Some of why Real Christians are persecuted and censored on account of fakes

This is a long thread on a Facebook post by another Facebook user. I'm including it here because it covers a great deal of information as to why there is persecution and censorship practiced against Christians in the world. There is a general misconception about what Christianity truly is. The misconception stems from the incorrect belief on the part of a huge percentage of the global population that Christianity is what everyone does who simply claims to be a Christian even though he or she is not a Christian at all — is not following the teachings of Jesus or trying much if at all to emulate Jesus's actual, historical deeds.

Because so much evil has been done in the name of Christianity by non-Christians, people look elsewhere for answers and solutions rather than looking for the real Christ in Jesus. There is a huge, incestuous-like (feeding off one another's false premises and conclusions) disrespecting of Jesus and his real Church (those who believe in Jesus's call and thereby who reject coercion, violence, greed, and other forms of depravity including harmful sexual behavior, feelings, thoughts, and words).

It is exceedingly difficult to penetrate through layer after layer of misconception, but it is incumbent upon the Christian to stand up for Jesus wherever. The God of Jesus is not as portrayed. There is a general confusion concerning the spirit who is God versus the spirit who is Satan. God is not the author of evil. Satan is. God allows for Satan because the human spirit demands "freedom"-in-ignorance. Real freedom is freedom from evil, not to do it. Obtaining the real wisdom and holding it as the highest value requires learning from mistakes, which mistakes are falling to the Satanic spirit. To fault God for this situation is to miss that God is the one calling you out of error. To reject God is to reject coming out into freedom.

This only begins touch upon what is really going on.

Hostess - Iran continues to persecute Baha'i religious minorities
Baha'i houses demolished in Iran - Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review
www.hurriyetdailynews.com
Some 50 houses owned by members of Iran's Baha'i religious minority have been demolished in a village northeast of Tehran, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Radio Farda reported.

July 8 at 9:09pm • Comment • Like • Share

Tom Usher said:

They shouldn't be doing that while criticizing Israel for bulldozing Palestinian homes. They shouldn't be doing it regardless. They rationalize their hypocrisy.

The Iranian Muslims appeal to the Qur'an while Zionist Israelis appeal to the Old Testament.

I'm going to share it.

July 8 at 9:43pm • Like •
1 person •

Hostess said:

Good points, Tom !!!

July 8 at 9:45pm • Like

Commentator 1 said:

The main problem lies in the simple and underlying fact that not only Iran but also many other so called Islamic states have all grabbed hold of their own varying versions of Islam thats been concocted with many man-made ideas, theories, and regulatory laws and are trying to send them down the throats of their pwople by force. Islam was never meant to be understood and implemented in this manner, sadly.

July 8 at 11:00pm • Like •
1 person

Tom Usher said:

You've heard the question, "What would Jesus do?" So, what would Mohammed do? Would he agree to allow people who do not hold him to be the final prophet to keep their homes? To be consistent with Jesus's words and deeds, he would not knock down their homes if they did not hold him to be who he said he was and is.

Peace

July 8 at 11:18pm • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

If those great men were still around they would have probably run away and hide from the menace of these creatures who have done everything possible to discredit their good names

July 8 at 11:22pm • Like •
1 person

Tom Usher said:

I assume from your initial comment that you believe the particular Iranian Shiites in question have misinterpreted Islamic law on the matter and that therefore Mohammed would not have agreed with destroying the homes of those who do not believe he is or was the final prophet. Am I correct in those assumptions?

July 8 at 11:37pm • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

Absoliutely.... Not just the Iranians but even the many other so called "Islamic" regimes on the planet who have all missd the bus by miles....

July 8 at 11:39pm • Like

Tom Usher said:

This interests me. Are you a member of a particular sect the name of which might be familiar? Would you be willing to share that here?

July 8 at 11:42pm • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

I am Sri Lankan and was born into a Sunni Muslim family belonging to the Shafee School Thought. However, with time, I was able to study the religion from various different perspectives and have now concluded that there is no real need for any believer to adhere to a particular sect or its schools of thought to be able to live like a decent and good human being on the planet. I have lived almost half my life of 62+ years in Saudi Arabia where I work as an IT Consulant and have met and discussed this issue with many so called scholars and students of knowledge belonging to different groups, parties and sects. None were able to give me any credible evidence to believe them and their systems. Hence I have taken it upon myself and choses to believe and practice my faith in the manner that I understand it based on my own knowledge and readings which I feel is sufficient for me. In my own personal view most Muslims across the Globe have missed the bus, sadly.

July 8 at 11:47pm • Like •
2 people

Commentator 2 said:

very true...religion is a way of life and we can embrace it only if we recognise it...how we communicate with our Creator is between HIM n US

July 8 at 11:59pm • Like •
1 person

Tom Usher said:

I find this refreshing. I have the same position regarding Christianity. Many people are close in some areas but far in others. I try to focus on Jesus's words. This is why, for instance, that I am not what many Christians call a Pauline Christian, meaning a disciple, per se, of Saul of Tarsus, who became known a Saint Paul in the "Western World."

Also, I have read the Qur'an. When viewing the difference between the basic split between Sunni and Shiite, I can only apply my own religious view and that is that the spirit line is more important than the bloodline in terms of religious shepherding.

Does that make sense to you? The Shiite insistence upon material bloodline does not appeal to me at all. Of course, in Christian Theology, "blood" has an extremely deep meaning and significance, and I don't wish to understate the semantical difficulties in opening up a dialogue on spirit versus blood when the two can be used interchangeably depending upon the various contexts involved.

July 9 at 12:21am • Like •
1 person •

Commentator 1 said:

While I agree thayt blood lines are important in keeping families cose knit to one another in terms of responsibility, support and security I cannot accept it as a valid criteria for leadership and rule of the whole community. Its undemocratic in the first instance. Unless we allow oursleves to agree that all these monotheistic scriptures are against freedom and democracy?

