"I have to share how happy I am to have found this page. I am a pastor's daughter, from birth and still on going. A very fundamentalist, Republican, very strict pastor. I was brain washed my whole life, until I was about 19 and started figuring out things for myself. THANK YOU FOR THIS PAGE, FOR THIS GROUP. I feel like My God, My Jesus, is loving. I have such different values and beliefs than most other Christians I know, that I can't even go to church in Oklahoma, because the rants about homosexuality make me sick. I've actually walked out of "sermons" because of this. Almost no one I know agrees with me, and, I struggle with a lot of issues that are very clear in the Bible. (I don't believe that homosexuality is one of those issues - I'm talking about my struggle to believe that there truly is a Hell. I hope no one hates me on here after this statement. I've never publicly said this before.) It's caused me a lot heartache, guilt, and disagreements over the years, but finally God revealed to me that He loves me the way that I am. And, I think the real issue is, What Would Jesus Do? That's all I want to do. So, again, this page is a blessing. It's so wonderful to know that I'm not the only one, and that others believe the way I do, and they know God is alright with them, too. Thank you so much. You have no idea what an impact this has had on me... ♥" -- Naomi Janelle Slack, member of The Christian Left
“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness....No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
-- John Donne, Meditation XVII
No man is an island. No person achieves success in this country without great cooperation from society at large. Those who have managed to achieve a comfortable life have immeasurably utilized that which was provided by the public, from education, to roads, to laws, to police services, and a 100 other things. They've also taken full advantage of the commons, which the public pays to maintain, by laws or otherwise. Some have even abused the commons.
Being industrious is certainly a good thing, but rugged individualism is a selfish delusion. No one achieved a successful life without the help and cooperation of many others in society. They also used public resources all along the way.
For many who have achieved success, it seems now that they don't want to give back to the system that made them what they are. "It's not the Government's job to give a hand up to people in need," they say. "Why should I pay my hard earned money out in taxes to help people who didn't earn it?"
Do you see the frightening hypocrisy in this attitude? It's mind numbing.
Both the Old and New Testaments stress the importance of government for protection and for maintaining order.
In the Bible, kings or other rulers were expected to rule with wisdom and justice. The Old Testament contains story after story of wicked, greedy and oppressive rulers who brought disaster on themselves and their people. Many of the Old Testament prophets, such as Elijah, Elisha and Daniel, delivered their messages of reform to Israel's kings.
Those of us who live under democracy elect our own "rulers." Our votes decide whether our government will be benevolent and just or harsh and oppressive. Our government is "We The People." Our government is us. The Bible's advice and reproaches to the ancient rulers provide us wisdom to help us make wise choices in our own times.
A recurring theme in the Bible is that we should provide equal justice for all, not favoring the rich or powerful. Also, because all the peoples of the world are God's creation, we should not discriminate against foreigners:
He who oppresses the poor reproaches his maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him. (NAS, Proverbs 14:31)
Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (TNIV, Exodus 23:6-9)
Woe to those who enact evil statutes, and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, So as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of My people of their rights, in order that widows may be their spoil, and that they may plunder the orphans. Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth? (NAS, Isaiah 10:1-3)
The Bible often speaks of charity as an individual-to-individual act of generosity. The law of Moses and the Hebrews, though, provided an institutional way of providing for the poor that did not depend on the good will of any individual. Not only was individual generosity encouraged, but, as a matter of law, part of everyone's produce or income was to be set aside to aid the poor:
"And you shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. (NAS, Exodus 23:10-11)
"When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns, and be satisfied. (NAS, Deuteronomy 26:12)
Let's also recall the celebrated story of Joseph, son of Jacob:
Genesis 41:25-42: And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one. God hath shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years: the dreams are one. And the seven thin and illfavored cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: what God is about to do He showeth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt. And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine shall consume the land. And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following, for it shall be very grievous. And for that the dream was repeated unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh seek out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint overseers over the land, and take up a fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store for the land against the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land perish not through the famine." And the counsel was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, "Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?" And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, "Inasmuch as God hath shown thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled. Only in the throne will I be greater than thou." And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, "See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt." And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.
