No plagarism here-I’m just that good.

For those of you asking, yes, I did post a slighly edited version of  “Five Things Christians Need To Stop Doing” at “AboveTopSecret.com”

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Bloodthirsty Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the author of “The Purpose-Driven Life,” a best-selling Christian book. He took a turn to the dark side when he appeared on with Fox’s Sean Hannity on December 3, 2008 and weighed in on politics. (Footnotes mine.)

HANNITY: Can you talk to rogue dictators? Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust  (1), wants to wipe Israel off the map (2), is seeking nuclear weapons.(3)

WARREN: Yes.

HANNITY: I think we need to take him out.

WARREN: Yes.

HANNITY: Am I advocating something dark, evil or something righteous?

WARREN: Well, actually, the Bible says that evil cannot be negotiated with. (4) It has to just be stopped. And I believe…

HANNITY: By force?

WARREN: Well, if necessary. In fact, that is the legitimate role of government.The Bible says that God puts government on earth to punish evildoers. (5) Not good-doers. Evildoers.

HANNITY: I’m just gotten, thanks to my wife, who you know, you know, been reading the Old Testament. Because as a good Catholic growing up, I studied more the New Testament.

WARREN: Just ignored that part.

HANNITY: I ignored the Old Testament. But what about King David? What about the — all the battles, all the conflict, you know, going back – – you know, Abraham — Adam and Eve and their children, going forward? (6)

WARREN: The point is, there are some things worth dying for. There’s no doubt about that. And I would die for my family. I would die for my freedom. I would die for this country.

HANNITY: If somebody broke into your house, you would be justified to kill them?

WARREN: I would be justified to protect my family. Absolutely. (7)

HANNITY: And if it took killing them?

WARREN: Absolutely.

HANNITY: But it’s not murder at that point?

WARREN: No. Murder is not self-defense.

1-So we assassinate people for having crazy theories now?

2- Ahmadinejad actually never said this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_and_Israel#.22Wiped_off_the_map.22_controversy

But  a spokesperson for the Israeli PM in 2009 did say that we should “Think Amalek” in regards to a nuclear Iran. God told the Israelite to kill every single Amalekite, even the women and children.

3-Is actually not. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

4-Really? Where?

5-So, the Nazi and Communists governments were put there by God to punish evildoers?

6–Hey, are we still under Old Testament principles? Because I want 700 wives and 300 concubines, just like Solomon.

7-You know, just like Jesus did.

Taliban Atheists

So the latest attempt by militant atheists to rid the world of the scourge of religion is the attempted removal of a statue of Christ on Big Mountain in Montana. Besides sporting the most boring name for a natural feature ever, the mountain is host to a statue of Jesus that atheists feel is somehow oppressing them.

The mere reminder that someone has a belief in something different than themselves is enough to incense the atheists, who are always claiming how evil religion is for being so intolerant, and they will show the religious the error of their ways by being…intolerant.

It’s hard to see what the problem is. It’s not like it’s this thing:

No, the statue on Big Mountain is six feet tall. But apparently, it so fills atheists with rage that they have to bring it down. Fortunately they won’t just blow it up like the Taliban did with those giant Buddhas. They’re trying to use legislation, because you know, they’re civilized.

How thin are the skins of these people, really? What’s next? Are they going to try to get churches closed down because they feel that the mere sight of one is somehow the imposition of religion on their fragile psyches?

Of course, atheists feel that religion is always being “shoved down their throats” (they seem to love that rather homoerotic phrase,) due to Christians trying to legislate morality. It’s OK to attack Christians because “they started it!”

Hey, pal.

We didn’t start it. You did. We had morality in this country. You took it away. You OK’d abortion, you put porn everywhere. You push alternative lifestyles and evolution. So don’t give me any of that crap. You fired the first shots, and now you’re bringing it to the next level.

I’m willing  to be non-obnoxious, non-emotional and non-vindictive about my faith. Are you willing to be the same with your atheism? Do we have a truce?

Addendum: So I looked this thing up to see if maybe the statue was on public land and therefore a violation of the First Amendment, and it turns out that the Knights of Columbus rent that space from the Feds. So they can put whatever they want on it. And it looks like the statue is staying for now. 

Mawwiage is what bwings us togever

The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapter 5) has some interesting ideas about marriage. I’m also currently reading the Kama Sutra, the guide to love and marriage from India. It claims that people should get married at 16. I’m trying to imagine how that would go over in this country. I don’t think our 16-year-olds are mature enough. We coddle everyone and keep them from having to take any real responsibility as long as possible.

When I went to India, they thought it strange and sad that I was not married at 30. They still have many arranged marriages there, and most people are happy with the situation. Families are closely-knit, villages know one another, and everyone has a pretty good idea what a person’s character is like, and what other person in the village would make an ideal mate.

