Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #2

In the United States we not only see that religious groups become endangered. Also the female person seems to be placed in a secondary role. We see the growing tendency by several American citizens to consider  the female being as second-class citizen whose place belongs in the kitchen and by her kids. the woman according several man should be subject to a strict social hierarchy. This hierarchy can be observed in every stripe of fundamentalism, from Islamic fundamentalism to Christian fundamentalism and it goes like this:

God/Jesus is the head of the man

Man is the head of the woman, subject only to God

Woman is subjugated to a status which is wholly reliant on having “faith” that her husband will do the right thing because he is specially influenced by God by special decree of the Bible.

Fundamentalist website after website counsels women that if her husband does wrong that the only thing she can do is pray that God will guide him to a different decision, that she is not to disagree with him publicly (or in front of children). She is free (sometimes) to give an opinion, but the ultimate decision is the man’s, because he has special dispensation by God to be in that position. The equal status of women is a threat to this hierarchy, and thus, a threat to God.

According to several writers on the net there is “Anti-intellectualism” at the base of the extremist behaviour of so many evangelicals and for others it is a matter to have everything in control. In order of occupancy of the Oval Office, there is an inverse relationship between the number of Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist presidents of the United States and the percentage of each of those denominations in the broader population. As if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, there are no evangelicals among the current justices of the Supreme Court!

In fact, there aren’t even any Protestants these days!

Dakota O’Leary believes this is why America is seeing so many attacks on women, from trying to pass laws that undermine Roe v. Wade (personhood laws, restrictions on abortions, waiting periods, attempts to push laws to punish abortion doctors, restrictions on being able to get birth control, etc), to going to the trouble of redefining rape as being the woman’s fault, even part of God’s plan, while pushing to give rapists parental rights, to the unfortunate proclamations of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, et. The present president of America even boasted that girls love it to receive the male’s attention and being the prey man has to conquer. Nobody called yet to bring him before court for molesting women, though several women came forward with their story and some even with proof what this man had done to them in the past. To no avail…. He seems to be untouchable.

Many (conservative and evangelical) Americans are convinced that women dress in such a way they demand to be played at and to be raped and that babies born of rape are either a penalty for their attitude or are a blessing from God, (that the female body shuts down its reproductive system when a woman is being raped, etc.).

Controlling women’s bodies while at the same time denouncing “big government” is the popular meme of the fundamentalist mind. Women are simply not meant to destroy that Godly hierarchy set up by the Bible, and in their minds if you can control women, you’ve got half the populace conquered for God.

Fundamentalist anti-intellectualism often manifests itself in a sort of “pseudo-intellectualism” by which those with little or no educational background read a few articles or watch a few videos about a particular subject (usually published by their own religious compatriots, particularly about what a scientific theory is and evolution), and consider themselves “educated” because what they read agreed with their worldview, or, if being highly educated, usually get that education in a fundamentalist educational setting. They even go so far to say that scientists forge or falsify research to mislead pepole and to bring them away from God’s Word. They will then take that “evidence” and proceed to use it against empirical evidence that directly contests and even eviscerates the arguments they have carefully set up around what they have read or seen, and the argument invariably ends with ad hominem attacks against reason, facts, and education — because they have no actual evidence outside of the Bible to use to “win” the argument. A favourite tactic is to call the opposition an “atheist” (or a “liberal”) if someone disagrees with their worldview.

Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore 12.jpg

Richard John Santorum

By the extremist evangelicals we also may see that education is then “demonized” as being a covert movement to “indoctrinate” the masses in the secular worldview, and thus, part of the forces of Satan. The American attorney, author, and politician Santorum demonstrates this principle admirably. Although he himself is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and JD from Penn State, his Biblical worldview clearly trumps his empirical education and allows him to disregard it as a fly in the ointment in the “light of Biblical truth,” which is, of course, only empirical in that it is in print, in black and white, not empirical that it can actually be proven.

Faith is evidence enough, and reason becomes a threat to faith, thus, reason is from Satan, not God.

A good case in point is the persecution of Copernicus and Galileo by the Catholic Church, regarding the revolution of the Earth around the sun. This old argument, which has been proven in favor of Copernicus and Galileo, has arisen once again to haunt us.

According to a recent National Science Foundation survey, over twenty percent of the respondents believed in the geocentric model popular during the 1500s, that the sun revolves around the earth instead of the other way around. This is old, disproven thinking that comes from the idea that since humanity is God’s creation, naturally, everything revolves around humanity, with humanity at the centre of creation.

Humanity is thus, special. Anything that challenges the idea that humanity is special is thus a threat against God. After all, you can’t feel the earth move, so it must be stationary. You can’t see the stars move (well, you can with a telescope, something called parallax), but you can’t see it with the naked eye, so thus, the earth must be stationary with the sun moving around it.

This is an example of pseudo-intellectualism. You know what you see, but you don’t investigate to see if your assertions are valid under close scrutiny. Fundamentalists cannot afford to indulge in close scrutiny of their ideas, because close scrutiny would most certainly disprove most of what they believe, and they fear, more than anything else, of the erosion of their own faith.

In 1982, forty-four per cent of Americans held strictly creationist views, a statistically insignificant difference from 2012. Furthermore, the percentage of Americans that believe in biological evolution has only increased by four percentage points over the last twenty years.

Susan Jacoby, author of “The Age of American Unreason” and “Freethinkers” sums up the problem of fundamentalist anti-intellectualism succinctly:

This mindless tolerance, which places observable scientific facts, subject to proof, on the same level as unprovable supernatural fantasy, has played a major role in the resurgence of both anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism.

Copernicus and Galileo were persecuted by the Catholic Church for suggesting that humanity on earth was indeed not the centre of the universe. Copernicus did not suffer much persecution while he was alive, but after he was dead, his hypothesis that the earth revolved around the sun certainly did. Galileo dared to revive Copernicus’ idea, and packaged it in a mock debate between characters in a book he wrote called Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo) in 1632. The Catholic Church’s militaristic arm, the Inquisition, caught wind of what he had written, and banned his book, and placed Galileo under house arrest.

Now, the Catholic Church’s disagreement with Galileo and Copernicus did not make their ideas less true, which the idea certainly was, and revealed to be true through empirical scientific investigation over a period of years. Instead, the Church deflected the facts as “heresy,” which is something fundamentalists are particularly adept at doing. Ken Ham’s Creation Museum is a testament to this deflection of scientific facts as heresy.

By dismissing evolution as nothing more than a “theory,” (which goes to show pure, deliberate ignorance of what exactly a scientific theory is), we see again the application of the ad hominem attack Christian fundamentalists so love to employ when inconvenient facts get in the way.

The fundamentalists of today are a hardy lot, and they will use anything to win this battle for God — the Bible, which is the ultimate authority, the Constitution, revisionist science textbooks, and revisionist American history (a la David Barton) that “proves” America was a nation founded to be their brand of a “Christian nation.”

Their view of a Christian nation is a very restricted view where there is only place for their Christian conservative doctrinal teachings and where there can only some place for other trinitarian christians as long as they do not go against their views.

Never mind they are not Constitutional scholars. The Constitutional scholars are a threat to them because even though scholars have differing opinions about interpretation of the Constitution, any opinion that differs from the fundamentalist worldview is a direct attack on God. Never mind that the fundamentalist that lives in the general population is not a scientist.

They know better, because the Australian Christian fundamentalist and young Earth creationist living in the United States, Ken Ham and the Bible tell them that there is No Way God would use evolution to create (even though the Bible says nothing on the subject of evolution)

The Bible is black and white. God created the world as it is now in six days, and rested on the seventh.

You will rarely see a fundamentalist in a secular college or university because secular universities and colleges do not agree with their worldview (logically). This is why for the most part they are homeschooled, and go straight from homeschool to fundamentalist universities that teach their worldview.By presenting homeschooling by the parents themselves, who did not receive any educational formation to be a teacher, the kids are squeezed the truth and deprived of sound formation. Opportunities to go to a proper high school or to a good university is taken away. For such children is there only an opening to  universities and colleges churned out fundamentalists who are schooled in law, but only an interpretation of law that fits their Biblical worldview. Lawyers or judges who disagree with them, particularly in Supreme Court cases are dismissed ad hominem as “activist lawyers” and “activist judges” (i.e. enemies of God).

This lack of empirical education is changing American society into one that has eroded science education, particularly with their attempts to force the school voucher issue, which is nothing but a bid to get taxpayers to fund fundamentalist education, yet they object to taxpayer funded public education because “secularism” is persecuting them for their beliefs by simply disagreeing with them (because again, nothing they believe is based on empirical evidence).

Jerry Falwell Jr. has ambitious plans to affect life, law and culture in America, and it’s all being germinated at Liberty University, the fundamentalist bastion his father founded. (Source: Americans United)

The lack of empirical education is eroding American society in favour of a “faith based” education that has nothing whatsoever to do with facts that threaten their worldview. Liberty is something they interpret as the freedom to live in a society based solely on their Biblical worldview and does not at all give any liberty to free expression or freedom of thought. Freedom of religion for others in an inclusive society is anathema to them, because such freedom threatens to sideline them to the fringes. Individual liberty does not exist except for them, because they have an inherent distrust of the individual to make reasonable decisions, unless those decisions are based on their interpretation of Scripture. Thus, mainstream Christians are not their brethren; mainstream Christians are simply misinformed individuals who have deluded themselves into believing they are of the family of Christ, and only the clear lens of fundamentalism can see that mainstream Christians have been deceived by the enemy of God which is secular society. In this lies a big problem. They think they have to spread their ‘true religion’ all over the world and consider themselves as the chosen people of God and therefore they also consider themselves as the connected with the Zionists aiming to have peace in the Middle East. Though they do forget that by their refusal to see and understand that Jesus was not his real name, but that is was Jeshua and that he spoke Aramaic and as such used the word “Allah” for “God” plus that in the present day still millions of pepole use that word “Allah” which disgusts those American fundamentalists. And by their action against that word they bring resentment in several believers their heart. Their action against the use of non-english words for “God” gives not only peevishness, but lets many wonder if they belong to the right Christian religion of worse should not become a worshipper of the Only One true God and have to become Jew or Muslim and leave the Christian Trinity doctrine aside. A pity not more by those extremist Christians offended Christians go looking for an alternative Christianity where there is praised the God of Jeshua (Jesus Christ (Allah, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah) and where they still can use their Catholic or protestant Bibles with that word “Allah” in it when it talks about The God.