In above story of Joseph, "The Government" set aside the bounties of 7 years of plenty to be "redistributed" during 7 years of famine. Enough said?
One doesn't have to dig very deep to learn the spoken sentiments of Jesus related to these matters:
Matthew 25:31-46: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
The ancient Hebrews lived in extended families or clans and could generally take care of their own. In modern industrial societies, though, families are often fragmented and many have nowhere to turn except to "The Government," which is really "We The People." In Jeremiah 22, when the prophet delivers a scorching sermon about the treatment of workers, aliens and the poor, he specifically addresses both rulers (government) AND individuals.?
Judgment Against Evil Kings
1 This is what the LORD says: "Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there: 2 'Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, you who sit on David's throne—you, your officials and your people who come through these gates. 3 This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. 5 But if you do not obey these commands, declares the LORD, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.' " ?
13 "Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his countrymen work for nothing, not paying them for their labor.
14 He says, 'I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms.' So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar and decorates it in red.
15 "Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him.
16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" declares the LORD.
17 "But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion."
Everyone, both rich and poor, benefits when a government respects the rights of all and provides for the needy. Crime and drug abuse breed in areas of poverty and unemployment, where people may feel they have nothing to lose. Likewise, apathy and violence breed where people perceive injustice and feel excluded from the benefits of society. To the extent every individual feels empowered as a valuable, productive member of society, then society becomes healthier and more secure for everyone.
Amos 5: 11-12 You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
Courts? That would be "Government."
In the end Jesus' commands to love and care for others were given as universals, without exempting any human organizations or institutions. All human institutions, governments and businesses included, are responsible to care for others --- especially since individual or private charity can never be or do enough.
(Post submitted by Charles Toy who is a founding member of The Christian Left and a Featured Blogger).
Copyright © by Cliff Leitch
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Comment of The Week from our Facebook Page
I had no Idea this existed! Praise be to GOD. I found myself a lonely christian, without church. Trying to live my life as Jesus did. with LOVE. Helping, giving without expecting anything in return and without judging. I have friends of all races, religions, creeds, genders and sexual preferences. This does not stop me from loving or helping them, as it should not. Until now, have found no one really on the same page. Every christian I encounter worries themselves about trivial matters, such as gay marriage and it seems many of them are quite abusive and judgmental of our fellow men. I find this wrong. Jesus taught us better than that. We are commanded to love. I believe that the only way to bring others to Christ is not by forcing our beliefs on others, (not unlike the crusades) but to show people God's love by how we treat the rest of mankind and how we live our lives. I found no relief in the churches around or mainstream Christian beliefs. Because how everyone acts and what they expect and focus on are far different from what Jesus commanded us to do. I love this site! Thank GOD for all of you. I feel so relieved and not alone. I preach love and acceptance and now I feel accepted too ♥ -- Alita Mautz, member of The Christian Left
Are Joel Osteen and other purveyors of the 'prosperity gospel' false prophets? Those are pretty harsh words. I like to give folks the benefit of the doubt. Are they a bit misled? Very likely so.
What the prosperity gospel implies is that wealthy people are blessed and there’s something wrong with poor people in God’s eyes. "The poor deserve what they have," some would say. This is a lie from the pit of hell.
It is written in Mark 10:17-25 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Does this mean all rich people are going to hell? No. It is also written in Mark 10, verses 26 and 27: "That set the disciples back on their heels. ‘Then who has any chance at all?’ they asked. Jesus was blunt: ‘No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.'"
There were many "Saints" in the Bible who could be described as being wealthy. Joseph of Arimathea was one.
Does the Lord want to bless his people? Of course he does. Are blessings always material? Nope. Are we on dangerous spiritual ground when we start thinking the disadvantaged are out of favor with God? Very much so.
Let us not be too hard on Brother Joel. The Disciples themselves were often misled in their own thinking. Jesus had to correct them frequently.
In January 2002, Bill O’Reilly said, "Jesus would have demanded that the homeless people shape themselves up or else, because, we all know the passage 'The Lord helps those who help themselves.'"
Actually Bill, I don’t know that passage. It isn’t in the Bible, anywhere.
And please, spare me "the poor will always be among you." Many people use this statement as an excuse for their own greed and self importance. Jesus didn't mean for it to be taken that way, at all. All of his other statements confirm this.
