On Jan. 4, 1861, a Catholic bishop named Rev. A. Verot ascended a pulpit in The Church of St. Augustine, Florida, and defended the right of white people to own slaves.
The apostle Paul, Verot claimed in his sermon, instructs slaves to obey their masters as a “necessary means of salvation.” Quoting Colossians 3:22, he said, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not serving to the eye, as pleasing men, but in simplicity of heart, fearing God.”
It’s no secret that hundreds of Christian pastors like Verot used the Bible during the Civil War to justify slavery. But the massacre last week of nine black people inside Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, has once again forced white Christians in America to re-examine the white church’s historical ties to racism — and how hateful rhetoric like Verot’s had more power because it came from the pulpit.
White Christians in the South didn’t just support slavery — the Southern church was the backbone of the Confederacy and its attempts to keep African Americans in bondage, according to Harry Stout, Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University.
“If you pull the church out of the whole equation, it’s highly likely that there never would have been a Civil War,” Stout told The Huffington Post. “Southern clergy had no doubt that slavery was not a sin.”
After they lost the war, white Southerners and their religious leaders tried to recast it by observing the “religion of the lost cause” — arguing that the South fought righteously not to keep slaves in chains, but to fight for states’ rights or to protect themselves from Northern aggression. As part of this “lost cause” religion, they began to idolize fallen Confederate war heroes and celebrate the Confederate flag.
First of all, I promise you that this will, in all likelihood be my only posted page about Josh Duggar. There’s already plenty of commentary out there on this situation and I have no desire to continue beating a dead horse.
There is one aspect of the situation that I do want to talk about though.
Much has been made of the fact that several months before Jim Bob Duggar went to police he talked to the Elders at his Church to address what Josh had done.
It’s herein we have a problem. As many of you already know, I’m a Christian. Now, I’ll be the first one to say that a lot of so called “Christians” get so many things about the faith and in particular, what Jesus himself said and did, completely wrong and mangled.
This is one of those (unfortunately far too many) times.
When making decisions, a religious person typically takes into effect his religious beliefs as well as human laws. Sometimes they are in agreement. For example, both the Ten Commandments and most of codes of law condemn murder as an immoral act.
Other times the picture is not so clear. What’s acceptable in the Bible may not be acceptable in human law (for example slavery). Or what’s acceptable in human law may be see as immoral by the Bible (for example bisexuality).
Now the Duggars went to the Church first, so they clearly felt that regardless of what it said about this particular situation, God’s law took precedence.
Setting aside for a moment the multiple condemnations of sexual immorality in the Bible, let’s take a look at what the good book says about following human authority.
We’ll start in the Ten Commandments. What is generally considered the 5th Commandment states:
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Obviously, our mother and father are our usually prime earthly authority for the first 18 years of our lives.
When it comes to matters of following the law there’s oft quoted words of Jesus pertaining to paying taxes in Matthew 19:
Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
But that’s not all. Now, let’s look at the writing of the Apostle Paul in Romans 13:1
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Suddenly the Duggars going to the Church first and not the police is starting to look like a really bad move…but we’re not finished.
From Titus 3
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.
And finally, we come back to Jesus himself and what is generally regarded as the greatest of all commands He gave. From John 13:34:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
When you love someone, you do whatever you can to protect them, to keep them safe, to keep them healthy, to make them flourish. This is ESPECIALLY true of Children.
At this point I think we can safely say the Duggars have failed on multiple levels here.
Personally, I understand the difference between Church authorities and the authorities of Law. Let’s say I committed a violent crime and decided to turn myself in. Obviously I’d go to the nearest police station to do such a thing BEFORE engaging my Church leadership, knowing full well I’d face consequences from both parties.
That is the logical thing to do. That’s the moral thing to do.
Heck, that’s even the BIBLICAL thing to do!
From anti-vaxxers to faith healers to anti-LGBT bakeries, there’s no shortage of folks who think that earthly laws shouldn’t apply to them because the Bible tells them otherwise, but nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s a very simple and obvious reality: When a serious crime has been committed, the first reaction of a Christian who truly follows Jesus should be to go to the POLICE, not the Church.
