Posted by: mystic444 | April 21, 2018

More ‘End Times’ Speculation

Recently there has been a number of news articles claiming that a Christian numerologist named David Meade has predicted that ‘the Rapture’ will occur on Monday April 23, introducing events which will bring on the ‘end of the world’ not too long thereafter. (See this article for instance.) There have also been numerous responses from evangelical Christians castigating Mr. Meade for ‘date setting’ contrary to the statements attributed to Jesus Christ that no one (not even “the son”) knows the day or hour that “the son of man” will return.


As usual, the news articles didn’t quite get it right. David Meade believes that certain astrological events will occur on April 23 which will herald the ‘Rapture’; but he believes the event itself (the ‘Rapture’) will occur somewhere between May and December of this year (2018). This isn’t the same as claiming to know the day or hour of “the coming of the son of man”.


He also doesn’t believe that this indicates that the world will end any time soon. He accepts the common ‘dispensational’ idea that 7 years of ‘tribulation’ will follow the ‘Rapture’; then the ‘Second Coming of Christ’ will occur bringing in the 1000 year reign of Christ and his ‘saints’. Only after this millennial reign will the “end of the world” occur – thus not likely to be in any of our lifetimes.


Nevertheless, this theory is subject to a serious flaw, causing it to be doomed to failure (just as previous predictions by him and others have necessarily failed). This serious flaw is that the Bible itself – upon which they (and all orthodox Christians of whatever branch) base their beliefs – does not in fact teach the Rapture and Second Coming in any of its common variations! Biblical eschatology (end times/last things) – particularly ‘New Testament’ eschatology – is totally focused on the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem around 70 A.D. According to ‘New Testament’ statements attributed to Jesus, he was very specific that the ‘coming of the son of man’ was to occur within the lifetime of some of his hearers; it was to be that generation which witnessed the event. Paul and Peter (and other apostles who allegedly wrote ‘New Testament’ letters) also insisted that they themselves were living in the “last days”; the events predicted by Jesus were even then occurring. Paul spoke of “we who are alive and remain” until Christ’s coming.


I have written numerous articles about this subject previously, so I won’t go into lengthy detail now. In November of 2009 I wrote an article entitled The Last Days, followed immediately by a 6 part series on the Olivet Discourse (beginning with this one). I also have written 3 articles on The Second Coming ( 1 , 2  , and 3 ) dealing with passages from Paul’s letters.


Those articles will show that the idea of a “Second Coming” still future to us is nowhere to be found in the Bible, meaning that all speculation from so-called ‘prophecy experts’ today is completely worthless. The passages from Paul which are used to teach ‘the Rapture’ teach no such thing. It appears that Paul believed that dead believers would ‘sleep’ until the coming of Christ (70 A.D.); then they would ‘awaken’ and ‘come’ with Christ in his ‘kingdom’. After that, believers who died would not sleep, but would immediately meet the awakened and reigning believers “in the air”. This ‘sleep’ and ‘awakening’ had to do with the ‘soul’ or ‘inner man’, not the body. Paul was very explicit in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 that the body perishes after death; it is the “inner man/person” which is eternal. He did not teach a resurrection (or ‘rapture’) of dead bodies.


I don’t accept the ‘inspiration and authority’ of the Bible, so it doesn’t matter to me in the least what it teaches about any subject. But it’s both humorous and sad to see Christians who claim to believe the Bible ‘from cover to cover’ get their own professed ‘sacred scriptures’ so badly wrong – and even label as ‘heretics’ those who get it ‘right’! You can get away with saying certain passages generally thought to teach a future-to-us Second Coming actually refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.; but if you go so far as to maintain that there are no passages at all that teach that future-to-us Second Coming, you are suddenly a ‘heretic’ and ‘accursed’.


I am glad that I am no longer mixed up in religious nonsense; nevertheless I just couldn’t resist commenting on the subject before the ‘magic date’ of April 23, 2018 rolls around. 🙂

Posted by: mystic444 | September 30, 2017

Netanyahu recommends the Bible

One of the most amusing (as well as both sad and sickening, unfortunately) things I have read recently is an article about Benjamin Netanyahu castigating the United Nations for the supposedly poor way they have been treating ‘Israel’. According to Netanyahu, the U.N.’s problem is that they are promoting ‘fake history’!


Referring to the decision of UNESCO (United Nations Education, Science, and Cultural Organization) to name Hebron a Palestinian Heritage Site he said (from the article):


“That’s worse than fake news; that’s fake history,” Netanyahu said. “Mind you, it’s true that Abraham, the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, is buried there, but so too are Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca – Sarah’s a Jewish name, by the way – Sarah, Rebecca and Leah, who just happened to be patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people.”

“Well, you won’t read about that in the latest UNESCO report. But if you want to, you can read about it in a somewhat weightier publication. It’s called the Bible,” he said. “I highly recommend it. I hear it even got four-and-a-half out of five stars on Amazon. And it’s a great read. I read it every week.”


One of the amusingly absurd things about that statement is the idea that Hebron (and all of Palestine by extension) should not be considered a Palestinian Heritage Site despite the fact that non-Jewish Palestinians have been living there (and dying and being buried there) continuously for hundreds (probably thousands) of years; but it should be considered a Jewish Heritage Site because alleged ancestors of the Jewish people lived, died, and were buried there 3000 to 4000 years ago!


Even more ridiculous, however, is calling Palestinian Heritage “fake history” while promoting the Bible as true history! Archeologists and historians (yes, even ‘Israeli’ archeologists and historians) know that the Biblical stories are myths and fables – at best, historical fiction. (See here and here for instance.) Abraham and Sarah never existed; Isaac and Rebecca never existed; Jacob and Leah never existed; Kings David and Solomon never existed. Yet their alleged reality (and the alleged promises of the Jewish God to them) is pretty much the entire basis for the Jewish claim to ‘the land of Israel’!


It’s true that Jewish people will argue that the atrocities of the ‘Holocaust’ are grounds for their nationhood in ‘Israel’; but what the ‘Nazis’ allegedly did to Jewish people could not by any stretch of the imagination provide grounds for the Jews to forcibly eject Palestinians from their homes and lands and claim them for themselves (Jews) – without the (fictitious) ‘Biblical History’ as a foundation. When it is understood that ‘Biblical History’ is pure fabrication of Jewish priests beginning around the 7th  century B.C.E., all claims the Jews might have to a nation in ‘Israel’/Palestine are nullified. ‘Israel’ has no legitimacy as a nation – at least not in Palestine!


So it is both amusing and sad to see so many from both Jews and Christians so sincerely believing in the veracity of Biblical falsehoods, and seriously claiming those falsehoods to be ‘Divine truth’ and the basis for the existence of ‘Israel’ and its atrocious behavior. It is the Bible (not Palestinian heritage) which is ‘fake history’!


Posted by: mystic444 | June 21, 2017

Bernie Sanders and Religious Tests

In the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary, I supported Bernie Sanders. When he conceded defeat and promptly gave his allegiance to Hillary Clinton, I was deeply disappointed and switched my support to the Green Party (candidate Jill Stein). However, I still admired Mr. Sanders for most of his political positions.


