The basis of Christianity and Scott Lively.

Earlier, I wrote about evangelical pastor, Scott Lively who is in court facing charges of crimes against humanity. The Liberty Counsel, who is defending him claims:

The suit is a direct attempt to silence Rev. Lively and intimidate other pastors against teaching the Biblical position on homosexuality. Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, “This lawsuit against Rev. Scott Lively is a gross attempt to use a vague international law to silence, and eventually criminalize, speech by U.S. citizens on homosexuality and moral issues. This suit should cause everyone to be concerned, because it a direct threat against freedom of speech.”

However, Scott Lively’s involvement in Uganda is seen as foundational to what has been deemed the Ugandan, “Kill the Gays” bill, where a person suspected of being gay can be punished with the death penalty.

The point I want to draw here is for Christians and non-believers alike. I believe this case encapsulates very clearly  the problem Christianity is facing, and individuals like Scott Lively are destroying Christianity as they distort the very basis of the Faith tradition.  

Consider, where in the New Testament, the foundation of Christianity, do we find anything that would suggest the death penalty (perpetrated by the Government) for gay people? If faith in the Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis of Christianity, there is no way to see Scott Lively’s missionary work and its result as connected to Christianity.

The battle against homosexuality by so-called Christians is firmly rooted in the Old Testament and not in Jesus Christ in any way. For Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council, the basis for the fight against homosexuality and same-sex marriage is in the Book of Genesis.

Bauer said that the court dismissed the “consent of the governed” and “rejected thousands of years of Judeo-Christian understanding” in their rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. “It seems as though America is on the verge of criminalizing the Book of Genesis,”

10 CommandmentsNow, I respect anyone’s right to their own religious perspective, but that is limited to how they choose to live their own life. The desire to force others to live by their beliefs goes far beyond and can not be misconstrued as “Christian” in any way.

As a general whole, Christianity is declining with fewer and fewer self-identifying as Christians except in growing third-world areas like Africa where this misguided and non-Christlike brand of legalist propaganda is being used to manipulate and control people. For real Christians who seek a personal salvation in Christ, it is time to wake up and recognize how hate-mongers are killing Christianity by a hate-filled focus.

Theologians have for centuries discussed to relationship of the Old and New Testaments. Jesus himself is quoted as talking about how the “Law and the Prophets” are affected by his “new” teachings. And the Early Church is documented as struggling with the role of Hebrew Laws for Gentile Christians and believers as a whole. In some regard, this is nothing new. What is new however, is the dramatic decline of Christians. Will Christianity survive abuses of Faith by individuals like Lively and Bauer, or will they lead to the Fall of a Faith doctrine that grew from hope and the belief in eternal life?

Note:

Critics are likely to point out that there is New Testament Scripture that supposedly condemns homosexuals. Id ask those individuals to consider:

  • Read the New Testament in the original language in which it was written.  There is no word for homosexual to be found there. The English term “homosexual” is a mistranslation of several other terms and they describe very specific same-sex sexual practices, not homosexuality in general, and most certainly not Gay people we we understand what Gay means today.
  • It can be argued that Paul cites that arsenokoitai and malakoi will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It in no way suggests that individuals have a right to tell others what they can or can not do, or whom they can or can not love.
  • Remember, Paul wasn’t right about everything. He was one man expressing his ideas, nothing more. Really.

 

 

Biblical Connellsville

2 Political Junkies is one of my favorite blogs, and today, there is a fine post there about the Ten Commandments Monument in Connellsville, and the court case about it. In a nut shell- there is this big monument outside of a school which is a monument to the Ten Commandments. Now, in court, the lawyer for the school distyrict is arguing that it isn’t at all an endorsement of religion or even about religion. Dave, begs to differ:

I am not sure, however, how a monument that begins with the text:the Ten CommandmentsI AM the LORD thy God.I Thou shalt have no other gods before me.II Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.III Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.Is anything but an endorsement of religion and a promotion of religious faith.

While I agree basically, and totally get Dave’s point, I think he is really missing the point. The fight isn’t really over religion, but rather it is about maintaining the status quo and the deeply embedded yet undiscussed place of religion within our so-called secular culture. The school district isn’t fighting this because they believe in the supremecy of a judeo-christian belief system. Nope. They are fighting this because they don’t want to hve to confront the place of religious control in what we generally call secular or civil society.  This may be a nuanced point, but I think it is an important one.

It isn’t religion and religious ides per se, but rather, it is the unspoken, accepted control Religion exerts in areas of our life we think of as not-church-related.

The idea of an American Theocracy isn’t new, even if the Far Right Religious Conservatives seem to be at it with a new found vigor in their war on woman and gays. The foundation of an American Theocracy have been around for quite a while, and as this case shows, not everyone wants to come to terms with it.

I often think those who wish to promote religion in this way, really aren’t big on promoting the specifics of the religion. Like, really- how is it they can support the death penalty at the same time as following the commandment that one shall not kill? Or the most abused commandment is that one about false witness….

What these folks are big on, is promoting a hierarchical power structure where a few hold judgement over the rest. This notion, what the ten commandments represent as a portratyal of a power structure is their goal, not the specifics of the religious text itself.

What’s interesting, is looking at what the attorney is saying, and then comparing that to what the residents of Connellsville are saying. The attorney knows this is a problem, and the school will loose the lawsuit unless he can reframe the issue. The residents‘ comments are uniquivocal- the Ten Commandments are something that they should live by. (See note above.)

Check out the blog. Dave (and Maria) are always brilliant.

via 2 Political Junkies.

Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q42nGp-FEqU

 

God’s Wrath? Tornadoes Damage Midwest Towns

Saw a tweet  that llinked to the attached post, and the tweet was titled, God’s Wrath.

God and God’s wrath are commonly used as either warning or proof that [fill in the blank] whiuch is happening culturally, is opposed by God. Often these same Bible thumpers point to stories like Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of God using His wrath. Here’s the thing. This is a win/win for the Bible thumpers. They can point to anythibng and say it is proopf of whatever, because there is no real way to refute it. God doesn’t speak from the sky and say, “No, that is just the Weather.” So, fior the thumpers, it is a perfect waepon to use and fear mongering technique. If the devastation happens to them, it tells them that they aren’t fighting hard enough for God’s Will. If the devastation happens to others, it is proof that God hates whoever was devastated.

The problem is it paints a picture of a God, no sane person wants rto worship or trust. That God who can devastate anyone, no matter how hard you are trying to be a good Christian, is a pretty mean and unjust God. Additionally, it is a picture of God that can not be reconciled with  New Testament theology. Either Christians believe in the God of the New Testament, or they really aren’t Christians at all. That N.T. God sacrificed His Son so that all human beings have eternal life. The N.T. God is one who places self-sacrifice and forgiveness above all else. The N.T. God is one of unconditional love, and a God that does unbelievable things like virgin births and resurrections. It is a God that displays power through surrender and compassion.

This is why Christianity is fighting so hard to survive, and thinking people are leaving Religion inb droves, because the God these folks claim to believe in is not the same God of their Faith heritage.

The storm killed five people and injured more than two dozen in and around Woodward, a town about 140 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, but it was the only tornado that caused fatalities. Many of the touchdowns raked harmlessly across isolated stretches of rural Kansas, and though communities in Iowa and Kansas were hit, residents and officials credited days of urgent warnings from forecasters for saving lives.

via Tornadoes Damage Midwest Towns, Residents Struggling To Recover.

When churches teach hate.

This story is quite remarkable and sad at the same time.

Gay Couple Assaulted — At Church

Jerry Pittman, Jr., and his boyfriend, Dustin Lee, were attacked when they tried to go to church at Grace Fellowship in Fruitland, Tennessee:
I went over to take the keys out of the ignition and all the sudden I hear someone say ‘sick’em,’” said Gibson County resident, Jerry Pittman Jr.

 

Pittman said the attacked was prompted by the pastor of the church, Jerry Pittman, his father. “My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad’s request. My uncle smash me in the door as the other deacon knocked my boyfriend back so he couldn’t help me, punching him in his face and his chest. The other deacon came and hit me through my car window in my back,” said Pittman. He said bystanders did not offer assistance. He said the deacon yelled derogatory homosexual slurs, even after officers arrived. He said the officers never intervened to stop the deacons from yelling the slurs.

 

Back in graduate school, I rtead a bvook about snake handling churches that has stuck with me over these past 14 years. David Covinton’s book, Salvation on Sand Mountian tells the amazing story of this practice of Faith, but the above story brings it to mind for another reason. You see, Covington got involved with snake handling after following the trail of a pastor accused of trying to murder his wife with snake bites.  He wasn’t a very righteous pastor really if I remember the story. He was having an affair and this was a way to get rid of his wife, so he forced her to stick her hand into a rattler’s cage. But she didn’t die.

When individuals use their sense of entitlement as evidence that their actions do not have to be aligned with their supposed calling, it is always a bad sign.

The link has more details as well as video.

 

Can Fags Doom Nation?

 

There is a photo on my other blog, of one of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) crazies and their signs. I look at it everyday, and it got me thinking about the notion of “Nation” and if it is applicable in any way today. Most any of the Far Right anti-gay Christian Bible thumpers are caught up in the Old Testament using Leviticus mostly to support their self-righteous judgementalism. The WBC stuff comes from the Old Testament too. This is fairly insane given that it misses the whole point for the coming of The Christ, and how the death and resurrection fit into the whole of God’s plan. But that is the subject of another blog post. Here I want to think about this notion of “nation.”

Nation, in the Old Testament sense of the term is best represented by the Hebrew Nation which had 12 tribes. These tribes grow from a family lineage and have a somewhat geographic meaning in that each tribe was settled in one area or another, but the blood lineage is far more important than the geographic organization of the tribes. Nations in this sense means that everyone is alike because to some degree they are related, and most Importantly, all members of the nation are of the same Faith.

That doesn’t sound anything like a modern understanding of a nation where the boundaries are decided along geographic lines, made up of people of many lineages and bloodlines, and where, at least in the sense of our nation, are of no one Faith but represent many Faiths or no faith at all.

It can be argued that God has never destroyed any nation, even in the Old Testament because of sexual orientation. But we can clearly see where God expected all to worship only Him. From the Old Testament perspective, therefore, if anything would doom our nation, it would have more to do with the acceptance and respect for all Faiths including respect for no faith at all.

There is a connection between sexual orientation and the concept of lineage that is worth mentioning. Those who play the Queer Hater card, most always are referring to gay men exclusively when they talk about homosexuality. It is as if lesbians don’t exist or matter. This is because the family linkage of a father to his heirs/ children is all that matters. Even Jacob, the father of the the 12 tribes had 2 wives and 2 concubines who produced these 12 sons and a daughter. Not 13 tribes mind you, but 12 for the 12 sons.

This is an aside, but how about that: 2 wives and 2 concubines! What does that say about the institution of marriage that must never be redefined?

We have nothing in today’s contemporary world that allows us to apply an Old Testament concept of nation in any way that truly make sense. Any attempt to do so, is an attempt to turn back civilization to a time before science, some 3000 or so years ago. Those who wish to do so, are really more interested in perpetuating a culture where women are meaningless except as receptacles for carrying babies, and men and sons are all that matter. How appealing is that?

Post Rapture Thoughts

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

The above passage is from the Gospel of Mark, and seemed a fitting passage to talk about following the Rapture which happened yesterday. Sure, I can hear you now. “There was no rapture,” you say. But according to Harold Camping, it was guaranteed, so I’m taking him at his word, and the Rapture happened. It just wasn’t what some believers were expecting. Maybe it wasn’t what any believers were expecting.

In the late ’70’s, I worked for Buckeye Union Insurance Company in Columbus Ohio, and there were many evangelical Christians who worked there. I almost became one of them except that, they told that dancing was a sin, and I couldn’t buy into that. They were always talking about being “in the world, but not of the world.” Yesterday’s Rapture experience speaks to that also. The idea is that believers have been trapped here in this world, and the Rapture signals the Judgement which heralds the coming of the new Kingdom of God.

But given that we are all left here today following the [guaranteed to happen] Rapture, it means one of two things:

  1. There were no worthy people to be raised up, either from the living or the dead.

     

     

  2. The expectation of the coming Judgement and Kingdom of God are all wrong.

     

     

The passage from Mark suggest the second explanation to be the true one (although an easy post could be written about the first). There are a few things we need to understand about the passage from Mark.

Mark was written in Greek, and the word translated as “kingdom” is basilaea. A better translation is the wealth held in common, or commonwealth. Some scholars talk of this, as the wholeness of God, but it speaks more to a sense of possession than “wholeness” connotes. In this line of thinking, the Sovereign (in a patriarchal sense- the King) has all of an area and the people in that area and all of the resources of it. The King’s role is to care for and maintain that which belongs to the Sovereign- that which is wealth held in common. In this sense, God cares for all, not because they are subservient and have earned God’s care, but because by caring, all- including God, benefits.

The structure of the Basilica come from the same base word, but tends to shift the focus to a literal space with boundaries between the sacred and the profane. The commonwealth of God, is less about a space, but more about the fact that the value comes from the care of the whole.

But the really interesting part of this passage, is the next part.  What is translated as “has come near” is better translated as ” at hand.”

At hand: meaning right here, and right now. It is within reach. I can reach out and touch the commonwealth of God, which the whole of what exists around me. In other words, the whole concept of leaving this world is way off base. We are called to see and touch the commonwealth of God all around us. We are not supposed to separate ourselves from the world but rather touch and seek out the whole of God within the world. By loving the world, and all that is in it; by caring for all that is, we are both interacting with and co-creating the Kingdom of God. Or to use a less patriarchal term, the Kindom of God.

OK, I have to say something about the first statement above- that there were no righteous to be risen up into the clouds. On the one hand, I just don’t believe that, but on the other hand, I do believe that those who see themselves as the righteous, are oftentimes the ones who are the farthest from what God expects and seeks for us to be as followers. This fits well with the teaching attributed to Jesus himself about the coming:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.   34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

This passage speaks similarly to the notion of how we care for one another and all that is around us.

OK, you may be saying however, that this passage, as well as others clearly call for a Judgement, and or a Judgement Day. This may or may not be true, I think. It can be that each of us come to our own Judgement day a day of reckoning, rather than in a mass sense.

In reality, I don’t believe the Rapture happened. I don’t believe it will. I think the interpretation of the Bible to suggest there will come such a thing is a misunderstanding and a misuse of what the Bible can do best, which is help us today understand how others before us, sought to seek the fullness of God. It is a history rather than a prediction.

 

People Who Aren’t Pastors Preaching The Good News

Here is a video clip that I just love.  Joel Osteen, a pastor of sorts, gets schooled about God’s unconditional acceptance for all, including gay people, by the women on The View. What does Osteen fall back on? Scripture. Scripture that, as he says, “we can’t change.”

How odd is that? That he can talk about his church being all about love and yet a book organized in an era long since gone, in words unchanged for thousands of years, is the limiting guide to understanding God’s love?  How crazy is that?  Seems to me, people like him work so hard to fit God into their own image rather than the other way around?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AsbkYuNDwI[/youtube]

When Religion Fails: Pastor Guilty of Assaulting Young Girl

When the terms “sexual assault” and “Religion” get used in the same sentence, we most often think about the Catholic Church and crimes committed against young boys, but it really goes much farther than that. Truly, there are very many very good and righteous people involved in many Faith traditions, but it is also true that the power differentials developed by the very structure of Religious communities is a fertile environment for an abuse of that power. Even with the Catholic Church, the abuse of children is not limited to young boys, although the stories of young girls haven’t been as prevalent and have been kept under control better. But in all cases, these are crimes against children by pedophiles and not linked to any one sexual orientation or another.

In many environments, where an adult is set up as more powerful than others there is a possibility for abuse. Teachers and students for example, or in a work environment between a boss and subordinates. But Religious organizations provide a different set of factors as well. Much like, with this pastor, the excuse is that the Devil is responsible, not the perpetrator, him or herself.

Not all Faith communities perpetuate a lack of personal responsibility, but as most all mainline denominations come under the attack of far-right extremists, this type of theology seems to be growing in  popularity. Christianity, as a whole has failed to keep up in a growing modern world, and therefor, has in many ways stuck to outdated mythologies and attitudes. For example, if the idea of being possessed by Satan is abandoned, will they also have to abandon the idea of being possessed with the Love of God?

What is most revolting about this story is the lack of any basis in reality. Here, the pastor claims the girl was “in heat” and was “asking for it.”

Some claim that the only way to help people is to eliminate Religion. I can’t go that far. I think that for many Religion is a valued and meaningful part of their lives, and works for the good of all. However, if Church leaders fail to take steps to keep these types of things from happening, and fail to make a theological message pertinent to the world we live in today, Religion may cease to be seen as a valuable outlet for spirituality.

Pastor sentenced for sex assault on girl

Mueller also cited Palmer’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for his actions, stating that the man told investigators that he was “overcome by the demon of lust,” that the victim was “asking for it,” and that the victim was “in heat,” when the assaults occurred, prosecutors said.

via Pastor sentenced for sex assault on girl :: Beacon News :: Local News.

Biblical Literalism

The other day, someone posted a comment on Facebook, claiming:

More and more scientists are switching over to Intelligent Design. It only makes sense , they say, as they study the complexity of life on this planet and in the universe.

I personally believe Intelligent Design is so controversial to people is that Intelligent implies Someone and Design implies Purpose.

Someone implies God and Purpose implies You and Me and the purpose God would have for us.

Eventually it takes you right to the cross of Calvary where historians the world over recognize Jesus died and historical records of the time, other than the Bible, confirm He rose again….hence Easter!

This is actually patently false on a few points, but the one that interested me the most was the base claim that scientists are switching to Intelligent Design. As if it were a computer, and before, they were PCs and now they are Macs. The exchange was a little interesting- not really too much- but a little. However, for me, it gave me an opportunity to articulate some of my thoughts about how Biblical Literalism is harming people. The exchange ended with this guy posting a URL, that I am guessing is to a creationism web site. I didn’t follow it.

Reading back over the exchange, I am really comfortable with what I wrote, and quite pleased to have found a voice for some things that have been in my head, but not as well put together. So, I decided to post it here. My replies are posted in Bold.

Aside from the exact exchange there are four things I want to add:

  1. I often get labeled an atheist. I am not really an atheist. If anything, I may be an agnostic, but I do not hold that I know that there is no God. The truth is I have no idea if there is a God, but I don’t really care one way or the other. I think Religion, in the most general sense, isn’t about the answering this, but rather, it is the process by which human being grapple with the questions about our orientation to the whole of the cosmos. God is one answer to those questions, but not the only answer, nor even the most logical answer.
  2. Faith (of whatever sort) is our way of engaging in this process of exploring our place within the whole. With or without God, I think this is a crucial thing. The word, itself, is charged. For Buddhists, the word may have no meaning, but the same notion is accomplished by having a practice. I do not mean to use the term as if it implies faith in any one thing or another. Just the act of engaging in the process.
  3. I need to also say something about the historical fact of Jesus’s death and resurrection. It is not true to say that there is historical evidence of the resurrection outside of the New Testatment scriptures. It is true that the belief that this happened is discussed by Josephus, but he wasn’t writing about the validity of the claim. He was only writing that the early Christians believed this to be true. The fact is there is absolutely no historical evidence of the the birth, death or the resurrection outside of the New Testament. Additionally, Josephus is far from a good historian. He is known for having written exactly what he was expected to write, whether it had happened that way or not.
  4. As with many crazy Christians, Kent seems either utterly unwilling or unable to just talk about one thing at a time. So, he makes claims and then, rather than talk about that, he introduces more claims and stuff. Maybe, he has no real interest in having a dialogue. his goal is on;y to say what he wants to say. Maybe he thinks he is talking in a dialogue and doesn’t think he is continually jumping to new subjects or new claims.

