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Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Tim Tebow!

tim-tebow-praying

The Adventures of Tim Tebow

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound!”

“Look! Up in the sky!”
“It’s a bird!”
“It’s a plane!”
“It’s Tim Tebow!”

Ah yes, Tim Tebow is in the news again, this time for praying over a man having a seizure, supposedly resulting in divine deliverance. CHARISMA breathlessly reports:

Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow’s effective prayer for a fan suffering from a debilitating seizure sparked a social media frenzy Tuesday night.

Tebow was signing autographs after his first baseball game as a Scottsdale Scorpion when a fan suddenly hit the ground and started convulsing uncontrollably.

Tebow sprang into action and laid hands on the man, praying for his healing and comforting him until paramedics arrived.

The violent seizure reportedly stopped moments after Tebow prayed with him. The miraculous healing had many people take to social media expressing their amazement at the power of prayer.

Kari Van Horn tweeted, “Tebow signing autographs. Fan has what looks like seizure. Not moving. Tebow puts hand on him and says a prayer. Man breathes. WOW.”

@danielkellybook took to video and wrote, “My friend had a seizure at Mets game and Tebow prayed for him and stayed with him until paramedics arrived.”

This is not the first time Tebow has prayed for the sick. Earlier this year he prayed for a fellow passenger who went into cardiac arrest on a plane.

Tebow prayed with the dying man and comforted his wife while a physician worked to save his life.

“I watched Tim pray with the entire section of the plane for this man. He made a stand for God in a difficult situation,” one witness said.

Evidently, Tim Tebow’s prayers can heal the sick and raise the dead, but they can’t help him accurately throw an NFL-quality pass or hit a Major League breaking ball. There’s no evidence for Tebow’s prayers doing anything for the latest victim of Tebow’s prayer-power. There was a time when I thought Tebow was just a naïve young man who was easily manipulated by the media — especially Evangelical media outlets who take the minutest God “sighting” and turn it into Moses parting the Red Sea. I now think that Tebow is an aging jock who is having a hard time accepting that his glory days at Florida are behind him. What better way to let everyone know that you are relevant than by running to public scenes such has this one and “praying” for someone. Evangelicals will drool over “God using Tebow” and sports media outlets will use his latest Superman-like escapade as filler for one of their endlessly droning talk shows. For Tebow, he gets another opportunity to remind fawning fans that is he still pursuing his “dream.”

There comes a point, at least for me, where Tebow is the man who always shows up first at house fires. Every few months, it seems Tebow is front and center at a house fire. Perhaps it is time for sports pundits to ponder whether perhaps Tebow is always first on the scene because he’s a publicity whore who craves public attention. Tebow could privately pray, asking God to heal the subject of his utterances. Instead, he continues to behave as he did in his NFL days — Tebowing before the world. In the two stories mentioned above, neither person needed Tebow’s help. Other people were already helping them. Tebow, instead of fading into the background and quietly praying, jumped to the forefront, saying humbly to all, never fear! Tebowman is here!

I am well aware that Tebow does many good things for others, but it seems that reporters and cameras are never far away when he does. I’ll leave Tebow’s BFF Jesus with the last word on this matter:

Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:1-6)

 

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Carnal Trump vs. Demonic Clinton by Wanda Alger

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Cartoon by Monte Wolverton

The current perspective of many conservatives in relinquishing their vote to Donald Trump is that he is the “lesser of two evils.” I propose that this description totally misses the mark since there is a difference between our fleshly disposition to do evil (Rom. 7:22-23) and a conscious decision to rebel against God (1 Sam. 12:14-15). One is the result of a carnal nature that struggles to do what is right versus a deliberate decision to disobey God’s laws.

There is no question that Trump’s words and actions have aroused doubts and concerns among many conservatives who place a high value on someone’s personal conduct. If one bases a person’s integrity entirely upon their demeanor in public, Hillary could easily win that contest with her polished comments and skilled rhetoric. Yet, is this what we are looking at in order to discern the true spirit and intent behind these candidates?
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Given the record of Hillary’s political and financial pandering with anti-American alliances, her consistent denial of proven wrongs, her utter rejection of scriptural values of life and covenant marriage and her future plans for limiting religious freedom, it should be fairly evident that she has deliberately set herself against God’s ways. Trump, on the other hand, demonstrates a consistent pursuit of doing what is right even though his fleshly nature gets the best of him. Though in the early stages of this political journey, Trump is gathering around him godly counselors who hold to traditional values. He has created a platform that upholds biblical ideals. Regardless of his fleshly verbal outbursts, his actions exhibit a clear determination to do what is right by God in leading the nation.

Trump is not “evil” as much as carnal. Hillary is not only carnal, but is backed, knowingly or unknowingly, by a demonic force set out to destroy our nation’s sovereignty and our religious freedoms. The only way to stop this momentum is for the Republican candidate to defeat her—even if he is flawed. God can work with a sinner (think Saul of Tarsus) but will utterly reject anyone who opposes Him (Ps. 2:10-12). Unless the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, defeats Hillary Clinton in this election, the demonic nature of the political process will unfold with lightning speed and with disastrous results. Not only will the issues at stake become very personal for every citizen, but demonically driven.
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This is not rocket science. One of these candidates will win and their agenda for this nation’s future will move forward. Even though we are citizens of an eternal kingdom and we do not look to man for our answers or salvation, the reality is that God is the one who established government for our benefit and good. A coming supernatural move of God will certainly empower and embolden us, but we have the choice whether we do so under a demonically-controlled system, or a system that is at least trying to do things God’s way

— Wanda Alger, Charisma News, This Election is About the Carnal vs. Demonic, October 6, 2016

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Bert Farias Says Gays Are Demon Possessed

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Here’s the raw, naked truth: Homosexuality is actually a demon spirit. It is such a putrid smelling demon that other demons don’t even like to hang around it. A genuine prophet of God told me that the Lord allowed him to smell this demon spirit, and he got sick to his stomach. And yet as humans, many embrace this demon. Yes, you heard me right. Being gay is demonic.

There is an account in the Bible where Jesus casts out 2,000 demons out of a man. The demons came out screaming and begged Jesus to send them into the pigs. The pigs didn’t want them, so they ran down a steep hill and were drowned in the sea. Pigs have more sense than some humans. People embrace homosexual demons, but the pigs would rather die than be possessed with demons.

“Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, ‘Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.’ And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea” (Mark 5:11-13).

From a biblical perspective the rise of homosexuality is a sign that a society is in the last stages of decay. And here is another terrible truth: As people continue to reject God, He gives them over to increasingly immoral and self-destructive activities. There are destructive physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences resulting from homosexual behavior.

All human beings know deep in their hearts that God exists, and they all know something of His moral standards. But people’s unrighteousness leads them to suppress the truth and leads them to believe false views of God and the Bible, and they twist the scriptures to their own destruction, because they know that the truth would require them to repent.

Allow me to school you in Basic Sex 101. If being gay was natural, two men or two women could produce a baby, but they can’t. Their sexual reproductive organs do not complement each other therefore making it impossible for them to procreate. It can never be natural for two men or two women to get married and live together. Our culture’s acceptance and celebration of gay behavior will never make it right. Wrong is wrong no matter how many people are for it. And right is right no matter how many people are against it. Homosexuality is not new. It’s been around for thousands of years. It’s as old as the devil himself.

