American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder

In the United States of America the last few months we could see that there is much division in the country, with lots of people who call themselves Christian took on not only a racist attitude, but also used many awful words against the different peoples living in their state and against those who show that they do not agree with their favoured politician and presidential candidate.

In the 16th century there was a time many who fled to the New World carried a Dutch crescent-shaped Geuzen medal at the time of the anti-Spanish Dutch Revolt, with the slogan “Liever Turks dan Paaps” (“Rather Turkish than Papist“), 1570, indicating to be better a Muslim than to be a Roman Catholic.

An American writer who considers himself reformed in his thinking and faith, considers himself a follower of Jesus and believing all  Scriptures, though he looks like a papist (not in an offensive way) and does not seem to believe all words of Jesus and not to accept that God is only One, but that is not the issue in this writing.  Today we want to look at what he wrote already in 2012.

In his article The Best Argument Against Christianity he looked at “Some Disturbing Statistics” and wrote

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group (a research organization focusing on religious trends and information), asserts that the primary issue that today’s culture has with Christianity is that it no longer resembles its Founder. {David Kinnaman, Unchristian, 2007, pg. 25. + The Best Argument Against Christianity}

In his book Unchristian, Kinnaman studied the Mosaic (born between 1984 and 2002) and Busters (born between 1965 and 1983) generations of the United States, which currently comprise approximately 77% of America’s population. With respect to Christianity, Kinnaman notes a growing tide of hostility and resentment, a statistic which is trending downward from a positive study that was done by his Barna group only one decade before. {The Best Argument Against Christianity}

Barna also describes the Mosaic Generation as “comfortable with contradiction”, “post-modern” and exhibiting “non-linear” thinking. All the contradiction going on in the New World many wanting to screw back into the past, makes it very chaotic.

The criteria for human value, to the world at large, has shifted from that of someone who champions high ethical standards at work, has personal integrity in his dealings, and who is committed to doing the right thing no matter what, to someone who, at work, is willing to do whatever can ensure the greatest commercial viability and his own personal security, and get away with whatever s/he can in their personal dealings. The more noble qualities of human nature are unwittingly being sacrificed on the altar of commerce. Most do not realize the cost: ending up as two-dimensional beings, mere cogs in the wheel of commerce without a heart capable of compassion.{Millennials: Escape the Credit/Debt Matrix}

For the blogger “evangelical” relates to Christianity, though we do not hope he wants to give the impression to his readers that ‘Evangelism‘ are the norm and does not use ‘Christianity’ in the same way as it is often used in Belgium when they speak of Christianity or of Christendom they mean ‘Roman Catholicism‘.

Most important to notice is the reflection of the spirit of the age. We have come in a time where atheists speak publicly more often about God than their in God believing counterparts. By the majority of the population there is a bad co-notation to the word ‘Christian’. In 2012 nearly half had a bad impression, and four year later we may say nearly three quarter of the population has a bad idea by the word ‘Christian’ and lots of them do find religion the cause of all the problems and all the wars.

Many non-religious people in the States and in Europe look at the works of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and see the similarities with the crusaders.  All those groups went killing and conquering territory, terrorising lots of people. Many non-religious people also hear the vile language of many who say they are Christian or are saying they are defending the Christian values. The 2016 American presidential election has been the example how the Christian manners shown to the world are not those of the master teacher, rabbi Jeshua, known in the States and many other countries as Jesus Christ.

In 2012 also

There were two things that Kinnaman’s study uncovered, and neither had anything to do with the theological teachings or doctrinal standards of the Church. First, unbelievers responded negatively to what they termed the Christian “swagger” – how Christians’ lives don’t match up to Christ’s, and the bark and bite that unbelievers say they see in Christians’ demeanor and action. {The Best Argument Against Christianity}

The immoral way of life by Christians, outsiders can see, is the most chocking to non-religious and other religious people. Muslims in particular are very disgruntled by the way Christian behave. Put out over their way of life no wonder several Muslim groups try to get Christians to their faith, trying to have them understand such a way of living is totally against the Will of God.

Lots of non-religious and non-Christian religious groups see as many respondents said that the charity and compassion of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels have been dismissed by Christians in favour of their selfish gain, combative and judgemental actions against what they believe to be threats against their moral positions.

In other words, as Christians, we have become famous for what we oppose and stand against rather than for what we are in favor of and champion. {The Best Argument Against Christianity}

But what are those American Christians are in favour for? What are their aims and what is their willingness to follow Jesus’ teachings and to have that same attitude as that master teacher? How peaceful do they want to be? In most instances we can see those American ‘Christians’ only considering their church or nomination to be allowed to have the label Christian. Very often they feel other denominations of Christendom are the false groups and consider that most of those people will land up in hell (for them a place of eternal torture). The exclusion of other people is the most problematic element the American population now encounters.

Many youngsters, particular the Millennials who had first difficulties in paying their studies and now have problems paying off the loan and need a place to live (besides with their parents), clothes on their back, food to eat and resources to care for their children, do not see any surplus a church or religion may give them. For them their focus is not at all on something which we cannot see or not fully understand. They are focussing on the material which might be in their reach if certain groups would not stand in their way. They want to have time and money for travel, doing fun things, but nobody standing in their way or confronting them with how they have to live or behave. At the moment they also have become very disappointed with the political system they are living in and want change. It is that carving for change what made many also to chose for Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States, which have become very divided now.

The neo-Nazis and the weapon lobby gladly backed Donald Trump, because in him they saw the man to clean up the country and to enable enough income by the promotion of weapons to determinate ‘the vermin’. Strangely enough lots of evangelist Americans and other so called Christians in those states do promote the carriage and use of weapons and do not seem to mind to shoot at an other creature of God.

When we do hear how those gun-lovers talk about them having to prepare against ‘the enemy’ and how they have to train their kids in shooting and defending themselves, we clearly can form a good idea how far away they have gone from the teaching of Christ. It has gone even so far that there are churches in America where in the service there are tombola’s for or weapons given to their members. There exist even crusader rifles of which so called Christians are very proud to have such gun, which has a cross engraved on it.

That is where the Americans have left the real faith and have also gone far away from the idea of defending and living in a free state.
Lots of American Christians have come to think their freedom is to limit the freedom of others and to oppress their way of thinking to others. For them all have to take on their ‘belief’ and their ‘faith’ and all people in the United States of America do have to live according to their religious rules. For sure that was not something the founding fathers of the New World had in mind. They just had escaped the tyrannising position of the churches in Europe. Today lots of Americans are trying to create that what the founding fathers of the United States of America had fled for and have no idea of their sayings.

It is getting time American Christian get back to reading the Bible and to listen what is written in it. They have to get back on track, finding the inner moral compass to resist unethical business practices, to show others they have a moral and ethical attitude according Judeo Christian values.

Once back on track they can give a good example how a Christian should live together with all sorts of people from all sorts of place and religions. than they can start to rebuild the shattered state they are living in now.