Recently, though – approximately 2 weeks ago – Bernie committed a serious violation of the U.S. Constitution when he was questioning Russell Vought concerning his eligibility for the office of deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget: he made Mr. Vought’s religious views a test of his eligibility.


In addition to the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution – which provides that Congress may not establish religion, and guarantees the freedom of religious belief and practice to all citizens – paragraph 3 of Article 6 of the Constitution has this to say:


The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. 


“No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”; but that is precisely what Bernie Sanders sought to do!


In January of 2016, Russell Vought had written in defense of Wheaton College – where he had himself studied – when they fired Professor Larycia Hawkins because she maintained that Christians and Muslims believe in and worship the same God. Wheaton maintained that this was contrary to its statement of faith. Mr. Vought – along with the majority of Wheaton’s faculty – maintained that this idea that Christians and Muslims believe in the same God is most certainly not true, that Muslim theology is seriously deficient, and Muslims stand condemned before God.


(I wrote an article about this controversy, disagreeing with Wheaton and reproducing an article by Dan Martin giving a Christian rebuttal of Wheaton’s position. However whether or not Mr. Vought and Wheaton are correct in their viewpoint is not relevant for this article.)


Note that this was entirely a religious controversy. Neither Wheaton nor Russell was calling on the government or police to take action against Muslims. If Russell agrees with Buffoon-in-Chief Trump’s Muslim ban, (and perhaps he does, since he is a Trump nominee) that might indeed raise questions concerning his qualification for public office; but his beliefs about the acceptability of Muslim theology and Muslims’ standing before God – no matter how absurd they are – most emphatically do NOT constitute a test for qualification for office!


Bernie Sanders, in defending his ‘test’, said “racism and bigotry – condemning an entire group of people because of their faith – cannot be part of any public policy.” That is certainly true; but Russell Vought was not establishing – or seeking to establish – public policy. This was religious policy at a Christian College. Mr. Vought has an inalienable right to voice his opinion on that matter, whether in agreement with or in opposition to it, without endangering his eligibility for office. If he should ever bring that religious opinion up as a reason to establish governmental action against Muslims, he would then be in violation of the Constitution and subject to disqualification for office. So long as it remains only a religious belief, serving perhaps as a basis to engage in ‘evangelization’ of Muslims – seeking their conversion “for the good of their never-dying souls” – it has no business being brought up in political controversy.


Mr. Sanders has seriously violated the Constitution in this matter, and should be reprimanded.


[Let it be understood that I not only do not agree with Russell Vought’s religious ideas, I think they’re absurd. I do not believe in a “personal” God, salvation and condemnation, heaven and hell. I believe in reincarnation – we are ‘souls’ or ‘spirits’ without beginning or ending, continually evolving and progressing. But I emphatically defend the right of Mr. Vought, and everyone else, to disagree with me and maintain their own religious convictions without fear of political or legal reprisal.]

Posted by: mystic444 | April 7, 2017

The LORD (Yahweh) a Merciful God?

A few weeks ago my wife decided she wanted to go out to supper with a small group from her church. (They’ve been having these supper get-togethers for a number of years on Thursday nights.) She didn’t want to go by herself, though, so I went with her. She liked it so much that we’ve been going out each week since.


I’m usually uncomfortable with the conversation when it’s about the Bible and religious subjects, but I keep quiet; I’m a ‘guest’ and it would no doubt be rude if I expressed my feelings about the subjects being discussed.


Last night was no different, but I was so frustrated and disgusted by the ability of these people to completely overlook or ignore the horrible nature of the things being attributed to “God” that I decided to ‘vent’ today by means of a blog post.


Someone mentioned how ‘merciful’ God was to King David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then had her husband Uriah murdered by sending him into the hottest part of battle and having his fellow soldiers abandon him in the thick of the fighting so he would almost certainly be killed. (This story can be found in 2 Samuel 11 and 12 in the ‘Old Testament’ of the Bible.) Someone else rather ‘snidely’ commented that David got away with murder. Nobody else seemed to notice that statement, but I thought: “precisely”. David got away completely without punishment for his adultery and murder (according to the Biblical myth/legend) – because “God” is so ‘merciful’ of course – but David’s newborn child (from the adultery with Bathsheba) had to pay the price by being murdered by “God”! (“God” caused the child to get sick and die). What kind of sick ‘mercy’ is that, I ask you? The criminal goes scot-free, while the innocent child is punished for the father’s crime.


Was this the same “God” who told Jeremiah and Ezekiel that the child will not die for the sins of the father, and the father will not die for the sins of the child – only the soul that sins will die?


No doubt some loyal Christian will defend the honor of “God” by claiming that murdering the child was actually being merciful to him: he got to go straight to heaven, rather than run the risk of sinning as he got older and perhaps ‘dying in his sins’! I’ll just have to assume that anyone making that ‘defense’ will certainly not join his fellow Christians in protesting against abortion; and surely he won’t consider that the parent who murders his/her young children has done anything wrong! He/she was just being ‘merciful’ to the child(ren)!


But that was really a minor thing compared with other instances of “God’s” “justice” (“mercy”?). As these good people at the supper pointed out, consider what happened when David angered the LORD by taking a census of his subjects (2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21). The LORD is said to have given David 3 choices as to what God would do to him to punish him – except that none of the 3 choices involved anything being done to David himself. David couldn’t decide, so he left it up to the LORD to make the choice; and that choice turned out to be murdering (with a plague) tens of thousands of David’s subjects – who had done nothing –while again David went scot-free. Altogether, according to the Biblical story, 70,000 innocents died, while the ‘sinner’ went unpunished! How’s that for a ‘merciful’ “God”?


The thing is, that’s not an isolated incident in the “Old Testament”. There are multiple instances of “God” committing mass murder because “He” got angry at one person! Say some Israelite committed adultery with a woman from another ‘nation’; what do you suppose the ‘appropriate’ response from “God” would be? You got it: start indiscriminately killing Israelites by the tens of thousands until some ‘righteous’ Israelite murders the offending man and woman!


And what about the mass murder that God commanded the Israelites to commit – by killing those people (men, women, children) – as well as their sheep and cattle – who weren’t ‘fortunate’ enough to be born Jews and had the additional misfortune to be occupants of territory “God” had decided to give to the Israelites?


Is it really any wonder that some people might consider that the “adversary” of “God” – that is, “Satan” (which means “adversary”) – is in fact the ‘good guy’ in the Biblical narrative? One might even say that it is morally imperative to side with God’s adversary (“Satan”)! Could it be that “Satan” has been grossly misrepresented, and falsely charged with crimes actually committed by “the LORD”?? Well, you must judge for yourself, of course. 🙂


But if one wishes to stick with “God” and commit to a monotheistic religion, perhaps he/she should consider Islam. While Islam claims to worship the “God” of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon (as well as Jesus and his disciples), its stories of this God do not contain those kinds of atrocities. Sure, the Qur’an depicts some pretty horrible punishments in the afterlife for unforgiven sinners, but at least it is the one who sinned who gets punished, not some relative or associate. And the only punishments prescribed for ‘sinners’ in this lifetime are to be inflicted only on the person who sinned. Those mass murders the Bible attributes to “God” form no part of Islam. I’m not Muslim myself, so I’m just saying if you feel you have to believe in and worship a “God” in the monotheistic tradition, perhaps Islam might be for you!


