Tag Archives: Judaism

Do those who want to follow Christ to be Jews

In these times when there are so many arguing about religion and about what faith would be the right faith or what would be the right way to worship God it is not bad to consider what the people at the time of the Jewish master teacher, Jeshua, thought.

Most of the time those seeing and hearing rebbe Jeshua belonged to the Jewish faith like the master himself. Though few belonged to Jeshua’s religious group because some considered the Essenes as a sect and several also came to see Jeshua his followers also as a sect. Being a child of Joseph and Miriam (Mary/Maria) from the tribe of David, Jeshua and his siblings where brought up in the very religious traditions of the Essenes, to which Miriam belonged. As such Jeshua received a strict thorough education in Torah knowledge and was very well aware what was written in all the different scrolls.

An other person very well educated in Jewish theology was Saul. As a devout worshipper of the God of Israel and connected to the synagogue and the priests in Jerusalem, he was convinced those teachings of that man where blasphemous and had to be stopped. He as a big fighter for Jehovah God went against those followers, until the day he was struck by lightening, feeling Jesus close to him and being blinded by the Power of God because he had become a satan or adversary of God, more than Peter who Jesus also had called a satan.

At first the majority of followers of Jeshua where Jews, but having many Romans around and travellers of other religions or not at all believing in a god or in God, some of them became attracted by the words of the rebbe and his talmidim. Several got in the ban of the doctrines of that man his group and wondered if they could join them. But having come at a certain age they did not like so much to undergo a circumcision. At the other hand lots of the Jews in the group where very concerned about the goyim entering their group and having them to allow in their synagogues. We can image the many discussions going on about the Jewish rules either to be followed by those who came into the group or having them to be free of those mitzvot. Doctor Luke tells about all the internal discussions and arguments in his book the Acts of the apostles.

In 330 CE “church father” Epiphanius of Salamis provided a detailed description of the new faith in Jeshua which started to spread over many regions, by the Netzerim in Panarion 29:

“We shall especially consider the heretics who call themselves Nazarenes; however they are simply complete Jews.
They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do…
They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion – except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that God is one, and that his son is Yeshua the Messiah.

They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew; for they, like the Jews, read the whole law-Torah , then the Prophets. They differ from the Jews because they believe in Meshiach and from the Christians in that they are to this day bound to the Jews rites, such as circumcision, the Shabbat, and other ceremonies . Otherwise, this sect of the Nazarenes thrives most vigorously in the state of Berea, Coele-Syria, in Decapolis, around Pella, and in Bashan. After they departed from Jerusalem, they made their start from here, as all the disciples dwelt in Pella, having been warned by Meshiach to depart Yerushalayim and emigrate because of imminent danger”

Up to today the matter still bothers many, first of all because several are seriously concerned now about those who call themselves Christian but do not adhere to Jeshua his writings and even worship an other god than Jeshua, namely Jesus and his co-gods (god the father and god the holy spirit). For Jews wanting to accept Jeshua or Jesus as the Messiah this is a serious problem, because they would never want to be confused with polytheist Christians. Most of the Jews, even today, do not want to give up their Jewishness, certainly because they consider themsleves still to be part of the Chosen People of God, Israel Gods People. Thàt they do not want to give up. It would be stupid to give that up or to loose our identity with Gods People.

When we look at the history of Christianity we can see that, before the time it was transposed to Christendom and the dogmatic teachings of the trinity, already soon there came a major controversy in early Christianity concerning the role of Jewish law and traditions. As most of the first converts were Jews, some felt that the Mosaic Law and covenantal signs, such as circumcision, were still important. While others where convinced that their rebbe brought the message of God that from now on their religion had to be open to both Jews and Gentiles. Some contended that converts first had to become Jews in order to become Christians. Others considered the outward signs of Judaism to be unnecessary for Christian life.

It is known that at the beginning most of them, like Saul or Paul, how he further became known, that “Much in every way“ was the advantage of the Jew and the value of circumcision. (Romans 3:1). Several thought by allowing goyim to enter their community and not having them to subject to the same rules they where overthrowing the Law by that notion of faith? But for Paul that was by no means so. On the contrary, he felt that they upheld the Law” (Romans 3:31).

Everybody had to know that all those who just relied on works of the law were under a curse (Galatians 3:10), because we all should know that no one is justified before God by the law (Galatians 3:11).

The convert Paul went even so far to say that circumcision even did not count for anything, but that Jeshua had taken care of a new path and had opened the gates of a new creation which is everything. (Galatians 6:15). For him it had become clear that no human being will be justified in God’s sight by works of the law, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). But that does not mean that the Law would be sin. By no means (Romans 7:7).

All that want to become a follower of Jeshua, Paul argumented had to recognise that the Law is and shall stay holy, and that the mitzvah or commandment is holy and just and good for all of us (Romans 7:12). Though he also said that to the Israelites belongs the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the Temple, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs and of their race, according to the flesh (Romans 9:4). Jewishness can not be taken away by man, because it is entitled by God, engraved in the hearts of those who descent from the tribes chosen by God and protected by God.

Today there are lots of people who think that God has rejected His own people but Paul already warned for such false thinking and said that the Elohim has not rejected His people (Romans 11:1) and told even that

“All Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26).

As such Jews still can bear that precious hope. When they accept Jeshua as the Messiah they do not have to give up their Jewishness, but they also shall have to accept that the goyim or those who where at first atheist, heathen or people from an other faith, that they now too can come to God by the way of Jeshua, and can call the Elohim Hashem Jehovah also their Father or Abba.

Those Jews at the time of the first followers of Jeshua came to accept the non-Jews and did not impose their laws unto them – which was not always an easy thing to do for them. In our time, we too have to be open for the non-Jews who come to accept the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua as their Saviour. But we too have to accept that those goyim become part of the Body of Christ without having to undergo all the obligations a Jew has to undergo.

Nobody may come to think the Law would have become opposed to the promises of God. Certainly not! (Galatians 3:21).

Although Paul preached justification on the basis of faith in Christ, he was himself a Pharisee and addressed the role of Jewish traditions and the status of Israel in the new covenant.

In “Paul’s Contradictions: Can They Be Resolved?” Princeton Professor John Gager looks at how Paul seems to be at war with himself on the subject of Israel. Is there a way out of his contradictions?
Yes, the author argues, but only if we first get past misconceptions about Paul that date to the earliest stages of Christianity — even to Paul’s own times.

Though when reading the book by John Gager, one must know that Paul is not the father of Christian anti-Judaism, like the great German historian Adolf Harnack wants Christians to believe. He writes:

“It was Paul who delivered the Christian religion from Judaism … It was he who confidently regarded the Gospel as a new force abolishing the religion of the law.”

Since the time of the early church fathers until recent decades, all interpreters of Paul have read him from the perspective of the triumph of Christianity, after the decisive break between Christianity and Judaism. The reigning Christian view of Judaism during this entire period has been that the Jews have been superseded as the chosen people of God by the Christians (or Christianity), that the Jews are no longer the bearers of God’s promise of salvation and that their only hope for salvation lies in becoming Christian. In this hermeneutic, it follows that Paul, too, with his canonical status, must have held to this dominant Christian view of Judaism. And this is exactly how Paul has been read throughout Christian history. Not just 80 or 90 or even 99 percent of the time, but 100 percent of the time, without exception — that is, until recently, when a few maverick scholars began not only to question that image but to reject it altogether. {Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity}

Biblical scholar Ben Witherington III counters the contradiction in “Laying Down the Law: A response to John Gager.” He questions Gager’s idea that Paul preached the gospel of Jesus Christ for Christians alone by asking whether his message was intended for both Jews and Christians.

Today we can see that there is a growing amount of Jews who are proud to be Jew but also want to be proud to be a follower of the Jew Jeshua, whom they often consider to be one of their own, a child of Israel. In Christendom we find that the majority are trinitarians, but may not forget that there are loads of non-trintiarian denominations as well. There are certain groups which have a similar name but differ from their belief in the trinity or in One True God. As such we can find the Nazarenes, of which some are tinritarians and others still believe the same doctrines as their first counterparts. The Nazarene Friends up to a few years ago where very active non-trinitarian Christians, but by becoming older and dying lots of ecclesiae saw their numbers reduce.

The most well known non-trinitarian groups may be the Bible Students and Jehovah’s Wtinesses, with all their teardowns or torn groups. Lots of those groups not so much respecting by God given days to celebrate or to remember certain events. Though it must be said several bible student groups and Jehovah’s Witness knowing very well that according to Jeshua and his heavenly Father, according to the Scriptures all people of God shall have to remember 14-15 Nisan or Passover (Pesach).

Some Christians also have come to the conclusion that perhaps not so many laws are abandoned as so many Christians do believe. They came to understand that Jeshua was a Jew and held to the Jewish traditions. Certain Jewish elements they now also want to see incorporated in their way of life, as a sign of being under that Jewish master teacher.
Christians who do not want to be looked at, as the same lot of trinitarian Christians, or who want to feel and show more a Jewish connection can as Messianic Christians show their love for Jeshua and his teachings by calling themselves also a Jeshuaist.

Jeshuaist do not expect converts to the faith in Jeshua to be or to become a Jew or to follow all the Jewish laws, though they want them to recognise the Jewish position of Jeshua and the Judaic followers of Jeshua, which means that certain ways of worship, songs and prayers and making church or having meetings shall be as in the first century or in the tradition of the early Christians, forming a brotherhood with acceptance of differences, but considering all as one part united under Christ and not a human organisation which would control and regulate everything.

For Jews who accept Jeshua as their Messiah and for those who prefer to see a Messianic Judaism the Jeshuaists offer a solution. With the title or name Jeshua-ist one can give honour to Jeshua and show the connection with the Jewish rebbe as well can one avoid the confusion with trinitarian Messianics or trinitarian Christians, making it clear to be a Messianic non-trinitarian Jew.

 

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You may be interested in reading:

  1. Our life depending on faith
  2. As there is a lot of division in Christendom there is too in Judaism
  3. The Sabbatean Prophets
  4. Converso Involvement in the Sabbatai Zevi Movement
  5. Sabbatai Zevi (Jewish Convert To Islam)
  6. Forgotten History-The Jews from Geleen 1940-1944.
  7. Jewish and Christian traditions of elders
  8. Today’s thought “Ability to circumcise your heart” (May 13)
  9. Jeshuaists or Followers of Jeshua
  10. Who is a Jeshua-ist
  11. Who is or can be a Jeshuaist
  12. Why to become a Jeshuaist
  13. Availability of Jeshuaists on Facebook

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Read the above mentioned articles from the Biblical Archaeology Society and more in the FREE eBook Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity. Featuring articles taken from Bible Review and Biblical Archaeology Review, this eBook considers the relevant writings of Paul and brings to light some of the difficult theological issues for Jews and Christians that persist to this day.

Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity

 

Download the Free eBook

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Further reading

  1. Religions and Mainliners
  2. Israel must honor God or the Rule of Law is meaningless
  3. The Real Wall Problem: When Will Diaspora Jews Fight For Palestinians?
  4. “Qualitavely Jews are not a minority”
  5. Nazarene Jews Through Out History
  6. Who is Israel? And What Role, If Any, Does She Play in God’s Kingdom?
  7. The Temple Connection
  8. Where is the Church that Christ built?
  9. The Church & The Old Testament Law
  10. Christians Above the Law?
  11. Why The Bible Is Divine: Christology
  12. Jewish Halakha and the Rabbinic Authority in the Messianic World
  13. The Not Left, Not Right, but UP Movement
  14. From Rome to Corinth, and Back Again: Reclaiming What Was Taken from Us
  15. Eleven Steps to Live a Messianic Nazarene Jewish life
  16. The straight line connecting Donald Trump’s new tallit to “Christians for Islam,” and a best practices suggestion
  17. Something great is happening in Israel
  18. A sort of “sing along” songs with Messianic Jews in Israel
  19. Is It A “Sign”?
  20. Christ is risen! Kristus är uppstånden! Baruch HaBa Beshem Adonai!
  21. Books on examples of Jewish evangelism in Israel
  22. The great tree of Moreh
  23. Rabbinical court rules against Jewish marriage rites for Messianic Jews
  24. Sabbath as a Bride
  25. Shalom in Psalms
    End Times Series: Pastor Jimmy Evans
  26. Kiss the Son…
  27. On an Irish Cliff

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Filed under Announcement, History, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Social affairs, Spiritual affairs

Anti-Semitic pressure driving Jews out of Europe

It can not go unnoticed, since a decade lots of Jews feel the pressure of the growing anti-Semitism and an aversion against the Divine Creator. Some even feel like it is again as in the 1930ies and the fear is great that Jews could be experiencing the most difficult situation they have encountered since the end of World War II.

Portrait de Francis Kalifat

Francis Kalifat, Président du Cirf

The Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France is fully aware of the bad situation and the 11th president of it looks at the present situation with Argus eyes. For him the Western world may not neglect the reason why we can see such a record emigration by Jews from France.

For him the year that lies before us is one full of challenges.

I hear pre-conceived ideas and dogma along with populist statements from some, and totalitarian reactions from more radical minds.

he says, looking at our society which is suffering and facing a climate of mistrust. Many French people are afraid or angry and democracy is on the back foot. According to an IPSOS survey taken in November last year, 32% of French people think that other political regimes would be equally effective. They long for a world of times gone by, looking for scapegoats and sweeping changes. This want to find a guilty one we can find back at several occasions in the past and today in many countries all over the world where the far right is gaining popularity.

Racist and anti-Semitic comments creep up out of the sewers, meeting an indifferent response or emerge from the online echo chamber of Facebook friends. And where there are disgraceful comments, there is always someone ready to laugh, offer approval or justification.

remarked Francis Kalifat, the Crif President at a speech at the annual Crif’s dinner 2017, where he said

When I take a step back, I am struck by a profound realisation: those in France who have a problem with Jews and Israel almost always have a problem with democracy, the rule of law and individual liberties. And vice-versa.

Ilan Halimi

Ilan Halimi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following the murder of Ilan Halimi in 2006 and the massacre at the Ozar Ha Torah school in Toulouse in 2012, anti-Jewish hatred once again reared its ugly head in France on 9th January 2015 and thus reinforced the feeling of solitude and abandonment that had started to engulf the Jewish community.

Partly because of anti-Semitic violence that included hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents annually in recent years, and dozens of physical assaults, lots of Jewish brethren ans sisters found it wiser to look for other pastures.

Since 2012, attacks on Jewish targets by French Islamists in France and Belgium claimed the lives of 12 people. Last year, roughly 8,000 French Jews left for Israel — the highest number on record for any year, which made France for the second year straight Israel’s largest provider of newcomers.

We heard already of certain quarters which got French names, because so many French people came to settle over there. According to figures seen by AFP in total, 40,000 French Jews have emigrated between 2006 and the end of 2016.

“The aliyah (the act of moving to Israel) of French Jews has been significant over the last decade,”

said Daniel Benhaim, who heads the Israeli-backed group in France, and agreed that insecurity had been a “catalyst” for many Jews who were already thinking of leaving.

