5/31/2003                                                                                       View Comments

ORAL AND ANAL SEX:
VESTIBULE TOWARDS THE LAKE OF FIRE

Original article here: ORAL AND ANAL SEX
guilt More Xtian drivel on the evils of enjoying sex

Now you might start to get the impression from some of the postings or links on this site that I have some sort of out of balance fixation on one particular biological function. Well, I'll leave that for you to decide on your own. It is just my opinion that sex is a normal and healthy part of the human experience, much like eating, sleeping and breathing. I believe it is so much a part of our make up that if the drive toward it is not satisfied in a healthy way, between consenting adults, then it manifests itself in all sorts of weird perverse actions. Unnatural inhibitions which are placed on human beings by pathetic mind control cults tend to result in unnecessary human suffering. A striking contemporary example is the sexual chaos in the Catholic Church. The overwhelming burden of guilt placed on people because they are sexual beings is one more crime we can attribute to Christianity.

Although I don't need to, I want to state here that I live a faithfully monogamous lifestyle with my wife of 18 years. I have never had an affair on her, and have no intention of ever doing so. I am completely content and satisfied with her. I should mention that the two of us enjoy each other's company immensely and also enjoy all the intimate benefits of married life on a very regular basis. According to excerpts from the article below, I am going straight to hell for having an inventive love life with my willing and consenting wife. Oh, and she is going to hell for the having the same with her all too cooperative husband.

loveCheck this out: (spelling and grammar unchanged)
Human genitals are perfectly designed for their reproductive and sexual function. And as well, this function is in the origin of the basic structure of the society: family. A necessary cell for the continuity of the work of God in the Earth, for education of children, the personal accomplishment within the pair, etc. The fidelity as form of expression of spouses love is an evident necessity, and less necessary it is not respect between both, respect based on the pursuit of the most elementary laws of human nature. ... nature indicates clearly to us the function that one of the devices of body carries out each, and does not make lack express too much brain to reach the conclusion that these practices contravene this principle when mixing genital functions with those of digestive tube. As much mouth as anus acts a specific function in nutritional process, and man feels a natural loathing towards any practice that contravenes natural dispositions.
Now I realize that unless your mind is still "fundified", it may be hard to follow this Christian's thought patterns, but it sounds to me like the writer is trying once again to restate the historic Christian position that sex is only for procreation. Let's read more:
Nevertheless, at the moment a current exists - that seems to even affect the most conservative sectors of the society - that praises the rupture of natural moral and acceptance of the own will as only form to establish patterns of sexual conduct. A moral relativism in which one becomes judge and part to judge on what is well and what is bad. And it is evident that when one judges on himself, badly does not consider of the others ones as it would have an impartial judge.

This concept, developed in principle by the atheistic Marxists ideologists, and fomented later by generalized diffusion of pornography, gave as result the diffusion of some monstrosities very in rows at the moment, as the genocide of million innocent children by abortion, the banalization of marriage through generalized divorce, and aberrant sexual practices.

These sexual practices that pornography has put fashionable at the moment are repulsive depravations that contradict the most elementary laws of the nature. The nature indicates clearly to us the function that one of the devices of body carries out each, and does not make lack express too much brain to reach the conclusion that these practices contravene this principle when mixing genital functions with those of digestive tube. As much mouth as anus acts a specific function in nutritional process, and man feels a natural loathing towards any practice that contravenes natural dispositions.
I especially take issue with the phrase, "This concept, developed in principle by the atheistic Marxists ideologists..." I mean, the whole article is supposed to be on oral and anal sex right? From what I know of history, all these mentioned behaviors have been going on for a very long time and regularly practiced by people from every nationality, political ideology, religion and age known to the planet. How the writer can in anyway equate Marxism and Atheism as the driving force in this area, I can't begin to fathom.

But there's more:
In the ten first centuries after Christ, as much the Catholic Church as the Eastern Churches, still formally unified, agreed in condemning any sexual practice that attempt against dignity of person. This point lead to death to great amount of sodomits, already during the time of the delayed Roman empire.

dead in hell from sexAt the moment, generalized relaxation costumary that has carried the extension of atheism in the society has eliminated most of pains of jail by sins of sexual perversion in the western world, although not thus in the countries of the Islamic and Eastern sphere, where anal sex and any other type of aberrant sex are severely punished, even with death.
So there you have it. If you are creative or a bit adventuresome in the bedroom, you deserve to die.

Those who have a healthy enjoyment of sex as a part of life are not the abnormal ones, but those who try to demonize it, and issue stern rules of control on others - they are the ones with real problems.

What do you think?

5/30/2003                                                                                       View Comments

God on the Brain

Why do people experience religious visions? BBC Two's Horizon suggests that in some cases the cause may be a strange brain disorder. from BBC News

Atheist Devils Controversial new research suggests that whether we believe in a God may not just be a matter of free will. Scientists now believe there may be physical differences in the brains of ardent believers.

Inspiration for this work has come from a group of patients who have a brain disorder called temporal lobe epilepsy. In a minority of patients, this condition induces bizarre religious hallucinations - something that patient Rudi Affolter has experienced vividly.

Despite the fact that he is a confirmed atheist, when he was 43, Rudi had a powerful religious vision which convinced him he had gone to hell.

"I was told that I had gone there because I had not been a devout Christian, a believer in God. I was very depressed at the thought that I was going to remain there forever."

Clinical evidence

Gwen Tighe also has the disorder. When she had a baby, she believed she had given birth to Jesus. It was something her husband Berny found very difficult to understand.

"She said, isn't it nice to be part of the holy family? I thought, holy family? It then turned out she thought I was Joseph, she was Mary and that little Charlie was Christ."

Professor VS Ramachandran, of the University of California in San Diego, believed that the temporal lobes of the brain were key in religious experience. He felt that patients like Rudi and Gwen could provide important evidence linking the temporal lobes to religious experience.

So he set up an experiment to compare the brains of people with and without temporal lobe epilepsy. He decided to measure his patients' changes in skin resistance, essentially measuring how much they sweated when they looked at different types of imagery.

What Professor Ramachandran discovered to his surprise was that when the temporal lobe patients were shown any type of religious imagery, their bodies produced a dramatic change in their skin resistance.

"The activity of specific neural circuits makes these patients more prone to religious belief"Prof VS Ramachandran, University of California

"We found to our amazement that every time they looked at religious words like God, they'd get a huge galvanic skin response."

This was the very first piece of clinical evidence revealing that the body's response to religious symbols was definitely linked to the temporal lobes of the brain.

"What we suggested was that there are certain circuits within the temporal lobes which have been selectively activated in these patients and somehow the activity of these specific neural circuits makes them more prone to religious belief."

Scientists now believe famous religious figures in the past could also have been sufferers from the condition. St Paul and Moses appear to be two of the most likely candidates.

But most convincing of all is the evidence from American neurologist Professor Gregory Holmes. He has studied the life of Ellen G White, who was the spiritual founder of the Seventh-day Adventist movement. Today, the movement is a thriving church with over 12 million members.

During her life, Ellen had hundreds of dramatic religious visions which were key in the establishment of the church, helping to convince her followers that she was indeed spiritually inspired. But Professor Holmes believes there may be another far more prosaic explanation for her visions.

Christian NumbnutsHead trauma

He has discovered that at the age of nine, Ellen suffered a severe blow to her head. As a result, she was semi-conscious for several weeks and so ill she never returned to school.

Following the accident, Ellen's personality changed dramatically and she became highly religious and moralistic.

And for the first time in her life, she began to have powerful religious visions.

Professor Holmes is convinced that the blow to Ellen's head caused her to develop temporal lobe epilepsy.

"Her whole clinical course to me suggested the high probability that she had temporal lobe epilepsy. This would indicate to me that the spiritual visions she was having would not be genuine, but would be due to the seizures."

Professor Holmes' diagnosis is a shattering one for the Seventh-day Adventist movement. Their spokesman, Dr Daniel Giang, is a neurologist as well as a member of the church.

"Ellen White's visions lasted from 15 minutes to three hours or more - that's quite unusual for seizures "Dr Daniel Giang, Seventh-day Adventist Church

He dismisses the claims, insisting the visions started too long after the accident to have been caused by it. He goes on to say: "Ellen White's visions lasted from 15 minutes to three hours or more. She never apparently had any briefer visions - that's quite unusual for seizures."

We will never know for sure whether religious figures in the past definitely did have the disorder but scientists now believe the condition provides a powerful insight into revealing how religious experience may impact on the brain.

They believe what happens inside the minds of temporal lobe epileptic patients may just be an extreme case of what goes on inside all of our minds.

For everyone, whether they have the condition or not, it now appears the temporal lobes are key in experiencing religious and spiritual belief.

What do you think?

5/27/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Three Myths of Christianity:

Morality vs. Ethics
by Earl Lee

In debating various self-proclaimed "Christian" spokespersons over the years, I have discovered that they present many vague and erroneous ideas as established truths. These are three of the myths used by Christians quite often in defending their dubious ideas:

Myth 1: Christianity is important to our society because it serves as a moral rudder. Morality is necessary for a society to exist. Some standards must exist for people to follow or society will decay and eventually collapse, as did the Roman Empire.

Answer: The ancient Greeks proved that it is possible to have an ethical culture without having a religiously "moral" culture. The focus of ethics is on behavior; for example, the ethical standard "If you can do no good, at least do no harm" focuses on making choices in behavior. The focus of morality, on the other hand, is to avoid behavior proscribed by political and religious authorities. Many of Christ's teachings have a strong ethical content, above and beyond the Judaic law and its moral commands of "Thou shalt not . . . ." For example, the teaching of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is an ethical teaching that is often perverted by Christian moralists who interpret this to mean: "Do unto others as God (the Bible, the Pope, etc.) would have you do unto them." The ethical teaching is lost in the effort to enforce a religious code or standard.

Generally, from the standpoint of ethics, Christianity has been a dismal failure. Centuries of religious intolerance, warfare, and persecution have proven this beyond any reasonable doubt. Even without the perspective of history it is clear that many religious people are not very ethical. This is true not only of ministers and television evangelists but of religious communities in general, as evidenced by numerous recent sexual abuse scandals. People who complain about sexual abuses are often themselves ostracized by their church. The book "Doc": the Rape of the Town of Lovell shows in glaring detail how a Mormon church in Wyoming rallied around a rapist who was an elder in the church in order to defend him from his accusers.

In terms of property crimes and violent crimes, American prisons are filled with religious people, especially Christians and Moslems. On the other hand, atheists very rarely end up in prison and statistically, for as long as data have been collected, atheists have been proportionally under-represented in prison populations.

The argument that Christians are more ethical seems to be based on the fact that a non-believer who has grown up in a predominately Christian environment obviously tends to "convert" to Christianity in times of trouble as a solution to drinking problems, marital problems, legal problems, etc. A non-believer who has gotten into trouble (Charles Colson, Johnny Cash, Eldridge Cleaver, and others) and "finds Christ" often does display better behavior as a "born again" Christian, but this is also true for people who convert to other religions or philosophies. Furthermore, the people who continue in their new belief are far outnumbered by those who fall into their old habits. Charles Bufe's book Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure? cites studies that show that alcoholics who are religiously indoctrinated in AA meetings do not recover from alcoholism at higher percentages than alcoholics who do not attend AA.

But even in comparing the ethics of Christians with non-believers their argument falters. Recent studies comparing believers with nonbelievers show that there is really very little difference between these groups in terms of ethical behavior. In fact, in the few studies that have been done, non-believers often come out better -- less rigid, less likely to commit violence against their neighbors -- than Christians. Even these non-religious people, people brought up with no ethical training beyond what they receive in our schools and through television and our consumer- oriented culture, are more ethical than the Christians. The parable of the good Samaritan is still true today.

In a recent book by Bruce Lincoln, Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology and Practice (1991) this idea is further supported. In a recent review, Prof. M. Kohl, of SUNY college of Fredonia, summarizes Lincoln's belief that "... warriors must dehumanize not only their enemy but themselves before they can become instruments of slaughter. In fact, it is precisely when people are supported by a powerful ideological system that they are most disposed to perpetrate atrocities: and one of the chief functions of religion, as of other ideological systems, is to lend legitimacy to those purportedly necessary but unpleasant actions that might otherwise go undone" (Choice Jan '92). The current slaughter in Bosnia, between Christians and Moslems, should be ample evidence for the dehumanizing quality of religious belief.

The practice of confession and repentance, as practiced by Christians, seems to reinforce the delusion that Christians are more happy and well-adjusted than non-Christians. Christians believe strongly in the power of faith to "heal" personal problems and they find it difficult to believe that non-believers could be happy without faith. Yet Thomas H. Davenport's study Virtuous Pagans: Unreligious People in America shows that the non-religious live full and meaningful lives, in spite of the opinions of the religious.

The idea that Christianity is necessary to prevent the collapse of civilization is also false. The Roman Empire collapsed despite having Christianity. The historian Gibbon believed that Rome collapsed in large part because of the spread of Christianity and the way it undermined much of traditional Roman society. Nor did Christianity prevent the fall of Constantinople to the Turks. In fact, on one occasion the Christian crusaders who were sent to protect Constantinople from the Turks instead sacked the city themselves. In terms of ethical behavior, several historians have commented on the fact that the Turks often proved to be superior to the Christians in their concept of personal honor, loyalty, devotion to duty, and other ethical ideals. Now so many fundamentalist and evangelical Christians are obsessed with the End of the World that they ignore trying to preserve the world from destruction: economic, ecological, or atomic. It is true too that an upsurge in "religious" behavior and especially the proliferation of new religions has been recognized by historians as symptomatic of the decline of civilization. Indeed, it may be, as Gibbon believed, that religious "thinking" and behavior is one of the causes of social collapse, rather than a by-product.

Myth 2: Christianity is important as a patron of the arts and sciences, and of learning in general. Much of Western art is inspired by religious themes. The preservation of Greek civilization was led by monastic orders and helped bring about the Renaissance.

Answer: Much of Western art is devoted to religious themes and it is true that the clergy and churches were once important sources of income for artists, at least in the Medieval and Renaissance periods. Today, however, most religions are not particularly interested in art, except architecture. One can easily argue that limiting the great artists of the past to religious themes may have done more to hinder the development of artistic ideas than help it.

This can be proven by simply listening for a few minutes to a radio station that plays "Christian" rock music. The lack of originality is appalling. Most Christian rock musicians shamelessly rip off the style and music of mainstream rock musicians. The lyrics of these religious tunes are vapid and often downright silly as they struggle to create "love" songs that supposedly describe their religious love of God. Today, the best religious music is written by performers who are artists in a real sense and for whom religion is a side issue, an aspect of their art, rather than the sole purpose for their art. In another context they might just as easily sing about Vishnu as Christ.

Christian aesthetics are equally blighted. Read, for example, Francis Schaeffer's How Should We Then Live? or go to see it in the film version. Schaeffer mauls the history of Western art and philosophy, often betraying his own ignorance of the subject about which he claims expertise. Like most ideologues, including the Nazis, Schaeffer is happy only with realism and naturalism in art. He even goes so far as to claim that Michelangelo's statue of David is not "Christian" art, because the historical David was circumcised. Because Michelangelo's "David" is not circumcised and is not therefore a historically accurate representation, he claims that the statue is, in reality, secular humanist art, not Christian.

Since Schaeffer's argument for Christian truth and "realism" can be applied to most of Western art since the Medieval era -- realism was not an important artistic movement until the 19th century -- we can safely claim that none of the great art of the past is Christian -- almost all of Western art is Humanist and therefore an argument for more Humanism.

Myth 3: Christianity is necessary as a bulwark of democracy around the world. Christianity is the religion of the Founding Fathers and an integral and necessary part of our government. Without Christianity, our government would descend into chaos.

Answer: The claim that the United States is a "Christian" nation is poorly defended. Most ministers like to point to the Pledge of Allegiance as "proof" that America is Christian. The line "one nation, under God, indivisible" is frequently cited as evidence. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that the phrase "under God" was inserted into the Pledge in 1954! Furthermore, the original Pledge of Allegiance dates from the Civil War, where the emphasis was on the "one nation, indivisible" part; it is not a holdover from the time of the Revolutionary War.

There is plenty of evidence, on the other hand, that the Founding Fathers, the movers and shakers of the Revolutionary war were Deists and/or members of liberal Protestant religions. Most were aware of the problems of religious persecution in Europe and fought for the separation of church and state in this country. They were not favorably disposed toward the Catholic church or evangelical Christianity and would no doubt find the political claims of the American bishops and Pat Robertson offensive, or downright bizarre. Christianity does not and should not now enjoy a privileged position in American government.

There is plenty of evidence, furthermore, that Christianity has done actual harm to the political process. The sort of warped political thinking currently put forth by Pat Robertson on the 700 Club, his subtle manipulation of public opinion, does a great deal of damage to our idea of what government is for. Most recently, Robertson has quietly promoted the political aspirations of David Duke, whose ultra-right-wing credentials are impeccable. Many evangelical churches support ultra-right-wing repression within their denominations, through their financial and political support of authoritarian regimes, both here and overseas.

