Category Archives: Christianity

I was going to call this ‘Theology’ but Christianity is a better descriptor. I deal herein with the message and doctrines – including some alternatives to the traditional – of Christianity. It is based on Biblical text and concepts. The views herein are from a Christian perspective.

The Amazing Ignorance of Jessie Daniels

Whilst innocently perusing the news, I found an article

(http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/10/31/having-white-nuclear-family-promotes-white-supremacy-says-new-york-professor-report-says.html)

wherein Jessie Daniels, a sociology professor at City University of New York (CUNY) pointed out – suggested – declared – the “white, nuclear family” promotes white supremacy.

I read the rest of the article, presuming to find some innocent or reasonable logic behind what seems to be an outrageous claim.  Seeing I found this article on Fox News, I checked some of the other news sources.

CNN had no articles, pro or con, regarding Professor Daniels.

NPR had nothing.

USA Today had nothing.

Wall Street Journal – nothing.

BBC – nothing.

I did find a website, seemingly her own – which listed Jessie Daniels as “Jessie Daniels, PhD – Writer, professor, speaker, digital sociologist at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. Expert on race, racism and technology. Documentary-curator, aspiring NYT best-selling memoirist.  ​Co-founder, editor, blogger, Racism Review.”

I also found the CUNY page reported in the Fox News article.  It roughly reports the above identification and credentials.

So one presumes Fox News is reporting on the same person.

Without citing all the quotes in the article, Dr. Daniels – I presume – makes the statement, “the white-nuclear family is one of the most powerful forces supporting white supremacy,” adding that that families “reproducing white children” are “part of the problem”.  She went on to say “White people: do you own your home? When you die, where’s wealth in that house going? If it’s to your children, you’re reproducing (inequality).”

I do not trust myself to follow the logic she presents; yet it is blatant:  By maintaining a cohesive family, owning a home and giving their children the benefit of a proper upbringing and an inheritance, “white people” are supporting white supremacy and racial inequality.  I must point out the actions to which Dr. Daniels reportedly objects are all traditional Christian – and other religions – values.  Which seems to suggest she objects to all included.

If that is so, she seems to suggest in order to dismantle white supremacy and foster ‘equality’ between the races (do races exist?  I read races don’t exist somewhere) the white families must stop being ‘nuclear families’, quit owning homes – or presumably anything of value – and stop leaving their wealth to their children.

That seems a bit draconian.

Not mentioned is anything to the effect of non-white people SHOULD encourage nuclear families, the owning of property and the tradition of encouraging and supporting the progeny of the family in an effort to counteract the ‘white supremacy’ movement.  How odd.

Several bits bother me a great deal about this, should the report be true.

  1. The assumption of ‘white supremacy’ as a result of intentionally maintaining a family, family ties and working.
  2. The assumption non-white people cannot do the same.
  3. Such a person as Dr. Daniels would be considered – by anyone other than herself – any sort of authority on anything to do with racial relations or differences.
  4. Any University, College or other organization of learning (down to and including pre-school) would  actually pay her money and keep her on staff as such.

Those with differing views, please present information to dispel my misconceptions.

 

 

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Filed under Christianity, Civilization, Political Correctness, Racism

Time for LESS gun control

Everyone is talking about the mass murder in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Last I heard there were fifty-eight dead and over four hundred wounded.  Could be more by now.  That is hideous.  Senseless from a rational perspective.  (It probably makes sense of a sort to the late murderer; I might intellectually grasp the concept if I was informed, but I cannot empathize.)  I am horrified at the disregard of one human being for another.

As a Christian, I am directed to ‘love’ at least in the ‘agapeo’ sense of being concerned about my fellow man to my own expense.  Certainly to value other human beings at the same level as myself.  Included in that is the limitation of not murdering others for my own benefit, including amusement.

Manifestly, this did not apply to the murderer.  At least at the time of his action, he didn’t value any of his victims in any sense I would understand.  I do not claim to have magical or Divinely directed insight on his thinking, but his actions tend to give this impression.  That mass murder that the murderer committed demonstrates a disregard for other human life.  (From the circumstances one can rule out ‘just war’ or ‘self-defense’ as exemptions to the ‘murder’ concept; whether the reader accepts those concepts or not, they simply do not apply.)

In Christian terms, “sin” is disobedience of God.  God’s will and or God’s direct command.  Even without a Christian world-view, one can agree murder (killing another for personal reasons) is at least wrong, and ‘sinful’ by that criteria.  (If anyone disagrees, please explain.)  Therefore, murder, these murders is the result of sin.  At least for us Christians; non-Christians are free to theorize the murderer committed the acts because his underwear didn’t fit, or his parents didn’t buy him a dog or a bad breakfast or something.  (Feel free to disagree, but explain please.  I’d really like to hear.)

In fact, Jesus once made the statement about the inner being of a human (called the ‘heart’ in both Hebrew and Greek language and thinking) is the source of wrongful thoughts and actions.  I think ‘modern’ psychiatry would call this part of a human the ‘id’.  (I could be mistaken, but most all authorities agree there is a ‘central’ or ‘core’ portion of the human which to some extent or other directs human attitudes and actions.)

In [the gospel of] Matthew, chapter 15, and Mark 7, Jesus is taken to task – criticized – by a small group of Pharisees because His (Jesus’) disciples didn’t follow a tradition (rule of conduct loosely based on the Mosaic Law) regarding the ceremonial washing of hands.  To be clear, this was not a violation of one’s Mother warning one to wash hands before eating to avoid germs, but a violation of a ceremonial rule (possibly verging on superstition) regarding ‘legal’ preparation for eating. Ignoring this rule was not just bad manners or slovenly living, but a ‘sin’ against God, according to the tradition.

Cutting much of the discussion (read Matthew 15 and Mark 7 for two accounts of the whole treatment), Jesus summed up the matter by telling the Pharisees “Listen to me, everyone, and understand.  There is nothing outside of a person that can defile him by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles him.”  (Matthew 15:17 and Mark 7:15 both say essentially the same thing.)  Later on, Jesus expounds a bit to His disciples by telling them (Matthew 15: 16-20 and Mark 7: 18-22) Jesus said, “Even after all this, are you still so foolish? Don’t you understand that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach and then passes out into the sewer?  But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person.  For out of the heart come evil ideas, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are the things that defile a person; it is not eating with unwashed hands that defiles a person.”

From this, one understands that external ‘artifacts’ are not particularly in control of a person’s actions or attitudes, but one’s own desires and intents are in control.

The concept ‘artifacts’ cause human behavior is difficult to explain and quite absurd in practice.  No one really believes ball point pens cause forgery, ball point pens cause mis-spelled words, flatware causes obesity, automobiles cause excessive speed or traffic accidents, windows cause peeping Toms, and my favorite, television causes insipidness of thought.

Of course, there is a political and life-style faction which holds firearms cause crime, especially violent crime.  Which is as silly and irrational as any of the above.

The mass murder in Las Vegas is indeed horrific.  As was the mass murder in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2016.  As was the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.  As was several other mass murders without rational purpose.  Reasonable humans want to prevent such things from happening again.

However, blaming artifacts is wasting time and effort.  Not to mention those sorts of mass murders will continue.  The instrumentality may be different, but the murders will be the same.

 

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Crime, Idiot Politicians, Politics

Yom Kippur

This year, the Jewish holiday (‘holy day’) of Yom Kippur begins today [Friday, 29 September] at sundown and ends tomorrow [Saturday, 30 September] at sundown. In the traditional Jewish calendar, any given day begins and ends at sunset. There is a reason, but is immaterial to this essay.

Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement” and is the formal remembrance of each individual’s need to atone – make amends or reparation; and includes sorrow for committing deeds of hatred and bearing attitudes of hatred, greed or anything else to diminish either other persons or the Lord Most Holy by disgracing His reputation by one’s improper actions.

