Home / Culture and Society / Spirituality / The Christian Century

The Christian Century

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

The 21st century will be The Christian Century. Christianity is booming throughout the world and most of us in North America aren’t even aware of this trend. Throughout the Western world, Christianity is on the wane. In Europe, the Christian faith has given way to a secular faith and most churches are empty on a Sunday morning. Only in America is Christianity continuing to grow and this is due to immigration and faster birthrates than seen in Europe.
The center of the Christian world is presently moving south to Africa and South America. In Nigeria, there are more practicing Anglicans than in England and Uganda is catching up as well. The Philippines have more baptisms per year than France, Spain, Italy and Poland combined. Not only that, but there could be a theological schism developing between the new Christians in developing countries and their counterparts in the West. Another trend rarely noted; Christianity is faring very well in the competition for the soul of the world’s poor against Islam.

In 1900, Africa had only 10 million Christians, who represented about 9% of its population and today, nearly half of all Africans profess their faith in Jesus Christ. Latin America is practically all Christian and even in Asia, there are over 300 million practicing Christians. The growth of the Church in the developing nations is phenomenal and Professor Phillip Jenkins wrote, “In its variety and vitality, in its global reach, in its association with the world’s fastest-growing societies . . . it is Christianity that will leave the deepest mark on the twenty-first century.” The largest populations of Christians now live in Africa and Latin America.

This boom will redefine the regions, politics and Christianity theology. The more secular West is pushing for greater reform in its churches whereas Southern Hemisphere Christians are requesting a return to either a more traditional Catholic Church or are flocking to the evangelical version of Christianity. While Europe and America control the leadership of the major denominations today, theologians in the developing world will soon be challenged for leadership roles. Many believers in the Southern Hemisphere look to spiritual revelation and exorcism of demonic forces and are creating a new version of early Christianity.

As many of these countries move toward democracy, the newfound Christian faith is going to play a key role in the nature of these nations. In Africa and Asia, Church leaders stand for the Christian principles of justice and morality. During the 1980s, it was the Catholic Church and its leader that kept alive the hope of democracy under the nose of the Marxist regime in Nicaragua. The church played a key role in ending apartheid in South Africa. The real problem will be the direct competition for souls with the growth of Islam. We are seeing conflicts in Sudan and Nigeria. In Sudan, Christians are persecuted and occasionally enslaved by the government. It is estimated that Muslims in the North have killed two million Christians and animists in an attempt to Islamicize the entire country.

While some predict a split between the Church in the Southern Hemisphere and in the North, others see a more ominous threat as Islam and Christianity veer on a collision course for converts and influence in the developing countries. Crusades and jihads may yet bring ruin to various developing countries. In Nigeria, this conflict has the potential of spilling in the street where Christians and Muslims are almost equal in population and some in the Islamic community pushing for the imposition of the strict Islamic rules that could preclude the open practice of Christianity.

For the Christian, all persons stand equal to the eyes of God and such equality can secure peace, freedom and representative government that protects the rights of all. As Christian influence grows in the developing nations, new civilizations may yet grow as these nations go from developing to being developed.

Ed/Pub:LisaM

Powered by

About Tom Donelson

  • For the Christian, all persons stand equal to the eyes of God

    LOL! Then why don’t they practice what they believe?

  • Duane

    The center of the Christian world is presently moving south to Africa and South America.

    Like they didn’t have enough problems already.

    Only in America is Christianity continuing to grow ….

    Glub, glub … glub ….

  • Tom,

    Interesting article, thanks for posting it.

    I’m not totally persuaded by your premise though, I think you’re missing something. As societies mature, there is a natural lessening of faith-based world views, as other, more valid explanations come to the fore (and, no, I don’t mean [un]intelligent design, lol).

    It’s kind of like a wave effect, belief goes up and down before disappearing as its energy is spent.

    Quite some years back, astrology was more popular than it is now; as the “justification” for it’s rationale became exposed as somewhat ludicrous, belief naturally faded. Now, it’s just a bit of fun.

    One day, hopefully, current religions will be seen similarly. Then we’ll know that humanity has finally started to grow up.

  • Guppusmaximus

    Too bad though, huh, Alienboy?? The bible is biggest selling book in the history of,well…Books. Can you prove that Astrology had been around as long or actually had the factual documents to support it that Christianity has? Religion doesn’t fade away and by looking at history, Religious people create their own denominations of which most are rooted in Catholicism.How come you didn’t mention the Alien believers that we have here in the US? Especially when they have no factual evidence whatsoever! I always find it depressing that people blame God for man’s actions and that they are willing to turn their back on someone who loves them just to be free to do the hateful,nasty things that they feel inspired to do.

  • I always find it depressing that people blame God for man’s actions

    Really? I’ve never heard of anybody who blamed God for things, except fundies themselves. I’ve always heard the athiests, agnostics and the like blame religion, specifically organized religion for man’s actions.

    WHat’s sad to me is that the religious people cannot make a distinction between the two. Condemn organized religion and you condemn God in their eyes. It’s enough to make Jesus himself weep.

  • KYS

    I’m sorry, I misunderstand. Please define FACTUAL EVIDENCE. I promise you I can find a thousand people who can recount in detail an alien abduction….

  • >For the Christian, all persons stand equal to the eyes of God

    LOL! Then why don’t they practice what they believe?< Tell me how we don't practice it. --------- O.k fine, I understand when you idiots bash organized religion you are not trying to bash God. But answer this: Who here takes Jesus Christ as their Savior???

  • KYS

    Do you, Anthony?

  • KYS

    What?
    No answer, Anthony?

    If you accept Jesus as your personal savior, you should proclaim it proudly!

    If you do not answer, I will assume you do not.

  • Anthony, my stance should be well known here, I’ve gone over it ad nauseum.

    I am a Christian. I have accepted Jesus as my Savior. I believe in God and I believe that organized religion, most specifically Christianity because that is the primary one in this country we all have to live under, is a complete corruption of the Word.

  • nugget

    you said it steve.

    I do believe, however, that christians NEED church, a church, something that resembles a church, even if they do incorporate some silly newspeak occasionally. There are still good ones left if you have the purpose to find one.

