Posts Tagged ‘evangelicals’

The Evangelist

January 11, 2020

The title of this post is identical to the cover article of the Washington Post Magazine, 12 Jan, 2020. This article by Nick Tabor motivated this post. The subtitle of this article is “Can Shane Claiborne’s Progressive Version of Evangelical Christianity Catch On With a New Generation?” HM hopes that Claiborne’s version of evangelical christianity also catches on with the old generation.

It appears that Claiborne’s current focus is on gun violence. One can argue that violence was the tool of the first large scale Christian activity, the crusades. Christianity is the religion of love and of turning the cheek when one is struck. It stands in marked contrast to the Old Testament where it was a matter of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The most violent act Christ ever did was to drive the moneychangers out of the temple.

But what were the Crusades? They were attacks against Muslims where they murdered, robbed, and raped them. It was not a religious crusade of conversions. Subsequently, Christianity was advanced primarily by the sword conquering other countries. After Martin Luther there were violent wars between the protestants and catholics to determine who prevailed.

Claiborne is not the only person trying to persuade Christians to follow the teachings of Christ rather than the preaching that comes from certain evangelical pulpits. There have also been healthymemory posts on the Rev. Jim Wallis. He has written an important book Christ in Crisis: Why We Need to Reclaim Jesus. He is exalting these evangelicals to do the work of Christ. Unfortunately, too many evangelicals have formed a moral police working through government and the courts to force other people to behave according the Evangelicals’ beliefs. Apparently they see their role much as the moral police in Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian country, not a supposedly free country like the United States.

It is remarkable how many evangelicals are supporting perhaps the most immoral President the United States has ever had. Apparently the largest reason for supporting this aberration is to make abortion illegal. They regard the killing of unborn children as something that should be illegal. And this is what is taught from their pulpits. There are a number of issues here, one is that the United States is a free country, and one of those freedoms is religious freedom. So the religious beliefs of certain religions should not be forced on the religious beliefs of other religions. Too many people say that this is a free country, but then go to reduce the freedoms of others. This is the height of hypocrisy.

Biological life should be irrelevant to religion. Souls are what is relevant to religion. Without going beyond biological life, all hopes of eternity go down the crapper. So the question is what happens to the soul when an abortion is performed.

Here is HM’s belief based on his thinking, meditation, and prayer. Each of us has the ability to meditate and pray to a spiritual entity, which is God. HM is well aware of the miserable lives lived by unloved children. And just loving a child is insufficient, the child must be attended to and cared for, and this has large costs in time and attention.

In about the middle of the 20th century a large uptick in violent crime was anticipated due to the large number of children being born. Surprisingly, that uptick did not occur. When searching for reasons, some seized upon Roe v. Wade and the legalization of abortion.

HM’s God is a merciful God. HM’s God would prefer for a potentially unloved fetus to be destroyed. He would save the soul until parents became available that offered a moving and caring upbringing. Only the sole is immortal.

So how does HM know this? It is via prayer and meditation. Each of us can communicate directly with God. In pantheism, God is present in all living beings. So it follows that God is in each of us. So one can pray up, or one can pray within oneself.

It should also be noted that abortions were commonly performed in Christ’s time, but nothing is written condemning abortions in the four gospels that are readily available.

HM also believes in a judgment day. Consider how you might feel if you found one of your religious leaders burning in hell, or a reasonable facsimile. It would be too late to file a malpractice legal suit.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Elusive Experience as Intuition

October 14, 2018

This post is based, in part, on the work by Boyer Pascal titled “Minds Make Societies.” Pascal writes, “To understand modern forms of religious activity, we must consider another recent invention—the connection between religious beliefs and personal experience. In many modern movements, participants assume that religious activity should trigger a special kind of experience, entirely distinct from ordinary conscious activity, that these experiences carry important meaning, that they are crucial for a proper understanding of religious doctrines. Long before these recent developments, scholars in the the study of religions, mostly in the West, for a long time argued that religious experience was quite special. William James, the founder of modern psychology, also assumed that the nature of these exceptional experiences would be fundamental to understanding the emergence and development of doctrines and cults.”

Anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann did a thorough study of a group of American evangelical Christians in an attempt to study these elusive experiences. These evangelicals practice a specific version of mainstream Christianity with a clearly articulated belief that God can talk to them.

Luhrmann found that the definite intuition that an agent is around, that this agent really is God, that God is talking, is a rare occurrence and a frustratingly elusive one. She found that even among the most accomplished of believers a few islands of experience are surrounded by oceans of doubt and disbelief. Although Christian beliefs are held with fervor, the crucial elements, the presence and communication from a superhuman agent, are described as goals to achieve rather than a starting point. Many evangelicals readily admit they have not (or not yet) reached that point—it will take them more work. These evangelicals are to be commended for their honesty.

One of the reasons these Evangelicals are having so much difficulty is by spurning all the devices that people the world over have used. They do not want to open their minds to the deity though the medium of drugs, starvation, meditation, hyperventilation, or the hypnotic repetition of mantras. So the experience desired turns out to be so infrequent, ambiguous, and elusive. As you should note from previous posts, HM believes that meditation is perhaps the best means of establishing a relationship with God.