The Prophet Mohamed married 13 wives from various different tribes in order to sela their differences and bring bthem close together instead of squabbling and bickering as the way it used to be in those times in wild Arabia. He even married Maria the Coptic Christian from Egypt.

July 9 at 12:43am • Like

Tom Usher said:

Democracy, Islam, and Christianity are "touchy" areas for many. Jesus Christ's teaching is that we are to have the law written on our hearts such that we don't seek to harm anyone but to rather be a blessing. We cast our vote for that, which is non-coercive but should be compelling more than enough.

I noticed, Commentator 1, that you didn't add (PBUH). Should I take anything away from that absence? Should I draw any particular conclusion?

Commentator 2, your view is similar to the "personal relationship" teaching in Christianity. That's unusual for most Muslims. Are you perhaps a Sufi?

July 9 at 1:06am • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

Commentator 2 is my wife, FYI. The PBUH ref after the names of the Prophets mentioned was only left out for convenience although they are all revered in our hearts for their role in guiding humanity to live well. In my view all the monotheistic faiths espoused freedom, love, compassion, kindness, charity and unity with equality, justice and fairness to ALL. I cannot see how far away from true democracy that is?

July 9 at 1:17am • Like

Tom Usher said:

Freedom (from evil), love, compassion, kindness, charity, unity, equality, justice, fairness, these are all things which are necessary to keep the two Great Commandments and the New Commandment, without which the deeper understanding of those first two apparently goes less appreciated. If we have all those qualities, which necessarily means practicing them in all things, then we do indeed have the law written on our hearts and have cast our vote for perfect order.

You mentioned monotheism, which is often emphasized in Islam to draw attention to the Trinitarianism as usually expressed in the Nicene Creed. Here, I suggest to you that part of the perceived distance between Islam and Christianity is again semantical in nature.

There are, of course, rigid Trinitarians who bristle at any conflation of pure monotheism by purely spiritual means. I do not subscribe to their way. Oneness is a spiritual matter, and the blood of which I spoke earlier is spiritual as well as was, and is, physical if we will but accept it.

I do understand and appreciate the ineffability of God that Islam and Judaism seek mot to lose to the Christian familial-relationship conceptualization. I do know that Jesus would have been able to explain to Mohammed (as well as the Gabriel of Mohammed's visitations) that Jesus was not speaking of God the Father Almighty in the blood and flesh terms we were discussing earlier where God would be simply a more glorified/advanced human being and nothing more, nothing transcending what any atheist or anti-spiritualist, as is, can readily see and believe. Proper Christianity simply doesn't limit God in any such way even as the Christian seeks to join, to be reborn as children of God, a description that has been a stumbling block for Muslims purely on account of stymieing language that prevents the greater things from being brought forth.

It is often at this point that bridging-language begins to fail when discussing these matters with Muslims. I have yet to meet the Muslim who openly delves into the questions to arrive at a language breakthrough where I may then speak in the language of the revelation of Jesus Christ and be understood.

God wants us to join God in the unity, one of the terms you mentioned. By joining each other as full siblings — the whole of humanity — we are thereby joining God. Not acknowledging that very particular family, spiritual and flesh unity, keeps humanity falling apart before our very eyes.

July 9 at 2:11am • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

The Quran 49:13 simply states it all in a nutshell, the translation of which is, "O mankind! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware. "
Now theres no way that I can read that text to mean oppress, kill, maim, hurt, and destroy each other...

July 9 at 2:35am • Like

Commentator 2 said:

As mentioned by you ..love compassion kindness charity unity equality justice fairness respect loyalty devotion understanding..that is the way of life
The greatest values the sweetest fragrance of life and that is Relgion..faith
I am a strong muslim iand i am sorry to tell you that we do not belong to any of these categories.
As Commentator 1 said most people have misunderstood Religion ...the way of life!
Dress codes: modesty is important but not the attire that is being wildly pronoted...
Tom its not a difficult task to pray, go to church, mosque, temple but it is a Herculean Task to live with one another with these sweet ingredients where we will/can taste the sweetness of life...
gd luk

July 9 at 2:39am • Like •
1 person

Commentator 3 said:

There was a country in the Arab world where all religions could practice freely. Where a Church and a Mosque could exist in the same community without violence. All this because the dictator commanded it.

Then America invaded, The dictator was executed, The Christians, Baha'i Hindu and minor Muslim sects started fleeing. Iran is probably paying attention to the Baha'i now because the population within it's borders has exploded (They had to run somewhere...).

Meanwhile Jamaica gets a bad rap for intolerance, while the Baha'i worship openly (including a weekly radio program). That's how we got to have the most churches per square mile. If a dozen of you worship in some strange way, you can form a church with the full protection or government and community.

July 9 at 8:43am • Like

Hostess said:

I did not know Jamaica had a bad rep for intolerance. I had no vision of this kind of Jamaica, personally. Where does such a reputation come from? From people inside Jamaica?

July 9 at 8:50am • Like

Commentator 1 said:

Isnt nit strange that we surely see intolerance popping up in the most unexpected places?

July 9 at 9:05am • Like

Commentator 3 said:

Hostess. I'm not sure where it comes from (I do have a theory) but I am glad to know more people who haven't swallowed it.

July 9 at 9:09am • Like

Hostess said:

What is your theory, Commentator 3, if I may ask ? Who is intolerant against whom ? Is there a "leading" religion in Jamaica ? The vision I have of Jamaica is that it has been heavily targeted by American proselytizing evangelists, and that many Jamaican fell into their promises of a "better life" (the same way evangelists have targeted African countries, preying on the people's poverty) by converting people craving for hope to Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, and the like. Feel free to correct me on this, Commentator 3...

July 9 at 9:19am • Like

Commentator 3 said:

Our Religious tolerance comes from our odd history. All African religions were banned and severely punished during slavery, After Slavery there were attempts to limit the Revivalist church (Christianity practiced in a very African stile) on the pretext of witchcraft. It didn't fly because Afro-Jamaicans are the majority. In the mid 20th century the Rastafarian religion arose and faced some harassment and abuse from the state. This made the Government very unpopular.

