1. Â Remember that they are people, just like you are. Â Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, they are not some lower life form we share this planet with.
2. Â More than likely, they are smarter than you are. Â This can be difficult to come to grips with, but it does appear to be true and is a claim that is actually supported by the Bible (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
3. Â Statistically, they are also as moral, if not more so than you are. Â While it is a good thing that they generally are highly moral,Â it is a shame that we, who often times claim the moral high ground,Â seem unable, or unwilling, to match our words with our lives.
4. Â They will probably thump you in debate. Â They are much more likely to have carefully thought through their position and understand why they believe what they do. Â We are more likely simply to present some argument that the person we heard it from guaranteed would destroy the enemy. Â The problem with that is that many of them have heard the same arguments many times and are easily able to counter them.
5. Â Don’t under-estimate their knowledge of the Bible. Â Many of them are more familiar with the Bible than the average Christian is. Â And they know all of the passages that will cause you a problem, and will not hesitate to challenge you with them.
Misleading ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ are appearing across America, aiming to limit or even prevent women from exploring all of their legal health care options.
According to a recent Planned Parenthood email, a 17-year-old girl mistakenly walked into a crisis pregnancy center thinking it was Planned Parenthood, which was next door. “The group took down the girl’s confidential personal information and told her to come back for her appointment, which they said would be in their ‘other office’ (the real Planned Parenthood office nearby).”
When she showed up for her nonexistent appointment, she was met by the police, who had been erroneously tipped that a minor was being forced to abort. The crisis pregnancy center staff followed up this harassment by staking out the girl’s house, phoning her father at work, and even talking to her classmates about her pregnancy, urging them to harass her.
I contacted Jennifer Jorczak of Planned Parenthood of Indiana to verify this story, and while she was unable to provide details out of respect for the patient’s privacy, she confirmed that everything in the initial action alert email was true.
This humiliating and frustrating experience seems, by all accounts, to await more American women in the near future. And the best part? It’s funded by your tax dollars.
Even here in the liberal city of Austin, Texas, the signs are everywhere: “Pregnant? Need help?”
A new survey of U.S. adults who don’t go to church, even on holidays, finds 72% say “God, a higher or supreme being, actually exists.” But just as many (72%) also say the church is “full of hypocrites.”
Indeed, 44% agree with the statement “Christians get on my nerves.”
LifeWay Research, the research arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, based in Nashville, conducted the survey of 1,402 “unchurched” adults last spring and summer. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
The survey defines “unchurched” as people who had not attended a religious service in a church, synagogue or mosque at any time in the past six months.More than one in five (22%) of Americans say they never go to church, the highest ever recorded by the General Social Survey, conducted every two years by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. In 2004, the percentage was 17%.
Many of the unchurched are shaky on Christian basics, says LifeWay Research director Ed Stetzer.
Just 52% agree on the essential Christian belief that “Jesus died and came back to life.”
And 61% say the God of the Bible is “no different from the gods or spiritual beings depicted by world religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.,” although Buddhist philosophy has no god and Hindus worship many.
Belief in ‘a generic god’
Non-churchgoers “lean to a generic god that fits into every imaginable religious system, even when (systems) contradict one another,” Stetzer says. “If you went back 100 years in North America, there would have been a consensus that God is the God in the Bible. We can’t assume this any longer.
“We no longer have a home-field advantage as Christians in this culture.”
Guess what? Apparently the all mighty powerful creator of the universe requires humans to form armies and carry out his will, because, you know, he’s not able to do it himself, instead he needs us puny humans to do his dirty work. Good thing nut cases like Huckabee are up to the task.
WINDHAM, N.H., Jan. 6 — A pastor from Texas was scheduled to deliver the sermon Sunday at a church here called the Crossing.
But instead this small evangelical congregation heard from a different special guest: Baptist minister and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who delivered a sermon of more than 20 minutes on how to be part of “God’s Army” in the middle school cafeteria where the congregation meets.
“When we become believers, it’s as if we have signed up to be part of God’s Army, to be soldiers for Christ,” Huckabee told the enthusiastic audience.
Days after winning the Iowa Republican caucus, where Christian conservatives powered him to victory, Huckabee now finds himself in a state without an extensive religious base. While more than 60 percent of GOP voters were estimated to be evangelicals in the Iowa caucuses, they accounted for only about one in five New Hampshire Republican voters in 2000, the last time the state held a competitive GOP primary.
Huckabee’s campaign did not allow cameras into the church, and the candidate did not make an appeal for votes as part of his sermon. But a church official invited members to attend an event a mile away, where Huckabee held a rally with actor Chuck Norris and where free clam chowder was served.
Huckabee mixed homespun jokes into his sermon and added a more religious tone than in his political speeches, not just quoting from the Bible but citing specific verses and talking about the serious side of faith.
“When you give yourself to Christ, some relationships have to go,” he said. “It’s no longer your life; you’ve signed it over.”
Likening service to God to service in the military, Huckabee said “there is suffering in the conditioning for battle” and “you obey the orders.”
In his campaign stops in New Hampshire, Huckabee has generally focused on appealing to nonreligious voters, playing the bass guitar and emphasizing his support of small government, local control of schools and gun rights — popular causes among Granite State Republicans. Norris, who has endorsed him, has been at his side at nearly every event. His campaign has not run an ad, popular in Iowa, that dubbed him a “Christian leader.”
In case any of you religious moderates out there were wondering, this is when your money goes when you donate to your local church. Reading stories like this makes me feel like I just received a lobotomy. What the fuck is wrong with people who insist on brining back the dark ages? They were shit times and we’re glad to be out of them, stop fucking up the human race you pricks.
ROME: The Catholic Church has vowed to “fight the Devil head-on” by training hundreds of priests as exorcists.
Father Gabriele Amorth, 82, the Exorcist in Chief, announced the initiative amid church concerns about growing worldwide interest in Satanism and the occult.
Under plans being considered, each bishop would have a group of priests in his diocese who were specially trained in exorcism and on hand to take action against “extreme Godlessness”.
“Thanks be to God that we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on,” Father Amorth said.
“Now bishops are to be obliged to have a number of established exorcists for their diocese. Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the Devil. You have to hunt high and low for a proper, trained exorcist.
“Thankfully Pope Benedict XVI believes in the existence and danger of evil, from the time he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith deals with promoting and safeguarding Catholic beliefs. It was headed by the Pope when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, from 1982 until his election as Pope in 2005.
The Vatican is concerned that young people are being exposed to Satanism through the media, rock music and the internet.
All priests can perform exorcisms, but in reality only a select few are ever called on to do so. The rite involves gestures and prayers to invoke the power of God and stop the “demon” influencing its victim.
Meet the Dominionists — biblical literalists who believe God has called them to take over the U.S. government. As the far-right wing of the evangelical movement, Dominionists are pressing an agenda that makes Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America look like the Communist Manifesto. They want to rewrite schoolbooks to reflect a Christian version of American history, pack the nation’s courts with judges who follow Old Testament law, post the Ten Commandments in every courthouse and make it a felony for gay men to have sex and women to have abortions. In Florida, when the courts ordered Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube removed, it was the Dominionists who organized round-the-clock protests and issued a fiery call for Gov. Jeb Bush to defy the law and take Schiavo into state custody. Their ultimate goal is to plant the seeds of a “faith-based” government that will endure far longer than Bush’s presidency — all the way until Jesus comes back.
“Most people hear them talk about a ‘Christian nation’ and think, ‘Well, that sounds like a good, moral thing,’ says the Rev. Mel White, who ghostwrote Jerry Falwell’s autobiography before breaking with the evangelical movement. “What they don’t know — what even most conservative Christians who voted for Bush don’t know — is that ‘Christian nation’ means something else entirely to these Dominionist leaders. This movement is no more about following the example of Christ than Bush’s Clean Water Act is about clean water.”
Austin Area Interreligious Ministries, the city’s largest interfaith organization, announced Thursday that its annual Thanksgiving celebration Sunday had to be moved because Hyde Park Baptist Church objected to non-Christians worshipping on its property.
The group learned Wednesday that the rental space at the church-owned Quarries property in North Austin was no longer available because Hyde Park leaders had discovered that non-Christians, Muslims in particular, would be practicing their faith there. The event, now in its 23rd year, invites Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Bahais and others to worship together.
Organizers had booked the gymnasium at the Quarries in July and made the interfaith aspect clear to Quarries staff at that time, said Simone Talma Flowers, Interreligious Ministries’ interim director.
Several Muslim groups were acting as this year’s hosts for the event. Kent Jennings, associate pastor of administration at Hyde Park, released a statement Thursday that said church leaders received a postcard about the service Monday and only then realized that it “was not a Christian oriented event.”
The postcard also “promised space for Muslim Maghrib prayer and revealed that the event was co-hosted by the Central Texas Muslimaat, the Forum of Muslims for Unity, and the Institute of Interfaith Dialog,” according to Hyde Park’s statement.
“Although individuals from all faiths are welcome to worship with us at Hyde Park Baptist Church, the church cannot provide space for the practice of these non-Christian religions on church property,” the statement said. “Hyde Park Baptist Church hopes that the AAIM and the community of faith will understand and be tolerant of our church’s beliefs that have resulted in this decision.”