Does The Bible Say All Conservatives Are Going To Hell?

So I had a cousin (wife’s side) mention a conversation and wanted me to join it. Here is the starter of the convo by his friend:

Here are the verses:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the [c]holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?

39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;

43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

44 “Then they also will answer [d]Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’

45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Here is my response that…. got me banned from this guys Facebook. LOL:

I think you have a misconception as to who gives more time and money to the needy. Here for instance is a 28-minute interview (via my YT) with Arthur Brooks discussing his book, “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism”

I include this in a larger post [on my site] discussing the free market and the wealth it affords people to help others (Capitalism, The Moral Choice | PragerU and More).

However, conservatives gave about 30 percent more money per year to private charitable causes, even though his study found liberal families earned an average of 6 percent more per year in income than did conservative families. This greater generosity among conservative families proved to be true in Brooks’ research for every income group, “from poor to middle class to rich.”

This “giving gap” also extended beyond money to time donated to charitable causes, as well. Brooks also discovered that in 2002, conservative Americans were much more likely to donate blood each year than liberals and to do so more often within a year. Brooks found “if liberals and moderates gave blood at the same rate as conservatives, the blood supply in the United States would jump by about 45 percent.”

When Brooks compared his findings to IRS data on the percentage of household income given away, he found that “red” states in the 2004 election were more charitable than “blue” states. Brooks found that 24 of the 25 states that were above average in family charitable giving voted for Bush in 2004, and 17 of the 25 states below average in giving voted for Kerry. Brooks concluded, “The electoral map and the charity map are remarkably similar.”

Why? A clue may be found in the 1996 General Social Survey, which asked Americans whether they agreed that “the government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality.” People who “disagreed strongly” with that statement gave 12 times more money to charity per year than those who “agreed strongly” with the statement.

One’s values, beliefs and political philosophies seem to impact how much one shares of one’s own income with the less fortunate in society. Facts are often surprising and illuminating.

(BELIEF NET)

See also “GOING TO THE MAT’s” post:

So adopting your premise [what I think is your premise], the opposite is true.

Response?

Censorship.

The go to by the left.

Adrienne Johnson: Why I Am No Longer an Atheist

PragerU Chief of Staff Adrienne Johnson was once a cynical atheist, struggling to find meaning and purpose in ways that left her feeling even more adrift and alone. After hitting rock bottom, she learned that it’s never too late to take responsibility and change your life. Adrienne shares her powerful personal story of how finding faith in God gave her a second chance at life.

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself.

Blaise Pascal (Pensees 10.148)

Discussing History and Faith With A Tow Truck Driver

Met some awesome young believers todays on Main Street in Newhall. I was leaving Smokehouse on Main after my 2-beers and a chapter of reading in a book. They were out witnessing, which was awesome. They are Master’s College students… one young man was from Missouri, the other was a So-Cal dude, and the gal was from Costa Rica. Her English was flawless… but it dawned on me later that her parents are probably missionaries. At ANY RATE, I am reposting this encounter I had from Grace Community to our Valley.

Originally posted April 26th, 2021.

(My Facebook descriptor) The tow-truck driver I hitched a ride with today was probably surprised at the level of conversation in a reasonable and rational way. I enjoyed the challenges, and I am sure Charlie did as well. topics of discussion I engaged:

  • Everything good comes from God, but Priests say when something bad happens, it’s you;
  • Wars caused by religion, most wars not religions;
  • Secular governments that rejected God killed more people in 100 years than all religions previously;
  • Belief in the afterlife creates a worse world;
  • Halloween (yep, I was taken aback as well).

While driving the 5am delivery around, the work van started to give me an “Overheating” warning. I finished my 2-remaining drops and headed back to the shop… but the van would have nothing of it. So I nursed it into Grace Community Church’s parking lot and the office called for a tow truck – which took a little over an hour-and-a-half (they were busy). One of the security guards came out to check on me and I asked him if I could use the restroom. He said yes. I told him I had to retrieve my mask, he mentioned no masks were mandated to wear, that I could if I wished. I chose to support the Church’s “gravitas” and went in mask-less. Awesome. I love Grace. As I was walking around to hit the head, the security guard witnessed to me… I thought that was more awesomer.

So when the tow truck service guy (Charlie, a nice guy) had me loaded up and we were driving out, he asked what the place was I was sitting at. I explained it was a church, one of the better ones. I mentioned a couple more things about it, and then Charlie started to criticize the Christian Faith (mainly Catholicism at first), speaking of greed, how the people say all good things come from God but then when something bad happens like an accident – we are to blame, how rich the Catholic Church is, and all the wars religion started, and how people who believe in an afterlife make the world worse.

(This is a general recalling of our conversation)

I mentioned to him that I cannot speak to his points regarding the Vatican, as, I am not Catholic. But I did choose to address a couple of his broader points. (I had to break into his speaking about one topic and then going to another.)

The first point I made is that the Bible does not promise your life to be “good,” and harm free. On the Contrary, the Bible – from Genesis to Revelations documents man’s fallen nature and that from Genesis to Revelation that mankind needs a savior… someone to step into the place of wretched humanity to save it. I said, we need saving, not comfort.

I also mentioned that Nietzsche said that the death of God in the 19th century would all but guarantee the bloodiest 20th century. I then noted in conversation that this prediction came true… telling Charlie that in less than 100 years, non-God movements in Communism and Marxism through Stalin, Mao, Pol-Pot, Hitler, and others, killed more people than ALL religions previous to the 20th century.

He broke in and said this wasn’t true, and I could tell his language barrier with me was frustrating him. So I jumped in when I had a chance and mentioned that two encyclopedia sets went through 10,000 years of warfare and categorized the reasons for these wars. I mentioned these encyclopedia sets by name: Encyclopedia of Wars, 3 volumes – and — The Encyclopedia of War, 5 Volumes. I told him that only 7% of all wars were religious, and that if you took out Islamic wars, all other religions cause about 3% of the wars in a 10,000 year period.

DATA POINTS FOR THE READER:

  • A recent comprehensive compilation of the history of human warfare, Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod documents 1763 wars, of which 123 have been classified to involve a religious conflict. So, what atheists have considered to be ‘most’ really amounts to less than 7% of all wars. It is interesting to note that 66 of these wars (more than 50%) involved Islam, which did not even exist as a religion for the first 3,000 years of recorded human warfare. The authors are nine history professors who specifically conducted research or the text for a decade in order to chronicle a time span from 8000 BC to 2003 AD. From over 10,000 years(RPT)
  • (A well known atheist agrees) Atheists often claim that religion fuels aggressive wars, both because it exacerbates antagonisms between opponents and also because it gives aggressors confidence by making them feel as if they have God on their side. Lots of wars certainly look as if they are motivated by religion. Just think about conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Asian subcontinent, Indonesia, and various parts of Africa. However, none of these wars is exclusively religious. They always involve political, economic, and ethnic disputes as well. That makes it hard to specify how much [of a] role, if any, religion itself had in causing any particular war. Defenders of religion argue that religious language is misused to justify what warmongers wanted to do independently of religion. This hypothesis might seem implausible to some, but it is hard to refute, partly because we do not have enough data points, and there is so much variation among wars. — Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Morality Without God? (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009), 33-34

I then mentioned to him a study (I was wrong about the source, I thought Stanford — it was actually done by a University of Oregon psychologist) that found that a country’s belief in heaven and hell is related to its crime rates, and that a belief in a punitive God equals less crime. So belief in a God where our actions can be morally judged make a better society.

Charlie broke into discussion about Halloween for some reason, wanting a response about why people dress up in costumes. I said I do not know much beyond that it is a Pagan holiday of sorts, and that the Church wanted to evangelize these Pagans and so stuck a holiday close to it – All Saints Eve. (I may be wrong, but what Charlie then followed up with I knew was wrong. He said that the Church killing people had a connection to it.

I said I don’t think that is the case, mentioning the Druids and Irish Paganism being more connected to the issue than anything.*

He again brought up the Vatican, and I again noted I am not Catholic, and that the church I went to spent a lion’s share of their funds on missionaries around the world in tough places (Africa, Middle-East, and even one couple that would try to sneak across the border to North Korea at times), as well as having a large outreach to the poorer Hispanic area of the church’s influence.

We were at our destination finally (the shop that fixes our work truck and van.) I said, “Charlie, remember two things from this conversation. You were wrong, historically about religion and wars, as well as ‘religious’ people making the world worse. I ask you to remember these two examples because they are great examples of how you approach the Christian Faith: with bad facts and evidence. Try to approach these topics from a better starting point and you won’t be disappointed with the outcome.”

At that, we went our separate ways. After some paperwork of course. I did finish with “Charlie, I had a pleasure discussing this with you.” But in the back of my mind, I really was thinking:

*NOTE:

There’s no one explanation for how Halloween costumes originated. Much like the holiday itself, the practice of dressing up is the result of a hodgepodge of traditions from around the world.

Many historians suspect that the tradition has some basis in the Celtic festival of Samhain (also called Calan Gaeaf in Wales). Celebrated between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, Samhain marks the official start of winter—known to the Celts as the “dark season.” During Samhain, “the world of the gods was believed to be made visible to humankind,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

That wasn’t a comfort to the ancient Celts, who believed their deities were prone to playing tricks on human worshippers. Many festival participants disguised themselves as animals or beasts, hoping to hide from malevolent spirits who might bring them misfortune.

