Peace on Earth To Those of Good Will!
I'm quoting from memory, but it seems that the original Greek spoke of "peace" being directed to those of good will - not to every single human being, regardless of disposition.
I don't really wish peace upon *ssholes....but do upon those who are of good will and are decent human beings, I wish you all peace!
Conversions & De-Conversions – What Motivates Us?
Spending almost my whole adult life in very committed Christian movements, and being one who has always stood hard on principles and strongly believing truth matters, I’ve watched with interest over the years as various folks who “church hopped” or in some cases left entire denominations and “converted”. I was mostly the “non-denominational” type and could understand why various people of various personality types would want to cross over to another faith tradition…or at least a different style of Christian worship.
It was a given that many Catholics often leave and become Evangelicals…. we saw that all the time. But when I looked into it, there were also a growing number of dissatisfied evangelicals, who were converting over to Eastern Orthodoxy or Catholicism. They even had a Coming Home Network
, a place where evangelical ministers and clergy could find a way to reconcile their view of Christianity with the teachings and practices of the Catholic faith – turns out there was a whole lot more historical reasons there than I first thought. But I also noticed there were many thoughtful and reasonable people of solid and sincere Christian faith who were “de-converting” from religion completely. And yes, the atheist community also has a network for sincere Christian ministers and clergy who have left Christianity (or other) called The Clergy Project
Each reason is as personal and unique as the individuals who hold them. I was no longer a young man when I converted to Catholicism (“converted” is actually not the politically correct term in RCIA circles) – and had come to the conclusion that every Christian group (no matter how much they claimed to have all the right answers), had many weak spots and failings that could be a real turn off or even a deal breaker for folks…..so for me, while I felt Catholicism was the right step for me (and I still believe it was), it’s highly evolved tenants and practices and horrible historic abuses and excesses made it very hard for me accept even as a believing Catholic, so I could readily understand why one could leave it and find evangelical Christianity more beneficial even as I found it less so.
Fox News' Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower – Christianity Today
After college I worked as an appointee in the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998. The White House surrounded me with intellectual people who, if they had any deep faith in God, never expressed it. Later, when I moved to New York, where I worked in Democratic politics, my world became aggressively secular. Everyone I knew was politically left-leaning, and my group of friends was overwhelmingly atheist.
I sometimes hear Christians talk about how terrible life must be for atheists. But our lives were not terrible. Life actually seemed pretty wonderful, filled with opportunity and good conversation and privilege. I know now that it was not as wonderful as it could have been. But you don't know what you don't know. How could I have missed something I didn't think existed?
Then he said the magic words for a liberal: "Do you think you could keep an open mind about it?" Well, of course. "I'm very open-minded!" Even though I wasn't at all. I derided Christians as anti-intellectual bigots who were too weak to face the reality that there is no rhyme or reason to the world. I had found this man's church attendance an oddity to overlook, not a point in his favor.
As he talked, I grew conflicted. On the one hand, I was creeped out. On the other hand, I had enormous respect for him. He is smart, educated, and intellectually curious. I remember thinking, What if this is true, and I'm not even willing to consider it?
She’s just about the polar opposite of my life journey and experience.
I still watch these things with interest…noting that different folks usually have very good reasons for why they make the choices they do….even choices I would strongly disagree with in regards to truth claims – it takes a lot of tolerance and patience.
(and no, none of this either proves or disproves the validity of any of the groups mentioned, but I bet that's where the conversation will gravitate towards.)
What does it mean to be a “true” Christian?
Faith At Large asked me a question over in another thread:
Originally posted by Faith_at_Large
Alcovey, I am going to ask you straight out. Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for our sins?
So, let me turn the tables a bit….what do you think is the true essence of Christianity? Is it a correct theological formula or is it a lifestyle rich in good works and fruit of the Spirit, or perhaps following one’s conscience and available evidence to the best of one’s ability? In the end, are most people saved by “ordinary” grace? (ie the sacraments or confessing Jesus as Lord and Saviour, being a “card carrying confessing and baptized Christian”?)
Was Ghandi or Martin Luther King or JFK or Mother Theresa or Martin Luther & John Calvin “saved”?
