Tag Archive: Religion and Spirituality


The Christianized Jesus

Photo by Sophie Molins

The Christianized Jesus – the turning of a radical into a conservative shadow of his former self – explains our problem of establishing and celebrating freedom fighters today. It is important that our progressive heroes be given a deserved fame, an accurately reported fame. This is crucial in ways that impact our own activism.

Jesus of Nazareth was not a Peak Performance Strategist as the prosperity preachers would have it. Nor was he an foreigner-hating patriot as the Tea Party would argue. Obviously American politicians and their lobbyists pursue so many policies that are against the teachings of Jesus but are supported by mainstream Christian opinion. In fact, Jesus’ parables and sayings push the spiritual revolution of gift economies, and of justice through radical forgiveness.

The Hallmark-carding of Dr. King’s life is what gave Glenn Beck the opening to disrespect his Lincoln Center speech. King’s basic differences with our present corporate economy needs to be a presence in our lives, especially in the educational materials and media of the young. Malcolm X’s spirited defense against the violence of entrenched power – this would help us now, as the security state begins to define 1st Amendment-protected protest as a form of terrorism. Cesar Chavez’s creativity and steady hand in unionizing the California farmworkers could be useful now as state employees face labor busting by governors and their wealthy tax-dodging sponsors. These three progressive heroes must be known for what they actually were.

It was believed that Jesus could be saved from the distortions of right-wing apocalyptic Christianity by researching the historical man. That hasn’t worked, despite the Newsweek (“Jesus – who was he really?”) cover story every Easter. I am writing from the Mayan region of southern Mexico, in the city of Chiapas, where another defense against the predations of the Christianized Jesus has been a success. Here, some of the people subjugated by the brutal conquistadors undermined the Spaniard’s god by concentrating their prayers on San Juan Bautista – John the Baptist.

San Juan stood in the flowing spirit of the River Jordan as he repeated again and again, “I am not He. I am not the One.” The Holy Spirit flowed through him as he baptized new believers in the water. John was in the river, in motion, always becoming. He offered his blessing to the act of belief, the creative power of the individual who approached him. As a result his personality is not so easily used to enforce hardened, violent fundamentalism. The Mayans have outmaneuvered fundamentalism to free themselves from those who rode toward them with the swords of Christ. Chiapas and Chamula, Mexico are far healthier and less consumerized then your average American suburb. This brilliant adjustment on their religion forced on them by the Spanish has a lot to do with it. What the Mayan did to the Spanish God is what we all need to do to the Bank of America.

Better approaches to the figures that we revere (and worship) are needed in this time of permanent war, economic piracy, and most of all the Earth’s crisis. Let’s find ways to be honest about radicals’ lives – so that we have clearer courage for our own activism.

 

From his humble beginnings preaching outside the Disney Store in Times Square,Reverend Billy has spent the last decade toggling between community activism and theatrical spectacle. He even became the subject of “Supersize Me” director Morgan Spurlock‘s sophomore documentary, “What Would Jesus Buy?” A logical extension of his anti-consumerism gospel, Reverend Billy now tackles the growing environmental crisis with “The Church of Earthalujah!” Backed by a 35-voice gospel choir, Reverend Billy and The Church of Earthalujah transcends parody in favor of a passionate humanism that speaks to growing public anxiety in the face of the ever-growing climate emergency and impotent leadership from politicians, NGOs and corporate CEOs.

 

Before you read this epic Craigslist post, be advised that this camping trip isn’t a sex thing. Sure, it involves men going off into the woods to jerk off as a group next to a campfire, but just to reiterate, NOT A SEX THING, BRO.

Manhood Camping

Date: 2011-05-08, 7:35PM PDT

Manhood Camping Firequest. Lookin’ for a 100% for real bros to share/experience manhood in all its glory. This is for real, I don’t want to waste my time or yours. 100% JO and manhood, no sugar added. I AM NOT GAY. Don’t even think this is a sex thing, it’s all about manhood.

Looking for bros to head into the woods and bond by fire, experience life as men once lived it, JO circle, and fire/vision quests.

THIS IS NOT A SEX THING.

Gonna need some basic things/skills, I don’t want to be slowed down by fools:

- must be in reasonable shape, if you get winded walking then stay home
- Ed Hardy camping gear, it’s really good gear and it’s awesome
- desire to be a man among men
- not afraid to wield a blade
- crystal, I’m not sharing mine
- must be able to make a fire
- gloves
- a knowledge of native vegetation (knowledge of psychotropic fungus a plus)
- knowledge of modern music
- protective/splash resistant eye wear
- 5 – 10 of those clip things that rock climbers use

We are gonna need a mobile music device, ipod or something. I’m bringing the music for the firequests and visionquests, Nickleback’s The Long Road. I only have it on CD, so I’ll have my discman as a last resort, an ipod would be nicer. Just sayin’.

