Posts Tagged “jesus christ”
In the vein of answering the question “Whats’ the harm in having crazy metaphysical beliefs?”, law enforcement in southern California are looking for a tiny sect whose members have disappeared in search of the apocalypse. CBS News provides this report on these folks and the search (WebCite cached article):
Deputies searched a wide swath of Southern California early Sunday for a break-off religious sect of 13 people that included children as young as three and left behind letters indicating they were awaiting an apocalyptic event and would soon see Jesus and their dead relatives in heaven, authorities said.
The group of El Salvadoran immigrants, described as “cult-like” by sheriff’s officials, was led by Reyna Marisol Chicas, a 32-year-old woman from Palmdale in northeast Los Angeles county, sheriff’s Captain Mike Parker said.
The group left behind cell phones, identifications, deeds to property, and letters indicating they were awaiting the Rapture.
“Essentially, the letters say they are all going to heaven to meet Jesus and their deceased relatives,” sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. “Some of the letters were saying goodbye.”
The fear is that they’ve decided to commit collective suicide.
If a grown adult makes a decision to follow some delusional hyperreligious nutcase, that’s one thing. It’s a free country, and people are free to be stupid. Even psychotically and suicidally stupid. But to drag children down into one’s chosen psychosis, is something else entirely.
I can only hope these people are found and their children corralled to safety, before it’s too late to save them from the adults’ apocalypticism.
Update: The group has been found, and its members accounted for. See e.g. this AOL News report (cached):
Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker told the Los Angeles times the group members were cooperative with authorities. They told police they were praying to end school violence and sexual immorality.
I have no idea how “praying to end school violence and sexual immorality” relates with “going to heaven to meet Jesus and their deceased relatives,” but hey, what the hell do I know?
, cult suicide
, el salvador
, heaven's gate
, jesus christ
, palmdale CA
, reyna marisol chicas
, suicide mission
1 Comment »
I stumbled across this New York Times story about a church in Maplewood, Minnesota, which lost a lot of congregants due to its pastor’s teachings (WebCite cached article). Apparently he wasn’t militant or political enough for their taste:
Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing — and the church’s — to conservative political candidates and causes. …
After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called “The Cross and the Sword” in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a “Christian nation” and stop glorifying American military campaigns.
“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”
Boyd didn’t back down, even though he’s no conservative, and some of his flock left over the matter:
Mr. Boyd says he is no liberal. He is opposed to abortion and thinks homosexuality is not God’s ideal. The response from his congregation at Woodland Hills Church here in suburban St. Paul — packed mostly with politically and theologically conservative, middle-class evangelicals — was passionate. Some members walked out of a sermon and never returned. By the time the dust had settled, Woodland Hills, which Mr. Boyd founded in 1992, had lost about 1,000 of its 5,000 members.
The Times article offers some more details on Boyd’s teachings that some 1/5 of his congregants found so horrifically offensive:
In his six sermons, Mr. Boyd laid out a broad argument that the role of Christians was not to seek “power over” others — by controlling governments, passing legislation or fighting wars. Christians should instead seek to have “power under” others — “winning people’s hearts” by sacrificing for those in need, as Jesus did, Mr. Boyd said.
“America wasn’t founded as a theocracy,” he said. “America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state.
“I am sorry to tell you,” he continued, “that America is not the light of the world and the hope of the world. The light of the world and the hope of the world is Jesus Christ.”
Mr. Boyd lambasted the “hypocrisy and pettiness” of Christians who focus on “sexual issues” like homosexuality, abortion or Janet Jackson’s breast-revealing performance at the Super Bowl halftime show. He said Christians these days were constantly outraged about sex and perceived violations of their rights to display their faith in public.
“Those are the two buttons to push if you want to get Christians to act,” he said. “And those are the two buttons Jesus never pushed.”
It’s very true that Jesus swerved clear of any puritanical sexual mores. In fact, the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) is an example of Jesus specifically choosing to ignore such considerations, even when one was literally thrown in his path. Jesus was also apolitical … to an extent that some in his audiences were bothered by it. Nevertheless, Jesus explicitly set the record straight: “Give to God what is God’s, and to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Mt 22:21, Mk 12:17, & Lk 20:25).
Congratulations to the Rev. Boyd for holding his ground in the face of overwhelming dominionist and theocratic pressure to make Christian churches into a collective government of the US. I may not agree with his beliefs, but I appreciate his method of following them.
Photo credit: Bill Alkofer for The New York Times.
