engage with the mission of Jesus Christ. We want all people everywhere to come to life through faith in Jesus Christ. This means, as we seek to engage with the mission of Jesus Christ, that everything is on the table.

What we are going to have to face is too important to ignore or to let it in the shadow.

It’s not about you or me and what we like. It’s about the missio Dei, God’s mission of saving people from an eternity of condemnation and suffering apart from God and bringing them to a life of meaning, purpose and joy with Jesus that will last forever. God’s mission has a church that exists to carry out that mission. If we abandon our mission, we lose our reason to exist.

Today there are still too many Christians who think once saved always saved and that they do not have to do any works. They forget that faith without works is dead. We may find lots of readers and people in our ecclesia who believe that Jesus existed, that he died or even that he was risen; but are they willing to show their love and show their works of faith? We do know that by works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. And through the faith in Jesus people should follow his teachings and orders, like going out into the world to preach the gospel of the coming Kingdom. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ,we should show others our faith in him and live according our faith (= a work)

( Habakuk 2:4; Romans 2:13; 3:20-22; Timothy 1:14; Galatians 2:16; 3:11 +)

“17 Even so faith, if it have not works, is dead in itself. 18 {1} Yea, a man will say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith apart from [thy] works, and I by my works will show thee [my] faith. {1) Or [But some one will say]} 19 Thou believest that {1} God is one; thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder. {1) Some ancient authorities read [there is one God]} 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 {1} Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect; {1) Or [Seest thou…perfect?]} 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which saith, {1} And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness; {2} and he was called the friend of God. {1) Ge 15:6. 2) Isa 41:8; 2 Ch 20:7} 24 Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith. 25 And in like manner was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works, in that she received the messengers, and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, even so faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:17-26 ASV)

“Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to {1} maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men: {1) Or [profess honest occupations]}” (Titus 3:8 ASV)

We would like to see many others joining in doing such good work of preaching and sowing plus showing others the way to God.

We did try to do our best to reach more people and got the most views in 2014 for following articles:

Hopefully these results shall be able to inspire others to join us and to be active preaching people on Stepping Toes or on From Guestwriters. We could do with some help in the preaching-work, soplease do not hesitate to become a contributor.

Click here to see the complete report.

Subway tracks on the Williamsburg Bridge in Ne...

Help us to get on the right track and carrying enough good articles to as many people as possible. -Subway tracks on the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

+

Find also:

From Guestwriters 2014 in review

++

Additional reading:

  1. 2013 Lifestyle, religiously and spiritualy
  2. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  3. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  4. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  5. Faith and works
  6. Being Missional
  7. Missionary action paradigm for all endeavours of the church
  8. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  9. Good or bad preacher
  10. What Should I Preach ? (Stepping Toes article) + What Should I Preach ? (From Guestwriters)
  11. How should we preach?
  12. Asia Cahaya Conference focusing on preaching
  13. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  14. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  15. Different approach in organisation of services #1
  16. Different approach in organisation of services #2
  17. Different approach in organisation of services #3
  18. Holland Week of billing
  19. Record breaking preaching in Mount Dora
  20. When discouraged facing opposition
  21. Dealing with worries in our lives
  22. Our openness to being approachable
  23. Not many coming out with their community name
  24. Belonging to or being judged by
  25. Words to push and pull
  26. Who are the Christadelphians
  27. Christadelphian people
  28. Dissolution of Bijbelvorsers (Bible scholars), Association for Bible study

+++

Attackers silenced freedom of speech

Warning: Those who like censor could be offended with our open-minded attitude to tackle a problem which we have encountered the last few months.

We do request those who can’t bear open speaking to abandon from reading this article, because they might, perhaps by prejudice or partiality, be offended.

Previous days and years

The last few days there did not seem to have come any opportunity to publish anything on this recently opened website on WordPress.

22102006 AC Distrubitie dag bijeenkomst

Members of our community at a meeting in the Christadelphian ecclesia Brussel-Leuven. – Heverlee, Leuven

The Belgian Christadelphian community has been under attack by a person who lives in the North of Europe and leads a prosperous organisation which tries to bring people all over the world under their spell.

For years now the Belgian Christadelphians had tried to work together with that man and his organisation, with the idea that people should unite in their force to bring people to Christ. It must be told that this guy converts a lot of people to Christianity and gets them baptised under Christ. In previous years he baptised them as Christadelphians, but we came to understand this could be called very doubtful in the present circumstances.

‘Being in’ or ‘Belonging to’ a group

Normally one would think when people are taken into a group, be it for example Anglicans, you would expect such persons baptised in that church would be welcome in any Anglican church and considered as Anglicans. But this man baptising his followers and leading an organisation that calls itself Christadelphian does everything so that their members would not associate with other members of the worldwide community of Christadelphian brothers and sisters.

After loads of correspondence and trials to reconcile the founder of this website, who is also the responsible for the Belgian Christadelphians, and member of the Central Fellowship, with that man and his organisation and the organisation which helps us, the Christadelphian Bible Mission or CBM, in the United Kingdom as in Belgium we came to understand that there is no way to talk reasonably with that man, and the organisation which seems to be blinded by that charismatic figure.

Belgian story

After months of patience, the community of Brethren and Sisters in Christ, under the CBM, came to the conclusion we had to stop trying to come to terms with that man of the North and his organisation. By taking distance from this terrible division we clearly stepped on that man his toes. Probably for that reason he continued even more to twist our words and talked slanderous about Mr. Ampe, calling Marcus Ampe now the cause of all the problems and accusing him of slander. Therefore Marcus Ampe went in to defence and made clear why the Christadelphian community in Belgium could not give any addresses in Belgium of that man his organisation, because they did not allow us to have the addresses where people could come together to study the Bible and to have worship together.

We would have loved to see the different groups of Christadelphians having come together in unity, but because that person and his organisation not willing to share meetings with our members, we just could not help those people who asked us for advice and help.

Not willing to Care

The organisation which has the word “Care” in its name did not seem to care that the very few in Belgium could not have gatherings in unity. It looks like they are more concerned in their own membership and followers who want to say and do everything like they want it to be done. For us this became smelling more like being a cult or sect, which does not wonder us why we often are asked if or are accused of the Christadelphians being a cult. Though normally Christadelphians have no specific worldly leader, or any order of ranking, like you can find in so many Christian organisations or denominations, so no pope, cardinals and bishops. We all consider ourselves under the leadership of Jesus Christ. He is our cornerstone who leads us to his Father. All of those who come to be baptised under the name of Jesus Christ, are considered equal brothers and sisters of Christ.

CIMG0593

Marcus Ampe in 2006

Therefore it is also ridiculous of the organisation to consider that Mr. Ampe from Belgium would have been able to have a worldwide exclusion of the man of the North for the Christadelphian community. He even never disfellowshipped the man of the North, so why should the organisation from the Australian division request Mr. Ampe to restore fellowship in the Christadelphian community. It is to attribute Mr. Ampe with a power no one has in our Christian community. He is well aware of that and never claimed to have such a position or never demanded other Christadelphians not meeting with the Man from the North.

Living in the world obliged to laws and regulations

We do know we are living in this world and as such are bounded to regulations of this world, like having to pay our taxes and to confer other worldly obligations. As such, we also do need a working structure and an office. Mr. Marcus Ampe takes care of those duties in Belgium. For this he also has the responsibility to try to make the daily duties work. He not only has to provide material for the services and make arrangements so that the baptised people can come together; he also has to protect them and to make sure the community or parishes are kept clean of teachings and safe for all members who want to join.

ScreenHunter_35 Feb. 15 10.47

Christadelphia Facebook page not available, or blacked-out on 2014 February 15

Having confronted with the person of the North, trying to jam the Christadelphian movement in Belgium, he felt pressed to undertake action and to defend his actions. For that reason he placed his defence on his religious website Christadelphian World and put notices up on his Facebook and the Christadelphia Facebook page. Being confronted that the truth about this dilemma was put onto the net the accuser felt bitten and wanted to have Marcus Ampe his Facebook close down. We where warned of this request to close down the Facebook account by that man, but the Facebook site of Mr Ampe stayed public. (Though surprise today 15/02/2014 there was a picture of a wounded thumb up saying the page did not exist any-more.)