  • nugget

    but don’t go to one with people like anthony grande. They are more interested in politics than love or God. They have an agenda just like the other hatemongering politico rhetoric spewing mudslingers that they hate.

  • JESUS IS MY SAVIOR!!!

    There, I pronounced it proudly. Does anyone got a problem with that???

  • I don’t believe Christ is my personal savior, though He is my Lord and Savior and saves whoever believes in Him. Is there a difference?

    The article does underestimate the influx of Islam into the western world- it’s quite powerful, especially considering Turkey’s possibile accession in the EU.

    Devout Muslims pray 5 times a day, Christians- the competition is on! 🙂 thanks for the article…

  • KYS, eventhough I asked the question, I answered first. Now it is your turn:

    Is Jesus your Lord and Savior???

  • Luke

    I’d still be happier if christians didn’t demolish existing cultures, let the savages worship the sun if they want to, what could possibly be wrong with that?

  • Baronius

    Tom, very good article. I think your stats on Nigeria are wrong, though; Islam is certainly more powerful there, and I’m pretty sure it’s more widely followed. I’ve been surprised that the former Soviet Bloc hasn’t shown much of an increase in Christianity, although that varies by country.

  • Anthony, if you truly believe what you wrote in comment 13, you have gone even further down in my estimation; bigoted, over-opinionated, disrespectful, hateful, arrogant and religious too. What a mess your head is.

  • Gippusmaximus, I would have responded to your comment 4, but I didn’t understand it. Try again…

  • volt

    Well Anthony, for starters the bible condones slavery. now i’m no scholar, but i did stay at a holiday inn express last night, and im pretty sure that the definition of slavery is when one person owns another person much like a piece of property. thus, those two people are hardly equal. further, the bible makes it pretty darn clear that women are inferior to men. also, i think the bible states a preference for christians and even promotes violence towards non-believers. basically anyone who does not believe is inferior. oh, and i almost left out homosexuals who do not seem to be held in high regard in the holy book or by christians.

    so basically you are right that all persons stand equal before god except for non-christians, slaves, gays and women.

    much like the idea of christians viewing all people as equal is the idea that christianity promotes democracy. please. democracy requires open societies with free flowing information and an educated populous – all of which run counter to church philosophy.

  • Nancy

    Religion will always be prevalent, because the supply of ignorant, uneducated, superstitious, gullible and/or just plain stupid people is neverending; as some mature enough to discard the superstitions of religion, others are born who still have to make the journey – and as Grande demonstrates amply, an awful lot never do.

    And I will proudly declare that Jesus Christ is NOT my savior; he’s a fiction based on a tenuously historical figure.

  • I think you’re too pessimistic, Nancy. There are many more people today who have become rational rather than superstitious than, say, a century ago and I am sure that the number of people who really believe this nonsense is diminishing. It’s just natural that, as the believers sense the world view weakening, they become more strident. It will pass…

  • The Searcher

    Ditto Nancy on #21

  • A column by the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof — who is by and large a fair and objective observer of religion — underscores some of Tom’s points. (You can read it for free here.)

    Some salient quotes:

    * Chairman Mao largely destroyed traditional Chinese religions, yet Communism has died as a replacement faith and left a vacuum. “Among those disappointed true-believer Marxists, it may well be that Marxism has served as a kind of John the Baptist to the rapid emergence of Christianity among Chinese intellectuals,” Professor [David Lyle] Jeffrey [of Baylor University] said. Indeed, it seems possible to me that in a few decades, China could be a largely Christian nation.

    *People in this New Christendom are so zealous about their faith that I worry about the risk of new religious wars. In Africa, Christianity and Islam are competing furiously for converts, and in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and especially Sudan, the competition has sometimes led to violent clashes.

    *The denominations gaining ground tend to be evangelical and especially Pentecostal; it’s the churches with the strictest demands, like giving up drinking, that are flourishing.

    *Christianity is thriving where it faces obstacles, like repression in China or suspicion of evangelicals in parts of Latin America and Africa. In those countries where religion enjoys privileges – Britain, Italy, Ireland, Spain or Iran – that establishment support seems to have stifled faith.

  • The Searcher

    Re #24: Worth pointing out: Humans are demonstrably more attached to, and look more favorably upon, groups with high “costs” of membership. Similarly, more severely-punished “forbidden” behaviors always tend to be the most “persistent” and hard to break than less severely-punished ones.

  • Yeah, just ask any academic.

  • volt

    it is amazes me how organized religion always seems to get a free press in the media and the world in general. one would think that after endless wars, countless dead and the dark ages people would learn the inherent danger of organized religion.

    thankfully, that is beginning to change. sam harris wrote a great book on the subject – The End of Faith (which just came out in paperback). And this recent study begins to tackle the idea that religion demonstrably harms society. I encourage all believers and non-believers to read it:

    http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2005/2005-11.html

  • Yes, dogged atheists are absolutely united in their approval of Harris.

  • The Searcher

    When one looks behind the curtains, one inevitibly finds a lone, scared human mind faced with the prospect of being mortal and perhaps even inconsequential. Any balm which takes one’s mind away from the now and gives one a sense purpose and hope will be desperately clung to.

  • People yearn for something they can really believe in, that seems credible, or that appeals to them, I guess. For example, the idea that the universe is a matter of blind chance and that life has no real meaning and that we’re all just wandering slabs of meat tends to suit people inclined toward a somewhat chilly temperament; it may just fit in with their view of life. And of course there are people who gravitate to that position for other reasons, or may reject it because of their religious beliefs, or simply because they find it so bloody uninteresting.

  • Nancy

    I’ll admit, it’s somewhat daunting as well as a tad depressing to think one is about as germaine to the universe as an ant is to me. I can see how many are driven to believing that they are of paramount importance to someone/-thing of significance in the universe; and human ego being what it is, of course that someone/-thing would have to be THE paramount Power of the Universe, as well. The world always has to revolve around us, and most of us never grow out of that infantile demand.

  • there are people who believe in Jesus and God, there are people who believe in angels and ghosts, possessions, miracles, alien spirits living in volcanoes, life beyond the stars, all sorts of things.

    The problem only arises when you want to build a society out of your unproven beliefs.