Of course, they get busy making babies right away. Child-bearing is an honor and a privilege to them. If a 16 or 17-year old gets pregnant in America, it’s considered shameful and low-classed. The baby is frequently given away to be raised by people who do not share the same personality as the parents and therefore do not know how to raise it properly. If the baby is even kept, that is. A pregnancy is often looked at as a cramp on a person’s style-there is money to be made, goals to be pursued, the self to be actualized.

The people of India believe in monogamy and faithfulness as well. Great steps are taken to insure such things; most Indian women will not talk to a man who is not a relative or their husband, and in rural areas, most women rarely venture outside the home. They cook, clean, raise the children and so forth, things that Western women often consider burdensome and oppressive.

Jesus’ teachings on the subject seem more in line with India than America. In Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 27, he preaches against adultery-pointing out that adultery begins in the heart, and with the eye. The connection between male lust and visual stimulation is without question, but Jesus takes it one step further. He says that when a man lusts after a woman, he has committed adultery with her in his heart. With her. As in, a mutual act. If lust=sex, then both parties are responsible. Otherwise, it would be rape, not adultery.

Now, this just seems unfair. A woman can’t help it if someone lusts after her.

Jesus goes on to say in verse 31 that cheating is the only grounds for divorce. What about domestic abuse? What if you don’t love the person anymore?

I would volunteer that relationships also qualify as “marriage” in this sense. People didn’t “date” in the ancient world. Most people were married. There is very little explanation in Scripture as to what marriage is. “A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” (Mark 10:7) That’s it. If you don’t live at home anymore and are having sex with someone, you’re married, in the eyes of God. That gives you a whole new perspective, doesn’t it? Some people have been “married” hundreds of times.

To Christians, all sexual fulfillment outside of marriage is considered sin. The Pope recently stirred outrage when he said that even fulfilling lust with your spouse was a sin. I suppose he meant that a married couple having sex with one another should do so only out of love and not desire. Good luck trying to accomplish that bit of moral acrobatics. (Mmm, honey, that was a great meal. I’m going to show my appreciation by doing the Beijing Bicycle with you. But you better not enjoy it.”)

 

Everything You Know About the End of the World is Wrong, Part 3 (Final)

I was going to make this a 7-part series, but apparently, nobody cares. That’s a shame, because it’s all about to get very timely. Either the US or Israel are probably going to bomb Iran late this year or early next, and the majority of Protestants think that it’s God’s will and possibly even the beginning of Armageddon, and they are glad about that. It should give us all pause that wars are still being justified using a book of unproven stories whose main character mostly preached peace and love.

Now, of course, there are all kinds of rationalizations for this action-terrorism, economics, Iran’s saber-rattling, etc., but the war on Islam would not have the same teeth if it were not for the group of people that the late Hunter S. Thompson called, “The bombs-and-Jesus crowd.”

This group, mostly comprised of evangelicals, takes every piece of news that comes down the pike as evidence of Jesus’ immanent return, and where they can’t bend current events to line up to Biblical prophecy, they will just plain make it up. Every president since Reagan has been called the Anti-Christ, every natural or man-made disaster is one of the Tribulation judgments, and every piece of technology that comes out is a tool of Satan that will be used to persecute Christians. (My favorite is the theory that says that “W” in “computer language” means “6,” so that WWW (as in, World Wide Web) means 666, or the Devil’s number. Simply by using the Internet, you are damning your soul forever. Of course, I read about this on a website.)

I don’t know what to make of all of this, these people who are so eager to wade through the rivers of blood that will flow from the corpses piled up in the Valley of Megiddo,  who think that when Jesus said he was “coming back with clouds,” he probably meant mushroom clouds. They don’t want the lost to be saved so much as slaughtered so they can dance for Jesus on their graves.

I’m not going to get into a discussion on Middle East politics, except to point out that Christians are backing Israel to the tune of billions per year, all based on a misreading of the 38th and 39th chapters of Ezekiel.

These chapters describe a large multinational army that sweeps out of the north to invade Israel and gets defeated by God. The prophecy lists the nations involved, including the ethnic peoples and tribes they descended from, and because some of the descendants those peoples happened to be located in Russia during the time of Communism, Christians believed for half a century that Russia was going to invade Israel, despite any logical reason for doing do. It made sense for a while. Russia was invading everybody. Just to make sure everyone bought the “Commies vs. God” routine, Biblical “scholars” deliberately mistranslated some of the tribal names to match names of cities all over Russia.

Of course, this all became moot with the fall of Communism, but never underestimate the ability and willingness of “Christians” to once again doctor the facts to raise some money. Pastor John Hagee, who has taken up the mantle of Hal Lindsey and then some, has assured us that it is militant Islam who will be invading Israel (this despite Israel’s 300 nuclear weapons and state-of-the-art American missiles, radar, jets and tanks.)

“On February 7, 2006, Hagee and 400 leaders from the Christian and Jewish communities formed a new national organization called Christians United for Israel (CUFI).This organization addresses members of the United States Congress, professing a Biblical justification for the defense of Israel.“-Wikipedia.

