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Faith in the News

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:17 pm
by UncleBob
It occurred to me that a thread for news about faith may be in order. I enjoy reading about how news organizations approach topics of faith and I thought that maybe you all do as well (except, of course, Preacherman). Here is one I just finished reading:

Americans Switch Faiths Often

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:30 pm
by Preacherman
LET’S NOT GET PERSONAL ABOUT MY NOT BEING ABLE TO READ THERE CAPT. BLAH… 8O

:lol: :lol: :lol:

I’ll have you know that my Daughter heard on the radio (I can’t listen either) that going to Church regularly would add up to three years to your life.

Now I hope you see my REAL value!!!




















Hmmm, on second thought Cap, let’s not discuss my true value… :P ... :lol:

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:35 pm
by TomT_90GT
I did find that one interesting. Something that jumped out at me was a statement to that the Catholic church has been losing large numbers, and that half of that was attributed to the Church's teaching on abortion and homosexuality. Well, well...seems the Catholics are losing (some of) the wrong people for the right reason! I see all too much emphasis put on the growth of some of our (Protestant) mega-churches. While a part of me is of course glad to see larger numbers attending any mainstream church (be it Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox), and I do NOT see any intrinsic value necessarily in smaller churches being better, I am leery of what these mega churches MAY represent...large numbers of lukewarm Christians seeking messages and programs that tickle their ears, or give them warm fuzzies about being a member of.

I'm kind of on the fence on this, because I am equally against old time "hellfire and brimstone" preaching, yelling, veins popping out, etc. I don't think people needed to be scared into the Kingdom. But I would like to see a little bit more divisive preaching/teaching...by that I mean, we should hear enough of the message of God, what His standards are, what His expectation are of our being Holy like He is Holy...if we don't come out of a service feeling BOTH good about following God AND feeling personally convicted about our own need to change, to LIVE our salvation out in fear(awe of God) and trembling, then we aren't being properly shepherded. We should be out and about in the world, living our lives at work, with our family, with our neighbors and friends, being involved in the community, but we should be moved by what we hear and learn in church to be different, to hold ourselves (and our leaders) to higher expectations than we would if we just play at Christianity.

Sorry to go on so long. Clump-clump...now stepping off the soap box, and yielding the rest of my time to the next speaker...

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:16 pm
by UncleBob
I think that this issue of growth as emphasis mirrors our capitalist concept of 'healthy growth'. The whole point of a capitalist economy is to keep growing to new markets. Once the markets are saturated, then emphasis is given to attract new customers from other providers. This is what many expressions of modern Christianity seems to emulate. I suppose one could argue that it is inevitable since most everyone on the globe has some opportunity to hear the gospel. Certainly, in modern America, most everyone has heard of Christ and the 'market' (if you will) is saturated. People (in America) can choose to not believe but almost everyone has had the opportunity to choose. Mega-churches often seem to follow the paradigm of filling a niche within an overall saturated market and, therefore, tend to fixate on one small segment of the overall message (ie specialization). In my own limited experience, most evangelicals seem to 'reject' certain churches or denominations rather than 'choose' a given expression.

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:13 pm
by TomT_90GT
UncleBob wrote:I think that this issue of growth as emphasis mirrors our capitalist concept of 'healthy growth'. The whole point of a capitalist economy is to keep growing to new markets.
[snip]
Mega-churches often seem to follow the paradigm of filling a niche within an overall saturated market and, therefore, tend to fixate on one small segment of the overall message (ie specialization). In my own limited experience, most evangelicals seem to 'reject' certain churches or denominations rather than 'choose' a given expression.
I'm gonna have to go out back and smoke a cigar and ponder that one, Bob. Heavy, in a thought-provoking way. Working backwards:
1) evangelicals tending to reject denominational options vs choosing a certain one. Could be. Hard to find the 'perfect' blend, and I guess it is easier to reject candidates than pick the right one from the gitgo...Kind of like American Idol, eh? I need to consider that.

2) Mega-churches filling a niche. Oxymoron there? Niche to me always represented focusing on a small segment, and that doesn't jive with the mega prefix, but on second thought, I see your point...they've focused on a specialized (niche) area regarding differentiation of their (non-)denominational offering, in order to maximize their market share (i.e. avoid doing anything else that would cause people to reject them as in (1) above.)

3) I think this point get to the root of what I was trying to express...that our churches sometimes try to emulate the world too much...trying to 'grow market share'. There was never anything wrong with the little mom and pop stores that made a decent living for the proprietor and paid a decent wage to the worker, and provide goods and services to the community. The big box stores went after market share, and we lost the friendliness of the mom and pop size store. Megachurches are the WalMarts and Sam's Clubs of Christianity...lots of merchandise, at not much cost (commitment) to the customer, we all know something is missing, but the good deals take our minds off what's missing.

Okay, now where's that cigar?...I still need to reflect on these points.