Move forward a few centuries and the modern-day practice of dressing up and trick-or-treating has its roots in the European custom of “mumming and guising.” Mummers would dress up in costumes, often woven from straw, and perform plays and songs for neighbors in exchange for food. Scottish and Irish immigrants brought that tradition to North America, where it later morphed into what we now know as trick-or-treating.

Halloween costumes didn’t experience their true heyday until the mid-1900s, though. For that, you can thank New York City entrepreneurs Ben and Nat Cooper, who started a company producing pop culture-themed costumes at a low cost. Ben Cooper, Inc., found a niche in helping kids become the characters they admired from television and comic books, often purchasing merchandising rights before said characters ever became popular. Due in no small part to the Cooper family’s innovation, Halloween costumes became an accessible and even necessary part of holiday festivities…..

(MENTAL FLOSS)

5-Part Series: Science and God | Stephen Meyer

Can you believe in God and science at the same time? Many claim that belief in religion is at odds with “the science” of today. But is that really true? In this five-part series, Stephen Meyer, Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, attempts to answer this existential question.

Series “Broken Out”

  1. Are Religion and Science in Conflict? — Science and God
  2. How Did the Universe Begin? — Science and God
  3. Aliens, the Multiverse, or God? — Science and God
  4. What Is Intelligent Design? — Science and God
  5. What’s Wrong with Atheism? — Science and God

 

 

 

 

 

The Cults, Language, Revelation, and Secularism (1999)

I dug this gem out of my Microsoft Word due to a conversation on my Facebook. I was planning on going a different direction but after I found this from about 1999 via a debate in a forum on what is still SPACE BATTLES… it was late 99 or early 2000 that I cut my teeth on the Internet via Space Battles. I kept most of my debates from the 4 or so years I was on the forums there… at least my responses. This is one of those early debates — the main point here is that secularism is a religion. (I may add some media when I see fit):


SKEPTIC, YOU SAID:

  • I don’t know how you can say Jimmy Jones and the Branch Davidians weren’t believers in absolutism and God.

This is easy to say. Both rejected the God of the Bible, period. They were not Christians, period. They were cults who had sex with multiple partners and were power hungry and changed meanings of plain and clear scripture to get their way. This is important, because when anyone deals with a cult member, they need to realize that there is a language barrier. For instance, when a Mormon says he or she believes in Jesus, is this the same Jesus Christianity has preached for 2,000 years? How a bout the Jehovah’s Witness when they say they believe in Jesus?

JESUS

Mormons believe that Jesus is not God, but a god, they are polytheists. They believe that Jesus was born first in heaven in a spiritual body via sexual relations between “Heavenly Father” (God in Mormon terms) and one of his many wives. Lucifer also was a son born by “God” sticking his dingy in one of his wives. By the way, God was once a man like us, and now resides on the planet Kolob (according to the Pearle of Great Price – one of many added Mormon scripture). And be sure that all mentioned here have to take away, change, or add scripture to get their theology to work – just like Hitler and his cronies.

(SEE ALSO: “MORMON GLOSSARY: WORDS HAVE MEANING“)

Jehovah’s Witness’s believe that Jesus was the first created being, that is, Michael the Archangel. Jehovah (God) then created all things THROUGH Michael the Archangel. When Michael came to earth in bodily form he was known as Jesus. And now is not Jesus any longer, but once again under the name and title Michael the Archangel, the first-born.

Jesus, according to the historic Christian faith is God, the creator of everything in heaven and on earth. He is not bound by time-space; for unlike the two before mentioned perversions of plain scripture, Jesus is the Creator of the space-time continuum. He is God Almighty.

SALVATION

Both Jehovah’s Witness’ and Mormons believe that the sacrifices given on the cross by “Jesus” was only in remission of Adam’s original sin, opening the way for these sincere persons to “work” their way into heaven or “salvation.” Jehovah’s Witness’s believe that 100 hundred hours a week of going door-to-door or standing in front of donut shops handing out booklets will one of the many rules sufficient enough to allow them to be resurrected here on earth to live forever more (only 144,000 get to go to heaven). Mormons don’t drink caffeine, cuss, marry in the temple, wear special undergarments, tithe, all in the hopes of making to the “best” heaven.

Christianity teaches that we can do nothing to please God, all our good works are like leaves in the wind, they blow away. Salvation is a gift that only can be fulfilled by an immutable, perfect, gift… man can never attain this in his finite state. Salvation is through Christ alone. This is one of the many proofs that Christianity is divine, that is, if this were a man-made religion, man would have made it conquerable. So like Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witness’ religious construct of lists of items to do for salvation to be attainable, Christianity has no such list. If man had made Christianity, there would be something we could do to please God for our salvation, in fact, we cannot. Christianity is unconquerable by man. (sorry, back to the point).

So when a Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon come to your door and say, “we believe in Jesus,” or, “we believe in salvation,” and, “we are followers of Christ, therefore we are the true Christians,” you can break through the fog by understanding what is meant by terms used.

(From a debate with a J-Dub):

The main problem is that the Watchtower gives ALL truth that is to be believed by the Jehovah’s Witness. I will show an example, and I quote the founder, Charles Taze Russell:

If the six volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES are practically the Bible, topically arranged with Bible proof texts given, we might not improperly name the volumes THE BIBLE IN AN ARRANGED FORM. That is to say, they are not mere comments on the Bible, but they are practically the Bible itself….

Furthermore, not only do we find that people cannot see the divine plan in studying the Bible by itself, but we see, also, that if anyone lays the SCRIPTURE STUDIES aside, even after he has used them, after he has become familiar with them, after he has read them for ten years – if he then lays them aside and ignores them and goes to the Bible alone, though he has understood the Bible for ten years, our experience shows that within two years he goes into darkness. on the other hand, if he had merely read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES with their references, and not read a page of the Bible, as such, he would be in the light at the end of two years, because he would have the light of the Scriptures.

Even if you’ve read the Scripture Studies for ten years, and you lay them aside and read the Bible for two years alone, you enter into darkness?!

This is a revealing quote.

It shows how brainwashed Jehovah’s Witnesses are to the fact that the ruling council and president of the Watchtower Society dispense nothing but truth and reality while the rest of humanity who points out the misquotes and misrepresentations are shunned as devils (almost literally).

I will go out on a limb here and say, “if the devil were to create a religious group that undermines the true message in the Bible, would the devil require someone to read the Bible by itselfor would the devil want to add something to it that would interpret everything within?”

Same goes for our current discussion.

When Hitler uses the words Christians, Jesus, church, and the like, you know he had changed the Biblical absolutes to fits his relativistic pantheism/paganism that we know he believed. If Hitler came to our door today passing out tracts talking of Jesus’ non-Jewish heritage and that he was going to finish what Jesus couldn’t, namely the extermination of the Jews, then we would know that this is not Christianity, not absolutes, but fascism at it most perverted. Remember what a philosophy major once said:

  • “Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable” — Mussolini

Mussolini, Diuturna (1924) pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.

This is what Hitler did, Mussolini, Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell, Jim Jones, David Koresh, and all others who relativize God’s plainly stated truth to fit their particular needs or situation. And in doing so, they must change, reject, or add to the Bible or the historic Christian faith in order to do so.

SKEPTIC, WHEN YOU SAID:

  • That I agree with! Claiming a personal revelation can hid a host of evils. But it seems like the religious are more likely to do that then a humanist…. I am also arguing that a humanist who believes he contains within himself the ultimate determination of what is moral, would not do the things that these people did without, at least, the recognition that he is being evil. These nazis, Branch Davidians, terrorists, and kool aid killers are all more dangerous because they believe they are doing good.

I almost fell out of my chair. The Communists killed many, many millions believing they were doing good? God revealing this is not mandated by Mao is it? Special revelation isn’t only from God. One needs only to read the Humanist Manifesto’s or the Communist Manifesto to see revelation without God. Huxley called evolution a religion without revelation. However, there can be revelation in non-belief. For instance, consider the following excerpt from a letter written by Charles Darwin in 1881:

“I could show fight on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of civilization than you seem inclined to admit…. The more civilized so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”

Charles Darwin, Life and Letters, I, Letter to W. Graham, July 3, 1881, p. 316; cited in Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (London: Chatto & Windus, 1959), p. 343.

Or:

“At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.”

Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 2nd ed. (New York: A. L. Burt Co., 1874), p.178.

How a bout this:

“No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man. And if this be true, it is simply incredible that, when all his disabilities are removed, and our prognathous relative has a fair field and no favour, as well as no oppressor, he will be able to compete successfully with his bigger-brained and smaller-jawed rival, in a contest which is to be carried on by thoughts and not by bites. The highest places in the hierarchy of civilization will assuredly not be within the reach of our dusky cousins, though it is by no means necessary that they should be restricted to the lowest. But whatever the position of stable equilibrium into which the laws of social gravitation may bring the negro, all responsibility for the result will henceforward lie between Nature and him. The white man may wash his hands of it, and the Caucasian conscience be void of reproach for evermore. And this, if we look to the bottom of the matter, is the real justification for the abolition policy.”

Thomas Huxley, Lay Sermons, Addresses and Reviews (New York: Appleton, 1871), pp 20-1.

One more before I head to humanism:

“The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature. Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all…. If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translator/annotator, James Murphy (New York: Hurst and Blackett, 1942), pp. 161-162.

These seem very revelational, just revelations from nature.

John Dewey, signer of the Humanist Manifesto I, says this regarding education:

education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform…. In this way the teacher always is the prophet of the true God and the usherer in of the true kingdom of God.

John Dewey, Education Today, “My Pedagogic Creed,” (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1897), p. 15, 17.

