April 18, 2007
April 20, 2007

April 19, 2007

FAITH COMES BACK TO 'GODLESS COMMUNISM'

Religion has returned to Albania, this report says. Well, my guess is that it never left the hearts and souls of some residents. One of the most difficult operations to perform is a religionectomy.

* * *

VISITING ANOTHER RELIGIOUS TRADITION

NEW YORK -- While I was here this week working on my Holocaust book project, my book-writing colleague, Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn, also was here, though his first duty was to help lead a group of youngsters from his temple's confirmation class on a trip.

Chabad1I joined them the day they went to Brooklyn to visit the world center of Chabad Lubavitch Judaism, the Hassidic approach to the Jewish tradition.

We visited the famous building at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn that was the office (pictured here) of the movement's late and most famous leader, Rebbe (it's similar to rabbi, but means leader) Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Indeed, we had the rare privilege of being allowed to see his office, which remains much as it did when he died in 1994.

A few of his followers revere Schneerson so much that they believe he was and is the Jewish Messiah and lives forever. No successor Lubavitcher rebbe has been named and it seems unlikely that any ever will be. Schneerson was the seventh in a line that stretches back to the 1700s.

Rabbi Cukierkorn and I visited Schneerson's grave and, as you can see, found followers praying there. The white papers you see lying there (in this photo) are prayer requests left by believers.

Chabad3We also had a chance to visit the Chabad Library, which houses some 250,000 volumes, many of them rare books dating from the 1470s and later. It's essentially a research establishment.

And we visited a business that repairs Torah scrolls and writes new ones. (The photo here shows a Torah currently being worked on.) The latter, by the way, cost anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000. It's an astonishingly painstaking process that requires no errors. And many checks are done to make sure it's error free.

All of which is to say that it's simply fascinating to come to the home of other religious traditions and to learn about them. It removes misunderstandings and, one hopes, reduces prejudices.

Chabad2I've seen some of what I would call the anti-Semitic variety of prejudice in some recent comments left on this blog. I've not removed those comments because I think it's important that others, including me, challenge them openly without censorship, though I always reserve the right to expunge comments that I consider out of bounds (that's happened only once or twice in more than two years).

We enter into conversation with other faiths to know and to be known, not to denigrate or convert. If conversion happens as a long-term result of those conversations, fine, but that's not the goal.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

Comments

Mary Behr

BILL WROTE TODAY: "I've seen some of what I would call the anti-Semitic variety of prejudice in some recent comments left on this blog. I've not removed those comments because I think it's important that others, including me, challenge them openly without censorship, though I always reserve the right to expunge comments that I consider out of bounds (that's happened only once or twice in more than two years).

We enter into conversation with other faiths to know and to be known, not to denigrate or convert. If conversion happens as a long-term result of those conversations, fine, but that's not the goal."

Well said, Bill. THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Some of us have spoken off blog as well about this, grieving over the recent remarks. Wondering about censorship--but coming to the consensus, I think, that that is not the way to go. One person wrote:
"I wish that an atheist could look in on our blog and remark, "Behold! How they love one another!"

It would do well for us to keep a copy of your remarks above handy to remind us of what we are about here on this blog.


Dolores Lear

Bill. Thank you for your patience and humanity.
I hope I have not offended anyone with this High Tech knowledge I offer.

With all the worldwide communications, and the explosion of knowledge for the past 100 years, especially in High Tech, I hope Humans can start using it for Good, instead of for the Evil. But so far, it has been used for Evil weapons of mass destruction, that has divided Humans more, on a planetary basis. Not since the time of the Noah/Atlantis Society, has Humans used High Tech for Evil, that ended that Society with a Planetary Flood Catastrophe. The myth of Atlantis as a High Tech Society, needs to be researched as History, just as religion and myth are history.

It is time to accept that all myth and religion on our Planet, has some basis for Truth in the past. The myth is that Atlantis had High Tech, and split into two parts and sank. Religious writings have Gods that sit on thrones up in the air, ride in fiery chariots, and kill, and the Christian Bible has a Noah Planetary Flood also. Our Continents have a split down the middle of the land mass, with Arctic and Atlantis Oceans.

Now Humans, again are using High Tech to ride in fiery chariots and kill, like Atlantis did. Humans today, will cause another Planetary Catastrophe, the Planetary Fire Catastrophe, which is also recorded as prophecy in the Christian Bible. These catastrophies are cause by Fallen Humans, not God.
Global Warming should be an indication of what is to come. We have the Planetary Fire Catastrophe set up on Earth today with our planet covered in all types of pollution, and nuclear pollution, weapons and bombs. I have posted many times how Humans became Killers instead of Caretakers of their planet, because of Body Birth.

It is time to wake up out of the dream we have been living in, and wake up to the Reality of how Fallen Humans have used High Tech for Evil and Killing, instead of for Life.
Peace and Agape Love, instead of War and Killing, will help us wake up to all the Evil, and population explosion we have produced in the past 100 years. The Atlantis Society was the Man Gods that killed, in religion and myth. The Christian Bible has writings, about a Peace God and a Killer God, that looked like Humans.

Jesus and our High Tech Ancestors, the Peace Man Gods of religion, that Colonized Earth, will return as religion teaches, to save those that remain Alive at the Judgement Day Fire Catastroophe set up by the present Global Community.
Our Hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' Righteousness, and that he is Alive in a Pure-bred Human Body, like our High Tech Ancestors, that practice Peace, not War, Colonize planets, and have Eternal Pure-bred Physical Life After Birth Forever.

Dave Miller

Bill and Mary, many thanks for your comments on the need for civility and an attitude of encountering other faiths to "know and be known."

I went to the web site of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Bill, and played the Real audio/video recording of "My Soul Thirsts."

Who could not get caught up in the worshipful longing of an experience like that? I had no idea what the words were saying, but the attitude of the worshipers was apparent. Wanting to know what the words meant but being unable to find a translation, I realized that the chant was creating in me an experience similar to what it was creating in the chanters.

My faith overlaps with theirs in ways which words cannot express.

Dave Miller

"Bill. Thank you for your patience and humanity.
I hope I have not offended anyone with this High Tech knowledge I offer."

Thank you for your nice comment, Dolores. I'm not aware of anyone you've offended here on the blog. Certainly not me...

Dolores Lear

Dave. Thank you for your support.

All.
I am being given all this High Tech knowledge in America/USA, to understand all the past history of the World from Pure-bred Adam, Eve, and Inbred Cain, to the Noah/Atlantis Society. I accept that America is the same type of power Society as Atlantis was before the Flood.
The Planetary Flood destroyed most Life as we know it, and Human Life had to re-populate the planet again, like it was up to the High Tech of Atlantis, now up to the High Tech America/USA.

All we are doing is repeating the past history of Fallen Man, and the two Planetary Catastrophies. Humans today lost the knowledge of our planet Colonized with two Canopies to filter the ultraviolet rays of the Sun. Otherwise Life as we know it could not exist on a planet like Earth was 'in the beginning'. We have also lost the knowledge of the Ice-Crystal Canopy that was destroyed by the Noah/Atlantis High Tech Society. There is nothing new under our Sun, that has not happened in our Past History.

Now we have set up the High Tech Nuclear weapons of mass destruction, that America/USA has all around the planet. Do other countries that have all this High Tech, also that have nuclear bombs in other places beside in their country?
We must be about the Peace, that the Human Fathers of Life on Earth set up in the beginning, not the War Lifestyle set up by Fallen Humans. I guess we have to go through the prophecy of Killing until the Judgement Day, the punishment of Original Sin, as all the rest of the past History of Fallen Humans did. Now what are we going to do? There is help coming with the Father/High Tech Ancestors and Jesus.