The extremist fundamentalist Christians say their sole aim is to “obey” God in creating conditions favourable to the return of Christ – and this one thought, this one design drives American foreign policy with Israel (they believe that when the Jews all return to Israel and the 3rd temple is rebuilt that Christ will return, (but not without sacrificing 2/3 of the Jewish people in the process), then all the remaining Jews will become Christians.

American fundamentalists are only interested in Jewish people and Israel insofar as it furthers the return of Jesus Christ. That is all.

Dakota O’Leary is convinced that because fundamentalists are engaged in the idea that they are warriors in a fight for God, (something Christian fundamentalists hold in common with Islamic fundamentalists), and says

they have the sort of mindset that if it came to it (which it has not yet, I do not think), they would not afraid to die for their faith. Proof of this idea was given a disturbing form by a video game “Left Behind: Eternal Forces,” which advocates killing anyone who doesn’t agree with them (i.e. can’t be converted to their idea of Christ):

Katherine Stewart writes

Aimed at conservative Christians, the game’s story line begins in a time after the “rapture”, when fundamentalist dogma contends that Christians will go to heaven. The remaining population on earth must then choose between surrendering to or resisting “the Antichrist”, which the game describes as the “Global Community Peacekeepers” whose objective is the imposition of “one-world government”.

“Part of the object is to kill or convert the opposing forces,”

Simpson said.

This is “antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said, adding that he was dismayed by the concept in “Eternal Forces” of using prayer to restore a player’s “spirit points” after killing the enemy.

In the game, combatants on one side pause for prayer, intoning, “Praise the Lord”. A player can lose points for “unnecessary killing” but regain them through prayer.

But Simpson counters,

“The idea that you could pray, and the deleterious effects of one’s foul deeds would simply be wiped away, is a horrible thing to be teaching Christian young people here at Christmas time.”

Troy Lyndon, CEO of Left Behind Games Inc., which is promoting the new video, has defended the game as “inspirational entertainment” and said its critics were exaggerating. The game is based on the popular “Left Behind” novels, a Bible-based end-of-the-world-saga that has sold more than 63 million copies.

Dakota O’Leary reacts

Now, while this is a disturbing element, and the Left Behind books have genocidal scenes that seem to justify killing masses of unbelievers because they are incorrigible (not ever going to convert to the fundamentalist mindset), it should be reiterated that fundamentalists are not yet at the point in the US where they want to kill people, so let us not be alarmist. However, that being said, the way some fundamentalists are choosing to portray institutional racism and genocide (as punishment for sin and disbelief) to school age children is disturbing, and it is the belief of this scholar that the elements for radical action portrayed in the video game are there – but would need utter desperation in order to explode into being. It is the opinion of this writer that fundamentalists are not yet this desperate, but attempts to normalize killing for God are disturbing, to say the least. The Guardian had this to say about the subject in May of 2012:

The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics.

“In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul’s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors,”

writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses (HarperCollins).

In the fall of 2012, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, were scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly “Bible study” course, came from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.

There are now over 3,200 clubs in public elementary schools, up more than sevenfold since the 2001 supreme court decision, Good News Club v Milford Central School, effectively required schools to include such clubs in their after-school programing.

The CEF has been teaching the story of the Amalekites at least since 1973. In its earlier curriculum materials, CEF was euphemistic about the bloodshed, saying simply that “the Amalekites were completely defeated.” In the most recent version of the curriculum, however, the group is quite eager to drive the message home to its elementary school students. The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one:

You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.

“That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?” the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.

Even more important, the Good News Club wants the children to know, the Amalakites were targeted for destruction on account of their religion, or lack of it. The instruction manual reads:

The Amalekites had heard about Israel’s true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment.

The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

Dakota O’Leary writes

Educating Christian fundamentalists simply doesn’t work. They do not accept any education that is in direct conflict with their worldview. What remains is to educate the rest of the American populace about Christian fundamentalism and dominionism, educating the American populace about the David Bartons of the world, so that when elections occur, an educated populace can reject the infiltration of fundamentalism on the rest of American society, which will, given the right opportunity (usually in a climate of fear like 9/11), erode American democracy entirely and push our nation into the fringes of the world into irrelevance.

Every American should know that Anti-intellectualism – as advocated by large and vocal elements within the Republican Party is dangerous to the future of their nation. but they also should know that those fundamentalist Christians threaten world peace, by their continuous actions against Muslims and against people who use the word “Allah”.

For the future of the States there is also the education danger, by having the students not to see how the world evolves and how everything is related with each other. Students who are protected from “globalist” views and real science will not grow up to be leaders. If the Americans themselves do not take care of providing a sound education to their children and to give them an understanding of other peoples and other languages they shall have to face a downfall of their nation.

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Dakota O’Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week.

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Preceding

Act of Faith held on February 6, 1481

American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder

Christian fundamentalists feeding Into the Toxic Partisanship and driving countries into the Dark Ages… #1

Science, 2013 word of the year, and Scepticism

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Additional reading

  1. Religions and Mainliners
  2. Migrants to the West #1
  3. Migrants to the West #2
  4. Migrants to the West #7 Religions
  5. Migrants to the West #10 Religious freedom
  6. A last note concerning civil rights
  7. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  8. Religious Practices around the world
  9. Religious Freedom in a Multicultural World
  10. 60 years after creation of European Economic Community, Europeans skeptical about one of their biggest achievements this century
  11. You might be an extrimist if …
  12. Responses to Radical Muslims and Radical Christians
  13. Liberal and evangelical Christians
  14. Christians fail there where Muslims succeed
  15. Engaging the culture without losing the gospel
  16. Back from gone #4 Your inner feelings and actions
  17. Full text of Pope Francis’ Interview with ‘La Vanguardia’
  18. Consequences of Breivik’s mass murder
  19. A New Reformation
  20. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  21. The clean sweeper of the whole caboodle
  22. Catherine Ashton on the EU annual report on human rights
  23. Where is the USA wanting to go with the freedom of their people

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Further related

  1. On Biblical inerrancy and the priorities of fundamentalists
  2. Are there dividing lines between Mainline and Evangelical?
  3. How America’s Endless Civil War Between Protestant Sects Is at the Heart of American Identity
  4. Where Is Reality, as Fundamentalist Christians Think They Are More Discriminated Against Than Muslims?
  5. Christian, Jewish and Muslim Fundamentalists Agree that Natural Disasters Are God’s Revenge on the Modern World
  6. MainlineDecline, Decline-Talk, and Decline-ism — Sightings (Martin Marty)
  7. Sorry LGBTQ People and Fertile American Women
  8. Hate speech is acceptable in Trump’s America – as long as it comes from Christian fundamentalists
  9. Are Christian Fundamentalists Driving Our Country into the Dark Ages?
  10. Christian fundamentalists are driving our country into the Dark Ages…
  11. More about Christian Nationalism and President Donald J. Trump
  12. Hate speech is acceptable in Trump’s America – as long as it comes from Christian fundamentalists
  13. Trump is not a nativist
  14. Party Like It’s Armageddon?!
  15. Chris Hedges: Home Grown Hatred–Anger and Alienation in the US (2009)
  16. Christopher Hitchens and Michael Parenti Debate: Iraq and the Future of US Foreign Policy (2005)
  17. Betsy DeVos and The Christian Right’s “Big Ideas”
  18. Abby Martin and Chris Hedges: Donald Trump and Christianized Fascism
  19. These are the alarming parallels between the views of Steve Bannon and those held by Islamist jihadis
  20. Adsorbing/Deflecting a curse
  21. Satan Sprinkles A Few More Stegosaurus Bones Across Nation To Test Christians’ Faith
  22. The Handmaid’s Tale – An American Dystopia?
  23. Typical Examples of Christian Fundamentalist and Conservative Evangelical Hate Mail
  24. The Evangelical Identity Crisis
  25. Jordan Peterson – Atheist Researchers vs Christian Fundamentalists
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An anarchistic reading of the Bible (2)—Creation and what follows

Whilst there may certainly be nothing sacred or “God-ordained” about the modern nation-state, lots of people do claim the connection of their state with the God of their Christian faith. Lots of those claiming to be Christian do not notice they themselves made themselves an own faith which in many cases has gone far away from the leader Christ Jesus his teachings. Even worse many of the conservative Christians and extreme right people have twisted so much the biblical teachings they do not see straight any more.

Lots of people in the so called democratic countries would like to build up their country to what they call to be a free nation, though they want to put a lot of limitations to whom may enter and to what others may believe.
A very good example of such deformation of the mind is the United States of America where there are some citizens who are totally convinced that it is their own home country, not recognising they themselves came from immigrants, thinking their laws should be build on their restricted view of the Bible, ignoring in a certain way the idea of freedom of the Pilgrims who founded their country.

Americans, convinced that the only state they have does not belong to the original locals, redskins or Indians, neither that it belongs to the Divine Creator, are convinced only they can work, according to their measures, to make ‘their state’ the most just and life-enhancing state it can be.
They are also convinced they should also work against their state as strongly as possible when it is unjust and undermines life. Though they often forget which measures or rules they would consider to be the just, righteous and most right to choose for.

Perhaps they can use an anarchist critique of the state and an anarchist affirmation of the human capacity for self-organizing to help to resist the undermining and, even more, to help them as they seek to construct a well-functioning society.

But most of all I would advice those who call themselves Christian to take up again the Bible and to go through it thoroughly.
All people interested in building up a community which can leave together in peace,is better to take up the manual given by the Supreme Writer and Divine Creator of all.

