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Truthdig Podcast: ‘Jesus Rode a Donkey’ Author

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Posted on Apr 10, 2007
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(Page 3)

Scheer: Quoting the Bible ... couldn’t that be just a good memory?

Seger: Oh yeah, yeah.  There’s a lot of people with good memories.  I think it also has to do with—there’s a lot in the Bible.  You could prioritize your values in any number of ways, so one looks at voting records, one looks at what they do, and then you say, “Well, what kind of person is this and do their values and their priorities line up with my values?” as much as possible.  We can go through all the candidates and say, well, I might line up on some things and not on others, and look at that. Yes.  There’s definitely action because this is politics.  Politics is action moving into society that comes through government.

Harris: Linda, I’m doing a lot of listening.  I know Jesus.  I have a relationship.  As you do.  As every Christian claims to have with Jesus.  And the problem I think I’m having with the argument that Jesus is in line with the ideologies and the thinking of the Democratic Party—.

Seger: Wait, wait, wait.  That’s not true.  I think Jesus would’ve been an independent. ...

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Harris: Maybe you’re going to answer my questions.  So why do you believe that he’s an independent?

Seger: Here’s what happened with this book.  Originally, my publishers wanted the book to be called “Jesus Is a Democrat,” and I said, “I can’t do that book because I think Jesus is an independent.”  I don’t think to put him with either party is really the point here.  But I said, I think that what we’re talking about is, “Let’s look at the Democratic Party from a Christian perspective because the Republican Party has been looked at from that perspective quite a bit.  So I’m not saying that the Democratic Party is the only party with Christian values.  I don’t think that’s true at all.  What I am saying is that there are many policies that I think are much stronger with the Democratic Party that are more in line with biblical policies.  Now, I’m not saying 100 percent.  But I think that if you decide that the Bible—if one looks at the Bible carefully and says, “I see a strong care for creation and I see that we are asked to be responsible stewards, so that leads me to a certain ecological position.”  And then I look at both parties and I say, what party I think is a better steward of the Earth in terms of their policy.  I don’t think there’s any question which party is a better steward of the Earth.  I think the Democrats clearly have much better policies that care for the Earth more.  And so if I’m going to put that as one of my high values and say, “Which party will I vote for?”  I’m going to go with the Democrats on that one.

Harris: So what I’m saying is that I think Jesus has a problem with politics in general.

Seger: Yes.

Harris: I think if you look at the history of our country, you look at the state of affairs in the black community today, you look at the genocide that’s going on in the inner cities, if you look at the state of affairs in the Jewish community, in Latino-Chicano communities, there’s a lot of unrest, and I think Jesus—

Seger: Oh yeah.

Harris:—if he were and is the great person and the caring person that we know him to be through the Bible, I think he would have serious problems with Hillary Clinton and John McCain because for them it is about positioning.  For Jesus it was not about positioning; it was about doing the right thing, and I think that’s gotten lost.  And so that’s why I have a problem with your effort to relate him to any party.  I think he would be offended by that.

Seger: Yes.  I’m not trying to relate him to a party.  I’m trying to relate him to party policies.  In other words, if you say, OK, I think, when I read the Bible and I see Jesus’ concern for the poor and the oppressed and the disenfranchised and then I look at our society and I say, gosh, there’s a whole lot of people who are poor and oppressed and disenfranchised, and many of them are from various races, black and, as you say, Latino, etc., some even white, and if I look at that as I say, OK, if I think that’s an important value, what policies do I see in the various parties that I think best address that value?  I get the values from my understanding of Jesus, my relationship with him and my understanding of the Bible.  Then I look out at politics and I say, who do I think best expresses the values and what policies?  So we’re not just talking about candidates; we’re talking about policies as well.  I think that raising the minimum wage is a good thing.  And I think it helps the people who are poor, who are working hard and cannot make a living even with two jobs.  So when I say, what policy best expresses that?  I might say, I think the Democrats are doing a better job with certain policies that care for the poor and oppressed.  So it isn’t like saying, well, Jesus is on the Democratic side and not on the Republican side.  Where we see policies trying to come into our society to fruition that seem in line with what Jesus cared about, when I start to vote, I’m going to look at the policies and I’m going to look at the candidates.  And some of these candidates, you say, gosh, I like them on this policy and I don’t like them on that policy.  And just what you mentioned also about saying, who do I think is honest or not?  Because that’s another thing, what people say—. Oh, it sounds so nice.  He talks about Christianity, and then you look at the policies and say, hmmm, tsk, I don’t know, I don’t find them lining up.  So all of us go through all these candidates and say, well, I don’t know.  Who do I think is best in line with the kind of person I think is going to help create a society that is the most in line with the values that I find and help actualize those values.

Harris: I’m glad you had the chance to straighten that out.  I get what you’re saying, and I hope our listeners are able to at least gain some sense of understanding of what you’ve just said.  So it’s not necessarily about Jesus being a Democrat but that the Democrats seemingly are in line with what Jesus might have intended.

Seger: Right.  Clearly with certain policies, with Jesus.  There might be others where people say, well, I don’t know about this policy.  The whole pro-choice/pro-life thing—that’s just a tricky issue.  And, yes, you could say, well the Bible says this about life and then there’s another verse that seems to say, well, under certain circumstances. ...  I think that’s the real wedge issue.  But that’s why I was so impressed with Democrats for Life.  And people can go look it up: democratsforlife.org.  Very interesting program.  They want to reduce abortion by 95 percent in 10 years.  So they want to be effective, not just moralistic, and I think that’s important.  Wouldn’t it be great if there were some candidate where someone could say, boy, this one’s totally in line.  But I think what has sometimes happened with George W. Bush—there are times I have heard people talk about him as if they were worshiping him and they make it sound as if we criticize him, as if we’re unpatriotic and also un-Christian.  And I say, George W. is not my god, but I hope he’s nobody’s god.  He’s a man who happens to be in power and does a lot of stuff that some of us don’t agree with and other people do.

Scheer: Now, make it clear though, with abortions, you don’t believe in just ending abortion and not supporting the child through life, right?  Because—.

Seger: I think one has to look at the complexity of the whole issue, because if you force a woman to have a child and then you don’t give her enough money to make a living and you don’t help her with child care and the kids don’t have enough food on the table and they can’t get healthcare, I think there’s something not very Christian about that.  That’s why that issue is so complicated.  It’s not just about that fetus; it’s about what’s going to happen in the next 20 years or 40 years in that person’s life and do we really care or do we just care about the embryo and the fetus?  I think that’s why it’s such a complicated issue.
Scheer: Well, thank you for helping us shed some light on these complicated issues and thank you for joining us.

Harris: She’s written the book “Jesus Rode a Donkey.”  You might grab a copy. For Josh Scheer, this is James Harris, and this is Truthdig.


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By Logician, April 17, 2007 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

Re#64552 by Maani on 4/17

While Josephus’ existence in not in question, the authenticity of Testimonium Flavianum has been in doubt since it was forged for the fledging church by Eusebius and later edited to speak even more directly to the myth of Jesus.

As for the fairy tale of Mark, sheesh, do some, any studying, please, and preferably REAL sources, not the pathetically inept christian apologists, okay?  There exists nowhere on this planet ANY direct reference to or evidence of Jesus from the time he allegedly saved the world. It’s all made up, just to keep the poor poor, the powerless powerless, and the rich and powerful in power and rich.  Capiche?

Jim, while strident, is simply voicing what any rational person feels after being slimed with the disgusting filth of the christian mythology.  And to argue about whether a mythological figure would be either republican or democrat is even more infuriating.

After all, the only difference between reps and dems is that republicans openly suck corporate c*ck but democrats at least have the decency to close the door while performing EXACTLY the same deed…

Come to think of it, considering the filth promoted by the bible and religion, maybe it does fit…

And, oh yeah, Maani: Real peace, not the christian hate all jews, catholics, gays, evolutionists, abortionists and just any damn person christians hate this week kind of peace, okay?

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By Jim Hanley, April 17, 2007 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THERE NEVER!, NEVER!, WAS A JESUS! YOU ARE PROMOTING CRIME! 
Wake up!  Stop promoting that Ponzi-like racketeering scheme that coerces children and fools into performing atrocious acts! 
It takes an idiot to equate a question of authenticty about a conjectured, fantasy-figure of some criminal charlatan or fool’s warped mind, a so called “Jesus” “Creator-God”; with the factual historical evidence of real people!  For, even if the evidence for all were equally difficult to ascertain or questionable, the fact that simple mesmerized, indoctrinated people, without any basis in fact, or reason, surrender their innocent children into the hands of the lying charlatan criminals who use, enslave, and abuse them, while forcing them to kneel in subservience to the meaningless, fraudulent, fictional, so-called “Creator-God”; none of this absurdity takes place or is part of the mere allowing the likelihood that other non-deified ‘historical figures’ once lived!

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By Maani, April 17, 2007 at 10:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Doug/Jim:

Actually, without belaboring the issue (since I promised to remain on point…LOL), the existence of Jesus as a historical figure is unquestioned.  The late first century historian, Josephus (whose own existence is unquestioned), wrote about Jesus.  We also know that the Gospel of Mark was written as early as 60 A.D., and that, aside from “specifics” re Jesus’ words and actions in Mark, its basic facts comport with Josephus, despite the fact that these two did not know each other.