In the mean time other faiths were allowed to establish themselves. So after these locally created faiths came off the "banned list", we were left with a very plural society. Many faiths are practiced here. The Mormons, Church of Scientology, Baha'i, Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Jahovia's Witnesses (they stopped coming to my house. I can teach you how) are all represented.

As for the bad rap. I would rather not get into it here.

July 9 at 10:42am • Like

Hostess said:

Yes, I'd like to know how you managed to have the Jehovah's Witnesses stop coming to your house. Here, they come to my house at least once a week: they seem to unload a whole army of them in the neighborhood on Saturday morning, with a pair of them assigned to each street. They keep nagging like the Borgs in Star Trek as if saying "Resistance is futile, we will assimilate you!" This is harassment pure and simple !!!!!!

July 9 at 11:15am • Like

Hostess said:

And thank you for the brief summary of religious history in Jamaica. Fascinating !!!

July 9 at 11:16am • Like

Commentator 1 said:

In my view the problem lies with absolute brainwashing and a feeling of euphoria that one is only on the right path and the rest are all lost in the dark based on absolute stupidity, myths and folklore. Thats how idiotic mankind can be.

July 9 at 11:17am • Like •
1 person

Commentator 1 said:

Also the Colonials who went out rampaging across the continents always took along their missionaries on board and established places of worship wherever they left their footprints converting people in the most unethicalk 0of manners. And the irony today is that they feel that the building of a Mosque on the site of 911 is threatening to Amnerica. Ha Ha Ha

July 9 at 11:19am • Like •
1 person

Commentator 3 said:

Hostess. The technique is simple but requires deep knowledge of the bible and a genuine enjoyment of debate.

What I did was to invite them in. Then I fetched cold drinks and 3 different translations of the bible (with Concordance in two of them). Then I discussed with them at length the portions of their doctrine which has a tenuous connection to the actual scripture. Referencing those sections of the bible which contradict these notions.

It took a couple hours but when they left it almost looked like they fled in terror. It's been 15 years and they haven't been back. Of course not everyone has Pastors for parents (both of them, plus a Godfather and at least one Grandfather), so you may have to borrow a scripture buff to provide this service.

July 9 at 1:04pm • Like

Commentator 3 said:

Commentator 1. Crazy guys kill a few thousand people in the name of their religion and then someone comes along to build a monument to that religion on the site of this destruction?

That is at the very least in bad taste. Like building a Cathedral at Auschwitz.

July 9 at 1:11pm • Like

Hostess said:

Thanks for the tip, Commentator 3 :o) When I was a kid, I enjoyed Bible fights: I understood the game rather young: you can always find contradicting quotes from the Bibles, as well as quotes that fit your convenient agenda :o)

July 9 at 1:17pm • Like

Hostess said:

I tagged the following note on Easter => http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=378523622661

July 9 at 1:21pm • Like

That link gives away the Hostess's identity, but perhaps you'll have to be accepted as her Facebook friend before you'll be given access. Anyway, I'm not violating any confidences here.

The linked-to material is rife with ignorance concerning real Christianity. There is perhaps one commentator there who has the slightest idea of what Jesus was talking about, which sayings of Jesus are recorded in the Gospels. I'm not calling them all stupid (although Christians are called stupid in that thread, which is an ignorant thing to say). I'm saying the commentators for the most part (almost all and in very nearly everything they say about Jesus and Jesus's God and Father) are not well versed at all on Jesus's direct words and deeds and how to interpret them — what they mean. They miss every point — every single one. I saw only a hint on the part of one person there getting any of it. The biggest mistake is judging Jesus's God and Father and Jesus, my God and Father and brother, based upon what confused people have done and do in the our names. There is also a complete lack of understanding on the part of a large majority there about the difference between matter and living spirit and what that means vis-a-vis mundane science (testing). One man in particular, Commentator 1 here, is extremely arrogant and hugely hypocritical, as he professes Christianity to be largely myth and those who believe in it to be stupid and brainwashed while he believes (claims to but won't flesh that out — I asked him to, as you may readily see here in this post) in the Qur'an, which itself is loaded with what matterists or materialists believe is pure myth: a pure fabrication from the wild imagination of Mohammed. Commentator 1 wants his cake and to eat it too. His "myth" is the only one. Well, my Christianity is not a myth. I will be vindicated in that.

Hostess said:

Tagged Note on the Ten Commandments => http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=378492997661

July 9 at 1:26pm • Like

That linked Facebook Note addresses the views of "Fundamentalist Christians." I won't go into a great deal of detail here about it. It is about the Ten Commandments. It should be understood by all that Jesus came to enhance the law. He showed the hypocrisy even in Moses's letter of the law but revealed the spirit of the law that saves Moses from Satan and himself (if and only if Moses gets it and exists accordingly). Everyone needs to understand that Jesus does not hold with any human being committing genocide. That said, there is a separation from evil. Also, Jesus is extremely understanding about ignorance. He does not, however, save the wilfully evil. How can he and there still be choice (the "freedom" that everyone clamors to be given) and learning and a deep and abiding appreciation of lessons learned?

For those of you who can access the Hostess's FB Notes, I am not saying that she has no valid points. I am saying that the people who are doing all the things of which she is complaining (many but not all of her complaints are valid) are not Christians. They claim to be but are not.

As of the date and time of this post on the RLCC blog, I have not added any comments over on either of the linked-to Facebook Note pages.

Tom Usher said:

Well, Commentator 3, Commentator 1 can certainly correct me if I'm wrong; but if memory serves, no where in the Qur'an or the history of Mohammed is it shown that he condoned the killing of the innocent or women or children. I should think that those who wish a Mosque in the vicinity of 9/11 ground zero would take the position that whoever caused the death and destruction that day in that place and elsewhere did not do it in the name of what Mohammed preached or did or ever said that God sanctions.