    Sometimes, I say I’m agnostic, because I have doubts, I’m only human, or just don’t want to get into some philosophical debate right then. Although I do believe in some sort of higher entity, I am smart enough to know that it’s unproven and therefore my opinion needs to be adaptable, meaning my whole concept CAN be completely wrong.

    If you are adamant in the belief of something that cannot be proven, then you are incapable of evolving/progressing/adapting (and that is why religion attacks science).

  • Nancy

    I believe that gremlins live in my washer & steal at least one of each pair of socks. Guess that lets me out of the evolution game!

  • The Searcher

    Re #30: I think making educated guesses about the universe, based on experimentation and observation, is quite different than adopting beliefs simply because they “fit in with one’s life”.

  • Sure, for some. But I doubt most people make educated guesses, regardless of what they believe.

  • The Searcher

    You’re certainly right about that; very few Christians are educated about the religion they’ve been trying to force on the world at large for two millenia.

  • Now you sound like a Sunday School teacher.

  • volt

    steve,

    christians are adamant about their religion but are very capable of evolving. they no longer believe the earth is flat or the center of the universe and some of them, albeit clearly not a majority in the u.s., are even against slavery. see, they are quite capable of evolving. though they would never admit it.

  • Atheist governments, unfortunately, aren’t interested in evolving at all. They still butcher and torture pretty much the way Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot did.

  • volt, re: comment 38, that wasn’t what I was talking about. Whether the earth is flat or not, is not part of the Christian doctrine.

    I’m talking about the ability to evolve/progress/adapt their theocratic beliefs. About the ability to concede that something unproven MAY be wrong.

    I would lean more towards the theories about whether Jesus fathered a child, or whether he married Mary, or whether or not he is actually the Son of God, or perhaps just a man who fell into extraordinary circumstances (as I understand it, even he himself pondered in the Garden).

    If your mind is closed to any adaptation of your religious belief, then you cannot progress, that is what I mean.

    As for the slavery aspect, while it was tolerated and accepted in the bible, it wasn’t mandated by Christianity, so changing one’s mind about that isn’t necessarily changing one’s mind about their religion.

  • volt

    steve,

    i realize all that. my post was tongue and cheek. yes religious institutions and people are capable of change once evidence to the contrary and public opinion become insurmountable obsticles to recruitment and money.

    but generally only certain facts will change or will more likely be explained away by the latest group of apologist. but core beliefs, as you state, really never change no matter how much contrary evidence is presented.

    i think that is the definition of faith – the continued belief in something despite any evidence to support the belief. In the case of christianity and the bible ones faith must be great because of the insurmountable evidence showing the fallacy of the belief.

    this is also why debates between believers and non-believers often go no where. i can show a religious person 100x the evidence against o.j. in his murder trial (that’s a lot of evidence) to no affect. and a religious person can preach faith to me from now until the end of time to no affect. and i will take pride in that my position is enlightened and supported by facts and they will take pride in their position being supported by god.

    thankfully i have the momentum at my back. the enlightenment unlocked the genie that is reason and there is no way to put her back in the bottle. reason has led to progress which is the antithesis of religion. in fact, they are almost negatively correlated. for example, one need not look any further than the recent decline in the U.S. in many measurable areas has coincided with a resurgence of the religious right. hopefully this is only a temporary set back because a return to the dark ages will not be good for anyone.

    wow did i go off on a tangent. sorry for the ramble.

  • >so basically you are right that all persons stand equal before god except for non-christians, slaves, gays and women.< Now that can be an arguable point about slaves. Take the history of our country for example. The South was religious but they weren't too serious about it. While the Northern colonies and states from the very beginning were anti-slavery do to their strict Puritanical beliefs. The Bible is how you interpret it. I will have to see some quotes from the Bible about women being inferior. As for non-believers: Everyone on the face of this Earth will have a chance to be a believer. It is up to them to have the faith in Jesus. Everyone gets an equal chance to become a believer.

  • volt

    >The Bible is how you interpret it< if that ain't the truth. i would add that in addition to interpretation, selection is equally important. for example, i never hear christians preaching about incest, cannibalism and the mass destruction of city after city along with their entire populations which happen to be some of my favorite parts of the holy book. (okay, christians do like war which is likely related to my latter point) but getting back on point - your last statement that everyone has an equal chance to become a believer is a far cry from your original claim that "all persons stand equal to the eyes of God". In fact, they are as opposite as night and day. Your initial statement posits that all are equal in god's eyes while your second statement intones that if you don't believe in Jesus you are not equal. Your second statement is the correct one. Not all are equal according to Christian doctrine. "if a man abide not in me (jesus), he is cast forth as a branch...and men cast them into the fire, and they are burned." John 15:6. Your choices are believe or burn. Hardly a call for tolerance, acceptance and equality. anthony, on a serious note, i wonder if you have ever read the entire bible? because i know very few religious christians that have. you may find that it is very different from going to church on sunday and hearing the same bits and pieces week after week and year after year. i will admit that it shocked me when i finally got around to reading it. to this day i am surprised that it does not come with a parental warning label. Grand theft auto or the story of O pale in comparison in violence and sex.

  • Baronius

    Nancy, I’ve noticed your name on several boards with similar commnents. Your statements tend to be bold but unsupported. Where is your evidence that the religious mind is less developed than the atheist’s? I think your statements poison the well, removing the burden of defending yourself.

  • >Your second statement is the correct one. Not all are equal according to Christian doctrine.< You interpreted my statement wrong. Everyone is equal at the moment of conception in the eyes of God. It is what they do after birth that seperates people. A Muslim boy will have a chance to become a Christian at some point in his life just like everyone else. --------- I am actually in the process of reading the entire Bible. I am really enjoying it so far. And yes I am very surprised.

  • Guppusmaximus

    The first problem I have noticed here is that people think it is correct to take scripture out of text. To qoute the bible is intern to use the bible to judge which we are not here to do. I don’t care if it makes your point, all you are doing is twisting the word of God to support your personal views. Even the T.V. Avangelists are incorrect in their preaching methods. You have to understand and perceive the bible as a whole… That’s why people go to school to study the bible because it is just like a career, it should be your life.

