Re: If I'm raptured there will be millions of others raptured too
I've always preferred this version.
quote:Every night, David would fervently pray to God to let him win the lottery.
"I am your faithful servant, my Lord, and yet I live in poverty and need. I have so little time to worship you when it takes so much to make ends meet. Please, just let me win the lottery and I will dedicate the funds and the rest of my life to spreading your gospel.
And yet, week after week, he would not win. And so it went on, day after day, week after week. David struggled to get by, he prayed fervently, and he didn't win the lottery.
Eventually, he was near the end of his wits. He had believed that God was real and responded to prayer, but was it all just a lie? That his faithful servant who gave so much would be ignored and rejected?
Angrily he ran out of his flat, shaking his fist at the heavens and crying in a rage. "Why have you forsaken me, God?! Are you even there? Is my request so much after a lifetime of dutiful service?!"
David's rant was cut short as the earth shook beneath him. He feel to his knees in shock as the very heavens themselves rent apart. A blinding, dazzling light blazed forth and bathed all in unearthly hues, while a voice that was at once heard and not heard washed over his being and penetrated his very soul.
I am having difficulty grasping quite why, but I find myself deeply irritated by the stupid neologisms 'Oneism' and 'Twoism'
quote:Behind these Eastern spiritual techniques is a Oneist worldview in conflict with biblical spirituality, which I call Twoism.
I'm think what's mostly annoying me is that I feel the author has invented these ridiculous words to give the false impression that there is some original thought or insight in what he writes. We already have words for these concepts - monism and dualism.
Re: More on the Great Sea Change from Christianity to Paganism and Secularism
I'm quite sure nobody here has any idea of how Christian our news media were at one time either.
I am somewhat confident that 100% of the members here are aware that 21st century America is more secular than 19th century America, which is the rather mundane fact that this book is sensationalising.
Re: More on the Great Sea Change from Christianity to Paganism and Secularism
I'm pretty sure nobody here has any real appreciation for just how Christian journalism was in earlier times, and the nation as a whole. Because over and over I keep hearing it argued that the nation was never really Christian. You should have objected to that and you didn't, nor did anyone else here who supposedly is aware of this as you claim. In any case I had no idea that newspapers were so explicitly Christian and I'm sure you didn't either.
I don't read every post on the forum nor respond to most that I disagree with. I'm quite a contrary type so I'd be here all day if I tried that!
I'm not sure what specific posts you're referencing, but usually when people say the US was never a Christian nation I think they're talking about the constitutional basis of the state. This is not the same as the question of how religious the society was. That Western society was a lot more Christian in the past is hardly a secret. This applies to US society in particular, where the decline in religious belief is more recent and slower than it has been in most of the industrialised world. Obviously we don't have opinion polls from the 19th century, but the patterns pretty clear by comparing generations. The below shows reported religious affiliation of white British adults year on year. As you can see, the religiosity of each generation doesn't change so much over time, but each successive generation is less religious.
The US shows a similar but less dramatic pattern (though note the two are not directly comparable - the UK case is reported religious affiliaiton; the US survey is asking about church attendance)
This is all common knowledge. I'm unclear why you're pretending to be surprised.
quote:ABE: AND, I'm really really sure that you and others here are not aware of the aggressive purging of our Christian past that has been done by this new secular media either. Since the effect would be that nobody has any appreciation any more of just HOW Christian we were the absence of such information wouldn't mean anything to anyone. The Protestant Reformation being completely left out of history texts? Changing "Thank God'" to "Thank goodness" in a direct quote? And a lot more than that. We aren't just more secular, there is a concerted effort to eradicate all traces of our former Christian identity.
Incidentally, I've no idea what you're referencing, but replacing 'Thank God' with 'Thank goodness' looks much more like religious prudery than secularist manipulation. Of the same line with silly phrases like 'dang it all to heck'.
I invite you to contribute to uncovering the truth then. You can start by identifying the book in question.
