Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Words Mean Things...Especially The Words ORIGINALLY Written

The book Every Knee Shall Bow by Thomas Allin and Mark T. Chamberlain outline some great points about the mistranslated concept of eternal hell that I wish modern Christians would educate themselves upon:

As instances of incorrect translations of the modern bible from the original Greek manuscripts, take the words translated "hell", "damnation", "everlasting", "eternal", "forever and ever". In the New Testament, "hell" is a translation of three widely different Greek words: "Hades", "Gehenna" and "Tartarus". "Gehenna" occurs 11 times in the New Testament as used by Jesus and once by James. In the original Greek, it is taken almost unchanged from the Hebrew (Ge-hinnom, i.e. valley of Hinnom), an example that our translators should have followed and rendered it "Gehenna" as it is. By translating it to the word "hell" with all of its connotations, they are assuming the part of commentators instead of translators.

The valley of Hinnom lay outside of Jerusalem. Once a pleasant valley, it later became the scene of Molech worship. The Valley of Hinnom, after being a place of pagan god worshop and human sacrifice, later became a garbage dump. Into it all sorts of waste and carcasses were thrown and a fire was kept burning.

The next term is "Hades". This is used to denote the state or place of spirits, both good and bad alike, after death and it has nothing to do with punishment. It occurs five times in the Gospels and Epistles, twice in Acts and four times in Revelation.

"Tartarus" occurs only once in the New Testament in 2 Peter. "God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment." Here Peter applies the term hell not to human beings but to fallen angels, and even they are not kept there forever, but while they are awaiting the judgment. Hence to reader it as "hell" is preposterous.

"Damnation" and "damned" are both translations of the Greek words krino and katarino, meaning "to judge" and "to condemn". Neither word contains the idea of everlasting torment. The English word "damn" carries with it the connotation of everlasting hell. But the Greek word merely means to judge, which by no means carries that terrifying connotation.

The word "hell" simply means the place of disembodied spirits when it translates as "Hades", or when the word "Gehenna" is used, it is a reference to the Valley of Hinnom, where the fires were kept burning not to inflict torment, but to purify.

The Greek words mistranslated "eternal", "everlasting" and "forever and ever" do not carry those meanings. The words in question are aion and aionios, which mean "age" and "ages" -- actual finite periods of time.

This is not to say that punishment is not pending for those who must atone for their sins. It is to say that the punishment is not ENDLESS. There is always a purpose to what God does and to punish in order to purify is for the purpose of restoring all things unto Himself.

Monday, April 28, 2008

For The Bible Tells Me So

Daniel Karslake's documentary For The Bible Tells Me So is a fantastic film that deserves much more than just indie-film accolades. This film analyzes and historically deconstructs the scripture passages which many fundamental Christians use to back up their homophobic intolerance. It does not attack conservative Christians, but it does point out the dangers of taking ancient passages directed at a specific ancient people and applying them in literal terms in this day and age. It also sheds light on the fact that most fundamentalists do not do their own research within the bible to understand context and actual meaning.

According to, this film was the Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible. See the trailer here:

It is with tact that this film explains the misconceptions of the bible and how it is used as a tool of hate and bigotry of gays and lesbians…not the intended purpose of the word of God. Most fundamentalist Christians do not question their preachers about the validity and application of these bible passages, and they fail to realize their preachers are not expert historians.

Reverend Peter Gomes, African-American professor at Harvard University says, “You have to think when you read the bible. Perhaps the Roman Catholics were right saying ordinary people shouldn't be reading the bible because usually they get it wrong.” Gomes adds: “They are failing to read the Bible within the context of its author and its original culture."

Biblical literalism is a relatively new concept that has damaged and hurt so many, especially with the idea that homosexuality is an “abomination”.