Chickenhawk is a political epithet used in the United States criticize somebody who strongly supports a war or other military action (i.e., a War Hawk), yet who actively avoided military service when of age. The term is meant to indicate that the person in question is cowardly or hypocritical for personally avoiding combat in the past while advocating that others go to war in the present. Generally, the implication is that "chickenhawks" lack the experience, judgment, or moral standing to make decisions about going to war. The term is not applied to those who avoided military service without subsequently adopting a hawkish political outlook.
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney: King of the Chickenhawks
Ted Nugent: He claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last 10 days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment.
Mitt Romney: He claimed that he was a minister of religion to get out of Vietnam. He went to be a missionary in France.
George W. Bush: He was flying planes in the middle of the country not in Vietnam, which he brags about, which is sad and pathetic.
Rush Limbaugh: Had a Pilonidal cyst on his ass which is true, and he used that to get out of Vietnam and said that he couldn't sit on it, and now he sits on his ass for a living.
Dick Cheney: This guy had five deferments. He said that "I had other priorities in the '60s than military service." Really? People were killed in war and this guy had other priorities?
Newt Gingrich: Choosing to obtain deferments granted to college students and fathers, Gingrich did not enlist in the military, and was not drafted during the Vietnam War. He expressed some regret about that decision in 1985, saying, "Given everything I believe in, a large part of me thinks I should have gone over." He stayed in college longer to get out of Vietnam.
Tom Delay: Said that he couldn't go to Vietnam because the minorities took his spot? Really?
Henry Kissinger: Kissinger's take on our brave men and women in uniform? "Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." -- Henry Kissinger, as quoted in "The Final Days" by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in chapter 14. Page 194 in the paperback version (1995). Kissinger has never denied saying it.
Chickenhawk Bios by Cesar Perez, member of The Christian Left
~ Jean-Paul Sartre
Jesus' commands to love and care for others were given as universals, without exempting any human organizations or institutions. All human institutions, governments and businesses included, are responsible to care for others --- especially since individual or private charity can never be or do enough.
I created and wrote this list after reading this article from "Soulforce" a while back. I've saved this list on my computer for use in response to right-wing bigots who often condemn homosexuality by misusing the Bible in order to support their own hatred. Here it is:
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE BIBLE AND HOMOSEXUALITY:
1.) Leviticus is an ancient Jewish cleanliness code, and does not apply to Christians. It only applies to observant, orthodox Jews. It also bans shellfish, football on Saturdays, sleeping with a woman who's on her period, and mixing fabrics.
2.) Sodom was destroyed for inhospitality and its maltreatment of the poor. Not because of homosexuality. The crime in Sodom was attempted rape -- not homosexuality.
3.) The Ten Commandments say NOTHING about homosexuality.
4.) Jesus says NOTHING about homosexuality.
5.) NO PART of the Bible mentions homosexuality AS WE KNOW IT TODAY!
6.) Paul, in writing to the Romans, was upset because people were using Temples for orgies -- NOT because of the TYPE of orgies or the TYPE of sex which was occurring.
7.) Even Christians believe that sex is for MORE than just procreation. It is a HUMAN way of expressing love, affection, and desire.
8.) The word, "homosexuality", did NOT even exist at the time the Bible was written.
9.) The current-day versions of the Bible CANNOT be taken literally because there are SO many versions and SO many interpretations of it. The Bible must be INTERPRETED and read, prayerfully and thoughtfully ... NOT literally.
10.) In short, the BIBLE and JESUS do NOT condemn the loving act of homosexuality, when it occurs in a non-exploitative way, between two consenting adults, who are not related by blood.
11.) GRAB A CLUE!
Graham Bengen -- Member of The Christian Left
For the most scholarly, the most authoritative, and the most entertaining theological essay out there on the Bible and homosexuality check out "Clobbering 'Biblical' Gay Bashing," by Rev. Mark Sandlin
11 Then the LORD said to Moses, 12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 so that another man has sexual relations with her, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure— 15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.
