Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Mining the Minors: Amos (32)

Religious people do some very strange and inconsistent things. Some observe holidays to which they have no attachment in the name of a God in whom they don’t believe. Others appear to have an on/off switch that gets toggled to “off” every time they leave the church building Sunday around noon and head back to the rest of their weekly routine.

Apparently things were no different 2,700 years ago. Religious people were engaged in strange and inconsistent practices, and God sent the prophet Amos to Israel to point this out.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Is Christianity a Religion?

Depends on your definition, doesn’t it.

As a unit of language, the word ‘religion’ has acquired so many nuances that it is almost useless. Everyone has his or her own idea of what religion means, but they often differ drastically from one another. It has become one of those words that just doesn’t really communicate much anymore.

If I ask, “Are you religious?” and you say “Yes”, I have actually discovered very little indeed about what you believe.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

They Did Not Know

“Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord.”

“Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.”

The first of these two editorial comments from the writer of 1 Samuel sheds a little light on an otherwise inexplicable feature of Christendom: that a non-trivial number of people who make their living from full-time religious service are vile human beings. They care only for themselves, and in catering to their own desires do great evil to their fellow men and women, even casting doubt on the reality of Christ and the salvation he offers.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

The True Church

The world is full of religious people who don’t have any use for actual instruction from God. When we come across them today, we should not be surprised. They have been around since the very beginning of human history. They like the trappings of institutionalized religiosity but have no use for the spiritual reality these forms and conventions too easily conceal.

Cain was no atheist, no secular man. He observed the formalities. He made offerings to God. He spoke to God directly, and God spoke to him both before and after he murdered his brother, giving moral instruction where both surely knew it would never be heeded.

It didn’t help Cain any, but you can’t say God didn’t try.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Anonymous Asks (49)

“I have a friend who says she is not religious. How do I respond?”

One thing I am slowly learning not to do is to tell other people exactly what they should say when witnessing for Christ. There are probably worse ways to share your beliefs than recycling someone else’s arguments in words you wouldn’t normally use, but I can’t think of too many at the moment. The best case a Christian can make is one he fully understands and believes with all his heart, and is able to express in the same sort of everyday language he uses to enthuse about a football team or a great song.

So I won’t tell you how to respond. The response needs to be all yours. What I might be able to do is to help you work through what your friend is really telling you when she says she is “not religious”, so you can decide how best to attempt to share Christ with her.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Jews and Jews

I recently watched a comedian on YouTube trying to sort out what it is exactly that makes a Jew a Jew. Having only minimal familiarity with the Old Testament, and possessing almost no knowledge of modern Talmudic Judaism, the poor man was entirely at sea, and eager for somebody to explain it to him.

I don’t blame him. The term is used multiple ways by different groups with different things in mind. Sorting out the various claims to Jewishness is not easy, and I think it’s fair to say the vast majority of modern users of the term either get it wrong or use it in such an ambiguous and inconsistent way that nobody really knows what they are talking about.

The biggest contributors to this confusion, oddly enough, are a certain subset of … er … Jews.

Monday, June 05, 2017

The Best Possible Spot

There is a time-honored tradition in Old Testament oratory of addressing one’s enemies from the safety of a nearby hilltop.

Jotham called out his family’s murderers from Mount Gerazim. The Philistines hurled their insults at the Israelite army on one side of the Valley of Elah from the mountain on the other. Even David appealed to Saul from atop the hill of Hachilah.

Not too bad a strategy, really, before the invention of megaphones and loudspeakers: just stand far enough up and back to avoid the enemy’s arrows and occasional javelin toss while staying close enough to remain audible.

It was the best possible spot, especially if things went south and you had to beat a hasty retreat down the far side of the hill.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The Commentariat Speaks (2)

Here’s an interesting idea: a religion that fits the people. An anonymous commenter says:

“Christendom is cancer. Pure and evil cancer. It is not a religion of white people. It is an Arabian religion which was imported. There was a fantastic interview with a Swedish woman on Red Ice Radio talking about the old gods and how they fit Sweden better because they gave role models to the people: a mother goddess, a warrior god and so forth. Christianity gives us a father figure and nothing else.”

Yes, you did read that correctly.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Is Christianity a Religion?

The most recent version of this post is available here.