We can approach the Bible as a storybook and see it as providing a loosely coherent message, amidst a great deal of diversity, but than we shall miss out a lot of wisdom provide in it and would not be able so much to see our own stupidities and the stupidities of our governments who do not want to learn from the past, having the past repeating over and over again.

When we look at the Bereshith, the book of the Beginnings brings us the evolution of all things. Lots of conservative Christians do want to take its writing as a literal presentation from day to day, but it was never intended to be so. Moses neither the Client to write, wanted to present humanity with a factual historical scientist into depth account of what happened throughout the years of this universe.
The very beginning of the Bible provides much important information about the Bible as a whole, about the cosmology of the whole, about the character of the God seen to be central to the entire story, and about the relationships between humankind and this God.

Those people taking up the Bible, the infallible Word of God, should remember that the tale told in that Book of books, is to bring us knowledge about our own beings, our own self, how and why we are and how humanity develops.

In this Best-seller of all times, the One giving His Voice, the One Who asked to have His Words written down, This Creator God speaks of His Creation, which includes not only the human beings (male and female) being created in His own image, but also all the things He gave under dominion of those human beings (plants and animals). Though man could make use of it and could give it names, it has made a mess of it, and has done dishonour to the Creator of it. Too many have forgotten that humanity is commissioned to care for the rest of creation as God’s stewards. This is one of the good reasons lots of people should again or for the first time start reading the Bible to find out what their position on this planet is and what they have as task to do to come to a nice good peaceable world.

The Bible tells us what went wrong in the past and how the relationship between God and man became troubled. We do have to find ways to restore that relationship between God and humanity which is not one of domination, command-and-obedience. Yes it is rather a relationship of like with like. God has given several man of God to lead us and to show us the right way to develop. The prophet and master rabbi Jeshua (Jesus Christ) is the most important one to follow. after so much time that the people still did not come to understand the Torah, Jesus came to clarify it once again and to show the Way to God. though Jesus is the Way, he did not want to do his own will nor wants us to do only his will, neither to make him God or to worship him. He wants us to worship and to pray to the same God he prayed to, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, Who is also the God of him (Jesus) and his disciples.

We are told to put on the armour of Christ and to become like Jesus, and to put on the armour of God becoming one with God like Jesus is one with God. Though God is the Most High and even Jesus could not do anything without his heavenly Father, we also shall never be able to do anything without God allowing it to happen. But we are given the words of Christ and the words of the other prophets to help us to find the right way, trying to transform ourselves by the teachings of the master teacher and by the words of the very different books brought together in the Canonical Bible.

We as humans created in the image of God are also by that Creator asked to be like God. And, perhaps even more importantly, the picture here is that all humanity shares in this divine image — kingly, perhaps, but in a strongly egalitarian sense. As well, human beings are given power and responsibility.

The biggest problem is we all are responsible for our own choice and for our own actions. There is nobody else to blame for what we ourselves decide to follow.
It is up to us to take up the Book of books, to believe in it and to follow up freely its advice and wisdom.

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To remember:

to avoid the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (2:17) =  restriction >  arbitrary rule from a dominating God intended to prevent human enlightenment? => Such an interpretation contradict much of the surrounding story + much of what follows in the Bible.

restriction = symbolizing innate human limitations.

human beings seek to know + use that knowledge to dominate creation => will devolve into power struggles and develop hierarchies

To avoid such a dynamic =>  to step back from desiring too much “knowledge,” to accept limits, and recognize to live in trust.

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“temptation” to violate restriction = too strong => Adam and Eve break the close connection between themselves and God.

coming from human side — after they eat the forbidden fruit, God still seeks to hang around with them in the Garden

humans hide from God (3:8) = they become ashamed of their nakedness.

consequences of this turn toward disharmony = establishment of “enmity” between Adam and Eve (3:15) and of Adam as “ruler” over Eve (3:16).

Not God’s will

new tensions and struggles = characterize human life.

rest of story = God’s work among humanity to overcome this “enmity” and proclivity toward “rulership.”

“fall”= affirmation of fundamental character of human peaceableness and responsiveness to God = complicated by human freedom.

God gives humanity potential to turn away as a key part of basic loving nature of the relationships +> turning away has consequences.

fatalistic interpretation has underwritten power politics over the centuries — the “fallenness” of humanity used as an excuse for a politics of centralized, coercive power.

human proclivity to exercise power in dominating ways = target in story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11.  = inclination to centralize human power and to create a “oneness” that serves centralized power.

“scattering” Babel-dwellers (3:4, 8, 9), God seeks to create the conditions for a different kind of oneness — human unity respecting diversity, decentralizing power, based on mutual respect.

rest of the Bible’s story describes long, tenuous process of such a oneness being established.

human beings being gifted through God’s Spirit to connect despite their differences in languages, points to the type of oneness God endorses.

God’s healing strategy

genealogy that will connect Noah with the founding of God’s chosen people, we meet the human founders of the Hebrew peoplehood.

God creates something new out of barreness + promises descendants, beyond counting, and the agents of blessing for “all the families of the earth” (12:3).

important intervention of God = vocation God gives Abram, Sarai, and their descendants = God’s response to what happened in Eden, the story of the Flood, and the Tower of Babel => God will bring healing, but it will be patient, non-coercive, based on love and not on domination.

Founding ancestor of God’s chosen people = far from being a king or powerful ruler.

God’s work to bring healing to creation = not linked with territoriality => no geographical kingdom and no human king.

The method for doing God’s work in the world is “blessing” and this work is intended to encompass “all the families of the earth.”

We will have to follow the rest of the story to understand better the political implications of this starting point. But we should notice right away the combination of a lack of state-centeredness and the optimism about the possibilities of this “blessing” spreading widely without domination.

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Additional readings:

  1. What is life?
  2. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  3. Men of faith
  4. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform
  5. Right to be in the surroundings
  6. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  7. Creator and Blogger God 5 Things to tell
  8. God wants to be gracious to you
  9. The giving and protecting God
  10. Testify of the things heard
  11. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  12. A secret to be revealed
  13. Humility and the Fear of the Lord
  14. No fear in love
  15. If you want to go far in life
  16. Being of good courage running the race
  17. Wisdom lies deep
  18. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies
  19. God should be your hope
  20. Your New Job Description — Bless!
  21. Count your blessings
  22. There can only be hope when there is a will to be and say “I am”

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  • American Pride: What Does the Bible Say? (endtimesprophecyreport.com)
    Throughout its short 230+ years existence, the country known as the United States of America has specialized in turning vice into virtue.  Exhibit A?

    Americans teaching that pride is a much-desired quality.

    “American Pride”: it’s on the airwaves; it’s taught in the schools; it’s preached from the pulpits.

  • Is This What US Interviewing Officers In The Embassy Go Through? (thechroniclesofrenard.blogspot.com)
    The experience of getting a United States visa in order to visit the United States of America can be quite challenging for a lot of people in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

    Here is a humorous video about those interesting experiences.

  • Muslim Americans Insist Students Were Killed Because of Faith (voanews.com)
    The Obama Administration released a statement late Friday about the killing of three Muslim students this week in North Carolina. In the statement US president Barack Obama said “No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.” American Muslim leaders agree and are urging authorities to label the shooting deaths a hate crime. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
  • Akin Osuntokun: The winner takes all election (dailypost.ng)
    Politics is inherently conflict-ridden with a dual and contradictory potential to either serve as a conflict resolution mechanism or generate a momentum for the escalation of conflict to crisis and ultimately to catastrophe.

    The election of Barack Obama, the first African-American, to the office of the President of the United States of America (USA) is unique and indicative in several respects. It was a veritable indication of how far America has gone in functional socio-political integration and positive adaptation of social diversity. Yet it equally brought in its wake the manifestation of the negative potential of politics to serve as a predictor and harbinger of conflict and crisis.

  • United States Corporation & The united, “States of America” . . use this to help people understand! It is very important information! ~J (gunnygbb2.wordpress.com)
    This film explains the difference between the, “united States of America” which is a Republic, created by the people, and for the protections and freedoms of the people; and, a corporation called “The United States Of America”, which is a Corporation of the “District of Columbia”; Titled, “The United States Of America” this corporation was founded in 1871″.

Thinking Pacifism

Ted Grimsrud—February 2, 2015

This is the second in a series of posts.

In this survey of some biblical themes looked at from an anarchistic angle, I will not be real precise in my use of “anarchistic.” I’ll be talking about a sensibility more than a full-fledged political philosophy. The key “anarchistic” motifs I will focus on will be a strong suspicion toward centralized social power, especially kingdoms and empires, and an optimism about human possibilities for self-organizing and decentralized social power.

And I will be reading the Bible in fairly naïve and straightforward ways. I approach the Bible as a storybook and see it as providing a loosely coherent message, amidst a great deal of diversity. I will focus more on the loose coherence than the diversity—largely due to a desire to find usable guidance in the Bible. At the same time, in reading the Bible more as…

View original post 1,411 more words

Quran versus older Holy Writings of Divine Creator

Non-Arabic speaking people

Life is very short and in it we get a lot of material to read. One of the more important books I got to read in my life were books which are considered by many as Holy Books.
One of those Holy Books I could not read in the original Arabic and had to trust several translations, which I read and compared with interest. Some of those translations were easy to read and follow, others were very difficult. But of all of them, some would say we may not read and follow those translations, because we only should read the original language: Arabic.

For me this would be very strange, because the people who say that also are sure their book is the Word of God. But when only people who can speak and understand Arabic would be able to read that Word of God, would this God not give the other people the chance to get to know His Word? Would a God of love withhold His Holy Word for people who have no knowledge of Arabic?

