Agree or Disagree: Humanity is Sacred.


From time to time, I get requests on topics we should discuss on Agree or Disagree. This is one of those times.

This topic comes from Marty. He contributes from time to time. Him and I go back a few years. Actually, maybe more than a few years. He always provides humour and intelligence whenever he contributes.

He ask the question if Humanity is Sacred?

As a reminder from other guest posts, remember to keep on topic.Do not attack anyone personally, and of course we thank Marty for contributing.

 

Here are his thoughts for you to consider.

 

Is Humanity Sacred?

That’s the question…..

 

There are several reasons I’m curious about the varied perspectives that there must be on this topic.

We live in a society that heavily values personal freedoms and individual rights; those things are often described as “constitutional”. So in the human construct of government and “The people” we have determined that we are entitled to a basic standard of living. We also sometimes make those types of decisions for those who can’t speak for themselves (ie:animals, the environment etc.)

Often these decisions are made by representative groups or individuals whose position affords them the right to do so.That said, we acknowledge not all other species should by our laws.We have laws about theft, murder,ethics,standards of food production, where and it’s ok to be naked……and so on.But we have no trouble with the idea that other species do what they please so long as those decisions don’t adversely affect our lives.

In the end, decisions made about how we and (to a degree) other life forms live,form laws,how we eat, where we poop, when we sleep and what to do with our remains after we die made by humans.

So does that merely mean that we just happen to be the only ones in a position to do so? Or is Humanity somehow sacred? Since sacredness defined is “Connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration”, and our society is increasingly moving into the post-religious, what then, from the perspective of atheists and religious alike, does that mean for humanity?

If Human life is “Sacred”; why? And if it’s not “Sacred” ….what are we?

What makes human life so important?

 

Agree or Disagree: With more school choices, both taxpayers and students win.


There was an interesting perspective on this topic written in the Calgary Herald.

I’ll let you read it. It’s written by Mckenzie Hahn from Faith Beyond Belief.

She believes that more school options are beneficial for taxpayers and students.

You can read that here http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Hahn+Taxpayers+students+with+school+choice/10008477/story.html

Do you Agree or Disagree?

Agree or Disagree:The Podcast-The Hobby Lobby decision.


 

http://www.spreaker.com/user/7021827/review-of-hobby-lobby-decision

Click above to the latest Agree or Disagree:The Podcast as we review the week involving the Hobby Lobby decision.

My guest is John. He is from California and has been following American Politics for some time. He also works in the pharmaceutical industry. We discuss the decision and the impact around it.

Topics include.

The Hobby Lobby decision.
A similar decision in the 1990’s involving the Payote decision.
What exactly are the medications involved in this decision? What are they used for?
Who are the Supreme Court judges?
What does Hobby Lobby mean when they live by Christian principles? What do companies mean when they live by Christian principles?
The impact of the decision going forward. Including a decision involving Wheaton College.
You can read that here.
http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/supreme-court-birth-control-wheaton-college-108567.html
What is going on with the Christian Right and the Republican Party? We also give a historical perspective?

John does not have a Twitter account. However he introduces us to a Craft Beer project he is involved in.

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You can also read this post http://kevinolenick.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/what-religlous-liberty-means-too-me-as-a-christian/

What Religlous Liberty means to me as a Christian.


 

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fNYJHCxwx9E

The above video is from Barbara Green. She, along with her husband is the co-founder of Hobby Lobby.

For those of you that missed some of this, let’s catch you up. Hobby Lobby is owned by a Southern Baptist family. Specifically, the Green Family. They believe that their company should be ran on, their words not mine, Scriptural principles.

On Monday, the Supreme Court in the United States ruled that Hobby Lobby can opt out of covering specific types of contraception for employees because of religious reasons. It has opened up a whole debate on the impact of that. Some have been supportive, while others have some extreme concerns about this. Many feel the legal impact on this going forward on this will be setting some precedents. Incidentally, as of this writing, there are now religious groups petitioning the government it be exempt from hiring LGBT people. Here’s a sample article.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/religious-groups-lgbt-hiring-hobby-lobby

Now, I’m not going to speak specifically to the decision today. The reason is because we will be doing an Agree or Disagree: The Podcast on the topic. (Shameless plug)We will be speaking to an American who has been following the story closely.

