The Christian Right’s Short Sitedness

For several months, a Christian right group here in North Dakota has been trying to collect enough signatures to place on a ballet something called the Religious Liberty Restoration Ammendment.  The “right” does not seem to understand that this measure could return to harm them, not to mention the rest of our citizens.

The ammendment says, in effect, that if you have a job, and some task comes up that you feel violates some religious tenent that you hold, you do not have to perform that task.  If you have a “sincerely held religous belief” that you feel is compromised by the task, you don’t have to do it. 

This ammendment would place religious previlage higher than it has every been in our State.  The peculiar aspect of it is that very little documentation is required as to what it means to sincerely hold some belief.  It seems like religions that have not yet been born may crop up to claim exemption from tasks that someone does not want to bother doing.

We know it refers to pharmacists who do not want to sell birth control pills and school councelors who do not want to provide help to gay students.  But, what about other religious taboos?

A muslim cab driver may be able to not carry anyone who has consumed alcohol.  If serving pork is a taboo of someone’s faith and they are working at a barbeque place, he can refuse to do much of anything. 

This measure would expand government’s reach in a big way.

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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48 Responses to The Christian Right’s Short Sitedness

  1. Tyler says:

    Jon,

    I’m curious as to why groups of all sorts get to advance their own “Social Engineering” agendas into law but advancing the religious freedoms guaranteed to us already into law…the same religious freedoms that are often tied to a “Moral Code” or “Code of Ethics” are apparently “Beyond The Pale” to you.

    If Liberals want to force people to “Accept” a groups own social agenda, let’s use I dunno… Homosexuality for for example…. “Through Law” in the Public Square than I think its only fair that Liberals make accommodations in public and private institutions for people with religious convictions and not force them to do things that is against their beliefs.

    Of course I realize when you are trying to work as hard as you (and others) are to “Birth” a new “Secular Framework” onto society that ludicrously integrates philosophies that are completely incongruent to each other such as “Moral Relativism” and “Scientific Materialism/Naturalism” there is explicitly no room in the public square for values that are lets say non-secular, let alone informed by ones “Religious” tenants.

    Hope you and Christopher Hitchens get it all figured out for us….we await with eagerness the day our new atheistic secular prophets seize power to shepherd us all into some kind of future “Star Trek Universe” only with more human debauchery and total lack of self control. Mmmm maybe “Brave New World” better identifies your glorious future. All hail the Dogma of “Scientism” and “Moral Relativism”!

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Tyler–4:04 Thanks for commenting, Tyler. As I see it, the social engineering is being done by folks who want to infuse our government with their religious bias’. When a business opens it doors and only serves the people that conform to its religious standards, that seems like social engineering. Just how I see it.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Jon; Your “When a business opens it doors and only serves the people that conform to its religious standards, that seems like social engineering.” I am I to understand that in your opinion then. that a Jewish kosher market must have a section devoted to pork, and shellfish, and other foods with non-kosher processing? Also, do you believe that Christian Bible and book stores must have a section promoting atheistic writers, such as Hitchens? This would seem to be the result, even mandated if your premise is taken to completion. There just may be some unintended results on both sides.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wana 3:38 Perhaps my selection of words left an inaccurate impression. The kosher place & the Chrisitian book store, if they encounter government in some way in order to conduct business with the public (business & tax collection), should be required to sell whatever it is they sell to anyone who walks in the door. We should not return to the old South, and the old North in many cases, where a landlord could refuse to rent to a black person, or a mixed race couple, because it violated their religious beliefs. The reason I use the term “social engineering” is that I see an effort by some, not necessarily you, to use government to socially engineer a society where religious values, rather than equal rights, carrys the day in all circumstances.

      • Tyler says:

        John,

        And as I see it, militant secularists are engaging in their own social engineering to infuse our government with their “anti-religious bias”. Never mind that these militant secularists have no foundation to base their system of thought they are advancing on besides “Moral Relativism” which is a laughable emotionalistic moving target.

        P.S I have no interest in using government to for a religious or secular agenda on anybody. My interest would be for government to get “Out of our lives” and pay more respect to the individual. But since secular atheistic leftists continue to want to pass social engineering laws I and others will meet them in the public square. I reject your argument that it is religious types that are using government.

        P.S.S John once we have Government dictates out of our lives this still leaves you with the powerful liberal hegemony of the mainstream media and hollywood to accomplish what you want in the “”Culture” of the public square. You and your “secular-values squire Sancho-de Bill Maher Panza can continue to use the media all you want to tilt at your windmills.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Tyler 4:10 PM “I reject your argument that it is religious types that are using government.” It seems to me we have the society most representative of our Constitution (aside from its original endorcement of salvery) it each person who does business with the public is requred to treat every individual who walks in the door equally. IMHO, this is the greatest quality we hold in the good ol’ USA. By reaching the level of equal treatment we have in place now, we are able to take advantage of the talents of all races, creeds and gender. If we return to the values in the days of segregation we will all move downward in our standard of living and quality of life.

          • Tyler says:

            Jon,

            You mean how you want to “Segregate” religious peoples from the Public Square? People are going to disagree, its not the governments job to “Force Agreement”.

            One could look at the origins of your philosophic foundations on life..most likely a kind of “Atheistic Marxism” and what it accomplished as it was put into organized political action, “Communism”. Marxism was so accepting of their fellow workers & proliterians that they only rounded up about 100 million of them and systematically killed them in the Gulag, through forced starvation & direct murder, genocide, etc in under a century.

            Finally, you need to separate people’s material physical characteristics, black, white, woman, male from their ideas and actions in motion which are not Taxonomic Physical Characteristics. One’s ideas and ones actions are NOT physical characteristics…I do NOT have to accept somebody’s ideas or personal actions at all.

            Another way to look at this difference for example, All animals eat food..this does not mean because I eat food and you eat food that we are Alaskan Brown bears.

            As an avowed Atheistic Scientific Materialist, you think you would be able to apply your theories more comprehensively Jon, even as you make a desperate appeal to “Civil Rights Speak” in suggesting that I have to be forced to accept the behaviors and ideas of others when behaviors and ideas are fluid, change, and are subject to the will & self-control and change of heart & mind……physical characteristics like being “Black” are fixed and finite.

            Jon you should work harder at making your utilitarian arguments…remember the greater good of “The Mass Societal Result” is sancrosanct not whether the “Action in and of itself” is right or wrong. Isn’t this why Hitler was correct when he got rid of the infirmed and the mentally retarded because they were a terrible burden on the greater societal good of advancing the healthy economy of Germany at the time? Hitler was a “Master Utilitarian” wasn’t he?

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Tyler 5:48 First, salvery and segregation were based, in large part, on religious convictions. Thus, they were not unlike todays conflict over religious views. Second, Hilter was a devout Catholic. He said various time that he was carrying out the will of God. The Catholic Church at the time endorced him.

  2. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; First of all There is much evidence that slavery and segregation were just as much based on economics, and personal bias using Scripture selectively to validate those positions. Many Christians even in the South didn’t believe in these errors, and many provided protection for escaping Slaves. Secondly, Hitler was raised in a Catholic family. His later behavior, SS paganism, and his use of Christianity, and more specifically, the Catholic Church also was a use of convenience to gain acceptance to rule absolutely. I must acknowlege that there were Catholics, and others, that fell in line with him out of convenience, and messmerization, but not all. His actions in spite of what he alluded to, reveal his true nature and beliefs; “By their fruits”. If you want documentation, simply go to GOOGLE, and do some honest research. You will find substantial evidence both pro, and con. Again, your broad-brush statements reveal your proclivity to present the same old lines heard time and time again, and I’m sure that some may come to believe you if they don’t use objective critical thinking. “If you say it long enough, and often enough, it must be true.” I will say that you just even may believe this to be true, but history doesn’t prove it.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      PS Jon; You also just got to know that Hitler had teachers of economics in his pocket. Math is an exacting science, but economics is more of a philosophy than a science. Since the Jews of germany were heavily involved with banking, the economists following Hitler would have used this as a tool against them. Where would you have stood if you were there at the time? Remember; figures lie, and liars figure.

    • Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

      I would suggest that in the ‘now’ its pretty difficult to discern the difference between ‘legitimate religious expression’ and “…using Scripture selectively to validate… positions.” What’s the test? Ask the people holding the belief? We already know what they’re going to say.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Wait a few years, and see the results. That should give you a pretty good comparison. The “now” is where the injury happens. As for the “now’, look back to history. There is nothing new, only new terms.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wanna 8:41 About Hitler–I can only say that, according to what he said, he thought of himself as being a Christian, not an atheist. The Catholic Church thought of him as a Catholict. I never heard that th SS movement had any link to paganism. Someone else raised the topic of Hilter and I am only passing along factual information.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Jon; Factual, but not complete. An incomplete statement is not accurate, nor honest, known to be or not. One needs to be sure of most, if not all the historic facts before making claims. Of course, if you choose to only listen to those who you agree with, and continue the error, I can’t help you. Bearing in mind your stature in the community and in acedemia, I would have expected more from you.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 10:29 PM I’m glad you agree I am being factual. As far as being incomplete, I am just as “complete” as anyone who says Hitler’s regime was “atheist” or “pagan”. It is more important to clearly identify what religious views fascists claim to represent than it is to assign religious views, like paganism or atheism. The religious identification you assigned, paganism, has no more in common with Hitler’s actual behavior than it has to do with Christianity. The same is true of the earlier poster who claimed Hilter’s acts had something to do with atheism. All kinds of horrific things have been done by Chrisitians, in the name of Christianity, over the ages. But, of course, the anti atheism crowd always identifies Hilter as an atheist, implying that the atheist philosophy somehow endorsed what he did. So, I find it helpful to always point out that both he and representatives of the Church considered him to be Christian. As soon as anti atheists stop identifying him as an atheist or a pagan, I’ll stop calling him a Christian. There is that oft repeated saying, “When the fascist dictator takes over the U. S., he will have a Bible in one hand and the flag in the other. That was Hilter.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            I would not claim that Hitler was an Atheist. His SS had strong Nordic paganism at the center, both in “tradition”, and ritual, with his obvious approval. clearly he, and his used religion as a tool to their ends. For some, even possibly innocently at first. Was this a fault of Theism? I don’t believe so, but there are those within any movement that are less than desirable. Remember the economic chayos Germany was in after WW I . This was an exellent breeding ground for someone to fill the void. ( A savior) you may say. I wouldn’t be surprised that he believed he was that savior, of some sort and he very could have placed himself in the position of a quasi diety. (I speculate here). It is clear that he used anyone, or thing to his advantage.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; I wouldn’t be so comfortable with only being partially factual as you are. As a matter of fact, being partially factual is not being factual at all. It is at best a distortion, leaving the primise untennable.

  3. PK says:

    I agree with Jon on this one. “to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.” Justice Scalia.
    We don’t need this amendment. There are already laws that forbid discrimination against religion by employers and such. If your employer, lets say, makes you work on the sabbath, it’s his right to do so. It’s your right to find another job. This amendment would be crossing the boundary between church and state.
    I also agree with Tyler on his overview of the atheistic agenda.
    Hitler was a fascist. Rome openly endorsed fascism as their preferred form of government and they supported Hitler and Stalin for most of their reign.

    • Tyler says:

      John & PK

      Unlike the militant “Secularists” philosophy of “Moral Relativism” and Dogmatic Scientific Materialism…again two philosophies at complete odds with each other, your concerns about “Hilter” & “Catholic” or “Christian” are easily resolved. I can call a “Tree” a “Rabbit” it doesn’t make it a “Rabbit” no matter how much I want to believe it.

      Simply go to the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” and turn to the doctrines laid out in there that have to do with mandating “Genocide”, “Murder” and “Eugenics”. Once you find those core doctrines your smoking gun will carry more weight. In the meantime, I are you familliar with the document claims of Christianity and specifically the Catholic Church in terms of the amount of people it helps around the world daily and has done throughout the millenia. What more, you can also point to the specific pages in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on how Catholics, indeed all Christians, are mandated to engage in their help to the poor and destitute.

      I reject that Hitler was a beloved practicing Catholic, that is a ridiculous Dawkins inspired “Meme”. I just got done reading a book about a “Priest” who was put into the S.S. and refused to obey orders and he specifically talks how the german high command killed his brother seminarians and explicitly were “Anti-Christian/Catholic” in their orders and structure, He was made aware of the specific “Policies” to do away with Christianity laid out by German High Command upon the New World Order.

      You still haven’t addressed the explicit Atheistic elements of Marxist/Communism atrocities, despite their well known documentation and much more horrific statistics than anything the National Socialists ever did of Germany.

  4. entech says:

    Poor Jon so many labels. By implication you seem to be simultaneously a stalinist, hitlerist, utilitarianist and probably a closet gay devil worshipper. Maybe even a secret employee of that well known liberal media magnate Rupert Murdoch.
    I don’t agree with Hitchens on a lot of things but I do like his comment on laws against religious hatred, read the words, this can only refer to hatred by religious people. There does seem to be a lot more animosity to different ideas by religious groups, to other beliefs as well as to non believers. Strong opinions strongly held are a danger to the world especially if you can invoke a deity or an ideology that makes the propagation of these beliefs and opinions not only desirable but imperative. Of course, most people don’t really understand these things so they must be taught even coerced: So we have Popes and preachers who are little different from Robespierre and Stalin, we know the truth, we know what is good for you we even know better than you what you really want. And for your own good we will force you to be liberated from your mistakes.
    I am not an American resident so cannot have a valid comment on your laws: the answer is surely that if you have a job that offends you sensibilities get another one! If I ran a fast food shop and someone was applying for a job and said they can’t touch bacon I would need to suggest that they seek employment elsewhere. Similarly anyone (except a sixteen year old with a misplaced sense of humour) going into a Kosher restaurant and demanding a bacon sandwich is more than little dumb, deliberately provocative or ? Anyone running a business or providing a service should have the right (I use right in the negative sense of not being deprived of something) to give services to or do business with whomever they want. Contract assassins, white slavers and others that do deliberate and intentional harm are clearly exceptions.
    Adam Smith who published a book called “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” in the same year as the Declaration of Independence (as an Englishman I am ashamed at how many years it took for me to realise how completely justifiable this was, in the words of John Adams defending their rights as Englishmen) in this book and his earlier Theory of Moral sentiments he opposes slavery on both moral and economic grounds. Although many abolitionists were Christians the justification was always Biblical.
    Atheists as a group do not seem to have an organised political agenda apart from the separation of church and state. In Australia where I now live they have a rather strange system of electing parliament which involves compulsory voting: voting is not a right or privilege but a legal requirement. The Exclusive Sect of The Plymouth Brethren under the freedom of religion laws have an exemption from voting, also from taxation and get state subsidies for their schools, but have been known to spend a lot of money supporting politicians they prefer. We have overtly religious political parties with elected members who push their agenda at every opportunity, we also have a leader (Prime Minister) she is a declared atheist and has a resident male partner. The Prime Minister supports the prohibition on gay marriage, subsidies for religious schools and tax exemptions for religious groups.
    Just a humble opinion. I quite like reading and participating in this blog, although sometimes a little ad hominem it does not descend to abuse.
    David

  5. PK says:

    Tyler. Perhaps Rome didn’t know what was happening in those countries, unlikely but perhaps. The fact is they supported both regimes. Not Lenin, but Stalin in the Soviet Union. He was just as bad.
    Are you aware of the millions of people the Catholic Church murdered because of heresy over the millenia? Are you aware of the Jesuit Order and the oath they take? Are you aware that the Catholic Church was very tight with Mussolini and that Italy was the first country to recognize the Vatican as a sovereign country again? The Vatican actually says that fascism is they’re preferred form of government, that’s their own words, not mine. Do you know the Catholic Catechism has removed the 2nd Commandment and split the 10th into 2?
    I’m a Biblical Christian, not an atheist by the way, and separation of church and state is probably the only thing i agree with Jon on. And whether it’s Catholic Fascism or Atheistic Communism, they were both pretty bad.

    • Tyler says:

      PK

      1. “Millions if people the Catholic Church murdered because of heresy?” That is at best an embellishment at worst an outright malicious lie. According to British Historian and Oxford Educated Dr Henry Kamen in his book “The Spanish Inquisition”…Kamen estimates a total of “2000″ deaths over 350 years. Other historians put the actual number as low as 1500 some as high as 4000.” That would be approximately 998,000, if we assume your “Millions” only means “1 Million” less than what is actually reported by historians. I don’t think your number falls within their margin of error..and Dr. Kamen certainly has more credentials than your internet-assembled meme’s coming from Dawkins Forums or I guess in your case “The Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon” type Christian. I will grant you that its 2000 more than it should be…however the Spanish Inquisition was ran by the Catholic King and Queen of Spain in its formality.
      2. The Crusades were a defense of Christendom from murdering hostile invading muslims. Most historians agree had that not happened we want not have Western Civilization if it had not occured. This means the women in your life would be wearing burkahs and we would not be having these conversations for fear of arrest, pain and death.
      3. The Protestant Salem Witch Trials…millions, hundreds of thousands…actually “25″..19 hanged several died in jails. Again 25 too many…but in “The Black Book Of Communism” explicitly athestic regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot…Stalin rejected his Catholic upbringing openly..have killed 100 million people…documented by credentialed historians.

      You want to to talk about “Crimes of Religion”…you do not want to talk about “Crimes of Atheistic Philosophical Regimes” like the ones mentioned… You can’t have it both ways.

      Finally PK, I assure you I am for separation of Church and State myself. I do not want the state influencing or usurping my religion, much like the current mainline protestant denominations are now letting happen right now. You got to hand it to them..crossing out the ten commandments especially “Adultry” by “Democratic Vote and Committee” takes a lot of hutzspah to appease the secular gods and the creeping regulations and thoughtcrime legislation, but they ARE getting out ahead of the coming oppression.

      No…I like my government small and out of my life and the lives of others. Unlike John and his ilk I will not make the State my God or give it the power to become one which is what they want. (Hitchens is an open Socialist and this is why he supports Hawkish Liberals and Neo-Cons..they both like Big Government and Military Adventures across the globe) The great thing about liberals is on one hand they tell you nobody should tell you what to do and yet on the other hand want to seize and enlarge government to do precisly that.

      I guess PK. You can hate Catholicism all you want. Yours is a ridiculous position. I have more in common with Orthodox Protestants than I do with militant secularists with aspirations of enabling a large wish-list of social engineering bills. In fact, I have more in common with militant Atheists because they are asserting either that they at least know “The Truth”, than I do with with “Agnostics” or wishy-washy Christians.

      I do know this PK, if you think John or the people John likes to hang out with have any room for “Bible-Believing” Christians in the society they want…think again. Start first by reading the works of “Sam Harris”, “Dawkins” “Hitchens” , “Dennet” and others…they have no interest in making room at the table for you at all and they would welcome your support in their “Crusade” while they quitely label you a “Useful Idiot”. The best thing you can do is expose their agenda to the people that thinks its “Hip” to be a “Materialist” or a “Utilitarian” and break through their arguments using “Reason” and “Logic”. I don’t need to quote “Bible Verses” to destroy their arguments or even “Church Doctrine”. I can use both “Reason” and “Logic” to destroy their “Pseudo-Reason and Pseudo-Logic”. This is very simple to do with just basic understanding of Philosophy and Philosophic Principles.

      Finally PK I will not even attempt to deconstruct protestantism. Its pointless, you need to pick a side. A house divided my friend..

      • PK says:

        There was more than one inquisition and more than one crusade.

        “You want to to talk about “Crimes of Religion”…you do not want to talk about “Crimes of Atheistic Philosophical Regimes” like the ones mentioned… You can’t have it both ways.”
        I said they were both bad, I’m not defending the atheistic Soviets here, i just don’t think we can ignore what religious institutions have done.

        “You can hate Catholicism all you want. Yours is a ridiculous position.” Catholicism is filled with paganism. I worship Jesus Christ not the pope or Mary or the saints.

        How am i supporting Jon’s crusade? I don’t understand what you’re talking about. You being a Christian should know the greatest enemy is the anti-Christ. The anti-Christ is a religious system, not atheism, my friend.

        “I will not even attempt to deconstruct protestantism. Its pointless, you need to pick a side.” Are you saying that if i’m not Catholic, i’m not a Christian? I’m not going to worship the Lord on the first day of the week dedicated to the sun, Sunday. I’m not going to pray to Mary who’s dead and cannot hear my prayer. i’m not going to go to church and worship over dead saints bones. The list goes on. I know what the Bible says man and i know Catholic doctrine is not Biblical. Clearly you’re Catholic and i’m sorry if i’ve offended you with my interpretation of the bible and history. To offend has never been my intent.

        • Tyler says:

          PK

          I’m not offended, I just find it interesting that you are trying to take a more “Nuanced” position. Is the motivation intellectual vanity or a wantingness to “Stick Out” in the crowd. The Anti-Christ could just as well be a quasi-religious system such as Government enforced radical “Secular-Humanism”. The Government is clearly the Secularists God and relativism and a corrupted form of true pluralism” are part of its doctrines.

          You need to read the intentions of the “Great Minds” of the Free Thinker set carefully…from Dawkins/Harris/Dennet through Sanger/Rand/Sarte/Nietzche….think carefully about their ideas put into motion..and than ask yourself if “The Whore of Babylon is really your true advesary”.

        • Tyler says:

          The Spanish Inquisition, the one I mentioned, was the biggest one and did the most damage PK, however the numbers I mentioned about deaths encompasses the whole thing.

          I don’t worship “The Pope” or “Mary”…one is an apostle tracing lineage back to Jesus and the other is the Mother of Jesus. When the Pope is being a good Pope and the last ones haven’t been too bad..what a great witness, the other one was a humble servant of God, again both great witnesses and human examples to strive to be “Christ-Like” which they do…which means so can I…so can you.

          • PK says:

            The Albigensian Crusade was just one of many offensive crusades. Arnaud Amalric reported 60,000 people were killed in Beziers when they burnt the entire city town. That was just one occurrence. I think your figures are much to low on the total number of people killed by the Papacy over 1600 years. Perhaps multi-millions could be too high, it depends on the figures used.
            I find your suggestion that Secular Humanism could be the anti-Christ flawed. Secular Humanism denies any existence of God and the supernatural, but yet the beast performs miracles and forces the world to worship him. To me it’s contradicting, a religious system teaming up with government makes more sense considering a women rides a beast. A women prophetically means a church and a beast means a kingdom.
            You pray to Mary and ask a man to forgive your sins. I turn to Jesus directly….so can you.
            “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
            1 Timothy 2:5

          • Tyler says:

            PK

            So I’m clear…if one was to try and find the personification of “Absolute Concentrated Evil on Earth” would it be Catholics and the Vatican? In your mind?

          • PK says:

            Absolute concentrated evil can be found anywhere, the world is filled with it and always has been after our falling away into sin.
            I wouldn’t label any Catholic such. My whole family that i’m closest to are Catholic. I think you’ve taken what i’ve said very personally, and perhaps i don’t blame you. You must understand that i’m not speaking against anyone who is Catholic, but against the system itself. The anti-Christ is described as a spirit, that manifests itself as a religious-governmental system, that the world is forced to worship. I believe Catholicism, as a system, fits the criteria laid out in the Bible. They do blaspheme by saying they can forgive sins. They have changed Biblical times and laws. There is a mixing of Babylonian sun-worship in their doctrine. The Jesuit Order has founded nearly every fraternal order on the planet over the last 500 years, and if you don’t think secret societies are a major player in the geo-political arena, you don’t know how the world works. Not only are these secret societies embedded into government and round table groups, Jesuits themselves are in high ranking positions. Now lets turn the attention away from me, and look into the information i’m presenting. Stop trying to judge me as a person, rather look up what i’m saying.

          • Tyler says:

            PK

            You didn’t answer my question. Answer my question. You seem to imply that it is. Even though I told myself I wouldn’t I am pursuing this with you because I want to see how far someone like you will go with your ideas and implications.

            I find it fascinating that despite cultural evidence and an increasingly hostile media and government to Christian values…your obsession is with dispatching your fellow Christian or even one you feel is misguided. This would seem to go against human logic and reason. It must be amusing for the secularists to watch.

          • PK says:

            I thought i did answer your question. I said absolute concentrated evil can be found anywhere. The devil isn’t tied to one religion, race, sex, nationality or group. I believe the system itself is the anti-Christ based on Biblical criteria. I also drew a line between the people and the system. I don’t know what else you want. If you believed a certain system was the anti-Christ, and saw all the deceived people that followed it, knowing they’re good at heart, wouldn’t you try to reach out to them and try to awaken them to the deception?

          • PK says:

            I’m not against you, but you are obviously against “someone like me”. Whatever that means. Can we just have a debate on the Bible? If you can prove me wrong great, i want you to.

          • Tyler says:

            PK

            You didn’t actually answer my question, you just used a tactic to generalize evil into multiple contexts except my specific context where I wanted you to stay. I did not ask you if “Evil exists everywhere” I asked you if you specifically believe it to be “More Concentrated in the Catholic Church, her clergy and its members”.

            You would be correct in that I AM..formulating an opinion about you by using the words…”Someone like you”…becaaaauuusseee.. I am still finding it fascinating how you turn to someone who is closer in view to you than militant atheistic “Secular” types like John, who openly admit they want to use government and laws to purposely exclude religious peoples or religiously-informed thought from the public square, which is absolutely shocking in its admission as well as its future conclusions in application.

            PK…Let me expand…One would think that it would be logical to assume that people can discern between views that are more closer to one’s view than another’s view. For example,
            1. I am farthest apart in views between a “Theist” and a “Atheist”. One of us believes in a creator the other does not…one of us is wrong. (At least we both believe in an objective truth though but I often find that “Atheists” are relativists so they will hold an “Objective Truth in this case but are total moral realtivsts in another…I suspect they aren’t really Atheists in these instances but rather raging, angry “ANTI-THEISTS”..who want to feel smart.)
            2. I am a shade closer in view to “Polytheists” vs me being a “Monotheist”..we agree about a creator(s) which is plenty to agree on in and of itself…but yet still one of us…is wrong
            3. Judaism, Christianity and Islam believe that God created the Universe…and there is much to agree on between the three of us, especially since all three believe in the God of the old Testatment..yet Buddihism/Hinduisim do not believe “God(s)” created the Universe…one of these groups is wrong
            4. And finally…Protestants do not believe that Jesus established one visible Catholic Church and gave her the authority to teach all people at all times..other Christian Catholics Do….between protestant and catholic there is even more to agree on than individual parties in discussions at stage 1 but yet…one of us is still wrong…….In John’s forum…the argument, the setting, the context he set up here… is usually about “Point 1″ yet you want to consistently provoke an argument with me about “Biblical vs One Catholic and Holy Apostolic Church”. (Point 4) You are consistently going on the offensive..You will note, I have not specifically attacked your theology or beliefs only defended mine.

            So..My point again is “Why” and my only thoughts are, it is because of a kind of hatred or absolute evil you see in Catholicism that you find more dangerous than John’s positions or the people he admires. (Hitchens, Dennet, Harris, Singer others) I find this amazing as the logical outcomes should their wishes come to pass would not be good for you nor me in any way, yet still you want to fence with me.

            PK might I give you an example of the people Jon likes to hang out with for example, “Enter notorious “Community College” Professor and avowed Scientific Materialist Atheist PZ Meyers” to speak at the Freethinkers club in the recent past…Jon conned Mayor Walaker to give the man a public recognition by the city. I will give you two examples of PZ Meyers various grotesqueries:

            1. Documented on his Blog, he stole a “Consecrated Host” or the “Eucharist” which Catholics hold to be the highest of sacraments, and have for thousands of years, and =he desecrated it by putting a rusty nail through it and then toss it into the garbage with pictures. This is considered to be the most incredible affront to Catholics. YET PZ still kept his job at the Community College in Morris because of the liberal secular hegemony that approves of his behavior. ….I wonder what would have happened if a Professor at Morris would have publicly started a KKK club down there on his private blog. Would he/she have kept their job?

            Story number 2..is where PZ equates the murdering of a human life in the womb and the visual wreckage of it to nothing but “Meat”. Quote the great PZ to his adoring disciples such as the FM Freethinkers, quote: “The standard bullying tactics of waving bloody fetuses might cow the squeamish, but I’m a biologist. I’ve guillotined rats. I’ve held eyeballs in my hand and peeled them apart with a pair of scissors. I’ve used a wet-vac to clean up a lake of half-clotted blood from an exsanguinated dog. I’ve opened bodies and watched the intestines do their slow writhing dance, I’ve been elbow deep in blood, I’ve split open cats and stabbed them in the heart with a perfusion needle. I’ve extracted the brains of mice…with a pair of pliers. I’ve scooped brains out of buckets, I’ve counted dendrites in slices cut from the brains of dead babies…….You want to make me back down by trying to inspire revulsion with dead baby pictures? I look at them unflinchingly and see meat. And meat does not frighten me.” End Quote

            What an astonishingly sociopathological statement to make… To objectify a human life like that and this coming from a compassionate Atheist too! PK…this is one of John’s heros! Yet….. you interestingly continue to zone in on me. So PK…I guess if you wish…I would be happy to debate you on “Biblical Christianity apart from the Church”. I love the Bible and do not believe it contradicts the Church in anyway nor vice-versa, However, it is irrelevant to discuss this topic in this forum…is there somewhere else you would like to do this?

            Name the online place.

          • PK says:

            I’m not using tactics to divert, i thought i was being clear enough. I believe the Devil is the personification of absolute concentrated evil. I don’t see any difference between the anti-Christ system of worship, or the horrible atrocities the Devil deceives people into doing. The Devil is the Devil plain and simple, it doesn’t matter how it’s manifested. So the answer to your main question would be no and especially no to most of the clergy and members.
            Now to your second question, i don’t find Catholicism as more dangerous than Jon’s kind, but, if it is the anti-Christ, i find it more important. Because many people that i’m closest in beliefs to, will be lost following it.
            I’m not zoning in on you. This all started when i gave my opinion on the separation of church and state, and said i agreed with you on the atheistic agenda. I also gave my interpretation of history and you got after me because you didn’t like what i said. Now i’ve been defending my position from you, not attacking you, but giving reasons why i believe in what i do.
            So i believe the Devil is absolute concentrated evil, and that he’s behind atheism as well. Of course he is, it’s totally dehumanizing and an insult to the Creator. I feel the anti-Christ is the most important, not dangerous, system because of the deception that will lead to the loss of so many Christians. I hope that answers your question.
            I don’t see why we can’t stay on this page. But it’s up to you where you want to have a discussion.
            I’ll just start it off. Why is the 2nd Commandment found in Exodus 20:4-6 removed from the Catechism?

          • Tyler says:

            PK

            Why? You could go to any Catholic Apologetics sight that is aimed specifically to answer protestant inquiries or accusations and get your answers directly. They are usually quite sound. I’m not sure if you know this but Catholics believe that the “Church” and the “Bible” are of equal status. And You know all the arguments…….. The Church supercedes the Bible, Jesus did not hand Peter and the other apostles a Bible….Jesus did not say… “Upon this Rock I will build my Bible” or anything of the like. I don’t need to go over these arguments with you do I?….. I believe the argument from the “2nd Commandment” has to do with how you “Package” all the verses in Exodus that subsist with “The Decalogue” into the Ten Commandments. According to Catholic theologians the packaging of Graven image into Thou shall have no other Gods ( A pretty strong statement) goes as far back as “Augustine of Hyppo..known to us as St Augustine. Martin Luther himself packaged them this way…and it wasn’t until “Calvin” re-packaged it a different way was it ever a question. Why is “Calvin” right?

            The Catholic Church in RCIA education classes, in their own Catholic Bibles, and in daily scripture readings when Exodus comes up…all the versus including Graven images are read…they are not ignored. They are openly mentioned not hidden. In Catholic Bible study groups on the Ten Commandments every word of them is covered and studied by groups every day.

            Why don’t you just ask me “Why do you guys worship statues?” This would be a better question. The answer of course is that we don’t worship statues. Religious iconography including the Crucifix or Cross is “Used” not “Worshipped”? Why? Many reasons but here is one that makes sense to me(No pun intended)..because we are “Physical Beings…we live in the Physical World…we perceive the Physical Material World through our senses and the input we perceive from this world gets ingested into our minds and souls. Why is this important? Because this is how God “Made Us”…purposely as material beings with senses, indeed I believe the Bible makes mention that we will have “Physical Bodies” in heaven. Apparently our “Physical Bodies” are important in the “Plan”.

            I do not worship graven images…I look at a picture of Jesus and my mind thinks “Jesus” it helps put me in the conscience concentration of Jesus, the God-Man. I see Jesus on the cross and I think to myself he died for our sins…that is why he came. I do not think to myself…I’m going to worship this sculpted piece of wood with a man on it as a living God present in the Physical World.

            If we didn’t use the physical world to augment our abstract conscious thoughts..we would cease to be human…indeed we wouldn’t have bodies most likely and everything we know and have learned including the apostles meeting and talking with Jesus, witnessing miracles and writing holy spirit inspired abstract thoughts onto “Physical Paper” we call “The Bible” in the “Physical World” would cease to have meaning.

            I don’t “Worship” Statues, do you worship “The Bible”? Is a “Physical Book made up of cellulose organic matter and the juices of extracted plants or synthetic chemicals” your God? Or is it the divinely inspired abstracted words of God plucked from a non-physical reality with the aid of the creator and his obedient servants..and then made manifest in the physical world in a Book we call “The Bible” or “THEE BOOK”?

  6. Wanna B Sure says:

    Anyone here ever read THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS by CS Lewis? I can see a couple “strategies” suggested by “affectionate Uncle Screwtape” to Wormwood here. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it to aid in discernment.

  7. entech says:

    I agree with Tyler on this one. I don’t see religious iconography as anything more than a point of focus for personal meditation.

    Hindus are often said to be polytheists, but at the deepest level they have one creator, Known simply as The One, The pantheon can be viewed as different aspects of The One. Just as in parts of the Catholic world simple people view the saints as living actual entities to whom they can request help and guidance, simple Hindus regard the gods literally as entities to whom they can pray. I use simple in the best possible way as uncomplicated and unsophisticated NOT ignorant or dumb. The icons of Christianity and the gods of the Hindus are aids to meditation, to find the path to ultimate meaning. There are several creation stories in Hinduism, one starts as:
    “There was neither non-existence nor existence. There was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond. There was neither death nor immortality. There was no distinguishing sign of day or night. That One breathed by its own impulse. Other than that, there was nothing beyond.
    Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning. With no distinguishing sign, all this was water. The life force was covered with emptiness. That One arose with the power of heat.”
    That could strike a similar chord to “In the beginning was the word”.

    The origins of the Hindu religion and of Sanskrit, indeed all of the Indo-European language group derive from the same source. This source is the Aryan civilization: (white supremacists and similar better leave now, these are NOT the blue eyed blonds of their mythology or in any way Nordic) the Aryans are named after their homeland Arya believed to be in the region of the Aral sea in modern Uzbekistan. The religion and priestly language it used was the Veda. The Aryans were nomadic and the Veda at the time was a cruel religion with gods and sacrifices, magic and philosophical speculation. This is thought be about 20,000bce, the Aryan migration is thought have gone east into the Indus valley, west to Greece and Europe and south to Iran, Mesopotamia and the entire ‘fertile crescent’.
    About 12,000bce the Veda began to be reformed, in the Indus valley we get the Upanishads and other Holy texts, about the same time Zarathustra, a Vedic priest began to reform the Veda to form Zoroastrianism. Zarathustra began to preach that there was a supreme god who created the universe and all good things in it, that the bad things were created by evil spirits and mans duty was to fight the bad and revere the good.
    The Aryan migration into the Fertile Crescent would have come in contact with the Semitic migration from the south. It is likely the Semites were earlier settlers with the Aryans remaining largely nomadic. One of the Aryan tribes was called Hittites and is part of the Hebrew story.
    Around 550bce Cyrus the Great conquered the Babylonian empire, it is not known whether Cyrus was a follower of Zoroastrianism but there is no doubt that it was a dominant influence in Iran at the time and his ideas of religious tolerance would have come from that. The Hebrews were liberated from Babylon and returned to their homeland, while in exile the scribes had begun writing their history and it was completed on their return to Judea. That the Hebrews would have been greatly influenced by their benefactor Cyrus and appreciate his ideas of tolerance cannot be doubted and history can account for the strong similarities to some of the Zoroastrian religion.
    Pagan symbols, creation stories they are all connected in history. It is inevitable that a lot of cross influences were there.
    David

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Entech 8:48 Great summary, David. To get that all into one post took some effort. I hope many read it. Religion is a facinating subject to study, even if one does not actually see evidence that many of its tenant are true. What you wrote about the Hindu faith, the oldest, is revealing about the path of belief through time. How the notion stayed alive that there was a creator and that this idea spread from tribe to tribe, land mass to land mass and people moved about to find food, was modified and renamed over and over again never ceases to amaze.

    • PK says:

      Interesting how you would justify the use of these symbols, using the Hindu religion and the gods of the Hittites. Proving my entire point. If you believe in the Bible, it clearly condemns the use of these symbols in worship and the religion of the Hittites.

      • entech says:

        I am not trying to justify the use of any symbols anywhere, I am trying to work through a historical basis for the similarities and differences between different forms of religious thought and their origins. You can even trace the different types of skepticism to the same period. I just have doubts about the origins and veracity of your Bible (bible simply means a collection of books) and other “Bibles” and there are many of them. In many places the Hebrew bible refers to more than one God, Elohim is a plural noun. All systems of religious thought seem to have started as pantheistic, moving to monolatry .and then to monotheism. On balance I think that there is a good case for reducing it even further, from one to zero. On the other hand, sometimes, after a good dinner and a modest amount of good wine (an excess of cheap wine simply leads to mindless nonsense) with good friends,believers and otherwise, I often have doubts about my own doubts. Sitting out on a warm evening looking at the stars and the world around I can become overwhelmed by the beauty of it all, this is a magnificent universe and I am part of it, I can’t be anything else because I can see mo way of being apart from it or see any reason to add anything from my imagination to it. From Omar Khayam

        Myself when young did eagerly frequent
        Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
        About it and about; but evermore
        Came out by the same Door as in I went.

        With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
        And with my own hand labour’d it to grow:
        And this was all the Harvest that I reap’d —
        “I came like Water and like Wind I go.”

        David

        • PK says:

          It is rather amazing that we’re here on this planet talking about whether or not there is a God. In the Hebrew bible Elohim is used in a singular context. The plurality of the word is referring to the Trinity of the Godhead.

          • entech says:

            Sorry if I am wrong about that, but, I didn’t think there was a Trinity” in the Torah.

            David

          • PK says:

            It doesn’t actually say a Trinity, but the use of the number 3 in typologies suggest the three aspects of God. Some Jews accept the Trinity and some don’t.

  8. PK says:

    I honestly wasn’t implying that you worship graven images. I really am sorry you took it that way. I know you worship Jesus, i’ll explain my point. In the short list of the Commandments, there’s no mention of it. Exodus 20:1 reads: “And God spake ALL these words, saying”. In the detailed Catechism, it’s been lumped into the 1st, then there are 2 coveting Commandments. 3/4 of verse 5 and all of verse 6 are gone. Half of verse 7 is gone. 2/3 of verse 10 is gone, and all of 11. Verse 17 is the 9th Commandment in it’s entirety, but then the 10th just repeats it.
    I find it odd that anything would be removed. The 1st deals with having no other Gods. Then the graven images part, logically, should be it’s own because it deals with the creation of man made images for worship. 20:5 states- Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, NOR serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God… It doesn’t say AND serve them, but NOR serve them. Meaning that you shouldn’t bow down to any symbol during worship. I believe these verses are combined into the 1st to take away the importance of the words, due to your extensive use of sacred symbols in worship. Then the 10th is stated twice to fill the extra space. Everyone bows down to the alter, with a saints bone or bones under it, and all the other symbols used. I used to be a Catholic, i was an alter boy for 6 years, i went through Catechism and was confirmed. I know what a Catholic mass looks like. It’s filled with ritual after ritual with the main attention focused on the various symbols. There are a couple of short Bible readings, with no real explanation or discussion of them.
    My whole point is why isn’t the entire Decalogue(Exodus 20:2-17) included in the Catechism when there are beautiful statements by Jesus like these: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.(John 14:6). If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself to him(John 14:15-21).
    To me all the words of the commandments are important and nothing should be left out. Jesus said: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled(Mathew 5:17-18). That’s powerful.
    This comes directly from the Catechism: “The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, “the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype,” and “whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it.” The honor paid to sacred images is a “respectful veneration,” not the adoration due to God alone: Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. the movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.”
    I believe the veneration of images goes against the 2nd Commandment.

    Do i dare ask why the Lord’s Prayer(Mathew 6:9-13) has been changed? Or why Mary and the saints are prayed to? There is no mention of her resurrection to heaven in the bible. So we have to assume she is dead(or sleeping) in her grave. She cannot hear our prays, she knows nothing until the resurrection. The Bible does state there is only one mediator between God and man. So how can you have her mediate to Jesus for you, when Jesus is God, not man?
    Please don’t get angry anymore, you said you wanted to have a discussion. If you don’t that’s fine, but don’t get on my case, adding no evidence for yours, for expressing my beliefs on Bible prophecy, and world history. I’m not concerned with what apologetics sites say, i’ve read them, I’m concerned about whether or not you know what the Bible says.

  9. Tyler says:

    PK,

    For thousands of years most of the entire Christian population and the world for that matter was unable to “Read”, let alone study the Bible, let alone become “Biblical Experts”, they simply had to be lead by the church all the time. Indeed one of the “Doctor’s of the Catholic Church”..St Therese of Liseuz’s “The Little Way” explicitly says the in order to be a Catholic one does not need to be a man of letters, Augustine or the Thomas Aquinas of Bibilical Knowledge…

    That all being said…are all those people for all that period of time who did not have access to the Bible damned to hell? Or did the Catholic Church help lead a few of those souls to heaven?

    • entech says:

      I don’t think your point about people not being able to read is a good one. For so long the only available Bible was the Latin one and even then it was the re-translation in the 4th century.

      The church would not permit it to be translated into any other language. In about 1385 John Wycliffe an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian produce an English language bible which was a direct translation of the Latin Vulgate (Vulgate meaning in common usage). This Latin text was the only one available to him. Even so this made the church very angry and 44 years after his death he was exhumed and his bones crushed and scattered.
      About a hundred years later another Oxford professor, Thomas Linacre after reading Gospels in Greek, and comparing it to the Latin Vulgate wrote in his diary, “Either this (the original Greek) is not the Gospel or we are not Christians.”
      Translations by Tyndale and others from the original Greek and Hebrew texts followed’ In 1539, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury published the “Great Bible”, it was called great because of its size about 15 inches tall, It must be said that this was funded by Henry V111, who had ulterior motives, after creating the Church of England which was no longer tied to Rome but not really Protestant he probably financed the English language version from spite.
      Cranmer was later burnt at the stake during the Marian Inquisition (so to bring up inquisitions, yet again, but there were a lot of them).

      David

  10. PK says:

    The Catholic Church has always preached salvation through the church. You had to go through the church to receive everlasting life. Of course all those people are not going to be condemned to hell. God will judge people’s hearts based on what they knew, when he returns in all the glory of the Godhead.

    God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.(Acts 17:24-31).

    We live in privileged times to be able to read the word of God.

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