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Preceding articles

Scepticals of the Bible

Islamophobia Must be Fought and Defeated

God Isn’t a Republican

 

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Additional articles

  1. American Founding Fathers Sayings
  2. 2014 Religion
  3. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  4. The 17th annual White Privilege Conference a militantly Christophobic conference held in Philadelphia
  5. Iranian preacher creating more hatred between religious groups
  6. Hamas the modern Philistines
  7. Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and created fear
  8. Silence, devotion, Salafists, quietists, weaponry, bombings, books, writers and terrorists
  9. What Jesus Did – Misleading around the Messiah and the final assessment
  10. Running the battle
  11. Living in faith
  12. If You want to start winning the war
  13. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  14. The clean sweeper of the whole caboodle
  15. Separation of church and state
  16. Demonizing families in poverty and misleading actions
  17. Right to be in the surroundings
  18. Which back voters in the US wants to see
  19. Christian values and voting not just a game
  20. Faith related boycotts
  21. Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America at war
  22. Ron Paul blames Neocons
  23. Jews the next scapegoat for Donald Trump
  24. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  25. Trump brand of migrant demonization #1
  26. Peppered Speeches at Republican National Convention
  27. Bumpy road to success
  28. Reluctance to act in Syrian civil war
  29. Al Qaeda regaining foothold in Middle East bubonic plague for American elections
  30. ISIL will find no safe haven
  31. The Crusader Rifle
  32. Conservative and Communist Climate Change Scam
  33. Bridge builder Obama
  34. Obama made in a cult
  35. Second term for Obama
  36. Children of Men
  37. Preparing for an important election
  38. Coming closer to the end of 2015 and the end for Donald Trump as presidential candidate
  39. Walls,colours, multiculturalism, money to flow, Carson, Trump and consorts
  40. When so desperate to hold onto power
  41. Are United States of America citizens going to show their senses
  42. Brexit No. 2 Blow-up
  43. Nigel Farage called Donald Trump’s victory ‘bigger than Brexit’
  44. Trump et al.— The Global Storm
  45. A strong and wise fighter who keeps believing in America
  46. Victims and Seekers of Peace
  47. Declaration of war against Islam and Christianity
  48. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life

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Further reading

  1. Millennials: Escape the Credit/Debt Matrix
  2. Fully Satisfied
  3.  Election 2016
  4. Election 2016 Afterthoughts
  5. On voting
  6. This American Life
  7. How America got Trumped
  8. they tried to bury us. they didn’t know that we were seeds.
  9. How the Hated Donald Trump Came to Power
  10. What Great Leaders Stay Focused #Leadership #SMB
  11. “love keeps us safe, not fear”
  12. … Focus on the Task at Hand , ObamaCraps [#Islamic Terrorism]…
  13. Lesson From Election 2016
  14. The Need to Focus and Not Be Scattered
  15. Blog 2016 046. 11/11/16 Evangelize like Jesus did! Ask questions to get to their motives.
  16. Racism in America or Amerikkka( as some might call it)
  17. Andrew Young: ‘This is our country. And it does not depend on the president to make it great’
  18. The ‘Theoretical’ Significance Of This Election
  19. Cacophony of lawsuits to follow Trump into White House
  20. How a major hate-watch group is preparing for President Donald Trump’s America and the alt-right
  21. The Power of Apathy
  22. Division: An open letter to my sons 
  23. Donald Trump Is an Icon
  24. Clinton Wounded the Party, Now Howard Dean Wants to Kill It
  25. Southeast schools take the streets of South Gate
  26. Trump Denounces Protesters In Tweet, Praises Them In Another
  27. Man Describes Brutal Attack; Crowd Yelled ‘That’s A White Boy Trump Supporter’
  28. The Transition
  29. Donal Trump, The New Miracle
  30. Millions Of Concerned Citizens Are Signing A Petition That Asks The Electoral College To Vote For Hillary Clinton
  31. PFW: Blowing the Rust off of Hillary’s America
  32. Rowan Blanchard Marches In ‘Not My President’ Protest With Powerful Sign — See Pic
  33. The media’s sanctimonious self-righteousness contributed to Trump’s victory
  34. Rural vs Urban: the Greatest Divide in Modern America
  35. Trumped up
  36. The traumatized Democrats
  37. Rainier Beach High Students Walkout to Find Hope, Optimism After Election
  38. Well, That Didn’t Take Long
  39. Call to ‘Lock Her Up’ Puts Trump in a Bind Over His Threat to Prosecute Clinton
  40. White Christians Who Voted for Donald Trump: Fix This. Now. | John Pavlovitz
  41. The TRUMPet Has Been Blown
  42. We Will Rise Above
  43. Post-Election 2016, cont.
  44. How Donald Trump Pulled It Off
  45. Confession of a watcher
  46. Things I’m Verbing: “We Reject the President-Elect” and a WPA for Journalism
  47. The Era of the Post-Truth Politician?
  48. The Ku Klux Klan has a Voice and a Leader in Washington
  49. Where Were They?
  50. Oh, Really? Omarosa Says Black People Should Educate Whites After Trump Victory
  51. Oh, Really? Omarosa Says Black People Should Educate Whites After Trump Victory
  52. Immigrants in U.S. gripped by deportation fears with Donald Trump election win
  53. Between Friends
  54. Hitlery’s terrorist youth demand a government overthrow
  55. The Other Side We Failed to See – 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
  56. Blanketing Fantasy With A Hint of Reality
  57. Here’s how to sleep with Donald Trump
  58. Voices: Reacting to Trump | ‘I will fight for my right to speak’
  59. Women Warned To Get IUDs Before Trump Becomes President
  60. November 11, 2016
  61. Trump commends protesters’ ‘passion’ after new night of rallies
  62. How Will a Trump Presidency Impact Your Health?
  63. The tweet of a narcissist 
  64. Episode 43: Welcome to Trumpdome
  65. Republican Age Of Austerity – ‘And Here We Go’
  66. The Wall
  67. Popped and Cultured: The Results Are In
  68. It’s time for a few hard truths.
  69. Usually liberals would have same opinions & views as the media & liberal social networking groups… really sad…
  70. The pitfalls of underestimation
  71. With the possibility of 11th-hour change, here are suggestions for Trump’s ‘national growth and renewal’
  72. A Rock and Roll Generation (Post-Election blues)
  73. Election Results 2016: Did Voter ID & Voter Suppression Help Elect Trump?
  74. Here’s What it Means to “Make America Great Again”
  75. Election vitory: Anti-Trump Protest enters day two
  76. The way of the world

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A world with or without religion

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

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

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

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

Eurobarometer Poll 2005 Percentage of those wh...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why did God permit such a thing to happen?

and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

he said.

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

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

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

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

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

We should know that not only

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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You may also find to read:

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

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Additional reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious

Today lots of youngsters their understanding of their faith is the faith that was “once for all entrusted.” This makes that often the “spiritual but not religious” group can be the most difficult to work with, primarily because they believe they have found a personalized expression of faith. But their faith was not placed in a seed that could grow in fertilized ground.

This painting is on display at the Kunsthistor...

Religious men and their actions because of their faith- Painting is on display at the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History) in Vienna, Austria (site). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Church should bring in the fertilisation for its members to grow, be it slow but strong.

Much has been made about the growth of “nones” in the past few years, the group who consistently checks “none” on surveys about religious faith. As with all surveys, how questions are shaped determines how good the data is. If a question is multiple choice, the answers must fit within the parameters of the possible responses. For example: What is your faith? a. Christian b. Buddhism c. Islam d. Judaism e. Hindu f. none.

Clearly, that’s a poor question. It assumes the five major faiths are the primary conduits for the transmission of religious frameworks. While I believe that is largely true, there are other factors at work culturally right now. What does none or spiritual but not religious really mean?

writes a teacher of a Teaching World Religions summer term. {Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide}

In such courses about world religions or religion tous-court, you can see that lots of people want to restrict their idea about their god on others. They may say

I just believe in God

But then we should ask which God? Most people do take only a story from the four Gospels, one that is canonized by Church Councils, propagated by ministers and missionaries, and communicated to them through Christian denominational speakers. They are brought up with the religious concepts of their family idea and than they believe that their story is just one wherein they simply believe in God.

