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People of faith find that every day they must look into their heart, their mind and their religious texts and approach the world in the way they feel their faith asks of them.   In the last ten years, though, something truly sinister has begun to happen in America, to one of the major faiths that dominates our landscape.

Christianity has come under serious attack.   Those who followed the teaching of Christ have found that their churches have become corrupted, the preachings at pulpits tainted, and the heart of their faith has been disturbingly altered.

There is a war against Christianity my friends.  

I rarely speak in homily, but today, I want to talk about this takeover of Christianity by those who would destroy it's meanings.  I want to start with THE commandment of the new testament, from John 13:34

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
 photo Godh8s_zpsbebb8793.jpg

Groups like Fred Phelps and his followers are too easy targets, their hate extends beyond all religion and is disavowed by so many religious.   The comforting message that so many say as they listen to the religious leadership in this country is that they are not like Fred, they understand that God doesn't hate.  

Comforted by this understanding, it is easy to embrace that instead, they fight over the issues that God cares about.   An Eye for an Eye, that was in the bible right?  (Old Testament, but that doesn't matter).  

But the messages of our churches today and those who pretend to represent the religious are being overrun with messages that undercut the teachings of the master, the founder of the faith in Jesus Christ.

The politicians who claim to represent the faith, and who are those who hold up the good of the Christian community.

"My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes," Young said. "It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It's all done by machine." (Alaska Representative Don Young)
“It looks like to me if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works maybe we have found a [solution] to our illegal immigration problem.” Kansas State Rep Virgil Peck
In comparison to the message of Christ:

Matthew 25:31-46

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

When you see a stranger in need, says the master, you should clothe them and help them.   In comparison to the counter message: when you see someone in need or a stranger, maybe you should shoot them like feral pigs.

Our policies of the religious, though, must match the idea of supporting one self, helping each other.   It is the a big part of Jesus words to us, isn't it?

   “I think it is a bad thing is they let those cuts expire, we’re in the middle of a deep, deep recession … Now is not the time to increase taxes to the dwindling producers in our country when we have a president who is trying to give more money away to the moochers and welfare. We need people working, not sitting back receiving food stamps and unemployment. It’s laughable.” - Tea Party Shill Ted Phillips on Fox News, 9/12/2012

"I have a right to health care, you provide it to me. I have a right to a place to live, you provide it to me. I have a right to food, you provide it to me," Boortz says to describe the moocher class.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/...

But how does Christ view this?

Prov. 19:17 When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord--and he pays wonderful interest on your loan!

And fittingly, while John 3:16 gets mentioned a lot, I thought I would bring up John 3:17-3:18

1 John 3:17 But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won't help him--how can God's love be within him ? 1 John 3:18 Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. 1 John 3:19 Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God's side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.
And maybe not everyone is Fred Phelps.  So many Christians have avoided the outright hatred and preaching that labels people as evil.   Unfortunately, it's not all.

http://www.speakupmovement.org/...


Bachmann may come to regret her superfandom for Dean. One news outlet has already suggested that Dean might be her Jeremiah Wright. It's easy to make such a comparison. Dean has amassed quite a video log on YouTube of ultra right-wing conspiracy theories about New World Orders and made bigoted remarks directed at the LGBT community, Muslims and President Barack Obama. In Dean's world Hitler was gay and Obama is, of course, equal to Osama bin Laden.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Hate, fear, and damnation are all in order at the lips of these ministers of so many faiths, on so many issues.

I would point them back to the words I quoted originally:

John 13:34
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
If you are Christians, followers of Christ, you are here to love one another.  You are commanded by your lord and savior:
Matthew 7:1 "“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
The mistake so many make is to say: you are being told you cannot judge anything.  But what is being said is that the standard by which you judge others, the way in which you treat others, respect others and honor others - that is the standard by which you will be treated.  

And yet, it is this concept that is so scary to so many that has led us to change our message, and to embrace a God that hates; a Christianity that sweeps aside the New Testament in favor of old testament judgements, including "an eye for an eye".  

There is a war against Christianity, my friends.   Even as a non-believer I can see it.  The words of one of the most significant philosophers and leaders of all humanity - and for those that believe in him, a deity - are being put on the wayside in favor of a message that asks us to hate, to judge others, to hold our pocketbooks shut, to scream "mine mine mine", and to address others as less than we are.

This weekend after Easter, many will go into church and embrace the message of the New Testament, which Easter Signifies, the message that tells us that there is one commandment over all:  Love one another.   But the message that so many of them will receive at Church today will be about the evils that others do in the world, how we should judge them, and why it is our job to do so.   Political leaders will start meetings with a prayer, and talk about the old days and cast judgement and disparage others.  

We will address the stranger to the table in derogatory terms and maybe joke about shooting them onsite, because "how you treat the least of my brothers" apparently means shooting them is OK.

There is a war on Christianity in America.  And the message of a God who loved his people, embraced them, and asked them to love one another.. that is the message that so many must look to spread to their fellow man.  

Originally posted to tmservo433 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Positive Intention and Lovingkindness.

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  •  Tip Jar (184+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    davespicer, Hammerhand, RFK Lives, BoiseBlue, Alexandra Lynch, ExStr8, hayden, MBNYC, poleshifter, Cedwyn, Siri, radarlady, viral, 2thanks, Caoimhin Laochdha, envwq, Serendipity, Timaeus, brokensnowshoe, sfbob, Buckeye54, carpunder, Horace Boothroyd III, GeorgeXVIII, Rogneid, Satya1, mofembot, Smoh, zerelda, suspiciousmind, bewild, Cronesense, wsbuffalo, zenox, howabout, cotterperson, CorinaR, freesia, stevie avebury, CwV, nupstateny, joedemocrat, mslat27, gulfgal98, collardgreens, kerflooey, Kombema, SeaTurtle, tommymet, owlbear1, JDWolverton, elwior, gundyj, karmsy, Whatithink, Brian76239, Shippo1776, live2learn, Its a New Day, fisheye, foresterbob, swampyankee, Steveningen, Onomastic, Eowyn9, pgm 01, Gowrie Gal, Byron from Denver, The Geogre, ruleoflaw, arizonablue, wilderness voice, bythesea, kurious, leonard145b, Mortifyd, OldJackPine, onionjim, lcrp, wader, BeerNotWar, countwebb, Lujane, tarheelblue, Bernie68, wasatch, gfv6800, Ekaterin, tofumagoo, sostos, maxcat06, Andrew F Cockburn, 3goldens, sngmama, Stein, Timbuk3, northerntier, deeproots, Alumbrados, beth meacham, MagentaMN, skod, shanikka, carver, Yellow Canary, madgranny, GrannyOPhilly, mookins, a2nite, regis, Rhysling, Dopetron, anodnhajo, jennybravo, Renee, elziax, texasmom, allergywoman, Joieau, Free Jazz at High Noon, dotsright, prfb, Preston S, koosah, eru, Catte Nappe, greengemini, native, Alice Venturi, Batya the Toon, quarkstomper, Laurel in CA, tampaedski, science nerd, musicsleuth, petulans, Mad Season, most peculiar mama, Chaddiwicker, dmhlt 66, cyncynical, MartyM, Eddie L, Lily O Lady, jarbyus, illegal smile, cybersaur, sweet lisa, JSCram3254, Dobber, k9disc, DJ Rix, Jim R, jayden, slowbutsure, Hatrax, kevinpdx, Temmoku, trumpeter, bob in ny, Avila, rapala, JosephK74, commonmass, AaronInSanDiego, Cassandra Waites, Jbearlaw, srelar, randomfacts, Huginn and Muninn, Habitat Vic, jeturek, progdog, Chi, Eric Stetson, smrichmond, BYw, NBBooks, Paul1a, irishwitch, RainDog2, SchuyH, blueoasis, elginblt

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:30:17 AM PDT

  •  I remember Martin Sheen once saying (72+ / 0-)

    (Paraphrasing) "people should not judge Christianity. So few people in our world actually practice it."

    I'm not religious and could not care less about what a church teaches or practices. But this is a good diary. If I was a Christian, I'd be horrified by what so many do in the name of their faith.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:42:19 AM PDT

  •  Applauded, by a pagan. (46+ / 0-)

    Christianity is not my faith, but I have fond memories of true Christians I grew up with, and I respect that path.

    These people who call themselves Christians would discriminate against me and even harm me, simply because I am a follower of a different religion.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:45:25 AM PDT

  •  There is a distinction to be made, (43+ / 1-)

    between "Jesus" and "Christ", that pretty much explains it all.  Jesus was the preacher/teacher who said the good things you reference . . . followers of Jesus tend to be pretty decent people.

    "Christ" (the "king", the "son of god") is a fiction, a lie told to justify a hierarchic "church" which, by the time it reached it's present state of "evolution", had essentially divorced itself entirely from Jesus the teacher.  Christianity is a travesty in the name of Jesus.  Christianity is the "false prophets" which Jesus warned against.  Jesus preached love and tolerance, Christians preaches hate and dominance.

    "Christians" launch "Hellfire" missiles from "Predator" drones and glory in the death and destruction.  What more do you need to know about them?

