Christians Hate Islam. Fair?

I have noticed a lot of Christians talk about Islam in an almost shameful light…I think they hate that faith. Any little piece of news that comes out about Islam is criticized to the Nth degree and made for all people within Islam to wear – no matter a Muslims personal beliefs on the issues at hand. Christians and their generalizations again.

Christians make some pretty wild accusations about Muslim people and I am not sure they are all that warranted. Maybe I am being naive but I notice the Muslims I meet and converse with are pretty cordial. I work at a Western University and see Muslims all the time – dressed in their traditional garb. I see very little problem from these people – they don’t cheat on tests, they don’t swear, they are fairly cordial, etc. Fact is most problems on a University campus come at the expense of Westeners, and most of that minor crime from those having too good a time (perhaps drunk).

So I hear and read about all this character assasination of people in this group and I think it’s un-called for. I admit some pretty shady things are happening in various places of the world in various Muslim groups (or countries) – but nothing more than what is happening amongst your Western cohorts in the name of ‘freedom’. Yet, we want to draw and quarter the Muslim…I just have to ask…is it because they don’t fit the standard of what is the Western person per se? Is it because racially/culturally they are not as quite understood within the West? Is it because we won’t give them the time of day, nor respect because of the media?

They are people…and I love people…that’s what my faith taught me. I don’t need to hijack another’s faith to make mine look good or sound better.

I Like Yom Kippur!

Yom Kippur (Wikipedia)

Yom Kippur (Hebrew: יוֹם כִּפּוּר‎, IPA: [ˈjɔm kiˈpur]), also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for religious Jews. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days.

Yom Kippur is the tenth day of the month of Tishrei. According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person’s fate for the coming year into a “book” on Rosh Hashanah and waits until Yom Kippur to “seal” the verdict. During the Days of Awe, a Jew tries to amend his or her behavior and seek forgiveness for wrongs done against God (bein adam leMakom) and against other human beings (bein adam lechavero). The evening and day of Yom Kippur are set aside for public and private petitions and confessions of guilt (Vidui). At the end of Yom Kippur, one considers one’s self absolved by God.”

It’s just a great idea to have a day like this being observed by a whole community of people…if we were all more mindful of this kind of thing I bet there might be less trouble in the world and more peace? Aren’t we all need of some forgiveness and confession? A whole year happens so quickly and we do so many questionable things that sometimes we need that one day to let it all out. For those atoning today – my heart goes there with you…for those of us not…my heart wishes we would.

Better Behavior in Christian Circles?

“Does it really end up with the better person, though?” (OSS)

I would say, from personal observation, yes (in general). The people I know that attend church and claim some form of Christian faith do not get into trouble very much (as per the law I mean). Now even if they started with a fear of God – they embraced the teachings of Jesus and live for the better in the long run.

Now this ain’t everybody in Christian circles – but in general – they don’t committ crimes and to me that’s my biggest concern. If they are not being hauled in front of courts then I think their behaviors are tolerable – if not decent. I agree their theology of ‘human depravity’ and ‘God’s grace’ may actually allow for loopholes on behavior – but most of the time this isn’t even exercised and it’s quite anathema to even think that way. I would contend the fact a loophole exists for excuse for their behavior does make it easier to justify a bad behavior and ‘write it off as being human’.

I have written about this before but thought I’d re-visit it. I tend to find people that attend a church are pretty good in the sense of behavior – albeit – even if their stances on grace contain loopholes about doing whatever they want and still being covered. I find this is not something they teach in churches – in fact – they teach against it in churches and behavior is something of prime importance in churches (even if it is not acknowledged as such).

Everyone is Saved! Hold Up…

I hear this a lot of times within certian conversations and I am not sure why – but the idea being via Jesus ‘everyone is saved’…koombuhyah?

I am not sure that is sound theologically or even linguisticly from the texts of the NT.

(a) Theologically is goes against certain ideals Jesus taught on the subject of choice. One can be the ‘good tree’ or the ‘bad tree’ or the idea of the foundations of ‘stone’ or ‘sand’. There is no question Jesus is setting up a stark difference within his teachings between ‘side a’ and ‘side b’…or as was referred to in Judaism as ‘the way of life’ (righteousness) and ‘the way of death’ (wickedness). Jesus really isn’t doing that much new in his teachings as much as he is re-hashing the importance of knowing for yourself what is right and wrong and working on that.

(b) Linguistically it is very questionable to think because Jesus says ‘all are saved’ he means ‘everyone’. The problem is quite simple – the bible speaks in large ‘overtones’ all the time – generic language (large generalizations)…and not in individual nuances as part of it’s literature. This is common from the Tanakh to the NT. Now maybe this has to do with ‘community’ – but even then that’s a ‘select’ amount of people that want to be recognized as community. Fact is, Jesus could say 3/4th’s of the world are doomed to Gehenna and it wouldn’t shake me very much – it’s an emphasis factor and one that was meant to seem ‘bigger’ to make a point. One finds this in Paul and all the other writers if one cares to read a little.

So it raises the question – why say stuff like that at all?

Well security and inclusion would be two key things. For example, I get criticized for using these same kind of generalizations myself – when I refer to Christians doing this or being responsible for that. Well ‘Christians’ is a catch phrase that may not include everyone within Christendom but is aimed as a generalization with ‘no specific name’ – for inclusion sake…you address the concern yourself if you feel you are included in the category (depending on the topic).

Security is about us entering a convo and feeling we have little to lose. In this case, with the mass inclusive language being used the emphasis is to get more people to hearken to the message. Using language that is quite ambigious (as previously shown) will get more people involved in the conversation since no one is being ‘centered out’…we can feel anonymous in some way when we enter the convo. This gets more people into the convo and the use of generalized language makes us feel secure.

The language also has an emphasis overtone to it that makes it seems that much more urgent or important. But of course, we already knew that.

It’s just not that easy to brush these things away if one reads many passages from the Tankah to the NT.

The Meaning of Faith?

What is the meaning of faith? What is it’s purpose and how should it impact an individual? These are some of the question swirling around my mind these days.

It seems Christian faith is primarily concerned with the ‘afterlife’ and one’s ‘eternal resting place’. The meaning of faith there is ‘security’ from a very doomed future…coined in the package of ‘salvation’.

But is that what faith is about? That seems to be the bottomline in most Christian theologies – get some security for the end and worry about the rest after that. Then one’s theology is constantly impacted by that ‘future event’ – even one’s actions now – that justification for one’s ‘mean’s are its ‘ends’….which can lead one into a sort of bi-polar effect with their faith (ie: when I am good I am very good – but when the end becomes meaningless – even my bad is meaningless). Needless to say, with the future as the bottom line in theology we can end up with some misplaced emphasis in the ‘here and now’.

So it has me wondering – if an event prior to your birth (Jesus’ death and resurrection) and an event that you have no clue when it arrives (ie: heaven or your death) are the leading factors of what your faith is…it may be fair to ask ‘what’s the use of your faith right now?’.

A Thinking Man’s Game…

I debate a lot of theology on here and interpretations of scripture – because it’s fun to me more or less. I am beginning to realize I have no valid concerns about the church in general – I sit with the atheist in that place – ‘we’re on our own pal’. I think I would prefer to have a drink with an atheist over a Christian if truth be told.

 The fact is, I will never be accepted to where I once was (within the churches I attended) – I am a social outcast for all intensive purposes. I chose this I would say because I saw no other way. I did not want to leave church…I needed to. The day I left was when I realized my views had outgrown that of the leadership of the church and my changes were not going to match up wth theirs. My direction was changing – the winds were blowing in a new way that day – that was 1999.

Church doesn’t hold the same sway it once did – I was much younger and nieve then – I needed that diection and guidance as a 17 year old (mixed up teen caught between life and death). The church really has nothing new to say to me…’Jesus is the answer’…to a question they also invented and I wouldn’t of even bothered asking. It isn’t community – it fronts as one – but when it comes down to it – it’s not a genuine community…it’s a club of some sort complete with benefits. What passes for spirituality in some of these places is pure mysticism – lacking any real depth yet people swallow it up like valium…remember ‘slain in the spirit’? It’s just not a thinking man’s game.

But I am a thinking man – and my logic within many Christian circles is not really a ‘bonus’ as much as it may be a ‘hindrance’. I get the arguments about ‘raising my logic over God’s’ or ‘His thought are not ours’ or ‘I’d rather be a fool for Christ’. But I ain’t doing that and never was…it’s a projection and I am a screen. What did it say to me? ‘Your thinking is not welcome here – it’s just not helping any…so leave or repent’.  Wonder what Jesus would do if he was asked questions that were tough? Dodge and evade and use the spirit as an excuse for a lack of logic.

But I am a thinking man – I’ll take the blame – God created me though (just turned the atheists off). I am a believing man – I think Jesus may be a messianic contender (just turned Judaism off) but is definitely not God (just turned Christianity off). Last night I wondered as I lay alone – is this it? Is this all there is to life? I get this far just to be cast off and cast out? Where the hell are the people like me…can’t count on sh*t these days. Or better yet ‘puke’.

There is a saying I love ‘like a dog to it’s vomit’. Well, I don’t like vomit…I don’t mind doing it I just don’t want to return to ‘eat mine’.