Tag Archives | Christianity

“Everything Is Propaganda”?: Some Ongoing Conversation

Propaganda_

Editor’s note: To get the full gist of Gilmour’s argument, go to the post on Christian Humanist and read the entire thing.

Nathan P. Gilmour writes at the Christian Humanist:

I note my own conservative tendencies because, if I am a conservative, I get to indulge my sympathies with long-running, traditioned communities rather than with the so-called “forces of history” (I tend to be more of a personalist when it comes to history–I blame people rather than impersonal forces for bad things that happen).  So I resonated with a narrative that often occupies the Homebrewed Christianity podcast, and which got spelled out explicitly in the episode at hand, which goes something like this:

  • Once there was a group of people whose way of life stood as the assumed “good” form of life in certain parts of North America.
  • At a certain point in history, another group of people, whose military technology was better than the formerly-dominant group, arrived and defeated that group in a series of violent encounters.
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China: No Cult Zone

Naval_battle_between_Taiping-Qing_on_Yangtze

Actual photo of Naval battle between Taiping-Qing armies on Yangtze River. The caption in French says: “Canonnade des Taiping contre les jonques de guerre des Tsing qui assiégeaient la capital du Royaume céleste.” (“Taiping cannon fire against the Qing war junks that are assaulting the capital of the celestial kingdom”).

Remember the cult killing in a Chinese McDonald’s by members of the Church of the Almighty God? The Economist examines the history of “cults” in China in light of this recent crime.

via The Economist:

ON AUGUST 21st five members of a banned religious sect known as the Church of the Almighty God went on trial for a murder that has gripped the country. One evening in May, in front of stunned customers at a McDonald’s in the eastern city of Zhaoyuan, in Shandong province, the suspects allegedly beat to death a woman who had refused to give them her phone number.

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Pastor Calls to Outlaw Homosexuality and Punish LGBTQ People with Hard Labor

This is just getting ridiculous. I think these whack-job fundamentalists have simply become parodies of themselves. Do they even believe the hateful rhetoric they spew?

via The Raw Story:

A pastor who uses his Internet platform to teach political lessons based on conservative Christian ideology has proposed a constitutional amendment to punish LGBT people for “ten years in prison at hard labor.”

In a video posted to his PreachingPolitics.com website last month that was flagged by the Good As You blog on Monday, Pastor Michael V. Williams asserts that Christians have been “increasingly tolerant” of gay people over the last 50 years.

“Whereas homosexuality used to be a felony in every state — referred to as sodomy — it has now been decriminalized, and homosexuality is allowed to be openly expressed in public,” he notes. “While Christians are becoming increasingly tolerant of homosexuals, homosexuals are becoming increasingly intolerant of us.”

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Inside the Chinese cult that killed a “demon” in McDonald’s

Critic posts against Almighty God church in Beijing, close to Confucius Temple. By Mongol via Wikimedia Commons

Critic posts against Almighty God church in Beijing, close to Confucius Temple. By Mongol via Wikimedia Commons

I guess refusing to give out your phone number makes you a demon.

via BBC:

China is about to try one of the most notorious murders in recent memory.

In late May a group belonging to a banned cult beat a woman to death in a fast food restaurant. Her only crime was to refuse to give them her telephone number.

The cult in question is called the Church of the Almighty God and claims to have millions of members.

It was an ordinary evening in a small town McDonald’s in east China until a family of six arrived trying to recruit new members to their Christian cult.

They moved between the tables asking for phone numbers and when one diner refused they beat her to death, screaming at other diners to keep away or they would face the same fate.

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Alternatives to Liberal Individualism and Authoritarian Collectivism

A thought provoking essay from Jeremy Gilbert on how the confines of “Liberal Individualism” and “Authoritarian Collectivism” stifle true democracy.

Jeremy Gilbert writes at the P2P Foundation:

ReligiousSymbolsThe defining conflict of our times appears to some to be that between ‘Islam’ and ‘the West’. It hardly needs spelling out just what a misleading formulation this is: both crudely simplifying and mischievously divisive. Neither ‘the West’ nor ‘Islam’ are coherent entities, and the flashpoints between them are as much the symptoms of their respective internal conflicts as anything else. Bush’s aim, on one level, was always to beat the Democrats before anything else, just as Hamas’s struggle is often against Fatah as much as it is against Israel. But the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ (the title of a notorious essay by neocon ideologist Samuel Huntington) is a problematic myth not only for these reasons, but also because it obscures a more fundamental conflict for which it is at times a metonym and at other times just a mask.