Vermeer The Allegory of the Faith

Vermeer The Allegory of the Faith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The radical individualism and consumerism in our culture makes a personalized faith seem perfectly normal. In Belgium, which is considered to be a Roman Catholic Country (though only 6% of the population still go sometimes to mass whilst 25% of the population visits the mosque very regularly), when you would ask what they believe and whom they think Jesus or God is, you would find very individual interpretations of the person Jesus, which some Catholics say is the son of God and do not believe he is God, though the godhead of Jesus is part of the Trinitarian dogma of the Catholic Church. But most Belgians want to believe their own thing and do not bother what the church may say. Lots call themselves Catholic or Christian (meaning the same for them) but do not follow the rules of the Pope and their church, not bothering to use preservatives or having abortions, having sexual relations than the own ‘regular’ partner, etc. Their religious life is standing far away from a spiritual life and from church life. The church is mostly only used to have a child baptism, a first and second communion, a wedding service and a funeral. That is what church stands for in Belgium, when they are not talking about all the abuses in that church.

According to some

All the new Christian categories — Christ follower, Jesus follower, follower of the Way (hell, just pick one)—are all concepts that are used intentionally to avoid the unhappy conclusion that the follower is really a Christian, but a Christian who doesn’t like the Christian tradition or church or some doctrine. Better to own the word Christian than have me interrogate you only to discover that you are actually a Christian. At that point, I think you’re dishonest, disingenuous, ignorant, narcissistic, or confused. None of those are good. {Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide}

Wherever you may look you shall see that many of your spiritual but not religious acquaintances have no genuine framework for their faith. Lots of the people who say they are religious or spiritual, are mostly enjoying some trend which is popular at the moment, and go from one fling into the other, but never stick to one ‘faith‘ for a long time.

The writer of The Parish believes that it’s a completely self-serving construct that allows them to believe, in the words of Christian Smith,

“God loves me and wants me to be happy.”

What that requires is no commitment to a larger tradition, and a radical internalizing of metaphysical assumptions, all of which are exempt from criticism.

Do you pray? Yes. Do you attend worship services? No. Do you have a sacred text? No. Will you go to heaven? Yes. What will it be like? It will be what I make it. How do you know there is a God? I just do. What’s he or she like? He loves me. He’s kind and forgiving and gracious. Why should he be those things and not angry, vengeful and capricious? He’s not. How can you know this? What tradition taught you this? I have no tradition. I just know this. I’m not a religious person, just spiritual.

Faith

Faith (Photo credit: sspantherss)

Often when you will present students of religion or people on the street and you

talk about all the Saturnalia and pagan syncretism you like, talk about substituting one pagan holiday for a Christian one, talk about borrowed symbols and commercialism, talk all you want about it; at its core, theologically (for Christians), Christmas is the coming of Messiah, and therefore, a religious high, holy day. It’s a celebration day, much like Easter (another holiday about which I’m weary of hearing stories of syncretism. One thing is clear, however it started, the Christian narrative won.), not a fast day like Good Friday. It is, by my estimation, the second most important day on the church calendar, following Easter, of course. {Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?}

The great church institutions by the years have mixed their theology with philosophical and pagan teachings so that that more became  “great pagan institutions” which allegedly “pickle” children’s brains by pouring “paganism” into them. We can see a society in decline where parents do not to set any more good religious examples for their children. It is time they will concern themselves with their offspring’s spiritual state, and again “plead God’s promises” to their children. We should long to do well by our children and grandchildren, striving to raise them well and encouraging other parents to do the same.  Parents should come to teach their children spirituality again. That spirituality must also include empathy, humanity, and critical thinking. Piety without these elements can devolve into fanaticism, with unsettling results.

Lots of people may know that lots of elements in their celebrations are from pagan celebrations, but they do not want to change their similar manner of celebrating what they want to place on that day the heathen use for their celebration. It does not matter for them that Jesus was a Jew who is not born on the 25th of December (Christmas-day); It is just a lovely time for them to be together and have everybody having a good time, giving each other presents and enjoying some nice food. Why should they change the tradition of their forefathers? And why should churches abandon such a festivals when those are the few occasions that they can get some people in their churches and get some more money in the till?

Almost all American and European forms of Christianity are first cultural, traditional and secondly theological. In the capitalist countries the people are more concerned with their material wealth than their spiritual wealth. Europeans like

Americans are largely shaped by consumerism, individualism, and materialism, the three idols of the market that serve to make all of us mini-narcissists. {Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?}

They want to enjoy their life with good food and lovely goods for their enjoyment. Fairy tales and mythical stories, ‘little lies for fun’ seem to be harmless for them and to create the mysterious atmosphere which attracts them and their children. The unknown and mysterious has always been an attraction.

The Knights of Columbus exhibiting their group identity in American society

In the United States some Christians do not want to know about the ‘unknown’ and do think the bible has to be take literally on all fronts. Their creationist and revisionist education might leave children ill-prepared to integrate into American society, and failed to grasp that some children might reject their fundamentalist upbringing altogether. For this reason it is important that God-loving people make it clear how we do have to interpret and follow the Bible. God loving people should be challenging historical revisionism. By remembering that history encompasses many narratives, not just one. By demanding accuracy in home school curricula. By reaching out to current and former home-schoolers and making accurate information available to them. And finally, by educating ourselves on the past and recognizing its impact on the present. Home-schooling and schooling at the church (Sunday school, Bible Study or Children’s Bible class) are powerful, useful tools. It represents a democratic approach to educational progress, innovation, and creativity. It allows a child’s learning environment to be tailored to individual and personal needs. When home-schooling or Sunday-school is done responsibly, it can be amazing. We should oppose irresponsible home-schooling or church training, where the educational method is used to create or hide abuse, isolation, and neglect, and where the child is not educated to go and search, to explore the world and to explore the Bible. They should train the children to read and study the Bible thoroughly and to go deeper into their own soul, learning them to meditate about everything they learn, be it in their daily school or at the church. The trainees at the church should make sure that social contact outside of church, family, and the home-school umbrella group is provided so that children do get to know the outside world and are aware of the world its ideas and way of living. Only by growing up in a church which is open to what is happening in the world the children would not become what we can call socially retarded to use the pedagogical technical term.

In certain developed countries we see a growing tendency to protect church life and to get the children away from what is really happening in the world. The religious sheltering of such a childhood in recent years has come more extreme and miserable by greater institutions and international homeschool conglomerate cults. Those groups not only present childish stories in which all do have to believe and activities everybody has to follow with the right dress-code, otherwise they are considered to be against the group. More attention is given to the outside appearance of the persons gathering than on the inner spirit. Often it is all about the creationist teaching and opposing scientists, not willing to see archaeologist their findings, which are all considered as contra-actions of the evil world.

They often try to drive home to their ‘trainees’ (typically 16-18 years old) that no matter what adversity or difficulty they are facing, either physical, mental, or spiritual, all they need to do is cry out to God and He will get them through it. But they forget that we did have received the responsibility to become resourceful fellows who should try to grow from the understanding of the Scriptural knowledge and use it in their daily life. To be able to stand strong in that daily life there should be a good relationship with the Supreme Being.

Most people are not interested in a good relation with their god, but with themselves. It has become already very difficult to build up a good relationship with one partner in this world which can be seen and touched. So who would try to have a good relationship with somebody who can not be seen nor touched, and who nobody has ever seen, or when it is Jesus who is already long ‘dead and forgotten’?

