Sunday, April 12, 2015
I enjoyed reading The Da Vinci Code Revisited by Christopher H.K. Persaud. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown is advertised to be a novel, but comes across as based on truth. Great danger is at hand for Christians and unbelievers who may be taken in by its heresies. Drawing in influences like the radical feminist movement, and the surge in interest in paranormal, witchcraft, and supernatural thrillers, Brown spins a tale which is nothing if not controversial.
As Persaud writes, there is much false information in Brown’s book when compared to recorded and available historical accounts. There is much discrepancy between what is said to be the history of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi texts and what anyone can read in the news. Most shocking is the persistent rumor that the holy grail is actually Mary Magdalene as a vessel for the child of Jesus Christ since, as it states in Brown’s novel, they were married and continued the bloodline which survives to the current day. A number of these errors grew from some assuming the Nag Hammadi books to be equivalent to the canonized Christian Bible, and that the church had purposely left them out because they were at odds with its agenda. But as Persaud shows, these supposed “lost gospels” were written much later than the eyewitness period and do not even bear the names of the actual writers or agree with the canonized books. It was common in those days to take the name of a famous person, say the apostle Thomas, and apply his name to your book. People then gave it more credence and, ultimately, could drive people away from the church since it was not in agreement or support of the true gospel.
The first, larger section of The Da Vinci Code Revisited deals with the errors in the novel, and the second section deals with who Christ really is. It provides valuable instruction and many prophecies in support of the bodily resurrection of Christ which, of course, were later fulfilled. A chapter is devoted to a description of the true Christian and his relationship with Christ. Attributes include abhorrence of evil, an attitude of love, and continual prayer. This is not an easy or quick read, but contains all you need to debunk the popular but heretical book, The Da Vinci Code. Revisit it today and see the proof for yourself. 5 stars.
Reprinted from https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-da-vinci-code-revisited
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
The minister insisted that it is not possible for someone to depart this world before one has completed one's work for God.
Therefore, there really isn't any reason to be concerned about how one will die.
Perhaps the pastor is correct.
You won't depart this world before you are supposed to.
However, it does not follow that the reason you are scheduled for an early departure is not the result of your own stupidity or actions.
When the pastor left church, did he look both ways before turning into traffic?
To employ the kind of logic applied in the homily, wouldn't such a vehicular procedure denote a lack of faith?
If we weren't meant to give much consideration as to the ways in which we leave this world, perhaps God should not have allowed most of them to be so painful.
A pastor confessed to the congregation that he is going to donate his body to science after he dies.
Is the point to see at the Resurrection or the Rapture if any donated organs come flying out of any reprobates that they might have been reassigned to as they are remanded during the process of sanctified glorification to the individual originally holding title?
Furthermore, doesn't this pulpit revelation negate any potential criticisms of cremation this particular Biblical expositor might enunciate in the future?
One can't really berate a congregation or a perplexed individual making a sincere inquiry about how throughout Scriptural and Church History the precedent is for the believer to be buried when one does not intend to be buried oneself.
Throughout my own studies of Christianity, I do not recall any passages where it is detailed that the Apostles, Disciples, or foremost among the Saints willingly surrendered up their remains for the purposes of dissection or experimentation.
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, April 3, 2015
At a prayer breakfast in Florida, the backwoodsman took direct aim at the ethical bankruptcy of moral relativism.
In the example, Robertson postulated an atheist family where not only are the daughters raped, the wife decapitated, and the father threatened with bodily mutilation but where the Nietzschean assailants revel philosophically in their debauchery in light of the possibility that there is no transcendent standard by which these actions could be categorized as wrong.
Media elites such as those at the Huffington Post are insisting that Robertson's remarks are part of a bizarre and disturbing fantasy.
However, the elaborated scenario is not that markedly different than what is taking place across vast swathes of Islamist controlled territory.
And if all there is is what transpires in the realm of physical matter, on what grounds does civilization stand against these kinds of atrocities?
By the moral vision and worldview of ISIS, it is perfectly acceptable to not only brutally eliminate the infidel but to enjoy carnally defiling the women of the targeted population while engaged in such genocide.
The atheist views human kind as little more than an animal.
In nature, all that matters is continued survival, the propagation of your particular genetic line, and your own pleasure.
It is not unheard of for members of a particular species to inflict all manner of what would be categorized as violence by polite society upon their own kind in pursuit of these particular goals.
Others will insist that, even if Phil Robertson is correct in his observations, he needs to be sensitive that his verbal formulations might unsettle a number of those in the listening or viewing audience, particularly liberal females.
Interesting how these very same marms that don't want Phil Robertson heinously describing heinous acts certainly didn't mind plopping down their money at the bookstore or cinema for “Fifty Shades Of Grey”.
Others certainly don't mind overlooking the violence utilized as a literary device by Stephen King, especially if as part of a narrative for the purposes of making traditional religion look bad.
The cultural and moral relativism the Duck Commander warned about in his prayer breakfast homily is a nefarious and manipulative thing.
Under it's rubric, we are obligated to not only refrain from criticizing but must also enthusiastically applaud balladeers from the ghetto celebrating all manner of crime and debauchery.
Educated effetes in metropolises such as New York and Los Angeles might not be accustomed to the plainspokeness of rural elocutes.
However, by the same standard such elites impose under threat of ruination for those failing to abide by it, if they are not members of Phil Robertson's culture and demographic, who are they to impose their values upon despised White Christian Southerners?
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, March 30, 2015
This is because of an engine failure that nearly resulted in tragedy but which was averted through the skill of an experienced pilot.
With a new aircraft, the ministry assures that Dollar will be able to continue the mission of spreading the Gospel around the world.
In an age of instantaneous global communications thanks to high speed Internet, why is this even necessary?
Savages in Third World sewer pipes have certainly mastered social media technologies such as Twitter and Youtube in uploading their own propaganda.
Are we to assume that these are too complex for the likes of Creflo Dollar?
Is Dollar that conceited and full of himself that he believes that the Great Commission cannot be fulfilled without him?
Is he so far about the remaining dregs of humanity that he can't fly Southwest Airlines or Jet Blue like everybody else?
By Frederick Meekins
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
But in the analysis of this policy under consideration, Bill O'Reilly instead decided to spoof and lampoon the President's most profound reason for making this suggestion.
“Transformative” is a euphemism invoked in support of mob rule and the socialistic redistribution of resources and property.
Instead of warning the American people as to this danger, O'Reilly wasted valuable broadcast time feigning ignorance by inquiring if “transformative” referred to some kind of “robot thing”.
O'Reilly knows full well that the “robot thing” is a Transformer.
The correspondent did, after all, make a cameo playing himself in one of those films.
This verbal obfuscation means that O'Reilly is deliberately deceptive or more profoundly dimwitted than expected.
And regarding which, to borrow a slogan from his own network, we report you decide.
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, March 23, 2015
In one of the the remarks, he observed that one hand must be on the wheel.
He expanded on that declaration by saying, “At the church house, someone has to be in charge. A leader is a necessity. The pastor is the scripturally appointed, God-anointed person to be the leader.”
Smith further clarified, “Many of our churches are sitting idle and getting nowhere because just before they put the pastor in the driver's seat, they tied his hands behind his back...So let's get real! And let's be scriptural about it! Let's get a driver who knows how to handle the vehicle and let him drive it. Amen!”
