Posts categorized “Religion”    (PAGE 2)

You've Got the Time, Albuquerque!

February 5, 2008   6:46 pm

Do you spend 28 minutes a day commuting? Doing housework? Reading e-mail? If so, you’ve got the time to listen to the Bible. Faith Comes by Hearing has created a dramatized reading of the New Testament, that can be completed in 40 days, 28 minutes each day. Starting February 11th, running through Good Friday on March 21st, Albuquerque is encouraged to listen - and you don’t have to be in Albuquerque to do it, either! They offer a free download on their website - I encourage each of you to join me in listening to the Bible over 40 days.

There will be a list on this blog of the chapters that make up each day - at the top of the page, just below the Verse of the Day, there will be an entry with that day’s chapters. Also, if you’re using Linux, I was not able to get the free download to work. However, I did get my paws on an actual CD, and you can download the ISO here. (Edit: This is no longer hosted here.) (Please try to get it from them first - only download this if you can’t.)

Selective Religion

October 26, 2007   10:46 pm

There is something that has been bugging me, and thanks to an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, I’m getting around to addressing it. Here is the transcript which we’ll be discussing - a strong language warning is in effect. (Quoted portions here will be sanitized.) I’ll state up front that Bill Maher is a comedian, so I understand that some of this is his schtick. I’ll also state that I’m not picking on him, just using what he said as an example of an argument I’ve heard hundreds of time. The argument is this - current practitioners of Christianity have it all wrong. Jesus was accepting and loving, not full of hate like today’s Christians.

We’ll start with Maher’s monologue…

And finally, New Rule: If the choice in '08 is between Rudy and Hillary, “values voters” must do the Christian thing and choose Hillary. Of course, I think all religion is nuts, but at least she practices it the way Jesus suggested: privately. Like a Dick Cheney energy meeting.

I’ll certainly grant him one thing - though Hillary’s husband is a louse, they are both still married in their first marriage. But, apart from that, the only time Hillary goes to church is when there’s a good photo op, whereas Giuliani has not pretended to be religious.

Plus, she’s raised an admirable daughter, while Rudy’s kids couldn’t hate him more if they were New York City firefighters.

And let’s not forget, Hillary didn’t commit adultery. Her husband did. And afterwards, she did the Christian thing and forgave him. And then she had a GPS unit implanted in his {manhood}. But the important thing is, she forgave him!

I included these just for a chuckle or two. He does make a few good points. Some may speculate about whether her forgiveness was politically calculated or not, but regardless, she did forgive him, even after the one reason given in Scripture as allowing divorce (more on that later).

Now, I bring all this up because this weekend in Washington is the “Values Voters Convention.” Three days of peace, love and hypocrisy. Where the Republican frontrunners will spend the week kissing the {backsides} of 2,000 social conservatives who despise liberals, homosexuals, Muslims, Mexicans and Nobel Prize winners. And who believe the sound of a condom wrapper being opened makes angels die.

Now we start with the elitism and name-calling. I listen to and read conservative commentary, I am friends with many conservatives, and I consider myself to be a conservative as well. I don’t despise liberals, though I do despise their viewpoints. I don’t despise homosexuals. I’ll admit that I’m a little apprehensive of Muslims, but living and working around them for four months while I was deployed certainly helped ease that apprehension. I have no problems with Mexicans at all - however, I believe they should emigrate to this country according to our laws. And the last line isn’t even worthy of a comment. :)

It’s kind of like a “Star Trek” convention, only the virgins are angry - and they think outer space is just a theory. So, Ann Coulter, if you’ve got any more “{queer}” jokes, this is the room for you.

On the contrary, most “values voters” are not virgins; they just ascribe to God’s version of sexuality. And, they know that outer space isn’t just a theory; God created it. And, most conservatives I know can parse words well enough to realize that what Ann Coulter was making fun of the railroading of Isaiah Washington and the lack of manliness of John Edwards - not using the slur against Edwards.

Moving along…

And I know that if you can look at the war in Iraq, the melting environments and the descent of America into “idiocracy,” and still think our biggest problems are boobies during the Super Bowl and the “war on Christmas,” then you don’t have values, you have issues.