— Bert Farias, CHARISMA News, The Raw, Naked Truth About Homosexuality, July 22, 2014

Bert Farias is the founder of Holy Fire Ministries

 

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Bert Farias Says Christian Children Should Be Taught to Be Extremists Like Hitler’s Brown Shirts and ISIS

bert-fariasYears ago I was part of an apostolic team of fathers who mentored, equipped and empowered radical youth. We believed then and still do now that we are to help define and lead a countercultural movement. It is our passion to upset the sinful status quo of society and the church. Youth are key!

In 1933 Hitler said, “If I can separate the youth of Germany from their parents I will conquer this nation.” He started a movement called “The Brown Shirts” in which 100,000 youth stood in Berlin with their right hand raised and screaming. “Hitler, we are yours!” Imagine our youth pledging that kind of allegiance to King Jesus!

It is rumored that, around that same time period, the Communist leader Joseph Stalin made the following statement concerning youth: “If we can effectively kill the national pride and patriotism of just one generation, we will have won that country. Therefore, there must be continued propaganda abroad to undermine the loyalty of the citizens in general and the teenagers in particular. By making readily available drugs of various kinds, by giving a teenager alcohol, by praising his wildness, by strangling him with sex literature and by advertising to his and her psycho-political preparation, create the necessary attitude of chaos, idleness and worthlessness.” If demonically inspired men can affect our youth this way, imagine what divine inspiration will do!

Sin has wasted our youth. We’ve not given them something worthy to live for, and something worthy to die for. To do anything below what they were created to do will bore them. That is the reason many of our young people turn to drugs, alcohol, immorality and other sensual thrills. That is why they need to be awakened to their ultimate purpose in Jesus Christ.

In revolutionary countries youth are trained in combat and weapons. They are taught principles of Communism and the tenets of militant Islam. They give themselves wholeheartedly to the goal of world domination. Someone once said that Satan is preparing his army, but the church is entertaining her children. We need a radical departure from the standard method of training young men and women for ministry. We need a touch of wholesome extremism to launch a counterculture JESUS revolution!

Yes, just as a certain kind of passivity limits the ministry of God’s kingdom, a certain kind of extremism will expand it. The Bible is a book of extremes. Extreme acts of God and history-changing events (like the dividing of the Red Sea and the resurrection of Jesus Christ among so many others); extreme characters (men and women who changed the world); extreme demands to follow the Lord (denying yourself, taking up your cross daily, etc.); extreme blessings for obedience (Mark 10:29-30); extreme consequences for unrepentant sin and disobedience (Luke 13:3, Matt. 7:21-23).

— Bert Farias, CHARISMA News, Extremism: The Key to Launching a Spiritual Revolution, January 30, 2015

Bert Farias is the founder of Holy Fire Ministries

 

How Evangelicals Turn Everything Into Sins Against God

this was your life 2

Warning! Snark Ahead!

Armed with certainty, literalism, and an inerrant, infallible religious text, Evangelicals are capable of taking virtually any human behavior and turning it into a sin. In a Charisma News article titled Why Many Believers Overlook This Soul-Decaying Idol, Kimberly Wagner says that overeating is sinful, using Romans 12:1,2 as a pretext:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Wagner proceeds to Bible-shame everyone who dares to eat one Twinkie more than necessary to provide their daily energy needs. As Christians often do, Wagner uses her own legalistic struggles with food as justification for scolding those of us who consume more calories than we should. Wagner writes:

One of my friends was sharing why she no longer goes to the race track to gamble. She said, “I never wanted anyone to have anything they saw me do that might detract from my commitment to Christ. I want everything I do to be something that glorifies Him.”

As she was sharing that, all I could think about is how I’ve stopped battling my idol and let it gain mastery over me again. I told her, “If people looked at my eating habits, I would be ashamed. I’m not glorifying God … ”

How can I stand and teach the Word, challenge women to live passionately for Christ, when I have this unyielded area in my life? When I’m worshiping at the wrong altar? When I’m indulging in idolatry—feeding my flesh?

Food is not the problem. My heart is.

I love food. I love butter (and lots of it), cream sauce, chocolate, comfort food, creamy food, crunchy food, spicy food, sweet food, salty food, cheesy food, rich food, high-calorie-high-fat food. My love affair with food is unholy.

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But true enjoyment of God’s gifts comes through the holy practice and consumption of those gifts—not through the perversion of the good. Food is good and necessary. But food can become an idol. I don’t just eat to live—I live to eat!

When I go beyond enjoying food within holy boundaries and indulge my flesh in unhealthy ways, when my cravings drive my decisions and I seek to find satisfaction through my belly, when gluttony becomes my practice, my approach to food is not glorifying God. In fact, it’s idolatry.

Simply put, Wagner’s love affair with food is “unholy” and everyone else should view eating in the manner she has deemed gluttonous in the same way she does. Is it any wonder that Evangelicals are such a fearful, guilt-ridden, unhappy lot? According to Romans 12:1,2, in light of the sacrificial death of Jesus, it is reasonable service to God for Evangelicals to zealously watch what they eat. God can’t be bothered with ending war, feeding starving children, or stopping sexual assaults, but he sure is upset when Brother Baptist and Sister Nazarene eat one too many chicken legs at their church’s monthly potluck. The God who always helps Pastor Bluster find his keys is the same God who counts every carb Evangelicals eat. Imagine a Jack Chick This Was Your Life final judgment where God calls on Evangelicals to account for Snicker bars and Mom’s vanilla wafer-layered banana pudding. I bet that Evangelicals who watch the Food channel are going to be in big trouble with God. How dare they sit around and watch food porn.

this was your life

Sadly, many Evangelicals miss out on enjoying the fruits of their labors due to Pharisaical condemnations of certain behaviors. The Bible can be used to turn any and every behavior into a sin. Spend enough time listening to Evangelical preaching or reading Christian blogs and you will conclude that Evangelicals have Bible-driven hang-ups about virtually everything they do. Even if a behavior is God-approved, if their attitude or “spirit” is wrong, then that behavior is still a sin. This is why Wagner considers loving food a sin. Yes, humans must eat to live, but to LOVE food means we are turning food into an idol. Colossians 3:5 commands Evangelicals to mortify (kill) their flesh. Numerous Bible verses remind Christians that loving ones flesh (giving into human desires) brings judgment and deathRomans 8:8 states that those who give into fleshly desires cannot please God.

Evangelicals are even commanded to abstain from eating or drinking foods that might cause other Christians to stumble (fall into sin). Romans 14:21 states: It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. This means that Evangelicals must not only concern themselves with their own desires, but also the desires of other Christians. Can’t eat an extra helping of Granny’s apple pie at the church potluck because Youth Pastor Sinalot has a weakness for pie (and teenage girls). Mustn’t watch anything but Disney movies when Brother Horndog is around. Wouldn’t want him to get sexually aroused. Who knows what he might do if the spirit of lust comes upon him.

The Bible teaches that Evangelicals are to deny self, take up their cross, and follow Jesus. In fact, if Christians really want to show their devotion to God, they should eat like Jesus ate. That’s right, there is a straight-from-the-throne-room-of-God Jesus Diet. Doctor Oz has an article on his website that lists the foods that Jesus ate:

People back in Jesus’ time ate a mostly plant-based, clean diet. In that region of the world, lentils, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dates, nuts and fish were all quite popular. For snacks, some even ate grasshoppers and crickets! All these foods provided proper and satisfying nutrition without excess fats or cholesterol.
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Our longer [digestive] tract, however, allows for more time to process the complex carbohydrates within plants. However, as we eat meat with little fiber, especially red meat, it has a higher chance of getting stuck within our intestines – causing constipation or bloating. In fact, because Jesus and people around Him ate a mostly plant-based diet with little red meat, there’s little mention of “constipation” in the bible [my favorite line].
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Based on the Bible and historical records, Jesus most likely ate a diet similar to the Mediterranean diet, which includes foods like kale, pine nuts, dates, olive oil, lentils and soups. They also baked fish.