Black-out of Christadelphian World

Christadelphian World 11 Nov 2013Going further in the attack, we cannot tell if it was the man of the North himself or one of his co-workers, they succeeded to silence Marcus Ampe his voice on Blogger. Incredible, but true, Christadelphian World was silenced under the norm “inappropriate postings”. As soon as Marcus Ampe got to see that his website was obstructed for public viewing he send in a request to Google to reconsider their action. Later that day the main postings seemed to be available to the public again, but all the comments where and are still not visible to the public today (Saturday 15 February 2014).

It is unbelievable that someone could close down a website for reasons which make no serious ground to do such a thing. We do know “truth may hurt one mentally as much as an antiseptic balm may hurt on a wound”, like Vichar Prachar says it so nicely in his article Freedom of Speech and the Right to Offend. Sometimes we come to a point where we do have to bring the dirty linen into the open. First the people in Belgium tried to solve the matter between themselves with the man from the North. Afterwards we brought in the linkman from our British main organisation CBM. Than the CBM linkman tried to bring CBM in reconciliation with the man from the North and the organisation linked with him. Following the Christian rule of have first no witnesses, than two witnesses, then more witnesses from the own community, we did have to bring it more into the open because people from outside our organisation where also affected.

To wash one’s dirty linen in public

We do not like it at all to bring out internal matters, but this situation has ran our of hand and the accuser attacks us with all he can do.

The Belgian Christadelphians have showed patience for more than one year, and tried sincerely to bring all baptised Christadelphian members, be it Amended or non-amended, or from any group linked with one or the other organisation, together.

The Belgian Christadelphian also sincerely tried and still try to spread the Good News of the Gospel, and want to unite all people who would like to follow Jeshua, the Nazarene Jewish rabbi, who is better known in the West as Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah and should be our only mediator between God and man. According to our faith it is Jesus people have to follow and not one or the other organisation. We should all be parts of the body of Christ and feel united as such.

When washing has to be done, those who are made dirty should have to receive the opportunity to be cleansed. We also consider that all things should be made clear and to do so everybody should have the right to speak openly.

The Indian writer says also:

A society that endeavors to consist of an enlightened citizenship will always put Truth central to its constitutional preamble. Our constitutional visionaries took vision from an age old Dharmic saying ‘Satyameva Jayate’ and enshrined it in our Constitution. Yet we have been only paying lip service to the underlying importance this has towards developing an enlightened, civilized and developed society. We have been steadily contorting ‘abuse’ to imply ‘offense’ and ‘hurt’ irrespective whether the hurt or offense is caused by Truth or untruth.

Imposing their will on others

Freedom of Speech (preliminary version)

Freedom of Speech (preliminary version) (Photo credit: cliff1066™)

The person from the North and his organisation do want to have to tell things in the world, want to take on ministerial positions, but do not want to accept the political controversy with it. Those involved in politics should know that they always stand open for criticism. In case they can not endure such criticism they better would withdraw and do other things, but not wanting to take the lead.

In case every politician could silence a website or newspaper when criticism was given on him or her or on the work of the party, or when they told the truth, many websites would face a close-down and many papers would fall in oblivion. But clearly than our world would be in dictatorship. In the West we can not accept that we would be placed under absolute or despotic control or power.

Pointing out such a danger of having being censored, though Marcus Ampe is only a very, very small player on the field, he now had to go into the pen for more than one reason. Such a jamming of his writings and a censoring of the commentators, without him being consulted or having the possibility to keep the postings on the net, are an infringement of freedom of public speech.

Unwanted and dangerous censorship

A good example of how in the past also one certain church wanted to silence other believers. – In “Panegyricae orationes septem” (1596) Henric van Cuyck, a Dutch Bishop, defended the need for censorship. Van Cuyck argued that Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press had resulted in a world infected by “pernicious lies.” He singled out the Talmud and the Qu’ran, and the writings of Martin Luther, Jean Calvin and Erasmus of Rotterdam.

This whole situation seems ridiculous, but we do have to question, in case some organisations can silence ordinary folks, what can be done to silence those who really bring out a voice which can change a country? Such blue-pencil, having done its work, for such a small website should make us all think about the power certain organisations and blog-providers may have. The black-out of Christadelphian World and the censor having brought on by Google on Marcus Ampe his Google+ account should have us all think about the danger of such actions to which the involved persons do seem not to be able to do something against. They even were not consulted or could give any defence for their writing.

We know Marcus Ampe does not take any important position in blogging world, and his writings shall never reach so many people, because the subject he writes about, most people are not interested in. But having him to be silenced, though everybody may come to see his writings are not offensive at all, should make question about the liberty of speaking out freely. When you consider how much spam every day comes into our mailboxes and how many porn sites and websites about violence and with awful words can be seen by many every day on the internet, without them being black-out, we may wonder in what sort of world we have come to live in. Mr. Ampe’s writings are integer and about what is happening in the world as seen from a Christadelphian and Christian viewpoint. If he gets silenced one can wonder why so many others have not been silenced, though they hurt many people, use a much more inappropriate language than Mr. Ampe.
This Marcus Ampe, though coming from the performing world also may not be confused with an other Mr. Marcus, who is an an American pornographic actor who in 2012, was the main person in a syphilis-infection scandal in California when several porn-performers were infected during video production.

Please: Look for yourself

We would like to ask our readers to look for themselves. In case they can (again) view the writings on Christadelphian World, that they let us know if those writings are so offensive or so dangerous as others want the public to believe. Let us also know if the comments are visible again and if in it are used inappropriate words. Our community want to learn, so we do not mind response.

This annoying situation has consumed lots of time of several of our members. We came to the conclusion we shall have to row on our own and shall have to find ways to reach the Belgian public, without help of outsiders.
The Belgian Christadelphians do want to buckle their belt and continue the necessary work of preaching.. We do not mind to make shift with what we may have in our small country. To make the best of it, any help is naturally welcome, spiritual and/or financial support. Mostly we would appreciate already the spiritual support, to encourage us to continue spreading the Word of God.

We shall soon take up again our regular duties and bring the Gospel of the Good News. But this time we were so ‘flappergasted’ (taken by) the bad news, we did have to share it with our regular readers and with those who are interested in what is happening in the religious world in Belgium.

In the time we are

Deutsch: Christadelphian-Gemeindehaus in Esslingen

Christadelphian – Community house in Esslingen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We do know in what sort of time we probably have come. In the Bible we can find many prophesies and also prophesies about the end-times. A prediction of what shall happen in the world when it comes closer to the end makes us aware we shall have to endure certain attacks, which shall even come from those we considered to be our brothers.
Reading the Bible and finding many answers in it, we also come to know there will be an even greater need for believers to be in harmony and to pray together as our world starts to fall apart. Therefore we would like all those who believe in the Divine Creator, to join hands, preach the Gospel of the Good News and the coming Kingdom of God.