The claim comes from Religion and Traditional Values in Public School Textbooks: An Empirical Study. by Paul C. Vitz. It's from 1985, and is basically the author looking at a bunch of public school textbooks and claiming they don't cover religion (especially Christian and Jewish religion) as much as he thinks they should; nor do they give adequate coverage to 'traditional family values'. On world history textbooks; he writes this on the subject of Protestantism:
quote:One of the strange characteristics of many of the texts was their failure to mention the Protestant Reformation, or to give it very little emphasis. For example, American Book hardly refers to Protestantism and not at all to the Reformation; Riverside which has twenty pages on Tanzania and 19 pages on the history of the Netherlands; 16 pages on ancient Crete. It makes no reference to Martin Luther and Calvin and there is almost nothing on Protestantism. The absence of reference to Protestantism in Holland is particularly noteworthy given that country's history. Silver-Burdett's text, although generally one of the relatively better treatments of religion, hardly mentions the Reformation. Holt and Scholastic have nothing on the Reformation but their orientation is more on world cultures than world history. Even the texts that do take up the Reformation usually do not discuss the theological differences that were at issue. Religious differences, the fundamental basis of the conflict, are typically omitted. For example, Scott-Foresman mentions Martin Luther and the break from the Catholic Church, but no reason of any kind for the break is mentioned. Only McGraw-Hill and in a minor way Follett refer to plausible religious reasons for the Reformation. This neglect of Protestantism further supports the thesis that some kind of repression or denial of Christianity (especially Protestantism) is demonstrated by how these texts treat the Christian religion.
Unfortunately the pdf version I found seems to be missing the list of which books he's talking about here. I think 'American Book'; the one he claims does not mention the Reformation, is a book called People of the World from 1982; but that might be a separate book from the social studies seciton of the same artlce. Can't find anything else on this book, so hard to know what to say.
The paragraph suggests what the authors claim: that the Protestant Reformation is given short shrift in those textbooks or no shrift at all as it were.
More detail than we have would be required to judge if Protestantism is really underrepresented in these textbooks. A world history textbook which didn't even mention the Reformation would probably be missing something, but we don't really know the scope, length or depth of the book. I could envisage a meaningful and useful introduction to world history which focused only on broad, socioeconomic patterns without saying much about religion.
I'm sure you'd think that's precisely because of my secularist upbringing, but there's an important point to remember in all this. I grew up in the UK. A lot of schools in the UK are associated with churches. All schools, including those with no religious affiliation, are required to teach Religious Education (or they used to anyway, no idea what kids learn today). I went to a Christian school so our RE classes were almost exclusively about Christianity (in my whole school career I recall a couple of weeks digressing on Judaism in order to meet the requirement that we didn't only talk about Christianity).
And yet this religious education which every Briton has to go through doesn't arrest the trend to secularisation of society - British society is, on the contrary, much more secular than American society. The reasons for the trend to secularisation in wealthy countries are debatable, but it's clearly happening independent of how much we talk about God in school.
Incidentally, I tried to find out a little about what is taught in today's world history books in the US, since the study we were looking about was about textbooks from 35 years ago. My preliminary findings are that they look terrible; but then I guess writing a simple world history book is not easy. We didn't study any world history at school, so I suppose I can't criticise too much.
Which view is of course according to your PC beliefs. No, I sincerely mean that those events are objectively the most important in all human history though I do expect you to keep wrongly reinterpreting it as merely according to my religious beliefs. Cuz that's today's revisionist dogma, thanks no doubt at least in some part to the influences described in the book under discussion.
Jesus and the Reformation could reasonably be argued to be the most important events in the history of the world if the beliefs of Protestant Christianity are true. That's why it's dependent on your religious belief.
If you're arguing they're the most important events in human history even if, for example, there is no God, then that;s obviously going to require some justification; since it is no sense obvious.
I'm not even sure the concept of 'objectively most important historical event' is coherent. 'Most important' seems inherently subjective without some clearly agreed criteria, and I can't think of any that are possible to objectively measure.
It's very interesting that Religious Education is required in the UK where you're all going so dreadfully secular, while we are told religion is not permitted in school at all. It's not true but that's the prevailing misunderstanding.
So what did you learn in Religious Education? Anything at all?
I went to Catholic school, so the focus was heavily on Jesus and Catholic belief. Lots of Bible stories. I don't remember a great deal - most of my childhood memories are not so clear, and most of those that are not about learning things in class. I think I never took RE very seriously either, so was probably often not paying attention.
As we got a bit older, some RE classes started to cover controversial ethical debates. I feel like there was a lot of discussion of abortion and euthanasia; but I might be overestimating how much time we spent on that because these classes would lead to people arguin-g; so they stick in the memory more than Bible story classes that no one cared about.
