I was first baptized into the Catholic faith as an infant but later my parents converted to a protestant belief system as I was growing up. One thing that has stayed with me as an adult is the fact that so much of what the church we attended believed in was about the church leaders’ personal interpretations of scriptures. In the church we attended, the use of instrumental music was strictly restricted. A Capella was said to be God’s preferred method of worship. This belief was linked to a specific scripture (one I do not recall) that obviously ignored the countless times in the Bible where musical instruments were used in worship to the Lord.
In addition to what this church believed, it also professed to know what other faiths believed. As an adult, most of what I was told about other faiths and beliefs has turned out not to be true. For this reason, I have always been skeptical of one faith professing to know what the intent and beliefs of another religion is. In particular, I have written several cautionary articles about Christian condemnation of Muslims. While I do not claim to understand the Muslim faith completely, I am always concerned when others villianize Muslims based on what they have heard from non-Muslims. None of us knows the depth of God’s divine grace and justification. Who is to say the Muslim, Mormon or Jew aren’t entitled to the same heaven Christians believe in? Only God makes that determination.
In part 2 on my Examiner.com series of “Reach Out of Your Darkness”, I encourage every believer to practice the very Christian value of love toward others no matter what their beliefs are. No matter who we are – God loves everyone. Click the link below to read my article on the subject. The article also has a link to a survey where you answer a series of questions that determinewhat Christian denomination you are most aligned with. You may be surprises at your results.
Is the “War on Christmas” a “vast Right-Wing conspiracy” or a “Liberal attempt to secularize America”? Actually, it seems ripe to be much ado about nothing. We love to make mountains out of ant hills these days (see “War on Christmas: People Love War”).
The “War on Christmas” is the perceived battle between Christians and non-believers on the significance the Christmas holiday gets this time of year. Sited evidence that Christmas is being attacked includes the replacement of “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays,” some government agencies calling them “holiday trees” instead of “Christmas trees” and this year, Atheists billboards calling for a “season for reason.” Christmas observers state that political correctness has simply gone too far.
Without a doubt, this six-part series is the authority when it comes to religion and America. No matter your religious preference, it’s something you should watch to get a better understanding of how religion and the freedom of religion in this country has developed and continues to unfold.
It touches upon America from the first European settlers, Thomas Jefferson and the separation of church & state all the way to present day issues with regards to Atheists and Muslims. I found the material on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War most interesting. Actually, all six parts are chock-full of great information and insight. If you are interested at all in American history and religion, you have to see this series.
The series is available online at pbs.org (click here for the link) and has been rebroadcast over the past couple of months so look for it. Take a look at this extended preview.
Yesterday, this article was published on Examiner.com and some other sites that support my column. Whenever you discuss solo scriptura there is bound to be controversy. The basic principle of solo scriptura (or by scripture alone) has been the Protestant charge against the Catholic faith. Yet, Protestants including Martin Luther continued to celebrate Christmas on December 25th – a date picked by the early Roman Catholic Church which “married” it to the pagan “Feast of the Unconquered Sun” in ancient Rome. I describe it as married because its united two things together that are separate but equal. This concept of “marriage” is played out in the article. Click here to read the article about Christmas & Solo Scriptura
I used to love on television mini-series when they would say “And now the stunning conclusion of…” to promote the last of a series.
I’d like to think this last portion of the interview and series is the best. Of course, it’s where you’ll find the bulk of my commentary.
From here, you’re likely to see my article sweep through atheism for a while. Like I’ve said before I tend to run article in series (with articles on gay rights, Muslim rights, immigrant rights). Right now, I’m focused on atheism, agnosticism and skepticism. I wrote an article (scroll down) focused on skepticism earlier this month. This series on “Youth & Religion” featured an atheist and I’m looking for opportunities with Thanksgiving next week to feature a story on who are atheists thankful to – themselves? I will also be part of Examiner.com’s forthcoming series “War on Christmas”. Until then…click the link below to read the finale to the “Youth & Religion” series and interview. Thanks for reading.
It actually may surprise you how much the two have in common. At least the two Millennials I interviewed for Part 2 in my series. Atheism is the fastest growing religion in the U.S. and Catholicism is the fastest declining. I thought it’d be interesting to the get the perspective from two members of the Millennial generation. It’s actually a pretty informative interview. In fact, there’s so much content (6 pages) that the second half of the interview won’t be posted until tomorrow.