From just about any angle you look at this, secular or religious, the Duggars messed this up…badly.
Right wing columnist, and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer has spent some time and come up with some questions that he would like to get the 2016 Democratic presidential nominees to answer. He apparently thinks they’re really smart and that liberals would have trouble answering them. I’m not running for president, and I don’t feel like I would be the most qualified person for the job. That said, I’m still going to have some fun answering each of them.
The 2016 presidential campaign season has begun in earnest, and so has the season of presidential gotcha journalism — at least it has for Republicans.
Gotcha journalism is the attempt by journalists to ask questions that make interview subjects seem uncompassionate, incompetent or otherwise unqualified for office.
Sometimes, gotcha questions really do reveal a lot about the candidate — their values, policy prescriptions and other things that provide citizens with a window into their character or competency.
More often, however, gotcha questions aren’t directly relevant to the duties of the office the candidate is seeking and thus are seen as coming from a hidden agenda.
Ironically the fact that you would even consider asking many of the questions you came up with, especially given how you worded some of them, shows us that you’re not really that compassionate yourself. Personally I’m glad you won’t be running for office, and I hope that none of the GOP candidates that think like you win in 2016.
I’ll confess to a degree of ambivalence when it comes to political gotcha questions. Perhaps it is because I recognize that they are disproportionately asked of conservative candidates, and meant only to embarrass them.
You should actually be embarrassed by the fact that you would even consider asking a presidential candidate some of the questions you want to ask. Spoiler alert, as you might have guessed by my title, many of them are going to be really stupid.
Recently, Republican presidential candidates have been asked whether they would attend a same-sex marriage, whether they believe in evolution, and whether they would outlaw contraceptives. Before that, there were gotcha questions about infidelity, the use of illegal drugs, and which newspapers they liked to read.
Sorry but many of those actually are really good questions. For example, since evolution is a scientific fact, with so much data backing it up, asking whether or not a candidate believes in it, is relevant. It gives us a good idea as to just how educated he/she is, and if he/she completely rejects reality. We don’t want someone in office who would make decisions based on pseudoscience. He/she would be much more likely to do that if he/she believes in nonsense like creationism. We also want someone in office who understands why it isn’t a good idea for us to teach that evolution is “just a theory” in our schools.
In the interests of fairness, here is a list of questions honest journalists should consider asking Democratic candidates, especially those running for president.
When does life begin? And when does that life become a human person deserving of constitutional rights?
A ) Technically life does in fact begin at conception, however we are not yet people until we start to become self aware. A zygote ( when the baby is just a clump of cells ) clearly isn’t capable of personhood yet. It may be alive, but its not self aware, and it cannot make decisions for itself. Its wrong to kill a baby after its born, because, first off, its never going to put its mother’s life in danger. Second the baby can feel pain. Last but not least, even through its not as aware as it will be as an adult or even a child, it is far more aware than when he/she first started growing in their mother’s womb.
You say you support women’s right to make their own reproductive choices. Do you support any limits on abortion? Third-trimester abortions? Abortions of fetuses who can feel pain or live outside their mother’s womb? Abortions specifically targeting unborn girls?
A ) I do have somewhat of a problem with abortion in general, but only because in an ideal world, they would never be necessary. Every single pregnancy in that ideal world, would be wanted, and the mother’s well being would never depend on terminating it. Abortion thus wouldn’t be an issue at all, but we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a universe where women can get pregnant from being brutally raped, contrary to what some ignorant politicians might say. Women can even die from complications in their pregnancy.
I don’t think it would be a good idea to ban abortion, even if we include exceptions for rape, and the life of the mother. Even ignoring a women’s right to choose, outlawing abortion, does little to actually stop abortion, for the most part, it just harms women. Increasing the availability of contraception and supporting comprehensive sex education, ( not abstinence only which has been shown to never work ) does far more to lower the number of abortions than outlawing it. If you really want to limit the number of abortions, that’s what you should be doing instead.
Do you believe nuns should be forced to buy birth control or face crippling fines? Do you support the Obama administration’s health care mandates that force people of faith to subsidize abortion and life-ending drugs and devices or face the force of law?