As I may have mentioned, I am a practicing Christian. As such, I must always bear in mind the Jewish background of Christianity. I also must constantly monitor my behavior and attitudes in light of what the Lord Most Holy expects of me.

So I don’t expect Yom Kippur to be incorporated as a regular Christian holiday. However, the essence of Yom Kippur is part and parcel of Christian doctrine (if nothing else, check Matthew 5:21-26 for Jesus’ directions about dealing with others in this light). Christians are expected to atone daily, actually ‘as needed’, not just once every so often. (I rather expect practicing Jews see this in a similar fashion.)

For my part, not all those I have offended, attacked (verbally, usually) or wished evil upon are close enough to personally apologize. But I would like to. So while I cannot remove all the harm I have done or intended, I can say I regret doing so. And I intend to make the attempt to live closer to what the Almighty orders in the future.

The Hebrew language word translated into English as “shalom” generally is thought of as ‘peace’. It is, but as so many foreign language words, it actually means more. It conveys the idea of peace, but more than just absence of conflict or violence. It also indicates contentment, serenity, prosperity (more than just money) and living in accord with the Lord Most High. Probably more than that.

Saying ‘shalom’ as a greeting actually means bestowing all those things on the recipient. (Not that mere humans can do such, but the speaker is petitioning the Almighty to bestow such on the recipient.)

Therefore, “peace” – in that sense – to you all.

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The Danger of a “Little Knowledge”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-robert-jeffress-is-wrong-about-romans-13-and-north_us_598c69eee4b08a4c247f28ad

According to this entry in the Huffington Post, The Bible passage of Romans (chapter) 13: (verse) 1 does NOT justify the use of military force against North Korea intimidation by use of their – North Korea’s – nuclear ability.

Once again, non-believers make the mistake of thinking they have an overwhelming knowledge of God’s Message and will (agenda/program/plan) for mankind.  One is amazed how some cite a particular passage in the Bible and then claim their view is correct, while denying much of the rest of the Bible and ignoring the contextual and historical implications in all passages.

Such is the case here.  The author of the article, identified as “Peter Henne, Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont (in the Department of Political Science)” admits “Now, I am neither a theologian nor a religious studies scholar.”  That part, I believe.  Then Professor Henne goes on to make theological and ‘religious’ comments and conclusions based on his admitted ignorance.

One is forced to the conclusion Professor Henne is coloring God’s Message and agenda with the Leftist program of Karl Marx and Bill Ayers.

One – Professor Henne, for instance – should stick to one’s sphere of knowledge and expertise.  Which seems to be wishful thinking based on Leftist pipe dreams.

 

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Filed under Bible, Idiot Politicians, Nation, Political Correctness, Politics, United States

Several Myths (at least misunderstandings) Regarding the Doctrine of Predestination

In the catalog of Christian Doctrine (among Biblical based, ‘evangelistic’ Christians), Predestination is probably the one with the most misunderstandings and honest controversy. I use the word ‘honest’ in that it doesn’t seem either side of the issue is intentionally falsifying anything. Both camps use the Bible and thinking derived therefrom to form their conclusion. (Just to clarify, there are non-Christians who use Predestination as a ‘talking point’, neither understanding the real concept nor caring for honesty or integrity in the matter; I am not considering them at the moment.)

There are three major misunderstandings or myths about Predestination which seem to abound.

1. People who reject Christ (which includes salvation, grace and forgiveness) are dragged into Heaven against their will as God has already decided the matter.

Not true. God does not drag souls – people – into His loving care as they kick and scream and squirm, attempting to escape. God clearly allows people to make their own choices in nearly all cases, which explains evil actions in the history of mankind. This includes Adam and Eve’s decision regarding the apple (yes, I know; it’s an abbreviation for that whole episode) and the rather reprehensible actions of various evil man throughout history and the ‘bad’ decisions of all us ‘good’ people.