Very well then.
Let us be scriptural about the matter in compliance with Shelton Smith's admonition.
Where in the corpus of divine revelation is blind obedience to the pastor commanded?
If anything, it seems that quite the opposite might be called for.
Acts 17:11 reads, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scripture every day to see if what Paul said was true (NIV).”
Let's continue a bit with the driving analogies.
Despite dealing with her own doctrinal challenges as she navigates reconciling the demands of celebrity and the Christian faith, Carrey Underwood exclaimed “Jesus, take the wheel.”
How is what Shelton Smith is arguing for that much different in kind than the papal infallibility and the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church where those in the pews are expected to keep their mouths shut if they want to be considered acceptable members?
If anything, isn't the pastor more of a tour guide than a driver that is not to be questioned or challenged?
For is not Christ or the revealed Word of God in Scripture the one theoretically driving this bus?
In the age of the child predator, the fit parent reinforces in the mind of their offspring not to get into a vehicle with someone they don't know, don't trust, or have a suspicious feeling about.
In this day where all kinds of abuse (both spiritual and physical) is taking place in a variety of churches across Christianity's vast theological spectrum, contrary to the impression given by the likes of Josh Harris in his book “Stop Dating The Church”, you as an individual created in the image of God are free to get off the bus of a particular congregation any time you want.
A minister that insists upon broad pastoral powers without teaching that these are curtailed within explicitly delineated boundaries has neglected his responsibilities in a manner not that markedly different than an intoxicated motorist as he veers into lanes in which he ought not to travel.
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
From the clip highlighted as the sound bite of the week, one gets the impression that articulating a defense of the gunned down editorial office's freedom of expression isn't really all that much of a priority.
After all, the ultimate concern of the church is not so much with things such as innate or constitutional liberties but rather with the proclamation of the Gospel message.
That might be true in regards to those called to the ministry in the strictest sense of that narrow vocation.
However, not everyone within the church is required to emphasize the exact same aspect of the comprehensive Christian worldview.
Given that this program is Lutheran, one would think they might be quicker to remember the wisdom of Martin Niemoller who reflected how, because he remained silent as the acolytes of totalitarianism hauled off a variety of dissidents, that there was no one left to protect him when the Fascist hordes came to take him away.
Christians don't have to applaud religiously offensive artwork.
However, when bloodthirsty savages begin murdering those that they disagree with, the believer needs to realize that it won't be long until these demoniacs gun down worshipers for little more than singing doctrinally distinctive hymns or reciting the classic creeds.
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Reworking his classic catchphrase, he declares, “THEY'RE GR-R-ROSS!”
Additional copy on the cover reads, “Carbs, sugar and stubbornness are killing Kellogg.”
How is this dietary staple any more disgusting than these so-called “health foods”?
“Organic” is simply a euphemism for having been grown in digestive excrement.
The same hipsters and neo-beatniks vowing never to feed these breakfast confections to their own spawn certainly had no problem pigging out on these foods in their own childhoods.
It has always been said sausage is a food that you do not want to see being made.
Apparently the same is true now in regards to breakfast cereal in a world where what constitutes nutrition is as much about embracing the proper politics as about keeping a body energized.
A government panel suggested that Americans cut back on the consumption of meat not so much as a way to prevent clogged arteries but rather to prevent global warming.
Interestingly enough, this proclamation was handed down amidst the coldest winter temperatures in years.
If Businessweek insists on being this blatantly honest regarding what we are eating for breakfast, do the editors intend to be as graphically startling as to what transpires in the average abortion clinic or during gay rights parades?
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
In the synopsis, he name drops that the upcoming film features Harry Anderson.
The cinematographer reminds that Anderson, before his descent into obscurity, starred as the judge on the sitcom “Night Court”.
So if the truly sanctified believer is to refrain from these kinds of wordly entertainments, how is anyone in the listening audience even supposed to know what “Night Court” is?
Admittedly, I saw a few episodes of Night Court in my youth.
From what I remember, the comedy was heavy on innuendo,
I will confess I enjoy doubled-meaninged word play a little too enthusiastically at times.
However, I don't host a podcast insinuating that your daughter is going to end up being a lesbian if she's too infatuated from a literary or dramatic standpoint with the world of “Little House On The Prairie” as Generations Radio suggested some years back.
Are we to take away that it is acceptable to watch “Night Court” but we need to repent if we find “Hunger Games” to be an intriguing dystopian projection of the world to come in a few decades?
For this very same director that bragged about casting a former celebrity from “Night Court” insisted that it is not enough for a movie to be family friendly, wholesome, or make valid moral observations.
Rather, to be acceptable, a movie must deliberately push Christianity onto the viewer.
Christiano went on to lament how Christians don't get excited over Christian movies.
Sorry, but I don't plop down $10 for any movie where the characters do little more than sit around crying about their everyday feelings and common disappointments.
To be theater worthy in my opinion, considerable spectacle is needed such as some kind of mass battle, talking animals, robots, superheroes, space aliens, clashing wizards or spies.
Christiano further observed that someone couldn't remember what their pastor preached about a month ago but could recall details about “The Wizard of Oz” despite having not seen it in years.
Before heaping hellfire and damnation upon those that might respond similarly, a number of things need to be taken into consideration.
Firstly, how old are they now compared to when they first saw “The Wizard of Oz”?
So isn't that more of God's responsibility for how He allows the brain to decay overtime where it is often easier to recall things that happened to minutest detail 30 or 40 years ago but you can't for the life of you remember what you had for dinner last night?
Secondly, perhaps the blame should be placed more upon the pastor for lack of showmanship and presentation rather than upon the average Christian for failing to retain the intricate details.
For I am sure the next time that there are flying monkeys and dancing midgets in church that you are going to remember it.
Which brings the discussion to another very important point.
One goes to the movies precisely to see an out of the ordinary spectacle.
That is not the the case necessarily in regards to a church worship service.
Upon further consideration, what is retained from a sermon might not be all that different from what is retained from a film.
For example, unless one sees especially at a young age a particular film over and over again, does anyone really retain much beyond a memory of the basic plot usually?
As I approach middle age, sometimes I find I can't recall what happened the previous week on some of the dramas that I follow quite closely.
Thus, instead of condemning a congregation or group of random Christians if they can't elaborate the specifics of a single sermon, shouldn't the professional clergy be more pleased and concerned that those under their care recall the main points of the comprehensive Christian saga rather than the obtuse actions of a single Old Testament character with a name that defies pronunciation?
Along the lines of this criticism about the moviegoer longing for innovation and spectacle, Christiano lamented how movies never satisfy and people always want to see the next big blockbuster.
Let's apply that presupposition to other aspects of life one would otherwise consider wholesome, admirable, and desirable.
For example, according to this logic, shouldn't it be enough to go to church once and never have to go again to quench one's spiritual thirst?
If one's marriage is truly based upon love and not upon the titillation of fleshly desires, by Christiano's thinking, would a couple need to enjoy carnal relations more than once throughout the course of their entire marital union?
Media spectacle will never replace sermonic exposition as the primary didactic methodology through which concise doctrinal content is transmitted to the believer.
However, it often seems that certain Evangelical factions aren't that interested in making much use of these supplementary media formats to augment the learning experience.