We disagree on the war in Iraq. Global warming is a religion, not science, and information keeps coming out every week disproving this religion, with it’s “indulgences” in the form of carbon credits. Conservatives are also concerned about the lack of knowledge amongst the public, which is why we are in favor of trying other alternatives to the proven failed government school system. Broadcast standards are what they are - whine all you want, that’s why your show is on HBO. And the “war on Christmas” is an assault on freedom of religion, one of the bedrock principles of this country. I’ll agree, “we” have issues, but by “we” I mean this entire nation.

If you had “values,” you’d draw the line at torture. But a startling number of people who call themselves Christians don’t. And I’m pretty sure if you asked, “What would Jesus veto,” it wouldn’t be health care for sick kids.

Sure, we’ll draw the line at torture - but not your definition of torture, which is “pretty much anything that makes the detainee uncomfortable.” And I’m pretty sure Jesus would have vetoed this latest S-CHIP bill, which isn’t health care for sick kids, it’s health insurance for middle-class kids.

Let me take this opportunity for a rabbit-trail rant. What is it with liberals and dishonest euphemisms? “Taxes” become “contributions”, health “insurance” becomes health “care”, “religion” becomes “hate” (unless it’s Islam, then it’s hallowed and is not to be trifled with), and “interrogation” is “torture”. As the Godfather has said, “Words mean things.” If they were honest about their agenda, the public would never buy it. Who here is against “health care for children”? (crickets chirping) Who here is against “taxpayer (that’s you and me, by the way)-funded health insurance for children of middle-class families through age 25”? (show of hands) That’s what I thought.

But back to Bill - here it is, folks, his grand finale…

Why, it’s almost like “values voters” don’t really believe Jesus was right about anything. [in mock attack ad voice] “Jesus Christ: wrong on gays, wrong on taxes, wrong on torture, and wrong for America.”

Here’s a passage I’ve heard I don’t know how many times, used to prove this exact point. It’s from John 8, where the people brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus. Their law said she should be stoned, but they wanted to see what Jesus would say. We’ll look at John 8:3-11 from the Holman Christian Standard Bible (click the link to read them, if you think I’m quoting them incorrectly, or to read it in a different translation).

3 Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, making her stand in the center. 4 “Teacher,” they said to Him, “this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. 5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” 6 They asked this to trap Him, in order that they might have evidence to accuse Him.

Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. 7 When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Oooh, that’s good! That’s usually where the argument ends. “You’re not sinless, so who are you to “cast stones” at me?” They interpret “casting stones” as “saying what I’m doing is wrong.” Rather than excusing sin, though, this is a prohibition against meting out punishment. Casting stones was executing a death-sentence judgment against someone. But there’s more!

8 Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. 9 When they heard this, they left one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left, with the woman in the center. 10 When Jesus stood up, He said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, Lord,” she answered.

“Neither do I condemn you,” said Jesus.

“But look! Jesus SAID ‘I don’t condemn you’!!!” Again, calling a sin a sin is not condemnation. But, there’s one part of this verse that conveniently gets snipped, and it’s the part that we as Christians believe is the most important part.

“Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

The emphasis in the above is, of course, mine. Jesus did not condemn her, but He also did not say that what she was doing was “just the way she was, and we should accept it” or “fine with Him as long as she wasn’t hurting anyone else.” He forgave, then gave her the charge of turning away from that sin. That is the truly beautiful part of this story - we don’t have to continue sinning, to continue to be a slave to sin, once we have met the saving power of Christ.

In logic, a “straw man” is a fallacious argument of an opponent’s position that is misconstrued but argued as fact. That is what people who espouse these arguments are doing. They are setting up a straw man of this religion that Jesus never taught, so they can tear down our practice of it. They’re wrong, and we should call them on it. There is a difference between being meek and defending the faith. :)

So, the next time someone tells you what Jesus would do, (as Paul Harvey would say) now you know the rest of the story.

Plagiarism Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery III

October 16, 2007   7:34 pm

There just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything I want to do. Sadly, one of the casualties is original content for my blog (although I am working on something that I hope to have ready in a few days). Until then, here’s another round-up of interesting things I found scattered around the web.

First up, from the American Thinker, we have Randall Hoven with “Media Dishonesty Matters.” In this tome, he details 101 incidents of plagiarism, failure to disclose conflicts of interest, and instances of journalists creating news out of thin air. This should probably count as three or four links, but we’ll keep pressing on.

