In a motto we trust? 7-30-09
Late summer faith reading: 8-1/2-09

Family and faith: 7-31-09

Because today is the birthday of my youngest sister (I have three, and we are scattered from coast to coast, literally), I've been thinking about what family really is.


Yes, family certainly is that collection of people to whom we are related by blood and DNA and similar biological markers. So my birthday sister Mary (pictured here) definitely is family, as are my sisters Karin and Barbara.

And I wouldn't have it any other way. The four of us are quite close despite the long distances between us, and we see each other with surprising frequency for being so separated.

But I also know the lesson of my faith, which is that water is thicker than blood.

What does that mean?

For Christians (I am one), it means that the water of baptism creates a family that is -- or at least has the potential to be -- eternal and thus more long-lasting than family created just by blood.

When Jesus spoke about family, he expanded our horizons. He said his family wasn't just made up of his mother and sisters and brothers but of everyone who does the will of God. He wasn't putting down nuclear families. Rather, he was saying there is more.

In that approach, he was drawing on the lesson of the book of Ruth in the Hebrew Scriptures. There, Naomi, a Jew, made Ruth part of her family even though Ruth was a Moabite. And eventually Ruth wound up in one of the New Testament genealogies of Jesus.

So, in the end, family is created not just by blood but also by welcome and by welcoming grace.

Oh, and how old is Mary today? I ain't tellin'. Ask her yourself if you have a good reason to.

* * *


I am reluctant to share this with you, but silence is not an option. I'm reluctant because I don't wish to give more attention to Fred Phelps and his hateful Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka. Phelps has picketed me personally several times and has directly blamed me for the death of my nephew, a passenger on the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on 9/11. He is wildly irrational, wildly homophobic and generally should be ignored, partly because you simply can't reason with irrationality. But now he seems to be emphasizing something new for him -- anti-Judaism (see my essay about the long history of anti-Judaism in Christianity under the "Check this out" headline on the right side of this page). The Phelps folks have just sent out this notice (caution: its language is grossly offensive)

Download Kansas-City-MO-FFF-July-31

that they plan to picket several Jewish sites in the Kansas City area today, including the New Reform Temple, where Jacques Cukierkorn, my friend and co-author of my new book, is rabbi. Any individual or oganization sending out notices that say "Jews killed Christ" and "God hates Jews" should be considered dangerous at a minimum. This venom must be called what it is -- hate.

I suggest this as a way of standing up to this garbage: Make a donation to one or all of the agencies the Phelps clan plans to picket today: Jewish Vocational Services, the Jewish Heritage Foundation, the New Reform Temple and Jewish Family Services. Phelps has a right in this country to hold ridiculous opinions and say hateful things, all the while claiming to be a Christian. But the rest of us can respond in wholesome and healthy ways -- first by not engaging the picketers in any way (confrontation is what they want) and second by supporting the picketed agencies with our money and our prayers.


Will Graham

Fascinating post about the anti Judaism of Phelps, Bill. I think that anti Judaism is becoming more common; it is rampant among the New Atheists like Dawkins*, Harris and Hitchens, and is evident in many of the vicioous misrepresentations and smears of the Old Testament that you can find among the posts on this board. (And I most definitely do not mean CRITICISM, but the undeniable ridicule and slander directed at Jewish practices of old...totally and WILLFULLY ignorant of the historical situations involved.)

(*His most obvious moves in this regard are his repeated references to the NOTORIOUS JEWISH LOBBY as one of the most powerful in Washington in TGD. You know, the Jews control our foreign policy, banks, corporations, etc. That Dawkins did not immediately lose all respect for promoting this canard is astounding. The same think can be found in Harris and Hitchens.)

But as you point out Phelps continues while "claiming" to be a Christian. Anyone can "claim" anything; atheists for example can "claim" to be relying on "reality" and "reason" while they ridicule and smear.

Will Graham

Obamacare and divorce restrictions?

Adam said, “So, yes, atheists do have something to prove. For their position to be rational, it must be demonstrable that all existence can be explained by mindless procesess.”

No adam. You Xs make the assumption your god exists. You have to prove that. And, yes I believe this too, Red. - always have and have posted it here. Being so opinionated and arrogant can block understanding what someone writes - I mean that in the nicest way.

Adam, where did your god come from? Mindless matter? or a mommy and daddy? Oh, that’s right. He has always been. Is that good reason, Red?

Jim C said, “Cole, I appeciate your reasoned response; it is about what I expected.”

Prove the existence of your god, jesus, the holy spirit. You are lying – you appreciated my response? Oh, was that sarcasm? Expecting something takes all the fun out of it. Kind a like you disappearing and reappearing with another name.

Human nature is certainly fun to watch. It’s natural…With Xs and nonbelievers.

Bill, I have protested against Fred Phelps. Perhaps there should be more of this instead of less. Silence is accomplishing nothing.

Will said, “But as you point out Phelps continues while "claiming" to be a Christian. Anyone can "claim" anything; atheists for example can "claim" to be relying on "reality" and "reason" while they ridicule and smear.”

Will thinks his interpretation of god is the correct one. His god smears everybody who does not bow down to his ridiculous obsessions. Will thinks this is fair. Perhaps some day people will catch on this is all make believe and protesting against irrationality is rational. Not fighting like with like, but fighting for fairness, not doing nothing. The god concept is not nice.

Happy birthday Mary.

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole

Will, You sound as if you are for a theocracy. Good luck if that is the case. Your god is for all mighty power as you are. Perahaps your ‘like’ invented god for the use of power and restricting choice.

Dan Dennett: A secular, scientific rebuttal to Rick Warren

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole

Dolores Lear

"Any individual or organization sending out notices that say "Jews killed Christ" and "God hates Jews" should be considered dangerous at a minimum. This venom must be called what it is -- hate."

adamh (yesterday).
"And Red Biddy, you obviously don't even understand the point about the scientific method. Atheism is in no way a science, and relies on unverifiable and unfalsifiable claims. - So, yes, atheists do have something to prove. For their position to be rational, it must be demonstrable that all existence can be explained by mindless processes.
They can not, of course, do this."

Red Biddy (yesterday).
"So if this cannot be demonstrated does this mean, in your view, that all existence could be explained if it is proved there is a mindful process, i.e. God ?
As I said before the onus of proving that God exists is ENTIRELY in your court."

So how do Humans explain the scientific method of all existence? Using a Generic Word 'God' has worked for past centuries.

Today, with High Tech, Humans do Know about the Atom and ElectroMagnetic Force Elements, that make the Universe and Life as we Know it on Planets. Who made them?

'God', or Unknown Source, or Big Bang, The Big Deep, or anything Science or Religion calls it, or GOD as I call it?

Nothing Physical on Earth, can explain this Source of Universes and Life Species, except to say 'God'. How many different versions of GOD are there?

Humans can Know Life on Earth, in Genesis, was Colonized by High Tech Humans, called God/Us. They Reproduced the Adam and Eve Clone Colony in their Human Image.

These Clone Adam and Eve Humans lost their High Tech Science Reproduction, and Body Birth Children, Families, Religions, and Death, etc., began.

Humans have been Dividing and Killing Each Other Ever Since, for their Interpretation of a Supernatural Generic God, who our Ancestors from Space, in our Human Image.

Humans today, do have the 'Supernatural' Knowledge of Colonizing a Planet, and Reproducing Human Fetus' and Cloning animals in the Lab.

With a High Tech Translation of Scripture and Myth, the Supernatural Acts of Human God/Us in Genesis, can be Known. They are not the GOD of the Elements and the Universes.


Bill wrote>>>>>>>>>>[Phelps] is wildly irrational, wildly homophobic and generally should be ignored, partly because you simply can't reason with irrationality.

Congratulations for coming up with this frank, honest and straightforward solution to irrationality - interesting that people of different background can come up with the same answer You get the first prize for giving your own answers to issues related to irrationality every time.

It is pretty easy for "rational" people to determine what irrational is. I would dare say that we are going to be in agreement on virtually everything, except one small thing - space aliens and their children they fathered through telepathic sex to young women talking to people during their prayers to them.

Let's now extend it further in a "rational" manner to religion and once it's dead and its crazy followers are gone, the world will be a bit more rational.


Re: Theocracy that Will Graham/Adamh want.

Cole, you are right, they do want theocracy - this is what our own blog derived Christian crazy "Will Graham/Adamh" wrote as "Goldstein" -

Also do search for "Goldy, Andrew, Blair, Stauffenberg" - you will come across the same dude with irrational statements like this left and right.