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:39 pm
by UncleBob
Today's installment of "Faith in the News" involves video games and religion.

FAITH FIGHTER BANNED

Thoughts?

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:48 pm
by Preacherman
AH, YES, I know the story well!!!

They have released a 'FAITH FIGHTER III' online game!!!

It is true, have you heard???!

It is called:

"KISS A MUSLIMS BUTT AND SCORE BIG!!!"

yyyyyyyeeeeeeeppppppp!!!!!!!

Send all hate mail to: molehammud@simplemind.org

Thanks for your support!!!

:lol:

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:22 pm
by UncleBob
I wonder what this article means?

FAITH AND TORTURE

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:26 pm
by Zed
UncleBob wrote:I wonder what this article means?

FAITH AND TORTURE
the libs HATE God. They will do whatever they can to make faith look stupid.

Posted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:25 pm
by Del
Catholic Radio and the Catholic blogosphere ("St. Blog's Church") are all over these news items. I've been hearing and reading a lot about

- Loss of lukewarm Catholics, many "revert" stories, and the need to continue the "New Evangelization" in earnest
- the growth and proliferation of "mega-churches"
- the issue of "torture," and whether "intensive interrogation techniques" can be used ethically (analogous to 'just war theory').

Personally.... mega-churches are misnamed, and I don't see a problem with them. The average "mega-church," with some 1500 or 2000 worshippers each weekend, is about the size of every small-town Catholic parish I've ever belonged to.

Catholics Churches like to be about that big, because that's the scale that permits us to run a school and provide the other services that Catholics need. And culturally.... we build a church with an eye toward what our great-grandchildren will need in 75 or 100 years.

Evangelicals like their big projection screens, massive sound systems, and various missionary enthusiasms. The larger churches can afford these things, which attract more members.

There is nothing bad to say about house-churches, but I don't see any systematic problem with mega-churches either. The preaching can be good or bad, in either case.

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 6:43 am
by Amon
Zed wrote:
UncleBob wrote:I wonder what this article means?

FAITH AND TORTURE
the libs HATE God. They will do whatever they can to make faith look stupid.
Unfortunately although neither Fox nor CNN can be trusted due to their biased stance, I whole heartedly believe this article probably is true. Does that make me a hater of God? nope. Does that make me a liberal zombie?? :oops: Reason I believe this is because we have a bunch of cheeseball pastors preaching politics and tying them into Christianity. I highly doubt Jesus would have anything to do with conservative propaganda today in the church anymore than the liberal. Unfortanately the majority of pastors today seem to be a bunch of Pat Robertsons..so what do you get? A bunch of "conservative" zombies who think conservative=Christian and liberal=humanist..Come On!

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 7:16 am
by TNLawPiper
Amon wrote:
Zed wrote:
UncleBob wrote:I wonder what this article means?

FAITH AND TORTURE
the libs HATE God. They will do whatever they can to make faith look stupid.
Unfortunately although neither Fox nor CNN can be trusted due to their biased stance, I whole heartedly believe this article probably is true. Does that make me a hater of God? nope. Does that make me a liberal zombie?? :oops: Reason I believe this is because we have a bunch of cheeseball pastors preaching politics and tying them into Christianity. I highly doubt Jesus would have anything to do with conservative propaganda today in the church anymore than the liberal. Unfortanately the majority of pastors today seem to be a bunch of Pat Robertsons..so what do you get? A bunch of "conservative" zombies who think conservative=Christian and liberal=humanist..Come On!
+1

As a side note, I don't see why a Christian should believe in torture.

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 7:56 am
by ChildOfGod
Did you ever see "Religion and Ethics News Weekly" with Bill Abernathy good reporting along these lines.

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 10:52 am
by Del
TNLawPiper wrote: As a side note, I don't see why a Christian should believe in torture.
The very word "torture" is repulsive, isn't it?

Christians should instinctively realize that torture is contrary to the dignity of humanity. Torture is evil, and cannot be used to punish. The threat of torture should not be used to control peoples, political dissidents, families of hostages, and so forth.

The moral dilemma occurs when we are talking about "aggressive interrogation techniques." Water boarding is the common example: there is no physical harm or injury, but the psychological trauma can be severe.

Suppose an enemy combatant has information about a terrorist attack.
- Is it ethical to apply traumatic techniques, to obtain information that will prevent the attack?
- On the other hand, is it ethical to not use such techniques, and thereby let the suicide bombers injure civilians in busy subway stations?

It is easy for an armchair Christian to have an opinion.... but guys like George Bush and Moloch Obama have to make a decision.

Since Obama is an outspoken advocate of seeing children dismembered alive in their mothers' wombs, I'm sure he will have no trouble dealing with the moral dilemma of torture and interrogation.

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 11:06 am
by TomT_90GT
Del wrote:
TNLawPiper wrote: As a side note, I don't see why a Christian should believe in torture.
The very word "torture" is repulsive, isn't it?