Reverend Dr. Laurence C. Keene, Disciples of Christ points out many simple and poignant truths in this film, one of which he says: "When the term abomination is used in the Hebrew Bible it’s always used to address a ritual wrong, it never is used to refer to something innately immoral. Eating pork was not innately immoral for a Jew, but it was an abomination because it was a violation of a ritual requirement." The film points out here, too, that it is also an abomination to eat shrimp, rabbit and plant two different seeds in the same hole.

Context and history is key: Leviticus condemns men lying with men but also the eating of shrimp and the simultaneous wearing of linen and wool. Modern evangelicals use the Genesis tale of Sodom and Gomorrah as a ban against same-sex carousing, ignoring 500 years of scholarship that interprets it as a cautionary tale of inhospitable hosts. Says Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the film, "The richness of the Bible is that we don't take it as literally so."

For The Bible Tells Me So also presents the heartbreaking results of the spiritual violence that fundamentalist Christian institutions (such as Focus on the Family) wage on -- not only gays and lesbians, but on the parents of gays and lesbians – encouraging them to shun and disown their children should they ever come ‘out of the closet.’

We also meet in this film those parents who initially were indoctrinated into the disease of ignorant homophobic views, whose children come out to them, and they choose to love their children over hating them in the name of Jesus Christ.

The film is diverse; it covers five stories from all ages and races of people. It outlines some scientific explanations of how being gay is a genetic instance that occurs in nature in many different species of animals and that birth order may linked to sexual orientation. The film also touches upon the fact that when God creates a person a certain way, to expect or shame them to go against the very nature God gave them is, in itself, quite anti-Christian.

I encourage everyone to see For The Bible Tells Me So for themselves. This film will allow you to see just how the Fundamentalist sect errs in disobeying Christ by hating gays / lesbians. It will also show you that the love of Christ IS ALIVE and well in those parents who choose to love their children regardless of their sexual orientation. I welled up several times in awe of the love that these parents expressed because I know that God's love is even greater yet...

"All loving relationships are honored by God," says the Rev. Laurence C. Keene in an interview, and that, Karslake insists, is the one true faith.

Article: What the Bible Says - And Doesn't Say - About Homosexuality.

What the Bible Says About Homosexuality. (PDF FILE).

Friday, April 25, 2008

Nazi Propaganda

When I was little there was a grocery store in town where, in the airlock of the lobby area, a little magazine rack with free publications stood housing stacks of real estate resources and local well as these little booklets; Chick Publication tracts. For anyone who is not familiar, Chick Publications is a fundamentalist Protestant publishing group started by Jack Chick, an artist who allegedly became a fundamentalist crazy after hearing one of those old fashioned revivals. He started these little booklets to try and, the best way I can put it, to be witness to the terror of God's love (insert sounds of me laughing out loud). These little booklets, which are condensed quarter-size comic books of sorts, all preach the God-despair of the confused adult Christian to children - confusing them as well in an effort to scare kids into loving Jesus. (Note: if anyone else remembers these tracts please post a comment about your experiences with them.)

I remember occasionally picking them up on the way out of the store and reading them in the car. They would portray little inked scenes of, for an unquoted example, a little homeless Christian named Tommy gets beat up and dies in the rain in an alley and goes to heaven only to look down (as a white figure of God stands next to him, hand on his shoulder) on the unbeliever kids who beat him up who are now boiling in the lava pits of hell. All of these booklets were little false doomsday lessons for kids: believe in your Lord and Savior Jesus...OR DIE FOREVER IN ETERNAL TORMENT! As a kid I would read these tracts and find them a bit odd, but I was never terribly disturbed.