Of course, there are other choices that don’t portray a mass-murderer “God” also, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Eastern religions, Islam, atheism, “Satanism” – pretty much anything is preferable to Judaism and any form of Christianity which traces its roots to Judaism and the “Old Testament”!

Posted by: mystic444 | October 23, 2016


In the late 19th century, a man named Albert Pike – Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite Masons – wrote a book entitled Morals and Dogma. One statement within this 861 page book is frequently quoted by denouncers of Masonry to show that Masonry (at least in its higher degrees) is “Luciferian” or “Satanic”. This statement is:

Lucifer, the light-bearer! Strange and mysterious name to give to the Spirit of Darkness! Lucifer, the Son of the Morning! Is it he who bears the Light, and with its intolerable light blinds feeble, sensual or selfish souls? Doubt it not!” (

(In the linked article, the statement does not appear in its entirety in one place. I have combined two partial renderings of the statement. The first partial rendering in the article begins with “Lucifer, the son of the morning” and continues through “Doubt it not!” The second partial rendering – late in the article – begins with “Lucifer, the light-bearer” and contains everything except the ending “Doubt it not!”)


The problem with using this quotation to indicate that Mr. Pike was a worshiper of “the evil one” – Satan/Lucifer – is that he was in fact a devout Christian until his dying day! The statement is in reality a Christian protest against, and repudiation of, the use of the wonderful name “Lucifer” (“light bearer” or “light bringer”) to refer to Satan, the “Spirit of Darkness”. He is saying that it is simply absurd to call one whose characteristic is “darkness” by the name “light bringer”.


Instead, he says that the real “Lucifer” (light bringer) is “he who bears the Light, and with its intolerable light blinds feeble, sensual or selfish souls” – that is, from his Christian perspective, Jesus Christ himself! Satan may pretend to be the “light bringer”, disguising himself as an “angel (messenger) of light”, but he is a liar and fraud. It is Jesus Christ, according to Christian thinking and teaching, who is the light and who brought that light into the world.


What is the source of the word “lucifer”? Is it true that in Christian thinking the word properly applies to Jesus Christ, or is it really the “name” of “the evil one”, the “prince of darkness”?


First, the word “lucifer” is Latin, and means “light bearer” or “light bringer”. It is used as a descriptive title/name for the “morning star” (“daystar”) – the planet Venus – because Venus appears in the sky just before dawn, is quite bright, and could be seen as introducing and bringing the Sun into the morning sky. Being Latin, it does not appear in the ‘original’ Biblical writings (which are Hebrew in the ‘Old Testament’ and Greek in the “New Testament”). However, “lucifer” does appear a few times in the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. Two of those uses are in Isaiah 14:12 (“Old Testament”) and 2 Peter 1:19 (“New Testament”). Since I’m seeking a “Christian” understanding of who the true “Lucifer” is, I’ll begin with the New Testament use.


2 Peter 1:19 reads (King James Version): “We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the daystar arise in your hearts”. “Daystar” is clearly a reference to Jesus Christ.


The word translated “daystar” is the Greek word “phosphoros” – which is literally “light bringer” or “light bearer”. In other words, the Greek word “phosphoros” is the exact equivalent in meaning with the Latin word “lucifer”; and while it may surprise most Christians, “lucifer” is the word used in the Latin Vulgate to translate the Greek word “phosphoros”! So according to the Latin Vulgate, Jesus Christ is “Lucifer”!


Now since the Latin “lucifer” (as also the Greek “phosphoros”) is used as a title/name for “the daystar” and “the morning star” (Venus), Revelation 22:16 is also a testimony that Jesus Christ is “Lucifer”. This verse reads (King James Version):

“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

Although “morning star” here is not “phosphoros” (or “lucifer” in the Vulgate), but the actual two words “morning” (“proinos”) and “star” (“aster”) – or in Latin, “matutina” and “stella” – the meaning is the same since “phosphoros” is the name given to the “aster proinos”  – and  “lucifer” is the Latin name given to the “stella matutina”. It is the same as using “Washington, D. C.” to name “the capital of the U. S. A.”. “Washington, D. C.” is not the same wording as “the capital of the U. S. A.”, but they both refer to the same city, and may be used interchangeably. So “morning star/daystar” is interchangeable with “light bringer” (“phosphoros” and “lucifer”). 2 Peter calling Jesus the “light bringer” (“lucifer”) and Revelation calling him the “morning star” (“stella…matutina”) are saying the same thing with different words.

How, then, did “Lucifer” come to signify “the Devil” or “Satan” in Christian thinking? It would seem to be rather ‘blasphemous’ to refer to “the evil one” by a name/title belonging properly to “the true light, which gives light to everyone” when he came into the world (John 1:9)!

The answer to that question is: a very faulty understanding of Isaiah 14:12. In the King James Version, this reads:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!”

Although the King James Version translated the word “light bringer” into the English “Daystar” in 2 Peter 1:19, the Latin translation of “Lucifer” was used instead of an English rendering in Isaiah 14:12. One might wonder why the KJV was not consistent, but the answer is obvious: having decided to use “Lucifer” as the personal name for Satan (which they believed to be the meaning of Isaiah 14), they could not “confuse” the readers by letting on that the Latin translation used that “name” to refer to Jesus Christ in 2 Peter!

However, Isaiah 14 has nothing whatsoever to do with a fallen supernatural being (angel), and everything to do with a Babylonian king who, from a Jewish viewpoint, was proud, arrogant, corrupt, and “fallen”. This is made clear in verse 4 (New International Version now):

“You will take up this taunt against the King of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!”

Verses 16 and 17 make it clear that this “King of Babylon” is not some supernatural being directing and controlling the actions of the human king:

“Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: ‘Is this the man who shook the earth and made the kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home’”?

Everything in the passage refers only to an earthly king who would die like his fellow men and fellow kings, but would not enjoy the stately burial his fellow kings and rulers had (at least according to “Isaiah”).

The Hebrew word which the Latin translates as “Lucifer” is “heylel”, and its primary meaning is “to shine” and “brightness”. Just like the Greek “phosphoros” and the latin “lucifer”, it was used as a name/title for “the morning star/daystar” – Venus; therefore the church “father” Jerome did not hesitate to use “lucifer” to translate “heylel”.

The Jewish translators who gave us the Greek translation of the “Old Testament” (the Septuagint) used the Greek word “heosphoros” (or “eosphoros” without the ‘breathing mark’ indicating the ‘h’ sound). This word means “dawn bringer” – the “eos” being derived from the Greek goddess of the Dawn, Eos. It is almost an exact equivalent of “phosphoros” – one of my resources claims it’s simply an older form of “phosphoros”. “Eosphoros”, like “phosphoros”, was used as a name/title for “morning star/daystar”. Therefore, “heylel”, “heosphoros”, “phosphoros”, and “lucifer” are all equivalents, referring to Venus – the “morning star”.