Dr. Tom Kennedy does find that correct religion, like bones, provides the proper structure for spirituality.  Spirituality grows in distorted ways without religion.

Imagine reaching over and grabbing the child’s head.  Then imagine lifting up the skeleton out of the imaginary child.  What would happen?  Spirituality would collapse to the floor. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

Religion, like bones, also provides much of the immune system for spirituality.

It helps to fight toxic influences that may corrupt one’s spirituality.  Two of the most toxic influences are the individual’s own selfishness and the willingness to let other people control one’s spirituality.  Of course, if religion itself becomes corrupt, one’s spirituality also becomes corrupt. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

Like the religion can be corrupted we should know that spirituality is not always so ‘clean’ as it may seem.

Many people think of spirituality as perfect and incorruptible.  Unfortunately, that is not true.  Non-religious spirituality emphasizes special experiences, something you feel.  If there are no feelings to this kind of spirituality, people would not pursue it. I have heard of many strange experiences that were labeled ‘spiritual’ just because there was a burst of pleasant feeling involved. {Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?}

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

Faith in words from a Book of books (Photo credit: hannahclark)

Religion in the Bible is a catalyst for our relationship with God, to Whom we have to bring a spirit which is pure and not hiding things for God Who sees everything, so that would be useless to hide something for Him. Our state of mind we do have to build ourselves. Others may help us but they can not do it for us or make it work for us. We ourselves our responsible for the way we want to think and the way we want to use the knowledge we receive by the years.

Jesus died on the wooden stake to make God’s religion and spirituality alive, dynamic and interactive with each other. He opened the way for humankind to come directly to the Creator God. Today Jesus sits at the right hand of God to be the mediator between God and man. by the brothers and sisters in the church we should be exhorted therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made not only for ourselves but for all men. We should know we live in a world where there are kings, presidents and members of parliament who have to make decisions for the community. So we better also pray for them that they may make the right decisions. Yes we should have our thoughts also at all that are in high place and pray for them and for that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity.
Each of us should look to find in himself or herself the way to become acceptable in the eyes of God. He that provided the human Saviour, who could understand his fellow man, who wanted that all men should be saved, and will come to the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus,  who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times;  where-unto several people like the apostles and religious men were and are appointed a preacher and a teacher of the Gentiles or those who are not in the faith in Christ Jesus, in faith and truth.

” I Beseech you, therefore, first of all to offer to God, petitions, prayers, supplications, and thanksgiving for all men,  (2)  For kings and for all in authority; that we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all purity and Godliness.  (3)  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour:  (4)  Who desires all men to be saved and to return to the knowledge of the truth.  (5)  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  (6)  Who gave himself a ransom for all, a testimony which came in due time.  (7)  For that testimony I was appointed a preacher and an apostle; I tell the truth and I lie not; and I became the teacher of the Gentiles in a true faith.  (8)  I wish, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up their holy hands, without anger and doubting thoughts.” (1Ti 2:1-8 Lamsa NT)

Religion, Catholic Community

Religion, Catholic Community having prayers and meditation together at a meeting (Photo credit: Parker Knight)

Lifting up the hands or going in prayer can be done on our own. But to come to a good prayer we better also do come close to ourselves. Be it also becoming in a more concrete relationship the world can offer. Away from the materialisation of things we can come in a transcendent form.

Where Transcendentalists assert their natural right to an individual relationship with God, defined only by one’s own will and a communing with nature, Puritans “sought both individual and corporate conformity to the teaching of the Bible, with moral purity pursued both down to the smallest detail, as well as ecclesiastical purity to the highest level. They believed that man existed for the glory of God, that his first concern in life was to do God’s Will and so to receive future happiness”. Puritans were largely responsible for amendments that mandated public education inspired by their belief that children could only conform properly to biblical and legal tenants if they could read them for themselves.

To come to the Truth, each person has to make the free choice to study the matter. Without reading the Bible and without the will to think about what is written a person shall not come to the Truth. No matter how he may be active in doing things for his church, how religious he  or she may look for the outsiders, when their is no burning spirit in the soul of that person, no willingness to go deep in him or herself, there shall not come an opening to the real faith Jesus had in front of his eyes.

Jesus was also brought up in a world full of traditions. He was a boy living in a Jewish cult and learned from the Torah, which was his guide. He looked at the different religious groups and dared to question them. He looked at the way they interpreted the Holy Scriptures, how they lived their faith and how they were are were not prepared to go into the mystics of faith.

In most spiritual traditions, mysticism lies at the heart of spirituality. ‘‘Mysticism’’ refers to transcendent, contemplative experiences that enhance spiritual understanding. Mystical experiences can occur during intentional practices designed to create openings for transcendent experiences, such as Christian contemplative prayer, Zen meditation, movement or dance meditation or Sufi dance; or they can occur in the process of living a lifestyle that is conducive to transcendent experiences, as in contemplative gardening. In either case, contemplative or transcendent knowing is associated with spiritual experience.

‘‘Transcendence’’ refers to contemplative knowing that occurs outside the boundaries of verbal thought (Wilber). Although transcendence can refer to increasingly abstract thought, contemplative transcendence involves transcending thought itself. Mystical experiences of transcendence can be brought into thought, but they do not originate in thought or sensory perception.

The spiritual person can become a transcendental person, going into mystical contemplative experiences. He either may become religious with it or stay out of religion. But this kind of spirituality, set apart from religion would be weak and might be directionless, or worse, narcissistic.  Jesus wanted us to have a vibrant faith that focuses on his Father and he wants us to use the teachings of the Bible to shape both our religion and our spiritual interactions with him and God. Our spirit has to become connected intimately with Jesus, God but also with our brethren and sisters in the community, plus feeling a love for the full creation of the Supreme Being, Jehovah God. This includes a good relationship with the animals, plants and all sorts of people, no matter which religion they may belong to. A good Christian should be a good follower of Christ, sharing the same love Jesus had for all people, no matter what they had done or how they felt about him. Jesus loved also his enemies, so we should do likewise.

Our religious and spiritual practices should focus on that relationship with creation. The spiritual practices should not merely be productive in a narrow sense but should be disciplined, creative and committed. The regularity of a spiritual discipline like meditation may give shape to what may otherwise be a fragmented life. as such it can enrich the religious life. Over time meditation may facilitate a growing freedom from destructive energies that inhibit healthy relationships. Such a growth in inner freedom makes us more available and effective as compassionate presences in the world.

As the great traditions emphasise, spirituality is actually concerned with cultivating a “spiritual life” rather than simply with undertaking practices isolated from commitment. It offers a “value-added” factor to personal and professional lives. So, for example, in a variety of social contexts spirituality is believed to add two vital things.

  • First, it saves us from being purely results-orientated. Thus, in health care it offers more than a medicalised, cure-focused model and in education it suggests that a holistic approach to intellectual, moral and social development is as vital as acquiring employable skills.
  • Second, spirituality expands ethical behaviour by moving it beyond right or wrong actions to a question of identity – we are to be ethical people rather than simply to “do” ethical things. Character formation and the cultivation of virtue then become central concerns.