You see, John Dewey argues that “scientific” education has made the notion of the supernatural “incredible,” and anticipates “the coming of a fuller and deeper religion” – Humanism. Dewey viewed public education as the vehicle to promote this “deeper religions.”

We certainly cannot teach religion as an abstract essence. We have got to teach something as religion, and that means practically some religion…. It is their business to do what they can to prevent all public educational agencies from being employed in ways which inevitably impede the recognition of the spiritual import of science ands of democracy, and hence of that type of religion which will be the fine flower of the modern spirit’s achievement.

Ibid – 1940 edition.

My point as I continue on here is that men are made for revelation, if God’s is thrown to the wayside, some other revelation will take its place. Roy Wood Sellers is also a signer of the Humanist Manifesto I, he says:

The center of gravity of religion has been openly changing for some time now from supernaturalism to what may best be called a humanistic naturalism…. There have been many steps forward in the past, for every age must process its own religion, a religion concordant with its knowledge and expressed of its problems and aims…. The coming phase of religion will reflect man’s power over nature and his moral courage in the face of the facts and possibilities of life. It will be a religion of action and passion, a social religon, a religion of goals and prospects. It will be a free man’s religion, a religion for an adult and aspiring democracy.

Roy Wood Sellers, The Next Step In Religion (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1918), foreword.

Here Sellers makes the case for atheistic, naturalistic Humanism as the next world religion, or revelation. Again:

But the humanist’s religion is the religion of one who says yea to life here and now, of one who is self-reliant and fearless, intelligent and creative. It is the religion of the will to power, of one who is hard on himself and yet joyous in himself. It is the religion of courage and purpose and transforming energy. Its motto is, “What hath man not wrought?” Its goal is the mastery of all things that they may become servants and instrumentalities to man’s spiritual comradeship. Whatever mixture of magic, fear, ritual and adoration religion may have been in man’s early days, it is now, and henceforth must be, that which concerns man’s nobilities, his discovery of, and loyalty to, the pervasive values of life. The religious man will now be he who seeks out causes to be loyal to, social mistakes to correct, wounds to heal, achievements to further. He will be constructive, fearless, loyal, sensitive to the good wherever found, a believer in mankind, a fighter for things worth while…. The religion of human possibilities needs prophets who will grip men’s souls with their description of a society in which the righteousness, wisdom and beauty will reign together…. Loyalty to such an ideal will surely constitute the heart of the humanist’s religion…. If religion is to survive, it must be human and social. It is they who insists upon a supernatural foundation and object who are its enemies. Man’s life is spiritual in its own right. So long as he shall dream of beauty and goodness and truth his life will not lack religion.

Ibid., p. 212, 215-216, 225.

Curtis W. Reese likewise signed the Humanist Manifesto I, he says quite plainly:

Within the liberal churches of America there is a religious movement which has come to be known as Humanism…. There is a large element of faith in all religion. Christianity has faith in the love of God; and Humanism in man as the measure of values…. Hypotheses, postulates, and assumptions in their proper realm are comparable to faith in the realm of religion. In this way I speak of the faith of Humanism.

Edited by Curtis W. Reese, Humanist Sermons, preface and “The Faith of Humanism,” (Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 1927), p. v, 39, 40

One last quote, as I could go on ad infinitum, another signer was Charles Francis Potter, he plainly states:

[Humanism] is a new type of religion altogether…. Is Humanism a religion? It is both a religion and a philosophy of culture…. Education is the most powerful ally of humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching.

Charles Potter, HUMANISM: A New Religion (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930), p. 3, 114, 128

You can see that one revelation, say, “God exists,” is replaced with another that says, “God does not exist.”

Here is a quote from the famous 1961 court case, Torcaso v. Watkins:

  • Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others.

See: Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia, 101 U.S.App.D.C. 371, 249 F.2d 127; Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda, 153 Cal.App.2d 673, 315 P.2d 394; II Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences 293; 4 Encyclopedia Britannica (1957 ed.) 325-327; 21 id. at 797; Archer, Faiths Men Live By (2d ed. revised by Purinton), 120-138, 254-313; 1961 World Almanac 695, 712; Year Book of American Churches for 1961, at 29, 47.

“Secular Humanism” is official atheism… BTW. It is a religion according to law, and why there are atheist (secular humanist) chaplains in the military.

Humanism is revelation, and just as “absolute” as the other.

  • Paul Kurtz says, “Humanism is a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view.”
  • Dewey states, “Here are all the elements for a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class or race…. It remains to make it explicit and militant.”

Chesterton said,

  • “When a man ceases to believe in God he does not believe in nothing, he believes almost in anything.”

And so it is.


2021 EXCERPT


This is from APOLOGETIC PRESS:

Humanism is a religion, and the Supreme Court defined it as such in 1961 (Torcaso v. Watkins, 1961; the word “religion” or “religious” occurs 28 times in the first Manifesto, 1933). While the initial Manifesto is specifically religious, the subsequent humanist documents are not. However, the democratic humanism of the Secular Humanist Declaration (1980), and the “planetary” humanism of Kurtz’s Humanist Manifesto 2000, do not contradict the major premises of the first Manifesto.

The initial Manifesto most plainly declares humanism to be a religious enterprise. The very first section (or article) states: “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created” (1933, emp. added). Religionists familiar with the goals and practices of secular humanism may be surprised at the high praise of traditional religion in this seminal treatise:

Religions have always been means for realizing the highest values of life. Their end has been accomplished through the interpretation of the total environing situation (theology or world view), the sense of values resulting therefrom (goal or ideal), and the technique (cult) established for realizing the satisfactory life…. [T]hrough all changes religion itself remains constant in its quest for abiding values, an inseparable feature of human life (Humanist, 1933, Preface, parenthetical items in orig.).

So the secularist’s problem is not with religion per se, but with religious beliefs and practices that are antithetical to certain humanist norms and objectives. Secularists reject “salvationism,” which they regard as based on mere “affirmation” (Humanist, 1973). Practically all religion other than humanism falls into the category of religion that humanism would oppose. So, religion must be restructured into a humanist “faith” or belief system.

The first Manifesto unveils the humanists’ desire to reshape modern religion. “The time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional values…. Religions the world over are under the necessity of coming to terms with new conditions created by a vastly increased knowledge and experience” (1933, Preface). In a sense, humanists see themselves as saving people from theistic religion: “There is a great danger of a final, and we believe fatal, identification of the word religion with doctrines and methods which have lost their significance and which are powerless to solve the problem of human living in the Twentieth Century…. Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created” (Preface-Section 1).

Because theistic religion is so “out of date” according to secularists, a mammoth adjustment is in order. Religion of practically every kind must be eliminated or restructured.

Today man’s larger understanding of the universe, his scientific achievements, and deeper appreciation of brotherhood, have created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion. Such a vital, fearless, and frank religion capable of furnishing adequate social goals and personal satisfactions may appear to many people as a complete break with the past. While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation (Humanist, 1933, Preface).

Humanists seem to have as their primary religious activity expunging God from society and the minds of people (see “Humanists Praise,” 2007; “‘Church Polling Place’,” 2006). Only when God is out of the picture may humanists convert all humans to the religion of humanism (and this is precisely what they intend to do; see Ericson, 2006; Lyons and Butt, 2007).

(READ THE REST)

“Why So Many Denominations Batman”?

(Originally Posted Dec 13, 2015)

WHY SO MANY?

ATHEIST CHALLENGE

I was recently in a conversation and was challenged with a long litany of items. This is a common tactic of atheists. Not camping on a single topic and dealing with it well. Rather they have a myriad of points combined that they think are sound, which is why I often choose on from their long screed to show them that in similar fashion when each statement is looked at and dealt with properly you often find straw-men, non-sequiturs, of category mistakes. Here is an example:

  • You see that is why there are 40,000 denominations approximately. Each interprets the bible differently, never mind all the other religions. Saying the bible is spot on is totally crazy

I thought I responded to this in the past… but after searching through my Word docs and my sites… I have not in fact posted responses to this challenge. So here I wish to do just that. But first, I want to define myself, and what “I am”

DEFINITIONS

I am broadly a theist, which is a theological system which postulates a transcendent God who is the creator of the universe, an immanent God who sustains it, and a personal God who is able to communicate with and redeem his creation. Christian theism is monotheistic. I vigorously defend the theistic worldview as well as showing the inequities and the self-refuting nature of the opposing worldviews such as pantheism, panantheism, atheism, and polytheism.

Then I am rightly considered within the Protestantism tradition or movement. Protestantism is considered the second wave of Christianity, that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its name is derived from Protestatio, a statement issued by 5 reforming princes and 14 cities of the Holy Roman Empire at the Diet of Spayer in 1529. The term Protestatio did not imply a mere protest, but a confession. For the early Reformers, Protestantism was not so much a revolution as a revival of the faith and practices of the early church.

The five marks of the Protestant Church may not apply to all churches falling under this rubric, but they express the driving theological convictions of the early Reformers:

  1. The authority of the Scriptures as the definitive guide to faith and practice. They uphold the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which means that only traditions and liturgical practices that are consistent with the Scriptures are acceptable;
  1. Justification by faith. For Luther and his associates, justification by faith constituted the capstone of the Christian faith. Whereas the Catholic faith teaches that the grace of God must be supplemented by human merits and sacramental grace, Protestants teach that every believer is justified by faith and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer;
  1. Regenerative power of consecration by baptism and the efficacy of the Lord’s Supper. The latter is accepted not as a sacrifice in which there is transubstantiation of the elements, but as a memorial in which the Lord is present in some form for believers to feed upon;
  1. Priesthood of all believers;
  1. Ministry. Most Protestant denominations accept at least three orders of ministers: bishop (superintendent), pastor, and deacon.

