I post mostly messages and commentary about religion and politics, and the scary occasions when they collide.
I am a: Liberal, Green, Christian, Math teacher
Lover of Math, Philosophy, Animals, Civil Rights, and Arguments of all kinds.

8th July 2014

Question

provoice said: Oops - that Deuteronomy verse was supposed to be chapter 27, verse 19. Sorry!

Ah, right! That’s another one! :)

8th July 2014

Question with 4 notes

provoice said: Re: your refugee children post: I've been reading my Bible from Genesis (working towards Revelation) and when I was in Leviticus, I came across Leviticus 19:33-34 - I read it over a couple of times and was like, "Why haven't I heard anyone talk about this?" I also found Deuteronomy 29:19. I'm disappointed in how the people of our country are treating these children, honestly. Do you have any thoughts on those verses?

Leviticus 19:33-34- “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 10:19(I think this is the one you meant?)- “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

And also:

Leviticus 19:10- “And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”

Exodus 23:9- ““You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

Of course, the sojourner was presumed to be adults in those passages, not children. I couldn’t even quote the number of passages dealing with our treatment of the poor and outcast, which would be more applicable. I would also quote one of my favorite passages in contrast: 

Matthew 25:40- “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

-Because the ‘sojourner’ described in the first four could not even be considered the least of our brothers and sisters. They were adults, in no immediate fear for their lives(beyond poverty), requiring temporary assistance in their travels. And the command from God is to give them that assistance, to treat them the same way we would treat our neighbors and friends.

But the refugees coming across the border are children who have no safe home to return to, and in large part have absolutely nothing. How much greater obligation do we have to them? 

Still, I don’t want to give the impression that the choice is easy, cause only the moral outrage part of it is easy. I understand where those in opposition are coming from, and at the same time I firmly believe that their opposition to helping is reprehensible. Christianity isn’t supposed to give us easy moral decisions, and if it is, we’re doing it wrong. That it’s something not many are talking about as a moral issue is a symptom of our culture of rigid individualism(shifting responsibility to the ‘other’) and of feel-good Christianity: God loves us, God forgives our sins, and nothing more is required of us than that.

Bullshit. Christians are called to emulate Christ. We are forgiven for not meeting His standard, but not absolved of making the attempt. Christ gave of himself to feed the poor, to comfort those who were suffering, to reach out to those in need, and ultimately to die for their sake. Whatever less than that we do for these children is still far more than the ‘nothing’ that many Christians are willing to offer- and that fact should make any ashamed to call this a “Christian nation”. 

Tagged: religionchristianityrefugeesbiblemorality

8th July 2014

Post with 8 notes

What it means to be pro-life, refugee children

Much as I dislike memes, there are a few good points behind the, “If you think fertilized eggs are people, but refugee kids aren’t, you’re going to have to stop pretending your concerns are religious.”

One way to read it might be that it’s shaming people who are pro-life. There’s a more relevant point though, and it concerns what pro-life beliefs mean, what should be valued, and why. “Are fertilized eggs people?”- depends on how you define personhood. They are certainly alive, but wholly without a voice or conscious mind. It both makes it difficult to justify them as full persons, and easy to defend as being “helpless” and “innocent”. From a religious perspective, if we are born in sin, then there is nothing so pure as a being that hasn’t been born yet.

However, one thing I dislike about the anti-abortion(as opposed to pro-life… and there ARE some genuine pro-lifers) movement is that it’s a cause that’s incredibly easy to support. It requires no effort on the part of its advocates beyond shouting at the people who are actually burdened with the decision they oppose. Those ‘burdened people’ are rarely friends or family, and their decision causes no more inconvenience on anyone else beyond moral outrage- in all regards, the perfect cause for someone whose activism doesn’t move past a computer screen. Whether abortion is objectively wrong(in God’s eyes) is beside the point. It’s a convenient moral issue.

Where does that leave the refugee children? Don’t pretend that this cause is the same as being pro or anti-abortion: It’s certainly not. Having hundreds of thousands of undocumented children crossing the border has enormous impact financially, legally, on our ability to provide space and education/job training for them, and on political conflicts between us and the countries they come from. The consequences are far-reaching, they have no simple solutions, and they involve- potentially, in the form of taxes- sacrifice from people who are not related to these children, who may never meet them. Morally, we may all agree that allowing children to be killed is wrong- but logistically, financially, what do -we- do with -these- children? I’ve never heard opposition to helping these ‘undocumented children’ on religious grounds. There are no religious objections to make, even if there are plenty others. 

The question is, do you value life only when it’s easy to do so, when there’s no risk involved in doing so, and when it’s other people making the “wrong” decision- or is life worth defending even if you, personally, might have to suffer financially in exchange?

I don’t know what should be done about the refugees. I can only say that Christianity doesn’t allow us to answer ‘no’ to the latter question.

Tagged: abortionproliferefugeesreligionchristianitychildren

6th July 2014

Photo reblogged from Pueo Eyes with 39 notes

3rd July 2014

Link with 30 notes

Christians Call Out Hobby Lobby For Hypocrisy →

Deeply held beliefs never seem to be an issue when money is involved. At least not for the “corporation” branch of the human race.

