What’s Your Religious Take on Japan?

From what I’ve read, these are heady times for people who insert religious meanings into ordinary events.  By ordinary events, I mean earthquakes and the resulting tsunami.  The nuclear meltdown is pretty ordinary too in that it has happened a few times before.

The end-of-times preachers have been doing well.  They’ve been predicting the end for a long time and now  it’s send money if you want to learn how not to be left behind.

Then, there are the ones who skipped right over the end-of-times to get to naming and punishing sin.  These are Glenn Beck, who said it might or might not be punishment, and Tokyo Governor, Shintaro Ishihara, who said it was punishment but then apologized.

What this country needs is a national contest called, “This Event is IT.”  Contestants would be graded on the most creative interpretation of scripture.  They would need to find exact scripture and apply it precisely to the event that just happened.  For example, since there was no nuclear reactors in the Bible, one would need to find scripture that referred to it in some way other than naming it directly.

The contest would not be that simple to administer actually.  That is because Christianity is not the only religion that has an end-of-times and punish those I don’t like message.  In the spirit of equal opportunity, other faiths would have the chance to provide their own interpretations of ordinary events.  If their faith does not have the world ending in fire and calamity, they could enter whenever the sign was right.

The winner would get to start his/her own television ministry.

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.
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40 Responses to What’s Your Religious Take on Japan?

  1. doubtful says:

    You would certainly have to consider the apocalyptic AGW fable being pushed by the Goracle and the Faith of Inadequate Computer Models. It is the most highly accepted end of days belief in our society.

    • Avatar of PK PK says:

      No it’s real. If we pay taxes to the central banks and allow the UN to control every aspect of society, they will protect us. But you can’t call it global warming anymore, since the earth has been cooling the last few years, it’s now climate change.

  2. Avatar of Kay Syvrud Kay Syvrud says:

    I have already blogged about his several days ago. See “Japan: A Christian View” on my archives.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Buffalo Gal 12:18 I reread it–nice to see Christians not doing what Hegge and others are doing.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Joh; I think it would be fair to say that just about anyone who ISN’T in the millenial /Christian Zionist camp has a balanced and objective concern for the Japanese, and any other peoples, and places where catestrophic events happen, including the USA.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 2:05 I’m sure you are correct in a general sense. That is, denominations and the majorities of their members in those catagories see it as you describe. But, I belonged to mainline denominations and there were individuals with beliefs all over the map. On websites I visit that discuss religion, views like sin-in-Japan are treated as equally legitimate to more rational views. My point is that even though such views are seen as over-the-top by Christians like you and Buffalo Gal, I would not call such views “uncommon”. I would not hesitate to say they are held by millions of people, even though it might not be a majority.

  3. Avatar of PK PK says:

    It seems whenever a natural disaster happens there are always people that say it’s God’s wrath. These people never think that it could be just an earthquake or even man’s wrath. Former Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen talks of the threat of potential weather manipulation and tectonic weapons.
    http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=674
    (control f: earthquake)
    We weren’t told about stealth technology until 40 years after it was created and technology is accelerating at an exponential rate, so who knows what’s out there. I’m not saying man created the earthquake, it’s just an option. There has been intense sun activity and the moon is closer to the earth than normal. Some scientists say this caused it, some even predicted it. If all else fails just buy Jack Van Impe’s new DVD, i’m sure he’ll tell you what happened.

  4. Brad Campbell says:

    I think most Chrisians feel true sorrow and concern for the Japanese people after this disaster. Yes, there are some that think this might be the “end of times” but there are a wide range of differing beliefs in any denomination….or any religion for that matter.

    Natural disasters happen and will continue to happen.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Brad; Your “..but there are a wide range of differing beliefs in ( any )denomination…”—NOT if they are credal and liturgical !!! Yes, an individual may have a different “opinion” on a wide range of topics, but that comes from OUTSIDE that particular denomination, and is not taught. The stated “confessions” of a particular denomination are the ruled rule and norm of faith. Scripture being the ruling rule. These are included in the synodical constitutions, and in the individual congregational constitutions in association with that synod. I submit that your use of (ANY) in context is uninformed, and not accurate.

      • Brad Campbell says:

        Matter of opinion. People can have differing views and be part of the same denomination. If you think all of these recent disasters are the start of the “end of times”, go for it. I do not believe it is. I go to a conservative Lutheran church and members have differing opinions on a wide range of issues. Even if my church told me that this was the end of civilization, I would still hold my own opinion on what will happen.

