Saying the things polite Christians don't.

Posts tagged ‘Church’

Atheist – Smile

As a Christian internet user who visits the occasional public forum, watches videos on Utube and contributes to the comments section, I encounter a lot of people who don’t share my spiritual views. This is to be expected but it hasn’t always been the case. It wasn’t so long ago that I wouldn’t have heard from these folk unless I was actively evangelising.

Put it this way. The internet has not only given Christians a new platform from which to spread the word, it has also given voice to a generation of people who might previously have kept quiet.
Naturally there will be objection from some quarters if you are street preaching – the hecklers will always speak up – or one-on-one witnessing. But those who would normally keep their thoughts to themselves now have an anonymous megaphone.

At certain times this can ignite lively and thought provoking conversation. This is the public forum at its best. At other times I have found myself the object of ridicule by mean spirited people with virtually zero knowledge of the scriptures they are rubbishing.

A favourite topic of these folk is the supposed contradictions in the scriptures. A popular one is the account of Judas Iscariot:
Matthew 27:5 tells us that Judas threw the money into the Temple and went off and hanged himself.

Acts 1:18 says he bought a field with the money. There, he fell headlong and burst open, his intestines spilling out.

Theologians have written tomes about these two accounts. They have been studied for years, pulled apart and dissected. Men and women with advanced degrees, people that for whom if they had studied medicine for instance, would be specialists.

Now some tosser with no understanding of scripture whatsoever wants to establish an understanding that the Bible is fake based on his or her great find. Whoopi-doo. These are the same folk who cling to the premise that the great singularity –

er, gotta pause here . . .

Don’t you love that word, ‘Singularity, What it means is “I don’t have an explanation or sound reasoning for my theory, any reasonable application of the English language would fail like army boots with a wedding dress.” Here’s a trick, let’s make a new word.”‘

– you know, when nothing spun around really really fast until finally, with a great big bang, gave us the universe and everything in it! We shall call this momentous event, a Singularity.

Now I expect mocking and a guffaw or two over that one. That’s the wrong application of the word. I’m an idiot who doesn’t understand the subject. Well here’s one that effectively shuts all the nuclear traps:

Creation, therefore, Creator.

Now, let’s go back to the smelly old corpse of Judas Iscariot.

Any two Newspapers, from the same town, with reporters at the same event, witnessing the same thing, and then aided by sophisticated computer editing software, digital cameras and professional photographers, will give different accounts.

Two cars crash, a Ford and a Toyota. Three people are injured, one seriously.

That very night three newspapers, two TV networks and a radio station report the story. Interestingly enough, there are some variations in the story. One reporter said there would be a recall on one of the vehicles because of a possible fault in the brakes. The other media sources didn’t even mention this although it is the single item that could send a relatively small story into a front page scoop. Then it turned out that the recall vehicle wasn’t involved in the crash.

What is the story? Two cars crashed, three people were injured, one of those seriously. That is the nitty gritty of the tale.

Jesus was betrayed by Judas. He was subsequently crucified to death, now if that’s not enough, sealed in an airless tomb for three days, then he rose from the dead.

In the meantime, Judas, feeling guilty, or terrified because he had indeed had a hand in murdering the Son of God, topped himself.

That’s the story. It’s all there.

Another favourite of the savvy biblical illiterate is to quote the non biblical as if it were.

“God helps those who help themselves.”

Really? Where did you dig that up? It isn’t in the Bible. As a matter of fact the Bible is full of, and most Christians can attest to, incidences when God helps the helpless. In fact if people want to live their lives helping themselves, without God, He frequently leaves them to it.

Or my personal favourite: “The problem with you Christians is you go on and on claiming yours is the only way.”

You really can tell who has done their homework: Islam claims the same – except its practitioners will kill you if you don’t believe. All the world’s major religions claim to be the sole path to salvation. (With the exception, of course, of those who don’t believe salvation is necessary, and yet these too, believe they have the only way).

The Bahá’í believe that all the major religions come from the same place as long as it is Bahá’í.

