christian understands

anonymous asked:

This may be a silly question, but is there a difference between the way Jewish people view/experience/observe repenting and the way Christians do? I was raised Christian and it always seemed like such a solemn and guilty and miserable thing, yet they didn't fast or anything. I'm considering conversion and trying to figure this stuff out

Hi there,

What a fantastic question.  There is a major difference in how Jews and Christians understand sin. 

In Hebrew, we translate the word “het” as “sin,” but that is really not the true definition.  It really means “missing the mark”.  As Jews, we do not believe that a het is the worst thing in the world, but just an area of our life that we screwed up a bit.  That’s it!  We believe that God loves all of God’s children and because we were not created as perfect (look at all of the examples in the Hebrew Bible of human characters) and only wants us to improve!

I hope that this helps!

PJ

independent.co.uk
Christian university rejects $3 million donation so it can keep its LGBTQ group
An American university has rejected $3m (£2.3m) funding from a Christian organisation that demanded it shut down an LGBT students' group.

Samford University, a private Christian school in Alabama, rejected a $3 million donation from a group of churches who wanted the school to shut down its newly-formed LGBTQ student group. 

Samford’s LGBTQ group, Samford Together, only formed this year. The Alabama Baptist Convention offered the sizable donation on the grounds that the school reject Samford Together. The school decided to voluntarily reject the donation and keep the LGBTQ group going. 

“I believe the action taken by our trustees is something that both parties have been anticipating for some time and will serve the best interests of both Samford and the Alabama Baptist State Convention,” said university president Andrew Westmoreland.

“Our longstanding educational and ministry relationships with Alabama Baptists have always been more significant than money, and these relationships will continue and flourish.”

Dr Westmoreland added he wanted the university to address topics related to human sexuality and "other important issues at the intersection of Christian understanding and cultural reality.”

He stopped short of offering formal recognition to Samford Together, but said the university would “work to accomplish each of the group’s worthy goal.”

It warms my heart to see a story about a religious school that does right by its LGBTQ students, even at an actual financial cost. They’re not as commonplace as they should be. 

As a Christian

I can honestly say that understanding, tolerance, compassion, and acceptance are the main characteristics of my religion, and many people in the practice don’t believe that, and it makes me really sad. The scripture says bring your weary, tired and broken, not your white, male, and cis.

If you think you’re worthless, stop scrolling right now and read.

I’m writing this for a specific mutual, but it isn’t only true for one person, so read on.

You know those inspirational posts you see people reblog every day?

Stuff about people all throughout history who failed and went bankrupt and were depressed and were told they weren’t good enough - and yet somehow they rose above it and defied all those notions to become heroes and legends and history makers and culture movers. And the post always ends with “so don’t be hard on yourself when you mess up” and it’s all nice and sweet and pretty. Maybe you scroll past them. Maybe you hardly ever see them on your dash at all.

Maybe you’re among those who reblogs these posts.

But maybe every time you hit the reblog or the like button, your brain is whispering “this isn’t about you” and “yes people can do amazing things, but not you” and “ah yes amazing stories, too bad it will never happen to you” and you listen to these whisperings and you laugh and shake your head…

Because you know exactly where you stand: worthless. irredeemable. a loser. a lost cause.

Please.

Please.

Listen to me.

As your friend.

As a stranger who doesn’t know you. Who doesn’t have to know you, or your failings, or your depression, or your anxiety, or your embarrassments, or your deepest darkest most heinous crimes.

Stop.

Just stop.

Look up. Look around you. Open. Your. Eyes. Are they open? Good. Keep them open. Don’t ever close them again. See the world. See you: a human being, valid, flawed, journeying, changing, growing, scraping, failing, rising, a masterpiece that will never be made again.

You are beautiful. You who think you are overweight and lazy. You are beautiful. You who think you are stupid and uneducated. You are beautiful. You who think you are a loser, and amount to nothing. You are beautiful. You who bleed and ache and never rest. You are beautiful.

You have worth.

