Comments on: Christians in Middle East much more than a numbers game Religion, faith and ethics Sat, 23 Apr 2016 23:25:07 +0000 hourly 1 By: minskaya Wed, 29 Oct 2014 01:48:10 +0000 Just one comment.
In the whole middle east Israel is the only country were the christian population is increasing in size. This tells everything as where christians have better life as a minority.

By: mordavig Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:42:44 +0000 I happened to notice that the situation of the Christians in the state of Israel proper has not been discussed at all during such an extensive interview. Isn´t Israel in the Middle East any more? Aren´t 160,000 souls worth a comment? Sounds like ‘if you don’t have anything particularly nasty to say, don’t say anything at all’.

By: paintcan Wed, 17 Nov 2010 06:49:32 +0000 To Genesis or Stan – What is a “working knowledge of the Bible”? Do you mean that in the same sense of the word as an actor or comedian can “work” his audience. Or do you mean it in the sense of a grifter working his con? Are you perhaps thinking of the book as an operating manual? A do it yourself – or your faith club’s – Popular Mechanic’s guide to spiritual what? Perfection?, holiness?, staying on the good side of the great unknown and unknowable?

The only thing I can see in your comment is a very old attitude that a particular mixture (probably an admixture) of genes are necessary for a promise from God. That attitude is why Judaism has remained a very small minority religion. It didn’t “sell” well to the Romans even though many Roman’s admired their way of life: the regularity and ethic of it. Augustus himself wrote of them and wanted the Roman’s to have the same integrity.

You profess a belief in a God who hands out real estate like it was a grace shed from above and all those who occupied the territory prior to God’s grand scheme are expected to disappear or “submit to the will of God”. If the will of God as defined by those “working the word” isn’t enough, ten of thousands of troops, billions in cash and arms, friends in very high places of the very worldly sort, help too.

In case you haven’t noticed, “submission to the will of God” is a basic principle of Islam. It is the professed operating motive of the Taliban. They profess a total submission to their version of the will of God and expect everyone they encounter to do the same. It is a very old attitude and every world power from the times of the Egyptians (they probably invented it, but it was common enough beyond their borders) had used the idea that they were God (or the Gods’) favorites.

What do you suppose the criteria for the winner in a contest of competing interpretations of the will of God might be? Does your working knowledge shed any light on the subject? If you know you might do well to share it but you better work fast because a lot of people I meet think 2012 is the end of the world because somehow “God” loved the Mayans too?

God sounds very like my grandmother, who had a different story for every one of her children about each one of them, didn’t always get her facts straight, knew how to motivate them with rivalry and tended to take the Enquirer as good reading. But she was lovable, strong and ambitious and wanted her children to do better in the new world. She was a daughter of a large immigrant Italian family, but she did not want them to be raised as Italians. With my Grandmother, ethnicity was something she wanted to overcome. She couldn’t do anything about her genes but she did not make a great fuss about her children marrying into other gene pools. Neither did her husband.

A “nice Jewish girl” married one of my Grandmother’s cousins and she was disowned by her family and even given a ritual burial. My Grandmother was able after a decade or so, to bring the families together again.
My Grandmother died confessing that she “always wanted to be a big shot” and she never realized how big a presence she actually was. Go figure?

By: 126GENESIS Wed, 03 Nov 2010 01:55:07 +0000 I noticed the priest remarks about Israel as OCCUPIERS as if God’s Jewish Covenant People are trespassers. That proves what I learned years ago,the Vatican religion has always been hostile against God’s Covenant Jewish People. Jesus and Mary were Jews not Italians. The Apostles and Prophets of the Holy Bible were Jews and not Italians. I noticed the priest referred to ‘Protestants’ as if they were some new religious group. A Protestant is a Christian 1st who has a working knowledge of the Bible and proudly protests as false religious teaching. To expose another’s unBiblical beliefs is normal Christianity. 1 more thing: The Roman Catholic religion has a track record of opposing Israel and siding with Israel’s enemies whole pretending to be a negotiator for peace. Thanks: Stan

By: paintcan Sat, 09 Oct 2010 14:01:26 +0000 If one were to put all the most eloquent speakers for the major – and even the minor religions in the same room and had them explain to each other whet they thought the most important part of their religious traditions were/are or should be, they would most likely not be able to agree on anything, not even the smallest details. Perhaps Judaism, Christianity and Islam could agree on some common bible stories but they would not agree on the meaning.

And yet all of them would claim they spoke the truth. They cannot afford to believe that they speak the truth and all others also speak truth because none of them really believe that. They may as well be talking about their own DNA.

And all of the religions throughout history and even in the present day, tend to act like dictatorships. They all tend to want supreme authorities of some sort or another and that is not how democracies function. Religions also have a very strange way of claiming they speak definitive truths until they change their minds and claim another truth is now the definitive truth. Their followers are expected to reeducate themselves with the appropriate theological updates.

I am not sure anymore whether religion offers a single salutary benefit to the societies it is frequently imposed on, and if one disagrees with their programs or theologies one is likely to be cast out anyway to live in the secular world.

It might be all together better to read the literature of them all and suffer the intellectual and emotional meltdown in the peace and quiet of one’s own library rather than take up a lot of space and exert a lot of energy acting it out in the streets. It is going to be impossible to live in a world where all the religions expect all believers and non-believers to bend the knee and to refrain from offensive comments. They can all get very touchy on the issue of what is offensive. One has to be a well-practiced hypocrite to carry that off successfully.

The major religions of the world were established in times when they served a purpose of bringing meaning and some common rules of conduct to the lives of their subject societies. But they could also be monsters, intolerant tyrants, greedy, selfish, liars, bigots, and madmen and murderers in the name of the “faith”.

We can get all of that in civil society now but that still doesn’t make the faiths any more consistent or agreeable with one another. I am glad I am getting too old to have to live with the contradictions and double talk much longer. I look forward to the utter silence of flat lining. I look forward to the moment when the towers of babble collapse into the dust from which they were formed, that is my own dust. .

BTW – What is “a critical mass of the faithful”? To reach critical mass in physics means one has reached a point where the atomic pile explodes. Is the writer sure he wants to use that metaphor?