Death, Hell, and Apple Trees August 15, 2006Posted by June in Artist Thinker Articles, Christianity, Religion.
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How can a loving God ever allow people to die and, especially, go to Hell? And what’s with that apple tree? Why would a loving God trap people like that? And what’s so bad about eating from a tree anyway?
Have you ever asked yourself this? Well, my answer to your questions is that God does all of this because He loves us. “He does this because He loves us?” you might ask. Yes, if He didn’t do this, we would be cursing Him for His coercion; but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take this back a little bit by talking about death.
What exactly is death?
Most people would probably say that death occurs when the brain ceases to function; but this is an imperfect definition according to the Bible. For if death occurs when the brain ceases to function, then what is the second death in which there is no ceasing of brain function (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8)? Also, the Bible is clear that a person continues to have thoughts without this brain after he dies whether or not he resides in heaven or hell (Luke 16:19-31); and thoughts are what truly matter and what people are concerned with, not the lifeless functioning of a computer.
Quite frankly, science has yet to figure out how a brain thinks on its own. The brain is basically a highly sophisticated computer. It stores information, sends out the information, receives information, has regular commands stored in it, etc.; but it does not reason, consider, or feel. Something is operating this computer. True, some theorize that if we make a computer sophisticated enough that it will eventually somehow think on its own; and there are computers that seem to think on their own; but we still have to program these computers to “think on their own.” Information had to be put into that computer. It isn’t really thinking on its own. It’s following commands and utilizing information that has been put into it. You can’t just create an advanced computer and expect it to come to life on its own. You have to also put in information, programs. It will never spontaneously come to “life” on its own upon creation.
So, then what is death? Death is a permanent separation. The first death occurs when the soul separates from the body; and the second death occurs when the soul is forever separated from God.
Think about it. When you mourn a death, you are not mourning the fact that a brain has ceased functioning. You are mourning the fact that you are now separated from that person, that soul who is dear to your heart, for the rest of your life and, maybe, for eternity if you are a Christian but that person did not accept the gift of eternal life.
So, when God warned Adam and Eve, who had never experienced death before, that they would die if they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, He was warning them that He would cast them from His sight and protection, that they would no longer fellowship with Him.
So, why did God even set up this apple tree? Why put temptation in their way?
First of all, although the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is often portrayed in paintings and photos as being an apple tree, there is no indication in the Bible that this is actually so. More likely, the fruit this tree bore looked nothing like any of the fruit that we see today.
With that out of the way, we can discuss why God put it there.
Let me ask you something. If I asked you what kind of bread you wanted for a sandwich that I was going to make you and gave you the choice of either white bread or white bread, wouldn’t you wonder why I even bothered to ask you? In such a case, I am, obviously, determined to give you what I wanted to give you but offered you the choice just to say that I did; and, if you didn’t like it, I could say that you chose it.
God loves us and wanted our love in return. He gave us a truly remarkable gift, the gift of free will, that must exist in order for love to exist; but what good is free will if our only choices are the ones God wants us to make? Why bother give us free will?
If God had deprived Adam and Eve of the choice to disobey Him, how could anyone say that Adam and Eve truly loved God? It’s impossible.
Love must be a free choice, or else it is merely coercion. For love to be a free choice, there must actually exist choices.
That’s where the Tree comes in.
God loved Adam and Eve so much that He allowed them to choose to be separated from Him. He gave them ample warning that they would die (or be permanently separated from Him) if they ate it:
“1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'””
Yet they still ate from it; but God, being the loving God that He is, gave them a path of redemption if they so chose to come back to Him.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This does not save us from the first death. Remember the first death is part of the curse God placed on man after they ate from the tree.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
This is a temporary death for those who trust in God, though, for we will be reunited with our bodies born anew at the rapture.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
With all of this explained, what then is Hell do you think?
So many times in the Bible good has been referred to as light and evil as darkness. What is darkness? Can you tell me? Darkness is the absense of light. If you try to find the particles that make up darkness, you will not find it because it is the absense of light that creates darkness.
In the same way, Hell is a place from which God has completely removed Himself in order to accommodate those who have chosen to reject Him. God loves us so much that He does not force Himself on us. If we do not want Him, He will let us go; but know that the absense of God means the absense of good because evil is the absense of good; and God is the definition of good.
God already cast Adam and Eve from His immediate presence; and this imperfect world is the result of only a bit of God removing Himself. How much more terrible is it when God completely removes Himself?
Therefore, Hell is the second death, the eternal separation from God.
13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the end of Part 1 in my series on God’s grace. More will come later.
Part 1: Death, Hell, and Apple Trees
The Genealogy of the Messiah June 18, 2006Posted by June in Christianity, Religion.
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I saw this and knew that I just had to post this immediately. Not only does it establish Jesus as the heir to the throne of David; but it also shows how much God regards women, how important her line is.
Agh!! It's going to be so hard to cut pieces out of this article to highlight the most important parts because you need to read the entire thing to get the full impact. If you wish, only read what I post; but the best thing to do is click on the link and read for yourself.
by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
November 1, 1987
Genealogies established one's Jewishness, one's tribal identity, one's right to the priesthood and one's right to kingship.From all the genealogies in the Hebrew Scriptures, two observations become apparent. With very rare exceptions, only the male line is traced and only men's names appear. The descendancy of wommen is not given and their names are only mentioned in passing. Since biblically it was the father who determined both national and tribal identity, it was reasoned that only his line was necessary.
The pattern of genealogy in the Hebrew Scriptures is followed by the New Testament pattern where two genealogies are found: Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38.
In Matthew, Joseph plays an active role, but Miriam (Mary) plays a passive role. Matthew records angels appearing to Joseph, but there is no record of angels appearing to Miriam. Matthew records Joseph's thoughts but nothing is recorded about Miriam's thoughts. On the other hand, Luke's Gospel tells the same story from Miriam's perspective. From the context of each Gospel, it should be very evident that the genealogy of Matthew is that of Joseph, and the genealogy of Luke is that of Miriam.
The question then raised is: Why do we need two genealogies, especially since Y'shua (Jesus) was not the real son of Joseph? A popular and common answer is: Matthew's Gospel gives the royal line, whereas Luke's Gospel gives the real line. From this concept, another theory arises. Since seemingly Joseph was the heir apparent to David's throne, and Jesus was the adopted son of Joseph, Jesus could claim the right to David's throne. On the other hand, Luke's Gospel gives the real line, showing that Y'shua himself was a descendant of David. Through Miriam, he was a member of the house of David, but he could claim the right to sit on David's throne through Joseph, the heir apparent. Actually the exact opposite is true.
To understand the need for these two genealogies, it is important to understand the two requirements for kingship in the Hebrew Scriptures. These were developed after the division of the kingdom after the death of Solomon.…
One was applicable to the southern Kingdom of Judah, with its capital in Jerusalem, while the other was applicable to the northern Kingdom of Israel, with its capital in Samaria. The requirement for the throne of Judah was Davidic descendancy. No one was allowed to sit on David's throne unless he was a member of the house of David. So when there was a conspiracy to do away with the house of David (Isaiah 7:5-6), God warned that any such conspiracy was doomed to failure (Isaiah 8:9-15).
The requirement for the throne of Israel was prophetic sanction or divine appointment. Anyone who attempted to rule on Samaria's throne without prophetic sanction was assassinated (1 Kings 11:26-39; 15:28-30; 16:1-4, 11-15; 21:21-29; 11 Kings 9:6-10; 10:29-31; 14 8-12).
With the background of these two biblical requirements for kingship and what is stated in the two New Testament genealogies, the question of Jesus' right to the throne of David can be resolved.
In his genealogy, Matthew breaks with Jewish tradition and custom. He mentions the names of four women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba (who is the one to whom the pronoun "her" in verse six refers). It was contrary to Jewish practice to name women in a genealogy. The Talmud states, "A mother's family is not to be called a family." Even the few women Luke does mention were not the most prominent women in the genealogy of Y'shua. He could have mentioned Sarah, but did not. However, Matthew has a reason for naming these four and no others.
First, they were all Gentiles. This is obvious with Tamar, Rahab and Ruth. It was probably true of Bathsheba, since her first husband, Uriah, was a Hittite. Here Matthew hints at something he makes clear later: that while the main purpose of the coming of Jesus was to save the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the Gentiles would also benefit from his coming. Second, three of these women were guilty of sexual sins. Bathsheba was guilty of adultery, Rahab was guilty of prostitution and Tamar was guilty of incest. Again, Matthew only hints at a point he later clarifies: that the purpose of the Messiah's coming was to save sinners. While this fits into the format of Old Testament genealogy, it is not Matthew's main point.
Matthew's genealogy also breaks with tradition in that he skips names. He traces the line of Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, by going back into history and working toward his own time. He starts tracing the line with Abraham (verse 2) and continues to David (verse 6). Out of David's many sons, Solomon is chosen (verse 6), and the line is then traced to King Jeconiah (verse 11), one of the last kings before the Babylonian captivity. From Jeconiah (verse 12), the line is traced to Joseph (verse 16). Joseph was a direct descendant of David through Solomon, but also through Jeconiah. The "Jeconiah link" is significant in Matthew's genealogy because of the special curse pronounced on Jeconiah in Jeremiah 22:24-30:
As I live," declares the LORD,
"even though Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim
king of Judah were a signet ring on my right
hand, yet I would pull you off…
"Is this man Jeconiah a despised, shattered jar?
Or is he an undesirable vessel?
Why have he and his descendants been hurled out
and cast into a land that they had not known?
"O land, land, land, Hear the word of the LORD!!
"Thus says the LORD, 'Write this man [Jeconiah] down childless,
A man who will not prosper in his days;
For no man of his descendants will prosper
Sitting on the throne of David, Or ruling again in Judah.'
No descendant of Jeconiah would have the right to the throne of David. Until Jeremiah, the first requirement for messianic lineage was to be of the house of David. With Jeremiah, it was limited still further. Now one had to be not only of the house of David, but apart from Jeconiah.
According to Matthew's genealogy, Joseph had the blood of Jeconiah in his veins. He was not qualified to sit on David's throne. He was not the heir apparent. This would also mean that no real son of Joseph would have the right to claim the throne of David. Therefore if Jesus were the real son of Joseph, he would have been disqualified from sitting on David's throne. Neither could he claim the right to David's throne by virtue of his adoption by Joseph, since Joseph was not the heir apparent.
The purpose of Matthew's genealogy, then, is to show why Y'shua could not be king if he were really Joseph's son. The purpose was not to show the royal line. For this reason, Matthew starts his Gospel with the genealogy, presents the Jeconiah problem, and then proceeds with the account of the virgin birth which, from Matthew's viewpoint, is the solution to the Jeconiah problem. In summary, Matthew deduces that if Jesus were really Joseph's son, he could not claim to sit on David's throne because of the Jeconiah curse; but Jesus was not Joseph's son, for he was born of the virgin Miriam (Matthew 1:18-25).
Unlike Matthew, Luke follows strict Jewish procedure and custom in that he omits no names and mentions no women. However, if by Jewish custom one could not mention the name of a woman, but wished to trace her line, how would one do so? He would use the name of her husband. (Possible Old Testament precedents for this practice are Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 7:63.) That would raise a second question: If someone studied a genealogy, how would he know whether the genealogy were that of the husband or that of the wife, since in either case the husband's name would be used? The answer is not difficult; the problem lies with the English language.
In English it is not good grammar to use a definite article ("the") before a proper name ("the" Matthew, "the" Luke, "the" Miriam): however, it is quite permissible in Greek grammar. In the Greek text of Luke's genealogy, every single name mentioned has the Greek definite article "the" with one exception: the name of Joseph (Luke 3:23). Someone reading the original would understand by the missing definite article from Joseph's name that this was not really Joseph's genealogy, but his wife Miriam's.
Furthermore, although many translations of Luke 3:23 read: "…being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli…," because of the missing Greek definite article before the name of Joseph, that same verse could be translated as follows: "Being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph the son of Heli…".1 In other words, the final parenthesis could be expanded so that the verse reads that although Y'shua was "supposed" or assumed to be the descendant of Joseph, he was really the descendant of Heli. Heli was the father of Miriam. The absence of Miriam's name is quite in keeping with the Jewish practices on genealogies. The Jerusalem Talmud recognized this genealogy to be that of Miriam and not Joseph and refers to Miriam as the daughter of Heli (Hagigah 2:4).
Also in contrast to Matthew, Luke begins his genealogy with his own time and goes back into history all the way to Adam. It comes to the family of David in versees 31-32. However, the son of David involved in this genealogy is not Solomon but Nathan. So, like Joseph, Miriam was a member of the house of David. But unlike Joseph, she came from David's son, Nathan, not Solomon. Miriam was a member of the house of David apart from Jeconiah. Since Jesus was Miriam's son, he too was a member of the house of David, apart from Jeconiah.
In this way Jesus fulfilled the biblical requirement for kingship. Since Luke's genealogy did not include Jeconiah's line, he began his Gospel with the virgin birth, and only later, in describing Y'shua's public ministry, recorded his genealogy.
However, Jesus was not the only member of the house of David apart from Jeconiah. There were a number of other descendants who could claim equality with Y'shua to the throne of David, for they too did not have Jeconiah's blood in their veins. Why Jesus and not one of the others? At this point the second biblical requirement for kingship, that of divine appointment, comes into the picture. Of all the members of the house of David apart from Jeconiah, only one received divine appointment. Luke 1:30-33 states:
And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Miriam; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Y'shua. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.'
On what grounds then could Jesus claim the throne of David? He was a member of the house of David apart from Jeconiah. He alone received divine appointment to that throne: "The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David."
While Matthew's genealogy showed why Y'shua could not be king if he really were Joseph's son, Luke's genealogy shows why Y'shua could be king. When he returns, he will be king.
Two things may be noted by way of conclusion. First, many rabbinic objections to the messiahship of Jesus are based on his genealogy. The argument goes, "Since Jesus was not a descendant of David through his father, he cannot be Messiah and King." But the Messiah was supposed to be different. As early as Genesis 3:15, it was proposed that the Messiah would be reckoned after the "seed of the woman," although this went contrary to the biblical norm. The necessity for this exception to the rule became apparent when Isaiah 7:14 prophesied that the Messiah would be born of a virgin: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel." Whereas all others receive their humanity from both father and mother, the Messiah would receive his humanity entirely from his mother. Whereas Jewish nationality and tribal identity were normally determined by the father, with the Messiah it would be different. Since he was to have no human father, his nationality and his tribal identity would come entirely from his mother. True, this is contrary to the norm, but so is a virgin birth. With the Messiah, things would be different.
In addition, these genealogies present a fourfold portrait of the messianic person through four titles. In Matthew 1:1 he is called the Son of David and the Son of Abraham. In Luke 3:38 he is called the Son of Adam and the Son of God. As the Son of David, it means that Jesus is king. As the Son of Abraham, it means that Jesus is a Jew. As the Son of Adam, it means that Jesus is a man. As the Son of God, it means that Jesus is God. This fourfold portrait of the messianic person as presented by the genealogies is that of the Jewish God-Man King. Could the Messiah be anyone less?
Is God Male? June 16, 2006Posted by June in Artist Thinker Articles, Christianity, Philosophy, Religion.
The most recent comment to my blog got me really thinking about something: Is God male?
I remember hearing people say that angels have no gender because they are spiritual beings who don't need one. I don't remember what the reasons for that are; but that made me wonder why God would need a gender.
It's true that God is called Father and Son; but are those gender designations or role descriptions?
To presume that God is male is to presume that God is somehow incomplete:
1 Corinthians 11:11-12
11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
Men are only one half of the puzzle. Women are the other half.
18 The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
One definite indication that God has no gender is these verses.
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
1 This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man."
It is interesting to note that "adam" is the Hebrew word for "man".
Well, as you can see in these verses, God says the He will make man in His own image, in His likeness; yet goes on to say that "man" is both male and female together. This fact is made abundantly clear in Genesis 5 where it says that God created them male and female and called them "man".
Take particulate note of verse 27 in the first chapter, which says,"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
It goes from singular to plural yet still being the same creature. This is also done in the fifth chapter which, as you can see, also goes from singular to plural while still referring to one being.
So what does this mean? Well, if you believe in the Trinity, the meaning becomes quite clear. If you look up at the verses from the first chapter that I have posted there, you will see that God refers to Himself as "we" and "us" and "our". This plurality is made even more apparent in the original Hebrew version, which, apparently, uses the plural form "elohim", meaning "gods" in English. Yet this plural form is used in a singular format.
Man was made in the likeness of God in that they were two separate beings yet one flesh, one person.
So why is this significant to determining the gender of God? Well, if God the Father and God the Son were both male (The Holy Spirit is more of an intangible being that seems to mostly do the bidding of the Father and the Son. This is made more firmly apparent by calling him the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost, using earthly terms that we understand.), then the image is imperfect. One of the two was represented imperfectly.
BUT, if God has no gender but rather the terms "Father" and "Son" are used to give us a picture of what role God has in our life using earthly terms that we understand, then gender would not matter in this picture, in this image of God. All that would matter is that the two be separate beings of one flesh, one person, which they were.
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man." 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
So why is God referred to as a "he"? Well, the angels are also referred to as "he". The word "he" doubles as a neutral term for both genders.
So why was Jesus, who was God the Son, a man? Well, there are various reasons why Jesus came down as a man. One would be that, at that time period, sons were viewed as equal with the father but not daughters.
For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Another would be that Jesus had to come down as a man to atone for the sins of Adam, whom the woman is a part of. Take note, Jesus was born of Mary, a woman, but not of any earthly man. This means that Jesus lacks the Y-chromosome from an earthly man that is only passed down from father to son; but this does mean that Jesus had Eve's mtDNA, which is only passed down through the mother. Does this mean that Jesus did not descend from Adam? No, because Eve is Adam. Thus, God's promise to Eve that her offspring would "crush the head of the snake" was fulfilled, for Jesus was the only man ever to be born of only an earthly woman.
Another reason would be that no one would take a woman seriously.
Another reason would be to give the perfect picture of the church being Jesus' bride for whom He died for and whom He is the head of. A man, the head of the house, is supposed to lay down his life for his wife, not the other way around.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
If God was male just because Jesus came down as a man, then God is also a bush since God appeared as a burning bush to Moses. God is also a pillar of fire and a cloud, which God appeared to the Israelites as. The Holy Spirit is actually a dove since that is how the Spirit materialized at Jesus' baptism.
But the most definitive piece of evidence is this:
4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That clearly states that Jesus came in the likeness of a human and was found to be in the appearance as a man.