A Word of the Creator for all His creatures

Is there also not that God of gods Who tells the world that all people are created from a single man and a single woman, and made into races and tribes so that they should recognise one another. Is also not written in those Scriptures that in God’s eyes, the most honoured of those people are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware. (Sura 49:13)?
Front of the Quran

Front of the Quran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I remember the many times I read and reread the Quran/Koran I got the impression words from the Old Jewish and Christian writings were brought together and were once more explained, sometimes in a different order, but still telling the same. Was I wrong to get the impression that according to Quranic teaching, religious pluralism is vital for social order and progress? Was I wrong to have the impression that, in the same way Jesus spoke about agape love, and telling us that God wants to see people who have tolerance for others? Did the words of the prophet Muhammad also not tell about the attitude we should take unto others? Would the knowledge of the Quran also not provide the key to tolerance?

Celebrating difference

العربية: القرآن في متحف التاريخ الطبيعي في نيو...

العربية: القرآن في متحف التاريخ الطبيعي في نيويورك (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are there not a lot of teachers in Islam who teach us that the Quran celebrates the differences amongst humankind, and instructs not only one faith group, but all of humanity to do good deeds, remaining good manners and morals, and to live in peace with each other.
I in the previous years of reading (several times) the Quran, that those words repeatedly addressed humanity as a whole and told the world how we should behave, how we should try to form our own character, and how we should present ourselves to others. Several of the old Muslim school taught that the Quran directs people towards justice, moral and spiritual values, and addresses Muslims specifically when referring to acts of worship and Islamic law.

They also say that:
The Quranic message of variety and coexistence is the cornerstone of the Islamic principle for a just and harmonious society. Thus religious pluralism, according to the Quranic teaching, is vital for social order and progress, and provides the key to tolerance: “There is no compulsion in religion (2:256); “You have your religion and I have mine.” (109:6).

Set up against each other because of misunderstandings

Because of the difficulties by different Muslims, Jews and Christians and their attitude going wrong against each other, I found it important to compare the words from those three monotheist religions together under one loop of neutrality and to look at them from my Christian Christadelphian viewpoint.

Bibles using Lord instead of NameBringing these verses next to each other should give an idea of what is really written in those Holy Books: The Torah (The Law/Tawraat) also known as the Pentateuch, the Nevi’im or (Hebrew) Prophets, the (Aleph) Kethuvim or Hebrew Writings, (Bet-)Kethuvim or Messianic or Greek Writings (New Testament with its Gospels or Injeel/Injil, Apostolic Writings or Epistles and the Revelation of Saint John the apostle) and the much later written Quran, which is by many also considered to be the word of the “Lord of the Worlds”,

which Allah revealed to His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), to bring mankind forth from darkness into light.

In case we can find the word of Allah, it is God, also in “the recitation” as presented, Who verbally revealed, to the prophet Muhammad in the 7°century CE, those words should be in unison and complementary with the previous words of the Divine Creator.

Not eliminating previous scriptures

Lots of people seem to forget that the Quran does not eliminate the previous writings, known as the Word of God. The book we often hear about in the news and where many of those terrorist shout about, namely the Quran (Quoran/Koran) confirms the Books which came before it, the Tawraat (Torah) and Injeel (Gospel).Many do not seem to understand the Quran is a witness over them, as Allah says

005.048 وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنْكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَكِنْ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
005.048 To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee. To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;

Al-Qur’an, 005.048 (Al-Maeda [The Table, The Table Spread])

Text Copied from DivineIslam’s Qur’an Viewer software v2.913(English interpretation of the Quranic Verse):

Same or different god speaking

When it is the God of Moses speaking to the favoured prophet Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim, considered to be the founder of the religion of Islam and accepted by Muslims throughout the world as the last of the prophets of God, about the Holy Book that Quran (Quran/Koran)) in truth should confirm those books that came before it and Muhaymin (trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures).

According to Sahih al-Bukhari, the Quran was recited among Levantines and Iraqis, and discussed by Christians and Jews, before it was standardized. There are also some non-Muslim groups who view the Quran as holy, such as Baha’is and Druze. Unitarian Universalists may also seek inspiration from the Quran.

Being one of the most-reviled figures in the history of the West from the 7th century until quite recent times Muhamad has encountered also a lot of controversy, his life, deeds, and thoughts having been debated by followers and opponents over the centuries.

Because in the past those trying to bring faith unto others having used quite often a lot of aggression, there has come a fear on both sites for the other believer in the Divine Creator.

Followers of false prophets and false teachers

Flag of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine. The organization’s banner leads from a verse in the Qur’an “And those who do jihad for Us, we shall guide them to our paths. And God is with those who do good.”

Today it even has become a bigger problem, having groups like those which foud inspiration in Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, Mujahideen, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Harakat al-Jihād or Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hezbollah, Harakat al-Jihad al-Islami,  Harkat-ul-Mujahideen- al-IslamiHamas, Boko Haram, Taliban, closer to us the Mirza Ghulam Ahmad movement, and other jihadists who claim their global jihad is grounded in Quranic “divine command ethics.” The leaders of those growing groups claim authority to interpret the religious text. Like we can find some Christians taking the Bible writings very literally and not taking the old language in mind, those Islamic preachers do the same with an almost literal reading of their sacred scripture. They are really convinced ‘they alone’ see the truth and others should have to follow them, who are following “pure Islam.

The “Pure Islam,” those teachers present, is a faith
“to please Allah Azzawajal by serving Islam within the means He has bestowed upon the world “Insha Allah””.
They say their guide is the Speech of Allah Azzawajal as it is contained in the Qur’an and their example is in the authentic Sunnah of Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam
“as practiced by the Sahaabah radiallaahu ‘anhum and the righteous servants of Allah Azzawajal who have followed in their noble footsteps.”

The Kafirs and kaffers

Many of them paid by the Saudi Sunnis consider lots of other Muslim groups as ‘Kafir’ (كافر) which would be similar to calling them “disbeliever”. In Dutch it means non-believer, non-Mohammedan, and its variant ‘kaffer‘, invective, which has the meaning of peasant, ragamuffin rascal, scoundrel; peasant bastard; jerk; bastard, boorish person; boor; uncouth; infidel.

I do believe that in order to understand the true, peaceful Islam, we also should read the Quran and by having knowledge of that book, we also should be more able to speak to those Muslim brothers about their Holy Writing and about the matters spoken off in the Holy Scriptures the Bible.

Gabble over non-understandable words

1° European verbcular language Quran 1647We must be conscious that the great majority of Muslims around the world today, do not speak Arabic, and they too like we have to depend on translations. The greatest danger is that many of those Muslims dare not to take a translation but recite Quran verses in Arabic without really knowing what they say, a little bit like some decennia ago in Europe in the Catholic Churches, the priest speaking in Latin, with the majority in church not knowing what he really was saying. This way the preacher can say anything and make them believe anything what their denomination wants them to believe. That is also what we see happening today with the different Muslim groups. I know families in my street who have children married to two different Islamic groups, each saying the other is totally wrong and a bad Muslim. But none of them is willing to discuss the matters or to look at a Dutch  Koran translation.

Speaking to each other

The followers of the prophet Jesus should take all opportunities to speak about their faith. They, in the growing Islamization of our world should let others see what Jesus preached and how he made the previous words of his heavenly Father clear. It is true Jesus did not write down his nor his Father‘s Words, but Muhammad left also the written recording of his messages to others. Both those prophets words should be compared with each other. Only by recognising what the other reads in his Holy Scriptures there can come an understanding but can also be shown where certain Muslim preachers go wrong and even go so far to teach matters contrary to the Quran.

Therefore to show people where certain Muslims went or go astray and to bring them back on the right path, plus to give both, non-believer, believer in One or a god, Jew, Christian and Muslim an idea of what is written and meant in certain scriptures, I shall present a comparison of the Quran and Bible and sometimes discuss the verses of both books.

As in Christendom there have been many human writers or theological scholars who brought ideas and schools. As in Christendom we can find many traditions in Islamic families and may find several books of traditional commentaries, to shed light on various passages. I also shall dare to have a look at them and invite Muslims and Christians to give their commentary or understanding on all those verses, traditional schooling and commentaries.

By looking at the Quran and the Bible, next to each other, Muslim and Christian can come to understanding each-other better, I do believe. But we all shall be able to come to see more clearly what makes the jihadists tick — and also perhaps understand what we can and must do to resist them.

In the hope to find a way were we can live in peace according to the Will of Allah, the Most High Almighty God, The Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

 

from Smithsonian :Folio from a Koran :9th-10th...

from Smithsonian :Folio from a Koran :9th-10th century :Abbasid dynasty :Ink and color on parchment :H: 22.5 W: 29.7 cm :Egypt :Purchase, F1929.71 The verses are from sura (chapter) 22, entitled al-Hadj (Pilgrimage) and include a discussion of the pilgrimage to Mecca. The Hadj is one of the five principal duties of every Muslim. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Find also to read:

  1. Creator and Blogger God 8 A Blog of a Book 2 Holy One making Scriptures Holy
  2. Corruption in our translations !
  3. Created to live in relation with God
  4. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  5. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #3 Of the earth or of God
  6. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  7. Palestine, Israel, God’s people and democracy
  8. Mocking, Agitation and Religious Persecution
  9. Migrants to the West #1
  10. Migrants to the West #2
  11. Migrants to the West #3
  12. Migrants to the West #4
  13. Migrants to the West #5
  14. Migrants to the West #6
  15. Christian fundamentalism as dangerous as Muslim fundamentalism
  16. Public not informed enough about Jihad terrorism in Belgium
  17. Islamic State forcing the West to provide means for Kurdistan

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Additional reading:

  1. Pentateuch
  2. Full text: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America’
  3. Fears as young Muslims ‘opt out’
  4. About Pure Islam
  5. New segiment – [Today’s Hadith . #1]
  6. Critique of Pure Islam