The French Jewish community is the biggest in Europe and is thought to number around 500,000 people. In the 1970ies there where also a lot of Jews in Antwerp, but their number has decreased a lot.

Bruxelles rue des Minimes 21.jpg

The Jewish Museum of Belgium, between the Sablon in central Brussels and Brussels South, pictured in 2009

The Jewish communities form the Benelux and France were shocked in 2006 by the kidnapping and brutal anti-Semitic killing of a young Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, in the Paris suburbs, which was followed by a shooting in a Jewish school in the southwest city of Toulouse in 2012.
Two years later on 24 May 2014, in Brussels a gunman opened fire at the Jewish Museum of Belgium, killing four people. Three died at the scene; a fourth was taken to the hospital and died on 6 June. The attack is being investigated as terrorism by Belgian authorities. Several more threats followed on Belgian as well as on French Jewish sites, often coming from people having links with radical Islamists. By those terrorists many youngster felt called to do horrible things, not even afraid to carry loads of bombs from one place to another. Home made bombs but also professional weapons switched hands easily, to bring fear and terror in name of Allah.

Emblem of  United Nations Arabic: الأمم المتحدةSimplified Chinese: 联合国French: Organisation des Nations uniesRussian: Организация Объединённых НацийSpanish: Naciones Unidas  It also did not help that the problems of the settlers in Israel and the relationship between Israeli and Palestinian governement did not progress in the good direction. The anti-Israel resolution of the UN being considered by Israel as a “no” to the possibility of peace. Israel having the impression the UN gave a sign to continue on the path of terrorism and incitement.

Since the attacks of November 2015 the West of the European continent came to realise that it is the whole of our society has come under attack. It is not just any more about Jews, Israel, Christendom, Belgium or France but the citizens their culture, freedom, way of life and world view.

All French people are now aware that they are at threat and we are slowly but surely regaining our position on the national stage. We have always been vigilant and concerned and now we continue to be so. We remain alert and know that we are still the preferred target of Islamist totalitarianism. Today, we are no longer indifferent targets.

said Francis Kalifat.

Some now may have come to think it is more a battle against Islam. they should know fighting against Islam is as wrong as fighting against Judaism or Christianity. the world has to see it are just a few extremists who make life difficult for a whole group of people. Because the Brussels attacks of March 22, 2016 and later the Marseille and Nice attacks the governments focused Islamic terrorists and people where more afraid of such further terrorist acts. This made that 2016 saw a net drop in anti-Semitic acts and threats: a 58% reduction compared with 2015, though anti-Islamic acts also dropped by the same amount.

Kalifat warned that nevertheless, anti-Semitism remains at a historic high. Jewish people, who represent under 1% of the population, remained a focal point of over 30% of all reported racist acts committed in France throughout 2016, being subject to 335 anti-Semitic acts and threats.

The tell-tale signs of anti-Semitism never seem to be far away.

Probably less Jews where victims of harassment because the Jewish quarters had everywhere soldiers patrolling. The increased police patrols also made lost of place less vulnerable, which can also be seen in the lesser amount of robberies.

Leaders of French Jewry may have expressed both relief over the defeat of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the presidential elections and concern over her receiving more than a third of the vote, they may not forget that those 11 million voters for the extreme right party can perhaps be only part of the many right wingers who would love all Jews and Muslims out of their ‘Catholic’ country.

Joel Mergui, the president of the Consistoire, was very fast to react on Sunday evening in a statement by his group, which is responsible for providing religious services to Jews to say he was happy with the result of Emmanuel Macron being elected president,

“which constitutes a veritable relief for all our nation and for the Jewish community of France”.

Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who is employed by the Consistoire, also spoke of his satisfaction from the vote. But in his statement, Korsia also referenced concerns over the support shown to Le Pen and those who would like to ban wearing Jewish and Muslim religious symbols in public, ritual slaughter and the provision of pork-free meals in school cafeterias, like they also have done in Belgium.

The ban for the religious symbols in the Belgian state schools is idiotic, because state-schools should just show they are free of any religious bias and that they are open to all sorts of religion. That ban is already some years in use by several Belgian schools and recently some complaints where made that elderly homes and prisons still provided pork-free meals. at first there was only a ban on ritual slaughter in private homes by ordinary citizens, but from 2017 onward there shall be a total ban of ritual slaughter in Belgium, which shall make it very difficult for religious Jews, Muslims and certain Christians to have kosher or halal meat from the own country. As long as importation would not be a problem, work of it can made that way, but it will also undermine the countries own economy.

Kalifat, who has lobbied intensively in favour of Macron in recent days, wrote optimistically on Twitter that everything starts now.

And that is what we can hope for … that a new start is made to bring non-Jews to come to understand why certain regulations are so important for the Jewish community, who want to put God’s mitzvot above the laws of man.

Also it is getting time that non-Jews come to see that there is a difference between secular (or apikorsim) – political Jews and religious Jews, who want to live according to the Law of God.

We only can hope that the new French president shall make work to bring Europeans of all sorts of religions together to live in peace and that he with the European Unions also shall try to get both parties Israel to come to negotiate directly in order to reach a point where they can live side by side in peace and security. All parties involved should recognise that as well as for Jews, Christians and Muslims, all having their faith build on the same root, our patriarch Abraham, that for all of them Jerusalem is a holy place. Real lovers of God, be them Jews, Christians or Muslims do know that Jerusalem in the end shall become the capital of the world. Therefore the lovers of God should also stimulate their politicians to get the political groups around the table to find a good solution for reconciliation and lasting peace.

I would love to see that all shall be able to come to believe that big picture Mr Kalifar wished to reiterate

that Israel is a democracy, a State respecting the rule of law and a country of freedoms. It is a democracy which has held 5 general elections since 2003 and now counts 13 Arab members among a total of 120 in the Knesset. This State, which respects the rule of law, is also home to a Supreme Court and judges whose independence is renowned and rulings are just.  It is a country where all are free to practice or change religion, or indeed not to follow one at all. It is a country where Jews, Christians and Muslims are afforded access to their holy sites within the ancient city of Jerusalem.  June 2017 will see the 50th anniversary of that freedom. Previously, and for centuries, Jews could do no more than dream of and pray for as much.

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Preceding

Kindertransport

Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter

Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God

What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism

The Rise of Anti-Seminism

If you’re going to be a hater, make sure you’ve done your homework.

Dr. Miller looking at Jews in France

Bringers of agony, Trained in Belgium and Syria

Bruxelles Ma Belle

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Please read also:

  1. January 2015 Île-de-France attacks
  2. November 2015 Paris attacks
  3. At the closing hours of 2016 #1 Looking down at terror
  4. Jewish Museum of Belgium shooting
  5. Knife-trust in democratic sore back
  6. Brussels bombings
  7. Mediterranean bloodshed
  8. 2016 Nice attack
  9. 14 Year Old With Sack Full of Bombs Seized in Belgium
  10. Danny Dannon Complete Smackdown of the Anti-Israel UN Resolution
  11. Another 5,000 Jews quit France for Israel
  12. ‘French Jews experiencing worst situation since 1945’
  13. January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide
  14. Hamas the modern Philistines
  15. 25 Orthodox rabbis issued a statement on Christianity
  16. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  17. Donald Trump after declining numbers of people victimised for their religion managed to increase the numbers again
  18. Incidents of hate have become commonplace in the U.S.A. anno 2017
  19. Beware of Jews
  20. French Jews worried over Le Pen’s success in presidential vote’s 1st round
  21. Natan Sharansky (Jew) : There is no future for Jews in France
  22. French Jews ‘relieved’ Macron won but worried over Le Pen’s electoral gains

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Other articles of interest

  1. The Day France Refused To Surrender
  2. France Says “Non”
  3. Far-right nationalism is dealt a second blow, as Le Pen is defeated in France
  4. What does the French Presidential Election Tell Us?
  5. Make Ready the Elysian Fields: Globalization Wins French Election Thanks To Worst Turnout in 50 Years
  6. Macron Wins In France
  7. Macron wins French election, but Marine Le Pen wins a contest for legitimacy
  8. the sixth republic
  9. Open borders, migrant mayhem, c’est la vie!
  10. The French Elections – What Now?
  11. The French Election in Under 2 Minutes
  12. Emmanuel Macron Wins French Presidency
  13. France’s Le Pen to reform National Front, create ‘new political force’
  14. Macron Beats Le Pen In French Election | EU Leaders Rejoice | Is France
  15. Nigel Farage Discusses Le Pen’s Defeat in French Election
  16. Nigel Farage: Le Pen will be French president in 2022. 8th May 2017
  17. UMD Students Weigh in on French Election
  18. Notes From Underground: Au Revoir, Marine Le Pen
  19. The Quint: Macron Expresses Gratitude After Becoming France’s New President
  20. Listen: Dr Myriam Benraad speaks about the election of Emmanuel Macron
  21. Macron’s French win: Viva la dance!
  22. Le Pen loses to Macron in the French Presidential election
  23. Attacks on Holocaust survivors and pogroms in post-war Poland – a lecture by Dr. Edyta Gawron of Jagiellonian University
  24. The New Leader Of France’s National Front Questioned The Existence Of Nazi Gas Chambers
  25. Marine Le Pen’s party president, holocaust denier
  26. The One Lesson of the Holocaust
  27. Israel Indicts US Hacker Linked To Threats To Jewish Centers
  28. Mugwump! – Election News In Brief
  29. Multiculturalism and the Jews
  30. There are more anti-Semitic posts on Twitter than Facebook, Instagram and YouTube combined
  31. Jews Are Still the Biggest Target of Religious Hate Crimes
  32. FTAC – Tip to the KGB’s Amplification of Middle Eastern Anti-Semitism
  33. It’s Hard Helping You When You Are Anti-Semitic, Among Other Things
  34. FTACT: Anti-Semitism and the Displacement of the Medieval Mode by a Developing Modern World
  35. Anti-Semitic Acts In Massachusetts More Than Doubled In 2016Keith Preston: US using anti-Semitism excuse to cover up growing opposition to Israel
  36. B’nai Brith records highest number of anti-Semitic incident in Canada in 2016
  37. Israel’s New Cultural War of Aggression
  38. Report: The link between the election of Donald Trump and resurgent anti-Semitism is now undeniable
  39. Democratic Party Stands By Complicit As Violent, Anti-Semitic NYC City Council Candidate Rises
  40. American Media Discriminate Against Jewish, For Muslim Single-Sex Pool Mark Regev at SOAS: a victory for free speech
  41. Fighting Back Is the Best Way to Combat Antisemitism on College Campuses
  42. UNESCO to fire another volley at Israel – on Independence Day
  43. Memorializing terror victims, Netanyahu urges Abbas to stop funding

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Filed under Crimes & Atrocities, History, Political affairs, Religious affairs, World affairs

Reciting the Aleinu as a warning against temptation of idolatry

From a review completed by a MA student at the University of Chicago Divinity School, with a focus on modern Jewish thought, Joel Swanson. Joel is interested in the intersections of phenomenology and Jewish theology, and in the unique insights that the rabbinic hermeneutic tradition can contribute to our understanding of postmodern philosophy.

Late in his life, Moses Mendelssohn found himself forced to defend the daily Jewish prayer Aleinu in a public contretemps with the Christian community of Königsberg. Two verses in the prayer, translated as

“For they worship vanity and emptiness, and pray to a god who cannot save,”

were widely viewed by Christians as an attack on Jesus, a reading based upon the testimony of a fourteenth century Christian convert from Judaism. As a result, in 1703 King Friedrich of Prussia signed an edict forbidding the recitation of these two verses of the Aleinu, and appointing Christian inspectors to enforce this ban. Seventy years later, David Kypke, an orientalist appointed as the inspector of the Königsberg Jewish community, filed a complaint alleging that the Jews purposely mumbled their recitations of the prayer, and therefore that he could not be sure they were not reciting the offending verses. The Jewish community of Königsberg prepared a response to these allegations, and naturally, it fell to Moses Mendelssohn to serve as the emissary to the Christian community and deliver this response.

According to Mendelssohn, Jews continue to recite the Aleinu not to attack other religions as idolatrous, but as a warning against the temptation of idolatry that lurks within all monotheists. Mendelssohn’s defense of Aleinu is a masterful use of emerging Protestant notions of pluralism and interiority to defend a particular Jewish tradition.

Freudenthal, did in fact see these two verses in the Aleinu as an attack on Christians, and no amount of creative rewriting of history on Mendelssohn’s part could change this. In order to defend Judaism before Christian authorities, Mendelssohn wound up redefining his own tradition.

Continue reading: “Moses Mendelssohn: Enlightenment, Religion, Politics, Nationalism” edited by M. Gottlieb

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Filed under History, Religious affairs

Inquisition also bad for Jews

A Catholic bishop granting plenary indulgences for the public during times of calamity. Note the almsgiving in the background. Wall Fresco by Italian Artist Lorenzo Lotto, Suardi, Italy, circa 1524.

The Roman Catholic Pope in the 1200s was annoyed that there where people who called themselves Christians but did not want to worship Jesus as their god. Those true Christians said there was only One God, Who is one, and which was not the god of the Catholic Church but the God of Israel. This was a blow in the face of the Roman Catholic Church which also could see a lot of money not coming in their hands because those Christians who refused to worship the Trinity also said that people paid for their sins by their death and not by ecclesiastical indulgences.

The Pope not pleased with those lay preachers who could undermine his establishment got enough clergy interested to battle those who had other thoughts than they. He established the “Holy Inquisition Against Depraved Heresy” to deal with breakaway ‘Christian sects’. At first it was a judicial procedure set to be able to judge all sorts of people who did not want to go with the Roman Catholic Church. But later an institution was established by the papacy and, sometimes, by secular governments to combat heresy and to act like we now see Al Qaeda, ISIS/ISIL or Daesh, Boko Haram and other fundamentalist Islamic groups to press what they believe would be the only true faith everybody had to have.

First being relatively powerless, as secular rulers, suspicious of Papal meddling in their own internal affairs, did not allow it access to their countries, in a period of more than 200 years, very few heretics were burned at the stake. In 1481, at the peak of the Ottoman power, however, after extracting a promise from the Pope that the Inquisition would remain under the Crown’s control, thus ensuring that confiscated assets of heretics would revert to the throne, Ferdinand and Isabella established the Inquisition in Seville (Reconquista). While it is commonly assumed that the Inquisition was brought to Spain out of a concern that Jews were trying to influence conversos to leave the Christian fold, one prominent historian is of the opinion that by 1481 Jewish consciousness was virtually nonexistent among the conversos, and that Jews did not attempt any such outreach. Rather, he believes, the Inquisition was an outgrowth of the attitudes of Spain’s Old Christian population. In the words of one Spanish historian,

“The Inquisition was a genuine expression of the soul of the Spanish people.”

