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View Diary: Hobby Lobby's Obamacare Challenge Assumes Christianity as the One True Religion (123 comments)

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  •  A Lutheran theologian was once asked by his (13+ / 0-)

    seminary students if he thought his religion was the "true" religion. He answered "Yes, I do think it is the true religion,  just not the only true religion". Very wise man, that.

    One of the things some of these fundies forget is that the church, as an institution, pre-dates the canon of the New Testament which was first described in nearly its present form by Athanasius in 367 C.E. but, at Wikipedia points out:

    Thus, some claim that, from the 4th century, there existed unanimity in the West concerning the New Testament canon (as it is today),[97] and that, by the 5th century, the Eastern Church, with a few exceptions, had come to accept the Book of Revelation and thus had come into harmony on the matter of the canon.[98] Nonetheless, full dogmatic articulations of the canon were not made until the Canon of Trent of 1546 for Roman Catholicism, the Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox.

    (Emphasis mine.)

    So what was the early church doing between the resurrection and the middle of the 4th Century? Well, when they were not arguing about what was scripture, they were reading all sorts of things that did not end up making it into the canon. Things like The Shepherd of Hermas which contained a kind of Christology called "Adoptionism" (which held that Christ was merely mortal and was "adopted" by God to be the Christ) which later became one of the classical heresies of the Church, as well as gnostic stuff like the Gospel of Thomas.

    So were these early Christians not Christians? Hardly. But they would be unrecognizable to today's fundies.

    When I see "Bible Church" on a church sign, I have to laugh. It's not a chicken or egg conundrum: there is very little historical fact about the person of Christ but there IS historical fact about which came first: the church did.

    I say all of this to illustrate that people like our friend at Hobby Lobby had better stay away from arguing what is or isn't in the Bible, and how that relates to his religion. He'd do well to avail himself of his personal right to practice any religion (or none) that he might choose, and let others--including his employees--practice as they choose. Perhaps if it is for him a sincere matter of personal conscience, he might send out a letter to his employees stating his personal religious objections to services that may be provided in their health care coverage, encourage them to repent and not use these services, and then consider that he has done his duty. It's distasteful, but it is far better than attempting to force his employees to accept his religious convictions over their own, should they have any.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 06:16:31 AM PST

    •  Funny how little understanding and awareness of (10+ / 0-)

      let alone interest in and respect for these fundies have for non-US versions of Christianity, or even a realization that most Christians are not even American. Theirs is a very simplistic, US-centric version of Christianity that's quite ignorant and intolerant. They are ridiculously provincial and small.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 06:38:20 AM PST

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      •  Or even a realization that most Christians (17+ / 0-)

        are not FUNDIES. Southern Baptists and other evangelicals may make up a large number of US Christians, but for instance my flavor of Christianity, Anglicanism, is the third largest body of Christians on the planet. That is not to say there are not nasty Anglicans (see Bishop Akinola), because there are, but here in the US, they are distinctly in the minority (the nasty ones).

        Now, I have known some very open-minded and sincere evangelical Christians, but on the whole, I think H.L. Mencken had it right at least as far as the loudest evangelicals go:

        Evangelical Christianity, as everyone knows, is founded upon hate, as the Christianity of Christ was founded upon love.-- H. L. Mencken
        And then there is this one, from Christian novelist Anne Lamott:
        You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. --Anne Lamott

        What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

        by commonmass on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 06:47:45 AM PST

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        •  I bet most of them have never even heard (11+ / 0-)

          of Orthodox let alone Coptic Christians, and that they view Catholicism as a pagan cult. As for us Jews, well, we're useful as far as bringing about the second coming goes, but after that, we're screwed.

          This is what bad education, social and cultural isolation and a culture of paranoia and conformity does to you, rendering much of your brain useless.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:04:28 AM PST

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          •  Well, I find it interesting that they don't glean (8+ / 0-)

            from the Gospels the very obvious fact that Jesus came from a strong rabbinical tradition. He teaches like a rabbi. He thinks like a rabbi. He argues like a rabbi. Jesus, I would like to think, would rather have us approaching scripture like Jews, not like fundamentalist Christians do, that is, in an absolutist way (of course there are fundamentalist Jews too). These people have their minds firmly shut like a steel trap, and any wisdom contained in holy books is therefore beyond their ability to access.

            What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

            by commonmass on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:15:01 AM PST

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            •  What they most don't understand, or are willing to (6+ / 0-)

              admit, even to themselves, that while they might believe that theirs is the one true version of Christianity, it's not the only potentially true version of it, let alone the only version of it, and that their version is the one true version only on faith, not fact, like all religions, including my own. They don't seem able or willing to acknowledge the key difference between faith and fact. They are right, we are wrong, end of discussion, stop wasting my time.

              But they're more than happy to drive cars and use cell phones that rely upon a scientific and logical view of the world that they claim to reject. Sigh.

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:27:02 AM PST

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            •  When my husband was in high school (3+ / 0-)

              he attended Youth Group (for social reasons) at hisBaptis church. They Youth Minister  made an anti-Semitic remark one day. Husband pointed out  Jesus was a Jew.

              YM: No, He was not. Jesus was a Baptist, because He was baptized by John the Baptist.

              Husband was ostracized in Youth Group at the behest of the YM.

              Husband is now a Wiccan and has been for 35 years..

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:22:08 PM PST

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              •  There was a case somewhere where (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                irishwitch, commonmass

                I can't remember if it was a priest or a bishop was giving a 'Jesus and Mary as 1st century Jews' homily. He got a great deal of jeering while he was preaching it. When a woman near the front accused him of sounding 'like a rabbi', he stopped talking and thanked her for the compliment - "That was what they called our Lord."

                I still remember being rather surprised when I found out the timing of Hanukkah's origins - that the handful of kids who had made fun of the Jewish kids at school for celebrating Hanukkah were mocking people for celebrating a holiday Jesus may have grown up celebrating an early form of. Of course, my church never mentioned this when we were all growing up, because that would have meant acknowledging that the Apocrypha exist and that those books contain actual historical details that have influenced other people outside our little Southern Baptist 'not much important happened between the Temple rebuilding post-Exile and Jesus' view of Middle Eastern history.

                Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

                by Cassandra Waites on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 05:03:53 PM PST

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