Amazing what you can find in the Bible if you “look.”

And here’s the thing, Evangelicals go through similar Bible gymnastics for other behaviors that have been deemed sins against God. Recently, Calvinists have been fighting amoungst themselves over wine, beer, and cigars. One side says that in moderation it is okay to drink alcohol and smoke cigars. The other side says, absolutely not! These substances are “poisons” that harm the body — the temple of the Holy Ghost.

As atheists, we have much simpler lives. We are free to do what we want. While I am not suggesting that it is a good thing to go on a Hostess Ho Ho and beer diet, feeling guilty about overeating or eating the “wrong” (I thought everything was created by God) foods is a waste of time. Life is short, and we shouldn’t spend it obsessing over food. All of us are free to eat however we want. I have friends who are vegans, vegetarians, ethical meat eaters, and Golden Corral buffet grazers. Each to his own. If God is concerned with what I eat then perhaps he shouldn’t have allowed humans to invent such delectable foods. In fact, God should have created our bodies in such a way that we wouldn’t even need to eat, thus eliminating time spent eating and pooping. Imagine how much nicer bathrooms would be without food. No gaseous releases (farts). No turd streaks in the toilet. No more pee on the floor, toilet seat, and everywhere men have been known to splatter. No need for toilet paper either. Think of all the trees we would save!

I wonder if Wagner has ever read Ecclesiastes — you know, the verses that tell us to eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Solomon understood that life is short and the best that man can do is to enjoy the fruit of his labors. And with that in mind, I think I will go and eat another one of those Rice Crispy bars Polly made earlier today. I love sinning…

Charisma Denounces Incest, Ignoring God-Approved Incestuous Relationships in the Bible

biblical marriage
Biblical Marriage, God’s Unchanging Moral Standard

According to Jessilyn Justice, a writer for Charisma News, the United States is facing a perversion tsunami. Several weeks ago, the Daily Mail reported that a man who was given up for adoption now wants to have a sexual relationship with his birth mother. Monica Mares, 36, gave Caleb Peterson, 19, up for adoption at birth. She was sixteen at the time. Nineteen years later, mother and son reconnected, fell in love, and are now facing criminal charges due to their incestuous relationship. Here’s what the Daily Mail had to say about their relationship:

GSA [genetic sexual attraction] is defined as sexual attraction between close relatives, such as siblings or half-siblings, a parent and offspring, or first and second cousins, who first meet as adults. Mares said: ‘He is the love of my life and I don’t want to lose him.My kids love him, my whole family does. Nothing can come between us not courts, or jail, nothing. ‘I have to be with him. When I get out of prison I will move out of Clovis to a state that allows us to be together.’

Incest is a crime in all 50 states, but the specifics of the laws and punishment vary greatly from state to state. Mother-of-nine Mares said she would even give up the right to see her other children if she was asked to choose between them and her lover. The couple who currently live separately in Clovis, New Mexico – and are banned from having any contact with each other by the courts – first embarked on their love affair towards the end of last year.
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The couple was charged with incest – a fourth-degree felony in New Mexico – following the February 25th incident. They were arraigned and appeared jointly in court in April – but were held in custody for breaching their no-contact order. They were released on $5,000 bond and now face a trial by jury in September.

Currently Mares is not allowed to see any of her children or have any contact at all with Peterson.Yet she maintains that is has all been worth it. ‘It is every bit worth it,’ she said. ‘If they lock me up for love then they lock me up. There is no way anybody could pull us apart, and I really do love him. ‘It hurts he is far away. It hurts really bad. I wish I could see him, talk to him, but I can’t risk it.’

Peterson said he started falling love with his mom about a week after meeting her – but claims as he grew up with an adopted parents he never really saw Mares as his mother. ‘I never had anyone cook me meals or give me anything,’ he said. ‘I never got anything my entire life and she went out of her way to make me happy and after about a week or so I started having feelings for her and I guess I fell in love. ‘It went beyond a mother-son relationship I never really viewed her as my mom. In certain aspects I do but mostly I don’t. ‘I never thought I was crazy for having these feelings because I didn’t see her as my mom, it was more like going to a club and meeting a random person. It didn’t feel wrong, it felt normal.’

Peterson claims it was him who made the first move not his mom. He recalls: ‘We were hanging out just talking and I looked at her and she looked at me and I kissed her. ‘It was a real kiss it had feelings behind it, there was a spark that ever since then it just stayed. ‘Honestly I never thought we would get into trouble for our relationship. We were both consenting adults – when it comes down to it.

‘She’s adult I’m adult I can make my own decisions. I never thought it would blow up into something like this.’
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Despite the immense opposition to the couple’s relationship, Mares and Peterson do have supporters in the community – including Dayton Chavez, Mares’ ex and father to two of her sons Moses, nine, and Joseph, 12.

He said: ‘I’ve told them I still love you guys either way. I support them. ‘I would like to see the government get out of their business and let them live a normal life – let them live how they want to live. ‘It would be different if it was a domestic violence situation but it’s not. ‘My point of view is they need to be allowed to live just how they are that’s what America is built on.’
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The couple – who both have roots with Native American Apache tribes – is also being supported by Cristina Shy who runs www.lilysgardener.com, a support and advocacy website for related couples, also known as consanguinamorous people.

Cristina, who is involved in an illegal relationship with her half brother in Minnesota, said: ‘Our whole community is watching this case and looking for updates. ‘It needs to be brought to the attention of everybody in the country and people need to start thinking differently. ‘It was the same with gay people just a few years ago and now they can get married they are accepted. ‘Well why not consanguinamorous people like us? We are all adults. We are not pedophiles, there’s no domestic issue we are in love, we want to be together but we are related. That shouldn’t be a deciding factor.’

Most readers of this blog likely think — at the very least — that this is a bizarre story. I have mixed feelings about the mother/son sexual relationship, but I suspect my discomfort is the result of my Fundamentalist Christian upbringing. If I believe that consenting adults should be free to have sex with whomever, wherever, and however, then, despite my conflicted feelings, I really should have no legitimate objection to Mares’ and Peterson’s relationship.

As soon as this story hit the news wire, Christians such as Jessilyn Justice were screaming, SEE! This is what happens when we let same-sex couples marry, legitimize homosexuality, and allow Transgenders use the bathroom of their choice! Unable to comprehend any other sexual relationships beside what they “think” is decreed in a bronze age religious text — the Protestant Bible — people such as Justice warn others about the dangers of the slippery slope that ultimately leads to every sexual perversion imaginable. Why, what’s to stop people from marrying their dogs, right?

Justice focused on the incest component of this story:

Paul specifically warned about the evils of sexual immorality throughout his letters to the Corinthians and Romans.

Now, perversion rises as a mother wants an incestuous relationship with the son she gave up for adoption, according to The Daily Mail.

“If they lock me up for love then they lock me up. There is no way anybody could pull us apart, and I really do love him,” 36-year-old Monica Mares tells the online paper of her son, Caleb Peterson.

The couple faces a charge of incest, according to the Clovis News Journal. If convicted, they face hefty fines and years behind bars.

“I never had anyone cook me meals or give me anything,” Peterson tells the Daily Mail.