Boyd is trying to accomodate the left, in his own way.
And it will do no good to try and accomodate and respect you people [atheists]. As most of the posts show, you will still spit on us [Christians] and despise us.
That is why we need to go for theocracy!
The whole enchilada!
No compromise.



How many gods are there?

(John 10:34) "Ye are gods."

The Jews threatened to execute Jesus for blasphemy, since he claimed be God.

But Jesus defended himself by quoting Ps.82:6: "Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?"

Why would Jesus invoke "gods" not "god?" - singular?

Why would there be any mention of asking someone "Are you gods?" - There is only ONE GOD? Why even in Ps.82:6 is this mentioned?

Mistranslation? Jesus misspoke? How could he? - he is a pefect being he could not have misspoken, right? Or perhpas, the New Testament is a man made book to fit the Old Testament? Surely, you would not insist that Spiderman is real because there is a book of comics that places him in New York City?

Christians, stop telling and retelling "Three Little Piggies" story when you want to order a pork chop

Lynne -

Bill, thanks for letting us know about Phelps. His anti-Judaism is not surprising, given that he pickets funerals. Anybody who would picket a funeral must have some bottomless pit of hate in place of a conscience.

Will and Adamh - so you advocate theocracy, do you? How is that any better than Communism - either way it is NOT democracy - it is anti-democracy and therefore anti-American. It seems you are in favor of gulags after all as long as you get to choose who goes in them.

Lynne -

from yesterday...

Bill, in discussing the motto you left out an important part of the puzzle - the TIMING of the motto on our paper money coupled with the THOUGHT BEHIND IT. It was put there (and also "under God" in the pledge) as PART OF the McCarthy Red Scare. Because the Communists were atheists some idiots got it into their heads that all atheists must be Communists (a logical fallacy, of course), therefore to distinguish ourselves from the godless Communists we had to advertise Christianity and warn non-Christians that we were on to their Commie ways. It was a horrible, hateful thing to do and as a result we still have people like Adamh and Will who still don't understand that atheism does NOT equal pinko! And believe it or not, Bill, they are not the only ones who have called me Communist - although that particular slur seems to have gone out of fashion sometime in the late 80s.

Bill, how often have you told your kids or grandkids when they are getting gifts that it's the thought that counts? It IS the thought that counts - that's exactly right - and it's that thought behind the motto and the mutilation of our pledge of allegiance (which was perfectly fine before it was adulterated!) that I get most upset about. I think that if people KNEW about this history then they would understand...(well except people like Will and Adamh but I'm convinced they are a tiny minority, thank goodness.)


Question: What is the difference between the wildly anti-Judiasm views of Fred Phelps and the wildly anti-Christianity views of the atheists' on Bill's blog?

Answer: There is no difference.

adam harrison

Cole, the hit and run poster who posts under various names, wants Christians to prove God exists.

This goes directly to the point of "falsifiability", a component of the scientific methods...whether he likes it or not and whether he even understands the concept or not.

Given his own presuppositions, I submit that there is NO PROOF...even in THEORY...that he would accept.

NONE, because presuppostions would enable him to reject.

So, go for it Cole...insult all you want, but suggest a PROOF THAT YOU WOULD ACCEPT in theory.

Either historical, philosophical, or scientific, or even a miracle, and I will show you that you WOULD NOT ACCEPT IT EVEN IF IT WERE SITTING IN FRONT OF YOU!

Go for it!


Happy birthday to Mary!

About Fred Phelps and anti-Judaism, a few days ago a poster here (I'm not sure if it was DW or PreacherDJ) talked about how Paul quit identifying himself as a Jew, and how Paul said the Jews were under God's wrath. I certainly don't want to imply that this poster agrees with what Phelps is doing -- I know many conservative Christians are horrified at Phelps's hate-mongering -- but it amazes me that some of the conservative Christians here try to pretend that the anti-Judaism in the Christian Church had no relation to the Holocaust.

I mean, I can certainly acknowledge other factors such as the Eugenics movement -- but it puzzles me when some seem intent on totally absolving the Christian Church of all blame -- even in the face of some Christians on here talking about the Jews killing Christ and being under God's wrath. Again, I am NOT assuming that DW or PreacherDJ (whoever made the comment) is an ally to Phelps, just as I am NOT implyilng that the Christian Church singlehandedly engineered the Holocaust -- but I think both have expressed attitudes that could potentially aid extremists (and have aided extremists in the past) in carrying out horrific agendas.