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:04:00 AM PDT

  •  We create Gods and Religions the same way (20+ / 0-)

    We create our Gods and our religions the same way -- we create them in our images, to reflect our beliefs and to further our wants.

    The hate, fear and bigoted caucus is fighting its war through their religions/Gods more than fighting their wars on religion.

    sláinte,
    cl
    -- Religion is like sodomy: both can be harmless when practiced between consenting adults but neither should be imposed upon children.

    by Caoimhin Laochdha on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:05:57 AM PDT

  •  Amen. (8+ / 0-)

    I am entitled to my own beliefs, just as you are entitled to yours.

    Not that I agree 100% with the people who are running the church that I belong to or the policies and procedures that they sometimes impose on me and the rest of the world.

    If the essence of my belief is that there is a loving creator whom I can join eternally so long as I live my life loving and respecting everyone and everything else that he created what have I got to lose by believing? If I'm wrong, nothing matters, but if I'm right, I win. Either way, the worst case scenario is that my time on earth will be well spent and I'll be happy while I live. The best case scenario is that I will be happy for all eternity.

    The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions. James Russell Lowell

    by Serendipity on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:31:01 AM PDT

    •  Christianity is supposedly about faith (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tommymet, Onomastic, maryabein, Chi, BYw

      not hedging bets.

    •  Of course the anwer to this is (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      carver, Dopetron, Batya the Toon, Chi, jeeugena, BYw

      what if believing in this Christian god has annoyed the REAL creator and omnipotent being who has decided not to reveal himself and will punish you for eternity because of this.

      •  As I once said to my fundamentalist grandfather, (7+ / 0-)

        "I would rather suffer eternal torment than hang out with a bunch of people who swear allegiance to a Being who is so focused on meting out punishment."

        Poverty = politics.

        by Renee on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:53:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've never understood this. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tmservo433, Chi

          How could a perfect, infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, loving divinity be so vindictive and be so obsessed with people believing in him.  Doesn't that obsession with people having faith in him reflect profound insecurity and egotism; qualities that are quite contrary to perfection?  If God exists, I just can't believe he's so petty and small.

      •  Did I say Christian? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, Persiflage

        I don't believe I did.

        Still, I wouldn't know until after I died. I can only base my belief on what I think I know. After all, the entire premise is "what if."

        I can agonize over what if or I can make a choice. I just happen to choose a belief that asks me to be nice to all other creatures.

        The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions. James Russell Lowell

        by Serendipity on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 01:36:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Pascal's Wager? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      otto, JosephK74, jeturek, BYw, tommymet

      Have you considered the other possibilities? It's equally likely that you could be worshipping the wrong god.

      •  How likely is one to be wrong? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tampaedski

        ONe thing we can determine for a near certainty is this- we will, at some point, be able to create digital life that actually thinks it s free thinking, and which is self aware.  

        That's a near certainty.  

        The only thing we need to reach this point is a sufficiently advanced civilization that has enough time to reach this level of technology.  

        Given the vast number of Gods that have been proposed over the millennia, it seems to me that it's not "just as likely,"  but instead, "most likely"  that someone believing in one particular iteration of this God fantasy is wrong.  

        It seems reasonable to think that it's even more likely that we are in a simulation of some sort, because we have a very goodidea that such a thing is a viable possibility.  

        Then, however, you reach the point of solipsism.

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:46:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure I'd call this solipsism... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          otto

          because the simulation idea would imply that even our own "minds" don't really exist.  Maybe it's more nihilistic?

          It is an interesting idea - I recall seeing a Morgan Freeman show on Science Channel that touched on it.  And it can't be a new idea - I remember saying "we all might just be brains in a frying pan hooked to a computer" when I was quite young, so I must have been exposed to the idea in the early 1970's.  It is a new development that the development of a virtual universe is feasible.

          •  True that it's new (0+ / 0-)

            I agree that it's new.  We haven't existed in a context that allows us to understand it in this way until recently.  

            When it is put in terms of odd, however, it seems like a betting person would not put money on God, but instead, if they were required to place a bet, they would probably be forced by the odds to bet on virtual reality matrix existence.  

            I think one of the most intersting points  in this discussion is that it really wouldn't matter all that much.  As long as there are no arbitrary changes in the fundamental structure, and as long as there are no startling revelations, things can continue just as they are.  

            Streichholzschächtelchen

            by otto on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:56:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  True. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson

        But if the course of worshiping my supreme being, I live what I consider to be a good life, I'll at least be happy here on earth.

        And if the core of my belief is to help others, perhaps some other life that I touch will experience some happiness too.

        The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions. James Russell Lowell

        by Serendipity on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 01:39:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  South Park figured this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chi

        one out.  It turns out that the Mormons are right.  Who knew?

    •  Couldn't you just as easily bet another way? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tampaedski, Serendipity, JosephK74, Chi, BYw

      Here's how I would play the gamble.

      If there is a god, then my brain was given to me with full functionality and, at least, the aura of independent thought.  

      If God gave me this brain, and I use this brain to  determine that there is no need for the invention of a God to satisfy the mysteries of creation, then I have done what that God intended.  

      Likewise, if God is loving and good, and if god gave me this brain, then why would I be arbitrarily punished for some transgression of a vague moral principle that was written down four thousand years ago? Especially when the book that holds that moral principle has been show to have numerous, human driven, factual inaccuracies, and extremely questionable moral lessons.  

      Your bet- believe in something.  If it's true, then you are with a father who you will never leave, and who will never allow you to truly grow up and become independent.

      My bet- Use the free thinking brain I have to analyze the possibility of this God, or any other god.  If God is truly good, then he will understand that the time I have on Earth is what it is, and that I am living in an age when we do have an understanding of the physical realities of the world around us.  Only a tyrannical parent would punish their kids so severely for the mere action of having a free thinking mind.  

      Streichholzschächtelchen

      by otto on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:41:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You overthink this (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DJ Rix, cotterperson, Persiflage, jeturek

        Nothing prevents me from having independent thought or free will.

        I have chosen to have faith - it helps me to live my life.

        Nothing in my faith precludes accepting the theory of evolution or the Higgs Bosun particle, or any other of the myriad of theories advance to explain our universe.

        Remember how Newton came up with universal laws, only to have them turned inside out by Einstein's theory of relativity and his work on the Unified Theory (which in turn is made iffy by quantum mechanics theory).

        Science itself still has too many mysteries to be the conclusive answer to the universe and its wonders.

        Since everything is still a mystery, there is room for faith in those who seek the answer to everything.

        In a sense, the whole idea of questioning another's faith, whether in a deity or in rationality, is silly. The only way to prove who is right is to die. Instead, we should just choose what we want to believe in and just leave everyone else alone to choose their own philosophy of life.

        The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions. James Russell Lowell

        by Serendipity on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 01:54:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You misrepresent my opionon (0+ / 0-)

          I don't question anyone's faith.  I have no doubt they have it.  

          I question the entire reason to have faith.  I see the type of faith that believers have as being counter productive an useless.  

          So I don't question anyone who has faith.  I question the entire point of believing in something that shows no material reason to be believe in.  

          ANd it's not overthought. It's the same point that has been made by many people over the years.  It's not even an original thought.  I may have come to it on my own, but it existed before me.

          From reading your response, it seems to me you haven't read the book in question.
           

          Streichholzschächtelchen

          by otto on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 05:47:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Pascal's wager (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RockyMtnLib, Chi, BYw, tommymet

      is a false dichotomy that ignores the great collateral costs of believing, namely that belief closes your mind and makes you stupid; allies you with closed minded people and thousands of years of criminality; not to mention the financial costs of paying the premiums on Pascal's eternal life insurance scam.

    •  You wouldn't let someone drive a car like that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, BYw, tommymet

      If I told you that I had a personal belief that there was a magical traffic director who take care of me if I ran a red light with my eyes closed, you wouldn't let me behind the wheel of a car.

      So why should we let someone like you drive a planet?

      The worst case scenario is that you cast a vote based on your belief that, say, the total destruction of the entire planet in 100 years time is OK because, you know, God.

      Or perhaps, in your love and respect for everyone else, you decide that letting people burn in hell for all eternity is not loving or respectful, and thus we have to stop teh gays or alcohol sales on Sundays. For their own good.

      Dog knows that if I saw you about to set yourself on fire, I would stop you, no matter how much you argued about freedom and rights. Because I do respect you, and I show that respect by not letting you do something insane like setting yourself on fire. If you really respected me, how could you let me burn?

      I don't object to whatever fantasies you tell yourself to get by - we all do it, of course - but the fact that you feel comfortable enough to make those fantasies public is just as worrying to me as if you came in here and started talking about your sex life. Can't you tell that those things are to be set aside when you are in public? If you can't tell that here, how do I know you will set aside your fantasies while in the voting booth?

  •  "Christian" is not synonymous with "moral" (19+ / 0-)

    Despite the attempts of so many who use their religion as a calling card for their sense of moral superiorty.  

    A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a facist state - Margaret Cho

    by CPT Doom on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:34:39 AM PDT

    •  Remember the moral majority? n/t (4+ / 0-)


      The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

      by nupstateny on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:07:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some non Christians could learn that too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Paul1a
      •  Sure (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fisheye, Chi

        However, the category that includes "non belief"  can make no specific claims to having a monopoly on morality.  

        Christianity makes specific claims as to it being the truth of morality.  Not only Chrstianity, but all religions seem to believe that they have the one enduring moral truth.  

        We are as moral as we are.  The fluctuation in ideas that are considered morally acceptable is a good indication that morals are not a static, absolute notion.  

        Instead, morals are things that change with our changing understanding of how the world works.  

        I was thinking about how future stories frequently leave out this component.  They assume that the current state of moral understanding is exactly how the morals of the future will be.

        Oftentimes, the horror in the future story is the display of the horrific outcome of a fundamentally different set of morals, and that's supposed to be the lessons of those.  Brave New World, for instance.  The morals in that story are completely at odds with some of our morals today, but who is to say that the vast majority of people in a future world would be against those morals?

        If our morals once included slavery, and now they don't, and now we find that concept reprehensible, then why don't we just assume that we will also change our moral understandings at some future point?

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:53:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't entirely agree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Paul1a

          and, btw, I find it hard to converse in terms of Christianity making claims. There's multiple forms of Christianity with contradicting claims. I would say about 2.18 billion. But that's just me being a realist.

          The Catholic Church is not in the least the most morally conservative (clinging to static morality). But the most prominent. Certainly certain Jews Muslims and any religion or ideology has it's strict constructionists.

          Clearly even as conservative as the Catholic Church seems to be in clinging to outdated morality on particular issues. It does not have a 'static' history. And the drive for progressive as well as regressive moral advancement has created rifts in the umbrella of Christian religions.

          But Christianity in general claims that one true God has a monopoly on morals, not people. That there's one true morality, that exists beyond our grasp as humans or the conception of an individual.

          That is neither static or changing. It's simply something for humans to aspire too, with Jesus as the guide.

    •  That is a door that swings both ways (0+ / 0-)

      There are plenty who use their eschewing of Christianity as a calling card for their sense of moral and intellectual superiority...

      Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

      by awesumtenor on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:26:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The world will be better off... (11+ / 0-)

    ...when the human race matures and discards religion for the fantasy it is.

  •  Well said (10+ / 0-)

    Although I think the political plots to  appropriate the authority of the faithfuls' pulpits goes back far, far longer than 10 years.  Is there a milestone in the struggle that influenced you to mark that time?  

    I've participated in the social justice movement among the Catholic churches and have seen a lot of good done by Christians.  It seems to me that the people (at least in this country) that come closest to living the faith, don't care that much to participate in politics.  They've found their work in front of them and are busy loving and helping people.  These aren't the ones that will be in the news or likely to come to our attention.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:38:03 AM PDT

    •  It's the boiling frog.. (9+ / 0-)

      Using the pulpit and religion for political means goes back to the Borgias.

      But in the US, we have kind of had a back and forth of a multitude of messages being put forward and a standard put to the people to decide their will.

      In the last thirty years, that trend has begun to shift, and the water has slowly boiled.  

      It's happened before, when churches were used to express racism and hatred - from the Civil War through desegregation.   But after that went by the wayside, many churches went back to speaking about peace and hope.   The fire and brimstone comes out now and again, but not often.

      And there is not always something wrong with fire and brimstone - don't steal, don't harm another, etc.   But in the last thirty years, the slow drumbeat to put a level of suspicion, deception and dislike of our fellow man has come back into the pulpits.

      What makes now different is that a political party is bearing the standard of "the religious right" and "fighting for the soul.." and so on.   This message means that the religious leaders are giving up their leadership and following the lead not of the master of their faith, but of the political figures who find the issues for them.

      This abdication of practice is new; Kennedy was asked to make sure the Vatican couldn't control him.   Today, if you asked several Republicans to promise they wouldn't have a controlling role in their churches they would label you as evil.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:47:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the current times kicked in (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic, 3goldens, tampaedski

        with the Moral Majority deification of Ronnie Reagan.  But I don't have sufficient knowledge of the popular movements of Christianity and politics to know the whole story in this country.  We tend to know our own times far better than earlier generations.  But I think you've hit it that there is probably an ebb and flow of this kind of development.

        Overall, we probably first got into really big trouble when Emperor Constantine adopted the faith.  Around that era the military arm of that state went from restricting Christians from becoming soldiers to requiring soldiers to "convert" to Christianity.  It forever altered the young sect.  The peace church was infiltrated and corrupted.

        Kennedy got asked that mostly because of the fairly virulent anti-Catholic sentiment in the country.  And although he diluted it in his short term, it is still very much alive.

        Again, thanks for the great diary.

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:37:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Let's forget for one moment that "Jesus Christ" (8+ / 0-)

    is a mythological character portrayed in a series of texts written anywhere from 40 to 100 years past his supposed lifetime, and take a real look at everything reported in them.  

    How did this character treat the pagan woman who came to him asking for help for her daughter?

    How did his character treat his mother and siblings when they approached him?

    What did he tell the potential disciple when he wanted to delay joining the following to attend a family funeral?

    Why was it OK for the disciples to leave their families high and dry to follow Jesus?

    What was Jesus's reaction to towns of people who did not want to hear him or his disciples' messages?

    What was the whole "I come to bring a sword" passage about?

    Did Jesus believe in the idea of hell and damnation and separation of people in the afterlife?

    I'm just saying that using this character as a justification for certain positions on modern problems is not helpful, as people can obviously guess anything they want on the question of "how Christ would view" something.

    We know what's right and wrong based upon our HUMAN responses, not upon some made up mytholgical being who was not at all consistent in his teachings or actions, and who often took what I view as immoral positions himself.

    •  We have to remember (11+ / 0-)

      In many ways, most of us will spend our days interacting with those who are religious in one way or another.   As I've pointed out, I'm not.  

      But I've found that telling people who view themselves as religious that their religion is "yuck" rarely starts a dialog that changes any minds; you don't influence them to understand that their position is wrong, you just harden their resolve that you're not a person worth talking to.

      But by asking them to not consider the passages of the bible you or I or anyone may find offensive, and instead, asking where the loving spirit that was proposed by many moments went, you are far more likely to start a real dialog about what's going wrong within the basis of belief, and why people - when given the chance - even those who are deeply religious want to believe in a loving, forgiving deity rather than a wrathful deity that waits to hate you.

      How we dialog and talk with those of faith is what makes a change, confrontation rarely does.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:55:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't post this to "change minds"... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        carver, RockyMtnLib, ImpactAv, kdrivel

        I posted it as an argument against using a certain yardstick for problem solving and addressing human issues.  For two thousand years now we have had much of our "thinking" in the western world contained within a parameter of what was written in a set of texts that have been presented as representing real events and real people.  They do not.  So we repeatedly get our creative thinking caught in this net of trying to reconcile the real world with some ancient worldview that has no more validity or evidence for it than a child's fairy tale.

        Of course we all work with and have relationships with people who consider themselves religious. That has nothing to do with the act of responding to the ideas that were presented here.  Religious opinions are no different than political ones.  If someone posts a political opinion that has no evidence behind it, people have no problem confronting that argument with skepticism and critcism.   The "what would nice good Jesus do" question is meaningless if one blocks out or doesn't consider the harsh mean Jesus, or pretends that part of the character doesn't exist.  It is better in my view to skip "Jesus" all together.  If that suggestion is "offensive" or "disrespectful" to the religionist, then so be it.  It is they who are insulting the intelligence of others by not being honest about what is in those texts.

        •  What exactly is the source of superior (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hammerhand, Paul1a

          moral judgement that is "HUMAN", but not "all too human"?

          It's not based on this particular myth or that because there's apparent contradictions and the bible isn't one dimensional?

          If you're looking for a one dimensional moral source or human standard, I think that will lead one far off the path of morality or truth about humanity.

          The only one dimensional story is one that was never read.

          The story of Odysseus has influenced Western Civilization too. There's all kinds of truths about the human condition to be discovered in it. You don't have to believe in hydras and cyclops to see it.

          Also, denying the "validity" of fairy tales is not in the least a creative endeavor. If there's anything I find offensive about atheist polemics against religion, it's a conspicuous lack of imagination.

        •  There's been a fair amount (0+ / 0-)

          of decent biblical scholarship that rather convincingly separates the "teachings" as originally recorded and understood by the "Jesus congregations" from the later additions (which changed essentially everything).  You find what's left from the Synoptic Gospels after you strip out the obvious fictions . . . the "miracles", the "son of god", the "virgin birth", "died for your sins", "raised from the dead",  and the crowning lie that if you just "believed" the nonsense you'd be "saved" and get "life eternal" . . . somewhere down at the end of the table just past the right hand of god itself.  Amen.

          Oh, and if you didn't believe it you'd go to hell for sure (after the "faithful" got done with you).  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.  Watch the witches burn.

          There's a couple thousand years of decidedly ugly history to study if you want to know just how well that all worked out . . . (or you could just look around at "Christians" today).

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 07:01:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Religion isn't HUMAN? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Paul1a
    •  By all means take a look at everything (5+ / 0-)

      But certain points of the Bible are clearly emphasized and emphasized in clearer language than other points.  I think it is important to hold to that.  The diarist has admirably identified a key part of the faith.  Still many parts can seem troublesome.  I try to remember I'm reading the source in any number of the umpteen English translations from an ancient language and ancient culture.