Christians should instinctively realize that torture is contrary to the dignity of humanity. Torture is evil, and cannot be used to punish. The threat of torture should not be used to control peoples, political dissidents, families of hostages, and so forth.

The moral dilemma occurs when we are talking about "aggressive interrogation techniques." Water boarding is the common example: there is no physical harm or injury, but the psychological trauma can be severe.

Suppose an enemy combatant has information about a terrorist attack.
- Is it ethical to apply traumatic techniques, to obtain information that will prevent the attack?
- On the other hand, is it ethical to not use such techniques, and thereby let the suicide bombers injure civilians in busy subway stations?

It is easy for an armchair Christian to have an opinion.... but guys like George Bush and Moloch Obama have to make a decision.

Since Obama is an outspoken advocate of seeing children dismembered alive in their mothers' wombs, I'm sure he will have no trouble dealing with the moral dilemma of torture and interrogation.
+1

Like it or not, there are numerous shades of gray in defining "torture".
One extreme is doing stuff too horrible to imagine: cutting, burning, etc.
The other extreme is saying that calling someone a bad name is torture.

I'm not comfortable, or in favor of any American doing the horrible stuff to anyone. But I think it is ludicrous to think we can defend ourselves by treating terrorists (who have NO problem doing the horrible stuff to us) according to ACLU standards. Basically, the standards the current administration is moving towards are: If the person you are doing this too is uncomfortable with it, then don't do it. Yeah, THAT will be effective.

I don't know what the limit should be, but I think it does vary with the circumstances (what is the immediacy of the threat? what were the circumstances when the person being interrogated was caught, etc). Above my pay grade as our current Commander-In-Chief so cutely phrased it...but he can't claim that any more.

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 11:46 am
by TNLawPiper
Do you think the techniques outlined by the Geneva Conventions, as authorized by the Army Field Manual, are insufficient? That's all Obama wants.

Remember Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq? An Army interrogator convinced an associate to roll on al-Zarqawi by building rapport and familiarity with the guy, and al-Zarqawi was killed shortly thereafter. If we have CIA agents, FBI agents, and Army interrogators telling us and providing evidence that "enhanced interrogation techniques" are generally unnecessary, are we really going to doubt their experience to give deference to Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney?

If we need to use those techniques, we should withdraw from the Geneva Conventions and throw away the Army Field Manual, because both prohibit waterboarding.

Back to the original point, however, it's unfortunate to see churches justifying and supporting this behavior. A church's loyalty should be to God alone, despite how much they may love America.

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:36 pm
by Del
TNLawPiper wrote:Do you think the techniques outlined by the Geneva Conventions, as authorized by the Army Field Manual, are insufficient? That's all Obama wants.

Remember Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq? An Army interrogator convinced an associate to roll on al-Zarqawi by building rapport and familiarity with the guy, and al-Zarqawi was killed shortly thereafter. If we have CIA agents, FBI agents, and Army interrogators telling us and providing evidence that "enhanced interrogation techniques" are generally unnecessary, are we really going to doubt their experience to give deference to Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney?

If we need to use those techniques, we should withdraw from the Geneva Conventions and throw away the Army Field Manual, because both prohibit waterboarding.

Back to the original point, however, it's unfortunate to see churches justifying and supporting this behavior. A church's loyalty should be to God alone, despite how much they may love America.
I dunno what the Geneva Convention advocates, or what Obama advocates.

However, I urge that Christians should have our own standards, and measure these treaties and exective orders against our own standards.

"Just War Principles" demand that all peaceful means should be exhausted before military violence is used. That's why Pope John Paul II urged America not to invade Iraq while UN inspectors were still looking, and failing to find anything.

The same principle suggests that aggressive interrogation should not be used against a person, unless peaceful and loving means have failed, and the need is very great. Even then, extreme prudence must be exercised, lest the interrogation itself become evil. We cannot do evil, no matter how much good we hope to achieve.

This question is not new. The "Inquisitor's Manual" from the 1300's notes the moral difficulties of torture. And torture is rarely effective.... some combatants are adamant, and resist torture even to death. Others will lie and say anything, just to end the torture. So the Manual recommends persuasive techniques that are much more humane.

Side note.... pro-life advocates have proposed that children in the womb should be designated as terrorists and enemy combatants, so that Obama will protect them from torture and inhumane treatment.

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:45 pm
by Thoth
TNLawPiper wrote:
As a side note, I don't see why a Christian should believe in torture.
Never taught Sunday School I take it ... :twisted:

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:49 pm
by Thoth
Preacherman wrote:I’ll have you know that my Daughter heard on the radio (I can’t listen either) that going to Church regularly would add up to three years to your life.
Just three years?! Bah, we real Orthodox can attend three years worth of church services in just one year.

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:52 pm
by TNLawPiper
Thoth wrote:
TNLawPiper wrote:
As a side note, I don't see why a Christian should believe in torture.
Never taught Sunday School I take it ... :twisted:
:lol: