Confessions of a Christian Heretic

RELIGION 19 Comments »

With the arrival of Easter I thought it was time to confess this blogger’s religious worldview.  I am a Christian Heretic.  I’m probably more a heretic then Christian, as I will explain below.  Anyone checking out this strange blog will surely think I am among the damned.  But I have a coherent, rational and I’d say even logical reason for what I believe.

My central heresy is based on rejection of exclusive salvation thru belief in any religious dogma.  I apply logic to this concept.  If belief in a dogma is the only path to salvation…how do I know my belief is the correct one?

What if the Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only true path to heaven?  Then all Hindus, Muslims, evangelical Christens, Buddhists, Catholics and so forth are damned to torment in the fires of perdition for all eternity.  Why?  Because we guessed wrong.  We picked our theology unwisely. Oh well…off to hell we go!  Salvation becomes a matter of chance (or predestination) usually based on the religion we were raised in.  Entire regions of the planet are apparently damned.

Before we get up on our high horse and proclaim I am CERTAIN I am saved, so does the other guy.  The devout Muslim is no less certain in his beliefs then the devout Christian.  Chat with a Jehovah’s Witnesses when they knock on your door and you’ll see real faith.  Personal belief proves nothing.  If only ONE theology is correct, then everybody else has to be wrong.  Salvation is a crapshoot, a roll of the dice.

So it becomes a battle of theologies…whose theology is better then the other.  What a pointless argument.  Religion is not science.  It is all belief and opinion.  To consider one faith more worthy then another, who can judge any of that?

This is why I am a Christian heretic.  Personally I believe Christ died for all humanity, regardless of religion, not only for born-again evangelical Christians.  That is why it’s called the Good News.  Otherwise it would be Bad News…very bad news.  Imagine a reality where only born-again Christians went to heaven, and everybody else went to hell.  Does a Hindu love their child any less then a Christian?  No.  But they still go to hell because of theological differences?

If Jesus Himself offered exclusive entrance to heaven but excluded a Buddhist, I’d refuse.  I’d rather coexist in hell with 90% of humanity then in heaven with the 10% saved.  What good is heaven if your “unsaved” son or daughter, your father or mother, or your dear friends are eternally separated from you?  How can heaven be heaven when our loved ones are all in hell?  The only way to erase such love is to erase our memories.  In other words, to go to heaven requires we are blasted into oblivion with our identities erased.

Hell is not a place of fire and brimstone, but is a place where humanity is eternally separated from God.  In this hell…a void of unimaginable darkness, 90% of mankind will dwell after death.  And what then?  The spirits of the damned will eventually interact with each other.  Time and space are no longer barriers; without physical bodies there will be no pain outside our inner turmoil.  In hell we will actually be reunited with our loved ones, our families and friends forever.  Maybe hell won’t be such a bad place.

In hell, I imagine a gathering of enlightened souls.  Enlightened individuals like the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and countless other damned spirits will gather together in love.  It will be like a Milky Way galaxy with each soul being a star in the eternal darkness.  Gathering towards the center will the brightest lights, the holy men and women of the ages who will attract like-minded souls towards them.  Darker souls will wander off hovering in a ring around the center.  The worst will fade away into the eternal darkness that mirrors their hearts.  Hell will be a fair place where we choose to live in love (or not).  I imagine such a place will even create its own reality, shaping the darkness into a new reality.  A new universe will be given birth.

Meanwhile, in heaven, the saved will be stripped of their identity, annihilated in the fiery furnace of heaven, and merged into the heavenly light.  Know what?  Heaven is starting to sound like hell, and hell is becoming more like heaven.

This is why I am a heretic.  If I am to go to hell, I will have everybody else joining me.  We shall make our own galaxy, our own heaven together.

500 Lashes! Western Muslims Need A Western Mecca

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A Muslim Australian citizen, on a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, was arrested for blasphemy.  Apparently he insulted the relatives of Mohammed.  He will have a year in prison and suffer 500 lashes.  According to this news account below his health and maybe his life will be at stake: 

Australian man faces 500 lashes in Saudi Arabia for blasphemy

“Family members said they are worried about his health. “He is sick, and he has back injuries and he has diabetes,” his son, Issam Almaribe, told CNN affiliate 9 News Australia.””

500 lashes, if done properly, can kill someone.  His flesh will be shred from his back and his bare bones and spine will be exposed.  If he survives he could be crippled for life.

Which begs the question, is it dangerous for any Westerner to be a Muslim?  According to Islam all of the faithful are required to make a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.  Westerners generally speak their minds, are irreverent and take their freedom of speech for granted.  We don’t understand the mind-locked nature of some Islamic cultures.  Going to Saudi Arabia can be a life threatening situation.  Yet, all Muslims are still required to make the haij (pilgrimage) to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. 

I have an answer for avoiding such a dangerous trip to Saudi Arabia.  We need an alternative Mecca for Western Muslims, perhaps a new Mecca somewhere in the West.  Is there a reason why Western Muslims can’t establish a new version of Mecca elsewhere?  I’d suggest they create one in the United States, where we have freedom of religion combined with the separation of church and state.  Those uncomfortable with traveling to the Middle East could come to our “Mecca of the West” where they would be safe from getting lashed.

Maybe it is time for a split between Eastern and Western Islam.  Each really does live in different worlds.  I think it is time for a liberal form of Islam to emerge, starting with a new center.

Why Steve Jobs is burning in hell

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steve-jobs-in-hell

Steve Jobs was a remarkable businessman. He was a genuine visionary, and how many businessmen could be described as visionary? Along with his success as a businessman, he created jobs around the world that supported many families. If one could weigh his contribution to the world, we can assume he had a positive impact on the lives of millions.

Nevertheless, Steve Jobs is now burning in hell. He is roasting, with weeping and gnashing of teeth, and will do so for all eternity. How do I know this is true? Why is Steve Jobs in hell?

The reason Steve Jobs is in hell is because he was a Buddhist.

As Christians know, all Buddhists go to hell. And it’s not that Buddhists are singled out as especially wicked. Each and every Muslim will also go to hell. So will all Hindus, Mormons, and the majority of Catholics. Everyone who does not accept conservative Christian dogma by being born-again is damned. Salvation comes thru accepting the correct theology. So sorry Steve Jobs…you belong in hell!

jobs-in-hell

The damnation of Steve Jobs can be a wonderful tool for proselytism. Evangelical Christians can go to all their unsaved friends, family and acquaintances and use the fact that Steve Jobs is in hell to convert them to evangelical Christian theology. Ask them, “Do you want to be in hell like Steve Jobs when you die? If not, you need to follow my religion!” Many souls could be saved with this approach!

Then again, according to Christian belief we are saved or damned thru predestination. Before we were even born it was decided if we’d spend eternity/infinity roasting in the fires of perdition. Some might suggest this is not fair. The proper response would be: life is not fair, and neither is salvation. Get over it!

Did Harold Camping actually predict earthquakes on October 21?

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Famed evangelical prophet Harold Camping failed in his previous May 21 prediction of a rapture of true believers followed by a physical end-of-the-world. This event became a news story in the world media. When the rapture did not occur, he suggested his May 21 prediction was a spiritual event to be followed by a physical end-of-the-world event happening on October 21.

Yeah, we can dismiss him as a crank. But maybe he had an actual psychic premonition and misinterpreted it as a message from God? A true premonition can become a big deal for a religious individual, even if the premonition is not from God but from innate psychic abilities.

On May 21, 2011 there were a number of unusual earthquakes:

A 4.2 magnitude earthquake hit San Francisco at 2:41 PT October 21.

Hours earlier a rare 4.6 magnitude earthquake hit San Antonio Texas, the biggest since 1993.

Again, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit near the Raoul Islands around New Zealand.