As for a Cathedral near Auschwitz, history points to the fact that the Nazis were not even feigning Christianity, let alone suggesting they were true devotees of Jesus. Oh, of course Hitler was far from ignorant about how the churches could be used and so forth. He did interact with them and make some very serious rather forceful suggestions (putting it mildly) for changes diametrically away from anything Jesus has in mind.

Hostess, if you want to use some quick scripture with the Jehovah's Witnesses, try these.

The Jehovah's Witnesses say the Holy Spirit is not a "person," but Jesus said the following: "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:5-6) "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)

The Jehovah's Witnesses also say that the soul is not immortal. However, Jesus said, "Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth." (Matthew 9:24) Then he raised her from the dead. There's also this: "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." (Matthew 22:31-32) There are other verses concerning the resurrection of the soul in the flesh as well that you could use.

The Jehovah's Witnesses also have a long history of prophesying things that didn't happen they thought had been ordained of God. With each disappointment, they just went on as if they hadn't been misled and made a huge error.

July 9 at 4:57pm • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

The Mosque is a place for prayers, worship and supplication only. It is also be used to for Friday and Festival (Eid) Day sermons that are based on the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet only. Inciting viiolence, hatred and oppression is not a part of the role of the Mosque. Its supposed to be a place of peace where the believers gather in the name of peace for peace.

The fact that some groups and organizations have used some Mosques across the globe for their evil activities does not degenerate the status of all Mosques on the planet. Its more like saying that if one Church was guilty of Paedophilia then we should close down all the Churches on earth.

Unethical Conversion and Proselytizing has been practised vy all the European Colonial rulers in South America, Asia, the Far East and Africa throughout the ages. It was a part of the Colonbization process to entice these innocent natives to Christianity and Roman Catholicism by way of doing them a favor in guiding them to Heaven. Its wrong and has to be acknowledged and admitted by the Church and Vatican.

July 9 at 9:50pm • Like •
1 person

Hostess said:

Thomas Jefferson: "Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet, we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." - Notes on the State of Virginia Query 17, 1782

July 9 at 9:52pm • Like

Commentator 3 said:

Hostess. It still amazes me how wise America's founding fathers were. Then to contrast that with modern American leadership.

Commentator 1. Of course the Quran doesn't teach this. However Suicide Bombers have to be recruited throgh Religion. Governments and Employers can only reward survivors. The Kamikaze worshiped the Emperor. Likewise the Suicide bomber is fed a line that this is the command of Alah. That he will be rewarded in the afterlife for this self sacrifice.

Misguided and used as they were those men had a prayer to Alah on their lips as they flew into the side of a building. Mosques are fine and NYC has many (over a hundred by some counts). I just wouldn't put one on the site where thousands were slaughtered in the name of Islam, even if this went against the instructions of Mohamed.

July 9 at 10:16pm • Like

Commentator 1 said:

The very fact that you have expressed your biased thinking against the building of a pkace of worship, anywhere on the planet, indicates the stereotyping of Islam as the cause of the 911 event. Just because a few people chose to use the religion to espouse their cause one cannot paint 1.5 billion people and their belief system with the same brush. Its totally unfair. By opposing the building of the Mosque one is only enforcing the double standard of American "land of the free and the brave" cliche. Two wrongs do not, cannot, and will never maike a right. Not in any book.

July 9 at 10:22pm • Like

Hostess said:

There is no greater place for a mosque to be built and for Muslims to pray there than ground zero. I would even build a mosque and a church side by side, precisely because of the peace and reconciliation needed to transcend phobic sentiments. Feisal Abdul Rauf, is the Imam in New York and, based on my own reading of his books, he is a sincere holy man who has the mind and heart of a wise Muslim. He founded the ASMA Society, an educational and cultural organization building bridges between people and co-founded the Corboda Initiative, a multi-faith effort to help heal the relationship between the Muslim world and America.

July 9 at 10:36pm • Like

Commentator 1 said:

The crux of the issue at ahdn is NOT to divide, hate, oppress and rule but to reconcile, come together, share and accept. I repeat again, not every single Muslim of the 1.5 billion on the planet condone what happned on 9/11

July 9 at 10:40pm • Like

Hostess said:

Commentator 1 is right => I went to the Mosques in my city many times for Ramadan festivities and to study Islam. I never heard a word of support for the jihadists who DO NOT understand what Jihad is about in the first place.

July 9 at 10:46pm • Like

Commentator 1 said:

I have listened to thousands of sermons in Mosques across the globe in my 62 years on the planet and am yet to hear one asking me to take a gun and kill the "enemy". I doubt I will hear any before my train calls at the station.

July 9 at 10:51pm • Like

Hostess said:

Commentator 1, you keep talking about your train. I do hope it will be a delayed train.

July 9 at 10:54pm • Like

Commentator 1 said:

Oh no its not like that Hostess. Just a figure of speech to say I am ready to hop aborad as and when she choo choos into the station. Not that I am in any hurry to leave at all. No way. I'll bide my time and enjoy my life as I choose to in my own special way. I need to see my great grandkids, too....

July 9 at 10:57pm • Like •
1 person

Tom Usher said:

I like Commentator 3's sensitivity to people's feelings about ground zero at the same time I like Commentator 1's expectation that those people not lump all Muslims together as mass murderers.

So, we can understand and acknowledge people's initial reactions but call them to a higher plane while not caving into any unwillingness to separate murderers from anti-murderers.

It's in line with the ancient prophecy that the children will stop being punished for the sins of the fathers.

I like this. It's heading in the right direction.

Saturday at 1:07am • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

Well the Christian philosopy is that all of us poor human beings are being punished for the original sin of our the father and mother, Adam & Eve...

Saturday at 1:12am • Like

Tom Usher said:

The moral of the long version though is to learn from the consequences and stop it all in one generation. It's dialectical.

The prophecy I mentioned is both Jewish and Christian. It's just been ignored for a while — a long while in terms of single life spans.

You can't properly lump together everyone who calls himself or herself Christian anymore than you can do it regarding Muslims, right?

Anyway, I look forward to the day when that prophecy is fulfilled.

