Archive for ‘Religion’

01/28/2017

Trump’s Attempt to Ban Muslims.

Just give him a chance!

Let’s be clear about what Trump just did.

1. He banned anyone from seven Muslim countries from entering the US.

**2. He and his supporters will say that this is not a Muslim ban because it’s a country-wide ban. But, if you’re not a Muslim in those seven countries, you’re not banned from entering the US. Minority religions are exempted. Only Muslims are absolutely banned.

So how do you ban Muslims without banning them? Ban a Muslim country, and not Muslims, but allow minority religions to be exempt. Clever!

3. This includes people who have legal residency in the US. So, if you live here legally, but you’re visiting family in your country of origin, the country you’re living in has told you you’re not welcome back until it can review your case individually.
4. He chose seven countries to ban, but none of those countries have actually sent terrorists here.
5. The countries that have produced terrorists in America (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Lebanon)? They’re not blocked.
6. Five Muslim countries Trump decided did not need to be blocked from immigration have business ties to Trump (Azerbaijan, Turkey, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia).
7. Some of the people who are now banned from the US were helping our military for years and were told they could come here for safety. Now? Visas are cancelled.
8. If you have dual citizenship in the UK and Iraq? You’re banned from entering the US.

9. We’re learning about this whole thing piecemeal because the Executive Order was unclear, and the Trump admin never took questions to explain it.

But give him a chance!

04/28/2012

Paul Ryan’s Republican Budget and the GOP in general are antithetical to Christ’s teachings.

“Your budget,” a group of Jesuit scholars and other Georgetown University faculty members wrote to Ryan last week, “appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.”

via Paul Ryan’s faith-based lesson – The Washington Post.

Jesuit scholars and I agree on something: Republicans don’t care about the poor, and they are the farthest thing from a political party which wants to emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Christ washing the feet of his disciples. He served them, and he expected them to serve the poor as servants of God.

Christ told his disciples to serve and feed the poor because he understood that the poor are not poor because they choose to be. The GOP wants to cut the aid to these sons and daughters of God and calls them lazy for not being rich.

Christ told his disciples to cure and help the sick. And depending upon how you want to read it, he says to do it for free (Matthew 10:8). The GOP has no desire to do this. They hate the idea that the poor obtain healthcare without paying for it. According to the GOP, only the people who have money to pay for healthcare deserve it; the rest are too lazy and should lose everything just to stay alive.

Many conservatives even point out that if more people go to doctors who did not go before (poor people), doctors and the healthcare system will be overburdened, causing other people (the non-poor) to suffer. We can’t have that, now can we? We can’t have those with money burdened by the struggles of the poor, right? Jesus would have hated that. Oh wait. Maybe there’s something that says discriminating against the poor is a problem?

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”you are doing right.But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. [emphasis mine]

Why, that sounds like socialism! Class warfare! Class Warfare! CLASS WARFARE!

Nope. It’s just the Bible. James 2:1-10.

 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Communism! Communism! COMMUN—Wait Jesus said that? Sure. Matthew 19:21-24.

Christ told his disciples to turn the other cheek when someone strikes them in the face (Matthew 5:39). The GOP’s doctrine is to punch the other guy first when you’re afraid he might punch you.

Christ told his disciples not to judge other people (Matthew 7:1), but the GOP has judged for themselves who has the right to marry whom. And in the case of Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry, the GOP supported giving governments the right to criminalize the sex people can have in their bedrooms (they dissented in the SCOTUS decision in Lawrence v Texas)—because that’s why Christ saved that poor prostitute from being stoned and quickly sent her to jail. Oh wait. No he didn’t. He said he did not condemn her. No, really. He did (John 8:9-11).

Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” This is known as Jesus’ “golden rule.” I wonder how a GOP audience would respond to that.

Oh.

Christ said “woe unto the rich” and “blessed are you the poor” (Luke 6:20-26) which the GOP has apparently translated as: “Give the rich more money so that they might have more money to hire the poor, but only if it makes them more rich in the process (because, you know, that’s how capitalism works)—so that it’s even harder for them to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Blame the poor and desperate. Defend the rich and powerful. Just like Jesus did.

Paul Ryan.

In short, the ideals of the GOP and Paul Ryan are the farthest thing from the best and greatest teachings of Christ. Maybe the GOP agrees with me on something: Christ never existed so we don’t need to follow his rules.

I believe in these teachings anyways, though; not because Jesus was real or the son of a god, but because these teachings understand that the people who need help most are those who are the weakest. You don’t tell the weak to stop being weak like the GOP does. You reach out and offer help.

