Latest Event Updates
Humans have practiced religion for a very long time. Like any other human invention, it has evolved and developed greatly since it’s early beginnings. But is it and many of it’s teachings and reasons for it’s existence still needed by humanity?
Now, there is a distinct difference between religion and faith and spirituality. All of which come in many forms and with many different beliefs and most have changed over time.
The vast majority of humans today no longer believe in a supernatural world of angels, demons and spirits. Science, reason and modern understanding of reality and human nature has dealt a death blow to such concepts. There are still individuals and groups who still hold dear and true such concepts, but these individuals and groups tend to be dependent in some fashion on these beliefs to handle a world and reality they fail to understand in depth. And they rely on beliefs that reinforce and justify their prejudices and “feelings,” which indicates such beliefs are largely based in emotionalism rather than rationality.
It is often believed and argued that morals come from GOD or Gods. That humanity is unable to form sound moral and ethical codes of conduct apart from an understanding of GOD or Gods and the spiritual world. Is this view valid? It is true that humans do tend to do some terrible things, but humans have also shown a tendency to do some great and good and beneficial things as well. Good and Evil deeds do not depend on intelligence or rationality. Humans have done both good and evil for reasons both rational and irrational. Usually these basis of these actions is founded in a concept of survival and benefit. Both good and bad. Also, is the concept of “sin” valid anymore in our modern world. Sin is typically seen as the breaking of GOD’s moral code and laws. Ethics are derived from rationality and reason. Civil and criminal laws are based on moral and ethical codes. From the beginnings of humanity, our laws and customs were rooted in a sense of family and the clan and tribalism and the survival of all three of these. To ensure the survival of the family and clan and tribe. To make it possible to live peacefully with other clans and tribes. To limit conflicts. To resolve disputes. To preserve heritage. Religions were formed based in a sense of the spiritual to help ensure civilized organization of humanity and the tribe(s). Over time, religion and government became one-n-the-same. But also religion and government became distinct and separate.
But the question remains for us today: Is religion(s) necessary and relevant in our modern world increasingly governed by science and reason and rationality? Is religion and faith and spirituality rational?
In America today, there are those who seek to impose either a Christian theocracy or establish freedom “from” religion as the new social, legal and cultural standard for America. Many businesses are owned by Christians with Christian employees, but cater to citizens from every background imaginable. Yet, some don’t like the fact a business being founded and run by Christians and operated according to Christian moral standards. What’s a person who objects to that to do? It’s very simple, if you don’t agree with a business and their policies, don’t be a patron of that business and go elsewhere. But don’t impose your personal values on everyone else restricting their rights to accommodate you. The law establishes the “standard” values for our society so everyone gets reasonable respect and equal treatment.
If a business is founded on Christian values and run by Christian owners, then their values and policies should be respected as long as they do not violate the standards set in our laws and the US Constitution is the foundation of all our laws.
The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion. But it also prevents the government from restricting the free exercise of religious expression and practice both privately and publicly.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Pay close attention to the second half of the Establishment Clause. Most liberals and Atheists and those who proclaim ‘Freedom From Religion” always ignore that part or find some way of dismissing it to make ‘separation of church and state” mean things never intended by our founding fathers.
It’s not in my nature to procrastinate. I like to go ahead and get things done while it’s good to do it. But I have learned that it is sometimes best to wait and get things done at a better time. This is not procrastination, but wise use of time and resources. Haste does sometimes make for waste, yet it is still true that you should not put off for tomorrow what you can get done today. The difference is experience and wisdom.
It has been claimed by many for a long time that sexual orientation is naturally heterosexual for humans and any deviation is unnatural and must be a choice. Well, that logic was developed long ago before modern medical and psychological and natural science were developed and understood. We know now far more about human nature and genetic makeup and brain chemistry and structure than ever in human history. We know now what assumptions are true and what are fallacy. Humans are far more diverse than previously believed. Each person is an individual. Each of us are basically genetically human, but with individual variances in genetics and psychology and physicality. Often what we think of as “choice” is actually nothing more than “realization” and natural determination. Humans tend to fall into 3 basic natural sexual orientations: Heterosexual, Homosexual and Bisexual. With much individual variance between each. It is now known that few of us are actually “pure” in our sexual orientations. Some embrace it as a gift from GOD or nature, while many others deny it as “unnatural” or deviation from “normal.” The reality is actually that “normal” is “variation and individuality.”
In summation: Claiming you can choose sexual orientation makes as much sense as saying you can choose your ethnicity. Nature may preserve a set basic “norm,” but it also preserves “diversity of biology” for the greatest chance of survival. Procreation is but one means and any of the 3 human basic sexual orientations can “procreate, but sexuality is far more than for just procreation. It is also greatly about companionship and security and good health.
Robert Browning in my favorite poet and here is my favorite quote from him:
“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?”
If man did not use imagination and inspiration and strive to extend himself beyond the logical and the empirical, we would not grow as a species and an individual in our capacity for intelligence and empathy and self-improvement.
At its most basic, Sin is simply the breaking of GOD’s moral law. It is not the breaking of cultural laws and not the breaking of ceremonial laws. Jesus himself brought an end to those. That is in the Christian / Jewish (Hebrew) world and faith.
We live in a culture where the concept of sin has become entangled in legalistic arguments over right and wrong. When many of us consider “What is sin?” We think of violations of the Ten Commandments. Even then, we tend to think of murder and adultery as “major” sins compared with lying, cursing, or idolatry as lesser sins.
The truth is that sin, as defined in the original scriptures and documents and translations of the Bible, means “to miss the mark.” The mark, in this case, is the standard of perfection established by God and evidenced by Jesus. Viewed in that light, it is clear that we are all sinners.
In light of this, it does no good to compare ourselves to others. We cannot escape our failure to be righteous in our own strength. This is by God’s design (after the Fall of Adam and Eve), because only when we understand our weakness will we consider relying on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.
For one thing, it is not a sin to be tempted. Jesus himself was tempted and yet did not sin. Each human being is born with a sin nature or tendency to stray away from GOD and his moral law. Does this nullify and make sinful individuality and freedom of choice? No! Far from it. In order to sin and not to sin, one must be able to make moral and ethical choices. Or else be a robot or animal. Is it a sin to be an individual and an independent self-reliant person? No. But, to be a Christian, you must be a follower of the teachings and example of Jesus the Christ. While you cannot live up to Jesus’ level of perfection, if you are truly born again, then you are a saint ( a child of GOD). As a child of GOD and as Jesus taught, you must live by the will and law of GOD as summed up by Jesus as The Two Great Commandments:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Today and actually for some time now, many people (Christians and non-Christians) have tended to call things sinful that scripture and GOD never called or intended to be considered sin. Some in the Church have made the Christian faith a legalistic system of do’s and don’ts that stray far from the teachings of Jesus and the scriptures. This is essentially what is called “religion” or being “religious.” Jesus condemned and scolded the Scribes and Pharisees for this very thing in Matthew 23.
When it comes to the eternal consequences of sin, they are all the same. Every sin, every act of rebellion, leads to condemnation and eternal death (Romans 6:23).
This recipe is so easy and delicious. Try it sometime for a quick supper or lunch. Even the leftovers (if any, lol) are yummy!