    The second problem I see here is the ideaology that religion and God is seperate…(wow)How does that make sense. Catholicism was set forth by St. Peter who was an apostle to our Lord which sent him off on the first missionary ever…(read more at:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm) The word(bible) is what dictates what my religion deems correct so in essance God is Catholicism.

    Catholic-Function: adjective. Etymology: Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French catholique, from Late Latin catholicus, from Greek katholikos universal, general, from katholou in general, from kata by + holos whole — more at CATA-, SAFE
    1. a often capitalized : of, relating to, or forming the church universal often capitalized : of, relating to, or forming the ancient undivided Christian church or a church claiming historical continuity from it “c” capitalized.(Lifted from:http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/Catholic)
    “claiming historical continuity” through St. Peter… Roman Catholicism was never meant to be divided but it’s man decision to denominate when they feel that they don’t believe in the traditions or ritual of a certain faith. So, it’s man’s actions that pull them further away from God. What actions certain parishiners of the Catholic church have taken should not draw people away from God’s glory!! So, in fact when you knock Catholicism you,in turn, are knocking God….

  • Guppus, a goldfish can’t explain a bowl from the inside and people of faith can’t explain it from inside their own bowl or vision…

  • guppusmaximus

    And people without faith cannot explain why either…They just use man’s actions as an excuse.

  • Er, thanks for proving my point.

  • Guppusmaximus

    Er, What point??Why God exists or why we were created? That we have finite minds?? Does the goldfish know it’s limitations? It can’t tell you so it must not exsist…right? Or,it’s not intelligent enough to understand what is occuring? Is it your point that we must be geniuses to prove to other people as to what exsists on the premise that if we feel it but can’t put it into words then it must be false?
    Come on…What’s your point?

  • volt

    >Everyone is equal at the moment of conception in the eyes of God. It is what they do after birth that seperates people.

    A Muslim boy will have a chance to become a Christian at some point in his life just like everyone else.< Anthony, this statement is everything that is wrong with religion. Do you really believe that any person who believes in your Christian god is superior to, let's say, a Hindu like Mahatma Ghandi? Ghandi was a man who preached non-violence and religious tolerance while helping India, a country much larger than ours, win its freedom from an oppressive imperialistic power. He was like all of our Founding Fathers wrapped up into one person. By almost any account Ghandi was a great man who did an enormous amount of good for the world. Yet, by your Christian beliefs, even a cold blooded murderer or child rapist who accepts your Christian god seconds before getting zapped in the electric chair is superior than Ghandi in god's eyes. Talk about perverse. How can you defend such abhorrent ideology?

  • kid nada

    ‘The second problem I see here is the ideaology that religion and God is seperate…(wow)How does that make sense.’

    Wow.
    If you spell ideology correctly and fix the grammer so it says that religion and God ARE seperate, it makes perfect sense.
    I’ll go slowly…
    All religions are created by people, and are the imperfect attempts of men to explain a god who does not reveal himself directly to anyone and may not actually exist.
    If you believe a ‘prophet’ who claims God has revealed himself to this prophet, and only this prophet and at most a select handful of his followers, then your a sucker, plain and simple, and anything you believe is likely to be false.

  • Guppusmaximus

    And if I believe what you say to be true then I am an even bigger sucker because you have no proof that he doesn’t exsist or that the prophet(Jesus?)wasn’t the son of God or that the apostles didn’t witness great miracles because of their faith and that if you actually believed in anything more than your pretentious inability to except things greater than you, you might even experience something you can’t show to people other than to preach his Glory…(Excuse me for the spelling error,oh great one)

  • Volt, like I said. At one point in his life Gandhi either read a passage in the New Testament or was confronted with the words of Jesus somehow, and Gandhi didn’t except them, his faith wasn’t strong so yes, In the Eyes of God I am superior to Gandhi.

    Here on Earth Gandhi was superior to me, but he had no faith in Jesus.

    A Christian serial killer or rapist knowingly broke the Ten Commandments. So in the Eyes of God I am superior to a rapist or a killer also.

    >and are the imperfect attempts of men to explain a god who does not reveal himself directly to anyone and may not actually exist.< It is called "FAITH", and you don't have it.

  • Guppusmaximus

    But, Maybe you’re not as intelligent as you’d like to believe….

  • so yes, In the Eyes of God I am superior to Gandhi.

    Damn, if we haven’t found the poster boy for Separation of Church and State.

  • Guppusmaximus

    The funniest thing I have experienced in this whole debate is the fact that these anti-religious people are passionate about their beliefs..Huh?? Beliefs? How can you believe in anything if it isn’t given to you in solid form…Huh?? You believe what the Scientists tell you about evolution yet if you tried to analyze the evidence yourself you wouldn’t know what to look for,would you??So you have to believe in their word and they still don’t have all the answers,do they? That’s why people go to school to analyze the bible because it takes trips to fully realize the wealth of facts and information needed to live!! You people are lazy… You want it handed to you on a platter. You wonder why it doesn’t just come to you but you never search for the answers. You would rather believe in material than spirituality and you are so alone that you look to judge people instead of being with people. It all surmounts to Hatred…Have a Nice Day and I hope GOD reveals himself to you so that way you have to explain the inexplainable…

  • Good point Guppus

  • I imagine if God did reveal Himself to me, He would say that no one speaks for Him.

  • How about Jesus or Moses.

  • If Jesus revealed himself to me, he’d probably say ‘why’d you cut the hair? It was jammin’.

    If Moses revealed himself to me, I’d ask him why he took two mosquitos.

  • Steve, I think you missed my point:

    You said God would say that no one speaks for him… And I said Jesus and Moses spoke for him.

  • kid nada

    I said god may not actually exist.
    This may suprise you GM, but I actually enjoy hearing ideas from people who assume there is a god, but ask questions, sincere or cynical, about the nature of god.
    I also enjoy creative thinking about nature and existance that assumes no god need exist.
    It’s the people who are certain; because they think they’ve heard from someone who heard from someone who talked to the Big Guy himself, who make me cringe. People who claim direct spiritual revelation also makes me cringe. I’d rather take finincial advice from a guy who sells acid at hippy shows than spiritual advice from a mystic.
    If there were no churches, I’d have more patience for people who try to turn every forum into a chance to preach. But there ARE churches!
    And it’s not that I think I’m SOOOO smart, I think anybody who has decided they already have all the answers they will ever need has willfully made themselves stupid.
    Whatever brain fate, chance, or God gave you, I think you qualify in this regard GM. As beautiful as you may think it is to have all the answers delivered to you in a phantasmogoric revery, and as much of a favor as you might consider forcing those answers on others to be, I don’t WANT your answers! I have every right to refute your answers. I have every right to point out that your being willfully ignorant when you force your mystical knowledge on others. And I will continue to do so.