When we hear about the Inquisition we most often do not think of the Jews, with good reason, because most damage was done to sincere godly people who had taken Jesus as the son of God and their saviour and not as their god. Though the horrible action taken by the Roman Catholics, undertaken in the twelfth century and following centuries to find “Christian heretics” who would be punished or killed, had her eyes also set on the Jewish community. Eventually, Jews too were open to such charges of heresy, simply for being Jewish; and torture was routinely used to extract “confessions.”

These coming weeks we also remember how this coming up time to Pesach was a very dangerous time for Jews, because they could be caught cleaning their houses and linen and buying vegetables before Pesach, blessing children without making the sign of the cross, fasting on Yom Kippur, and refraining from work on the Sabbath.

Interestingly enough, Jews who never converted to Christianity were not under the jurisdiction of the Inquisition, and could practice their religion freely and openly. It was only conversos who were considered heretics for forsaking the Christian creed and practising Judaism. Worse for the Catholic Church was that some of those converts did not become a Catholic but accepted rabbi Jeshua as the Messiah, the son of God but not a god son, like the Roman Catholics did. Those having gone in the water to become a Baptist, became with that group a target for prosecution, according to the Roman Catholics being a dangerous ‘cult’ and with other protestants to be removed from this earth.

Marranos: Secret Seder in Spain during the times of inquisition, an 1892 painting by Moshe Maimon

Mainly because of persecution, Muslims and Jews in Spain at that time found it socially, politically, and economically expedient to convert to Catholicism, but where not really practising that faith and at home kept their ow practice of faith. In 1481 the Inquisition began to function in Spain to expose the secret Jews, known as the Anusim (who were forced to abandon Judaism against their will) or Marranos, who converted to the Christian faith to escape persecution but who continued to practice Judaism secretly, but over the years spread to many countries. The Spanish Inquisition was anti-Jewish more than in any previous countries. The first public sentencing and burning alive of six marrano men and one woman by the Spanish Inquisition was held on this date in Sevilla in Southern Spain.

All sorts of torture where good for the unsparing cruel fanatics, of which many also set their eyes on the Jews and certain Christian groups or monasteries their assets.

Differently with the present day inquisition groups of Islam the Roman Catholic Church did not want to spill blood, but only “save souls”. For not having their clergy to become accused for having blood on their hands they made use of civilians and secular authorities for the many executions, whereby they found it was best to use bloodless deaths, such as strangling and burning alive.

For ISIS the colour today is orange, but at that time the condemned people wore yellow sanbenitos, cloaks, with red crosses and the letter X painted on them. Those given the death penalty wore tunics with paintings of flames and devils. The procession marched through the town to the burning area where the judges sat. The cases involving lesser penalties were judged first, then those receiving strangulation before burning, and finally those condemned to be burned alive.

The first auto-de-fe was held in 1481, and the last in 1731, an old woman who was accused of

“being influenced by the Devil, after which she laid eggs with prophecies written on them.”

Torquemada.jpg

Tomás de Torquemada (Thomas of Torquemada) Castilian Dominican friar, and the first Grand Inquisitor in Spain’s movement to homogenize religious practices with those of the Catholic Church in the late 15th century, otherwise known as “The Spanish Inquisition.” (Wikipedia)

In 1483, Queen Isabella’s personal confessor, the Dominican priest Tomas de Torquemada, was appointed head of the Inquisition. Of converso origin, Torquemada was a fanatic Jew-hater who was wholly incorruptible. He was convinced that only the total expulsion of the Jews from Spain could end Jewish influence in the national life.

Torquemada did not cut the grass from under the Jews’ feet and quickly began taking steps to weaken the unconverted Jewish community and eventually expel it from Spain. In 1485, he forced all rabbis, under pain of death, to report conversos who were practising Judaism, and to pronounce a rabbinic curse on any Jew who failed to notify the Inquisition of such behaviour. This cruel edict badly split the Jews of Spain. Alarmed by the greatly increasing power of the Inquisition, that year a group of conversos plotted to kill the inquisitor of Saragossa, Pedro de Arbues, hoping to begin a popular uprising against the Inquisition. However, the assassination had the opposite effect. The townspeople were enraged, rampaging through the streets, killing many conversos. All the conspirators were caught and executed, and the Inquisition grew even stronger.

Purity of faith became the national policy of the Catholic sovereigns, and thus came about the final tragedy, the edict of expulsion of all the Jews from Spain on March 31, 1492. Portugal promulgated an edict of expulsion in 1497 and Navarre in 1498. It was under de Torquemada his guidance that the Inquisition became such a terrifying institution, amassing enormous assets confiscated from its victims, much of it used to finance the war to conquer the last Muslim stronghold of Granada.

In 1680, the most spectacular of all autos-de-fe was held to celebrate the wedding of King Carlos and his bride. At that time, the Inquisition spread to Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the New and Old Worlds, with victims burned in Havana, Cuba; Mexico City, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Goa, India. After 350 years, the Inquisition was finally abolished in 1834, the year the Liberal Wars ended in Portugal and pro-republic uprising fails in Piedmont. In all, more than 400,000 people were accused of heresy, with 30,000 of those put to death.

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Please do read:

The Spanish Inquisition by Yosef Eisen

Books on Conversos a listing by Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez the director of the B’nei Anusim Center for Education

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Additional reading

  1. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  2. A dialogue about the earth moving and spinning around the sun
  3. Anti-church movements and Humanism
  4. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform

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Further reading

  1. Individuality in the Age of Heresy
  2. Say it in Latin, Mortui Vivos Docent
  3. A Jolly Old Pope
  4. Moors in the Occitan
  5. Inquisitively Questioning Inquisition
  6. The Papacy: Inception to Inquisitions End
  7. Does torture work
  8. A Tribute to Galileo
  9. The Memoirs of Luis Carvajal
  10. Millions Executed During The Inquisition?
  11. The Spanish Inquisition According to Mel Brooks
  12. Silence (Scorsese; 2016)
  13. And of These Chains
  14. Anti Hindu Laws in the Christian State set up by the Portuguese in Goa
  15. Anne Brenon: Les Cathares
  16. Basque Country – Following The Converso Escape Route
  17. Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism
  18. Granada, Spain – The End of Sephardic Jewry
  19. Returning to Egypt: Conversos who Returned to Spain and Portugal
  20. Books on Conversos
  21. A Conversation between the Spice Trader’s Daughter and her Lover, a Fortnight after She Burned at the Stake
  22. When will the Catholic Church apologise for the Goa Inquisition? – Shefali Vaidya
  23. Vatican has never apologised for its crimes, and will not apologise for the Goa Inquisition – Aravindan Neelakandan
  24. Books on the Inquisition
  25. Another book about the Inquisition in France…imagine!
  26. Book Review: The Shadow of the Cross
  27. The Ancien Régime was Less Bloody than the Enlightened World
  28. Inquisition 2015
  29. Going Back in Time
  30. Inquisition: la torture
  31. Spare a prayer
  32. Inquisition 
  33. Plausible Deniability, the Jesuits and Citizen Cain – Missionaries of The Anti-Christ
  34. The 2nd Amendment and The Inquisition
  35. The Elder
  36. The world order inquisition
  37. Jihad in the cause of Allah – Maria Wirth
  38. Benjamin Netanyahu and his Sephardic Roots
  39. Feelings in a nutshell
  40. Who we are (Inq worldpeace)

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Filed under Crimes & Atrocities, History, Juridical matters, Religious affairs

An American Embassy to the Eternal Capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem

A dark moment in the year 2016 might be the election of the man of whom most people thought he would not even make it to the selection of president candidates. Though very cleverly playing on the fearing minds of radical and right wing Americans blackening all other candidates he managed to blackguard Hillary Clinton many started to cry to put her in jail and would not vote for her.

Donald Trump often turned with the wind and at one moment he was on the blacks and Jews calling them names and at other moments he said he respected Judaism but found all Jews have to live in their own country.

In some of the ads leading up to the campaign Trump clearly stated his position:

Trump Campaign Statement on Israel

I love Israel, and honour and respect the Jewish faith and tradition. It is important that we have a president who feels the same way. For me, respect and reverence for Judaism is personal. My daughter Ivanka, and my son-in-law Jerad are raising their children in the Jewish faith, always reminding me of the important values and lesson we learn about leadership, resolve, and families in Jewish tradition. My administration will stand side by side with the Jewish people and Israel’s leaders to continue strengthening the bridges that connect, not only Jewish Americans and Israelis, but also all Americans an Israelis. Together we will stand up to the enemies like Iran, bent on destroying Israel and her people. Together we will make America and Israel safe again.

During his a speech at AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Donald Trump waxed bold and direct regarding his position on Israel:

I speak to you today as a life-long support and true friend of Israel.

I am a newcomer to politics, but not to backing the Jewish state.

I came here to speak to you about where I stand on the future of American relations with our strategic ally, our unbreakable friendship, and our cultural brother, the only democracy in the Middle East, the State of Israel.

He laid out several of his policies with regard the Nation of Israel. He was very politically incorrect, as his usual style normally is. He addressed the issue of Iran, but also the problematic relationship between Israel, the United States and the United Nations:

“The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel that it should be, and really that it must abide by some agreement made by others, thousands of miles away, that don’t even really know what is happening to Israel, to anything in the area. It is so preposterous; we are not going to let that happen…. When I am president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the UN to impose its will on the Jewish state.  It will be vetoed 100%.

During this speech Trump pointed out the track record of agreements that were imposed upon Israel in the past and his feelings on the reason for failure:

File:Video Recording of Photo Opportunity at Camp David - NARA - 6037428.ogv

President Clinton with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat at Camp David peace talks, July 2000.

To make a great deal you need two willing participants. We know Israel is willing to deal. Israel has been trying to sit down at the negotiating table without preconditions for years. You had Camp David in 2000, where Prime Minister Barak an incredible offer, maybe even too generous, Arafat rejected it. In 2008 Prime Minister Olmert made an equally generous offer, the Palestinians Authority rejected it also. Then John Kerry tried to come up with a framework, and Abbas didn’t even respond. Not even to the Secretary of State of the United States of America. They didn’t even respond. When I become President, the days of treating Israel like a second class citizen will end on day one!

Now many have treated his speech as simply electioneering and grandstanding. But as Donald Trump has been building his cabinet, and announcing the key roles, he has been building a team that is capable of realizing his campaign promises.

What has been most interesting this week has been the appointment by President Elect Trump of the American bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman, a 57 year old Orthodox Jew from New York, as the future Ambassador to Israel, which shall receive its residency not any more in Tel Aviv, but moves to Jerusalem.

Friedman helped advise Trump during the campaign and has assisted him in bankruptcy proceedings in the past. He is a supporter of Israeli settlement construction, has downplayed the need for a Palestinian state, and is considered a key force behind the incoming president’s relatively hard-line pro-Israel positions, including supporting moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Though in 1980 the Knesset had already declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel this law was declared null by the U.N., which called for the removal of the remaining embassies in the city. A statement from Israel’s Foreign Ministry called the resolution “unjust” and

“additional proof that the U.N. organization has been converted into an instrument in the hands of Israel’s enemies in their war against her existence and independence.”

With moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to a plot of land in Jerusalem which would be leased from Israel to the US for 99 years, for $1 per year since January 18, 1989, of the last days of the Reagan presidency, according to the agreement singed by US ambassador to Israel William Brown and Israel Lands Authority deputy director Moshe Gatt.

David Friedman was a major contributor to the Trump policy on Israel as he stated in a meeting with an Israeli delegation when meeting for dinner with them:

… anything where there is jobs or national security, the economy, immigration, everything is vetted through a policy committee. With regard to Israel there really isn’t a policy committee. Our relationship is so strong, that on matters of Israel, he’s really given Jason and I full authority to speak on his behalf.

The one thing that I’m proudest about, to date, is the Republican platform as relates to the state of Israel. The Republican platform on Israel is the strongest platform with regard to Israel that either party has ever developed in the history of this country. The way this was developed was a partnership between the Orthodox, within the Jewish community, the Israel lovers within the Jewish community and the evangelical community.

So from this platform, I would invite people to compare 2016 to 2012, there is no longer any reference to a two-state solution, there is an affirmative statement that Israel is not an occupier with respect to Judea and Samaria. There is a commitment to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people, undivided capital of the Jewish people, to move the embassy there.

When this platform was passed by the Republican platform committee, the Evangelical community, got up, not only did they get up and clap, but people were actually crying. That is how motivated, that is how happy they were. They for this was a day they would never see. 

This man is noted for his conservative political views, his belief that the “Jewish left” is a danger to the State of Israel, and that Jews who supported the nonprofit liberal advocacy group J Street, are

“just smug advocates of Israel’s destruction”

But it are just those advocates who try to bring peace in the region promoting American leadership to end the Arab–Israeli and Israel–Palestinian conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.
J Street’s stated aim is to provide a political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who believe that a

“two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is essential to Israel’s survival as the national home of the Jewish people and as a vibrant democracy”.

J Street has a two-fold mission: first, to advocate for urgent American diplomatic leadership to achieve a two-state solution and a broader regional, comprehensive peace and, second, to ensure a broad debate on Israel and the Middle East in national politics and the American Jewish community.

The appointment of Friedman, who once compared a Jewish lobby group to concentration camp prisoner-guards, is a controversial one and some liberal Jewish groups in the U.S. as well as a senior Palestinian cleric have openly denounced the decision.

As believers in the Bible we followed the Iraq-Iran War, the present religious wars and terrorist acts, the Brexit and the American elections suspiciously, very intrigued and  now with appointment of David Friedman to the post of America’s Ambassador to Israel seeing how zigzaw puzzle pieces fitting the details given in the Bible.

We are fascinated to see the finger of God at work in the nations, as the prophet Daniel clearly stated:

“…the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)

God allows people to reign matters and to choose their own governments. God also allows events to take place in His time schedule. He may look at the United States and see how Donald Trump may take his position of power in America and the world. Bible students can become quite excited by this prospect, not because of the man, but because of his stated policies with regard to the State of Israel and with the events Donald Trump may bring into this world, where he is perhaps going to make it easier for the Jewish state to develop.

The president elect moving the American Embassy is one thing, but also calling it

“to the Eternal Capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem

is giving the voice to what Jews and real Christians are looking forwards to for already many years. We do know that Jerusalem has to become the eternal capital of the world, but now a politician has called it with a clear voice “the Eternal Capital”. That is what more people shall have to come to recognise.

The movement of America’s embassy to Jerusalem is one step closer to becoming a reality.  It is the issue of Jerusalem that will cause the nations to come down to the land in the latter day, and bring God’s judgement upon them:

“For, behold, in those days, and in that time, When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, And will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, And will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” (Joel 3:1–2)

Zechariah also identifies Jerusalem as being the flashpoint:

“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: All that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, Though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)

All nations who come against it will be destroyed. So when we see America, the most powerful nation in the world talking about legitimizing the Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it brings the issue to the forefront.

You may read more about this in the Christadelphian News-site: Bible in the News

English: Protesters outside of AIPAC conferenc...

Protesters outside of AIPAC conference at Washington DC Convention center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Christianity like Judaism God’s call to human responsibility

The season of Pesach (Passover) is a time for reflection for many people.