Similarly, in Central and South America, many churches are being drawn into the "Liberation Theology" movement. If mixing Communism and Catholicism produces anything liberating, I would be willing to believe that mixing gasoline and kerosene would create a good flame retardant. "Liberation theology" is a contradiction of terms, like "creative science."

Looking back at the history of the church in Latin America, we ought to remember that Mikail Bakunin, in one of his political polemics, described the Indians who lived under Jesuit control in Paraguay as the most wretched people on the face of the earth. The Jesuits easily maintained their control over the Indians, because an even worse fate, slavery or death, awaited those Indians who fell into the hands of the Spanish.

Similarly, in 20th-century Poland, the Church has been active in supporting Lech Walesa against the communist establishment, but I don't think anyone believes that the clergy is doing this out of the goodness of their hearts! The Church wants to replace the Communists as the rulers of Poland -- liberation is the furthest thing from its mind. In the wake of the collapse of Communism throughout Eastern Europe the Church is moving into the void and pushing for -- guess what! -- government funding for churches and church schools and more anti-abortion legislation.

In fact, even before the collapse of communism, the Church was able to negotiate effectively with the communist oligarchy. After all, both institutions are authoritarian, both understand power politics, and both are based on bureaucratic structures that continue to exist by looking out for their own self-interest while mercilessly crushing any potential opposition.

In this country, the churches are somewhat restrained in their behavior, although I have seen churches hand out lists of "approved" candidates on the Sunday before an election. The idea of "democracy" is really foreign to most churches, which are based on authoritarian top-down structures -- especially organizations run by television evangelists, the Mormon church, the Assemblies of God, etc.

Until churches develop more democratic internal structures, it is ridiculous to expect them to support "democracy" in secular government. Even those churches that have relatively democratic organizations often preach for more church control over the lives of the non-religious. Since they have found "The Answer," they are only too willing to force their "Answer" down the throats of their fellow citizens through more government intervention in our daily lives.

5/26/2003                                                                                       View Comments

ON COPING WITH CHRISTIANS

cope: deal effectively or contend with - The New Little Oxford Dictionary

There are Christians who will kill you if you don't agree with their understanding of the will of god. There is nothing new about this. Other Christians think these Christians are nuts who do not understand the Christian religion. The kill your neighbor Christians are more dangerous than the love your neighbor Christians. There are hundreds of groups, with wildly different beliefs and ends, all calling themselves Christians. The disagreements among these heterogeneous believers over correct interpretations of the supernatural makes coping with them confusing.

In general, Christians share a superstition, believed on faith not evidence (if it could be proved, there would be no need for faith), that human life will continue after death, with rewards from the deity for believers who believe that some twenty centuries ago the son of god (the Christ) came back to life after dying for their sins. The Christ went to heaven to be with god. People who die accepting this get to join him. The bible is the sacred text, the word of god.

A growing number of Christians treasonably want to establish their version of Christianity as the law of the United States, replacing the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that guarantee Americans freedom from having to follow somebody else's religion. These fanatics think the bible infallibly prohibits abortion, disproves evolution, regulates sexuality, and gives them the authority from god to tell everyone else what they can do, see, read or think. Government by bible is a scary idea. A literal belief in the bible mandates that people be stoned to death if they don't follow the religious rules, including rules prohibiting criticizing anything about the religion. The bible also approves of slavery, and encourages the beating of children and the subjugating of women. It presents a violent, vain, bloodthirsty god who continually changes the rules, punishes people for the sins of their ancestors, and has never heard of computers or democracy. Christians who believe the bible teaches a god of love, mercy and tolerance and who understand that religion can only flourish when there is no official religion are baffled by the fanatics. They had better be afraid--very afraid--they might be stoned for blasphemy along with those secular humanists. The coming civil war over religious freedom will make strange bedfellows indeed. The fundangelicals are at one with that Pope, Islamic fanatics, and the teachings of Hitler on prohibiting reproductive freedom. More reasonable Christians may join nonbelievers in defending the wall of separation between church and state that gives democracy its vitality.

Christians whose religious addiction has not become terminal can be shown that democracy and fundamentalist Christianity are incompatible. They must choose, in the coming civil war, if they are going to be patriotic Americans and support the cause of constitutional democracy that gives religious freedom to all, or if they will permit themselves to be controlled by a world view that rejects evolution and progress for the beliefs of prescientific Bronze Age nomadic tribes.

Neurotics build castles in the air--psychotics move in. Even paranoids can have real enemies, and it is not unreasonable to observe that Christians who take the bible as an absolute guide to faith and practice and believe it is god's will that America be made into their idea of a Christian nation are capable of starting a civil war to further these ends. They are already organizing a "militia" to defend their beliefs against godless humanism in schools, hospitals, libraries, and government. Believers are taught what firearms and ammunition are best suited for winning America for Christ. These people are serious and will not stop. Proof of their intent is readily available in their literature and in their rantings on your local fundamentalist radio talk show. Further proof is seen on the national news as religious crazies commit acts of terrorism--bombing clinics, killing doctors, burning books and generally threatening and intimidating anyone who doesn't consent to being governed by their superstitions. And their leaders urge them on, preaching encouragement to those who know god wants them to kill those who dare follow a different drummer.

Coping with Christians demands different techniques depending on the degree of progression of the individual believer's addiction. Coping with the lunatics may be a matter of pure survival and armed resistance if the rule of law fails to contain them. This would be pure civil war, a repeat of the dark histories of religious wars that the United States was established to avoid. Coping with more rational Christians involves understanding that while they do not want to hurt you, they do believe that they are going to heaven and that you are going to hell. This may limit dialogue.

The majority of Christians (you'd better hope) are decent caring folk of the live let live variety. They want what nonbelievers want: peace, happiness, meaningful relationships, expansion of knowledge, freedom from fear and hunger and the right to do their thing while permitting their neighbors to do theirs. These Christians generally have only a limited knowledge of the bible (the feel good parts) and would be horrified at some of the brutalities it advocates and the absurd contradictions they would have to accept if they were to become true bible believing Christians. These cafeteria Christians take what they like and ignore the rest. Nor do they fully understand what is at stake when fanatics want our country to have an official religion. These folks have accepted the faith of their fathers without critical inquiry; they see it as the basis of morality, community, and social order. Some spend their lives in a childlike faith (recommended by the Christ) and mythical fantasy world that prevents them from becoming self actualizing adults. This is why some Christians grow old without growing up.

So coping with Christians requires strategies ranging from tolerant acceptance and cooperation to self defense. The human race is constantly evolving and may eventually learn we can get along without a need for belief in the supernatural. But for many people that time is not now and should never come.

Religion is not the answer--it is the problem. Everything considered, we would be better off without it.

written by Ed Kagin

5/25/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Everybody Hates Us - A Christian Perspective

Michael Spencer notes that evangelical Christians are almost universally disliked. Are there good reasons?.

Nice Christians?I don't really know why someone thought it was necessary to do a poll to see just who were the most disliked groups in society, but the results are in. While serial killers and IRS agents still rank the highest, hot on their heels are evangelical Christians. Not Christians in general. Not Roman Catholics. Not all Christians—but evangelical Christians.

If you're like me, you have three reactions to this news. First, you tend to blame the media. Almost every portrayal of an evangelical Christian on television or in movies makes us look like the worst version of every stereotype we fear. Of course, one cannot expect the mainstream media to take up the cause of rescuing the evangelical public image, and these days virtually every group has a list of complaints with various kinds of media portrayals. There is more to the public perception of Bible believers than a media vendetta.

The second reaction is what we tend to say to one another to reassure ourselves that we are really OK after all. "It's the Gospel," we say to one another. Evangelicals are identified with a message that no one wants to hear, and so they are disliked. If you don't believe it, watch what happens when an evangelical leader appears on a talk show. It's like raw meat to hungry lions, no matter if the evangelical in question is rude or wonderful. (I have seen some of the nicest evangelicals torn limb from limb in these settings, including liberals who gave away the store.)

I would never argue with the basic premise of this observation. I have seen its truth too many times. They crucified Jesus. Enough said. But as true as this is, it is too simplistic to explain the increasing level of general despising of evangelicals in our society. It explains one thing, but it does not explain many other things. It actually may tend to blind us to our own behaviors. Like the residents of Jerusalem who were convinced their city could not fall because the temple was there, evangelicals may explain this dislike as reaction to the Gospel and then be blind to those things—in addition to the Gospel—that create legitimate animosity.

The third reaction is the guilty knowledge that evangelicals really are, very often, easy to dislike for many obvious reasons. Many evangelicals know exactly what the survey is registering, because they feel the same way themselves. We've all observed, in others and in ourselves, distinctively evangelical vices, hypocrisies and failures. We hoped that our good points would make up for these problems, but that was another self-deception.