Or are those who populate Heaven in large percentage going to be Old Testament saints (never confessed or heard of Christ), all aborted and miscarried fetuses (including tubal pregnancies, twins who got absorbed and fertilized eggs in petri dishes) and all those who died before the age of reason (roughly 7 yrs old, give or take) and the multitude of those of other religious traditions who lived and died without being exposed to the Christian message or did not hear the Gospel as it was “actually” intended, or the non-believing atheist who “rejected” what they wrongly perceived who Christ really was?
In short, according to your view, who is going to populate Heaven?
And further, who is a “good” Christian? The one who gets the teachings and doctrines right, or the one who loves his/her fellow man in extraordinary ways?
I don’t really have much use for the question as it really depends on the heart of the believer how strict an interpretation one holds….be they Catholic or Evangelical, there is tons of wiggle room, or very little, depending on how narrowly one chooses to interpret.
One things for sure, we are ALL going to somebody’s
Objective Morality - Moral Absolutism & Relativism
It's come up about morality, and how can we know who is right, etc.
I would say, first of all, even if we believe it to be of Divine origin, we all bring our private morality to the table....no matter what group or faith tradition we might adhere to. As we develop and form our opinions, we find clever (and mostly unconscious) ways of softening or hardening ...emphasizing or downplaying certain aspects of whatever ideology or worldview we embrace.
Thus, we can find ways around hard passages of sacred texts, avoid or embrace them, and also align with different factions within any faith tradition or non-faith tradition. So, in my view, there are good, virtuous and thoughtful people, or complete jackasses in any group...
Where does our morality come from? Can a person be good without God
? There are many atheist vs. Christian debates on the web about this…worth taking a listen, no matter what side of the aisle you are on.
This article gives a critique of Sam Harris’ Moral Landscape
and offers a few good thoughts on areas I look at as I approach this question. Sam Harris and the Moral Realism/Moral Relativism Myth
There is a popular misconception that, if you are not a moral realist, you are a moral relativist. Yet, most non-theistic professional philosophers may be neither.
Moral realists believe in objective truths about right and wrong, whereas moral relativists believe that moral truths are subjective, or limited by the beliefs and values of particular communities and cultures. Moral relativists are people who say, for example, that genital mutilation isn't absolutely or universally wrong--it's just wrong for some people. Moral realists respond, "No, genital mutilation really is [or, perhaps, really isn't] wrong, for all people and all times--all things being equal."
This is usually how the issue is framed in popular culture, particularly in debates over atheism and the role of religion in society. It is not uncommon to hear religious moralists claim that atheists have no foundation for morality, and that they must be moral relativists. Without religion, the religious moralist claims, science would produce as many holocausts as cures, as many massacres as breakthroughs. A wholly atheist society could not have any moral sense at all. In the debate over religion, moral relativism is the bogeyman.
Other atheists, like Sam Harris, embrace moral realism. Slightly more than half of the philosophy professors and PhDs who partook in a recent survey either accept or lean towards moral realism, while only 16 percent accept or lean towards theism. This means that, like Harris, a large number of serious philosophers are non-theistic moral realists.
I’ve by no means settled all of this in my mind, and I will also say that I don’t think the atheists have it all figured out, nor do I think the secular atheist movement can or should answer all these questions. I highly doubt one set of rules or absolutes will ever be accepted or adopted by all groups…but I’m not a moral relativist…there are obviously better cultures and better philosophies than others…they are all not of equal value…..and there are objective ways we can judge what is to the general benefit and well-being of our societies and world as a whole.
Secular....does that mean "atheist" ?
I would say No!
: not spiritual : of or relating to the physical world and not the spiritual world
: not religious
: of, relating to, or controlled by the government rather than by the church
to be honest, I'm not too keen on movements...including the atheist movement. I think I'd have just about as much trouble there as I would in any other in-group. But one thing I simply love and cherish is when believers/non-believers all come together on a equal footing...with no one group ruling or whining or pushing their way over others....that is where I'm most comfortable......I have DEFINITE views...I always have......and expect others do as well......
but "secular" means, for me, that no one group has any kind of special say or sway....believing or non-believing....and that "secular purpose" has the good of all in mind based upon actual real world needs, not upon theories or belief systems. I'm sure others would disagree, but I do believe it to be the most fair to all - even if I don't always get my way.