Probably the most misunderstood example of this myth is the conversion of Saul/Paul. To recap Acts 9: 1 to 22, a Jewish man named Saul was on the road (not with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby) to Damascus with the intent of physically and legally (under Jewish law and authority) prosecuting and persecuting any and all Christian believers he (Saul) could find. On the way, a bright light appeared followed instantly by a physical effect on Saul, according to the text (and in my mind), similar to the effect of a taser application or a polo mallet upside the head – but without serious effect other than temporary blindness. Saul fell to the ground and addressed the ‘force’ which effected this aforementioned sensation, asking “Who are You, Lord?” (One notes Saul quickly understood he was hopeless to resist physically.) The ‘attacking force’ immediately identifies Himself, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting…”

In another passage, Paul – as he then was identified – recounted the episode and mentioned the initial ‘attack’ was accompanied by the same voice saying “You are hurting yourself [or ‘It is hard for you’, both phrases are correct and the same in meaning in the Greek] by kicking against the goads.”

Then Jesus instructs Saul to proceed to Damascus where he will be met by a believer named Ananias who healed Paul’s blindness and gave Paul some basic instruction in Christianity and introduced Paul to other believers with the Lord’s approval.

From this, some gather Paul was ‘conscripted’ in this episode. I understand this transaction as a ‘last chance’ offer to either side with Jesus Christ as God or not. I will stipulate the encounter was enthusiastic. At no point does Jesus say, “Accept me or die, you rat fink!”

2. People who want to accept Christ (which includes salvation, grace and forgiveness) are rejected as God has already decided the matter.

No real evidence for this happening. In fact, the reverse action is claimed in various places. John 3:16 is probably the best known example. Other verses – not comprehensive – are John 6:37, Ephesians 1:13, Hebrews 7:25. There are more yet, but I see no point in transcribing neither the Bible nor other websites.

One major Biblical based argument is based on Matthew 7:21 to 23. This is the passage where, at the Judgement, some say “Lord, Lord, didn’t we … [do a bunch of religious stuff] … in your name…?” Jesus responds, “I never knew you.”

Looking at this passage, there is NO indication of an actual belief and relationship between Jesus and the rejected claimants. Those rejected are basing their justification for salvation on their ‘good works’ and not on a relationship with Jesus.

3. This isn’t fair.

From what I’ve heard – and understood and believed personally – this is the greatest criticism of the Doctrine of Predestination. Because the criteria for those who are ‘chosen’ and those who are rejected is not spelled out fully and satisfactorily to all, the impression of God arbitrarily choosing ‘this one’ and not ‘that one’ arises.

The nature of God precludes this. God is not capricious nor arbitrary. If one accepts and believes (fully embraces, not just nods and grunts) that idea of God’s nature, then Predestination is not capricious nor arbitrary, whether any of us ‘understand’ the mechanism or not.

However, allow me to present a thought on the matter I haven’t heard before in this configuration.

Part of our understanding of the ‘nature of God’, one of the descriptors of God is that He is ‘omnipresent’. Which means He is present in all places at once. God is not limited to Omaha or Poughkeepsie or Karachi or this church or such.
In my understanding – the reader is free to disagree – God is not limited in time, either. God exists and acts yesterday and tomorrow as much as He does today. So when the Bible says “…before the foundation of the world…” this limitation was only a nod to the readers of that time. It can equally mean ‘…after the destruction of the world…’ So, when does God ‘discover’ any particular person has accepted His grace and embraces a relationship with God through Jesus? Before the beginning of the world? After the end of the world? When the individual ‘does it’?

The answer is Yes. God exists in all those places – times – simultaneously.

No doubt many of the readers will say (in a gentle questioning manner) “I’ve never heard that before”. As I said earlier, I haven’t either. I bet that applies to many theologians and Bible expositors as well. However, feel free to pore over the preceding paragraphs and pick out any weaknesses in either the assumptions or logic. And for Heaven’s sake, tell me!

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, God

Set back for the Christian Community

Today is Monday, 6th February 2017. A well known radio preacher made a fool of himself on the air. Not only that, but he demonstrated a huge ignorance of claims made by Christian preachers in the past. Your humble correspondent does not know if the glaringly erroneous statements were made in complete ignorance of the prior claims, or if the speaker assumed no one would ever check.