Peace.

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By Jim Hanley, April 17, 2007 at 9:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is not ONLY “hard to verify the existence of—-Jesus” it is just as IMPOSSIBLE to: “verify the existance of Jesus” as it is to verify all other FAIRYTALES, and makebelieve story-book characters!
And for someone to imply otherwise by comparing fantasies with actual historical factual truths and real people, is an attempt to perpetuate and prolong Humanity’s suffering from the lies, indoctrination, slavery, and perversions of the their compadre charlatans who exploit the pristine innocence of children and fools! These criminal cohorts are every bit as guilty as the actual perpetrators of the ‘Ponzi-like’ schemes.
What intelligent person would give an iota of time to the “belief” or study of idiotic ‘God freaks’ and their “Religious Fanaticism”?  It is wiser to construct a ‘moat’, or take other precautions to prevent those nuts, along with the other vermin, plague ridden filth, and wild beasts from getting too close!  Be guarded and fearful of charlatans and maniacs claiming “rational superiority”, who insist you must accept their unfounded conjectured fairytales as the cause of life, and basis for living!  Or, that you ought to take their suggestions to learn more about their preposterous, egregious lying assertions of “how the world began”. Sensible people know lies and fairytales are not to be believed. And, don’t be swayed away from reality by those ‘pedantic’ fools who pretend to know more; then, in place of intelligent argumentation to counter opposition, go for the ‘jugular’ by aiming insults at the bearer of facts.  Realists, secularists, and others by whatever name, who renounce the idea of so called “religion or spiritual matters”, and “God” or a “Creator”, have no more need to learn about, or, disprove these “irrational” fallacies, than is required, or necessary to disprove the truthful existence of any other fairytales character, such as “Porky Pig” “Mickey Mouse”,“Little Red Riding Hood” “Little Orphan Annie”, “Jiminy Cricket”, Buck Rogers” “The Old Lady Who Lived In A Shoe” or “Jack And The Beanstalk”! And for those “Christians” and others who do not know any better, (They may be “lump-ed (with) all (the) believers in God into one little pigeonhole”!) these latter named ‘characters’ have every bit as much relation to ‘reality’ as “God”, “Creator” or “Jesus”! Excellent “record keeping” can only confirm the existance of “FACT” not FICTION!

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By Douglas Chalmers, April 17, 2007 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Its all right, Maani, Jim Hanley is simply being emphatic about what he sees as current fact. Actually, after a couple of thousand years of shoddy record-keeping, it is indeed hard to verify the existence of not only Jesus but Buddha and Krishna and a host of others as well. What make me wonder, though, is why these people never also question the existence of Caesar or Caligula or Genghis Khan, though.
 
As for the present era, the Jewish “Israelis” have, in their bombings and rocket attacks, destroyed all of the public records of the Christian and Moslem Palestinians (Jews are Palestinians too, really) who now survive devoid of recorded history in the same manner.
 
Whether one wants to believe in Jesus or not is one thing but the fact remains that there IS a wonderful workable philosophy which people continually refuse to embrace. It is the same with the teachings of Buddha Gautama and of Krishna. Whether such individuals existed or not should not trouble people so much as the need to accept a genuine philosophy which can lead them safely forward in this confused world.
 
One should not, Jim Hanley, mistake the actions of the enlightened Buddha or Krishna or Jesus for the selfish acts of their supposed followers. It is clear in their philosophies what they meant and intended was “Ahimsa” or not harming others and thus the “golden rule” of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. These are the words of a truly enlightened person and are always recognizable as such.
 
One can instantly free oneself from the fears and anxieties one has about the self-seeking and manipulative in society by learning personal bravery. Only then can love and compassion be truly manifested. Why do you think the story of Jesus was one principally of self-sacrifice? Not everyone wants to hear - or to have other people hear - the concept of FREEDOM or of TRUTH or how unselfish LOVE can be at the very core of our existence. Thus, it takes quite some BRAVERY to be of SERVICE to one’s Creator in that way.

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By Tom Doff, April 17, 2007 at 3:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Linda Seger should writea sequel to ‘Jesus Rode a Donkey’, revealing the insider story behind the Bush/Divinity relationship.

She could title it:

‘God Humped an Ass’

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By Lefty, April 17, 2007 at 3:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: #64326 by Jim Hanley on 4/16 at 8:17 am
(Unregistered commenter)

To ALL You “Religion” SCREWBALLS, AND CHARLATANS:

* * *

There is no excuse for intelligent people to be so ignorant of facts about the charlatan fantasies and make-believe pretenses of religion, that works to undermine the true Democratic principles and unifying influences of our Democratic Society! To promote, propagate, profligate or publish the same pretentious and pompous falsehoods that are the evil tools used by Fallwell, Baker, Haggard, the Pope, and their ilk to brainwash, indoctrinate, brand, and subjugate innocent children and fools for the purpose of using them to gain ever more money, power, and divisive influence, is tantamount to supporting pimping, and prostitution.

* * *
——————————————————————————
Careful there, Jim!  Any more of this talk and someone may accuse you of having read the writings of the American founding fathers.

“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.” - Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782 Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

“History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose.” - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Baron von Humboldt, 1813

“And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a Virgin Mary, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. . . .  But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away all this artificial scaffolding.” - Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, 11 April 1823

“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” - James Madison

“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”  - James Madison

“But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed.” - John Adams in a letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816

“The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system.” - Thomas Paine

“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.” - Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

“As priestcraft was always the enemy of knowledge, because priestcraft supports itself by keeping people in delusion and ignorance, it was consistent with its policy to make the acquisition of knowledge a real sin.” - Thomas Paine,  Of The Religion of Deism Compared With the Christian Religion

“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.” - Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

And finally: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” - George Santayana

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By Maani, April 16, 2007 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

JH:

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion.  and all opinions are welcome.  However, if you don’t stop “shouting” and learn how to comport yourself in a more mature fashion, I, for one, will report you to the truthdig admin as a “troll.”  Please feel free to continue to contribute, but please do so in a tone and manner befitting thoughtful discussion.

Peter:

I agree with you in all respects.  Re the separation of church and state, although most of the founding fathers were deists (if not theists), they were NOT (as the Christian Right would have it) Christians per se.  Indeed, they understood that religion and politics had to be separated FOR THE GOOD OF BOTH. This is why the “Creator” is found in the DOI but NOT the Constitution.

Re Republican and Democrats, if we assume that much of the Republican agenda has been controlled (or at least strongly influenced by) the Christian Right, we can see why it is so narrow.  The Christian Right has harped on only a handful of issues for quite some time: abortion, homosexuality/gay marriage, creation vs evolution, stem cell research, and church/state.  Even were the Republicans NOT so money/power focused, there is no room in their agenda for poverty, hunger, homelessness, income inequality, even global warming, etc., since these issues would create a rift with one of their most loyal bases.

In this way, the nefarious and insidious way in which the Christian Right has influenced the agenda of the Republican Party is arguably the single greatest threat to church/state separation.

As a related aside, the way in which the Christian Right has dominated the “public eye” (media) view of Christianity has also made it difficult even to be a moderate Christian; i.e., when I tell people I am Christian (and an evangelical minister at that!), they automatically lump me into a big box that says “Bible-thumping, narrow-minded, gay-hating, pro-life, anti-Darwinist, theocratic-minded member of the Christian Right.”  Then I have to spend time explaining that I am none of those things, and that one can be Christian and not support the agenda of the Christian Right - or the Republican Party.

Peace.

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By Peter, April 16, 2007 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

Kernag,

The Democrats do not use the Bible to advance their agenda. The Republicans do. That Democrats are more or less Christian does not really come into this topic.

The Republicans have staked a claim on the Moral High Road and when you look closely you see they are not so moral after all.

The Founding Fathers knew the danger of mixing Church and State…The Constitution (the defining documentof True American Values) reflected that strong belief.

The Democrats are in favor of helping the Least of Us and it is clear the Republicans are not!!!