Current evidence suggests a growing diversity of new forms of spirituality as well as creative reinventions of the great traditions. The language of spirituality continues to expand into ever more professional and social worlds – for example urban planning and architecture, the corporate world, sport and law. Most strikingly there are recent signs of its emergence in two contexts that have been especially open to public criticism – commerce and politics. Equally, the Internet is increasingly used to expand access to spiritual wisdom. So, on current evidence, spirituality appears to be less of a fad than an instinctive desire to find a deeper level of values to live by. As such, it seems likely not only to survive but to develop further into many new forms. {Is spirituality a passing trend?}

Church HDR

Church HDR (Photo credit: I_am_Allan)

The church community should not be afraid of those people who also want to be spiritual people. Every religious person in a way should be a spiritual person. Faith without works is dead. Each person believing in Jesus should know he should undertake efforts to understand those teachings, knowing the Torah and following the commandments of Christ and the commandments of God. Each follower of Christ should not only go out in the world on his own, no he should make efforts to meet regularly with other like minded people, considering them as his brothers and sisters in Christ. Gathering together they should ‘make church‘ and be united in the religion of the Body of Christ. In that Body or Church they should undertake actions, like reading the Bible, exhorting each other and Breaking bread with each other. This would mean they are have do do religious actions and to be religious in the tradition of the faith of Christ Jesus. But without their pure heart they would not be honest to the others in that community. So first of all each individual has to purify himself or herself, to which she or he can use meditation or spiritual exercise.

Religion and spirituality are complementary and should go together, uniting each of us in the name of Christ.

Bible School, USA

Christadelphian Bible school meeting.
United brethren and sisters in Christ.

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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

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one

Next: Points to remember of philosophy versus spirituality and religion

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Find also to read:

  1. Human nature
  2. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  3. Only One God
  4. God’s design in the creation of theworld
  5. God Helper and Deliverer
  6. Gods hope and our hope
  7. God’s Will for Us – Gods Wil voor ons 
  8. Gods hope and our hope
  9. God’s measure not our measure
  10. God’s promises
  11. Gods Salvation
  12. Full authority belongs to God
  13. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  14. Jesus Messiah
  15. Servant of his Father
  16. Incomplete without the mind of God
  17. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  18. Faith
  19. A Living Faith #1 Substance of things hoped for
  20. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  21. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  22. Faith antithesis of rationality
  23. Faith is a pipeline
  24. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  25. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  26. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  27. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise
  28. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  29. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  30. Fellowship
  31. United people under Christ
  32. Parts of the body of Christ
  33. What part of the Body am I?
  34. Communion and day of worship
  35. Church sent into the world
  36. Pulpit reserved for the pastor
  37. Teach children the Bible
  38. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope
  39. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  40. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  41. Peter Cottontail and a Bunny laying Eastereggs
  42. Fr Paddy Byrne finds First communions and confirmations should be delayed
  43. Are Science and the Bible Compatible?
  44. The Soul confronted with Death
  45. Is there an Immortal soul
  46. The Soul not a ghost
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Destination of righteous

+++

Additional reading:

  1. Spiritual but not Religious, or A Disconnect on the Faith Divide
  2. Is spirituality a passing trend?
  3. Christian Identity, or Can Baby Jesus Get Some Love?
  4. Rewriting History — The History of America Mega-Conference: Part Three, “Religious Liberalism” And Those Magnificent Mathers
  5. Rewriting History — History of America Mega-Conference: Part Eight, Closing Thoughts
  6. Can You Be Spiritual and Not Religious?
  7. Let The Children Come ~ Teach Them About God
  8. Let The Children Come ~ Teach Them God’s Word « An Imperfect Life
  9. Let The Children Come ~ Be An Example « An Imperfect Life
  10. Let The Children Come ~ Pray for Them

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  • I am Spiritual but not Religious (passionistpartners.com)
    “I am spiritual but not religious.” This is the mantra voiced by a number of people, Catholics included. It means that such people savor the inner qualities of their faith in Jesus Christ but not the outer framework in which those qualities are contained.

    They respond warmly to the Christmas scene of Mary and Joseph kneeling close to Jesus as a newborn infant. They may resonate with the teaching of Jesus on the beatitudes, describing the poor in spirit, the meek, the merciful, the peacemakers. They may treasure His words on loving one another as he has loved us.

    But when it comes to graphically depicting these sentiments in ritual, music, art, architecture, vestments, ceremonies, processions, incense—this is a different story. They find such a discrepancy between thoughts and feelings, and the attempt at giving tangible expression to them fails miserably in the opinion of some people. The sermons are boring, the collection is scandalous, the singing is outdated, the prayers formulaic and out of touch with people’s needs and desires.

  • The one religion that’s not part of my spiritual quest (roguepriest.net)
    Jesus is central in one out of 16 or five out of 43 major religions practiced in the world today. (In the first list I’m excluding “no religion,” “new religions” and “other” for my count, and in the second list I’m pointing to Christianity, Christian Science, Jehova’s Witnesses, Mormonism, and Rastafari.) By that count less than 6 – 11% of religions consider Christ important. With nods from Baha’i, Islam and Unitarianism, the figure rises to a max of 25%.
    Likewise, the majority of people in the world today do not follow any branch of Christianity.
    Yet the teachings of Christ loom large.
  • Religions and Spirituality (allowinglove.wordpress.com)
    diverse ethnicities and faiths from Passaic County gathered for one hour at Pa… SPARTA, NJ
  • Picking fights over religion and the separation of church and state (santamariatimes.com)
    how this kind of free-floating rage differs from Bible-beating preachers who blame earthquakes and tornadoes on other people’s sexual sins escapes me. The main characteristic of the fundamentalist mind is an inability to refrain from expressing contempt for beliefs different from one’s own — whether one’s spiritual example is Pat Robertson or Christopher Hitchens.
  • Spiritual Well-Being (casapalmera.com)
    piritual well-being is an integral part of mental, emotional and physical health. It is considered to be a primary coping resource on the journey of recovery and healing. This healing takes place in drug treatment centers, eating disorder residential programs and at trauma recovery. Spiritual well-being can be associated with a specific religion but does not have to be. This practice is merely one’s own journey to discover things of importance in life as well as one’s place among them. It can be practiced in numerous ways, with its main purpose being to find purpose and meaning in life. Spirituality and faith provide an opportunity to detach from circumstances and observe life with clarity and integrity. Spirituality can either be positive or negative. Spiritual well-being is a state is which the positive aspects of spirituality are shown. How the effects of spiritual well-being impact you is greatly determined by each individual.
  • My journey of faith (brynsthoughtsonfaith.wordpress.com)
    What might have happened if I was baptized into the Church of England, for instance? Would my faith have been stronger as a teenager? Would I have still gone down the route to the Catholic Church, given the opportunity?My early upbringing was, as such, not massively religious one way or the other. We did not go to Church (Anglican or Catholic) on Sunday, so as not to sway me one way or the other.
    From what I remember, my Primary School was Church of England in all but name, we had Assembly every morning, sang hymns and when Christmas and Easter came, we would sing in the local Anglican Church, St. Nicholas.
  • Obama Spiritual Advisor: President Very Religious (peacemoonbeam.typepad.com)
    President Obama’s spiritual adviser says the leader of the free world is more religious than most people think.
  • Enriching Your Spirituality: Famous Christian Quotes (quotes.answers.com)
    A poignant quote can have a profound effect. The simple truths contained in only a few lines have the power to inspire, calm, and encourage someone in need. This is especially true for Christian quotes. Whether you are struggling to find God’s purpose in your life or seeking comfort in a time a duress, these famous Christian quotes offer great help in times of need.
  • 10 Religious Quotes to Make You Think (quotes.answers.com)
    It seems that no matter what breakthroughs science makes in explaining the world, people will always have a need for spirituality and religion. Indeed, it seems that the only area with satisfying answers for many tough questions is religion. These religious quotes are collected from thinkers, writers, and lay people from a wide range of religious faiths and creeds. What they all have in common is that they are guaranteed to make you think.
  • Religious Rites: An Overview of Christian Funeral Services (christianity.answers.com)
    Regardless of your religious persuasion, a funeral service is one of the more somber rites that you might attend. In the Christian faith, even though death is seen as a passage to eternal life, saying goodbye to a loved one is very sad. This article details the common elements of most Christian burial services.