I realize that at this point, adamh or Will is likely to again quote some Atheist like Dawkins about whatever they are saying about the Jews -- and here I would challenge Christians that we need to look at the logs in our own eyes first. And, Will, I will say again that it just so happens that the compilation of books I'VE been taught is supposed to be the basis of my entire life, has been written totally by Jews.

So, again, when I hold up certain portions of Scripture to explain why I think it would be very insulting TO GOD for me to continue believing and telling others that every jot and tittle is the inspired Word of God -- this is not to ridicule the Jews: they just happened to be the ancient people who wrote the books that I'VE been told to live by, and I feel quite sure that other ancient people probably had similar biases, but those other ancient people didn't write these particular books. (Continued)

adam harrison

Cole, Will already explained that Jesus answered the question of theocracy.

You responded by saying Jesus didn't say anything, but continue to criticize him by things he is supposed to have said...for example you buddy/alter ego Iggy frequently throws our distorted versions of his sayings.

So which is it? When it suits you, he said this or that, but when it does not suit you he "didn't say anything"?

You are lying Cole. I think you even know it, but you hate us so bad you can taste it! LOL!

And your repeated assertions that he didn't say anything are groundless; even the Jesus Seminar, who did its best to eliminate him from history, was forced to conclude that we had many of his original sayings.

Really Cole, you need to learn from something besides atheist Websites and Wikipedia.

And calm down, sport!

adam harrison

Iggy, you are such a joke. You told JC you didn't want to talk to him about ANYTHING, but then you called him! And got mad and started giving him orders!

You say you are going to ignore him, but continue to talk about him.

And you make baseless claims about all of us again and again, but you won't even say where you bible study is Monday night so we can show.

You have made many posts under many names, haven't you?


And you have even used names attributed to us, haven't you?


Iggy, by your own admission you have gone around to various ministers in the area and made up wild stories to get a reaction.


And your statement about religion is CLASSIC PROPAGANDA; "once its dead and its crazy followers are gone" sounds like a threat.

You now, they tried that in your third rate country and FAILED.


(Continued) So, Iggy, I went to the link -- is that really Goldstein telling me my eyes are like vapid pools of fire -- and did he tell you that, too? Guess he really wants to gaze into your eyes, too LOL.

Okay, so, Will, if I'm one of the people you're accusing of viciously misrepresenting and smearing the Hebrew Bible -- by all means enlighten me as to how I am getting it wrong.

Will, I found the blog post about Obamacare and divorce restrictions interesting. It doesn't surprise me that people's health tends to suffer after divorce -- though I think the blogger was stretching it a bit when he said the research indicates that it's healthier to stay in abusive marriages.

As far as the analogy with smoking -- well, smoking one cigarette in your lifetime (or even two, three, or ten) probably won't negatively-affect your health all that much. It's more the continuous-habit thing that kills. Though I'll admit I didn't feel all that great immediately following the two or three puffs I tried of some friend's cigarette, I'm guessing that today, some thirty years later, my lungs probably look similar to the lungs of someone who never puffed at all.

I think there are already restrictions in place that prevent people from divorcing daily, or going through a daily pack of divorces. Seriously, though, I still maintain that divorce is devastating to women, men, and especially to children. I'd like for there to be better education and support to help parents give children the stable homes all children need -- I just still think there are some situations where divorce is the better alternative.

adam harrison

Lynne, Jesus answered the question of theocracy; "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and give unto God that which is God's."

We have posted this before, but Cole chooses to simply say, "Jesus didn't say anything" when it suits him or to make fun of this or that saying if that suits him.

He FACTS change to fit his argument. Its also called LYING; you know, like when his buddy/alter ego Iggy goes around to area ministers making outrageous stories to get a reaction.

And, HEY, don't blame me! By his OWN ADMISSION that is what he gets a kick out of doing!


Susan, there are no "allies" of Fred Phelps other than members of his own family.

Lynne -

DW wrote:

>Question: What is the difference between the wildly anti-Judiasm views of Fred Phelps and the wildly anti-Christianity views of the atheists' on Bill's blog?

>Answer: There is no difference.

