January 31, 2010 by Bill
I tire, as I am sure you do, of reading all of those knee-jerk/tear-jerk essays about how Christians are being persecuted in various parts of the world. Any Freshman in religious history studies could explain it to them. In Eastern religions, it is called Karma; what you sow, you will reap. Emerson called it “the law of compensation.”
For 2,000 years, the Christian church has persecuted at will around the world. One of my Anthropology professors at the University of Colorado spent one full week documenting the crimes of Christian missionaries against indigenous people around the world. The church has left a legacy that promotes sexism, racism, the intolerance of difference and the desecration of the natural environment. There has been a disregard for human freedom, dignity and self-determination. As the church took over Europe, it almost totally wiped out education, technology, science, medicine, history, art and commerce.
The distinguished church historian of Yale University, Kenneth Scott Latourette, wrote this: “Christianity spread by violence and the bloody sword of Constantine.” In 1995, Pope John Paul II urged the Catholic church to seize the occasion of the new millennium to recognize “the dark side of Christian history” and in a letter to his cardinals, he asked “how can one remain silent about the many forms of violence perpetrated in the name of Christianity…wars of religion…tribunals of the inquisition…and all other forms of violations of the rights of persons?”
The persecution of Christians is called Karma in Eastern religions. Ralph Waldo Emerson called it a “perfect” and “absolute” law, the “law of compensation.” He wrote: “Justice is not postponed. In history, we see it. It is in the world. Cause and effect, seed and fruit, cannot be severed, for the effect already blooms in the cause. The fruit is in the seed.” Read more
January 24, 2010 by Bill
Blessed are they for they do not believe that a God is on their side.
Blessed are they for they do not participate in holy wars, Jihads or Crusades.
Blessed are they for they would never be martyrs for the “Glory of God.”
Blessed are they for they do not condemn others as heretics or infidels.
Blessed are they for they do not conduct inquisitions nor slaughter millions of women as “witches.”
Blessed are they who do not participate in sectarian violence, nor harass little Catholic school girls walking through their neighborhood.
Blessed are they who do not twist biblical words to condemn homosexuality as a sin, nor to condemn a woman’s right to choose.
Blessed are they who would never say that a terrorist act is God’s punishment against those who do not believe or think as they do.
Blessed are they who know that the only hell that exists is right here on earth created by man. And that it is in man’s hands alone to create a heaven here on earth through intelligence, empathy and love.
To clear the cobwebs of a biblical God out of the human brain is no easy task. It means cleaning out all of the brainwashing, indoctrination, and ministerial clichés and giving your head, mind and spirit a fresh start. A book review of “A Spiritual Response to the Attack on America” brought out the fact that most of the essays were the usual cliché-filled pablum. Like, you know, God gives us free will. And God was there “loving” the survivors and all of that theological ministerial mush and gobble-de-gook. Only one essay got to the heart of the issue. An essay by Episcopalian Bishop John Shelby Spong on “The Theistic God is Dead,” calling for a new concept of something we call “God.” This is the subject that I have chosen for many lectures during the years. Read more
January 17, 2010 by Bill
Several years ago, I lectured to a sold out auditorium at the University of Southern Colorado on the subject of “Redefining God.” It was about a movement today that is sweeping through Protestant churches all across this country. In this age of quantum physics and breath-taking discoveries in Astronomy, Archaeology and Biological evolution, intelligent and enlightened people are realizing that the archaic gods of the bible are the most primitive superstitions. And nothing more.
My recent readings have been about a similar movement that is a fast growing phenomenon in Judaism. It is known as Humanistic Judaism.
Rabbi Sherwin Wine said he realized that he was “not being true to himself” in still talking about a biblical God that he no longer believed in. He started the Birmingham Temple outside of Detroit, the world’s first Humanistic congregation, which today has grown to a congregation of over 1,000 members. There are now more than 40 Humanistic congregations across the United States with over 30,000 members. There are 12 such international organizations, including one in the Jewish homeland of Israel.
Those involved say that Humanistic Judaism is the only form that makes sense to rationalist Jews in this age of science and technology. They are attracting non-theistic Jews who still want to celebrate their cultural roots without superstition and primitive supernatural images. It is Judaism without the God of superstition.
Humanistic Jews say that humans alone are responsible for their lives. They celebrate holidays with human language and ideas, as opposed to “divine” and “sacred” biblical language. Modern works of poetry and philosophy and literature have more value than two and three thousand year-old documents.
“We don’t thank God anymore with a prayer over wine. We celebrate the fruit of the earth, and the harvest, and man’s role in planting that harvest…a harvest that would not come about if there was not a man there doing it,” said Rabbi Wine.
My good Rabbi friend who was on the staff with me at the University in Tacoma, Washington, often told me that many of the Rabbis he knew were Humanistic but had to move slowly with congregations in evolving away from superstitions. Many of my own Jewish friends are completely humanistic, including Walter Annenberg, who was my most humane patron for ten years.
In this age of contemporary knowledge, it takes courage to quit speaking, like a ventriloquist, of a 3,000 year-old age in which they never lived.
A thought for all of us, regardless of religious orientation, is this: the inability to say good-bye to an outdated, archaic and superstitious past means that we awaken one morning and realize that we are hugging a corpse.