Dont’ want to see”

- bad attitudes
- gay/homoerotic behavior, this is a manhood thing. I AM NOT GAY.
- cock rings, can’t keep it up w/o help, you aren’t gonna make it on this quest
- firearms, there’s gonna be enough guns going off and spent shells to pick up
- the nerds/dorks/lames/and anyone less than 100% into manhood.

If you are serious, then I promise you this will be the trip of your life. It will change the way you think. I’m serious, and I AM NOT GAY. To see a group of bros being men, a JO circle by a camp fire. The charge/energy in the air. Crystals get jacked, no lie. You will slip into a different frame of mind, you will feel electric.

Last outing, we had a group that was so charged we attracted bears. It was no deal, nature knew man was in the forest, the crystals gave us the confidence to own those bears. I saw it, I was there.

100% SERIOUS, NO FAKERS

Location: Aqua Caliente
it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Image via Muriel Lasure/Shutterstock.

 

Colorado native Don Taylor, who describes himself as “a nonreligious individual,” was stopped dead in his tracks when he stumbled upon this divine apparition on his daily routine. Yes, a creeping vine on a telephone pole had taken on the unmistakable form of a crucified Jesus Christ. Local authorities warn potential pilgrimage-makers not to climb the pole to kiss or embrace Telephone Pole Jesus, however, lest they want to receive a 765,000-volt message of peace and love from their Leafy Savior.

 

Heathen’s Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever considered why it’s impolite to question another’s religious beliefs? The answer is simple. They can’t respond without sounding like a fool. It’s likely that many understand that their doctrines are absurd.

They do have this ability because they apply it to other faiths. They might say, ‘Group X believes man and woman were created when a giant bird snapped a piece of bamboo in two with his beak; that is so stupid.’ Yet, they cannot say the same for a clot of dust or a rib?

For me, this issue is minor compared to the larger one. These allegedly righteous affirm that they have the authority and duty to control your life and press their views on you. When someone points out errors in their argument most are so absentminded that rational points cannot penetrate their thick skulls. If you do manage to make a small dent in their spiritual armor, they retreat back to their Bible or holy shepherd for a reassuring swig of Jesus Kool Aid. There is a reason the church refers to its followers as a flock.

The faithful have been indoctrinated in the idea that their holy book is correct and this has been reinforced with constant threats of hellfire. This methodology is essential to the survival of Christianity, and those who reach adulthood with these notions intact aim to intimidate and bully others into accepting the same authority.

The holy rollers say they know the truth because it’s in their book. Most will continue to ignore evidence contrary to their particular church’s view. Their doctrine is grounded in wishful thinking but this system does have weaknesses. As mentioned before, these same individuals are fervent disbelievers in every other religion under the sun. They see the silliness in other faiths. Yet, most will continue to defend their claims until death in hopes of achieving some divine afterlife.

This type of behavior hinders their minds and society as a whole. How does this possibly affect others you might ask? Once again, the answer is simple.

They push beliefs onto other people. Evangelicals command huge voting blocks in the US that have hindered research in such promising areas as stem cell research. They want “creationist science” taught in schools. They oppose proper sex education classes while holding out on the notion that condoms are bad and abstinence is the answer. This aids in the spread of STDs, the rise of teen pregnancies and abortions, and massive government handouts to unwed mothers. They do this without ever considering the possibility that their religion, based on ancient scribblings of Bronze Age Palestinian desert dwelling thugs, could possibly be untrue.

Plainly put, religion is incapable of leaving people alone. The devout, especially Presbyterians, Baptists, and Catholics, want to ban books, censor movies and television shows, silence dissenters, and invade the private sphere by saying who you can marry or sleep with (and in what positions), all the while insisting they have the answers. Their actions do not equate with freedom. They would gleefully forfeit liberty as long as authority removed Darwinism from classrooms and placed the Ten Commandments on courthouse lawns.

Churches may preach of eternal bliss in some wonderful afterlife, but their leaders desire to make life on earth a living hell for us. Why else do they spend so much time and energy lobbying government leaders?

Can you imagine if we tossed billions into temples for Zues and gave our hard-earned money to men who preached stories about Apollo? Or if we refused to have our children vaccinated because some lunatic told us that we are interfering with Amen Ra’s will.

A nonbeliever can see through the veil of Christianity and other religions, yet the faithful look down their noses on dissenters. They believe an invisible, all-seeing and all-knowing man in the sky created them. He cares about them and loves them. He will reward them. The Bible is the be all and end all. Anyone who doesn’t believe in God or his book burns in hell. Under any other scenario, society would scoff everything they say and dismiss them as mental.

Remember this poor girl

Yet even today, in a nation such as the US, they are not taxed and exert tremendous control over politics, blocking pioneering research and insisting that their beliefs, masquerading as science, be taught in public schools. We must start criticizing these actions in hopes of putting these silly notions behind us.

