Posts

Showing posts with the label #Pagans

Pagans and theology.

Image
People who aren’t Christian regularly critique Christianity: What we believe, what our churches teach, how we practice. I regularly lump ’em into three categories: Antichrists who offer no constructive criticism, and don’t care whether their complaints are valid or not: They just wanna bash Christians. The clueless, who overheard the antichrists’ complaints and think they’re valid. They honestly don’t know any better. Those with valid complaints, who take us to task when we truly are inconsistent or hypocritical. There’s not a lot we can do with the antichrists, much as Christian apologists might foolishly try. ( Pearls before pigs, guys. Mt 7.6 ) The clueless can be reasoned with, but when they’re not merely clueless but downright anti-Christianity, shake the dust off and leave them be. But the valid critics must be taken seriously. Because they’re right. We Christians do teach one thing and do another. We preach forgiveness and grace and mercy when it comes to evan

Secret Christians.

Image
Most of the time, this particular teaching of Jesus has the effect of getting Christians to quit waffling and publicly declare themselves Christian. ’Cause Jesus doesn’t want secret followers. Matthew 10.32-33 KWL 32 “So everyone who agrees with me before people: I’ll also agree with them before my heavenly Father. 33 But those who disown me before people: I’ll also disown them before my heavenly Father.” Though y’might notice there were secret Christians in Jesus’s day. Nicodemus of Jerusalem and Joseph of Arimathea were two rather obvious followers… but give ’em credit; they did out themselves by entombing Jesus. Jn 19.38-42 We don’t have Jesus’s comments about them, but since they rather publicly got involved “before people” when push came to shove, I seriously doubt Jesus is gonna disown either of them at the End. Thing is, there are a number of people who secretly, privately, personally believe in Jesus. But they don’t have the balls to step forward and public

Pagan and proud.

Image
Whenever I share Jesus with pagans, I run into two types: The open-minded and the closed-minded. Either pagans who are curious and have tons of questions; or pagans who wanna tell me about Jesus, ’cause they already know it all. The open-minded are fun. I may not get them to believe, or convince them to set foot in a church, but that’s okay: There’s still room for the Holy Spirit to work on ’em. There’s still hope. Whereas the closed-minded are depressing. They suck all the fun out of the conversation. They dismiss or mock what we consider important, and don’t care how insulting and condescending they come across. When Jesus compared them to swine, Mt 7.6 you can see why that analogy has become so popular. Why are they like that? Pride. Like I said, they already know it all. They think they have God all figured out. Or at least they have God figured out better than we Christians do. Sometimes they grew up Christian, so they actually do know a few things. Sometimes they di

Pantheism: God is everything, and everything is God.

Image
On those who believe God is the universe. Pantheist /'pæn.θi.ɪst/ adj. Identifies God as the universe, or recognizes the universe as a manifestation of God. 2. Identifies all gods as forms, manifestations, avatars, or persons of the One God. [Pantheism /'pæn.θi.ɪz.əm/ n. ] Popular culture believes Hinduism to consist of the worship of thousands of gods. That’s not quite accurate. Hindus themselves tell me that they tend to worship maybe one or two gods themselves… but the “thousands of gods,” as westerners call ’em, are really just different faces of the One God. So they’re monotheist? Still not quite accurate. It’s not that there’s one God with thousands of faces. It’s that God consists of every face. Everything is God. God is the universe. Whenever you meet a pagan who talks about “the universe,” and speaks of the universe as if it has an intelligence—“The universe wants me to do such-and-so,” or “The universe is sending me a message”—that’s the mindset we’re

These godless kids these days.

Image
Little bit of griping about the younger generation… and now it’s in the bible. Psalm 14 Amár navál be lib ó /“The fool said at heart” (Latin Dixit insipiens ) is by David, and we number it at 14. Commentators figure it’s a lament: David, or Wisdom (i.e. the Holy Spirit) mourns the fact kids these days don’t follow God anymore. Not like “our righteous group,” Ps 14.5 the dor /“age group” ( KJV “generation”) David’s in, which he deems more devout than the younger set. Back in his day people followed God, took his side, knew where their help came from, and expected God to rescue ’em yet again. In comparison, this generation is hopeless, nihilistic, cynical, faithless, and godless. Basically, the same lament every generation has about the next one. Well, with one exception: The people from this generation, who gang up with the previous generation about their peers and successors. That’s a phenomena I’ve seen quite often lately. My parents are “baby boomers,” I’m in what marke

Losing your faith when you go to school.

Image
More accurately, being the pagans you always secretly were. In my town, today’s the first day of school. I have friends in other parts of the United States who say, “You start school in August ? You’re nuts.” I look at it from an educator’s point of view: The shorter the summer vacation, the less chance there is for the kids to forget everything before we get ’em back in the classrooms. Plus most of the parents do not mind at all . Colleges and universities are also starting up this time of year. Along with that comes a common worry Christians have: They worry their good Christian kids will go away to school, and gradually ditch their Christianity. It’s hardly a new worry. It’s been around since the very first Christians sent their kids to the ancient version of university, the academy. It’s been around since the first universities slid away from the goals of their Christian founders, and became secular. Since I grew up Fundamentalist, I got to hear their version of that worry

When pagans die.

Image
Have they no hope? Well, let’s not rule that out. Yeah, this is gonna be a bummer of an article. Sorry. It needs saying. When Christians die, it’s sad. ’Cause we’re never gonna see those people again in this lifetime. We often say, “We’ll see ’em in heaven,” and that’s true—though not quite as pop-culture Christianity imagines it. We’ll see them in the kingdom of heaven. Once Jesus returns to establish that kingdom, we Christians are all getting resurrected, and they’ll be back, better than before. As will we. That’s our hope. But it’s not pagans’ hope. The Latin word paganus meant someone from the country, and therefore not from the city. Christians adopted it to refer to people who don’t live in the city of God, or civilians who aren’t in the Lord’s army. By definition a pagan isn’t in the kingdom. Not going to heaven. They’re outside —and outside isn’t good. So when pagans die, it’s a profound loss. Not only are we not seeing them again, we’re likely not seeing them in

Theists and deists: The ways people believe in God.

Image
Most pagans do believe in God, y’know. THEIST 'θi.ɪst adjective . Believes in the existence of God or gods. 2. Believes in one God, a personal being, the universe’s creator, who interacts with its creation. [Theistic θi'ɪst.ɪk adjective , theism 'θi.ɪz.əm noun ] DEIST 'di.ɪst adjective, noun . Believes God exists, specifically as a creator who doesn’t supernaturally intervene in his universe. [Deistic 'di.ɪs.tɪk adj. , deism 'di.ɪz.əm n. ] If you believe in gods, you’re a theist . People tend to bunch theists into different classifications, depending on how many gods they believe in, and how. Both religious and irreligious people (and the Christian term for the non-religious is “pagan” ) alike fall into these slots: MONOTHEIST : Just the One God, thanks. POLYTHEIST : Multiple gods. Sometimes two, a good and bad god, in a dualistic system. Sometimes three, among heretic Christians who really misunderstand the trinity. Sometimes a whole p

Isn’t God gonna save everybody?

Image
God definitely wants to. Therefore some Christians insist in the end, he will. UNIVERSALIST /ju.nə'vər.səl.əst/ adj. Believing all humanity will (eventually) be saved. I’ve mentioned before how pagans believe good people go to heaven, and bad people to hell. I should mention there’s a minority among them who believe there is no hell. Nope, not even for genocidal maniacs. Everybody goes to the same afterlife, and if you’re a westerner that’d be heaven. There might be some karmic consequences; you might find yourself in the suckier part of heaven. But considering it’s heaven, it’s not bad. Y’see, these folks figure God is love. Don’t we Christians teach that? Why yes we do. 1Jn 4.8 And God loves everyone—“for God so loved the world” Jn 3.16 and all that. So why would a loving God throw people in hell? Especially for something as minor as not believing in him?—which most of the time is really an honest mistake. Doesn’t sound very loving of God to toss someone into hell

Betting on God.

Image
PASCAL’S WAGER pə'skælz 'weɪ.dʒər noun. Argument that it’s best to presume God exists: The possibility of hell outweighs any advantage of believing otherwise. My first exposure to Pascal was actually PASCAL . (I lived in San Jose in the late 1970s, so as you can guess, my middle school had the best computers.) I knew PASCAL was named after Blaise Pascal (1623–62), a French mathematician and statistician. I didn’t know he was also a Catholic philosopher who came up with a popular apologetic argument. Goes like yea: Let us then examine this point, and say, “God is, or he is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions. Do not, then, repro