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  • My religion Islam (ireport.cnn.com)
    Islam was founded by the Prophet Muhammad 1400 years ago, and establishes the continuity of God’s revelation which had descended upon earlier prophets such as Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus. Islam, in fact, requires its followers to believe in all earlier prophets and Scriptures. According to Islam all the great religions that preceded it were revealed by God to His chosen messengers.
    +
    There are sayings of Holy Prophet Mohammad regarding the coming of latter day Messiah who will try against the Unbelievers and will reestablish the glory of Islam. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic organization who believes that the long-awaited messiah has come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) of Qadian, India. Ahmad claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was also foretold by the Prophet of Islam,
  • Australia: Muslims Drive By Church, Threaten To “Kill The Christians” And Slaughter Their Children (midnightwatcher.wordpress.com)
    “A man claiming to be a member of the Islamic State (ISIS) walked into the front yard of St. Hurmiz Assyrian church, in Greenfield Park, Sydney, and shouted ‘come out you dogs, I will burn this church down in 1 explosion in 2 hours, just wait.’ According to witnesses, the man approached from a nearby shopping center. The police were called and the church provided them with video footage from security cameras. The man was arrested later in the day, but may be released for lack of stronger evidence. Church members were shaken. A women said she now fears to attend church because of the bombing threat.” Read more.
  • Turkey – Erdogan’s new Turkey to requires all students to study the Qur’an (asianews.it)
    Turkey’s newly elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, aided by his faithful new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, begins his term of office with a major overhaul of the country’s education system.Although adopted a year ago, the reform plan, which has largely gone unnoticed, begins this year and extends Islamic religious education to all school grades. Only religious high schools (Imam Hatip Lisesi) offered such an education as part of their training programme for the country’s Muslim clergy. At the same time, the reform extends compulsory schooling from Grade 8 to Grade 12.
    +Historically in fact, many Jews (and members of other ethnic groups and religions) chose to Turkify and Islamise their names and surnames out of sheer need for survival in view of the rules established following the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, based on the notion that Turkey was ethnically homogenous as a Turkish and Muslim nation.Following an outcry from world Jewish leaders, Turkish authorities suspended the measure in the case of Turkish Jews.However, many wonder about what will happen to the 200,000 Christian refugees from Syria who are at present in
  • Those who have memorized Quran are in high demand (stltoday.com)
    “Huffaz” is plural for “hafiz,” (pronounced HA-fizz) the Arabic term for someone who has memorized the Quran. In the Muslim world, it’s an honor of high respect akin to professor or scholar.
    +
    in countries like the United States, where Islam is young, huffaz have until recently been hard to come by. Many communities outsource the job during Ramadan.“Some parts of the world have a number of huffaz and other parts not so many,” said Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of religion and Islamic studies at Duke University. “In the U.S., there’s not a big supply of huffaz, so you have to get them from abroad.”Throughout the Muslim world, children begin to memorize the Quran early and even small, rural communities have a hafiz they can rely on during Ramadan. Similarly many large cities around the world have more huffaz than can be employed by their mosques during the holy month. Egypt, in particular, produces a number of highly respected huffaz, according to Moosa.
  • Killing Innocents (lionessblog.com)
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    +
    Islam means “submission.” Its root, salam, means peace, but not peace as you would think of it. It refers to peace that will prevail in the world once all mankind converts to Islam. Of course which major sect of Islam that will be, Sunni or Shiite, is still up for grabs. In that regard, there should be no doubt in any mind that the Sunni – Shiite struggle for Islamic supremacy is the major conflict in the Middle East. We see it manifested in Syria and now Iraq even while the Shiite Iraqis (with our help) try to paper over real Sunni grievances.
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    The Bible was completed 500 years before the Quran was
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    +Final thought via Bosch Fawstin:

    If jihadists were actually “perverting a great religion”, Muslims would have been able to discredit them on Islamic grounds and they would have done so by now. The reason they can’t is because jihadists are acting according to the words of Allah, the Muslim God.

Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special

As discussed in the previous post, Jesus is mentioned here and there by some non-Christians, like the Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman historian Tacitus. But our main source of information is that provided by the early Christians themselves. This evidence comes in two main types. There are the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), which are conventionally dated from around 70 AD but may well be earlier. Then there are letters that early Christians sent to individuals or churches. There are a number of these in the Bible, many of which were probably written before the gospels. Taken together these provide us with a lot of information about Jesus and who he claimed to be.

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

Gospel sources – First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We should comment at this point about the way we’re using these sources. Though they come from the Bible, they are also historical sources and we’re going to treat them in that way. So at this point we’re not too bothered about whether every last detail of the gospels is correct or not. Nor need we be concerned about whether these documents also contain messages from God. We can leave such issues till later. For now we can just look these documents for what they are – ancient documents, which contain information about Jesus, written by people who were in a position to know. So what do these sources say about who Jesus claimed to be?

Well, the most obvious one is that Jesus was called “Christ” (or more properly, the Christ) – that’s where the name “Christians” come from. “Christ” is the Greek word meaning “anointed” , equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah”. The concept of being “anointed” refers to the ceremony by which someone was made king in ancient Israel. (There is a good example of this in the Old Testament when David is anointed as king – see 1 Samuel 16). By the time of Jesus the kingdom of Israel had long since been destroyed and the Jews were essentially living under Roman rule. But the Old Testament prophets had predicted that the royal line of the ancient kings of Israel would be restored and that there would be a king again. Many Jews living at the time of Jesus expected the Messiah to be someone who would lead them to overthrow the Romans so they could be an independent nation again. What is interesting about Jesus is that, though he claimed to be the Messiah – the promised king, he did not attempt to lead an armed rebellion against Rome. So whilst Jesus was claiming to be a king, he was not the king they were expecting.

The most common phrase Jesus used to describe himself as “Son of Man”. That may sound like an odd way to describe yourself, and it was even at the time. In the language of the day – Aramaic – the expression “son of man” was used to refer to humanity in general. But that’s not the way Jesus uses it. He doesn’t describe himself as a son of man but as the Son of Man. So what was he getting at? The Old Testament prophet Daniel presents a picture of human history, where nations are represented by vicious beasts (Daniel 7). But this succession of beast-nations does not last forever. At the end of the vision, a court is held with God seated as judge. Power and authority is taken away from the beasts and given to a new character who is described as “one like the son of man”. This character receives a kingdom from God that will last forever. So when Jesus describes himself as the Son of Man, he is claiming to be the future king, the one who will receive a kingdom from God. But not a kingdom like the human kingdoms that preceded it. Instead this is good kingdom that will last forever.

Jesus is often described as being the Son of God. And frequently Jesus presents himself as having a unique father-son relationship with God. He is not saying that he is a child of God in the sense that all God’s creatures are his children. He is claiming that he has a relationship with God that is entirely unique. The gospels include the stories about Jesus’ birth, whereby his mother, Mary, becomes pregnant despite being a virgin. According to the gospels Jesus had no biological father (though no doubt Joseph cared for Jesus as his own son). So in a very real sense God was Jesus’ father. But being the Son of God is not just about parentage. Jesus claimed to have a very special relationship with God. The gospel writers describe Jesus has having special power to perform miracles, special wisdom to teach people God’s ways and special authority to forgive sins. Jesus was not simply claiming to be a prophet or holy man, but God’s special representative on earth.

Lastly, Jesus took the remarkable step of claiming that he was going to die. And not in battle, or by murder, but that he was going to die to free people from sin. He says:

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)

Westvorhalle der Stiftsbasilika St. Vitus, Ell...

The King of the Jews (INRI) Nailed to death – Westvorhalle der Stiftsbasilika St. Vitus, Ellwangen (Jagst) Kreuzaltar, Hans und Matthäus Schamm (Ottobeuren) zugeschrieben, um 1610; detail: Christushaupt und INRI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the early Christians reflecting on the death of Jesus also recognised it as a special death. A preacher named Paul wrote to a church explaining the things he had learnt from talking to those who knew Jesus. He writes:

What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3)

Now Jesus did die. He was executed. He was nailed to a cross by Roman soldiers and died gasping for air. He died the death of a criminal. He should have been forgotten by history. But his followers understood his death differently. This was not the last disgrace of a failed prophet. This was the turning point of history. When God’s representative on earth made the ultimate sacrifice to so that people could be forgiven for the things they’d done wrong and start a new life.

So that’s what Jesus claimed about who he was and what he would achieve. But is it true? Was Jesus a future king? Was Jesus God’s representative on earth? And did Jesus’ death provide a way for us to change our relationship with God? Well there is one more thing that the early Christians claimed about Jesus: that he rose from the dead – that he stopped being dead and came alive again. And if that is true then we’re no longer dealing with the claims of a human man but with a moment when God intervened in history to change the world.

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 Preceding: Why think that (1) … Jesus existed?