It is easy to say that people's dislike of Christians is the dislike of the Christian message, but that simply doesn't hold up in the real world. It may be true of the Christian you don't know, but the Christians you do know have it in their power to either make it easy or difficult for you to dislike them. For example, the Christian in your car pool may believe what others refuse to believe, but his life provides a powerful antidote to any prejudice against him. Thousands of missionaries have been opposed for simply being Christians. But hundreds of thousands have lived lives that adorned the Gospel with attractive, winsome and loving behavior. A past president of our school was revered by Muslims during and after six years of Peace Corps service in Iran, years where he talked about the Gospel to Muslims every day and saw many trust Christ. The fact that the Gospel has penetrated into many hostile environments is evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit, but it is also evidence that one way the Spirit works is by making Christians a display of the fruits of love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.

We are loathed, caricatured, avoided and disliked because we often deserve it. There. I said it and I'm glad I did.

Here's my list of why evangelicals are among the most disliked persons in America:

1. Christians endorse a high standard of conduct for others and then largely excuse themselves from a serious pursuit of such a life. Jesus is the most admired person in history, but evangelicals are far more likely to devise ways for Jesus to be like us than for us to be like Jesus.

If it hasn't struck you lately that you do the very thing you condemn others for doing (Romans 2:1), urge others to do what you don't do or excuse in yourself what you require in others, then you probably don't get this article at all.

Did it irritate you when your dad said, "Do as I say, not as I do."? Then you get the picture.

2. Evangelical Christian piety in America is mostly public. Whether it's our entertainment-saturated "worship" services, our celebrity cults or our mad obsession with worldly success, we love for others to see "what God is doing in our lives." Of course, Jesus had plenty to say about this, and the essence of it is that when your piety is public, then there is almost certainly a lack of serious, life-transforming, private obedience and discipleship.

I have lately been strongly convicted by J.C. Ryle's little book, A Call To Prayer. Ryle makes a devastating case for the obvious absence of the discipline of private prayer among Christians. What would Ryle say today? Does our public manner grow out of a true inward experience of private prayer? You see what I am talking about. If it's public, we do it well. If it's private discipleship, we probably don't do it at all.

3. Many evangelicals relate to others with an obvious—or thinly disguised—hidden agenda. In other words, those who work with us or go to school with us feel that we are always "up to" something. You mean, they know we want to convert them? Apparently. Ever been yelled at for saying, "I'll pray for you?" Maybe there was a reason.

You know that feeling you get when a telemarketer interrupts your dinner? I get that feeling sometime when my Pentecostal/Charismatic friends are trying to persuade me into their camp. It's not that I don't know they are good, decent, law-abiding people who like me. I just want them to quit treating me as a target or a project and start treating me as a person who is free to be myself and different from them.

This same feeling is prevalent among those who dislike evangelical Christians. They are annoyed and sometimes angered that we are following some divine directive to get them to abandon their life choices and take up ours. They want to be loved as they are, not for what they might become if our plan succeeds.

Evangelicals have done a lot of good work on how to present the Gospel, but much of that work has operated on initial premises that are irritating and offensive. I have taken my share of evangelism courses, and there is a great blind spot on how to be an evangelist without being annoying and pushy. We somehow think that the Holy Spirit takes care of that aspect of evangelism! Thank God for men like Francis Schaeffer and Jerram Barrs who have done much to model evangelism that majors on maintaining the utmost respect toward those we evangelize.

4. We seem consumed with establishing that we are somehow "better" than other people, when the opposite is very often true. Many evangelicals are bizarrely shallow and legalistic about minute matters. We are frequently psychologically unsound, psychiatrically tormented, filled with bitterness and anger, torn apart by conflicts and, frankly, unpleasant to have around.

I have an atheistic acquaintance who never misses an opportunity to post a news story about a morally compromised minister. Is he just being mean? No, he is pointing out the obvious mess that is the inner life and outward behavior of many evangelicals, truths we like to avoid or explain as "attacks of the enemy." Our families are broken, our marriages fail and our children are remarkably worldly and messed up. Yet, we boldly tell the world that we have the answer for all their ills! How many churches proclaim that a sojourn with them will fix that marriage and those kids? Do we really have the abundant life down at the church, ready to be dispensed in a five week class?

We are not as healthy and happy as we portray ourselves. The realities of broken marriages among the Christian celebrity set underlines the inability of evangelicals to face up to their own brokenness. Was there some reason that Sandi Patti and Amy Grant were supposed to be immune from failed marriages? Why did their divorces make them pariahs in evangelicalism? The fact is that most evangelicals are in deep denial about what depravity and sinfulness really means. The world may have similar denial problems, but I don't think they can approach us for the spiritual veneer. The crowd at the local tavern may have issues, but they frequently beat Christians by miles in the realistic humanity department. Maybe they should pity us, but the fact is that, as the situation becomes more obvious, they don't like us.

5. We talk about God in ways that are too familiar and make people uncomfortable. Evangelicals constantly talk about a "personal relationship" with God. Many evangelicals talk as if God is talking to them and leading them by the hand through life in a way only the initiated can understand. Christian testimonies may give a God-honoring window into the realities of Christian experience, or they may sound like a psychological ploy to promote self importance.

Evangelicals have yet to come to grips with their tendency to make God into a commodity. The world is far more savvy about how God is "used" to achieve personal or group ends than most evangelicals admit. Evangelicals may deny that they have made God into a political, financial, or cultural commodity, but the world knows better. How does an unbeliever hear the use of Jesus to endorse automobiles, political positions, or products?

In my ministry, I have observed how difficult it is to evangelize Buddhists. One of the reasons is that the Buddhist assumes that if you are serious about your religious experience, you will become a monk! When he sees American Christians talking about a relationship with God, yet does not see a corresponding impact upon the whole of life, he assumes that this religion is simply an expression of culture or group values. Now we may critique such a response as not understanding certain basic facts about the Gospel, but we also have to acknowledge the truth observed! Rather than being people who are deeply changed, we are people who tend to use God to change others or our world to suit ourselves.

6. Evangelicals are too slow to separate themselves from what is wrong. Because ours is a moral religion, and we frequently advertise our certainty in moral matters, it seems bizarrely hypocritical when that moral sense is applied so inconsistently.

I note that my evangelical friends are particularly resistant to this matter, but the current Trent Lott affair makes the point plainly. Lott says that he now repudiates any allegiance to segregation or the symbols of segregation. Suddenly, he sees the good sense in a number of things he has opposed. But bizarrely, Lott stands behind his evangelical Christianity as the explanation for his sudden conversion to racial sensitivity.

Watching this spectacle, there are many reactions, but what interests me is how Lott's Christianity only seems to apply now that he is being dangled over political hell. Where was all this moral sense in the 1960s? Where was it 10 years ago? Why does it appear that Lott is using his religion at his convenience? It's not my place to judge what is going on between Lott and his God, but his apparent pragmatism in these matters is familiar to many people observing evangelicals on a daily basis.

Most evangelicals are not the moral cutting edge of contemporary social issues. Despite the evangelical conscience on issues like abortion, it is clear to many that we no longer have the cutting-edge moral sense of a Martin Luther King Jr. or a William Wilberforce. Evangelicals are largely annoyed at people who tell them to do the right thing if it doesn't enhance their resumes, their wallets, their families or their emotions.

What is odd about this is that many of those who dislike evangelicals have the idea that we want to impose our morality upon an entire culture. Fear-mongering liberals often talk about the Bush administration as populated by fundamentalist Christian Taliban poised to bring about a Christian theocracy. I wonder if they have noticed that President Bush—an evangelical right down to his boots—is practicing religious tolerance over the loud objections of evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

7. We take ourselves far too seriously, and come off as opposed to normal life. Is it such a big deal that Christians are offended at so many things others consider funny? I'll admit it is a small thing, but it is one of the reasons ordinary people don't like us.

I read an incident written by a preacher on a forum I monitor. He told about taking his youth group on an outing, when the students began singing a popular country song about a guy who leaves his wife to pursue his fishing hobby. It's a hilarious song. But this fellow's reaction was predictable. He asked them to not sing a song about a marriage that breaks up and to instead sing something that honored God. I routinely hear students ridiculing a fellow teacher who labels much of what students find funny as "of the devil."

These incidents show something that evangelicals need to admit. We are frequently unable to see humor, absurdity, and the honest reasons for humans to laugh at themselves. What very normal, very healthy people find laughable, we find threatening and often tag with the ridiculous label "of the devil."

The message here isn't just that we are humorless or puritanical. The message is that being human or being real is somehow evil. This is one place I can feel exactly what the unbelievers are talking about. When I see Christians trying to rob young people of the right to be normal, ordinary, and human, it angers me. I feel threatened. It's hard to like people who seem to say that God, Jesus, and Scripture are the enemies of laughter, sex, growing up, and ordinary pleasures. Some Christians sometimes seem to say that everything pleasurable is demonic or to be avoided to show what a good Christian you are. Isn't it odd that unbelievers are so much more aware of the plain teaching of scripture than we are?

I am sure there is much more to say, but I have ridden this horse far enough. Certainly, unregenerate persons are at enmity with God by nature. And, without a doubt, Christians represent a message that is far from welcome. Christians doing the right thing risk being labeled enemies of society. Much persecution is cruel and evil. But that's not the point. Christians are disliked for many reasons that have nothing to do with the Gospel, and everything to do with the kind of people we are in the relationships God has given us. The message of salvation won't earn a standing ovation, but people who believe that message are not given a pass to rejoice when all men hate you—for any reason, including reasons that are totally our own fault.

No doubt someone will write me and say that, to the extent people like us, we have denied the Gospel. Therefore, being despised and hated is proof that you are on the right track. And there is a certain amount of truth to that observation in some situations in which Christians may find themselves. But that is an explanation for how we are treated, not directions on how to make sure we are rejected and hated by most people for reasons having nothing to do with the message of the cross. I hate to say it, but I've learned that when a preacher tells me he was fired from his church for "taking a stand for God," it usually means he was just a jerk.

The Scriptures tell us that the early Christians were both persecuted and thought well of for their good lives and good works. What was possible then is still possible now. I've seen it and I hope I see more of it—in my life.

Michael Spencer is a campus minister, teacher, pastor and writer living in Eastern Kentucky. Mirroring this article here does not imply agreement. Article offered here as food for thought alone.

What do you think?

5/21/2003                                                                                       View Comments

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."
[Benjamin Franklin]

deliverancePennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, is a 515-bed acute care facility that provides a full-range of diagnostic and therapeutic medical services and functions as a major teaching and clinical research institution. The hospital was founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond to care for the “sick-poor and insane of Philadelphia.” The hospital is now known for its general and specialty surgical services, including orthopaedics, vascular, neurosurgery, otorhinolaryngology (ENT) and urology as well as its obstetrics program -- especially high-risk maternal and fetal services -- neonatology, neurosciences and behavioral health, with expanding programs for cancer, cardiac care and bloodless medicine and surgery. The hospital has over 24,500 inpatient admissions and 201,000 outpatient visits each year, including over 4,200 births. Pennsylvania Hospital is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and is located at 8th and Spruce Streets in the historic Society Hill district of Philadelphia.

Ben founded the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia. Thanks to the matchless leadership of Benjamin Franklin, other volunteer fire departments were organized and the dire fear of fires expired in Philadelphia which became one of safest city's in the world in terms of fire damage.

Franklin was also unequaled in America as an inventor until Thomas Edison. He invented the Franklin stove, bifocal eyeglasses and the lightning rod. Franklin wasn't greedy about his inventions, preferring to have them used freely for the comfort and convenience of everyone. Thomas Jefferson called Benjamin Franklin "the greatest man and ornament of the age and country in which he lived." He also organized the country's first subscription library.

What did Christians of the time think of Franklin?
"It is much to be lamented that a man of Franklin's general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done as much as he did to make others unbelievers" [Priestley's Autobiography, p. 60, on Benjamin Franklin]

The Rev. Thomas Prince, pastor of Old South Church, blamed Franklin's invention of the lightning rod for causing the Massachusetts earthquake of 1755. In Prince's sermon on the topic, he expressed the opinion that the frequency of earthquakes may be due to the erection of "points invented by the sagacious Mr. Franklin." He goes on to argue that "in Boston more are erected than anywhere else in New England, and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! There is no getting out of the mighty hand of God."

What do biographers say?
"If belief in the miraculous revelation of the Old Testament and the New is required to make a man religious, then Franklin had no religion at all. It would be an insult to say that he believed in the popular theology of his time, or of ours, for. I find not a line from his pen indicating any such belief." [Theodore Parker]


"It is pity that good works, among some sorts of people, are so little valued, and good words admired in their stead. I mean seemingly pious discourses, instead of humane, benevolent actions. These they almost put out of countenance by calling morality, rotten morality; righteousness, ragged righteousness, and even filthy rags, and when you mention virtue, pucker up their noses; at the same time that they eagerly snuff up an empty, canting harangue, as if it were a posy of the choicest flowers" [Benjamin Franklin, 1758, to his sister, Mrs. Jane Mecom, Works, Vol. VII., p. 185]

Christianity says that any good work by an unbeliever is but worthless rags. Any good words by a believer is light and life.

Any comments?

5/19/2003                                                                                       View Comments

The meaning of life

Is he cheating?Since leaving the stifling dogmatism of Christianity a few years ago, one of the questions that Christians keep broaching to me is, "What is the meaning of life to you now?"

Of course I know what they are trying to say. As a Christian I understood that the real meaning in life was found in serving Christ. Without Christ there is no meaning in life, so the dogmatic assumption goes. Without Christ, there is only the material world and whatever temporary pleasure can be gleaned from the few short years available to us poor pitiful mortals. Since my own personal philosophy has taken a definite turn toward an existential world view, and having been fully indoctrinated in the Christian perspective for most of my life, I can appreciate the concept that life without Christ does indeed appear to lack any definite point.

That is unquestionably true if you suppose that life can have no real design without some big guy in the sky calling all the shots. If what life needs to give it purpose and object is to have an all powerful, invasive, controlling, commanding, sovereign who tells us what our end is, well then I suppose that not believing in this entity does rob us of any clearly identifiable reason to live. People like to feel they are important, cared about, loved. In fact the search for significance is a popular topic of numerous self help books as well as occupying a whole field of psychological study which encompasses everything from educating and raising children to effectively managing and motivating adults at work. Even our language is intuitively reflects this basic human trait by using the term "significant other" to describe a person's chosen partner. The religion of Christianity certainly provides a suitable alternative for filling the perceived need to be "somebody special."

In my opinion, life has no real meaning. What I mean by that is that our individual lives have no "destiny" or "plan" or "script" written by Mr. Invisible for HIS own purposes. We are not here to accomplish some great purpose or achieve some great work that someone else preordained for us to strive toward. In other words I do not believe my life has meaning derived from an outside source.

When I was a Christian and confronted with this train of thought, I would think that if that there really was no GOD, then hedonistic pleasure seeking was all that was left to being alive. I now embarrassingly admit to having a very stunted and immature viewpoint.

So much of what we do today is in some way related to computers. The laptop I am typing these words on has a clearly discernable reason to exist - to serve me. Without me to provide power and programming, it will never awaken or produce anything at all. Clearly the thing only exists to robotically serve its owner. I, however, am not like that. Although the Christian would be obligated to disagree with me, I live and move and have my being regardless of the gods or goddesses of the culture I live in. I am a self programming entity. I feed myself, providing my own power. I have my own ideas, which I develop and produce without being commanded to do so by any outside source. I decide who I will be with, what I will do for a living and how much effort or time I put into any project I want to be involved with. My computer is my slave and cannot ask for anything for its own pleasure, but can only run its automated programs. I am not a slave, I am autonomous. I automate myself.

I find my own meaning and my own reason to live.

It could be argued that my personality is something I have very little control over. So many of my preferences and desires were mapped out for me in the structure of my genetics inherited from parents or ancestors. Much of my thinking process is either enhanced or inhibited by education and upbringing. I had neither control nor the ability to resist much of the programming received during my formative years. Still, none of that gives me any real meaning. Analyzing my past simply helps to explain some of the ways I may view reality since reaching adulthood. You might say I have a set of tools either given to me by nature or education which allow me greater or lesser opportunities to find my own meaning in life.

It is my perspective that the Christian is no different in this respect. He or she has really only found his or her own meaning in life by devoting themselves to what they believe is a worth while project, or person. They have not been given any more purpose than the next person, but they believe they have a ordained goal to strive after, so they are content.

Anyone who finds something they really like to do, that makes them feel important, that gives their life significance and love has found meaning in life. When I rapped my life up in Christianity, I was constantly disappointed, finding that the significance I craved could be snatched away quickly by those in the power positions of "chruchdom." I no longer face that obstacle to finding satisfaction and enjoyment in life. When I was a Christian, all my eggs, so to speak, were in the one basket. Now I find significance and meaning in so many interests and avenues that I find it difficult to fully immerse myself in any one of them. There is just not enough time.

Far from finding less meaning in life since leaving Christianity, I have found so much meaning in life that I often find I can't keep up with it all. I know my life is short. I am reminded of it everyday. Because it is short does not give it less meaning to me, it actually gives it more. Everyone has heard the expression, "If I could have just had one more day with ..." or, "I was so fortunate that I got to spend an hour with ...." or "I remember that day when my child was born" or something along those lines. A day or an hour is very short, yet can have very great meaning. It is not the length of time we have that gives life its value, it is the person possessing and living that life who gives the life value.
Meaning in Life:

Christians like to attack us Atheists with something like "Well, what meaning does YOUR life have? I have eternal life!" The fact is, their "eternal life", according to the Bible, will be spent kissing the ass of a petty desert deity suffering from low self-esteem- THAT'S the vaunted and bragged-about "meaning" to THEIR lives!!! The Book of Revelation clearly reveals that the Christians will spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the next trillion billion quaddrillion years doing NOTHING but singing praises to a god that just can't get enough compliments. Now THAT'S real meaning in life, isn't it???Mark Smith

5/18/2003                                                                                       View Comments

wwjd

RAMSEY COUNTY: Sunday school teacher sentenced for actions with teen
BY HANNAH ALLAM
Pioneer Press

WWJDA Sunday school teacher who asked a 16-year-old boy to write "What would Jesus do?" on his penis will spend a month on work release, according to the sentencing agreement reached Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court.

Todd Warren, 42, who pleaded guilty in April to a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure, was also originally ordered to write a letter describing the incident to fellow worshipers at Prairie Oak Community Church in Andover. But the church balked at the sentence, arguing that such a letter would be considered pornographic and would identify the teen-age victim.

Although the church was not a party to the criminal case, Ramsey County District Judge Margaret Marrinan heard the argument Tuesday and instead allowed the pastor to write a letter to his 150-member congregation and simply keep Warren's letter in the case file. A note from the victim's mother supported the decision.

The Rev. Steve Gahagen's letter contains less description about the incident, and asks parishioners to pray for protection and reconciliation.

"The Evil One has struck a tremendous blow to our congregation," Gahagen wrote.

Warren, a nuclear pharmacist, befriended the boy at church and briefly hired him as an employee, according to court papers. Last September, Warren took the boy to a park and asked him personal and sexual questions about masturbation and homosexuality. He invited the boy to his office and said writing "What would Jesus do?" on his penis would prevent sexual temptation. Warren also asked for daily e-mail updates about the boy's sexual thoughts.

The boy told his parents, who alerted Roseville police.

"In time, I know God will help us to forgive him for this grievous act and we wish him no harm," the boy's mother wrote to the judge. "The day of sentencing was the beginning of the healing process for our family."

Warren resigned from the board of the church and he and his family are no longer part of the congregation, according to court papers. The pastor stressed that Warren was not acting in a church role when he invited the boy to his office.

5/16/2003                                                                                       View Comments

The Book of Dave

"For Dave so loved the world that he gave his only Son, Dave, that Whosoever believe in Dave shall not perish, but have eternal life in Daveness." Dave 3:16

In the beginning there was Dave. And Dave created the Heavens and the Earth. But the Earth was formless and Void of Dave. And Dave moved over the surface of the Non-Dave and over the Deep of Non-Daveness. Then, Dave said, "Let there Be Daves and their Daveness shall rule the World." And so it was that Dave separated the Daves from the Non-Daves, and the Daves were great with Daveness. And the Dave said unto the Daves of the Earth, "I have created you in My Own image and have blessed you with the Daveness of the Earth. Go, be fruitful and multiply the Earth with Daves that they may bear witness to the Non-Daves, that they Might be Saved." The Book Of Dave 1: 1-7

"And the LORD Dave caused a deep sleep to fall upon Dave, and he slept and he took one of his dave-ribs, and closed up the flesh. The rib which the LORD Dave had taken from Dave, made him a Dave-Babe, and brought her unto Dave. And Dave said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh she shall be called Dave-Babe, because she was taken out of Dave. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife and they shall be one Dave. " The Book of Dave 2:21-25

Dave is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Dave makes me to lie down in green pastures of Daveness. He leads me besides the cool waters of Dave. He restores my Daveness and guides me in the path of Dave for His Name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of Non-Dave, I fear no evil; Dave is with me. Thy Daveness comforts me. Dave does prepare for me the greatness of Dave in the presence of mine enemies, the Non-Daves. Thou hast anointed my head with the Oil of Dave. My Cup overflows with Daveness. Surely, the goodness and kindness of Dave will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of Dave forever. Song of Dave 23: 1-6

5/15/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Man Tells Judge He Wants Jesus As Lawyer

my lawyer GAINESVILLE, Mo.-- A southwest Missouri man can have Jesus Christ as his attorney, but only one licensed to practice Missouri law will be allowed to speak for him during trial on charges he tampered with a judge.

Defendant Richard John Adams, who described himself as a patriot and a Christian, told the Ozark County judge presiding over his case that under that ruling, he was "being restricted to the devil."

Adams, of Branson, said he refers to lawyers as "devils" because he believes the Missouri Bar Association "created the Federal Reserve (news - web sites) through their unconstitutional statutes and case laws."

Adams formerly associated himself with a militia and Christian Identity movement but has since said he's not a member of any group.

Adams is scheduled to stand trial March 19-20 on two counts of tampering involving Ozark County Associate Circuit Judge John Jacobs of Gainesville.

Adams, whose age was not available, requested Jesus Christ as his trial attorney during a hearing Wednesday. He listed "Christian brother" Lee Constance of Alton as co-counsel. Constance is not licensed to practice law in Missouri.

Ozark County Circuit Judge John Moody told Adams it was fine for Jesus Christ to be his chief counsel, but no one — including Constance — could speak for him in the courtroom unless a lawful attorney.

Adams replied that his choice of lawyers was "religious in nature."

Moody offered to let Adams sign a waiver of counsel, but Adams objected to the language in the document and declined.

Adams said he planned to appeal the decision.

The case began when Adams was ticketed March 24 in Howell County for speeding and failing to wear a seat belt.

Both charges have since been dropped. But the two felony counts of tampering stem from those proceedings, during which Adams requested a change of venue to Ozark County.

One count alleges Adams harassed Jacobs during a July 3 hearing by filing a letter in a court file saying he would sue the judge because he was incompetent.

His allegation implies Jacobs needed "a guardian to make his decisions for him and to the effect that he is unable by reason of any physical or mental condition to receive and evaluate information or to communicate decisions," prosecutor Thomas Cline said in court records.

The second count alleges Adams tampered with a judicial officer on Aug. 13 by threatening to sue Jacobs for violating his civil rights. Adams was ordered removed from the court after he became antagonistic over Jacobs' ruling, according to records.

Cline said Monday that he could not comment on the case prior to trial.

In court records, Cline said the statement was intended to threaten Jacob because a suit would require the judge "to incur expenses of retaining counsel and providing a defense."

Adams faces a maximum of 14 years in prison if convicted of both counts.

5/14/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Burst Hemorrhoid Causes Religious
Conflicts in Jerusalem

by Elroy Willis

JERUSALEM (EAP) -- A burst hemorrhoid caused trouble at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher this week when a man who wanted to be cleansed of his anal affliction rubbed his naked bottom a little too vigorously on a slab of rock that Jesus is believed by some to have been laid and resurrected on.

Spawned by reports of believers in Portugal being healed by exposing their bare behinds to the statue of a local saint, hemorrhoid-suffering Christians in Jerusalem have been flocking to the tombs of Jesus to rub their bums on various rocks, hoping to be cured like the people in Portugal.

Others, like 35-year-old Shem Kalim, a Muslim convert to Christianity, traveled to Jerusalem from England after hearing the voice of Jesus one day during an especially painful episode of constipation which caused his hemorrhoids to flare up.

"I tried praying to Allah to cure my problem, but He didn't seem to be listening to me. They actually got worse the more I prayed to Allah about them. I heard about the people in Portugal being healed by Jesus, so I decided to cry out to Jesus instead of Allah one day while I was straining on the toilet, and a small quiet voice which was booming at the same time said to me:

"GO TO MY TOMB IN JERUSALEM AND BE HEALED."

"That was all the voice said to me at first and I believe it was Jesus talking to me," Kalim said. "I took the first flight out of London and got settled into a nice hotel in Jerusalem and inquired about the tomb of Jesus and found out there are two of them in town."

"There was the garden Jesus tomb, and the one in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I never heard the voice say anything about two tombs, so I was a bit confused. Out of habit, I tried praying to Allah, but I got no answer, so I went into the bathroom and prayed to Jesus while I was doing my business, and all of the sudden I got another unmistakable answer, just like I did back in London."