, christian militants
, christian reconstructionism
, christian right
, gregory a boyd
, gregory boyd
, jesus christ
, maplewood MN
, militant christian
, militant christianity
, militant christians
, pastor gregory boyd
, religious right
, render to caesar
, render to god
, st paul MN
, woodland hills church
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Harold Camping, a presumed Bible scholar who runs a network of Christian radio stations, claims he knows when the Second Coming of Christ will take place: May 21, 2011. He and his ministry are so confident in that prediction that they’ve taken out bench advertisements around the country to warn people of it. Lauri Lebo at Religion Dispatches has the story (WebCite cached article):
A friend snapped this photo on the way to work in Colorado Springs:
Apparently, these pictures have been popping up around the country, with sightings from Erie to Waco to the Bay Area.
Lebo points out that Camping’s past predictions have not panned out too well:
This is not the first time Camping has predicted Judgment Day:
On Sept. 6, 1994, dozens of Camping’s believers gathered inside Alameda’s Veterans Memorial Building to await the return of Christ, an event Camping had promised for two years. Followers dressed children in their Sunday best and held Bibles open-faced toward heaven.
But the world did not end. Camping allowed that he may have made a mathematical error.
Camping’s ministry’s Web site also proudly announces the May 2011 date (cached), and he appears to want to beat the New Agers and their “Mayan prophecy 2012 doomsday” at their own game:
We are living at a time when mankind seems to sense that the end of all things is very near. Just about everyone has a theory as to how the world is threatened and when that end might come. The media and the Internet are full of doomsday speculations concerning the New Age “Mayan Calendar” and the year 2012.
The crap about the Mayans predicting the end of the universe in December of 2012 is complete bullshit, as I’ve already blogged. The Mayans themselves couldn’t even predict the coming collapse of their own civilization, which happened around 900 CE, so one can hardly expect them to have been any more accurate about the end of the universe.
Camping and his followers claim he’s some sort of Biblical scholar, however, he — and they — appear not to have read this important verse, concerning the coming of the Son of Man:
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. (Matthew 24:36)
Thus, the Second Coming cannot be predicted. Anyone who says s/he knows “the day” or “the hour” it will happen, can only be lying, because only “the Father” knows when it is. Jesus admits even he does not know when it will be! It also means the name of Camping’s Web site — “We Can Know” — runs contrary to scripture.
Not only is this not the first failed prediction Camping has made, the history of Christianity is littered with past failed predictions of when “the End” was supposed to have come — but didn’t. James “the Amazing” Randi compiled a list of some of these, and they comprise Appendix 3 (cached) of his Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural (which is available online for free). “End of the world” predictions are common and apparently easy to rationalize away when they fail. My guess is that, on May 22, 2011, Harold Camping will be rationalizing away the failure of his Jesus to show up and vacuum the Christians off the surface of the planet.
Update 1: I’ve set up a special page on my blog, counting down to Camping’s predicted Rapture and Armageddon. Just so everyone is prepared … to laugh at Camping’s idiocy, when they fail to come to pass as he predicts.
Update 2: I’ve posted a static page on my blog explaining — in terms of scripture itself — why all “Bible prophecies” are baloney. Have a look, if you’re interested.
Update 3: Camping’s followers are now trolling the country, trying to stir up apocalypticism, as part of their “Project Caravan.”
Update 4: The Rapture is now less than a week away. I’ll bet you can’t wait!
Update 5: As one would expect, non-Campingite Christians are angling away from Family Radio and their Rapture prediction. Unfortunately for them, they can’t do that; such predictions have been part of Christianity since its inception, Jesus himself made some of them!
Top photo credit: Sister72. Middle photo credit: Religion Dispatches.
, bench ads
, christ's second coming
, end of the world
, end times
, family radio
, harold camping
, jesus christ
, may 2011
, may 21
, may 21 2011
, second coming
, we can know
10 Comments »
Missouri Congressional candidate Ed Martin has declared that President Obama and other Democrats are preventing people from acquiring their salvation from Jesus Christ. Yes, folks, he really said it. Fired Up Missouri has the story, as well as the audio (WebCite cached article):
Speaking on the Gina Loudon radio program this afternoon, Congressional candidate Ed Martin told listeners that “we have to be very, very aware” of policies pursued by Barack Obama and Russ Carnahan that will “take away” the freedom to be a Christian. …
MARTIN: … And part of that freedom — when you take a government and you impose, and take away all your choices. One of the choices you take away is to find the Lord. And find your savior.
And that’s one of the things that’s most destructive about the growth of government. It’s this taking away that freedom. The freedom — the ultimate freedom, to find your salvation, to get your salvation. And to find Christ, for me and you.
If you wish, you can listen to the recording, directly from YouTube:
Now, I’m not sure how this works, exactly. If salvation comes from God through Jesus Christ, I don’t quite understand how any human being — not even a president of the United States — could possibly get in the way of it. I know I’m just a cynical godless agnostic heathen, but I just don’t see how anything in the universe can thwart the will of a truly omnipotent being.
… Didn’t think so.
Update: The Riverfront Times in St Louis reports that, although it appears Martin lost by nearly 4,500 votes, he’s alleging “voting irregularities,” refuses to concede defeat, and promises to fight on to get his Congressional seat (cached article). This is in spite of the fact that his margin of loss is above the amount that might allow him to call for a recount. Can you say “sore loser”?
Hat tip: Pulling to the Left.
Photo credit: Ed Martin campaign Web site.
Tags: barack obama
, congressional candidate
, ed martin
, jesus christ
, missouri 3rd district
, president obama
2 Comments »
The country’s most famous paranoid schizophrenic, Glenn Beck, continues to rail about “social justice” and how it’s not Christian to want to give to others. As I’ve blogged before, Beckie-boy’s reasoning is fatally flawed because he conflates terminology; specifically, he is ferociously angry about the use of certain terms that once had served as Communist “catch phrases.” That these terms happen also to have meaning to other people — for other purposes — appears to be something he’s blissfully unaware of. This leads him to say and do things that end up appearing nonsensical, if not insane. The Time magazine Swampland blog recently took note of one such example (WebCite cached article):
This time he claimed that black liberation theology—theology that believes Jesus saves victims from their oppressors—forces whites to unnecessarily confess to racism and inspires the government to redistribute money from wealthy whites to victimized minorities. Because Jesus is not a victim, in Beck’s words, “Social justice isn’t in the Bible.”
However three days before the resurrection, Jesus, a Palestinian Jew, himself was tortured and hung on a cross. Beck says that even then Jesus was only a victor — “If Jesus was a victim he would have come back from the dead and made the Jews pay for what they did.”
Beckie-boy thus redefines the reality of Christian legend by declaring Jesus — who supposedly had been tried on a trumped-up charge, beaten, tortured, falsely convicted of that crime, and executed for it — was not actually a “victim,” because in Beckie-boy’s mind, being a “victim” means you also must react violently.
I haven’t actually taken the time to look it up, but I’m pretty sure no dictionary definition of “victim” requires that a “victim” also kick the asses of his those who victimized him/her. Obviously the Beckster made that part up, just so he could find something to bitch and whine about. To say that Jesus cannot have been a “victim” of Roman justice, is laughable!
So, all you Right-wing religionists … I have to ask … why do you continue to let this off-the-rails batshit-insane lunatic, who clearly hasn’t a clue what he’s talking about, speak for you? Haven’t you had enough of this circus yet? When are you going to ask that Beckie-boy be returned to the asylum he escaped from?
For the benefit of Glennie and his sycophantic, mindless followers, here is but one of Jesus’ teachings for you to consider:
But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.”
Then the righteous will answer Him, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?”
The King will answer and say to them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.”
Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?”
Then He will answer them, “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:31-46)
I suggest that Glennie and his screaming Right-wing minions get ready for that latter judgement … because if Jesus does return someday, they’ll find themselves in big trouble!
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.
, glenn beck
, jesus christ
, right wing
, social justice
4 Comments »
An “act of God” (I mean that in the legal sense, if not a metaphysical one) has claimed a well-known (locally, anyway) icon of Christianity in Monroe, Ohio. It was a statue of Christ known popularly as the “Touchdown Jesus” because both its hands reached up like a referee signaling a touchdown. USA Today reports on its heavenly destruction (WebCite cached article):
Monroe fire officials set damage at $700,000 after lightning struck and burned down a 62-foot-high Jesus Christ statue and an adjacent amphitheater at Solid Rock Church late Monday.
Church leaders are vowing to rebuild the iconic “King of Kings” statue — also dubbed “Touchdown Jesus” — which alone was valued at $300,000.
In what might be viewed as the reverse of the “loaves and fishes” miracles of the gospels, the statue wasn’t the only casualty of this disaster:
A pond surrounding the statue that used to be full of fish is now filled with remnants of the structure, made of fiber glass and foam. All the fish are either dead or dying, [Monroe Fire Capt. Richard] Mascarella said.
This catastrophe has also spawned a potential secondary danger due to the devotion of the ruined statue’s worshippers:
Authorities on Tuesday were urging motorists to resist the temptation to stop on Interstate 75 and snap photos, fearing that drivers pulling on and off the berm could cause crashes.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is issuing warnings to those who stop — and will soon start writing citations, a dispatcher for the patrol’s Lebanon post said.
I’m sure the Solid Rock Church, which built the statue and on whose property it sat, will rebuild this statue — probably with an even-larger and more ostentatious version. I don’t know what Jesus himself would have made of such a massive and splashy idol of himself … I’m fairly sure God is no big fan of idols in the first place … but I doubt the Christians who venerate it even care about little considerations like the Second Commandment (among Protestant & Orthodox Christians, and Jews; Catholics include this within the First).
Photo credit: Wikipedia (English).