Peace and Asexual Agape Brother/Sister Love to All, as it was in the Beginning of Life on Earth, and as it will be again at the End of Life on Earth.

Dolores Lear

I just had another understanding of how to explain the Adam and Eve Clones as Brother/Sister of the same Genetics, but not as a twin Brother/Sister reproduced by Body Birth.
Brother/Sisters are still not supposed to reproduce by Body Birth. It still does happen today in family incest.
When the Original Pure-bred Clone Colony reproduced by Body Birth, Fallen Mis-bred Genetic Humans inherited defective bodies, and are still made, for the rest of our Killing History.

Dave Miller

Hi, Dolores. Just to clarify...I certainly don't think you've said anything hurtful or disrespectful to anyone here. But I think it would be going too far to say I support the positions you've taken here. I support you, as a child of God, made in the image of God, just like me.

Maybe you already understood that...

corbin

I am going to go out on a limb and assume that Bill's comments on antisemitism were directed at conversations that I was involved in. I think that, in the interest of civility, I should both clarify but also defend some of my statements.

If antisemitism is criticism of Judaism or of the behavior of certain Jews or criticism of Israel (as W. Blitzer would have us believe) then I must be antisemitic. Antisemitism then is a very queer thing. It is not racism, it is not religious bigotry, it is in my estimation considered any direct criticism of anything Jewish be it religion, morality, or politics. This has been stated by people smarter than me like Joe Sobran so don't think I am alone in this.

Additionally, the historical antagonistic behavior between Jews and Catholics is not one sided. People may argue that Pius XII should have done more for the Jews even though he did do a lot, but no one ever asks how the Jews have treated Catholics or non-Jews which has been at times likewise contemptible.

One thing that has been said is that if I was to posit historical arguments that were used in pogroms or in the holocaust then I am defending the holocaust. Well, I think that such a position is illogical and absurd. I have made the point that no one's hands are completely clean and it is just that. No defense of immoral measures at all, I have just wanted to point out that the genesis of antisemitism is in many ways a reaction to Jews and Jewish behavior in certain periods in history.

Theologically, under traditional Christian/Catholic doctrines, if a person is religiously Jewish, then they are not Christians and have not received Salvation be it through faith, baptism, or whatever. For Catholics especially this is a big issue because Catholics have a belief in invincible ignorance which would deny the claim that Jews need not be baptized because they do not know of Christ. Therefore, if a person is religiously Jewish and not a Christian, then they have rejected Christ, the Messiah. This is orthodox, biblical Christianity. I do not believe Jews are cursed or anything like that, but Christ fulfilled the Old Testament and "no man cometh unto the father" but by him.

Finally, though I am not a big fan of his, Neuhaus's law is apropos.

From First Things:
"Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed. Some otherwise bright people have indicated their puzzlement with that axiom but it seems to me, well, axiomatic. Orthodoxy, no matter how politely expressed, suggests that there is a right and a wrong, a true and a false, about things. When orthodoxy is optional, it is admitted under a rule of liberal tolerance that cannot help but be intolerant of talk about right and wrong, true and false. It is therefore a conditional admission, depending upon orthodoxy’s good behavior. The orthodox may be permitted to believe this or that and to do this or that as a matter of sufferance, allowing them to indulge their inclination, preference, or personal taste. But it is an intolerable violation of the etiquette by which one is tolerated if one has the effrontery to propose that this or that is normative for others."

It is hard to cling to the high calling of orthodoxy in this world. It means saying things that counter the regime of tolerance. Judaism has become a rejection of Christ and however intriguing and interesting it can be, it will forever be a wandering religion looking for a Messiah that already came and was killed by his own. If that is antisemitism, then I find myself in the company of the Saints and in conformity with the Word of God and have nothing to be ashamed of.

Dolores Lear

Dave. Thanks again.
I understood your position as I had the same belief system also. I think you are also Lutheran, and I did not think anything could change me, Catholic, Baptist, etc.
But as you can see I have found truths that I questioned when I was a Protestant. I am now only a Child of God/LIFE.