+

Please do find

Mr. Ampe his reaction after continued exclusion by the man of the North his continued refusal to allow different Christadelphians meet with each other: No reconciliation possible between CBM and Duncan Heaster from Carelinks

Additional writings by Marcus Ampe concerning the controversial situation in Belgium:

  1. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
  2. Priority to form a loving brotherhood
  3. Disciple of Christ counting lives and friends dear to them
  4. Certain people trying to stem freedom of speech
  5. Censorship possible by a person and his organisation

++

Please do find other additional readings:

  1. Belonging to or being judged by
  2. A Voice to be heard
  3. Good or bad preacher
  4. One Mediator between God and man
  5. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  6. Parts of the body of Christ
  7. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower
  8. Called Christian
  9. Breaking up with a cult
  10. Manifests for believers #5 Christian Union
  11. Making church
  12. When discouraged facing opposition
  13. Fearing the right person
  14. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  15. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  16. Reasons to come to gether
  17. Congregate, to gather, to meet
  18. Meeting – Vergadering
  19. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap
  20. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  21. Many churches
  22. Synagogue, Church or Ecclesia for the Christian
  23. Those who call the Christadelphians a cult
  24. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  25. What’s church for, anyway?
  26. Rebirth and belonging to a church
  27. Commitment to Christian unity
  28. United people under Christ
  29. Breathing and growing with no heir
  30. Exceptionalism and Restricting Laws
  31. An ecclesia in your neighborhood
  32. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  33. Christadelphians children of God
  34. Christadelphian beliefs
  35. Major Points of Belief
  36. Christadelphian or My Beliefs and the World
  37. What we believe
  38. What Christadelphians teach
  39. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  40. Politics and power first priority #1
  41. A Society pleading poverty
  42. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
    sssh!

    sssh! (Photo credit: Stephen Dagnall)

     

+++

From other people, denominations and atheists:

  1. A beautiful photo: #leadership at Inspiration Daily Shared publicly  –  13 Feb 2014
  2. Why so religious?
  3. Freedom of speech or political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas
  4. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  5. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  6. European Convention on Human Rights
  7. American Convention on Human Rights
  8. African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
  9. Find also more information on libel, slander, obscenity, sedition
  10. Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006
  11. Liberty-human-rights – article 10 – freedom of expression
  12. Freedom Of Speech And Expression inclusive Importance Of Freedom Of Speech And Expression
  13. Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, of assembly and petition
  14. The Paradox of Liberty: the Freedom of speech (re)considered

+++

A screenshot of the default WordPress theme.

A screenshot of the default WordPress theme. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • On the site of ABC you may find the article Who are the Christadelphians? (blogs.abc.net.au) where a wrong picture is given of our community. Though we do agree like in any denomination you may find very conservative groups but also very progressive groups in our community.+
    “it sounds like Vanessa belonged to an extreme group. Adelaide is not typical of Christadelphians worldwide. I’m a Christadelphian from the UK and I can safely say that those I mix with enjoy a drink, theatre going, football, movies, read lots of novels, wear scarlet – and yes we bring friends home.I’m sorry that Vanessa seems to have had a poor experience of Christadelphians. We’re not all so insular. But yes we believe the Bible and try to follow its principles in our lives. In this messed up world to keep focused on the big picture of the Return of Christ and his kingdom on earth is a certain hope. It’s a true hope – Bible prophecy about the Jews is compelling evidence.” Sarah Joiner
  • Marching not to war (christiantoday.com)
    Britain was virtually alone in recognising the rights of COs and this clause was seen as a major coup for the No Conscription Fellowship and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The latter was a Christian ecumenical movement which had long campaigned for such recognition.The Fellowship of Reconciliation arose out of a friendship between a German Lutheran and English Quaker. Friedrich Siegmund-Schultz and Henry Theodore Hodgkin met at an ecumenical conference in Switzerland that was disrupted by the onset of war.
  • Cory Bernardi and Freedom of Speech (andrewwhalan.com)
    The problem with that is my explicit and implicit attitude : the only person who should exercise freedom of speech is me and me alone.Which means I can enjoy my moment of free speech. And silence everyone else’s freedom of speech.Which mean freedom of speech is lost in the long run for me and for everyone else.
  • Taking offence and freedom of speech (blogs.spectator.co.uk)
    All religious groups benefit from freedom of speech, because their beliefs have the power to offend others. As our leading article this week sets out, that includes the rather mild and doddery-seeming Church of England, which teaches that personal sin is a serious matter requiring repentance. That’s the sort of thing that can offend people, too, but the Church and other groups benefit from the freedom to say it. Religious groups who argue for curbs on freedom of speech must realise that in the end, this would damage their own freedom too, not just that of others they don’t like.
    +

    Agrippina:

    The fanatical ideologists need to be defeated, either they accept this free democracy or go and live elsewhere. They have nothing to offer us and we do not want anything from them. Spectator journos should pop out to Tower Hamlets or further north, and see the level of islamification of this green and pleasant land.

  • Silence is the true freedom. (priscillaescamilla28.wordpress.com)
    Silence is power, / the freedom of speech is nothing but a lying blood sucking leach,
  • Free Speech or Regulated Silence? (amresolution.com)
    How did our founders ever manage to establish a republic committed to free speech and the rights of the individual without a Federal Election Commission to regulate that speech and force disclosure of the speaker?
  • What if Freedom Meant Exodus? (pumabydesign001.com) +What if Freedom Meant Exodus?
    With our faith being ridiculed and mocked and a government increasingly hostile to our practicing our faith. We see a rampant increase of sexual immorality and perversion along with an assault on a on our children by forcing them to accept this behavior as normal.We pray for wisdom for our leaders and for God to intercede. But what if God has other plans? What if God were to bring a Moses forth? Would we recognise and welcome him? If he wanted to lead us to a different place, would we go?

People Seeking for God 4 Biblical terms

In the previous chapter we mentioned how in the 4th century the leaders of the Roman Empire tried to bring the followers of Christ at the same foot again as the gentiles or heathen citizens of the empire. We showed how the church-fathers tried to bring a smoke-curtain and presented their flock with a new sort of terms, which were not really Biblical terms. As such you no-where in the Bible shall find the title ‘Trinity‘ nor ‘Mother of God‘ etc..

We should try to come to see the Biblical terms and what they do imply. For example “to seek” or “seeking” is not to just look around casually, it implies a deep desire for the object of your pursuit.

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

In history, already before the birth of Christ, many people wanted to distract those around them from focusing on connecting with God. In the Bible lots of time we find examples how others managed to get followers of God to go into another direction. Even when God had provided them with liberation or got them out some trouble they soon forgot it and went the old way again, with sometimes even honouring other gods.

Today we do have more distractions to get us away from God. Today there are not only physical people in our presence who can be distracting, people in the cyber world can be even more distracting. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networking sites are awesome at staying connected, but when you are dedicated to seeking God consistently, these sites can suck your focus away from that. They are the new deceivers. Deception by them is very easy.

In case we do look for God and really do want to find Him, we should be aware of all hoodwinks.

Try to use a physical Bible for your quiet time instead of the Bible apps available on your phone or IPad, which also have apps for social sites that pull you away from seeking God.

+

Preceding articles:

Finding God amid all the religious externals

Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God

People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers

People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations

People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions

To be continued:

People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life

People Seeking for God 6 Strategy

++

Please find also to read:

  1. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem
  2. Raising digression
  3. Politics and power first priority #1 The early days of Christianity Deities and original Christian faith
  4. Politics and power first priority #2 church fathers pre-Nicene terms and Nicene Creed
  5. Politics and power first priority #3 Elevation of Mary and the Holy Spirit
  6. I Only hope we find God again before it is too late !
  7. The truth is very plain to see and God can be clearly seen
  8. How to look for and how to handle the Truth
  9. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus

+++

English: map of Treasure Island, from the firs...

Map of Treasure Island, from the first German edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Additional reading:

  1. Treasure Hunters
    Imagine that you were just handed a treasure map that leads to Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure. Now take that map, put it in a frame, and hang it on the wall for all to see. Makes sense right? Of course not! You would take that map, follow it exactly step by step. No questions asked because you knew that this map would lead to Blackbeard’s Lost Treasure. Just like any quest , along the way you may encounter obstacles, people may call you names for following the map, and you might even want to give because it is just to hard. But instead of giving up, you continue with the treasure hunt and find it, and knowing all the trials and hardships you had to endure just makes finding the treasure even sweeter. Sounds like the plot to a movie right, but it’s not. It’s the the story of our lives.
    +
    The Bible was written by man but inspired by God to teach us and instruct us in our everyday lives ( 2 Timothy 3:16) but if we just sit it on a shelf and let it collect dust, how are we suppose to know what it is God whats us to do?  If we don’t use God’s map and seek Him out, it is us that is missing out. God’s love is our treasure and just like any other treasure that is buried, it hasn’t moved. It is in the same place it has been for years but we must seek it in order to have that treasure and just like any other treasure, it is meant to be shared with everybody, so they can inherit God’s kingdom and feel this unending love of God. Lets start using our maps and seek God not just when we are going through struggles and storms, but in our everyday life.
  2. Seek God First
    Lately I have been trying to go to God and the scriptures more. Of course one verse that comes to mind quickly is the one I hear people say often in which God knows the plans he has for you.
    +
    God has a plan for those who follow after Him, who truly seek Him, just like he had a plan for the people of Jerusalem. I don’t know where I am going from here, but I know I believe in God and want to follow after Him. I don’t know where I am going, but I know I have to seek God and put Him first in my life. I know this because of the context of this scripture.
  3. So what does it take to be a true Christian? You might want to share this important message.
    Unfortunately over time, the word “Christian” has lost a great deal of its importance and is often used of someone who is religious or has high moral values but who may or may not be a true follower of Jesus Christ. Many people who do not believe and trust in Jesus Christ consider themselves Christians simply because they go to church or they live in a “Christian” nation.