In Isaiah 14, “daystar”/”Lucifer” is being used in a mocking, derisive way. The Jewish author (whether or not it was a ‘prophet’ named Isaiah) was ridiculing the King of Babylon for his pride and arrogance in considering himself the brightest ‘luminary’ among the kings and rulers of earth. The author was certainly not claiming that the King actually was the “morning star” either literally or metaphorically – and even more certainly he was not claiming this distinction for an evil supernatural being!

If the English translators of those early English translations (such as Wycliffe, the Geneva Bible, the King James Version, and the Catholic Douay-Rheims edition) had actually translated into English rather than simply using the Latin rendering here, all of this confusion over the name “Lucifer” would have been avoided! All of the English versions I have consulted (both ‘old’ and ‘new’) actually translated 2 Peter 1:19 as either “daystar” or “morning star”. They should all have done so also in Isaiah 14:12. The ‘new’ English versions are correct in giving such renderings as:

“Look how you have fallen from the sky, O shining one, son of the dawn!…” (New English Translation).

Or “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn!…” (New International Version)

Such renderings make it clear (especially in context) that a human King is mockingly being called “shining one” or “morning star”, without any reference to a “fallen angel” with the personal name of “Lucifer”!

Albert Pike was correct: it is absurd to call a “Spirit of Darkness”, and “evil one”, by the name of “light bringer” (“Lucifer”); and from a Christian perspective this title belongs rightly to Jesus Christ as the author of 2 Peter said.

Wake up, Christians! According to your Scriptures, it is Jesus Christ who is “the true light” which “is already shining” (1 John 2:8). Cease giving that delightful designation to one whom you consider to be a “Spirit of Darkness”!

Posted by: mystic444 | July 25, 2016

Who ya gonna vote for?


Okay, I realize that the title is not good English grammar. However, as regards the U.S. Presidential elections this year, that is in fact a very good question. The two major political parties’ candidates (Democrat Hillary Clinton and  Republican Donald Trump) are perhaps the two most detested candidates in U.S. history – and I don’t just mean that the Republicans detest the Democrat Clinton, and the Democrats detest the Republican Trump. A large portion of Democrats greatly dislike Hillary Clinton, and a great many Republicans dislike Donald Trump.


Yet many from both parties believe that they have no choice but to maintain “party unity” and vote against the opposing party’s candidate. They believe that no matter how despicable their own party’s candidate is, the other candidate is even more despicable; so they feel obligated to vote for “the lesser of two evils”. They believe that other independent or “third party” candidates are simply not viable – they have no chance of winning. Therefore Democrats like to say that a vote for a “third party” is really a vote for Republican Trump – while Republicans say that a vote for a “third party” amounts to a vote for Democrat Clinton.


However I will insist that this is completely untrue. It is simply a manifestation of the “programming” we are constantly subjected to by the “higher powers” in
Government and Party politics. The “truth” of this programming is solely dependent on the strength of our belief in it. Once people are free from this programming, they will no doubt wonder how they were ever deceived by it. A vote for a “third party” is simply that: a vote for a “third party”; it is most certainly not a vote for someone else whom you despise. And a “third party” candidate can indeed win; all that’s necessary is to free ourselves from the programmed belief that only the two “official” parties are viable.


I get a lot of e-mails from the Democratic Party encouraging me to vote against Donald Trump, and I feel sure people who lean toward generally Republican politics receive the same sort of e-mails encouraging a vote against Clinton. What neither party is willing to say is that it is entirely feasible to vote against both Clinton and Trump, by voting for another candidate whose policies you agree with.


However, thankfully, there are many Democrats and Republicans who are overcoming the programming which has blinded them for so long, and they’re either looking for or have found another party which they can in good conscience support. The two main parties which such people (those who have overcome the programming that only the Democratic and Republican parties are viable) are turning to are the Green Party (candidate Dr. Jill Stein) and the Libertarian Party (candidate Gary Johnson).


I would like to encourage anyone reading this blog post to check out the platforms of these two parties, and perhaps the official pages of their candidates, and consider voting for one of them. Here are links to those sites:


Libertarian Party Platform
Gary Johnson/William Weld official site

Green Party Platform

Jill Stein official site


I have not voted for either of the major parties since 1992 (Bill Clinton’s first term). I voted for Bill Clinton (Democrat) that year. Prior to that I had consistently voted Republican because I was a fundamentalist/evangelical Christian, and the
Republican Party even back then seemed to cater to that ideology. However around 1988 I “apostatized” from Christianity (particularly of the fundamentalist and evangelical kind), and by 1992 had decided that I would vote Democratic in reaction against the fundamentalist Christian influence on the Republican Party.


By 1996, though, I had become acquainted with the Libertarian Party, and decided that they best represented my own political persuasion. Although I did not change my official registration from the Democratic Party, from that point on I have been voting Libertarian.


Sometime in the last few years, though, my views on economic, social, and environmental issues have changed considerably – so that I was actually supporting Bernie Sanders in his attempt to become the Democratic candidate this year. However I had also recently looked up Dr. Jill Stein and the Green Party, and found them to be even more to my liking. When Bernie Sanders conceded to Hillary Clinton – and then gave her his support – I gave my support to the Green Party. I find myself completely unable to support either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.


I encourage all others who find themselves sickened by both ‘major’ candidates to check out the Libertarian and Green Parties and see if they’re more suitable. Reject the “programming” that it’s a “wasted vote” to vote for any independent or “third” Party, and abandon both the Democrat and Republican Parties.

Posted by: mystic444 | May 22, 2016

A Moneyless Society

For a number of years, I have believed that “money” is a concept which is completely unnecessary for the smooth functioning of human life, and in fact it produces a large part of the misery in our world. I give a different “twist” to the well known Christian statement that “the love of money is the root of all evil”. In my view, it is not only individual greed to accumulate wealth which produces evil results; it is the love of the very concept of “money”, to which society has become addicted, which is so productive of evil results.


Therefore I like to fantasize about what a moneyless society would be like. Over the past 6 years I have written 3 blog articles about this subject. The most recent one was written almost 3 years ago (October 30, 2013), and I have decided to reprint it instead of writing an entirely new article. Please feel free to fantasize with me!


A World Without Money


I have written 2 previous articles advocating a moneyless society: What Do We Consider Valuableand Choose Whom You Will Serve: God or Money. But the second of those articles was just over 3 years ago, so I think now would be a good time to return to that subject.

I realize, of course, that my thinking will correctly be labeled “utopian fantasy” and “wishful thinking”. But I don’t believe such “wishful thinking” is a bad thing – in fact it can be a very good thing – so long as it doesn’t prevent us from living in the “real world”. Engaging in “wishful thinking” can plant an idea in our minds which may in fact eventually bear real fruit, and the “fantasy” may become “reality”.