Agape Love from one child of God to another child of God. I am sure we will all end up at the same place, which many believers do not believe. The only Hell I accept, is the Black Hole in Space, and I do not think our Universe is ready to collapse yet.

Ron

Well said, Corbin.

There has been a great deal of anti-Christian comments posted on this blog, which is not a bad thing for those who don't believe in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, God in human form, Who physicially died and Who physically arose from the dead, declared victory over death and Satan, and now sits at the right hand of God in physicial, human form, and Who one day will come again to judge both the living and dead.

I don't consider these comments an affront to Christinaity. Christianity is much bigger than any comments anyone on this blog might post in an attempt to discredit it.

I hope those who have faith in Buddah, Allah, Muhammad, Science, Voodoo etc., feel the same way about their religion. If they don't, then what's the point? If you're willing to believe that everyone is right and no one is wrong, what difference does it make what you believe?

Jenkins

John Paul II - Redemptoris Missio:

"While respecting the beliefs and sensitivities of all, we must first clearly affirm our faith in Christ, the one Savior of mankind, a faith we have received as a gift from on high, not as a result of any merit of our own. We say with Paul, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith" (Rom 1:16). Christian martyrs of all times - including our own - have given and continue to give their lives in order to bear witness to this faith, in the conviction that every human being needs Jesus Christ, who has conquered sin and death and reconciled mankind to God.
...

Jenkins

The temptation today is to reduce Christianity to merely human wisdom, a pseudo-science of well-being. In our heavily secularized world a "gradual secularization of salvation" has taken place, so that people strive for the good of man, but man who is truncated, reduced to his merely horizontal dimension. We know, however, that Jesus came to bring integral salvation, one which embraces the whole person and all mankind, and opens up the wondrous prospect of divine filiation. Why mission? Because to us, as to St. Paul, "this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph 3:8). Newness of life in him is the "Good News" for men and women of every age: all are called to it and destined for it. Indeed, all people are searching for it, albeit at times in a confused way, and have a right to know the value of this gift and to approach it freely. The Church, and every individual Christian within her, may not keep hidden or monopolize this newness and richness which has been received from God's bounty in order to be communicated to all mankind.
...

Jenkins

The proclamation of the Word of God has Christian conversion as its aim: a complete and sincere adherence to Christ and his Gospel through faith. Conversion is a gift of God, a work of the Blessed Trinity. It is the Spirit who opens people's hearts so that they can believe in Christ and "confess him'' (cf. 1 Cor 12:3); of those who draw near to him through faith Jesus says: "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" (Jn 6:44).
...

Jenkins

Inter-religious dialogue is a part of the Church's evangelizing mission. Understood as a method and means of mutual knowledge and enrichment, dialogue is not in opposition to the mission ad gentes; indeed, it has special links with that mission and is one of its expressions. This mission, in fact, is addressed to those who do not know Christ and his Gospel, and who belong for the most part to other religions.
...

Jenkins

In the light of the economy of salvation, the Church sees no conflict between proclaiming Christ and engaging in interreligious dialogue. Instead, she feels the need to link the two in the context of her mission ad gentes. These two elements must maintain both their intimate connection and their distinctiveness; therefore they should not be confused, manipulated or regarded as identical, as though they were interchangeable.
...

Jenkins

Dialogue is based on hope and love, and will bear fruit in the Spirit. Other religions constitute a positive challenge for the Church: they stimulate her both to discover and acknowledge the signs of Christ's presence and of the working of the Spirit, as well as to examine more deeply her own identity and to bear witness to the fullness of Revelation which she has received for the good of all.