Here was the exchange (his initial comment is at the start of this blog entry above):

@Kent This is such a preposterous claim- “scientists are switching over to intelligent design…” Please cite resources to support it if you really want it to have any merit.

Scientists are doing just what scientists do. They put forth theories and make experiments to prove those theories. There is absolutely nothing scientific about intelligent design. Nothing what so ever. It may be a way for some folks to try and comprehend the enormity o f the subject, but even that is more f a philosophical venture, and not a scientific one.

The reality of the science however, is that all of the facts that science can prove continue to point out that the use of a biblical model for understanding creation can not be supported by the facts. If Religion is going to have any value in the lives of people, it is either going to have to let go of any literal interpretation of the Bible, and return to being about theological issues. Science and Religion are utterly compatible, unless one requires a literal interpretation of the Bible. Science isn’t killing God. The people who demand a literal interpretation of the Bible, or those who need intelligent design- they are the ones killing God.

Thomas

you just set a trap for yourself and then stepped in it. Science is about theories and than experiments to prove those theories correct or wrong. Name an experiment that any scientist has ever done that has proven for sure how earth was created, how life was created or how anything was created.

There is no experiment as of yet that proves evolution. There is lots of hypothosis avout evolution but so many of them don’t support each other even.

i am a Biblical literalst and an unashamed one at that. If you want to start picking and choosing the parts you like/don’t like, what do you have?

Better yet, what if we agree that we can pick and choose and you pick and choose some things while I pick at others and Andy picks at others. Soon the Bible is a ribbon and not a well constructed book that has survived as the oldest manuscript in the world.

People hate the Bible because why? I have no idea! I believe God created the heavens, the earth and man (me) . In my opinion, the Bible is like an owners manual. The creator of the world and man has put instructions down that tell us how to live our lives best.

For example, name a 10 Commandment you find offensive? Maybe you want to cheat on your wife, I don’t know, but other than that one I don’t see anything that most of us want to do anyway.

Or, go to the New Testamet. The NT tells us to keep our penis in our pants for everyone but our wives but other than that what does the Bible really tell you not to do that most men want to do?

I don’t get why people are so anxious to prove God out of creation when the Bible says He created.

Try cutting off your finger and seeing how incrediblty difficult it is for modern medicine to reattach it and get it back to 100%. They don’t have to create a thing yet only the very best Dr’s can do it and only the most fortunate patients get 100%.

Yet, we are to believe that even though men can barely do something as simple as attaching a finger, some great explosion (from what please explain) started everything.

In my opinion it takes much greater faith, or something closer to stupidity, to believe it all happened by chance than it takes to believe God created it.

@Kent I set no trap nor walked into one. LOL. Hey, be a Biblical literalist, more power to you. You are a dying breed, and it is a shame what damage folks like you are doing to Faith and the value of Religion. I think people need Religion (in the most general sense) and one reason our world is a disaster, is because people hold too tight to things as facts that are not, and rob the Divine (in whatever way, one understands that Divine).