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Related articles:

  1. Prophets making excuses
  2. Written to recognise the Promissed One
  3. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  4. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  6. Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism
  7. Servant of his Father
  8. Slave for people and God
  9. People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life
  10. The Anointed One and the first day of No Fermentation
  11. Anointing of Christ as Prophetic Rehearsal of the Burial rites
  12. Atonement And Fellowship 5/8
  13. Atonement And Fellowship 6/8
  14. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be
  15. How is it that Christ pleased God so perfectly?
  16. Wishing to do the will of God
  17. For the Will of Him who is greater than Jesus
  18. Imprisonment and execution of Jesus Christ
  19. Marriage of Jesus 7 Impaled
  20. A Messiah to die
  21. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  22. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  23. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  24. Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter
  25. After the Sabbath after Passover, the resurrection of Jesus Christ
  26. The Song of The Lamb #6 Revelation 14
  27. Jerusalem and a son’s kingdom
  28. Kingdom Visions of a Man, Throne and Great crowd
  29. Signs of the Last Days
  30. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  31. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  32. Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26
  33. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  34. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  35. Miracles of revelation and of providence 1 Golden Thread and Revelation

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  • Sunday (August 24): “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
    At an opportune time Jesus tested his disciples with a crucial question: “Who do the people say that I am and who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13). Jesus was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God, even being compared with the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Peter, always quick to respond, exclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  • Jesus is the Messiah (darnellbarkman.wordpress.com)
    ‘Christ’ in early Christianity was a title, and only gradually became an alternative proper name for Jesus. In practice ‘Messiah’ is mostly restricted to the notion, which took various forms in ancient Judaism, of the coming King who would be David’s true heir, through whom YAHWEH [The Creator God’s proper name] would rescue Israel from pagan enemies.
  • Christianity Fast Facts (wdsu.com)
    Followers of the Christian religion base their beliefs on the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ.Christians believe in one God that created heaven, earth, and the universe.
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    On the third day after his crucifixion, Jesus Christ arose from the dead.
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    The first Christians were Jews who came to believe Jesus was the Messiah. Gentiles (non-Jews) also made up a large majority of its followers, as is the case today.
  • Secular Israel vs Biblical Israel: Are they the Same? (endtimesprophecyreport.wordpress.com)
    With the Gaza War resuming in earnest, now seems to be the time for a few observations about the secular state of Israel, biblical Israel, Jews, the synagogue of Satan and the deliberate Corporate (and other) Media smokescreens which obscure these subjects.
    +
    Of course, the largest mistake–and there are quite a few in the linked piece, which is relatively short–is that one cannot separate the Jews as a people from the actions taken by the leadership of the secular state of Israel.  But we know that is a lie.
    +
    We’re commanded to warn about deception; that deception includes the secular, man-created state of Israel which is NOT biblical Israel. There are observant Jews in Israel.  They are often the victims of violence. God promises He will save His remnant–and He will.  However, make no mistake: secular Israel is not biblical Israel.  Those who confuse the two will reap the unfortunate harvest of deception.  The Christian ignores Jesus’ clear warnings in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 at his own risk.
  • Matthew 1-7 (apologistmike.wordpress.com)
    The gospel of Matthew was written by an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus. He was Jewish, which accounts for his emphasis on the Jewish scriptures in the work, and he was a tax collector for the Roman government. This would have enabled him to write effectively. Many early fathers such as Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Origen recognized Matthew as the author of the gospel.
  • FFOZ TV Review: Messiah (mymorningmeditations.com)
    The term Christ is one of the most important terms in all of Scripture and yet is seldom fully understood by followers of Jesus. In episode two we will explore the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures and learn about the Jewish people’s expectation of the coming messiah. We will study the Hebrew Scriptures and learn that they speak of a coming anointed one, a king who will come to redeem mankind, defeat Israel’s enemies, and set up his kingdom.
  • Simple Truth: Jesus is not the Messiah (leavingjesus.wordpress.com)
    “Christ” is the Greek word for “Messiah”
    “Messiah” is the transliteration of a Hebrew word that means “anointed”
  • “The Christ is the Son of David” (worryisuseless.wordpress.com)
    Why did Jesus question the Jews on the claim that their Messiah or Christ would be the son of David? After all the New Testament makes clear that Jesus himself is a direct descendant from the line of David’s throne (Romans 1:3, 2 Timothy 2:8, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38). Jesus posed the question to make his hearers understand that the Messiah is more than the son of David. Jesus makes his point in dramatic fashion by quoting from one of David’s prophetic psalms, Psalm 110: The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet. How can the son be the lord of his father?
  • Michele Bachmann Waiting to be Annointed Messiah (politicususa.com)
    What’s in a messiah, you ask? Like many terms it is problematic. Contrary to what many people may think, despite the origins of our word messianism is not unique to Judaism. In fact, in historical terms we can’t even speak of “Judaism” singular because there were in fact many Judaisms with different ways of life and different worldviews.[1] So not only is there not one Jewish idea (or Christian idea) of what a messiah is but not all ideas of messiahs are Jewish (or Christian).

 

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

My Philosophy Bookshelf(bottom)

A Philosophy Bookshelf(bottom) (Photo credit: jddunn)

As a human being we are constantly confronted with many thoughts. Some tried to mould these thoughts in a shape which they could make understandable for others. Humans also tried to understand the ultimate foundations of spiritual intuitions, questioning if such spiritual intuitions could ultimately be grounded in the nature of fundamental reality, and not wholly be reflective of socio-cultural conventions or neuro-biological mechanisms.  Investigation of this open issue is important because of the implications, whichever way the answer turns out, for social and political policy, and personal and social health and welfare. Many of the questions posed by man should come to be answered to  succeed in the quest to understand and adhere to one’s spiritual intuitions. The main question al people carry in their heart is the reason of our existence. How many of us do not wonder if life has a positive purpose? Many also would like to see that the life, their are going through, would be fair and compassionate.  This is distinct from religiousness, which designates one’s adherence to the tenets of an institution regarded as having authority concerning how one should live and what is ultimately true.

Beyond the personal struggle for survival and security we can not repudiate that there lies a universal human quest to find answers to such perennial spiritual questions:  What is the meaning of life?  Does existence have a purpose?  How should we live?  What has real value?  Does anything matter?

Handbook of Religion and Health

Handbook of Religion and Health (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Therefore according to many “spirituality” is indeed typically defined in terms of a “personal quest for understanding answers to ultimate questions about life, about meaning, and about relationship to the sacred or transcendent” {Koenig HG, McCullough ME, Larson DB. Handbook of Religion and Health. New York  N.Y.: Oxford University Press 2001}. In the previous chapters we saw already that  spirituality in this sense is distinct from “religion”, which is typically defined as “an organized system of beliefs, practices, rituals, and symbols designed

(a) to facilitate closeness to the sacred or transcendent (God, higher power, or ultimate truth/reality) and

(b) to foster an understanding of one’s relationship and responsibility to others in living together in a community”. {Koenig HG, McCullough ME, Larson DB. Handbook of Religion and Health. New York  N.Y.: Oxford University Press 2001}

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sa...

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, showing Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several philosophers tried to explain the way things are, looking for concrete measurable answers (sometimes). They want to give the people around them explanation how everything could have come into existence and to which order could stay into existence. Often the philosophers love to think they could bring an objective picture of reality without telling us explicitly (although often they do implicitly) how we should be in relationship to that picture. All through the years thousands of philosophers gave their opinion of the way everything could be placed in order. Lots of them thought they could give an answer or convince people of the answer of the good and the bad of humankind.

For the philosophers ‘Philosophy‘ is in the thinking, searching mind. By going deep in ourself we even could come to an illumining mind. this going into the self could bring us further into the sacral. Both the philosopher and the spiritual minded do perhaps have the same goals, wanting to find the origin and reason and the height of life. Though the lover of the higher existence, the “what is behind life’ wants to reach a point of connection with that ‘Higher Point’, which can be the Void or a or the Supreme Being, a or The Spirit or Nature Phenomenal. The religious person may ad the dimension of conscious or unconscious response to the beckoning ‘Light‘ and responding to beliefs in the lofty experiences of predecessors and organisations, temples or churches, wanting to see the depth of life. In contrast the man of spirituality wants to go much further and does not want to be restricted by any sort of dogmatic teaching imposed on him by other humans. In his quest and meditation he wants to come to see the reality of life and the reality in life.

For the philosopher there is no reason at all to come into a relationship with somebody else when it is about the being of himself. Some may consider that the philosopher is only using everyday language, which is locally normed and cultural defined, to explain the things which can be clearly seen or which we clearly understand to be present in the universe. The philosophy as such is by some seen merely as an ideology supporting accepted wisdom of the moment, like economy, mathematics, physiology, archaeology, natural science and the rest of the humanities. The anthropologist may study all others in relationship with each other and the environment, leaving himself excluded.

The Spiritual person on the other hand wants to come into relationship with something more than the ‘I’ or ‘Self‘. As a person the spiritual minded person also would love to see a relationship with everything what is around him or her. For the spiritual minded person the spirituality is a description of a position that he or she as a human being should take in relationship to the way things are.

Festival of Spirituality and Peace, Edinburgh 2009

Festival of Spirituality and Peace, Edinburgh 2009 (Photo credit: Student Christian Movement)

Philosophy of Spirituality is concerned with understanding the ultimate foundations of spiritual intuitions.  Although the nature of this grounding is unresolved, there are some philosophical and empirical reasons for thinking that.

A lover of philosophy may talk about human’ existence, man’s  and God’s Vision, even without mentioning The Creator God. But the Divine God Creator has created human being in His image with a purpose, to live in the universe, to give animals and plants names and to take care of the whole earth as good as he can. The God loving person may find in this Divine Creator the reason for him being here and could find it necessary to take part in actions which would give a sign of his recognising the Lord of lords to be the Most High to be worshipped.  In such instance, recognising the Divine Power of the Creator, the lover of religion shall also talks about God’s Power. The person recognising God His Power to be the Most High, but also the extreme highest position a being can have, not out of selfishness or wanting to get in the place of the Supreme High Being, but wanting to come as close as possible near to that Supreme Highest Spirit, shall try is utmost best to come into the knowledge of That Being  and to transform himself into a better being than he is at that moment. The one believing in God, loving to become close to Him shall know that it will be necessary for him to get to know the Rules of This God and to apply those rules, guidelines, instructions or commandments. He shall also know how important it is for accepting that he shall have to give an opening to allow the Glory of God appearing in our character. The Spiritual person shall do his utmost best to get over all his material indispositions and get his spiritual being more in the forefront. We should know that the spiritual side of the human being should be more important than the material side of it. A lover of spirituality shall come to know that God is a God of Compassion, willing to accept the deficiencies of our human state. For the spiritually minded it might not be so important as for the lover of philosophy to see God’s Face. The spiritual minded person may also get himself involved in philosophy and also may become religious, trying to get to know the Beginner or Maker of all things and to come to face Him or It and to come to see straight in That God’s Eye.

English: Russian ancient book, «Spiritual Rule...

Russian ancient book, «Spiritual Rules», 1721 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The religious person may be more concerned in the involvement of his person in the honouring or worshipping whilst the lover of spirituality shall be more interested in the real relationship with that Supreme Being and be concentrating on his way to grow into God’s all compassionate Heart.

