I have never heard a child who believed in God deny their faith because of disappointment, war, genocide, etc., or terrible illness, even their own. Even terribly abused children will cling desperately to the hope that their parents love them. In a similar vein, from my own personal childhood, I cannot recall ever getting anything from Santa Claus that I asked him for at the store. Not one single Christmas. And yet, I was never disappointed, never pitched a fit, none of my friends or siblings ever encouraged me to “curse Santa and die”! It wasn’t disappointment with him that caused my lack of belief, it was being told by other kids.

I think this is the “child-like faith” that Jesus talks about. If even imperfect parents can love their children, and those children love in return, how much more should we love a perfect Father?

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Mere “anger with God” is not what will send a person to Hell (or eternal torment or whatever you choose to call it). Lack of faith in Jesus Christ is; ultimate and final rejection of the prompting of the Holy Spirit to confession and repentance of sin. Plenty of Christians express anger, confusion, even disillusionment with God. I think it is actually kind of healthy, in a way, as working through the “dark nights of the soul” can help strengthen our faith, not weaken it. It’s telling that when Elijah had his little pity party after the miraculous display of God’s power and the subsequent threats of Jezebel on the prophet’s life, God did not condemn or rail against him for his depression, lack of faith, and self-pity. He spoke softly in a breeze and nourished him. Would that we, too, treated each other as kindly.

The qualification “hurt so much in life” is too subjective. Millions of Christians have historically faced horrible abuse and torture, even unto death–their families and their own–without denying Jesus. Skeptics often like to criticize the concept of eternal Hell as unfair for a mere lifetime of sin and rejection of God, but flip it around: what’s a lifetime of hurt and pain when measured against eternity in Paradise? To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, with God or without him, Great Physician or Cosmic Sadist…or pure myth, fairy tale…we are all in it. And in for it. If rejection of God made all the pain go away, surely religion would have died out millennia ago. No, when people kick God to the curb out of disillusionment or mere disappointment, they are still left with all the pain…and no reason for it, no resolution but death.

And are any of them really sure about that?

I am unaware of this argument. While the terms left and right, like liberal and conservative, are historically ambiguous and relative, it is, I believe, pretty clear that the Southern Democrats, at least, of the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow eras, were center-right to far right or “conservative” socially, if not economically. The KKK was a Democrat institution, founded by six Confederate veterans from Pulaski, TN. “Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest became Grand Wizard, claiming to be the Klan’s national leader.” (1) “Lifting the Klan mask revealed a chaotic multitude of antiblack vigilante groups, disgruntled poor white farmers, wartime guerrillabands, displaced Democratic politicians…even a few freedmen and white Republicans who allied with Democratic whites or had criminal agendas of their own.” (2) The Republican party was more liberal, at least by the standards of the day. “Many scholars have identified more than 1,500 African American officeholders during the Reconstruction Era (1863–1877).” (3) All were Republicans.

From 1900 to the 2010s, the parties began a slow, but inexorable shift. Sped largely in part by FDR and Truman, then Kennedy and Johnson, the Democrat Party became more and more liberal, while the Republican Party moved rightward. While it is true that more Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than Democrats, the vote was more along geographical lines than party.

(Were Republicans really the party of civil rights in the 1960s? | Harry J Enten)

Note the numbers in the final graph: 95% of House Democrats from UNION states (the North) voted for the Act; 98% of Senate Democrats from Union states voted for it. Only 9% and 5% of Democrats in the old Confederate states respectively voted for it, and not a single Southern Republican did. More Democrats from the South voted for the bill than southern Republicans.

If you look at the lists here (Party switching in the United States – Wikipedia), you can see how many Democrat politicians switched to the Republican Party, most notably, Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, and, of course, David Duke. Note how the vast majority of them are from southern, old Confederacy, states. When we used to talk about the “Solid South”, it was a South that was solidly Democrat. This is no longer the case at all:

“Although Republicans gradually began doing better in presidential elections in the South starting in 1952, Republicans did not finish taking over Southern politics at the nonpresidential level until the elections of November 2010. Today, the South is dominated by Republicans at both the state and presidential level. Republicans control all 22 of the other legislative bodies in the former Confederacy, and all but one in a border state. There are currently no white Democratic congressmen from the Deep South…Arkansas’ governorship finally flipped GOP in 2014 when the incumbent termed out, as did every other statewide office not previously held by the Republicans. Many analysts believe the so-called ‘Southern Strategy’ that has been employed by Republicans since the 1960s is now virtually complete, with Republicans in firm, almost total, control of political offices in the South.” (Solid South – Wikipedia)

In a state “trifecta”, one political party holds the executive (governorship), a majority in the state senate, and a majority in the state house. Every old Confederate state but Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia have state trifectas; the Republican Party is in control of everything, and in those three exceptions, only the executive branch is held by a Democrat.

The Solid South is solid once again. Solid Republican.

Ask yourself: In the ongoing conflict over the status of Confederate war memorials, why is it mainly people from the “Party of Lincoln”, which fought those Confederates, and white supremacists who are upset with their removal? Why are so many modern Republicans in favor of monuments to old racist Democrats? How about replacing them with the real heroes, the “good guys”, like Lincoln, Sherman, Grant, etc., all good Republicans? And why is it that today’s KKK supports the Republican Party, not the Democrats?

Conservatism: “…a political and social philosophy that promotes retaining traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization. By some definitions, conservatives have variously sought to preserve institutions including religionmonarchyparliamentary governmentproperty rights and the social hierarchy, emphasizing stability and continuity, while the more extreme elements called reactionaries oppose modernism and seek a return to ‘the way things were’.” (4)(emphasis mine) MAGA?

(1) Klux Klan – Wikipedia

(2) ibid.

(3) List of African-American officeholders during Reconstruction – Wikipedia

(4) Conservatism – Wikipedia

Was Moses a black man?

Posted: July 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

If the question is if he was sub-Saharan African “black” the answer is no. Moses was a Levite, a descendant of Jacob (Israel), Isaac, and Abraham. Abraham was a “Hebrew”, a name first used of him in Genesis 14. “The word ‘Hebrew’ in the Hebrew language is עברי (Ivrie). The root letters are used to mean cross over, or pass through. Today in Israel, we can use the word to talk about moving houses, transgressing laws, going through some difficulties, crossing the road, crossing over a river, and so on. Traversing, passing, or crossing over, essentially. In the Bible, it seems to have primarily referred to those who traversed rivers.” (What Does The Word “Hebrew” Mean? – ONE FOR ISRAEL Ministry) “According to Jewish and Muslimtradition, Urfa is Ur Kasdim, the hometown of Abraham.” (Şanlıurfa – Wikipedia) This is opposed to the traditional place, “Ur” in Sumeria, which does not match the description of Abraham’s place of birth in Genesis 24:4 and 24:10. Urfa is in present day southern Turkey. Like the Hyksos, the Hebrews were a Semitic people, who are portrayed in Egyptian art as lighter skinned than native Egyptians. The many photos presented in other answers are very likely accurate.

If called upon by God to do so, yes. The question is, would God ever call one of his children to “abandon” his family. No. Even if a man is called to missionary work to a place where his family cannot go, he still has to provide for them back home and the calling is rarely, if ever, permanent. I don’t know of a mission organization that would require such a thing. When Jesus told the crowd following him around, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26–27 He does not mean here to “hate” as we understand it, for this would violate the second greatest commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves; no, the Greek is: “miséō – properly, to detest (on a comparative basis); hence, denounce; to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another.”3404. μισέω (miseó) — to hate

It is to be our commitment that we WILL “forsake all others” for the sake of Christ and in obedience to him, but the specifics of what this might mean to the individual are personal, for example: “For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others–and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matthew 19:12

Flawed people who are saved by grace and diligently, joyfully follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. A person who has repented of their past lives of rebellion against God and can say the following and mean it with all their hearts:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen. AMEN!!!

(I still tear up when I read it!)

Image result for apostles creed

People who exhibit and bear good fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control; who rejoice when they are persecuted, love their enemies, and love to give to the poor and disenfranchised.

It goes against the grain of our hearts. We are all, truth be told, selfish creatures. We want unconditional love, but are often unwilling to give it; we don’t like to be gossiped about, but we will talk behind the backs of our closest friends; when we are feeling bad, we hate to see happy people; we want to be forgiven, but we don’t always want to forgive. We are often “dogs in the manger.” Dogs don’t eat hay, like hay, want hay, or need hay, but dogs in the manger don’t want the animals who do need it to have access to it.

I believe in “natural law”, it is just virtually impossible to live by it because of the brokenness of Man. One of the aspects of natural law is a sense of justice. Most all cultures recognize that certain acts are wrong: theft, cheating, adultery, fraud, assault. When someone violates these against us, we want justice. If we are robbed, we want our money back. Some cultures practiced a kind of slavery for cases where a thief could not pay back what he stole, working the debt off.

But we are, generally, also inclined toward mercy. If a man steals to feed his family, we consider that a “mitigating factor”; dire situations may call for desperate actions. We have all heard stories of businesses or people that were robbed, only to hear from the thief years later explaining a desperate situation and money with interest included. These are somehow ennobling to the human spirit. Even the Bible says,

“Keep falsehood and lies far from me;

give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you

and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’

Or I may become poor and steal,

and so dishonor the name of my God.” Proverbs 30:8–9

The problem comes when the offense is so egregious to the offended that forgiveness seems impossible. As Steven Griffin says, we are afraid that forgiveness somehow lets the offender off the hook.

Let’s be honest: We LIKE having something to hang over the heads of our offenders. It’s comforting. It often provides an excuse for our own failures, our own bitterness. It galls us to see someone who hurt us prosper. We become like the subject of the poem by Stephen Crane, In the Desert:

“In the desert

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, ‘Is it good, friend?’

‘It is bitter—bitter,’ he answered;

‘But I like it

‘Because it is bitter,

‘And because it is my heart.’”

In the Desert by Stephen Crane

We have all met these people. Some of them are us. We were hurt…badly, abused, neglected, unloved, and we suffered; oh God, how we suffered! Our innate sense of justice demands that those who hurt us suffer also. The problem is, when is enough, enough? Who determines when the punishment stops? Will we carry the weight of our bitterness to our grave? Hebrews 12 says: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” That “everyone”? It means EVERYONE, and one way we make peace is by forgiving. How can we be at peace until and unless we forgive? The consequences of NOT forgiving exacerbate the problem, it does not temper it, for the seed of bitterness that is unforgiveness, once planted, grows and spreads like a weed, like kudzu, taking over whole landscapes and choking out nourishment, light, and life from those around the abused, not just themselves. We carry our bitterness around like an old, moldy, smelly doll or blanket we should have tossed away long ago. “I LIKE it, because it is bitter, and because it is MY heart.” Unforgiveness is ultimately selfishness. “It’s MINE, and you can’t take it away from me. Someone once said, “Hate is a dirty fuel; but it burns hot and it burns long.” Some people are so consumed by their hate, unforgiveness, and bitterness, that I am convinced that they believe that if they forgive, they will really die.

Imagine a girl abused by a neighbor as a child. She tells no one, but the fear, shame, guilt, and rage all sit and wait in her heart. They grow, spread, and flourish. She has a hard time with relationships, chooses terrible boyfriends, gets involved in a lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity. Her parents and friends are devastated. She marries, has children, but her hatred remains, never abating, always present. She loses her husband, becomes estranged from her children. Indeed, the bitter root has grown and defiled everyone she comes in contact with. Finally, decades later, she decides to confront the cause of her life’s pain; she will make him pay for what he did. So she buys a gun, tracks him down, and goes to his house. She knocks on the door, heart pounding, hands sweating. A woman opens the door. “Can I help you?”

“Yes. I’m looking for______. Is he home?”

“Oh, dear. You must not have heard: Bob died…oh, 20 years ago now. Went out into the woods back there and shot himself in the head. It was a terrible shock to us all.”

What a waste, the hatred of ghosts. And we are all ghosts when you think about it.

Some people say forgiveness is weakness; it does no good. I submit the opposite. UN-forgiveness is worthless. It does no good whatsoever. It’s like acid or lava, burning and eating away everything in its path.