  • I got your point, Anthony, but that’s subjective, which is why I didn’t play along. You don’t know that Jesus and Moses spoke for Him, but you choose to believe that, and that is your right.

  • No Steve, Abraham, Moses and Jesus indeed spoke for God.

  • No, Anthony, that is your opinion.

    Jesus had doubts. Many people believe that Jesus was his own Man. He was put here on earth by God and he had his own thinking mind. That is what the majority of Christians that I know believe.

  • Only in America is Christianity continuing to grow and this is due to immigration and faster birthrates than seen in Europe.

    Of course, Islam remains the fastest growing religion in America….

  • Guppusmaximus

    It was you who said,”If you believe a ‘prophet’ who claims God has revealed himself to this prophet, and only this prophet and at most a select handful of his followers, then your a sucker, plain and simple, and anything you believe is likely to be false.” It wasn’t any different in the time of our lord…People questioned the authenticity of Jesus being the Son of God. It’s just that there were people who could see the answer right in front of them and believed!! The others tried to persecute(and succeeded)for being a man of love and kindness. Someone who went by a different set of rules than man.I’m not telling you to believe my answers or that they are the only ones, but to tell me that I am a sucker for having faith in what I know to be true just shows that you are more ignorant than I had hoped for. Remember,it’s a debate…You feel just as strongly in your beliefs as I do. So, aren’t you preaching as well or is that solely for the religious people?

  • >Jesus had doubts. Many people believe that Jesus was his own Man.< Those people lack FAITH. Jesus was only able to heal the blind and lame when they had FAITH in him.

  • Baronius

    I’m sure that what Anthony meant to say was that in the eyes of God, he’s just as worthless as Ghandi, but by accepting Jesus, his sins are forgiven. Right, Anthony? (Please, Anthony?)

  • Bennett

    “In the Eyes of God I am superior to Gandhi.” AG

    If this were even somewhat fathomable…

    But of course it’s not.

  • volt

    >In the Eyes of God I am superior to Gandhi< ANTHONY i commend your honesty. thus the question you need to ask yourself is if you really want to subscribe to a religion so inherently unjust. do you personally believe that a mass murderer/child molestor/baby torturer who accepts jesus in the last 5 seconds of his life should be viewed more favorably by god than a lifetime of good deeds by a non-believer? and doesn't that encourage amoral behavior? And what then is the purpose of christianity since it cannot be to create a better or more just and moral planet? And if god wanted mankind to obey his law why would he allow awful people to make it to heaven with a last second get out of jail free card? And how do you propose society function once we do away with a merit based system? Finally how do you propose a non-merit based society function? once again, just to sum up yours and god's view, charles manson is going to heaven but ghandi is not, right?

  • >do you personally believe that a mass murderer/child molestor/baby torturer who accepts jesus in the last 5 seconds of his life should be viewed more favorably by god than a lifetime of good deeds by a non-believer?< Anyone who accepts Jesus in the last 5 seconds of his life is non-believer. And I said before that a murderer, rapist, adultress, ect. has broken the ten commandments and is unforgiveable. Gandhi at some point in his life viewed the words of Jesus or heard the words of Jesus and tossed it aside believing it was nothing important. Mathew:7.24, 25, 26, and 27 In RED: "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them wil be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell-and great was its fall!" Now didn't India split in two warring countries and Gandhi assasinated by his own people??? That is how I interpreted it, now what is your interpretation???

  • >I’m sure that what Anthony meant to say was that in the eyes of God, he’s just as worthless as Ghandi, but by accepting Jesus, his sins are forgiven. Right, Anthony?< No, even though you are a believer you still must be a good person.

  • Baronius

    Volt, I’d like to take a stab at your questions. I don’t know that Ghandi, Manson, or Mother Teresa have/will make it to heaven. If they did, it’s not on the quality of their actions, which are all as dirty rags in God’s eyes. It’s by the forgiveness they recieve through their faith.

    One guy I know made it to heaven is the thief who was crucified next to Jesus. He reformed his life (the few moments he had left). If he’d lived for 50 more years, it would have been his duty to live a good life, but he didn’t get a chance to do so. Jesus allowed him into heaven; it sounds like Anthony wouldn’t.

    Do you think that Ghandi’s motivations were much better than yours? Do you think that Manson’s were much worse? Good works don’t get you into heaven, because nobody does them. We have an obligation to try to live better lives – that’s part of what repentence means – but we do a horrible job of it.

    As G. K. Chesterton said, Christianity isn’t a failure because it’s been tried and found wanting; it’s a failure because it’s never been tried.

  • KYS

    Anthony,

    To answer your question (I’ve been busy for a couple days), Jesus is not my savior, but I find his teachings a nice moral compass. I have also worked with several organizations in my area associated with Mother Theresa (to feed and clothe the homeless, and teach under-educated or neglected children). I’ve done this, not out of any religious obligation, but because the work benefits all of us in the end- whether we are religious or not.

    The point here is that religion does not hold the exclusive rights to morality.

    Gandhi has done more for his country, and the world, than you or I can ever hope to achieve, but we shouldn’t stop trying. To quote Mother Theresa (sort of); we cannot do great things, but we can do small things with great love.

    If you want to make the world a better place, Anthony, think about Gandhi and MT; they both had great love, hope and tolerance for mankind. I don’t hear that from you…You sound to me as if you’re in some sort of panic to be saved.

    Chill, brother. Be kind.

  • KYS, to make this a better world let’s end abortion, lets end any hope of Gay Marriage, lets start preaching Abstinence everywherr let us start sending life sentences for drug abuse which would basically end homelessness and then after we the four goals are accomplished we can live our own lives as best as we can.