This gives rise to the spirit which must enliven dialogue in the context of mission. Those engaged in this dialogue must be consistent with their own religious traditions and convictions, and be open to understanding those of the other party without pretense or close-mindedness, but with truth, humility and frankness, knowing that dialogue can enrich each side. There must be no abandonment of principles nor false irenicism, but instead a witness given and received for mutual advancement on the road of religious inquiry and experience, and at the same time for the elimination of prejudice, intolerance and misunderstandings. Dialogue leads to inner purification and conversion which, if pursued with docility to the Holy Spirit, will be spiritually fruitful.

Jenkins

Bill, your words echo the thoughts of John Paul II above, however I do a major difference.

As a Christian we are convicted in the truth that we possess (by God's grace). Our goal is absolutely to seek conversion, not by force, but by the grace of God. We do not engage in inter-religious dialogue for its own sake. Our objective is not to obtain understanding and elimination of prejudice, although that is an absolutely positive consequence of interreligious dialogue. Our objective is to preach Christ and to seek Christian conversion.

corbin

Jenkins,
You da man. How much coffee did you have this morning anyway? Did you quit the decaf?

Keith

To quote Bill this morning, “We enter into conversation with other faiths to know and to be known, not to denigrate or convert.” In the interest of civility, I’ll phrase my response this way: I’m not sure who the “We” is, or more importantly, isn’t. I haven’t seen much of that attitude in my blog reading of late.

As to Bill’s claim that “I've seen some of what I would call the anti-Semitic variety of prejudice in some recent comments left on this blog,” I think the comments have been no more bigoted, ignorant or rude than the anti-Islamic, anti-Catholic and anti-GLBT screeds posted.

Ron says something very important in his 10:29a.m. post: “If you're willing to believe that everyone is right and no one is wrong, what difference does it make what you believe?”

It’s important but totally off the mark if we are here to know and to be known. I don’t happen to believe everyone is right and no one is wrong. Like Ron, I believe I am right and all others are wrong, wrong, wrong! It would not be a stretch to say each of us comes here in absolute confidence in our faith. But that totally misses the point unless your visit is for verbal warfare or proselytizing. (In which case you disrespect Bill and his blog.)

I am willing to acknowledge and then look past our differences in order to find commonalities where they exist, and to find ways of dealing with each other and our common neighborhood/planet in a manner beneficial to us all. I’ll support each of you in your entitlement to live your faith right up to the point where you deny reciprocity.

At which point you may think you’re a good (insert belief here) and (insert reward here) awaits you, but I still think you’re a lousy human being.

Mary Behr


It's hard to wrap our minds around all that is involved in Catholic teaching re: salvation.

If you are interested in what I have found to be a clear Catholic teaching as I have long understood it, you can check out this web site:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/600515/posts

I've copied a portion of it here.

"God is able to save anyone he chooses. We trust that he often does this in ways that are not obvious to us, within the hearts of individuals who are sincerely seeking the truth. Otherwise, it would imply that all of humanity was excluded from salvation before Christ came, and that much of humanity (which has not had the opportunity to hear the Christian message until recently) was doomed to be eternally separated from God. This would imply a very cruel and elitist God. Our belief as Christians and Catholics is that God desires the salvation of all people … even those who are not Christian. How he achieves that, however, is a mystery. But we know that our God is a loving God who would not allow people to suffer on account of an ignorance that they were not responsible for.

The Church teaches that baptism, faith, and a life lived in Christ are necessary for salvation. However, Vatican II also taught that, within every human heart, God places the law of conscience. Everybody has a deep sense of right and wrong which ultimately comes from God, and which will lead people to God if they attempt to follow their conscience faithfully. Because Jesus is God, those who move in the direction of God (even non-Christians) are ultimately moving in the direction of Jesus. And if they are moving in the direction of Jesus and His truth, ultimately they are expressing a desire for the salvation that God gives. The Church teaches that, while it is certainly easier to receive salvation as a Christian, it is not impossible to receive salvation in other religions. "

I would not try to judge the sincerity of those seeking to follow the truth by whatever means. Agnostics welcome. I'll trust God for the results.

corbin

Keith,

"I am willing to acknowledge and then look past our differences in order to find commonalities where they exist, and to find ways of dealing with each other and our common neighborhood/planet in a manner beneficial to us all."