      If your questions are important to you, look for someone who appears to be a recognized and solid biblical scholar.  She or he might be happy to talk to you.

      Or read some John McKenzie for example:

      “If Jesus can be trusted to have said anything at all, he renounced violence: interpreters have preferred to think that his words are irrelevant to politics, which should be discussed without any reference to anything He said, did or was. I shall raise a question or two about this.” The Civilization of Christianity, page 136.
      I also would also not set the "mythological" element aside because a fair amount of the Bible is written in mythological language.  Writing doesn't have to be literal in order to be truthful.  (How some fundamentalists think that their King James translation is the official mind of God and everything else is suspect boggles the mind.)

      If you've already made up your mind and the questions are rhetorical, then ignore this and I wish you well.

      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

      by Satya1 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:14:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Those fools have thick walls in their brains (3+ / 0-)

    ...walls that block their view from seeing "God" in themselves and others. They know nothing about Christ because they don't "know themselves."

    They won't change unless they want to change.

    "Corruptio Optimi Pessima" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 08:56:10 AM PDT

    •  In a national test (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenox

      on religion the group which scored the highest were the Atheists followed by Mormons.

      "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. Isaac Asimov (8.25 / -5.64}

      by carver on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:50:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think at least part of the problem (6+ / 0-)

    is that religious groups seem to have this basic goal of making everyone the same as they are and to not allow anything that they don't believe in.  

    Their goal at this time is to control the US government so that they can make laws dictating their religious beliefs.  


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:06:07 AM PDT

    •  And what if one's religion is tolerance? (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmservo433, PatriciaVa, 3goldens, carver, Chi

      The goal of every voter is to influence the government, to make laws they think are right.

      That's democracy.

      •  I see no way to be faithful to the texts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JosephK74

        THere just doesn't seem to be a way to be faithful to the texts, while at the same time accepting differing beliefs without attempting to convert them.

        Much of the history of Christianity has been that of evangelism of one sort or another, but not because they just felt like doing it.  Instead, the evangelism is compelled by the very texts that underpin the entire religion.  This is true for any religion which considers itself the one true religion, and which demands that the believer share the word with everyone who doesn't agree.  

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:58:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What's wrong with sharing your views? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Paul1a

          One can claim that political imposition is a tenant of Christianity, but it's just a claim among many.

          As much as critics want to pigeon hole Christians in a particular one dimensional creed (the one the critic imagines) it's just not reality, and never has been.

          When one want's to pigeon hole them as preachers of hate, violence and domination. That's just completely off the rails and stupid.

          The meaning of Christianity and the texts is particular to each Christian religion and to each individual, Christian or not.

          •  I think that if we truly (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Yahzi, kdrivel

            respect the dignity of other persons-- i.e., if we genuinely treat our neighbors as we would like to be treated --then we give them reasons that they can share in trying to persuade them to adopt particular forms of governance and legislation.  These reasons must be reasons that anyone, regardless of religious belief or cultural background, could know for themselves.  Only two types of reasons fit that criteria:  reasons derived from reason (as in the case of mathematics) and reasons derived from observation.  

            Arguments from sacred texts or religious beliefs just don't fit this model because 1) we can't verify the truth of these stories, 2) we can't determine which interpretation of the text is the true interpretation, and 3) not everyone is exposed to the teachings of these sacred texts.  If I try to persuade someone else that they should pay taxes because someone named Jesus says that we should attend to the poor, I've done an injustice to that person by striving to hoist a set of beliefs on them without any supporting evidence for him.  Why Jesus?  Why not Buddha or Venu or some other god(s) beside?  How do I know these stories are true?  How do I know he wasn't a huckster, etc?  I can't distinguish these stories from Avatar.

            If, by contrast, I argue to someone that they should pay taxes because monies that go to education, infrastructure, healthcare, etc., increase opportunity for all, creating a more peaceful and productive society, I've made an argument that anyone can evaluate for themselves through their reason and observation, without having to believe any set of religious beliefs or tales.  In presenting this sort of argument, I've also recognized the dignity of other persons by giving them reasons that they can verify for themselves, rather than asking them to believe in authorities and stories that can't be verified.  This strikes me as a far more loving way to relate to others.

            •  So it's not the actual policy that matters (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Paul1a

              but whether someone's support for it is based on their belief in God or their belief in something else that validates them?

              I don't think you've made any case for the value of increasing opportunity for all, peace, productivity or treating your neighbors as you'd like to be treated. What is your supporting evidence that any of that is worthwhile?

              •  The point is that these sorts (0+ / 0-)

                of reasons can be shared by people despite their religious beliefs or background, while arguments based on sacred texts cannot for the reasons I outline.  This is why historically religion has led to violent conflict as in the case of the Thirty Years War.  Because shared reasons aren't possible, and because people take themselves to be acting on behalf of God, their only recourse is to use violence as a means of compelling others because they lack the means of showing that they're right.

                •  Because no one ever started a war (0+ / 0-)

                  based on atheistic  belief in their own personal ability to 'reason', what's best for society.

                  This whole notion that religion causes war somehow independently of human nature is nonsense. If you don't believe in God then there's nothing but innate human nature that could possibly cause wars.

                  That people use God as an excuse for belligerence to promote their persona interests, is just a reflection of human nature that has more than proved itself not dependent on religion.

                  Sorry but "because I say so" is not any more a compelling reason than "because God says so", is to agree with anyone unless they have a means of coercive force.

                  And then someone comes along and says God says we are all equal and a majority of people agree with that. And then someone else comes along and says their is no God and the individual must prostate himself to the state and we have the guns now so as you're told or die. eg.

                  If you can't reason out whether you agree with someone else's principles or policies, that your problem, regardless of the factors that contribute to your reasoning, spiritual or otherwise.

                  I don't see forced conversions going on in our part of the word of either the religious or statist kind.

                  •  What war has ever been (0+ / 0-)

                    started in the NAME of atheism?  That aside, do you feel that it's acceptable for people to argue that women should have fewer rights than men on SCRIPTURAL grounds?  Why or why not?  The issue here isn't atheism versus religion, but what counts as a legitimate PUBLIC reason.  You'll notice that the Supreme Court shares my standard.  You don't here people in the courts arguing from religion to support their positions.

                    •  Not in the name of atheism (0+ / 0-)

                      in the name of reason, that happens to be atheist.

                      Wars aren't waged in the name of religion but in the name of particular belief. Not worth word games. It is what it is. Look at the twentieth century.

                •  If you go back to my original (0+ / 0-)

                  post, you'll also note that I defended my position through an appeal to Christian principles.  I asked, "how must we behave towards others in such a way as to love our neighbors and do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves?"  My answer is that we would defend our positions where matters of governance are concerned through reason and observation rather than appeals to sacred texts because these are things that can be shared between people regardless of their religious background.

                  My neighbor is Hindu.  If I say that they should endorse a particular form of legislation because the Bible supports this position, I have done an injustice to them by foisting an undemonstrable belief upon them from a religious tradition that they don't share.  If, by contrast, I can demonstrate that this piece of legislation would be a social good, empirically enhancing the life of the collective and our security, I have shown respect for my neighbor by presenting them with reasons that don't require them to share my religious belief.  I take it that this is part of doing unto others as you would have done unto yourself and loving your neighbor.  When the fundamentalist tells me I, a gay man, can't get married because homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God (Leviticus 18 & 20), he has behaved like an asshole (i.e., unloving) not only because he seeks to take my rights away, but also because he's claiming that I and others like me should be bound by the claims of a particular religious text that we might not share (we could be Buddhists, Hindus, Shinto, atheists, etc; why should we be governed by that text), and by a tendentious reading of that text.  If, by contrast, if he tries to argue that gay marriage does irreparable harm to both society and people such as me (secular arguments), we're now, at least, in the position to explore whether that's true (so far no evidence supports this) and to debate the issue on reasoned grounds.  We don't need any set of religious beliefs to explore this question.  The Hindu, Christian, and Atheist can all debate whether in fact gay marriage does some sort of social harm.  Above all, we have respected the dignity of the person who differs from us or who doesn't share our religious beliefs.

                  If you don't like that example, take the example of sex education and contraceptives.  Why should the person who doesn't share a particular version of Christianity be bound by abstinence only education and the refusal to make contraceptives available to children?  Why should citing scripture be acceptable here?  It shouldn't.  Again, the issue that we can publicly share is whether or not abstinence only education and the refusal to make contraceptives available to teens harms or helps society.  The studies show that this is incredibly harmful, leading to increases in teen pregnancies and STDs.  Has the religious person been somehow oppressed by exploring this issue in secular terms and enacting policies that do something contrary to their beliefs?  No.  They're still free to teach their children this and to opt out of such education.  The point is, that if you really love your neighbor-- the person who has religious beliefs different from yours --you'll argue on secular, not scriptural grounds.

                  I'm honestly surprised you don't see this point.  It suggests very unchristian values of myopia, entitlement (Christian/religious privilege), and self-centeredness.  The ethical issue isn't one of how you privilege your beliefs, but of how you relate to others.  Arguing from religious beliefs is a big middle finger to those that differ from you (the Hindu, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, etc).  

                  You'll probably say that I've somehow contradicted myself by appealing to Christian principles in this argument.  Two things.  First, I think we can give secular arguments in support of the principle that we should do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves and love our neighbor.  We don't have to appeal to the revelation of a God or authority.  This is why we find variations of these principles throughout the history of philosophy (pre-dating Christianity) and the world religions (other than Christianity).  Second, I've articulated this position within a framework I hope you'll be able to understand given that you're a Christian.  I've tried to say that if you truly strive to love your neighbor as you love yourself, you will attend to them in ways that show respect by giving reasons that they can share rather than by foisting your scripture upon them (the latter being an act of violence).

              •  Put differently, the issue is (0+ / 0-)

                one of what sorts of reasons can produce consensus or be shared between people.  Arguments based on religion can't produce consensus because there's no way of verifying their truth.  One believes them or does not, endorses an interpretation or does not.  There's no independent validation.  The experience of European warfare that arose out of rival sects of Christianity was a big part of the motivation for calling for the separation of Church and State.  The idea that Church and State should be separated wasn't merely the idea that religion should be a personal affair, but that the sorts of arguments we give for various forms of legislation should be based on reason and the observable or what can be shared between people that otherwise have radically different beliefs.

                •  Consensus is achieved by people consenting, (0+ / 0-)

                  not truth.

                  ...that the sorts of arguments we give for various forms of legislation should be based on reason and the observable or what can be shared between people that otherwise have radically different beliefs.
                  That is false.

                  The separation of Church and state was primarily to preserve the choice to make one's political arguments on the religion of their choice, local religious consensus or non religious merits as each person sees fit. Although in most cases in the American states, even well after the Constitution was ratified, public officials where required to proclaim faith in God rather specifically and explicitly. Just read a state constitutions of the time.

                  It is a total divergence from reality and a corruption of the principle to say the separation of church and state was designed to subdue individual religious expression, in politics or otherwise. It's outrageous really to even suggest that. It was in fact the opposite. To preserve and protect individual religious expression as opposed to the state forcing anyone to base their arguments and expression on any particular religious or non religious doctrine.

                  Where did you get that idea?

                  You can try to make a science of morality, it's been tried. And it ain't pretty.

                  •  I never made the claim (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    fisheye

                    that the purpose of church and state is to subdue religion.  I made the claim that this separation arose out of the experience of internecine warfare in Europe that arose out of conflicts between different sects of Christianity (notice, there's no reference to atheism inn that remark).  The decision was made to treat religion as a private affair outside of governance to avoid this sort of warfare.

                    •  I infered that separating reason from (0+ / 0-)

                      religion implied atheistic perspective. Godless at least. That is what you mean isn't it?

                      These reasons must be reasons that anyone, regardless of religious belief or cultural background, could know for themselves.  Only two types of reasons fit that criteria:  reasons derived from reason (as in the case of mathematics)...

                      I think what is happening as we speak in the court and public opinion can be too easily conflated with historic realities.

                      The moral baselines you established in your first response to me are assumed.

                      John Locke wrote two treaties. Is it just a coincidence his attempts through both religious and criteria based observable reason met the same conclusions. Probably not. Because people work backward from their baseline morality. How could he have come to any other conclusions than the universe, God and observable reality, doesn't contradict itself?

    •  Yes, Catholics want more Catholics, but... (0+ / 0-)

      ..they don't slaughter members of other religions.

      Christian mourners, mob, police clash in Egypt

      http://news.yahoo.com/...

      CAIRO (AP) — A mob threw rocks and fired birdshot Sunday at several hundred Christians marching in a protest against Egypt's Islamist government after the funeral of four Christians killed in sectarian clashes over the weekend.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:12:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It goes both ways (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JosephK74, BYw

        The Christians are outnumbered so they are more often victims than perpetrators but it does happen.

        And of course I'm sure you are aware of the history of Christians forcibly converting people.

      •  Historically Catholics gleefully slaughtered (9+ / 0-)

        members of other religions just a few hundred years ago.  Thankfully, they have moved on from that sort of behavior, however, it is not that long ago when the Roman Catholic Church was involved in all sorts of death of non-believers and heretics.  

        Just look a the Balkans to see an extension of the religious wars of the last few centuries revived in modern times.  

        And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

        by MrJersey on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:30:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The PROBLEM is that they didn't (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yahzi, Chi, BYw

          "move on," they got demoted from their comfy position as absolute monarchs over everybody's lives start to finish, with the power to kill anyone they didn't like or who simply got in the way.

          Believe me, they didn't give up that power without a fight. And the fight went on for hundreds of years.

          Now some of the most nose-bent branches are again making bids for absolute power. They will not win, humanity has grown out of that stage of its collective childhood.

        •  Yeah, I was gonna say. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chi, BYw

          I grew up with people whose ancestors just barely made it out of Spain ahead of the Inquisition.

          Mind you, if you go back far enough, very few of us have any leg to stand on if it comes to a question of which religion/s did and didn't ever kill heretics and unbelievers.

      •  Persecution (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        carver, Yahzi, BYw

        The persecution of the Christian is a necessary factor for Christianity to survive.  It's based on that persecution.  

        It's the irony of being the dominant religion while simultaneously claiming to be persecuted.

        Streichholzschächtelchen

        by otto on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:59:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The minor "battles" (0+ / 0-)

          would be the "war on Christmas "  the "war on Easter" and any minor, perceived, slight on which the bullshit bloviators  spew their ignorance over the airways.  All of which contributes to the increasing militancy of the "end timers"  and the periodic stochastic terrorist.
          persecution my ass - Lions in the Colosseum - that's persecution -  petty, pissy whining over disagreements ain't.

          "If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them. Isaac Asimov (8.25 / -5.64}

          by carver on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 01:07:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  It's just that those who do that (0+ / 0-)

      get the coverage, and so become the face of faith to those who are not believers.  Most of us don't poach.  If a person has no faith, then I certainly want to share mine.  But I'm more likely to do that with actions than with words. If a person has a faith, then I will never poach.  But I will emphasize what we share, and seek to work with you for good.

      Five years after I chose my username, happily living somewhere else.

      by Tenn Wisc Dem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:34:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If the Haters truly believed in Jesus (4+ / 0-)

    and his teachings, they wouldn't be so concerned about their transient worldy goods, nor be so fearful of "the others" (moochers) taking these goods away from them, for their reward, supposedly, is in Heaven. But no, these Haters build mental and physical bunkers to shield themselves from their brothers and sisters of the earth. And begrudge the needy what Jesus would give them.
    How can they claim to be followers of Christ when they hate so much?

    "Let's stay together"--Rev. Al Green and President Obama

    by collardgreens on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:08:11 AM PDT

  •  I've always thought this was a good way to go. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, wilderness voice, Chi

    I'm not religious, but when so many people are, especially when those who oppose policies that help the poor, why don't Democrats push a message like "Don't cut Social Security/Medicare/Food Stamps/Welfare because Jesus said so"? If they could attack Republican politicians for not following the words of Jesus, then they might be able to persuade a huge number of Conservative Christians to switch sides.

    •  I don't know about switch sides, but (8+ / 0-)

      You'd put a lot of the religious really on the fence with the idea of a government that wants to punish people who need help.

      A study told us here in Kansas that 1 in 4 children were at food insecure, not guaranteed of consistent meals.   "I was hungry, and you fed me".  

      I do wish more time was put to saying: no matter what you think of people, whether you think they are moochers or not - how you treat people in need is EXACTLY what Christ commanded of you; and if you are doing nothing, or if you oppose helping them, then how does that not put you at the left hand, for those that refused?

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:13:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Because I would not vote for that Democratic party (0+ / 0-)

      and I am not alone.

      The day the Democratic party makes policy based on Jesus is the day it ceases to be an organ of democracy. Considering that the Republican party already explicitly cites Jesus as policy, that would constitute the complete death of democracy in America.

      The country is down to one lung, and you want it to start smoking?

  •  If ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    If Christians truely followed the teachings of Christ,

    They would be buddhists.

    and we all know there is no money in that.

    The first is an acceptance that the U.S. is not a war zone. -Militarytracy
    ...if you could brighten the day of someone who is lonely or afraid on my behalf that would be something I would love. -Station Wagon.

    by TheDuckManCometh on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:38:19 AM PDT

  •  umm. as an uncommitted atheist (4+ / 0-)

    still not comfortable with the though of no GOD. I have come to think of Jesus as more of a brother not the Master and I relate to what you are saying about his teachings. unfortunately he has become this mystical legend out of proportion with his actual teachings. But you bring truth in the form of your diary. Thank you.

  •  We are dealing with a mentality (4+ / 0-)

    that is a) terrified, befuddled, and b) short on self-awareness.

    These people denigrate curiosity about the world, on the one hand, and any desire to self-examine, on the other.

    There is a big industry that caters to them. There are shadowy, entitled interests that want to keep them exactly as they are. These interests also want to convince society that its baseline public discourse reflects the mentality of these terrified bigots.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:40:48 AM PDT

  •  It's complicated, but you have to understand (6+ / 0-)

    the different strains of Christianity to get why we have everything from the Phelps to the evangelicals to Catholicism.  Not all of Christianity is bad--in fact, Christians in various forms have done an awful lot to move the US in a more progressive direction, from civil rights to workers' rights to economic rights.

    Painting with a very broad brush, there are a two main strains in Christianity: individualism and communitarianism.   The trick is how these strands view the role of Christians and their churches on this earth.

    Most Protestant churches, especially the evangelicals, focus on individualism--one has to develop a personal relationship with God as savior.   In terms of what this means for how to relate to this earth (in actions and politics), individual morals and ethics are promoted, usually along with a healthy dose of libertarian thought.  Many see God acting in this world, looking for the signs of the "end times".  This leads to all sorts of stuff, from blind support of Israel (it's existence is a harbinger of the Second Coming) to believing that wealth accumulation can be done for the greater glory of God (see Weber's Prot Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism) to Fred Phelps' family's antics as a form of "witnessing" (see Louis Theroux's excellent documentary for the BBC on this--it's on Youtube).  

    Due to the divisions withing protestantism, it's easy to focus on the more extreme groups, but I would say that your average Baptist or Church of Christ member, while socially conservative, also sees the importance of trying to do charitable works.

    The Catholic church sees its role as communitarian--that we should focus on the common good and are judged by God based on what we do as groups rather than as individuals.  As the USCCB stated in 1986:

    "All economic life should be shaped by moral principles. Economic choices and institutions must be judged by how they protect or undermine the life and dignity of the human person, support the family, and serve the common good."
    Despite the many problems with the bishops on an array of issues that have tended towards the GOP, their official position is still what we would think of as pretty progressive:
    The Catholic bishops of the United States believe building a just economy that works for all encompasses a wide range of issues, including food security and hunger, work and joblessness, homelessness and affordable housing, and tax credits for low-income families, as well as protecting programs that serve poor and vulnerable people throughout the federal budget.
    So, it's complex.  But hey, I make this argument about Islam every time I hear someone calling all Muslims extremists.

    In the end, I suppose I would say to the diarist and others that yes, there is an awful lot of mess going under the label of "Christian" today, but, I think there are a lot of possibilities as well.  Should we turn away from believers or do some outreach?  

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:43:41 AM PDT

    •  Agreed (5+ / 0-)

      And maybe I didn't do a strong enough job pointing out that not all Christians of course by into this propaganda.

      But my key point was more about the fact that there is a creeping scourge on a faith with many great members who have done many great things.

      I don't want to dismiss all of Christianity, the implication of a War on Christianity implies that there are two sides.. including one who stands up for the principles of the master.

      But it certainly doesn't stop a group from basically ignoring their own teachings to harm others.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:46:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, but why don't we have outreach (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hammerhand, Batya the Toon

        diaries at DK?  Seems like instead of poking folks of different faiths--especially the Catholic church and the evangelicals--we should be doing more to show them that liberals/progressives have a message that is much more in tune with their beliefs?  Why not find organizations within these faith traditions that support much of what we do and invite them in?  

        Two examples off the top of my head are the National Catholic Rurual Life Network has a lot of stuff that aligns with most of us here: http://www.ncrlc.com/

        and

        The Sojournors http://sojo.net/

        If we disagree with these groups on some issues, fine, we already disagree with each other on a whole array of issues.  What I don't think is very productive is what seems like a drumbeat of anti-Catholic, anti-religious diaries that really do nothing but drive folks away.

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:49:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Not all of Christianity is bad" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Deward Hastings, Roadbed Guy

      But it is.

      The foundational principle of all Christian faith is substitutionary atonement: the idea that someone else can pay for your sins. The second principle is the doctrine of original sin: that you inherit sins worth dying for, merely by being born.

      These two principles alone are so horrifyingly immoral as to render any further discussion moot.

      •  Matter of perspective regarding what is immoral (0+ / 0-)

        Read St. Augustine for original sin, which not every Christian group adheres to.  

        As for substitutionary atonement, again, it depends on the theology.  Some traditions (like Catholicism) argue that you have to earn the grace to achieve salvation--it just doesn't come through belief alone (which many protestant traditions argue).  

        However, I would say that before you label an entire faith tradition as "horrifyingly immoral," you should ask how immoral it is to make that statement in the first place...

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:42:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are not some things horrifyingly immoral? (0+ / 0-)

          You seem to be implying that categorizing a belief system as horrifyingly immoral is, itself, immoral. This leads to the bizarre conclusion that those who condemn the Nazis are themselves as bad as Nazis. In philosophy this is called reductio ad absurdum; in layman's terms it means your argument is broken.

          I do realize that the specific terms are not necessarily used by all Christian faiths, and that there is much argument over exactly what they mean. However, the simple fact remains that the Christian story is salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, and that man needs salvation.

          These are immoral principles: they violate the entire concept of moral responsibility. If others can pay for your wrongs, then what does it mean to be responsible? If you are guilty of other's wrongs, then what does it mean to be responsible? And what kind of morality is devoid of personal responsibility?

          •  Since you'e gone Godwin I'll just respond (0+ / 0-)

            that if you don't see the problem--and immorality--of labeling a religious system as "horrifyingly immoral" and ignore the results of such a belief in the 20th century, then you are being foolish at best.

            To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

            by dizzydean on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 08:26:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The core problem with Christianity is... (5+ / 0-)

    ...that it is founded on the most primitive and appalling view one can have of a deity - one that can only be appeased through a human sacrifice.

    All the sweet teachings about loving one another etc. that come along with can't overcome or disguise that fact.

  •  Matthew 5:38 Eye for an eye? No! (4+ / 0-)
    Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, Resist not him that is evil: but whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
    Anyone who quotes "eye for an eye" is specifically quoting something that Jesus explicitly condemns.

    Everyone is innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 09:45:12 AM PDT

  •  Taught 4th grade religious ed today (12+ / 0-)

    Today my lesson focused on "faith, hope, love.  And the greatest of these is love..."  I told the kids that when they make choices based on love then they will always make the right choice.  I was educated by nuns and Jesuits - many good, intelligent men and women who truly tried to inspire us to make the world better.  It is hard for me to see so many false prophets spreading hate and intolerance in Jesus' name.  But...we know what Jesus thought of the hypocrites.

    "Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others." St. Augustine

    by wsbuffalo on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:07:29 AM PDT

    •  That's all many of us non-believers can ask (8+ / 0-)

      Is for those who believe in the redemptive messages of their faith to spread those beliefs.   I commend you for your work to spread a positive message :)

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 10:12:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Somehow I think (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dopetron, Va1kyrie, tmservo433, Chi

        you and I may be closer in our beliefs than our labels suggest.  I commend you for writing this diary:)

        "Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others." St. Augustine

        by wsbuffalo on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:24:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Jesus the son of man (0+ / 0-)

          was a bit schizo on who, exactly, he was imparting the teachings to, and to whom he was offering salvation. He was a Jew preaching to Jews, though was quite indiscriminate in his healing and forgiveness miracles and didn't mind gentiles in the audience.

          After he was killed his brother James became head of the sect in Jerusalem, and insisted all wannabe Christians must follow all the traditional Jewish laws. IOW, become Jews in order to become Christians.

          Paul universalized the faith outside of Judea proper, and won the debate with James on the issue. But even Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan, and made mention of people outside the Jewish tribe/tradition and faith altogether as being good people worthy of salvation.

  •  i don't think this is new. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Batya the Toon, Joieau, Yahzi

    any one with some historical awareness knows that religious power and scandal go hand in hand for centuries upon centuries.  it doesn't cause me to despise religion. but i will always despise corruption.  

    i know some who desire a religion-free world.  that won't solve the problem.   those who seek a position with unchecked power always find a way.  whatever philosophy, ideology suits the era will rise up and take control where possible.   i think keeping various powers at odds with each other is the way to keep them in check.  

    it wasn't persecution by a liberal government that persuaded the earliest immigrants to escape to the Americas.

    by dunnjen on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:06:59 AM PDT

  •  exellent (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon, tmservo433, Chi

    Nice idea.  I think that saying that extremist Christians are waging war on christianity is a great idea.

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:24:41 AM PDT

  •  Speaking as a pastor (9+ / 0-)

    I wish we could shout this from the rooftops.  The only thing I would add is that those who have turned Christianity into a religion about what goes on in the bedroom have by and large done it to direct the faithful away from what Jesus talked about most--how we treat our money.  Greed is a moral value, indeed the one Jesus talked about most.

    There are many Christians who know this, but we rarely get coverage in the traditional media.  We express our faith by contributing to food pantries, or building houses, or lobbying for the poor. Things look bleak now, but God is sovereign and works for the good of God's children, even when those who are supposed to be proclaiming the Gospel pervert it.  

    To me, the proof of the truth of Christianity is shown by the fact that it has lasted two thousand years, despite all the fools who have thought they were proclaiming the gospel.  I am blessed to be one of those fools.

    Five years after I chose my username, happily living somewhere else.

    by Tenn Wisc Dem on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:30:53 AM PDT

  •  Its not under attack. Like most other religions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433

    the nature of what is deemed "truly christian" varies with time. This is just part of that change. I disturbing part I grant you.