"The voice told me that the garden tomb is just a fake, and that I should go to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and rub my swollen hemorrhoids on the slab of rock where he was risen from."

"That was all the incentive I needed, so I headed on down to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and pulled down my pants and sat down on the rock slab where Jesus was resurrected."

"I was rubbing my arse pretty hard on the rock when one of my hemorrhoids burst open and blood spilled out all over the place. The relief was immediate and there was no more pressure or pain. It was truly a miracle from Jesus," Kalim said.

Other Christians in Jerusalem prayed to Jesus as well, but they received a different message, and were told to go to the garden tomb, and rub their bottoms on different rocks in the garden to get rid of their hemorrhoids.

Some Christians in Jerusalem pour water on the rocks and then suck it up in syringes or in sponges and drink it and rub it on themselves. Some even claim to inject it into their veins to get a sudden "burst of life," and claim that the Christians who are rubbing their anuses on the rocks and risking blood or feces getting on the rocks are committing a major sin.

"Jesus wouldn't want blood from hemorrhoids getting all over his tomb. He probably wouldn't even like naked bottoms in his tomb either," they said.

"It's one thing to pour water on the rocks and use the water, but rubbing one's naked rear end on the rocks is completely out of line. Let those people just moon the rocks instead of actually making contact with them."

Israeli officials are worried if they let Christians rub their rear ends against rocks in the tombs of Jesus, it might lead to people rubbing them against the Wailing Wall, and they say they're not willing to put up with that.

"They could just be pretending to get their hemorrhoids cured while actually defecating on the Holy Wall just to desecrate or mock it," they said. "Some people put notes to God in cracks in the wall, and if someone came along and rubbed their bare bottom around the same crack and note, it would certainly upset those who put the notes into the cracks."

5/13/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Jesus Sneekers

just do it!Countless designers have appropriated religious imagery in the name of fashion, but what footwear should you don with an iconic outfit? If you don't want to go barefoot and find Jesus sandals uninspiring, check out some of the religious footwear now available. Buffalo Boots has a new range of canvas baseball boots which includes one with an image of Christ in a crown of thorns and the message: 'Jesus would wear them' (£44.90). Alternatively, help spread the word in Shoes of The Fisherman flip flops, which leave the words Jesus Loves You across beaches and wet surfaces. ($19.95 + shipping and handling).

Since it is sold in England, maybe it should say, "Walking with the bloody Christ."

5/12/2003                                                                                       View Comments

Are the Gospels True?
a look at the nativity/infancy teachings

article authored and submitted by Bruce White
Bruce's article is also available HERE


This short article will focus upon the nativity and infancy stories of Jesus, using exclusively, the Bible. All quotes are taken from the New International Version for clarity of modern readers. The problem with the Bible is that it claims to be internally validated and modern inerrantists insist that it the absolute, error-free, inspired words of the living God. Even non literalist Christians must presuppose that certain aspects in the Bible are factual, or the basis of Christianity has no basis.

The following are what are considered fundamental events that this applies to:

  • The physical birth of Jesus

  • The physical existence of Jesus as a teacher/prophet

  • The physical death of Jesus upon the cross

  • The physical resurrection of Jesus


As this article is short, I am only addressing the nativity/infancy narratives. The only evidence attesting to the actual life and work of Jesus is contained entirely in the Gospels of the New Testament. No information that was contemporary of Jesus exists in any form, biblical or secular. What we do have are the four gospels, which were written years afterwards. The issue then is can a reasonable person accept with reasonable certainty of the historical existence of Jesus, based upon the accounts of the gospel?

My conclusion is that we cannot accept the gospel narratives as a reasonable basis for believing in the historical Jesus. To digress a bit, if Jesus actually lived and had the impact that Christianity claims he had on the secular and religious life of Judea there would have been contemporary records. Several contemporary authors in Judea wrote extensive works concerning the movements in Judea, geography, politics and other items. In none of these is the existence of Jesus even mentioned once, and he was supposed to had such an impact that the Jewish leaders and Romans jointly conspired to crucify him.

Now to get to the information attesting to his birth and the events following; If Jesus actually was born, the narratives surrounding him in the different gospel accounts should be substantially the same. I say substantially the same, because I am giving the human authors the benefit of the doubt on minor details. For instance, I could describe a trip that my family took to another city and talk about a stop at a gas station. My wife could also describe the trip and not mention the gas station. Both stories are true, one has minor differences that neither take away or add anything substantial to the story of the trip. Is this what we find in the nativity/infancy narratives in the gospels? No, it is not. what we do find are two mutually exclusive accounts. This leaves us with a few choices.

  1. One of the stories is fictional and the other is substantially accurate

  2. Both of the stories are incorrect about an actual event

  3. Both stories are fictional and were manufactured about a non-existent event


What is this event/ It is simply the alleged birth narratives about non other than Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God on Earth. Since the Bible claims that it is the actual words of an omniscient (all knowing) God, then this should be impossible. However, if the existence of Jesus and hence his birth are fictional accounts, written to justify a pre-held belief system by different people, then mutually exclusive accounts are explainable. but again, as this is the inerrant words of the living God, they must both be correct or none of it has any credibility.

of the four gospels, only Matthew and Luke deal at all with the nativity and infancy events. Mark and John are silent on the subject. Below is a table, showing the two narratives side by side.

Matthew Ch. 2Luke Ch.2 Comments
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.
In Matthew, it is magi (astrologers) that visit the Joseph family for mystical effects.

In Luke it is shepherds and lots on angels, etc. for primitive special effects.
11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
In Matthew, the magi find Jesus and family in a house.

In Luke, the shepherds find Jesus and family in a manger (barn).

This in and of itself means little, because the events could been on different days. However, only in the account in Matthew is the threat from Herod a concern.
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Get up, he said, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,
15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: Out of Egypt I called my son.
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord),
24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: a pair of doves or two young pigeons.
Matthew tells that because of the murder of the innocents, Joseph, Mary and Jesus all hightail it to Egypt on the warning of and angel and don't return for years, until Herod is dead.

In Luke; instead of doing the road trip to Egypt, Joseph, Mary and Jesus go instead to Jerusalem where they go through the ceremonial rituals at the temple. Jesus gets circumcised on his 8th day of life.

NOTE: the alleged prophecy from of calling my son out of Egypt is not a prophecy in the Tanach (Old Testament). It is rather a description concerning the Exodus of Israel from Egyptian slavery.
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
20 and said, Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead.
21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,
23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: He will be called a Nazarene.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.
40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
Here we get to a major problem.
  1. Are Jesus and his family in Egypt as stated in Matthew?, or
  2. Are Jesus and his family in Nazareth as stated in Luke?
  3. If they are in Nazareth as in Luke, then what of the pogrom of Herod to kill the new born, male children?

Herod the Great died in 4 B.C.

NOTE: The 23rd verse quotes a NON-EXISTENT verse from the Old Testament/Tanakh. "So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: He will be called a Nazarene."

It should also be noted that the town of Nazareth DID NOT even exist until the 2nd century A.D. Before that, the site where Nazareth has been since the 2nd century was a Jewish graveyard. It is a violation of Jewish law to have a graveyard inside a city. As an aside, modern archeology demonstrates the 2nd century foundation of Nazareth and the tourist places, supposedly Joseph and Son's Carpentry Shop and the house of Jesus are in caves, which were Jewish burial chambers. Jewish people have never lived in caves, in a town or a grave yard.


Conclusion:

  1. The word of God is not inerrant, which is obvious from this one example.
  2. Jesus and family could not be in Egypt and Jerusalem/Nazareth at the same time.
  3. The Herodian Murder of the Innocents is likewise a fictional flourish, especially if Jesus didn't have to go to Egypt. But also because no contemporary Jewish or Roman historian even noted it.
  4. The prophecy fulfillment claimed by the Nazareth home is false, because no prophecy of that sort exists of the messiah or anyone being called a Nazarene.
  5. Since Nazareth did not exist until the 2nd century, when the gospels were being written, this also demonstrates conclusively that the Jesus myth is exactly that, a myth and not based upon reality.

5/10/2003                                                                                       View Comments

The Rapture

RAPTURE TIME1TH 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

I have been receiving posts from various overly zealous Christians warning me to get my life straight with God before the RAPTURE happens. They have been telling me if I don't hurry up and repent, I will really regret it when all the Christians disappear!!! I also keep getting criticized for not knowing what I am talking about, and if I would just read the whole Bible I would understand.

With that to motivate my mind, I thought it appropriate to spend some time on this popular "end times" doctrine of fundamentalism. Some of this will be old news to many of us, some of it will be new. I am assuming that most of the people reading this article are at least familiar with the unique terminology of 21st century western Christianity, so not every word will be defined.