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Report this

By Jim Hanley, April 16, 2007 at 11:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To ALL You “Religion” SCREWBALLS, AND CHARLATANS:

THERE NEVER!, NEVER!, WAS A JESUS! YOU ARE PROMOTING CRIME!  Wake up!  Stop promoting that Ponzi-like racketeering scheme that coerces children and fools into performing atrocious acts! 
THE MAKE-BELIEVE JESUS!
After the recent discovery of Essene documents at Kimberth Qumran (Palestine) it has been proven that Jesus was the result of an artificial construction operated by falsifiers in the second century.
And: Former Priest, Luigi Cascioli says “Jesus never existed” in his book, ‘The Fable of Christ’
He has a lawsuit pending against Catholic Hierarchy to show their proof! Signor Cascioli?s contention is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine and,
therefore, “there is no basis for Christianity”! In september 2002 Cascioli sued don Enrico Righi, parrish priest of Bagnoregio (Viterbo), for abusing popular credulity and change of identity!  “Law is based upon respect for National and International Legislation” Di Stefano comments. The author of “The Fable of Christ” claims the priest violated laws against deception when he stated in a 2002 parish gazette “that the historic figure of Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary (all imaginary characters and therefore historically non existing); of having the same Jesus been born in the village of Bethlehem and of having grown up in Nazareth.”
AND THE WORLD IS NOT FLAT!
RELIGION = ABSOLUTE BIGOTRY! A CONTAGEOUS DISEASE!
  It is the putrid vomit of criminal minds!
There is no excuse for intelligent people to be so ignorant of facts about the charlatan fantasies and make-believe pretenses of religion, that works to undermine the true Democratic principles and unifying influences of our Democratic Society! To promote, propagate, profligate or publish the same pretentious and pompous falsehoods that are the evil tools used by Fallwell, Baker, Haggard, the Pope, and their ilk to brainwash, indoctrinate, brand, and subjugate innocent children and fools for the purpose of using them to gain ever more money, power, and divisive influence, is tantamount to supporting pimping, and prostitution. And because those charlatans use their evil schemes and lies to control, and enslave those misled ‘bovine-like’ advocates by rendering them ‘virtual’ robots that do their bidding; they are criminals, and those supporting them, are criminal cohorts, equally guilty of the crimes they commit against humanity, those fools, and the children.
The vast majority of “religious” people were: forced into their ‘belief’! They had no say in the matter, they were imposed upon, brainwashed, and indoctrinated when innocent and defenseless! They were not old enough, wise enough, or informed enough to make a decision, or to determine the value of the information passed to them by elders who, they were taught to obey and were not able to question or contradict! And, generation, upon generation the same methods have been perpetually used and promoted by a big gang of thieves as their victimizing schemes to rob people of their pristine mental facilities and their ability to determine fact from fiction!  Most religious indoctrinated “children” never reach an “age and ability” to recover from the ‘desease’! ‘Religious’ “parents” already mezmerized and ‘indoctrinated’; are the absolute worst ‘indoctrinators’! because, they have first access to the innocents at the earliest age!
Religious parents mind’s are warped by the charlatan’s lies and fairytales, and by passing it on, they are naive, unwitting cohorts of the ‘criminal’ charlatans’; and are abetting the spread of the infectious plague-like desease called “Religion”!  These “parents” are criminals! They are guilty of ‘branding’ and ‘warping’ the ‘pristine’ minds of the innocent defenseless children and robbing them of the mental acuity they were born with. control over our entire way of life.
JH 2/7/2007

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By toussaint31, April 16, 2007 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

The fact of the matter is that Jesus preached about helping the poor, but he never advocated taking someone else’s resources as means to that goal.  That is what government does, and that’s what Democrats AND Republicans advocate.

Jesus’ teachings of peace and non-violence have very little in common with either of the main parties today.

Report this

By Jim Hanley, April 16, 2007 at 9:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To ALL You “Religion” SCREWBALLS, AND CHARLATANS:

THERE NEVER!, NEVER!, WAS A JESUS! YOU ARE PROMOTING CRIME!  Wake up!  Stop promoting that Ponzi-like racketeering scheme that coerces children and fools into performing atrocious acts! 
THE MAKE-BELIEVE JESUS!
After the recent discovery of Essene documents at Kimberth Qumran (Palestine) it has been proven that Jesus was the result of an artificial construction operated by falsifiers in the second century.
And: Former Priest, Luigi Cascioli says “Jesus never existed” in his book, ‘The Fable of Christ’
He has a lawsuit pending against Catholic Hierarchy to show their proof! Signor Cascioli?s contention is that there was no reliable evidence that Jesus lived and died in 1st-century Palestine and,
therefore, “there is no basis for Christianity”! In september 2002 Cascioli sued don Enrico Righi, parrish priest of Bagnoregio (Viterbo), for abusing popular credulity and change of identity!  “Law is based upon respect for National and International Legislation” Di Stefano comments. The author of “The Fable of Christ” claims the priest violated laws against deception when he stated in a 2002 parish gazette “that the historic figure of Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary (all imaginary characters and therefore historically non existing); of having the same Jesus been born in the village of Bethlehem and of having grown up in Nazareth.”
AND THE WORLD IS NOT FLAT!
RELIGION = ABSOLUTE BIGOTRY! A CONTAGEOUS DISEASE!
  It is the putrid vomit of criminal minds!
There is no excuse for intelligent people to be so ignorant of facts about the charlatan fantasies and make-believe pretenses of religion, that works to undermine the true Democratic principles and unifying influences of our Democratic Society! To promote, propagate, profligate or publish the same pretentious and pompous falsehoods that are the evil tools used by Fallwell, Baker, Haggard, the Pope, and their ilk to brainwash, indoctrinate, brand, and subjugate innocent children and fools for the purpose of using them to gain ever more money, power, and divisive influence, is tantamount to supporting pimping, and prostitution.
And because those charlatans use their evil schemes and lies to control, and enslave those misled ‘bovine-like’ advocates by rendering them ‘virtual’ robots that do their bidding; they are criminals, and those supporting them, are criminal cohorts, equally guilty of the crimes they commit against humanity, those fools, and the children. The vast majority of “religious” people were: forced into their ‘belief’! They had no say in the matter, they were imposed upon, brainwashed, and indoctrinated when innocent and defenseless! They were not old enough, wise enough, or informed enough to make a decision, or to determine the value of the information passed to them by elders who, they were taught to obey and were not able to question or contradict! And, generation, upon generation the same methods have been perpetually used and promoted by a big gang of thieves as their victimizing schemes to rob people of their pristine mental facilities and their ability to determine fact from fiction!  Most religious indoctrinated “children” never reach an “age and ability” to recover from the ‘desease’! ‘Religious’ “parents” already mezmerized and ‘indoctrinated’; are the absolute worst ‘indoctrinators’! because, they have first access to the innocents at the earliest age!
Religious parents mind’s are warped by the charlatan’s lies and fairytales, and by passing it on, they are naive, unwitting cohorts of the ‘criminal’ charlatans’; and are abetting the spread of the infectious plague-like desease called “Religion”!  These “parents” are criminals! They are guilty of ‘branding’ and ‘warping’ the ‘pristine’ minds of the innocent defenseless children and robbing them of the mental acuity they were born with. control over our entire way of life.
JH 2/7/2007

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By Douglas Chalmers, April 16, 2007 at 6:25 am Link to this comment

Maani, “the devil” is dead! The only problem is that there are many who are diligently striving to take his/her/its place. In the end, though, the effects of global warming will overtake us all and no amount of aircraft carrier attack groups or threats of pre-emptive strikes with WMD’s will make the slightest difference to the rising sea levels, the hurricane Katrinas or the devastating droughts. Unless the human race learns to co-operate both with each other and the laws of the Universe (the law of Karma), it now stands little chance of survival.
 
“...you mention ‘blood sacrifices’, by which I assume you mean the use of our children as cannon fodder in Iraq….” - No, I actually meant the more than 600,000+ killed in Iraq in the last four years which is said to be double the number of people killed by Saddam since the commencement of his regime in the 1960’s. To that figure, one could also add the number killed in the first Gulf war and those who subsequently starved (especially children) or died from disease in the intermediate decade of US-imposed sanctions and blockades. The death toll of this “killing field” runs into the millions.
 
“...One of my college professors was Michio Kaku…” - again, no, Maani, but I don’t believe in “string theory” or “wormholes”, either. Try a seven-dimensional framework - or multiple sets of such frameworks or planes of existence dove-tailed into each other in the same space. Linear theories are just no longer relevant. Already, science has accepted that time is the fourth dimension. When you get into your car, the dial in front of the driver shows the fifth dimension - motion. That is we are living in a time-phased existence yet there are also dimensions ‘above’ time, one might say, which could be ‘closer’ to the ultimate Reality of the Source of all things (including us!).

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By Maani, April 15, 2007 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment
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Doug:

You’re right; the strictly religious discussion is somewhat afield from the main topic, and for that I apologize.  I will be answering VFTW in brief in a moment, but after that I will try to stay “on point” more carefully.

I want to say that I really love the way you think.  Some of your comments are really concise and wonderfully put.  For example, “Any ‘flaws’ must be in the human race itself and solely of its own making.”  And, “Only mere humans have the illusory ability to see anything as ‘imperfect’.”  Bravo!  As well, your view of the devil (“another misguided individual…dependent for its power on being able to manipulate the human race into endless calamities”) is well-put, though I personally feel there is more going on re “the enemy” than you suggest.

Another: “The true worth of any religion is in striving to make oneself a better person by following the path of the Master and founder.”  Bravo again!  And your Scriptural cite – “Not all those who cry, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven” – is particularly apropos.

As well, your comments re “energy” are particularly near and dear to my heart, as I have studied metaphysics (and physics) intensively for over 20 years.  (One of my college professors was Michio Kaku, if you know that name.)

Re your comments to Aeneas, you mention “blood sacrifices,” by which I assume you mean the use of our children as cannon fodder in Iraq.  This leads to the question of “just war,” and whether that very phrase is not oxymoronic.

Finally, you say, “If Republicans believe in a god…it must be an old testament god…”  Although you probably shouldn’t broad-brush (i.e., try saying “many Republicans” or “most Republicans”), this goes back to my comment about “Old Testament Christians”; the Christian Right and others like them will trot out OT laws, rules and behavior before they even consider “what would Jesus do.”  I never cease to be amazed (and saddened) by people who call themselves Christian and yet somehow cannot align themselves with the person they claim as their savior!