A ) No one who isn’t going to use birth control should be forced to buy it for themselves. Other than that the answer to everyone one of those questions is a yes. The Hobby Lobby decision was wrong and religious business owners, or any business owners shouldn’t be able to force their values onto their employees.
What do you think should happen to private business people with strong and deeply held religious beliefs who choose not to serve at a gay wedding? Should they be driven out of business? Should they be bullied into compliance, perhaps through some sort of re-education program?
A ) Private business owners who refuse to serve gay people are like private business owners who think they shouldn’t have to serve black people. They’re bigots, regardless of their religion. If people could use their religion to get around the 1964 civil rights act, we would still see “whites only” signs on business across the South, and even in other parts of the country. Would you like to see racists who think that the Bible forbids interracial marriage, be able to refuse to serve mixed race couples? Should people who refuse to serve gays be driven out of business? Yes. Should they be made to comply with anti discrimination laws? Yes. As long as what your customers want to do with the product that you’re selling isn’t against the law, its none of your business. Gays and lesbians are not harming Christians or anyone by simply existing. Having to obey the same laws as everyone else and serve them doesn’t persecute you.
Of course I don’t support forcing homophobes into some re-education program. We didn’t need to force Southerners into re-education camps during integration, to make them change their minds about black people.
Does the liberal virtue of tolerance include tolerance for those who oppose gay marriage?
A ) If I come across someone on the street who opposes gay marriage, I will tell them that their opposition is misguided. That said, the government doesn’t have the right to force them to change their views. Forcing them to obey anti discrimination laws and sell wedding cakes to gay or lesbian couples, isn’t the same thing. Homosexual business owners shouldn’t be allowed to refuse service to a homophobic fundamentalist Christian couple either.
Many of your supporters consider those who believe in the traditional view of marriage as the union of a man and a woman bigots, akin to racists. Do you agree with this view? If so, how do you reconcile this with the fact that you opposed gay marriage until very recently?
A ) I would say I was wrong, but most of society agreed with me at the time. It is bigotry to oppose marriage equality. The fact that most people didn’t support gay marriage until recently doesn’t change that. The fact that most Americans opposed the right of interracial couples to get married until the later half of the twentieth century doesn’t make that any less bigoted either. Many of the arguments put forth by modern day marriage equality opponents today, are very similar to the ones people used against interracial marriage, and are just as invalid.
A question specifically for Hillary Clinton: Do you still believe, as you said you did until quite recently, that marriage is “not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman a fundamental bedrock principle”?
A ) I’m not Hillary, but assuming she said that I would imagine that her views have changed to include same sex couples. Thankfully, she seems to support marriage equality now, hopefully not just to get more people to vote for her.
Another question for Hillary: In the 2008 campaign, you suggested Americans would not be able to sleep well at night knowing that Barack Obama would be the one taking an emergency 3 a.m. phone call to the White House about a foreign policy crisis. Based on your conduct in the Benghazi affair, do you think voters have reason to doubt your ability to protect Americans from foreign threats?
A ) Not sure how I would answer that question if I were Hillary, however, she could point out that she didn’t have anything to do with what happened in Benghazi.
You say that you are a person of faith. When is the last time you attended a church to worship? Would you attend a service in a church that did not support gay marriage or abortion?
A ) How do you know if the person you’re addressing is a Christian to begin with? Most likely he / she is given that most Americans are, but couldn’t he / she belong to another faith assuming they are religious? Also the number of times someone went to church or temple or whatever, isn’t relevant to whether or not they would make a good president. I’m not a Christian, my beliefs actually come closer to deism than anything else, ( not really sure I qualify as that either through ). If I were a Christian, given how I feel about those things, I’d still have a hard time in a church where the pastor railed against “the evils” of homosexuality and abortion. Even so, I wouldn’t support taking away the rights of anyone to go to any church they wanted, even if it opposed those things. The Catholic Church is officially anti gay marriage, anti abortion and anti birth control. That said, there are Catholics who are pro marriage equality, pro choice, and pro birth control. Are they any less Catholic or any less Christian, for having those views? Its not for the government to decide who are the “true followers,” of any particular faith.
As a Christian, do you believe in the biblical account of creation? How do you reconcile that account with your belief in evolution?
A ) Again I wouldn’t call myself a Christian, but evolution isn’t incompatible with Christianity. There are plenty of Christians that see no conflict between evolution and their faith. The only Christians who have a problem with it, are the ones who insist in a literal interpretation of the Bible. I’m sorry if you don’t like to hear this, but a belief in things like a six thousand year old Earth are demonstrably false. While a young Earth has been debunked long ago, there is plenty of evidence for an ancient Earth that’s billions of years old.
The scientific consensus is overwhelming. The vast majority of scientists, especially in relevant fields of study, accept the theory of evolution, regardless of what religion that they happen to belong to. The people who call themselves “scientists,” who believe in some form of creationism, on the other hand, are usually either frauds like Kent Hovind or not someone in a relevant field, assuming they actually are scientists at all.
Do you believe that the American people are undertaxed? Which taxes do you want to raise? Name two taxes you would cut?
A ) Hmm… You actually came up with your first good one.
You won’t like my answer Mr. Bauer, but the rich, especially the one percent need to pay their fair share. They’re not paying enough into the system. Trickled down economics is bunk, so to expect cutting taxes for the wealthy to be some magic bullet that will always improve the economy is wrong. It doesn’t work that way. I don’t really know what federal taxes if any should be cut in particular, right now. However, government provides valuable services with the money it collects via taxes. Both guns ( the military ) and butter ( social services ) are important. We also need to spend more money on scientific research. If we’re going to cut taxes we’ll need to first cut wasteful spending on things that we don’t need. Than we can think about cutting taxes.
In fairness, this question about taxes, might actually be a “gotcha question” since candidates including the ones running as Democrats might have a hard time answering it honestly without upsetting their big donors.
Is America facing a severe threat from radical Islam? If not, what is the nature of the threat from terrorists?
A ) No the threat from Islamists to the United States has been exaggerated. They’re not the ones who are going to turn our country into a theocratic dictatorship, if it ever happens. Americans will not, in significant numbers support implementing sharia law. Despite this, right now there are massive fears of Sharia being implemented in the United States, which are utterly baseless and have been used to justify bigotry against Muslims. Muslim are a tiny minority in this country, about zero point nine percent of our population in 2014. While that is higher than in the past, its still pretty low. It wouldn’t be possible for them to take over and turn the country into a theocracy, even if each and every one of them wanted to, and most of them do not.
Christian fundamentalists are the ones who are currently violating the first amendment trying to impose their religion on students in our public schools. Just one recent example. A while back, a Buddhist student was subjected to a class where the teacher taught a fundamentalist form of Christianity, and pressured him to worship Jesus, even through that’s a clear cut violation of the establishment clause. Mr. Bauer, If you care so much about threats to our freedom, why aren’t you more concerned with fanatics like Bryan Fischer? He literally expects us to believe that the first amendment applies only to Christians ( most likely only to his version of Christianity ) and that people have no right to practice any other faith in America. He even has a blog at the American Family Association, which despite being monitored as a hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is still respected by many conservative Republicans.
Also, do you believe that all terrorists are Muslims? Most domestic terrorists are not and have never been Muslims. Why shouldn’t we be more concerned with the threat from far right domestic terrorists? They’re just as real as terrorists who operate in the name of Islam, foreign or domestic.
Name two decisions that President Obama has made or policies he has implemented that you disagree with, and explain why.
A ) That’s the second question you asked that’s actually good and might challenge the presidential nominee. However two out of thirteen “gotcha questions” so far, qualifying as “gotcha questions” isn’t doing too well. Fine, three out of thirteen if you count the one for Hillary about Benghazi, but only because it might pose somewhat of a problem for her. Still not doing too well Mr. Bauer.
So let me see? Can I think of two specific Obama policies that I disagree with and why?
His perpetual drone strike policy seems to have backfired, and has actually led to more radicalism and hatred of the US. Beyond that, most of the people killed by our drones haven’t been the bad guys, but innocent civilians instead. I know we need to fight wars and we want to keep our troops out of harms way as much as possible, but we really need to come up with an alternative to these drone strikes, unless we find a way to drastically reduce the amount of collateral damage.