From the age of 16-18 RE became optional. I chose to carry on with it, but at this point the focus was more on philosophy than religion as such. We did moral philosophy; epistemology, and philosophical arguments for the existence of God. Maybe other things too, but this is what I remember,
The content of Religious Education varied a lot depending on your school, though. The British system works where we have a set list of concepts everyone has to learn (decided by the government, so it changes all the time); but the content is usually quite broad and there's a lot of room for individual schools to vary. I grew up in an overwhelmingly white area that had seen massive Irish and Polish immigration after the war. As a result our schools were mostly Catholic or Anglican (with a few Methodist schools - before the war my home town was staunchly Methodist, and there's still a statue of one of the Wesleys). We all learnt about the Bible.
People who grew up in racially diverse cities and went to non-denominational schools, however, have told me that their RE classes were different. It was more a case of looking at different religions one by one and covering their core beliefs; which would perhaps have been more valuable than the Bible-heavy education I had (I know you would disagree, but that's just my thoughts).
Unless it had a huge impact on social structures, which it did. Which in itself should justify a chapter on it in any world history book. The Protestant Work Ethic alone needs a few paragraphs at least. The effect of Protestantism on the concept of liberty that was so big in the Enlightenment needs quite a few paragraphs. Women's rights another big result. But Christianity's role in all that is now rejected and it's attributed to other sources instead.
However, it couldn't even have happened if there is no God. The story of Jesus life is the hugest event in history because God Himself came to earth as a man. And all history changed as a result.
The significance of the 'Protestant Work Ethic' is a complicated historical debate - it's not a fact. It's something to discuss at the end of school; or possibly university - it's not something that it makes sense to cover at the age of 13 (which I think is when the early modern period is covered in American schools, based on what I read while looking into this thread).
As for Jesus, I understand that you believe that this was God coming to earth as a man. And yes, if that was true, it would be an event of enormous significance. Probably the most significant in all of history. But to those of us who do not think Jesus was God, it's of course of far less significance. Christianity is of course of undeniable significance to human history; but I don't think a useful discussion of Christianity needs much focus on Jesus' life - all that matters is what people thought about Jesus when Christianity later rose to prominence.
Thinking about this, I think deciding what needs to be covered in a basic history education is probably one of the most difficult things to decide in a curriculum. It is also, for this reason, one of the most changeable in the national standards in the UK. No one agrees on the most important things in history, so it's used as a symbolic political football - one government will complain that history is too Anglocentric and ignores most of the world and introduce requirements to learn more world history, the next will object that now history ignores British tradition and introduce more British history and so on ad infinitum.
This is different to, for example, physics. There seems much more agreement on what are the core things everyone should learn about physics; and there's nothing politically controversial about Newton's laws.
As I suggested to PaulK, Brits may at least be more Bible literate than Americans are because of your required religious education.
Thanks very much for the description. Bible stories taken out of context could certainly be boring and irrelevant. It's maybe good for very small children to learn them because they can later be used as a scaffolding for serious Bible study, but over the age of, say, six, I think there should be more meat in religious education than that. If the focus is Christian it should at least give the outline of Old Testament prophecies of the promised Messiah to come, which as a matter of fact do run through all those Bible stories though I suppose none of that is taught; and then the accounts of how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies, that He was God who submitted to being born as a man so He could save us from our sins etc. Sounds like you didn't get much or any of that. I wonder if any other schools do.
So although your education was "Bible heavy" maybe it wasn't in a way that taught what the Bible is really all about.
When I think about it, I think we rarely read the Bible itself (could be misremembering). We rather read paraphrases of the stories. You will probably interpret this differently to me. I recall once or twice actually following the teacher's recommendation and looking up actual Bible passages; and discovering how strange the Bible is. Thee story that springs to mind is the one about Abraham (?) quickly chopping off his son's foreskin and putting it on his son's forehead, in a successful attempt to forestall God's inexplicable and sudden demand for his son's death. None of the weirdness with the foreskin was mentioned in the summary of the story we'd read in class, and I believe we were often shielded from the actual text to maintain the fiction that these stories from a distant and alien culture carried lessons for our lives.
Since there was no difference in what people thought about Jesus in the early centuries from what they thought later I don't see the point of this idea.
Obviously you know this is not true, since there are plenty of accounts of Christ from the early centuries of the Christian era that you consider false, as there are views from later centuries you consider false. There have been many interpretations of Jesus down through the centuries.
My only point, though, was that the actual details of Jesus' life are poorly attested. You can discuss the history of Christianity simply by discussing what different Christians believed and did. The true Jesus behind all that doesn't matter (I know you think different - but bear in mind I'm talking from the point of view of someone who doesn't believe in God).