Then, when I was a pre-teen, an aunt sent over a book for me (and presumably my teen siblings) called The Stairway to Hell: The Well-Planned Destruction of Teens by Rick Jones. Cheery title, huh? I didn't realize until later that this book was also cranked out by the Chick Publications circus. I read this book and marveled at the strange connections they tried to draw about what is destroying teens; the Dungeons and Dragons game. D&D is a very strategy-dorky-fantasy card game that involves rolling a di and using one's imagination to see who gets to carry the magic weapon to slay dragons, yadda, yadda, spells, yadda, fairies, yadda, potions, etc. If a kid who plays this game ends up killing his bet is that he had some psychological / mental issues PRIOR to playing this game. The book references AN incident where teens went crazy and killed someone. And they played D&D. So, the D&D MUST have been the reason, right? Any rational linked causation is not there. At all.

Another chapter covers why teens who listen to rock and roll are at risk for having their flesh seared off for eternity in the swamps of the devil. They focus on a few specific songs whose few cryptic lyrics they read into as being THE OBVIOUS WORK OF SATAN. For example, they cite the song "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin and try and poorly explain that the lyrics are satanic and men singing it already know they have a cozy corner in hell reserved for them. If anything, I would think that the lyrics to this song are rather spiritually positive. But, I guess if you look through dusty glasses you will always see something that appears dirty.

Yet another chapter is one on sex and how it is a HUGE destroyer of souls. Because all teen sex leads to promiscuity, which always leads to drugs, which, of course, leads to death, which obviously leads to hell. Gee, if I didn't know any better, I'd think God had played a prank with all those purposeful teen hormones and natural feelings as a recipe for the planned disaster of all mankind. The book chides those teens with any type of sexual urge, assuming that these urges are planted by satan. Ha!

If you read the reviews to this book on Amazon, you will surely find more jeers than cheers from sensible people who have brains and probably read this filthy propaganda on accident.

The chapters of this book cover games, music, sex, drugs, etc...yeah, most of the facets of teenage life. So, it really is a teens-can't-win book that I would work into the Choose Your Own Adventure book series as possibly a Choose Your Own Destruction book spinoff. (Whispered spoiler alert: all pages lead to HELL...The End)

Oops, did I just give Chick Publications another ridiculous you-are-damned book idea?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

And She's Breeding The Stairway To Heaven

Ok, its been all over the news. I can't NOT rail on this fucknuttery. This situation offends me as a believer in the Love of God and as a woman. I get really fired up at the thought of it, too.

The biblical quote referred to (bolded in this article) that causes these women to not cut their hair is from first Corinthians. I looked it up and it is really a convoluted sentence. It is a message that is, however, specific, not only to the time, but to CORINTH. Paul sends a letter to the city of Corinth suggesting how fashion and keeping of oneself at the time can reflect one's respect towards God (as well as themselves). In his letter he also addresses men, too. But any words of Paul's that indicate any sort of dominance by men or subjugation by women is instantly and overtly trumped by the much more compassionate and sensible words of Jesus Christ himself. God, why don't people see this!

Women in this sect are taught that their hair is their "crowning glory"...WHAT! One's SOUL should be their crowning glory...not dead strands of protein. And I know when my hair gets too long, it becomes such a weighty burden...crowning glory my ass.

If these Mormon Polygamists are going to take literally Paul's multi-interpretive message about women not cutting their hair, they also need to take literally the place, time and peoples to whom this message was actually addressed.

What they preach 'n practice is also not natural. A typical woman is naturally going to be interested in keeping up her appearances. It is how females are programmed. On purpose. By God. So, suppressing a woman's desire to be desirable is going against God's blueprint here.

As far as their beliefs. I think they have bastardized their fundamental interpretation of the bible, but the biggest red flag that comes to mind is that they are placing more importance on Old Testament one-liners directed at a specific town or group from biblical times rather than on the clear-cut instructions given by JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF...WHICH WAS DIRECTED TO ALL PEOPLE, TO BE APPLIED TO ALL TIMES!

I'm not entirely familiar with the Latter-Day Saints Mormonized religion but I looked it up and it is allegedly based on the teachings of the Apostles and Christ. That's doesn't seem so.