Louise:

“Jesus probably looked and sounded and smelled a lot like the people identified by the ‘conservative Christian right’ as the enemy.”  Brava!

Jesus was, of course, a Semite, and thus probably olive-skinned (i.e., like a somewhat dark-skinned Jew or Arab).  As for his looks, according to the only description of Him in Scripture, He did NOT look anything like the movie portrayals (i.e., tall, good-looking, charismatic, etc.)  Here is Isaiah’s prophetic description of Him: “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Not exactly the description of a particularly good-looking, charismatic guy, huh?

Your comparison of the current religious hierarchy to the Temple Priests (“Once again they have diverted the masses from the real path to salvation and led them astray”) is both astute and perfect.  This is particularly true of the RCC, but could be applied to many Protestant leaders as well.

Peace.

(More coming…)

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By Maani, April 15, 2007 at 9:02 pm Link to this comment
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VFTW:

As Doug suggests, the purely religious discussion is probably not appropriate here, so I will limit my responses to your latest post.

While it is true that there is no “true primary source material for Jesus,” this is hardly a reason to “throw out the baby with the bathwater.”  Because while it is also true that the gospels were written between 30 and 60 years after Jesus’ death, this does not negate the truths they hold.  In this regard, your comment that each of the gospels was “written for a particular audience and so was tailored for maximum impact upon that audience” is the belief of some scholars, but not of all.  Indeed, it is because there is so much “sameness” in the first three gospels that we can be fairly secure in the material that “overlaps” two or three of them (and even more secure where material appears in all four).  To say “we don’t know for certain one way or the other” is the same as saying “we might as well not believe anything at all.”  And I, for one, do not accept this.

As for Jesus’ message being taken to the gentiles, thank you for picking up my error.  What I meant was that, although the most straightforward and direct message of His ministry was for the Jews, He shared it with anyone who wanted to listen.  The specific “spreading” of the gospel to the gentiles was, as you say, accomplished by the disciples.

Re the “out” I mention, that is a VERY deep (and admittedly controversial) theological issue which I would prefer not to get into here.  Suffice to say that you might want to re-read Matthew 19:24-26 again, and REALLY consider what Jesus is saying there.

As for miracles, I am sorry you cannot get around strictly scientific, empirical thinking.  Yes, God gave you “intelligence” and “critical thinking.”  But we are talking about the Creator of the universe here; if HE cannot suspend the laws of physics when it suits Him, how powerful could He be?

Finally, re the seeming conundrum you describe: “If Jesus was God, then of course He could love His enemies and all the rest.  How can we possibly do that?  So we are, in some ways, let off the hook.  On the other hand, if we look to Him as the ideal human example, we have the obligation AND THE ABILITY to do the same.  No excuses.  No rationalizations.  No whining allowed.”

First, without getting into yet another theological discussion (LOL), Jesus was NOT “God.”  He was (for a brief time) the manifestation of God’s “spirit” on earth.  And no, that is NOT a semantic distinction.

Second, re the conundrum itself, you inadvertently show the beauty of Christianity.  Because while we do have both the “obligation” and the “ability” to “do the same” (“He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and GREATER WORKS than these shall he do…” (Emphasis mine)) - and while we are certainly called to “live a Christ-like life” to the best of our individual ability (“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”) - all we are actually called to do is our “best.” And when we fail (because we will), we repent for those failures and “pick ourselves up” and try our best again.  It is not about “excuses” or “rationalization” or “whining.” It is about doing our best to live as He did, but not to beat ourselves over the head when we fail.  Because if He loved us despite our failures, we can do no less than love ourselves despite them as well.

Finally, getting back “on point,” I offer the following New York Times Op-Ed piece for consideration and discussion:

http://select.nytimes.com/2007/04/13/opinion/13krugman.html?_r=1&oref=login&pagewanted=print

Peace!

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By a voice from the wilderness, April 15, 2007 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment
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Maani,

I, too, have been following the discussion.  It’s been most interesting.  And while I can offer huge thanks for somewhat restoring my opinion of at least some evangelicals, I must re-enter your exchange with Doug.

One of the things that gives me pause as a trained historian is the lack of true primary source material for Jesus.  He left nothing that he had authored.  The closest we come to primary source material is Gospels that were written at least 30 years after his death.  And each of the Gospels was written for a specific audience and so was tailored for maximum impact upon that audience.

You pointed out to Doug that Jesus proclaimed himself, but the lack of true primary material makes me wonder if that was an addition to try again to reach the Jewish audience.  We don’t know for certain one way or another.

You also mention that when the Jews were not as open to Jesus’ message as he hoped, he took it to the Gentiles.  Could you please point to where Jesus did that?  I had always thought it was the Apostles who took it to the Gentiles.

In an earlier response to me, you indicated an “out” as you called it, whereby some non-Christians could experience salvation.  I’d like some additional information on that.  Would the Dalai Lama be one who would qualify?  For me, he exemplifies one who lives the values Jesus preached.  And that confirms my belief that what Jesus preached were simply universal values. 

I’m going to raise another issue—that of the miracles associated with Jesus’ ministry.  You’ll say again that it’s a matter of faith that I cannot accept them as true.  But I’ve always figured that if there is a God who is intimately involved with our lives, and not simply the creative First Cause that set this amazing universe in motion, s/he gave me my intelligence to use.  And my liberal arts education taught me critical thinking.  So to turn away from that rational thought and accept something that violates all the laws of nature and physics is impossible for me to do.

I tend to think that the emphasis on Jesus’ divinity takes some of the “pressure” off us mere mortals to live a Christ-like life.  After all, if Jesus was God, then, of course he could love his enemies and all the rest.  How can we possibly do that?  So we are, in some ways, let off the hook.  On the other hand, if we look at him as the ideal human example, we have the obligation AND THE ABILITY to do the same.  No excuses. No rationalizations. No whining allowed.

I had the wonderful experience once of hearing a minister of Armenian descent talk about the parables from the perspective of Middle Eastern culture.  What an eye-opener!  We miss so much of their meaning without that context.

Looking forward to further discussion.

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By Lefty, April 15, 2007 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
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I saw the movie “The Bible” (1966).  I love science fiction.  Great writing, directing and cast: John Huston, director, narrator, the voice of God and as Noah, George C. Scott as Abraham, Richard Harris as Cain, Ava Gardner as Sarah, Peter O’Tool as the 3 angels and many more less notables.  I highly recommend it.

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By Douglas Chalmers, April 15, 2007 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

Quote Aeneas on 4/13 at 7:59 am: ‘...My dear Americans, you have your priorities all screwed up…. “The only true Christian died on the cross.” - Nietzsche’

Oh, didn’t he also say that “God is dead”? Frankly, if that were really so, we would all be taken immediately out of manifestation along with the rest of the Universe as “god” was the old term for the Original Cause which brought all Creation into being via the “big bang” (the modern interpretation of Genesis) process and subsequent evolution, etc etc.

We might have been “made perfect in the beginning” but that was before “the fall of man” and that is another very long story (there must have been a global nuclear war a very long time ago!). What Linda Seger explained towards the end was whether Jesus would support Democrats or Republicans is not only irrelevant but impossible anyway.

Its up to the various parties and independents to decide whether they really support his philosophy and example, though. What she complained about as regards most candidates was that they mouth one set of positive platitudes but espouse something quite less or even very different in their actual policies.

Listening to the podcast is more interesting and entertaining than reading this transcript. But, if Republicans believe in a god, though, it must be an old testament god because they are apparently willing to take retribution to any limits as regards 9/11 as though heaping up blood sacrifices was going to somehow get them into heaven. That is NOT Christianity!

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By Louise, April 15, 2007 at 7:41 am Link to this comment
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Yes, Jesus rode a donkey.
And more than likely wore a “rag” on his head and sandals on his feet.
And he probably got body odor on a hot day in that dry hot climate.
Jesus probably looked and sounded and smelled a lot like the people identified by the “conservative Christian right” as the enemy.
_________________________________________________

“Beware of any faith that is not organized around justice and equality. Snake oil salesmen abound.

Within the religious hierarchy the high priests of fraud are treated like deities with a direct conduit to god, entitled to power and privileges that ordinary citizens do not have. They are no better than fortune tellers dressed in bright robes. Once again they have diverted the masses from the real path to salvation and led them astray. They have erased the thin line that separates church and state and made a mockery of humankind’s quest for understanding and justice.

It was they who, in the words of song writer Woody Guthrie, “laid poor Jesus in his grave”. They do it every time.”

Charles Sullivan , The Apostles of Deception
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17536.htm

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By Douglas Chalmers, April 15, 2007 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

Thanks, Maani. Actually, we are getting a little away from the main topic although I do prefer discussing religion than people obsessing unnecessarily about homosexuality.
 
(page 2) Seger: “Well, here’s the problem .....We live in a flawed universe….”
 
Actually, this is NOT correct. As a mere subsequent and rather recently evolved derivative of the Original Creation, the human race has no right to accuse its creator of anything, let alone imperfection. Any “flaws” must be in the human race itself and solely of its own making. What is more, the human race is unable to see beyond its own existence and needs to address its shortcomings urgently before its continued existence becomes impossible.
 
In the Mind of The Creator (the Original Cause, if you will), all was originally “thought into being” as a Perfect creation. It could not have been otherwise or the creation, either during the “big bang” phase or after, would not have been successful and manifestation would not have been possible. Only mere humans have the illusory ability to see anything as “imperfect” and only then because of their self-induced warped existence and outlook.
 
Lets not waste our time in examining the role of “the devil” here, either. It was, after all, only another misguided individual and was eventually dependent for its power on being able to manipulate the human race into endless calamities so that it could fed off the suffering as a kind of vampire. There is no such thing as “god and the devil” as it too was only a part of the creation which warped itself as the human race is doing too in its ego-centric refusal to accept the Creator as its original Source.
 
 
 
(page 3) Harris: “Linda, I’m doing a lot of listening.  I know Jesus.  I have a relationship.  As you do.  As every Christian claims to have with Jesus….”
 
In the Christian religion, there is an acceptance of Jesus as a compassionate teacher, a healer and a martyr. These are very important but why do people then bother to marginalize these great values by failing to replicate them in themselves? The true worth of any religion is in striving to make oneself a better person by following the path of the Master and founder. But then, it was said that “not all those who cry ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of Heaven”.
 
What was really meant by ‘the kingdom of Heaven” was that beyond the self-attained state of Enlightenment there was the state of absolute FREEDOM from being bound to the pit of rebirth in the material world. Thus one could become “ascended into heaven” otherwise believed to be the state of ascension into a higher plane of existence. If one has a near-death experience or is capable of self-induced trance (not by drugs) as some yogis can, one finds that there is a “realm of Light” which is far closer to the ultimate REALITY than our material world. In returning to this level of existence, though, one who has taken that journey finds how dark and dull this world really is as he or she returns to consciousness in their physical body.
 
As all creation is energy which takes form and, as energy, can never by destroyed, then all manifestation in the Universe is energy (light) and the matter we seem to see is only more energy manifesting in material form as the result of the patterns it continuously flows through in a perfect manner. Thus, there is a perfected state of Light which is really our “home” and to which we can “travel” although It is really all about us. When we finally decide to acknowledge more than three dimensions, we will be more able to discern all of this. Accessing this still won’t be any easier until we have (individually) freed ourselves from our own negative karma - the results of our own cumulative wrong thoughts and actions which continues to bind us in well-deserved limitation - until we have learned the necessary lessons.

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By Maani, April 14, 2007 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment
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Doug:

Thank you, too, for the intersting discussion.

You say, “No…Jesus Himself was NOT living the OT in any way.  That’s the whole point of Christianity…”

With all due respect, this statement is patently absurd.  It would be like saying that your being male has no influence on who you are.  One’s faith has GREAT DEAL of influence on one - particularly in a time when faith was an even more “daily lived” experience.

More important, however, are Jesus’ words and actions.  He was deeply schooled in the OT by his teens, even debating it with elders.  He proclaimed Himself after reading Isaiah 61:1.  He continually referred to the OT during his ministry.  In Matthew 5, He not only refers to various OT laws (killing, adultery, divorce, swearing, revenge), He actually STRENGTHENS them.

Most important is Jesus own statement regarding the OT: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, ONE JOT OR ONE TITTLE SHALL IN NO WISE
PASS FROM THE LAW, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Emphasis mine.)

Certainly this is as direct a statement re Jesus’ position on the OT as there can possibly be.

The thing Jesus DID do re the OT vis-a-vis His own ministry was to point out the difference between the “letter of the law” and the “spirit of the law.”  THIS was why the Temple Priests “wanted rid of Him”: NOT because of His basic ministerial message, but because in delivering that message He was revealing the corruption of the priesthood.

Jesus did NOT come to establish a “new religion.” He came to teach the Jews how to be better Jews.  When the majority of Jews (but by no means all) rejected Him, he took His message to the gentiles.

As for “secret signs and meeting places,” methinks you are paying too much attention to The Da Vinci Code et al and not enough to scholarly history: there is no evidence that this was the case.

Re “comparing Scripture to Scripture,” this is CRITICAL to both understanding it and revealing its truths: indeed, this is EXACTLY what Jesus did during His ministry.

Peace.

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By Douglas Chalmers, April 14, 2007 at 1:44 am Link to this comment

No, Maani, “Jesus Himself”  was NOT “living the OT” in any way. That’s the whole point of Christianity - otherwise it would be just a part of Juda-ism and he would have been nothing more than another prophet - and the Jews certainly didn’t want one of those. They (and the Romans) killed him once they repudiated him as the “messiah”. Ever since, they have been looking for the next messiah but they insist on only having one on their petty terms!
 
While the Judaic priests were slavishly following their set laws and demanding the same compliance from their subjugated flock, Jesus stood FREE and BRAVELY proclaimed TRUTH as the new religion for those who were intelligent enough to follow his rational and inspired thought and knowledge. Of course, that is why the priests wanted rid of him!
 
“Jewishness” had absolutely nothing to do with Jesus’ ministry and He and His disciples were hated in some parts of Israel. It was a land of ignorant and primitive people compared with the civilizations of the East. He had only returned there to teach a NEW WAY but was often not very well received. That was why they had to have secret signs and meeting places. It was not only because of the Romans but the Zionists as well.
 
On attaining Enlightenment, it is no longer necessary to “compare Scripture against Scripture” in order to find Truth. As a state of total spiritual awareness and conscious contact with the Source of all Creation, It enables the direct discernment of Truth and direct inspiration from the All-knowing Creator of the universe. Truth is then known as It IS - in living vibrant REALITY, not the mere words of men on some musty pieces of paper!
 
Thank you for the interesting discussion, Maani.

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By Maani, April 13, 2007 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment
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RLandbeck:

I would be more than happy to read the material from the site (despite the fact that the “Prologue” is about as pompous as anything I have ever read).

However, I am suspicious that the only way to read it is to download it; i.e., it cannot be read by simply opening the file from a site.  This leads me to one of two conclusions: (i) there is something “bogus” about the material itself (e.g., it is a “cult” of some sort), or (ii) the file may contain something that could corrupt or damage one’s computer.  If you can find me a way to read the 29 chapters of material directly from a website, I will be the first one to read the entire thing.  Promise.

Michele and Kat:

Ditto!  And brava!

Aeneas:

We will never progress UNLESS we have debates like this!  Open dialogue is among the most critical paths for understanding, tolerance and acceptance.  Even “agreeing to disgree” can only occur when the various beliefs, feelings, etc. are set forth for all to read, consider, and respond to.

And although “actions speak louder than words” (and, thus, debates and “talk” should not be the ONLY avenue for potential change), I would say that the discussions created by the reaction of atheists such as Harris, Dawkins and Dennett to the current politico-religious climate - while they and their positions are themselves dangerously inflammatory and extreme - are among the highest priorities for coming to some sort of middle ground in which ALL of the extremist positions are tempered, on both sides.

Re your comments about Jesus:

First, there is no reputable scholarly debate on His existence: He did exist.  The question is whether He was a teacher, a rabbi, a prophet, something more, or just a neat guy with some good ideas.  Yet there is no question that over 1 billion people on this planet DO care about “what would Jesus do” re current issues.  It is illogical to attempt to dismiss this out of hand.

Rather, as has been suggested by others, it is up to moderate evangelicals and others within Christianity to speak out against the extremist positions of the vocal minority within the faith, and attempt to bring back the understanding that, as Doug so passionately suggests, it is Jesus and His ministry and message - His example - that should be the primary guide for Christians - not strict adherence to dogma or doctrine (though some adherence is obviously appropriate), which often leads to blind acceptance of positions which are anathema to Jesus’ example.

Peace.

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By Maani, April 13, 2007 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
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Doug:

Actually, I am surprised at your comments, since until that post, I all but ignored the OT in favor of “Jesus’ teachings and personal example.”  I went deeply into Jesus’ “values,” and talked much about living a “Christ-like life.”  So not only have I not “missed the main point,” but I have been speaking on it since my second post.

That said, neither is the OT to be ignored.  Yes, Jesus’ life, ministry and example ultimately “trump” anything to the contrary in the OT.  But don’t forget that Jesus Himself was living the OT as He understood it; i.e., the OT was His “playbook,” and He believed in and practiced the vast majority of its teachings.  To follow “Jesus’ example” would thus necessitate knowing and understanding the OT.  In this regard, His “Jewishness” is absolutely critical to our understanding of His life.

As for “quoting followers and disciples,” again you err in suggesting that there is little or nothing to learn from them.  True, they were NOT “the Master.”  But that does not mean they did not learn from Him, and have nothing to offer re His ministry.  Yes, as with the OT, once must “compare Scripture against Scripture” to see where His followers may have erred in their understanding.  But this does not mean that Paul, Peter, John et al were simply “making it up as they went along,” or that many of their teachings are not just as valuable as those of Jesus Himself.

Re your negative comments about “religions,” as noted in previous posts I fully concur.  Organized religion does too often “cater to the fears and anxieties of their flocks.”  That is, there is too much “religion” in their “faith.”  And, as noted, it is helping to give (and maintain) a bad name to Christianity.

You are also correct that “Faith…is our innate connection with the Original Creator…NOT some blind or ignorant acceptance or slavish adherence to the arrogantly authoritarian…leadership of their chosen religions.”

That said, once must still have a set of “core values” (both moral and other) that one subscribes to; a “moral center,” if you will.  And this can only come from some form of dogma or doctrine - even if the final result is derived from a combination of dogmas and doctrines.

In this regard, I have found that, with few (but admittedly some) exceptions, the “dogma/doctrine” associated with “primitive Christianity” (i.e., Jesus’ lifetime and the first hundred or so years thereafter) is the one that works best for me both as an individual and as a human being interacting with my fellow human beings in this temporal lifetime.

Peace.

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By kat, April 13, 2007 at 9:59 am Link to this comment
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Helping the poor is emphasized continuously throughout the bible. It is odd looking at it, that somehow our country has taken on the stance that democrats aren’t religious, yet they are the ones adressing issues such as poverty. In 2000 the Millennium Goals were set, aiming to end poverty by 2025. The US agreed to them, but has yet to implement and carry out a plan to achieve these goals. We need to let our leaders, republican and democrat alike, know that poverty reduction is a priority.

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By Aeneas, April 13, 2007 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
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Seriously, we will never progress as long as we have debates like this.  This is ultimately futile.

We’re sitting here postulating what a person, who supposedly lived 2,000 years ago (if he existed at all), would think about current problems, and whether he would support Democrats or Republicans.  Am I the only one who thinks this is worse than child’s play?  Aren’t there more pressing matters to be discussed?

My dear Americans, you have your priorities all screwed up.

“The only true Christian died on the cross.”
-Nietzsche

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By michele, April 13, 2007 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
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the problem isn’t religion in so much as it is combining religious belief and our government. that is where it all goes wrong.

believe what you want , but basing law on beliefs of a religious nature , like marriage is , is forcing religious views on others.

marriage is a religious institution. it should be taken out of government all togeather with it’s religious overtone and replaced by civil unions for everyone that is of adult age. you can’t get any more fair and equal than that.

leave marriage to the church where it belongs and equality to the government .

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By Robert Landbeck, April 13, 2007 at 7:04 am Link to this comment
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Review: The Final Freedoms/©free

On the horizon appears an approaching religious [and scientific] furore so contentious, any clash of civilizations may have to wait. On one side, a manuscripttitled: The Final Freedoms, against all the gravitas religious tradition can bring to bear.

The first wholly new interpretation for 2000 years of the moral teachings of Jesus the Christ is on the web. It focuses specifically on marriage and human sexuality, overturning all natural law ethics and theory. At stake is the credibility of several thousand years of religious history and moral theology.

What at first appears an utterly preposterous challenge to the religious status quo rewards perseverance in closer examination, for it carries within its pages an idea both subtle and sublime, what the theological history of religion either ignored, were unable to imagine or dismissed as impossible. An error of presumption which could now leave ‘tradition’ staring into the abyss and humble the heights of scientific speculation.

If this material is confirmed and there appears to be both the means and a concerted effort to authenticate it, the greatest unresolved questions of human existence may finally have been untangled.

Published [at the moment] only on the web as a free [1.4meg] pdf download, this new teaching has nothing whatsoever to do with any existing religious conception known to history. It is unique in every respect.

It is the first ever viable religious conception leading faith to observable consequences which can be tested and judged; a teaching able to demonstrate its own efficacy; the first ever religious claim of knowledge that meets the criteria of verifiable, evidence based scientific method; as such this teaching enters the public domain as a reality entirely new to human history.

This is pure ethics. It requires no institutional framework, no churches, no priest craft, no scholastic theological rational, no dogma or doctrine and ‘worship’ requires only conviction, faith and the necessary measure of self discipline to accomplish a new, single moral imperative and the integrity and fidelity to the new reality.

Using a synthesis of scriptural material from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha , The Dead Sea Scrolls,The Nag Hammadi Library, and some of the worlds great poetry, it describes and teaches a single moral LAW, a single moral principle offering the promise of its own proof; one in which the reality of God responds to an act of perfect faith with a direct, individual intervention into the natural world; correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception.

This new interpretation identifies the moral foundation of all human thought and conduct and the single Law finds expression within a new covenant of human spiritual union, the marriage between one man and one woman. Transforming sexual energy into spiritual enlightenment, resolving the most intractable questions and confusions of sexual indentity.

For those able to think for themselves outside the cultural box and willing to learn something new, the beginnings of an intellectual and moral revolution are unfolding on the web and available for anyone to discover for themselves.

http://www.energon.uklinux.net
http://thefinalfreedoms.bulldoghome.com
http://www.dunwanderinpress.org

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By Douglas Chalmers, April 13, 2007 at 3:36 am Link to this comment

Maani, you have gone to the trouble of saying quite a lot about the “OT” (old testament) and Christianity but you have NOT said very much about Jesus or his teachings and personal example. Thus, sadly, you seem to have missed the main point.

It does not matter whether Jesus “rode a donkey” or spoke Aramaic or was even Jewish. What Is important to all of us is that he showed a way to live successfully if we would only accept the path of loving kindness and mutual respect for each other as all being children of the One Creator.

That does NOT make Him “the only son of god” as we are all sons and daughters of “god” if that is the name you want to use to describe the unknowable Original Cause which brought all existence into being through the “big bang” of the original creation.

The trouble with endlessly quoting followers and disciples of the Master is that they are not the Master and only ever have a mere shadow of His Enlightenment - unless they have succeeded in following His example so diligently that they too have attained some real degree of Enlightenment.

And, that is where all religions have gone wrong. The priests assiduously cater to the fears and anxieties of their flocks but never achieve anything themselves except for assuring their own comfortable positions. That is not what is required of priests or ministers nor is it what is satisfactory for the political leaders of the Democrats - or Republicans either, for that matter.

The FAITH which religions speak of is our innate connection with the Original Creator as sentient beings. It is NOT some blind or ignorant acceptance or slavish adherence to the arrogantly authoritarian (usually patriarchal) leadership of their chosen religions. Taking things on trust is another matter and that is only relevant if one is a child. At some stage, we all have to mature enough, even spiritually, to be able to see things clearly for ourselves - at least as far as the extent of our personal development.

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By Maani, April 12, 2007 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
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All (Part 1):

From a strictly political viewpoint, Will is correct that “what we have in Amerika are two power blocks working for two different types of one world order, two different ways to get to the same end.”  I like to say that we have one party - the “transnational corporate party” - with two sub-groups: (A) Republicrats and (B) Democans.

Yet even within this structure it is possible for one sub-group to have “better” (more “human” and “humane”) policies than the other.  And there seems little debate that the Democrats have always been more “people-oriented” while the Republicans have been more “money/power-oriented.”  This does not mean that some Dems are not “M/P-oriented” and some Reps are not “people-oriented.”  But as a whole, the overall position seems unarguable.

Doug takes the OT to task by saying it is largely “irrelevant Jewish ancient history.”  That is far too simplistic.  The “laws” provided in the OT (particularly dietary and “family” laws) are as relevant today as they were 4,000 years ago. Indeed, the OT gave us some of the most important food health “laws” in human history, many of which are still followed today.  As well, many of the other “laws” - even when they are not per se highly applicable today - have in them the seeds of laws that are.  Thus, it is short-sighted to dismiss the OT as “garbage.”

Doug also suggests that by the time the Israelites arose, China and India already had “far more erudite explanations of the…human condition.”  Actually, this is not true.  Although India had the Vedas - which do address the “human condition” - they are no more “erudite” than many of the Jewish teachings. As for China, there is no indication that their early history addresses aspects of humanity such as psychology and faith, or that they were interested in “the human condition” at all.

Finally, Doug goes into a lengthy diatribe against what he sees as a “Crusader ideology” led by the RCC.  This, too, is far too simplistic.  True, once the “church” became “organized,” it adopted some questionable tenets and approaches, some of which were certainly anathema to Jesus’ own ministry, and led to various forms of oppression.  Yet even if we call the RCC’s approach a “Crusader ideiology,” that ideology ultimately collapsed - certainly by the time of Martin Luther, but probably even earlier. In any event, that ideology has been dead and buried (except, perhaps, among a VERY small group of extremists) for over 500 years.

More coming…

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By Maani, April 12, 2007 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
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All (Part 2):

VFTW:

The Romans passage COULD be read as you suggest; however, as noted, if one TRULY “confesses and believes,” one would not come to that interpretation of the text.  Still, you make a good point.

Re Jesus’ values being “accessible to all, whether they claim any particular faith or none at all,” you are absolutely correct.  As has been said: faith does NOT have a monopoly on morality.  You are also correct that anyone who lives by Jesus’ values – Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist et al – “advances the cause of peace on earth.”

Your “complaint” with the “institutional church” is also well-taken; I completely agree.  Indeed, the “organized, mainstream, hierarchical” church – and some of the people it has spawned (particularly the Christian Right) – has, ironically, given Christianity a bad name.  And as you note, unless and until “moderate Christians” and “reasonable evangelicals” “take their radical brethren to task” for some of their “un-Christian views and actions,” we have no one to blame but ourselves for that bad name.

Finally, re “exclusivity,” this is a difficult issue.  And although you won’t like my answer, I will try to provide one.

All faiths are “exclusive” to various degrees.  For example, anyone can be Jewish.  But one must first go through an intensive conversion process, learn Hebrew, follow certain dress and eating codes, observe the Sabbath, attend services, and maintain a certain lifestyle.  Because for Jews, “salvation” is not determined by faith (though that is important), but by one’s life and “demeanor” in the temporal world; i.e., by following “laws, rules and behavior”; i.e., by being “religious.”  Similarly, anyone can be a Muslim.  But one must first go through a conversion process, learn Arabic, attend Mosque, pray five times a day facing a certain direction, observe Ramadan, and maintain a certain lifestyle.  Because like the Jews, “salvation” for Muslims is not determined by “faith” (though it is obviously important), but by one’s life and “demeanor” in the temporal world: i.e., by being “religious.”

Anyone can be a Christian.  But one does NOT need to go through an intensive conversion process; one does NOT have to learn another language; one does NOT have to follow certain eating or dress codes; one does NOT have to attend church; one does NOT have to observe the Sabbath; one does NOT have to pray a specific number of time per day, much less facing in a particular direction; one does NOT even have to maintain a specific lifestyle (though it is hoped that they will).  The ONLY thing one HAS to do to become a Christian is to believe in Jesus as God’s only son, and believe that God raised Him from the dead; i.e., a simple prayer asking Jesus to “come into” one’s life and be there for them.  That’s it.  Because “salvation” for Christians is NOT determined by one’s life and “demeanor” in the temporal world (though that is obviously important), but by “faith”; i.e., a personal relationship with God and Christ.

Indeed, with Christianity, a true “conversion” (one truly allowing Jesus into their heart) will (in most cases) lead AUTOMATICALLY to lifestyle changes (behavior) that will be more in keeping with Jesus’ “values.”

Thus, Christianity is the LEAST exclusive of all major faiths.  The ONLY thing God asks of you in order to be “saved” is to believe in the sacrifice of His son, and the “work” that was accomplished in that sacrifice.  That’s it.  And is that single thing too much for the creator of the universe – the God who created you - to ask of you?

Finally, I should note that, having said all that, there MAY be an “out” (i.e., an opportunity for salvation) for SOME of those who DO live a truly “Christian” life (a life of love, peace, forgiveness, etc.), but who do NOT accept Christ as personal savior.  However, this is a complicated theological issue, and a discussion for another time.

Peace.

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By Ivan Wainer, April 11, 2007 at 11:54 pm Link to this comment
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Time to Repent

Jesus was the man
He was no ham
Jesus was the man
He did not give a damn
Jesus was the man
He sent the money lenders on the lam
Jesus was the man
He made the blind, a man named Sam
Jesus was the man
Scamper up the alley early in the AM
Jesus was the man
Sam did not give a hoot, he needed a dram
Jesus was the man
He was said to have walked on water at Boulder Damn.
Jesus was the man
Things got weird when he arose from the grave wearing a Tam
Jesus was the man
He gave his all for the good of mankind but we expect him back
Jesus was the man
He’ll fume and holler sweat around the collar as he builds a rack
Jesus was the man
As predicted in Revelations, time to repent!

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By a voice from the wilderness, April 11, 2007 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment
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For Maani,
I didn’t mean to imply that you thought faith negated the need for right living, but rather that too many people who trumpet themselves as Christians do.  However your explanation of the passage from Romans could easily lead some to think that way.  Living a Christ-like life is far more difficult than “confessing” faith, even though it is implied, even required, in the latter.

You mention that you believe Gandhi was, in fact, a Christian even though he didn’t openly profess the faith.  I would counter that from a humanistic perspective, he, and others in many cultures also understood what is required for us to be fully human—to live the values of, as you so eloquently summarized, love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, humility, patience, charity, selflessless, service, justice, and truth. Those values are accessible to all, whether they claim any particular faith or none at all, and, when followed, they most certainly advance the cause of peace on earth. 

My complaint is with the institutional church whenever and wherever it promotes values—either openly or subtly—that are contrary to those that Jesus proclaimed.  And I particularly oppose the exclusivity that says that a Christ-like life lived counts for nothing relative to salvation.  I would counter that if people put their energies into living in the here and now instead of focusing on the hereafter, the world would be a better place. 

And I cannot accept that a loving God would not find that acceptable.

We’ve heard many religious and political leaders since 9/11 call upon moderate Muslims to take their radical brethern to task.  I think the same is needed from moderate Christians, and more importantly from their more reasonable evangelical counterparts.  There is a tendency for evangelicals to discount and even ignore the views of secularists and non-evangelical Christians.  It’s past time to hold them accountable for their un-Christian views and actions.

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By Will Hart, April 11, 2007 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment
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Dear Sirs, It’s for sure that no one reads the whole Bible , First both the right and the left are wrong , both are being used willingly or by not knowing what the Bible realy says. What we have in Amerika are two power blocks working for two Different types of a one world order ,  two different ways to get to the same end .... and yes the Churches and collages are a total mess of being a waste to all .... sorry remove me from your files your LOST , need to REPENT ! BETTER YET the HOLY SPRIT is the ONLY WAY TO SEE REAL TRUTH < not some school , If it’s not from GOD ( JESUS CHRIST ) and covered by his Blood , you have no hope at all..

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By Douglas Chalmers, April 11, 2007 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

The story of Jesus is only mentioned in a small section of the Christian bible called the “new testament” which is only about 20% of the book and at the end. The remainder is largely the irrelevant Jewish ancient history but for a section on creation. For all its worth, it could be consigned to the garbage.

So, why do people keep insisting on following the “old testament”? Its NOT as if the so-called state of “Israel” 2,000 years ago was anything like the center of civilization. Actually, China was back then and also India. Its not at all necessary to rely on such a primitive text when far more erudite explanations of the origins of the universe and the human condition were already available elsewhere even then.

What we have instead is not so much a Christian heritage or ideology as a Crusader ideology which has usurped the second of the three Abrahamic religions. For political reasons, the story of Israel was supplanted as a history for all Westerners in order to assist the new Roman church in gaining ascendancy. That was done to eradicate the other religions in the West and a “coalition of the willing” was thus formed by Rome.

It soon became the “new world order” of the time and extended its dominance as far as Britain in the West and Constantinople in the East. It was held that knowledge of any civilization further East would have diminished the control of the Western powers so a veil of ignorance was drawn slowly across China and India’s existence as far as the West was concerned. They were not needed in the narrow vision of the early Roman catholic empire.

Thus the great workable philosophy of compassion, loving kindness and service to others was diminished and warped by the political imperatives of “you’re either with us or against us” which were shouted through the centuries. Now, few followers of the Christian faith are brave enough to stand up against their leaders when fear-mongering and threats of war are prevalent. That, then, leads us to the question of who will save the world from total nuclear annihilation!

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By Maani, April 11, 2007 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment
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VFTWilderness/Nettie:

I apologize if I left the wrong impression: I did not mean to suggest that “faith” is a “get out of jail free card.”  In the sense that it is immutable, it would seem that way.  However, there is a difference between salvation and redemption.  I do not pretend to know how it all works, but my understanding is that “faith” is how we are saved, and “redemption” is how we are judged (even the saved are judged).  In that regard, how one “lives” AS a Christian IS important.  Indeed, although Jesus taught of the “kingdom of heaven” (i.e., afterlife), as you suggest He was basically instructing us on how to interact with our fellow humans in the temporal world in this lifetime.  He did this by preaching and living love, peace, forgiveness, compassion, humility, patience, charity, selflessless, service, justice, truth.  These are not “afterlife” approaches (since they will be “automatic” there), but ways in which to avoid conflict, hatred, war, violence, etc.

It is also important to consider that if one TRULY “confesses” Christ and “believes in his heart” that God raised Him from the dead, then one is not going to engage in behaviors that are anathema to His teachings - or at least one is going to make concerted efforts to live as much of a “Chirst-like life” as one can.

I was really addressing the old adage that “Religion is about laws, regulations and behavior; Faith is about a relationship with God” (and, for Christians, with Christ).  As Nettie correctly suggests, too many Christians - particularly the “Christian Right” (which, like the Moral Majority before it, is neither…LOL), are “Old Testament” Christians who focus on the former (rules, behavior) etc., often at the expense of - or even to the exclusion of - the latter (faith).  Indeed, as an evangelical minister, it shocks me to see self-proclaimed Christians all but ignoring Jesus’ life and ministry in favor of OT cites - to say nothing of taking Scripture out of context to support narrow, unloving, unforgiving and ultimately un-Christian viewpoints.

Re Gandhi, he was Christian in all but name; indeed, as suggested, he was more Christian than many self-proclaimed Christians.  And although he made that flip comment about why he was not a Christian, based on my many readings of his, I believe that he was, even if he did not self-proclaim as such.

Peace.

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By Nettie, April 11, 2007 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment
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Faith is an internal process, no one can see what an individual’s actual faith is but can glean some values by their behaviors.  I so often see that anyone who refers to herself as “Christian,” is mostly informed by the Old Testament and (choose?)will embrace a controlling unforgiving unrealistic “God,” claiming “Jesus” as god when convenient, but not practicing his teachings with their children, spouse or within their community or global perspective.  Some of the most kind, giving and “Christ-like” people are either atheist, pagan or simply live their life quietly as they see Jesus would, not “broadcasting” their religion or faith, “when you pray, go into a room alone and close the door…..”  I find it unfortunate, that politicians of late, use their “faith” as a political tool or club.  And professed atheists are still not allowed, by law, to hold office in certain places.

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By a voice from the wilderness, April 11, 2007 at 11:27 am Link to this comment
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Maani wrote:
“In other words, as long as one honestly and humbly “confesses” and “believes” as per Paul’s words in Romans 10, nothing - NOTHING, zero, nada, zip, zilch - can affect our salvation or separate us from God’s love.”

In my experience, this leads too often to the sense that right actions are no longer necessary because the Christian has the proverbial “get out of jail free” card.  I’m not tarring all Christians with this brush, but we all know more than a few who fit the description.  Unfortunately, they are too often the vocal ones, while the others quietly go about their business trying to live as Jesus taught us to do.

I’ve always thought that Jesus had it figured out how we should act as human beings.  It’s the church that has created the problem in that it, like any other institution—government, union, corporation, etc.—needs to perpetuate itself.  How better to do that than to claim that it has a monopoly on the road to salvation?  One wonders why the early church fathers were so eager to insist that only they could communicate directly with God, or what criteria they used to admit some of the Gospels into the canon and reject others.  Some of the rejected books contained material that could have lessened the influence of the institutional church.  So the solution was to declare them heretical.  How many Christians even know about the “lost” Gospels, let alone have read them?

At one point, Mohandas Gandhi commented that he admired Jesus’ teachings.  Someone asked him then why he wasn’t a Christian.  Gandhi’s response was very telling.  He said something along the lines of, “I would be, if I’d ever met one.”

If there is a loving God, can we honestly believe that s/he would deny salvation to someone like Gandhi just because he chose not to become a Christian?

I see way too many who call themselves Christians but whose words and actions indicate that they follow Jesus’ teachings little if at all.  And I’m tired of having people like that tell me that they’re “saved” and that I’m not, or that I’m not the right kind of Christian.  What arrogance and what ignorance! 

Thanks, but I’ll continue to try my best to live according to Jesus’ teachings.  Whether there is something after death or not, the world will be a tiny bit better for my having been a part of it.

And I will continue to vote for those candidates whose positions reflect my prioritized values.  It doesn’t matter to me which party they represent or which religion they claim, if any.  What matters to me is what they stand for.

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By Maani, April 11, 2007 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
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EvilPoet and Sam:

You are both correct.  I apologize if my own post suggested that I support the conflation of religion and politics: I do not.  I fully and completely support the separation of church and state - not simply because of Jesus’ words re Caesar and God, but because Sam is correct when he suggests that it is not the duty - nor, indeed, the province - of the government to legislate morality.

That said, this does not mean that individual elected officials will not - and should not - by “informed” by their faith: faith is (and should be) no less a factor than any other in one’s overall decision-making.  But it should never be the over-reaching or deciding factor.  Indeed, the “danger” comes when the line is crossed and a politician attempts to “force” their religious/moral views on the rest of the population.

As Rev. Jim Wallis so aptly puts it (and I am paraphrasing here): faith and religion have no place in government (other than as above), but should remain in the public square.

Peace.

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By John F. Butterfield, April 11, 2007 at 3:39 am Link to this comment
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The Bible is not against any person. It encourages better, more fulfilling behavior.

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By sam, April 11, 2007 at 3:15 am Link to this comment
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It doesn’t matter what the Bible says about homosexuality.  Our government has one duty: to obey our Constitution.  It has no duty to enforce morals.

The huge percentage of Amercans who claim to be Christians should be able to follow their own moral values and teach them to their children.  Why should they cry out for governmental enforcement of their values?

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By Maani, April 10, 2007 at 7:57 pm Link to this comment
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Niloroth:

You say, “You can try to twist the historical context any way you want, but the end result is that the god of the bible doesn’t want you.”

Actually, that is part of what Ms. Seger is saying: that whether the God of the Bible “wants” gays very much depends on interpretation - which is not the same as “twisting the historical context.”

Two thoughts.  First, while Jesus did not do or say anything directly re homosexuality (though we know He ate with homosexuals, among other sinners,  and welcomed ALL people as followers), there are times when one can reasonably infer what He WOULD have done or said.  Given that homosexuality and adultery were “equal” crimes at the time - both crimes of sexual immorality, punishable by stoning - had the adulteress in the famous “He who is without sin” scenario been a homosexual instead, the scene would have played out exactly the same: He would said and done the same things, which clearly showed love, forgiveness and patience.

As an aside, it is important to note that while Jesus did not judge nor condemn the adulteress (nor would He have judged or condemned a homosexual), this does not mean that He condoned their lifestyles.  Indeed, the last thing He says to the adulteress is “Go, and sin no more.”  Does He expect her not to?  Of course not.  But He knows that now, having seen His love and forgiveness, she will be “self-convicted” if she engages in the same immoral practices.

Second, one’s “salvation” is determined by one thing, and one thing only: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  Period.  Everything else is details.  And while “works” of faith are important, according to Romans 8, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?...For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In other words, as long as one honestly and humbly “confesses” and “believes” as per Paul’s words in Romans 10, nothing - NOTHING, zero, nada, zip, zilch - can affect our salvation or separate us from God’s love.

I hope this is helpful in understanding that, despite the fact that many Christians wrongly judge and condemn gays, God DOES want gay people, as much as (indeed, if not more than) straight people.

Peace.

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By EvilPoet, April 10, 2007 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment
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I guess they accidentally on purpose missed this part of the Bible: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s: Keep politics separate from certain other fields, such as religion. This is part of a saying of Jesus in the Gospels; the full version is “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”” -The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. 2002. http://www.bartleby.com/59/3/renderuntoc2.html

Careful now - that line you walk has a slippery slope…

Church Electioneering: “Houses of worship and religious leaders may address political and social issues, but federal tax law bars most non-profit groups from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office. Churches, temples and mosques must refrain from outright electioneering. It is not the job of religious leaders to tell people which candidates to vote for or not vote for.” http://www.au.org/site/PageServer?pagename=issues_churchelectioneering

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By John K. Fitzpatrick, April 10, 2007 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment
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Jeebus justice:  follow me or burn.  Infinite punishment for finite infractions.  You tell me: is that a Democratic value?  The party of bronze-age paranoia and sacrosanct hallucination?  What happened to the reality-based community?  You’re losing me… to a third party… again.  - John

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By joseph, April 10, 2007 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment
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I found this podcast really fascinating, especially since the myopia of choosing between republican and democrat is false.  Neither party is for peace, which would be the ultimate message of Jesus Christ, thus “Peace be with you”.  If we really took the methodology put forth by Linda Seger, every upstanding Christian would be voting with the Green Party to be good stewards of Creation, peace-motivated, social justice, and localization.  Of course, we still believe in a two-party system that continues to fail.

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By niloroth, April 10, 2007 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

“So that very well could be some of the motivation for some of those verses in Leviticus.”

Sorry, that is wishful thinking.  The bible, like most religious texts, is not gay friendly.  Sure, it is only a few verses, in a book of many.  And it mentions a great deal of other things far more frequently then homosexuality, but none the less, if you are gay, the bible is against you.  You can try to twist the historical context any way you want, but the end result is that the god of the bible doesn’t want you.  Why any self respecting homosexual would want to be a member of a religion that has a sacred text that rates you as subhuman is beyond me, but i guess the delusion of the faith of your parents is stronger than your logic.  However, no mater how much you try to rationalize the very verses that condemn your very existence, in the end you are really only being disengenous to yourself, and helping to perpetuate a mindset that will continue to be used against you. 

This is just like the people who attempted to use the bible against slavery.  The only things the bible says about slavery are who you can enslave, and how you should treat your slaves. 

People need to get away from the idea that the bible is a good and moral book.  And that religion, in any of it’s many forms, is anything other than a collective delusion that we visit upon our children generation after generation.

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By kernag, April 10, 2007 at 10:37 am Link to this comment
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Are you guys really adding anything useful to the debate with a story that Democrats have more in common with Jesus than Republicans?  What nonsense!

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By GW=MCHammered, April 10, 2007 at 9:43 am Link to this comment
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Just read the in-quotes yesterday afternoon and I’m convinced more than ever that alongside every hymn book and Gideon Bible should perch “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris. Bravo.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, April 10, 2007 at 6:12 am Link to this comment
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While digging up my basement floor I found a rock with writing on it, took it to my buddy who is expert on ancient mid-east languages and he deciphered it.  This is what it said: And lo, his desciples searched for an elephant but none could be found.  “There is no elephant, our lord”  The lord answered, “Verily I say unto you, then an ass will do.”
I have learned from TD that there is little “truth” to be gleaned from the subjects of religion and sex, that these subjects never fail to elicit emotional responses from commentors and, therefore, are seldom productive. I think we all have a pretty good idea of the range of thinking humans are capable of. We should try to understand the most compelling of it.

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