Shimon Zachary Klein finds that the relevance of Pesach as a festival of freedom is lost for many reasons. He writes
It is a festival that conjures up obsessions for the “Kosher for Pesach” foods that result in the annual hair-splitting arguments between the secular and religious. The losers are inevitably the secular who have to kowtow to the whims of the religious who have the law on their side. What is free about that? Religious coercion reaches a climax during the Pesach week.Another aspect and one that very few people give a thought is the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. Their limited freedom is even further curtailed. Road-blocks, closures and checkpoints are stricter. The reason is always security. However, the difficulties that innocent Palestinians have to endure are further increased by this “Festival of Freedom”. The Israeli soldiers who are on duty in the occupied territories are even more abusive and insensitive to Palestinians to ensure that the “Festival of Freedom” is not “interrupted” by Palestinians.

It is difficult and even hypocritical to celebrate a festival of freedom while denying another people basic human rights. The settlers in the occupied territories show their presence during this “Festival of Freedom” when they trespass on Palestinian lands. At the same time the Israeli government is still expanding settlements on Palestinian land. Racist rabbis continue their anti-Arab diatribes and this does have much influence for the celebration of Pesach. {Pesach (Passover) – the Festival of “Freedom”}

Today, having a holy week and having listened to the stories how God liberated His people, we in these days of particular times, showing that we are coming closer to the end times, it should be a challenge to all of us as lovers of God to seek new meanings and learning new lessons as to how relevant Pesach remains today.

From the previous writings you could find that it is not enough to celebrate the liberation of the Israelites, who to all intents and purposes, are our ancestors. It is also not enough just to think about the Jewish rabbi who called his disciples together to speak about a new covenant.

English: Omer ceremony - Pesach 2007 , Jewish ...

English: Omer ceremony – Pesach 2007 , Jewish holidays עברית: חגיגת אנשי אילות לקראת סדר פסח בדשא חדר האכילה.ריקוד אמהות וילדים:שיבולת בשדה., Original Image Name:טקס העומר-פסח 2007, Location:אילות (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many Jews still come together in a very traditional way and even may perform what others consider out dated rituals as to what is Kosher for Pesach and what is not. The religious hair-splitting explanation over what is “kitniot” –“legumes” that are forbidden to be eaten by religious Ashkenazim.

Rabbi John Rosove, J Street Rabbinic Cabinet, Co-Chair brought following message

“As the festival of Passover approaches, we are all challenged, this year even more than most years, to reflect and act on the universal message it conveys — especially in the light of very disturbing trends both in the United States and Israel.

A page from the Haggadah of Pesach printed in ...

A page from the Haggadah of Pesach printed in Prague, 1527 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The overriding message conveyed through the Haggadah is that it is our duty to experience the story of our liberation from Egypt as if it happened to us personally — and not just a story that happened to our ancestors countless generations ago. As former slaves, our tradition teaches us to be sensitive to the plight of the oppressed throughout history and in our own time. Accepting our role as active participants in that drama, we realize that we have a hand in forging our own destiny and cannot allow ourselves to become mere bystanders.

“We’re taught as Jews despite cruelty leveled against us not to become cruel and hard-hearted ourselves. That is the key lesson of Pesach, and we ignore it at our moral and spiritual peril.”

We are sensitive even to the pain of our enemies, taking a drop of wine out of our glasses for each of the ten plagues visited on the Egyptians, lessening our joy as we recall their suffering.

As our sages have noted, the one commandment in the Torah reiterated more than any other is to care for and love the stranger — for we ourselves were strangers in Egypt. It is repeated no fewer than 36 times.

Perhaps the repetition is necessary because this commandment tells us to do something that is both counterintuitive and very hard to do. It goes against something that is very deep and fundamental within us. We’re hardwired to be loyal to our own tribe and to be suspicious of and hostile to “the other.” When we’re hurting or in distress, some of us blame strangers and pour out our rage on them. It’s happening again, right now, in Syria, Iraq and in sectors of America.

He is not the only one who looks at what is going on at the 2016 presidential campaign in the United states of America where some of the leading candidates have built their campaigns by exploiting the fears and anxieties of fellow Americans. Also on several religious websites, mainly fundamentalist Christian or American right wing Evangelist sites everything is done to bring people against each other and to downgrade one or an other faith-group.

The rabbi rigthly remarks:

They have cynically fomented an anti-immigrant, xenophobic, nativist feeling against Muslims, Hispanics and others.

and sees the same problematic matter in Israel

we see the same phenomenon in the very disturbing recent polls showing that a sizeable proportion of the Jewish population would favor depriving Arab Israelis of their democratic rights or even expelling them from the country. And tragically, Israelis and Palestinians have become strangers to each other, meeting in fewer and fewer places and not currently engaged around the negotiating table.

Yes, Israelis have been subjected to heinous terrorist attacks, rockets, missiles and constant psychological pressure — and we must stand with them in upholding their right to defend themselves and our Jewish homeland — but returning hatred with hatred is not the response our tradition teaches. We’re taught as Jews despite cruelty leveled against us not to become cruel and hard-hearted ourselves. That is the key lesson of Pesach, and we ignore it at our moral and spiritual peril.

This is not who we are as Jews — nor who we can be and should be.

As individuals and collectively, working through organizations like J Street and its many American-Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian allies, we need to change this. We are called upon by tradition to pursue peace and justice and to love compassion. We must see that our neighbors are fellow humans with the same desires and aspirations as us — and we must never abandon our goal of reaching a two-state solution to end the conflict.

That is the great challenge of our time and it is deserving of particular reflection this festival season.

English: Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of th...

Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the UK, at National Poverty Hearing 2006 at Westminster, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the former Chief Rabbi of Britain, Jonathan Sacks, has noted,

“Judaism is God’s call to human responsibility. From this call you can’t hide, as Adam and Eve discovered when they tried, and you can’t escape, as Jonah learnt in the belly of a fish. The first humans lost paradise when they sought to hide from responsibility. We will only ever regain it if we accept responsibility and become a nation of leaders, each respecting and making space for those not like us.”

Also for those who want to call themselves Christian should ring the same bell. Jeshua asked his followers to be messengers of peace. We can not permit it that we again would loose the paradise. It is promised to us, but we can go along the wrong paths and miss that important entrance or small gate to the Kingdom of God.

Christians should take up their responsibility to preach the Good News and to show the right attitude of a lover of God, keeping to the golden Rule of the Agape love.

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Please do read also: Relevance of Observing Pesach Today

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Mishmash of a legal code but importance of mitzvah or commandments

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild, working in England, writes

Interestingly while Judaism teaches that mitzvot are divinely ordained and therefore not to be questioned or even necessarily understood, it does at the same time try to explain them as a rational force, and many commentators suggest reasons for our doing them.

We are told: – “The essential reason for the commandments is to make the human heart upright” ( ibn Ezra on Deut 5:18); or “Each commandment adds holiness to the people of Israel.” (Issi ben Akavia,  Mechilta on Ex 22:30); or even that “The purpose of the mitzvot is…to promote compassion, loving kindness and peace in the world” (Maimonides, yad, Shabbat) {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

English: The Covenant Confirmed, by John Steep...

The Covenant Confirmed, by John Steeple Davis (1844-1917), as in Exodus 24 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who believe in the God of Abraham, should know that this God of gods has given the many commandments to help man find his way in this universe and to live in a proper peaceful relation with God’s creation.

The world has been given Mishpatim, which we may consider judgements by ‘laws’ or ‘rulings’ and they will govern the community who agree to accept them. But not all humans will accept them, that’s a fact. Also in the previous times people of God did not have it easy at all times with those Mishpatim, though just after Moses has finished relating all the various laws to the Children of Israel, we can see in the Old Testament how often those People of God went astray.

English: Moses Showing the Ten Commandments, b...

Moses Showing the Ten Commandments, by Gustave Doré (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Real lovers of God should agree “to do all the things that God has spoken” (Exodus 24:3). They should cling to the Word of God as the only Perfect Rule Giver and should go for keeping “miẓwah”, the divinely instituted rule of conduct. As such, the divine commandments are divided into (1) mandatory laws known as , and (2) those of a prohibitory character, the . This terminology rests on the theological construction that God’s will is the source of and authority for every moral and religious duty. Many of the old laws were given to and concerned only special classes of people, such as kings or priesthood, Levites or Nazarites, or are conditioned by local or temporary circumstances of the Jewish nation, as, for instance, the agricultural, sacrificial, and Levitical laws.

For us today some rules may be curious, and that is why at a certain moment in time some changes were allowed. It was not God Who changed, but the people who changed and God came closer to them by adapting His rulings. As such we may now face other food laws and about sanitation than at the early beginning, plus about how to relate to others, because certain concepts changed, like the position of slaves.

Torah scroll and silver pointer (yad) used in reading

Torah scroll and silver pointer (yad) used in reading

Of the more than fifty mitzvot to be found in the sidra, we have some that deal with the treatment of slaves, with the crimes of murder and kidnap, with personal injury and with civil damages through neglect or theft. There are rules about witchcraft and idolatry, about oppression and unfair business practise, about applying legal codes in a prejudiced fashion and not giving false testimony; laws about not mistreating widows and orphans, and about care for animals. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

When we look at those laws and regulations we may not forget that many still keep going and should be fulfilled by a lover of God. It is not because we have Jesus as our Messiah who liberated us from the curse of Law that the Law has ended. No, not at all. The Law still counts. Even now we have received a New Covenant, should we keep to those law covered in that covenant.

Too many Christians commit a mistake by thinking they do not have to do any works any-more. We still have to keep the works of faith, keeping to God’s Commandments.

In parshat Mishpatim, the Israelites learn that accepting the commandments is a 24/7 job. {Parenting by the Parshah – Mishpatim}

We also must be fully aware of the most frequent mitzvah in Torah, given at least 37 different times in the text,which  is repeated in the Mishpatim too –

“you shall not wrong a stranger or oppress them, for you were strangers in the land of Israel.”

It is a mishmash of a legal code but what comes through loud and clear to the reader is the importance to the Jewish people of mitzvot, commandments.

From Torah we see that for the ancient people there were particular reasons for observing the mitzvot – firstly and most importantly because God tells us to. Secondly there was in the ancient understanding an idea that people who obeyed them would be rewarded, and people who disobeyed risked punishment. Then there were two different types of reason given in Torah – that the mitzvot were intrinsically imbued with divine wisdom, and that they would lead us to achieving holiness.  {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

Each person who wants to become a Child of God, or to belong to God’s People shall have to resign oneself to the Will of God. But none can belong to the children of God when they do not accept others to be their brethren and sisters, and loving them as their siblings. The agape love for the others is a indispensible necessary part of belonging to God’s family.

In Judaism as in Christianity too there might be a tension in their tradition

– do we do the commandments (mitzvot) simply because there is a Commander (metzaveh) who told us to do this and this should be enough, or do we search out a meaning behind each mitzvah? And if we do the latter, what happens if we cannot find a suitable reason and meaning? Do we abandon the mitzvah as unreasonable or pointless? Or do we continue to do it in the hope that meaning will emerge? After all, at Sinai the people famously answered “na’aseh ve’nishma, [first] we will do it and [subsequently] we will understand”. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

The tension and balancing between holding a religious belief and a rationalist position was as great in the ancient world as it is today. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

For those who love God ‘blind faith’ was never a prerequisite, neither of a Jewish life nor of a Christian life.

Judaism tends to the position of na’aseh ve’nishma – doing in order to understand, blending faith and reason and giving neither the upper hand, but instead knowing that if we behave “as if” we believe, if we follow the way of mitzvot, then further understanding may come. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

From Scriptures we should come to understand there is no way of doing “as if” because God sees the heart and He does knows each of us. We can not hide anything from Him.

1 Samuel 16:7 The Scriptures 1998+  (7)  But יהוה {Jehovah} said to Shemu’ĕl, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him, for not as man sees, for man looks at the eyes, but יהוה {Jehovah} looks at the heart.”

Jeremiah 17:10 The Scriptures 1998+  (10)  “I, יהוה {Jehovah}, search the heart, I try the kidneys, and give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.

Moses with the Two New Tables of Stone (illust...

Moses with the Two New Tables of Stone (illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our hearts may not be removed from God and by our way of living we should show to others how God is in our heart. Our heart, our feelings but also how we act should always be pure, full of love for God and His commandments. When we are willing to give ourselves into God’s Hands He will bring us where He wants us to be.

Proverbs 21:1-3 The Scriptures 1998+  (1)  The sovereign’s heart is as channels of water In the hand of יהוה {Jehovah}; He turns it wherever He wishes.  (2)  All a man’s ways are right in his own eyes, But יהוה {Jehovah} weighs the hearts.  (3)  To do righteousness and right-ruling Is more acceptable to יהוה {Jehovah} than a slaughtering.

Each day we have to work at ourself taking care we keep to the commandments of God.

Meanwhile we are impacting on ourselves and on our world in a positive way as we are directed to behaviour that may not be our first instinct – to support the poor and downtrodden, to value life, to respect the boundaries of others, to rein in our own power and desires so as not to trample over the lives of others. The list goes on. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

As tradition says again and again in different words, the same message:  “the commandments were given only to refine God’s creatures…”(Midrash Tanchuma). They change us, they cause us to think about what we are doing and not to act out of immediate self interest, they shape our behaviour and ultimately they may help us to bring holiness into our world. {Parashat Mishpatim. What is the purpose of mitzvot?}

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Preceding

When believing in God’s existence and His son, possessing a divine legislation

A Royal Rule given to followers of Christ

First man’s task still counting today

Whoopi Goldberg commandments and abortion

He who knows himself, is kind to others

Luther’s misunderstanding

January 27, 417, Pope Innocent I condemning Pelagius about Faith and Works

Our life depending on faith

Romans 4 and the Sacraments

Is Justification a process?

Letter to the Romans, chapter 3

Letter to the Romans, chapter 4

Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans

Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4

Comments to James remarks, about Faith and works

Which is worse–works without faith, or faith without works?

Christians remaining hidden not sharing the gospel

Witnessing because we love

Leading people astray!

Crisis man needed in this world

Preaching Christ Is Not Enough

Beautiful feet of those who announce the good news

Preaching by example

A Christian has to have eyes and ears and a tongue to use in good ways

Daring to speak in multicultural environment

Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach

What Should I Preach ?