Since Britain was prominent in Christian history I'd of course vote for emphasizing British history. I'm really sorry that US universities dropped their required courses in American History and Institutions and Western Civilization as a consequence of the Sixties' bashing of everything western and Christian. As for textbooks on history I'd like to see one written that explains all of western history as a working out of the influences of Christianity and its opponents. I guess such a textbook could be written for different age groups.
ABE: The faction that wants more emphasis on world history no doubt falsely treats it as equal to British history. The only really interesting and meaningful history on the planet has to do with the influence of Christ. A Biblical view of the rest of the world would analyze it in terms of the nature of Fallen Humanity and Satan's rule due to the Fall. Which is how it should be presented in any textbook of course. /ABE
What's interesting is, of course, inherently subjective. Lots of people are fascinated by things I could not care less about. What's interesting is what holds your interest, and everyone has different interests.
You've discussed the idea that Christianity is not given the prominence in education you think it should because of some nefarious conspiracy. But think this through - you think, as you've said, that the only important history is about Christ and his influence on the world. As you're aware though, lots of people in this world are not Christians. Anyone who sets out to sincerely and honestly write a history of the world. focusing on the events that they consider most important, is bound to write a history that in your opinion lays too little stress on Jesus and the Reformation unless they share your beliefs. Not because they're trying to be hostile to Christianity, but because these events would clearly actually be less important than you think they are if your beliefs were not true.
I believe you've mentioned that you were not Christian in your younger days. If you'd considered the most important events in history then, would you have said Jesus and Luther? And if not, would this be because you were engaged in a conspiracy to undermine Christianity, or just because you had a different perspective on things than you do today?
That's overly simplistic. There are thousands of varieties of theism and every variety believes that all of the other varieties are made up.
That's obviously false. Lots of theists believe that other theists whose beliefs seem incompatible are actually saying the same thing in a different way. Whether that makes sense is another matter entirely.
It was Moses, but I didn't remember anything about the forehead so I looked it up. God was threatening to kill Moses because he hadn't had his son circumcised, which is the sign of the covenant between God and Israel. It wasn't "inexplicable" and the demand was for Moses' death, not his son's. And it was his wife Zipporah who cut off the foreskin, and cast it at Moses' feet. Nothing about the forehead although one translation says she "touched" his feet with it which is weird enough. But "cast it" is the more common translation.
Clearly I'm not so BIble literate from all my lessons. This was a couple of decades ago in my defence.
I'm getting awfully tired of being called a liar. No, I do not know about any "plenty of accounts," I know of a consistent understanding of Jesus' life throughout the history of traditional Christianity, so whatever you have in mind has to be some oddball or heretical line that I'm not even aware of, or possibly gave no attention to because I knew they were false and therefore utterly irrelevant since the valid tradition does not acknowledge them.
I've never accused you of lying. I was simply pointing out that you knew of 'oddball and heretical' accounts - like the various non-canonical gospels. All sorts of strange ideas about Jesus have been entertained - that he didn't have a corporeal body, for example. You know these things exist and 'know' they are false because of what you 'know' about the reality of Jesus. But to someone like me who lacks your 'knowledge'; the other views are interesting too.
That's ridiculous. There are four different accounts of His life and they are traditionally put together to give the full picture.
There are four canonical accounts that are mutually contradictory in certain points. There are of course other non-canonical accounts which I think you consider later inventions. And I would agree - I just think the same applies to the Gospel of John, for example. And I don't think figuring out whether Mark is a genuine historical account matters for a history of the subsequent development of Christianity.
I became a believer in my mid to late forties. I'm NOW stating what I NOW consider to be the objective truth which I've learned by studying the history of Christianity, about what are truly the most important events in all of human history, which have been removed from our cultural heritage over the last century. I am responding to this particular book which shows something more than a mere erosion of belief over time in western civilization. What I believed before is utterly irrelevant.
I know what you now consider to be the objective truth. And the authors of Prodigal Press agree with you.
The thing is, there are certain events which, if you and the authors of this book are correct, are amongst the most significant in human history. You have been claiming that there is a conspiracy to suppress these events in textbooks. All I'm trying to point out is that these events are not so earth-shatteringly significant if the view of the cosmos shared by yourself and the authors of Prodigal Press is wrong.
I think this view is wrong. As I'm sure you're aware, I do not believe in God. I do not think Jesus was anything other than a man. I don't think there's any such thing as salvation, or life after death. If I write a history of the world, it's obviously going to have a very different emphasis than if you did. But that's not because of any conspiracy to suppress Christianity. It's just I have a very different perspective to you and the authors of this book.
Edited by caffeine, : Edited to add a key 'not'. Thanks xongsmith