Want to know a secret? If you wake up in the morning and tell yourself you’re not going to amount to anything that day, then you aren’t going to. If you go to bed at night thinking nothing will change tomorrow, then you are going to change nothing.

Because you’ve resigned yourself to that lie. And it is a lie, friend. A straight-out, soul-condemning, out-of-the-pit, self-deprecating, self-pitying lie. A lie you don’t have to believe. A lie you should not believe.

If you stand in the corner and bow your head and stare at the ground, you’ve already lost the battle without fighting. This is a surrender in which there is no honor, and in it there is no hope.

Life isn’t easy, friend. Life isn’t fair. It’s hard. And getting things done is hard. Some days, just getting up out of bed is hard. Just breathing. Just doing homework. Just going to work. Just trying to keep the dishes and trash from overflowing.

But we do it anyway.

Why? Because there’s life to live. There are choices to be made. Jokes to laugh at. Awkward conversations to be had. Art to mess up and start over on. Jobs to work. Pizza to be eaten.

We do it anyway.

So guess what?

You do it anyway too.

Why? Because of this:

You are special.

Right now, this second, turn off the voice that hears these Disney-fied words and scoffs and ignores them. Listen.

There is not a human being who has ever lived or ever will live on this planet that is not important, that is not here for a reason. No life is worthless, and most certainly not yours. My God doesn’t make worthless things, and he doesn’t make mistakes. There are no extra pieces in this universe, no spare parts. He made you. And he made you for a purpose, and that purpose is not to sit in your room, afraid to try, afraid to love, afraid to hope, afraid to climb and fall and hurt and get back up again.

Want to know another secret? You aren’t alone. Every single human being in the history of everything has struggled with feeling worthless at some point in their life. Every single one. That is not a lie. Your feelings of worthlessness are not what is special about you. You are what is special about you. The God who created you is what is special about you.

No matter what you’re going through, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what you have failed to do, someone else has gone through worse. Sometimes, a lot worse.

Oh, now you feel invalidated. “Why can’t I just believe in myself? Other people have it worse, I shouldn’t complain, I should just try harder, but I know trying harder isn’t going to help, so what’s the point.”

Guess what?

Stop that too.

Stop it dead in its tracks.

Kill that thought. Every day. Every morning. Every minute it shows its ugly lying face. Kill it and put it to rest. Stack headstones on top of it and move away, far far way, friend.

Don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t know where you’ve been, but you don’t know where I’ve been either. Don’t ignore hope because you think it’s for other people. Don’t keep yourself from making an effort, and pushing yourself forward. Bury the lie. You have worth. You are loved. You are important. God does not make worthless things.

One of my favorite lyrics says “How does it end when the war that you’re in is just you against you against you? You’ve got to learn to love, learn to love your enemies too.”

Learn to love.

Your enemy.

Yourself.

Start learning to see you the way God sees you.

See you the way I see you.

Perfect.

Worthwhile.

Amazing.

Just at the very beginning.

Every single day you wake up is a brand new start.

A bright new chance. Every. Single. One. You will never stop getting chances for as long as you are here, so why dismiss them? Isn’t that the most beautiful thing there is? You get to keep trying. Every single day. You have the gift to go again, try again, start again, live again, breathe again, hope again.

Guess what. When the morning is wasted, the afternoon is still there. When the afternoon is wasted, the evening is still there. When the evening is wasted, the night is still there. And then morning comes again.

So the next time you see a motivational post, an inspiring reblog, a story about how someone overcame something horrible, and turned it into something amazing, look long and hard and take courage, find hope in that. Stop dismissing it as being from a universe you have no part in. Stop putting yourself to that measuring stick and turning away because you’re not there yet.

You’re looking at the end result. At some point, they were standing in your shoes. They couldn’t see the end. They couldn’t see what they might or might not amount to. They had no idea, just like you now. Just exactly like you.

Hope, my friend. Every time you start to think “I can/will never” do this or that or amount to anything or accomplish anything… Hope. Stop those thoughts immediately. Kill them. Bury them. Never stop burying them. They are lies and you are better than them.