16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the LORD. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the LORD, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the LORD cause you to become a curse[d] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”
“‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”
'Abortion' is far from a 'cut and dry' issue in the Bible. Jesus said nothing about abortion. Nothing. If it was such a big important sin, you would think he would've at least mentioned it. The bottom line is that the political and religious right have used the abortion debate as a cash cow and a rallying point for the rest of their policies of death. We're not falling for it any longer. Neither should you.
For further reading, check out The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, "Perspectives."
Also, be sure and read our comprehensive piece on the topic: Life is a mystery ...
Agnosticism: While not really a "theism" in its suffix, it is still in this category because this is a doctrine that affirms to the uncertainty of all claims to ultimate knowledge or higher powers. Basically, an "I don't know" type of situation; an Agnostic is on the fence about higher deities. There may or may not be a Supreme Being but no one can prove it either way as of yet.
Allotheism: this is the belief or worship of strange Gods. However, what is strange to one person may be normal to another. To define oneself as believing in allotheism would indeed be strange, this is most likely a term applied to someone else when their Gods are not understood.
Animism: This is a belief that all natural things (objects, phenomena, and the universe itself) have souls or a spirit. It is also the belief in spiritual beings or agencies or a doctrine that the soul is the principle to health and life.
Atheism: the prefix means "non" in this case (think asexual) and means a disbelief in any supreme beings or any form of God.
Deism: this is best explained as either a belief in a God based on the evidence of reason or nature with rejection of supernatural evaluation. It may also mean a belief that God (s) exist but that they don't take part of our lives or that they created the world but are now indifferent to it.
Ditheism, Duo-theism or Bitheism: Di, Duo or Bi, meaning two, is the belief that there are two Gods of equal power such as in the religion known as Wicca that believes in male and female, known as the God and Goddess or Lord and Lady. Ditheism can also be said to be a belief in two antagonistic forces such as an inherently "good" God and an inherently "bad" God. By this definition Christianity could be considered Ditheistic with its beliefs in Satan and God rather than as a monotheistic religion.
Note: Duo-theism is used incorrectly, it is not a real word and the closest word to it is "dualism" which does not necessarily pertain to religion doctrines.
John R Robison: the definition of "bitheism" or what ever is incorrect in that in orthodox Christianity Satan isn't as powerful as God. If one takes a reading of Job properly, Satan isn't even God's adversary.
Cheryl Chambers Anway: Nice but the idea of duo-theism being "By this definition Christianity could be considered Ditheistic with its beliefs in Satan and God rather than as a monotheistic religion." is incorrect. It states that the gods would be equal-- good and evil. Since we think of Satan as pretunatural in nature rather than supernatural, like God, he is not equal. He is evil, but not equal.
Michael Phillips: John R might be describing dualism, an accurate term in describing some forms of Christianity where there is good / evil; light / darkness. However, there are texts which suggest bitheism, i.e., the 'god of this world' = satan. Sooo, like many things, it depends on whose ox is being gored, which axe is being sharpened, which "orthodoxy" is being defended or assaulted, in turn.
The definition conflating pantheism with panentheism is also incorrect -- pantheism is god is everything and everything is god, but panentheism says all that is in the cosmos is in God, but there is more to God than all that is in the cosmos. In other words, panentheism has a god that envelops / includes, but does not end at the margins of what is enveloped / included...
Paul Murdock: God created the angels, Lucifer is a fallen angel, and therefore cannot be equal to God in that a creation is less than the creator.....
Dystheism or Maltheism: That God or the Gods do exist but that they are all evil.
Egotheism or Autotheism: this is the doctrine of God's self-existence or the dedication and worship in oneself; self-worship.
Hedonism: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the highest good a person can achieve; it is a devotion to maintaining personal pleasure as a way of life.
Henothism: this may be defined as belief in more than one God, but that only one is supreme. Also to be used in the case of tribes or families who worship one God but don't deny the existence of others. Ancient polytheistic religions held beliefs similar to this, such as acknowledging that others had Gods but they did not worship them but instead worshipped the ones of their own culture. This was a common theme in the "Hercules" and "Xena" TV shows in which they often spoke of a race of people's other Gods but worshipped their own.
Hulo- or Hylotheism: this is the philosophical doctrine that identifies a God or Gods with that of matter. Worshipping a tree or a stone might be two examples, perhaps this is what the 10 commandments meant in stating that idolatry is a sin: worshipping an object is not really a religion, but according to this theism it is.