Saturday at 2:03am • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

We havent managed to stop it so far over thousands of years. Do you really think we can eradeicate this planet of all its murderers, looters, occupiers, illegal settlers, and oppressors. Not in my lifetime for sure. And I am a bit too old to believe in prophecies anymore, I think...

Saturday at 2:07am • Like

Tom Usher said:

What is faith? Many people will die tonight.

Saturday at 2:29am • Like •

Tom Usher said:

Things change:

Saturday at 2:31am • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

Faith is just a figment of thought that resides inside the mind based on pre-concieved ideas that have been fed into it based on ones birth situation, family, community, environment, and culture. It gets planted as a seed and takes deep root thats very difficult to uproot for many obvious reasons. It cannot move mountains, neither can it resolve all the issues one has within ones own hand and within ones immediate community and nation.

It will not give eternal life, either.

Saturday at 2:44am • Like

Tom Usher said:

Well, you are arguing against Jesus, but that's up to you.

Saturday at 2:51am • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

I am not. All I am saying is that we have no option but to think and believe that everythings that poured down our throats by our parents, neighborhood, school, environment and culture is absolute FACT and everything else is FALSE. Thankfully, I have grown out of that mentality over time and am pleased that I have also managed to de-brainwash myself to a very great degree which gves me the felxibility of mind to think outof the box. Whom do I thank for that, I still ponder about?

Saturday at 2:59am • Like •
1 person

Tom Usher said:

"And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, 'Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.' And the woman was made whole from that hour." (Matthew 9:20-22 KJV)

That's just one of very many. Some language is very figurative. This is not an instance of that though. This is to be taken literally — a historical account of an actual event where the words, though not spoken in English, imparted the same event and meaning as rendered there in English.

It's taken on faith. If it has no power for you, that's you right now.

I've seen faith work. It's working a great work — right now. The Free Gaza Movement is growing in faith that it will succeed. Pessimism and disbelief in the nonviolent way are giving way to an unstoppable optimism.

Whose will? Believe. No fear. Peace.

Saturday at 3:20am • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

Its not a matter of whether it has had power for me or you. Its a matter of whats real and whats myth. The Free Gaza movement is gaining in strength only on account of their strong action on the ground supported by so many decent human beings and organizations. Nothing else.

Saturday at 3:30am • Like •
1 person

Commentator 1 said:

My vision nof God is different. I believe he doesnt interfere with what happens here on earth since He Has gives us free will of choice. I cant imagine a God worrying about whether I will get to work on time or be crushed by a bus on my way. Its too trivial and demeaning for a Supreme God to be intersted or even involved in such base human affairs.

Saturday at 8:46am • Like

Tom Usher said:

No hard feelings, Commentator 1, but didn't Mohammed talk about what God wants, cares about, and whom God will help, etc.? Don't Muslims often say, "God willing"? How can your personal indifferent God have mercy?

These ideas appear contrary to your position, which strikes me to be Deism for the most part. Do you call yourself Muslim there in Saudi Arabia to the people there? Do you openly share these views there and receive no questions similar to the ones I just put to you? If so, I'd be surprise and dis-impressed.

Maybe I received the wrong initial impression about your personal religion.

I don't characterize God as interfering (if you mean it with a negative connotation) when the Spirit heals. Jesus's actions toward the poor, sick, downtrodden, etc., ought not to be characterized as either trivial or demeaning.

Why do you worship that which you consider to be indifferent to humanity and to you. Are you really nothing to your God?

Our respective Gods appear at this point very likely not the same beings but rather very far apart — perhaps opposites in many respects. Perhaps you can disabuse me of that conclusion but I don't see where you could even begin given what you've already stated, which still strikes me as arguing against Jesus Christ but also Mohammed.

I also see, Hostess, that you liked Commentator 1's comments to me. Of course, I also understand that you are a Buddhist (correct me about that if I'm wrong). The vast majority of Buddhists are atheists, right? So, the fact that you agree with Commentator 1 is not surprising. I'm just surprised by Commentator 1's comments coming from what I thought is a professing Muslim. I trust that makes sense.

Saturday at 2:01pm • Like •

Hostess said:

?@ Tom, I don't think Commentator 1 said that God was indifferent to humanity. I think he said that God is not a vending machine to support materialist and mechanistic trivialities. Our humanity goes deeper than mere mechanistic disciplines and rituals. This is within the realm of those human depths that you are more likely to find the divine gift of peace, the meaning of the word Islam. I think Commentator 1 is making a distinction between religious teachings to serve humanity in finding wisdom, where heart and mind intersect, and religious teachings used to oppress the people into complying to man-made interpretations that are tainted and corrupted by political and socioeconomic agendas. To surrender to God's will is to find peace beyond the ego's conditioned will : the art of exploring and accepting the unknown mysteries of life beyond ready-made dogmatic limitations imposed by men. As a Buddhist, I understand and appreciate Islam more, indeed, that x-tianity that has been corrupted for too long, although I must admit, that wisdom is not limited to one religion: I have met heartfelt and mindful wisdom from all religions. Likewise, there is no religion protected from the narrow visions of egocentric and ethnocentric interpretations that tend to turn religious teachings into materialistic ideologies. Buddhists are not atheists: they are open to what is and to questions more important than whether or not a given god exists or not. To turn god into a person is to project from our small and narrow understanding of life's mysteries.

Saturday at 3:03pm • Like

Tom Usher said:

Hostess,

Perhaps Commentator 1 did not intend to imply indifference to humanity; but if so, I would like to hear him say it.

I see that you take strong offense at the "prosperity preachers." I find their theology offensive as well.

To further clarify my own beliefs, I am not ritualistic, as that term is commonly used. I love the idea of Holy Communion, but to practice it robotically is to miss the point.

I do believe that Islam means submission to the will of God. I have no problem with that much of the concept. I can find huge swaths where my beliefs overlap with Islam. By honest inquiry though, one is inevitably led to where the road forks. If the area of agreement is sufficient, communications can still continue in the hope of something truly fruitful.