Opposite the earth, a magnitude 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the south pacific south of Tonga.

This was not exactly the end of days. But it would be a good day for someone trying to predict earthquakes. I give him credit for that. Camping may not be God’s prophet, but he might be a minor league psychic with delusions of grandeur.

April 2011 Tornados: God’s Warning For America?

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2011 Tornados

2011 Tornados

When Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, some preachers proclaimed Katrina was God’s judgment on a sinful New Orleans.  They said the city got what it deserved; as God once judged Sodom and Gomorrah, so He condemned New Orleans.

When the 2010 Haiti earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, again preachers boldly announced the quake was God’s judgment on Haiti for its practice of voodoo.  Influential televangelist Pat Robertson famously said Haiti was cursed by a pact with the Devil.

In some religious thinking, it is believed everything happens for a purpose including natural disasters, and these disasters are God’s will and the result of man’s sinfulness.  God has the power to protect His chosen, but He will remove His protection and allow devastation if people reject His ways.

I personally don’t believe this, but millions of faithful do.  If natural disasters are a reflection of God’s will, what does that say about the historic outbreak of tornados during April 2011 that devastated the southern states of the U.S.?

April sets new record for tornadoes

“Preliminary data from the National Weather Service show that more than 600 twisters have touched down in April, smashing the existing record of 267 set in 1974.The cruelty of this particular April, in the number of tornadoes recorded, is without equal in the United States. The record for the month has been shattered, and preliminary assessments say that of the four biggest clusters ever recorded, two have occurred in the last three weeks.”

Why did these tornados hit the southern states, America’s Bible Belt?  These states are the most religious in the nation.  There is a definite religious and cultural difference between the Deep South and the rest of the nation.  This region is properly called the Bible Belt.  Yet even churches were destroyed by April’s tornados.

What sin prompted God to remove His protection from the southern states?  Will preachers continue to blame the victims for their destruction?

Perhaps preachers will say the faithful were lacking conviction, that their fervor had turned lukewarm.  Or more importantly, perhaps the tithes had fallen beneath the churches’ goals.

Recently I was listening to Christian radio and a talk show interviewed the author of a book Resisting the Green Dragon.  Their discussion essentially equated environmentalism with Satanism.  I was taken aback but the hosts and callers seemed to completely agree with this premise.  I assume environmentalism is now considered sinful.  These bulltetpoints were taken the book’s Amazon page:

Environmentalism has become a new religion.
Environmentalism’s policies are devastating to the world’s poor.
Environmentalism threatens the sanctity of life.
Environmentalism is targeting our youth.
Environmentalism’s vision is global.

Let’s assume the Christian community now generally accepts the idea that environmentalism is evil.  And let’s assume natural disasters are indeed willed by God.  Could the severe storms, the deadly tornados, be a message from God, a warning that global warming and climate change will harm both Christians and non-Christians alike?  The Godly will not be spared from the effects of climate change.  And if Christians do their best to hinder efforts at reducing climate change, then we are bringing about our own self-destruction.

I wish the people harmed by these storms the best, and they have my sympathy for their losses.

The Easter Bunny is a weird idea

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easter-bunny

Easter is a strange holiday.   The strangest aspect is the Easter Bunny.  Who came up with that idea?  There are pagan fertility elements in the holiday symbolized by rabbits, eggs and Easter baskets.  Spring is the time to make babies!  I was at the shopping mall where parents were lined up to take photos of their little children with the Easter Bunny.  I felt sorry for whoever was wearing that rabbit costume; I bet it was hot in there.  Yet, all the children taking their picture with the rabbit brought the essence of the holiday into focus…human fertility.

On the other hand, Easter is the grimmest of holidays.  It concerns the state sponsored torture and murder of an innocent man, Jesus.  His resurrection is a happy ending to a terrible event.  As far as I’m concerned the religious aspect of Easter is not something to celebrate, but a time for reflection.  On this Easter of April 24, 2011, there still is state sponsored torture and murder of innocent people by governments, like today in Libya and Syria.

