Republicans and conservatives are often accused of holding President Obama to an impossible standard and simply criticizing him for every decision he makes. It is not surprising that the GOP is opposed to many of the policy proposals of the president (similar to the Democrat's response to Bush), however when Obama accomplishes something in the War on Terror he deserves credit for that progress.
Miracles have long been a stumbling block for many investigating Christianity and other religions. Why would a person living in the 21st century believe that the miraculous not only could happen, but did happen?
I wrote this essay back in 2001 during my period of away from Christianity, while I was exploring Vipassana Buddhist Meditation.
Although it has been a few weeks since I did the 10 day course, it is still worthwhile to try and remember. In retrospect, I find Vipassana a premium tool for self-knowledge and control, though not comprehensive as a spiritual/emotional tool for healing and growth. In addition to yoga, devotional study, and prayer, it fills out (almost) a complete set of inner spiritual disciplines (don’t forget the outer ones of service, etc.)
Much has been made of the phrase "Jesus of history." Many liberal theologians have attempted to argue the Jesus of the Bible is different from the Jesus of history. They most often do this by appealing to the Gnostic Gospels and the version of Jesus they present.
That was always struck me as strange. Why would they use documents written hundreds of years after Jesus lived and died to refute documents that were written within decades of His life, if they were truly concerned with an accurate historical presentation of Jesus?
At this point, those skeptical of the Christian claims of Jesus will point out, "I do not believe any of those descriptions of Jesus since they were written with a religious bias." What would the picture of Jesus be if we simply examined the historical, non-Christian records?
One of the repeated political strategies of the Obama administration has be to blame any of the current problems facing our nation on his predecessor (some of it correctly, some of it debatable, some it incorrectly).
Recently however, Vice President Biden signaled that they were going to take responsibility for one of the more important political developments – the success of the war in Iraq.
It's not often I agree with New Atheism spokesman Richard Dawkins. However in this BBC video clip, he details a problem within Christianity (despite it having the feel of a SNL Jack Handy spot). The ardent atheist explains his opposition to the religious identification of children (calling small children "Christian child," or "Muslim child," not so surprisingly he left out "atheist child).
I somewhat agree with Dawkins, despite his refusal to include his own philosophy in his list. A faith must be adopted by an individual on their own. That would be why Baptists and other similar groups of Christians rejected infant baptism.
While Dawkins may prefer to speak of a blind watchmaker, I think this is more an instance of him being a blind squirrel.
A good friend of mine has wandered full force into the positive thinking, humanistic, Dale Carnegie type of success training that is popular in professional circles these days. Now, I don’t necessarily disparage it, and there is a lot of good stuff to learn. But sometimes, the overly simplistic, boiled down talking points lack sophistication, and give an unbalanced idea of what is good and bad.
Case in point? Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work, which lists the characteristics of Judgers (bad) vs. Learners (good). Now granted, I only skimmed the book, but the charts below reveal what I think is our culture’s buy-in into subjectivism, and our rejection of any objective morals or truths.
Al Mohler has suggested that we can use a church or individual’s theology of hell as a measure of their theological liberalism. He also mentions that there is a characteristic ‘slide’ from the orthodox (read ‘biblical’) view of hell to the liberal view that abhors the idea as cruel and unjust (odium theologium). Here you go.
- Orthodox Belief: You believe in and preach the doctrine of Hell
- Silence: You stop mentioning it because you find it offensive
- Reduction to Consequentialism: A doctrine is revised and retained in reduced form – something like consequentialism, as opposed retributionism (God is actively punishing evil)
- Positivism: Essentially, don’t worry about it, we’re not even sure if hell is real or what it means. Just be as positive as possible – focus on being a good person and hell will take care of itself.
- Liberalization of the Doctrine: Changing the doctrine from eternal to denying that hell is everlasting, arguing for a form of annihilationism, or conditional immortality.
- Denial of Biblical Accuracy: Basically, yes the Bible teaches eternal Hell, but the Bible is wrong.