    Gandhi was a great man. But his creation fell apart and his life was taken. To this day blood is shed in the Indian Sub-Continent. Refer to Mathew 7.24, 25, 26, 27.

    And KYS, please tell me how I am unkind.

  • KYS

    I don’t need to tell you. Your posts do it for me.

    And I’d prefer to get my information on current events from news sources, not an ancient text.

  • KYS

    Abstinence is already taught, and has been for some time, and the statistics on its success are grim.

    Life sentences for drug abuse? Yes, let’s sweep all those unsightly people under the rug, just for you. They’re not worthy of our care or love.

    Anthony, what have you done for your fellow man? Seriously? Besides your idle words, what have you done?

  • >And I’d prefer to get my information on current events from news sources, not an ancient text.< The is just the thing about the Bible my freind, it is still revelent today.

  • Bennett

    My gawd, at least learn how to spell “friend”!

    i before e except after c

    and it’s “relevant”

    Your comments are bad enough, your spelling drives the point home “I am uneducated”.

  • >Abstinence is already taught, and has been for some time, and the statistics on its success are grim.< I only remember a weeks worth discussion about it in 7th grade. That is not enough. It needs to be taught a weeks worth every school year and it needs to be taught seriously so it will be taken seriously. Now if we give life sentences for drug abuse people just stop doing drugs. It wouldn't sweep people under the rug, it would scare people into taking better care of our lives. Thirty year sentences instead of life would probabally do the trick. The point is that we need harsher drug laws. Now since the 60's we have had a huge outbreak of AIDS, Drug Abuse, Abortions by the hundreds of millions worldwide, Divorce rates through the roof, and people just don't get married anymore creating thousands of fatherless children. Now what has modern day Liberalism done for the your fellow man???

  • Bennett freind, where is your love and respect??? You are not being kind. But I forgive you.

    I know how to spell relevant, revelent is what I get for not checking before I post. I was in a hurry.

  • KYS

    From your own comments, illegitimate children have been popping up since Jackson and his slave women!!! Show me the statistics that illegitimate children are on the rise…

  • KYS

    And still, Anthony refuses to demonstrate any good deeds of his own. Your words don’t mean shit. What have you DONE for your fellow man???????

  • eisenreich

    A conversation with my best friend of 20 years, who recently revealed to me that he had found his faith, prompted me to learn more about Christianity and the Bible. I’ve never been a religious person; my parents never forced me to attend church or Sunday school. What continually surprises me as I talk with my friends who are Christian is their ignorance, beyond the basics, of their own religion. As I’m reading through the book myself, I’m assured that many have barely touched the surface of the material, let alone read it from a critical standpoint. Anyone can cite John 3:16 and feel comforted that they are secure in the afterlife. In general, religion has always served as a way for mankind to cope with life after death. I would assume that what makes one’s faith stronger is sincerely attempting to understand other viewpoints than your own.

    Many Christians, such as AG here, have fused their interpretation of the Bible with their individual moral codes. They base their prejudice of homosexuals and abhorrence of abortion on what is essentially an extended session of the “telephone game” between the 40 or so authors of the Bible and the translators in later generations, who may or may have not been influenced by the mindset of their times (slavery is acceptable, etc). Modern translations vary drastically and generally distort the original intention of the text. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 in the KJV reads, “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind..” as the NIV translates to “male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders”.

    I understand that many Christians refuse to question their faith. I’m trying to remain open-minded about both side of the religious debate, but whenever I encounter fundamentalist Christians, all I can think of is Plato’s Allegory of the Cave..

    I’ve found the links below very refreshing in the actual analysis of Biblical verses, rather than hearing threats from the Army of God against abortion clinics or “gays are going to Hell”

    This article critically analyzes the six passages most commonly quoted to codemn homosexuals:
    http://www.truluck.com/html/six_bible_passages.html

    Another article that deconstructs passages allegedly related to abortion in the Bible:
    http://elroy.net/ehr/abortion.html

    Apologies for rambling a bit..

  • Guppusmaximus

    Eisenreich,
    You make a great argument and would have some valid points if you actually read the bible with a yearning eye, instead of a critical one. The New Testament is quoted more often because Jesus was sent not to Judge but to change the world through changing the Old Testament so we could live as Christians…That’s why it is called”Old”. Jesus was reviered(?) so much by the Jewish Council because he came as the Son of God with the Word. So, obviously, The Old Testament couldn’t be a Christian document even though it had fortold of Christ’s coming in prophetic scripture.
    As to the 40 or so authors…There weren’t 40 or so authors. I do believe from my experience reading the New Testament that the Apostles did include other witnesses to accurately portray their own accounts of what happened but that would only further prove their accounts as truth not hinder it. Plus, you can cross reference The New Testament using all four of the Gospels including The Old Testament(Prophetic Scripture). I think if you’re going to be so critical about translations than you should stop reading the newspaper,magazines and don’t watch foreign films because those all have certain sources that need to be translated before we can understand them. I do believe it is a more rigorous standard in which to translate bible documents…(I will have to research the topic)

    As I have said before… To take Scripture out of context is wrong! You must perceive the Bible as a whole and study it! It’s not meant to be used as a tool to judge by using quotes because that twists the word to our own personal views. It is a book to live by but we must accept the Holy Spirit into our lives to have the guidance to understand the answers that it gives us.We are not the Judges of man… Just as there is no greater sin, so who are we to not be understanding as we are all sinners… Just as I don’t want to be a Heroin addict, I also don’t want to take part in Homosexuality but it’s not my job to condemn because I am a sinner. Nobody here knows who is going to hell because we must first be judged. I can only do my part and pray that those people who sin will have God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit to change their ways….