What I do want to speak about is a theme in the debate that Mrs.Green spoke about. It has been a theme not only in this debate, but in other debates around the world. The term is called Religious Liberty.

There has been some interesting discussion around this term. Many on the religious side have argued about their religious rights being violated. The specific concerned seems to be Christians.

Well, I’m a Christian. I also work in the service industry.We have students with some various steps of morality and conviction.My job is to treat them with dignity. Equally. If I don’t, I don’t have a job.

Let me share a story with you. This will help explain my perception on religious liberty.

A number of years ago,there was a student that approached my desk. I wasn’t paying that close attention, but in a strong manly voice, the person spoke,

“Hello, how are you today?”

“Good” I said. I looked up. The manly voice looked quite different. The man was wearing a women’s dress, necklace, earrings, and makeup.

Now, I have to be honest. At the tIme, the transgendered group wasn’t a group of people I seen a lot of. They were not in my social circle. So, there was some shock to what I was seeing. However, something inside told me that this person was laughed at, picked on and belittled.

Today would not be that day for this person.

The person was in the process of having their records changed to her legal female name. I went to the back to get clarity on this process.

The person I spoke to explained to me the very difficult process mentally, physically , emotionally, and financially one has to go through in making this change. I learned a lot about the process and did my own research on the impact of it.

The “religion”in me could have said this was a sin. And living in Canada, I have the freedom to think that. However, with freedom comes responsibility. I also took the liberty to look closer and gain an understanding on the person, and the persons who make that decision or struggle to make it.

Religious Liberty isn’t the permission to shut people out because you don’t agree with someone’s “lifestyle”. Religious Liberty is the opportunity to speak into people’s lives in a way your God called you too.

With the same mercy, compassion, understanding, and grace your God has given you everyday.

Yes it’s a freedom. But it is also a responsibility too.

Religion our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress. And keep one polluted from the world.

James 1:27

 

Agree or Disagree: If God exists, God is male.


Image

This is apparently, a picture of God. I say apparently because the reality is no one has seen God. However, in many monolithic religions the idea of God is male. For most anyway.

Some have challenged the idea of God being exclusively male. People like Rachel Held Evans back in 2012. She wrote this post asking this very question of God being a man.  You can read that here.

Now, this openminded doesn’t sit well with everyone. One angry person is Owen Strachan. Strachan is the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood declared this heresy on Twitter.
“Let’s stop pretending like all’s okay. @rachelheldevans called God a she:”God Herself” This is heresy, straight up.
At this point, let’s all put our hands on our mouths in utter shock!
You done? Good!
Because while I’m not sure I’m “all ok” with a Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, or sure what the purpose of this really is, I do think the question is fair.
While Scripture addresses God as a male, there are clearly  seems to male and female traits of God.
Here is a post that gives some examples. http://www.womensordination.org/resources/female-images-of-god-in-the-bible/
So, the question I ask is do you believe that God is exclusively male? Or, if you aren’t sure God exists, could God be male?
The other question I have is this. Are we as a society more comfortable with a male image of God?

 

 

 

Agree or Disagree: Religion is turning off our youth.


This is an interesting article and perspective on how many youth from many different faiths have been pulling away from faith and religion.

http://www.npr.org/2013/01/15/169342349/more-young-people-are-moving-away-from-religion-but-why?sc=emaf

It does seem to be a very different perspective from the generations on the role of religion in society. What do you think?

Agree or Disagree: There will be a “rapture”.


Growing up in many evangelical churches, I have heard many “End Time Theories”. One of them is the idea of a “rapture”.

Some have argued that before the tribulation mentioned in the Book of Revelation, the rapture will happen. Some predict that this rapture will happen after the rapture.

The theology based on the idea of rapture comes from a verse found in 1 Thessalonains 4:16 and 17 which reads this. 

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

I’m going to put myself out there and give my opinion. I don’t believe there will be an actual rapture. I don’t believe that this verse refers to it and I don’t see the Bible referring to this. But what are your thoughts? 

Agree or Disagree: You can find contentment without money.