    One failed attempt at a shoe bomb and we all take off our shoes at the airport. Thirty-one school shootings since Columbine and no change in our regulation of guns. --- John Oliver

    by voroki on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 11:43:29 AM PDT

    •  While differences in doctrine (0+ / 0-)

      Change as time goes on, and the practices and emphasis move, the abandonment of basic principles means you have supplanted the root of the faith with something else.

      As a result, you just don't have the original part at all anymore.

      But I get what  you mean..  but as a matter of rhetoric in confronting the continuous "there is a war against our faith" I like to point out they are waging a war on their own faith by that standard, and their war is a brutal war to supplant their cornerstones.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:39:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Will the real Christianity please stand up? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devis1, Persiflage, Yahzi

    In this corner, Jesus, St. Francis, the Abolitionist ministers & preachers, Dorothy Day, Bonhoeffer,  Thomas Merton, MLK, John XXIII, and their ilk, however spare or plentiful on the ground you may think them to have been in the "Christian" era.

    In the other, Saul/Paul with the tradition of anti-Semitism he started stretching from him to the Holocaust and beyond;

     the persecutors of Arianism and all the other Christological heresies;

    the blood-soaked Crusaders against the Muslims and the orthdox Christians of Constantinople & it's empire, who often carried out horrific pogroms against European Jews on the way east;

    the effectors of the land-grabbing genocide of the Albigensian Crusade ("Kill them all & let God sort them out");

    the perpetrators of the innumerable wars of religion stemming from the Reformation, which had genocidal after-effects as long after as the Great Famine(s) in 19th-century Ireland and murderous effects as late as the Northern Ireland "Troubles" in the late 20th century;

    the German churches who cooperated with or even promoted Nazism and the various Catholic hierarchies who cooperated with brutal dictatorships in Spain, Portugal, and numerous Latin American countries;

    the holy men who burned Bruno at the stake and suppressed Gallileo & put him under house arrest; and William Jennings Bryan of Scopes Trial fame and all his successors down to the present;

    all the clergy-men who justified slavery and then Jim Crow as God's will and by reference to the Bible;

    John Paul, Benedict, and all their subordinate protectors/enablers of pedophiles.

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

    I have no idea how to do the calculus to answer whether institutional Christianity has done more harm than good.  But, since Jesus did say that we would know his followers by how well they treated one another, I'd say that most purportedly Christian churches have a long way to
    go to demonstrate that they're actually something Jesus would recognize as following his preaching.

    "If you don't read the newspapers, you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- M. Twain

    by Oliver St John Gogarty on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 12:40:05 PM PDT

  •  Jesus is not the messiah (0+ / 0-)

    Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:

    Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.
    Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.
    Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations.
    Jewish belief is based on the nation of Israel revelation not an individual revelation.

    Politicians give religion a bad name. But so do a lot of priests. We've all read about them. And their bishops, in many cases. Then there are the preachers, as venal a lot as ever walked. We know some of them, too.

    Of the three groups, I feel only for the politicians. Politicians say they are Christians as hey pander, lie, but not until they've identified the suckers and what the suckers want, and then they give it to them. I blame the suckers (Republican voters).

    Politicians are buying into the Ayn Rand philosophy of the virtue of selfishness and turning into a Christian value.

    "If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject".

    Ayn Rand

  •  A neighbor couple & I are friends... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433

    ...despite the fact that I cannot accept the couples Baptist religious beliefs despite a visit to their church with them and they in no way would consider my non belief in "G-ds".

    However we enjoy each others friendship based on a neighborly feeling of love that we both use as the key that
    keeps the door to our friendship open.

  •  My 2 cents. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DJ Rix

    Personally I have a strong distaste for religion and spirituality. I strongly believe that everyone has the right to believe in and practice any religion or spiritual path of their choosing, and I enjoy religious studies, but I do not respect the beliefs in and of themselves.

     Much like nationalism, I see religion as a negative influence on humanity. When I meet good people who happen to be religious, to me they are the outlier or exception, not the rule. They are good people despite, not because of their faith.

     I will always view religion and spirituality as fantasy, mythology and organized ignorance. When I witness people of any religious persuasion openly practicing their faith, I see it as glorified "make-believe". Your deities or spirits are nothing more than imaginary friends. They may be real for you, but they're not overall real.

     You can believe in them if you want, I won't stop or harass you, I'll even fight for your 1st amendment right to practice your faith, but I can never take it seriously.

     Science isn't perfect, but it explains a whole lot more than religion ever will. People who actually study and analyze the universe have a better understanding of it than people who follow imaginary friends and ancient myths.

     I have a strong feeling this post will offend some people, but I don't really care. I'm NOT sorry for sharing my honest opinion on religion. If anyone is hypersensitive and petty enough to HR me, then go ahead. I've been wanting to get this off my chest.

  •  You aren't a poet (0+ / 0-)

    Every poet I know is  spiritual person, even the atheists.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 02:34:08 PM PDT

    •  Well, OK (3+ / 0-)

      I guess I will have to stick to prose.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:26:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Huh? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmservo433, DJ Rix

      What does your comment about poetry have to do with this diary? And why do you say the diarist is not a "spiritual person" (whatever that means)?

      Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:33:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The author expressed a distaste (0+ / 0-)

        for spirituality. It's not a disturbing comment, but I did find it peculiar.  I think the Christian right also has a distaste for spirituality. They are unable to handle metaphor. Science  uses metaphor to explain difficult concepts of time & space.  Spirituality is a slippery word. But I believe many experiences can be considered spiritual ones apart from any belief in the supernatural.

        "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

        by DJ Rix on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:40:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hm, maybe you meant to reply to a comment. (0+ / 0-)

          I see a comment expressing that, but not the diary. Also, I see a different commenter's sig line that mentions poets. Personally, I avoid using the word because I'm not sure what meaning people try to convey with it.

          Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

          by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:53:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  A distaste for spirituality? (0+ / 0-)

          I find that many people can embrace whatever they view as spiritual, and as a matter philosophy I find a greatness in so much of the worlds religions.. it doesn't mean that I buy the religion, but I definitely buy the fact that people can see beauty in the world that goes beyond our simple ability to define it.

          Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

          by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:08:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I don't need a book to tell me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, Chi

    how to treat my fellow human, or to provide me with a moral compass.  Maybe the problem is that too many people have their noses stuck in a musty old book when they could be looking up and seeing the world instead.

  •  this is a very important diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, SchuyH

    ... and i am very glad you wrote it.  thank you.

    Dirigiste vs Free Mkt -6.25/ Libertarian vs Authoritarian -4.72

    by bob in ny on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:17:30 PM PDT

  •  Jonathan Merritt on Charles Worley (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433

    This diary echos the frustration of younger Christians.

  •  I'm tipping and reccing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, Yahzi

    this diary despite my reservations.  First, let me emphasize that I very much like the version of Christianity that you present here.  I hope it catches on.  Second, however, I feel that I must object to your language of "hijacking".  That language suggests that there was a point in history where the Christianity you outline here was the norm and that what we're witnessing today is a deviation.  

    Historically that's just not true.  The fundamentalisms, bigotry, oppressiveness, and intolerance that we witness today have overwhelmingly been the norm throughout the history of Christianity.  Maybe this was never what Christ intended, but as a set of social institutions-- the only thing that matters where politics and governance is concerned (what people believe in their hearts is irrelevant to how power functions) --this has been what Christianity has been.  Have there been exceptions?  Sure.  There was the role some Christians played in abolition, there was MLK, there have been social gospel movements, and so on.  These things, however, have always been minority positions and exceptions in the history of Christianity, holding a vanishingly small place in the overall statistical phenomena.

    I am not trying to cause offense because, as I said, I wish more people thought like my leftist Christian friends.  I only speak up because pretending that this hasn't been representative of Christian history does an injustice to all of those who have suffered under the yoke of the dominant and oppressive forms of this incredibly powerful set of political institutions.  When folks speak like this, they behave as if GLBT people such as myself, people of other faiths, atheists, native Americans, women, etc., just have some sort of irrational hatred of Christianity, as if we pull these things out of thin air, ignoring that we've dealt with genuine exercises of powers on the very flesh of our bodies.

    •  I understand (0+ / 0-)

      What you mean.  After all, to pretend all was perfect at some point in the past would defy everything from the reformation to the crusades and oppression; it would deny the inquisition and treason.

      But I was hoping to get across the point that the -hope- of the faith, not necessarily how it has always been practice has held up for the followers core beliefs.. and many politicians are busy boo-hooing about a war on the faith; but by that standard, there are several wars on the faith.. the question is, which one is the most egregious; and the war to remove the teachings of Jesus from the modern Church has to rank higher than most others.  ;)

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 03:42:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Isn't that sort of (0+ / 0-)

        idealization part of the problem though?  People excuse the sins of the worldly religious institutions based on the premise that it's an imperfect realization of a perfect ideal.  In this way they allow that horror to be perpetrated again and again.