Most dispensationalists teach a 7 year tribulation (their unfulfilled week of Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy--Daniel 9). Some believe the Lord will rapture the church before that tribulation, i.e. “pre”. That view is the most taught. It is ingrained as “any moment”. Others believe the Lord will rapture the church in the middle of the tribulation, i.e. “mid”. Some believe the Lord will rapture the church after the tribulation, i.e. “post”.

History of the Rapture Doctrine

This glamorized dispensational doctrine was never heard of in Christianity until the 1850s!

Following are two quotes from respected church writers who wrote earlier this century. They openly questioned the “any minute rapture” doctrine.

Alexander Reese says, "About 1830 a new school arose within the fold of Premillennialism that sought to overthrow what, since the Apostolic Age, have been considered by all premillennialist as established results, and to institute in their place a series of doctrines that had never been heard of before. The school I refer to is that of ‘The Brethren’ or ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ founded by J. N. Darby.” 1

Robert Cameron says,

“Now, be it remembered, that prior to that date, no hint of any approach to such belief can be found in any Christian literature from Polycarp down.... Surely, a doctrine that finds no exponent or advocate in the whole history and literature of Christendom, for eighteen hundred years after the founding of the Church - a doctrine that was never taught by a Father or Doctor of the Church in the past - that has no standard Commentator or Professor of the Greek language in any Theological School until the middle of the Nineteenth century, to give it approval, and that is without a friend, even to mention its name amongst the orthodox teachers or the heretical sects of Christendom - such a fatherless and motherless doctrine, when it rises to the front, demanding universal acceptance, ought to undergo careful scrutiny before it is admitted and tabulated as part of ‘the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.”2

The doctrine of a rapture, then tribulation, then millennia was not taught prior to the 1850’s.

2. How did the Rapture-Tribulation doctrine begin?

There are at least three "Christian" books on this subject that are fairly comprehensive on the subject:

(1) Whose Right It Is by Kelly Varner published by Destiny Image;

(2) Seventy Weeks: The Historical Alternative by Robert Caringola; and

(3) The Incredible Cover-Up by Dave MacPherson.

These books are extremely well documented giving proof of exactly where and how the rapture tribulation-millennia doctrine began.

A brief synopsis:

Left BehindThe doctrine appears to have begun in Scotland with a vision by a 15-year-old girl. The girl’s name was Margaret MacDonald, born January 14, 1815. Margaret was not a member of any church. She and her brothers visited some different churches and held some house meetings, but were not traditional members of any one group. Margaret was a semi-invalid, confined to a sick bed and supposedly experienced frequent fevers.

One day in 1830, Margaret had a vision about the Church being caught away before a time of tribulation. Margaret's’s vision was an escape vision. Before long, copies of her vision were circulated as men began to preach this rapture idea as gospel. Naturally it was preached as “any minute” and that was in the 1850’s. Soon after, John Darby and the Plymouth Brethren began to campaign the doctrine. Darby came to the United States in 1864 where the doctrine greatly influenced the Presbyterians and Baptists, most notably influenced was a Bible student and author, Cyrus Ingerson Scofield .

Darby’s notes on the rapture were placed into the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909 and became in the minds of most Christians as if they were apostolic doctrine. Since that time the doctrine has also been placed in the Dake Bible, Ryre Bible, Larkin Bible, etc. A doctrine never preached prior to the 1850’s nor preached by any apostle suddenly became a fundamental gospel truth.

Interestingly enough, the Plymouth Brethren, Presbyterians, and Baptists do not believe in visions and prophecy. Yet, that was the way this doctrine originated.

Knowledgeable dispensationalists that have studied the above will acknowledge that the doctrine was not taught anywhere prior to the 1850’s. J. Dwight Pentecost acknowledges this, but says,

“It was not until the last century that the field of Eschatology became a matter to which the mind of the church was turned.”3

Pentecost admits that the rapture-tribulation doctrine was not taught by the apostles in the first century. He justifies that by saying that people were not interested in eschatology until this century. That is not true. The earliest recorded writings express extreme interest in end-time teachings. None the less, Margaret's’ vision and prophecy is the foundation of what many believe today.

Alexander Reese said, “About 1830 a new school arose within the fold of Premillennialism that sought to overthrow what, since the Apostolic Age, have been considered by all premillennialist as established results, and to institute in their place a series of doctrines that had never been heard of before. The school I refer to is that of ‘The Brethren’ or ‘Plymouth Brethren,’ founded by J. N. Darby.” 4

What did this “new school” that Reese referred to teach that was so different? What “series of doctrines” not taught since the apostles and never heard before was Reese speaking about? It’s the dispensational doctrine initiated by the Plymouth Brethren.

The dispensational doctrine goes something like this. According to them, we are living in the church age of Laodicea (Rev 3:14). It’s simply the last church before the rapture of Revelation 4:1. Just prior to the rapture the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem and animal sacrifice instituted. The Lord comes and raptures the church. For seven years the antichrist rules and a great tribulation takes place. At the end of the seven years, the Lord returns again and builds another temple from which he rules from the throne of David for exactly 1,000 years. According to Ezekiel, there will be animal sacrifices performed and the law reinstituted. After the 1,000 years, the wicked are resurrected in a second resurrection and the great white throne judgment takes place. The devil and all wicked people are cast into the lake of fire forever. Above natural Jerusalem the heavenly Jerusalem will orbit as would a satellite.

Nearly all that was a “new school” never taught by the apostles and never heard before. Can you imagine the apostle Paul preaching the reinstitution of circumcision (law)? What about Jesus acknowledging animal blood after he gave his? Or Christ rebuilding the temple after he had said he would make it desolate?

Matthew Henry says,

“That the Lord Jesus will come down from heaven in all the pomp and power of the upper world (v. 16): The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. He ascended into heaven after his resurrection, and passed through these material heavens into the third heaven, which must retain him till the restitution of all things; and then he will come again, and appear in his glory. He will descend from heaven into this our air, v. 17. The appearance will be with pomp and power, with a shout-- the shout of a king, and the power and authority of a mighty king and conqueror, with the voice of the archangel; an innumerable company of angels will attend him. Perhaps one, as general of those hosts of the Lord, will give notice of his approach, and the glorious appearance of this great Redeemer and Judge will be proclaimed and ushered in by the trump of God. For the trumpet shall sound, and this will awaken those that sleep in the dust of the earth, and will summon all the world to appear.”

Prior to the 1850’s this passage of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 was not taught as an escape.

I should probably note that Matthew Henry was born in 1662 and died in 1714. He did not know of any rapture before the tribulation. He did not know it because it is not in the Bible. The doctrine of the rapture escape was from a “new doctrine” that came along after Matthew Henry. His commentaries are considered a standard addition to the personal libraries of nearly anyone really interested in studying the Bible. They are widely sold, in stock in most Christian book stores and readily available from several publishers and since it is in the Public Domain, can be downloaded for free online. 6

Now it is not my intention with this rant to convey that I believe in some other Eschatological order of things. What I am trying to bring out is that the "oh so popular" dispensational rapture scenario has nothing to do with historic Christianity. Anyone who really investigates the background of the doctrine knows this fact. I am sure that Billy Graham, Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe and Tim LaHaye are well aware of the thin ice they have been skating on for the last several decades while they aggressively promote this modern day theological invention.

Now I may be a bit cynical, but once I understood the weak foundation all this "rapture - second coming" teaching is standing on, it really shook my faith. Since the bible was used to prove this complicated end time pageantry, I wondered what other teachings had been grafted into my brain that were just not historically defensible. If I had been so thoroughly misled about this teaching, what else had I been misled on? I also wondered what could be the motivation of continuing to teach such nonsense once these facts and fallacies became known to them. I am sure these men are aware of these things. Could it be that the popularization of Dispensational End Times Theology is a good way to sell books or better yet, to get people into the cult and ultimately increase donations?

"People love to be humbugged, robbed and ruled and love the people who humbug, rob and rule them." P. T. Barnum

I was always told that the things I was taught to believe about the rapture were only things clearly explained in the Bible. Later in life, when I really started to study, I discovered that most of what I believed was various systems of interpretation that some man somewhere had "discovered" or rather, made up.

95 percent of the Christians learn by repeating like parrots. 5 percent know what they know by proving their imagination.

What do you think?

Jesus is coming1 Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, page 18, quoted from J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, page 165

2 Robert Cameron, Scriptural Truth About The Lord’s Return, page 72-73, quoted from J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, page 165, 166

3 J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, page 166

4 Alexander Reese, The Approaching Advent of Christ, page 18, quoted from J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, page 165