Protestant denominations number in the thousands, and vary widely in structure, theology, and forms of worship. Some denominations are close to Catholic and Orthodox traditions, and others are close to Unitarianism. The eight principle streams of modern Protestantism are Episcopal or Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian (including Calvinist or Reformed), Lutheran, Congregational, Baptist, Holiness, and Pentecostal. Within each of these denominations there are warring liberal and conservative or evangelical factions that sometimes merge and at other times split. Among the most prominent Protestant theologians of the late twentieth century are Wolfhart Pannenberg, Jurgen Moltmann, John R, Stott, Thomas F. Torrance, J. I. Packer, and E. Jungel.

I am then classed even further by my adherence to Evangelicalism. It is one of the main strands of Protestant Christianity. Its distinguishing marks are acceptance of scriptural authority as binding on Christians, personal commitment to Jesus Christ, and adherence to historic Trinitarianism. In almost all countries, Evangelicals are pitted against the liberals, and there are divisions between conservatives and liberals even within Evangelicalism. The Laodicean character of the liberal churches, as contrasted with the earnestness of the Evangelicals, has helped the latter gain an edge in terms of converts and growth.

Evangelicals have been on the forefront of the missionary movement. The Church Missionary Society in England and the British and Foreign Bible Society owe their origins to Evangelicals. In the nineteenth century, Evangelicalism received a boost from the revivalist movements and from the Keswick Convention. With Evangelicalism’s twin focus of world missions and personal consecration, the social gospel (a theological movement in North America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries emphasizing social improvement over propagation of the Gospel) has disappeared from its horizon. In the post WWII period, the conservative Evangelicals have spearheaded a revival under the leadership of John Stott, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Carl Henry, and others. The crusades of Billy Graham, the Charismatic movement, the impact of Inter-Varsity Fellowship among students, the popularity of theology as an academic discipline, and experiments in new forms of worship and evangelism have contributed to the phenomenal growth of Evangelicalism.

RESPONDING TO CHALLENGE

Now on to the challenge itself, which, the self-definition above will exemplify the main points. When I first cam across the argument myself, it was 33,000 denominations, which “WAR_EAGLE” points out is a fluctuating number in his concise refutation of this number:

This morning, an atheist poster was kind enough to provide us with yet another refutation of the “33,000 denominations” lie and I just thought I’d share it with you here, since he is not able to share that here.

Among The Criticism’s Of The Methodology Used To Arrive At That Ever Fluctuating Number:

  • These “denominations” are defined in terms of being separate organisations, not necessarily separate beliefs. This is a critical difference, not commonly noted by critics.
  • The largest component (something like two thirds to three quarters) of these totals are “independent” churches, mostly in Africa. These are not necessarily different in doctrine, but are simply independent organisations.
  • These estimates include national branches of the same denomination (e.g. the Lutheran Church of Germany and the Lutheran Church of Australia) as separate organisations in the count.
  • There are many churches among the independent churches which would have effectively the same teachings, just different locations, different leaders, etc.

It is thus incorrect to say that these figures indicate more than 40,000 different beliefs. It is impossible to tell how many differences in belief there would be, and probably impossible even to define. But it would certainly be far less than the 43,000 figure.

Differences In Belief:

  • The sources suggest Christian denominations can be divided into “6 major ecclesiastico-cultural mega-blocs”: Independents, Protestants, “Marginals”, Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Anglicans.
  • Wikipedia lists about 40 major divisions, each of whom might have some variation in belief.
  • The degree of difference in belief is hard to describe. For example, most of these denominations would have similar beliefs about major christian doctrines such as God, creation, Jesus, salvation, Holy Spirit, forgiveness, etc, and the differences would mostly be on less essential matters. How much these differences matter is subjective.

Conclusions

The denominations measured in these two reports are not indicators of separate belief, and quoting them as such is a mis-statement of the data. Due to the large number of independent churches, it is impossible to know how much christian belief varies beyond that defined by the 40 or so groups listed in Wikipedia.

(See THE WAY’S post on this)

In the above challenge of 40,000 denominations… Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), and other cults are included in the number. Using the same criteria found in the ever-changing large number we see how the criteria works out to an INFLATED NUMBER: Please realize, this includes “Gnostics” (!), Mormons (122 denominations worth!) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (228 denominations)! No Christian church would include them as a “Christian denomination,” unless infected by a form of liberalism that causes a universal viewpoint. That is, all people are going to heaven. This question about denominations comes up often by Mormons. They typically claim they are the one true church… but there are well over 40-factions of Mormonism (“denominations”). How do they themselves distinguish what is true?

Even the Roman Catholic church has 242 “denominations.” (See Dr. White’s presentation near the bottom)

Here is a good concluding remark of a larger response:

Denominations were probably not Christ’s first choice for His church. We recall His prayer that His church would be one (John 17:20-21), and can imagine that He would have preferred for His church to remain fully unified for the cause of Christ. But denominations came to help serve the purpose of God in many important ways:

  • They helped to divide and scatter the influence of the Gospel to a wider spectrum of people.
  • They helped to filter out the spread of harmful heresies and false doctrines.
  • They have unified significant portions of the body of Christ, integrating those congregations of similar views. Even though a denomination may not have an organizational affiliation with all other churches, this does not have to represent disunity any more than a local church who seeks to befriend and support its neighboring congregations. Wise denominational leaders have used their influence to help their flock see the larger family picture of Christianity.

Thank God there will be no denominational divisions in Heaven, only those who have agreed upon their faith in the precious atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

(APOLOGETIC INDEX)

An historical analogy for one of the bullet points above may help. If the world was made up of a “Pangaea” of a country (one country/one world order), it would be impossible to stop a “Hitler” or Mao,” or “Stalin” conquering said world. But because the world is divided into different cultures, languages, and the like… it is near impossible for a tyrant to overthrow the world. (Which is one reason why a “united Europe” is looked upon as a net negative.)

(Hat-Tip To STEVE’S CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICAL INFOGRAPHICS)

Similarly, as was already pointed out, these many denominations “helped to filter out the spread of harmful heresies and false doctrines.”

CATHOLIC’S CONTINUE MYTH

There are of course NEGATIVE VIEWS of the “many denominations,” but all-in-all, it is not a very good challenge to a thoughtful Christian that the many denominations are somehow evidence that Christianity is not true, is a battle Catholics have lost FOR A WHILE NOW.

Here is an older video with James White (Jan 7, 2009):

  • Most (not all) Roman Catholic apologists repeat the same falsehood over and over again: that there are 33,000 Protestant denominations due to sola scriptura.

I hope this helps.

Evidence OUTSIDE the Bible for Jesus (Bill Maher Added)

(Updated Graphics Below – JUMP)

(For video description and links, GO HERE)

More videos/articles like this:

Shattering the Christ Myth (J. P. Holding) — Buy Holding’s book, Shattering the Christ Myth; Tektonics.org articles on Jesus Mythicism and Copycats; Jesus Never Existed?: Give Me a Break! (with Paul L. Maier); Jesus of Testimony (a documentary defending the historical existence of Jesus); Debunking Robert M. Price ~ 6-Part Series (leading Christ Mythicist is refuted by Phil Fernandes); Debunking Richard Carrier ~ 2-Part Series (another leading proponent of the Jesus Myth theory); The God Who Wasn’t There, Refuted (Tektonics); Jesus Legend (by Greg Boyd) — Buy Boyd’s book on the, The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition — and his book, Lord or Legend?: Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma; Is Jesus a Legend? (Phil Fernandes) — Part 1 and Part 2; Is the Movie Zeitgeist Accurate? ~ Larry Wessels and Steve Morrison || Dr. Mark Foreman || and Michael Boehm.

See my pages on the topic of mystery religion and Jesus:

Here is some information from a wonderful book, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus, in my “Evidence” paper:

  • The fact that the early church fathers lived at the same time as these 500 [+] witnesses who saw the resurrected Christ and his ascension (believers: Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Papius, Polycarp, Quadratus.) (Non-believers [some were contemporaries]: Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, Emperor Trajan, Talmudic writings [A.D. 70-200], Lucian, Mara Bar-Serapion, the Gospel of Truth, the Acts of Pontius Pilate.)

Even if we did not have the New Testament or Christian writings, we would be able to conclude from such non-Christian writings as Josephus, the Talmud, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger that: 1) Jesus was a Jewish teacher; 2) many people believed that he performed healings and exorcisms; 3) he was rejected by the Jewish leaders; 4) he was crucified under Pontius Pilot in the reign of Tiberius; 5) despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed that he was still alive, spread beyond Palestine so that there were multitudes of them in Rome by A.D. 64; 6) all kinds of people from the cities and countryside – men and women, slave and free – worshipped him as God by the beginning of the second century (100 A.D.)

Michael J. Wilkins and J. P. Moreland, eds, Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 221-222

This is the MEAT from a larger — must read — article via STAND TO REASON:

Hostile Non-Biblical Pagan Witnesses
There are a number of ancient classical accounts of Jesus from pagan Greek sources. These accounts are generally hostile to Christianity and try to explain away the miraculous nature of Jesus and the events that surrounded his life. Let’s look at these hostile accounts and see what they tell us about Jesus:

Thallus (52AD)
Thallus is perhaps the earliest secular writer to mention Jesus and he is so ancient that his writings don’t even exist anymore. But Julius Africanus, writing around 221AD does quote Thallus who had previously tried to explain away the darkness that occurred at the point of Jesus’ crucifixion:

“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.” (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)

If only more of Thallus’ record could be found, we would see that every aspect of Jesus’ life could be verified with a non-biblical source. But there are some things we can conclude from this account: Jesus lived, he was crucified, and there was an earthquake and darkness at the point of his crucifixion.