The internet has opened this doorway. Loaded with good and bad information the internet confirms and validates every opinion. This is the post modern mind. Everyone is right.

Except Christians it seems.

In a matter of seconds a person can have at their hands the fruits of what only a short time ago required hours of exhaustive research. You get the answer but not the education.

The internet is the University of Bits n’ Pieces.

We really need to watch it, folks. They’re coming at us dumber and louder.

Arm yourself with The Word. Know the Truth. And the next time an atheist fixes you with a cheesy grin and asserts that the universe and everything in it was once squeezed into something the size of a pinhead, you can look at them and say, “That’s nice.”

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Garbage From the Pulpit

Here’s a small dishing of the swill being peddled from some of our pulpits. Some of it is more suited to a comedy club than the House of God.

“There are some people right now who are living in your house, driving in your car . . . and God is getting ready to give them an eviction notice. This stuff is going going to be transferred . . . ” drivel, drivel, drivel …

Garbage courtesy of Medina Pullings. Can’t you just see Robin Williams saying this? I can.

And from Mega Church man Ed Young comes drivel of the expensive kind.

“God gave me a Ferrari because I am a Ferrari. You’re a Ferrari too. God has given you a Ferrari,” he said.

And from the king of all things rubbish, Joel Osteen:

“When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure that you are always blessed in abundance.”

I am always blessed in abundance? Wow. Funny how this has never worked for me. Maybe I haven’t been enough of a blessing to anyone.

Jesus said:

” . . . Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head.” Luke 9:58

Garbage from Cleflo Dollar. For those who don’t know him Cleflo Dollar is one of the kings of the greediest. He is all about the money. Cleflo’s thing is the Prosperity Gospel.

Now, the Prosperity Gospel is a creative mix of motivational scripture twisting, deceitfully designed to help you part with your money.

Joel Osteen is a prosperity preacher. So is the very well known, Kenneth Copeland.

Here is some of their garbage:

“You will often receive preferential treatment simply because your Father is the King of kings, and His glory and honour spill over onto you”

This tripe is from Osteen. He seems to have missed the teachings of Jesus when he studied theology. And from the mouth of Cleflo Dollar:

“Keep saying it – ‘I have equality with God’ – talk yourself into it”

And getting real honest, “We are going to see a lot more millionaire preachers . . . I know, I am one.”

It’s all there for the asking. Perhaps the most puzzling aspect of the Prosperity Gospel is how many people buy into it.
Joel Osteen’s church is the biggest in America. I find this really puzzling and it raises yet another question:

Are Christians not taking it upon themselves to read the Bible? If more Christians took the initiative to read the scriptures then fewer of them would fall for the lies of people like Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Cleflo Dollar, Osteen and others.

Everyone wants an easier life. Who wouldn’t like a financial windfall? The really sad part is that it’s the truly desperate who are propping up these dishonest people . . . No, let’s call them what they are. Thieves. No better than a pension scammer or a charity rip-off. Professional liars.

Somewhere, I forget where, I read it: Check out the church’s parking lot. If the luxury cars are parked up close to the building – in other words where the staff park – you can almost predict the message being preached inside.

Good Gospel preaching, generally speaking, doesn’t generate enormous sums of money. Occasionally it does; when the wealthy express their gratitude for their salvation with their wallets for instance. But this us the exception.

So in order to create the enormous wealth the above mentioned preachers are chasing, they have to lie. Have to. They can’t get it from the Bible. I have heard prosperity preachers openly declare that Jesus lived a life of luxury, and therefore, so should we. Find that in the Bible.

This carpenter who died with only a single robe to His name.

Before attending one of these churches led by a rock star preacher ask yourself this question: If you had to have a major operation, or a minor one for that matter, would you rather have a swash-buckling Zorro, or a surgeon who, out of love and compassion for his fellow man, had agonised over the textbooks, checked and double checked the facts, watched others perform the procedure. And then, and only then, proceeded carefully.

Now, applying the same logic, ask the same question of that church’s pastor.

But Hitler was a Christian

I was watching a YouTube clip on the World War II recently and I was surprised when I read the comments that some – admittedly a minority – claimed that Adolf Hitler was a Christian. The reasoning for this was that Hitler had attended church.