In the USA, we have just reached a temporary resolution of a “debt ceiling” controversy in Congress. We have a ‘debt based’ economy in which we have to ‘borrow’ money in order to pay off other preexisting bills and debts (or perhaps just to pay off the interest on the debts). Obviously this means simply that we are continually getting deeper and deeper into debt, until we have actually reached the point where there doesn’t even appear to be a possibility of ever getting out of debt. We reach a set limit on how much the Government is allowed to ‘borrow’, and then have to decide whether or not this set limit (“ceiling”) of debt can be raised.

So just fantasize with me a bit: imagine living in a world where everything is free. No one ‘charges’ for any goods or services, and therefore no one ‘pays’ for any goods or services. No one has (or needs) an ‘income’; and there is no borrowing and lending. Our Government would not be ‘borrowing’ money to pay ‘bills’, so there would be no such thing as reaching a ‘debt ceiling’ and having to decide whether or not to raise that ‘ceiling’. The whole ‘debt ceiling’ controversy would never have occurred. (Neither would there be any taxes to partially cover Government spending!)

Of course, there would also be no “Affordable Care Act” (AKA “Obamacare”) which one party would be able to use to ‘hold hostage’ the debt ceiling debate. No one could refuse to raise the (non-existent, in this scenario) ‘debt ceiling’ unless “Obamacare” was rescinded/postponed/defunded, because health care would be free to all and insurance companies would no longer exist. There would be no ‘government mandate’ that everyone must purchase insurance, and no one would have to worry about having to give up an insurance policy he/she likes because it doesn’t meet Government standards. The reasons for the “Affordable Care Act” simply would not exist: trying to enable as many people as possible to ‘afford’ insurance, eliminating preexisting illness/injury clauses, etc.

Doctors and hospitals would not have to worry about how they could possibly ‘earn a living’ if they had to provide their services for free, because everything would be free to them also.

Homelessness and starvation would be eliminated, because housing and food would also be free to all. Real Estate Agents would no doubt still exist to assist people in locating property and housing to fit their needs and desires; and distribution warehouses and stores would still exist. But there would be no ‘cost’ and ‘payment’ for these services and the goods they provide.

Being able to ‘afford’ a new car – or being able to ‘afford’ maintenance and repairs on your vehicle – would not be a problem, because in a moneyless society this, too, would be free to all. There might, though, be a problem with what to do with ‘used’ vehicles. I suppose there wouldn’t be all that many people looking for a ‘used’ car when they can get a new one. 😀 Perhaps there would need to be regulations about how many ‘new’ vehicles a person or family may have, and how long the ‘new’ vehicle must be kept before it can be replaced. If a person or family felt they needed or wanted another vehicle (or vehicles) beyond the approved limit, they could get a ‘used’ vehicle. [That is at least one way this “used car problem” could be resolved]. Of course, there would probably still be antique car lovers who actually want old vehicles to lovingly restore and maintain.

Are you enjoying fantasizing about this? Well there’s much more of such enjoyable ‘wishful thinking’ where that comes from! 😆 There would be no taxes; therefore there would be no Internal (Infernal?) Revenue Service to answer to. There would be no borrowing and debt, so there would be no falling behind in payments, debt collection agencies, and credit ratings to worry about. There would also obviously be no ‘interest’ (usury) on any loans.

There would be no retirement accounts, Social Security, or Disability payments; yet those who are retired or disabled would not be destitute.

There would be no Stock Market (and therefore no Stock Market collapses); and no banks (and therefore no need to ‘bail out’ banks and investment agencies which are ‘too big to fail’).

Besides “Obamacare” and the “debt ceiling” controversy, think of how much more legislation that ties Congress in knots is money related – and therefore would not exist in this fantastic moneyless society. How much that divides Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, etc. is in fact money related – how to raise money to carry on Government, and how to spend the money which is raised!

Would the elimination of money produce a ‘perfect’ society, in which no ‘evil’ exists? No, that’s not very likely unfortunately. While some people may quote the Christian apostle Paul’s statement that “the love of money is the root of all evil” to claim that everything which is evil springs from the love of money, that is certainly not true – and it’s probably not even what Paul’s statement meant. He was no doubt saying that the love of money is a root which is totally evil, and produces only evil ‘fruit’; but he was not saying that everything which is evil springs from that evil root.

People and nations would still no doubt find ways to irritate each other. Personal jealousies and strife would still exist. “That no good *#!% stole my girlfriend”; “I think my worthless husband is cheating on me”; “they worship a false god/practice an evil religion”; “we’re God’s chosen people and everyone else is worthless”, etc . A Government which wishes to be “top dog” will no doubt find excuses to attack other nations.

Nevertheless, getting rid of the very concept of money and material ‘wealth’ would relieve so many of the world’s problems. It would go such a long way toward establishing a utopian society. So I don’t mind engaging in such dreams. Hopefully you’ve found this bit of wishful thinking enjoyable also. 🙂

One of my ‘pet peeves’ is the persistent demand of Christians in the USA that they have a privileged position due to the alleged – but completely false – view that the US Government is founded on the Bible and Christian (or ‘Judeo-Christian’) principles. Two more examples of this have come to my attention recently.


First, in Delta County, Colorado, the School system decided to permit the Gideons to distribute Bibles in middle and high schools. (See here and here for instance.) This, of course, was perfectly fine so far as Christians were concerned (particularly those of a fundamentalist or evangelical persuasion). They don’t have any problem with Government schools promoting Christianity. After all, Christianity is allegedly the established religion of the USA, despite the First Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits Congress from making a law concerning an establishment of religion. (Such “founding fathers” as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison referred to this Constitutional stipulation by such terms as the “separation of church and state” or separation of “religion and government”).


Oh what an uproar arose, though, when some non-Christians got permission to distribute literature containing an opposing viewpoint! Atheists and “Satanists” (though those “Satanists” are in fact simply atheists who are willing to use the myth of “Satan” – meaning “adversary” – as a symbol of their opposition to the God myth) sought and received permission to distribute their own literature in middle and high schools in order to counter the promotion of Christianity in those schools. For those Christians, that old saying is not true: “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”!


Note that the atheists (including the “Satanist” group of atheists) were acting in response to the Christians’ Bible distribution. Their point was that religious literature of any nature is inappropriate in public schools; but if the government permits one religion to distribute its literature, then it must permit the same privilege to other religions (or groups opposing religion). If the Christians object to atheist literature (which they surely do), they have one sure way to prevent it: quit distributing their own material. The School District can of course prohibit the distribution of ALL religious (or anti-religious) materials and thereby solve the whole problem – and that would be the easiest and most consistent way to uphold the non-establishment clause in the US Constitution.


The second recent instance of the Christian demand for a position of privilege over other religions and over non-religion is the absurd vote in the State of Tennessee to make the Bible the “State Book”. (See here) A lot of smoke is blown about the desire to honor the economic and cultural influence of the Bible in Tennessee, but once all of the smoke is cleared away it is quite clear that this is just an attempt to recognize Christianity as the “State Religion”. That, of course, is blatantly in opposition to both the Tennessee and U.S. Constitutions. Nevertheless, both Houses of Tennessee’s Congress have overwhelmingly approved the bill, and it is now in the hands of the Governor to either sign it into law or veto it. The Governor has previously stated his opposition to the bill, but he hasn’t definitely said whether or not he will veto it. If he doesn’t veto the bill, there will almost certainly be legal challenges to its Constitutionality.