I think Israel can defend themselves pretty well. They don’t need to fear a land invasion utilizing horsemen from Ethiopia, Iran and the ethnic peoples around the Caspian Sea, as outlined in Ezekiel.

 

I Know Kung Fu

It’s my opinion that “The Matrix” is the greatest religious film ever made, because it conveys the central truths that are found in every major religion in the world;  that there is another dimension of life that we are separated from but desperately seek, that there is power to meet our inmost needs, that such power is obtained by belief, that there is a war going on between those who would have us experience this new life and those that would have us remain as we are, and that there is One who is like us but is also more, and he has come to show us the way. Religions provide:

1. Hope for the present.
2. The promise of life after death
3. The belief in something bigger than ourselves
4. The idea that there is meaning and order to existence.

I would propose that believing that these things are possible is somehow necessary; there would have never been a purpose to invent them otherwise. The question is: are they true? And the answer is: no one knows. No one can conclusively prove or disprove the existence of God, or anything about him. And, that, I believe, is completely intentional. Whether religion is a cunningly constructed device designed by humans to control the masses or if it represents a divine plan, it absolutely requires a number of elements that must be accepted on faith.

The reasons for this are not clear to me. Perhaps it is some kind of test from the Almighty. Perhaps He requires some type of sacrifice of intellect, to accept things as true which are not provable. If we saw God just hanging out in the sky every day, looking down on us, it would cause us to believe, and probably obey, but it wouldn’t carry the same weight as if we believed and obeyed when He might not be real.

The Bible makes it pretty clear that faith is required of us:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, and this through faith. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Logical reasoning is a “work.” 

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Christianity isn’t something that you prove to atheists with logic and empirical evidence, despite the many books being published on the subject (Evidence That Demands a Verdict, The Case for Christ.) The reason is twofold: God commands us to be saved by faith, not human effort, and if we depend on history, archeology, paleontology, or even just good old reasoning, what happens to our faith when we run into someone with a better argument? It crumbles. If you read books other than those found at your local Bible book store, you will run into arguments that are more logical than Christianity. You’ll be forced to deny what reason tells you.

In The Matrix, Neo visits the Oracle, where he encounters children who are trying to bend spoons with their minds. One of them says to him, “Don’t try to use your mind to bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead, tell yourself: ‘There is no spoon.’”

Christians need to stop trying to “bend the spoon” of logic and accept that there isn’t a spoon. 

Why Do Christians Play the Atheist’s Game?

It occurred to me the other day that there are probably two reasons that people are atheists. The first is that most atheists (and even agnostics ) are intellectuals and as such, adhere to principles of logic and proof. “Prove God to us,” they say, “and we will believe.” They can rest in the knowledge that such a thing is impossible, so they believe that this removes them from having to accept any religious teaching whatsoever. They find comfort in that which is knowable through the five senses and/or logically deducible from given data. The other, deeper motivation is that they have an emotional attachment to their world view; the idea of God as presented by religions offends and upsets them. His followers are hypocritical, prayers to Him go unanswered, and His laws seem burdensome and contrary to human nature.

Two glaring problems with the atheist’s challenge (“prove God to me, and I will believe,”) are immediately evident: the first is that he or she believes that they can dictate the terms of an interaction with a Supreme Being. In effect, they are saying, “I will follow your precepts, God, if you do as I say and make yourself known to me.” Should God turn out to be real, this arrogance could not possibly hope to do anything but offend Him. The atheist’s demand of evidence is therefore predicated on the supposition that there is no God, which means, of course, that the atheist has decided ahead of time what the truth is, because otherwise he would not be so bold. The atheist is not following the principles of objective hypothesis and observation. The other problem is that the atheist has is that he is utilizing a faulty definition of belief. “Prove to me God exists and I will believe.” The very definition of belief excludes proof. If one could prove God, it would not be belief, it would be knowledge. The atheist should say, “Prove to me God exists, and I will know it.” It is the Christian (or Muslim, or Hindu, etc.) who exercises the correct definition of faith-an idea without proof. This is consistent with the scriptures of the various religions, which do not attempt to prove anything but ask for blind faith.

It’s amusing, then to watch Christians busily attempting to answer the atheist’s challenge, trying to prove God instead of simply promoting belief. Creation “science,” historical accounts of Christ, religious artifacts such as the Shroud of Turin-all of these types of things have been and are going to continue to be proven false or inconclusive. Somehow, this never shakes the faith of Christians-if tomorrow, the tomb of Christ was found with a skeleton in it, and all evidence proved 100% that it was He-no true Christian would abandon his faith. They would say it was a trick of the Devil, or a test of faith from God, anything to keep their belief system and its attendant emotional needs alive. They would require no proof. And yet, they seem intent on proving God to the atheist-even though God has said that it is faith that saves us. It seems that Christians will engage in any kind of contradictory behavior to achieve an end result, or perhaps they just need something to do.
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