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Additional reading

  1. Bible in the first place #1/3
  2. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  3. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  4. Creator and Blogger God 6 For His people
  5. God-breathed prophetic words written torah and the mitzvot to teach us
  6. Words God speaks unto all and the Spirit that quickens
  7. The Bible is a today book
  8. Statutes given unto us
  9. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  10. God’s design in the creation of the world
  11. Time passing away
  12. Best intimate relation to look for
  13. Let us not forget it was God who chose us
  14. Daily Spiritual Food To prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of God
  15. Engaging the culture without losing the gospel
  16. A god who gave his people commandments and laws he knew they never could keep to it
  17. Knowing where to go to
  18. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  19. The inspiring divine spark
  20. A good idea to halt all activity for one hour some day
  21. Eternity depends upon this short time on earth
  22. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  23. Truth never plays false roles of any kind, which is why people are so surprised when meeting it
  24. Foundation to go the distance
  25. Preferring to be a Christian
  26. Aim High: Examples of Godly Characters to follow
  27. Purify my heart
  28. United people under Christ
  29. Honesty beginning of holiness
  30. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  31. How we think shows through in how we act
  32. Object of first woe
  33. Think hard before you act today

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Further reading

  1. The Kotel Decision: The Parties at the Table
  2. Mishpatim פרשת משפטים
  3. Mishpatim – Who’s Serving Whom?
  4. Shift and Consolidation: Thoughts on the Torah Portions Mishpatim and Terumah
  5. Commentary for Mishpatim
  6. Mishpatim – Its just a White Lie
  7. When the plumbers stop society’s moral leaks
  8. Parashat Mishpatim /
  9. Shabbat Parashat Mishpatim 5776–Shabbat Torah Study at Adat Shalom Synagogue–Don’t Make Him Tell on You
  10. Mishpatim – Wholly Love
  11. Parshat Hashavuah: Mishpatim by Alex Gage
  12. Scripture for 2.5.2016
  13. Stole My Heart – Parshat Mishpatim 5776
  14. Parsha Mishpatim
  15. Shabbat Shalom! – Mishpatim
  16. Dvar Torah Parshat Mishpatim 5776 2016
  17. Mishpatim 5774 – Visión y Detalles
  18. Double Cry – Mishpatim 5776
  19. Il monoteismo etico – Parashat Mishpatim
  20. Mishpatim: Where heaven and earth converge
  21. Parenting by the Parshah – Mishpatim
  22. Parashat Kedoshim – What is it doing here?

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A last note concerning civil rights

Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Atheism in spe do not discriminate.

Human beings so much love the world to turn around themselves. The other human species which look different than them or act differently than them are often considered as a possible threat to their own individuality. They want to protect their own personality and consider another race as an infringement of their own being. All those who are not like the mainstream, showing other sexual feelings than the majority, are for lots of people elements which have to be avoided in their society.
They forget that all human beings are created in the image of God and that we should allow all creatures in existence to be here on earth because God allows them to be here.

Being different makes so many afraid. Not enough people are willing to know more, the why and how about certain matters, which makes that so many are excluded from our general society.

Much too often we hear that religion is the cause of the many problems and discrimination on this earth, but we should see that even when nobody would believe in a higher being, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination would still be social constructs born of fear and ignorance. Fundamental groups, when they would not be religious will still exist as has proven history where we can find enough examples of exclusions, torture and killing by others, not for religious but for political and for economical reason and most of all for getting the power, and that is it where it turns mostly around: Power.
It our those people who can reason who should be willing to use their brains and knowledge to open the eyes of others so that they would not in to the appeal of extremism.

Become a Peaceblogger Click on the picture to know more

Become a Peaceblogger – Click on the picture to know more 

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Find also to read:

  1. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  2. Christian fundamentalism as dangerous as Muslim fundamentalism
  3. Gender connections
  4. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  5. Full text of Pope Francis’ Interview with ‘La Vanguardia’
  6. Discrimination in Black Country
  7. Consequences of Breivik’s mass murder
  8. Idaho wedding chapel to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to $1,000 in fines
  9. Stand Up

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  • Unbelief in an angry god (futurehistoryx.wordpress.com)
    Sin-consciousness is false consciousness. It is a world of illusion separated far from truth.
  • Here is the test (angryarab.blogspot.com)
    If Westerners insist on the right to mock Islam and its prophet, then they should tolerate Muslim mocking of Judaism and Christianity is they wish; similarly, if Muslims object to mocking of Islam and its prophet, they should then refrain from mocking Judaism and Jews–qua Jews.
  • Very often we can find articles like Religion: Not the cause of violence (meta.ath0.com) where they want to believe their readers that the Christian Bible is full of exhortations to stoning, burning, slavery and slaughter. They do not see the whole picture what is going over the whole Book of books and do not listen to the words given in those books about the law, which makes them to consider that “most people you know would qualify for the death penalty” and come to say “The same can be said of the Quran. The same can be said of the Torah. Believers who claim that Islam or Christianity or Judaism is a religion of peace are speaking a half truth—and a naive falsehood. »
  • Franklin Graham on the US: ‘Christians Are Being Pushed to the Back of the Room (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
    The Rev. Franklin Graham, head of Samaritan’s Purse and son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, feels that other religions are being brought to the forefront in the U.S. while Christianity is being pushed back. Graham appeared on WNCN News to discuss his recent comments on Duke University’s decision to end its policy on having an Islamic call to prayer at the campus’ Christian chapel.
  • In one sense, Islam is Judaism, minus the sense of humor. But Charlie Hebdo alone can’t help them….. (thecatholicthing.org)
    The Christian faith does not hold that in a perfect world we would all be monks or nuns – such that marriage, business, and politics are a sad compromise with sin. Many clergymen have taught that over the centuries – and have been rightly mocked by raucous laymen. Let’s give John Henry Newman credit for understanding this. When he was asked by Bishop Ullathorne whether the Church needed the laity, he quipped: “the Church should look foolish without them.”
  • Fundamentalism is Never Legitimate (bishopcraig.com)
    The recent terrorist attack in France adds yet another exclamation point to the truth that fundamentalism is never a legitimate expression of any of the great historic religious traditions. It is always a perversion of the original teachings, most often twisted in a desperate attempt to achieve some political end antithetical to the tradition itself.
  • The Importance of Blasphemy By Daniel Greenfield (ruthfullyyours.com)
    As a deeply religious person, I don’t like blasphemy. My religion and its holybooksare sacred to me. And I understand perfectly well why a Muslim would not care for a cartoon of a naked Mohammed.But the debates over freedom of speech andthe sensitivity of religious feelings also miss the point.For non-Muslims, the right to blasphemy is also the right to believe. While we may think of blasphemy in terms of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, each religion is also mutually blasphemous.
  • Isis releases about 250 Yazidis from captivity (kmov.com)
    Dozens of people who were being held captivebyIslamic militants in Iraq for months are now free.Officials in Iraq say Isis released about 250Yazidis without explanation.Many of them are children and elderly people.
  • Town Hall Discussion on Islam: Is There a ‘Moderate’ Branch of Islam? (ambrosekane.com)
    Muslim activist, Anjem Choudary, addresses the question of whether muslims can be ‘moderate’ when it comes to Islam. Credit goes to him for pointing out that muslims are either being faithful to the Quran or they’re not. There’s no middle ground, and he does a good job of shaming Daisy Khan, a ‘moderate’ muslim woman who absurdly declared that “Islam is a religion of pluralism.”

10 Comments

Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Lifestyle, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, Social affairs

Passover and Liberation Theology

by Jonathan Granoff 

There is a dynamic relationship between identity, community, and grace-awakened values, which, if they are authentic, are universal and without regard to nation, tribe, gender, race, or religion. In other words, God’s love is for all, wisdom is without prejudice, and justice properly wears a blindfold when she weighs deeds. The Passover moment is as an example of how the specific group in which one lives can and should be used to expand one’s circle of compassion. Tribalism is a distortion of God’s grace. The expanded heart alone is capable of knowing a reflection of the Unlimited Heart of God’s love for all.

English: Jewish Community Festival, Downtown P...

Jewish Community Festival, Downtown Park, Bellevue, Washington. “Jew-ish.com” and Seattle Kollel booths. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being Jewish and being part of the Jewish community can be a blessing or a curse. If being part of a community helps develop compassion for others, a sense of being loved, and expands one’s capacity to serve others, then it is surely a blessing to be in such a community. If being anything increases one’s capacity to experience God’s qualities and to share them then that too is a blessing. If being part of anything gives one a sense of arrogance then developing wisdom will be thwarted and authentic understanding of one’s relationship to God as well as one’s fellow human beings will he occluded. Liberation from any identity that separates one from one’s fellow human beings and God is necessary for authentic peace. Commitment to caring for others is a prerequisite for spiritual and psychological growth. Whatever identity one receives from birth or choice will have value based on these principles.

Rights, rituals and practices can deepen one’s sense of gratitude and appreciation for all lives.

For example, Passover can be experienced as liberation theology at its best. It is about social justice, freedom from slavery, crime and punishment, patience and fortitude, courage and God’s grace. It is also about overcoming the Pharaoh of egoism with faith. It is a multilevel source of inspiration for those who participate in its dimensions of family, community, teaching, and eating.

It is for many an affirmation of the intervention in history of God on behalf of a people God protected and to whom He revealed Himself. It can awaken gratitude for being a descendent of those people and not being a slave today. It can create a sense of duty to help free others. It can inspire to uplift us to a clearer awareness of the presence of the sacred. It can help us remember God.

It can create a distorted sense of identity. It can make one think that based on blood one is closer to God than others. One might ask: Is being a Jew a necessary part of being close to God? Only a fool would think so. One might also ask: Does being Jew distance oneself form God. Only a fool would think that. So, if you are a fool, stop reading, otherwise, join me in these reflections.

A heart filled with compassion and a life lived from that place of goodness where the presence of God is remembered will do just fine. So, then the question is what value is there in being part of a community, like a several thousand years history of stories about that community’s relationship with the mystery of life we inadequately call God. It could be good and it could be bad.

Good includes being accountable to people who know and love you. Bad includes thinking that by virtue of being part of that community, or tribe, you are specially blessed and better than anyone else anywhere. Good includes gratitude for the teaching that God is with us and One with all. Bad if that teaching makes one feel different from any of God’s other human creations.

Compassion does not have a boundary of blood, religion, race, caste or gender. It resonates like the circles from a pebble in a pond from the center of the heart where the intention to honor the lives of others and God’s sacred gift awakens when the pebble of that purity descends into the human heart.

So, here are few thoughts for your thinking:

Why do we need a tribe when the message is love and unity with and for all? Is not our God the One God of the one human family and is not the calling of those who accept the calling to love and serve all? Of course, and is that realization not a liberation from the slavery of egoism formed of separation from the overwhelming blessing of the oneness of life’s bounty? The ego mind that identifies with all that we cannot posses forgets what we can really receive, the radiance of the soul.

Crossing over the sea of blood ties into the open space of wisdom:

 

~And This Too~

love without action is

hollow

action without love is

dangerous

love with action

that’s

plenitude

each breath, deep love in action

each thought, deep love in action

each moment, deep love in action

Deep Awake

 where gratitude lives,

 salt changes to sugar

tears of sorrow, sadness and separation

changing to

tears of joy, love and union

a mere whisper of the grace of deep awake,

listen carefully

this whisper is a thunder of healing light

oh may God’s resonance be known.

in love’s way of peace

 

Jonathan Granoff is president of the Global Security Institute and reachable at granoff@gsinstitute.org.

– From Tikkun Special Seder Messages for Passover

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  • Queer Passover Seder Helped Me Reclaim Judaism (blogs.forward.com)
    At the time, it didn’t occur to me to be offended or concerned that I was being circled by the cheerleaders and other popular girls who held hands, bowed their heads and prayed for my soul. They were part of “Christian Life” at my high school in Olympia, Washington. I recall several instances when they earnestly attempted to save me from eternal damnation. I didn’t refuse their efforts or consider the implications of their actions. I just wanted to fit in.I grew up Jewish in the Pacific Northwest. But not in a religiously observant family, or a proud intellectual family, or a family of labor organizers who taught me early and often never to cross a picket line. My family was on the fast track to assimilation, and by high school, being Jewish was simply a reminder that I was an outsider.

    By the time I was in my late twenties, I was reeling from a spiritual crisis. A decade of organizing and social change work had left me feeling hopeless and burned out.

  • What Passover Means to Young Adults (ejewishphilanthropy.com)
    Passover is a unique moment. As we learn every year from the hundreds of Birthright Israel alumni who host Seders for their friends through NEXT’s Passover initiative, the holiday provides young adults with a whole new space in which to explore identity, experiment with tradition, and build community.What moves and motivates these young adults to create their own Passover experiences, and what can we learn from their stories? We dug through a trove of qualitative data contained in hosts’ post-Seder surveys to find out. Their stories illuminated important lessons and questions for the entire field of engagement.
  • This Passover (danielswearingen.wordpress.com)
    You tell me to look outside me this Passover, to actualize an infinite need. It seems strange, you asking me for holiness, for blessing a harvest, you of oneness, the lock of my key.
  • RAC Blog: A Fifth Cup ??? Going Beyond What is Required (blogs.rj.org)
    Today, as many of us are busy preparing for Passover, I find myself less occupied by the meticulous aspect of the holiday’s demanded mitzvot, but searching instead for ways to supplement the narrative and to find meaning in a modern context. I commend those who find deep meaning in cleaning out their kitchens and sterilizing their homes, making sure that all leavening ceases at the 18-minute mark and [in the Ashkenazi tradition] nothing that could resemble wheat flour – such as legumes – will be consumed during Passover. However, I would like to offer an additional perspective on Passover by suggesting some meaningful ways to supplement the seder.

    Zionism and living in Israel were the answers to my search for Jewish identity, and to me, Passover became a holiday of peoplehood. The central narrative became the one that we clearly state after we sing Dayenu,that B’khol Dor VaDor: “In every generation we must see ourselves as if we went out from Egypt.” In the traditional Haggadah this statement is followed by a biblical and liturgical reading.

  • The Evolution Of Passover – Past To Present (jewishengagement.wordpress.com)
    Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is the most widely celebrated Jewish Holiday. It begins on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven or eight days depending upon location and religious orientation. In Israel, all sects of Judaism celebrate Passover for seven days with one Seder (Passover ritual feast and in Hebrew means “order”) on the first night, while in the Diaspora (communities outside of Israel), traditional Jews celebrate it for eight days with two Seders held on both the first and second nights. This year Passover will commence at sundown on Monday, April 14th with the first full day celebrated on Tuesday the 15th. Passover is a Biblical Holiday, which commemorates the story of the Exodus—G-d freeing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and bondage; establishing the Covenant with them as a people not just as individuals as in the past e.g. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and in turn creating the beginning of our sacred history as a Jewish Nation.
  • The Worm Moon- Nisan 14, and Happy Passover (ireport.cnn.com)
    “Passover commences on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan.
    In Judaism, a “day” commences from dusk to dusk, thus the first day of Passover only begins after dusk of the 14th of Nisan and ends at dusk of the 15th day of the month of Nisan.
    +
    Passover is a joyous holiday, celebrating the freedom of the Jewish people.
    http://www.policymic.com/articles/31025/passover-2013-5-things-to-know-about-the-jewish-holiday
  • Taking Passover Back to Its Roots (algemeiner.com)
    the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nissan, they’ll wait for the kids to recite Mah Nishtana, the four questions; pucker up to inhale the bitter herbs; relish the sweet Charoset; dip herbs in salt water; sing rousing renditions of Dayenu and Chad Gadya; and knock back four cups of wine.But none of these rituals are part of the Passover observance of Israel’s Karaite and Samaritan believers, who observe the biblically mandated holiday in quite a different way.
  • Review: Two Messianic Passover Haggadoth (messianic613.wordpress.com)
    There’s no lack of Passover Haggadoth for Messianics. The best known are perhaps The Messianic Passover Haggadah by Barry & Steffi Rubin, and the more recent Vine of David Haggadah published by FFOZ. [1] There are many more, especially in internet editions. Some show a beautiful lay-out and are richly illustrated. There seems to be enough material available for all styles and tastes.