Now this much is true. As a youth Hitler did indeed attend church. It would seem he didn’t receive the message however. He was said to be intoxicated with the pomp and ceremony and splendour of the Mass.

This is a superb example of how church attendance does not make one a Christian. I explained this to the commentor and was promptly shot down with, Aren’t all the big wars religiously motivated? – And what about the crusades?

It is interesting that when people attack Christianity they often start with the crusades. This is much the same as attacking the Human Resources policies of a major corporation with an argument from the 1850s coal mines. As for the 2nd part of the argument:

I did a rough estimate of the number of deaths in wars that were religiously motivated. It’s not possible to get an accurate count but even if I’m wrong by an astronomical margin, as you will soon see, it doesn’t matter.

In the last 100 years – atheists will never agree to it – the vast majority of conflicts have not been religiously motivated. However, even giving the atheist the benefit of those borderline cases like the Arab/Israeli wars (an argument could easily be established for political, religious, territorial motives), the ball lies fairly and squarely in the religious corner for the purpose of this exercise.

Deaths due to religiously motivated wars in the past 100 years amount to about 5 million. That’s a lot of dead people but because of the propaganda machine of the secularists a lot of people would be expecting that figure to be a lot bigger.

Fair enough. For the purpose of this demonstration I’ll double it. Call it 10 million. (Take a few minutes to do the arithmetic yourself. You may be surprised).

Now, let’s look at the 2nd world war. Estimates are between 60 and 80 million killed in this terrible conflict.

But Hitler was a Christian, wasn’t he? No, he was not. You will not get any religious leader, or layperson for that matter, to agree with you.

There are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled in order for a person to become a Christian. Sitting in a church isn’t one of them. It is perfectly possible to be a dedicated Christian by every meaning of the word and not attend church. There are many reasons why a Christian might be absent from church for extended periods, or even permanently.

You can sit in the henhouse all day but it doesn’t make you a chicken.

Jesus commanded us to love one another. This quality could hardly be attributed to Hitler. We know of his crimes; there is no need to list them.

Joseph Stalin, another major player in WWII was a communist. A communist is by the very nature of the ideology, an atheist. A person living under the boot of communism has to believe, or come to believe (it is drummed into them), that their rights, necessities, and their comforts, if any, come from the State.

A loving, benevolent God undermines the authority of the State. Jesus and communism don’t mix because it is to Christ whom we owe for not only our salvation, but our next meal, our very next breath.

The aggressive manner in which communist authorities attack Christians is well documented. There are literally thousands of links to studies on this topic. The research is quite easy.

Let me be really clear about this: It is Grace by faith in The Lord Jesus Christ by which we are saved.
There is no other path to salvation. Period. Believing in the powers of the state to provide, attending church, kneeling to face Mecca, chanting, singing, praying, tongues, none of these. The pope cannot save. You can give all your money to charity, live in a cardboard box reading the Bible all day and still go to hell.

Jesus Christ and nothing else. There is no other way.

Now, let’s take another look at Hitler, shall we? I think by now that most people would agree the Adolf doesn’t fit, does he? At one point he was held as a messiah by the German people. This is because prior to Hitler a lot of Germans were doing it very hard. Under his leadership things got better.
But God doesn’t judge us according to man’s standards. He sees what is in the heart, and there can be no doubt that Hitler’s heart was very dark.

In his youth Hitler had attended church services and had even sang in the choir.

As an adult he was a war monger who started World War Two and set about the genocide of the Jews in Every country he conquered. He also murdered homosexuals, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the disabled, the intellectually handicapped, political opponents and a host of other folk who didn’t fit into his perception of the new Germany.

There is considerably more evidence of Hitler’s forays into the occult than that of his Christian life.

No, once and for all, Adolf Hitler was not a Christian.