 

Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics

Since 1872 when the UK Parliament authorised public meetings, very Sunday, Londoners gather at ‘Speaker’s Corner’ in Hyde Park to talk, debate and preach about whatever they choose.

In the 1970ies wherever you went in London you could find street corner preachers of which some also presented themselves as prophets. They where full of fire and let their spirit go over many listeners and curious onlookers.  Often they acted as if they were deeply concerned about the fate of souls. With those who disagreed with they were willing to show their way of thinking was right.

The street corner preachers are gone, but today we have the online preachers. Their attitude does seem to be quite similar like their old colleague’s. John Blake from CNN does find you can tell that those contemporary street corner preachers relish the prospect of eternal torment for their online enemies.

Some don’t even try to hide their true motives:

“I hope you like worms because you will have your own personal worm to feed off your fat drippings in hell for all eternity…”

That’s what a commenter called “HeavenSent” said to another following an article on evangelical Pastor Rick Warren. HeavenSent ended his malediction with one word: “Amen.”

Okay, so that’s the wrong way to argue about religion online if you’re a street corner prophet. Now, here’s the right way:

Not everyone who disagrees with you deserves eternal torment. People rarely listen to someone who is in perpetual attack mode.

MSN Classic sign-in screen

MSN Classic sign-in screen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I had my MSN blog and reacted on several MSN Groups I encountered often very unchristian attitudes and even got several viruses especially send to my mailbox. Some reactors or so called Christians would not have hesitated to put shit in my mailbox. It was incredible how some people who I did not know personally, and who did not really knew me, reacted and called me all sorts of names. Those Christian shouters were all the time Trinitarians defending their belief as the only one belief. Non-trinitarians were called heretics and even nonbelievers, though according to me everybody does belief something.

 

The first page of the Nicomachean Ethics in Gr...

The first page of the Nicomachean Ethics in Greek and Latin, from a 1566 edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aristotle who could not be called ‘a believer’ in his Nicomachean Ethics believed already that people could study ethics and by doing so could become good, and in so doing become a virtuous, flourishing, fulfilled, happy human being.
The agnostic as a person who claims, with respect to any particular question, that the answer cannot be known with certainty, may have an open mind about religious belief, especially the existence of God, but often believes that because there is no reference to any concept of gods or the supernatural that it does not mean there would be not such special power or not something after death.

The humanist, who wants to take a philosophical position that stresses the autonomy of human reason in contradistinction to the authority of the Church, may believe that moral values follow on from human nature and experience in some way. Most humanists would agree or believe that people should work together to improve the quality of life for all and make it more equitable. According to some, humanism is a full philosophy, “life stance” or worldview, rather than being about one aspect of religion, knowledge, or politics.

With many who say they are “non-religious” we can find the believe in humanity. Many of them look for the way and sense of life. Even when they reject the idea of any supernatural agency, they are aware of the universe and the placing of the human being in the whole ‘creation‘. They also belief we should look for ways to make the best out of the world.

Sceptics as either doubter, cynic or a person who believes the worst about people or the outcome of events, perhaps may swear that they do not believe in anything, but already by swearing they confess a certain believe. It is their belief that there is doubt about all the many religious sayings, myths, supernatural or “paranormal” beliefs. More than one cynic believes that people always act selfishly and that people are malformed by their upbringing and cultural environment..

 Organizers of the “Open Hearts, Open Minds” conference at an Oct. 15 press conference: from left, Frances Kissling of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter Singer of Princeton, Jennifer Miller of Bioethics International, and Charles Camosy of Fordham.

Organizers of the “Open Hearts, Open Minds” conference at an Oct. 15 press conference: from left, Frances Kissling of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter Singer of Princeton, Jennifer Miller of Bioethics International, and Charles Camosy of Fordham.

Charles Camosy, who teaches Christian ethics at Fordham University in New York City may find those who give criticism, those who go against somebody his thoughts, are justified to do so, and we should understand that they sometimes react in ways we would not expect. His academic work focuses in biomedical ethics, but he is also very interested in the confluence of ethics, theology and politics in our public sphere more broadly.

In his work the Roman Catholic got confronted with many opinions. He did not mind to look at discussable subjects, like we would like to tackle on this platform. As such he has spent considerable time working to find ways to dial down the polarization in our public sphere and fruitfully engage difficult issues like abortion, euthanasia, treatment of non-human animals, and health care distribution.

According to him and us, the key of understanding and ability to talk about such subjects is to be open for an other opinion and to have

intellectual solidarity with those who think differently.

In his second book Camosy engages the first sustained and fruitful conversation between Peter Singer and Christian ethics — and once again considers a wide variety of bioethical and social issues. As a non-typical Catholic moral theologian he questions how Singer can push Catholic ethics to greater depth and how Catholic ethics can push Peter Singer to greater depth. For example, on the issue of abortion, the differences appear insurmountable. Singer not only holds that abortion can be morally licit but also infanticide.

In Camosy his work he points out several areas of commonality, and that is what many Christians overlook. Being part of the same body, the Body of Christ, using the same book as their base, the Bible, they should have more things in common or otherwise it would be clear that they are not following their so called teacher Jesus of Nazareth.

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

“You can’t look them in the face,” he said. “You can’t shake their hand or give a hug. You find it very difficult to have that sort of embodied trust.”

According to John Blake who witnessed some of the nastiest religious arguments online

It’s too bad that many of the exchanges between atheists and people of faith in our comments section don’t follow the same script.

He gets the source of frustration for some atheists.

They have longed been caricatured by people of faith as moral degenerates who don’t care about morality. Some of them, in turn, have caricatured people of faith as weak-minded hypocrites who believe in fairy tales.

Whatever a person may believe or how he may look at those who believe certain things, he should know that everybody may have a field in which he may know a lot. We should know that we can not know everything and can not have enough knowledge in the many fields of science. For many it is difficult to accept that there is a limit to knowledge also for themselves.

To debate about religion should not mean to go to war against those who think differently. In case we are interested in religion we may encounter some extreme interpretations and reactions, knowing that many thoughts come from the emotional heart.

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.

James Goodrich writes:

We would be naïve to think that there aren’t overly dogmatic persons or those who define themselves by their opposition in both camps. Given this thought, could it be the case that we ourselves, in some sense, are responsible for a lack of ethical progress? Could progress be made if we all were all actually able to sit down together with open minds and our best arguments? I think it’s not irrational to be hopeful. It is unlikely that we can completely do away with some level of dogmatism, but if the reason disagreement persists is in part due to social reasons, then perhaps given enough time progress is indeed obtainable.

We might come to find, at least with respect to ethics, that religious and secular thinkers really did just start from different places at the base of the mountain and will someday meet at the peak.

According to it’s probably one of the most intractable and complex questions in philosophy to know how free will, determinism and moral responsibility work together. Those who call themselves Christians should have a certain moral and an attitude to all people who are according the Bible created in the image of God and part of His Masterwork. Of those who call themselves children of the Creator God you would expect moral responsibility.

Charles Camosy

our will needs to be, at some important juncture, determined by something we identify with as ‘us’.  What specific kinds of things might these be?  Well, the normal things you might imagine: our interests, goals, values, moral convictions, characters, motivations, processes of deliberation, etc.  (And additionally, these things need to be left up to us and not ultimately determined by some other mind with their own interests, goals, etc… among a few other clauses which space won’t permit.)