In regards to the upcoming “AD” miniseries, the hosts of one program after remarking just moments before about the tendency of a number of Christians to stay in their own bubble, didn't really give much of a reason to avoid the production other than that its producer Roma Downey is a Roman Catholic with mystical New Age tendencies.
Wouldn't it have been better to wait and see if there are any factual errors in Downey's narrative rather than condemn the production on the basis of whatever errant peculiarities she might gravitate towards in the personal aspects of her devotional life?
After all, most conservative Evangelicals allow the King James Bible to stand on its own merits without the homosexual and Romanist proclivities of the monarch for which this translation of divine revelation is named allowed to detract from its literary, historical, or theological merits.
Like it or not, believers find themselves in a culture surrounded by media.
It is therefore imperative not only to figure out how the media can be used to disseminate the Christian worldview but to also understand where the methodologies of entertainment and the church can diverge from one another without there having to be a spirit of hostility between the distinct purposes of each of these modes of communication.
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, February 13, 2015
A variety of assumptions worthy of additional comment were propagated for public dissemination through a number of Super Bowl commercials.
In one anti-bullying spot, a social engineer instructs the one to be mentally reconditioned to run or fight like a girl.
Upon compliance, the unenlightened male is subjected to Pavlovian denunciation (akin to what one would receive in a prisoner of war camp) over how he has insulted his sister.
Rather than an instructive analysis of preconceived notions, the lesson to be learned from the public service announcement is that, irrespective of whether you comply with or ignore orders issued by a women, you are going to be reamed a new one anyway.
For if the ambushed lad had not been told to run like a girl, he would have not likely perpetrated the offending action.
If producers of this broadcast spot are so outraged about thought crimes regarding gender, it would be interesting to hear their perspective regarding the commercial featuring perennial pottymouth Sarah Silverman.
In that one, she says after delivering a baby to the parents, “Sorry, it's a boy.”
Would such blatant denigration of the female gender be permitted in a similar commercial?
Lastly, what about the Scientology advertisement?
In 2011, Fox rejected a Super Bowl commercial that broadcast the message, “John 3:16, what's that mean?” on the grounds that the message contained too much religious doctrine.
Of course, that is unlike the moral-free content of the constant litany of erectile dysfunction commercials where the term “partner” but never “spouse” is constantly verbalized.
It is certainly instructive that programming executives at NBC had no problem, however, with a commercial for Scientology, which is a cult that believes that human beings are reincarnated space aliens and whose sexfiend founder tried to live aboard a cruise ship in order to elude capture for his assorted crimes.
It is easy to assume that the commercials are a momentary distraction allowing the viewer time for a quick trip to the bathroom or to grab another handful of chips.
However, in those brief 30 second spots, there is a contest underway for minds and at times even souls that is as pitched as any struggle on the gridiron
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, February 6, 2015
A Facebook theologian has commented in agreement with Christian broadcaster Chuck Swindoll that we should never pray for God to take a loved one home to eternity.
It is contended doing so can apparently derail His sovereignty.
Apparently, if we believe that He is sovereign, we should know that He is fully capable of taking us home when He believes that the time has approached.
Isn't that formulation itself an affront to God's sovereignty?
For if God is sovereign in an absolutist sense and the religious thinker not precise in their statements worthy of considerable condemnation as the ultra-Reformed insist, doesn't God KNOW rather than BELIEVE?
In such a theology as being advocated by this Facebook theologian, prayer is not about bringing our requests and concerns to God but rather about formulating statements that we think will make us appear exceedingly pious before certain audiences.
Just how far are we to take the presupposition embodied by this religious postulation under consideration?
If it is wrong to pray for God to mercifully end a life that is suffering, is it just as wrong to pray that God restore life and vitality to a life that He might prefer to draw to a conclusion in this world?
And given that this criticism was posted by someone that is quite vocal in expressing their support of a predestinarian understanding of soteriology so thoroughgoing as to deny any place for human choice and liberty, it must be asked is it a sin to pray for the salvation of a family member that God would rather see slip into Hellfire and damnation?
As justification for this position, the account of Elijah is referenced.
In I Kings 19, while on the run from Ahab and Jezebel, Elijah succumbs to a moment of despair where he declares to the Lord, in verse 4, “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life. I am no better than my ancestors.”
From the Lord's response, apparently unlike Chuck Swindol, the Lord did not find what Elijah asked that much of an outrage.
Instead of chastising Elijah for his despondency, on two occasions the prophet was given a meal so that he might have strength for the journey that was ahead.
Thus, about the only conclusion that can be drawn from Elijah's lamentation that God end his life is that God does not always answer our prayers the way that we would like.
And if He does not, we might find Him lending us assistance in ways that we did not initially expect.
By Frederick Meekins
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Furthermore, it is pointed out, if you retain traditional insurance, you are sending your money to a large corporation rather than assisting fellow believers.
So long as I get the services I contracted for in a satisfactory manner, what do I care if a corporation is large?
The broadcasters claimed that insurance allows for control over people's lives.
Instead, believers would be better off if oversight over medical affairs were transferred to the church.
But what is to prevent the church from exercising increased control over people's lives or from allocating access to healthcare in a preferential manner?
For example, would ecclesiastical medicine be dispersed to the truly ill or to the missionary couple with the saddest sob story with so many children that you can't help bring to mind the old nursery rhyme about the old woman that lived in the shoe?
During the 1990’s, Christian broadcasters would dedicate entire episodes of their programs shilling for a telecommunications provider with the angle that if you remained with these companies you where as complicit with these companies in the part they played in furthering the agendas of pornography and homosexuality.
Despite such grandiose moralizing, the thing was that this service was a pain in the backside to use when you needed it the most.
Do you really want the same thing to happen to you in terms of securing essential medical services?
by Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
The Lutheran seminarian insisted that this symbolically represented the precedence of the spirit over the human tendency to emphasize the body.
The expositor lamented that such a characteristic was the result of the sin nature.
But how is it our fault that the aspect of reality that is the fist to overwhelm our perception on an instinctive level is the physical?
We did not ask to exist as embodied intelligences.
That was part of our original design even in the sinless state.
Unless the demon was cast out first of the person whose body Christ healed and He then had them wait in contemplation for a time before He healed their biological infirmity, isn't this reading too much into the passage?
If one wants to be that attentive to the text, the first miracle in the chapter is actually the bodily healing on the Sabbath of the man with the withered hand.
And what about taking the Four Gospels as a comprehensive totality?
If so, isn't the turning of water into wine at the wedding feast actually thought to be Christ's first miracle?
So do we want to start reading meaning into these as well other than what we are told in the text?
The case could be made that, in terms of a miracle, turning water into wine would appeal more to man's extraneous physical desires than a desire to avoid overwhelming pain and disability.
You make a choice for wine; by design you feel a compulsion to seek the alleviation of pain.
Furthermore, are Lutherans really sure they want to open the door of reading profounder spiritual meaning into the miracles beyond the miracles themselves?
John 2:3 reads, “And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus said unto him, They have no wine.”
Since Christ ultimately relented to her request, why shouldn't we build detailed Christological speculations like one particular denomination does about how Christ's decisions are especially swayed by her contemplative petitions if we are going to read profound truths into something as commonplace as the order in which Christ performed these miracles?
