Posts Tagged by Christianity

Christians Should Not Use the Government to Do THEIR Good Deeds

Who needs the Gospel when you have the Government? And why should you believe the Gospel when all the Christians you know seem to be stingy and just as worldly as anyone else? It isn’t like Christians are paying more taxes then anyone else, right?

It seems like the very opposite of compassion, but Christians need to extract themselves from this vicious cycle of using the Government as the tool to ostensibly carry out the duties that belong to them. This is not a call for being dismissive regarding social issues. It is a call to meet them on our own terms.

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A Christian checks out Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

Having only read excerpts of Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals, I was pleased to have the opportunity to sit down and read it for myself in its entirety. Knowing how influential Alinksy was for the young Obama (and many others who now occupy seats of power) I am more worried than I was before now that I’ve actually read this book. Go to the library and pick up the book. You need to read it.

The subtitle of the book is “A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.” It is not an inappropriate subtitle. Alinsky is all about pragmatism and realism. Alinsky is dismissive of ethical questions related to the question “Does the end justify the means?” He says:

The practical revolutionary will understand Goethe’s “conscience is the virtue of observers and not of agents of action”; in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one’s individual conscience and the good of mankind. The choice must always be for the latter. Action is for mass salvation and not for the individual’s personal salvation. He who sacrifices mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of “personal salvation”; he doesn’t care enough for people to be “corrupted” for them. (pg 25, chapter titled: Of Means and Ends)

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Shouldn’t Christians Want to Save the Planet?

There is no question that Christians should care about the environment. However, the infantile notion that the planet needs saving or could be saved is not what that means. This notion rests on the idea that the planet has some sort of intrinsic value, that it has the capacity to care which configuration it ends up in, and that there are things we can do for the sake of the planet just for the sake of the planet.

The interesting thing about Christian care for the environment, especially if we take the Scriptures as our guide, is that this ‘human interest’ is front and center. Genesis 1:26 has God putting mankind in charge of ‘the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ This we can properly call stewardship and as we see from the text, the value of humans and the earth is set by God, and in this equation, the earth is placed in subject to Humanity.

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Should it be legal to ‘Sext’? Vermont to legalize Sexting

I will agree that the language of ‘right and wrong’ won’t work with many kids today, but that is because hitting them with that language when they are 15 is 15 years too late. Of course it won’t work then. If kids are instilled with an understanding of ‘right and wrong’ from early on they will already be able to see through ‘cool’ things. The language of ‘right and wrong’ does not preclude the ‘dangers of sexting’ nor the dangers of any other destructive behaviors.

As it happens, behaviors traditionally believed to be ‘wrong’ also correlate with nasty consequences. It is ‘wrong’ to steal a car, even if its cool. Also, if you don’t steal a car- surprise!- you won’t be thrown in jail. Guess what? If you don’t have sex before your wedding and your spouse does likewise you won’t have to worry about an STD. See how this works? Funny how the ‘traditional morals’ that society has seen fit to dispense with tend to coincide nicely with creating the results we basically want. Funny how dispensing with those morals tends to create all sorts of nasty consequences we don’t want.

The great modern aim is to dispense with the traditional morality and still avoid the nasty consequences that tend to follow after they’ve been thrown out.

Good luck with that!

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Christians blaming Christians for the Modern Situation

We live in a world that has witnessed the Holocaust, the gulags, and the Killing Fields. It is no longer possible- if it ever was- to wholly distance ourselves from politics. The stakes are too high. However, it is probably coming to the point (if it isn’t there already) that we finally and fully part company with a party that has parted with us at some indefinite point in the recent past.

On the other hand, the idea that politics could replace other things that we should have been doing all along was dangerous and the current climate makes people more willing to hear that then they used to.

What are the things we should have been doing all along? My short answer is Love. My long answer is that most of the things that Christians contend with each other about pointless in the grand scheme of things. A future day is coming when we will look back at this time and wish we would have invested our time on more pertinent issues. These things will be more obvious when we are fighting compulsory education (no longer able even to home school), treated as deviants (religion is a delusion, you know), punished as child abusers (for teaching our children about hell), and bred out in the next rise of eugenicists who with fanfare announce the discovery of the ‘religion gene.’