Drive them out. Open your eyes. Look around. Pick yourself up. Brush away the tears. “I will try. My God doesn’t make worthless things, so I am not worthless. My God does not create without meaning, so I have meaning. I am here for a reason. Today I will live to find out what that reason is for today. And tomorrow I will hope again.”

Life is hard, my friend. Stop beating yourself up. You are worth more and capable of more than you can ever imagine or hope or dream. Don’t let your past or present failures stop you or beat you down. Keep going, keep hoping, keep killing the lies. You are bigger than them, you go beyond them. And God is greater, and he knows your heart. Trust him. Wake up. Open your eyes. Move forward. Keep your eyes open.



“You’ve got all that emotion that’s heaving like an ocean
And you’re drowning in a deep, dark well
I can hear it in your voice that if you only had a choice
You would rather be anyone else

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He made your precious heart

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

I know it’s hard to hear it when that anger in your spirit
Is pointed like an arrow at your chest
When the voices in your mind are anything but kind
And you can’t believe your Father knows best

I love you just the way that you are
I love the way He’s shaping your heart

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

Well how does it end when the war that you’re in
Is just you against you against you
Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies too

You can’t expect to be perfect
It’s a fight you’ve gotta forfeit
You belong to me whatever you do
So lay down your weapon, darling
Take a deep breath and believe that I love you

Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself
Be kind to yourself

Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies
Gotta learn to love, learn to love
Learn to love your enemies too

DEITIES IN WICCA

WHO ARE THE GODDESS AND GOD OF WICCA?

The Horned God and Triple Goddess are generally the deities you’ll hear people associate with Wicca, but these very same concepts generate a lot of confusion. You’ll read a lot of books that will tell you the Horned God is like this, or the Triple Goddess is like that. There are a lot of oversimplifications and generalizations going on with these descriptions. Many Wiccan sources also refer to the Lord and Lady as well, or “The” God, and “The” Goddess (the article “the” implying they’re specific deities). This leaves people to wonder— to whom, exactly, are we referring when we use these terms?

Wicca, is fairly unique in one way: we don’t actually have our own deities. That is, our religion wasn’t built around veneration of any specific deities of our own—we worship Pagan Gods and Goddesses of other ancient cultures in a new and modern world. We do not have our own unique pantheon, nor do we believe our religion was revealed to us by deities.

So, who are these characters, then, that you’ll find peppered throughout Wiccan books and websites? Who is the Horned God or the Lord or the God? Who is the Triple Goddess, the Lady or the Goddess? Let’s have a look.

SYMBOLS OF TRIPLE GODDESS AND HORNED GOD

note:
I occasionally compare/contrast Wicca to Christianity in this article. I’m not implying one is better than the other, or that they are the same (not by a long shot). Since Christianity is the dominant religion in Western society, most people are familiar with it. As such, I use it only to make analogies as a frame of reference.

TYPES AND TITLES - NOT NAMES

One quick way to settle a lot of confusion is to remind people of this: these terms in question are types of deities or titles of respect. Horned God is a type of Godhead, not one specific God. Triple Goddess is a type of Goddesshead, not one specific Goddess, or a specific trio of Goddesses. These terms are merely descriptions, not deities in themselves.

Likewise, Lord and Lady are titles of respect by which we call any God or Goddess, respectively; Lord and Lady are not names. Zeus is one Wiccan’s Lord, Thor is another Wiccan’s Lord, Lugh is another’s… just as a Christian’s Lord is YHWH (Jehova) though they call him ‘Lord’ and 'God’.

“The God” and “The Goddess” are not specific deities that all Wiccans worship; they are simply the generic term for “male” deities and “female” deities, respectively. So my God that I worship may not be the same God another Wiccan worships. But I still refer to him as God, 'the’ God, or Lord.

With all that said, if the concept of these specific gender labels makes you  uncomfortable, that’s completely valid! The idea isn’t specifically about opposite genders, it’s about polarity in union.

So why do Wiccans use all these titles and types instead of just using the name of their God/dess?

Originally in Wiccan covens, Wiccans didn’t speak the names of the deities they worshiped outside the circle. This was to prevent others from defaming and disrespecting the deities.