And honestly, all of these Republican positions would be well and good with me if the GOP didn’t cloak itself as the party of Christ. If they took a hardline stance saying that it’s good macroeconomics and is the way to make our nation stronger, then all right. I can see the argument there. But, they take it a step farther and suggest that cutting aid to the poor coincides with Christ’s vision. That’s just insane. It’s the opposite of his teachings, like many other GOP positions, and it’s an insult to the New Testament.

The insult to Christ and his “Word” doesn’t bother me very much, but the hypocrisy does. And it should bother all Christians more than it bothers me.

The Republican party is not the party of Christ, and that should be pretty obvious to anyone who’s ever read the New Testament.

04/03/2012

Atheism and secularism are not religions. Stop saying that they are.

“I think there is in this country a war on religion. I think there is a desire to establish a religion in America known as secularism.” -Mitt Romney

I’m going to ignore the “war on religion” bit because it’s absurd. If there’s a war on religion, it’s a war to keep religion out of people’s lives who don’t want it there. Religion is the aggressor, not the other way around.

But that’s not the point of this. The point is: stop saying that atheism or secularism is a religion. It’s a lack of a religion. The absence of something is not the same as something. I’ll try to illustrate.

Skepchik Rebecca Watson summed it up beautifully in this tweet from earlier today:

Boom. Perfect.

Now, you should understand this at first glance, and it should totally elucidate for you how stupid it is to say atheism is a religion. If you’re lost, I’m here to help.

See, bald people don’t have hair. So, they don’t have a hair color. Baldness is not another kind of hair color; it’s the complete lack of hair in the first place. Hair can’t have a color if it doesn’t exist.

A belief can’t be a religion if that belief doesn’t exist.

Atheism is a lack of belief, just like baldness is a lack of hair.

In reality, atheism doesn’t actually exist. It’s like the space between the earth and the moon. There’s just nothing there. There’s no air. There’s no dirt. There’s nothing. It’s a void.

Bill Maher tried to sum it up this way (link to video):

Atheism is a religion like abstinence is a sex position.

Same exact concept. Abstinence isn’t a sex position; it’s the absence of a sex position. If you think abstinence is a sex position, try it out. You’ll probably get bored really quickly. A lack of sex is not the same as having sex.

"Hitler never played Risk when he was a kid."

I like to think of religions as board games. They both have rules, and they both have penalties for breaking those rules, but not all board games are the same. Monopoly and Candyland are both board games. If you want to play those games, you have to play by the rules of the game. Religions are the same. Christianity and Islam both have rules, and there are penalties for breaking those rules. If you want to practice the religion, you have to play by the rules.

But, what if there were no board games? What if I don’t like board games? What if I think they’re evil and a waste of time and make people do silly things like buy Baltic Ave.? So, I say, “Hey. Board games are stupid. I don’t want to play those games. I’m not interested.” And then I walk away from the board games, ignore them, and do something else.

Does that mean I’m playing a board game? Of course not. That’s ludicrous. My refusal to play a board game is not a board game. I’m an a-boardgamist. I took a look at the rules and functions of the games, decided they were dumb, and walked away.

An atheist’s approach to religion is the exact same thing. I walked away from religion just like I walked away from the board games.

Atheism requires NOTHING from a person. There are no rules, no practices, no traditions. Atheism is nothing. It’s a response to a claim. The claim?

I think God exists.

Snakes and Ladders was better.

The response.

I don’t.

It would be like someone saying:

Hey, I’m playing Chutes and Ladders!

My response:

That’s a dumb game. I don’t want to play it or any other board game. Board games are for children. There’s no reason to play them, and I’d like to do other things with my time. Enjoy your game, though.

So, no, Mitt Romney. Secularism is not a religion. Secularism is what you call it when people have outgrown board games.

 

 

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Here’s a good take on this from a totally random person who checked out this blog. Worth reading. Arkfrontier.com.

04/02/2012

I admire and respect Andrew Sullivan.

His latest article on the wayward path of Christianity is pure brilliance. He and I disagree economically and socially in some respects, but good Lord is he a conservative I respect and admire.

And what group of Americans have pollsters found to be most supportive of torturing terror suspects? Evangelical Christians. Something has gone very wrong. These are impulses born of panic in the face of modernity, and fear before an amorphous “other.” This version of Christianity could not contrast more strongly with Jesus’ constant refrain: “Be not afraid.” It would make Jefferson shudder.

My one piece of advice for anyone who claims to be a Christian: read the Bible, especially those parts about being rich, being peaceful, and taking care of the poor.