I don’t hate the Bible, I love it. It is an awesome accomplishment and full of amazing stuff. I just don’t try to hold it all up as literal. I also don’t treat it as a weapon to be used against other people. It is an (incomplete) history of some of the people of this planet’s relationship to their understanding of the Divine.

It is a shame to suggest that the only options are “by chance” or Intelligent Design. For me, here is the root problem, suggesting that these are the only choices.

FWIW, I don’t talk about penises and the Bible, and most definitely not on FB in a discussion that was about Science and Intelligent Design. Sorry, that is too crazy, even for me! Enjoy!

The penis comment was meant to be a little funny but also to make it clear that the Bible only supports sexual relations between men and women who are married. I apologize if the penis comment affected anyone negatively but it is a body part, like arm, leg, eye, nose so I don’t see why it can’t be taken literally LOL

I don’t see how I , or any other literalist, harms people. I am probably as much fun to be around as anyone else. I laugh, make people laugh and make fun of myself. I don’t think you would know I was a literalist except that I pled guilty to it. Of course, if we were at a bar hanging out and you brought up religion you would eventually get it out of me but I don’t walk around with a Bible beating people over the head with it.

I do think logic demands that there be a God so my world view is based on “there is a God and He is in control.”

You know Tom, I lost a brother to cancer at the ripe old age of 30. Had I not believed in God and in His soverignty, I would have been one train wreck. As it was, I was only a tricycle wreck but I am so thankful that is all it was.

God is not our enemy, we are God’s enemy. To many people want to wage war rather than surrender and let Him have the power to change our lives. Why anyone wouldn’t let the God of the Universe have their life is beyond me.

@Kent Dude, I’m sorry but I think you are crazy.

At one time, Bible literalists said that the world was flat and that the sun rotated around the Earth. Now, we know that isn’t the case.

Today, we know much about the history of our planet, that conflicts with a biblical literalist view of things. Literalists harm people, generally speaking, because more and more people are fleeing Religion of many sorts because the forced adherence to outdated ideas can’t fit with modern, intelligent thoughts. Literalists who refuse to allow a changing view of things are at least in part the reason for this exodus from faith. Literalism is destroying Faith, as it is by nature, counter to Faith.

Kristor Stendhal (SP??) the great theologian and church leader commented when evidence of water was found on Mars that this discovery simply proved that God was bigger than anyone ever imagined. A really awesome notion.

Literalism forces God to be small and finite, and arrogantly suggests that humans have all the answers. Even when that answer is “God.”

The notion that God and humans are the enemy of the other, is just ludicrous, no matter how one phrases it.

Logic does not demand there be a God. The forced expectation that everything is part of a plan demands that there is a God. If we let go of that crazy idea, and allow things to be, because they are, and look to see how everything is interconnected, then, there does need to be Creation- the process by which everything comes into being- but no requirement to believe we have all the answers as to why that is (i.e. God). I do not need God to be in control, nor do I need to believe everything is by chance. I think there are other ways of understanding things. In fact, if God is in control, I think he needs to be fired, and we need to put a woman in charge instead.

All of dialogue started because you claimed that scientists were switching to intelligent design, which is a patently false statement, and nothing in this discussion has touched upon.

The Holy Bible as Authoritative Source for Science

Sometime it is easy to dismiss accusations of the failure to keep theology out of the Science classroom, as something that only happens in the South, but the reality is that those who seek to blur the lines between Science and Faith can be found everywhere, and if we care about the integrity of the Educational system, we must fight this type of stuff where ever it shows up.

In his letter to the students, Villa said Lopez also ran afoul of campus regulations prohibiting religious indoctrination “by assigning readings from the Bible, reading the Bible in class, and otherwise relying on the Bible as an authority in the assigned subject matter.”

The finding came in response to student allegations that Lopez last semester quoted the Bible as proof that human life begins at conception, assigned his class to research the Bible for Jesus’ genetic makeup, and discussed apocalyptic Christian prophesies during a lesson on climate change.

Calif. college: Teacher violated gay bias policy – washingtonpost.com.