Tagged: religionpoliticsabortionchristianityhobby lobby

1st July 2014

Post reblogged from [title awaiting approval] with 25,789 notes

recoveringhipster:

So stoked about the Hobby Lobby ruling today. Officially going to incorporate myself so I can get a religious exemption for my student loans debt they violate my deeply held religious conviction that all debts are supposed to be forgiven every seven years, as per the book of Deuteronomy.

Source: recoveringhipster

1st July 2014

Post reblogged from JT Rager with 3 notes

jt-rager:

Why is it that so many outspoken anti-gay leaders turn out to be in-the-closet LGBT? A possible answer could reveal an inherent flaw in religion-based morality.

Read More

This is an interesting and thoughtful perspective. My only objection would be that it describes a flaw in authoritative morality, not religion-based morality. Fundamentalists certainly take an authoritative approach to morality, but not all religion is fundamentalism.

1st July 2014

Question

Anonymous said: What are your thoughts on Lillith (Adam's first wife)? And would you consider Lillith to represent feminism and equality?

Well, the story of Lilith as Adam’s first wife didn’t originate until the middle ages. It’s not biblical canon for that reason, but a later Jewish myth. 

Within the myth, Lilith represents many different ideas related to women: A seductress, a devourer of children, a representation of chaos and godlessness… and sometimes, of feminism and the rejection of patriarchy. It’s tempting to want to invoke the myth for the latter, but I would point out that Lilith was not created as a feminist icon, rather, she was a misogynistic one. The myth of her being Adam’s first wife did not end well for either of them- a hundred of her (demonic?) children killed each day, and she making an agreement with God and the angels to not kill human children in exchange. It’s not an especially liberating story for women, and doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity.

That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with re-imagining the Lilith myth as a feminist symbol, i.e. the rejection of patriarchal rule of the husband and of Adam’s sexual dominance. That’s fine, but that’s a very modern interpretation. 

As far as my personal beliefs, I love the Lilith story, and the Lilith figure herself, however she’s imagined to be, and often use her as a character in my writing. But I don’t take her as a representation of feminism(at least, not a perfect one) because I don’t see any need to: There are plenty of real women who could be used as feminist icons without rewriting an old, if appealing, myth.

Tagged: lilithreligionchristianityfeminism

11th May 2014

Post with 2 notes


feelingthatibelonged said:woah i’m not sure that’s how i would describe my protestantism.

Ok. Keep in mind, I said that Protestantism(as a philosophy) puts a higher emphasis on the individual believer and their relationship with God. Catholics tend to place a higher emphasis on the church body as a whole. Neither branch says that either is unimportant.

So, this is just a general rule about Protestantism(which itself covers a HUGE number of denominations). I’m not dictating how any individual Protestant views anything.

Tagged: religion

11th May 2014

Question with 6 notes

Anonymous said: Can you explain the basic differences between baptist, catholic, anglican, protestant and orthadox? and any other ones?

I can try, but that covers a lot of denominations.

The main differences between most are a matter of influence: What they consider to be the most import aspect of faith. The actual beliefs don’t vary a great deal in most cases, and individual members of every denomination are going to be very different from each other, and from the ‘central’ tenants. For an overview of what most of mainstream Christianity believes, I’d recommend Mere Christianity, even if it’s a pretty old book now.

Baptist: Put a great deal of importance on scripture and often believe in biblical inerrancy/infaliability. They believe that Christianity is the only path to salvation, but they have no central authority structure, so views vary widely.

Catholic: The largest Christian denomination with highly formalized(and universal and closely followed) rituals for services. Some of the most notable differences between other denominations are the transubstantiation of the Eucharist, veneration of saints and the role of the Pope in church authority, and the higher focus they place on both scripture and the church to guide believers.

Anglican: Is a middle way between Protestantism and Catholicism. Most of the beliefs are in line with the Protestants, but the rituals and worship is closely associated with Catholics. They are led by a democratically chosen body of bishops, are virtually identical to the American branch(Episcopals) of the church.

Protestant: Put a higher emphasis on the individual believer and their actions(faith through works) than on following scripture or the word of the church. Both are important, however, to both Catholics and Protestants, and after Vatican II, there are many fewer differences today between the two than there used to be. Protestantism originally came about from disagreements with the church authority on translating scripture.

Orthadox: I don’t know enough about this group to explain the differences.

There are many, many, others(according to Google, potentially 300,000 different denominations, though the actual beliefs don’t vary nearly so much). There are also quite a few that some might not be willing to call Christian denominations(like the Westboro Baptist Church), even if they call themselves that.

Lutheranism, Methodists, Church of Christ, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Pentacostals, Unitarianism to name some others… though there are disagreements whether all of those are actually ‘Christian’, and most Unitarian churches I’ve known don’t associate strongly(if at all) with Christianity.

Hope that helps!

Tagged: christianitydenominationsreligion