If the definition of God's omniscience is that the Deity knows everything, wouldn't that also include alternative temporal potentialities?
Therefore, isn't it just as valid to conclude that, if Jesus went first to heal Peter's mother-in-law, Christ night not have gotten around to this particular demoniac before this pitied soul's life ended in some convulsive spasm?
Among Bible scholars and theologians, the Gospel of Mark is noted as a summarative action oriented narrative.
Why would there need to be some esoteric reason as to the order in which the events described transpired other than that this was the order in which events “organically” unfolded around Jesus?
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, February 2, 2015
According to the synopsis, Edgar doesn't like company but notices he is followed by a worm. So he tries to get away from the invertebrate.
The summary reads, “Edgar asks for the other animals on the farm to help him, but eventually he realizes he might have been part of the problem all along.”
One cannot comment definitively without having read the story.
However, the question can be raised why does a children's book need to paint those that might prefer to be alone to as if they are defective or some kind of villain?
Will there be a sequel to the story teaching the worm about the impropriety of pushing his affections upon those that don't want them?
Perhaps the text could be titled “Wiggly Worm & The Restraining Order Process Server”.
Some might think that I am reading too much into a children's book.
Eerrdman's has published another storybook by the very same author titled “The Chicken's Build A Wall”.
That book is advertised with the following copy: “At the farm, the chickens are building a wall, convinced that the hedgehog that wandered in must be trouble. But eventually they discover that he might not be as dangerous as they thought.”
Only the most obtuse liberal (of the variety those publishing this propaganda hope children will be indoctrinated into becoming) will refuse to acknowledge the kinds of agendas such a narrative is promoting.
Firstly, just because the first hedgehog is harmless, isn't it just as much an act of unconscionable prejudice to assume that the next hedgehog is just as affable?
Secondly, if the barnyard or however else you want to categorize their enclosure belongs to the chickens, on what grounds are the chickens obligated to allow the hedgehogs to remain there?
And if the flock does allow the one hedgehog to remain there, are the chickens obligated to allow his entire hovel to take up residence in the chicken coop?
Furthermore, if the hedgehog decides to move into the chicken coop, shouldn't the hedgehog learn to cluck like a chicken or will the chickens be required to grunt like a hedgehog?
It must also be taken into consideration how many hedgehogs can be allowed to move onto the farm before the farm begins to more resemble a hedgehog burrow rather than the original barnyard.
And perhaps most importantly, since it seems that the perimeter can be breached by an animal as innocuous (we are assured) as a hedgehog, shouldn't that serve as a warning for those chickens to get that wall erected before creatures of far more nefarious intent such as foxes, wolves, and weasels make their way into the chicken coop?
At that time, will these carnivores form lobbies and activist networks insisting that, since the hedgehog was allowed to take up residence without protest, that they too be allowed to remain even though their intention is to prey upon the chickens and destroy the avian way of life since these species have been in conflict with one another for nearly two millennia?
To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a story can be just a story.
However, when an author or publisher is explicit in conveying didactic propaganda through the medium of a children's narrative, the discerning should not slink back in fear.
It is because such impressionable young minds are potentially on the line that such concerns must be raised with renewed vigor.
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, January 23, 2015
However, in a sense, isn't it better to blow off steam online rather than physically slapping the taste out of the mouths of those that they are ticked off about?
As an example, he referenced those that post about getting shoddy service at Starbucks.
But as expensive as those beverages are, shouldn't you be able to vocalize your dissatisfaction somewhere?
But without complaining, wouldn't a pastor be a bit like a firefighter without a hydrant or something akin to a one armed boxer?
Complaining about things is the bread and butter of the ministry.
A pastor remarked that a status update is nothing more than an attempt to be a star for a moment.
So how is that in essence much different than what a pastor does whenever they ascend the pulpit and do anything other than a rote recitation of the Scriptural text?
A pastor admonished that Facebook friendship does not constitute real friendship.
But still isn't it better than nothing at all for those that do not derive much satisfaction through traditional human interaction or happen to be someone most don't really desire to interact with?
Most of the same information can be conveyed through a variety of posts that would otherwise be collected through means that would be categorized as “human intelligence”.
The pastor attempted to solidify his argument by insisting that Facebook friendships are not Biblical friendships.
But frankly, doesn't any relationship where you do not fornicate with, steal from, or murder the involved party pretty much pass Biblical muster?
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The Catholic News Service has the Pope on record as saying “It's true, one cannot react violently... But...one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”
Such a standard would seem perfectly reasonable in a culture steeped in Christian values.
However, in a profoundly decayed postmodern era, the Pope's recommendation raises more conundrums than his attempt at sage advice actually resolves.
For example, how is insult or making fun of being defined?
Some of depictions of Muhammad (as well as of Christ) published in the French satire magazine no doubt crossed the boundaries of good taste.
However, in this age obsessed with sensitivity to the point where certain agitators can't seem to shake off the sting of an insult after a few hours, the bar as to what constitutes being offended has been shockingly lowered.
For example, there are those that insist it is improper for adherents of one expression of the Christian faith to criticize what are believed to be the doctrinal shortcomings of another.
At the same time, those uplifting such a spirit of ecumenicity in the next breath let loose with a litany of rants against the brand of Christianity adhered to by the person being badgered into acquiescence and silence.
Likewise, what if the legitimate beliefs of a religion compel that religion to act in ways or profess beliefs that are perceived as offensive or insulting to others?
Muslims aren't too keen on the doctrine of the Trinity; is the Pope willing to renounce this foremost Christian fundamental in order to comply with the spirit of the age?
There are some that believe that it is not the place of church functionaries to bar an individual from the elements of Communion or the Lord's Supper.
So what if someone feels slighted by the Roman Catholic Church assiduously monopolizing what adherents of this understanding of Christianity believer are essential ingredients in the liturgical pursuit of salvation?
Likewise, to what extent is the remark “...one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith” to be adhered to?
To some, an insult to faith can be little more than to insist that your doctrine is right and someone else's is wrong.
It must be remembered that when an American hears these sorts of principles, they are more like rules of etiquette in that they are good ideas to aspire to but not all that much will be done to you if you decide to ignore them.
However, when nearly anyone else around the world says these sorts of things, they mean these notions should be imposed as a matter of statutory law with punishments such as fines or incarceration.
It, therefore, must be asked does the Pope stand with those wanting liberty to prevail throughout the world or does he side with those wanting to plunge civilization into an interminable tyranny?
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, January 16, 2015
“The final frontier” --- since the mid 1960’s these words have characterized Star Trek’s perception of the adventure and the discoveries to be found in the distant reaches of outer space. Yet can this vast interstellar ether really be said to be the final frontier in terms of providing an ultimate foundation or purpose? For despite all its wonder, at its core the cosmos is not that much different than ourselves in that its external composition is simply another manifestation or component of the physical universe.
Thus, no matter how far man might one day voyage beyond the confines of the earth, he will still require belief and value systems through which to process and understand the role of the mysteries he is likely to encounter both within the human mind and those external to himself with which he has had little prior experience. Often the fields of science fiction and future studies are used as tools by which to forecast scientific and technological developments. However, in Religion 2101 A.D., Hiley H. Ward shows these speculative methods can be used to gauge the form religion might take in the distant future.
