Chris Hedges: The Suicide of the Liberal Church – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

…The self-identified religious institutions that thrive preach the perverted “prosperity gospel,” the message that magic Jesus will make you rich, respected and powerful if you believe in him. Jesus, they claim, is an American capitalist, bigot and ardent imperialist. These sects selectively lift passages from the Bible to justify the unjustifiable, including homophobia, war, racism against Muslims, and the death penalty. Yet there are more students—2,067—at the evangelical Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary alone than at the divinity schools and seminaries of Yale, Harvard, Union, Vanderbilt and Chicago, whose combined enrollment is 1,537.

The doctrine these sects preach is Christian heresy. The Christian faith—as in the 1930s under Germany’s pro-Nazi Christian church—is being distorted to sanctify nationalism, unregulated capitalism and militarism. The mainstream church, which refuses to denounce these heretics as heretics, a decision made in the name of tolerance, tacitly gives these sects credibility and squanders the prophetic voice of the church…

 

Source: Chris Hedges: The Suicide of the Liberal Church – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

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Here is how the Bible condones terrorism

Ammon Bundy speaks at a press conference in Oregon (screen grab)

  1. In the Bible, God controls humans by raining down death, destruction and terror on those who defy or anger him.
  2. The Bible both opens and closes with graphic descriptions of torment and fear inflicted by God and designed to keep the faithful in line.
  3. In addition to inflicting terror directly, God does so via human and nonhuman agents.
  4. During armed conflict, God and his messengers command the Israelites to slaughter civilians and destroy their homes and means of food production including livestock and orchards.
  5. As in ISIS, sexual enslavement of conquered women is one means of humiliating enemy combatants.
  6. Terror isn’t  just an Old Testament affair. In the New Testament gospels, Jesus himself threatens violence and torment against those who don’t fall in line.

Source: Here is how the Bible condones terrorism

The West’s big lie about Mother Teresa: Her “glorification of suffering instead of relieving it” has had little impact on her glowing reputation – Salon.com

… Speaking in 1997, she remarked that “the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people,” describing how it was “very beautiful for the poor to share [their suffering] with the passion of Christ.” For Mother Teresa, poverty and sickness were gifts that provided the opportunity to develop one’s connection with God. Her mission was not so much to alleviate suffering but to ensure it happened within a framework of religious belief. Indeed, by her own admission she was motivated by a desire to fulfill her own religious convictions rather than altruistic concern for the world’s poor. “There is always the danger that we may become only social workers … our works are only an expression of our love for Christ,” she told a BBC journalist in 1969. This attitude is manifestly disparate from the utilitarian principles by which humanitarian efforts are ordinarily judged.

Yet this reality, of Mother Teresa as a missionary first and an altruist second, is not the image that has taken precedence in the West. She won the Nobel Prize not for her religious convictions but “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty.” Reports from volunteers, journalistic investigations and academic research that decries her “glorification of suffering instead of relieving it” has had little impact on her glowing reputation. This remains as true within secular communities as religious ones, with pollsters consistently reporting that Americans consider her one of the most admired figures of the 20th century.

The extent to which Mother Teresa is considered a humanitarian hero is a significant victory for the Catholic Church, which coordinated a high-profile campaign to have her “fast-tracked” to sainthood. However, in many ways it is no surprise that she remains so popular among Westerners. She presented a narrative – that of a European nun going to help the world’s poor – that acted to both resolve the internal guilt of wealthy churchgoers while also presenting their religion as a relevant, modern force for good. Meanwhile, her conceptualization of suffering as a positive experience provided rebuttal to those who criticized the West’s repeated failings to inspire tangible action on global inequality.

Speaking on world tours, her fatalistic attitude toward poverty, combined with an insistence on remaining “apolitical,” defined her disinterest in confronting the structural causes of destitution. She presented to the West a perfect role model: a do-gooder who didn’t threaten to challenge the status-quo. In the words of Kolkata-born journalist Mihir Bose, “She’s part of the western agenda, it makes the West feel better; ‘this is one of us, once again rescuing the third world.’” …

Source: The West’s big lie about Mother Teresa: Her “glorification of suffering instead of relieving it” has had little impact on her glowing reputation – Salon.com

Neighbor of San Bernardino Attackers Faces Terrorism Charges, Officials Say – The New York Times

Federal prosecutors say Enrique Marquez, who bought the assault rifles used in the massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., conspired to commit terrorism in 2011 and 2012.

Comment: Hopefully we learn something useful about radicalization from Enrique Marquez before he is locked up for eternity. -PG

Source: Neighbor of San Bernardino Attackers Faces Terrorism Charges, Officials Say – The New York Times

Sam Harris’s Quantum Universe (or, How to Say One Thing While Meaning Another)

Comment (edited 3.58 PM 12/14/2015): New Atheist fundamentalism must have a sound logical foundation based on definitions and contextual parameters prescribed by it’s demagogues. It’s not bigotry if you can rationalize it?- PG

Oxford, England. A basic premise of philosophical logic is that two contradictory propositions cannot both be true. If I put a cat in a box and close the lid, and ask you whether the cat is alive o…

Source: Sam Harris’s Quantum Universe (or, How to Say One Thing While Meaning Another)

Why aren’t we looking into the Saudi role in San Bernardino attack? – World – CBC News

Notably absent in Barack Obama’s San Bernardino address was any mention of Saudi Arabia in the radicalization of shooter Tashfeen Malik, and perhaps her husband, despite what family members said. It is a too-common omission, Neil Macdonald writes.

Source: Why aren’t we looking into the Saudi role in San Bernardino attack? – World – CBC News

She, being a woman, and therefore in the Saudi system even more guilty, will be buried up to her breasts, and then a crowd of Saudi men will enthusiastically throw rocks at her head until she perishes from massive brain injury or a heart attack, whichever occurs first.