Not as egregious, but I really wish Obama had come out in favor of marriage equality sooner. I’ve got to give him credit for doing it eventually, but he took a bit too long, and it would have been nice if he could have openly supported it from day one.
Which conservative publications do you read or news outlets do you consume? How do you ensure that you are exposed to the best arguments of those with whom you disagree?
A ) I don’t read too many conservative publications ever since I stopped being a conservative, but that entire time I was exposed to what conservatives thought on a daily basis. Interestingly, unlike many of the conservative websites, the left wing blogs that I read, usually link back to the original commentary or video when they try to refute a conservative’s ideas.
That was actually another decent “gotcha question,” but that’s still only four out of fourteen at best, and that was your last question.
Most people would call the questions above tough and incisive but not out of bounds. Too bad so many politicians feel they can brush them aside simply by labeling them “gotcha questions.”
Actually I would say that most people outside of the Right, at least, would call a majority of them “not very good questions.” With some exceptions they could easily be answered by liberal or progressive candidates.
That’s not right. Political candidates — especially those seeking to become leader of the free world — should be able to answer any question, so long as it is at least somewhat relevant to the job he or she is seeking.
Which is something on which I agree.
So ask away, journalists. But let’s give Democrats the same treatment you give Republicans.
Go right ahead. If you or one of your fellow conservative Republicans want to ask a Democratic nominee one or more of these questions, go ahead. You might not like their answers but they’ll probably be able to answer most of them more easily than you think. Most of them really aren’t very good “gotcha questions”
Looks like no one who accepts the reality that we’re ruining the planet with carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse can avoid the wrath of the anti science climate change deniers. Even anti theists should defend the Pope in this instance. He’s doing the right thing, unless you don’t care about the future of the planet, or the future of humanity. George Dvorsky reports.
Earlier today, Pope Francis met with the UN Secretary-General to share his concerns about climate change — a meeting that did not go unnoticed by the Heartland Institute, a right-wing American organization known for its global warming skepticism.
Pope Francis met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the upcoming Paris summit on climate change, a crucially important confab that some experts fear is the last good chance to forge a plan on carbon emissions and set limits to rising temperatures. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences also met with the UN Secretariat and some important NGOs to discuss climate change and other issues. During the meeting, the academy challenged politicians to end their “infatuation” with a mode of economic growth that’s destroying the planet.
Oh man, the religious right, is going to hate Brittney Cooper if they ever read this. She debunks the idea that being a Christian means that you will automatically support their extreme hate filled, Un-American agenda. I’ll bet that Bryan Fischer would never consider her a “true Christian” and would persecute her, if he ever got his way. Cooper is not someone people like him would like. She supports genuine religious freedom for people of all faiths, She’s a feminist and she supports the rights of people in our gay and lesbian community to be who they are.
Michele Bachmann, Mike Pence, Mike Huckabee (Credit: AP/Reuters/Susan Walsh/Michael Conroy/Joe Skipper/Photo montage by Salon)
Just in time for Holy Week, the State of Indiana has passed a new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law explicitly permits for-profit corporations from practicing the “free exercise of religion” and it allows them to use the “exercise of religion” as a defense against any lawsuits whether from the government or from private entities. The primary narrative against this law has been about the potential ways that small businesses owned by Christians could invoke it as a defense against having to, for instance, sell flowers to a gay couple for their wedding.
Any time right-wing conservatives declare that they are trying to restore or reclaim something, we should all be very afraid. Usually, this means the country or, in this case, the state of Indiana is about to be treated to another round of backward time travel, to the supposedly idyllic environs of the 1950s, wherein women, and gays, and blacks knew their respective places and stayed in them. While the unspoken religious subtext of this law is rooted in conservative anxieties over the legalization of same-sex marriage in Indiana, Black people and women, and all the intersections thereof (for instance Black lesbians) should be very afraid of what this new law portends.