In this materialistic world a man of philosophy may be considered a dreamer, a man of religion of foolishness, being carried away by dreams while he wants to be an observer. Next to them there is the man of spirituality who is a divine lover, knowing that

A divine dreamer, a divine observer and a divine lover are good friends.

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Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Next: Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

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Please do find to read:

  1. The business of this life
  2. Meaning of life
  3. Live …
  4. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  5. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  6. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  7. Religion and spirituality
  8. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  9. A Living Faith #10: Our manner of Life #2
  10. Glory of God appearing in our character
  11. We all are changed into the same image from glory to glory
  12. Created to live in relation with God
  13. Without God no purpose, no goal, no hope
  14. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  15. From pain to purpose
  16. Chief means by which men are built up
  17. A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses
  18. It is a free will choice
  19. Your life the sum total of all your choices
  20. What part of the Body am I?
  21. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  22. Growth in character
  23. Greatest single cause of atheism
  24. Golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters obedience
  25. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  26. How we think shows through in how we act
  27. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  28. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  29. Followers with deepening
  30. Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom by Robert M. Woods
  31. Sharing thoughts and philosophical writings
  32. Wisdom lies deep
  33. Science and Religion Harmonized (Once and For All…)

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Additional reading:

  1. What is the difference between Philosophy and Spirituality
  2. Philosophy is a Dead Language – RIP
  3. The Problem Is That (You Think) You Think Too Much
  4. Philosophers, those bloated parasites…
  5. Word of the Week: ‘Philosophy’
  6. Why Take Philosophy A Level?
  7. Religion Vs. Spiritual
  8. Mapping the Possible Relations between “Religious,” “Spiritual,” “Humanistic” and “Secular” Sensibilities
  9. What Wishes to Come to Being through You?
  10. Is There Still a Place for Religion?
  11. Who is religious?
  12. Spirituality is the world around us
  13. Consumerism vs Spirituality

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  • Where are the thinkers? (thehindu.com)
    Much of the freedom movement was explicitly inspired by a sense of pride in the achievements of ancient Indian philosophies and traditions. Influential public thinkers like Coomaraswamy argued the case of the unity of Indian philosophy and aesthetics. And few countries can boast of having an eminent philosopher as President — India had S. Radhakrishnan.
    However, at a concrete level, the status of philosophy as a serious academic discipline is nowhere near what might be suggested by its role in the freedom movement. In the years since Independence, it has disappeared from the public and cultural imagination and this has, in turn, led to it become something of a backwater even in academia. It no more captures the imagination of political figures, or new generations of students.

Illustration: Satwik Gade

  • The Forever All: A Philosophical and Spiritual Guide (thepeacefulpantheist.wordpress.com)
    ”In my viewthe-forever-all-cover-art-01-300dpi, the entire universe is the Supreme Being, an infinite, purposeful system of positive and negative forces which has always existed and always will, and each of us is that eternal being of light and darkness.
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    How I Became a Pantheist by Guyus Seralius
    Even now, when I search the term pantheism on the Internet, it seems to be a very untapped subject in comparison to atheism, deism, Buddhism, and so on.
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    The church gave them a sense of community and provided them with a social network. This of course predates all the online social networks now so available on the Internet. Sociologist have claimed for years, based on studies, that social networking is one of the main reasons most people do attend church or why they join a religion—it allows them to feel a sense of belonging.
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    Anyone of us can say “I am the universe or I am the All.” Philosophers and Spiritualists have been saying something along these lines for centuries. Hippies were definitely known for saying such things during the late 60s and early 70s, but most of us never gave it much attention or took it too seriously. It was usually just something a hippie often said to sound philosophically deep or spiritual. The truth is though, I don’t think most hippies even truly knew just how accurate they were.
  • Postmodernism, Wisdom & Rebuke (rethinkerblog.wordpress.com)
    Postmodernity has found its way into our architecture, our entertainment, our technologies and certainly our philosophies and religious systems. In a philosophical nutshell, postmodernism is the belief that there is no one universal belief: that your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth. But more than that, it is skepticism toward Any system of belief. In his seminal work: The Postmodern Condition, French philosopher Jean-Francois Lyotard, Lyotard describes postmodernism as an “incredulity towards metanarratives.” Individually, postmodernism affords us our own adoptable moral criteria, unchallenged by others. But holistically, it keeps us all in a state of mistrust.
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    How can you tell someone what he or she is doing is right or wrong if his or her personally adopted belief system may claim the exact opposite?
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    Historically as a culture, when we distanced ourselves from God and his dogmatic mandates, we distanced ourselves from wisdom. And when we brushed off God’s holistic intent of prosperity and protection, we invited in its postfall antithesis: disease, decay and destruction.
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    Becoming People of “True Faith”
    The secular world might concede a slight bit more, accepting that perhaps these people of faith did at some point in their lives experience something “spiritual” or, according to science, “unexplainable.” That unexplainable spiritual (or more likely psychological) phenomenon is then called “God.” Just as another’s unexplainable phenomena might be personally claimed as an encounter with Buddha, or the Great Other, or Nature or some other metaphysical expression.
    Unfortunately, much of the American Christian church has not only surrendered itself to this secularized label of “faith,” but it also has offered little objective evidence of anything to the contrary.

    But for those having experienced true eternal life conversion, the secularized faith label is not merely annulled; it is completely transformed, and, as I soon will show, to the betterment of society as a whole.
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    a true Christian’s faith no longer is relegated to merely the hope that God does in fact really exist and that the Christian’s belief system is a valid one. The evidence of that initial faith is crystallized with the first actual experience of His presence and His voice. Not a metaphysical force or an idea – but a real and tangible encounter with a true and very real God.

    A true person of faith no longer clings to the shallow hope that his or her God might exist while still never having experienced a modicum of His presence or nature. Like Columbus’ crewmates, proven faith transcends hope. For a true Christian, faith is transformed. It is not based on the reality of a now proven God, but in the assurance that the words this very real God has spoken – are possible in our lives.

  • Mapping the Possible Relations between “Religious,” “Spiritual,” “Humanistic” and “Secular” Sensibilities (villasophiasalon.wordpress.com)
    The Dialectically Related  Mutual Approach takes the position that words like religious, spiritual, humanistic, and secular need not necessarily be construded as either absolutely exclusive, tolerantly inclusive, or impossibly ambiguous. Instead, they are words that suggest different psychological temperaments and casts of mind, as well as fluxuating moods within a single individual across a period of time. Our relationship to these words may be more aesthetic and metaphorical than scientistic and metaphysical. By way of analogy we may resonate with and enjoy many different kinds of music…in historical era, compositional genre, emotional mood, and artistic style.
  • Bertrand Russell on the science v religion debate | Clare Carlisle (theguardian.com)
    Bertrand Russell did not consider himself an expert on ethics and religion, and it is true that his writing on these subjects lacks the originality and sophistication of his philosophical work on mathematics. His criticisms of religion are often similar – in essence if not in tone – to opinions voiced by contemporary atheists: he argued that religious beliefs cause wars and persecution, are moralistic and oppressive, and foster fear. However, it is precisely for this reason that it is worth looking again at Russell’s rejection of Christianity. Anyone concerned with defending religion against its typical modern detractors must recognise Russell as a worthy opponent, for he was an intelligent, principled and humane man of the world who undoubtedly led a meaningful life.
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    Is religion based on fear?
    The most powerful aspect of Bertrand Russell’s critique of religious belief is his claim that religion is based on fear, and that fear breeds cruelty. His philosophical arguments against the existence of God may not touch the lives of many ordinary people, but his more psychological point about fear has to be taken seriously by all of us. In his 1927 lecture “Why I am not a Christian” – delivered to the south London branch of the National Secular Society – Russell expressed his point with characteristic clarity: “Religion is based primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing – fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things.” No doubt he was preaching to the converted on this occasion.

    There are actually two elements to Russell’s diagnosis of religion here. The first is that religious belief is a symptom of fear: aware that our lives are precarious and vulnerable, we seek the protection of a powerful deity, to comfort ourselves with an illusion of safety. The second is that fear is a symptom of religion: in particular, doctrines of punishment in both this life and the next cause ignorant believers to live in fear unnecessarily. There is little doubt that this analysis has some truth on both points; perhaps it explains quite accurately the causes and effects of religious belief in a significant number of cases. But do such cases represent religion itself, or are they a distortion of it?

  • Spirituality (dustindemille.wordpress.com)
    I believe in Goodness, Peace, Love, Faith, Truth, Compassion, Honesty, Character, Integrity, Strength, Courage, and Wisdom.  I enjoy reading and writing about spiritual, religious, and philosophical subjects.
  • Patterns of manipulation and how to Spot Them (aquarianagethings.wordpress.com)
    The only answer is to get True Freedom. One of the most important is Spiritual Freedom and that includes freedom from religion.
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    the answer lies inside of you and that these is no need for religion per say because you are inextricably part of that Source already. I call it Source for lack of a better term.
    +
    Most want to keep you docile and looking for something outside that can never be reached or found. The Sages, Yogis and Wise men of the East have known this for a long time, but they have failed miserably at letting others know.
  • A Misconception of Spirituality (suskiwen.wordpress.com)
    The misconception of spirituality is that once we turn to it, we should be positive and then we will be healed. We have taken the wrong approach because struggles cannot be sublimed, they can only be confronted and experienced in spirit. Spirituality is not a means to an end (healed).
    When we surrender from the practical world and turn to seek the spirit for guidance, we are entering a commitment that requires our part to do the act of seeking. Each time we ask, we allow ourselves to be fully conscious and present in momentary experience so we are able to see what is true; and whether good or bad, the spirit will find itself there, and where it leads you is where you need to be. It is the “there” where spirit feels and spirit heals.
  • A Misconception of Spirituality (wilddose.wordpress.com)
    Spirituality is a commitment. It is the commitment of the body, the mind and the spirit to co-exist into one entity to deal with the experience assigned to you. It is not a destination, it is not an accident that at random, decides to splash the hues of life into your dullest hour, it is the commitment to a life of continuous practice to act as a vessel to patience, joy and balance in any situation or circumstance.
  • Why Science Doesn’t Trump Spirituality (speakablepath.wordpress.com)
    It is often thought that life can be understood either scientifically or spiritually. Strict adherents to science believe that, since the universe can be explained scientifically, there is no need for spirituality or mysticism. They think that scientifically proving and explaining the physical causes for phenomena eliminates the necessity for spirituality. What is the point of having faith in something non-physical when there is perfectly credible, physical proof? Surely in this advanced technological age humanity has outgrown the need for a higher power.

Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain

On ‘A Rutgers Humanist Blog’ Applied Sentience is questioned: Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion.

In our previous posting we mentioned already the right and wrong and the choices we do have to make as human beings. Not always it is every time so clear what is good or what is bad, or what can be the right thing to do or what would be wrong to do.  Lots of time people thought they where thinking to be doing the good thing, but it at the end it seemed to have been the bad thing.

Many religious writers and moral philosophers tried to tackle this intriguing question. The question could be forwarded to them if there are objective facts about what is right and wrong. Millions of words flew out of the pens of thousands of writers thinking about ethics, the way of life and how humanity should run its course.

If there are objective moral facts, why does there seem to be so much disagreement about what they are? After all, experts from other disciplines that seek objective facts (i.e. physics) seem to have converging beliefs about what is true. But also in science many disagreements do come over the counter.

The state or quality of being different or varied should normally not be a problem, though many people do not like it when others do not agree with them. The difference, diversification, variety,colours our world but bring around debated disagreement, the conflict, argument, creating different camps and presenting anew paths for new movements and trends.

Often one might think that the theist and the atheist are just too different in their systems of beliefs to ever come to any kind of consensus on matters as difficult as ethics. Often we do forget that how much we would not like it, we always shall be a product of our time and be influenced by the environment where we grew up. when we look at the freethinker he often does not let the other to think as free as we would think freedom will include.

It can happen that some one’s secular ethics is in agreement with one aspect of the Catholic tradition, while in disagreement with other secular views of ethics.

If they can make the same sort of objections in some cases, then perhaps they really are on the same mountain. Progress can be made! Thus, perhaps religious and secular viewpoints needn’t lead to a special case of disagreement after all.

English: Peter Singer speaking at a Veritas Fo...

Peter Singer speaking at a Veritas Forum event on MIT’s campus on Saturday, March 14, 2009. Veritas Forum: http://www.veritas.org/ Photo by Joel Travis Sage: http://www.joelsage.com/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In interviews after the Rutgers event, Singer and Camosy each gave the same answer: dogmatism. Camosy elaborates:

Furthermore, I think most disagreement comes – not from differences in evidence in argument – but because of social or emotive reasons. Someone is turned off by a group of people who hold a particular view, or part of their self-identity comes from not being like another group, and thus the arguments are built on top of that first principle as to why such a group holds mistaken views. And so on.

Please do continue reading the interesting article: Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion.

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Look also at the previous articles:

Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity

Morality, values and Developing right choices

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Additional reading:

  1. Words in the world
  2. Newsweek asks: How ignorant are you?
  3. Who are the honest ones?
  4. Satan the evil within
  5. Being religious has benefits even in this life
  6. Capitalism and economic policy and Christian survey
  7. Jew refering to be religious or to be a people
  8. About a man who changed history of humankind
  9. History of Christianity
  10. Christianity is a love affair
  11. Messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time
  12. History of the acceptance of a three-in-one God
  13. How did the Trinity Doctrine Develop
  14. People are turning their back on Christianity
  15. Falling figures for identifying Christians
  16. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life

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Different positions of moral skepticism illust...

Different positions of moral skepticism illustrated (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Christian ethics and Peter Singer (openparachute.wordpress.com)
    We all “do” morality – its part of being human. We will debate ethical questions till the cows come home. And we will take sides on moral issues, often reacting emotionally, even violently, to those who disagree with us.
  • Should Ethicists Be Held to a Higher Moral Standard? (moralmindfield.wordpress.com)
    if you don’t actually have to do what you tell other people to do (if you even think ethics involves that sort of thing) then you can say just about anything you want. Who cares, you are not going to actually do it.
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    For this reason, people have known for a long time that if you want to know what a person really thinks, you look to how people actually behave (“actions speak louder than words”) rather than to what they say. What they do will show what they really think is good.
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    Ethics is the study of action with respect to the good for humans, which is happiness. Once you figure that out, shouldn’t you have some practically useful insights from it? Shouldn’t you want to become a more excellent, happier human being (whatever that means to you) if you think you have that figured out?
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    if Christians can’t produce academic ethicists who think it worthy at least to try (actually doing it has always proven difficult) to follow their own standards then it starts to look a bit like they don’t believe at all.
  • Ethics (jaheemshamoy12.wordpress.com)
    .Relativism is the belief that there are no universal moral norms of right and wrong. In the school of relativistic ethical belief, ethicists divide it into two connected but different structures, subject (Moral) and culture (Anthropological). Moral relativism is the idea that each person decides what is right and wrong for them. Anthropological relativism is the concept of right and wrong is decided by a society’s actual moral belief structure.Deontology is the belief that people’s actions are to be guided by moral laws, and that these moral laws are universal.
  • Holy Trollers: How to argue about religion online (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
    I’ve discovered a new arena for combat: The reader’s comments section for stories about religion.When I first started writing about religion for an online news site, I eagerly turned to the comment section for my articles, fishing for compliments and wondering if I had provoked any thoughtful discussions about faith.
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    Readers exchange juvenile insults, condescending lectures and veer off into tangents that have nothing to do with the article they just read.

    For years, I’ve listened to these “holy trollers” in silence. Now I’m calling them out. I’ve learned that the same types of people take over online discussions about faith and transform them into the verbal equivalent of a food fight. You may recognize some of these characters.
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    Camosy has made a career out of bridging religious differences. He’s part of a “Contending Modernites” group, which finds common ground between Christians and Muslims. He’s also the co-founder of a website devoted to dialing down the heat in religious arguments entitled, “Catholic Moral Theology.”

    Camosy says that online discussions about religion are difficult because they are not in person. Tone and nuance gets lost online.

  • Non-religious Beliefs (hibamo.wordpress.com)
    What’s in a word? Non-religious people describe and define themselves (and are described and defined) in various ways. These variations do reflect some differences in meaning and emphasis, though in practice there is very considerable overlap.

    Non-believers” do, of course, have many beliefs, though not religious ones. For example, they typically hold that moral feelings are social in origin, based on treating others as they would wish to be treated (the ‘golden rule’ which antedates all the major world religions).

  • The “Secular” Myth (kurtkjohnson.wordpress.com)
    Since the Enlightenment movement of the late 17th and 18th century, Western civilization has slowly but steadily adopted a paradigm that includes a distinct “secular” space within society.  It has become the mantra of both the “religious” and “non-religious.”  It is so deeply engrained into our culture today and so reflexively accepted that few people seem to think to question it.
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    It wasn’t until postmodern theorists began to seriously question the ideas of Modernity that this notion of the “secular” got some serious negative attention and critique.
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    We may call ourselves “non-religious” because we don’t lay claim to a particular faith tradition (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, etc.) but postmodern theorists have attempted to show us that our basic human situation is the same, irregardless of what we call it… that there is no universal rationality to be appealed to, and our contributions are always and ever informed by something like “religious” commitments, whether explicit or implicit.
  • Teaching Ethics to Greedy Bastards (ethicsbeyondcompliance.wordpress.com)
    We’d like to think that with the proper ethics training even the most heartless sociopath could be encouraged to at least follow some of the rules.And if we can’t (note: we can’t) encourage bad people to be good people, what are ethicists worth? Well, our roles fall into several categories: 1. Providing ethical answers to dilemmas. 2. Offering ethical analysis of a particular problem. 3. Teaching ethical decision-making, which makes a good-faith assumption that the decision maker is sincere in wanting to be ethical. 4. Holding wrongdoers accountable for their behavior.
  • Life Amidst Moral Chaos (onlyagame.typepad.com)
    For centuries, discussion of ethics has focussed upon the idea of the moral law – a set of rules or criteria that dictate what is permissible or required. This debate has been substantially focussed on two battlefronts: firstly, the long and pointless dispute between advocates of a duty approach (deontology or Kantian ethics) and an outcome-focussed approach (Consequentialism). Secondly, the more recent conflict between all ethical beliefs and the deep suspicion that there is no moral law (Nihilism). The former disagreement has been fruitful but misguided, while the latter has become deeply counter productive.
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    We now recognise that different cultural circumstances lead to different ways of life, and different conclusions about moral concerns – and this seems to catastrophically undermine the concept of a viable moral law. The resulting crisis can be expressed in a simple question: if there is no single, true ethical system, can there be ethics at all? Terrified by this possibility, even secular ethicists like Derek Parfit have felt a powerful need to defend the idea of a moral law, and have mounted impressive arguments in it’s defence.
  • Impressions and Lessons from Kierkegaard Exhibit at Haus am Waldsee (rheaboyden.com)
    Kierkegaard believed that subjective human experience and the search for individual truth and faith were far more important than the objective truths of mathematics and science which he believed failed because they were too detached to really express the human experience.  He was interested in ‘inwardness’, people’s quiet struggle with the apparent meaninglessness of life. He was the inventor of self doubt in its modern form and his work and philosophy is more relevant today than he could have imagined. He believed that each individual had to choose for himself what constituted a life worth living, but that suffering was always going to exist because of regret.
  • Hursthouse Reading (eatingmeatinamericatesterman.wordpress.com)
    Hursthouse explains to her readers  that the idea of moral status is completely inconsequential in the discussion of virtue ethics and our use of animals. She discusses the debate over abortion and the fact that virtue ethicists do not even need to consider whether or not a fetus is morally equal in status to anyone else.

English: Pyramid of ethics