        •  Aspiring to a greater cause (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JosephK74

          Is a tricky matter.   In the end, almost everything falls short.  People on here largely know that I am an atheist.  But it doesn't mean I can't see value in people who find hope in their religion and see good within it.   It is not for me, and I don't recognize it as a higher power; but at the same time, my telling people "abandon all of it" will be met with deaf ears.

          As opposed to encouraging people to find the hope and promise that attracted the original followers of any faith and say: how do you stand next to the higher causes proposed here?

          Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

          by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 04:18:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh don't get me wrong. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Yahzi

            Matters are different when discussing philosophy and practice.  When it's a matter of practice, I'm not too concerned with why people advocate the values they do, just that they advocate those values.  If one arrives at their values through Buddha, Jesus, Epicureanism, Utilitarianism, Marx, and so on is of little concern to me.  If the discussion is a matter of philosophy, then questions of true grounds become important.  I personally find many of the theism vs atheism debates uninteresting.  As far as I'm concerned, the only interesting issue of practice is how certain religious orientations affect public life and governance.  It's a purely sociological issue for me.  I thus have no truck with Liberal Catholics or Unitarians that don't negatively impact public life with their beliefs.

            The one point I'd make is that I think we need to understand that these aren't issues of private belief.  Suppose you have a Catholic of progressive persuasion that disagrees with the church on many points, advocates contraceptives, gay marriage, etc.  Great!  The problem is that if this progressive Catholic is attending a Catholic church and giving a percent of their income to that church, they are promoting an anti-gay agenda, anti-contraceptives, a pro-life agenda, etc., through how their money contributes to political efforts to engage in these oppressive policies.  In cases like this, it's not that I have a problem with a person's beliefs or theology, but with how they are providing economic funding to an oppressive organization.

            •  I think this is a reasoned, person to person (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JosephK74, SchuyH

              Response, however the reality remains that per population, the majority of americans are affiliated with one faith or another.   Asking them to leave their faiths, despite all of their faults is just not going to happen.  

              But, appealing to the better viewpoints of those may lead to a better political - and social climate, and in the end, we cannot cut off our nose to spite our face, we need those voters and those people who can accept both their faith and the view of social issues that aligns with the real world ;)

              Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

              by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:39:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Wish I had seen your post before I made mine n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  In the last ten years? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    Really? The church was pure ten years ago? All of this bigotry and hate and greed is only ten years old?

    Rick Warren started Saddleback in 1980.

    The Southern Baptist Commission was founded in 1845.

    The Puritans were hanging Quakers in 1660.

    And that's just on this continent.

    If you think the problems within the Christian faith are only ten years old, I can only deduce that you must be eleven.

    •  Let's think about the thrust of my argument... (0+ / 0-)

      I could go back historically and argue about so many of the things you sight and more; from the inquisition to crusades and so on.

      But the thrust of my argument is that in the last ten years, we are on an upswing that works the other direction; not churches who do terrible things in the name of their god; that has gone on since the beginning of almost all faiths.   In this case, in the last ten years, we have politicians who are posing and guiding faiths in an effort to establish policy.

      Has this gone on before?   Yes, absolutely, the roots of the KKK and so on.   But in the last ten years, we are back on an upswing that mirrors those events, that's all.

      You cannot say "things are pure" at any point with any organization, any organization that involves people.  All you can do is look at the upside and downside of each group and the impact they have on our country.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

      by Chris Reeves on Sun Apr 07, 2013 at 05:30:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you are only talking about short-term trends (0+ / 0-)

        then sure, I agree: the last ten years have been in the wrong direction. Although, honestly, it's more like the last twenty or thirty that things have been going that direction; it's just that its so much easier to see now (or rather, so much harder to not see).

        But that leaves open the obvious rebuttal: perhaps the direction you want it to go in is itself a short-term trend.

        The entire thrust of my post (and of JoesephK47's post above) is that you are operating off of an assumption about what religion is supposed to be like, but have not provided any compelling evidence for that assumption. On the other hand, history has provided us with a lot of evidence against it.

        Maybe you're just wrong. Maybe religion can't help but be about tribal identity, moral judgment, ostracism, and conformity. Maybe that's what religion really is, and the nice bits you like are actually the abnormalities.

        How would you know? What test/observation/evidence would distinguish between the two cases?

        •  All we can ever ask for (0+ / 0-)

          Is a series of short trends that help shape youth who will either embrace philosophies without the rigors of a doctrine.

          Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

          by Chris Reeves on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 07:35:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We can ask for more (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tmservo433

            Instead of spending all our time climbing up or down a steep hill, we can move to another hill.

            The treatment of black people in America went up and down in short term trends, and still does. However, the abolition of slavery rather dramatically changed the underlying median of that treatment.

            In the same way I am suggesting that religion, as a construct, may not be what you think it is. If you were living in the antebellum South, you might be agitating for better treatment of slaves, such as letting them read the Bible; but it might never occur to you that abolishing the peculiar institution would be such a sea-change as to drown all your current concerns.

            Free your mind: consider a world without any religion at all. Consider a world in which knowledge derives solely from empirical experiments that anyone can replicate; in which authority is earned solely by measurable results; in which tradition is only a guideline, to be trumped by innovation whenever it can; in which great care is taken to remove all possible bias, going so far as to blindfold the judge and jury in every trial.

            Would such a world suffer the problems of authoritarianism and tribal affiliation that you are struggling against?

            Because, you know, that world already exists: it's called science. I submit that if you replaced your epistemological paradigm of revealed knowledge with one of derived knowledge, all of the problems you are struggling with would be vastly diminished, like making molehills out of mountains.

            Or, to use another metaphor: putting out that fire would be a lot easier if there wasn't a hole in your bucket.

            •  Slight difference (0+ / 0-)

              You are preaching to a choir on one point, I have said here, and in many forums that I am an atheist.

              That having been said, I am not speaking on Kos about this as a religious forum, but as a political realities forum.

              You can fight for the spread of atheism, and that's fine, I wish you great luck with it, but in the meantime, we need to win elections and take back issues.   And part of that is putting the opposition to the issues we care about on the defense by pointing out the foolishness of their claims.

              So, while I get your argument, we will have to agree to disagree about the realities of how that mixes with politics and how we succeed at the ballot box ;)

              Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

              by Chris Reeves on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 09:41:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I had no clue (0+ / 0-)

                Really, I garnered not a single clue from this entire exchange that you were an atheist.

                Nonetheless, I would submit that it is possible to strive for less harmful religions while recognizing that all religion is necessarily harmful. I did not get that sense from your writing.

                Which makes me uncomfortable; it is all well and good to push your opinion, but if it's not perfectly clear where you're coming from, it seems a bit sleazy. When I concern-troll religious folks, I make sure they know I'm an atheist first.

                •  My apologies (0+ / 0-)

                  I've been here for.. well, since 2004, and I've posted repeatedly about being an atheist in my diaries; I also noted in one of the very first comments in this diary that I was an atheist, right off the bat.

                  That having been said, I grew up Catholic, most of my friends & family are Catholic, and I often write about the life of a lapsed Catholic, including summaries of the potential popes/etc.

                  It's not so much a concern troll factor as: this is the kind of church I had as a small kid, I left for reasons of science, but the good I saw in the church as a youth is being eaten away by lunatics who are taking to the pulpits ;)

                  Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

                  by Chris Reeves on Wed Apr 10, 2013 at 04:01:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I think this started in earnest around 1970-1980. (0+ / 0-)

        Otherwise good diary.

        "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

        by Chi on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 04:25:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  there IS a Christian left (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, paradise50, tmservo433

    Be careful about lumping all Christians into the same class as the enraged loudmouths who have beliefs, but little faith. Peopled as it is by the same wimpish, bookish and polite souls that for too long populated the political left, the Christian left has stupidly tried to argue rationally about such matters. But logic is futile against irrationality, as it was on the political stage. So the war 'on' Christianity will have no affect other than to rev up their victim meme to heretofore unheard of levels. It is the 'war' within Christianity, better described as countermovement, that will have useful, actual results. And the Christian left, protestant and Catholic alike, seem to have a champion in Francis.

    The growth of the 'conservative' (by which I mean 'paranoid') movement in Christianity is actually already over. They have succeeded in driving millions from the church and such a strategy can only fail, and the countermovement will succeed. The Puritans, after all, are now Massachusetts. We will now just move on, leaving those paralyzed by their beliefs, and their lack of faith, behind. As Christ said, let the dead bury their own. Amen.

  •  To me the term Christian is something (0+ / 0-)

    like the term "American"

    Both organizations run a rather loose ship such that any number of ideologies can be incorporated under their umbrella.

    So is America under attack when it drifts in a bloodthirsty, bigoted direction?  No, not really - that is just what it is becoming, or has become  - and as an side, it looks really bad from the outside.

    Now substitute "Christianity" for "America" in the above sentence, - seriously, you can do it almost seamlessly!

    And as much as an insider (from either perspective, or both for that matter) wishes to protest, that really doesn't change reality ONE IOTA.

  •  It's affecting liberal Christian churches (0+ / 0-)

    I expect that a lot of young people, who only have come into contact with this kind of Christian, are turned off Christianity altogether. Luckily, I live in a blue state, where there are lots of Christian churches whose values i can respect (although there are a number of them I can't).  How much are liberal Christian churches outnumbered in the red states?

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