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“Crucifixion of Christians”: Debunking the New Fake News Item

Media LiesWell, if you consider two months ago “new” fake news.  From Sirialbano, translated by Mary Rizzo, at We Write What We Like:

They were not Christians, they were Muslims. They were not killed by means of crucifixion, but their already lifeless bodies were exhibited in that barbarian manner.  The crime is ghastly, no matter what religious denomination the victims belong to.  And yet it “news” of “Christians crucified in Syria” went viral in the western media, in particular in the major Italian news media.

The two major Italian newspapers Il Corriere della Sera (above) and La Repubblica (below) dedicated a great amount of space to it, bring attention to the “news” on the first page accompanied by photographs of “a man crucified in Maalula”, the small Christian small town near Damascus.

To push the directors and the heads writers towards a similar editorial choice has no doubt been the statement of Pope Francis in the official Vatican site:   “I cried when i saw the news“.

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Jack Chick: ‘God’s Cartoonist’

00chick tractGod’s Cartoonist, A recently-published documentary  I found through weirduniverse.net, details the content and controversy of “Chick tracts,” the widely promulgated 3×5″ evangelical comics that use simple pen and ink illustrations and easily understood stories to promote creator Jack Chick’s fire-and-brimstone brand of evangelical Christianity.

Chick publications claims to have sold 750 million of the tracts since the first ones were released over 50 years ago. If true, this would make Chick the world’s bestselling author: a distinction that can likely be credited to missionaries, churches, and faithful buying them in bulk.

Chick, now aged 90, has only agreed to on interview during the 50-plus years he has been manufacturing his tracts and other related items, and did not sit for an interview with the producers of God’s Cartoonist. He’s probably too busy, anyway: He’s got more tracts to draw – a job he did by himself until 1975 when he brought in another artist to help.… Read the rest

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Did Pope Benedict XVI Resign Because Of The ‘Muslim Gospel’ of Barnabas?

PIC: Samuel Green (CC)

PIC: Samuel Green (CC)

The Gospel of Barnabas contends that Jesus denied his divinity and didn’t die on the cross. Conspiracy theories have revolved around this manuscript for centuries.

In Amsterdam in 1709, philosopher John Toland set his eyes upon a remarkable manuscript—what he described in Nazarenus as “a Mahometan [i.e., Muslim] Gospel, never before publicly made known among Christians.”

Associated with the apostle Barnabas, the text essentially retold the life of Jesus in terms familiar from the New Testament, but with some major departures. It contended that Jesus denied his divine status; that he had predicted the coming of the prophet Muhammad; and that Judas died in his place on the cross. Combing Christian canon lists and literature, Toland found references to an otherwise unknown “gospel under the name of Barnabas,” and he concluded that this “Gospel of the Mahometans… very probably is in great part that same book.”

For Toland, this was not just another apocryphon. From this “Turkish Gospel being fathr’d upon Barnabas,” he claimed to have been led to recover “the original plan of Christianity” as centered on Jewish-Christian beliefs that “Jesus did not take away or cancel the Jewish Law in any sense whatsoever.”

This, Toland argued, was the very oldest form of Christianity, only it was lost to history when “converts from the Gentiles… did almost wholly subvert” it. On the basis of the Gospel of Barnabas, Toland characterized the most ancient Christianity as harmonious with Islam as well: its account of Jesus, after all, was

perfectly conformable to the traditions of the Mahometans [i.e., Muslims], who maintain that another was crucified in his stead; and that Jesus, slipping thro’ the hands of Jews, preach’d afterwards to his disciples, then was taken to heaven.

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AFA: Shops who display ‘We Don’t Discriminate’ stickers are bullying Christians

Those poor Christians are contriving experiencing persecution, again.

The Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Pink News

The American Family Association has claimed that by pledging not to discriminate against their customers, Mississippi businesses are ‘bullying’ Christians.

The campaign was born after the state’s Governor, Phil Bryant, signed a ‘religious freedom’ law, protecting businesses who discriminate against gay customers.

The bill prevents authorities from placing a “burden on a person’s right to the exercise of religion”.

Equality Mississippi says in two weeks it has distributed over 500 of the stickers, which state: “We don’t discriminate – If you’re buying, we’re selling!”

AFA spokesman Buddy Smith said: “If you do that, you are agreeing with these businesses that Christians no longer have the freedom to live out the dictates of their Christian faith and conscience.

“It’s not really a buying campaign, but it’s a bully campaign, and it’s being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture.

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Police Called Over “Homeless Jesus” Sculpture Installed In Wealthy North Carolina Town

Homeless JesusHere’s what would happen if Jesus were to return to Earth and land in the affluent Bible Belt suburbs. Via NPR:

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t. “One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”

That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus. Some neighbors feel that it’s an insulting depiction of the son of God.

“It gives authenticity to our church,” Rev. David Buck says. “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”

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