Tag Archives | Christianity

A Forgotten Midwestern Religious Sect

istolethetv (CC BY 2.0)

istolethetv (CC BY 2.0)

via The Paris Review:

In 1988, when I was ten, my parents moved to a five-acre farm between the rust-belt city of Rockford and the village of Winnebago. Not being from the area, they were naturally curious about the history, and one of them found a Works Progress Administration history of Illinois in the library. In that book, we discovered that the country road we lived on had once not been so somnolent. A block north of us, a large complex of buildings painted red bore the name Weldon Farm, but once it had been called Heaven. In the 1880s it had been the center of an obscure religious sect—still lacking a Wikipedia entry of their own—called the Beekmanites. A woman named Dorinda Beekman had declared herself to be Jesus, as one did in those days; she died after promising to rise from the dead in three days.

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Who is responsible for terrorism?


This picture shows, Ahmed Merabet, a Muslim Policeman defending free speech. He died a hero after being shot in the head by a terrorist. It is strangely hard for some people to understand that the man with the gun is the one responsible for the shooting[1]. Not society. Not some cartoons. Not Fox News. Not The Daily Mail. Not even Tony Blair or George Bush and their war in Iraq. Or a magic book from the middle ages. Or you. Or me. Not anyone else. Him. He’s responsible.

Who is responsible for terrorism? Terrorists.

It’s an obvious trick question. Perhaps I’m being mean, this trick question has stumped media pundits and opinionators for many years, but the correct answer is that simple. It just doesn’t make for as good a debate on Fox News and also happens to be diametrically opposed to the aims of people who want to control you by telling you what to do.Read the rest

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Santo Daime: Home of The Cosmic Christ

imageEntering into the initial phase of research regarding the Santo Daime religion, I had little understanding of what it really was, or how the activities within the religion generated something unique, but my interest is in finding the answer to the question, “What is it that draws modern middle class individuals to a highly ecstatic and mystic religious culture in light of the increasing presence of scientific rationalism and reductionism?” Andrew Dawson’s book has helped me to make discoveries that have led me closer to finding the answer to the question of why we moderns still seek out the mystic and ecstatic. In order to find an answer, one must find the proper context within the culture, the economics, the background and the history that surrounds Santo Daime and this framework has been deftly established in Dawson’s book.

Dawson explains the questions he sought to answer in his book:

Building upon questions raised by my first experiences of Santo Daime, the research undertaken from 2007 to 2011 primarily focused on three areas.

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Santo Daime in the Sacred Valley

Holy Cross - symbol of the doctrine of holy daime (also known as Caravaca de la Cruz)  Ton (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Holy Cross – symbol of the doctrine of holy daime (also known as Caravaca de la Cruz)
Ton (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The last thing I would have to expected to be doing on Halloween night was standing in a brightly lit room attempting to sing Portuguese hymns of Christian praise. Yet there I was, swaying back and forth, clad in white, leafing through a booklet of verse and mumbling along. I was barely able to stand by the end of it. I hung my head in my hands and endured tidal waves of nausea brought on by the medicinal sacrament that had been periodically served throughout the night. I forced myself to remain upright until the last recitation of the last Hail Mary was complete. The closing of the work initiated a reception of congratulations and gratitude while I collapsed and recovered. I had survived my first experience with the doctrine of Santo Daime.… Read the rest

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The Video at the End of the World

CNNd of the world

Yesterday I posted about the connections between evangelical Christianity and belief in the biblical End Times. While I was flipping some new stories into our {R}emnants Flipboard mag yesterday afternoon I found another story about the end of the world involving a recently discovered video that Ted Turner had made for CNN. It was created to play when they sign off as that final trumpet blows. Here’s the scoop from Jalopnik

Thirty-four years ago, at the launch of Ted Turner’s Cable News Network, the founder made a grandiose and specific promise about his newly created round-the-clock operation. “Barring satellite problems, we won’t be signing off until the world ends,” Turner declared. And in anticipation, he prepared a final video segment for the apocalypse:

We’ll be on, and we will cover the end of the world, live, and that will be our last event. We’ll play the National Anthem only one time, on the first of June [the day CNN launched], and when the end of the world comes, we’ll play ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ before we sign off.Read the rest

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“Darkness” — A Poem by Lord Byron

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)


Lord Byron, 
July, 1816

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth

Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;