This still holds today for a lot of Wiccans, though many eclectics are more relaxed on it. They might be willing to tell other Wiccans/Pagans, or close friends, who their specific God/desses are but not wish to divulge that information to just anyone.

For other Wiccans, the Horned God and Triple Goddess, or the Lord and Lady, or The God and The Goddess have taken on a persona of their own. Some would argue this is the result of watered-down eclectic Wicca and improperly trained practitioners who have failed to do any in-depth research. Others embrace the “All Gods are one God, all Goddesses are one Goddess” theory1which has become more prevalent with eclectics in the 1990s. These people would argue that all the various God/desses in mythology are either aspects or personifications of the same divine couple.

1. The “All Gods are one God, all Goddesses are one Goddess” theory actually didn’t originate in Wicca; it was from Dion Fortune, a Christo-Pagan Ceremonial Magician. This kind of ‘soft polytheism’ is probably as common in Wicca now as ‘hard polytheism’ (the belief that deities of different cultures are all unique and distinct beings).

THE HORNED GOD

The very term “Horned God” is controversial, considering most of us grew up in a Christian-dominant society in which the only god-like being who had horns was 'the devil’. This is why the term 'Horned God’ gets a lot of knee-jerk reactions.

There is no relationship, however, between the Wiccan view of Horned Gods and the Christian view of Satan. That would be like saying a pumpkin must be an orange in disguise because they have the same color skin. Horned Gods existed long before any concept of Satan did, and nowhere in the Bible was Satan described as having horns and hooves—those extra-biblical descriptions came from the Middle Ages.

Horned Gods were sometimes depicted as having curving, conical horns like the goat or ram, or sometimes the branched antlers like the stag. Sometimes they were animal-headed, and sometimes goat-footed. Some of the more well-known Horned Gods include Pan and Cernuous.

To ancient Pagans, Gods with horns were related to the wild and man’s primal nature. They represent mankind unencumbered by the trappings of civilization and living by his instincts in a natural state of being. Horned Gods were closely related to the forests—particularly the wild animals. They’re related to the hunt (both as hunter, the life-taker, and as hunted, the life-giver; thus, he perpetuates the cycles of life). They would often be associated with fertility— the virile male embracing his carnal desires without the imposition of social codes and mores guiding his behavior.

The Horned God made its way into Wicca due to the popular theories at the time by a handful of 19th century/early 20th century anthropologists who attempted to tie all of Pagandom together as if it were one universal pre-Christian set of beliefs that went underground to avoid persecution. Christianity had long painted Pagans as villains; in the age of enlightenment, many tried to look at history from a new and more open-minded perspective, and they romanticized antiquity. Some became desperate to turn the tables and paint Pagans as the victims. Ultimately, the attempts to oversimplify all the various Pagan religious from all over the world has been discredited, and the attempt to prove them going underground as a single surviving ancient cult has been debunked. Still, it was these oversimplified works that were prominent theories at about the time Wicca was forming, so it heavily influenced Wicca’s formation.

To Wiccans, the Horned God motif fits in neatly in the Wheel of the Year, however it’s important to understand that just because many Wiccans worship a Horned God doesn’t mean they worship the same God.

Finally, not all Wiccans have a direct relationship with Horned Gods. Some Wiccans worship a Sun God, another god-type that fits neatly into the Wheel of the Year mythos and corresponds well to a Moon Goddess.

Remember also, that not all Gods are as easily “typecast”.