The arguments given by people who support the effort to make the Bible the “State Book” are specious, to say the least. A legal organization which has volunteered to defend Tennessee (for free) in the event of a legal challenge says it’s no different from having a State Bird or State Flower; and if another State or City should approve some other religious book as its “State/City Book”, they would not find it objectionable. For instance, if Dearborn, Michigan decided to make the Qur’an its official Book – since Dearborn has a predominantly Muslim population – they would see that as perfectly legitimate.


The problem with that argument lies with the religious nature of the Bible and the Qur’an. I’m sure there is no Constitutional problem with a State choosing a “State Book” – unless that book is a religious book. When the book is religious, making it a “State Book” runs afoul of the very specific prohibition against the establishment of religion, or showing preference for one religion over another (or over non-religion). If a State wants to make Moby Dick or Little House on the Prairie its “State Book”, I can’t see any Constitutional objection since those books are not religious in nature – and ‘establishing’ them does not constitute establishing religion or showing preference for a religion. (And of course, birds and flowers have no religious reference, and so picking a State Bird or State Flower in no way involves showing preference to a religion or establishing religion.) Choosing the Bible or the Qur’an, however, does constitute religious preference and establishment.


Some commenters maintain that School Boards have the right to prohibit material which they consider morally offensive and which could corrupt or psychologically harm children. Well if that is the criteria to be used, then the Bible certainly ought to be prohibited from distribution to children! The Bible contains a fair amount of sexually crude and explicit material – at least in “the Old Testament” portion. It could very reasonably be described as “pornographic”. Many Christians themselves (in the past at least) have considered an entire “book” in the “Old Testament” to be inappropriate for children: “The Song of Solomon”. The Bible also promotes hatred for, and murder of, people who hold religious views contrary to the will of “YHWH” (Jehovah or the LORD) – or simply those who occupy the lands supposedly granted to the Jews by YHWH. “Gentile” children have much to be afraid of from the Old Testament “God”, who commands the slaughter of men, women, and children who don’t have the ‘good fortune’ to be born Jews!


The “New Testament” can also be very psychologically damaging to anyone who takes its ‘warnings’ to heart. This supposed testament to the “grace of God” shows as much viciousness to those who fail to embrace its teachings about “the Lord Jesus Christ” and who don’t “obey” its “gospel”, as the “Old Testament” showed to those who don’t happen to be Jews (religiously or racially). I well remember lying awake many nights as a child and teenager worrying that perhaps I wasn’t truly “saved”, and therefore would perhaps face the awful vengeance of God and Jesus Christ should I die in my sleep! I also remember my mother telling me that she experienced the same worries for a prolonged period of time. She and I both somehow resolved our fears eventually – for the most part anyway, though the fear no doubt still remained subconsciously despite our ability to consciously convince ourselves that we did genuinely belong among the “saved”. Literature which generates this kind of “terrorist” fear of the “wrath” and “fiery vengeance” of “the Living God” toward anyone who doesn’t have the right religious beliefs and faith has no business being given to children and young people (or adults either, for that matter). Neither “Old” nor “New” Testament promotes religious diversity and tolerance!

Even if such moral and psychological problems did not exist in the Bible, though, the U.S. and State Constitutions establish secular government, and prohibit government establishment of, and preference for, any religion. This government prohibition extends to anything financed and supported by the government, including “public” schools. The U.S. Government (and individual State Governments) are not “Christian”, nor are they founded on Christianity or the Bible. The “founding fathers” made this explicit in the Treaty with Tripoli of Barbary (article 11) which was unanimously ratified in 1797 just 10 years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified. In clear and explicit language, that Treaty stated: “…the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.


It’s true that Christianity has maintained, de facto, a state of privilege despite the unconstitutionality of that privilege. However now that citizens of this country are ‘waking up’ and are ceasing to be intimidated by Christians, they are demanding that the Constitution be upheld and the de facto discrimination in favor of Christians and against other religious and non/anti-religious beliefs be repudiated. This repudiation of Christian privilege over others most certainly does not constitute “persecution” of Christians, no matter how much they may feel “persecuted”. It just removes “persecution” of non-Christians.

Posted by: mystic444 | February 9, 2016

“In God We Trust”?

I recently read that an atheist group in the USA is again challenging the U.S. motto “In God We Trust” and its presence on U.S. currency, maintaining that it is contrary to the 1st amendment of the Constitution which prohibits the establishment of religion. The motto has been legally challenged at least a couple of times previously, but the challenges have been unsuccessful.


I would think that governmental promotion and establishment of what most certainly amounts to a ‘confession of faith’ in a monotheistic deity would be so obviously contrary to the First Amendment prohibition as to make it ‘unbelievable’ that the government would attempt it and the federal judicial system would allow it. However that is precisely the situation.


The reason that the Court of Appeals gave for allowing the motto was: “Its use is of a patriotic or ceremonial character and bears no true resemblance to a governmental sponsorship of a religious exercise”. [See the section labeled “Challenges to the ‘In God We Trust’ Motto”]  That statement is blatantly ridiculous, and shows that the Court majority had a preconceived bias which they were determined to uphold no matter how absurdly nonsensical their argument.


How is it even conceivably possible that “God”, and a profession of trust in “God”, is non-religious? How can such a statement of faith in God be considered in any way ‘secular’, or ‘patriotic’, under a Constitution that requires that religion and government be entirely separate? How can a religious profession be considered a statement of ‘patriotism’ to a secular government/nation?


Trust in “God”, and profession of such trust, must be entirely individual and voluntary. If I wish to state that I trust in God, I may do so. I may also join with a group of likeminded individuals in giving a united affirmation that “in God we trust”. However it is no business of government to promote or require such an affirmation.


The motto is not only religious in its very nature, but the motivation for promoting the motto has been religious from its inception. The history of “In God We Trust” can be found in an article by the U.S. Department of the Treasury; a Wikipedia article; and an article from the Nashville, Tennessee chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. In those articles (and undoubtedly others like them) you will find that the motto was initially promoted in the early 1860s by Christians who felt that it was shameful that the ‘Founding Fathers’ had failed or refused to publicly and officially acknowledge God in the Constitution or elsewhere. They believed that acknowledgement and praise was owed to God, and the War between the States being fought at that time was a punishment from God for the ‘heathenism’ previously displayed by the USA.


The motto was first suggested in a letter to the Secretary of the Treasury by a Christian minister in 1861. The Secretary agreed with the sentiments expressed by the minister, and charged the Director of the Mint to come up with a design for coins which would express the supposed national dependence on “the almighty God”. The Director of the Mint was in fact a member of the National Reform Association, which sought to have the preamble to the U.S. Constitution changed to reflect the idea that the USA owed its existence to the “almighty God”, and that Jesus Christ is “the ruler among nations, and [whose] revealed will [is] the supreme law of the land”. The Association of course failed in its attempt to have the preamble altered; but the Director of the Mint (a member of the Association) was delighted to have the opportunity given to him to come up with a theistic motto for U.S. coins.


