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How to have an Intimate relationship with Christ whom you cannot see?

The following article seems to take the Bible a bit more literally than I would. But I post it because it makes a good point about being guided by the Holy Spirit. I have sometimes wondered just how spiritual people can be when they do not believe in God. For me, a recognition of being guided by the Holy Spirit was the true beginning of my mature spiritual life. And without that, I was just like an unfocussed infant. —MC

English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, wit...

Child Jesus with the virgin Mary, with the Holy Spirit (represented as a dove) and God the Father, with child john the Baptist and saint Elizabeth on the right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to have an Intimate relationship with Christ whom you cannot see?

By prophet3333 (Written by Joseph Ho, March 28th 2015)

Jesus always speaks with analogy whenever he wants to explain the concept in the Kingdom of God. He uses such examples as an indirect way to explain that the Kingdom of God is everywhere and also within us. In order to have an intimate relationship with him, we have to remain in the Vine. He is the Vine and we are the branches. By this he means that if we are cut off from him, we will lose the life giving support which comes from the main vine and the roots. A branch that is not connected to the vine will have no more life giving force or nutrients to support it. So the kingdom of God is like a vine with all its branches, and it is also how we should lead our life in him.

John 15 King James Version (KJV)

15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Jesus explains things in simple understandable principle, yet even theologians cannot understand what he is trying to say since it is so simply mentioned. So if the branches have to remain with the Vine, how are we to be connected to Christ when he is no longer on earth? If Jesus were alive on earth today, it would be easy to have a relationship with him since we can all call him, write to him and spent time with him by talking to him or listening to him whenever he gives a seminar. But this is no longer so. So how can anyone have a relationship with a person who is no longer visible or easily contactable? Such are the question of ordinary folks who have no education or any deep understanding of what the bible is talking about.

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The process of having a relationship with a saviour who no longer can be seen easily is indeed a mystery. Have you tried having an intimate relationship with your grandmother who has died? What would you do? You probably visit her grave, see some past photos and try to remember the times you had with her that you cherished. But the amount of material you have of her is limited because you didn’t get to say thanks. And you love her much but it never even occurred to you that she needs to hear those things from you either. When you were younger everyone lived for you and you never gave it another thought to return the gratitude for their time spent with you. So how can anyone love Jesus whom they have never spent any time with? We need to read the bible which kept an account of who he is.

Jesus although we know he is alive as a believer is someone who does not come to visit his sheep often. This is the truth, as I have asked many believers if they have seen Christ in their lives even once, and the answer is no; they have not seen Jesus at all. Even the most sincere of Christians and even pastors and evangelists, have not seen Jesus in their lives. So having an intimacy with Christ does not include seeing Jesus in their lives, if seeing Jesus was a requirement then 99.99 percent of all Christians do not have a relationship with Him. I only know that true apostles will see Jesus directly because he alone commissions them for his purpose. These are the real ones with the power to operate in signs and wonders. Then what was Jesus saying that we should be connected to him as the branches are to the Vine?

First of all if we are interested in the person of Christ we should know what he was teaching on how to enter into the kingdom of heaven. The bible contains much of his teachings on how to become his people. So we need to put in his teachings into our minds and hearts. Then Jesus said, we have to be baptized into his Kingdom in his name. After this baptism in water, Jesus promised to baptize us again in the Holy Spirit by sending us his Holy Spirit to teach, guide and remind us of what he has taught us in the bible. The evidence that we have this Holy Spirit is we can speak in tongues and we can hear his voice. When will we receive the Holy Spirit? It is written in the book of Luke that whoever asks the father for the Holy Spirit, he will give unto them this good gift. It is then upon the receiving of the Holy Spirit that we can begin to have an intimate relationship with God. We need to ask for the baptism in the Holy Spirit which Jesus can give himself.

Luke 11:13New International Version (NIV)

13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

Matthew 3:11New International Version (NIV)

11 ‘I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Mark 1:8New International Version (NIV)

8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jo...

Baptism of Christ. Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River by John. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once we can hear, we must learn to obey and move with the Spirit as he guides us. The very first thing that the Spirit will lead is in the area of Sin and Repentance. Sin separates us from the Holy Spirit of God so he would not hear from us. It is essential that we get deliverance from such iniquities that hinders us from having a close relationship with God.  Jesus has already paid this price so we can enter into the presence of God. The deliverance of such Sin is the first step. Once we get delivered, he will convict us of the need to learn from various different ministries that he would put into our paths. We must not limit or restrict how an what God will put into our ways to learn of what he wants us to have. He will put spiritual wisdom into our spirit so we can get involved in his kingdom work. Deliverance from spiritual bondage and oppression is an essential step into intimacy with him. We no longer need to worship Sin and be obedient to its torment once we are in Christ. This step may take a few months to a few years depending on how fast you response to his conviction. It also depends on your willingness to give up the particular Sin in your life.

When we begin to hear from God, we have to respond. We have to turn towards the burning bush to investigate if it is of God, like in the days of Moses. The next step would be the availability of our time and resources to do his errands. God will prompt us to do some errands for him so that he can authenticate his voice in our lives. There is a price to pay for being obedient to his voice. It requires your time and your resources. He will instruct you to do small little things, like giving some money to someone, give a book, speak to someone, and call a friend, and so on. But have no fear; God does not call us to do things beyond our means. We will be uncomfortable in the beginning, as it requires us to come out of our comfort zone to be bold to do things to strangers, people whom you have no prior relationship with. Only when you respond and obey the voice then he would speak to you more and give you a word of wisdom to minister to the poor, needy, oppressed and depressed. The gift and intimacy will develop through our own conscious effort to exercise hearing from God by our actions.

Giving of material things and resources is easy, but giving a word of knowledge is not so, as it requires us to hear accurately and with confidence. The fear of speaking something foolish is a greater fear to overcome for a new believer. But if you would not do this, then God will not be able to advance our spiritual intimacy with him. If you want an intimate relationship with God, he will take you for your word and commence to send angels to prompt you.

John 10:27King James Version (KJV)

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

The Holy Family with God the Father and the Ho...

The Holy Family with God the Father and the Holy Spirit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You will begin to feel things in your heart which you have never felt before. It will be like something which just drops into your spirit and you suddenly have an urge to do something for someone. Anything that is good comes from God; so there is no need to worry if you hear from the devil, as long as you address your prayers to God in Jesus’ name, Satan cannot intercept your messages. The name of Jesus is the gate to God in the heaven. This is an assurance from God, else no one can speak to God, we are given the password to address our prayers to God, and that Code name is Jesus, Yahushua. Jesus shared this name with God, his Father, because it was his Father’s own name.

John 17:11New International Version (NIV)

11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.

If you have no intentions to hear from God then don’t pray or ask him, because when you ask him, he expects you to obey his advice. Else, he may never speak to you again, since you do not trust him to take his advice. Remember you are talking to the Almighty God, King of Kings and he has no time for fools.  There is any other advice I can give to confirm the word from the Lord other than by using two or three witnesses. That means we can ask for any confirmation by seeking two or three witnesses. These witnesses can be word from the bible, prophetic word from man of God, pastors sermon, information that comes from other people speeches, streets signs, emails, as long as it’s not from the same source, it is a witness. The witness does not need to be a human they could be facts or given words, even dreams.

2 Corinthians 13:1New International Version (NIV)

13 This will be my third visit to you. ‘Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

You can never be intimate with God if you cannot hear from him. That means there is no communications between you and Jesus, so you cannot be intimate with him. Reading the bible will not cause you to be intimate with him, it will caused you to know more about him but it will never replace a close relationship with him through communicates. You prayed, God answered and he tells you to so something and you did it. Many don’t have any breakthroughs because they think they know the mind of God, so they go ahead to do something of their own righteousness just to please God. God is not interested in the things you would do for him; he is only interested in the things he commanded you to do on his behalf. If you are still interested in the things you want to do for him then he cannot develop a relationship with you because you are still in your self-righteousness.

Romans 10:3King James Version (KJV)

3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Romans 14:17New International Version (NIV)

17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

Philippians 1:10-11New International Version (NIV)

10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Detail - Glory of the New Born Christ in prese...

Detail – Glory of the New Born Christ in presence of God Father and the Holy Spirit (Annakirche, Vienna) Adam and Eva are represented bellow Jesus-Christ Ceiling painting made by Daniel Gran (1694-1757). Post-processing: perspective and fade correction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In God contains all the wisdom of the world. He originally wanted to teach Adam about the godly wisdom but Adam would not listen to him instead he listened to the bone of his flesh, Eve, and proceeded to get this knowledge himself, thus he lost a great teacher. As God has all the wisdom of this world, he does not need any counsellor so he does not need to bless our desires and ideas but as he has plans to prosper us, we do need to follow him. How good it is to have the Almighty God as our adviser, so we do not need to worry and be concern about the way we do things as he can command legions of angels to guard us in all our ways when we follow him. He is better than all of the world’s richest mentor for he commands the insects, the wild animals, the natural storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, the waters and the seas, the rain and the invisibles elements to give us the support we need.

When we hear from him and obey his commands than we prosper. Yet, most people still do not learn this truth, they asked God to bless their plans and then when they get into troubles, they asked God to deliver them from the foolishness of their own plans. They get into the cycle of falling down and asking God for help. This shows that they have not learnt this truth. I would rather follow the plans of God so that my life will be smoother and more pleasant knowing that God is with me thus avoiding many sleepless nights caused by disobedience. But to follow God’s plan, we must be attuned to his ways, and be able to listen to him with intimacy and reverence. Yet, even though many people know and understand this truth, they have not been committed to take the time to polish their listening ears, so they do not hear perfectly and thus do not prosper holistically also. But they do expect God to answer their prayers immediately when something goes wrong, then the process of asking God for help never ends. This repeating of getting into troubles and needing deliverance is evidence of an un-renewed mind. They followed their own plans and thus do not submit to the perfect will of God so their plans failed; all because they could not hear from God and obey him.

Now why would God bless us? He wants to show the whole world a testimony of a man who listens and follows his commandments, decrees, and statues. For eyes have no seen, ears have not heard, what God will do for a man who follows him whole heartedly. Only when you have an intimate relationship with God by obeying him after you can hear from him, will you then mature into a great spiritual powerhouse for God, to be used according to his will. A sanctified vessel fit for honour. The Psalms 91 in the bible belongs to those who have an intimate relationship with God and the benefits are real. He is your support and strong high tower, and no one can come against you all the days of your life. Make him your real father, a father who is Almighty and invincible who can call upon anything to save you from your enemies. He is the kind of backing that any men would love to have but not many have his undivided attention because all have fallen short of his expectation. I testify to this truth, God is real and he can do anything to protect you from harm’s way. For he promises to tell his servants what event is to come and when it will come so that they will escape the disaster that will befall these places of wrath. Those who walked with God are blessed.

Psalm 91 King James Version (KJV)

91 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/how-to-have-an-intimate-relationship-with-christ-whom-you-cannot-see-7234131.html

About the Author

Numbers 33:33, Job 33:33, Ezekiel 33:33. Apostolic, prophetic Ministry, Dreams and Dreams Interpretation. Author of My Sheep Hear My Voice, God’s Gift to the Chinese People.


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A Conflict of the Conservative Vision

Originally posted on Marmalade:

There is one popular framework of politics that I often think about. It is the basis of a book by Thomas Sowell, A Conflict of Visions. I was introduced to it by my conservative father.