Now stop right there. Genesis says that man was created in the image of God. If that meant that man looked like God, then God would not have to make Himself look like a human and God would not have to make Himself look like a man because God would already have the appearance of a man. That is more proof that when God refers to "image" He is referring to the fact that Adam and Eve are two yet one and more proof that God is not male.
Jesus was a man, not by nature but by form. His blood could be shed for man to atone for our sins because it was the blood of a man but it was the soul of God, who is perfect.
Teaching Johnny about Islam: The Hypocrisy June 2, 2006Posted by June in Christianity, Communism, Islam, Judicial Branch, Liberalism, News, Politics, Religion.
It seems that in my last posting, which was a news piece on the government requirement of a religion, that I was declared to be whining. I’ve thought about it and decided that that person was right; that so-called analysis was more of a whine than actual thought processes and beneath the standards which I have set out for myself to maintain. So I’m here now to amend that.
Please note that in the following that I speak of atheists who actively seek to ram their beliefs down other people’s throats, not peaceful atheists who don’t get offended at the least little thing.
It’s amazing, isn’t it? Where is Michael Newdow? One would think that a person who takes offense to his daughter or any other child saying TWO TINY WORDS that speak nothing of the doctrine of Christianity in an oath of affinity to the country that governs and protects them would be having a fit and a heart attack about something as extreme as the role-playing that the kids in California are forced into.
But what about the 9th Circuit courts, the same court that ruled in favor of the Newdow case? I would like to hear someone tell me how come a child cannot learn about Islam the same way he is learning about Christianity? I would like to know how atheists like Newdow and the court system would view such a course of curriculum for Christianity? For example, again, this is what the kids are being FORCED into as part of a curriculum that is mandatory:
Reciting aloud Muslim prayers that begin with “In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful . . . .”
Memorizing the Muslim profession of faith: “Allah is the only true God and Muhammad is his messenger.”
Chanting “Praise be to Allah” in response to teacher prompts.
Professing as “true” the Muslim belief that “The Holy Quran is God’s word.”
Giving up candy and TV to demonstrate Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
Designing prayer rugs, taking an Arabic name and essentially “becoming a Muslim” for two full weeks.
Instead we should have kids participating in the following:
Praying aloud Christian prayers that begin with “Dear God. . . .” and end with “…in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Memorizing John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Writing essays on how wonderful Jesus is.
Professing as “true” the Christian belief that “the Bible is God’s inerrant Word.”
Participating in Communion.
Designing Bible covers or drawing pictures of Jesus dying on the cross, taking a Christian name from someone in the Bible and essentially “becoming a Christian” for two full weeks.
How does that sound? If that is added onto this course, then sure, we should allow for this to continue; but this is, instead, what is happening:
In the California course on world religions, Christianity is not presented equally. It’s covered in just two days and doesn’t involve kids in any role-playing activities. But kids do get a good dose of skepticism about the Christian faith, including a biting history of its persecution of other peoples. In contrast, Islam gets a pass from critical review. Even jihad is presented as an “internal personal struggle to do one’s best to resist temptation,” and not holy war.
If the previous shouldn’t be allowed for Christianity, then why is it allowed for Islam? Why is it that atheists can have convulsions about a display of the Ten Commandments which can be passed up with not so much as a glance but be perfectly fine with this? Where is the ACLU in all of this who constantly has fits about such things?
We can debate on the Constitutionality of the words “under God” in the pledge another time when more space can be devoted to it. Right now I am addressing the Left’s interpretation of the First Amendment, which, for those who are not familiar with it, is the following:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of relgion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof: or abridging the freedom of speech, of of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
To the Left, the parts on religion, obviously, actually mean to them that Congress shall make no law allowing for Christianity within 1,000 feet of anyone who might have a slight offense to it.
This interpretation, of course, is subject to change if or when the Left tries to outlaw Christianity.
Teaching Johnny About Islam May 30, 2006Posted by June in Christianity, Islam, News, Politics, Religion.
I got this from this site: My Thoughts and News
He makes some good points most of the time; but I caution on some of what he says.
Education: In our brave new schools, Johnny can't say the pledge, but he can recite the Quran. Yup, the same court that found the phrase "under God" unconstitutional now endorses Islamic catechism in public school.
In a recent federal decision that got surprisingly little press, even from conservative talk radio, California's 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it's OK to put public-school kids through Muslim role-playing exercises, including:
Reciting aloud Muslim prayers that begin with "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful . . . ."
Memorizing the Muslim profession of faith: "Allah is the only true God and Muhammad is his messenger."
Chanting "Praise be to Allah" in response to teacher prompts.
Professing as "true" the Muslim belief that "The Holy Quran is God's word."
Giving up candy and TV to demonstrate Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
Designing prayer rugs, taking an Arabic name and essentially "becoming a Muslim" for two full weeks.