Music as a way of sharing truth....
I'm not sure how many are actively posting these days.....but as as one who has run the gamut, religiously and otherwise....one of the areas I find very ecumenical and freeing is in the area of music.......(leaving aside the definition of "truth" (Pilate's prophetic words "what is truth?" echoing...) music has a way of uniting us all.....
Dishonest Ratings & Childishness
I just wanted to inform the whole group and make it public that we have some members who are playing childish games with the member ratings. Patrick and possibly others have been systematically coming in and trying to take down Velarius - his points dropped by 6 or 8 in one evening and so when I saw that, I neutralized some of the negative scores and then I see where Patrick came in and systematically hit several of my posts to drop me down more than 10 pts over all. I presume that these childish games started when I confronted Patrick's obnoxious and combative posts in a thread and gave him a couple of negative points for being argumentative and attacking. The reason I gave Velarius a few points was because he showed genuine effort to be trying to dialogue (quite the opposite of Patrick even on a good day). So, I'm calling out this behavior and making in public for the whole forum to be aware of. To be honest, this reminds me of being on fundamentalist forums, not Catholic ones. In the past, Spero has always strived to be intellectually honest and fair. Is this where Spero is headed?
Is Joaquin Phoenix for real?
Is Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre behaviour just a hoax? Speculation grows after actor's spaced-out performance on US chat show
Actor Joaquin Phoenix stunned a US chat show host into awkward silence yesterday when he gave abrupt two and three-word answers and sat with his head bowed during the bizarre interview.Late Show - Where's Joaquin Phoenix? - 2/11/09
The Oscar-nominated star's behaviour has become increasingly erratic in the last few months leaving many speculating that it is all part of an elaborate hoax dreamed up with his brother-in-law Casey Affleck, who has been filming him for a documentary.
Nothing to say: Joaquin Phoenix appeared on chat show David Letterman but the interview was awkward as Phoenix offered only monosyllabic answers
The actor, 34, who is now sporting a huge beard, announced last month that he was quitting acting to become a rapper.
The decision took Hollywood by surprise as did his first hip-hop performance in Las Vegas in which he mumbled into the microphone before falling off stage.
Last month Entertainment Weekly quoted a friend of the actor who confirmed that Phoenix was playing a joke at the public's expense, claiming he told him 'It's a put-on. I'm going to pretend to have a meltdown and change careers, and Casey is going to film it,'
But Phoenix hit back and angrily denied the claims.
'I can see how people might think it is shocking,' he said. 'But by saying my life is a joke or the thing that I love is a joke - well, that bothers me.'
(YouTube)Joaquin Phoenix Says He's Serious About His Music Career - with links to his performance
I think it's a hoax....but it's a pretty good one. Remember back when Andy Kaufman did his thing, that was awesome.
Obama creates faith-based office with wide mission
I thought this was very positive:Obama creates faith-based office with wide mission
WASHINGTON – Declaring that "there is a force for good greater than government," President Barack Obama on Thursday established a White House office of faith-based initiatives with a broader mission than the one overseen by his Republican predecessor. Obama said the new office, which he created by executive order, would reach out to organizations that provide help "no matter their religious or political beliefs."
Obama said the office would work with nonprofit organizations "both secular and faith-based" and would help them determine how to make a bigger impact in their cities, learn their obligations under the law and cut through government red tape.
In a time of economic crisis, the president said, it was important for the government to help distressed Americans but added that "the change that Americans are looking for will not come from government alone."
Obama said the top priority of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will be "making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete."
To lead the office, Obama appointed Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal minister who headed religious outreach for Obama's Senate office and his presidential campaign. He also named 25 religious and secular leaders to a new advisory board.
"The big picture is that President Obama believes faith-based and smaller secular neighborhood organizations can play a role in American renewal. They can work with the federal government to address big problems," DuBois said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We're also going to make sure we have a keener eye toward the separation of church and state."
Obama said the office would also work to reach out overseas "to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world."
Christian Bale goes ballistic on movie set
What an idiot. I'd liked him up to this point.
One thing I did think was funny was a guy named RevoLucion did a remix on YouTube of his rant. (warning, explicit language) Love the remixes.