Kathenotheism: similar to Henotheism, this is the belief of more than one God but that only one at a time should be worshipped; each is supreme in its turn. Greek and Roman mythology could be said to follow this. The people of ancient Greece and Rome believed in all of the Gods of their people, but worshipped each one in turn depending on the requests or needs they had.
Misotheism: this is a doctrine that does not deny a God (s) existence, but rather is just an outright hatred of the God (s). It makes me wonder what has happened to a person that a plain and simple hatred has developed for all or any Gods.
Monolatry: this doctrine is a little confusing, or rather it is a little like multiple personality disorder. This is the belief in more than one God but that they are all expressions of the supreme God. In my opinion, to believe in this sounds rather like one God but he has many faces or personalities. I tell people that while my husband and I might work together as one unit, being a married couple, but that we are still our own unique persons and individuals.
Monotheism: this is the most common belief, that of one God. Christianity, Muslim, Catholicism and Judaism are such examples of Monotheism.
Donald Calvin Joseph Rice: i'm not catholic, but under the Monotheism description, i find it a bit insulting to list "Christianity....Catholicism" as if Catholics are not Christians. let's not give credence to that old evangelical protestant canard. being orthodox, i've had the same "charge" against me, too.
Thomas Prus: I'm a bit put off by this: "Christianity, Muslim, Catholicism and Judaism are such examples of Monotheism." Islam is the religion, Muslims are its adherents. Catholicism is one form of Christianity. I know the post isn't original, but this is a mistake.
Panatheism: this is the belief that because there is no God then nothing can be termed as a sacred or holy object. The statues, the places deemed holy, the artifacts such as the Holy Grail; all of these are just objects or places with no inherent holy value.
Pantheism, Panentheism or Cosmotheism: the belief that the universe is part of God and God is part of the universe; they are equivalent. God is the transcendent of reality and the matter and humans in the universe are only manifestations. It denies God's personality but identifies God with nature.
seeing_the_light, from Reddit.com: Pantheism and Panentheism shouldn't be lumped together, as Panentheism just says that God is ubiquitous, immanent and interpenetrates every part of nature, whereas Pantheism says that God is nature. It is an important distinction. Orthodox, for example, are Panentheists, but not Pantheists.
Polytheism: this is the belief that many Gods or Goddess exist. This is sometimes known as paganism, or any religion that is not monotheistic or non-abrahamic. Greek, Norse, Egyptian, Celtic and Native American are a few examples of polytheism.
Tritheism: the prefix, tri, means three and this is the belief that the three persons of the trinity are three distinct Gods, each one is an independent center of consciousness and determination. An example of a trinity is best known in Christianity with the belief in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Wicca also has a trinity of the 3 phases of the Goddess; Maiden, Mother and Crone. In Christianity the three people in the trinity are not viewed as separate beings but 3 in 1. However, in Wicca, the three are viewed as separate beings and represented by three different Goddesses.
outsider, from Reddit.com: Trinity isn't tritheism. It's one God who is three persons. Not three gods.
Source: Defining the Types of Theism
If you have any Theism jokes that aren’t mean, please share them. Here’s one:
Q: Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac?
A: He stayed up all night wondering if there really was a dog.
A satirical illustration of other “isms”:
Note on Tyler Durden: Tyler Durden is a character in the novel, "Fight Club," by Chuck Palahniuk. Tyler is a charismatic, yet nihilistic anarcho-primitivist who despises consumer culture. He frequently describes and acts on his aversion to mass society, materialism, property, capitalism, and almost all technology and social order, going as far as vowing to annihilate civilization itself. Tyler's desired utopia is a neo-paleolithic paradise established in the post-apocalyptic ruins of industrial civilization. "Because of his nature," Tyler works night jobs where he sabotages companies and harms clients. He also steals left-over drained human fat from liposuction clinics to supplement his income through soap making and create the ingredients for bomb manufacturing, which will be put to work later with his fight club. He is the co-founder of Fight Club, as it was his idea to instigate the fight that led to it. He later launches Project Mayhem, from which he and the members commit various attacks on consumerism. Tyler is blonde, as by the narrator's comment "in his everything-blonde way". The unhinged but magnetic Tyler becomes the antagonist of the novel later in the story. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight_Club#Tyler_Durden
Endnote: With all the "Theisms," and "isms" out there, the one thing that made the difference for us was Jesus. He provided a walking, talking example of everything we wouldn't expect from an all-powerful God, but everything we would want. Things like humility, love, sacrifice, mercy, forgiveness, and a thousand other things. If it wasn't for Jesus, we can honestly say we wouldn't be Christians. Because of him, we are.