According to Ward, the astounding breakthroughs of the future will force humanity to rethink the most basic of concepts as these will be stretched beyond traditional understandings in light of extraordinary circumstances and conditions. For example, Ward points out that the very concept of what it means to be human might be altered beyond current recognition. With the advent of artificial organs and the possibility of growing replacements in a laboratory, there could come a day when death might be delayed indefinitely.
Many would no doubt embrace existence as a cyborg (an organism half biological and half mechanical in its physiology) if the interchangeability of parts presented the likelihood of staving off the grim reaper as long as possible. Eventually, man might no longer have to endure the inherent limitations of an organic body as range, perception and locomotion could be enhanced by directly interfacing the brain with a computer controlling an array of exploratory robotic sensors (28). In essence, some could live out their lives as a stationary central processing unit while their secondary android bodies simultaneously explored both the depths of the ocean and the peaks of Mars all at the same time.
Ward predicts that these kinds of innovations will spark profound renovations in man’s religious consciousness. Faced with the overwhelming enormity of the universe, man may feel forced to cope with the daunting fruits of this exploration by downplaying his individuality by fully embracing his place as an insignificant cog in a machine. In biological and sociological sciences, this theory is known as “macro life”, the propensity to view the individual in society as analogous to a single cell in an organism (30).
Such a framework places worth and value instead on the overall group as a whole. Ward foresees this prospect taking more concrete expression in the form of a hypothetical spaceship whose command decisions are arrived at by electronically tapping into the thoughts of the crew and melding these divergent consciousnesses into a single imperative authority greater than the sum of the component perspectives. Even though Religion In 2101 AD was published in 1975, this suggestion foreshadowed its fullest development in science fiction in the form of the collective consciousness of the Borg, the cybernetic aliens from Star Trek that perceive themselves as a single entity and who value the individual members of their society as little more than drones. This concept of all taken as a singular mind bears a striking similarity to pantheism in the realm of religious studies.
The diminution of individuality will not necessarily be heralded as a bad thing by those clamoring for its demise if it can be marketed as an elevation in consciousness as an ontological unification with the universal totality. There are few greater ego boosters, after all, than considering oneself God (or at least as some tiny part of the divine intelligence).
Regarding this perception, Ward provides insightful comments from some of science fiction’s most prominent names. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry says, “Man will come to see himself properly as part of God. God is the sum of everything, all intelligence, all order in the universe...It is not inconceivable that as intelligent beings we are part of and ultimately become God, and ultimately create ourselves (Ward 136).” Harlan Ellison, author of I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, adds to this perspective: “I guess I worship man. Each has the seed of God in himself (Ward, 136).”
While the religious philosophy of the future will strive to approach the majesty and wonder of outer realities by turning inward, many adherents of the coming cosmic confession will still feel the traditional need of experiencing the divine through a relationship with or by receiving guidance from what they perceive to be an intelligence or symbol objectively transcendent from themselves. Seldom can man pull himself up by his own metaphysical bootstraps.
But whereas the so-called God of old is seen as standing distinct from His creation but actively sustaining it by His loving hand and revealing His message through angels and prophets and later revealing Himself in the form of His Son Jesus Christ, the God of Tomorrowland will employ different couriers and manifest Himself in ways actually less personable. Erich Von Daniken in Chariots Of The Gods hypothesizes that UFO’s and extraterrestrials may serve as an explanation for the supernatural phenomena occurring in ancient times when these harbingers of universal wisdom appeared bearing enlightenment. Von Daniken does not believe in the traditional conception of a transcendent God. Rather he believes in a God composed of the sum of all knowledge in the universe, of which each individual is an autonomous piece of information akin to a bit within a computer to be reunified into the singular totality once the evolution to a state of pure energy has taken place (Ward, 129).
And speaking of computers, eschatologists might take note of the role of these devices in future religious thought as considered in dramatic speculative literature. One cannot dismiss such claims on the part of the likes of Hal Lindsay or Jack Van Impe as outright exaggeration. In David Gerrold’s When Harlie Was One, the Graphic Omniscient Device (G.O.D.) is a supercomputer capable of solving all problems and answering all questions. In the novel The Fall Of Colossus, Colossus is a computer designed to administer functions on earth and is ultimately deified as part of a new religion. Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling observed, “...with increased dependence of technology, we will find ourselves worshipping at the altar of machines (Ward, 133).”
Ward does an impressive job culling through the religious insights found across an impressive array of objective analytical forecasts and fictional literary accounts. Yet it is in the final chapter where Ward synthesizes the observations found in the preceding study into his own narrative vignette that the reader gets the best feel for where these cultural trends might take humanity in the year 2101 AD. It is at this point the reader becomes most engrossed in the issues under consideration.
In the year 2101, humanity’s major religion is the Church of the Celebration of the Holy World Cosmos whose members are called “Celebrators”. Celebrators strive to embrace all the latest fads in religious thought and philosophy such as panantheism, extraterrestrial wisdom, theories of multiple Christs and avatars, and claim to value harmony and expansive tolerance above all else (Ward, 217).
The Celebrators are opposed by religious traditionalists derisively referred to as “Pewsitters” because of their insistence upon utilizing pews and other ancient religious traditions such as monotheism. The reader would initially suspect the Celebrators to be the heroes of the story since they are depicted as the vanguards of progressivism and enlightenment. However, the church to which they belong is as conniving as the most reactionary of ecclesiastical authorities.
Through an agreement worked out with the government, Celebrators are forbidden from traveling, must be free of political ambitions, and have their minds telepathically scanned to prevent disharmonious thoughts. Pewsitters forced to attend Celebrator services face possible disintegration by a laser beam if they disrupt the proceedings. Despite the facade of technology and innovation surrounding the philosophy of religion underlying much of the science fiction addressing these kinds of questions, man cannot seem to escape his most basic requirements and desires --- no matter how much he might try to suppress them --- regarding his need for a personal God. In Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, God or the “First Speaker” is depicted as a kindly, elderly gentleman who travels the universe helping where he is needed (Ward, 115).
Ward puts his own spin on this concept in his fictional vignette postulating a God dwelling anonymously among humanity as an inconspicuous New York cabbie. Fortunately, the Bible teaches that not only did a loving God come to dwell with men upon the earth in the form of His Son Jesus Christ but that He also provided for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life while He was here through His sacrificial death upon the cross and His resurrection from the dead. If that is not good enough for either the literati of speculative narrative or the mundane realist alike, that is their choice and they must live with the consequences.
When contemplating literary undertakings addressing the philosophy of religion, science fiction with its accompanying connotations of laser guns, rocketships, and creepy aliens does not initially come to mind. However, as Hiley Ward points out in Religion 2101 AD, this particular genre known for stretching the limits of perception can serve as an excellent conceptual mechanism through which to explore intimidating themes of belief we might otherwise be reluctant to approach.
By Frederick Meekins
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The email making the suggestion begins, “Advent is a time when sentimentality and spiritualization reigns. But in more ancient forms of Christianity, Advent was more a season of penitence, not unlike Lent. Today, that call for repentance includes a call for justice.”
Interesting enough. Given the ongoing moral decline these days, at times culture could use a dose of a little more guilt and shame. However, individual repentance as understood by the classical Christian or Evangelical is not exactly what the subversives at TransFORM have in mind.
