Tag Archives | Christianity

“Darkness” — A Poem by Lord Byron

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Darkness

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”

antisemitic_pamphlet-450x270

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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“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.”

Continue reading.… Read the rest

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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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