Pliny the Younger (61-113AD)
Early Christians are also described in secular history. Pliny the Younger, in a letter to the Roman emperor Trajan, describes the lifestyles of early Christians:

“They (the Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food—but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”

This EARLY description of the first Christians documents several facts: the first Christians believed that Jesus was GOD, the first Christians upheld a high moral code, and these early followers et regularly to worship Jesus.

Suetonius (69-140AD)
Suetonius was a Roman historian and annalist of the Imperial House under the Emperor Hadrian. His writings about Christians describe their treatment under the Emperor Claudius (41-54AD):

“Because the Jews at Rome caused constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (Christ), he (Claudius) expelled them from the city (Rome).” (Life of Claudius, 25:4)

This expulsion took place in 49AD, and in another work, Suetonius wrote about the fire which destroyed Rome in 64 A.D. under the reign of Nero. Nero blamed the Christians for this fire and he punished Christians severely as a result:

“Nero inflicted punishment on the Christians, a sect given to a new and mischievous religious belief.” (Lives of the Caesars, 26.2)

There is much we can learn from Suetonius as it is related to the life of early Christians. From this very EARLY account, we know that Jesus had an immediate impact on his followers. They believed that Jesus was God enough to withstand the torment and punishment of the Roman Empire. Jesus had a curious and immediate impact on his followers, empowering them to die courageously for what they knew to be true.

Tacitus (56-120AD)
Cornelius Tacitus was known for his analysis and examination of historical documents and is among the most trusted of ancient historians. He was a senator under Emperor Vespasian and was also proconsul of Asia. In his “Annals’ of 116AD, he describes Emperor Nero’s response to the great fire in Rome and Nero’s claim that the Christians were to blame:

“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”

In this account, Tacitus confirms for us that Jesus lived in Judea, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and had followers who were persecuted for their faith in Christ.

Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD)
Sometime after 70AD, a Syrian philosopher named Mara Bar-Serapion, writing to encourage his son, compared the life and persecution of Jesus with that of other philosophers who were persecuted for their ideas. The fact that Jesus is known to be a real person with this kind of influence is important. As a matter of fact, Mara Bar-Serapion refers to Jesus as the “Wise King”:

“What benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as judgment for their crime. Or, the people of Samos for burning Pythagoras? In one moment their country was covered with sand. Or the Jews by murdering their wise king?…After that their kingdom was abolished. God rightly avenged these men…The wise king…Lived on in the teachings he enacted.”

From this account, we can add to our understanding of Jesus. We can conclude that Jesus was a wise and influential man who died for his beliefs. We can also conclude that his followers adopted these beliefs and lived lives that reflected them to the world in which they lived.

Phlegon (80-140AD)
In a manner similar to Thallus, Julius Africanus also mentions a historian named Phlegon who wrote a chronicle of history around 140AD. In this history, Phlegon also mentions the darkness surrounding the crucifixion in an effort to explain it:

“Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth to the ninth hour.” (Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)

Phlegon is also mentioned by Origen (an early church theologian and scholar, born in Alexandria):

“Now Phlegon, in the thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events . . . but also testified that the result corresponded to His predictions.” (Origen Against Celsus, Book 2, Chapter 14)

“And with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place … ” (Origen Against Celsus, Book 2, Chapter 33)

“Jesus, while alive, was of no assistance to himself, but that he arose after death, and exhibited the marks of his punishment, and showed how his hands had been pierced by nails.” (Origen Against Celsus, Book 2, Chapter 59)

From these accounts, we can add something to our understand of Jesus and conclude that Jesus had the ability to accurately predict the future, was crucified under the reign of Tiberius Caesar and demonstrated his wounds after he was resurrected!

Lucian of Samosata: (115-200 A.D.)
Lucian was a Greek satirist who spoke sarcastically of Christ and Christians, but in the process, he did affirm that they were real people and never referred to them as fictional characters:

“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account….You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.” (Lucian, The Death of Peregrine. 11-13)

From this account we can add to our description and conclude that Jesus taught about repentance and about the family of God. These teachings were quickly adopted by Jesus’ followers and exhibited to the world around them.

Celsus (175AD)
This is the last hostile ‘pagan’ account we will examine (although there are many other later accounts in history). Celsus was quite hostile to the Gospels, but in his criticism, he unknowingly affirms and reinforces the authors and their content. His writing is extensive and he alludes to 80 different Biblical quotes, confirming their early appearance in history. In addition, he admits that the miracles of Jesus were generally believed in the early 2nd century! Here is a portion of his text:

“Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a soldier named Panthéra (i.32)]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard. Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain (magical) powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god.”

Celsus admits that Jesus was reportedly born of a virgin, but then argues that this could supernatural account could not be possible and offers the idea that he was a bastard son of a man named Panthera (an idea borrowed from Jews who opposed Jesus at the time). But in writing this account, Celsus does confirm that Jesus had an earthly father who was a carpenter, possessed unusual magical powers and claimed to be God.

Hostile Non-Biblical Jewish Witnesses
In addition to classical ‘pagan’ sources that chronicle the life of Jesus and his followers, there are also a number of ancient hostile Jewish sources that talk about Jesus. These are written by Jewish theologians, historians and leaders who were definitely NOT sympathetic to the Christian cause. Their writings are often VERY harsh, critical and even demeaning to Jesus. But there is still much that these writings confirm.

Josephus (37-101AD)
In more detail than any other non-biblical historian, Josephus writes about Jesus in his “the Antiquities of the Jews” in 93AD. Josephus was born just four years after the crucifixion. He was a consultant for Jewish rabbis at age thirteen, was a Galilean military commander by the age of sixteen, and he was an eyewitness to much of what he recorded in the first century A.D. Under the rule of roman emperor Vespasian, Josephus was allowed to write a history of the Jews. This history includes three passages about Christians, one in which he describes the death of John the Baptist, one in which he mentions the execution of James and describes him as the brother of Jesus the Christ, and a final passage which describes Jesus as a wise man and the messiah. Now there is much controversy about the writing of Josephus, because the first discoveries of his writings are late enough to have been re-written by Christians, who are accused of making additions to the text. So to be fair, let’s take a look at a scholarly reconstruction that has removed all the possible Christian influence from the text related to Jesus:

“Now around this time lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was a worker of amazing deeds and was a teacher of people who gladly accept the truth. He won over both many Jews and many Greeks. Pilate, when he heard him accused by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, (but) those who had first loved him did not cease (doing so). To this day the tribe of Christians named after him has not disappeared” (This neutral reconstruction follows closely the one proposed in the latest treatment by John Meier, Marginal Jew 1:61)

Now there are many other ancient versions of Josephus’ writing which are even more explicit about the nature of his miracles, his life and his status as the Christ, but let’s take this conservative version and see what we can learn. From this text, we can conclude that Jesus lived in Palestine, was a wise man and a teacher, worked amazing deeds, was accused buy the Jews, crucified under Pilate and had followers called Christians!

Jewish Talmud (400-700AD)
While the earliest Talmudic writings of Jewish Rabbis appear in the 5th century, the tradition of these Rabbinic authors indicates that they are faithfully transmitting teachings from the early “Tannaitic” period of the first century BC to the second century AD. There are a number of writings from the Talmud that scholars believe refer to Jesus and many of these writings are said to use code words to describe Jesus (such as “Balaam” or “Ben Stada” or “a certain one”). But let’s be very conservative here. Let’s ONLY look at the passages that refer to Jesus in a more direct way. If we do that, there are still several ancient Talmudic passages we can examine:

“Jesus practiced magic and led Israel astray” (b. Sanhedrin 43a; cf. t. Shabbat 11.15; b. Shabbat 104b)

“Rabbi Hisda (d. 309) said that Rabbi Jeremiah bar Abba said, ‘What is that which is written, ‘No evil will befall you, nor shall any plague come near your house’? (Psalm 91:10)… ‘No evil will befall you’ (means) that evil dreams and evil thoughts will not tempt you; ‘nor shall any plague come near your house’ (means) that you will not have a son or a disciple who burns his food like Jesus of Nazareth.” (b. Sanhedrin 103a; cf. b. Berakhot 17b)

“Our rabbis have taught that Jesus had five disciples: Matthai, Nakai, Nezer, Buni and Todah. They brought Matthai to (to trial). He said, ‘Must Matthai be killed? For it is written, ‘When (mathai) shall I come and appear before God?’” (Psalm 92:2) They said to him, “Yes Matthai must be killed, for it is written, ‘When (mathai) he dies his name will perish’” (Psalm 41:5). They brought Nakai. He said to them, “Must Nakai be killed? For it is written, “The innocent (naqi) and the righteous will not slay’” (Exodus 23:7). They said to him, “Yes, Nakai must be kille, for it is written, ‘In secret places he slays the innocent (naqi)’” (Psalm 10:8). (b. Sanhedrin 43a; the passage continues in a similar way for Nezer, Buni and Todah)

And this, perhaps the most famous of Talmudic passages about Jesus:

“It was taught: On the day before the Passover they hanged Jesus. A herald went before him for forty days (proclaiming), “He will be stoned, because he practiced magic and enticed Israel to go astray. Let anyone who knows anything in his favor come forward and plead for him.” But nothing was found in his favor, and they hanged him on the day before the Passover. (b. Sanhedrin 43a)

From just these passages that mention Jesus by name, we can conclude that Jesus had magical powers, led the Jews away from their beliefs, had disciples who were martyred for their faith (one of whom was named Matthai), and was executed on the day before the Passover.