Next up, LaShawn Barber asks Barack Obama this pointed question - “What Faith Is This?” He has claimed that his faith guides his public life, yet he voted against the ban on partial-birth abortion. That’s a good question.

Moving on, Dennis Prager of TownHall.com (among other places) asks another, somewhat rhetorical question - “So What?” In it, he, a devout Jew, explains why he is not offended in the least over Ann Coulter’s latest statement that Jews need to be “perfected” by accepting Christ. He also explains why labeling her statements as anti-Semitism does a disservice to the efforts to eliminate anti-Semitism.

Finally, I usually wrap up with some humor - but this one will inspire a different emotion. I may be the last person in the world to find out about this song, but I’ve got to share it. Tim McGraw’s “If You’re Reading This” is a tribute to men and women in uniform, and is a tear-jerking classic.

The Ten Commandments - A "Monumental" Controversy

August 14, 2003   7:30 pm

As a resident of Montgomery, AL, I’m privy to the much to-do being made over the granite Ten Commandments monument that duly-elected Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court had placed in the capitol. A Federal judge has ordered it be removed, and Justice Moore is refusing. The stage is set for a pretty large showdown very soon. As you can probably tell from my links and my previous entries, I’m a pretty religious person. However, I’m going to approach this from a purely humanistic viewpoint.

The Ten Commandments were the foundation for Jewish law. These commandments are recorded today in our Holy Bible, and the first four reference God or holiness (no other gods, no graven images, God’s name in vain, and keeping the Sabbath holy). The remaining six are good precepts even for those who do not subscribe to any form of religion. These are no different from other historical laws, such as the Code of Hammurabi, and other collections of laws.

Several of our founding documents reference concepts found in the religious commandments. The Constitution, Article I, Section 7, recognizes Sundays as a day apart (much like commandment 4). The Declaration of Independence, in the first paragraph, recognizes Nature’s God, and in the second, recognize the Creator - both are capitalized and singular, in line with the 1st commandment. Furthermore, The Magna Carta, a body of English law upon which our Constitution was based (and, coincidentally, predates the 1611 KJV by nearly 400 years), contain references to the one and only God in the Preamble and section 1.

We have also been told as of late that we should accept all religions, including the ever-peaceful Muslims. The prevailing world view of many people is that there is good in everything - and, judging from recent rulings by various courts and the politically correct culture that has pervaded our country, this is the way the government should look at things.

Given that references to most of the overtly religious commandments are in our country’s founding documents, and the fact that we are supposed to find the good in everything, I see no reason for this marker to be removed. Justice Moore’s personal beliefs should not be brought into this argument. With the 1st Amendment to our Constitution (in the Bill of Rights) prohibiting government from preventing free exercise of religion, the Federal judge’s ruling that it must be removed is un-Constitutional, and will be found as such if it is appealed.

Gay Bishops - A Big Deal?

August 10, 2003   3:50 pm

Much has been made over the decision this week by the Episcopalian church’s approval of its first openly gay bishop. A lot of the discussion I’ve seen on this has centered on how this may split the church. I don’t see that, and here’s why. The Bible is very clear about the qualifications of a minister (check out the books of 1st and 2nd Timothy if you’ve never read those.) The time that this became a big deal, in my opinion, was when this man was first approved as a deacon or priest. Should those who have responsibility of a congregation be held to any less of a standard that someone who has responsibility over those who lead congregations?

The Episcopal church, as an entity, has made its decision. Of course, as with many denominations, there are good folks who know what is right, and disagree with the leadership when they go astray. The biggest problem with this decision is that it sends the signal that certain precepts, in the Bible in black and white, can be discarded if they do not fit the way one feels. This bishop doesn’t feel that the prohibition of homosexuality found in Leviticus and Romans really apply to us today. This is a very dangerous example, especially when it’s being set by one that is recognized as a leader of a Protestant religion.

The Bible should serve as a guide, and a source that can tell us if our feelings are pulling us in the right direction. This exactly the thing that Paul talked about in Ephesians 4:22-23, when he says to put off the old nature, with its lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of our minds. If our feelings were a good guide for holy living, we wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit to direct us. But, they aren’t, and we do. I don’t look down on the Episcopal church, either as a whole, or the people in it. I do pray that they will return to a more literal interpretation of the Scriptures, and that no one will take this action as a license to discard parts of the Bible they don’t like.