In many religious groups though, we may find that the disagreements there are should not always be such a terrible stumbling block. Lots of time many similarities can be found, or little details which are not as important to the outcome, they may think.

As children of God we should respect the other creations of God, and accept that they may have their own interests and their own believes. We should imagine a multitude of possibilities in this world, or models of the way the world could be. We also should accept that not everybody wants to choose the same things or the same order. We should leave them the liberty to choose freely,

pick between them based on our personal interests and values a la Hume.

When defining free will simply (and crudely) as “an uncaused will” or “caused by nothing but ‘myself’”, you get the kinds of tensions that keep some determinists up at night.  However, why define it this way?  Why not define it differently?

We all have a very real experience of free will, of choosing between live ‘options’, and of being morally ‘responsible’.  There is a very real phenomena I seem to be pointing at with these words that begs an explanation.  So it seems that there are really two separate kinds of free wills, or ways in which we use the term free will.  Specifically, ‘free will’ can refer to 1) a concept or definition or 2) a phenomena we experience.

Cupido

To understand this think of “Love”.  Love is an very real and powerful emotion, yet there are a thousand definitions and understandings of what it is and causes it.  Psychologists, sociologists, evolutionary biologists, and theologians all understand the term differently and operate on different academic definitions.  So in the first way we could, for instance, simply define “love” as “mutually altruistic pair emotional and social bonding” and then work off of that definition.  Then, in contrast, I could ask: What is this phenomena over here in front of me that we all experience and often call ‘love’? And, further, why accept this definition of ‘love’ as opposed to some other?  How should we define this phenomena and what characterizes it?

When we do have the capacity to take things in perspective we should try to understand others’ differing interests. Out of our love for the creation we should feel empathy and show understanding, trying also to learn from the other person his ideas, intelligence or sense. Each of us should know that it is not because we might have a strong personal opinion or interpretation of a subject that the other opinion could not be right as well or could not receive our sympathy as well. Though sometimes there may be a close similarity in appearance or quality; inherent likeness, we should be wiling to see. It just demands a free spirit who puts away the selfishness of the ego, liking its own ideas.

We better should look for the quality of fitting or working harmoniously with one another, trying to find ways to make this living space a better space for every one, whatever they may like or whatever opinion they would like to hold on.

Like we should treat kids we should take the right attitude to people around us. We should look at them with investigating minds, not condemning the situations or actions straight ahead. We should look for harmony between things, ideas, and where we see something going right or wrong we should mention the good things first.

Moral blame and praise (very different from punishment and rewards, btw), holding people accountable for their actions, and other moral considerations daily effect how we think about our choices and make our decisions.

Holding people morally responsible, promoting moral values, etc still has tangible and valuable effects on peoples’ conscious and subconscious deliberations and life choices.

agrees , but he also thinks

Even if ‘free will’, crudely defined, creates problems for moral responsibility, again, who cares?

Those who are aware of the Higher Being and belief that we live in a temporary system, should care, and try to come to good alternatives.

may believe that in the 3000 yr old tradition of Philosophy, the discussion about God and ethics was pretty much finished with Plato in the Euthyphro Dialogue. The question about what ‘right’, ‘good’, and other moral terms actually are may still be on many tongues. We as citizens should listen to the worldly lawmakers, but should always put the Most Important  and Most High Lawmaker in the first place.
Paul Chiariello who is currently studying for his PhD in Philosophy at Yale University and who is also the assistant coordinator and webmaster at the Humanist Chaplaincy at Rutgers University, gives a good answer:

So like ideal teachers, parents and legislators, God instead commands and loves what is already right and good, independent of his commanding/loving it.  God has, in a sense, figured out ethics already (being omniscient and whatnot) and then tells us about it.

+

Please do find to read:

  1. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  2. Being prudent – zorgvuldig zijn
  3. Choices
  4. Choosing your attitudes
  5. Not the circumstances in which we are placed constitutes our comfort
  6. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  7. Our stance against certain religions and immigrating people
  8. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  9. How us to behave
  10. Not liking your Christians
  11. Who are the honest ones?
  12. Greatest single cause of atheism
  13. What’s church for, anyway? (by Marcus Ampe)
  14. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  15. How we think shows through in how we act
  16. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  17. If you want to go far in life
  18. People should know what you stand for
  19. The manager and Word of God
  20. Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing
  21. A learning process for each of us
  22. Are Christadelphians so Old Fashioned?
  23. Feed Your Faith Daily
  24. Followers with deepening
  25. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  26. Unconditional love
  27. Life and attitude of a Christian
  28. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  29. Work with joy and pray with love
  30. Abhor evil. Adhere to goodness
  31. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  32. A Living Faith #3 Faith put into action
  33. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  34. A Living Faith #6 Sacrifice
  35. A Living Faith #9 Our Manner of Life
  36. It is free will choice
  37. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  38. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  39. You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind
  40. Ask Grace to go forward
  41. Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal
  42. Spread love everywhere you go
  43. Don’t wait to catch a healthy attitude
  44. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap
  45. Finish each day and be done with it
  46. Christadelphian people

Those who understand Dutch can also find:

  1. Uitkijken voor de steeds groter wordende kloof tussen wereld en kerk
  2. Zorgvuldigheid of oplettendheid
  3. Grootste oorzaak van atheïsme in de wereld zijn de Christenen
  4. Niet houden van dat soort Christenen
  5. Woede Oordeel en veroordeling
  6. Niet de omstandigheden waarin we geplaatst zijn vormen onze troost
  7. Hoe we denken schijnt door in hoe we handelen
  8. Onze houding naar anderen belangrijk om te overtuigen
  9. Een norm waaraan de verstandigen en eerlijken zich kunnen herstellen optrekken
  10. Als je ver wilt gaan in het leven
  11. Mensen moeten weten waar je voor staat
  12. Tot bewust zijn komen voor huidig leven
  13. Je verliest alleen energie wanneer het leven saai in je geest wordt
  14. Vergeet niet dat wie je bent slechts zo belangrijk is als wat je doet
  15. Beoordeel niet elke dag door de oogst die je plukt
  16. De Bekeerling, bekeringsactie en bekering
  17. Christen, Jood of Volk van God
  18. Christen genoemd
  19. Christenmensen met ons geloof
  20. Welk soort leven moet een Christen hebben?
  21. Christen worden iets anders dan lid worden van een kerk.
  22. Volgelingen met de vrucht van verdieping
  23. Hoe ons te gedragen
  24. Handel alsof alles wat je denkt, zegt en doet uw hele leven bepaalt
  25. Neem afstand van het kwade
  26. Kleed jezelf met compassie, zachtheid, vriendelijkheid, nederigheid, en geduld
  27. Vraag Genade om voorwaarts te gaan
  28. Christadelphian mens
  29. Zijn Christadelphians zo ‘Old fashioned’?

++

Additional reading:

  1. What’s church for, anyway? (by )
  2. Four Reasons Why Determinism is Irrelevant to Ethics & Free Will
  3. Christian ethics and Peter Singer
  4. Peter Singer & Christian Ethics
  5. Seeking common ground
  6. A Quick Report from ‘Christian Ethics Engages Peter Singer’ this Past Week at Oxford
  7. Euthyphro’s Dilemma: Why Atheists & Theists are Stuck in the Same Ethical Boat
  8. Are We Climbing the Same Mountain? Secular-Religious Ethical Disagreement and the Peter Singer & Charles Camosy Discussion
  9. You Blind Guides! You Strain Out a Gnat But Swallow a Camel
  10. “A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” — Tom Stoppard
  11. Cultivating A Gospel Shaped Attitude
  12. Relationship with God
  13. You are not limited to who is in charge
  14. 3 Characteristics Of A Person Called To Bless
  15. Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – The Transformation Choice
  16. The Yes Face
  17. Leading neuroscientist: Religious fundamentalism may be a ‘mental illness’ that can be ‘cured’

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  • Debating with theologians and preachers and their somewhat constricted views…. (healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com)
    41,000 denominations of Christianity in the world. Wow.