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby decision that corporations could exercise religious freedom, which means that corporations can deny insurance coverage for birth control. Now this same logic is being used to curtail and abridge the right of gay people to enjoy the same freedoms and legal protections that heterosexual citizens enjoy.
Man arrested over racist rant on Wellington bus
5:20 PM Sunday Mar 29, 2015
A Lower Hutt man has been arrested after a video of a racist rant on a Wellington bus against two young men who appeared to be Muslim was published online.
The incident happened on an NZ Bus in the Lower Hutt suburb of Naenae on Wednesday morning.
The footage, shot by an Iraqi Muslim woman sitting behind the man, shows the man calling out to the pair and accusing them of being “Islam c***s” and “shooting innocent people”.
“Go back to your own country,” he said.
One woman on the bus stood up for the young men and called out “welcome to New Zealand” to them before telling the man to behave himself.
The man then repeatedly told the woman to “shut your mouth up b****”.
Police today said they had identified and arrested a 66-year-old Lower Hutt man in relation to the incident.
Someone needs to tell the old white man that this isn’t 1960s New Zealand anymore.
If we accept the idea of Orthopraxy over Orthodoxy, then what does evangelism look like? What is the Witness of those who try to follow the Way of Christ Jesus?
To evangelize is to spread the good news that we claim to believe. It is also, when done in the usual old fashioned manner, the most absolutely hated thing about Christians by non-Christians. We live in a post Enlightenment world and thumping on a bible with claims of fire and brimstone are not going to convince an educated Millennial of anything but our insanity. To try and use the old words to convey what we see as the reality of Jesus is doomed to failure in the first world because the have no reason to believe. When we try to cite the bible to a non-believer, it might just as well be Bullfinch’s Mythology. They know the stories - the myths of Noah, David & Jesus - but those stories have as much meaning to them and their lives as the myths of Athena, Ares & Zeus.
So if talking and threatening no longer work, what can?
This is where the apocryphal statement attributed to St Francis of Assisi - “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words” - shows it’s stark truth. This goes to the heart of the problem of evangelism in the modern world.
Jesus, as a good Jewish man in 1st century Roman Palestine, taught how to live a good, godly, life. And his example, his Witness to God, is what has been passed down to us as the Good News. He lived as he preached and it was the doing that came first. He healed and helped all that he could where ever he was. As I noted earlier, he did not tell people “Imagine how nice it will be in heaven” rather he did all that he could - healing the blind and the lepers - here and now.
And he taught us by his example
- by his Witness -
how it is to live a godly life.
Look at your TV. Count the people on it who claim to be Christian. When you get to 100 pause and consider them. Most will be people who loudly claim to know God’s will for all and that we must follow their teaching or there will be (literally) hell to pay. If you’re lucky, out of that hundred, you might see 2? perhaps even 5? that actually live the Way of Jesus? The ones who actually give Witness to God rather than to the dictates of their wallet?
For that majority, their words are put to the lie by the lives they live, the actions they call “good”, and that more than any other reason is why so many Millennials are rightfully walking away from the church. Possibly as much as 99% of current evangelism is based on the arrogant presumption that they are - no, make that we are - the only doorway to God even though so very few of these ministers have ever walked through that doorway themselves.
Instead of worrying about what to believe or concentrating on things indifferent such as who should be allowed to love each other, we need to go back to the beginning and live the lives of radical love that our messiah taught us to live. The Way that is his example, his Witness, of a love so radical and expansive that even death could not end it.
But is it radical and expansive enough to survive the modern church choking the life out of it?
The early Christian book, the Didache, gives one example of how to organize a small faith community in such a manner as to enable everyone to live the Way to the best of their ability. In such small communities, the church, at it’s best, becomes a support group in it’s corporate worship, helping it’s members to perfect the real worship of God - the living of good and loving lives helping and loving anyone and everyone by living the Way of Jesus in this world. This world. Again - This. World. Not the next. Imagine there is no heaven and you’ll be closer to it than you ever were before.
In this modern world, the young & the Millennials see very little called Christianity that is not venial, deceitful and, yes, even evil. They see practitioners of bigotry, greed, lust, and every other unrepentant sin and heresy who proclaim that they are the most Excellent of all possible Christians. And can we be surprised that the young take them at their word and flee to agnosticism and atheism in a God given moment of spiritual self defense?
Why shouldn’t they if the rest of us who claim to believe in the Lord and his teachings do not stand up and call out those who are Christian in name only and do not oppose their multitude of modern heresies such as the “Prosperity Gospel” or a so-called “Pro-Life” agenda that simply means forcing the birth of children they are quite willing to then let die in one way or another?
To Evangelize - to spread the good news we claim to believe today - requires us to to live the Way we proclaim to be good. It requires us to bear Witness by our lives rather than by our words to the love of God in the world. It requires us attempt, as best we can, to lift the yoke of Jesus ourselves and learn that it is not so hard a thing when all are working together for the greater good of the world.
Our words are without meaning - a noisy gong if you will - if we do not live the Way. We have talked till we are blue in the face. We have thumped our bibles to no avail. We have seen that this does no good. If we do not have an example - a Witness - to show why this is a good way of life, to provide an empirical example of what others can stand to gain by living the same way, then it is meaningless. It does no one any good if the only example that people have is that of those who claim to be Christians one moment but then piss on the gospel the next.
Faith without works is a dead thing.
Evangelism without an example is dead as well.
Until that changes, until there is a real Witness to the way of life that is of Jesus and God in this world with no concern for the next, the church will continue its rapid decline to irrelevance.
Only when there is an example provided will Evangelism be anything other than the dirtiest word in Christianity.
reasonablefaith.org - Atheists Trying to Have Their Cake and Eat It Too on Morality. This video shows that when an atheist denies objective morality they also affirm moral good and evil without the thought of any contradiction or inconsistency on their part.
William Lane Craig is a very intelligent man but also extremely committed to Christian apologetics, to the point where he says stuff like this (timestamp 2:01):
That’s my argument, that’s all moral values are, on atheism, and that therefore as I say, rape, child abuse, these may be socially inconvenient, or taboo… [crosstalk] … What I’m arguing is that without God there is [sic] no absolute moral values, no absolute moral duties. […] So the pedophile, or the rapist, or the psycopath, or the person who wants to be a religiously intolerant persecutor is just acting out of fashion, he’s like the person who belches at a meal.
The real danger with people like Craig is that he loves his sophistry but is actually a competent philosopher, which means he can legitimately wipe the floor with non-philosophically-inclined scientists if they debate him.
Except that he never gives any reason, in these discussions, why God is the only conceivable source of moral value, he just asserts it and also asserts that “it’s far from obvious” that any other explanation is true. Which is great debating, really makes you think /s
Another fun bit of rhetorical slight of hand: he equivocates pedophilia, rape, psycopathy (I assume this really means psycho killers), and… religious intolerance…? *cough* One of these things is on a sliding scale that ain’t like the others.
Point being, it’s not just C-list conservative darlings like Phil Robertson who push the “no God, no morals” line, and use outrageous scenarios to rhetorically push people towards their view. You’ve also got “academic” Christian apologists doing it too.
“Brazil is an extremely contradictory country. On the one hand, we are a pink country, celebrating sexual diversity and showing gay couples easily on our telenovelas,” said Luiz Mott, founder of the Grupo Gay da Bahia, an LGBT rights group. “Then, there is another color, the red blood of victims. Brazil has unfortunately inherited deep institutional and cultural homophobia over hundreds of years … and the country has become characterized by extreme violence and rising numbers of murders.”
On the one hand, we are a pink country, celebrating sexual diversity and showing gay couples easily on our telenovelas. Then, there is another color, the red blood of victims. - Luiz Mott, founder of the Grupo Gay da Bahia, speaking of Brazil
According to his group’s 2014 homicide report, at least 326 lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals were killed in attacks related to their sexual orientation last year, up from 159 in 2004. Last year, 163 victims were gay men and 134 were transgender individuals. The most deaths occurred in Sao Paulo state, the country’s most populous. Per capita, the deadliest state was Paraiba, in the northeast, where Lopes grew up.
Wonder how will the European far-right who often bring up Muslim homophobia will have anything to say about this startling development from Brazil?