Although these evangelicals are honest in their beliefs, they have strayed from they key concept in effective religions, the soul. As a result they are unknowingly causing unnecessary pain and suffering in the world. Perhaps the least of which is contributing to the election of the antithesis of a Christian, Donald Trump. These evangelicals want to make abortion illegal, so Trump, who likely has financed abortions, promised to propose judges for the Supreme Court to bring this about.

Their argument is that biological life is being destroyed and lives are lost. But biological life is irrelevant. The soul is not destroyed, and that is what is key. Previous healthymemory blog posts have shown that what is essential for a healthy and happy child is for the mother to want and to love her child. [See the Healthymemory Blog Posts “The Damage Done by Forcibly Separating Children from Parents,” and “Turning on Genes in the Brain’[ When this requirement is not satisfied, developmental problems result. It is reasonable to think that many, if not most, of the disturbing events one reads about every day are the result of an unloved child. This is damaging not only to the mother and the child, but also to the community. A just and merciful God does not want this to happen. Consequently, this God would save the soul of the future child until a more loving mother became available. So rather than outlaw abortion, abortion should be encouraged unless the prospective mother wants to love and nurture the child.

There is nothing in scriptures to justify this belief of the evangelicals. But rather than pursue the work of Christ, helping the sick and the impoverished, they engage in these self-righteous political crusades. Every other advanced country in the world provides government paid health insurance to all its citizens. But evangelicals along with other nonbearing citizens do not tend to support this type of political activity. Consequently, the United States suffers from both extravagant medical costs producing results characteristic of third world countries.

In addition to being ignorant of the importance of souls, these Evangelicals do not understand the concept of religious freedom embedded in the Constitution. One can follow any religion, including atheism, in the United Stated. Unfortunately, some evangelicals and other religious groups are trying to enforce their religious beliefs on others. Abortion provides a good example. So if one thinks that abortion is immoral and should not be allowed, they are free to not practice abortion. But it is unconstitutional for them to impose that belief on others.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Vote for Christian Values, Not for Trump

November 2, 2016

The title of this post is identical to the title of an article by Dustin Wahl, Paige Cutler, and Alexander Forbes in the 26 October, 2016 issue of the Washington Post.  The authors are  students of Liberty University who are incensed by the president of their university endorsing Donald Trump.

The article notes that Mark DeMoss, the chair of Liberty’s executive committed criticized Trump’s “politics of personal insult,” saying “It’s not Christ-like behavior that Liberty has spent 40 years promoting with its students.”  For this statement he was asked to resign from the executive committee.  Demoss left Liberty University ending his decades-long career of service to Liberty University.

Last week the students began circulating a statement titled “Liberty Against Trump” expressing their opposition to President Falwell’s endorsement and disassociating themselves from Trump.  So far, more than 2,000 Liberty students and faculty have sighed the statement.

The Post article continues, “”Evangelical conservatives who vote for Trump to get a favorable Supreme Court must realize that doing so requires trusting the words of the most unabashedly untruthful presidential candidate in modern history.  Trump has changed his position on nearly every issue of importance at least once, sometimes in mid-speech.  There is little reason to believe that he is worried about the same issue we are.  It makes more sense to believe that Trump is happy many Christians are worried because it allows him to do what all demagogues do:  offer strength in time of fear.”

They continue, “ Trump is the antithesis of our values; there is no reason to revisit his vices here.  Most non-Christians recognize Trump as amoral and self-centered.  If we ignore this fact and buy in to his promise of strength, what will it tell the world about how seriously we Christians esteem our values.”

HM applauds these students for their intelligence and their courage.  But he feels compelled to say something about many, if not most, evangelicals.  They do not understand that the First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees, among other rights, the freedom of religion for the individual.  The Constitution makes a clear distinction between church and state to the effect that neither impinges on the other.  So we can each believe what we want and worship as we want, as long as we do not trample on the rights of others.  But what many evangelicals regard as religious freedom is their right to impose their religious beliefs on others by changing laws and the interpretation of laws of the land.  When this is done they are imposing on the religious beliefs of others as well as secular humanists, who also have beliefs.  What they are doing is identical to the Sharia they find so repugnant in Islam.  What hypocrites they are!.  They do not perceive the mote in their own eye (Matt 7:3).

A classical religious debate is which is more important: beliefs or deeds.  HM argues that it is unequivocally deeds.  Beliefs are specific to religions and religions are institutions created by human beings.  Beliefs are the special sauce, if you will, to either frighten or attract people to the particular religion.  However, GOD is eternal and predates all religions.  HM believes that deeds are important to GOD and that GOD is indifferent to beliefs.  HM believes that GOD has given us brains and expects us to use them.  These students used their brains and came to correct conclusions different from their religious leader.  I would encourage readers to do the same.  When churches are encouraging questionable practices, you can likely find a church closer to your understanding as to what GOD wants.  There are plenty of churches from which to choose.  But a church is not required.  Individuals can develop their own relationship with GOD through prayer and meditation.  A church is only required when social interactions are important.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.