  • volt

    >to make this a better world let’s end abortion, lets end any hope of Gay Marriage, lets start preaching Abstinence everywherr let us start sending life sentences for drug abuse which would basically end homelessness and then after we the four goals are accomplished we can live our own lives as best as we can< ANTHONY - what about world peace? Curing cancer? Curing AIDS? Ending starvation? World literacy? Sure each is a lofty goal, but why not aim big. Instead, you aim small and still get it wrong. Teaching abstinence leads to MORE abortions not less. I also wonder how gay marriage and abortion affect your life. How would ending either help make your world better? Lastly, if you think drug use is the sole reason for homelessness I have a bridge to sell you. The majority of homelessness is due to psychological problems and lack of affordable housing. In fact, Ronald Reagan is more responsible for homelessness than drugs. As president he gutted low-cost housing and funding for state mental health facilities which led to the release of thousands of mentally ill people. Just another example of seeing a tree and not the forest typical of the right. Finally, just a little food for thought. This
    link is to an article from yesterday’s NYTimes which details a study of how the south (more religious) teenagers are much more likely to become pregnant than in the less relgious blue states. 10% or more of all babies are born to teenagers in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina and Wyoming. In typical blue states like NY, NJ and Massachusettes the number is about 5%.

    And I won’t even mention how divorce rates are so much higher in religious values parts of the country because its just too damn easy a target.

    And all this on top of this recent study showing a correlation between relgious societies and social dysfunction like homicide, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion.

    Wow, it almost seems like religion is a bad thing. Ah, perhaps this helps answer posts like #57 by GUPPUSMAXIMUS who finds it funny that non-religious people are so passionate in their beliefs. The reason is just our simple desire to make our country and the world a better place.

    Finally, KYS (#76), were you serious about finding the teachings of Jesus a nice moral compass? Well, I guess you are not much of a family man. “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:35,36. He implores his follower to leave their families without even a goodbye. And forget burying the dead.

    Jesus also constantly promoted ignorance and discouraged ambition. “the first shall be the last”.

    “He preferred war to peace. “I came not to send peace but a sword.” Matthew 10:34. He damns people and entire cities that do not believe in him.

    He was a hypocrite. In one example he tells his followers not to call anyone a fool and than shortly thereafter states, “ye fools and blind.”

    And those are just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t know about you, but these are hardly teachings that I would label as moral. I will concede that when looking at the teachings of Jesus a strong case can be made that President Bush is a good Christian. Unfortunately he is still an awful human being.

  • volt
  • As to the 40 or so authors…There weren’t 40 or so authors. I do believe from my experience reading the New Testament that the Apostles did include other witnesses to accurately portray their own accounts of what happened but that would only further prove their accounts as truth not hinder it.

    He didn’t say 40 authors of the New Testament. He said 40 or so authors of the whole Bible. And taking all the books into account, there are at least that many.

    I think if you’re going to be so critical about translations than you should stop reading the newspaper,magazines and don’t watch foreign films because those all have certain sources that need to be translated before we can understand them.

    But those are first-hand translations. The Bible, at this point, is a translation of a translation of a translation of a translation. And how many different versions of the Bible are there now, anyway? Fifty? Obviously there’s no definitive agreement on exactly what the originals said in the first place.

  • Baronius

    Eisenreich – I understand the desire to hear both sides of an issue. I think if you’re passing out links like the “6 Bible Passages on Homosexuality”, however, you’re already persuaded as to which side you’re on. I say this not because of the article’s premise, but because of its shoddy analysis. This article wouldn’t presuade anyone who was neutral.

    The author says that the Bible doesn’t forbid homosexuality, and nobody takes Leviticus seriously anyway. Why the opposition to Leviticus, if it doesn’t say anything about homosexuality? Because he doesn’t even bother to argue against Leviticus’ condemnation of homosexuality.

    He says that four of the passages aren’t talking about homosexuality, because there’s no Biblical context. (He explains away the passages fast and loose, but at least he tries.) But suppose he’s right, that the four passages wouldn’t refer to homosexuality without other Biblical support: Leviticus provides it.

    So there were no words for homosexuality in Greek or Aramaic, and no possible way of describing the act? Did it not exist? Were all the Greeks heterosexual? Ahem.

    I could go on and on (and already have) criticizing this article, but let me do what the author doesn’t: provide actual context. “Be fruitful and multiply.” This is the most basic command of the OT. It’s all propagation and family. Any act which interferes is wrong, whether abortion, seed-spilling, or homosexuality. An interesting note: some people make fun of the OT’s condemnation and requirement of marrying a dead brother’s wife. In context, it makes sense. The overriding priority is to allow your brother’s wife to carry on his name.

  • >ANTHONY – what about world peace? Curing cancer? Curing AIDS? Ending starvation? World literacy?< If everyone lived their own lives as best as they could world peace would easily happened. Aids would go away if everyone practiced Abstinence. Harsh drug laws would ultimately reduce starvation, and if everyone lived their own lives as BEST as they could they wouldn't starve. Everyone would be literate if they lived there lives as best as they could. See, the four goals I mentioned are the answers.

  • Everyone would be literate if they lived there lives as best as they could

    that would be ‘their lives’.

  • As for your site about Bible passages regarding abortion, how come I didn’t see “Thou Shall Not Kill” in there???

    As for your site about Bible passages regarding gays, how come I didn’t see anything about Adam and Eve from Genesis???

  • most people dispute adam and eve as being an analogy/metaphor/fable rather than actual. Most people believe in evolution, that we come from other life forms, not that we come from dirt.

  • Not if we have faith in the Old Testament as the word of God. When Jesus came he said nothing of Adam and Eve not being true.

    And even if Adam and Eve was a metaphor, it still proves ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN as being the word of God.

  • Perhaps — despite completing a lovely mitzvah for his neighbor — Mr. Grande isn’t thoroughly literate. He is, however, not finished with his education. I hope so, for the sake of future generations.

  • Thank you for the giving me my daily dose of Personal Insult. But I forgive you.

  • RogerMDillion

    “Now if we give life sentences for drug abuse people just stop doing drugs.”

    Wrong yet again. They’ll just do drugs in prison where they have access to them. You are on the wrong side of every issue. Don’t let your mom see this site. She might smother you while you are sleeping.

    Since Gonzo isn’t around to remind you, “we don’t get French benefits”.

  • >They’ll just do drugs in prison where they have access to them.< Yeah so what??? They are in jail harming no one. The people on the outside don't want to go to jail so they won't do drugs. You are on the wrong side of every issue.

  • RogerMDillion

    “The people on the outside don’t want to go to jail so they won’t do drugs.”