About 90 years later (1954), during another outbreak of religious fervor in reaction to the “godless communism” of the Soviet Union and China, the phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance – so that it became “one nation, under God, indivisible…” instead of “one nation, indivisible…”. Then in 1955, a bill was introduced in Congress to add the motto “In God We Trust” to paper currency in addition to the coins, with the result that in 1957 the first paper bills bearing that motto were produced.


All of this was clearly a matter of religious fervor; there was nothing ‘secular’ about it. It was only considered ‘patriotic’ because of the ignorant belief that the USA is supposed to be a “Christian nation”, founded on “Christian (or ‘Judeo-Christian’) principles”. To be truly ‘patriotic’, it was thought that one had to be “Christian” or at least “religious”. Religion and patriotism to the U.S. government and nation were conflated, contrary to the Constitution which insisted that they be kept separate.


Around 6o years after the addition of “under God” to the Pledge, and the placing of “In God We Trust” on paper money, it is still obvious that the affirmation of trust, and “under God”, remains religious in nature and religiously motivated. Nothing has changed simply because it has become “accepted” and repeated so many times. Certainly atheists still tend to consider it an unacceptable promotion of a religious ‘confession of faith’; but those who so strongly promote the Pledge and the motto also affirm its religious nature. They aren’t interested in promoting a secular “patriotism”, but a “humble” acknowledgment of, and “praise” to, almighty God. It is still believed by the promoters that such acknowledgment and praise is “owed” to God, and that “His” judgment will fall heavily on the nation if it reneges on the affirmation.


However, the extreme irony of the situation is that those who so strongly insist on the Pledge and the motto will also strongly insist that those statements are in fact falsehoods! They tell us constantly that the USA has ‘departed’ from God (despite the Pledge and the motto), and that the ‘wrath’ and ‘judgment’ of God abide on the nation. When they insist that we ‘acknowledge’ God verbally, they are insisting that the people of the USA practice hypocrisy!


Every time there is a major flood, tornado, hurricane, or earthquake, our Christian promoters of hypocrisy are quick to announce that they know the reason why “God” has “judged” the nation in that way. Perhaps it’s the abounding ‘pornography’, the violence and sexual explicitness of TV programs and movies, or the acceptance of homosexuality and especially homosexual marriages. Whatever the particular reason(s), it is obvious to these Christians that the nation has ‘departed far from God’ and “He” is extremely angry with us.


Having “In God We Trust” as the official national motto, printed on our coins and paper bills, and constantly reciting “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, doesn’t seem to have helped us much “before God”, does it? Might it not be that “almighty God” and “the Lord Jesus Christ” are even angry at us for hypocritically affirming obvious falsehoods?? ( 😆 ) Why are our Christian zealots and theocrats so insistent on having us verbally profess what they themselves affirm is in fact a lie? Would it not be better, even in their view, to go ahead and remove the monotheistic affirmations rather than promote a lie?


However the promoters deal with the charge of hypocrisy, it remains evident that the affirmations are entirely religious and proceed from a religious motivation. Consequently, for the U.S. government to promote and “establish” those phrases is to explicitly defy the Constitution by “establishing religion”. Atheists and agnostics, as well as non-theistic ‘religions’ (such as Buddhism) and polytheistic religions (Hinduism, Wicca, etc.) are quite correct in opposing the “In God We Trust” motto and the “under God” phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance; and thinking Christians ought to also stand in opposition to those phrases being imposed nationally. They should echo the statements of a couple of Baptist ministers at the time of the formation of the US Constitution:

Isaac Backus said – “Religious matters are to be separated from the jurisdiction of the state not because they are beneath the interests of the state, but, quite to the contrary, because they are too high and holy and thus are beyond the competence of the state.”


And John Leland said – “Is conformity of sentiments in matters of religion essential to the happiness of civil government? Not at all. Government has no more to do with the religious opinions of men than it has with the principles of mathematics. Let every man speak freely without fear–maintain the principles that he believes–worship according to his own faith, either one God, three Gods, no God, or twenty Gods; and let government protect him in so doing…”


They were correct; modern theocrats are wrong.

Posted by: mystic444 | January 12, 2016

Do Christians and Muslims Believe in the Same God?

The recent controversy at Wheaton College in Illinois (USA) – still ongoing as of the writing of this article – concerning a professor named Larycia Hawkins, has caused national (and perhaps international) debate over the question of whether or not Christians and Muslims believe in the same God. (Wheaton is a Christian College). Larycia decided to wear a head covering (hijab) for a period of time to stand in solidarity with Muslims in the face of rising Islamophobia. That in itself was no problem; but she also said that she agreed with the Pope that Muslims and Christians worship the same God – and that apparently was a major “no-no” for many of the Wheaton faculty and staff. It is possible that Larycia may be fired for making that statement and refusing to back off due to the controversy.


For an atheist, of course, the whole situation is absurd; it just proves the foolishness of religion that two groups of people who each claim to believe in only one God, the sole Creator and Sustainer of all things, are arguing over whether they’re worshiping the same “one God”! Frankly, the absurdity of this ‘controversy’ would almost be enough to drive someone to atheism if he/she is not already there. 😆


For the Muslim follower of the Qur’an (Koran), the answer to the question is an unarguable “yes”. “God and His prophet” have spoken and decided the issue, and no further ‘discussion’ is permissible for the Muslim believer. [Believers], argue only in the best way with the People of the Book, except with those of them who act unjustly. Say, “We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you; our God and your God is one [and the same]; we are devoted to Him.” (Quran 29:46, Abdel Haleem version). This same idea is repeated in numerous and various ways throughout the Qur’an. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all have the same “Lord” and “God”; and despite the differences in the various religious beliefs, those who faithfully follow the teachings of Moses and Jesus will have their ‘reward’ from God just as much as the faithful followers of the teachings of Muhammad will. Certainly the Qur’an repudiates the idea of “the Trinity” and exhorts Christians not to say “Three” with reference to God; but that is a question of a mistaken understanding of the nature of the one God, not an actual belief in a different “God”. Apparently from the Muslim standpoint, God is able to “handle” such mistaken beliefs without condemning the mistaken parties to “hell”.


The real controversy over this question of whether or not the two monotheistic faiths are worshiping the same “one God” is confined to Christianity, it seems; and there certainly is controversy among Christians concerning the issue. To present a Christian viewpoint that the “God” of Christians and Muslims is indeed one and the same, Dan Martin of Nailing it to the door blog (linked on the right side of this page under the heading “Religion: Belief in God”) has given me permission to repost his most recent article: Worshiping the Same God”… Thoughts on the Controversy. I have great respect for Dan; his posts are always thoughtful and thought-provoking. I may not always agree with his conclusions (though I agree pretty thoroughly with this particular article), but I admire the fact that he thinks and is not afraid to speak his mind when he disagrees with ‘orthodoxy’. So here ‘for your reading pleasure’ is his article.