The Toledot Yeshu (1000AD)
The Toledot Yeshu is a medieval Jewish retelling of the life of Jesus. It is completely anti-Christian, to be sure. There are many versions of these ‘retellings’, and as part of the transmitted oral and written tradition of the Jews, we can presume their original place in antiquity, dating back to the time of Jesus’ first appearance as an influential leader who was drawing Jews away from their faith in the Law. The Toledot Yeshu contains a determined effort to explain away the miracles of Jesus, and to deny the virgin birth. In some places, the text is quite vicious, but it does confirm many elements of the New Testament writings. Let’s take a look at a portion of the text (Jesus is refered to as ‘Yehoshua’):

“In the year 3671 (in Jewish reckonging, it being ca 90 B.C.) in the days of King Jannaeus, a great misfortune befell Israel, when there arose a certain disreputable man of the tribe of Judah, whose name was Joseph Pandera. He lived at Bethlehem, in Judah. Near his house dwelt a widow and her lovely and chaste daughter named Miriam. Miriam was betrothed to Yohanan, of the royal house of David, a man learned in the Torah and God-fearing. At the close of a certain Sabbath, Joseph Pandera, attractive and like a warrior in appearance, having gazed lustfully upon Miriam, knocked upon the door of her room and betrayed her by pretending that he was her betrothed husband, Yohanan. Even so, she was amazed at this improper conduct and submitted only against her will. Thereafter, when Yohanan came to her, Miriam expressed astonishment at behavior so foreign to his character. It was thus that they both came to know the crime of Joseph Pandera and the terrible mistake on the part of Miriam… Miriam gave birth to a son and named him Yehoshua, after her brother. This name later deteriorated to Yeshu (“Yeshu” is the Jewish “name” for Jesus. It means “May His Name Be Blotted Out”). On the eighth day he was circumcised. When he was old enough the lad was taken by Miriam to the house of study to be instructed in the Jewish tradition. One day Yeshu walked in front of the Sages with his head uncovered, showing shameful disrespect. At this, the discussion arose as to whether this behavior did not truly indicate that Yeshu was an illegitimate child and the son of a niddah. Moreover, the story tells that while the rabbis were discussing the Tractate Nezikin, he gave his own impudent interpretation of the law and in an ensuing debate he held that Moses could not be the greatest of the prophets if he had to receive counsel from Jethro. This led to further inquiry as to the antecedents of Yeshu, and it was discovered through Rabban Shimeon ben Shetah that he was the illegitimate son of Joseph Pandera. Miriam admitted it. After this became known, it was necessary for Yeshu to flee to Upper Galilee. After King Jannaeus, his wife Helene ruled over all Israel. In the Temple was to be found the Foundation Stone on which were engraven the letters of God’s Ineffable Name. Whoever learned the secret of the Name and its use would be able to do whatever he wished. Therefore, the Sages took measures so that no one should gain this knowledge. Lions of brass were bound to two iron pillars at the gate of the place of burnt offerings. Should anyone enter and learn the Name, when he left the lions would roar at him and immediately the valuable secret would be forgotten. Yeshu came and learned the letters of the Name; he wrote them upon the parchment which he placed in an open cut on his thigh and then drew the flesh over the parchment. As he left, the lions roared and he forgot the secret. But when he came to his house he reopened the cut in his flesh with a knife an lifted out the writing. Then he remembered and obtained the use of the letters. He gathered about himself three hundred and ten young men of Israel and accused those who spoke ill of his birth of being people who desired greatness and power for themselves. Yeshu proclaimed, “I am the Messiah; and concerning me Isaiah prophesied and said, ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.’” He quoted other messianic texts, insisting, “David my ancestor prophesied concerning me: ‘The Lord said to me, thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.’” The insurgents with him replied that if Yeshu was the Messiah he should give them a convincing sign. They therefore, brought to him a lame man, who had never walked. Yeshu spoke over the man the letters of the Ineffable Name, and the leper was healed. Thereupon, they worshipped him as the Messiah, Son of the Highest. When word of these happenings came to Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin decided to bring about the capture of Yeshu. They sent messengers, Annanui and Ahaziah, who, pretending to be his disciples, said that they brought him an invitation from the leaders of Jerusalem to visit them. Yeshu consented on condition the members of the Sanhedrin receive him as a lord. He started out toward Jerusalem and, arriving at Knob, acquired an ass on which he rode into Jerusalem, as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah. The Sages bound him and led him before Queen Helene, with the accusation: “This man is a sorcerer and entices everyone.” Yeshu replied, “The prophets long ago prophesied my coming: ‘And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,’ and I am he; but as for them, Scripture says ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.’” Queen Helene asked the Sages: “What he says, is it in your Torah?” They replied: “It is in our Torah, but it is not applicable to him, for it is in Scripture: ‘And that prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.’ He has not fulfilled the signs and conditions of the Messiah.” Yeshu spoke up: “Madam, I am the Messiah and I revive the dead.” A dead body was brought in; he pronounced the letters of the Ineffable Name and the corpse came to life. The Queen was greatly moved and said: “This is a true sign.” She reprimanded the Sages and sent them humiliated from her presence. Yeshu’s dissident followers increased and there was controversy in Israel. Yeshu went to Upper Galilee. the Sages came before the Queen, complaining that Yeshu practiced sorcery and was leading everyone astray. Therefore she sent Annanui and Ahaziah to fetch him. The found him in Upper Galilee, proclaiming himself the Son of God. When they tried to take him there was a struggle, but Yeshu said to the men of Upper Galilee: “Wage no battle.” He would prove himself by the power which came to him from his Father in heaven. He spoke the Ineffable Name over the birds of clay and they flew into the air. He spoke the same letters over a millstone that had been placed upon the waters. He sat in it and it floated like a boat. When they saw this the people marveled. At the behest of Yeshu, the emissaries departed and reported these wonders to the Queen. She trembled with astonishment. Then the Sages selected a man named Judah Iskarioto and brought him to the Sanctuary where he learned the letters of the Ineffable Name as Yeshu had done. When Yeshu was summoned before the queen, this time there were present also the Sages and Judah Iskarioto. Yeshu said: “It is spoken of me, ‘I will ascend into heaven.’” He lifted his arms like the wings of an eagle and he flew between heaven and earth, to the amazement of everyone…Yeshu was seized. His head was covered with a garment and he was smitten with pomegranate staves; but he could do nothing, for he no longer had the Ineffable Name. Yeshu was taken prisoner to the synagogue of Tiberias, and they bound him to a pillar. To allay his thirst they gave him vinegar to drink. On his head they set a crown of thorns. There was strife and wrangling between the elders and the unrestrained followers of Yeshu, as a result of which the followers escaped with Yeshu to the region of Antioch; there Yeshu remained until the eve of the Passover. Yeshu then resolved to go the Temple to acquire again the secret of the Name. That year the Passover came on a Sabbath day. On the eve of the Passover, Yeshu, accompanied by his disciples, came to Jerusalem riding upon an ass. Many bowed down before him. He entered the Temple with his three hundred and ten followers. One of them, Judah Iskarioto apprised the Sages that Yeshu was to be found in the Temple, that the disciples had taken a vow by the Ten Commandments not to reveal his identity but that he would point him out by bowing to him. So it was done and Yeshu was seized. Asked his name, he replied to the question by several times giving the names Mattai, Nakki, Buni, Netzer, each time with a verse quoted by him and a counter-verse by the Sages. Yeshu was put to death on the sixth hour on the eve of the Passover and of the Sabbath. When they tried to hang him on a tree it broke, for when he had possessed the power he had pronounced by the Ineffable Name that no tree should hold him. He had failed to pronounce the prohibition over the carob-stalk, for it was a plant more than a tree, and on it he was hanged until the hour for afternoon prayer, for it is written in Scripture, “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree.” They buried him outside the city. On the first day of the week his bold followers came to Queen Helene with the report that he who was slain was truly the Messiah and that he was not in his grave; he had ascended to heaven as he prophesied. Diligent search was made and he was not found in the grave where he had been buried. A gardener had taken him from the grave and had brought him into his garden and buried him in the sand over which the waters flowed into the garden. Queen Helene demanded, on threat of a severe penalty, that the body of Yeshu be shown to her within a period of three days. There was a great distress. When the keeper of the garden saw Rabbi Tanhuma walking in the field and lamenting over the ultimatum of the Queen, the gardener related what he had done, in order that Yeshu’s followers should not steal the body and then claim that he had ascended into heaven. The Sages removed the body, tied it to the tail of a horse and transported it to the Queen, with the words, “This is Yeshu who is said to have ascended to heaven.” Realizing that Yeshu was a false prophet who enticed the people and led them astray, she mocked the followers but praised the Sages.

Now in spite of the fact that the ancient Jews who wrote this did their best to argue for another interpretation of the Life of Jesus, they did make several claims here about Jesus. This passage, along with several others from the Toledot tradition, confirms that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, healed the lame, said that Isaiah foretold of his life, was worshipped as God, arrested by the Jews, beaten with rods, given vinegar to drink, wore a crown of thorns, rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, was betrayed by a man named Judah Iskarioto, and had followers who claimed he was resurrected and ascended, leaving an empty tomb!


UPDATE via FACEBOOK


Here are some pictures via a Facebook Group (HERE):

Christian Nationalism? Conflating neo-Paganism with Christianity

What I find interesting about the article by Rachel S. Mikva (USA TODAY) is her grouping these people with Christianity. For instance, she seems to think that the horned guy mentioning “god” means he is referencing “God” (the Judeo-Christian God). For instance, here is a decent article zeroing in on the neo-Pagan aspects of the white supremacy movement. Of which I know personally about being that I was in jail for almost a year-and-a-half. I know their neo-Pagan systems of belief well. As well as studying the Third Reich love of this Paganism. See for instance:

  • God vs. Hitler (RPT)
  • NAZI Occultism (RPT)

…more to follow audio…

Here is an excerpt from THE CONVERSATION:

Then Jacob Chansley, sometimes called the “QAnon Shaman,” took his bullhorn and announced gratitude to God for being able to “send a message to all the tyrants, the communists, and the globalists that this is our nation, not theirs.”Bare-chested to expose his white supremacist tattoos, he had paused briefly to remove his Viking-inspired horned headdress and cap — presumably to assume a properly humble posture as he claimed the United States for himself and his fellow-believers.

One thing that should make it very clear where Angeli’s politics lie are his tattoos. On his torso he has a large Thor’s hammer, known as Mjölnir, and what appears to be an image of the Norse world tree, Yggdrasill.

Mjölnir is one symbol we can be pretty sure was used by the original adherents of the Norse belief system, perhaps to summon the protection of the god Thor. Yggdrasill is the giant ash tree that supports the Norse cosmos, its branches reaching into sky realms inaccessible to humans, and its roots to the subterranean realm of the dead. Unlike Thor’s hammer, it was only rarely depicted by the Vikings, and representations such as the one below are modern interpretations.

Above these tattoos with a central place in Norse mythology is one that is more contentious. It depicts a valknut – an image that appears on two Viking-Age stones from Sweden carved with scenes from Norse mythology, including the Stora Hammars I stone on the island of Gotland.

The symbol’s original meaning is unclear, but it appears in close proximity to the father of the gods, Odin, on the stones. As Odin is closely connected with the gathering of fallen warriors to Valhalla, the valknut may be a symbol of death in battle.

Snorri Sturluson, a medieval Icelandic collector of myths, tells us in his “Language of Poetry” that a famous giant called Hrungnir had a stone heart “pointed with three corners”, and so the valknut is sometimes also called “Hrungnir’s Heart”. Whatever its original meaning, it has been used in more recent times by various neo-pagan groups – and increasingly by some white supremacists as a coded message of their belief in violent struggle…..

Another post with some names of the Norse gods is here. When I was in jail, I met a couple “Odinites”

ODINISM

…Odinism is another term for Asatru, a pagan religion. But in the FBI’s Project Megiddo, it was described as a:

… white supremacist ideology that lends itself to violence and has the potential to inspire its followers to violence in connection to the millennium. What makes Odinists dangerous is the fact that many believe in the necessity of becoming martyrs for their cause. — FBI Report: Project Megiddo

In response, a prominent Asatru organization published Asatru/Odinism: A Briefing for Law Enforcement Officials

ARTICLES:

The New Romantics ”A Swedish expert on right-wing extremism says that racist Odinism is the radical religion of the future.” By Mattias Gardell, professor of religious history at the University of Stockholm’s Center for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, writing in the Spring, 2001 edition of Intelligence Report (published by the Southern Poverty Law Center). See also: Clarification, by Mattias Gardell.

SEE ALSO

(APOLOGETICS INDEX)

ASATRU

What is Asatru?
Long before Christianity came to northern Europe, the people there – our ancestors – had their own religions. One of these was Asatru. It was practiced in the lands that are today Scandinavia, England, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and other countries as well. Asatru is the original, or native, religion for the peoples who lived in these regions. Simply put, you might think of it as ”the religion of the Vikings” since they were its main followers in the years just before our ancestors were forced to adopt Christianity.

What does the word ”Asatru” mean?
It means, roughly, “belief in the Gods” in Old Norse, the language of ancient Scandinavia in which so much of our source material was written. Asatru is the name by which the Norsemen called their religion.

[…]

What are the basic tenets or beliefs of Asatru?
We believe in an underlying, all-pervading divine energy or essence which is generally hidden from us, and which is beyond our immediate understanding. We further believe that this spiritual reality is interdependent with us – that we affect it, and it affects us.

We believe that this underlying divinity expresses itself to us in the forms of the Gods and Goddesses. Stories about these deities are like a sort of code, the mysterious ”language” through which the divine reality speaks to us.

We believe in standards of behavior which are consistent with these spiritual truths and harmonious with our deepest being.

How does Asatru differ from other religions?
Asatru is unlike the better-known religions in many ways. Some of these are:

We are polytheistic. That is, we believe in a number of deities, including Goddesses as well as Gods. (We have a tongue-in-cheek saying that a religion without a Goddess is halfway to atheism!)

We do not accept the idea of ”original sin,” the notion that we are tainted from birth and intrinsically bad, as does Christianity. Thus, we do not need ”saving.”

We do not claim to be a universal religion, a faith for all of humankind. In fact, we don’t think such a thing is possible or desirable. The different branches of humanity have different ways of looking at the world, each of which is valid for them. It is only right that they have different religions…..

Asatru is also called Odinism:

  • Asatru (pronounced AS-a-tru or OW-sa-tru) is a word which means ”those true to the Gods” in Icelandic. It is one of the words used to label the pre-Christian, native religion of Scandinavia and the Germanic countries. Another term used for these beliefs is ”Odinism,” and it will be used throughout this document as meaning the same as Asatru. (Source: A Brief History of Asatru, or Odinism)

That quote is part of an article titled, Asatru/Odinism: A Briefing for Law Enforcement Officials. It was written in large part in response to the inclusion of Odinism in the FBI’s Project Megiddo report:

Finally, Odinism is another white supremacist ideology that lends itself to violence and has the potential to inspire its followers to violence in connection to the millennium. What makes Odinists dangerous is the fact that many believe in the necessity of becoming martyrs for their cause. For example, Bob Mathews, the leader of The Order, died in a fiery confrontation with law enforcement. Also, William King relished the fact that he would receive the death penalty for his act of dragging James Byrd, Jr. to his death. Odinism has little to do with Christian Identity but there is one key similarity: Odinism provides dualism — as does Christian Identity — with regard to the universe being made up of worlds of light (white people) and worlds of dark (non-white people). The most fundamental difference between the two ideologies is that Odinists do not believe in Jesus Christ. However, there are enough similarities between the myths and legends of Odinism and the beliefs of Christian Identity to make a smooth transition from Christian Identity to Odinism for those racist individuals whose penchant for violence is not being satisfied. (Source: White Supremacy, Project Megiddo)…..

(APOLOGETICS INDEX)

“Amen” and “A Woman” | Crazy Democrats

(WIKI) Amen (Hebrew: אָמֵן, ‘ʾāmēn’; Greek: ἀμήν, ‘amín’; Arabic: آمین, ‘āmīna’; Aramaic/Syriac: ܐܵܡܝܼܢ, ‘ʾāmīn’) is an Abrahamic declaration of affirmation first found in the Hebrew Bible, and subsequently in the New Testament. It is used in Jewish, Christian and Islamic worship, as a concluding word, or as a response to a prayer. Common English translations of the word amen include “verily”, “truly”, and “so be it”. It is also used colloquially, to express strong agreement.

[….]

The usage of amen, meaning “so be it” (as found in the early scriptures of the Bible), is a word of Biblical Hebrew origin. The word originated in the Hebrew Scriptures, as a confirmatory response; it is found in Deuteronomy as a confirmatory response made by the people. Moreover, in the Books of Chronicles (16:36), it is indicated that around 1000 BC, the word was used in its religious sense, with the people responding “Amen” upon hearing the blessing, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from now and unto all eternity”. The basic triconsonantal root from which the word is derived, is common to a number of languages in the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages, including biblical Aramaic. The word was imported into the Greek from the Judaism of the early Church. From Greek, amen entered the other Western languages. According to a standard dictionary etymology, amen passed from Greek into Late Latin, and thence into English. Rabbinic scholars from medieval France believed the standard Hebrew word for faith emuna comes from the root amen. Although in English transliteration they look different, they are both from the root aleph-mem-nun. That is, the Hebrew word amen derives from the same ancient triliteral Hebrew root as does the verb ʾāmán.

Grammarians frequently list ʾāmán under its three consonants (aleph-mem-nun), which are identical to those of ʾāmēn (note that the Hebrew letter א aleph represents a glottal stop sound, which functions as a consonant in the morphology of Hebrew). This triliteral root means to be firm, confirmed, reliable, faithful, have faith, believe.

LIBERTY LOFT

Charlotte, NC — To open each Congressional session, a prayer is said. At the start of a new Congress, a prayer is said for that specific Congress. This year, the prayer was said, but it was a complete slap in the face to our founding fathers and our nation’s history.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo) opened the session in prayer. Cleaver was a United Methodist Pastor and the prayer did not deviate far from normal until he was near the end of his prayer.

Cleaver said he was praying to the monotheistic God, Brahma the Hindu god, and God known by many different names by many different faiths. It’s a significant departure for a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian faith. But that’s not all.

To conclude his prayer, Cleaver apparently thought he was going to pray gender-neutral and said the words Amen and a woman. You can see his comments below and the Washington Examiner does a great job sharing that the word amen is not a reference to masculinity, but rather a word that translates “so be it.”…..

Here is the video:

DAILY WIRE great commentary:

….The first explanation for the bizarre expansion of “amen” to “amen and a woman” could be that Rep. Cleaver is simply guilty of appalling ignorance. However, given that Cleaver served as the pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1972 to 2009, it seems difficult to believe that such a statement can be chalked up to irreligious stupidity. Surely, after almost 40 years in the profession, Cleaver would know that “amen” doesn’t mean “a man?”

Then, what is to blame? The answer, quite obviously, is the absurd gender politics which have taken root at the heart of progressivism. After all, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has “proposed eliminating references to gender and establishing an Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the House.” Like Pelosi’s actions, could Cleaver’s laughable inclusion of “a woman” be another example of a pre-radical Democrat trying to survive in this new radical world?

Regardless of whether or not Cleaver is a true believer, what should cause further concern for conservatives — beyond the inaccuracy of Cleaver’s redefinition or his blatant pandering — is that his prayer demonstrates how nothing is safe when it comes to the new and fluid demands of the radical Left.

Long gone are the days of “Chairperson” replacing “Chairman” or “Chairwoman.” Similarly, long gone are the days of meaningless linguistic inventions such as “Latinx” or “womxn.” The radical Left’s lust for cultural dominance is never satisfied, and their appetite has been forced to grow more refined as their targets become harder to identify.

The scary part is not the absurdity of the radical Left or their fundamental premises — these have always been nonsensical — but the continued enthusiasm of those held hostage, forced to bow to their ever-changing demands. Even a pastor, an apparently religious man who presumably respects the words and meaning of scripture, is happy to bastardize language in order to survive another day.

It is this detail which should remind conservatives that the battle for language is more important than ever before. This “prayer” represents far more than ignorance or meaningless pandering. It shows that even religion — the one last entity which transcends the power of “the state” — has fallen into the cross-hairs of a radical Left who hope to dominate our language in their quest for power.

It’s not enough that we laugh at the absurdity of “amen and a woman.” It’s time we realized that the cultural battle is being fought on yet another front.

This sparked some responses

MY FACEBOOK:

What kind of a woke moron ends a prayer with “amen and awoman”? Amen is Latin for “so be it.” ohhh a Democrat.


Cleaver ended his prayer to open up the 117th Congress on Sunday with the words “amen and awoman.”

Video of the prayer’s ending was posted to Twitter by Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, who pointed out that the word “amen” is Latin for “so be it.”

“It’s not a gendered word,” Reschenthaler wrote. “Unfortunately, facts are irrelevant to progressives. Unbelievable.”…..

(DAILY CALLER)

BEN SHAPIRO + CLIFFORD D. MAY

THE O.T. via JERRY ADAMS


SOME APOLOGETICS


SEE ALSO:

The Bible vs. Andy Stanley (Updated)

I do wonder if Andy Stanley considers Trump, like he did Obama, a “pastor-in-chief.” But I like how REFORMATION CHARLOTTE puts it: “Andy Stanley’s Church Closing is a Blessing From God to His People, We Should Thank Him!” Heh, so true.

This is an updated post regarding the false teacher, Andy Stanley, with some more video by Wretched (above). But always the J. Gresham Machen’s portion comes first — with some video of the questionable sermons added as well:

J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism, first published in 1923, has shown amazing resiliency in the applicability of its message. When I heard Andy Stanley’s recent comments that we should stop asking, “What does the Bible say about that?” Machen’s words immediately came to mind. According to Stanley, that terrible question should be exchanged for, “What does the New Covenant teach?” or “Even better, what does Jesus teach?” because the two covenants conflict. Watch his comments here, or the full message entitled “Mix ‘N Match”. In light of Stanley’s teaching, read the quote below from Machen, but every time Machen writes about the modern liberal substitute the name Andy Stanley.

If the Christian make full use of his Christian privileges, he finds the seat of authority in the whole Bible, which he regards as no mere word of man but as the very Word of God. Very different is the view of modern liberalism. The modern liberal rejects not only the doctrine of plenary inspiration but even such respect for the Bible as would be proper over against any ordinarily trustworthy book. But what is substituted for the Christian view of the Bible? What is the liberal view as to the seat of authority in religion?

The impression is sometimes produced that the modern liberal substitutes for the authority of the Bible the authority of Christ. He cannot accept, he says, what he regards as the perverse moral teaching of the Old Testament or the sophistical arguments of Paul. But he regards himself as being the true Christian because, rejecting the rest of the Bible, he depends upon Jesus alone.

This impression, however, is utterly false. The modern liberal does not really hold to the authority of Jesus. Even if he did so, indeed, he would still be impoverishing greatly his knowledge of God and of the way of salvation.

The words of Jesus, spoken during His earthly ministry, could hardly contain all that we need to know about God and about the way of salvation; for the meaning of Jesus’ redeeming work could hardly be fully set forth before that work was done. It could be set forth indeed by way of prophecy, and as a matter of fact, it was so set forth by Jesus even in the days of His flesh. But the full explanation could naturally be given only after the work was done. And such was actually the divine method. It is doing despite, not only to the Spirit of God but also to Jesus Himself, to regard the teaching of the Holy Spirit, given through the apostles, as at all inferior in authority to the teaching of Jesus.

As a matter of fact, however, the modern liberal does not hold fast even to the authority of Jesus. Certainly, he does not accept the words of Jesus as they are recorded in the Gospels. For among the recorded words of Jesus are to be found just those things which are most abhorrent to the modern liberal Church, and in His recorded words Jesus also points forward to the fuller revelation which was afterwards to be given through His apostles. Evidently, therefore, those words of Jesus which are to be regarded as authoritative by modern liberalism must first be selected from the mass of the recorded words by a critical process. The critical process is certainly very difficult, and the suspicion often arises that the critic is retaining as genuine words of the historical Jesus only those words which conform to his own preconceived ideas. But even after the sifting process has been completed, the liberal scholar is still unable to accept as authoritative all the sayings of Jesus; he must finally admit that even the “historical” Jesus as reconstructed by modern historians said some things that are untrue.

So much is usually admitted. But, it is maintained, although not everything that Jesus said is true, His central “life-purpose” is still to be regarded as regulative for the Church. But what then was the life-purpose of Jesus? According to the shortest, and if modern criticism be accepted, the earliest of the Gospels, the Son of Man “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). Here the vicarious death is put as the “life-purpose” of Jesus. Such an utterance must, of course, be pushed aside by the modern liberal Church.

The truth is that the life-purpose of Jesus discovered by modern liberalism is not the life-purpose of the real Jesus, but merely represents those elements in the teaching of Jesus—isolated and misinterpreted—which happen to agree with the modern program. It is not Jesus, then, who is the real authority, but the modern principle by which the selection within Jesus’ recorded teaching has been made. Certain isolated ethical principles of the Sermon on the Mount are accepted, not at all because they are teachings of Jesus, but because they agree with modern ideas.

It is not true at all, then, that modern liberalism is based upon the authority of Jesus. It is obliged to reject a vast deal that is absolutely essential in Jesus’ example and teaching—notably His consciousness of being the heavenly Messiah. The real authority, for liberalism, can only be “the Christian consciousness” or “Christian experience.” But how shall the findings of the Christian consciousness be established? Surely not by a majority vote of the organized Church. Such a method would obviously do away with all liberty of conscience. The only authority, then, can be individual experience; truth can only be that which “helps” the individual man. Such an authority is obviously no authority at all; for individual experience is endlessly diverse, and when once truth is regarded only as that which works at any particular time, it ceases to be truth. The result is an abysmal skepticism.

The Christian man, on the other hand, finds in the Bible the very Word of God. Let it not be said that dependence upon a book is a dead or an artificial thing. The Reformation of the sixteenth century was founded upon the authority of the Bible, yet it set the world aflame. Dependence upon a word of man would be slavish, but dependence upon God’s word is life. Dark and gloomy would be the world, if we were left to our own devices, and had no blessed Word of God. The Bible, to the Christian, is not a burdensome law, but the very Magna Charta of Christian liberty.

It is no wonder, then, that liberalism is totally different from Christianity, for the foundation is different. Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life. Liberalism, on the other hand, is founded upon the shifting emotions of sinful men.

J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1923), 64-66. (FREE HERE)

(PRINCE ON PREACHING)

EVANGELICAL DARK-WEB

The Evangelical Dark Web exposes Andy Stanley’s heretical worldview. Andy Stanley is a pastor at one of America’s largest megachurches 5th according to Wikipedia, #1 according to Outreach. His influence on the evangelical church is perhaps second to none. As a result many, Christians and churches are influenced by his teachings. This video is intended to be a concise way to show fellow believers that Andy Stanley is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

UNBELIEVABLE

[Editor’s note: I think the main issue is shown well at the 1hr-2-min and 25 second mark] Don’t miss this very special event! Tell the world! Andy Stanley and Jeff Durbin spend time discussing Andy’s book, “Irresistable”. They have a radio debate on the “Unbelievable Radio” program with Justin Brierley. Andy has claimed that we should “unhitch” the Old Testament from the New Testament. He claims that we the Old Testament Law (like the 10-commandments) is not binding upon Christians, today. In this radio show, Andy and Jeff discuss apologetic methodology (how to defend the faith) and whether or not the Law of God in the Old Testament is relevant for Christians, today.

FIGHTING FOR THE FAITH

Andy Stanley Denies the 10 Commandments (and the Old Testament)