Those willing to stand up to them need some “spiritual armor” of their own. And the truth is this: any time someone willingly puts reason aside based on claims without evidence it opens up realms for sinister things…as we shall see in future installments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The popular image of a church is that of a selfless organization unconcerned with financial gain. It is reflected in the fact that churches receive tax-exempt status from federal and state governments. And without question, most churches do engage in substantial charity work.

But that doesn’t mean that churches are not, at least partially, money-making enterprises. Though official records are scarce, the world’s major churches are all believed to collect annual revenues in excess of several billion dollars. Like any other institution, these churches work hard to earn the highest possible return on their investments.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Otherwise known as the Mormon church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has long been one of the world’s wealthiest religious groups.

Like most major churches, the exact tally of LDS assets is difficult to come by. In July 2007, the Salt Lake Tribune covered an Oregon Supreme Court ruling ordering the church to publicize its financials in connection with a lawsuit from an alleged abuse victim, noting that it had not disclosed such information since 1959. In 1997, Time Magazine found that current LDS assets totaled $30 billion. If LDS were a corporation, Time continued, its estimated $5.9 billion in annual revenues would have placed it midway through the Fortune 500.

The LDS church has taken ambitious strides to preserve and grow its wealth over the years. Beneficial Financial Group, a $3.1 billion insurance company with annual revenues exceeding $600 million, is wholly owned by the church. LDS also owns the Deseret Morning News, Utah’s second-largest newspaper. Bonneville International Corporation, which controls over two dozen top radio stations across six states, is also wholly owned by LDS through Deseret Management Corporation, the church’s for-profit arm. Another $6 billion of church money was said by Time to be tied up in “unspecified investments.” All of these activities, it should be noted, are categorized as “unrelated business income” and subject to state and federal taxes.

In 2005, MSNBC reported that the Roman Catholic Church owned more real estate globally than any other organization or individual on earth. Interestingly, a surprising amount of this land does not produce income for the church. Gabriel Kahn, a Rome Correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, told MSNBCthat the church’s land assets “are not liquid and they can’t be put to use for the Catholic Church in the way they could be for, say, a corporation.”

But just five years earlier, the church’s own financial statements told a different story. In 2001, an official report stated that the church’s real estate activities in fiscal year 2000 produced $81.7 billion in revenue on $51.8 billion in expenses: a nearly $30 billion profit.

Outside of real estate, MSNBC suggests that the Catholic church maintains a portfolio of conservative investments. In 2006, the Boston Globe revealed that the church turned a profit of roughly $55 million on a portfolio heavily concentrated in government bonds. The Vatican’s TV and publishing operations, too, were said to have produced an unspecified surplus.

Of course, the bulk of the Catholic Church’s yearly income continues to come in the form of donations. The Boston Globe found that “contributions from worldwide dioceses” totaled $92.9 million in 2005, while individual donations made directly to the Pope neared $60 million.

In recent years, the Vatican has suffered from having a portfolio biased toward dollar-denominated investments. The UK’s Guardian found that in 2008 the church suffered its first loss in four years, owing to the decline of the dollar relative to the stronger Euro.

 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church is less guarded than either the Catholic Church or Church of Latter-Day saints, releasing detailed yearly financial reports on its website.

In fiscal year 2009, the church claims to have earned $1,698,336 from “investment income”, $2,238,629 from “bequests and trusts” and another $1,003,420 in rental income. The same report lists a separate column of “temporarily restricted” revenues, on which another $1,625,000 in investment income is reported.

While the exact nature of these investments are not specified in the report, the church appears to derive substantial income from its Mission Investment Fund.

Through the Mission Investment Fund, the ELCA has made “nearly 800 active loans totaling over $475 million” to affiliated ministries located in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The purpose of loan proceeds is to help these organizations buy land, expand operations or in some way improve the Lutheran experience of nearby worshipers.

At time of writing, the Mission Investment Fund is offering 3.25% interest on four year, fixed-rate CDs, as well as 5.00% on one year, adjustable-rate mortgages. Members of the church are also encouraged to buy high-yield CDs, contribute to Health Savings Accounts, and use checking and savings accounts administered by the ECLA.

In total, the church claims that a significant number of “schools, colleges, universities, social ministry organizations and outdoor ministries” are invested in the Mission Investment Fund.

The Takeaway

Despite its un-businesslike nature, a church requires capital to carry outs its operations just as any other organization. In 2005, MSNBC’s Nanette Hansen even wondered if Pope Benedict XVI would “have to be a money manager as well as a spiritual leader.”

Regardless of the use to which church investment proceeds are ultimately put, there is no denying the financial clout that their activities provide them. Both the donations they take in and the investment income they earn help make the world’s major churches serious financial players.

 

 

Here we have America‘s most violent so called “preacher” and false prophet, Benny Hinn. The bible speaks of laying hands on the sick, or the weak. No where does it say to punch, slap, or whip people with your coat. No where in the bible did people fall backwards and start convulsing like demon possessed people would. I’m sure the people at the “Benny Hinn Show” had an experience, but it was not a Christian one, and it certainly was not from God. Have fun with this and pass it on!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: