Christians, don’t vote for Trump because…

Christians, don’t vote for Trump because someone told you he’s a Christian. (In fact, don’t vote for any politician just because they’re a Christian.) When considering which candidate for President you should vote for, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will this person project an image of strength to the world, and will they use wisdom and prudence enforcing laws and treaties?
  • Will this person use wisdom and prudence regarding whether or not our troops should be sent into combat?
  • Will this person appoint qualified officials to federal posts?
  • Will this person set a political agenda that benefits America by protecting the rights of Americans and improving the quality of life of her citizens?
  • Will this person have the backbone to advocate, support, and sign into law legislation that aligns with and moves forward their expressed political agenda, and will they have the fortitude to veto acts of Congress that do the opposite?

If you believe a person will do the above, then vote for them regardless of whether or not they profess to be a Christian. When we elect a President, we should not subject them to a religious litmus test since our Constitution expressly forbids this (Article VI, Clause 3). Remember, we are not electing the leader of a religious institution.

Given the choice, it is better to vote for an atheist who will implement policies we believe will benefit America over a Christian who supports policies we believe will hurt our country.

From History to Mythology

I’m interested in the way religions function in societies and in the way that religions develop and die. I was thinking today about Greek/Roman mythology. What we now call mythology was believed to be true for more than a thousand years–from the time of Homer (probably 9th or 8th century bce) to the reign of the emperor Julian (4th century ce).

While you can point to Greek philosophy as a factor that influenced the death of this religion, it was really another religion that supplanted it and led to its eventual death. It was primarily the effort of the Apostle Paul and the later embrace of Christian Judaism by Constantine that caused the stories of Titans and Olympians to change genre . . . to move from history to mythology.

I sometimes wonder if Christianity will one day change genre as well, but I suspect it will live on, albeit in a slightly different form. Polls suggest that Christianity is evolving in America just as it did in Europe. Christ has been reshaped as an anti-religious, nonjudgmental moral teacher who taught that everyone should be nice (loving and forgiving others) so that they can go to heaven when they die.

As we move into the Christmas season, I can see how this non-offensive Jesus can lie in a manger and be celebrated with Santa for years to come.
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Moralistic Therapeutic Deism–the New American Religion

Why I Am Anti-Abortion

I’ve come to believe that a society that says it is okay to snuff the life from developing humans in the womb will come to see all human life as less valuable. Over time, this will contribute to portions of society tolerating and/or justifying violence against others.

A society that seeks safety and happiness for all must promote the value of life by ensuring and protecting the rights of all humans.

Although religious views will influence how people feel about abortion, I don’t think this should be viewed as a religious issue. My opposition to abortion is pragmatic and concerned with fostering greater empathy and creating an environment where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness will flourish.
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Note:
While my argument can be seen as pro-life, I’m hesitant to make it all-inclusive. Questions such as “Should exceptions be allowed in cases of rape or incest?” and “Should the terminally ill be able to end their lives?” are complex and not something I have answers for.

Related Posts:
Do babies who die go to heaven?
Abortion and the Bible

God of the Gaps

God-of-the-Gaps arguments have done a lot of harm over the years to theism. When we answer “God did it” to complex questions, which science later finds answers for, we perpetuate a perception that theism is nothing more than superstition.

Instead of dreading scientific discoveries because they make the God of the gaps get smaller, theists should celebrate scientific discoveries because they continue to magnify God’s amazingly incredible creation!

Science will never be able to prove or disprove the existence of God (for that matter, neither can theology); however, for the theist, who perceives or infers the existence of an intelligent creator, scientific discoveries SHOULD act as faith builders.

When Yahweh Shared His Name

Jesus believed he was the Messiah (Yahweh’s chosen), but he did not believe he was Yahweh and neither did his Jewish followers. Jesus’ first disciples believed the Holy Spirit (Yahweh’s power) came down from the heavens and rested upon Jesus at the time of his baptism (Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22). This power enabled him to carry out the mission Yahweh had for him (Acts 10:38).

Yahweh raised the mortal Jesus from the dead. Paul said, “[Yahweh] raised [Jesus] from the dead and seated [Jesus] at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under [Jesus’] feet and gave him as head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:20-22).