He continued: “I never got anything my entire life and she went out of her way to make me happy and after about a week or so I started having feelings for her and I guess I fell in love. It went beyond a mother-son relationship. I never really viewed her as my mom. In certain aspects I do but mostly I don’t. I never thought I was crazy for having these feelings because I didn’t see her as my mom, it was more like going to a club and meeting a random person. It didn’t feel wrong, it felt normal.”

Perhaps the book of Romans is at play here, as Paul warned in chapter 1 that God would give people over to the lust of their hearts.

I find it laughable and quite entertaining that Justice opposes incest, yet she worships a God that used incest to advance his divine agenda on earth.

The Bible — the original Kinsey Report — certainly condemns incest. God, the arbiter of all things sexual, had this to say in his inspired, inerrant, infallible word:

None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord.The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or daughter of thy mother, whether she be born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover: for theirs is thine own nakedness. The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman.Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister: for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman. Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter in law: she is thy son’s wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, neither shalt thou take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness; for they are her near kinswomen: it is wickedness.Neither shalt thou take a wife to her sister, to vex her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her life time. Leviticus 18:6-18

See! God says incest is a sin! Right there in the B-i-b-l-e. End of story. Later in Leviticus 18, God also condemns homosexuality, bestiality, adultery, and having sex with a woman when she is menstruating. In Leviticus 20, God says certain incestuous relationships — along with adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality — are capital crimes punishable by death. Strangely, if a man has sex with his uncle’s wife or has sex with his brother’s wife, their immorality is not punishable by death. (See Wikipedia article on Incest in the Bible.)

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul rebukes the Church at Corinth for having in its membership a man who was having sex with his mother. 1 Corinthians 5:1 states:

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

Paul commanded the church to excommunicate the man, delivering him to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. Surprisingly,  Paul considered the incestuous man to still be a Christian (To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus).

The Apostle Paul, along with Jessilyn Justice, seems to ignorant of the fact that the Big Man Upstairs approves of incest — at least in certain circumstances. Here are six of the numerous incestuous stories recorded in God’s perfect Word:

  • Genesis 4-Where did Cain’s wife come from? Either Cain had sex with an unnamed sister or he had sex with his mother Eve.
  • Genesis 9-Ham has sex with his father, Noah.
  • Genesis 19-Two daughters have sex with their father, Lot, a man the Bible says was a righteous man.
  • Genesis 20-Abraham has sex with his half-sister Sara.
  • Genesis 38-Judah has sex with his daughter-in-law Tamar (the daughter of adulterous, murderous David, a man after God’s own heart).
  • Exodus 6-Amram has sex with his father’s sister Jochebed. She bore him two very famous sons, Aaron and Moses.
answers in genesis incest
How Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis “Answer” the Incest Question

Christians are certainly free to object to incestuous relationships such as the one mentioned in this post. However, they don’t get to claim the high moral ground, saying that God says incest is a sin punishable by death. As I have clearly shown, God, at certain times and in certain circumstances, approves of or ignores incest. So much for God’s law being the perfect moral standard for all peoples, at all times. Evangelicals box themselves in when they demand that the Bible be recognized as the sole arbiter of morality. They are forced to come up with all sorts of creative ways to “explain” away the contradictions and absurdities found in the Bible. Christianity would be better served if Christians just admitted that there is some crazy shit in the Bible — especially in the Old Testament; and that the morality code of ancient sheepherders and fishermen has little relevance today.

If you have read this far, please allow me to reward your diligence with a video that I think you will find quite funny.

Video Link

Should Monica Mares and Caleb Peterson be legally allowed to have sex and/or get married? Please share your opinion/sermon/rant/exegesis in the comment section.

Is Game of Thrones Pornographic?

game of thrones sex scene 2

My wife and I are avid watchers of the HBO hit drama, Game of Thrones (GOT). In the most recent episode, Ramsay Bolton, a psychopath of epic proportions, was eaten alive by his dogs — a just reward for such a vile man. Every GOT episode has moments of violence and sex, as does virtually every TV drama. Viewers watch dramas such as GOT because of its edgy and provocative story lines.

This fact has posed a big problem for Evangelicals who see themselves as the judges and arbiters of what is good TV and what is moral or immoral. This problem arises for these keepers of national morality when their followers ignore their warnings and admonitions and tune in to shows such as GOT. Millions of God-fearing Christians watch each episode of GOT. Evangelical preachers, irritated by the failure of church members to pay attention to them, increase their GOT rhetoric, hoping to finally get through to Christians who love the violence and sex, not only on GOT, but also on numerous other pay-TV dramas.

In recent weeks, I have noticed that several Christian websites have labeled GOT pornographic. Ben Kayser, a writer for CHARISMA , had this to say about Game of Thrones:

The HBO series Game of Thrones has been quite comfortable with controversy for the six years its [sic] been airing. Beyond the graphic sex scenes frequently included in the show, the series also includes many storylines that include incest, extreme bloody violence and multiple graphic depictions of rape that are clearly gratuitous, even from the perspective of mainstream and liberal critics.

However, somehow the creators manage to convince viewers that what they’re watching isn’t pornography, meant to titillate and shock, but is instead “art.” Even many Christian viewers find ways to excuse the show so they can enjoy some entertainment they find compelling and exciting. That said, recent data from the X-rated site Pornhub, as reported in The Daily Mail, reveals that Game of Thrones not only is linked to pornography usage, but scenes from the show are being used as porn directly.

HBO is in a legal battle with the porn website over the sites use of sexually explicit clips from Game of Thrones, which HBO states breaches their copyright of the content. Additionally, Pornhub revealed that internet porn usage decreased when HBO was airing a new episode of Game of Thrones and only increased back to the average number of users four hours after a new episode had aired. According to The Daily Mail, the data “also found searches for Game of Thrones-related videos and pictures of characters also rocketed by nearly 370 percent on the day of the [episode] premiere.”

….

HBO is a premium subscription channel. Only those who subscribe to the channel can watch its programming. As with all pay TV channels, easily offended Christians are free to NOT subscribe. Don’t like a channel’s content? Don’t watch it. Personally, I am sick and tired of Christians whining and complaining about what’s on TV. Currently, there are a dozen Christian TV channels on DIRECTV. DISH, along with other pay TV providers, also have numerous Christian channels. If offended believers want to watch saved, sanctified programming, why not tune into one of these channels? I am sure there are plenty of Little House on the Prairie reruns for Christians to watch. Why spit and fume over what heathens are watching on channels such as HBO and Showtime?

game of thrones sex scene

Here’s the dirty little secret Christian moralizers don’t want you to know. MOST Christians don’t watch religious channels. That’s right, most Christians know the God-oriented channels have very little good programming. This is why they tune into shows such as GOT. Whatever one might think about GOT violence and sex, it is a superbly written, directed, and acted TV drama. I am of the opinion that we have entered a golden era of TV programming. There are so many good dramas on TV now that it is hard to decide which ones to watch. Channels such as AMC, FX, USA, Syfy, TNT, TBS, and BBC have, in recent years, produced numerous top-notch dramas. Even third tier channels are getting in on the act. This means that TV viewers have a plethora of programs to choose from. Christians and non-Christians alike have dozens of programs they can watch. There’s no need to bitch, moan, and complain about supposedly offensive programs. Viewers are free to change the channel until they find one that meets their personal preferences.

Is GOT pornographic? Of course not. Kayser and his fellow Puritans should spend some time on PORNHUB if they want to see what REAL pornography looks like. Better yet, since most Evangelical pastors have personally viewed porn, why not just ask them if GOT is pornographic. Even better, survey church members and ask them, compared to YOUPORN, REDTUBE, and other porn sites, if GOT is pornographic. If we-never-lie Christians are honest, they will say no, GOT is not pornographic.

