LeoPardus recently posted a few You might be a Fundy if… one-liners. Among them was:
You might be a Fundy if… God regularly opens up convenient parking spaces, JUST FOR YOU.
Well, it turns out that this is not far from what is being preached at one of the largest churches in America, Lakewood Church in Houston, Tx. According to a Slate Article by Chris Lehmann on Joel Osteen’s new book Become A Better You:
Joel Osteen’s God really wants you to dress well, stand up straight, and get a convenient parking space.
The article gave this analysis of Joel Osteen:
Joel has pointedly refrained from … really doing much biblical preaching at all. He has the wardrobe and tirelessly dapper mien of an oil industry lobbyist; it’s as a walking advertisement of the success creed, and not as any manner of prophet, that he’s made his name. “I’m not called to explain every minute facet of Scripture or to expound on deep theological doctrines or disputes that don’t touch where people live,” he writes dismissively in Become a Better You. “My gift is to encourage, to challenge, and to inspire…”
My former pastor had a favorite anecdote to share on why his flock should not look beyond the teachings of his faith camp in their studies. He relayed that the individuals who are responsible for discovering counterfeit money do not study the different counterfeits in order to learn about counterfeits. They ONLY focused on the real thing so when the counterfeit came along, they would immediately know it was not real. If they also studied counterfeits, they would be too confused as to what is real to be effective in their job. This admonishment was aimed at keeping the flock in subjection to his teachings and to discourage them from listening to those who were critical of the message of faith.
In response to the chaplain’s post Christian Education or Indoctrination?, Karen made this comment:
Education teaches people how to think; indoctrination teaches people what to think. All the religious instruction I went through as a child was distinctly of the latter variety. Even as an adult, I was warned not to educate myself about other religious beliefs. As I was questioning Christianity, I looked into Buddhism and Judaism and bought a couple of books on those topics. My husband objected that I was bringing evil spirits into our household and he did not want them physically “tainting” our home! The only way to learn about other religious beliefs “safely” was to take a course on world religions that a missionary group offered at our church. Of course, you can imagine how “objective” that course was – all other religions were presented as deceptions of Satan! There was absolutely no objective presentation of religious beliefs outside of Christianity…
As a Christian, New Years Day was always a very special day for me. It was the day I would turn my back on all the past mistakes of the previous year and pray that God would make me a better individual in the year to come. I forgot those things which were behind me and pressed on towards the prize of the higher calling.
However, now as a de-convert, I cannot simply forget any of my mistakes of the past year. It is my responsibility to make sure I deal with them in order to move ahead. I cannot simple “give them to God” and know that they have been cast into the sea of his forgetfulness where he and I would remember them no more. I cannot accept that that I can simply confess that there is now therefore no condemnation for those actions but if I deserve to be condemn, then I have to pay the necessary price.
Also, I cannot simply expect my invisible diety to help make me a better person, I have to make the choices to change areas of my life which I deem as needing improvement. In other words, the responsibility sits squarely on my shoulders. I have to admit that it was so much easier to give things to God than for me to accept now that they are my responsibility. Throwing away my crutch and standing on my own two feet is sometimes a difficult feat to accomplish…
Today is the day we set aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Even though there are many questions as to whether this event actually ever took place, we cannot deny the impact this story, related a few decades later in the gospels, has had on the world. This “good news” did not bring the promised peace on earth but resulted in wars and fear. However, as LeoPardus recently pointed out, there are some good things that can be attributed to the birth of the church.
As I meditate on the meaning Christmas used to hold for me, there is one particular point that I can no longer reconcile as rational. This event was supposed to be a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for man. That God, so loved the world, that he gave his only son, to die on a cross to redeem me from my sins and thus restoring me into a relationship with him.
Upon reading the scriptures, one cannot help but conclude that God’s love is anything but unconditional. The Old Testament is packed with what I will refer to as “if…then” statements. If you do a list of things, you will be blessed but if, on the other hand, you disobey you will be cursed. In many cases, the curses included genocide, violence, killings, diseases, sicknesses, fire and brimstone, floods, plagues, and a variety of other demonstration of God’s wrath and judgment. How can any of this be described as unconditional?…
LeoPardus recently wrote about a prayer he prayed during his de-conversion journey where he asked the following of God – “God, if you’re real, do something. Anything.”
Well Leo, hop in your car and head to I-35. God is there and he’s in full action. He’s even delivering people from homosexuality (what greater miracle could you see).
Updated December 20th: I-35: ‘Ex Gay’ Now ‘Ex Ex Gay’ »
– The de-Convert
An anonymous poster asked this question on one of my blogs:
What do you think our purpose in life is then?
Many Christians believe there is no purpose without God. Of course, one of the most quoted Old Testament verse is:
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Who would not want to believe that the Creator of the universe cares enough about them to have a great plan for their life? In fact, when witnessing to a non-believer, one of the favorite phrases used is “God has a plan for your life.” Really now?
If you read further in Jeremiah 29, you will discover these verses:
17 yes, this is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like poor figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. 18 I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth and an object of cursing and horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them.
Ok. Does God have a good plan for my life or will he send the sword, famine and plagues against me?…