Notice Jesus wasn’t born with this power and he didn’t send it to himself. He didn’t raise himself from the dead and he didn’t exalt himself and give himself authority over all things. The bible says Yahweh “bestowed” upon Jesus “the name that is above every name,” i.e. “Lord” (Philippians 2:9).

During Jesus’ lifetime he was addressed as “lord,” a title used for rabbis, priests, the wealthy, rulers, etc.; however, the Bible says that he was made king of kings and lord of lords!

Jesus was never Yahweh; the idea of God made up of three persons was a Greek idea that came about long after Jesus’ death. Instead, God exalted Jesus, sharing with him his divine name, throne, and glory. Yahweh did this so that Jesus could reign over the kingdom of God and be worthy of worship alongside of himself. Furthermore, Paul says Jesus will only reign until “all things are subjected to him,” and then he will subject himself to Yahweh like everything else “so that [Yahweh] may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Question 1: Doesn’t the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin prove he was not the same as other humans?

Answer 1: https://muddlingthroughtheuniverse.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/are-jews-blind/

Question 2: The Bible says that Jesus existed prior to creation. Doesn’t that prove he was God?

Answer 2: Saying that someone or something existed prior to creation was a Jewish way of saying that it existed in Yahweh’s mind, was part of Yahweh’s plan, and was set in stone. We see this explained in 1 Peter: “[Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through [Jesus] are believers in God, who raised [Jesus] from the dead and gave [Jesus] glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:20-21).

Question 3: If Jesus were not God, how could his death have paid the price for men’s sins?

Answer 3: The Bible says that Yahweh accepted the death of Jesus “as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). The writer of Hebrews says, “After making purification for sins, [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name Jesus has inherited is more excellent than theirs” (emphasis added). Because of Jesus’ faithfulness, Yahweh accepted his death as payment (redemption) for sins committed by Israel under the first covenant (Hebrews 9:15)1. It was Jesus’ faithfulness that made him worthy, not any claims of divinity.
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Related Posts:
Formation of Trinitarianism
The holy spirit in the Bible
Jesus’ gospel or Paul’s gospel
Why is the Gospel of John so Different?

Note:
1Although Jesus’ death was to save Israel, Paul said believing Gentiles would also benefit from the cross since they would escape the wrath of God in the age to come and be reconciled to Yahweh along with the Jews (Ephesians 2:11-16).

The Hopelessness of Atheism

Here’s an excerpt from “Yes, life without God can be bleak. Atheism is about facing up to that” by Julian Baggini:

Atheists have to live with the knowledge that there is no salvation, no redemption, no second chances. Lives can go terribly wrong in ways that can never be put right. Can you really tell the parents who lost their child to a suicide after years of depression that they should stop worrying and enjoy life? Doesn’t the appropriate response to 4,000 children dying everyday as a direct result of poor sanitation involve despair at the relentless misery of the world as well as some effort to improve things? Sometimes life is shit and that’s all there is to it. Not much bright about that fact.

Stressing the jolly side of atheism not only glosses over its harsher truths, it also disguises its unique selling point. The reason to be an atheist is not that it makes us feel better or gives us a more rewarding life. The reason to be an atheist is simply that there is no God and we would prefer to live in full recognition of that, accepting the consequences, even if it makes us less happy. The more brutal facts of life are harsher for us than they are for those who have a story to tell in which it all works out right in the end and even the most horrible suffering is part of a mystifying divine plan. If we don’t freely admit this, then we’ve betrayed the commitment to the naked truth that atheism has traditionally embraced.

I appreciate this atheist’s intellectual honesty.

From Jew to Gentile?

James Tabor: I think the greatest problem we have in reading Paul today is that we tend to read him through the eyes of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. Paul becomes the champion of a Protestant version of Christianity. But if we go back to Paul and let him be our guide, we find a Pharisee of Pharisees who excelled in the knowledge of Judaism, who knew the Passover, the Feast of Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. He knew the Sabbath and would have known nothing of Christian history and tradition. If we understand him in that context, Paul is not a Protestant. He is not protesting the Catholic Church. If anything, Paul is a visionary of a kind of a Jewish future that includes the whole world. I think the two people who most misunderstood Paul would be Augustine and Luther, in the sense of not putting him into his Jewish historical context.

 

To read the whole interview, click here: From Jew to Gentile?