Kayser  bases the premise of his post on Sunday PORNHUB viewer data. The Daily Mail reports:

Last month it was revealed online viewing of porn dropped by around four per cent – equating to millions of people – while the first episode of the new series aired.

Data from Pornhub showed the number of active users in the U.S. started decreasing in the hour before the show started and did not return back to average levels until four hours later.

It also found searches for Game of Thrones-related videos and pictures of characters also rocketed by nearly 370 per cent on the day of the premiere.

Emilia Clarke, who plays blonde princess Daenerys Targaryen and who regularly appears naked in the show, was the top search.

She was followed by Natalie Dormer, as Margaery Tyrell, and Sibel Kekilli, who plays Shae.
….

Kayser thinks this data proves that GOT is pornographic. Does it? Of course not. First, GOT is not pornographic, so there is no correlation between GOT viewership and PORNHUB use. Kayser wants readers to think that there is connection between porn use and GOT. In Kayser’s mind, prior to tuning into GOT, viewers are watching internet porn. Once GOT comes on viewers switch from one porn source to another.

Second, there are other explanations for reduced PORNHUB traffic. The biggest reason for the reduced traffic numbers is the number of prime time dramas that are now scheduled for Sunday nights. As every avid TV watcher knows, there are numerous programs to choose from. Currently, Games of Thrones, Outlander, Hell on Wheels, Preacher, Ray Donovan, Roadies, Murder in the First, and Silicon Valley are scheduled for the 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM Sunday slot. In the Fall, broadcast networks will add eight or ten more programs to the Sunday night mix. And come September, Sunday Night Football will broadcast 17 weeks of NFL games. It seems to me, then, that PORNHUB traffic numbers drop, not because of GOT, but because viewers are switching to their favorite Sunday evening programs.

Kayser went looking for “proof” that GOT is pornographic and he found it in PORNHUB’s raw traffic data. Kayser finds correlations where there are none. Until a proper study is conducted, it is impossible to conclude that PORNHUB’s traffic drop is due to people switching to GOT. At this point, it is just as likely that the traffic reduction is due to Evangelicals attending Sunday evening church services, fellowships, and activities. Scandalous? Perhaps, but then so is the notion that GOT is pornographic.

Instead of blaming the Evangelicals who regularly watch GOT, the Keysers of the world blame programmers, casting them as tools of Satan used to bring down Christian America. These Fundamentalists refuse to understand that most Americans — including some of their fellow Christians —  reject “Biblically” based codes of morality and conduct. Keyser and others like him are free to NOT watch GOT. What others watch is none of their business. If viewers want to watch violence and sex scenes, they should be free to do so. Evangelicals tend to be capitalistic promoters of free markets, yet when it comes to TV programming, Christians demand the government step in and regulate what subscribers can watch.

Christians are free to produce programming that meets their moral standards. That they don’t reveals that Evangelicals are not interested in such programming. Like it or not, many Christians love Game of Thrones. And like it or not, many Christians are going to view pornography. Program viewing is quite personal. Each of us has programs we love and hate. And that’s the beauty of the free market system. We are free to watch whatever we want. Don’t like a program? Consider a program offensive? Change the channel. All Evangelicals have to do to avoid what they deem “pornographic” is to change the channel or not subscribe to HBO.

Have You Developed a Demon-Free Zone Over Your Life?

jentezen franklin
Jentezen Franklin, pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia; Gwinnett, Georgia; and Orange County, California

Jentezen Franklin, a writer for CHARISMA and pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia; Gwinnett, Georgia; and Orange County, California, wants to know if Christians have developed a demon-free zone over their lives. According to Franklin:

Scripture tells us that spiritual battles are taking place all around us because we live in two atmospheres at the same time. One is a physical atmosphere that we can see, smell, hear, touch and taste. The other is a spiritual atmosphere that we cannot see with our natural eye or experience with the rest of our natural senses but which is very real.

The devil knows the power of atmosphere, and as believers, we need to know it as well. Whenever possible, Satan will try to tempt you into the wrong atmosphere in order to make it easier for you to fall into sin.

Channeling Frank Peretti, Franklin believes that there is a physical atmosphere (world) that consists of what we can see, smell, hear, touch, and taste. Most people call this reality. Franklin believes that there is also a spiritual atmosphere (world) that cannot be seen or experienced with our senses. Most people call this insanity. In this beyond-reality world, Satan and God are busy fighting to the death over the lives of Christians. God wants winners, Satan wants losers. If God is all that Christians such as Franklin say he is, why doesn’t God tell Jesus’ brother to knock it off? Surely the creator of the universe has the power to stop Satan from molesting his children. And if he does has this power, why then is it up to Christians  to have demon-free lives? What good is God if he can’t at least be the Orkin man of the spiritual realm, ensuring that Christian lives are demon free.

According to Franklin, yes God is everywhere (omnipresent), but he doesn’t manifest his presence equally. If Christians want God to manifest himself, they need to be living in the “right” atmosphere. The reason that most Christians have demon-infested lives is because they are living on the wrong side of the tracks. If Christians want to be demon-free they must be willing to change where they live.

Franklin reminds Christians that they are at war with Satan, and this war cannot be won through education or money. Instead, poor and stupid Christians are called on to wage war against Satan in the power of Spirit. Franklin must not have a TV in his home. When I turn on any of the dozen Christian channels I am “blessed” to receive with my DIRECTVpackage, all I see are $1,000-suit and Rolex-wearing modern-day Elmer Gantrys attacking Satan’s strongholds. These mighty men of God have no need of more soldiers. Cash, MasterCard and Visa will suffice.

Franklin gives Christians a surefire way they can know whether they are battling demons:

A sure sign of demonic possession is someone empowered with incredible strength. Demons will often energize people in this way (Mark 5). Those who are demon-possessed may have spontaneous reactions of uncontrolled cursing when the name of Jesus Christ is spoken. An evil spirit can cause contortions in facial features and countenance. People’s eyes can become glazed and even roll back in their heads. Their appearances and even their voices will change. When people are set free, they will usually come immediately back into their “right minds.” Their voices will normalize, and you will see a total change in demeanor.

Wait a minute. I thought Franklin was concerned with Christians demon-proofing their lives? If demon-possessed people are the problem, wouldn’t it just be easier to form Demon-Free Colonies® and avoid contact with the demonic denizens of the world? Perhaps Franklin — a seasoned charismatic pastor — knows that there are just as many demons in the church as there are outside. Demons, demons, demons, everywhere. What’s a Christian supposed to do?

Franklin reminds Christians that they are to be demon molesters:

Satan and his demons prefer to do their work without being exposed. They definitely don’t like to be identified and cast out. Demons will resist exposure and will resist anyone who attempts to bring the light of God upon their hidden works. Once the enemy has gained ground and set up the kind of culture he desires, he wants us to buzz off and leave him be.

According to Franklin, the best way to hassle Satan and expose his works is to create a climate of light. In other words, megachurches needs to quit dimming the lights when the praise and worship team strikes up the band. Evidently, when the lights are dimmed Satan and his merry band of demons are free to attack those who are watching the show. Want a demon-proof church? Turn on the damn lights!

Franklin concludes his post with advice for demon-proofing one’s life:

We are to fast, pray, praise, worship, intercede, and stand and wage war in the spiritual realm so that our enemy, the devil, cannot work his way into our lives and squeeze the life out of us, rendering us ineffective for God.

