Tag Archives: God

Religion and politics: as toxic a mix as you get can get

A social media meme is making the rounds calling for the elimination of religion from the world of politics.

I should add my own description: I mean “secular” politics.

Donald Trump’s re-election bid is likely to be fueled in good measure by the support he continues to have among evangelical voters who, for the life of me, cling to rear bumper of the clown car with Trump at the wheel. Why they continue to hang onto this guy’s message — such as it is — is beyond me.

However, religion in my mind has its place when discussing certain aspects of certain issues. I get the religious element to issues such as abortion, prayer in public places, same-sex marriage. I listen to those arguments and will argue my own point of view, which normally conflicts with the evangelical views on the issues I have just listed.

Then we have those on the right and the far right who continue to insist that they support political candidates on the basis of their faith. More to the point, they make judgments on candidates’ fealty to the New Testament, or whether they are devout enough in their Christian faith, or whether they worship God at all, or whether they adhere to faiths other than Christianity.

Indeed, this is where Trump’s support among evangelical voters would seem to break down, except that it doesn’t, again for reasons that escape me.

The U.S. Constitution states specifically and categorically that there should be “no religious test” applied to officeholders or those who seek to hold public office. The founders were as categorical on that subject as they were on practically any principle they wrote when building the nation’s governing framework.

And, yes, the Declaration of Independence, written 13 years before the Constitution was ratified, does refer to “God” and “the Creator.” They left it to the authors of the Constitution to develop a secular governing document which they wrote precisely that way to steer clear of injecting religious policy into the laws of the land.

So, as this campaign gets wound up and as we start heading down the campaign trail toward the White House, it is my fervent hope we can make our judgments on candidates’ fitness for the office without seeking to determine whether they are holy enough in their principles.

That’s what I want, so help me God.

A man of deep faith is ‘at peace’ with death

Jimmy Carter’s abiding faith in God is well-known and has been chronicled extensively since the moment he burst onto the national political scene more than four decades ago.

So, when he tells a Sunday school audience that he is “at peace” with the prospect of death, should the rest of us be surprised? Of course not! Those are the words of a man committed to his deep Christian faith.

Christianity tells us that faith and belief in Jesus’s teaching and his existence as the son of God means we pass from worldly life to eternal life. That has been President Carter’s credo. It has sustained him through an amazing life of service to his country and then, through his faith, to his fellow humans.

This former president has set at least three remarkable records.

  • President Carter is the oldest living man who has held the nation’s highest office.
  • He has lived longer in his post-presidency than any other former president.
  • Oh, and his marriage of 73 years to his beloved Rosalynn is the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history.

Jimmy Carter, the nation’s 39th president, has lived an exemplary life. He has committed himself to others, choosing to forgo a life of personal enrichment.

It is totally in keeping with this man’s good life that he would be “at peace” with knowing that his time on Earth will end.

You may count me as one American who wants him to remain among us for as long as is humanly possible.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your glorious service to the nation — and to the world.

Who is God? Just ask Trump

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David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network asked Donald J. Trump a perfectly sensible question.

“Who is God?” Brody asked.

The Republican presidential nominee then launched into something that was unrecognizable as a legitimate answer to a simple, but serious, question about spirituality.

https://twitter.com/LPDonovan/status/772275637444902915/video/1

Trump talked about the “deal” he negotiated to purchase a big slice of coastal property. He talked about how he has “no mortgage” on the property.

Then the video concludes with Trump saying that God is “the ultimate” and that there’s “nothing like God.”

That’s pretty deep, huh?

And this is the candidate who’s drawing all that evangelical support?

Go figure, man.

 

Pope Francis: evolution is biblical, too

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Pope Francis is my kind of holy man.

The head of the Catholic Church has declared that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and the Bible’s account of creation aren’t mutually exclusive.

Imagine that.

http://www.rawstory.com/2014/10/god-is-not-a-magician-pope-says-christians-should-believe-in-evolution-and-big-bang/

“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve,” the pope told the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Of course, this is the same spiritual authority who has spoken out about climate change and global warming. And why not? He’s a scientist by training and education.

I’ve long been able to justify evolution with the way the Bible describes the creation of the universe. I’ve never been able to accept that Scripture’s account that God created Earth in six days and then rested on the seventh meant that he did all of that in seven calendar days as we understand the measurement of time.

The Holy Father also said he doesn’t believe that God is a “magician” who waved a “magic wand” that enabled him to anything he wanted. “That is not so,” the pope said.

Sure, it’s nice that I happen to agree with the Holy Father on this point.

He’s a lot closer to God than I am. But if I am interpreting his view of how the world was created, I am going to presume he sees the Bible as a sort of holy metaphor.

The world isn’t really 6,000 years old, as some have said in interpreting Scripture literally, word for word.

That’s what I have believed since I was old enough to read about such things. I’m glad that the head of one of the world’s great religions agrees with me.

Does he agree with your view of the world?

‘Young Earthers’ enter creation debate

It’s probably good to pronounce this right off the top: The debate over the actual age of Planet Earth will never end — and by “never,” I mean absolutely never.

A fascinating element has come into focus about whether the planet was created less than 10,000 years ago, which many folks believe is contained in Scripture. A group called “Young Earthers” believes the Bible quite literally.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/religion/age-of-the-earth-controversy-heating-up-as-young-earthers/article_1fe82f62-1e34-5e77-a5b9-22ddd2c898cb.html

They say the Book of Genesis lays it out there: God created the world in six days measured the way we humans do it and then rested on the seventh day. The Sabbath is part of God’s plan for those he created in his image, they say.

There you have it. End of debate, yes? Not even close.

An interesting article in the Tulsa (Okla.) World discusses this debate as it’s occurring in Oklahoma. According to The World: “While an ancient Earth is considered settled science in academic circles, it has been discussed and debated for decades in some evangelical churches and schools and in some conservative Christian colleges.”

Man, this is why I love the Bible so much. It can be interpreted by anyone who can take away whatever they wish.

I’m thinking The Almighty had this in mind when he instructed the men who wrote those holy words. God must have told them, “Write all those biblical books in such a way as to ensure that humankind never stops debating whether to take these words literally or put their own interpretation on what’s written — as long as they’re believers, of course.”

Bill “The Science Guy” Nye and Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, staged a debate in Tulsa a year ago about the creation of the universe. As The World reported: “At the heart of the debate is whether the biblical record demands a young Earth scenario, with creation 6,000 to 10,000 years ago in seven literal 24-hour days. ‘Old Earth”’evangelicals insist that the young Earth position is just one among many possible ways to interpret the biblical record. And evangelicals on both sides of the debate are concerned that the issue is becoming divisive. Some young Earthers insist that old Earthers cannot be true Bible-believing Christians.”

It’s the last sentence, the one about young Earthers doubting the faith of old Earthers that can be troubling as this debate rages on.

I’m simply inclined to ask: How can anyone question legitimately another person’s commitment to faith or belief?

Those who believe God created humans in his image — as I do — surely must know that he kept certain powers to himself. Only the Creator knows what’s in others’ hearts.

Let the debate continue — forever.