Jesus said do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As for the way they treat women this golden rule does not apply. This cult-perversion is one invented by men and run by men. It is a not-so-clever ruse for these Mormon men to live out the fantasy of having sex with multiple women, having power over them, being served by them, and, when they so desire they can continue to arrange and marry very young women (literally children) in their old age. DIS-GUS-TING. These women are kept stupid, silent and uneducated, unable to cultivate and compare their own thoughts to those of the world or to interact with other people in the world.

I get sick when I think about the treatment of women in foreign lands --Iraq, Darfur, Sierra Leone, etc. -- but to think that such an anti-Christlike organization (yes, I know there are MANY) masquerading as a positive religion that so outwardly and proudly subjugates women could take roots here is just as disturbing. They are breeding stackable children in their own little 3rd world compound experiment. And the women are the cattle taught to be quiet and calm as the men yank their long locks of hair like cattle reins, dig in their spurs and round up and ride their branded herd off into the sunset.

Seems that these women are used purely for their reproductive abilities and nothing more. They are quiet and submissive and second-class. I am a woman who does not want children, I am vain about my appearance (boob job included), I am fairly educated (BA degree) and I am somewhat of an outspoken feminist (i.e. I refused to say "obey" in my wedding vows and kept my last name partially on principle). Therefore, this situation would be my ABSOLUTE WORST NIGHTMARE.

These poor women. I wish I could take them all to Mario Tricocci for a makeover, stop at Starbucks for some much deserved caffeine, and go to Macy's or H&M to get them new clothes. I would then enroll them in school and sit them down to tell them about the actual Good News of a God who views and loves them equally to men and try and talk some self-esteem into them.


Polygamist Women Dress To Be 'Unattractive' And Unappealing

Last Update: 4/21/08 – Source: AP via

SALT LAKE CITY - For a society accustomed to the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, the images of the women from the polygamist compound in Texas are almost shocking in their understatement: Ankle-length dresses, makeup-less faces, hauntingly uniform hair. And while no one would accuse the women of making a fashion statement, the pioneer-style outfits are a rare example of how in an age of overexposure, modesty, too, can give pause. The puff-sleeved, pastel dresses worn by the women in the sect are a combination of original 19th-century wear and 1950s clothing that was adopted when the church took a conservative turn, according to Janet Bennion, an anthropologist who studies polygamist women. The dresses are meant to show modesty and conformity: They go down to the ankles and wrists, and are often worn over garments or pants, making sure every possibly provocative inch of skin is covered. John Llewellyn, a polygamy expert and retired Salt Lake County sheriff's lieutenant, says the women cover themselves "so that they're unattractive to the outside world or other men." The appearance of unity through uniform dress, however, can belie the jealousy that often arises when the women — who might all look alike to an outsider — find themselves in competition with one another over the affections of the same man, Llewellyn says. The clothing is also stitched with special markings "to protect the body and to remind you of you commitment," Bennion says. She declined to go into detail about the stitchings because she said it would be an infraction against the fundamentalist Mormon community to talk about their sacred symbols. Pastel colors evoke femininity and don't come across as bold or strong, says Bennion, a professor at Lyndon State College in Vermont. Then there's the question of the elaborate hairdos. The women never cut their hair because they believe they will use it to wash Christ's feet during the Second Coming, Bennion says. A Biblical quote says a woman's hair should be her crowning glory. The bangs are grown out and rolled (but usually not using a curling iron, because that would be too modern). There are sausage curls on the sides and often braids down the back. The exact history of the hairstyle is unclear, but it is reminiscent of the Gibson Girl image of the 1800s. It's a pre-World War II look, exaggerated with the pompadour, Llewellyn says. Chloe Sevigny's character in the HBO show "Big Love," about modern polygamist Mormons, has mastered the 'do. Celebrity stylist and salon owner Ted Gibson thinks it gives off a "homely" impression. "It says 'I don't really care very much. I really don't have time to worry about the way that I look, because I have 20 children,'" Gibson said. "He's going from wife to wife to wife, so why should I look any better than the other ones?" Still, it's not outlandish to imagine the prairie look influencing today's styles, given that trends can come from unexpected places, and Sevigny is known as a style-setter. You can already find blouses with high necks and ruffles in stores, and puffed shoulders on short and long-sleeved shirts. Prairie skirts are in fashion this season, while dusty pastels and neutrals are being introduced to offset trendy bold colors and patterns. Long hair is also on its way back in, preparing to replace the currently fashionable bobs, Gibson says. Buns never go completely out of style, according to Gibson — he often gives celebrities a half-up-half-down 'do, essentially what we're seeing in the photographs coming out of Texas. But for the most part, the looks that arise from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are likely to stay there. On her blog, the fashion editor of wondered if the spotlight on the Texas raid would make otherwise innocuous pastels unsavory, given their dubious association with polygamists. "Unexpected perversion? Right-wing fads?" Susan Cernek wrote. "Sounds like a good Halloween costume ... or Marc Jacobs Spring '09." Allison Berlin, founder of Style Made Simple, doesn't expect Mormon-inspired fashion to go mainstream. "Women don't actually want to look like that," she says. "I can see the Brooklyn hipsters rocking a French braid, but not in a serious way. Maybe ironically."



