Also sometimes referred to as secular, modern, or humanistic. This is an umbrella term for Protestant denominations, or churches within denominations, that view the Bible as the witness of God rather than the word of God, to be interpreted in its historical context through critical analysis. Examples include some churches within Anglican/Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ. There are more than 2,000 Protestant denominations offering a wide range of beliefs from extremely liberal to mainline to ultra-conservative and those that include characteristics on both ends.
|•||Belief in Deity |
Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty. Many believe God is incorporeal.
Beliefs vary from the literal to the symbolic belief in Jesus Christ as God's incarnation. Some believe we are all sons and daughters of God and that Christ was exemplary, but not God.
|•||Origin of Universe and Life |
The Bible's account is symbolic. God created and controls the processes that account for the universe and life (e.g. evolution), as continually revealed by modern science.
|•||After Death |
Goodness will somehow be rewarded and evil punished after death, but what is most important is how you show your faith and conduct your life on earth.
|•||Why Evil? |
Most do not believe that humanity inherited original sin from Adam and Eve or that Satan actually exists. Most believe that God is good and made people inherently good, but also with free will and imperfect nature, which leads some to immoral behavior.
Various beliefs: Some believe all will go to heaven, as God is loving and forgiving. Others believe salvation lies in doing good works and no harm to others, regardless of faith. Some believe baptism is important. Some believe the concept of salvation after death is symbolic or nonexistent.
|•||Undeserved Suffering |
Most Liberal Christians do not believe that Satan causes suffering. Some believe suffering is part of God's plan, will, or design, even if we don't immediately understand it. Some don't believe in any spiritual reasons for suffering, and most take a humanistic approach to helping those in need.
|•||Contemporary Issues |
Most churches teach that abortion is morally wrong, but many ultimately support a woman's right to choose, usually accompanied by policies to provide counseling on alternatives. Many are accepting of homosexuality and gay rights.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
|Albert Einstein described belief in God as "childish superstition" and said Jews were not the chosen people, in a letter to be sold in London this week, an auctioneer said Tuesday. |
The father of relativity, whose previously known views on religion have been more ambivalent and fuelled much discussion, made the comments in response to a philosopher in 1954.
As a Jew himself, Einstein said he had a great affinity with Jewish people but said they "have no different quality for me than all other people".
"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.
"No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this," he wrote in the letter written on January 3, 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, cited by The Guardian newspaper.
The German-language letter is being sold Thursday by Bloomsbury Auctions in Mayfair after being in a private collection for more than 50 years, said the auction house's managing director Rupert Powell.
In it, the renowned scientist, who declined an invitation to become Israel's second president, rejected the idea that the Jews are God's chosen people.
"For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions," he said.
"And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people."
And he added: "As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them."
Previously the great scientist's comments on religion -- such as "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" -- have been the subject of much debate, used notably to back up arguments in favour of faith.
Powell said the letter being sold this week gave a clear reflection of Einstein's real thoughts on the subject. "He's fairly unequivocal as to what he's saying. There's no beating about the bush," he told AFP.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Lately, I've seen some changes at the two Starbucks that live less than a block away from the Mother Jones office. Last month, they both started pushing a new blend called "Pike Place Roast" as their regular drip coffee, as part of a campaign to compete with brisk coffee sales at Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's. As part of the campaign, Starbucks re-introduced its 1971 brown-and-white logo featuring a two-tailed mermaid. Okay, technically it's a siren, but regardless, the image of a female figure brazenly spreading its tails has made a few Christians vow to boycott the company.
"The Starbucks logo has a naked woman on it with her legs spread like a prostitute," explains alarmist Mark Dice, of a Christian group called The Resistance. "Need I say more? It's extremely poor taste, and the company might as well call themselves Slutbucks."
While I'm curious what the value of a Slutbuck is relative to a Schrutebuck, I'm worried that Dice doesn't seem to understand the Starbucks siren is half-fish. She doesn't have legs to spread, much less a vagina to go between them. The fact that Dice doesn't get the difference between a fin and a foot may be an example of what abstinence-only funding does to education, but it's certainly not the first time spunky Christians have boycotted the multinational company.
Just last summer, a group of Christian ladies boycotted Frappuccinos because there was a homosexual-agenda-pushing Armistead Maupin quote on some of the cups. Others have boycotted the company because of anti-God quotes.
All I can say is that if Starbucks goes down, it won't be because of a handful of Christian boycotters. And it won't be because a friend of a CATO Institute vice-president couldn't buy a customized "Laissez Faire" gift card, either. As the WSJ tells it, a Starbucks slump will be due to oversaturation and a faltering economy that makes $4 lattes seem like less of a necessity. Whether that's an act of God or not is for you to decide.
By Philip Giraldi
Global Research, May 11, 2008
The American Conservative
There is considerable speculation and buzz in Washington today suggesting that the National Security Council has agreed in principle to proceed with plans to attack an Iranian al-Qods-run camp that is believed to be training Iraqi militants. The camp that will be targeted is one of several located near Tehran. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was the only senior official urging delay in taking any offensive action.
The decision to go ahead with plans to attack Iran is the direct result of concerns being expressed over the deteriorating situation in Lebanon, where Iranian ally Hezbollah appears to have gained the upper hand against government forces and might be able to dominate the fractious political situation. The White House contacted the Iranian government directly yesterday through a channel provided by the leadership of the Kurdish region in Iraq, which has traditionally had close ties to Tehran.
The US demanded that Iran admit that it has been interfering in Iraq and also commit itself to taking steps to end the support of various militant groups. There was also a warning about interfering in Lebanon. The Iranian government reportedly responded quickly, restating its position that it would not discuss the matter until the US ceases its own meddling employing Iranian dissident groups. The perceived Iranian intransigence coupled with the Lebanese situation convinced the White House that some sort of unambiguous signal has to be sent to the Iranian leadership, presumably in the form of cruise missiles. It is to be presumed that the attack will be as “pinpoint” and limited as possible, intended to target only al-Qods and avoid civilian casualties. The decision to proceed with plans for an attack is not final. The President will still have to give the order to launch after all preparations are made.