Sowell theorizes that the political right and left are defined by two distinct visions. Conservatives and right-wingers are supposedly adherents of a constrained vision. Whereas liberals and left-wingers are supposedly adherents of an unconstrained vision.

For some reason, this popped back into my mind on my walk this morning. Two thoughts occurred to me.

First, I’m not sure how accurate it is. I always feel the need to clarify that conservatism and liberalism are not necessarily the same thing as conservative-mindedness and liberal-mindedness. This is one of those cases where that is an important distinction to keep in mind.

Sowell is most directly talking about psychological predispositions here. But he seems to be assuming…

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Living in the shadow of Judas

Español: Beso de Judas.

Español: Beso de Judas (Judas Kiss) Image: Wikipedia

By Gerry Legister

When a person like Judas dies his character lives on in other individuals, who are portraying symptoms of those same characteristic traits, they are reborn all over again with similar deep rooted guile.

Jesus answered them, “I chose you, the Twelve, didn’t I? Yet one of you is a devil.” John 6:70

Don’t hesitate to flee when you see the evil shadow of someone sinister trying to cover you, when a tree cast its shadow over a tiny part of the ground, nothing good grows there. Shadow is a dark place cause by the absent of light, and if you live in the shadow of someone, you may follow their bad examples and hardly get notice for the good that you are doing.

Don’t live in the shadow of a brother or a sister, there achievements and their abilities belongs to them, but you are unique and no one can take your place. God has placed you on this earth for a reason, try to find out what are the cause and reason that you are here.

We properly know the story well enough to repeat it over and over to our children. It is a sad story, and one that we are all familiar with, and the expression is that a person who is called a Judas is not a nice person to know, for he sold his soul to the Devil.

Some people may have strong disagreement about the final eternal state of the person who was called Judas, one of the twelve apostle of Jesus, who notoriously betrayed his master with a sentimental kiss, his reward for doing so was a mere thirty pieces of silver, hardly enough to make deposit on a new house.

The reason sinners don’t come to Christ easily, it is because somewhere in the back of their minds there are nagging doubts about certain things that they see Christians are doing, which just doesn’t seemed right, some do their wrongs in clandestine corners.

Others are bolder with their notorious behaviour, and they will climb the professional stage, and make their act believable, by reinforcing it with pride of ethics and the legality of their position.

Many who ply their craft this way, see the church as a business for profiting off the world, and whoever gets in their way will get tread upon. This could be the person who has help trained and nurtured them, until they were able to stand in the assembly of those they could only have admired before, but sooner or later when an investigation is on the table, the fame makes them unable to resist the bait, and like the ruthless practices of some business operations, they are persuaded to crush anyone who gets in their way.

They have all accounts prepare for scrutiny, for the love of money is the root of all evil 1 timothy 6:10

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, are thirsty for position in society and in their career prospect, have wandered from the faith and betrayed their integrity, sold their family and friends for what they can get out of it.

Sometimes it’s not so much the money that they are looking for, but the sheer satisfaction of seeing an individual being destroyed and humiliated, this makes them feel important, and make others look on them as someone who has an interest in seeing things improve.

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” John 13:27

But the backlash is that they will pierced themselves with many grief’s later on down the road in life when they have been found out. Craving for the position of others that they were not called to serve in, but they will use extortion and start hiding behind money, and this makes the greedy bring ruin to their home.

The deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:19

The Judases of this century do not operate by careless leverage, they use indirect diversion, career demolition experts, financial backing of those whom they are serving, with carefully planned surprises. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

For example none of the other disciples of Jesus knew what Judas had in his heart to do, they were not aware of the dark gutter into which he wanted to plunge Jesus, his mild tempter gave no clue, but his soul was in utter darkness. In comparison to Peter; who was walking in the light, being loud and brassy, but meant no harm to anyone, Judas was quiet and unassuming, nevertheless, he had found himself in a privilege position, and he was going to make use of his good fortune.

Most of the time the person you least suspected is the one with the jealous agenda.

False friends can show signs to make them appear genuine, they make every effort to be perfect in everything that they do, hardly putting a foot wrong, and you would only know that they are false, when you scrutinise their attitude towards certain things, they are armed with great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the very elect, they are trust worthy, reliable, would never knowingly let you down.

But beware of the wolf in sheep clothing, they will sell you out for position, prestige and money. Friends selling out friends for a handful of barley, what sorrow awaits them? For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother Able? And like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, Dathan and Abiram, they will perish in their rebellion. Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.

Some people will have ask the question, did Judas had a choice or was he predestined to do this evil deed? It’s not such a bad question when you think that there are people living today, who harbour those same type of behaviour as Judas did, we cannot say for certainty that we have seen the last of Judas, for he may yet rise again in the resurrection, but what we can agree upon, is that Judas was one of the chosen disciple of Jesus.

For many are invited, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14

Many people are called to be disciples of Christ, but not all are chosen, and whiles they are called, they may not venture to believe in the deity of the Lord, they may just be kingdom admirers, with no real relationship with the Holy Ghost, for if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you would want to behave in a way which demonstrate loyalty to the cause in which you are involved with.

The scripture points to the evidence that Judas never believe in Jesus and he may not have been convinced that Jesus was the messiah, But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him.

The nature of Judas was easily read by Jesus, this foreknowledge of issues is no accident, and Jesus was conscious about what was going to happen to him, he was well informed about his betrayal by one of his own, his death and resurrection. And failing the sympathy for Judas, for many of us having this knowledge would only have led many into enmity.

The lack of faith by Judas speaks volumes, and the same holds true for many today who are living in the shadow of Judas. When you read the synoptic gospels, there is clear indication that Judas not only lacked faith in Christ, but he also had little or no personal relationship with Jesus. But those consistent with a good relationship with Jesus were always listed first.

The pairing of Mary and Judas creates a rhetoric of contrast, for they are both so very different.