Morn came and went — and came, and brought no day,

And men forgot their passions in the dread

Of this their desolation; and all hearts

Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:

And they did live by watchfires — and the thrones,

The palaces of crownded kings — the huts,

The habitations of all things which dwell,

Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,

And men were gather’d round their blazing homes

To look once more into each other’s face;

Happy were those who dwelt within the eye

Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:

A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;

Forests were set on fire — but hour by hour

They fell and faded — and the crackling trunks

Extinguish’d with a crash — and all was black.… Read the rest

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Malaysian Christmas and the Backdrop of Allah

John Stratford (CC BY 2.0)

John Stratford (CC BY 2.0)

Mohd Abdul Alam writes at Al Jazeera English:

Malaysian Christians, who account for less than 10 percent of the population, have always celebrated Christmas with great joy and enthusiasm.

Christians also enjoy Muslim-majority Malaysia’s friendly holiday-time culture with shopping malls extensively decorated with Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and reindeers – as “Jingle Bells” plays in the background.

Malaysian Muslims have happily accepted Christmas get-together invitations from their friends, and the atmosphere during this holiday season has always been a pleasant one.

This year, however, Christmas celebrations may be held with mixed feelings against the backdrop of the bitter “Allah” case that concluded in June. 

That’s when an Islamic court ruled the word “Allah” could not be used in local Christian publications. Christians say “Allah” had been used for centuries in Malay-language Bibles and other literature to refer to “God” outside of Islam.

The case caught the attention of the public with large crowds of Malay Muslims gathering at the court entrance demanding the court ban local Christian publications from using “Allah”.

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David Barton’s Plan for Biblical Slavery for America

fusion-of-horizons (CC BY 2.0)

fusion-of-horizons (CC BY 2.0)

From 2011, Hrafnkell Haraldsson writing at PoliticusUSA:

On the WallBuilders website, home of David Barton, ideological advisor to both Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee, you will find an article by Stephen McDowell, a colleague of his, explaining the joys of biblical slavery. As Bruce Wilson writes on Talk To Action,

Christian Reconstructionism endorses “Biblical slavery” and founder of the movement R.J. Rushdoony expressed the sentiment that African-Americans were lucky to be slaves, writing, “Granted that some Negroes were mistreated as slaves, the fact still remains that nowhere in all history or in the world today has the Negro been better off.”.

It wasn’t that the Southern system was wrong, you see, for endorsing slavery; it was wrong because it wasn’t biblical slavery. And America awake!: R.J. Rushdoony asserts that what was permissible according to Biblical scripture is permissible now: including slavery.

As Wilson writes,

McDowell’s article cites R.J.

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DC Talk – Secret Chiefs of the Illuminati?

DCCoverOh, the weird shit you find on the internets. To preface this, earlier in the week I quite randomly had a dream that featured the impressively god awful Christian rap group DC Talk (which I wrote about on Facebook, Friend me). In this dream, I was in a classroom where DC Talk showed up to perform. We couldn’t believe our teacher actually thought this was something that we’d find interesting. So we students just mockingly encouraged them all hipster irony style as they did their crappy thing. Didn’t seem like there was a lot of substance to the dream, but upon waking up I realized that the only reason I’d heard of DC Talk in the first place had to do with them being forced on us in Church youth group as a kid. The dream had an incredibly similar vibe. “Hey kids, stop listening to that satanic secular music, these guys are church approved.” Being impressionable and somewhat open to the idea, those of us in the youth group took the tape home and gave it a listen just to discover that, wow, this is the worst rap group ever.… Read the rest

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Origins of the “Jewish Nose”


Although there are very few distinguishing characteristics of Jewish people, (e.g. European Jews are almost entirely of European genetic stock with a few distinguishing esoteric alleles) due to the Jewish diaspora across many different regions of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, Jews have traditionally been portrayed in Western art as having large, hooked noses. But does this proscribed depiction reflect actual Jewish features? Not very much. Why?

Elissa Goldstein of Jewcy.com relays the fascinating explanation given by historian Sara Lipton:

Historian Sara Lipton has penned a fascinating article for the New York Review of Books about the origins of the caricature of the hook-nosed Jew. In ‘The Invention of the Jewish Nose,‘ Lipton, author of Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitic Iconography, explains that the image of the Jew with the massive schnoz—the one we know so well from Nazi propaganda, to name just one example—is “far from ‘eternal’” and in fact didn’t exist before 1000 AD.

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