The Easter Play

When I was a kid we went to Sunday school. I don’t recall my parents going to church and I think Sunday school was simply an opportunity for my parents to get some breathing space from their brood of six. I can vividly remember the the weekly fingernail clipping, face scrubbing, and wearing the Sunday Best which consisted of a white shirt and tie, blue shorts and shiny black shoes. I really hated that tie.

Once in a while my three brothers and I were subjected to the shears. A kitchen chair was placed in the yard – we didn’t have a garden, it was most definitely a yard – and we got that all over cut. This was years before it was fashionable. I remember my folks practically had to strap me to that chair.

I am sure that my Sunday school gave me some sort of Christian foundation, or else why would Jesus be the one I turned to whenever I was in trouble in the years after Sunday school when there was no religious activity in my life. But I honestly don’t recall a single lesson.

But I do remember the Easter Play.

I was about 5 years old at the time. I played a Roman soldier. It should have been a fun night.

Someone decided that my skin was too pale for a Roman soldier. In the interests of authenticity I was given a coat of chicory essence. I gather that this five year old was an authentic Roman soldier in every other detail. Now I looked a nice shade of coffee.

Lipstick and mascara was the final humiliation.

Enter the Roman soldier: Now, just prior to my cue my mascara had started to sting my eyes. I started to cry, and the chicory started to run. So it was decided to quickly remove the chicory with a damp cloth. And, you guessed it, the chicory which readily ran in streams down my cheeks would not be removed with water and a washcloth. At this point I was entrusted to the care of a nine year old girl with the charge of cheering the lad up, while the adults busied themselves with finding an alternative solution.

Now it happens that we were in a kitchen to one side of the stage, and the young girl, still in possession of the damp washcloth, stepped up to the mark; in kitchens everywhere, whether at home, the restaurant, or a country church hall, there is one common element. Dish soap. No-one had tried the Sunlight Soap!

Ah! Now my eyes were streaming. My face, which had been streaked, was now a messy palette of black mascara and smudged chicory. (from this point on I will refer to the unholy combination as Chicara). Underlining this mess was a bright red slash that had been lipstick. And of course, like for all children, mess is not territorial; it was now over my uniform shirt.

The narrator announced the arrest of Jesus. This was my cue and it was at this time that I realised the Chicara had progressed south to my shorts, in which direction I happened to be looking.

In all fairness I think the Roman soldier faced with the prospect of placing God Almighty under arrest may well have vacated his bladder also. It’s a natural reaction to terror. But alas, I wasn’t thinking this. Nor did I hear hushed whispers in the wings.

“Wasn’t that boy wonderful!”
“Yes! Wetting himself in fear.”
“Just like a real soldier.”

What I was thinking is that I had just wet myself in front of the entire church which included all my friends, as well as those who would love a reason to tease the daylights out of me. I’m sure there was enough space cleared on my face for a bright red hue to break through.

The picture so far: child coated in tears, urine, and Chicara bravely living the show business code; The Show Must Go On.

Then I slipped in the puddle at my feet.

So did Mrs Marsh, the fat lady who owned the pig farm. There were some cruel jokes afloat about this irony, but enough on that. She fell on me.

So now I am sliding around the urine puddle, soaking it up with my back. If any part of me may have escaped it was thwarted by the Mighty Mrs Marsh who had pressed my body into service as a sponge.

Mercifully I don’t remember much else from that night. I believe I was taken home and given a good bath. That’s what I’d like to think happened anyway.

My parents were sensitive folk and would not have laughed at me until I was out of the room.

It’s unlikely that anyone remains alive that remembers what happened on that Friday night at the Eight Mile Plains, Church of England, Easter play. This happened some 45 years ago. Certainly, Mrs Marsh who was about 45 at the time is an unlikely candidate for longevity given her obesity.

Gripped in a bout of nostalgia on a recent trip to Brisbane I drove by where I remembered the little country church to be. In its place stood a spectacular, 2 story glass cathedral. I was a little dismayed as I slowed down to inspect the place.

Would this modern development hold the smiles, the tears, the laughs for the present generation in 50 years? Somehow I don’t think it would. I shook my head slightly and took one last look. I was about to accelerate away when I noticed something in the plot behind the new church.