THE TRIPLE GODDESS

The most commonly known triple deity form today is probably the trinity in Christianity. If one can understand how Christians see the father, the son and the holy spirit as three, distinct persons in one, then one can understand how Wiccans view the Triple Goddess. In Wicca, many Goddesses are seen as having three forms that mirror the stages of womanhood:

  • The Maiden, who is the young, innocent, often (but not always) virginal beauty. She is independent and idealistic, ready to take on the world and looking to the future possibilities, filled with all the promise of what can be. She’s associated with youth, the time of coming of age, new beginnings, the new moon and spring fertility festivals.
  • The Mother, who is mature, experienced lover and (often, but not always) parent. She is nurturing and protective, representing the selfless giving of oneself to sustain others. She’s associated with family, children, domestic issues, growth, sexuality, the full moon, the summer (when she becomes pregnant) and winter (when she gives birth).
  • The Crone, who is the wise, guiding, respected elder (but not necessarily grandmother) of the trio. She is strong and pragmatic. She represents the “dark” side– fears, decay, and destruction. Not that this makes her 'evil’; rather, she’s someone who guides us through some of the biggest challenges in her infinite wisdom. She’s associated with changes and transformations (particularly the biggest transformation– death and rebirth).

It should be noted that not all Goddesses fit neatly into a trio of Maiden, Mother and Crone. Ancient Pagans were not monotheists; they did not believe all Goddesses to be an aspect of the same divine feminine. It was the work of Robert Graves – another heavy influence, now debunked – at the forefront of the Pagan revival who popularized this concept that eventually made its way into Wicca.

In ancient Paganism, trio Goddesses would have more often been three Maidens, three Mothers or three Crones. Just because a culture has a Maiden does not mean that they automatically must have a Mother and Crone counterpart. Historically speaking, this was not common. Even if a culture had Goddesses that would fit neatly into the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone categories, it should not be automatically assumed that they had a connection to each other.

Think of it this way: if you walked into a waiting room and found a college girl, a middle-aged mom, and a retiree, would you automatically assume they must be related because they occupy the same time and place? Of course you wouldn’t—the same thing can be said for Goddesses.

Most Goddesses will fit in at least one of these categories, but that’s simply because these are very generalized attributes. Not every Goddess in history is so easily stuffed in a box—many Goddesses can fit into more than one category. Consider Hestia, who can be simultaneously considered a Maiden Goddess (due to her virginity and never having children), but also a Mother Goddess (due to her association with domestic life, as keeper of the sacred hearthfires).

While the model of the Triple Goddess is useful in Wiccan mythos, a Wiccan must always be careful not to pigeonhole ancient Goddesses in groups of three.

SO WHO DO WE WORSHIP HERE?

I have been asked this by more new Wiccans (particularly the young ones) than I would like to remember: “Who is the Goddess? Is she the same as the Lady? Is the God’ the same one Christians worship? Is the Horned God Satan?”

So many Wicca books put so much emphasis on magic, herbs, crystals, runes, nature, etc., that deities for many people are sadly an afterthought. This baffles me, since anyone of any religion (or no religion) can love nature and be interested in magic. Wicca at its core has always been about relationship with deity. Why anyone feels they are ready to jump into a religion before they even understand who the religion worships—sorry, but it doesn’t make much sense. That’s putting the cart before the horse.

But the answer to that question is fairly straight-forward: we worship Pagan Gods, or, at the very least, the archetypes of them.

Some Wiccans worship a Horned God, some a Maiden, some a Mother, some a Crone, some more than one. Most will refer to their Gods as “Lord” or simply “The God” at one time or another, and most will refer to their Goddess as “Lady” or simply “The Goddess” at one time or another. ]

Bottom line: everyone’s experience with deity is personal and subjective, and it’s only through your exploration of your relationship with them do you begin to learn about who they truly are.

FINDING YOUR GOD AND GODDESS IN WICCA

Your Wiccan God and Goddess are really what it’s all about. That’s what the rituals are for. That’s why we celebrate the Wheel of the Year. That’s why we pray and meditate. Anyone of any religion can love nature. Anyone of any religion can cast spells. Anyone of any religion can work with tarot cards or crystals and such. None of these things particularly make anyone Wiccan—in fact, plenty of people who do these things are not at all Wiccan. People have been doing these things long before Wicca existed.However, fostering a relationship with the Gods as a Wiccan, connecting through Wiccan ritual, honoring them through the cycles of the seasons and by the way you live your life—this is what truly makes one Wiccan.

PATRON GOD AND MATRON GODDESS

Wicca is traditionally polytheistic, and many Wiccans will speak of their ‘patrons’… that is, a patron God, and a matron Goddess. Patrons and matrons (or just ‘patrons’ when referring to both) are the specific God(s) or Goddesses(s) a Wiccan honors and works with.

There’s no rule about patrons. I’ve known people to have as few as one, and as many as four or five. They are usually of the same pantheon (not always, though mixing pantheons is always tricky and never should be taken lightly).

The benefit of being in a relationship with patrons is that it gets fully developed. In your ongoing worship and serving your patron Gods, you get to know them intimately. In taking you under their wing like that, a God or Goddess will teach you a great deal over time and you can learn many lessons from them.

Sometimes you can be with the same patrons for life—other times, you’ll be with them for a time (usually a few years) before you reach the ‘end of the road’ with them. This is not a terrible thing, when a God or Goddess ‘cuts you loose’; it’s not because you did anything wrong, but because you’re ready to move on. This is when you’ve benefited from the relationship all you can, and they realize that you are ready for a new patron—a new teacher, who can bring you yet to the next level of lessons that need to be learned.

Having a patron does not mean you need to exclude all other Gods. In Wicca, we don’t believe the Gods are jealous or have the ‘have no other Gods before me’ policies as found in other religions you may be more familiar with. It’s okay to go to a ritual that worships another God, or to hold a ritual to a different Goddess if you wish for specific purpose.

It’s just that our patrons will be a special, ongoing relationship.

BEING CALLED BY THE GODS

A lot of Wiccans will tell you they did not choose their Gods, but that their Gods chose them.

Like many religions describe it, it feels like ‘a calling’, and as such it’s hard to explain. Many Wiccans feel they get signs of some sort. This may be an image or animal associated with a certain God or Goddess popping up a lot unexpectedly, dreams or visions. Often these are accompanied by those gut feelings, or an inner voice.

Where is this calling coming from? Is it truly a divine being who has chosen you and is communicating with you? Is it an internal, a simple ‘knowing’ in your own brain of what you need? I have my own ideas, but the truth is—no one knows.

Once you become Wiccan, though, it’s something you should look out for.

NOT GETTING A CALLING?

If you don’t feel the calling, you certainly should not feel bad. For one thing, maybe you’re just too new to Wicca and not ready to work with a personal deity yet. For another thing, perhaps you are just missing the signs. Don’t get discouraged—the deities aren’t rejecting you.

You may need to simply employ a little initiative. Start seeking deities, and approach them to see which ones will have you (or have been waiting for you to come to them in your own time).

In other words, you don’t have to sit around and wait until you feel they’ve come to you—you can meet them half-way.

FINDING YOUR WICCAN GOD AND/OR GODDESS

Whether you feel the calling or not, there are things you should do to find patrons and foster that newly-growing relationship.

Do your research. Read, read and read some more to learn all you can about your Gods and/or Goddesses you think might be calling you. If you think you’re getting a sign, look them up to see who they might be coming from. If you don’t feel a calling, this could be a good way to start figuring out the best road for you to take—starting with whichever pantheons catch your attention most is probably a good place to begin. Then see which Gods and Goddesses jump out at you.

You want to really acquaint yourself with God/desses initially. Be careful of Neo-Pagan books that try to fit all Gods into one mold and all Goddesses into one mold. You’re better off reading ancient mythology books that deliberately remain vague so not to be too specific.

Also beware of modern books that re-write myths to ‘white wash’ them to make people feel more comfortable (this happens often with ‘rape myths’ or other myths that are particularly violent and sad). Some Pagan authors prefer feel-good versions of the old myths, but they’re missing the point. Sometimes they have tough lessons for us, or they convey them harshly through myths—to change the myths is to change (and often lose) the lesson. Gods are not meant to be human ideals for us to live up to (that doesn’t mean you can’t strive to be like your gods), they are meant for us to learn something. Remember that the myths are symbolism and allegory; your Gods are not actually raping and killing. If a myth makes you uncomfortable, don’t try to avoid it—it only means there is a lesson there that you probably need to explore further.

CONNECTING WITH DEITIES IN WICCA

Keep reading

There is trend going on of smearing Jews. 

I saw an article that whole premise of it was that Bernie Sanders in conformation hearing for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget was making it hard for him because he was christian.

Now this wasn’t in some far right online thing or some over the top christian blog.

No this was in an Atlantic article.   

And I read it and then read it again to make sure I understood what I read.

See what actually happened was Bernie Sander, a Jewish man, was making sure that the nominee was going to do his job for all the people and not just some.

You might wonder why Bernie Sanders was concerned here is why:

Sanders took issue with a piece Vought wrote in January 2016 about a fight at the nominee’s alma mater, Wheaton College. The Christian school had fired a political-science professor, Larycia Hawkins, for a Facebook post intended to express solidarity with Muslims. Vought disagreed with Hawkins’s post and defended the school in an article for the conservative website The Resurgent. During the hearing, Sanders repeatedly quoted one passage that he found particularly objectionable:

Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.

“In my view, the statement made by Mr. Vought is indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world,” Sanders told the committee during his introductory remarks. “This country, since its inception, has struggled, sometimes with great pain, to overcome discrimination of all forms … we must not go backwards.”

Yeah I am concerned too, Bernie.

Later, during the question-and-answer portion of the hearing, Sanders brought this up again. “Do you believe that statement is Islamophobic?” he asked Vought.

“Absolutely not, Senator,” Vought replied. “I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith.”

As Russell Moore, the head of the political arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said in a statement, “Even if one were to excuse Senator Sanders for not realizing that all Christians of every age have insisted that faith in Jesus Christ is the only pathway to salvation, it is inconceivable that Senator Sanders would cite religious beliefs as disqualifying an individual for public office.”

The exchange shows just how tense the political environment under Trump has become. But it’s also evidence of the danger of using religion to deem someone unfit to serve in government.

Bernie didn’t take issue with this guy being christian. Bernie was rightly concerned that the nominee may not do his job for all the citizens.

Sanders: I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America, I really don’t know, probably a couple million. Are you suggesting that all of those people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?

Vought: Senator, I am a Christian—

Sanders: I understand that you are a Christian. But this country is made up of people who are not just—I understand that Christianity is the majority religion. But there are other people who have different religions in this country and around the world. In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?

I don’t know I gotta agree with Bernie here.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve overheard people say things like, “I don’t know how people can believe the Bible when it’s full of such unimaginable events” and “it’s hard to really grasp something that big”. 

And I understand just where they’re coming from, too. For so long, I struggled with the exact same things. Because, for so long, I had my eyes fixed on the miracles themselves instead of the One who was carrying them all out. 

Until one day, it finally dawned on me: 

This was God. 

This was the completely immeasurable, unfathomable, full-scale King of the universe. The supreme intelligence that hung each of the stars in the vast night sky and, with a few effortless words, set in motion planets, and galaxies, and the sun, and the moon. This was the creator of all that existed who spoke life into the dust and set eternity in its heart. This was not any mere man. 

This. was. God. 

And what to me had looked like a miracle beyond the imagination, to Him, had only ever been the simple execution of His will. Since then, I haven’t struggled so much with believing in things a great deal bigger than myself. And I’ve learned that, a truth, however difficult to believe, is a truth no less. 

We must never limit our belief to the capacity of our understanding.

So if my historical sources are telling me the truth…

…and I’m synthesizing the history properly…

…then, in fact, the entire edifice of Western civilization – all the cultural, social, and philosophical structures that define the world in which we live today – can be traced back to a stupid loophole in Roman inheritance law.

NOTE: Everything here is taken either from Francis Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order or from a Livejournal post by the Infamous Brad that I am currently unable to find.  I get credit for absolutely nothing, except noticing the connection between Section II and Section III. 

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Of course Christianity is complicated and difficult to believe in many respects, because it comes from outside the human mind from a separate being. We already know virgins can’t give birth and that men don’t raise from the dead. That’s the point, that’s God, that’s why it’s so mystifying and crazy to hear about.