It has not been lost on me: Commentator 1's righteous upset in the face of man's inhumanity to man (where "man" is in the original sense both genders; I'm not sexist).

Of course, there are good political and socioeconomic agendas. We see that everyday. Those for bad government block it.

Look, I know that neither of you as neighbors would put me in fear that either of you would shoot me for disagreeing as I do now. There are those in the world who would shoot all three of us though given the chance to do so with strong enough assurances of worldly immunity from the consequences of such an evil act.

I'm anti-coercion. I would not force my religion on anyone. Doing so is actually anti-Christ. If you need me to show you where I derive that understanding, I'll be glad to do it. I don't think you'd disagree with the premises or conclusion.

As for your appreciation of Islam more than Christianity, I would agree with you if I were to accept that what has been wrongfully done in the name of Christianity defines Christianity. I refuse to do that. I think you should also refuse. Christ defines Christianity, not what is falsely done in his name.

With that in mind, when I place the words and deeds of Jesus next to those of Mohammed, I go with Christ. I do the same concerning Siddhartha Gautama.

Unfortunately for Islam, many people are doing many things in its name that do not conform to the teachings of Mohammed in total, such as those teachings may be grasped by Muslims (not easy as the Hadith and other writings clearly show). The history of Islam in that way is not without self-inflicted mayhem.

It remains my understanding that for many professing Buddhists, there is no God. However, I have read sufficiently on the issue to understand your statement on the matter. I do know that many Buddhist do leave themselves open as you've said.

Let me address your statement: "To turn god into a person is to project from our small and narrow understanding of life's mysteries."

Personhood is not confined to human personhood. Where is the Buddha now as thought of in the most esoteric and mystical terms of the leading Buddhists? What is his state? Has he annihilated his ego and therefore does not exist? If he exists, is he no longer a "person"? What terms do we have in order to discuss these matters? Why is "person" limited to your own current limits?

For me, God is both alive and one. I say, God is a person. Jesus for the Christian was divine. Jesus was and is a person. Why is that unacceptable? He said things that don't jibe with Mohammed after him or Buddha before, in Earthly chronological terms anyway. Is that it?

Given the life offered by each, I've chosen Jesus. I would rather the whole of humanity emulate him rather than the other two. I did not come to that until I was nearly 50. I can assure you that I didn't have a pre-processed bias. I was ready at the time for anything so long as it was the truth. If the truth had turned out that Jesus was evil, then that would have been that. That's not what happened though. What I found was that he was the opposite of evil.

Using historical events wrongly done in the name of Jesus to judge Jesus, who is the real body and spirit of his Church, is an error.

I appreciate your consideration of these things.

Peace

Saturday at 4:25pm • Like •

Hostess said:

Tom, thank you for sharing your spiritual journey with us. X-tianity is NOT a religion that inspires me. In fact, it has never inspired me. Oppression and repression were the sole expressions that my x-tian family drew from it. I was raised x-tian but rebelled against it rather young in my life: Too many contradictions and too much violence, not only throughout the history of this religion but also in the Bible.

On my grandmother's side, I have either Arabic or Persian origins, I am not sure which, as we were not allowed to talk about it at home, nor to ask why my great grand-mother always wore a scarf. Her last name was transcribed into the French phonetic system as RAMADE (pronounced RAMAD in English). My grandmother and I used to be very close, and I was always drawn by Muslims classmates with whom I developed close friendships.

I prefer, by far, to read the Qur'an for peaceful inspiration and meditation.

One of my Muslim students from Palestine offered me a Qur'an with beautiful Arabic Calligraphies engraved on its hardcover. She chose a translation that deeply speaks to me: the translator used to be a Buddhist who converted to Islam and who became an expert in Islamic studies later.

She offered me this beautiful Qur'an on her graduation day to thank me to be an inspiring professor, and as a token of the Muslim Association's gratitude after I organized my students at the university to provide escorts to international students from Muslim countries, after 9/11 happened, such as to make sure they could cross campus safely.

On Sept. 11, 2001, while watching the terrorist attacks on TV, I immediately remembered the reactions following the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1994: the Muslim community was scapegoated unfairly, Muslim people attacked and the Mosque covered with insulting graffiti. This irrational reaction lasted for a few days (a week maybe) until the news announced thait it was a white Anglo-saxon protestant, Timothy McVay, who was the actual perpetrator of that terrorist attack in OKCity. So, in Sept. 2001, I anticipated anti-Muslim sentiments as harsh, if not harsher than in 1994, which led me to organize my students for the protection of Muslim students on campus that year. I was very touched by the many sincere expressions of gratitude that the president and many members of the Muslim Student Association offered to me. Frankly I was not prepared to receive so much warmth and heartfelt kindness. In the U.S. folks might use quick thank you expressions and move on. But the members of Muslim community kept inviting me to their major cultural and religious events, came to my office to inquire about my health, to ask if I needed any help, to bring me pastries during Ramadan. Really, I don't know how to describe the many deeply touching expressions of kindness that members of the Muslim community extended to me : I had never experienced so much sensitivity and gratitude coming from people I had never met before. At times, I even felt guilty about so much loving attention, thinking it was not that much of a big deal in the first place.

To conclude this little missive, here are two quotes that came to mind as I was reading your comments:

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile." —Kurt Vonnegut

"Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." ~ Gandhi

Saturday at 7:19pm • Like

Tom Usher said:

Well Hostess, I've seen the quotes with which you concluded; but neither applies to real Christianity, as I've been trying to make clear but apparently without success, at least with you.

The faith of Jesus was and is certainly not unquestioning in the sense in which Vonnegut meant. Vonnegut was suggesting blind faith. Jesus knew exactly. He was not blind as to God.

He had a very particular God in mind, and that God is the same Jesus said judges no man. It is not Jesus's fault that his sayings and doings have been abused, misinterpreted, and misused.

If his going to the cross for the sake of truth-telling to save souls is something that never inspired you, what should I say? They tortured him to death for preaching the love of God, love of neighbor as Jesus loved his closest friends, and serving as the least (who is the greatest in his Father's eyes). I find it the greatest example of love ever recorded. As for violence, there is certainly plenty of that in the Qur'an. Certainly Jesus never raised a violent, deadly worldly army. Mohammed did and used it to take slaves he kept, used, and sold and not equally I might add, as he allowed himself alone more wives than anyone else. He split the booty or spoils of war with his followers. That was their reward. Jesus taught against war and enslaving ones fellow humans (siblings all if we would but accept his teaching).

As for Gandhi's saying, again, he's not speaking of Christians but only those who mouthed it. There have been many saintly people down through the ages who professed Christianity. The abolitionist movement in the US was full of prime examples. The Peace Churches have been persecuted all over the place for being total pacifists – more committed to it than was Gandhi – without his confusing words for people about the difference between cowardice and true bravery Jesus showed by not doing what Mohammed did, which Jesus could easily have done in spades. It was that very temptation that Jesus overcame. All he had to do to rule the Earth as an imperial-dictator king was bow down to the proverbial Satanic spirit. He chose the real peace instead. I'm sure you are aware of Gandhi's racist tendencies. He held the Black Africans in an inferior light and not just on account of educational differences. Gandhi was no Christ.

Also, one need simply look at history and the current state of affairs between Islam and Hinduism to realize that it is easy to judge all Muslims and Hindus by the actions of a few and sometimes by many. They've made war on each other. Also, let's not forget that it was Islam that destroyed the huge Buddhist mountainside-carvings in Afghanistan. Would Mohammed have done it? He was for destroying icons even though icons remain in the Kaaba but only those pertaining to the gods (3) or God of his family. Everyone else's was destroyed.

Anyway, I can see that the terminology still separates as much as it did before I started. I thought I was being better understood than it turns out that I was.

Maybe you'll ruminate on it and something will occur to you that you didn't see with your first reading. Have you read the Gospel of John? When I read the Qur'an against it, the Qur'an doesn't speak of that love at all.

Saturday at 9:07pm • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

Thank you Hostess for clarifying my point of view which I think you comprehend very clearly. Its good to know that there are peopke around who choose to live in reality rather than myth,

In Islam we always start everything we do by mentiuoning God and we also attribute every action by impkying that it will be done by His Will. This is not a materialistic request or an action. Its only the acknowledgment that God is above all of us and is our Creator. It does not mean that God comes down to our doorstep and helps us to start the engine of our car when it has packed up. The Will of God is His Supreme Authority and Control over all of the Universe an His Creation. Mat I ask Tom that is every action is the Hand of God then why shoul we nere mortal human beings be asked to pay the price by way of reward or punishment whether in thsi world or in the Hereafter? Doesnt make any sense to me. The Free Will that God has Bestowed upon humanity is the classic case where we have to be responsible for all our sayings, actions, and happenings that we choose to execute down here on earth and not simply hide our head in the sands and ask God to take all the blame. What kind of a God is he who carries out ALL action on earth by Himself and then sends us t Heaven or Hell for it? I think we ned to grow up a little bit here and think out of the box.

My religion and its practices are between me and God and I do not go around preaching it and asking people their views on it and even trying to convert them to my thinking. I only share my beliefs if and wheh I am asked by someone, as is in the case of this forum. hence my life here in KSA is a very simple, straightforward, and comfy one which does not tread on others toes nor allows others to tread on mine.

Whats the use of Life if one cannot think and believe in a manner that one chooses for himself based on his own knowledge, understanding and desire.

I simply refuse to remain brainwashed all my life.....

Saturday at 10:08pm • Like

Hostess said:

Tom, I always had a great admiration for Jesus. I am with you there. And I am glad you found a spiritual teaching that inspires you.

Be assured that it is ok for me not to be inspired by x-tianity. X-tianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, etc. all these are just vehicles that ultimately take us "there", that divine place that has no name (and that many call "God"), pending our respective driving styles, of course. Spirituality transcends labels. Don't worry, I'll be ok.

If the Bible does not speak to me, the Gnostic Gospels do, along with other texts. As I said earlier, wisdom transcends scriptures and dogmas. No label is needed nor even possible when you reach that divine realm: I can see this very clearly when I go to interfaith gatherings. We all speak a different language, but the depths of the people's heart and motivation to cross man-made frontiers allow great energies that tap into the essence of what is said.

Gnosis is about knowledge (vs. myths), knowing through observation and experience, reflective knowledge. This is where Buddhism offered the guidance I needed to inquire into my self, at the deepest level, where I can meet and know the divine (what you would call God). This is also the teaching of Buddhism which, through meditation, deconstructs and retrains the mind to remain present with what is happening while it is happening, especially inwardly, instead of reacting mindlessly into the usual escapes. This is not an easy task, especially when people are conditioned to primarily look outside for consumption, entertainment, escapes and distractions away from what is happening inwardly.

Monoismus, a gnostic teacher, said:

"Abandon the search of God and the creation of other matters of a similar sort. Look for him by taking yourself as the starting point. Learn who it is within you who makes everything his own and says, "My God, my mind, my thought, my soul, my body." Learn the sources of sorrow, joy, hate... If you carefully investigate these matters you will find him in yourself. >>

Saturday at 10:33pm • Like

Commentator 1 said:

First and foremost Buddhism is not a religion as compared to Judaism, Christianity, & Islam. It is only a set of basic philosophical ways for one to life a life in peace and tranquility. It espouses the cause and effect theory well and also delves on Karma. But there are no do's and dont's. Everything thats stated within it is simply explained as a cause and what its effect will be. Most of the rituals and fanfare around it that we see today are all man-made no different to the pageantry that surrounds all other faiths on the planet.

The basic crux of any human thought and belief shoukld be to live a life of fulfilemt for oneself and ones immediate neighbor, community, nation and eventually the whole planet. Once you remove that from the equation you get into petty squabbles of "us and them" which is the foundation for hatred and discord.

Even the Quran states very clearly that God Created human beings and divided them into tribes and nations so that they will KNOW each other, and not DESPISE each other.

Saturday at 10:50pm • Like

Hostess said:

<<Most of the rituals and fanfare around it that we see today are all man-made no different to the pageantry that surrounds all other faiths on the planet.>> => Funny that you would use the same word as I do, namely "fanfare" => This triggered a good laugh !!! => That's exactly what it is !!! Thank you for the good laugh :o)

Saturday at 10:58pm • Like

Commentator 1 said:

well arent we supposed to take the bull by its horns? or even the cow by her udder?

Saturday at 11:02pm • Like •
1 person

Tom Usher said:

Commentator 1,

You have mentioned myth more than once now. Are you saying that Jesus was not a historical person, an actual flesh and blood human being? Mohammed held him to have been so. At the same time though, are you saying that Mohammed's claimed visitations by the Archangel Gabriel, as recorded in the Qur'an, is a myth that Mohammed made up?

Also, just because you have never personally experienced such a visitation or anything else that you can't explain in materialistic language, how can you so emphatically declare such things to be myths? I have had such experiences. Are you sure I have not? If so, that's an extremely arrogant position. When someone tells me of his or her experiences that he or she can't explain in terms that the mundane sciences would find acceptable given the limited knowledge at its disposal, I remain open unless I have some reason to know the person is lying or otherwise mistaken. To judge everyone who has experiences as having falsely concluded or imagined something is, again, arrogant and close-minded.

It is said of the Buddha that a giant cobra covered him. Is that impossible? Was he an actual human or a myth? Was Mohammed himself a real human being? I believe both men lived.

You speak as if the paradox of God's will and our freewill choice is a false paradox rather than true. Why is it that you cannot reconcile the two? I have no difficulty doing so at all. God allows evil to exist, doesn't he. It's a rhetorical question, hence no question mark. It's an indisputable fact. Is it God's will that evil exist? Now, I have you in a position where if we are to continue the dialogue, you will have to begin to speak on a different plane of understanding and even consciousness. It's no evil thing.

Your attitude is that when Jesus taught his followers to pray for the kingdom to come and for the deliverance from evil that such praying was foolish nonsense.

When you pray in the Mosque, what does it avail you then? Is it futile since Allah can't be bothered with hearing you there anymore than concerning any other "materialistic" setting? Why bother to go to the mosque? Why pray 5 times a day when nothing is sent or received?

You've made the assumption that a Christian lays blame at God's doorstep. Nothing could be further from the truth. Where did you get such an idea? I've never heard that one before. People sin. There are consequences. There is also Satan in both Christianity and Islam. Mohammed spoke of Satan. Have you never been misled and made a mistake and suffered the consequences and only later made the connection back to your misstep that was listening to someone telling you to do evil that you didn't recognize as such at the time? Did you learn from it? Did you blame God for your initial ignorance? That's not how I've operated.

In Islam, those who lead a certain life will receive one thing and those who lead another will receive something else. It's the same in Christianity. You don't believe in the afterlife of which Mohammed spoke and that is recorded in Islam scripture but you say you are a Muslim?

Where did Jesus control everyone? What God of Christ are you imagining for Christianity? I don't recognize this portrait you're trying to paint of Jesus's God.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears to me that you have not tried to find out much about Christianity from the New Testament itself and specifically the Gospels. You speak of brainwashing when understanding the revelation of Jesus is a great unveiling of the truth that is the opposite of brainwashing. Brainwashing in this case shuts down all but the very limited materialistic falsifiable realm that cannot allow what it cannot forcefully replicate at will, as if there is no God.

Anyway, I don't feel the same way I did about this thread when I first began with it. I found it refreshing at first, but now I'm left with quite the opposite feeling.

Christians are to be judged by all who profess it no matter how disingenuously, but Muslims and Buddhist are to be judged only by those who have put their best feet forward. That's a double-standard.

Saturday at 11:46pm • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

Tom, apparently you have this wonderful human trait of putting your words into other peoples mouths. Its nothing new to me. Ive seen it before and I am used to it and am able to manage it and not get sucked by it.

I have never said anything that you are accusing me of, line by line. Its all in your brainwahsed imagination.

All the prophets of God were human. If not, then God has been unfair and unjust. But we are all taught that God is the Most Fairest and Just of them all?

The myths that I am referring to are all the man made FANFARE that surrounds Judaism, Christianity and Islam that we see people indulging and believing in across the Globe and neglecting the core of the teachings.

For those who enjoy the fanfare, let it be so. Who am I to change their ways of thinking, be they brainwashed or brain stuffed?

To me, my belief is a personal onebetween me and my Creator. If I pray or fast or give charity, I do so the way I think is the right way. Its absolutely personal and has no place in anyone elses business to tell me how and why and where. What you believe in is your business. I dont haveany intentto change it. Only you can changeit if you so please.

I just wonder how you would contribute to this forum had you been born into a Hindu family in a vllage in India?

Saturday at 11:57pm • Like

Tom Usher said:

Commentator 1,

My comment is strewn with question marks. Every question is the result of something you wrote in a previous comment. If you don't care or are incapable of answering and asking in order to sort through these matters, that's not my fault. If at any point you were nonplused by some question or conclusion, it would have been an easy matter to ask why I asked or what made me come to the particular conclusion. I have asked you. You have not answered except in extremely general terms that have gotten us nowhere other than your words that are now at least tantamount to it's none of my business, if not flat out saying so. I know so.

Commentator 1, to be honest with you, which I've tried to be throughout this thread, I now find you too testy without cause. Your bristling at my inquiries is unjustified.

So, paraphrasing Jesus words, I'll take my leave and leave the dust behind. I have not found peace in this interaction but more a feeling of uninformed hostility emanating from you toward everything that I hold most sacred and holy. This has become a hard-hearted conversation. It has not ended up enlightening but rather stifling. I take my peace with me and no bitterness.

Sunday at 1:38am • Like •

Commentator 1 said:

feelings are mutual, mate. To you your belief and to me mine... Salut!

Sunday at 1:53am • Like

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    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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