The old church! I drove into the car park and pulled up in front of the sign. The old church had been preserved on this site. A memorial.

What struck me most was just how small it was. At the time I would have though it was gigantic, an auditorium. But it was really quite tiny. Not much bigger than a high school classroom.

This got my lateral thinking gears engaged and as I drove away I couldn’t help but think of the other gigantic problems that had had me vexed over the year. The only thing that had changed in the Sunday School play was my perception of it. I had changed.

Now not all of life’s problems can be brought into perspective as dramatically as the country church incident demonstrated but to all things not rigidly black and white there are degrees.

If I am constantly changing, growing, can’t I take comfort in the knowledge that tomorrow I may see today’s problem a little differently?

The irony of this little spark of truth is that today I don’t have any real problems. To the best of my ability I have given them to Jesus. (I say to the best of my ability because I know that at sometime I am bound to try to take them back). Usually I can give Jesus my cares most successfully when they are small. What I would really like to have is the faith to leave my problems with Him when they are big, overwhelming. Sadly it’s at this time when I can least manage them, that I snatch them back!

I smiled to myself as I thought about this. The little boy with the Chicara streaking over his cheeks hasn’t gone away. He can still bring a twinkle to my eye.

Pulling into the traffic someone shot me the finger. I just pictured Mrs Marsh a nano-second before she hit the pool and everything was okay.

Spiritualism; A Pleasant Ride to Hell

I wrote this piece a few years ago, published it on the Internet with the title, Spiritualism, the Highway to Hell, and promptly forgot about it. Since then it has been smashed and bashed under the hammering of 40 hits. Just how many of these were ACDC fans I don’t know.

I decided to republish for a number of reasons, not the least being that no one was reading it, and I do feel that this is one of my posts that needs to be read. Secondly, things have changed. I’m a better writer now and I’ve had time to distance myself from the work. Therefore, I figured it could also do with a rewrite.

This is an honest, perhaps slightly satirical look at the spiritualist church and it’s challenge to Christianity.

Before I start slashing and tearing at the Spiritualist Church I would like to point out that I speak from personal experience. A few years ago, during a period of loneliness and vulnerability, I attended one of these churches (can’t remember the name but they are all pretty similar; Church of the White Light, The Shining Star etc. All names meant to convey something uplifting, healing and mystical). I went back more than once, simply because I have always lived by the philosophy of a fair go.

At the time I was living a long way from Christianity.

My initial impression was that here was a decent, friendly and accepting bunch of people. They were definitely not mainstream society. I shared a coffee and a chat before the service commenced.

These folk were the proverbial square pegs. I am not being judgmental that’s just the truth. I have spent my life as something of an almost square peg, hexagonal perhaps, and have overcome many of the obstacles I faced, so I know one when I see one. Just imagine any fringe society group and then imagine a sub-group who wouldn’t even fit in there. They were accepted here.

They were friendly and they welcomed me and that is what I needed most at the time.

A bunch of New Age magazines were on a table and in a quiet moment I leafed through these.

Wow! Accepting was an understatement. Everything was okay by these guys. It didn’t matter if you were Hindu, Buddhist, into Mind Control, Meditation, chakras, you name it. Anything but Christianity.

Why the bias against Christianity? I soon learned.

The service started pleasantly. Everyone sat on chairs in a circle, someone put on a cassette and we sang a few songs. Innocent enough. The songs were all selected to validate this atmosphere of brotherly love.

The service consisted of a meditation session (which I found enjoyable), a visit from a clairvoyant (which I am too cynical to be bothered with), and a talk by one of the elders.

Here it was. You have never sinned so why feel guilty? Everything is okay. You are loved. Love. You can be whatever you want to be, do whatever you want to do, live however you want to live. You can justify this knowing that if it makes you happy it must be God’s will; because God loves you and wants you to be happy.

