Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Atheists Understand Christianity Better Than Most Christians

From Crosswalk Religious News Summary:

A new Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey shows that if atheists and agnostics know Christian doctrine better than many Christians, according to the Los Angeles Times. For instance, four in 10 Catholics incorrectly described the bread and wine in Holy Communion as only a symbol of the body and blood of Christ, while atheists were more likely to say the elements become actual body and blood. The reason for this surprise finding may be that atheists and agnostics "are people who thought a lot about religion," said Alan Cooperman, associate director for research at the Pew Forum. "They're not indifferent. They care about it." Stephen Prothero, a professor of religion at Boston University, added, "I think in general the survey confirms what I argued in the book, which is that we know almost nothing about our own religions and even less about the religions of other people," he said.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Worldwide Rejection of Burning Qur'ans

A German congregation founded by the Florida preacher who has sparked global controversy with plans to burn Korans on 9/11 says it has had nothing to do with the preacher since 2008, denouncing him as "violent and fanatical." Religion News Service reports that the Christian Community of Cologne, which the Rev. Terry Jones formed in the 1980s, ousted the pastor over financial irregularities and personality clashes. Meanwhile, Vatican officials added their voice to the growing number of leaders denouncing the plan, calling it "an outrageous and grave gesture against a book considered sacred by a religious community." Similarly, Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land said the burning of the Koran is "appalling" and does not represent the teachings of Christ.

The overall Christian rejection of the plan to burn Qur'ans on Sept 11 is probably the best thing to happen to Muslim/Christian relations. It is wonderful to see Christians reject the prejudice and anger-inducing threats of Terry Jones.

We need to remember to be tolerant, accept everyone and to allow God to do the judging. Praise God that the church in general is deciding to do that this time. It makes for a nice change.

Everybody Pray for Christopher Hitchens

Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day-- Sept 20

Christopher Hitchens, who's book "God is Not Great" had throat cancer and it has been suggested by Christians that we should pray for his healing on Sept 20.

Atheist Christopher Hitchens, who suffers from esophageal cancer, says he would be happy if Christians didn't follow through with "Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day" on Sept. 20. In Vanity Fair's October issue, he writes, "I don't mean to be churlish about any kind intentions, but when September 20 comes, please do not trouble deaf heaven with your bootless cries." He added, "Unless, of course, it makes you feel better." Hitchens, author of the New York Times bestseller God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, says he appreciates the sentiment behind people's prayers, but certainly doesn't believe their prayers will have effect. "[W]hat if I pulled through and the pious faction contentedly claimed that their prayers had been answered? That would somehow be irritating," he writes.

Perhaps, however, it would give him a pause if all of his symptoms disappeared on Sept 20 and he was completely healed. If he is actually a reasoned creature, as he proclaims, a clear, personal miracle may be what he needs.

Pray for Christopher Hitchens!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Should our Language of God be Gender-Neutral?

UK Daily Mail reports that the Scottish Episcopal Church has caused controversy by removing masculine references to God in a new order of service. The new liturgy and worship forms with more "inclusive" language are an attempt to acknowledge that God is "beyond human gender." Not every church, however, will be using the new form -- only those who have difficulty with a male God. To that end, words such as 'Lord, he, his, him' have been removed; 'mankind' has been replaced with "world" in most instances. Traditionalists have criticized the changes on the grounds that they smack of political correctness and because they believe they are not consistent with the teachings of the Bible. The church's Liturgy Committee produced the new form in consultation with the Faith & Order Board of General Synod and the College of Bishops.

While it is true that God is beyond human gender-- both male and female were created in God's image-- the Biblical language of God is always male? C.S. Lewis, in That Hideous Strength, says that God is always the male and we are always the female. Which is to say, God is always the forceful one, we the passive. That sounds offensive to feminists, and so it should. Women are not necessarily passive. For this reason the language of God being male might be offensive to some.

However, just on a biological level, we need to recognize that the male is more aggressive, more apt to be forceful. This is hormonal, not cultural. And the Bible teaches that it is God who goes to war for us, it is God who is aggressive for us, so that we do not have to be. In some ways, for us males, God castrates us. He forces us to surrender our maleness and give it up to Him, allowing him to be the Alpha male.

For this reason, I think it is good to keep the traditional language. To recognize God in the traditional male role, giving us the freedom to remain submissive to Him.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Anawim Newsletter!

We have e-published our first Anawim newsletter. If you have not received it in your email and you WANT to receive it, please send me your email address and I'll get it to you right away.

My email address is:

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Religion and Wealth

Those who need God more seek Him more. Those who are "self-sufficient" don't bother with God except superficially.

An article by Religious News Summaries:

Recently released data by Gallup reveals that religion plays a greater role in the daily lives of people in poor countries than those living in wealthy countries. Christian Today reports that 84 percent of adults in 114 countries say religion is an important part of their daily lives. In countries where per-capita income hovers under $2,000, that figure jumps to 95 percent of people. The percentage plummets in more wealthy nations. In countries where average per-capita income is above $25,000, just 47 percent of people say religion is important to their daily lives. In the United States, 65 percent of people said religion is important to their daily lives. In Estonia, only 16 percent of those surveyed agreed. Gallup said the survey results could indicate that religions plays a "more functional role" in poor countries by "helping many residents cope with a daily struggle to provide for themselves and their families."