    To our taste, however, the materials offered thus far show many liturgical defects and inconveniences. Despite many serious efforts that have been made we haven’t seen a messianic Haggadah which successfully and convincingly integrates the traditional Jewish and the typical messianic features of the Seder. It is our perception that the difficulty of doing so is often underestimated, and that authors and editors are not sufficiently aware of the decisions involved in such a project, or the halachic and theological problems connected to these decisions.

  • Passover: A Time To Remember (jacksonandrew.com)
    The basis for a Christian interpretation of the first of the Seven Festivals as the decisive component in God’s plan for redemption pivots upon the identification of Jesus with the paschal lamb (Ross 2002, 409). There are, in fact, strong associations between Jesus and the Passover lamb in both the Old and the New Testaments. Centuries before the Crucifixion of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah declared that the when the future Messiah appeared, he would be “led like a lamb to slaughter.” (Isa 53:7). As John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching him he proclaimed: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Similarly, Peter described Jesus as the spotless Lamb of God (1 Pet 1:18-20). According to Augustine of Hippo, “The true point and purpose of the Jewish Passover . . . was to provide a prophetic pre-enactment of the death of Christ” (Rotelle 1995, 6:186).And not only has Passover been connected to the death of Christ, but also to the Lord’s Supper, which is also obviously a symbolic pre-enactment of Christ’s death as well as an re-enactment celebrated by the Church since that time. After Jesus’ sacrifice, Paul assured the early Christian community at Corinth that they have been saved “for Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7). Of course, the context of this passage points to the man who is living in persistent sin and thus not being allowed to receive the Lord’s Supper. Cyprian of Carthage also connected Passover to the Lord’s Supper and to the root, being the unity of the church (Baillie 1953, 129).

     

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Religions and Mainliners

In this world we have many sorts of religions and in each religion many subdivisions may be found. In Christendom there are groups which for good reason would prefer to speak of Christendom and Christianity and would prefer to say the world we are living in has also a Mainline Christendom instead of a Mainline Christianity.

Map of the distribution of Christians of the world

Map of the distribution of Christians of the world (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christendom is full of “Tradition” and has embraced the world whilst Christianity would prefer to stay disconnected from traditional worldly matters and though living in this world would not like to be “of this world”. In Christianity you also may find different groups or churches, which all want to honour God the Divine Creator. They would consider the main churches like the Catholic Church (Roman Catholics, Orthodox Catholics, Charismatic Catholics, Latin Catholic Church, etc.) Anglican Church, Church of England, Reformed Church, Calvinist Church, Lutheran ChurchBaptist Church, Episcopalian Church,  and Methodist Church, with the various Presbyterian groups.

English: Major branches within Protestantism (...

English: Major branches within Protestantism (excludes Restoration movements): Diagram of Protestant denominations and movements; see also Image:ChristianityBranches.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some might have been in a certain time of history bigger groups or not been considered out of mainstream, like the smaller denominations, such as the Amish, Mennonites, Quakers. Others like the Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists, Christian Scientists, and Pentecostals may have been at first very small groups, but have gained a firm place in certain countries and have even become the main church in a country.

The Charismatic protestant churches and certain Evangelical churches could be seen as separated from Mainline. Some people, like Joel L. Watts who is building up a (sorta) response to Thom Rainer’s 20 Influential Evangelicals list. Unsettled Christianity company wants to  include mainline Christians, but in asking the question on Facebook, the administrator was equally struck by the conversation about who and what is a mainliner.

Calvinist church

Calvinist church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conspicuous is that many many consider ‘Mainline Protestants’ having a different perspective. By many they are considered to have a more modernist theology. So, for instance, they would read the Bible, not as the inerrant word of God, according to Joel L. Watts, but as a historical document, which has God’s word in it and a lot of very important truths, but that needs to be interpreted in every age by individuals of that time and that place.

We would consider “mainstream religions” those which adheres to the orthodox standard teachings of the five major religions of the world. Those being the groups in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism which follow their biggest groups their core teachings. In those groups can be groups which do not want to belong or to take their mainstream teachings. In Christianity we can find the groups who stayed in the line of the Jewish thinking Jeshua, better known today as Jesus Christ. They believe like most Jews that there is only One God of gods Who is the Divine Creator of everything. Though the difference with the Jews, except with the Messianic (non-trinitarian) Jews is that they accept the Master Teacher Jeshua to be the son of God who has brought not only the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God, but who also by the Grace of God brought Salvation for all humankind. In those groups or churches who want to distantiate themselves from mainstream church are the non-trinitarian Baptist which became nearly extinct by the strong hold of the Baptist Unions who pressured the trinitarian teaching on their members. In the 1980-90ies most non-trinitarian Baptist went over to other non-trinitarian churches, like the Bible Students, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of God, The Church of Abrahamic Faith, Assemblies of God, the Nazarene Friends, the Restoration Church or to the Christadelphians.

Those non-trinitarian believers worship the God of the Hebrews, Whom they consider to be an Eternal Spirit Who is universal and indivisible. This God Who can not be seen by man, or they would die, also ordered not to make any image of Him. Like Jews and Muslims they would never create image of God because it is in His Law and because the infinite cannot be expressed in a mere image. They, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, all exhibit practices and/or teachings that are not among the more “traditional” practices and teachings of the mainstream churches.

The majority of mainstream Jews do believe a Messiah will one day come. In the contemporary movement we can find Jews who do believe that Jeshua is the send one of God who is going to bring salvation and going to break all human ruling. By those messianic Jews to groups can be found; the ones who believe Jesus is the son of God and an ordinary person, not a divinity like the Christian trinitarian Jesus; and a group who strangely enough take Jesus also to be God, and do not consider it braking with the rules and regulations nor in contradiction with all the words said to the prophets, like Abraham, Isaac and Isaiah.
Those non-stream Jews and Christians, like the Muslims have a similar belief concerning the unity and infinity of God. They do believe in Jesus, and even believe he will return in the end times, but once again he is considered a mere mortal, just like any other prophet, brought back entirely through the Will of God, not through any power wielded by Jesus himself.

Lots of Christians take offence of those who do not believe in a trinitarian god. Several of them are as fundamental as we can find fundamentalists by the Muslims, who hate those who do not think and follow the rules they are following.

It is this hate between believers in a god or in the God, that made non-believers in a divine creature or Supreme Being, make to consider religion the base of all the violence in this world. But we do think in case God would not have been there as Divine Creator and several people following him, people anyhow would have created religions, because all those things they could not understand or explain were transposed unto gods, like the god of light, the god of thunder etc..

The thinking of man, philosophies, system of ethics, cultural norms, etc.would have in any case created the syncretism or the formation of new religious ideas from multiple distinct sources, often-contradictory sources.

Some neopagan religions are also strongly syncretic. Look for example at Wicca which consciously draws from a variety of different pagan religious sources as well as Western ceremonial magic and occult thought, which is traditionally very Judeo-Christian in context. However, neopagan reconstructionists such as Asatruar are not particularly syncretic, as they attempt to understand the recreate Norse beliefs and practices to the best of their ability.

Many mainstream religions created smaller groups of which some became quite big. From Islam came the Baha’i faith which recognizes Krishna and Zoroaster as prophets, though it really doesn’t teach much of Hinduism or Zoroastrianism as being Baha’i beliefs.

English: A colour-coded world map showing the ...

English: A colour-coded world map showing the state religions of applicable nations. Buddhism Islam Shi’a Islam Sunni Islam Orthodox Christianity Protestantism (in England: Anglicanism) Catholicism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Believers and non-believers should come to see that in a way all religions possess some degree of syncretism. It’s how humans work. Even if you believe God (or gods) delivered a particular idea, if that idea was completely alien to the listeners, they would not accept it. Moreover, once they receive said idea, that belief can be expressed in a variety of ways, and that expression will be coloured by other prevailing cultural ideas of the time.

Those who stand strong in their shoes, should not have to fear of others and should be able to go to others to give them their hand offering them peace. It are those who are afraid of their own believes that they or others around them could loose it that bring fear to themselves and others. They create a fertile ground for problems and more than once also of hate and negative attitude to others.

Non-believers may accuse the God or the gods as responsible for all trouble in this world. Because many Christians advocate their God is behind all that is good in the world, they think God should also be responsible for all the badness there is in the world. What they do not seem to understand that when God allows human beings to be free and to make their own choices, people themselves can make good or bad choices which will have their consequences for others in their environment as well.

It is not because in the Bible God gives His Word and tells us that He creates light but also creates darkness and that He makes peace, and creates evil, that it is God Who makes that badness or war in the world. It means that God allows it to be there because man has chosen to go his own way (in the Garden of Eden).  The God and the bad are in this world, created by God, but what can be bad for some one or something can be good for someone or something else. Certain plants are poisons for certain animals and people but for others they are necessary to survive. God claims not responsibility for wars, diseases, smallpox, bacteria, etc.; but He claims to be the One Who allows it to exist, and that is a big difference.

Those who want to call themselves “Children of God” do have to follow God His rules. He has given humankind His Laws which would make the best of the world and which would bring peace all over the world. In case much more people would follow the Laws of the Divine Creator there would be much more peace in the world.

Christianity Today

Christianity Today (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who call themselves Christian should have the Spirit of God in them which imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty. All Christians should in a way have the same aim to bring others to the narrow gate of the Kingdom of God and to show others the peace we all can have because Jesus nailed the agony, pains and troubles on the wooden stake (‘the cross‘). They all should Love and cultivate that which is pure. they should not be afraid to show Tenderness and kindness because they are not signs of weakness and despair. They should try to Work together with joy and pray with love, and Guard well within themselves that treasure, kindness.

First on the agenda of a Christian should be Observing the commandments and becoming doers of the Word. They all should consider themselves as part of the Body of Christ, all being as part of the same family of God. United people under Christ. We all, believers and non-believers or different believers, should try to Sow and harvests in the garden of our heart.

Some years ago you could find everywhere running on the streets people “speaking”, “running”, and coming up for Christ? Perhaps it is high time we could see again such runners or Bloggers for Christ and Bloggers for Peace.

Trying to bring peace, there has to be peace at first in the own heart. Also the person has to have respect for others their beliefs. No matter what they might believe they should be fully recognised as worthy humans deserving full attention and love. Every human being should come to the understanding that it has to respect any other human being, animal and plant. We should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. In case a person wants to have a religion to feel himself good or to be at ease, he should be able to do so, whatever religion that person may choose. We never may impose our beliefs on others. We should leave everybody the freedom to choose which way they want to go, what to believe, and how to build up their own life. Any religious matter should be an option for private belief, without any pressure from others, be it by reason, science or rational argument. But it would not have to mean we may not discuss it. Any argument should be made in a peaceful manner and with respect for the other person his way of thinking.

Be it adherents of main religions, smaller religious groups or no religion at all, all people should come to strive for the same peace, being able to live one next to the other, in peace and tranquillity.

+

Please do find additional reading:

  1. The business of this life
  2. Did the Inspirator exist
  3. “Who is The Most High” ? Who is thee Eternal? Who is Yehovah? Who is God?
  4. Only one God
  5. God is One
  6. God of gods
  7. A god between many gods
  8. Sayings around God
  9. Attributes of God
  10. God is Spirit
  11. The Divine name of the Creator
  12. God about His name “יהוה“
  13. Jehovah Yahweh Gods Name
  14. One God the Father, a compendium of essays
  15. The Trinity: paganism or Christianity?
  16. Christianity without the Trinity
  17. People Seeking for God 1 Looking for answers
  18. People Seeking for God 2 Human interpretations
  19. People Seeking for God 3 Laws and directions
  20. People Seeking for God 7 The Lord and lords
  21. Finding God amid all the religious externals
  22. Seeing or not seeing and willingness to find God
  23. יהוה , YHWH and Love: Four-letter words
  24. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  25. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love
  26. Experiencing God
  27. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  28. Of the many books Only the Bible can transform
  29. Faith
  30. Do not forget the important sign of belief
  31. Christian values and voting not just a game
  32. Lord or Yahuwah, Yeshua or Yahushua
  33. Yahushua, Yehoshua, Yeshua, Jehoshua of Jeshua
  34. God’s Salvation
  35. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  36. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
  37. Jesus begotten Son of God #12 Son of God
  38. Christ begotten through the power of the Holy Spirit
  39. Who was Jesus?
  40. Jesus spitting image of his father
  41. Jesus and his God
  42. Is Jesus God?Jesus and His God
  43. Reasons that Jesus was not God
  44. Jesus is the Son of God but Not God the Son
  45. How much was Jesus man, and how much was he God?
  46. On the Nature of Christ
  47. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  48. Jesus Messiah
  49. A man with an outstanding personality
  50. One Mediator between God and man
  51. One mediator
  52. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #3 as a Christian
  53. The wrong hero
  54. The Immeasurable Grace bestowed on humanity
  55. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  56. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  57. Christ’s ethical teaching
  58. Christianity is a love affair
  59. The Law of Christ: Law of Love
  60. The task given to us to love each other
  61. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  62. Church sent into the world
  63. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  64. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  65. Are Christians prepared to Rejoice in the Lord
  66. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
  67. Men of faith
  68. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #1 Christian Reform
  69. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #2 Roots of Jewishness
  70. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #3 Of the earth or of God
  71. Built on or Belonging to Jewish tradition #4 Mozaic and Noachide laws
  72. The builder of the Kingdom
  73. Kingdom of God what will it be like
  74. The hands of God’s wrath
  75. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  76. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  77. Faith related boycotts
  78. Right to be in the surroundings
  79. Many churches
  80. Breathing and growing with no heir
  81. A Society pleading poverty
  82. Casual Christians
  83. Quakertime
  84. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record
  85. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
  86. Roman Catholic Church at war
  87. Christian clergyman defiling book which did not belong to him
  88. Consequences of Breivik’s mass murder
  89. Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”
  90. Mormons again gaining some attention
  91. Mormons, just an other faith
  92. Myanmar imposing population control on Muslim minority
  93. How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice
  94. Follower of Jesus part of a cult or a Christian
  95. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  96. Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite
  97. Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ
  98. Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ
  99. Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit
  100. Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer
  101. Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News
  102. Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up
  103. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  104. Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful
  105. Those who make peace should plant peace like a seed
  106. Let me saw beliefseeds
  107. Bringing Good News into the world
  108. The Involvement of true discipleship
  109. Testify of the things heard
  110. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  111. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #5 Prayer #2 Witnessing
  112. Obstacles to effective evangelism
  113. A Voice to be heard
  114. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  115. Blogging for Jesus…
  116. Preaching to an unbelieving world
  117. Words to push and pull
  118. Good or bad preacher
  119. Learn how to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News of the coming Kingdom
  120. How should we preach?
  121. Breathing to teach
  122. Bringing Good News into the world
  123. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  124. Holland Week of billing
  125. Trying to get the youth inspired
  126. When discouraged facing opposition
  127. Messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time
  128. Who are you going to reach out to today
  129. Praise the God with His Name
  130. Agape, a love to share with others from the Fruit of the Spirit
  131. The Spirit of God brings love, hope and freedom
  132. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  133. Belonging to or being judged by
  134. Not all will inherit the Kingdom
  135. Preparedness to change
  136. Knowing where to go to
  137. United people under Christ
  138. Fellowship
  139. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life
  140. Pastorpreneur Warren
  141. Catholicism, Anabaptism and Crisis of Christianity
  142. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  143. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  144. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  145. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  146. Choose you this day whom ye will serveIt is a free will choice
  147. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  148. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