        You think I am uniformed or inaccurate…good for you.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Brad 8:54 Your experience is like mine. There are doctrinal positions clearly outlined by the governing board of the denominations. They lay out the “rules” and “laws”. But, the people in the pews are of their own mind. My wife always tells this story of her childhood. They were “liberal” Methodists. There were many close relative in that Iowa farming community that went to the same church. She would discuss Bible issues with her parents and sister. Her parents would often remind their daughters to take care if these topics came up at family gatherings because another family, first cousins, interpreted the Bible literally and they best not reveal their own views.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Brad Campbell; No, I don’t think that all these recent disasters are the start of ” the end of times”. Within your “group”, there can be several disagreements on non-essential matters, such as traditional music vs. contemporary, Which Lectionary to be used, the structure of the governing boards, etc. The word is adiaphora, (things neither commanded or forbidden). Some examples of these are dancing, playing cards, having a beer/drink in moderation, etc. There should be no disagreement on central doctrinal issues contained in The Book of Concord ? however.

        • Avatar of PK PK says:

          Wanna B thinks everyone is uninformed and inaccurate. I enjoy the debates though. I agree that not everyone agrees with everything that is in their churches constitution. Many people are born into a church and stay with it because they’ve known everyone for a long time. Differing opinions on certain things isn’t enough for someone to leave their church. I’m not sure why Wanna B jumped all over you for your comment. I don’t think she can be sure what everyone in her congregation believes or anybody elses for that matter.

  5. Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

    I think the larger point is that this is yet another example of opportunistic creatons are using faith to scam vulnerable people while “main line” individuals of faith are so busy reflexively defending their right to believe what they believe that they’ve neglected to sufficently condem the opportunistic creatons.

    I hear ordinary Christians say this about the slient Muslim majority all the time but they’re totally blind to the exact same weakness in their own flock.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Seaofstories; I don’t believe that , (and I am speaking from the standpoint of my particular synod’s position), there is any hint of (reflexively) defending the right to believe, and that there is any neglect to sufficently condem. My synod for example has published booklets laying out the errors of just about every “Ism”. and made them available free to all members. These have been handed out at the doors to any interested. This has beendone pro-actively, and not defensively. We are not however of the belief that those topics should be preached from the pulpit. The pulpit is where the Word of God is preached, and rightly divided, (Law and Gospel). There is no room for argument or discussion of foreign concepts, or politics. The problem comes to us when those apart from us try to imply something to us that is not there. We also know that we don’t live in a vacume, and our members need to be aware of errors of all sorts, but first to be able to discern truth from error, one must first be firmly grounded in truth. The error then will be easily seen.

      • Avatar of PK PK says:

        Can i have one of those booklets?

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          Pk; You have a computer. Type in any subject that interests you. Do a key word search with words like “error, heresy”, etc. Want cults , or a specific cult? do the same. See 10 commandments, and the meanings to each of them, (what you are to do, and what you are not to do regarding them). Study the Creeds,(Apostles, and the Athenasian.) . The resources are unlimited. See things like Prosperity theology, millennialism , dispensationalism, judgementalism, marriage, divorce, abuse, social Gospel, and the hazards of all the above in relation to Scripture. The list is virtually endless.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            PK-PS- There should be some web-sites that may have most of the subjects that may concern you. Just look around. You don’t need my books/material. If they don’t agree with you, find out why.

          • Avatar of PK PK says:

            Sorry for asking. I was just curious what your opinions on the different ism’s are and what ism or belief you think is correct. I was being sincere but that’s fine.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            PK; Sorry your feelings were injured. That wasn’t my intent. I was only sincerely trying to help you in your search. My conclusions may not be the same as yours, and that’s OK with me. Peace.

          • Avatar of PK PK says:

            It’s alright. You said you handed them out free to anyone interested and i figured you would have it on file. I would figure from your perception of me, i would be someone you would want to inform. I think we agree on a lot more than you may think.

  6. Avatar of Kay Syvrud Kay Syvrud says:

    Seaofstories…do you mean “Cretins”????

  7. Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

    Yes, thank you. Sorry for the terrible spelling.