The news that Wheaton professor Dr. Larycia Hawkins may be fired over perceived conflicts between her public statements, and the college’s statement of faith, has been hailed and slammed across the internet.  At issue, nearly as I can determine, is that Dr. Hawkins refuses to recant her statement that Muslims and Christians worship the same God (full disclosure … I’ve said as much myself), and Wheaton authorities believe that such a statement is fundamentally at odds with their Statement of Faith and Educational Purpose.  In their own words, taken from Wheaton’s Frequently Asked Questions surrounding this controversy:

  1. Is it true that Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

While Islam and Christianity are both monotheistic, we believe there are fundamental differences between the two faiths, including what they teach about God’s revelation to humanity, the nature of God, the path to salvation, and the life of prayer.

As an institution of distinctively evangelical Christian identity, the core of our faith, as expressed in our Statement of Faith, is our belief that “the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, triumphing over all evil; and that all who believe in Him are justified by His shed blood and forgiven of all their sins.” We affirm that salvation is through Christ alone.

I find this answer interesting, not least because it doesn’t actually answer the question.  The fact that Islam and Christianity differ fundamentally in their teachings about God, or about how one ought to pray to God, does not necessarily mean that the God about which they teach isn’t the same one.  To the contrary, it seems to me that the differences might matter more if they are referring to the same God — by which I mean that describing the “right” God in the “wrong” way could be a more meaningful error than describing completely different deities (one of whom, we presume, is false).  Strictly speaking, the grammar of the Wheaton statement suggests as much … “there are fundamental differences between the two faiths” in their teachings about God; a point about which no Christian or Muslim I’ve ever met, would disagree.  This phrase is not at all equivalent to “they worship different Gods.”

It’s in the second paragraph, however, that things get interesting.  “The core” of Wheaton’s faith, they say, is Jesus death “as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice …”  If they mean that anyone who denies this “core” worships a different God than they … well … I’ve quite clearly repudiated that construction of Jesus death myself, as well as having taken issue with the idea that atonement is central to faith in Jesus or an appropriate reason for and means of evangelism. (I won’t go into detail, but I find it telling that Jesus’ resurrection doesn’t manage to achieve “core” status … that, to me, is about as fundamental a misconstrual as it’s possible to have in the Christian faith .) Do these positions of mine mean that I worship a different God than an Evangelical member of Wheaton’s faculty?  If they do, not only I, but an awfully large group of people who trust in the lordship of Jesus Christ worship a different God than the one that meets Wheaton’s standards.

What, really, are people saying when they say Christians and Muslims worship the same God, or when they say the two faiths worship different Gods?  Frankly, I think both statements are really code for other things, and it’s these other things that must be unpacked and held to the light.  When one says “Muslims and Christians worship the same God,” it seems to me they’re usually saying one of three things:

  1. All religions, or at least all of the Abrahamic religions, are different paths to the same God who will “save” faithful adherents from all of them.
  2. Because Muslims and Christians worship the same God, even though we obviously have theological and practical differences, we ought to use those elements of overlap (like the commands to love God and love our neighbor) as a starting point for peace and mutual respect.
  3. The historical antecedent to the “God” character in Islam, Christianity, and Judaism is the same in all three religions, although each has nuanced that character in different ways.

These things are so completely different that it is impossible to really engage in a coherent discussion until we know which meaning is intended by the speaker.  Number 3 is an indisputable historical/literary fact, but it also has very little meaning with regard to anyone’s theology or praxis.  I cannot conceive how any statement of faith could take issue with it.  Number 1, on the other hand, verges on universalism and is pretty clearly outside the pale of any Evangelical doctrine I know.  Number 2, which is probably closest to the reason I care about this issue at all, is also murkier in the minds of many Evangelicals.  Though most Evangelicals agree that we ought to treat even non-believers with love, they seem extremely nervous about appealing to any element of a non-Christian religion as good or true … even if that appeal is made, as the Apostle Paul did in Acts 17:22-23, as an entre to a conversation about Jesus.

Similarly, when one makes the statement “Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God,” it also can have several meanings:

  1. When spoken by a conservative Christian: “Allah is a false god, and those who worship Allah are going to hell.”  The Muslim equivalent, if I’ve understood it correctly, would be: “Christians are idolaters and polytheists.”  I’m guessing that also means Christians are going to hell, though I’m not certain.
  2. Since the God of Christianity is a Trinity, and the God of Islam is only a Unity, they cannot possibly be the same being.
  3. Since Christians teach salvation through Jesus Christ alone, no-one who denies Jesus’ saving work can be saved.

As with the affirmative statements above, these negative statements are quite different from each other, and must be engaged differently.  Number 1 seems to me largely a war cry, a delineation of the saved and the damned that, while popular in conservative Christianity, I find ultimately unhelpful.  It’s great for building walls and picking fights, but lousy for introducing people to Jesus.  As I have previously written, I find the idea that hell is a primary motivator for faith, or the penalty for anyone who doesn’t have it, to be unbiblical.

Number 2 is problematic in a different manner.  As many have pointed out in discussion of the Dr. Hawkins incident, if belief in the Trinity (particularly the version of Trinity as “eternally existing in three persons” as declared in Wheaton’s Statement of Faith) is a non-negotiable condition of belief in the “same God,” then neither Jews from Abraham to the present, nor many non-Nicene Christians (such as I) worship the same God as Wheaton’s Evangelicals do.  I don’t know how Wheatonites would evaluate my faith — I know for a fact I couldn’t sign their statement and teach there — but I rather suspect most would claim Jews worship the same God they do, even while denying Jesus as divine or as Messiah.  This criterion cannot be applied inconsistently and retain any validity.  Either Jews and Christians worship different Gods, or Muslims, Jews, and Christians worship the same one.  Anything else is illogical nonsense.

Number 3, which I know has been said repeatedly in debates such as these, is in fact a completely orthogonal statement.  Whether one worships the true God or not is not the same thing as whether one has (in Evangelical terms) “accepted” Jesus’ salvation or not.  And this is where the debate really gets complicated.  Adopting the Evangelical position for the moment, let us consider a hypothetical man who has cried out to God all his life, but only late in life learns the truth of Jesus and turns to him for “salvation.”  During that time before he learned of Jesus, was the man calling on a different God?  Did this man direct his prayers to a different divine target once he knew of Jesus?  Or did he just learn new truth that enriched and deepened his perspective of the God he always sought?  And now, if our same hypothetical man — despite his earnest search — never learned the name of Jesus, does this mean that his otherwise-identical search was directed to a different, false god?  I doubt it.

In the final analysis, I would suggest that the “same God” arguments come down to a question of whether we prefer to build walls or bridges between communities of unlike faith.  Neither side of the debate seems to contend either on the one hand that Islam and Christianity are identical/equivalent, or on the other that Christians and Muslims must inevitably be at war, although extremists on both sides do make those respective claims.  I do think that the “not the same God” argument seems mostly to be about maintaining a wall around the faith; that is, a clear delineation of who is in and outside the boundary.  And in the “same God” camp I mostly see people who are trying to identify common ground between admittedly-distinct camps, and use that common ground as a basis for relationship.  Anyone who has known me or my writing for any length of time, will know that I tend toward the latter position.  Ultimately, whether or not Muslims and Christians do worship the same God or not, is a lot less important than what we choose to do about it.

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