++

Further reading:

  1. What Evidence is There That God Exists?
  2. What is faith and is it the only thing required
  3. We Have the Best Home
  4. Understanding faith for our salvation
  5. Atheist Purpose and Meaning :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  6. Against Religion? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  7. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  8. Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  9. Trinity Doctrine vs Oneness Pentecostalism Doctrine – Berean Perspective Podcast
  10. The Trinity: A Fundamental of the Faith or a Fable?
  11. The Unitarian Universalist Church: A Personal Encounter
  12. Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity
  13. The Doctrine Of The Trinity
  14. The Unholy Trinity
  15. God, the Trinity
  16. Trinity And Pagan Influence
  17. Trinity: A False Doctrine of a False Church
  18. The Trinity – A Doctrine Overdue for Extinction
  19. Jesus Christ and God – Some Basic Considerations
  20. Defining Christianity (reneland.wordpress.com)
    Simply put a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ.
  21. Cult or True Religion
  22. The Whore of Babylon? (inpursuitofhappiness.wordpress.com)
    Baal-vs-The “Catholic” God
  23. The Top Ten Most Important Church Councils
  24. Cult or True Religion (wordsonsergebenhayon.wordpress.com)
    “…if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps ‘the’ religion; and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect; but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult.” Leo Pfeffer.
    +The Roman Catholic Church for example has been around ever since Constantine. He was a Roman emperor who used Christianity, which was a small cult at the time, as a means to impose his belief systems on the bishops; so he promulgated the council of Nicaea and thereby gained control of the populus. Now, over 1500 years later, people in Catholic churches today still recite the creed set down by Constantine.
    Many people question the Catholic Church and other religions, seeing them as some of the biggest cults in the World today: they are viewed by many as man-made constructs which have the potential to lead millions of people astray. Religion in its current form has become divisive due to it’s many man-made and dualistic doctrines which continue to divide, separate and cause wars.
  25. Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult
  26. Mormons off Graham’s ‘cult’ list
  27. Is the Mormon “god” of Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck, the True God or a False “god”? Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?
  28. Can A Cult Member Be President Without Cult Influence?
  29. Billy Graham Offers To Help Mormon Mitt Romney And Then Removes Section From Website Calling Mormonism A Cult! (soulrefuge.org)
    The scriptures make it very clear that true believers in Jesus Christ should not be “yoked” together with unbelievers. Why would any true Christian want to help and support a Mormon who teaches that Jesus Christ is the spirit brother of Lucifer?
  30. Billy Graham’s group removes Mormon cult reference from website after Romney meeting (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
    Shortly after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney enjoyed cookies and soft drinks with the Rev.  Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham on Thursday at the elder Graham’s mountaintop retreat, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

    Billy Graham site removes Mormon 'cult' reference after Romney meeting

    Billy Graham site removes Mormon ‘cult’ reference after Romney meeting

    +
    The removal of the post from the Graham group’s website was first noted by the New Civil Rights Movement website and then later by the Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported that the information on cults was accessed as recently as Thursday afternoon.
    +
    When asked about Graham’s beliefs about Mormonism, Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross said in a statement that “Through an inclusive evangelistic ministry spanning more than 60 years, Mr. Graham was called to preach the transformative message of the Gospel to the whole world, regardless of one’s religious background, affiliation or none. As such, he never proselytized, targeted or labeled specific people, groups, faiths or denominations.

  31. Billy Graham’s Truce with Mormonism; Scrubs Cult Reference (crooksandliars.com)
    The Christian right has cried uncle and issued a truce on Mormons to try and help elect Mitt Romney.
    +
    During the Values Voter Summit in October, sponsored in part by the influential Family Research Council and the American Family Association, it caused quite a stir when Pastor Robert Jeffress, after introducing Rick Perry as a genuine Christian, called Mormonism a cult.
    +
    Christian political operatives are willing to throw away any trace of their contempt for Mormonism during the election cycle. This shows how much hatred they have for the left. They’d rather help elect a ‘cultist’ to the highest office in the land rather than stick to their alleged principles. Typically sickening.
    +
    To distinguish between a cult and a religion is to distinguish between influence and impotence. Both are, in fact, spawns of a smarmy fakery.
  32. ‘Mormonism’ Taken off Site’s Cult List (abcnews.go.com)
    The prominent Christian evangelist Billy Graham has taken public steps to embrace Mitt Romney for president this week, removing Romney’s Mormon religion from a list of cults on his website and taking out an advertisement that appears to urge people to vote for Romney.
  33. Jehovah’s Witnesses (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com) {the writer of this article does not seem to see what it really means to be a ‘Christian’ and wants to take hold only on a sort-sighted vision.}
    Jehovah’s Witnesses come up in conversation more times than one might think. I guess that it’s because there are many people who know JW’s and there don’t seem to be many obvious differences between their faith and ours. Many JW’s are nice people, talk about Jesus, share their faith, and care about their families… just like Christians. So what are the differences? Are they just a different kind of Christian?

+++

  • Who is God? (richlewis3.wordpress.com)
    El Shaddai means God Almighty, God of the mountains.
  • “The God of Of Salvation, The Lord Of Death” (settledinheaven.wordpress.com)
    The God that we can call our own, is “the God of salvation” or, in other words, He is “the Mighty One that controls the deliverance of His people.”  Here, once again we can see a physical and spiritual aspect to this text…
  • Bush Era to Blame for Renewed Interest in Mainline? (religiondispatches.org)
    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
  • How America’s Endless Civil War Between Protestant Sects Is at the Heart of American Identity (alternet.org)
    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
    +

    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.

    In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:

    The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.

    Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.
    +

    Jennifer Schuessler, who covers the academic beat for the New York Times, discusses the resurgence of scholarship on people long since thought to have been dead and passed from the scene: dead, (mostly) white, mainstream/liberal/mainline/ecumenical Protestants.

    In assessing the roots of a surge of work on 20th-century liberal Protestantism, including works such as Matt Hedstrom’s The Rise of Liberal Religion, Jill Gill’s Embattled Ecumenism, David Burns’ The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus, and Elesha Coffman’s The Christian Century and the Rise of the Mainline, the article notes:

    The surge of interest in liberal religion, many say, reflects the renewed vitality of religious history more generally, which has spread beyond its traditional redoubts in divinity schools to become one of the most popular specializations among academic historians, according to the American Historical Association.

    Some scholars say that frustration with the perceived cultural and political dominance of evangelicals in the Bush era gave the subject extra urgency.