First of all, there is a big difference between being anti-Jewish, which is what Phelps is, and being anti-Judaism which is what everyone who doesn't agree with Jewish theology is. Just like there's a big difference between being anti-Christian, or against Christian people - which no one on this blog is, verses being anti-Christianity in the sense of not adhering to or agreeing with Christian theology.

I don't agree with religious theology of any kind. It does NOT necessarily follow, though, that I hate religious people or want to go around picketing their funerals.

The problem with people like you, DW, is that you don't understand the difference between disagreement and hate. I don't see anyone on this blog advocating doing to ANY group of people what Phelps is doing.

Lynne -

adamh wrote:
Lynne, Jesus answered the question of theocracy; "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and give unto God that which is God's."

Me - So then you do not agree with Goldstein's blog entry calling for a Christian theocracy? Did you make it clear to him that you oppose those aims?

Dolores Lear

Happy Birthday Mary.

"Because the Communists were atheists some idiots got it into their heads that all atheists must be Communists (a logical fallacy, of course),"

The Russian Government changed from a State Religion to a Communist Government system, which ended up being called Atheists.

But in Communistic countries there are many religions, just as in the USA, that does not have a State Religion in it's Government. So is the USA Atheistic also?

The USA set up a Godless Government, without a State Religion, so Citizens could have the Freedom to worship their God in Peace, and not be forced to One Government God Religion.

Since, Russia and China also have also changed from State Religions, Both are called Godless Atheist Countries, but not the USA.?

The USA was set up, so Citizens could have the Freedom to worship their Generic Gods in Peace, and not be forced to One Government God Religion. Now Russia and China have this also.

Like Lynne states, why are Atheist is considered Communists? Citizens in most Countries are in a Capitalistic Government. Citizens believe in Generic Gods, in many Countries. Atheists in many countries do not believe in God.

So how many Generic Gods are there on our Home Planet Earth. I think it has been posted Planetwide there are now more Muslims, then any other Religion Planetwide.

Should we change the Generic God to GOD, and then list all the other lesser Gods under this Heading? Would this help Bring Peace to our Planet?

There does not seem very much difference between Communism and Capitalism. Both are based on Money and Gain and Competition between Citizens.

So Jesus Christians in all countries are under Capitalism and Competition, not Equal Sharing All Things in Common, like Jesus taught.

Why do Humans, that accept Jesus, accept it is necessary to compete for our Daily Needs, instead of Sharing Earth's Resources Equally like the Lifestyle Jesus taught?

Jesus taught Celibacy for the Male. The females in their movement did not need to worry about pregnancy and birth, or necessities.

Any females and children in Jesus' Movement, were added, like most Celibate Movements did, down through time like the Essenes in Jesus' time, and Shakers in the 1900s.

It is Time to make Atheists the Category of All Humans, All Humans are Atheists to some Religious Generic Earth God.


Lynne, Bill uses the term "anti-Judiasm." He accuses Christianity of being anti-Judiasm, as if it's a bad thing for a Christian to disagree with Jewish theology. Bill wants to pretend that all the early Christians were, theologically speaking, both Jewish and Christian. In fact, he goes farther and claims that Christianity really should be thought of as a sect of Judiasm. In any event, by definition, Christianity is "anti-Judiasm," and that's a good thing. I agree with one should criticize Christians for being anti-Judiasm. If Christians were pro-Judiasm, they would cease to be Christians.

adam harrison

Lynne, I agree with Jesus regarding the question of theocracy.

Of course, when I told that to Cole, he claimed, baselessly, that Jesus never said anything.

As to Goldstein, I have seen no evidence that he made that post. We all know there is at least one poster on your side who likes to go around town making up stories to shock local ministers...he has said so himself.

For all I know, he made that post.

adam harrison

Sam Harris against nature:

Red Biddy

I have a question for DW who said:-

"If Christians were pro-Judaism they would cease to be Christians."


If this is the case, DW, why is it that so many Christians insist on putting up and keeping the 10 Commandments in public places in the United States ?

The 10 commandments are one of the foundations of JUDAIC law, handed down to Moses from God.

There are of course only three of the commandments:- Thou shalt not murder, steal or bear false witness i.e. perjure yourself, that are relevant to our modern laws.

You sound like a supporter of Fred Phelps - are you ? The Jews killed Jesus, therefore Christians must seperate themselves from the foundation and founders of their religion. Is that it ?

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