At an ecumenical gathering, an Orthodox Christian, a Catholic, and an Episcopalian were standing in a large room that had a burnt out light in the ceiling above. The director of the gathering came into the room and asked the three if they could get the light bulb changed. The Episcopalian said: “Well, we can form a committee, study the issue for 10-15 years, publish a communique, and get it changed then.” The Catholic said: “Well, what we can do is send the information to the Vatican, where a papal body will investigate the claims made of the need to change this light bulb, and after about 500-600 years, the Pope will call an Ecumenical Council and ask the Bishops of the Church to vote on the findings. If it gets that far, the light bulb will be changed.” The Orthodox, looking a bit befuddled, said: “What is this ... ‘change?’”
Kathleen Schultz Heard: it as “How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb?”----same punch line.
Colin Leach: Alternatively for the Orthodox: “The Orthodox changed the light bulb, but only after consulting the Venerable Barsanophius of the Holy Mountain and discovering that patristic tradition says it is permissible to change lights at all other times except during Great Lent, Advent, and the Apostles’ Fast.”
Kate Nolan: In the meantime, a nun just changed the bulb and moved on to other work.
David Cheung: Being Orthodox, I find that funny. erhrm...IS AN OUTRAGE!!!
Paula Trietsch Chaney: And along came a United Methodist who recognized the darkness, changed the light bulb and provided light for all.
Caitlin ‘Cake’ Gateaux: And the Charismatic changed the bulb since his hands were already up there any way.
Lauren Leach-Steffens: I’m a Quaker, and we didn’t notice that the bulb was burned out, because we sat in a circle and focused on the Inner Light.
Donna Stephens: Meanwhile, the Unitarian Universalists had an evening discussion group on whether there was a way to find out if the light bulb wanted to be changed, if change was possible, if change would actually be a good thing, and finally decided that the matter was pressing enough that they held a vote and their congregation unanimously resolved that it would only buy fair trade coffee in future.
Laura Boustani: Oh....I just saw Donna’s post. Right on the money! Well, and once they decide to make the change, they’d change ALL the light bulbs to make sure all light bulbs are treated equally.
Renee L. Orth: You all forgot about the Methodist potluck right after to celebrate the changing of the bulb!
Jerod J Husvar: The Zen Buddhist sat and contemplated the need for light. The agnostic decided that there might be a bulb to change, but couldn’t pick one.
Kevin J. Rice: The Unitarian wanders into the room and overhears this. He leaves, drives his Prius to the hardware store, buys an LED bulb, comes back and replaces the Bulb, knowing that you must be the change you want to see in the world. He then invites them over to a pot luck with some Jews and Buddhists so they can talk starting a neighborhood soup kitchen.
Sue Tathwell Wille: Also forgot the Presbyterians standing by to make sure it’s all done Decently and in Order.
The Christian Left: Renee, The Lutherans will bring a Jell-O sculpture to the potluck. ;)
Kevin Stohlman: AND beer.
Floyd Miller: The Amish man asked, “What’s a light bulb?”
Charles Vladimir Fee: Potluck? OM NOM NOM NOM.
Marty Veltkamp: We always joke about the Christian Reformed elders wondering what “change” was, too!
Marty Veltkamp: Hilarious! This is the best post you guys have done yet! We desperately need to laugh at ourselves.
Aunt Meldy: Why wasn’t an Independent Catholic invited?