Tags: act of god
, act of nature
, interstate 75
, jesus christ
, king of kings
, king of kings statue
, monroe OH
, Separation of church and state
, solid rock church
, touchdown jesus
1 Comment »
The famous Shroud of Turin is once again on display in that Italian city’s cathedral, and the mass media are dutifully reporting on it as though it’s significant. Here, for instance, is the New York Times report on the matter (WebCite cached article):
The Shroud of Turin went on public display Saturday for the first time in 10 years, drawing long lines of people to see the linen some believe is Christ’s burial cloth and others dismiss as a medieval fake.
Turin Cardinal Severino Poletto led the opening ceremony in Turin’s cathedral. He referred to the debate over the shroud’s authenticity, saying it was ”not up to the church but for science to decide.”
By late Friday, 1.5 million people had reserved their three-to-five-minute chance to gaze at the cloth, which is kept in a bulletproof, climate-controlled case. Viewing continues through May 23.
It’s interesting the Cardinal has left the matter up to “science.” In fact, science decided it … over two decades ago. The truth about the Shroud of Turin is that it dates to the Middle Ages, not to classical times. The carbon-dating done in 1988 — while it used an admittedly small sample — was nevertheless quite sound, and the results are solid.
Critics of the testing, who insist the Shroud is a genuine 1st-century relic with a magical photograph of Jesus Christ on it, have come up with nearly-endless rationales and excuses for why the tests all arrived at a 13th or 14th century date for it. Most of these rationales and excuses are based on ignorance and stupidity, and have been responded to at length. No response, however, appears to put a dent in Shroud veneration. People who believe in its authenticity as Jesus’ own burial shroud are not concerned with little, insignificant things like “facts.”
Christians who venerate the Shroud should, however, be concerned about what they’re doing … because it’s decidedly against the expressed, explicit wishes of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God, which can be found in their own Bibles:
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:4)
Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves molten gods; I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:4)
You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 26:1)
You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Deuteronomy 5:8-10)
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)
Little children, guard yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Isn’t it odd how all these thousands of Christians who will stream past the Shroud of Turin, devout in their belief in the idea that it’s a magical photograph of Jesus Christ, are all actually disobeying the very God they claim to honor by doing so? Hypocrites.
The bottom line is that the Shroud of Turin is nothing but a pious fraud. I’m sure a lot of Shroud-venerators are sincere, but that doesn’t change the fact that the object of their veneration, is fraudulent.
Tags: burial shroud
, cardinal severino poletto
, graven image
, jesus christ
, noble lie
, pious fraud
, roman catholic church
, severino poletto
, shroud of turin
, turin italy
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It’s not exactly news to hear an example of a Christian who refuses to obey the directives they claim Jesus Christ himself gave. Historically, very few Christians have ever truly lived up to what Jesus told them to do. But here’s a recent example of a prominent Christian very publicly saying something quite the opposite of what Jesus wants his followers to do. ABC News reports on Sarah Palin’s comments about President Obama’s new agreement with Russia concerning nuclear weapons:
“It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable,” said Palin on Wednesday evening while appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program. “No administration in America’s history would, I think, ever have considered such a step that we just found out President Obama is supporting today. It’s kinda like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, ‘Go ahead, punch me in the face and I’m not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to with me.’
Palin’s opposition to what she characterizes as a pacifist stance is strange, coming from such an avowed and fervent Christian, because Jesus ordered his followers to do the following:
You have heard that it was said, “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:38-42)
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. (Matthew 26:52)
Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. (Luke 6:29-30)
More generally, Jesus orders his followers not to hate their enemies, but instead love and embrace them:
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:44-45)
But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28)
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. (Luke 6:35)
I guess Ms Palin thinks Christians should also forget this declaration made by the founder of her own religion:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)
It appears Ms Palin doesn’t want to be “a daughter of God.” Hmm.
Isn’t it strange how President Obama seems to wring anti-Christian behavior and rhetoric out of fierce, loud, Bible-thumping Christians? The Religious Right’s reflexive opposition to anything and everything about the current president seems to force them to contradict themselves — and the basic tenets of their own declared religion — in virtually-uncountable ways. (Actually, here’s a comprehensive list of such occasions.) This makes them brazen, obvious hypocrites … even though all forms of hypocrisy have also been expressly and unambiguously forbidden them, too, by Jesus himself.
P.S. Isn’t it curious that I — a wicked, cynical, heartless, skeptical, godless agnostic heathen — know more about what Jesus taught, and what the Bible says, than an actual professed Christian does? I wonder about it all the time … yet even after all these years, have no good explanation for it. Sigh.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: barack obama
, christian right
, jesus christ
, militant christian
, nuclear weapons
, religious right
, sarah palin
, sermon on the mount
1 Comment »