The only brief dialogue documented between Jesus and Judas, involves Judas being rebuked by Jesus after his greedy remarks to Mary. When Judas accost Mary for wasting an expensive perfume on Jesus, it was out of his greed to steal he exposed his true feelings about his spiritual commitment. But Mays humble devotion is contrasted by Judas critical stinginess of insincere ambition.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

We will be just like Judas if we fail to recognize that Jesus came into this world, to die for our sins and destroy the works of the devil, and only he alone can provide forgiveness for our sins.

So in the final summary, let us hear the conclusion about Judas, and be warned about close alliance with those characters. The Old Testament prophecy said.

Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” psalms 41:9

Judas was consumed with envy and greed to the point of betraying the trust and loyalty of Jesus, and his fellow disciples, as we have seen in John 12:5 Judas may have desired to follow Jesus simply because he saw the great crowds of people following him, and perhaps believed he could profit from the collections that are taken for the group. In addition to that, Judas he had entertained political ambitions.

He may have followed Jesus hoping to benefit from assumption that most people had at the time, believing the coming Messiah was going to overthrow Roman occupation and take on a position of ruling over the nation of Israel. But Judas betrayal was known to God, and it was planned before hand as the means by which Jesus would be killed.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/living-in-the-shadow-of-judas-7206687.html

About the Author

I love creative writing, it is just a wonderful way of expressing myself. I have been writing from a tender age, and therefore it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. To share my articles with others. Writing is a treasured passion inside of me that will never die. I hope one day I can say something that will help others to appreciate the gift of life. In a career spanning over 20 years in Pastoral work. Gerry has decided it is time to enhance his spiritual outlook on broader subjects, and has recently collaborated on a new spiritual manuscript with a friend, compiling and presenting a thorough research work on the book of Revelation.


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RELIGION/ADAPTATION: God and the Survival of the Human Species

Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo, ...

Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo, face detail of God. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Robert DePaolo

A Deistic Conflict

Answering the question of whether God actually exists has always been fraught with complications. Part of the problem lies in the fact that ostensible interactions of God – regardless of the particular faith – have been few and far between. Indeed it is hard to argue with the fact that most of the body of religious doctrine has been purveyed by man. On Sinai only The Ten Commandments were issued in person while the various laws in Deuteronomy seem to have been written by various authors, including  Moses, Joshua and a mysterious set of writers often referred to by biblical scholars as The Yahwist, The Elohist, the Deuteronomist and the Priestly Source.  Thus while a large part of religion is based on conversations of one sort or another between a god and a chosen human being it is the latter’s account that is ultimately used as final purveyor of doctrine.

None of this is necessarily denied by even ardent believers. All Christian scholars know that many of the main tenets of the old and New Testaments  considered divinely conveyed in modern times were in fact decided by various councils during the Middle Ages – including the decision to consider Jesus a God rather than a higher-order profit in the mold of Moses, Isiah or Elijah. The premise behind such decisions was at least derived in part from the teachings of Christ so one could infer the councils were simply relying on an original source. After all he said ‘I am the Way’ in John 14:6. On the other hand, in Luke 18:19 he also said, ‘Why do you call me good when that word applies only to God?’ In that instance Jesus was clearly separating himself from the one true God of the Jews, who after all, viewed themselves as monotheists.

Atheists feed off such inconsistencies, arguing, as Draper (1998) did that since much of religious doctrine is man-made, the idea of a God has little to do with the actual existence of a deity. Some, such as Christopher Hitchens (2007) have argued that the world would be a better place if not for a belief in God, this opinion apparently based on a history of religiously-influenced wars and political tyrannies.

In this opinion that is a rather vacuous argument, not only because it ignores the vast number of altruistic acts that have been conducted in the name of religion but also because most moral concepts regarding peace, adhere to law, fairness, and humaneness adopted by the western world have been heavily influenced by religious mores, particularly those inherent in Judao-Christianity.  Echos of old and new testament laws run throughout the English and American Constitutions…for example the reference in Leviticus 24:19 to an eye for an eye runs parallel to the 8th Amendment in the American Constitution on cruel and unusual punishment. Obviously the same parallels exist between modern law and biblical tenets regarding prohibitions against theft, murder and slander.

But an even stronger argument against atheistic thought can be presented by simply considering the history of religion and its historically adaptive value to our species.

In the Beginning

The first modern humans were nomads (Marlowe 2005). Until roughly 8,000 years ago climatic conditions, lack of knowledge, the lack of availability of certain grains (which had to evolve into more resilient form themselves before being arable) ruled out the possibility of agricultural settlements. During that time man wandered the earth, settling into temporary make-shift homes, periodically following herds. Permanence, and all the cognitive and emotional by-products and potentials of that were yet impossible. The nomadic human tribes had limited capacity to carry objects in their travels, thus left most of their tools behind. In effect they were forced to re-make them, which led to a great deal of behavioral redundancy. That left little time to contemplate possibilities, anxieties, and meaning in general despite their having enough cortical brain mass to do so.  As Bronowski (1973) has pointed out, nomadic life allowed little in the way of existential concerns.

Since value is based on necessity, material possessions were not cherished in the nomadic world. Since travel was essential to survival those who, for one reason or other could not press on were left to die – and likely did so without protest. Life for these groups was moment to moment and confined to the immediacy of their circumstances and needs.

Still, the early humans worshipped gods (Narr 2008). The reasons why were probably myriad. First and foremost was probably the size and construction of their brains – which had reached 1500 centimeters. A brain like that, with delineated speech centers, and a capacity to categorize, memorize and communicate socially, would have attributed events to causes and sources (King, 2007), (Gould, 2007) Since large brains tend to correlate with intense social concerns, these attributors would have caste the causes and sources in at least quasi-personal forms – thus the personification of God.