I think what you are saying is exactly what Neuhaus warns about. Correct me if I am wrong but are you saying that you tolerate normative statements insofar as they are generally agreeable to the status quo. In fact, I find it is the differences on this blog that keep it interesting. Yeah, we have to all get along I guess but if it means not tackling difficult issues that confront the exclusive ideas, then I am not interested.

Patricia

Thank you, Mary, for your posting today and those in recent days. They're among the few that have made Catholics look as if they actually practice Christianity.

Dolores Lear

The problem that separates most people is the use of the word in Messiah and Christ. They both are the same word, Anointed in English. Not God.

In Hebrew, Jews look for an Anointed/Messiah person, and they look for that person to come and set up a better Lifestyle on Earth.
In Greek, Christians look for an Anointed/Christ person to come and set up a better Lifestyle on Earth.
I, of no religion, also look forward for the return of Jesus, who was Messiah/Christ/Anointed to bring a better Lifestyle on Earth.
I think other religions and groups, also that look for a God or Savior to help us.

Thou shalt not Kill, and Turn The Other Cheek, and Share Equally, would have had a Good effect, taught by many Saviors, but Humans were not ready to take Care of their Home planet, and the Life on it. Maybe all religions also, believe we will go out into Space/Heaven, Alive, after the Judgement Day, like Christians do.

So are we again, up to communications with the whole Planet, so we can Unite in a Savior for All people.
Maybe there were other Saviors in the past that are also with our High Tech Ancestors, and will return also, with Jesus. What does it matter if there is more than one Savior, if they return with Jesus? We are all made with the same Genetics, from the Adam and Eve Colony.

Then All that are left will be Saved, even if they were divided by doctrine and Creeds on Earth.
I hope I am right that we will not blow up our Planet, before they return.

corbin

Awesome Patricia,
Thanks for stepping down from the ivory tower for us but don't neglect the stunning vision of Christianity that you offer yourself. What a role model, what a womyn.

Just Thinking

Mary wrote, "Because Jesus is God, those who move in the direction of God (even non-Christians) are ultimately moving in the direction of Jesus. And if they are moving in the direction of Jesus and His truth, ultimately they are expressing a desire for the salvation that God gives."

I agree with what you say, Mary. The question that Jesus asked of Peter was so significant in this regard: Who do you say that I am? It's a question that every Christian needs to be able to answer.

Some might answer that with, "You are a man ... ," and they will end up believing that you must believe in Jesus Christ as a man in order to be saved. Jesus Christ is not a man; Jesus Christ is the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

If you believe in God who wants wants you to be with Himself, then you already believe in the Savior, the Son of the Living God, the one revealed to Peter, even if you don't have a name to go with. Trusting in God to save you, and wanting to act in a manner that pleases God because you want to be with that God, is the desire to follow God for the right reason. It is this desire to follow God and please God for the right reason that constitutes love of God. Faith in the kindness and mercy of God, believing that you can be with God, is belief in Jesus, whether you know it or not.

Those who say that the only way to the Father is through the Son say nothing more than, "The only way to God is through the part of God through which you may come." Jesus is the Way, and all people will be judged through Jesus Christ, too. So everyone who comes to God will come through Jesus, with or without the name. And everyone who is drawn to God, who wants to find God, will be sent to Jesus by God. Nobody comes to Jesus Himself, but only those who are sent by God to Jesus because they were seeking God. Jesus is not the Father, but the Way to the Father, and you do not come to the Way unless you are drawn to the Father. Jesus does not do His own will, but has only the desire to do the will of the Father, which is to lose none of those sent to Him. Jesus is the Way provided by the Father for all who earnestly seek the Way, and to Him God sends everyone who is drawn to God.

John 6
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

...

43 "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. 44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: 'They will all be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me."

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