A beloved Yuletide ballad intones “I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.” The types at TransFORM are such outright leftists that, upon hearing such lyrics, they'd probably rend their garments and flagellate themselves while putting on sackcloth and ashes. For you see, despite likely ranking among the palest of the pale as a result of anemia linked no doubt to their vegan diets, they probably don't like being White very much.
The second paragraph of TransFORM's cheery Christmas greeting reads, “This Advent will unfold against the ongoing protests in Ferguson, the results of the ...grand jury report, the ongoing oppression and ending of life by the triple evils of poverty, militarism, and the ceaseless lynching of Christ through black and brown bodies.”
Thus instead of reflecting upon Christ Himself this Christmas season, He is to be replaced by a new messiah. And unlike the original that offered His forgiveness to all who would ask for it irrespective of color, skin pigmentation is about the only thing those speaking on behalf of this racialist godhead care anything about.
Before presenting yourself or someone else as a new Christ, you had best compare yourself to the original and contemplate how what you are offering measures up or falls short.
For example, Jesus was not walking down the middle of the Appian Way when a Roman charioteer simply heralded Him to admonish Him as to the error of His way. Nor did the Messiah reach inside the chariot to pilfer the broadsword and then proceed to bum rush the centurion.
Those attempting to justify the destruction of property as a form of social protest might attempt to respond by comparing such actions to Christ's passionate expulsion of the moneychangers from the Temple. After all, did He not turn over tables and chase the scoundrels with a knotted chord according to John 2:15?
The Temple was the house of God, a representation of where His Spirit dwelt among the people of Israel. As God incarnate in the form of the only Begotten of the Father, the Temple was Christ's to throw out of the structure whomever it was that displeased Him.
In comparison, those committing acts of vandalism and violent sabotage across the nation possess no such legitimate claim to the property which they have so blatantly destroyed. Those were other people's windows smashed and businesses set ablaze.
In the accounts of the Biblical text, Christ condemned those that had turned His house into a house of merchandise. He did not abscond with a bandit's share of loot under the guise of some grandiose pronouncement regarding social justice with some shiny bling and a pair of Air Jordans.
The direct email appeal reads, “...we are inspired by the intersectional justice displayed by Ferguson October and welcome a variety of visions of justice as part of the conversation.”
Worldview thinking postulates that Christian thought as expounded in the pages of the Bible posits a comprehensive understanding that touches upon all facets of existence. If one tugs at one string, all of the others are affected to the point where the entire system could potentially unravel or collapse. This sounds similar to the concept of intersectional justice.
One of the foremost teachings of the Christian faith is that each individual is responsible for his own actions. Outside influences might prod or tempt the person in a particular direction. However, this does not ultimately excuse the actions that an individual might decide to take.
As such, on what Christian grounds does an individual justify destroying the property of someone not even involved in the particular dispute at hand? These beatniks fancying themselves as intellectual revolutionaries will probably drone on about free market economics deploying police power to impose its hegemony and what not upon the backs of the proletariat. But to be considered working class, wouldn't those rampaging in the streets first actually have to work or at least be willing to hoe their own path in life?
Societies are composed ultimately of individuals. It is these that Christ came into the world to shed His blood for, die, and rise from the dead so that each that would call on His name might receive forgiveness for their sins so that they might enjoy eternal life with Him in Heaven.
It is only by addressing the sin in each of our lives --- irrespective of whether we are White, Black, man woman, police officer or civilian --- that there is any hope of ameliorating the problems of a world marred so horribly by the effects of the Fall. Any group that attempts to hijack these festive yet profound celebrations that commemorate this cosmic saga are more than likely in league with the Father of Lies than the Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords.
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, January 5, 2015
It is more that it could have been better.
The narrative did succeed in creating dramatic interpersonal tension between Moses and Pharaoh by emphasizing the intertwined family relationships of the two characters.
While the film strives to acknowledge in its own way the broad strokes of the Biblical saga, the producers could have done a better job of honoring and adhering to the specifics of the text.
For example, though Aaron is given a supporting role in the story, he tends to look on as Moses haggles with God.
The audience is left to wonder if deity is actually communicating with the prophet or merely a delusion initially induced by a cranial trauma.
Given that the director was Ridley Scott, for all we know the entity manifesting itself in the form of a young boy claiming to be God could have been related to the creatures from the Alien films and alluded to in Prometheus.
With special affects advanced as they are as evidenced in the scenes depicting the assorted plagues, it was a disappointment that there was not a scene depicting the encounter where Aaron's rod consumed the rods of the Egyptian magicians that turned into serpents.
But I guess it was more important to focus on extra-Biblical details like raids on Hittite encampments and characterizing Moses as some kind of guerrilla in the tradition of Che Guevara or Emilio Aguinaldo.
by Frederick Meekins
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
The pastor hypothesizes this is because Christ is our master.
The presupposition is correct but the conclusion the pastor deduces from that principle is at best only partially correct if at all.
It must be point out that, because Christ is our master, no man or government can ever be in the ultimate meaning of that concept.
Pulpit expositors must be exceedingly cautious when making claims such as the thesis around which the sermon under consideration is based.
For what if there is some kind of calamity and ISIS-like insurgents establish something akin to Sharia law somewhere in the United States?
If this doctrinal pronouncement is taken to its logical conclusion, when these savages threaten to kill you and rape your wife, as a Christian brainwashed by such urine deficient sermonizing would you just stand there and do nothing with the glazed over smile of an Oral Roberts back up singer plastered across your face?
And what about in a case not so extreme and out of the realm of the possibility in the dark days in which we live?
For if we really have no rights and are to endure everything that is as what Christ deems us worthy of enduring, on what grounds do you defend yourself or family members against a pastor with “wandering hands”?
Or by enunciating this very concern, have I stumbled upon the reason why this particular theory of jurisprudence is shockingly pervasive among certain extremist elements?
By Frederick Meekins
Sunday, December 21, 2014
It is God's Word that is authoritative over your life.
The pastor is simply one voice among many to assist in coming to an understanding of that particular text.
The minister's expositions are only authoritative or binding in those areas where the Scriptures speak definitively.
The pastor should be respected and listened to while in the pulpit if you decide to remain in the congregation where he is preaching in terms of refraining from audible disturbances being enunciated upon hearing something over which you have disagreement.
However, in regards to those issues where they can be a variety of opinion among Christians of similar piety and doctrinal propriety, you are the one that has the final say as to what goes on in your own home and life beyond the church meeting house.
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
One might think such a concern expressed would be about military resources diverted to what essentially amounts to frivolous entertainment or the result of upon additional reflection realizing that, if the military industrial complex is willing to go along with such a low-grade deception, what other things might the American people be being told less than the truth about.
However, a leftwing front group known as the Campaign For A Commercial Free Childhood denounced the violence and militarism promoted on a NORAD Santa-themed website depicting Old St. Nick's sleigh piloted by eight tiny reindeer being escorted by two fighter jets.
This response is wrong on a number of levels.
First is the name of the racket raising the ruckus.
Why should a Commercial Free Childhood be construed as a positive thing?
In many respects, commercialism and commercializing has been beneficial for all parties involved . Such transactions should not be looked at as necessarily bad.
Through commercialism, the manufacturer is able to produce a product that is needed or (in the case of most Christmas presents) desired in exchange for profit. Parents, in turn, are able to bring a degree of happiness and joy into the lives of their children on Christmas morning.