    Yeah, that’s also an arguement for the death penalty. How is that working out?

    “Where is your evidence that the religious mind is less developed than the atheist’s?”

    Exhibit A) The mad ravings of Anthony Grande

    The People rest.

  • Disciple at Work

    Professing to be wise… they became fools.

    I read all the posts… whew!

    I can only make one comment, maybe two.

    God doesn’t hate the sinner, God hates the sin.

    God doesn’t punish, God is not an abusive parent… children wince, and cower when abusive parents enter into their little zones.

    Satan… comes here to seek, kill and destroy.

    Those are 3 things everyone must get straight in their minds. There is nothing Satan likes better than to confuse, Satan loves discontentment and souls who are lost. There have been many deceivers out there who have ruined lives and driven faithful people into the arms of the king of the world (Satan).

    Read the Word, the word IS inspired from God. Read John, the epistles like James and Peter… learn what the walk entails. Pray, accept, be of faith. Crave God, like an addict craves heroin. Seek God, ask for the protection of the Blood of Jesus. He died for you, to wash you in His protection and to give you the gift that only a few received prior to Jesus, and the pentacost… and that’s the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    that is what Christianity is all about. It’s about helping others in their walk, and having authority in you own lives. Authority of Satan and his ilk, protection is granted to you through Christ, through His Glory and through the Lords Grace.

    Anything else is a sham, and those promoting false doctrine will be dealt with, but that is not a Christian disciple’s commandment. The desciple is to study, to walk and mentor those in need and help those towards the Savior, for His sake.

    It’s that simple.

    I plead the Blood of Jesus to wash upon all who read this, and protect them from the evil doer. Open the eyes of their heart, that they me have revelation in You, Holy Father, that all your Glory and Grace will decend upon them, and quicken their souls, and bring peace and understanding of Your ways, through Jesus Christ. amen.

    Look in the mirror and tell the Devil that “I AM A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST” “I HAVE BEEN DELIVERED” “I AM PROTECTED” Accept the truth, and that truth will set you free. Amen! and Praise God!

  • RogerMDillion

    “Satan” is a cop-out. People need to take responsibilty for their actions.

  • volt

    >God doesn’t punish, God is not an abusive parent< Really, than what do you call what he did to Eve? God creates her and then punishes her for biting into the forbidden fruit. Because of this great sin, she is forced to leave the Garden of Eden and women will forever have to deal with the pain of child birth. Sounds like punishment to me. But that is not the half of it. What nerve this God of yours had for creating an imperfect man and then punishing man for his imperfections. Further, when Eve bit into the fruit, she was an innocent, never having been taught right from wrong. But that does not stop your vengeful God from branding all humans born sinners. Throughout the bible god punishes often and severely. While it is hard to imagine a more unjust God it does help explain why Christians can so readily ignore logic. As the case of Eve illustrates, he cared little about logic himself. As for those above arguing about homosexuality -- there is no doubt that the bible labels it a sin. But the bible labels many things a sin that do not seem to bother Christians. And we don't often see Christians killing their children for talking back. So to the non-believer it is called hypocrisy. Further, to those of us who try to live morally and ethically the treatment of all humans as equal goes without saying. So it peeves us to listen to the hatred that spews from the religious right in the name of values. Values my ass. The world would be one horrific place if it went by the values taught in the bible. Oh yeah, we tried that already. I believe historians call that period the dark ages because things were so bad. You'd be better off getting your value system from the catalog of Grateful Dead songs than from the bible. Finally, Anthony I think its great that you participate in these discussions at 17. It shows you have a real curiosity which is great (though it could present a problem with the church, lol). Do yourself a favor and continue your education AWAY from home. And preferrably at a non-religious institution.

  • >Yeah, that’s also an arguement for the death penalty. How is that working out?< I am against the Death Penalty, but if you want it to work you must enforce it the right way. Right now, if I was sentenced to death, I would sit on death row for more 20 years and then if I survive twenty years there is still a chance that the execution will not be carried out. And also if you want it to work you must use it more often. It is a rarity to be sentenced to death in most States. Volt, what comment 103 was trying to say was that God doesn't punish sinners, but sinners are vulnerable to the Devil. Eve became vulnerable to the Devil, the snake, and she and Adam got punished for being involved with Satan. The moral of the story is to stay away and not be fooled by Satan. Also, after High School I plan to enlist in the either the Marines or the Army and then College away from home.

  • volt

    yikes. u might find the military a hedonistic place. lots of sex. unmarried soldiers getting pregnant. free condoms supplied by the u.s. government. it might be a rough place for u. oh, and then theres this war thing.

  • volt

    anthony,

    per the adam and eve story – do you not have a problem with god creating an imperfect man and than punishing man for being imperfect? or for punishing an innocent who had not been taught right from wrong? how can you do wrong when you do not know what is wrong? eve was no different than a new born baby in this respect.

    this is one of the most confounding parts of christianity. the very core of the entire religion makes absolutely no sense.

    CHRISTIANITY IN A NUTSHELL

    god creates an imperfect man and than punishes said imperfect man for being imperfect. and because said imperfect man is imperfect god decides that all men to follow are also sinners, in effect, pre-judging all people to come. to make amends for all of this which is entirely gods own doing, god sends his son to earth to suffer a horrific tortured death. and though he is angry at mankind for killing his son eventhough it was his fault, he decides to call a truce and let humans join him in heaven for eternity and all he wants in return is for them to believe in him.

    that is my understanding of christianity in a nutshell and it makes no sense. none. please tell me i’m wrong. because that is crazy no matter how many people believe it.

  • Volt, God created them imperfect???

    Didn’t God tell them to stay clear of that tree??? And they went and ate from that tree anyway???

    The war thing is why I am going. It is my dream to tell my kids and grand kids that I fought for this country.

    But the rest of 107, I don’t know what you are getting at.

  • RogerMDillion

    “Didn’t God tell them to stay clear of that tree??? And they went and ate from that tree anyway???”

    It’s a story. All myths have a forbidden fruit story and Adam & Eve isn’t even the oldest one. The tree was put there by God on purpose. They had to eat from it and attain the knowledge of good and evil or they never would have left Eden and no one would have been born.

    Try and learn the story before you comment on it.