Why, this is what Evangelical pastors have been preaching for as long as I can remember. Generations of Evangelicals have heard that they need to do these things, yet Christians remain every bit as “worldly” and “sinful” as the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world. Perhaps it is time for the Franklins of the world to change their message, admitting that the real problem is not Satan and his demons, but human want, need, and desire. Evangelicals continue to “sin” because they are, above all else, human. Instead of blaming negative (sinful, bad) human behaviors on Satan, perhaps it is time to put the blame where it belongs — me and thee. Satan isn’t the problem, humans are. Instead of focusing on mythical beings such as Satan, Franklin would better serve his readers by challenging them to alter their own their behavior.

CHARISMA Writer Complains X-Men: Apocalypse Rips off the Bible and Calls Jesus a Mutant

apocalypse

Jessilyn Justice, assistant news editor for CHARISMA, is upset that the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse movie calls Jesus a mutant. Even worse, the movie rips off the BibleJustice writes:

The latest installment in the X-Men franchise stirs the water of blasphemy by claiming Jesus was the original mutant—and that the Son of God is one in the same with other major religious figures.

“I’ve been called many things over many lifetimes,” says the titular character known as Apocalypse. “Ra, Krishna, Yahweh.”

The fictional story follows the omnipotent En Sabah Nur, later known as Apocalypse, who terrorizes the globe for centuries with his four horsemen.

“You are all my children, and you’re lost because you follow blind leaders, but I am here now. I’m here for you,” Apocalypse says.

Sound familiar? That’s not the only rip-off from the Bible…

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Here’s the thing: Jesus WAS mutant. He was a man and a God. Seems quite mutant to me. And as far as ripping off the Bible. As the movie trailer suggests, the authors of the Bible likely ripped off  beliefs and practices from other cultures and religions. Perhaps Justice, a 20-something, ought to spend some time studying the history of Christianity and the development of Biblical texts and doctrines.

I wonder if Justice has thought about how similar En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse) is to the Christian God of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation?  Born 5,000 years ago, around the time Abe and his fellow sheepherders were cooking up Jehovah, En Sabah Nur spent time ” traveling around planet Earth, convincing civilizations that he is a deity (inspiring different myths as a result) and manipulating them into fighting wars.” (Wikipedia)  According to Wikipedia, Apocalypse “awakens from hibernation of thousands of years and decides to end humanity and to take over the world.” Kind of sounds like the Book of Revelation, yes? For seven years, the Christian God rains judgment, violence, and death upon the inhabitants of the earth — slaughtering most of the human race. Perhaps X-Men: Apocalypse is actually an accurate depiction of Jehovah and his mutant son Jesus.

A Devil Worshiper Might Live Near You or Sit Next to You at Work, warns Jennifer LeClaire

barack obama satan worshiper

Jennifer LeClaire, senior editor for CHARISMA Magazine, is a Charismatic Christian version of Joseph McCarthy — the noted Communist hunter of the 1950s. Everywhere LeClaire looks, she sees Satan and his demon worker bees. In a March 18, 2016 article published on Charisma’s “news” site, demonphobic LeClaire warns that Satanism is on the rise. LeClaire writes:

Satanism is rising—and rising rapidly. Beyond shows like Lucifer that paint the devil as simply misunderstood and the distribution of Satanic Temple materials in some schools and the Satanic black mass at an Oklahoma City civic center and the monument to Baphomet in Detroit—these are just a few recent examples—there are the senseless deaths of young men like Edwin Juarez Palma.

Police in Mexico arrested a trio of Satanists who allegedly killed a friend in the process of trying to morph him into a vampire. Palma, the victim, was reportedly strangled, beaten and slashed in the neck before he died. The Satanists wrapped his body in a plastic bag and ditched him.

“Police say Edwin, known as Piwa, was killed after being fooled into taking part in an initiation ceremony to become part of a satanic cult called the Sons of Baphomet 1,” the Daily Mail reports. “Instead, he was tortured after having his hands tied behind his back after one of the alleged killers persuaded the others their victim should be sacrificed so he could return to life as a vampire.”

Clearly, these kids are deceived at best and deluded at worst. Two of the suspected killers are 18 and the other one is 25. According to Encyclopedia Satanica, the average age of a Satanist is 25 and most are single male Caucasians. Satanists are politically diverse, work a range of occupations and come from Jewish, Catholic, Protestant or agnostic backgrounds. Most were involved in other religions before they converted to the literal dark side.

Who knows? A devil worshipper might live near you or sit next to you at work.

By the best statistics I can find, there were 50,000 Satanists in the world in 1990, according to the Ontario Consultants of Religious Tolerance, and that number rose to as many as 100,000 in 2006. Of course, that was a decade ago—and a lot has changed in a decade. More recently, the Catholic Church warned of the rise of Satanism and the occult. And God’s Ghostbusters reports there are more than 200,000 registered witches and up to 8 million who have not officially unveiled themselves.

Dark forces are also invading Christianity. Three out of every 10 teenagers have played the Ouija board, had their palms read, and eight out of 10 have read horoscopes, according to a Barna Study called “Teens and the Supernatural.” The survey reports 29 percent of Christian teens did not see anything wrong with it. Eighteen percent said they read horoscopes, but do not think it really predicts the future. And another 8 percent said they read it, but feel guilty about it.

Clearly, the prince of the power of the air is working overtime and seeing the fruits of his labors. Books and movies about boy wizards captured the attention of a generation and a fascination with vampires is ultimately what some believe led to Edwin Juarez Palma’s demise. (Palma had interest in vampires as a hobby, according to news reports, allowing an open door for the Satanists to deceive him.) We know that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), but he’s really the father of lies (John 8:44) and he wants to take a [sic] many people to hell with him as he can. Palma was a victim of the devil’s empty words.

….

Got all that?

LeClaire warns readers that many Christian teenagers have “played the Ouija board, had their palms read” and have “read horoscopes.” Sadly, where most thinking people see entertainment, LeClaire sees dark forces out to steal the souls of unwitting people. Many readers of this blog can remember when they too thought that inanimate objects were demon-possessed and had the power to lead people into darkness. Who can forget the 1980s and all the hysteria over certain toys. Here is a video of Phil Phillips, author of Turmoil in the Toy Box, warning Christians about the demonic forces that lurk in toy boxes:

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The 1970s gave Evangelicalism the dangers of Satan-inspired rock music and backmasking. The 1980s and 1990s found Christians all worked up over the occult, Satanic human sacrifices, and ritual child abuse. Sadly, Evangelicals have a propensity for believing any explanation that helps them to understand what they perceive as the collapse of Christian America. Who and what gets the blame changes with time, but the perceived power behind it — Satan and his demons — remains the same. It is hard to believe — in the twenty-first century — that there are still people who think that the Devil and his minions lurk in the shadows, working to overthrow the Christian God.

church of satan

LeClaire thinks the increase of news stories about the Satanic Church is proof that Satanism is increasing. LeClaire seems ignorant of the fact that members of the Church of Satan do NOT worship Beelzebub. I wonder if demon hunter LeClaire has ever bothered to read the FAQ on the Church of Satan’s website? I doubt it. Had LeClaire read it, she would have found out:

Why do Satanists worship The Devil?

We don’t. Satanists are atheists. We see the universe as being indifferent to us, and so all morals and values are subjective human constructions.

Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves. Our current High Priest Gilmore calls this the step moving from being an atheist to being an “I-Theist.”

Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person.

Do Satanists perform sacrifices?

No. We are atheists. The only people who perform sacrifices are those who believe in supernatural beings who would consider a sacrifice to be some form of payment for a request or form of worship. Since we do not believe in supernatural beings there is no reason for a Satanist to make a sacrifice of any sort.

Where would Christianity be without Satan? Created by God, Satan is Jehovah’s protagonist. Without Satan, how would Christians explain the existence of evil? Without the prince and power of the air, sin would lose much of its power. Without Lucifer, Evangelicals would lose the greatest excuse ever cooked up by religious fanatics — the devil made me do it!

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LeClaire thinks that much of the evil in the world can be attributed to Satan, demons, and their influence over people. As Joseph McCarthy did sixty years ago rooting out people he thought were Communists, LeClaire warns that Evangelicals could have neighbors or fellow employees who are devil worshipers. How will Christians know if Morningstar’s followers are nearby? LeClaire doesn’t say. Perhaps enlightened Evangelicals have some sort of spidey-like tingling that comes over them when Satanists are nearby. Or maybe the Holy Spirit warns Christians with some sort of radar-like beep that demons are near. I wish LeClaire would be clear. How can Christians KNOW when Satan and the Demonettes are playing nearby? From everything that I have read — reports of religious leaders committing horrible crimes — people have much more to fear if pastors, priests, and church leaders live nearby. Of course, LeClaire would respond by saying that predator preachers are under the influence of Satan and are being used by him to give Christianity a bad name. Funny how Le Claire and her fellow Evangelicals never become aware of Satan’s influence until AFTER a crime has been committed. I would think God would have some sort of advance warning signal set to alert Christians that certain pastors are under the influence of the Evil One. Surely God doesn’t want Christian children and teenagers raped, molested, or abused, right?

People need not fear Satan or God. Both are fictions of the human imagination. It is when we allow God, Satan, and their imaginary powers stand in for goodness and evil that we become deceived. As a humanist, I believe that the power to do good and evil rests solely with people. God and Satan become middlemen who rob humans of rewards for doing good and responsibility for doing bad. Once people break free of the Christian God and his sidekick Satan, they are then free to see and experience life as it is. Ouija boards? Horoscopes? Palm readings? Harry Potter? Wizards? Witches? Occult-themed movies? Harmless fun. I have yet to meet or know of person who was led over to the mythical dark side by Potter and his Hogwarts friends. To LeClaire and her fearful compatriots I say, SATAN IS NOT REAL! Repeat after me, SATAN IS NOT REAL! Yes, Satan has his own program on FOX, but the star of the show — Lucifer Morningstar — is actor Tom Ellis, not the mythical Bible character with the same name.

Of course, Fundamentalists such LeClaire will view this post as PROOF that Satan is real. Here’s Bruce Gerencser — once an Evangelical pastor — now saying that God and Satan are a myth. There is nothing I can do about such accusations. People prone to think inanimate objects have power and evil hides under every rock have lost the ability to think and reason. They will remain this way until they come to the place where they realize that they have built their entire lives on what Jon Stewart affectionately called: Bullshit Mountain.

Shemitah: Those Crazy Charismatics and their False Gloom and Doom Prophecies

shemitah

Michael Snyder recently wrote an article for CHARISMA titled 10 Things That Are Going to Happen Within 15 Days of the End of the Shemitah.  Snyder thinks that bad times are coming soon:

Is a great shaking coming to America? An amazing convergence of events is going to take place during the last several weeks of September 2015.

Many are suggesting that this could indicate that something really big is about to happen. In fact, some vendors of emergency food are reporting shortages because so many people are stocking up on food and supplies in anticipation of what is coming…

…It all starts with the end of the Shemitah year on Sept. 13. During the last two cycles, we witnessed historic stock market crashes on the very last day of the Shemitah year (Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar)…

…On Sept. 29, 2008 (which was also Elul 29 on the biblical calendar), the Dow plummeted 777 points, which still today remains the greatest one-day stock market crash of all time in the United States.

Now we are in another Shemitah year. It began in the fall 2014, and it ends on Sept. 13, 2015.

So will we see a stock market crash in the United States on Sept. 13, 2015?

No we will not, because that day is a Sunday. So I can guarantee there will not be a stock market crash in the U.S. on that day. But as author Jonathan Cahn has pointed out in his book on the Shemitah, we have witnessed major stock market crashes happen just before the end of the Shemitah year and we have also witnessed major stock market crashes happen within just a few weeks after the end of the Shemitah year. So we are not necessarily looking at one particular date.

And this time around, a whole bunch of critical events just happen to fall in the period of time immediately following the end of the Shemitah year.

The following are 10 things that are going to happen within 15 days of the end of the Shemitah:

Sept. 14: Rosh Hashanah

Sept. 15: The Jade Helm military exercises are scheduled to end.

Sept. 15: The 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly begins on this date. It has been widely reported that France plans to introduce a resolution that will give formal U.N. Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state shortly after the new session begins…

Sept. 20 to Sept. 26: The “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel” sponsored by the World Council of Churches.

Sept. 21: The U.N. International Day Of Peace. Could this be the day when the U.N. Security Council resolution establishing a Palestinian state is actually adopted?

Sept. 23: Yom Kippur

Sept. 23: Pope Francis arrives at the White House to meet with Barack Obama….Francis is the 266th pope, and he will be meeting with President Obama on the 266th day of the year, leading one Internet preacher to wonder if “something is being birthed” on that day, since 266 days is the typical human gestation period from conception to birth.

Sept. 24: The Pope addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

Sept. 25 to Sept. 27: The United Nations is going to launch a brand-new sustainable development agenda called “The 2030 Agenda.” …

…”Unlike Agenda 21, which primarily focused on the environment, the 2030 Agenda is truly a template for governing the entire planet. In addition to addressing climate change, it also sets ambitious goals for areas such as economics, health, energy, education, agriculture, gender equality and a whole host of other issues. As you will see below, this global initiative is being billed as a ‘new universal Agenda’ for humanity. If you are anything like me, alarm bells are going off in your head right about now.”

Sept. 28: This is the date when the Feast of Tabernacles begins. It is also the date for the last of the four blood moons that fall on biblical festival dates during 2014 and 2015…

…Many have also suggested that the Large Hadron Collider “is scheduled to perform a controversial experiment in September,” but so far I have been unable to find any solid confirmation of this.

Just recently, author Jonathan Cahn released a new video in which he expressed his belief that a “great shaking is coming to America and the world.” He points to the biblical pattern of desecration preceding judgment, and he is convinced that we recently witnessed a historic act of desecration here in the United States…

Snyder makes sure he covers his prophetical ass by saying:

I am fully convinced that the months ahead are going to dramatically change life in America, but whether it happens right now or not, I am 100-percent convinced that a great shaking is coming to this nation at some point.

Snyder operates The Economic Collapse website, a site with dozens of affiliate and advertising links. While Snyder dispenses all sorts of financial advice, the real purpose of his site is to make money for Michael Snyder. While the world collapses into to chaos, Snyder wants to make sure that he has a pile of gold and silver so he can continue to live the good life. Wait a minute, I thought the rapture was imminent? No worries, Jesus is delaying his return so people like Snyder, John Hagee, Jim Bakker, and the numerous charismatic TV preachers can gather up enough wealth to make them quite comfortable in God’s new heaven and earth. Either that or these preachers of doom and gloom are the descendants of Elmer Gantry, out to fleece the flock. My money is on the latter.

Thewhoopass charismatic landscape is littered with false prophecies, yet spirit-inspired prophets continue to utter prophecies, hoping that the gullible will forget the past, fear the future and keep sending them money. Driven by fear of the unknown, well-meaning Christians buy into the what people like Snyder are selling. Sadly, for many Christians, they’ve spent their whole life fearing things that never happen.  Could the U.S. stock market collapse? Sure. Could the U.S. economy collapse resulting in massive unemployment, inflation, and poverty? Sure.  But, if these things happen, is it because of God?

Uncounted Evangelical prognosticators are certain that God is going to judge the United States because of abortion, homosexuality, the legalization of same-sex marriage, or any of a number of Sodom and Gomorrah like sins. But, here’s what I don’t understand. If God judges wicked, vile, sinful America, won’t his judgment fall on devout, sincere Christians, the very people who are watchman on the wall and standing in the gap, two of the popular descriptions for those who love what God loves and hate what God hates?  What kind of God punishes people for doing what he commanded them to do? Shouldn’t God open a can of whoopass on people like me and give the faith the keys to a Mercedes? Why punish Team Jesus?

The U.S. stock market could collapse and the global economy could slide into a worldwide recession or depression, but the reasons for this will be greed, consumption, and market manipulation. No God needed. Humanity is quite capable of plunging the world into financial chaos all on its own.

Charles Attempts to Understand the Fundamentalist Mind

god and knowledge

Several months back, I asked readers to submit questions they would like me to answer. If you would like to ask a question, please leave your question here.

Charles asked:

I know you are probably going to slam me for asking this, but it really is something I have noticed time and time and time again across my nearly 63 years of life—and I am at a bit of a loss to understand it. So, here goes:

Why do Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals believe that the sole purpose of communications media (books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television shows, blogs, etc.) is to “teach me how I should live my life” in this world. All of my semi-fundie aunts are dead now, but they grew up in rural Tennessee in the period 1910-1930. In later years, (1930s onward), they would scrape up enough money to go to a movie, and they would go with the apparent notion that Joan Crawford will today on the movie screen “teach me how I should live my life if I move to the city.”

Whenever a fundie wants to banish a book from the public library, ban a movie, or whatever, the excuse is always something along the lines of: “Well, I’m afraid this book (or this movie) is going to teach people wrong things about…”

I gotta be honest with you Bruce. I think these people are just plain nuts. For example, I saw a DVD of the movie “Lucy” recently. At no time did I insert it into the DVD player, kick back in my easy chair, and say, “Scarlett is gonna teach me how I should live my life with this movie.” If I pick up the newest Superman comic book, I never say, “Superman is going to teach me a lesson on how I should live my life.”

I am a professional anthropologist. Human culture and society are my business, but this one is a little hard to understand. On occasion, I have wondered if this is a uniquely American disease of the mind with religious roots. For example, when the first pioneers pushed westward across the Appalachian Mountains into Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, the Bible was often the only book they owned. It was viewed as a book whose primary purpose was to “teach them how they should live their lives.” Historically, is it possible that they uncritically transferred this notion to every form of communications media that arrived on the scene?

Even nowadays, you can here fundies say, “I don’t like that short story because it does not teach a good moral lesson.” I just want to say back, “Well, maybe the author did not want to teach you a good moral lesson because he was just writing a story that he wanted to tell.”

What goes on in the minds of these people?

Here’s what I know for sure, the Christian fundamentalist operates from six presuppositions:

  • Their God, as revealed through the Bible, creation, and conscience,  is the one true God
  • The Bible is God’s divine revelation to humanity and contains everything necessary for life and godliness
  • Every person is a sinner in need of salvation
  • There is eternal life beyond the grave
  • Heaven/eternal kingdom of God is where Christians will spend eternity and hell/lake of fire is where non-Christians will spend eternity
  • This life is preparation for eternal life after death

Because Evangelicals believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God, it becomes the foundation for how they view the world and live their lives (in theory anyway). This thinking permeates every aspect of their lives. It is not uncommon for Evangelicals to label themselves as “people of the book.” The Bible becomes a written oracle that speaks infallibly pertaining to life and godliness. It becomes THE truth above all others. Throw in the notion that the Holy Spirit lives inside Evangelicals as their teacher and guide, and is it any surprise that Evangelicals think the way they do?

Everything in the Evangelicals’ lives is filtered through the pages of the Bible. When they see something in the media that lines up with their beliefs, this is viewed as God giving them a life lesson or reinforcing their beliefs. Since most Evangelicals think homosexuality is a sin, they can turn to Romans 1, 2 and see that their view of the world is going to hell in a hand basket is affirmed by the Bible and recent events such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and the persecution of Christian wedding cake bakers.

Evangelicals often equate the smallest of things to God. From finding their keys to discovering a $20 bill in a pair of pants, every unexpected “blessing” is a sure sign of the truthfulness of the Bible. These “God sightings” are proof that they are on the right track and that their beliefs are true. So, when a Tim Tebow or some other sports star praises Jesus, they see the star’s words as an affirmation of their beliefs. Same goes for utterances about God at the Grammy Awards, Country Music Awards, and other show-biz award shows. Never mind that many of the singers are praising God for songs that promote debauchery and sin. All that matters is that they thanked God or their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Woo Hoo! Another God sighting!!

Evangelicals are also obsessed with eschatology. Always on the lookout for Jesus coming to rapture them away, they look for signs of his soon return (even though they are commanded not to do so). Again, this kind of thinking leads them to “see” God and signs everywhere they look. From RFID chips being the mark of the beast to mathematical formulas that predict the exact date of the rapture, Evangelicals seek out “evidence” for their eschatological beliefs. In doing so, they overlook the obvious; first century Christian expected the second coming of Jesus in their lifetime, yet here we are 2,000 years later, no Jesus. Perhaps Jesus likes his digs in heaven and is not coming back or his body lies silent in an unmarked grave outside of Jerusalem.

Evangelicals also believe God speaks to them, either through the Bible or through the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. When a person has God speaking directly to him, it is possible to see almost anything as a lesson or message from God. Spend some time on the CHARISMA website and you will come away thinking that Evangelicalism is actually an insane asylum. No belief is so far-fetched that it cannot be attributed to God. Years ago, a woman stood up in one of the churches I pastored and told a story about God appearing to her. A devout Evangelical Christian, she said God came in the night and spoke to her. Wanting to make sure it was God and not the devil, she asked for a sign. All of a sudden, she saw a blue light and she knew it was God. I thought then, as I do now, that she was confusing a blue light special at K-Mart with a visitation from God. (Note also the number of Republican candidates for President who say the Christian God TOLD them to run.)

Throw all these things in a bag and shake them up and what you end up with is a Christian version of McCarthyism. Everywhere Evangelicals look they see their God. When they pray for Grandma and she gets better they think God did it. When God doesn’t answer their prayer and Grandma dies? It’s God’s will. Either way, everything traces back to God. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.

god said it

Understanding this explains why their thinking drives you nuts. As a man of science, you value evidence and facts. While you are still a believer, you do not check your brain at the door and ignorantly view the world as the Evangelical does. Evangelicals will likely say that they too value evidence and facts, but their evidence is the Bible, not what can be understood through reason, healthy skepticism, and the scientific method. When confronted with a challenge to their beliefs, the Bible and faith always win.

This is why I do not get into arguments and lengthy discussions with Evangelicals. The path always leads back to faith and THE BIBLE SAYS!  Once the Evangelical appeals to faith, there is no hope of a meaningful discussion. Just today, an Evangelical preacher “proved” to me that Jesus resurrected from the dead. How?  He quoted the Bible. In his mind, God said it and that settles it.

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