    Providing your members with literature on why everyone else is wrong is smart defensive marketing. But if I have to come to your place of worship to get it, it’s not addressing the concern I voiced.

    You can’t complain that your religious convictions are misunderstood by the broader public and that you’re being lumped in with radicals or opportunists if you’re leadership is unwilling to publicly condem the actions of the radicals or opportunists.

    To the extent that you have to be drug in front of a microphone to do it, credibility is lost. Religious leaders need to get in front of these issues.

    Sometimes I feel like you all have just divided up the territory and have agreed to stay off of each other’s street corner. It leaves the impression that you’re all running the same scam.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      seaofstories; You are wrong to assume that these errors are not brought to the public. We use publications, radio, the members and clergy put on seminar/studies on various subjects, both during sessions after church services, and during the week. These can be found as to time, and location in the local newspapers. However if one chooses not to see, or attend, that is up to that individual. These subjects don’t have the tendency to “tickle” the ears, and are not as sensationalistic to those interested in an ecclectic montage of etherial material. There are several denominations that use the same approach. We do our best with those whom we work with. We don’t go knocking on doors as the Jehovah’s Witnesses do. You would be more than welcome to attend.

  8. Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

    etherial abortion clinic bombings, killing doctors, homicide bombings, hijackings, or hitting people over the head with the apocalypse in order to extract the last dollar from an already thin and desperate wallet.

    Church leaders claim to be community leaders but to often when these things happen they either can’t be bothered to say anything or their responses fall far short of the ringing condemnations common sense require.

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Well, that is your opinion. right or wrong, you are free to have it. I don’t think you would accept my invitation if the envelope had a gold ribbon on it, and were promised a weekend for two at the Fargo Holiday Inn. Now your bias is showing

      • Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

        My only bias is against the exploitation of the poor, weak, and innocent.

        I’ve spent plenty of time in plenty of houses of worship. I find most of them beautiful, most of the people in them descent, good hearted folks, and most of the services inspiring.

        Don’t misunderstand me. My issues are not with people of faith. My issues are with institutions of religion.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          what are the issues? Some of those you mention earlier have nothing to do with Church issues. There is also the area of State issues, (illegal activities). I don’t know of any true church group that sanctions those kind of activities, ie. “killing, bombing, hijacking”. These fall under the realm of the state. You wouldn’t be in favor of taking down the seperation of church and state would you?

          • Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

            This is exactly that I’m talking about. Some crazy kills a doctor in the back of a church in the name of God, or blows themselves up in the name of Allah and the response from religious people is a mild and uninspiring “they don’t represent us. We’re not them.”

            Wake up. Their gun or their bomb says they are you, so you’ve got to come up with something a little less meek than “don’t look at us, please.”

            How is killing in the name of God not a church issue? Directly. Indirectly, churchs are supposed to be moral and civil leaders. How is killing in the name of God not a moral or civil issue?

            It doesn’t matter what is and is not officially sanctioned. When someone bombs an abortion clinic, a parade in Northern Ireland, or a Market in Israel its religiously motivated. It doesn’t matter how deranged or misled the person doing the killing is. If its done in the name of your diety or any thing resembling your diety, if you ask me, religious leaders have a responsibility to themselves, their flock, and their community to condemn that act publicly in the strongest possible terms.

            To the extent that they do not, any thinking person should be asking themselves why not.

            To the extent these things are crimes against society its the responsibility of the state to administer justice. But that’s entirely off point. To the point, these acts reflect poorly on the religious tradition that is invoked in the act. You’d think that leaders would be interested in correcting the record but time and again all that heard is a deafening silence.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            seaofstories; You would be right in that those activities reflect poorly on the Christian Church, as does someone condeming another to hell if he doesn’t agree with him, or go to the same church, and on and on. There are some churches that do send mixed messages to those may act up in a negative manner. Solid doctrinal positions on topics like “thou shalt not murder”, and “unto Caeser” would and do help prevent bad behavior. However, as a famous comedian says, “You can’t fix stupid”. Disturbed, excitable, and excessive compulsive Christians can become overwhelmed by passion that won’t be tempered by what they hear from their church. This is not any different than a crime of passion. This is called sin. A sin by the way which is forgiven when acknowledged and repented of. Orthodox Churches and clergy of most stripes reflect on sin, and the solution. These days however in some post modern churches, there is a trend to minimize sin to appear to be more accepting, but at the same time the need for forgiveness is minimized to the point of no need. I don’t accept your broad accusations as valid. I suspect that you have some personal issues that you haven’t resolved.