  • Make your pick: Do Mainline Protestants need a new name? (religionnews.com)
    Mainline Protestants  made up 18 percent of U.S. adults in 2008. Fifty years ago, its members were the church of the Establishment.
    +
    Forget labels: Everyone and his brother, left or right, calls himself an evangelical. No one will admit to being a fundamentalist since its original religious meaning was overtaken by crazies like David Koresh. It takes Pew Research experts 20 minutes to delineate who is a Jew and they still offer a definition matrix. So let the branding go.
  • Are there dividing lines between Mainline and Evangelical? (unsettledchristianity.com)
    There is a great move towards social justice in many Evangelical (sub)groups and for that, I thank God. Do you think the view on Scripture and Tradition (Scripture is infallible in all things, Tradition is near to worthless) is a good start for a line?
    +
    But the dividing line between Mainline (which seems not to be something negative) and Evangelical (some people use this correctly, others not) is not so easy to grasp. I’m guessing because “Mainline” means, for a lot of people, a dying breed of Christianity. Evangelical means… well, it seems for Mainliners it means those who go and witness/serve for the Gospel. For Evangelicals, this term helps to codify something different.
  • MainlineDecline, Decline-Talk, and Decline-ism — Sightings (Martin Marty) (bobcornwall.com)
    You have heard it many times Mainline Protestant churches are in decline, but then so are most other forms of religion.  Attendance has not kept up with growth in population, etc.
    +
    Why point out decline among the religions when Sightings’ role is to spot and explore religion in outstanding events? What goes on here with “decline?” A fad? Maybe “decline” is not occurring. This claim is hard to support. Maybe headline writers are concentrating on the wrong aspects of religion. Maybe they are exhibiting the old “be-the-first-kid-on-your-block” syndrome, seeking to be a jump ahead, to get a scoop. Maybe enemies of religious institutions of all sorts are enjoying mass Schadenfreude, enjoying the misfortunes of others. Whatever else is going on, noticing this phenomenon should be liberating: we are henceforth allowed to yawn when one more headline-writer tries to play catch-up.
  • When the Christian Global South Heads West (juicyecumenism.com)
    Between 1910 and 2010, the global center of Christianity shifted from Spain to Timbuktu. As far back as 1980, there have been more Christians living in the Global South than in the first world. On any given Sunday, there are more Christians attending church in China than in the United States or Europe.
    +
    Hanciles also noted, with some disappointment with how the financial and political power in US mainline denominations remains in West, even when Africans outnumber them. “We might have to challenge the term “Anglican”, which of course means English,” he said. Hanciles spoke approvingly of African churches in the United States, which he claimed were very little-e evangelistic in their outlook.
    +
    Professor Virginia Garrard-Burnett of the University of Texas-Austin spoke at length about the religious tendencies of Latino migrants, including the often overlooked Protestant Latinos. Roughly 1/4 of Latino immigrants are Protestant, most of which are Pentecostal. Catholic Churches in the US that cater to these immigrants often take on charismatic forms of worship, she noted, often causing friction with existing native Americans. Latin-American Protestant churches take part in almost “reverse missionary” work, where churches in the Global South send people to minister to those in America. She cited the example of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, the third-largest denomination in Brazil, whose presence in the US is mostly mission work to Latin-American migrants.
  • Inoculated Against Christianity? (thelittleredblog.typepad.com)
    “The post-Christian world has been inoculated against Christianity because, over 1500 years, we never managed to give it true Christianity. ‘Found difficult and left untried,’ indeed. And this is to our demerit. There are also many, many things over these 1500 years to be proud about, and Christendom, for all its flaws, was probably better than the alternatives. But now we’re reaping what we’re sowing. We created this generation of post-Christians whom we vaccinated against Christianity. Thankfully, viruses mutate and occasionally beat vaccines.  In the meantime, if our aim is a fantasy of Christendom rather than Christ and His Cross, we are being idolaters.”I’m not sure that “probably better than the alternatives” is much of an endorsement.  Mr. Gobry’s point, however, is to distinguish between Christendom, Christianity, and following Jesus: a dilemma yet to be resolved for some 2000 years.  I await Gobry’s further insights with genuine interest.
  • The Coming Schism (wmbriggs.com)
    Maybe it’s not a schism but apostasy which I mean. Doesn’t matter. Continuing in our Curmudgeon Series, here are my guesses of the course of Christianity in the West over the next twenty years. Each point below deserves its own essay: these are rough points.
    +
    Since elites of secular institutions only truly care about elites at other institutions, the leadership of these churches won’t want to fall behind the CofE. They’ll issue cheerful press releases boasting love and then arm wrestle for who gets to perform the first homosexual ceremony. Most denominations already allow homosexual clergy.Theologically, since going to a service at a mainline Protestant church will increasingly be no different than reading the New York Times or Guardian op-ed section, which is more convenient and saves on gas, those willing to make the trek will dwindle and die off. If you’re in the market for an old church (aren’t they quaint?), look to the Methodists and Presbyterians. Besides, members are tired of being called stupid and irrational by the culture.
  • Stuart Murray on Christendom (abnormalanabaptist.wordpress.com)
    Anabaptists identify the “Christendom shift” in the 4th century as the time when Jesus began to be marginalized.
    +
    Anabaptist are convinced that, whatever its undoubtful benefits, the Christendom system seriously distorted Christian faith: the price the church paid for coming in from the margins was allowing Jesus to be pushed out from the center to the margins – Stuart MurrayThe Naked Anabaptist, Herald Press, 2010, p 52
  • Unitarianism and the Bible of the Holy Trinity (afkimel.wordpress.com)
    I do not know if it’s happening throughout worldwide evangelicalism or is restricted to the more intellectually inclined; but I have noticed a curious phenomenon on the internet—a movement amongst evangelicals from trinitarian to unitarian faith. This movement does not necessarily entail the rejection of the teaching of Jesus nor even rejection of the confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is a unitarianism that can accommodate the kind of subordinationism characteristic of some of the second and third century Church Fathers: Jesus and the Spirit are “divine” (in some sense), but only the Father is the one God. Consider, for example, a recent blog article by Kermit Zarley: “Can Genuine Christians Be Trinitarian or Non-Trinitarian?
  • Why converting Muslims is taboo in the Catholic Church (catholicherald.co.uk)
    What are they talking about at the Synod for Evangelisation? This article by Sandro Magister tells us that the Bishops have broached the taboo subject of conversions from Islam to Christianity. It makes interesting reading, despite the rather ponderous translation, (read the original here ) and I was particularly struck by this section of it, which I beg readers to consider carefully:“The Muslims do not see the difference between Christians and Westerners, because they do not distinguish, themselves, between what is religious and what is political and social. What precedes the Westerners is perceived by the Muslims as preceding the Christians. Now, Western behaviour, especially on the cultural and political level and in a general way, harms the religious and national sensitivity of the Muslims, their values, their ethics and their culture. Consequentially, this forms an obstacle to their openness to Christianity and to their possible evangelisation.”
  • Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
    Sociologists of religion use cult to refer to a religious group that does not regard itself as exclusively true yet has negative relations with the surrounding society. Those two factors—exclusivity and societal relations—form the basis for sociological definition of religions into four kinds of groups: church (exclusive with good relations), denomination (inclusive with good relations), sect (exclusive with bad relations) and cult (inclusive with bad relations). Yet almost no one uses these terms in the way sociologists of religion use them.
    +I think what is really meant by cult in most modern Evangelical parlance is “bad/weird religious group.” And of course perhaps such a definition is right in its own way.
  • Grahams tighten Romney ties (newsobserver.com)
    The election-year embrace of Mitt Romney by some evangelical Christians now borders on a bear hug, given a series of moves by Billy Graham and his family that appear to say it’s OK to vote for a Mormon.
  • Billy Graham website admits scrubbing ‘Mormons’ from ‘cult’ list after endorsing Romney (rawstory.com)
    The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association confirmed on Tuesday that it had removed all references to Mormonism as a “cult” from its website after their founder announced his support of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
  • Why I Am a Christian. (crawfordgarrett.wordpress.com)
    I have to admit that it’s not always the most simple and straightforward answer to give, because there are many reasons that have led to my faith in Christ.  However, I guess the first place to start is with my parents.  I am a Christian because of my parents.  There may be nothing remarkable about that, and often times I, or many other Christians, would not like to admit that truth.  I am a Christian because my parents are Christians, and that’s what they raised me to believe, just like Jesus was a Jew because His parents were Jews.
  • Christ didn’t come to help us, He came to Include us (melwild.wordpress.com)
    a surprising few resonate so much to the more important fact that the Father’s plan was to substitute Christ for us and place us in Him. I think this is unfortunate.
  • Jesus Christ was an Anarchist (blacksupremacylovenunity.wordpress.com) > Jesus Christ was an Anarchist
    Jesus came along to lead his followers out of this ungodly Roman system, preaching an alternative form of government. He spoke of a jurisdiction outside of the Roman state, based on the perfect law of freedom, outside the tyranny of men who would rule over their brothers and neighbors. He unified the early Christian church in a system of charity, hope and respect for the rights of each other, requiring that each person love thy neighbor as thy self in a system of mutual, not governmental support.
    +
    Jesus was showing a way to untangle people from the captivity of the social contracts they had made with the state of Rome and Judea, and the tribute and obligations they had become snared by. He proclaimed to call no man “Father”, as they called their Roman benefactors, but stated that “thou Father art in heaven.” The perfect law of freedom indicated that man’s unalienable rights stemmed from God and nature, and not governments of men. This was a system of anarchy, by strict definition, without the complex system of tribute that led to the decadence and decline of society, and the corruptible force of the state to back it up.The early Christian church was not persecuted for their belief in a different God or a Kingdom in Heaven, but for their opting out of the mutual taxation system and seeking to live apart from the kings and overlords, the gods many, who demanded their tribute.
    +Today, most of us find ourselves under slothful tribute to an emperor and a system that is not for our benefit. We have coveted our neighbor’s goods in a vain pursuit of “free” health care, education, welfare, unemployment benefits, social security and government protection. We have traded our inalienable God-given rights through social contracts both implied and explicit. Our churches are not ordained by God, but are 501(c)(3) corporations granted status by the state.As we head into what is certainly going to be a volatile 2014, we are going to need to dig down deep and find that anarchist in all of us, with a little more loving thy neighbor as thy self to boot.
  • Fanatic hindu who hated christians is an evidence of Jesus (pciniraj.wordpress.com)
    I never liked Christian missionaries. I used to speak against Christianity and was organising people near the temples against the evangelism activites.“But Lord Jesus mightly fighting for His children, if anybody persecuting Christians, for which I am a clear evidence”, now I am witnessing this every corner to corner by holding the Holy Bible in one hand and showing my terrific stomach to the public. “I was an enemy of Christians, but Jesus Christ loved me, made me alive and saved me from sin and death. Now I am His servant”. This is my testimony.
  • Pouring Into Others (comeawake.org)
    If you are a Christian, you are a disciple of Christ. You know Him, but what have you done to make Him known to others? And I’m not just talking about evangelism. I’m talking about how you can use your time, your energy and most importantly, your knowledge about who Christ is to help out a fellow brother or sister.The purpose of our lives is simply this: To know Christ, and to make Him known.
  • A Bad Reason for Thinking that Atheism is not a Religion (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)
    a mere lack of belief in something cannot be a religion.  But atheism is not a mere lack of belief in something.  If atheism is just the lack of god-belief, then tables and chairs are atheists.  For they lack god-belief. Am I being uncharitable?  Suppose someone defines atheism more carefully as lack of god-belief in beings capable of having  beliefs.  That is still unacceptable.  Consider a child who lacks both god-belief and god-disbelief.  If lacking god-belief makes him an atheist, then lacking god-disbelief makes him a theist.  So he is both, which is absurd.Obviously,  atheism is is not a mere lack of belief, but a definite belief, namely, the belief that the world is godless.  Atheism is a claim about the way things are: there is no such thing as the God of Judaism, or the God of Christianity, or the God of Islam, or the gods of the Greek pantheon, or . . . etc.  The atheist has a definite belief about the ontological inventory: it does not include God or gods or any reasonable facsimile thereof such as the Plotinian One, etc.  Note also that if you deny that any god exists, then you are denying that the universe is created by God: you are saying something quite positive about the ontological status of the universe, namely, that it does not depend for its existence on a being transcendent of it.  And if it does not so depend, then that implies that it exists on its own as a brute fact or that it necessarily exists or that it causes itself to exist.  Without getting into all the details here, the point is that if you deny that God exists, this is not just a denial  of the existence of a certain being, but implies a positive claim about the ontological status of the universe.  What’s more, if  there is no creator God, then the apparent order of the universe, its apparent designedness, is merely apparent.  This is a positive thesis about the nature of the physical universe.Atheism, then, is not a mere lack of god-belief.  For it implies definite positive beliefs about reality as a whole and  about the nature and mode of existence of the physical universe.
  • Atheism Was the First to Show Me Compassion (jessedooley.wordpress.com)
    what is the issue with the idea of God that pushes most atheists to reject religion and to see it as the supreme evil?
    +
    When the tribal deity is the supreme king, and that deity is interpreted from a fundamentalist, all-or-nothing approach, then nothing can penetrate or alter that worldview, regardless of the reasonableness of the argument.
  • Are Liberals Too “Special” to Go to Church? (religiondispatches.org)
    New research from psychologists from the New York University suggests that the desire to feel unique can undermine consensus, cohesion, and mobilization—at least in political contexts.
    +
    Stern, et al found that “liberals underestimated their similarity to other liberals, whereas moderates and conservatives overestimated their similarity to other moderates and conservatives.”Further, the researchers found that liberals “possess a greater dispositional desire to be unique,” which, they suggest, “likely undermines their ability to capitalize on the consensus that actually exists within their ranks and hinders successful group mobilization.” The “desire to conform” among moderates and, to a greater extent, conservatives, likewise, “allows them to perceive consensus that does not actually exist and, in turn, rally their base.”Liberals, that is, emphasize in their beliefs, actions, and self-understanding uniqueness, creativity, and non-conformity even in the face of sameness. Moderates and conservatives, by contrast, focus on similarity and commonality even when little may in fact exist.
  • Are Esoteric Teachings Missing from Christianity? (jesusweddingthebook.wordpress.com)
    In my opinion, Christianity is the only tradition that openly celebrates both spiritual paths. I can agree that there is no secret teaching, because both spiritual paths are out in the open for everyone to see. However, by definition, the esoteric teaching is the second leg of the spiritual journey. The esoteric teaching does not have to be “secret” in order to maintain its mystery. The mystery of the esoteric path can only be revealed when the exoteric path or first leg of the spiritual journey is fully completed.
  • Discovering the Truth (cosmicmacduff.wordpress.com)
    for me it has been and is the walking that is important, not any place that I might arrive at or achievement I might accomplish.  I think that I have discovered  a lot since I started, but do not consider myself “enlightened”,  just aware of who  I am.  For me this primary truth, a recognition that there was/is something  more to me (my soul)  than my physical body, is what allowed me and still allows me, to find meaning and purpose in life.
  • Am I A Religious Person? (elephantjournal.com) + But is it my religion?
    I’ve heard it said that religion is having someone else’s spiritual experience and spirituality is having your own. It’s certainly true that some Buddhists venerate the Buddha or other teachers to such a high degree that they are just having the Buddha’s experience and not their own. I don’t do that. The Buddha warned us against doing that. He said, “Don’t worship me,” and right after his death, people started doing it.
  • Religion and Young People: The Lost Generation? (collectionofclancy.wordpress.com)
    I know of many relatives, friends and people I’ve met in general who are either agnostic or atheist and I don’t judge them for it. However what kills me is that their status gives me the feeling that they are the smarter and more enlightened people. But on the other side, the church gives me the feeling that because I have more liberal beliefs means I cannot truly be as good as the devout. A rock/hard place moment.
  • Does Religion Shape a Person? (meesh14102.wordpress.com)
    Atheism is my own personal belief and I understand and respect everyone else’s religious beliefs. I simply want to talk about the idea of religion shaping a person.
    +
    I don’t need a God to influence a good and honest behavior. My mom told me to never speak of my new belief (or lack  there of) ever again and to Never tell my father. I respected these wishes and continue to keep my thoughts about God and religion to myself. I believe a persons’ inner self shapes their character. I do not believe religion is what influences a good or bad character.Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and should live so accordingly!
  • Haunting the chapel: my thoughts on heavy metal and religion. (seanmunger.com)
    Is heavy metal inherently anti-religious? Having been virtually a lifelong metalhead, I can say from experience that many people, both within and without the scene, believe that it is, or should be. Critique of organized religion or aspects of it has been a common lyrical and thematic element in metal for decades.
  • Ask an Atheist: The Usual Questions (csgroome.wordpress.com)
    Atheism differs from religion, because we are not certain and would change our views if given evidence, but we are convinced by the lack of evidence and by all rational argument, that appealing to myths from intellectually dark parts of human history can not even begin to give us answers to any questions, even moral or epistemological ones.
    +
    Religion lies outside science and evidence, so you can’t prove it wrong. Why can’t you just accept this and that people want to live with a belief in a greater being?
    +
    I could believe whatever I want if it made me happy. But in all other ways, except for a religious conviction, the believer of a claim unprovable by science immediately pays a social price.
    +
    The absence of a belief is never a motivation, and while Communism may be a secular ideology, this does not mean that all atheists or secularists are communists and it certainly does not mean that we would wish to kill or destroy religious people or religious infrastructure.
  • All BEings are Divine (amuseinharmony.wordpress.com)
    all beings, including human beings are divine manifestations of Creator Source on the physical earth plane materialized in various forms for the purpose of expansion. the earth is mother to us all. we are organisms formed from her womb. as she ascends, so shall we. the mother loves her humans as she does all creatures or our existence would no longer be. our love and unity with her and all her inhabitants is our duty as earth walkers.
  • Dalai Lama speaks on harmony to religious followers at Tokyo temple (japandailypress.com)
    The famous leader went on to explain that most of the problems humans encounter are of their own making, and thinking that they are all different from one another. This kind of thinking has a tendency to separate people instead of uniting them. His speech centered on the essential “oneness” of all people and emphasized on the divisiveness that comes with focusing on the “them” and “us,” rather than on the “we”, as a whole. Religious harmony is one thing that His Holiness has committed himself to, and hopes that it is something that Japan can contribute to as well.
  • what is the happiest person in the world saying? (hunt4truth.wordpress.com)
    A friend wants to know if I’m still Christian. Yes, I am. Everything that I’m referring to from science and new age and Buddhist teachers is complimentary with Jesus’s teachings. I posted a couple of the most important Christian practices–in my opinion, 1 John (NIV) and the Our Father prayer are essential in Christian belief.
  • How to Argue for the Existence of God (omigassplus.wordpress.com)
    Anyone who feels God, can see and feel God inside them. They live inside God. God lives inside them. They see God as an energy that penetrates them and fills them up inside. They feel God as an energy around them and within them. They feel God touch them in their special places. They realize that God is a higher faith, a greater presence. They crave Him. They want to feel his love fill them up inside. Without God, they feel empty, unloved, lonely. Only with God inside them can they feel whole again.
  • Nineteenth Century Protestant Doctrines of the Trinity (redeemingthetext.wordpress.com)
    The discussion in chapter nineteen of The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity is, in brief form, one of how Enlightenment philosopher-theologians developed innovative ways to discuss the Trinity and their effectiveness leading into the twentieth century.
  • Hans Kung on Trinity Part 2 (presenttruthmn.org)
    This is continued from the previous post on the Trinity. It is taken directly from Hans Kung’s book ‘Christianity: Essence, History and Future’
  • A Theology Big Enough for the Gospel: Reviewing Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology (marccortez.com)
    despite the fact that Bird mentions the image of God throughout, clearly viewing it as an important topic that has bearing on a range of other issues, he devotes only five pages to it, one of which is just a recitation of the relevant biblical verses. His excursus on infra- vs. supralapsarianism is almost as long! And union with Christ hardly gets any attention at all. In a systematic theology, pages are like currency; what you invest in shows what you value. And I was surprised at a few of the investments.
    +
    Bird affirms a social trinitarian approach, defining the divine persons as “self-aware” beings who are “capable of consciousness” (p. 615), and he even refers to separate consciousnesses in the Trinity (p. 118). Regardless of whether you think social trinitarianism is viable, Bird’s discussion simply fails to deal with the historical and theological objections that can (and have!) been raised. And unfortunately, these aren’t isolated incidents.
  • What’s Old is New Again: The Return of “Biblical Unitarianism” (southernreformation.wordpress.com)
    While I’m used to defending the deity of Christ against the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or fending off Mormon misunderstandings of the doctrine of the Trinity, I never thought I would see professing “conservative evangelicals” who were willing to jettison the central dogma that makes Christianity…Christianity.But it’s happening.
  • “Should You Believe in the Trinity?” (1peter58.wordpress.com)
    “The Bible says…” The real issue here is that these individuals, and also those that belong to very young churches/institutes, claim for themselves the authority to teach new doctrine, claim for themselves the authority to reject unchanged ancient doctrine. How do you decide when to trust that a doctrine is truly of God? How do you decide what is a false doctrine not of God?
  • Because the Bible Tells Me So (mackerelsnapperblog.wordpress.com)
    Whenever a Catholic debates the Faith with a non-Catholic — Christian or atheist — the very first argument that often gets brought up is that Catholic teaching contradicts the Scriptures.
  • Sola Scriptura? (preacheroftruth.com) + > Sola Scriptura?
    Pythagoras is said to have been the earliest outside of Scripture (Isa. 40:22) to contend that the earth is round. He did not make the earth round with his assertions, but identified what already was.  Sir Isaac Newton certainly did not create gravity, but he is credited for our modern understanding of it.  Likewise, the term “sola scriptura” is not found in scripture (similar to terms like “trinity” and “omniscience”), but it was coined during the “Reformation Movement” as part of Martin Luther’s protests against perceived corruptions of the Catholic Church.  It was a “Latin phrase (literally ‘by Scripture alone’) describing the Protestant theological principle that Scripture is the final norm in all judgments of faith and practice.
  • (1) The Two Pillars of the Reformation (altruistico.wordpress.com)
    The Protestant Reformation saw the advancement of the Gospel and an understanding of right doctrine that hadn’t been seen since the time of Christ and the Apostles. It drew Christianity out of the dark ages of the faith; a time when the Scripture was forbidden to be read in the language of the people, when superstition reigned, where abominations within the church leadership was a norm, and when a knowledge of the Truth was virtually unknown.

 

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