Steve Fay Old: Mayor Daily, a priest, and a rabbi were adrift in a lifeboat way out in the middle of Lake Michigan. They had so little food left that they came to realize that all three would starve before either another craft found them or they drifted to shore, if they shared it, but that one might live, if the other two of them volunteered to swim away and let the Lord’s will be done. So they decided to take a vote on who should remain in the boat. A stub of pencil was found, and a slip of paper was torn in three. And when the votes were counted, Mayor Daily won: 15-1-1.
Terrie Huff Warren: and an evangelical would have passed laws against the evils of electricity - the Devil’s Magic!
Matt Donnell: Very good! But let’s not beat around the bush here. Change “Orthodox” to” Evangelical”, and then it will be understood by even - well, the Evangelicals!
Cindy Tony: As an orthodox Christian...that was a good one :)
Jennifer McNulty: Then Jesus showed up and said “ I am the light! Start the Feast of Cana! Or the potluck, whatever ya got goin’ on...”
Charles Williams: must be with the Orthodox, then. the line here is ‘how many Vermonters does it take to change a light bulb? four. one to change the bulb and three to sit around and talk about how good the old one was.’
Cory M. Warren: you forgot the fundamentalist, who blamed the bulb burning on gays and women working outside the house.
Kevin J. Rice: ... and then a Hindu showed up, knew that Divali was coming up, and replaced the light fixture with a massive candelabra of all different color bulbs.
Marian L Shatto: Moravians would ask our Archivist to check what Zinzendorf and Spangenburg might have said about it. Receiving an affirmation of the process, we would then submit a written request to the Board of Trustees to be forwarded to the head sexton, who would assign one of his assistants to complete the task, after which the pastor would write a 15 verse hymn about the new light and we would celebrate with a Love feast.
Hugh Elwood: And the Baptist said, “Nope! Changin’ a light bulb looks too much like dancin’!”
Kate Cabot: As an Episcopalian, I would differ on this. Our church would have had a pot luck to get a work crew together, followed by a “Blue Jeans Sunday” where the work crew would all have discussed changing the light bulb, followed by an hour and a half spent looking for the big ladder that the sexton used the last time but then put away in another part of the basement after the fall fair-- eventually the rector would change the light bulb anyway, cause he’s the only one who knew where the ladder was.
Keith Oatman: and the progressive Christian asked where the stepladder and fresh light bulbs were.
Susan Kelly Caldwell: The Unitarian Universalist version I heard has the light bulb issue passing through a number of committees and covenant groups, including the RE Committee, who want safe, sufficient lighting for the children, the pagan group, who prefer the natural light, the Green Sanctuary committee who do a study of light bulb energy efficiency. Finally the Light Bulb Issue becomes the topic of a congregation-wide small-group visioning process, and at some point during all of it, a renter changes the bulb.
Susan Kelly Caldwell: Oh, and one morning, a Catholic priest and a Buddhist monk were having breakfast together. The priest suddenly looked into the tub of heart-healthy butter substitute and said, “God be praised! I see the face of Jesus!” The monk looked into the tub and said, “I can’t believe it’s not Buddha!” Ba-DUMP-bump!
Lynne Cole: As one who grew up Episcopalian, went to Catholic school and wound up Methodist in the reddest of the Bible Belt red states, let me say ... BAAAHAAAHAAHAAHAAHAAHAAHAAA!
Robert J. White: As an Episcopalian, I must agree with Kate, though at my parish we would most certainly involve any number of frosty malt beverages, at which point someone would forget where the light bulb went to, then the senior warden would change the whole light fixture....
Chef Lee Panache: My Episcopalian pastor used to joke that our emergency fire instructions were to “form a grand procession and march out.”
Joyce Sheldon McKnight: And the Mennonite pulled a light bulb out of his toolkit, reached up and changed it!
Ellen Harvischak: Thank- you Lord that it wasn’t a Polish joke this time!! :)
Anne Dachel Risen: But how many Lutherans would it take to change the light fixture? ten! one to change it, and 9 to stand and shake their head saying that the old one was good enough and would have worked just fine.
The Christian Left: Michele Bachmann would write a Bill to forbid the impediment of her freedom to make the choice of whether or not to change the light bulb at all!
About TCL Blog
We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is a founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit.
Roger Smith has to tilt his head to shake the words out, as you can see. He is an organizing member of The Christian Left who also blogs at "Roger's Shrubbery."