At the root of what might be called a cognitive-God function are the needs to control, reduce uncertainty and press onward.  While many social scientists have discussed the advantage of evolutionary human brain expansion with respect to increased language capacities, cognitive abilities, tool making, art and creativity in general they miss one very salient disadvantage of having a large brain. While a brain with billions of inter-neuronal connections provides a capacity to think and communicate it also creates a greater potential for ‘noise,’ existential uncertainty and consequently a greater need for ongoing resolution. The large brains bestowed on mankind by nature (and God, if you will) thus set in motion the very need for a God-concept. This process likely began with climatic change during the tail end of the Pleistocene (glaciation) era when resources dried up, travel became both more possible but also more treacherous during migrations across frozen tundra.

A small-brained creature would not contemplate such duress, merely experience it in the moment. Its fate would be either to adapt or die. There would be neither any possibility nor any point in hoping, fretting, worrying about ‘what if.’ Conversely, an animal with a brain of 1500 or so centimeters would. Since uncertainty-fostered duress can lead to avoidance behaviors, some sort of endurance-enhancing cognitive capacity would have had to kick in to rein in all that angst. In that time period the adaptive value of God might have been to sustain human motivation through supra-environmental (i.e. spiritual) cognitions and emotions, so that persistence would increase the likelihood of finding food, water and climatic support. In the aftermath of such discovery, the need of a large brain for closure might lead the nomads to thank/appease an overseer to reinforce his investment in the tribe and express gratitude for his or her concern for their well-being.

The combination of attributional and personifying tendencies probably forced a belief in God for the first humans. In that instance religion was not a symbolic, spiritual mindset but a necessary, adaptive form of cognition facilitating persistence and thus aiding in survival. It was conceivably both necessary and inevitable.

Genesis II.

A second God-adaptation possibly arose with the advent of agricultural societies. When people are able to renew a supply of plant foods without necessarily understanding the biology behind the process, they will perhaps view their good fortune as a function of some sort of outside control. That in turn will lead to gratitude and a need to pay homage to the purveyor of this good fortune. Thus the transition from a nomadic to agricultural/urban life style did not require a cognitive/religious transformation. The settlers hoped for crops to grow, had to wait for seasonal and climatically favorable circumstances and when things turned out well they acknowledged the agent responsible and continued to express their gratitude in the hope that the bounty would continue. (Wilkins 2000). Both nomadic and early agricultural religious practices were adaptive because they facilitated persistence and provided uncertainty reduction.

The continued development and expansion of agriculture societies obviously led to profound social changes, including a more sedentary life style and greater social permanence.  Family members could live together for longer periods of time and all inhabitants had more down time to ponder existential questions. A brain previously driven by movement, faced with moment to moment concerns about geography. resources and destinations was now able to look beyond immediate experience. A distinction between concrete experience and ‘meaning’ was drawn. Ideas on the value and importance of life and the trauma of death became more common and more vivid (Erlich 2000), (Gould, McGarr et. al 2007). A greater capacity for suffering was a consequence of that as the inherent tough-mindedness of the nomad morphed into the more tender and sensitive mindset of the permanent settlers.  To cope with internally-driven angst, to persist despite the specter of death, failure, and the potential loss of new-found prosperity required a continued reliance on the cognition/religion paradigm.

So, once again, God came to the rescue, insulating humans against the existential suffering and enabling mankind to adapt to still newer social and environmental circumstances.

Genesis III

Religious evolution did not end there, for another profound change occurred in human society. While agriculture provided stability and control, not all habitable places on earth were equally arable. Some places lacked water resources, others were too cold or mountainous, still others had agricultural potential but residents lacked knowledge of farming techniques. Yet tribal outsiders traveled about – after all, many were still entrenched in the nomadic life style. They were aware of the existence of milk and honey settlements and wanted in on that. As a result another ironic byproduct of societal advancement occurred in the form of tribal invasion. War became all the rage.

The genes of a primate are very parochial. Somehow, in some way these microscopic bio-conglomerates influence behavior in such a way as to serve the local gene pool. Family ties tend to promote loyalty while the presence of strangers tends to invoke hostility. Up the point of tribal invasions, family ties were not only strong but historically crucial. As evidenced in the Old Testament people in the Middle East/North African settlements were well aware of and arguably obsessed with lineage. One reason for this concern with lineage was to prevent contamination of the local gene pool by outsiders. Religious thought favored that mindset, as seen in the long reference list of progenitors and offspring in Genesis. That cognitive-religious mindset was adaptive because it reinforced altruism within the ranks and consequently the survival of all members of the tribal family. That model persisted down through the epochs depicted in the Bible. Indeed without that, Jesus of Nazareth (being ostensibly from the line of David and born by mandate in David’s town of Bethlehem) could not have risen in the ranks.

Yet even extended families are small in number and insufficient to ward off hordes of invaders. A conflict arose. Consanguine groups had to decide between keeping the family intact at the risk of being overrun by vast armies or increasing their numbers and territorial defensive capabilities by assimilating para-familial members into their community. The solution was discovered at some cost. It was that strangers somehow had to be incorporated and welcomed into an extra-familial socio-political structure

In order to achieve these first forays into social integration required nothing less than a socio-political miracle. For this to occur, the behavioral impetus arising from the most basic elements of life  – the genes – had to be overridden. In effect, nurture had to over-take nature. It was not an easy task, which is why a new religious adaptation was needed and why it did occur.

The newest cognitive/religious adaptation was found in the idea of integration and it was exemplified by Judao-Christian, Buddhist and other religious models.  The God of Abraham accepted Ishmael as future leader of a great nation, despite his biological mother (Hagar) being an Egyptian maid. Moses began as an Egyptian prince before ultimately leading the Hebrews. David united the conflicted twelve tribes to form the state of Israel. The story of the Good Samaritan rose above parochial protest. Jesus reached out to the Roman centurion to heal his servant, and included tax collectors and other outsiders into a more compassionate world view, while Buddha traveled about, espousing not just tribal integration but unity among all life forms. All these integrative ideas heralded at different times, in different places the advent of a new model. It was a credo that met with considerable resistance – and still does, but, just as the industrial growth of the western nations (most notably the U.S.A.) occurred through assimilation of immigrant foreigners, so were the urban settlements in the Middle East ultimately sustained in ancient times. In fact the human race was able to adapt as a result of a religiously-driven idea of overriding both genetic and tribal differences.

Protection from invasion was not the only reason for integrative thought but it conceivably originated in the need to survive against enemy attack and it worked.  In that context, God evolved from a parochial figure to one more concerned with the family of man. He taught us, through the prism of human cognition how to get along when it was absolutely necessary to do so.

Throughout history the cognitive and behavioral byproducts of belief in God have enabled us to adapt, persist and deal with changing pressures, threats and trends. In one sense that would seem to render God flexible, adaptable and perhaps even anthropocentrically utilitarian. And of course a belief in God has led to violent, destructive behavior in the course of time. Still, the overall effect of religion has kept Homo sapiens alive and well through thick and thin, in times when the genes, habits and instincts of mankind would not have been nearly enough – and indeed could have led to our downfall. As to the question of God’s existence: it is hard to resolve such a question in our post-Cartesian, empirically-tinged world. Perhaps a better question has to do with God’s legitimacy. In that context, even if religious belief is not genetically hardwired into the human brain as Hamer (2005) suggested, one could argue that since religion has been an inevitable byproduct of human neurology and human need and since it has enabled our species to persist, adapt and survive, it is virtually built into human experience and perhaps into mind as well. Like our penchant for analyzing nature through the medium of mathematics it seems very much within us – just as the prophets insisted.

REFERENCES

Cauvin, C. Watkins T. The Birth of the Gods and the Origin of Agriculture. Cambridge University Press

Draper, P. (1998) Evolution and the Problem of Evil. In Philosophy of Religion. Ed. Louis Pojman. Wadsworth Publishing. P. 200

Erlich, P. (2000) Human Nature,Genes, Culture and the Human Prospect. Washington, DC Island Press

Gould, S.J. McGarr, P. Steven, P, Russell, R (2007) Challenges to Neo-Darwinism and its Meaning for a Revised View of Human Consciousness. W.W.Norton & Co.

Hamer, D. (2005) The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into our Genes. Anchor Books

Hitchens, C. (2007) God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Twelve/Hachette Book Group, USA Warner Books

Jesus reference re; I am the Way. In John 14:6

Jesus reference re:  Why do you call me good? In Luke 18:19

King, B (2007) Evolving God; A Provocative View on the Origin of Religion. Doubleday Publishing

Lieberman, P. (1984) The Biology and Evolution of Language. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.

Marlowe, F.W. (2005) Hunter-Gatherers and Human Evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News and Reviews. 14 (2) 54-67

Narr, K.J. (2008) Prehistoric Religion. Britannica On-Line Encyclopedia

Wilkins, j. (Aug 2000) Agriculture and the Rise of Religion. Evolving Thought. Science Blog.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/religionadaptation-god-and-the-survival-of-the-human-species-7193824.html

About the Author

Robert DePaolo, MS Clinical Psychology, former Professor of Psychology NH University System, author of five books and many articles on science, religion, politics, psychology and music.


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Proof God’s Universe Is Filled with Life Comes Closer

Kepler mission Delta II liftoff

Kepler mission Delta II liftoff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller

During Medieval times almost all Christian theologians accepted the Ptolemaic earth centered Greek view of the universe as an absolute universal truth. The Catholic Inquisition punished those who dared to voice other ideas.

I do not know why Catholic theologians believed that the rarity of life in our universe proves that God must have created life only on this planet. Perhaps they believed that if intelligent life were found to exist on other planets; it would diminish the miracle of God’s creation of Human Beings.

For me the opposite is true. That God’s universal creation is filled with life is simply the result of God’s love of living beings.

The Qur’an and the Hebrew Bible teach that the Living God created the whole universe to be conducive to the universal evolution of life. The Qur’an says, “We have not sent you but as a blessing for all the worlds.” (Al-Anbiya 107) Many commentators say “this refers to the 18.000 worlds created by Allah. Our world is one of them”. (Mir’at-e-Kainat, vol.1, p.77).

The Hebrew Bible says in the Zabur of Prophet David, King of Israel; “ Your kingdom is a kingdom of all the worlds; and Your dominion is for all generations.” (Psalms 145:13)

In January 2013, astronomers estimated that there could be at least 17 billion Earth-sized exoplanets in just our galaxy; the Milky Way. They also said that one in six stars could host an Earth-sized planet in a close orbit.

Now, two years later, proof that God’s Universe is filled with life is coming closer. NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered a star with three planets only slightly larger than Earth. The outermost planet, which is 50% larger than planet earth, orbits in the zone where surface temperatures could be moderate enough for liquid water and perhaps life to exist.

The star ranks among the top 10 nearest stars known to have transiting planets. The star is close enough for astronomers to study the planet’s atmospheres to determine if it has oxygen could possibly be conducive to multicellular life forms.

The star is a cool red M-dwarf about half the size and mass of our own sun. At a distance of 150 light years, the star ranks among the top 10 nearest stars known to have transiting planets. The star’s proximity means it’s bright enough for astronomers to study the planets’ atmospheres to determine whether they are like Earth’s atmosphere and possibly conducive to life.

For those who believe in the One God of all the inhabitable worlds, these two new scientific studies are not shocking. For unlike the Roman inquisition’s condemnation of Galileo, no Muslim or Jewish astronomer was ever condemned by a Muslim or Jewish inquisition, because Jews and Muslims never had an institution like the inquisition.

Also, because both Muslims and Jews had many philosophers who were critics of Aristotle’s and Ptolemy’s science, most medieval Jewish and Muslim religious leaders did not feel they had to prevent new science from disagreeing with Greek science.

Thus, even as new discoveries always change the scientific understanding of God’s universe; the religious belief that the whole universe exalts God and reveals God’s glory remains the same.

As it is written in the Zabur of Prophet David, King of Israel; “The heavens declare the glory of God.” (Zabur of David-Psalm 19:2)

Rabbi Maller’s web site is: rabbimaller.com

Julius Wellhausen and the history of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

A name on the map

The Tanakh and the Talmidim of Yeshua

Christian: if New Testament is false, why not Hebrew Bible too?

Kepler Breaks The 1,000-Planet Barrier With More Confirmed Discoveries

Three nearly Earth-size planets found orbiting nearby star


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The Betrayer

English: "The Judas Kiss", (Mark 14:...

“The Judas Kiss”, (Mark 14:45) by Gustave Doré. Judas kisses Jesus in order to betray him to the guards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Gerry Legister

The payment was made before Jesus was arrested, and the transaction was carried out during the time of the last supper. The Devil put a wicked desire into the heart of Judas the betrayer, the idea of how he could foolishly betray his master to the other side, and get some money for doing it. What was he going to do with that thirty pieces of silver?

Here was a man who had wander off the path into a muddy lane, where he began to slip backwards very quickly, that is what is known as backsliding, wandering away from truth into covetousness, and into unlawful deeds that would eventually bring his downfall.

Jesus was betrayed with the kiss of death

Judas goes away to the high priest and commit a treasonous crime, he gets himself entangled in the web of deceit. And while all this is treachery is taking place with Judas. Jesus and the other disciples are in the garden of Gethsemane, and being in agony Jesus is praying earnestly for the father to remove the task away, but of course the request is denied, and not long after Jesus finish praying, he could see torch light in the night making its way towards him, as they came nearer, he could recognize Judas immediately, that he was the betrayer who came with a salutation.

The moment that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, immediately the conspiracy gain momentum.  

The betrayer is a person whose action takes no account of the consequences their offenses will cost, to the lives of others. For their conscience is only geared up for their own self-gratification, and they are looking for what they can get most out of a situation. Judas was blinded not by the darkness of the night, but by the deterioration of his conceited soul.

For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Mark 8:37

In your lifetime you may have come across individuals who had made promises to you, but then afterwards broke those same promise and then betray your secret to others, would you ever trust that person again? Even if they came back to you, pleading for mercy and forgiveness, would you be brave enough to trust that person again? And make them feel comfortable around your dinner table?

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s. 1 Timothy 6:10

The love for money will make you betray your very best friends, just so that you can come out looking better than them. But at what cost to yourself? Greedy people bring quick ruin upon their lives, and they are easily taken in by bribes, and the tools they uses to get what they want, later becomes meaningless to them.

Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss’? Luke22:48

So if riches increase, and most likely they will if you are hardworking and industrious, but the wisdom of sensible thinking is that, it is an unwise thing to put your heart upon riches, because wealth easily grow wings and fly away quickly.

Judas was dipping into the dish and taking out what he could for himself, I don’t think he really was interested in the message that Jesus was trying to convey to the other disciples. And Judas had any intention of going the distance, because all he could see was the thirty pieces of silver.

Which was the going price for a slave, he got paid for Jesus, just like a slave owner would get pay whenever they sold a person as merchandise. In the last super Judas was dipping his hand into the dish when Jesus spoke to him about the intentions that were clouding his mind, and he looked for the opportunity to mark the unenlightened moment of history.

What was on Judas mind?

Satan had entered Judas mind with dollar signs, so we could say that he wasn’t in his right mind, especially if a demon had entered into him, which was not there before, but let us think for a moment, his barriers must have been down in the first place for him to allow Satan to use him in the way that he did.

He worked up inside of his heart corrupt thoughts and he entertained them for a while before he carried them out. There was nothing good on the mind of Judas, he had words smoother than butter, but war was in his heart, and he betrayed Jesus with the kiss of death.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6

Keep in mind what the scripture said about Judas, and in what light he was placed, which suggest that the evil things that was on his mind, may have resembled the kind of trickery that the serpent used on Eve to get her to eat the forbidden fruit.

The serpent, like Judas, was a villain that came up from behind the dark screen, and none of the disciples had discern the spirit in which Judas was operating, there was nothing out of the ordinary that would lead them to suspect Judas of any deceitfulness, and why would they suspect the chief treasurer? But Jesus pinned down the motive of the betrayer around the last supper table.

There are some things that money cannot buy, one of them is salvation, and no amount of money can save a person in the moment of death, there is more to life than the pursuit of money. In reminiscent of the finest moments that Jesus spent with his disciples. Many years later, some of those disciples looked back over on that dark night in Gethsemane with tears in their eyes.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/the-betrayer-7131684.html

About the Author

I love creative writing, it is just a wonderful way of expressing myself. I have been writing from a tender age, and therefore it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction. To share my articles with others. Writing is a treasured passion inside of me that will never die. I hope one day I can say something that will help others to appreciate the gift of life. In a career spanning over 20 years in Pastoral work. Gerry has decided it is time to enhance his spiritual outlook on broader subjects, and has recently collaborated on a new spiritual manuscript with a friend, compiling and presenting a thorough research work on the book of Revelation.


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The Dislike of Catholicism: Understanding the Holy in the Catholic Tradition – 4 – Social and Political reasons

Lies by Leo Reynolds

Lies by Leo Reynolds via Flickr

Telling Lies

Earlier in this series about the dislike of some Catholic elements being a separate issue from the presence of the Holy within Catholicism, we saw that Niccolò Machievelli’s The Prince advocates deception.

According to Machievelli, lying to the masses is necessary for public leadership. Some believe this isn’t a cynical but, rather, a realistic approach. For example, in postwar times government officials tend to paint a different picture about a given conflict than that of actual wartime reports. During wartime it seems that disinformation is standard procedure.

Consider this excerpt from Errol Morris‘ documentary, The Fog of War:

If you went to the C.I.A. and said “How is the situation today in South Vietnam?” I think they would say it’s worse. You see it in the desertion rate, you see it in the morale. You see it in the difficulty to recruit people. You see it in the gradual loss of population control. Many of us in private would say that things are not good, they’ve gotten worse. Now while we say this in private and not public, there are facts available that find their way in the press. If we’re going to stay in there, if we’re going to go up the escalating chain, we’re going to have to educate the people, Mr. President. We haven’t done so yet. I’m not sure now is exactly the right time.

From Morris’ perspective, it seems that former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara believed he was acting in good faith, given the political realities of the Vietnam war. Hindsight is 20/20. But those in power don’t have the benefit of hindsight and must make tough decisions, usually with scant information. So McNamara, now in a safe place to do so, admits to having made egregious mistakes.

Cover-ups and Sin

Sex abuse victims dad angry with Pope by Sam Herd via Flickr

Sex abuse victims’ dad angry with Pope by Sam Herd via Flickr

What does wartime leadership and disinformation have to do with the dislike of Catholicism? To answer this question, consider the Catholic hierarchy’s response to the sad fact that not a few priests sexually abused young people.

Some argue that Catholic officials tried to cover up priests’ transgressions with dubious politics reminiscent of a medieval kingdom. Pedophile priests were shuffled around to different parishes with hardly a slap on the wrist. And some victims were allegedly paid off to keep quiet. Most likely disturbed religious officials believed they were doing the right thing. Why else would they have done it? For them, the Church’s public image was more important than the reality of its scandalous practices. Either that, or their own jobs were on the line. It’s hard to know the potential complexity of the situation.

As reprehensible as all this is, it does not in any way diminish the holy within Catholicism. Instead, it’s an example of human sin and corruption. And practically every human organization contains some degree of sin and corruption. If we upheld sin and corruption as a key indicator for worthlessness, then virtually no human enterprise would be of any value.

The parable of the good and bad seed (Matthew 13:24-29) suggests that God knows about and permits evil for some mysterious reason.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'”

Outdated Teachings

Bible with Cross Shadow by knowhimonline

Bible with Cross Shadow by knowhimonline via Flickr

Another reason some people dislike Catholicism has to do with the belief that Catholics perpetuate outdated teachings that are legitimized under the guise of sacred Tradition.

For those unfamiliar with Catholicism, the idea of Tradition refers to Church teachings that are said to complement biblical scripture with equal weight and authority. Tradition and scripture are “like two branches of the same tree,” to quote a popular Catholic saying.

At odds with the Catholic Tradition is sola scriptura. Sola scriptura means the Bible is the only source of God’s revelation to mankind. One form of sola scriptura, sometimes called solo scriptura, selects individual passages from the Bible to apparently prove a particular perspective.

We’ve probably all encountered this approach. Believers in solo scriptura uphold the Old Testament book of Leviticus, for instance, to allegedly prove the evils of homosexuality and gay marriage.

If a man lies with a male as a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them (Lev. 20:13).

But these same people often overlook other passages from the Old Testament concerning the evils of usury.

You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit (Leviticus 25:35-37).

So Christians earning interest from a bank or any other kind of investment would be sinning if this Bible passage were taken as an eternal truth. But it’s convenient for some hypocrites to rant and rave about prohibited behaviors that they don’t practice, and to completely ignore prohibitions that they do break 24/7.

Feminism

Patricia Fresen by Northfield.org

Patricia Fresen by Northfield.org via Flikr

Another dislike of Catholicism involves the exclusion of women from the upper end of the Catholic hierarchy. For critics, the absence of female priests leaves the entire faith assembly with a lopsided, dry feeling. That yin-yang sense of balance and complementarity just isn’t there.

By way of contrast, the depth psychologist Carl Jung, coming from a Protestant background, argued that the visible presence of the Virgin Mary in Catholic dogma was a step in the right direction. Jung believed that Mary played an important compensatory role for Catholics’ psychological needs.

But some feminists don’t buy it. They point out that the Virgin Mary doesn’t help real flesh and blood women who yearn to enter the priesthood. Nor does it help women and men who are bored of the mostly male presence at the Catholic altar.

Celibacy and the Perception of Women

English: Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Critics of Catholicism also believe that celibate priests conforming to pre-established, chauvinistic religious routines essentially avoid dealing with women as equals.

As far back as 1972, the US Catholic bishops conducted a Freudian study indicating that many priests are psychologically arrested at a young adult stage of emotional development.

This and other studies have been cited as alleged proof that arrested emotional development is a by-product of celibacy, the exclusion of women, repressed or clandestine homosexuality, or some combination of these factors.

Questioning the validity of this study, Patrick Guinan, M.D. says

Freudian theory is incapable of acknowledging religious experience or integrating the concept of chastity or asceticism into its idea of healthy human development.

Likewise, the Canadian writer and historian Elizabeth Abbott argues that celibacy can be a healthy choice. She points out that cultural attitudes about celibacy are quickly changing, especially with the drastic and sometimes deadly increase of sexually transmitted diseases.

Meanwhile, the Church maintains its stance on gender equality. Men and women are equal but different. Obviously this idea does not sit well with those deploring the absence of women in the upper register of the Catholic hierarchy. Critics tend to see this as culturally backward sexism based on sexist scripture and Tradition. The Bible, they point out, was written during sexist times. So it’s no surprise that many of its supposed eternal truths are, in fact, cultural.

For these critics, the Church’s stance on gender difference perpetuates sexist ideologies that serves to exclude women from positions of power. It also contributes to the dire shortage of newly ordained priests.

Copyright © Michael W. Clark, 2014.

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