    That’s a lot of people, getting a lot of what God wanted us to know – wrong, and who knows who is right???

    I’ve put my very un-theologically sound views in there, which surprisingly has been welcomed by some – but I think hey – if they are all arguing with each other and getting a little personal with each other in some of their opinion, I might as well interject with some psychology based opinion too. Of which some have agreed with, men included.
    +
    I have no desire to be a preacher, no desire to lead in Church, in fact I can’t think of anything worse for me. But, I don’t see a compelling argument either way and all the theologians can’t get it right and agree.

    But, I do like seeing all their views and thinking about them and seeing some of their confusion, some of their rigid religious beliefs and some of their..well… silly arguments.

    Cognitive distortions are responsible for some of it, religious idolatry responsible for some of it, narcissism some of it, ego some of it, doctrine some of it, peer pressure some of it and some is just well…stupid.

  • #PreachersofLA: As Real as It Gets (themisinterpreted.com)
    What frightens us is that we’re not seeing something that is false, but something that is very real. A mirror is up and if we don’t like what we see then maybe we should begin to do some internal soul searching. The sooner we own up to that, the sooner we can face the realities that there are significant flaws and brokenness within our Christian leadership (and community). This show represents what we have nurtured and fed for decades. We have supported, encouraged and enabled
    arrogance,
    entitlement,
    a misplaced rationalization of prosperity,
    egoism,
    narcissism,
    sexism,
    position worship,
    emotional & spiritual manipulation
    et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
  • Why can’t I warm to street preaching? (christiantoday.com)
    Street preaching was encouraged as Biblical practise when Jesus came to Earth and has been since.

    Those who are brave enough to take to the streets are therefore following the footsteps of Jesus and spreading the word of the Gospel as we are asked.

    Even so, I cannot help but think that street speakers actually scare the public away from Christianity. We’ve all seen the eye-rolling of passers-by and it gets me wondering about the effect street preachers actually have on religious conversion.

    +
    There is certainly an argument that we must take the Word to the street because most people avoid Churches and religious buildings entirely. But I wonder whether the public aren’t encountering the right kind of street evangelism?

    Some evangelists preach discreetly in the streets by framing unintimidating picture boards for example, or by engaging in casual conversations. Others perform Christian music busker-style. These methods may be better suited to today’s society. After all, Jesus introduced street preaching over 2,000 years ago and modern society has changed profoundly.

  • Moderates, good deeds and religious fanaticism (samizdata.net)

    John Stephenson argues for the need to ask religious moderates about the motivations behind their actions. Are moderates – seeing faith as virtuous – tacitly defending fundamentalists (who are the genuinely committed believers), allowing them to become the “tail that wags the dog”? Moreover are religious moderates actually engaged in religion because they are “humanists in disguise”?

    One of the problems with engaging religious folk in conversation is the fact that, before falling victim to the charge of being “angry” or “strident”, we find that the rules of discourse and logic are warped and violated beyond recognition. Find me a religious fanatic who doesn’t endorse his faith through the actions supposedly committed in its name and you will have probably found me a liar.
    +

    The fact that what we perceive as a sense of morality is innate within humanity as opposed to religion is evident by virtue of the cherry-picking so commonplace among moderate believers. Among casual Church of England Christians for example, the Sermon on the Mount may be advocated yet the more abhorrent elements of Deuteronomy or Leviticus will be ignored. I suspect that a large proportion of these individuals are religious in name alone and that, for the most part, their attendance comes as a result of habit or an intrinsically vague idea that to attend church constitutes as a “good thing”. These people have often given very little thought to the doctrine their religion entails, but understand church to be a place of warmth and community – things that most of us are drawn to.

  • Can Faith Ever Be Rational? (ronmurp.net)
    When the question, is it rational, is asked of faith, the method by which a belief is maintained, then no, faith is not rational at all. Faith is the antithesis of rationality. Faith is what you use when you want to believe something, or are otherwise driven to hold a belief, when there is no reaason or evidence to support the belief. And faith can result in belief in spite of counter evidence and reason.

    When the question is asked it may be asked of faith, the system of belief, such as Christianity or Islam. So, can Christianity be rational? Can Islam be rational? Well, they can contain elements of reason, rationality, in the arguments put forward to support them, but that does not make them consequentially rational.

  • “Nicomachean Ethics” by Aristotle (noneedtomindme.wordpress.com)
    In the passage, “Nicomachean Ethics”, by Aristotle, he explains about good and evil are the main contributions to our happiness, it crafts our character, and our virtues. I totally agree with his concept, because our virtues can help distinguish other relationships, and help relate to other people’s intention and emotions.
  • Political Correctness and “Bashing” (fggam.org)
    The adverse impact of “political correctness” on American culture cannot be overstated. Its sinister influence has been monumental and subversive in the extent to which it has reshaped American values, literally driving the population farther away from its Christian moorings, and redirecting civilization toward hedonism, socialism, atheism, humanism, and a host of other anti-Christian philosophies.
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    It is ever the case that error and falsehood are self-contradictory, and typically guilty of the same malady it imagines in others. Observe that those who express their disdain for “bashing” do not hesitate to bash the ones they accuse of bashing, and to do so publicly. They openly express to others (people who have no real connection to the matter) their rejection of and dislike for specific persons and groups who have had the unmitigated gall to express disapproval of a false religion or an immoral action.
  • John C. Richards Jr. Cuts Through the Focus on the Prosperity Gospel to Expose a Better Way for the Church (blackchristiannews.com)
    The pulpit has always been sacred space for the African American community.
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    The pulpit was reserved for the pastor. A sacred space for someone who recognized the sacred duty. Like Moses’ encounter at the burning bush, a preacher was to recognize they were standing on holy ground. As God’s mouthpiece, the preacher would deliver a message that was to deliver the people of God from bondage and sin. Recognizing this, the preacher’s accompanying humility-laden approach to sermonizing would cause others to grow deeper in their faith. As John Wesley puts it, the preacher’s duty was to “catch on fire” so “others will love to come and watch you burn.” Have we doused the fire in the Black church? Have we grabbed our extinguishers labeled “prosperity,” “tradition,” and “justice,” and forgotten about the Gospel? Do we just run across the pulpit as a shortcut to our next destination? Have preachers forgotten about that sacred space?
  • Does God Exist? (crain207.wordpress.com)
    I’ve often thought on that long-ago neighbor’s sad statement of belief. I’ve wondered if he only wanted to get rid of a visiting preacher, if deep down he still believed but responded in shock-the-preacher fashion because the parson on his porch reminded him of wounds he felt he received in church.
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    I often think of Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God; for he who comes to God must believe that God exists and rewards those who search for him.”
  • Preachers Of LA’s Bishop McClendon Says He Was Set Up (rhythmraveradio.wordpress.com)
    The new reality series on Oxygen’s ‘Preacher’s of LA’ has caused quite a sir, especially when two of the ministers on the show , Bishop Clarence McClendon and Deitrick Haddon got into an argument .

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