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Despicable Trends in Bioethics Inevitable Result of Secularism

The above quote is not actually what annoyed me. Instead, it was his classification of people who keep their children instead of aborting them when they have been diagnosed with ‘devastating’ diseases (again, as defined by whom?) as being akin to one who believes in a flat earth. Here is the extended quote:

If one reads about reproductive issues in the conservative media-which I often do-one is bombarded with tales of mothers who have sacrificed personal and professional opportunities to bring fetuses to term. The implication is that while bearing a child when one is ready is a blessing, bearing a child when one is not prepared garners one extra moral credit in the cosmos. Similarly, while having a healthy baby is a cause for joy, some opponents of abortion profess that having a baby with a devastating or even fatal birth defect is proof of the mother’s fortitude and character. If one believes that human life begins at conception, this is logically the case. However, if one believes that life begins after conception-as do a wide majority of Americans, if polls on such issues as embryonic stem cell research are to believed-then the suffering caused by transforming an unwanted embryo into a living baby, who will either endure debilitating disease or will enter a deeply inhospitable home environment, is not at all a cause for pride. It more is akin to deciding that the world is flat and then boasting of not falling off the edge.

As readers of this blog know, my wife and I are examples of what he is talking about here

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Connecting the dots between unbelief and abortion

These types of considerations drive me to paint a different picture of the current situation in America on the subject of abortion than normally presented. What if aiming at passage of pro-life legislation is only a small component of the solution? What if aiming to persuade people to a pro-life position is aiming too low? What if in fact we Christians should be focusing on creating more Christians and retaining the ones we’ve got?

A Christian does not believe, like the atheist, that he is god. A Christian understands that he is the product of a Creator and that Creator has the right and privilege of defining right and wrong and defining ‘personhood.’ A Christian knows that he cannot dispense with another person because it is inconvenient to someone or to a nation. All this comes in automatically once one adopts the Christian worldview. Even Christians who vote pro-choice don’t generally approve of abortion, generally, and would like it reduced.

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A Devotional Minute for Atheists and Sick People Everywhere

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” GK Chesterton

I was thinking to myself how hard it is to be ‘good’ and how easy it is to be ‘bad.’ For the introspective nonChristian, especially in today’s day and age where great pains are expended to eliminate both concepts, that nagging voice of conscience is still quite audible. Have you ever actually tried to follow through on everything your own conscience demands? Never mind the words of an old book or the collective pronouncements of a bunch of religious wingnuts, what about your own conscience? Try to be entirely good, even by your own standards, for just a day. I think you will discover that it is extraordinarily difficult. But not living up to your standard is easy. So easy. Doesn’t this require an explanation that covers all the facts?

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The Forgotten Doctrine: Love

Now, we Christians think we’re loving. This is because we have never opened up the Bible to perform any kind of deliberate study on the topic of Love. Oh sure, you can find theological treatise after treatise in all the denominations over things like Communion/The Lord’s Supper, baptism, Christian unity, worship, predestination, justification by faith, inerrancy, inspiration, on and on and on, but not on Love. These topics, though important, occupy a tiny fraction of the New Testament when compared with how often and how extensively the New Testament discusses Love. [More…]

Do you want to know why Christianity continues its decline in America? Ultimately, it is a failure to love as the New Testament models it.

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Study: Religion in Decline. What do we do about it?

I am just a lone voice out in the wilderness, on the front lines between belief and unbelief, a scout if you will. I am reporting to you generals that that situation is dire, and worse, you are currently sending troops to fight over hills that the Enemy has long abandoned. You continue to defend the Maginot Line while the Enemy blitzkriegs right around it. The only difference is that the French knew they had been flanked, while you continue to face the troops east. They’ll be in Paris before you know it and I am convinced many leaders of the church will be shocked: “What? Didn’t we send reinforcements to our line of fortresses? How can this be?”

In the face of this counsel I have been accused of all sorts of things- legalism, self-righteousness, hubris, and even heresy. Well my friends, the proof is in the pudding. Barna has been warning us about this for some time and as the article above illustrates, he isn’t the only one.