I also found a hysterical Catholic website that talks about the traditionalist method of women covering their hair to enter church. Now, note who the quote is by....looks like the Virgin Mary was tooling around town giving interviews in 1976...because they cite that this is an actual QUOTE FROM HER ?!! And also she passes on the inter-office verbal memorandum from "the angels" It is comical.

"My child, tell all to act as good example in My Son's House. Women must wear a head covering in the holy places and in prayer. It is not because of custom; it is because the angels demand proper deportment during the Holy Sacrifice." - Our Lady, May 29, 1976

Women suppressing women? Nope. My hunch is that this was written by...*gasp*... a man.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Golden Calf

I think I've talked about this before, but here it is again: The problem with many traditional Catholics is that they mistakenly place the pope above God Himself. It escapes them that they fail to worship God directly. They worship the man who worships God. The pope is the golden calf.

In the following article I bolded in red the problematic attitude of the Catholics cited. They lose faith and once the pope appears they re-gain it? Does anyone else see the spiritual dilemma here? It feels like the pope is the representative god for a God who is the real God. I feel sad for those whose faith was lost due to 9/11 but crediting a single man for a single PR visit because it is in his job description to maintain good relations with the extension of his business ventures abroad is hardly a reason to re-gain faith, but, hey, whatever it takes I guess. I just hope when those with revived faith kneel down to pray, they don't forget just who they're praying to.

I also find it troubling that people found it disappointing that the pope didn't publicly pray for specific things during his visit. To them I would say: So the pope doesn't pray for something YOU want....WHY DON'T YOU PRAY FOR IT? Your prayers are no less powerful than another human being's. Yes, the pope is a FALLIBLE HUMAN BEING. He is not valued any more or any less in the eyes of God than you or I. And what does the Bible say about praying in public - let's see:

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." --Matthew 6:5-8

And finally, while I am not a family member of anyone lost at Ground Zero, it is with utmost respect that I say I still think that asking for unfound pulverized and anonymous remains to be cleared from the site for the reason that you don't think the soul of the person will be at peace in that location because they were not buried with respect or dignity is really, well, a non-reason. Respect and dignity are foreign to this world as it is, but once a person's soul discorporates from the body, I honestly don't think that the soul stays in, around or about their remains. I know it is difficult to psychologically disconnect the two - body and soul - but my own personal past experiences with a couple of my loved ones who have died and have, for lack of a better descriptor, "visited" me really relays to me that even through the most violent means of death, that break from the human plane is just that. I can't think that their "being at peace" is representative on the way they died...but rather on how they lived the life that they had.