+++

  • What Are You Seeking? (makinglifemagnificent.com)
    Life can be so busy and these days we have a lot of background noise pulling our attention away from God. These things are not necessarily bad things, they are parts of our everyday life: work, family, and school. But remember God wants to be #1 in your life! So He reminds us throughout scripture to push all those “life distractions” aside and focus only on Him. Remember seeking isn’t just looking, it’s also desiring. Do you desire God enough “to hunt for or go in pursuit” of Him?
  • The Egocentric Church (samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com)
    Wolf in Sheep's ClothingThe influence of the modern egocentric church may be found in the popular fad of minimizing preaching to pursue highly sensual worship experiences with God. The egocentric church does not find the study of Scriptures emotionally appealing. Such church-attenders may believe all the Bible says about Jesus is true without reading it for themselves. They ask, “What would Jesus do?” and they answer “Jesus would do what I feel is right.” They think that the Bible says what they believe it should say and act as if it were true. They refuse to be confused by the facts.
  • Strengthen Your Relationship With God In A Church In Allen, TX (ourdailychurchblog.wordpress.com)
    Here are a few things to look for when searching for a church to strengthen your relationship with God.
  • Why Read The Bible? (feminarian.wordpress.com)
    The sheer size of the book is rather daunting. (Maybe if the individual books of the Bible were released one by one like the Harry Potter series… or if there was a collector’s series that we could trade like Hockey cards…)
    +
    Knowing the Bible means you won’t be left in the dark when people talk about the Jesus symbolism in the Batman series or offer the character Aslan from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a refreshing image of God.You may be surprised how many authors, directors, songwriters, screenwriters and playwrights draw upon biblical imagery and stories in their own works, and how interesting it can be to enter the conversation.  The Bible still is a big deal out there, and it’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon.
    +

    So much of our time and energy is given to or taken by industries and corporations that have their own best interests in mind.  They too tell us stories about what will make us happy and how to make the world a better place.  And they’re usually incorrect.

    What if we let the biblical story enter the competition?
    +
    Choose Your Own Distraction
    It’s like the Internet is one big “Choose Your Own Distraction” book, but we’ve forgotten that we actually have to make choices to enjoy it’s design. Instead we’re reading straight through from cover to cover.

  • How to Avoid Being Led Astray by False Shepherds (924jeremiah.wordpress.com)
    The Church today is a very dangerous place. False shepherds, pastors, teachers, prophets, apostles, and healers abound. They are all after You: a single sheep in God’s flock. They want your worship. They want your money. They want your loyalty. They are going to use you for their own selfish gain, and when they’re done using you, they will throw you away.
    {In this article we can find many false teachings which are presented as Biblical teachings. This also shed light how easy it is to become entangled by the dogma’s created by many churches, which blind lots of people.}
  • Made in God’s Image, the Trinity, and Free Will (icanhearvoicesinmyhead.wordpress.com)
    The topic of ‘The Trinity’ or ‘Three Person God’ had always intrigued me. I have never heard anyone giving me an explanation for it that I could understand.
  • Uncle Sugar as Religious Bogeyman (religiondispatches.org)
    Huckabee isn’t the first Republican called to answer for his endorsement of biblical patriarchy. Just this week, New Mexico Republican Steve Pearce, in a new book, writes that “the wife is to voluntarily submit, just as the husband is to lovingly lead and sacrifice” and “the husband’s part is to show up during the times of deep stress, take the leadership role and be accountable for the outcome, blaming no one else.”
  • The Bible is a Historical and Theological Primary Source (winnowmethis.wordpress.com)
    Drena’s comment lends credence to my own supposition that Christian educational institutions have deviated from Christian orthodoxy and are embracing the “emergent movement”. It is also my viewpoint that rather than turning directly to the Bible to substantiate doctrine, Christian educators are turning to church history and movements to educate and articulate Christian doctrine, without considering that a movement or doctrine may not even stand up to Biblical scrutiny. As such the students coming out of these educational institutions are ill equipped to argue true Biblically based theology.

Gender roles and Multitasking parents

Women and/or men who choose to remain at home to look after their children face a torrent of prejudice.

Motherism or fatherism

Dr Aric Sigman, at a conference convened by Mothers At Home Matter warned of the rise of “motherism”; a prejudice against stay-at-home mothers, but for the same matter he could also have spoken about the stay-at-home fathers.
The “motherism” he is talking about could as well be called “fatherism” which is as dangerous for the men as the “motherism” is for the women. Both puts women and men off being stay-at-home parents, which is the developmental ideal in the present society.

There is not only a prejudice against stay-at-home mothers, also fathers who decide to spend some time off work to have more time with the kids are scammed.

writes:

There is a presentation of women who look after their own children full time as air-headed, spoilt and dowdy. However, there is also a prejudice against women who look after their children but aren’t dowdy (yummy mummies); women who go back to work after having had children; women who stay out of work but also employ nannies; women who work part-time and look after their children the rest of the time.

Wanting to stay home

How many mom’s would like to be stay at home Mom’s and how many Dad would like the be stay at home Dad, wonders Colleen Fassler of  Mom Wife Family Health Life.

In Belgium that answer would be clear: No body would dare to say they would like to stay at home to take care of the kids. The few who say that they would prefer to stay at home are looked at and considered to be the weaker elements of this society.

Our youngsters will have to work already until 67 before they can retire, but will only receive retirement allotment for the days they really worked to earn money, over their full career. The kids brought up in a one child family did not learn to share and do not want to share much with others. Many of them do not even find a reason why to marry when it is easier and with no strings, just to enjoy sex without any commitments.

SDT-2013-05-fertility-education-01The after babyboom generation with other aims

From the previous articles you can make up that today moms are different from those of the baby boom generation. They are not only more likely to have gone to university, they also want to realize their assets. To convert their knowledge into cash they are more likely to work full-time, less likely to have more than two children, and less likely to be married than previous generations.

In the United States, Pew Social Trends revealed that, from 2008 to 2011, the number of new mothers (women between the ages of 15 and 44 who have given birth in the past 12 months) with less than a high school diploma declined 17%, and the number with only a high school diploma went down 15%. By contrast, the number of new mothers with some college education fell by 6%, and the number with a bachelor’s degree or more fell by just 1%.

Marital status depending upon educational attainment

Although less educated women are a shrinking share of all new mothers, less educated women still have a higher average number of births throughout their lifetime than more educated women. By the end of their childbearing years, women without a high school diploma have on average 2.5 children, and women with a bachelor’s degree have about 1.7. This gap has closed only slightly over the past 25 years.

There are significant differences in the marital status of new mothers depending upon their educational attainment. While about six-in-ten (61% in 2011) women with less than a high school diploma are unmarried when they give birth, this share declines to only 9% among women with at least a bachelor’s degree. {Record Share of New Mothers are College Educated}

Experts have identified a strong linkage between child well-being and maternal education levels. On average, a mother with more education is more likely to deliver a baby at term and more likely to have a baby with a healthy birth weight. As they grow up, children with more educated mothers tend to have better cognitive skills and higher academic achievement than others. It is difficult to determine whether maternal education is causing some of these outcomes, or if it is serving as a proxy for some other causal factor (for example, economic well-being). What is irrefutable, though, is that on average the more education a woman has, the better off her children will be.