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Prelude to an Argument for Christianity: The Jewish People

It took a few years after my personal battle with atheism for me to realize the importance of Jesus’ Jewishness in understanding Christianity- and defending it. The character of the Jewish people at that time is well documented by both the Old Testament and extra-biblical sources. Some things about Christianity, or perhaps more precisely, the New Testament, make no sense apart from the Jewish context that it arose in. The brief video presentation below is not an argument for Christianity but rather foundation laying for such an argument. Everyone loves a puzzle! Puzzle me this- how has the Jewish nation managed to remain intact over thousands of years in the face of immense hostility to the point where they were able to emerge in numbers enough to re-claim their ancient stomping grounds? When you’re done with that, how did a people whose devotion to “Hear Oh Israel, The Lord your God is ONE” managed to become the womb for a new world view where God became a man?

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Christianese and Shibboleths as Roadblocks to Faith and Brotherhood

Here is an excerpt of a blog entry I posted at the ChristianPost. It was probably a good time to poke the boys at Godisimaginary.com in the ribs, anyway. I know, cheap thrills.

In Judges 12, the Gileadites find a way to distinguish between friend and foe by compelling captured refugees to say the word ‘Shibboleth.’ Evidently, Ephraimites couldn’t pronounce it correctly, saying instead ‘Sibboleth.’ Those that said that latter were struck down while those who said the former were allowed to pass.

‘Shibboleths’ abound in society, including among Christians. Unfortunately, even among Christians, a Shibboleth isn’t simply a quick way to distinguish where a person stands in relation to you but is used in a manner akin to the Gileadite’s use, thankfully, of course, without the resulting slaughter.

In other words, Christianese is a Shibboleth in the ears of the nonBeliever. The moment you begin engaging in Christianese you are at risk of being dismissed or marginalized in the eyes of the person you are talking to.

The Internet is filled with skeptics and scoffers poking fun at various aspects of Christianity as though they were the substance of Christianity when in fact they are slogans and phrases that are more part and parcel of Christianese- how the things are communicated- rather than the actual substance of Christianity.

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The Corporate Church in a Corporate Society

There is another way that the business mindset permeates the Christian churches. The idea that the health of the ‘corporation’ can be measured by the bottom line is rampant. For example, let’s say that a church is struggling financially. Something must change. The solution is to eliminate staff positions. The staff members are turned out into the wind, their livilhood stripped away. The bottom line improves. Conclusion: this is a healthy body.

But it is nonsense. It is nonsense because in the body of Christ, unlike in corporate America, you cannot have ‘health’ at the expense of the brothers and sisters. The bottom line is not the only measure. Indeed, in that it is a measure at all, what it measures is entirely different.

Now, financial realities are financial realities. The point here is not that you can’t have situations where you have to cut staff (or programs, whatever) the point is that you can’t just cut people loose and think that now you’ve improved the body or that you’ve ‘come through a rough patch.’ If the people who have been cut loose are forgotten by the congregation or body of believers and are abandoned by them, I assure you, you haven’t improved the health of the body. Done in this way, you will likely have created very bitter former staffers and in some cases drive them out of the church. But it is important to see that doing it this way is far from intentional. It is the natural consequence of thinking of the congregation’s ‘corporate’ nature as essentially like an American corporation’s nature.

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Would an atheist be happy in hell? Cue the Twilight Zone Theme Song…

So you see, either way you go, either rejecting the existence of the Christian God or accepting it, the atheist possesses some sort of moral standard by which to measure the conduct of God and the terms he lays out. But I find this all very ironic. After all, the whole point of disgust has to do with people being eternally punished by God and how unfair and indecent that is but when it is pointed out that the Bible further describes this eternal punishment as an eternal separation from God (relationally), shut out from his presence forever, they are not satiated? I mean, isn’t that what they wanted? If God turns out to be real and they hate him so much don’t they actually want there to be something like ‘hell’ where God will leave them to their own devices?

Yes it is. Here you see one of those classic “there is no pleasing them” scenarios. Even if there is a God they don’t like him and would rather in that case spend eternity separate from him, but when that actual opportunity is presented to them from the same texts they reject God as being unloving and Christianity (and religion in general) as fear mongering. Dudes. You’re getting what you want. Why complain?

Of course, we Christians understand that getting what you want isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

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