Tag Archives | Christianity

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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Jesus’s Wife Manuscript Genuine

Papyrus fragment: front. Karen L. King 2012

Papyrus fragment: front. Karen L. King 2012

A couple of years ago Harvard University Divinity professor Karen L. King caused a furore in certain circles by revealing an ancient papyrus fragment that actually refers to Jesus having a wife. The Boston Globe now reports that the papyrus checks out and is not a forgery:

New scientific tests have turned up no evidence of modern forgery in a text written on ancient Egyptian papyrus that refers to Jesus as being married, according to a long-awaited article to be published Thursday in the Harvard Theological Review.

The findings support the argument of Harvard professor Karen L. King that the controversial text, the first-known explicit reference to a married Jesus, is almost certainly an authentic document.

The “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” was introduced to the world by King at a conference in Rome 18 months ago. The announcement made headlines around the world, and many of King’s academic peers, as well as the Vatican newspaper, swiftly dismissed it as a fake.

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Researchers Claim They Have Located The Holy Grail At A Church In Spain

holy grailThe Irish Times reports:

Spanish historians now claim to have tracked down the Holy Chalice, the cup from which Christ was supposed to have drunk during his last supper, in a church in León, in northern Spain.

Margarita Torres and José Ortega del Río have spent three years researching the history of the chalice and, on Wednesday, presented in León a co-written book containing their findings.

The onyx chalice itself, they explain, is contained within another, antique cup known as the Chalice of Doña Urruca, which sits in León’s basilica of Saint Isidore. The historians say it has been there since the 11th century.

The duo had initially been researching the history of some Islamic remains in the Saint Isidore basilica. However, their discovery of two medieval Egyptian documents which mentioned the chalice of Christ caused them to change course.

Those parchments told of how Muslims took the sacred cup from the Christian community in Jerusalem to Cairo.

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Strange But True: Vatican Beefcake Calendar

PIC: Marek1990 (CC)

PIC: Marek1990 (CC)

Starting all the way back in 2004, the Vatican began releasing calenders featuring 12 of its hunkiest clergy.  Now in its 10th year, the featured holy-men can be viewed at this link.  Sorry to those hoping for something risqué: they are all dressed in cassock.

Via Religion News:

Now in its 10th edition, the annual wall calendar best known for its black-and-white photos of attractive priests continues to spark grumbles of controversy in Italy.

Officially, it’s called “Il Calendario Romano” — The Roman Calendar — but it is popularly referred to as the “Roman beefcake calendar.”

According to Piero Pazzi, the Venice-based photographer who takes the photos and produces the calendar each year, almost all of the men he photographs — many of them in front of churches or religious monuments — are priests or seminarians. But the religious connotations end there.

According to Italian media reports, the calendar has become a kind of icon for groups ranging from female Protestant clergy to gay men.

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Queer Christian Response to News About Fred Phelps Sr’s Health

How should the LGBT community respond to the (eventual) death of Fred Phelps?

PIC: WBC (PD)

PIC: WBC (PD)

William S. Burnett writes:

We’ll leave aside the question of the relationship between God and the “fags.” Using people’s funerals is a horrible way to communicate your beliefs to a wider audience. I don’t personally think that’s what was meant by “freedom of speech” or “freedom of assembly” in our Constitution. But I’m neither a Constitutional lawyer nor a judge, so I’ll leave that alone. I’ll just say that the expression of their hate knew no boundaries! In the Catholic community, we would call that “pastoral insensitivity” at the least; but I think “pastoral insensitivity” is a big understatement!

Over the years, I had been incredibly incensed by Fred Phelps, Sr. and his clan, both as a queer and as a Christian. As a queer, I was incensed because I was the primary target of their vehemence; and, because in their hate, they were trying to project an ugly, evil image of me that was far removed from who I was.

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