          • entech says:

            “any true church group”, is this a relative of the “No true Scotsman fallacy”.
            David

  9. Wanna B Sure says:

    seaofstories; The back story of any situation is what facinates me. Here is a true story; A guy goes out one night and gets drunk, and burns down a church that he drove by every day on the way to work. They catch him, and arrest him. End of story? No. What happened that church was the church he and his recently estranged wife were married in. Now it’s the churche’s fault. End of story? No. Why did she leave him? When he got drunk, he’d beat her. She couldn’t take it any more, so she left. End of story? No. The end of the story is that he was a drunk. It wasn’t his wife’s fault, it wasn’t the churche’s fault, it wasnt the Police’s fault. He was an alcoholic, and he couldn’t controll himself when he started to drink. There can be several layers to a story, and one shouldn’t make a judgement as to who is to blame until all the layers are peeled back and understood.

  10. Brad Campbell says:

    This is for wanna be:

    My parents have been to Medjugorje, Bosnia 5 times and are going there again this fall. The Virgin Mary appeared to 4 teenagers in 1981. One of the visionaries still has the Virgin come to them every day. One of them also gives their testimony to the pilgrims that come there every day. Her message is about God and our conversion back to him. Google it….very interesting.

    Now:
    I am not Catholic but believe that something wonderful happened to those 4 teenagers 30 yrs ago. I’m still skeptical about it but both of my parents say they can “feel” the power of God there. I will have to go there and experience it for myself someday. The Catholic Church has not officially recognized the events because they have not stopped but continue to study it…..they are not in a hurry.

    Am I right or wrong about being skeptical? Who am I to not believe that these events did or did not happen? But being uniformed and inaccurate like I am, I would probably wander aimlessly around there in a daze….right?

    Maybe the Virgin Mary did come to those teenagers to give them a message for the rest of mankind. She still appears to all four of them.

    My Lutheran “upbringing” tells me that this is probably not real or that these Catholics are putting too much emphasis on Mary, instead of Jesus or God. But you know what…….maybe it did happen just like the visionaries said. I am going to go find out and form my own hypothesis and opinion.

    People of the same faith can have different views along with people of difference religions having the same opinions.

    Doctrine, you say??? If this does really happen and she does come to these people then Martin Luther was wrong and I need to reevalutate my Christianity!!!……maybe 1.5 billion Catholics are right…….

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Brad; Or not. Are you prepaired to accept all the dogma that are required in the RC Church, or will you be free to pick and choose which ones you feel comfortable with? Some of your posts indicate that you are not prepaired to do that. I believe that it would be in your interest to study in depth the Doctrine and Decrees of the Council of Trent. Every word in this document is considered to be absolute, and is quoated extensively in the “New” Catechism of the RC Church. Nothing in Trent has been removed, although Benedict XVI has made attempts to “soften” some existing terminology without removing it. While you are at it, I recommend getting Martin Chemnitz’s “Examination of the Council of Trent.” (4 volumes). I do wish you well.

    • Avatar of PK PK says:

      I’m skeptical. I went to http://www.medjugorje.org/. It appears to be the official website. There is a video of Mirjana supposedly seeing and talking to Mary. She doesn’t exhibit the Biblical criteria for being in vision. So if she’s not in vision, the apparition must be viewable to the many people with her. Clearly this is not the case. I believe the Bible is clear on death. When we die we sleep in the grave. No conscious thought, nothing until the 1st resurrection. There was a resurrection of the righteous when Jesus was raised from the dead, so she wasn’t a part of this one. The Bible doesn’t mention of her resurrection, but let’s say she was later on and it’s not written. She would have to appear to people in the physical flesh, not some invisible ghostly image to a select person among a crowd of people. If she’s not in vision and it’s not the physical Mary, i would conclude it’s a demonic entity.

      • Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

        I would conclude that the people claiming to have seen her are either crazy or frauds. Since there were 4, dramaticly reducing the odds that they were all crazy in precisely the same way, I’m going with fraud.

        • Avatar of PK PK says:

          Oh yes, that’s the most likely. I guess my comment was on if they were actually seeing something. But yeah, the whole thing stinks.

  11. remrafdn says:

    Your last sentence was inspired.

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