We have the Easter bunny, and we have the crucifixion.  The two don’t mix at all.  The pagan aspect is about birth, and the Christian aspect is about death with the hope of resurrection.  How the two concepts became entangled is beyond me.  The Easter bunny is a weird idea that should be put aside.  A walking, talking rabbit?  I say only in cartoons.  Say NO to Easter bunnies!

I support the right to burn the Koran, or any other book.

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I support the right to burn the Koran.  I also support the right to have a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero.  In the news has been a lot of nonsense about Islam in America.  Both stories concerned the near Ground Zero mosque and a Florida preacher wanting to burn the Koran in response, which made world wide news.  Why are we having this discussion in the media?  What possible significance does it have?  None.

If someone wants to burn the American flag, or the Bible, or the Koran, it may be offensive, but a lot of things in life are offensive.  So what? If someone wants to build Jewish synagogue, a Mormon temple, or a Jehovah’s Witnesses church nearby and you disagree with their beliefs…too bad.  In America we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

In 1977 neo-Nazis tried to win the legal right to march through Skokie, a suburb of Chicago with a large Jewish population, many who survived the holocaust.  It was quite the controversy at the time, with legal attempts to block the march.  These many years later, it had no impact outside of clarifying the importance of free speech, even repulsive speech.  The best answer to repugnant speech is to let haters talk and for society to ignore them in the rumble of many voices.  Let these hateful voices of ignorance and intolerance howl into the wind speaking to their self.

Yet, now something is different.  The controversy over the mosque near Ground Zero seems to be inspired by self-serving politicians and talk show commentators looking for ratings.  There are votes and money to be made from such controversy, from exciting prejudice and bigotry.  Looking for publicity, Newt Gingrich equated Islam with Nazism.  Other politicians looking for political advantage piled on criticizing the proposed mosque.  Pundits and political “leaders” began stoking the fires of prejudice for their own personal gain.

It should be no surprise that in appealing to the passions of the ignorant, there would be fallout.  Now a Florida preacher threw out the idea of burning the Koran in protest to the mosque.  It is one thing for an ignorant preacher to burn books or neo-Nazis wanting to march thru a Jewish suburb, it is another when supposedly responsible politicians use prejudice for their own personal benefit.

The real problem is not with our exercise of freedom, but with the media.  Who cares if someone wants to burn books?  The media cares!  Just like the politicians, the media benefits from controversy.  They also make money out of stoking the fires of prejudice.  They have a 24 hour news cycle that needs to be filled.  By focusing on the actions of someone of no importance, we had leaders around the world commenting on this.  General Petraeus spoke out about how burning the Koran could cost of the lives of American soldiers and make their job more dangerous.  Very true, lives can be endangered.  Yet the media still publicizes the actions of a lone nutcase.

I am proud to live in America where I have the constitutional freedom of speech.  If I lived in Saudi Arabia or Iran, my blog about the occult, the supernatural and alternative spirituality would likely get me arrested or stoned to death.  Yet here in America, nobody notices.  I am one voice among many.  Thank goodness!

It is the responsibility of Americans to resist the ever present tide of know-nothingness and willful ignorance.  And also to support the right to ignorance. I don’t blame a preacher for wanting to express his beliefs, no matter how wacky. I blame the media, punditry and politicians for making this an issue to begin with.

Pat Robertson: Haiti earthquake because of pact with devil. HUH?

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Televangelist Pat Robertson

Televangelist Pat Robertson

Televangelist Pat Robertson suggested that the horrendous earthquake in Haiti is God’s punishment on Haiti due to a pact with the devil. 

Here is what Robertson said:
“You know … something happened a long time ago in Haiti.  They got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you get us free from the French.’ True story.  And so, the Devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out.  You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti; on the other side is the Dominican Republican. Dominican Republic is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etc. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island.”