A little research would have turned up the past claims; and to assume ignorance and blind acceptance on the part of the audience is both insulting and puerile.

The thought upon which he was expounding is valid. Essentially, he was saying the Bible makes no claims counter to that of modern science, and never conformed to the science – mistaken in the macro and sometimes in the micro – of the past.

There is an underlying assumption here that the scientific understanding of 2017 will never be altered. That ‘we’ are at the pinnacle of scientific understand. That in another three hundred years, or one hundred years, or fifty years or twenty minutes, discoveries will be made that alter the current views.

Probably not completely over rule current understanding, but alter it in the sense of expanding understanding and possibly altering the context of certain understanding. Much like how Dr. Einstein’s concept of Relativity expanded and contextualized Sir Issac Newton’s laws of gravity.

The speaker – who your servant hesitates to name – spoke about how the Bible never supported the Earth being flat. This would come as a shock to nearly all students of Theology and Biblical studies until sometime AFTER the age of Copernicus, Galileo, and the like.

Isaiah 40:22 (In the King James Version AND in the original Hebrew) reads that the Lord sits “… on the circle of the Earth…” and was held to be ‘literal’ – meaning as the reader understood it, not as the writer intended it – and indicated a two-dimentional shape (as understood later in Pythagorean or plane geometry). Therefore, the Bible implied the Earth is flat.

I’m not sure if the speaker mentioned it – I turned the station selector in disgust – but there are three passages of the Old Testament – two describing the same event – wherein the Bible implies the Sun stopped or reversed direction of travel, causing the day to be extended. (Joshua 10:12 to 14, 2nd Kings 20:1 to 11 and Isaiah 38:1 to 8) THEREFORE, the Bible says the Sun rotates around the Earth and the geocentric theory of the Universe is proved – according to the ‘science is bunk’ faction which lasted at least into the 19th Century. I notice it is not mentioned much currently.

I have no doubt of the extension of the days in question. Nor do I have any great scientific theory to explain it. The occurrences may well be miracles in the unexplained things of God sense. However, the heliocentric nature of the solar system is reasonably secure. Nor does the Bible anywhere claim otherwise; it does however record reports by eyewitnesses of what they observed. Which may or may not explicable in simple or familiar terms.

I wonder what repercussions this speaking session portend for the Young Earth Creationist (YEC) movement? The entire YEC theory is based on a ‘literal’ understanding of the King James Version of the Bible. Which this speaker denies.

One can conclude Christianity is not as monolithic as sometimes claimed. Then again, God is a very big God.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Flat Earth, religion, science

A Decent Human Being with a Gun

24 January 2017. Thomas Yoxall, age 43, tattooed and pierced, was driving West on Interstate 10 near Tonopah, Arizona. He saw a man (later identified as Leonard Penneles-Escobar) ‘savagely’ beating an Arizona State Trooper (Edward Andersson). Mr. Yoxall could not ignore the situation and stopped.

He called to the man beating the trooper, presumably to stop beating the trooper. The man kept beating the trooper and Mr. Yoxall fired his personally owned sidearm at the attacker, stopping the attack. While tending the trooper, Mr. Penneles resumed the attack on Trooper Andersson; Mr. Yoxall fired one more round, incapacitating Mr. Penneles permanently; Penneles died later from his wounds.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/thomas-yoxall-citizen-who-killed-man-assaulting-trooper-edward-andersson-i-was-put-there-by-god/

Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys; Mr. Thomas Yoxall is the sort of man to be admired and encouraged. Seeing a serious problem, he acted swiftly and surely. Victorious in the conflict, he declines the title ‘hero’ and says the aftermath of killing another human is difficult mentally and emotionally.

A telling comment, Mr. Yoxall says he was “…put there by God.” A good man clinging to his guns and his God.

Not much else to say.

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Filed under Civilization, Crime, Firearms and their use, God, Heroes and Heroism