Pope's visit to ground zero offers hope to 9/11 families

By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press Writer Sun Apr 20, 2:14 PM ET – Yahoo! News

NEW YORK - On the day his firefighter son was lost, killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Deputy Fire Chief James Riches also lost some of his Roman Catholic faith. On Sunday, when Pope Benedict XVI visited ground zero to pray at the site of the twin towers, he felt like he got it back. "Our faith was destroyed that day. We said 'Where was God?' on 9/11, but he's come back here today and they've restored our faith," Riches said after the pope's visit.

All of Riches' four sons became firefighters, including Jimmy, who was killed at age 29 in the World Trade Center attacks along with more than 2,700 others. Another son, Tom, who became a firefighter after his brother's death, was among those invited through a lottery to join the pontiff in the pit where the towers once stood. "When the pope came down, it was very comforting," he said. "I'm glad because it's always been sacred ground to me." Benedict invited 24 people with ties to ground zero to join him Sunday morning, a group that included survivors, victims' relatives and rescue workers. After arriving in the popemobile, the pontiff knelt in silent prayer for a few moments, then rose to light a memorial candle. He prayed for peace, for the 9/11 victims who died in New York, Washington and in Shanksville, Pa., and for those sickened in the aftermath of the attacks. "God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events," Benedict said. "Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain." Some victims' relatives had hoped the pope would specifically bless the hundreds of people killed at ground zero whose remains were never identified. They also wanted him to pray for the removal and burial of any remains that may have been taken to the Fresh Kills garbage dump on Staten Island. The pope's prayers weren't that specific, however, disappointing some of the victims' relatives. Rosemary Cain, whose firefighter son George perished on Sept. 11, 2001, wanted Benedict to address the desire of some families to keep searching for remains at both ground zero and the dump so they can be buried properly. "Nothing about Fresh Kills was addressed. Nothing about the inhumanity to the remains was addressed," she said. "I know the souls will not rest peacefully until they are buried with respect and dignity." The World Trade Center Families for Proper Burial sued the city in 2005, claiming that officials rushed the cleanup at ground zero and failed to deliver on a promise to sift debris taken to the dump to find body parts, remains and personal belongings. More than 1,700 bone fragments have been recovered in just the past two years in and around ground zero. While Cain was appreciative of the pope's visit, she also was saddened at not being able to attend in person. "It broke my heart not to be there," she said.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Foul Play

Source: NY Sun - March 25, 2008

Pope Benedict will celebrate Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral for local bishops, priests, and nuns, and lead a service at Yankee Stadium at which 60,000 people are expected.

Reading this gets me steamed.

I have no problem with the mass itself. I have no problem with the people who go. My problem is with the LOCATION...

Eight years ago my husband and I, when planning our wedding, wanted to be married by a Catholic priest at an outdoor ceremony. We were told that a priest would not marry us outdoors as per church rules. We had no choice but to be married inside the church.

Why, because God is not outdoors? Or God only comes outdoors if the Pope is outdoors? Or God only gives clearance to priests to hold outdoor ceremonies if more than, say, 30 people are in attendance? How about 100 people? 250? What if the stadium is that of a losing team? Is God as disappointed in the Cubs as everyone else? Are the hotdog vendors giving out bread and wine?

Who makes up these asinine rules? Why, the ones who will break them of course.

This is BULL SHIT.

God Drinks Hell's Milkshake...He Drinks It Up!

Did Jesus die in vain? Believers of an eternal hell obviously think so. Author M. Chamberlain writes:

Isaiah 53:11 says “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied.” Will He be satisfied to see that His death for ALL men was a failure? Or that out of the billions of precious souls He gave his life for, only a tiny fraction will be saved and the rest will be tormented forever? To me it is inconceivable that God’s plan to save the world should end in failure – that this would be the result of the agony of the eternal Son. The advocates of everlasting hell would have us believe that God Almighty devised a plan before the foundation of the world to save mankind and sent His only begotten Son to accomplish His plan by dying on the cross, and yet for most of mankind, His plan was a colossal failure. I can understand people who deny the deity of Christ, believing in His defeat; but it is incredible that those who believe in Him to be God Almighty are the loudest in asserting his failure.

A purpose of love declared for all that actually only reaches a few?

Honestly, none of the proponents of an everlasting hell actually live as if he believes that all around him are millions of people heading for eternal hell without a chance of escape without hearing and accepting the message that he possesses! It is impossible! Who would dare so much as to smile if he really believed that a member of his household was headed to a place of unending, unspeakable anguish and pain? Marriage would be a crime; every birth would be an occasion of awful dread. It is positively immoral to bring a new life into this world if you believed that your child could possibly end up being tortured forever! To perpetuate the human race would be to perpetuate endless misery for millions of souls. If people really believed in everlasting hell the world would be a madhouse!

To illustrate further that no one really believes this horrible doctrine, look at the way people act at funerals. A man dies, a nice guy, a decent man by worldly standards, but not a Christian. According to the popular creed, he has gone to hell forever. But who REALLY believes that? Instinctively, our words grow softer when we speak of the dead. Do pastors really believe what they profess? If they do, why are they so often silent? It would be impossible for anyone who really believed in everlasting torment to stay silent.

We are embedded with instincts for earthly survival. Then, by the same means, if our souls are actually at risk of eternal damnation, we would all be equipped with hyper-state-of-emergency-soul-preserving instincts to panic and save, not only ourselves, but our kin and children for whom instincts tell us to take care of. I don't know many people who inately freak out to "save" their children and kin from "eternal damnation", let alone themselves. God speaks to us through our nature and our nature is to rejoice at such things weddings and births and to feel solemnity and reverence when someone dies. God extends Himself to us via these instincts. It is His way of lovingly directing us. Why do people have such a hard time believing that how they naturally feel in these instances is the way they are programmed to feel by The Creator? Our instinct is more powerful than the false doctrine of hell. It is much more consistent and much less dogmatic. It is supposed to be. Because eternal hell does not exist.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Art of Obviousness - Part II

If God allows us the freedom to reject Him forever, even though that freedom leads to eternal hell, that would mean that God cares less about our salvation and more about our freedom...does this sound correct?


"My counsel will stand and I will accomplish all my purpose." - Isaiah 46:10

"Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps." - Psalm 135:6

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." -Proverbs 21:1

"The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will." - Proverbs 21:1

"(God) works all things according to the counsel of his will. "- Ephesians: 1:11

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The No Child Left Behind Act

Something of significance that I think most traditional-view Christians do not consider:

If there is such a thing as an eternal hell...that means God will allow evil to exist forever.

I don't think so. I choose not to underestimate the love of God in allowing His salvation to envelope US ALL in the end. An omniscient God who knows our needs, prayers and thoughts well before they even reach our minds or mouths will not idly stand by and let us destroy ourselves to prove a point (prove a point to whom, by the way?) or for His amusement or for an asinine preservation of a fictional free will that we supposedly have. Nonsense. God is Love. It is an unnecessary and heavy set of shackles to drag around in this lifetime to think otherwise.

Sarah McLachlan put it very well in her song Fumbling Towards Ecstasy when she sings "I won't fear love." And when it comes to God, should we?

"For you will not leave my soul* in sheol; neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption" - Psalm 16:10

*Also known as: anyone's soul

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Final Destination

I often quote authors in this blog and this entry is no exception. The following is a wonderful excerpt from the book Every Knee Shall Bow by Thomas Allin and Mark T. Chamberlain, as they address the false notion of eternal hell.

Just think how this doctrine of endless evil and torment must strike a sincere seeker after God. You tell him that God is not only Almighty, but also good, loving, compassionate, and kind. You tell him God is his Father. if he knows anything about this doctrine of eternal torment he may well say, "You tell me that God is good, that He is a loving Father; but He creates millions of hapless creatures knowing that there is an unspeakably horrible doom waiting for them. He creates these creatures through no will of their own, with a sinful nature that makes them incapable of doing His will, knowing that they are going to spend an eternity apart from Him suffering unspeakable agony, and He not only knows this but allows it to happen? And you tell me He loves them?! If endless misery is the certain result, known beforehand by God, of bringing me into existence, to force the 'gift' of life on me is the worst thing He could possibly do to me!"

And another thing I would like to point out is how we address God. We address God as "Our Father"...not our ruler, tormenter, slavemaster, tyrant, Father conveys a tender and loving relationship between God and His creation. Ideally, fathers don't condemn their children to leave their house never to return, do they? So if God is better than the best human father, how could He do anything less than gather ALL his lost children to Him?

"But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." John 12:32

"For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive." Corinthians 15:22

"One man's sin brought guilt to all people. So also one right act made all people right with God." Romans 5:18

Monday, April 7, 2008

Traffic Cones

Sometimes there are those people in your life (placed there by someone else's choice) who are, for lack of a better description, truly insufferable. The type of person who finds nothing right and nothing good in things that are obviously right and good to everyone else. The type of person who stirs up trouble and gossips and has questionable motives and a selfish agenda in seemingly everything they do. And, if like me, you have given this type of person chance after chance to redeem themselves and make amends and they inexplicably continue to wreak havoc with not a care for anyone else. I think God has a purpose for this type of person, too.

While taking "the high road" these type of people should be viewed as orange traffic cones. You just go around them. You don't feel the need to hit them, you just...swerve around them without honking at them.

In Matthew 18:21 Peter asked Jesus how many times should I forgive my brother (7 times?) and was given the answer 77 x 7....AKA: never stop forgiving.

But I think a person can be forgiven from afar and, like, myself, just choose to not speak to that person at all - even in their presence - in order to only have to forgive once. Because you know that talking will lead to problems, which leads to having to forgive all over again. Can forgiveness work in silence like this? Is it quantity or quality in the act of forgiving? Or should a person be overtly kind and keep forgiving time after time that they are walked on? Should a person martyr their integrity to prove that they can forgive a person multiple times? What do you think?

I invite you, dear reader, to weigh in and post a comment.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Some Bold Words

The Golden Thread: God's Promise of Universal Salvation by Ken R. Vincent is a great book that cites passage after passage after passage that re-iterates the Universalist theme that is weaved throughout the Bible. Here are just a FEW of the passages that cite that we are ALL destined for grace as we are ALL children of God and ALL will be saved. There are many paths and many roads - and they all lead to the same destination of divinity.

Jesus is clearly an advocate for both Christians and non-Christians:

My children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father; Jesus Christ the Righteous. he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and NOT FOR OURS ONLY, but also for the sins OF THE WHOLE WORLD (I John 2:2)

[Many Christians like to think they are exclusively saved, but the WHOLE WORLD would have been replaced with ONLY CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS if that were the case.]

With Jesus as Judge, NO ONE IS EVER ABANDONED -- Christian or non-Christian. Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is NOT ONLY FOR THE PURE (Matthew 5:8) but also for the IMPURE (Matthew 15:2, 21-31; Luke 18:10 -14), the PAGAN (Matthew 15:21-28), and the HERETIC (Luke 10:25-37; John 4:16-30).

I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold, and I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd (John 10:16)

And I, when I am lifted up from the Earth, will draw ALL PEOPLE to myself (John 12:3).

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to ALL (Titus 2:11)

So it is not the will of your Father in Heaven that one of these little ones should be lost (Matthew 18:14)

[So, if it is NOT THE WILL of God that anyone should be lost, then it is evident that NONE WILL BE. It is not as if God is going to condemn people to eternal punishment even if HE doesn't want them to be lost. That would be contradictory to the LOVE of God!]