Supposedly this has something do to with Voodoo in Haiti and legends about Voodoo’s involvement in their revolution against the French.  Did thousands of children die in a God willed earthquake because of Voodoo??

Voodoo was introduced to the New World from African slaves.  When Haiti was discovered, colonists built sugar and coffee plantations.  To work these plantations the colonists used many slaves. Voodoo was a slave’s religion, brought from Africa and practiced in secret after they were forced to convert to Christianity.  God-fearing, Bible-believing Christian slave owners were responsible for bringing Voodoo to Haiti with their slave trade, not the Haitians.

Is a Christian legacy of slavery not as serious in God’s eyes as a legacy of Voodoo?  Who really deserved that earthquake?

If we look at the behavior of some televangelists, it sure looks like they are practicing the occult to me.  Is there much difference between a Vodou hougan and a Holy Spirit preacher?  They both have Words Of Knowledge predicting the future.  They channel God directly, speaking with Him and revealing His word.  They claim to heal the sick.  Is that really far removed from Voodoo?  Is there a difference between channeling Voodoo’s Loa or the Holy Spirit to perform “miracles”?

Why God abandoned America this past decade

POLITICS, RELIGION 8 Comments »

decade-2000-2009

The past decade of 2000 to 2009 was truly dreadful for America.  We had the 911 attacks, a war in Iraq, hurricane Katrina, a stock market crash and a financial/economic collapse unlike anything since the Great Depression. 

However, this perception of an awful decade is from an American perspective.  In China the decade was different.  China experienced unparalleled economic growth during the past decade.  Hundreds of millions of Chinese saw their standard of living rise dramatically while at the same time the American standard of living declined.

This was not supposed to happen to America.  During the past decade we had a conservative, evangelical Christian in President Bush and conservatives in firm control of Congress and the Supreme Court.  Ideally, God should have blessed our nation because our leadership reflected God’s will.  As the Bible says:

Psalm 33:12
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

It is believed by many Christians that God will judge a nation for its sins, and disasters are God’s retribution.  An example evangelists often use is the view that AIDS is God’s punishment on homosexuality.

So what went wrong?  Why all these terrible events during the decade of the Bush presidency, one of the most conservative and godly presidents we ever had?  Why did a non-Christian nation like China prosper at the same time?  Has God withdrawn His protection and abandoned America?

Here is a thought.  Perhaps conservative values are not automatically God’s values.  Yes, this is a startling concept.  But how else to explain the worst of times coinciding with the most conservative of times?

Invading Iraq seemed mostly like a political stunt to increase politicians’ popularity after 911.  The Bible talks about good stewards but nobody bothered to do much when Katrina hit New Orleans.  Our economic collapse was founded on conservative laissez-faire principles.  Conservatism seemed to relish venomous partisanship dividing Americans into “us” and “them”, happy to rule with 50.1% of the vote.  Much of what has happened this past decade was the path we chose.

The law of attraction suggests what we think is what we’ll attract into our lives.  Positive thoughts attract positive results and a negative attitude will attract negative consequences. And so it does. 

I’d suggest it is possible to have the law of attraction work on a national scale too.  When a society embraces negativity, rancor, acrimony and disharmony, what are we to expect of the results?  The consequences won’t appear immediately, but in time all the collective bad karma will result in blowback.  Like an economic collapse. 

Bad policies don’t help either.

Local Hindu statue mystery

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This story in today’s Chicago Tribune caught my eye. A Hindu statue was found in a local river.  Was it vandalism or a spiritual practice?

 http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-talk-hindu-statues-in-riversep22,0,6856411.column

 I sure hope it is not religious intolerance at work.  When I read the story, my first thought was this was vandalism.  Who would toss a statue in a river?  But I don’t know much about the Hinduism.   Does anybody know anything about such a tradition where an icon would be discarded in such a way?  What would be the meaning involved with practice?

mystery-of-hindu-statue