Granted, there are times that commercial transactions can get out of hand and begin to encroach upon or crowd out other considerations. But does that mean we abolish the free market or capitalist system as a result?
Such a question must be raised especially in light of the alternatives. It is interesting how radical activists aren't quite as eager to denounce the shortcomings of economic systems other than unbridled commerce.
Does an outfit like the Campaign For A Commercial Free Childhood honestly think it could exist in a milieu other than the technologically advanced West?
If the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood prefers a statist command economy where resource allocation is not made by an incomprehensible number of uncoerced choices but rather by a panel of credentialed experts thinking that they know more about the wants and needs of the individuals that make up the masses that such technocrats claim to be acting on behalf of, they need to realize that troublemakers such as themselves questioning the underlying assumptions of the regime in such an outright manner are either not allocated their ration for failing to comply with the objectives of the COMMUNITY or outright eliminated for undermining the authority of the hegemon.
The other alternative to both the advanced commercialist or command economy models would be one based more on simple barter or self sufficiency. To those that have never been forced to live in such a world, that particular way of life might seem idealized or even romantic.
However, such an existence is hardly the picture postcard it is easy to construe it to be from a distance. In such a setting, many of the luxuries and even many of the now easily-obtainable necessities that we enjoy would not be available or so scarce that access to them would be restricted to all but those with a level of wealth and power far beyond that of the ordinary.
Often, the sensitive can be troubled by the emphasis upon the material or physical that seems to characterize societies and civilizations that have advanced to at least an industrial level. It is only within a context where the basic biological needs of a high percentage of the population are met in an expedient or efficient manner that a sufficient number are allowed the luxury to reflect upon whether or not childhood (a period of life which itself wasn't given much consideration before the expansion of the mass society activists in these kinds of groups have made it their mission to denigrate and undermine) has become overly commercialized.
In a simple barter or self-sufficiency economy, the crank employed by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, in the best circumstances, wouldn't have the time necessary to contemplate abstractions such as militarism. Nearly all of one's attention and working hours would be devoted to cultivating and crafting on one's own the bare necessities of life if these are even available.
More than likely, those drawn to these kinds of non-profit associations that don't really do anything useful (or little of anything beyond pining for a world that would result in widespread destitution and ruination if it existed anywhere other than in the imaginations of the deluded) wouldn't survive for very long.
If the beatniks at the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood are clueless regarding the operation of a viable economy, they are downright dangerous when it comes to defense policy.
The specific complaint of the organization was that the animated sequence of Santa escorted by fighter jets promotes violence and militarism. Mind you, it wasn't like Santa was blown to smithereens for violating North American airspace.
Even more disturbing and unsettling was the extent to which the military went to placate the peaceniks in regards to this outreach effort.
The NORAD spokesman answering the press inquiry went out of his way to point out that the jet fighters depicted in the video weren't only unarmed but that they were Canadian rather than American. Nothing shouts surrender monkey this side of France louder than an unarmed Canadian.
A nation's future is determined in part by the values it instills in its youth regarding certain essential social institutions such as family, work, and the military. In terrorist nations of the Middle East, a Mickey Mouse knock-off indoctrinates toddlers regarding the need to exterminate Jews and Christians while extolling the glories of dieing a mangled death on behalf of the tribal deity. We, on the other hand, become unhinged now should a child merely see the image of an armed airplane.
By Frederick Meekins
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Actor turned evangelist Kirk Cameron may be becoming personally acquainted with that classic truism.
Merging these divergent vocations, Cameron has produced a documentary examining the Christian origins or at least basis of Christmas.
Surprisingly, some of the harshest criticisms are not coming from the militant secularists or even outright atheists but rather from Cameron's fellow believers.
Cameron is coming under condemnation for including in his film a segment on Santa Claus being inspired by Bishop Nicholas of Myra.
It is from this figure that the legend of St. Nicholas is derived.
But instead of commending Cameron for highlighting little known facts of church history, according to ChristianNews.net, Mike Gerndon of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries is peeved that Cameron kept his presentation on an ecumenical level and did not go all Jack Chick in exposing the jolly red elf's Roman Catholicism.
The evangelist is quoted as saying in an article posted 11/12/14. “The fact that the Roman Catholic Church made Nicholas a saint should be a red flag to anyone who knows only God can convert sinners to saints by the sovereign work of His Spirit.”
Does it really matter if Nicholas was Roman Catholic or not?
It's not like there were many other churches to pick from in his time if one wanted to express one's religious faith in terms of an orthodox Biblical theology.
However, for Gerndon, even getting his rear this high up on his shoulders is not enough.
His joy this time of year seems to be derived apparently by attempting to ruin every one else's holiday season.
Gerndon continued, “Born again Christians should not be joining Roman Catholics in any spiritual...activity. Paul called on us to remain separate from the unbeliever. When people say 'Merry Christmas'....They are mixing the holy name of Christ with a pagan holiday and a blasphemous representation of Christ on an altar.”
Like many other conceptual formulations, Christmas is imbued with the meaning that we put into it.
By saying “Thursday” or “Saturday”, are fundamental Evangelicals rendering homage to the pagan deities for which those particular days are named?
Scripture urges to call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.
At no time is salvation dependent upon how vehemently one opposes those historic points and personalities where this particular understanding of the faith intersects with another with which it is at times at distinctive variance.
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, November 17, 2014
In particular, one such condemnation intoned that from this alteration in commercial operational policy that America is an evil nation worthy of God's judgment.
So because Walmart was either open on Thanksgiving or opened their doors later that evening, nuclear destruction and annihilation or something comparable should rain down across the nation. That is, of course, what is usually meant by the euphemism of “God's judgment”.
To justify this hardline response to opening stores on Thanksgiving beyond simply frowning upon the decision to actively wanting to see lives ruined because of it, Biblical prohibitions regarding the Sabbath are often invoked.
The intentions might possess a nobility in that these sentiments attempt to construe all of reality through the light of God's word and theology derived from it. However, in terms of religious jurisprudence, the position falls a bit short in terms of serving as a platform upon which one can stand to look righteous in calling for blatant ruination and upheaval.
God no doubt delights when His children offer up gratitude for what He has provided and is angered when this appreciation is not evident. However, it does not follow that one cannot express gratitude in a scheduled ritualized manner prior to engaging in orderly commerce later that same day.
One might even claim that God does not really care one way or another to a great degree about the statutory observance of Thanksgiving Day. It may come as a surprise, but there is nothing found within the pages of the canon of Scripture demanding the observance be commemorated a particular Thursday in November.
It must also be asked to what extent do those enforcing Thanksgiving Day under the Mosaic regulations upholding the Sabbath want these punishments and prohibitions enforced? From Exodus 20:9-11, it is learned that the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. Jehovah is quite explicit about this.
In our system of chronometric tabulation, Saturday is the Sabbath. What the vast majority of Christians celebrate each Sunday (especially in the morning) is technically not the Sabbath but rather the Lord's Day to commemorate the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
These have been conflated in the minds of many, especially those under the sway of a strict legalism. However, these days are not the same.