If my religion came from my own head rather than a force outside of myself, Christianity would be far more simple and easy to understand. If I was trying to manufacture a way to manipulate people, I wouldn’t include things like virgin births and men raising from the dead, because it would sound so mad as to be detrimental to my cause. We know Christianity is hard to understand and difficult to grasp. That’s the point of faith.

Something you guys don't understand.

Christians are not called to take “live and let live” attitudes. Things like “Coexist” are silly fantasies, and they are products of moral subjectivism: what you believe is true, what I believe is true, there is no truth, etc. Jesus commanded we go out and proclaim the Gospel, and that we love each other, and that no one can enter Heaven except through Him. Subsequently, it is the Christian thing to discuss with people and preach to people and, without imposing or forcing or being vicious, lead them to God. That doesn’t mean you can’t respect other faiths or examine them or learn about them, or that they have no wisdom.

There is objective universal truth, and there is a a moral code. We don’t make our own truth or our own morals. We all, as Plato and C.S. Lewis wrote, should be in the business of discovering truth and conforming to it, NOT making our own truth.

what anathema means to me

i have anxiety. and anxiety is a monster. it keeps me awake for hours and hours every night, and it makes me feel awful…like torture.

anathema is a really important song to me, because it reflects words that i don’t know how to express.

‘you will never know what’s behind my skull’

nobody can ever truly know what’s in my brain. nobody will ever truly understand what pain i have, or what thoughts i go through.

‘so won’t you say goodnight so i can say goodbye?’

i want my anxiety to go away. to just shut off forever. i want to say goodbye to this demon.

'you will never know what’s under my hair’

nobody will ever know exactly what i’m thinking or how anxiety makes me feel, or the bad thoughts it gives me.

'you will never know what’s under my skin’ / 'you will never know what is in my veins’

no one can understand my emotions. no one will truly get how and why i feel about myself the way i do.

'won’t you go to someone else’s dreams?’

i want it to leave. to let me sleep, to let me go.

'haven’t you taken enough from me?’

it’s taken my sleep. it’s taken my passion for certain things. it’s in the way of my dreams of becoming a musician.

'you will never understand what i believe’

i take this two ways; one, no one will understand why i believe supposedly “false” things about myself. two, as a christian, most people don’t understand god and why i believe in him and why i look to him and pray when i start to get an anxiety attack.

'i start to part two halves of my heart in the dark’

my heart shatters every time i get anxiety attack because i feel like i’ve failed myself. i hide in the dark, in my room, and live out my attack.

'i don’t know where i should go and the tears and the fears begin to multiply’

often times i don’t know where to turn when i get anxiety. i feel like i’m left to do this alone, and that saddens and terrifies me so much.

'taking time in a simple place, on my bed where my head rests on a pillowcase’

my bed used to be my safe place. i could curl up on my bed with a big, warm, fluffy blanket and a book and nice music. but now it’s where i lay awake and stare at the ceiling and i can’t sleep because i’m so lost in thought and i care about the future too much.

'it’s said that a war’s led but i forget that i let another day go by’

i feel as though there’s a war inside my body, day after day.

'i want to be afraid but it seems these days i’m caught underwater and i’m falling farther, my heart’s getting harder’

i keep distancing myself from others and drown in my thoughts. i try to distance myself to see if that way, i don’t have to worry so much.

'i’m calling my father, am i screaming to an empty sky?“

i pray and call out to god, but when my anxiety continues, i can’t help but wonder if he hears me…

'empty sky, no way, that’s me’

i curse myself for having even the slightest blasphemous thought. if anything, i’m the one that doesn’t hear.

'one half of my heart is free’ / 'the other half of my heart’s asleep’

half of my believes that, yes, god will heal me from this pain someday.

but the other half thinks that i’ll have this sickness for the rest of my life.

anxiety is my anathema and i hate it so much.

also, anathema is the only song that josh sings live.

josh has anxiety too, and he doesn’t sing because of it. as i’ve said multiple times before, josh is my role model. if this song means to much to him that he has the strength to sing it, then that makes me feel like he has at least similar feelings about the song as i do. he even came up with the title for the song.