Monthly ArchiveOctober 2009
Christianity Thomas on 31 Oct 2009
When Victoria Romero, 6, dressed up as a witch for a Hallowe’en party this week she could hardly have imagined that she was provoking the wrath of God by attending a celebration akin to a Black Mass — at least in the eyes of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church in Spain.
Wearing skeleton suits, dressing up as vampires, witches or goblins or slapping on fake blood is not far removed from communing with the Devil, according to the country’s bishops.
However, the bishops, with Vatican backing, have reserved their venom for the millions of parents who allowed their children to celebrate this “pagan” festival.
Father Joan María Canals, the director of the Spanish Bishops Conference Committee on Liturgy, condemned parents for permitting their children to go to “un-Christian” parties when they should be focusing on All Saints Day today and All Souls Day on Monday.
Also interesting is this: The Christian Broadcasting Network’s Halloween page, including “The Enemy’s Victory:Darkened Homes and Harvest Parties”
Letter in NY Times from Daniel Dennett:
What is going on at The New York Times? Why is it so bizarrely respectful of those who doubt evolution? In recent years The Times has published three preposterous Op-Ed articles by evolution-doubters (Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Michael J. Behe and Senator Sam Brownback). These no more deserved space in The Times than the opinions of flat-earthers or trance-channelers. In the wake of Judge John E. Jones III’s decision in the Dover, Pa., case that intelligent design is a religious viewpoint that may not be taught in public schools, one would think The Times would finally recognize that the intelligent design campaign is a hoax and dishonest to the core, and stop giving it respectability in its pages.
Christianity Thomas on 29 Oct 2009
She also told authorities that sexual intercourse between them started after she was told that it would “‘demonstrate her trust and strict adherence to the society by engaging in sexual intercourse with (Rosseau),’” It was also stated that the teacher would read from the Bible to the two girls to convince the girls that they should have sex with him.
For one of infinite knowledge, he was strangely careless how he spread what bits of it to whom. To some he dictated the Bible; to Muhammad the Koran. He was much concerned with the diet of Jews. He let Hindus paint him as what, to others, looked like a blue-faced flute-player with an interest in dairy-farming. Each set of believers had its version of what he was like and what he had said. No wonder cynics began to hint that, if believers differed so widely, belief might be a mistake.
Christianity Thomas on 26 Oct 2009
You may not have heard on Alpha.org yet but it is catching on fast. It is described as “a practical introduction to the Christian faith” and the web site asks, “Is there more to life than this?” Its front man is Bear Grylls and he is all over the web site, as well as being featured in new TV ads
What is Alpha.org all about?
Such confessions of inadequacy are not unusual at an introduction to Christianity class called Alpha. The 10-week course helps people learn the rudiments of their faith in a relaxed and friendly setting that begins with a meal and ends with a small group discussion.
What is Bear’s role?
The TV spot, which included Alpha spokesman Bear Grylls, the daredevil host of the Discovery Channel’s adventure show “Man vs. Wild,” is part of a campaign to raise Alpha’s visibility.
For many Alpha enthusiasts, the course — begun in London more than 40 years ago and imported to the United States in 1995 — is the perfect faith booster for Christians whose practice might have worn thin. Now leaders want to make it more of a household name. This year, the Grylls TV spots aired in 30 cities across the United States. Next year, they will air in 60. Meanwhile, leaders of Alpha gathered this week in Orlando for the national Alpha conference.
Bear has a bit of a credibility problem already – involvement with Alpha.org probably won’t help that:
How long before Bear Grylls looks as ridiculous as Kirk Cameron?
Christianity Thomas on 25 Oct 2009
Take, for example, how Christians tip and behave in restaurants. If you have ever worked in the restaurant industry you know the reputation of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Millions of Christians go to lunch after church on Sundays and their behavior is abysmal. The single most damaging phenomenon to the witness of Christianity in America today is the collective behavior of the Sunday morning lunch crowd. Never has a more well-dressed, entitled, dismissive, haughty or cheap collection of Christians been seen on the face of the earth.
I exaggerate of course. But I hope you see my point. Rather than pouring our efforts into two hours of worship, bible study and Christian fellowship on Sunday why don’t we just take a moment and a few extra bucks to act like a decent human being when we go to lunch afterwards? Just think about it. What if the entire restaurant industry actually began to look forward to working Sunday lunch? If they said amongst themselves, “I love the church crowd. They are kind, patient and very generous. It’s my favorite part of the week waiting on Christians.” How might such a change affect the way the world sees us? Think about it. Just being a decent human being for one hour each Sunday and the world sees us in a whole new way.
But it’s not going to happen. Because behavior at lunch isn’t considered to be “working on your relationship with God.” Behavior at lunch isn’t spiritual. Going to church, well, that is working on your relationship with God. But, as we all know, any jerk can sit in a pew. But you can’t be a jerk if you take the time to treat your waitress as if she were a friend, daughter or mother.
My point in all this is that contemporary Christianity has lost its way. Christians don’t wake up every morning thinking about how to become a more decent human being. Instead, they wake up trying to “work on their relationship with God” which very often has nothing to do with treating people better.
Christianity Thomas on 21 Oct 2009
Christians have many problems with the Sermon on the Mount, because most have no idea what to do with it. Should they obey all of it? Obey part of it? Ignore it? If God were to exist, it would be a great example of God sowing confusion, because the interpretation of what to do with the sermon is all over the map. For example:
Ten different views! All different.
“Perhaps in an effort to rehabilitate the United States’ image? in the Muslim world, the Obama administration has joined? a U.N. effort to restrict religious speech. This country should never sacrifice freedom of expression on the altar of religion.”
Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens are wrong — not only about religion, but also about politics — because they are wrong about human nature. Homo sapiens is also Homo religiosus.
But it is only since Sept. 11, 2001, that God has proven to be alive and well beyond all question — at least as far as the global public debate is concerned. With jihadists attacking America, an increasingly radicalized Middle East, and a born-again Christian in the White House for eight years, you’ll have a hard time finding anyone who disagrees. Even The Economist’s editor in chief recently co-authored a book called God Is Back. While many still question the relevance of God in our private lives, there’s a different debate on the global stage today: Is God a force for good in the world?
Christianity Thomas on 19 Oct 2009
There are over 1,000 comments. Unlike many posts like this, it holds together because the original poster answers almost every question:
When we step down from their mental ivory towers and really think about it, the assertion that science is just a belief or another way of creating dogmas is monstrously stupid. Simply put, if you believe in science, you have no idea what science is. You don’t believe that that there’s a couch in a coffee shop. You see it there. You can touch it, move it, smell it and it won’t suddenly vanish into thin air when you look away. You don’t believe in the sky being blue on a sunny day, you just look up and see it. And when was the last time that you believed in the existence of cars and planes? Looking at what’s out there, taking note of it, studying its properties based on what you can see, touch and smell is science. I never say that I believe in evolution because it’s a ridiculous thing to say. Instead, I looked at the available evidence on the subject and agreed that yes, this is the best way to explain how life came to be the way it is on this planet based on the available data.
Seems so simple:
But it will never happen.
Christianity Thomas on 11 Oct 2009
Depressing – more “Atheists are evil” rhetoric from the highest levels of world government:
Apparently to Blair, Atheists and terrorists are two sides of the same coin. To call the comments incendiary is an understatement…