So are those demanding compulsory observance of the Sabbath willing to turn themselves over for execution should they find themselves violating the extensive prohibitions regulating the day? For according to Exodus 31:14, that is the stipulated punishment for those failing to observe the Sabbath of the seventh day if such a regulation still applies beyond Deuteronomical Israel.
When those attending compulsory Sabbath observations return home, do they intend to walk rather than operate a vehicle? For that is the extent to which the most observant Orthodox Jews adhere to the exactness of that divine decree. Senator Joseph Lieberman would not even place his own subway fair card into the electronic ticket-taker.
Furthermore, do those deliberating to make such a chore of relaxation intend to only eat leftovers from the night before or unheated prepackaged foods? Because if the true believing Christian must abide by every Biblical decree in excruciating detail for fear of befalling God's indignation, the preparation of consumables is forbidden as well.
Those more interested in ruining everyone else's celebration rather than simply maximizing their own will respond that simply pointing out what is said plainly in certain passages of Scripture downplayed as a result of those advocating them not wanting a greater majority of Christians to grapple with what is being said actually obscures the greater truth of the principle that is being conveyed. Fair enough.
If not for the principles conveyed by God to the Hebrew forefathers of the need for rest and reflection, mankind might have never comprehended the need for a work environment beneficial for all sides of the economic transaction. Before this revelation, for the most part laborers were little more than fodder to be worked until they dropped and quickly discarded.
However, are those insisting up a slavish adherence to the letter of the law really getting that point across when their homiletical formulations cause the listeners to stop and wonder if what really gets the motors of these scriptural exegetes running is rather body counts, the destruction of property, and overall social upheaval. For are not these in some form or another what is meant by the phrase “God's judgment”?
In these times of widespread debauchery and systematic subversion of Western culture, one usually tries to distance oneself from feminist critiques and condemnation of traditional religion. However, if one desires to be an honest observer of the human condition, one is forced to admit that only a man sitting back with his feet propped up would construe Thanksgiving Day as a Sabbath free from labor.
On the classic sitcom “Home Improvement” starring Tim Allen, one of the wittiest lines ever uttered on the series was verbalized when his sidekick Al Borlin quipped that dinner does not make itself. The remark was very similar to an observation made by my own mother.
If a man fails to realize that Thanksgiving is not some magical occasion where one of the most delicious dinners of the year just sprouts fully formed on the table in a manner akin to manna from Heaven, it is most likely that a woman in either the form of a wife, mother or even unwed concubine has spent much of the day laboring away in preparation.
Interestingly, those often complaining the loudest about the growing irreverence with which the day is treated are not absent from the kitchen because they are given over to the higher spiritual pursuits such as prayer, Bible study, or theological contemplation. Instead, they are plopped in an easy chair or on the sofa watching the most typical of entertainments. And I am not talking about the Westminster Kennel Club but rather NFL football.
The conspicuously religious claim that they are opposed to retailers being opened on Thanksgiving because their delicate consciences are disturbed by something so crass and base as mere commerce being transacted on such a solemn occasion. Then why do they have their peepers glued to the boob tube?
It is quite instructive that this contempt for free market exchange is limited to when it is engaged in by the laboring and servile classes. For the last time I checked, it is doubtful that the players, assorted team personnel, or the media conglomerates were putting on a complimentary exhibition game.
No doubt, millions upon millions of dollars exchange hands to orchestrate whatever number of games take place on this particular day. I am not really aware of the exact number. I usually watch the dog show while eating canned pasta just so I can say I had spaghetti for Thanksgiving.
So why are those deciding to go shopping on Thanksgiving more worthy of having death and misery inflicted upon them more so than those instead either attending the football game or even watching the event on television? Confronted so boldly about what it is that they are advocating, those previously enunciating a desire to see God's wrath dispensed over something as commonplace as going to the mall might attempt to linguistically backpedal by claiming that, in their call for judgment, they did not mean to wish misery or death upon those participating in a disputed activity or behavior.
I've pretty much been in or around Christian circles my entire life even if I don't feel welcomed within them entirely. The phrase “God's judgment” rarely has connotation other than that of sorrow and lamentation unless in rare instances where one is referencing the rewards that will be bestowed upon the believer for the good deeds they did honoring to Christ.
Furthermore, in the vast majority of instances, it's not like those participating one way or the other were prevented from enjoying the primary festivities of the Thanksgiving celebration or were not duly compensated in some manner.
For example, though likely not a universal beneficence bestowed on all employees, most laboring to make the sales happen were probably paid some kind of overtime. If not, such personnel were probably not compelled to work beyond their normal allotment of hours for that particular week. As such, they were payed with their scheduled adjusted to be off at another time.
Of even less moral concern ought to be the ones deciding to participate in these sales events on the consumer side of the transaction. For example, many of these sales were designated to commence well after the customary dinner hour.
As such, by that point in the evening, most would have already cogitated upon whatever thoughts of gratitude would have otherwise fired within their respective synapses. Most are in a turkey-induced catatonia, bloated and passing intestinal gas as they glare in a stupor into the television.
Interestingly, if we are raising the opposition to the opening of retailers on Thanksgiving to the level of Biblical law worthy of incurring divine retribution for violating, it must be pointed out that the commencement of these sales technically aren't even occurring on Thanksgiving. In the context of Hebrew culture and religious jurisprudence, the rendering of the day is not determined from midnight to midnight as occurs in the contemporary system. The day is instead rendered from sundown to sundown.
If one wants to be a stickler to Biblical detail, it must be noted that many of these Thanksgiving sales often commence well after dark. Therefore, under Sabbath prohibitions, it is no more immoral to shop from the disputed 8 to 11:59 PM than it would be during the 8 to 11:59 AM period Black Friday morning.
Those wanting to impose the Old Testament as binding civil legislation insist such must be done because God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. So if Americans deserve nuclear annihilation, plague, or whatever manifestation of the Apocalypse tickles your particular eschatological fancy for simply going to the store on Thanksgiving, should our nation also be destroyed for altering the method of rendering the days in compliance with the interpretative principle just enunciated?
It can indeed be upsetting to see what one perceives as our culture moving away from Godly foundations. However, enunciating a desire to see lives ruined and destroyed for such is probably a greater violation of explicit Biblical imperatives (such as the careful invocation of judgment) than the modification of a practice that (though commendable and worthy of continuation) is more of an interpretive application of the divine imperatives to begin with.
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
That might provide a degree of comfort if one's biological family is urging one to engage in blatantly anti-Biblical behavior.
However, such a grandiose sentiment itself needs to be circumscribed by carefully delineated boundaries.
You will always have a higher priority to those through whom you came into the world.
There is something downright shameful regarding some of these missionaries that will willingly die on behalf of the Pygmies in the African bush but hardly give a second thought to their aging parents here in America.
In classical Christian thought, this is the idea of subsidiarity, that your most profound obligations are to those closest to you.
Secondly, by insisting that a more profound loyalty is owed to one's church family than one's biological family can expose the gullible to a shocking litany of potential abuse on the part of church leaders.
For Jim Jones will live in infamy for conditioning numerous followers to place obedience to church structure over the well being of spouses and children, with the coercion and manipulation he subjected them to in the isolation of the jungle ending with hundreds dead.
It is a shame that a sermon purporting to admonish the need for the Christian to heed the lessons of history failed to take into account one of the twentieth century's most profound.
By Frederick Meekins