Working as hard as ever, but not at home

Moms are working as hard as ever — but they’re spending more time in offices than at home; as a result, moms and dads are more similar now than ever. For most of the 20th century (and before), parents specialized. Dad worked for money. Mom worked at home. But as female education increased — and mid-century technology made housework less time-intensive — moms and dads became less specialized. More moms worked more for money. More dads worked more at home.

At the moment we still may find many families where mothers are much more likely to do the “dirty work” of child care while fathers are more likely to spend a greater share of their time playing with kids or doing home maintenance, like mowing the lawn. But it’s a closing gap, whereby we have developed to a society where the household jobs are considered the ‘dirty jobs’ or jobs to be done by the uneducated and not useful persons. Being a mother or a father, staying at home is by many considered as profiting of the society and not done.

Social media fakes

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today it is just not done to become a parent or not to be able to show off with all the material wealth we can get today. Instead of spending time to create a real family people prefer to have a virtual circle of friends on Facebook. On Facebook a nice world is presented where the lives are consistently full of happy and wholesome family outings, when there are kids in the house, but mostly it are kidless photo-shoots of far away places with ever changing girlfriends or men.

Allison Hart, who says she loves her children, and who has also learned that motherhood is a series of shocks and disappointments, disgusting things under her fingernails, horrifying smells and constant irritation, writes:

In between those smiling moments are thousands of other moments which go undocumented on Facebook.

We all want to share our best moments. We all want that person we knew 22 years ago and haven’t seen since to think that we are living the life. We aren’t bored. We haven’t watched 13 hours of TV today. Our kids are as charming as they are cute so I’m never, ever jealous of your child-free globe-trotting life. The world can wait! Right now I’m doing the most important and fulfilling job a person can. Oh, and that one picture of me that I’ve posted within the last three years? That old thing? Gosh, I think the kids must have snapped that one while I was composting our garden. Yes I do that in silk and heels. Duh.

Preferring not to tell

Many mothers and fathers dare not to to say the things that most mothers and fathers have thought, but few have had the courage to admit. Telling others to chose for motherhood or fatherhood is like throwing oneself in front of the lions or facing the jaws.

The ones still daring to become a mother would like to become hyperefficient, which makes them only to fail in their made up world. They suddenly want to do everything at once. Some may learn to delegate, prioritize, negotiate and, when necessary, take the wrong choice to give up seeing friends, hoping to get themselves more time with their partner — hardest of all — sleep.

In one survey  posted for working parents, 88% of the nearly 500 respondents said they had suffered stress-related health problems (like anxiety and depression) since having kids and going back to work. One woman told her that at the peak of her working-mom stress, she started having seizures at night.

Most hostile country in the developed world for working parents of all income levels

Alcorn writes:

Studies like “The Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict” explain that America may be the most hostile country in the developed world for working parents of all income levels. Low-wage workers contend with rigid schedules, no paid time off and a lack of affordable child care, while professionals are often expected to work grueling hours and travel for business. Although we experience the problem in different ways, the result is the same: chronic stress.

To be sure, this is not only a women’s problem. As men become more involved at home, studies show that they too are struggling with work-family conflict. And often they work longer hours than women do. But mothers still do more housework and child care, even when both parents work. Mothers multitask more than fathers and enjoy less leisure time than fathers. And mothers experience more guilt about working full time than fathers do.

It makes sense, then, that women are more at risk for the health effects of stress. We are 60% more likely to suffer an anxiety disorder and 70% more likely to suffer from depression than men. Women may be four times as likely as men to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. Women are also more likely to suffer from eating disorders, sleep problems and substance abuse as a result of workplace stress.

Showbizz kids

Natalie Portman encounters the Berlinale audie...

Natalie Portman encounters the Berlinale audience and media (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jerusalem-born 32 years old Natalie Portman revealed that she loves being a mother and has learned to be less judgmental in the years following the birth of her son Aleph, two. She had to accept that parenting is an individual endeavour with no real rules of engagement.

‘I love being a mum,’ Portman said. ‘I’m less judgmental than before I had a kid. The biggest thing about parenting is that it is a totally different experience for every person.

‘Everything is cool, there are no rules – I mean, apart from not hurting your kid. Some people breastfeed until their babies are five, and some don’t breastfeed at all.

Showbizz people do not mind letting the world know they want some time to spend with their children. From those actors and actress it is accepted they may take sometime for their children. People are willing to give them some basic support to meet their competing obligations. But for ordinary folks the competitive world have created an impossible situation.

Young having to take care of the older ones

Our society if it is going to have enough young people to work for the payment of elderly their retirement and the non-active population, shall have to review her stance against married couples, parents and parenting.

We do not claim that it is better that women don’t work. They do have to play their role as well as the men and should be able to share the same duties. that means that men also should become equal to the women, and should also have to do tasks people considered a few years ago only for women, now also to be done by men.

Equality of gender a coin with three sides

The equality of gender should go both ways. the population has to give everybody the right to make their own choice about work and leisure? Everybody should be allowed to choose how much time to spend at a job and what to do in the unpaid sector, be it voluntary work or household work.

says:

  • we can’t keep going at this pace. We need more fathers to share the work of raising a family (which means, for many men, working less).
  • We need employers to offer options like telecommuting, flexible scheduling and better part-time jobs to protect all workers from burning out.
  • We need better government policies: things like paid sick leave and paid parental leave, something every developed country in the world except the U.S. offers its citizens.

The bottom line is this: we have to stop making mothers choose between financial stability and their own health.

+

Young Woman Mother with Daughter Girl

Young Woman Mother with Daughter Girl (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Preceding articles:

Connection between women and environmental sustainability

Having children interferes with work

Poverty and conservative role patterns

Surviving Motherhood: things to get excited about, right now

Gender Roles, What?

++

Please do also find to read:

  1. Parenthood made more difficult
  2. Gender equality and women’s rights in the post-2015 agenda
  3. Do stay-at-home mothers upset you? You may be a motherist
  4. Motherhood Gave Me a Nervous Breakdown
  5. Avoiding the big questions
  6. How Motherhood Is Changing Dramatically—in 11 Graphs
  7. I want to get paid for changing diapers, but i don’t want to run a day care
  8. I started off with the little things….
  9. I’m not a Mooch

+++

  • College Education – Talking It Out With Your Folks (degreesinusa.wordpress.com)
    the rising costs of getting college education can be daunting for some parents to bear. If your parents were not able to save for the day you have to go to college then it will be all bad news. That is why before you set your sights on getting post-secondary education, it is best to consult your parents about your decision. Here are some great tips that you can use in order to convince your parents that getting a college education can immensely make your life better.
  • No more apologies (inadifferentvoice.co.uk)
    Instead of being able to identify with any positive model of what I’m currently doing with my life, I frequently feel obliged to delineate all of the things I am Not. Granted, in small stages, and in comparison to the enormous inequalities of the world, these niggles are a drop in the ocean. I move on with my colossal buggy to face the tuts of another innocent childless pedestrian. It is only when I stop and consider the bigger picture, or talk to other parents, that I find that it is the experience itself which is mind-numbingly pedestrian. To be a SAHM mum is to be a disparaged vacuum.
    +
    I find perspective in unexpected places; conversations with older women for example who have highlighted that in their day it was the working mums who faced approbrium (thanks Norma), or from men who want to be more involved but feel childcare is still left in a box reserved for women.
    +
    Feminists are fairly agreed in their critique of the 1950’s housewife model (despite that many women couldn’t afford not to work anyway), yet it seems to have swept over the fact that despite six decades of development, much of the actual work of the SAHM remains unchanged. I cook, bake, organise activities, tend to children, shop and clean (for visitors, sometimes). I do many housewifey things. But when I look to feminism for positive reinforcement of that, I often feel there’s just a dark swirl of snarky remarks, lack of understanding, and an image of Audrey Hepburn in a flowery frock, shrugging vacantly.
  • The rise of ‘Motherism’ – prejudice against stay-at-home mums (telegraph.co.uk)

    Dr Sigman, a fellow of the Society of Biology and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, has argued in the past that evidence about the long-term effects of sending very young children to full-time day care is being ignored because of a political and economic agenda.

    Addressing a conference organised by the Mothers At Home Matter group, he said that evidence from biosciences showed that mothers provided “unrivalled benefits” to young children that other people, including fathers, cannot.
    +

    Many working families see “full time” parenting as a luxury enjoyed only by those wealthy enough to live on one wage or those on benefits.

    Dr Sigman, who has four children, said that the derogatory attitudes towards stay-at-home mothers appeared to be the result of a mix of political and economic agendas.

    “I suppose the older feminism, liberal-Left feminism, has ended up a strange bedfellow with Right-wing capitalism.”

  • Comment: In pursuit of gender equality and work-life balance (sbs.com.au)
    Sociologists have spent decades looking at work-family conflict and the stress associated with combining work and family roles. The bulk of the research identifies which individuals report the most work-family conflict. Not surprisingly, they find that women, professionals, people who work longer hours and people with greater workplace flexibility are more likely to say family conflicts with work.This research, of course, validates many of our experiences. Yes, there is gender inequality. Yes, people in professional positions struggle with balancing work and family roles. Yes, your boss can hear your toddler harassing the kitty while you are on the phone. And, yes, these are real problems that deserve real solutions.
    +
    in the most gender-equal societies, such as Sweden, Norway and Finland, this pattern changes. Fathers in these countries are the most likely to report family interferes with their work life than are mothers or individuals without children.So what gives? Why are Swedish dads having such a hard time? We suspect that Swedish men may not be able to opt-out of childcare responsibilities while at work like men in lower gender-equality countries because they have an institutional structure that encourages gender equality.
  • “Superwoman: Can Today’s Women Have It All?” (katelynbudroe.wordpress.com)
    The history of women working outside the home began when women entered the workforce during WWII. Men went to war and vacated jobs which required a labor force. In a world where the average housewife did not work outside the home a marketing campaign ensued. The U.S. government lured women with the iconic symbol of “Rosie the Riveter” with the underlying message that it was their patriotic duty to work. After the war when men returned to their jobs there was a new social shift in America and a new generation of women. America had to contend with a new playing field as women’s outlooks and attitudes toward work were born.
    +
    In real life there are far too few women among the highest ranks of the professions, and millions of everyday women struggle to make ends meet and to juggle work and family.
    +
    The increase of women working outside the home has caused an increase in divorce rates. During the recession when many men lost their jobs, women were able to find work quicker than men. This is usually attributed because men could not find jobs that paid them the same salaries as they had before they lost their jobs and women were filling jobs at lower wages. The realization by women that she can be a good provider may be an indication that a working wife will choose divorce over and unsatisfactory marriage. But the reverse is equally probable. Financial problems cause tension and often play a key role in ending a marriage. The lack of two incomes forces men to stay home and sometimes causes a rift in a marriage as the gender roles are reversed and men feel less competent and is no longer the provider. For married women it is difficult to maintain a happy marriage as she becomes the primary breadwinner and more independent.
  • Why “Working Mother” Is A Redundant Term, Part 2 (sarahsiders.com)
    When one of my best friends, someone who vigilantly linked arms with me in our efforts to empower women, decided to leave the workforce and stay home, we both had some philosophical wrestling to do.
    +
    Being a stay-at-home parent sounded impossible. In fact, my day job felt like an escape. I got to run off into my area of competency all day, got to look knowledgeable and pretend to be “the expert”, with opportunities for acknowledgement for all my contributions.
    +
    So back to the “working mother” business. This term has got to go. It not so subtly implies that stay-at-home moms like my friend aren’t working, that they are just sitting there catching up on 30 Rock episodes while their Roomba vacuums and a nanny totes the children about to various activities. Hardly.
  • Why Gender Equality Is Not Just About Equal Rights (theage.com.au)
    According to a newly released report from the World Economic Forum [pdf], Iceland is the No. 1 country in the world for gender equality, for the fifth year in a row. And that equality is helping propel Iceland and its fellow Nordic nations to new economic heights. Turns out, the smaller the gender gap, the more economically competitive the nation. Even when that nation is totally freezing.
  • Motherless Mom. (tdawneightyone.wordpress.com)
    For me, there are no words available that will allow me to convey what it is like to be a motherless daughter.  It means something different at every stage in my life.  Hope Edelman wrote in her book “Motherless Daughters” about wanting to shout to everyone that her mom died because it sums up so much of who she is and I get that. The only thing that has impacted me greater than losing my mom at the age of 15 has been becoming a mom myself.
  • Breastfeeding support for mom (utsandiego.com)

    Breastfeeding. Women have been doing it since the beginning of human history, though the practice has gone in and out of vogue many times since then. For some women, it’s harder now than ever to take on the task.

    “There is definitely a very clear understanding in our society … that breastfeeding is absolutely best for babies and mothers,” said Diana West, media relations director for La Leche League International, a mother-to-mother breastfeeding support organization that formed in the 1950s.“The problem is mothers understand that intellectually but then the baby is born and they have difficulty.”

  • Lessons in Feminism, From my Father. (thisclimbingbean.wordpress.com)
    It was the mid-80s. We were Anglican Church-goers, and the idea of women in the priesthood was not new, but it was by no means widely accepted, especially not in our small West Australian diocese. My father was a deacon by then, having assisted as a lay person during services for some time. But even though women did help in the service occasionally, and were involved in other areas of the church family, they were not in leading roles.Yet my father didn’t go into any of this. He simply told me that if I wanted to be a priest, then I could. By the time I was grown up, he suggested, there might be lots of women who were priests.
    +
    once he had showed me that the world could certainly use more strong women, and that I could be one of them, he would turn this around on me. I’d bring home a report, I’d do well in a competition, and he would shrug, then say, eyes twinkling, ‘Yeah, it’s alright I guess. For A Girl.‘Because he could throw that line at me now, knowing that I got the joke. It’s not that others had moved beyond that attitude, that prejudice. It still existed. It still does. But it was his way of pushing me, and of praising me without having to say the words.

Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings

Exercising restraint for sharing

It seems very difficult to get Christian people to share a place with others on the same platform. The idea of bringing religious news from different view-points could be really interesting for both parties, the readers as well as the writers.

No one wants to write blog posts and have them sink into the bottomless pit of the internet. We as Christians are no different. We want people to read what we want to tell. Many like Facebook and spend lots of time posting notes in that system, but they do forget they only reach a few already connected people of a circle which can grow, but always shall have to find readers from their own circles and ‘friends of friends’.

Why do so many keep unresponsive to come to gather with other believers? What is it that held back people to join hands and make something new to happen? We should not be deterred by a few small setbacks. Many people may scrambler back as soon as they are asked to join forces and to come out in the wide world.

Freedom to join and to make fertile

Personalizando WordPress 1.5

Personalizando WordPress 1.5 (Photo credit: juanpol)

Having the opportunity to come on a more open system with WordPress, having the liberty to start an own website or blog or making an effort to join ranks and bring writers together on one place to talk about certain specific fields. The best way to attract readers is to read and comment on others’ blogs, allowing them to find your main blog, under your own name. But why not put in an extra dimension, not only to let yourself be found on your own blog, but giving hands with others to try to make a website which can be interesting for many, trying to find different subjects put together?

Those studying the Bible could find it interesting to find religious news at one place they could visit regularly or subscribe to. It would be lovely to see “Stepping toes” growing to become such a place where several writers could bring different ideas about ethical, philosophical and religious matters.

Backgrounds to choose

English: The Bible Students' Convention in Ski...

The Bible Students’ Convention in Skien, Norway, 1923 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who are free Bible Students have the advantage that they are a lay-based community where people can act independently. That independence can be good but it may not be that small units are formed, which excludes themselves from others, or do not want to know at all of other groups or denominations. It also would be wrong to say as a religious layman that we do not need theological seminaries or people who pursue studies in the humanities and add minors or majors in philosophy or ancient history, or even major in Biblical studies.

Some serious Bible Students even may think a study of philosophy, derived from Greek roots that mean “love of wisdom”, could interfere with the study of the Bible and could bring the faith in God in danger. We do believe such fear is unfunded. It is not because philosophy is not built on acceptance of belief in God that a person interested in reading philosophical works would not be interested in supernatural powers, gods or the God of gods.

Brains to use

God has given men brains to use. He provided them with a system to think and to allow to order their mind. Every human being should question the things. The Creator God has given us life and wanted us to do something with it. Therefore we do have to reason and wonder why we live, why certain events occur. God allowed people to bring their ideas together in a field of science about the thinking of man. That field tries to give people a unified view of the universe and endeavours to make them critical thinkers. According to some it employs chiefly speculative means rather than observation in a search for truth. We should have some philosophers to go deeper into that matter of reason to think and why we should question so many questions. But there is a lot to ask and a lot to say.

Limitation of man

But when we look at that field of ‘wisdom‘ we always should remember that it only comes from people. They may have been atheists, deists or theists, believers in something or some one, but always they got their capabilities to think and write from the Creator who gave them those abilities. Though no human person is been made perfect, so everyone of us has his or her limitations. As such when we read each others work we should keep that in mind. Never may we put ourself above somebody else nor may we put somebody else above the Creator God.

The Bible informs us:

“It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23)

History testifies that trying to ignore that limitation has not produced good results. Humans by nature have limitations. Additionally, their experience in life is relatively brief and is usually confined to ones culture or one environment. The knowledge they possess is thus restricted, and everything is interconnected to such an extent that they constantly find aspects that they had not adequately considered. Any philosophy that they originate will reflect these limitations.

We all are connected with the time and culture in which we live. We all ere dependent on the upbringing we got and on the experiences and lessons we wanted to take out of life. There exists a way that is upright before a man, but we get blinded by the things around us, and whatever we try to do we shall all have to encounter the ways of death which  are the end of it afterwards (Proverbs 14:12)

Learning from others

Having the knowledge that we are only just small elements in that big universe, we should be humble enough to recognise that we can and should learn a lot from others around us. The willingness of sharing ideas is a matter of brotherly love. Being prepared to offer your ideas and those of others, to other people around you, even to those you might not know, shows your interest in other human beings. By searching for good ideas, by which you can learn but also others could learn, and the preparedness to share them with others, you can show your love to your neighbour and your willingness to show respect for the Creation of the Most High, where we should try to help each other to become better humans.

We can help each other by giving information and by sharing our knowledge. It is true that the wisdom of the wise men may perish, and we shall also see that the intelligence of the intellectual men will be shoved aside. (1 Corinthians 1:19-25) Many books full of human ideas have disappeared in oblivion. The writers are already long gone, but there are still some few ideas hoovering around. Many wise man, interesting scribes and good debater of this world (the system of things) are already long forgotten, some of those writings having taken with several people to set them thinking. We should know they can give us some ideas, they may set us off to start a debate. Because the Creator has gifted many people they will have told also reasonable things which could help us to grow. We can make use of them. We can listen and meditate about those writings. though we may never forget to put them in the light of the most important writings the world has received.

The book of books to be placed first

Philosophical Studies

Philosophical Studies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we look at the evolution of science, read some old ‘wisdom books’ we can notice that lots of those creative writings in the end did not pull the right string, and many of them had ideas which are already long time ago surpassed. Many of those older writings, wisdom of the old times has become foolish in the world of today. We all should be aware that what we consider to be so today might be not so any more in a few years time. (Look for example at the smallest element of an object which is not any more the molecule or the atom.)

When it is about the universe, its creation and Who is behind everything the world through its wisdom did not get to know the Divine Creator God. God saw good through the foolishness [as it appears to the world] of what is preached to save those believing. The Most High Creator has given The Writings which can bring enough wisdom to have a good life and to find the way to even a better life than we do have hear at the moment, on earth. In those Words given by god we should go and look for the most accurate teaching we can have. In the Bible we can find all the answers we do need to make the best of our life. The Book of books gives us in many writing styles in different ways of telling over and over the same message, so that we can not have any excuse that after reading them we could not understand.

Many people might find those old Writings ‘passé’ and laugh at the wording. They do not understand that a foolish thing of God [as the world views it] is wiser than men, and a weak thing of God [as the world may see it] is stronger than men

“19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:19-25 NIV)

Wisdom on its head

In the passing of time, the history of humankind, we see that God turned conventional wisdom on its head. The Creator of allthings, showed by the works of Creation how many times man was wrong with his ideas how to handle the world. So-called experts became exposed as crackpots. when we do write we also should consider that. We should know that we can not have all wisdom in us, and we may be utterly wrong in certain facts. Also the other person may be right in many facts but may also have it at the wrong end in other facts. Therefore we should be humble and patient when we look at writings from others. We should be aware there can be lots of good in it but also lots of bad. When there is something we do not agree with, that should not mean that it is bad. That what is contrary to our opinion can be wiser than our ideas.  Also the opposite may be true, things which others consider wrong about our way of thinking can be right at the end. We should always look at the wise spectrum which we receive in front of us and be thankful that we can read such a diversity of opinions. This diversity can be more richness than many people think. We should use it more than the critics of this world.

Knowing that not all wisdom can be found it the worldly human writings, we should be content to find find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age. Knowing that God has exposed it all as pretentious nonsense what many have written in the past, we should always turn to His Book of Wisdom, the book of books, the Holy Scriptures which we call in short: the Bible.

Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—[preaching], of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

Going right on preaching

While atheists laugh at the ideas of a supernatural being, Jews clamour for miraculous demonstrations and doubters or those who do find themselves contemporary thinkers, go in for philosophical wisdom, we should go right on proclaiming Christ,’ the Crucified’ and let the world know that it was a man of God who died at the wooden post to look a fool. We know the sign of having this man taken out of death is a sign for what can happen to us. Jews treat this like an [anti]-miracle — and many civics pass it off as absurd. But to us who are personally called by God Himself, Christ Jesus, the son of man and son of God, is God’s ultimate miracle and wisdom all wrapped up in one.

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s “weakness.” God has provided in the Bible, the most widely circulated book in the world, a clear statement of his purpose. He has sent his witnesses to discuss it with all who will listen. How foolish for any creature to think that he has wisdom greater than that of God! What a sad mistake it would be to choose such deceptive human philosophy in preference to acquiring true wisdom as a disciple of Jesus Christ, the second-greatest person in the universe, next to God himself!

Danger of unrestrained approach to Biblical interpretation

In an attempt to reconcile the Bible with philosophy many, like the third-century theologian Origen, relied heavily upon the allegorical method of interpreting the Scriptures. More theologians assumed that Scripture always had a spiritual meaning but not necessarily a literal one. As one scholar noted, this allowed Origen “the means of reading into the Bible whatever non-biblical ideas were congenial to his own theological system, while professing (and no doubt sincerely imagining himself) to be a particularly enthusiastic and faithful interpreter of the thought of the Bible.”

This unrestrained approach to Biblical interpretation blurred the lines between Christian doctrine and Greek philosophy. For example, in his book entitled On First Principles, Origen described Jesus as ‘the only-begotten Son, who was born, but without any beginning.’ And he added:

‘His generation is eternal and everlasting. It was not by receiving the breath of life that he is made a Son, by any outward act, but by God’s own nature.’

Origen like many after him violated the basic Scriptural principle: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.” — 1 Corinthians 4:6.

We should be careful not to mix human writings, be it philosophical or theological with Biblical writing.

Disciples of Christ gathering

Those who call themselves Christians, should be followers of Christ. As such they should be eager to get to know the teachings of their Master teacher Christ Jesus, the Nazarene Jew Jeshua of the tribe of King David. His words are written down in the New testament which is complementary to the Old Testament or Hebrew Writings.

Coming together, looking at others, going out to preach, we should always remember that it should not be our aim to prejudge others based on their religious convictions. Among our fellow worshippers are many who at one time sincerely embraced false religious beliefs.

In the New Testament we have the example of the apostle Paul who had established common ground but knew that his listeners were educated in Greek philosophy and unfamiliar with the Scriptures. He adapted his approach in several ways. First, he presented Biblical teachings without directly quoting from the Scriptures. Second, he identified himself with his listeners, at times using the words “us” and “we.” Third, he quoted from Greek literature to show that certain things he was teaching were expressed in their own writings.

The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey

The Dawn Office in East Rutherford, New Jersey

We should remember those first followers of Christ and see that they also where willing to listen to others and did dare to use their sayings to let them see how they thought and where they went wrong. Today we also can use those worldly sayings, the many writings of people who are respected by the world. We can and may present the many thoughts which circle the world, be confronted by them, loo at them, think about them, criticise them whenever needy, use them for our advantage, and continue our path on or continuous learning process.

So, some may not find it appropriate to find different denominations their ideas placed together on one platform, we do believe we can learn from each other, as well do show interest in each other and know what is happening in this world.
It is not because we are serious Bible Students and active Christians that we should not look at others their writings, ignore the many ideas which are uttered in this world. It is also not that we should not be allowed to meet with others who do not think exactly the same as us. No, by coming together and by willing to share thoughts, we all can feed each other, and be helpful to develop as human beings.

Not trivial

Andrew Perry notes the problems of confessional bias and liberal unbelief that can subvert the unwary student, then concludes:

“It might therefore seem surprising that we advocate degree level Biblical Studies as a university choice.

“There is much of lasting value in such a choice; a value for life. First, there is the grounding in Hebrew and Greek which is of obvious benefit. Second, there is a vast amount of historically pertinent information to be had about the Bible—information that does not call into question beliefs about the Bible.

“Accordingly, any challenges to faith can be met head-on and handled. Here a study of Philosophy is valuable for the analytical skills it imparts; these skills help a student pick apart the challenges to faith. Furthermore, for every critical viewpoint on a matter, there is always a conservative counterpoint. So, while there are dangers, there are also paths to follow.”

If even one in fifty Christadelphian university students took a minor in philosophy, ancient history or ancient languages, and used that knowledge to the service of our faith, the flow-on effects would not be trivial.

Welcome to all

May we welcome you, and let us do hope we can share many thoughts, being little cogwheels of this world system in which we all together would like to look for a better world for every one, be it a believer, non-believer or other believer.

+

Find also to read:

  1. Words to push and pull & Words to bring message
  2. Wisdom lies deep
  3. Many Books, yet One
  4. Unsure about relevance Bible
  5. The Bible: God’s Word or pious myth?
  6. Scripture alone Sola Scriptora
  7. The importance of Reading the Scriptures
  8. Why believing the Bible
  9. Appointed to be read
  10. Do Christians need to read the Old Testament
  11. Getting to know the Truth
  12. Bible for you and for life
  13. The Bible is a today book
  14. Possibility to live
  15. Bible like puddle of water
  16. Loving the Word
  17. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  18. Science and God’s existence
  19. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  20. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #5 To meditate and Transform
  21. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #6 Words to feed and communicate
  22. History of Christianity
  23. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  24. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  25. Change
  26. Morality, values and Developing right choices
  27. Power in the life of certain
  28. Be like a tree planted by streams of water
  29. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  30. Chief means by which men are built up
  31. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  32. Bringing Good News into the world
  33. Feed Your Faith Daily

+++

  • October Series of the Month: Kant’s Questions (routledge.com)
    “Have the courage to use your own understanding! – that is the motto of enlightenment.” – Immanuel Kant
    The Enlightenment is one of the most important and contested periods in the history of philosophy. The problems it addressed, such as the proper extent of individual freedom and the challenging
  • The Problem Is That (You Think) You Think Too Much (coriwong.com)
    Hardly anyone has heard of philosophical counseling, but now that I’ve started my own philosophical counseling and consulting business, I’ve had loads of opportunities to describe the “how’s” and “why’s” of this form of philosophical practice. I start by emphasizing that, at the heart of the matter, philosophical counseling entails thinking about our lives and experiences in ways that help us become better people who think, live, and feel better along the way. Even though I think that’s a pretty compelling description of what’s at stake, it’s been met with a variety of responses.
  • Philosophers, those bloated parasites… (naughtthought.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy…the very world bears a halo so tarnished with the fingernail scratches of a desperate hold that its meaning is as dim as it is persistent.Philosophy begins in wonder, in disappointment, with anything except instantaneous experience (according to Laruelle). So say the philosophers. Though few comments have seemed as honest as Lyotard’s – that philosophy is at best graffiti on the ruins of the world.
    +
    There is also too much to be said about the conceptual engineer figure of philosophy according to Deleuze – the false modesty of ‘just being a brick layer’ but Deleuze does not think he is just a brick layer. He thinks the philosopher can fold the unknown outside into thought. That’s a power beyond brick handling.
  • “For Nietzsche a philosopher’s ideas were less important than the quality of his striving” (kingslandrogue.wordpress.com)
    For Nietzsche a philosopher’s ideas were less important than the quality of his striving towards existence on a philosophical or supra-historical plane.
  • Sartre and some faux intellectuals – An obnoxious view on obnoxious people (semifeminist.wordpress.com)
    I guess coming from a science background, I’d rather hear things about what people do.  If there’s a contradiction between what a person says and what a person does, then the essence of what they say is lost on me.  Show me your faith by your actions… :D :D :D (pssst it’s a reference to James)
    +
    Ok it’s cool you made some great observations about society and humans. But what have you done about it? Have you presented any model that could change an aspect of society?
    +
    Walk the talk. Do the deed. Say what you will. It’s that simplicity we need.
  • Word of the Week: ‘Philosophy’ (therelateblog.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy is made up of a range of different branches each discussing different topics which makes it a tricky word to define! For example, metaphysics looks at questions about realty whereas aesthetics considers beauty.
    +
    There are many other famous philosophers such as Kant, Descartes, Aristotle, Hick, Spinoza and Nietzche. How many can you name?
  • Why Take Philosophy A Level? (scribblingsofasimpleton.wordpress.com)
    Philosophy is not, I repeat not, what you would call a “doss” subject. People often assume that Philosophy is a subject you can take because it’s easy. Anyone that says or believes that couldn’t be more wrong. To be brutally honest, Philosophy is hard. And I mean really hard. Universities look at it at the same academic level as Physics or Maths.
    +
    Philosophy requires an inordinate amount of brain-power and a Philosophy student will need to question everything-including their own existence. It is not a subject for the faint-hearted.
  • Has David Birnbaum solved the mystery of existence? (theguardian.com)
    David Birnbaum

    David Birnbaum: ‘There must be an answer. How is it possible that so many brilliant people, over thousands of years, have missed it?’ Photograph: Brian Finke for the Guardian

    In the summer of 2012, a number of philosophers at British and American universities received a bulky, unmarked package in the post. It contained a 560-page book, written in English but with the Latin title Summa Metaphysica, by an amateur whose name they didn’t recognise: David Birnbaum. It isn’t unusual for philosophy departments to get mail from cranks, convinced they have solved the riddle of existence, but they usually send stapled print-outs, or handwritten letters; Summa Metaphysica stood out “for its size and its glossiness”, says Tim Crane, a professor of philosophy at Cambridge. The book was professionally typeset. It even included endorsements from Claude Lévi-Strauss, the legendary French anthropologist, who described it as “remarkable and profound”, and from the Princeton physicist John Wheeler, who once collaborated with Einstein. It would later transpire that 40,000 copies were in circulation, a print run any academic philosopher might kill for.

  • Essential Readings on Universalism (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I thought it might be helpful to others to share the essential stuff that I have read and consider worthy of consideration:
    +
    As a Catholic theologian, Balthasar could not and would  go beyond the hope that God would save all, but that we must hope and pray for universal salvation, he fervently believed.
  • On being an attractive woman and being taken seriously in philosophy (leiterreports.typepad.com)
    I also use twitter to connect with philosophers around the world, and find it a generally supportive and stimulating space to communicate with like-minded people. But I received a troubling tweet in response to a (non-sexual) photo I posted recently. The tweet was by a male philosopher. He said that philosophers are not supposed to be pretty.These experiences have made me wonder whether being perceived as pretty, to some, will also mean that I will be taken less seriously in philosophy. Clearly, the tweeter’s comment was not well thought out. It was a tweet. But  do we still have distorted understandings about what philosophers are “supposed to be” or “supposed to look like”?