The Apostle Paul wrote this in Philippians 4:12.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Can  you identify with this?

Agree or Disagree-God would abandon you if you are disobedient to Him


There was yet another controversial comment by another American preacher last week.

This time it was John Macarthur who is not a “small” guy with a “small” church. He has a very popular radio program called Grace To You. He is also a well respected author of many books including a book called Twelve Ordinary Men. Considered by Christianity Today one of the most influential preachers of his time. So when he speaks, many put weights in his words.

In a recent sermon, he stated that God has abandoned America.

You can read the content that a group called Right Wing Watch quoted a portion of the sermon which you can read and listen to here. http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/john-macarthur-democratic-party-has-become-anti-god-party-sin-promoting-party

Now there are a few things that I would respond to Macarthur about. Not the least of which is the fact that while he is saying that he is not being political, he did take the time to point out the Democrats negative policies and not the Republicans. In my Bible, there is a lot of discussion on helping the widow, the orphan and the poor. A guy named Jesus talked about doing things for the least of these. Not I have not really read the Macarthur Study Bible and it might be different, but that is what I read.

But in a deeper sense,I see that there is a message that Macarthur subtly told his listeners. One I think has to be looked at a little closer.

Put this message in a personal conext. If you are disobedient to God and are in “sin”, then Macarthur can argue God will abandon you.So if you have a past, or have made some choices you regret, there is a possibility that you would be abandoned by God.

As I have read that last sentence, to be quite honest with you, I was sad to read it. If you have read my posts on The Thank You Experiment I have been doing this month, I did thank God. You can read that here http://kevinolenick.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/the-thank-you-experiment-day-6/

What saddens me is that there is a perception out there of that very fact. That God will only bless love and care for those who are obedient. And if you are not, God will turn His back on you. Unless you repent.

My experience is not that. I have experienced a God that has never left me or forsaken me. One that is gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger, rich in love. I haven’t felt abandoned by God. I would say quite the opposite. Even in times of “disobedience”.

But I know that this is not the only perception out there. And you might be one that feels that if you are not “holy”, God will abandon you. Or this very perception of God has caused you to leave. What do you think of this? Do you feel that God would abandon you?

Agree or Disagree: The concept behind “dying to self” and becoming a “fully devoted follower of Jesus


 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Matthew 16:24

For those who are not “churched”, the concept of dying to self comes primarily from this verse. The idea that many have given is that you sacrifice your desires for the desires of Jesus. One simplistic  way it has been put is Are you doing things “Man’s” way or “God’s” way? And if you are not following “God’s” way, then you in a nutshell are in sin

 

 This concept has been pushed and popularized by Kyle Idleman who wrote a book called Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed  Follower of Jesus. Now, I can’t comment on the book specifically, but I would like to discuss this verse and my personal troubles with how some have interpreted the verse.

 It subtly suggests that we as humans don’t have values, ideas and thoughts. Only God does.

 It really does minimize those who do not subscribe to the Christian faith. It assumes the “unbeliever” does not have morals, values, and opinions. And the “believer” does.

 It also has the potential for some justification of unhealthy actions. I have seen and observed as have you, I’m sure, seen some justification of Christian actions that didn’t seem…. Christian.

 It moves Christianity to a “cause” rather than a lifestyle that some Christians subscribe too. You might have heard the phrase “Cause for Christ”. Translating that means: What will you do for Jesus? Have you given your all for Jesus? And if you haven’t why not?  Causing some to feel condemned about their lack of devotion to the Bible, question their prayer life, and whether they actually are a Christian.

 

 The message given comes across as Man vs God as opposed to Man AND  God. So for the language of this verse to come across as a complete Man vs God, seems in direct contrast to the very concepts of relationship. Specifically, some of the relationships outlined in the Bible. The Psalms speaks of a God that will give you the “desires of your heart”.  God noted that man “should be alone”. God gave people a king in spite of the fact it was not the best decision at the time. Jesus also promised anything that you ask in my name… Surely this does not seem like a God that does not look at “Mans” way.

But what do you think of this?  When you see a verse like this, what do you think? 

Moreover, what does it look like to be “Completely Committed Follower of Christ?