Read the rest on the site. There's a difference between learning about a religion and forcing kids to participate in that religion. The Pledge of Allegiance was optional. Kids could participate or stay silent. Back when prayer was in school, it was optional and a small part of the day. This is a full on course of nothing but indoctrination.
Water: Widows of India May 11, 2006Posted by June in Blog, Other, Religion, Women's Issues.
I just watched a movie called Water. It’s a Hindi film with English subtitles by 20th Century Fox about the plight of widows in India. We had to go to an independent film theatre in the ritzy part of town to see it because they aren’t showing it at the Bollywood theater. This film has been banned in India.
You live in a country like the US; and you just never get to see how women are treated in other societies. You don’t realize how truly blessed you are to live in a country that has had the influence of Christianity on the culture and laws. I’ve been to India. It’s nothing like living there; but it was no happy little trip, especially since I spent most of the time sick in the bathroom or….um…throwing up in a corner of one of their monuments because we weren’t near a bathroom… *cough cough* Oops.
The movie was set in 1939 when Ghandi was around; but the end of the film confirmed that widows are still living in deplorable conditions in the 21st century because the Holy Texts of Manu declare it to be so.
According to the movie, widows have three choices:
1. Burn with their husbands when he is cremated.
2. Live the rest of her life unmarried and deprived.
3. If the family allows for it, marry her husband’s younger brother.
The movie begins with the death of a 9-year-old girl’s elderly husband (Ugh. *shudder*). The girl is then sent to an ashram for widows after her hair is shaved and she is dressed in widow’s clothes. Most, if not all, of these women were married off at extremely young ages. These women are not supported by anyone. They are not even given a place to live. They have to rent this barren shack that they live in. They get the money by begging and, in the case of, at least, one girl, by sending her off as a prostitute to some sick old men. These women are shunned and looked down on by everyone.
The story follows the little girl named Chuyia and the young woman who is has to be a prostitute to earn money named Alysha…(Don’t hold me to that spelling. I forgot how to spell it.). They meet a nice young man who falls in love with the young woman.
Things aren’t as bad as that in Chinese countries; but they aren’t extremely great either. Girls are still viewed as burdens that “take rice from the bowl.” And we all know how women are treated in Muslim countries, especially the ones that are strict adherents. Did you know that in the entire Koran that only one woman is actually named? The rest are referred to as so-and-so’s wife or the mother of so-and-so. Did you know that, if a girl is raped, she is viewed as a disgrace on the family and is often killed?
In fact, the only countries in the world that give women respect are the countries that have been greatly influenced by Christianity, the West. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
4 Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds– his name is the Lord– and rejoice before him. 5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
5 “So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.
1 Corinthians 7:8-9
8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
God’s Will Revealed? April 13, 2006Posted by June in Agnosticism, Artist Thinker Articles, Atheism, Christianity, Deism, Other, Philosophy, Religion.
Last time I spoke on the existance of God and left you with a question that, hopefully, provoked some thought in you.
I suppose now you expect me to make the case for the Bible. After all, I have declared myself to be a Christian in any place I can here. But what good would that do? You won't believe it unless you open your heart and search out the truth for yourself.
Yes, I believe in Jesus and the Bible as being the Word of God. Now that I have said that, do you believe it? Or do doubts pop in your head? Maybe right now you are compiling all the lists of things you have searched out to prove the Bible wrong to yourself and are scoffing at the very idea of God giving mankind His Word and sending His Son to die for us. Maybe you will never be convinced that the Bible is anything more than a storybook. Maybe you believe that the Bible has some value but only as a book of philosophy on how to live a good life. Maybe you are one of those Christians who believes that the Bible is accurate in some areas but not in others and deem yourself as the arbiter of what is true and what is not rather than putting that right where it belongs and where assurance of accuracy can only be found, in God's hands.
The fact of the matter is that either the Bible is the Word of God, or It's a pack of lies. You have to choose one way or the other for the Bible and every document that claims to come from God. There is no middle ground. If one part of these books is a lie, then how could you possibly trust any of the rest of it?
So I am here now challenging you to seek the truth for yourself. Search where you have to search. Read some of my articles that I will later post on this subject if you wish. But I would rather you seek the truth for yourself. I have but one request: Keep an open mind about everything. EVERYTHING. This is not a game. If most of these religions are right, your soul is at stake.
What I ask of you though is to challenge, at least, some of what you have believed about the Bible's inaccuracies. Go to some Christian sources. Find their arguments on why those inaccuracies are a myth. Hold their proof up against the proof of the critics. Compare them side by side. Determine which sounds more reliable to you. If you find more questions along the way, again look for the arguments for and against what you have found. Again compare. This is my request. This is my challenge.
One thing I would like to point out, though, is something that you might find to be hard to believe until you look into it. And that is that everything good in this world has come from Christianity. The majority of the major religions in this world have gotten their inspiration from Christianity and the Bible. The Koran was written to mirror the Bible with some major changes and was written hundreds of years after the Bible spread. The Book of the Mormons was written with inspiration from the Bible. The Jehovah's Witnesses have gotten their version of the Bible almost directly from the Bible with some important revisions. I have heard it is said from a Buddhist that Buddha, who lived hundreds of years after Christianity spread, spoke of Jesus, which to me means that he could have derived some of his philosophies from the Bible.
Women's rights (The right to be treated with respect and dignity, not the right to treat your husbands like dog meat. There's a difference.), the Golden Rule, equality for all, etc. have all come from Christianity. Don't believe me? Search it out, or stay tuned.
Well, what about the Crusades? Is that what you are thinking? Well, let me ask you this. Would Jesus have approved? "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Being a Christian doesn't mean you are perfect or superior. It means you have been given the gift of life despite being the sinner that you are who doesn't deserve it. (Besides, the people who participated in the Crusades were professed Catholics. My grandmother is Catholic. My mother is a former Catholic. Some might skewer me for saying this; but it's not the same thing, especially the Catholicism that was practiced back then, which is markedly different from the current Catholicism which, in my opinion, has been softened in order to not lose membership due to the spreading of the Bible in native tongues. It's similar, but so are the Jehovah's Witnesses.)
Some have asked why we are so determined to convince others that Jesus is the way. "Why don't I just leave others alone and just believe what I want to believe without trying to convince others?" is something I have been asked. Well, for one thing, I think that everyone should have the opportunity to know the truth. For another, I don't want people to spend eternity in Hell. Also, if as many people as possible were Christians and did their best to follow what Jesus told us to do, then the world would be a better place. Plus, Jesus charged all Christians to tell the world about the good news. So that is what I am doing. Whether you believe in Jesus or not is entirely up to you. I've done my part.
The Evidences for a Recent Dating for Adam March 25, 2006Posted by June in Christianity, Creationism, Creationism vs. Evolution, Evolution, Religion, Science.
I ran across this and thought that it was interesting. So I'll post the link to it and an excerpt here:
The Evidences for a Recent Dating for Adam,
about 14,000 to 15,000 years Before Present
A recent genetic study of human genes related to the brain concluded that possibly there appeared a "microcephalin variant (that) could have arisen anywhere from 14,000 to 60,000 years ago" and an "ASPM variant ranged from 500 to 14,000 years" ago and "roughly correlating with the development of written language, spread of agriculture and development of cities" (see more)
Now if one assumes that the "microcephalin variant could have arisen anywhere from 14,000 to 60,000 years ago", possibly could correspond to the "Big Bang" or "Fortuitous Mutation" that Richard G. Klein refers to in his book "The Dawn of Human Culture" and says occurred about 50,000 years ago. Then, what about the "ASPM variant ranged from 500 to 14,000 years" ago and "roughly correlating with the development of written language, spread of agriculture and development of cities" as proposed.
The Bible repeatedly says that Adam and his immediate offspring were farmers
Genesis 2:15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and too keep it."
Genesis 3:23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken."
Genesis 4:2 And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground."
Here is a review of some of the findings by archaeologists concerning farming:
Does God Exist? — The Philosophical Argument March 14, 2006Posted by June in Agnosticism, Artist Thinker Articles, Atheism, Deism, Other, Philosophy, Religion.
Last time I talked about the myth of relativism and the theory of a gray world. With that cleared up, we can now see that there is indeed such a thing as universal truth. So what is it? How do we know; and who gets to decide what it is?
There is much scientific evidence for a Creator; but we cannot neglect the importance of the philosophical proof, which is what I will maintain as the focus of this article. The fact of the matter is that it is important for the survival and general contentment of mankind that there be a set of rules for all to follow. Not only is it important for basic person to person interaction, but also to justify the viability of principles that government is based on and the laws that it creates.
So who in this world is wise enough to set these standards up? If there is such a person, how could we possibly know that this is the real truth? What if he's/she's wrong? After all, even the wisest of individuals is only a human who is prone to mistakes and failures. Charles Darwin, a man revered by many, promoted racism. Just take a look at the full title of his book Origin of Species:
"On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life"
Of course, in a godless world, racism could very well be perfectly fine. After all, everything is relative.
Even some men I have admired have been quite racist. Much to my great sadness, Theodore Roosevelt was part of the eugenics movement, which promoted the extinction of "inferior races" by aborting the babies of or sterilizing black people. (I just have to smile at the thought that these eugenics people must be rolling in their graves at the fact that people like me exist. We are truly the abomination that they feared.)
So who does get to decide?
There could only be one being who has enough wisdom to make rules that will be to the benefit of the world; and that is the One who created it.
If there truly is no God, then we are all doomed to chaos.
And this can't just be the deist god who created the world then left it to its own devices. Such a god would have left this world in complete and total chaos, as well, because relativism would have reigned supreme. As I have shown, it is possible to discern the existence of God merely through some simple logic.
Thus, truth and good could be defined as the will of God. That turns us to our other dilemma:
How do we really know what God's will is?
Gray World: Why Is Murder Wrong? February 21, 2006Posted by June in Agnosticism, Artist Thinker Articles, Atheism, Christianity, Communism, Deism, Liberalism, Other, Philosophy, Politics, Religion.
I’ve heard it a thousand times. “The world is not black and white. There are things that are true for some people that aren’t true for others.”
Please excuse this simple-minded individual, but a world where truth is relative, in my opinion, would be hell on earth. Think about it. If truth were relative to each person’s own personal perspective and morals, then how could we possibly say that murder is wrong? Sure it’s wrong to us; but it’s not wrong to a host of people such as Ted Bundy, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Ted Kennedy, etc.
So what makes it wrong? Who said that it was wrong, and who are they that their morals and opinions be placed above everyone else’s?
If you think that the majority should rule the day, then what about things like the Aztecs sacrificing people from other tribes to their gods? The majority of Aztecs supported the murder of thousands of people from other tribes. Does that mean the conquistadors were wrong to come in and put a stop to it with the help of the neighboring tribes?
What about Nazi Germany? The majority of Germans at the time thought that it was perfectly all right to murder Jews.
What about Communist countries like China where innocent people are tortured and murdered for things like having an opposing opinion or converting to an unapproved religion?
What about the fact that the majority of the world still views women as possessions or beneath men? Western countries are really the only countries in the world that recognize women as equals. Is that right? Is that just?
If the majority said that dogs had 5 legs, would they be right simply because they are in the majority?
Also, if the majority rules, then why do we bother with this system of government that ensures the minority gets a voice?
I want to know. What makes murder, stealing, racism, assualt, rape, embezzlement, white GOP males, hick Bible-thumping close-minded fundamentalist Christians, and Southern cowboy Presidents wrong? Who says so, and who made him king of the world?
If you didn’t catch the sarcasm, go back and reread the last section until you get it because the significance of the hypocrisy I have satired is immeasurable. The fact of the matter is that, whether people like it or not, this is a black and white world. We can’t always find a pure white option; but there is such a thing as the lesser of two evils. One might say that that is proof that this world is gray; but think about it. Actually stop and think. How do we know which is the lesser of two evils? How do we know they contain any evil at all? We know because there is such a thing as black and white, good and evil. We just can’t get perfect good out of an imperfect world.
Just because gray-worlders insist upon closing their ears and their minds off to this truth, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. Gray-worlders are simply people who are in the path of a tornado but close their minds, eyes, and ears off from the truth believing that they aren’t in it’s destructive path simply because they say they aren’t. As I like to say:
Truth never changes; opinions change.
Or, as President Abraham Lincoln so nicely puts it: “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”
Now to elaborate on the hypocrisy of the gray-worlders.
Gray-worlders would like us to believe that this world is full of relativity because it prevents anyone from judging their actions and allows them to condemn us for judging them. But STOP right here. Go back. Think about what I just said.
GRAY . . . . WORLDERS . . . . ARE . . . . CONDEMNING . . . . PEOPLE . . . . AND, THUS, . . . . JUDGING . . . . PEOPLE.
Get it? Do you see the hypocrisy now? Do you understand what I am trying to point out?
Gray-worlders use black-and-white arguments to propel the theory of a gray world.
They tell us that we are wrong for judging them, that a black and white world is wrong. BUT HOW COULD THEY POSSIBLY KNOW THAT AND, MOST CERTAINLY, PROCLAIM THAT?!! Truth is, supposedly, relative. A black and white world does exist because I think it exists. Since truth is relative to the person, the truth of a black and white world is true because it’s true to me. Can you see the hypocrisy? Can you see the chaos of such a ridiculous theory?
They tell us that we are closed-minded lunatics for saying that the world is completely black and white. They tell us that we are @#$&* for judging them, yet there they are judging us. There they are claiming with certainty that the world is gray when, if we truly are in a gray world, then there is no way that they could possibly claim that the world is gray because that right there is a black and white fact.
The only way you could claim that something is gray is if that means that it has pros and cons, qualities of good and evil, not relativism. Relativism does not exist.
When faced with this question, gray-worlders in the past have ignored me and reiterated their brainless arguments. Yes, I realize I am extremely sarcastic in this article. I have to admit (and I’m sure it’s obvious) that I am at the end of my rope with these brain-dead people who go round and round in a circle of the same argument without addressing mine. I guess I just need to remember: “Don’t cast pearls before swine.”