Okay, I thought I had heard reason for their grudge against Christianity; everything they taught was opposing the basic Christian tenets. For instance…

To be told you have never sinned is very appealing. Especially if one has spent their life feeling guilty over their behaviour. With this snippet a world of religious guilt can fall off one’s shoulders. Shame it isn’t true. The Bible tells us all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

But if you can’t buy that, and the concept of sin is too much for you, consider this; guilt is a human emotion that tells us when we have done the wrong thing. We don’t always pay for our mistakes and guilt is there to clip us around the heart when there is no-one to clip us around the ear. Appropriate guilt is one of the fundamental tools of spiritual growth. When guilt gets excessive or misplaced it should be dealt with by professionals and not some spiritual airhead.

Lifestyle. Live how you want to live. This isn’t true either. Many lifestyles are condemned by the Bible and it is easy to see why some people would rather embrace a church which condones anything, than make difficult and painful changes. Any religion, however, which does not require a person to change, to turn away from inappropriate lifestyles (those lifestyles which cause you guilt), isn’t a religion at all but a social club.

It is possible to live free of guilt. This is accomplished by asking Jesus for forgiveness and turning away from practices that make a person feel guilty. The process is called repentance.

Here was a church that lets you worship whatever you want, Buddha, Mother Earth, Krishnamurti, you name it. How can this be?

I can’t accept that we were thrown together on an assembly line with a multitude of creators. The argument that there can be more than one Supreme Being does not stand up to logic. How can there be more than one tallest mountain, fastest animal, hottest day? This all embracing attitude looks very attractive but it falls apart under even casual scrutiny.

Someone told me that they had had a wonderful morning observing a spiritual sunrise. Huh? Get with it! There is nothing spiritual about a sunrise. Spirituality is a measure of the Godliness in a person, or a measure of that thirst, that desire for Godliness. Sorry, a sunrise, a walk on the beach, dolphins dancing in the rain, these don’t fit. But apparently it is okay to believe this.

What then, if anything goes, is the problem with Christianity? My question was not answered until I read the book Dark Secrets of the New Age by Texe Marrs.

When I first encountered this book it was awfully difficult to get my head around Texe’s concept of a new world order with Satan at its head. But the more I thought about it, the more I looked around, the more I realized that it is the only explanation that fits.

All these spiritualist movements, new age nuthouses, crystal gazing idiots, aroma sniffers, are united in their common goal; to stamp out Christianity. This is the Great Evil; living under the crushing weight of sin. And Christianity is the culprit.

Yet the really big con is that few of the participants even know it. Most sincerely think that their bumper sticker Practice Random Acts of Kindness, or I Believe in Angels, is somehow a force for good in an otherwise crappy world. This is the saddest part.

Walk into any bookstore and see how many New Age titles are on display. Now compare this with the number of Christian titles on display.

Open any Women’s magazine (I haven’t worked out why this rarely occurs in men’s magazines) and see how many ads there are for psychics and clairvoyants. Many even have columns dedicated to these twits. Now see if you can find an article by a priest or pastor in the same magazine.

All this stuff is designed to get people to look anywhere rather than to God for the answers to their problems.

That’s it in a nutshell. The Spiritualist movement, or the New-Age movement is a satanic distraction. It has no worth whatsoever but actually has a negative value in that it keeps seekers away from Christ.

These were seekers that I met during that lonely period. Other people who, like me, were drifting along life’s highway, trying to find something better.

My search eventually led me back to the cross. I became a Christian at 16 but got sidetracked. Churches should have some responsibility towards newly converted Christians. (Another post coming up I think :-)). It took nearly 30 years before I returned to Christ, battered, beaten and thoroughly broken. In this condition I was ripe for an easy path.

The whole purpose of the spiritualist church is to keep you away from Jesus Christ. It accomplishes this by offering a wide road with a broad gate. Ironically there are no spiritual disciplines required, nothing to believe, nothing to practise, no one to worship.

They don’t worship Satan. They don’t worship Christ; and that’s okay with Satan.

But Jesus told us to enter by the narrow gate, Matt 7:13. He told us that the road to destruction is wide and easy. Most people take it.

I had a narrow escape. God had His hand on me and He led me home.

The message I have regarding the Spiritualist church is this. Don’t go there. Don’t even put foot in the door.

HARRY K.