Editor’s Note: Rev. DeForest "Buster" Soaries is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey. He is a former Secretary of State of New Jersey, and was featured in "Almighty Debt: A Black in America Special.”
By Rev. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Special to CNN
(CNN) – When I was a child, if a crime were committed, my grandmother would say, “I hope he wasn’t colored.” Her concern was that all African-Americans suffered whenever one of us was caught doing something wrong. In those days black people raised their children to abstain from behavior that would give credence to the stereotypes that society had used to characterize us and justify the injustices heaped upon us. And most of us embraced that ethic.
Today I understand how my grandmother felt – not so much from a racial perspective but rather from a vocational perspective. As a member of the clergy, I am always hoping that an accused child molester or an embezzler from some community organization is not a member of the clergy. In 1982, the Gallup organization reported that 63% of people surveyed felt that clergy had high or very high honesty and ethical standards. This topped a list of various professions including lawyers (25%), members of Congress (15%) and car salespersons (6%). By 2011, Gallup reported that nurses topped the list of those believed to have high or very high levels of honesty and ethical standards with 84% believing they did. Lawyers dropped to 19%; members of Congress dropped to 7%. Lobbyists and car salespersons were also at 7%. And clergy dropped to 52%. That means that almost half of the people surveyed do not feel that members of the clergy are honest and have high ethical standards.
And I am not surprised. The inappropriate antics of many clergy could easily cause one to wonder if there are any moral standards for those who preach and teach morality. We are all too familiar with the flaws among some Catholic priests and their highly publicized breaches of trust and sexual indiscretions with children. But Protestants have our share of disgraces in the pulpit, too. Homosexual bashing pastor Ted Haggard left his giant church in 2007 following a gay sex scandal. He later admitted to GQ, "I think that probably, if I were 21 in this society, I would identify myself as a bisexual." Prosperity preacher and television evangelist Robert Tilton was accused of throwing away prayer requests that he received from donors and television viewers without even reading them. And mega-church pastor Eddie Long settled lawsuits with four young males who accused him of coercing sex acts. It is time for a remedy within Protestant churches.
On top of the settlements, Eddie Long was recently “crowned” in his Atlanta church by a so-called messianic preacher. This is but the latest in a series of bizarre and embarrassing incidents that have occurred in Protestant pulpits. Christianity really does not need any more contemporary examples of buffoonery, debauchery or clowning in the pulpit. But there seems to be no shortage of candidates who are willing to offer themselves as the leading, present day holy hyenas in clergy garb. A video of Eddie Long in this religious mockery that went viral could certainly confirm the view of many skeptics that religion and institutional churches are for children and fools.
Perhaps the only thing more embarrassing and disturbing than the sight of a Baptist minister being wrapped by an alleged Torah scroll and carried in a chair by four grown men supposedly symbolizing royalty, was the sight of hundreds of worshipers at Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist Church standing on their feet and cheering in the church’s sanctuary as if there were some authenticity involved in this sacrilegious circus.
Long later apologized to the Jewish community. But his apology to them should have been preceded by an apology to his own congregation.
But then again why should he apologize to a congregation that seemed to be engaged in this foolish festivity? Are Christian people so desperate today that we are gullible en masse? Where are the Christians who model service and sacrifice, as Jesus did?
Unfortunately, too many people have confused "strange" with "deep." They seem to believe that the stranger it is, the deeper it must be. Shame on people who have this herd mentality and follow the crowd wherever the crowd goes. As long as there are cheering audiences to affirm foolishness in church, there will be willing clergy to accept their praise.
The remedy that can put a halt to this behavior is some form of formal accountability that protects the flocks from the wolves in sheep clothing. There are many congregations that understand that they, too, have a religious obligation. It is to demand excellence and integrity among the clergy. When people begin to eject fakes and frauds from the pulpits of our houses of worship, true religion can thrive and play an important role in society.
As long as people support buffoonery in the pulpit, there will be those who will gladly oblige them.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rev. DeForest B. Soaries Jr.
This is not just about mere "buffoonery in the pulpit" is the new buffoonery of black people period. Its in black America and black Africa where we have buffoons masquerading themselves around as something that they nor their ancestors never were and never knew. They are just as sincere in their buffoonery as the good Bishop Eddie Long. Ever since captive Africans boarded the slave ship "Jesus of Lubeck" in 1562, we have been bamboozled into wishing, being, becoming something that is in denial of ourselves, our ancestors, our ancestry and our DNA. What this "buffoonery" demonstrates is how the zapping of the African mind is such a terrible thing.
It is refreshing to hear a nationally recognized Pastor speak out against the foolishness that is rampant in Church today. For too long, leaders have been silent. The few who have spoken out against it have been demonized as "being judgmental" or "religious zealots". Jesus said "judge (or evaluate) with righteous judgement." Dumb sheep, who lack wise judgement, get eaten by wolves in clergy robes. Crowds can become mindless mobs. We're admonished to "Be transformed by the renewing of our minds..." (Romans 12:1). If we stick to the script (the SCRIPTure) we can identify more accurately biblical behavior of leaders versus inappropriate behavior, hold them accountable and keep them on the course of their calling. Without a system of accountability, absolute power will corrupt absolutely.
"Are Christian people so desperate today that we are gullible en masse?" – Yes, and not just today, it appears yesterday and tomorrow fit in there as well.
Oops, I didn't mean to attach that statement to your reply, and can't take it back.
Reblogged this on The Real U.
I believe in God, but not in man.
Good one Bob! Perfect to remember this
First of all, any system of knowledge can be manipulated and used to abuse and mislead people. Religion is not exempt, never has been, never will be.
It is quite damaging and dismissive to reduce what is occurring at some churches simply as buffoonery and antics. In some of the examples listed in this article, the congregations or ministries had been in a SERIES of internal and spiritual crisis over the span of YEARS/DECADES in which the latest "antics" were just another public display of the symptoms, not root causes of the problem. While some ministers and clergy are well meaning in trying to impart culturally affirming and pragmatic approaches to faith, spirituality, and religion, MANY have gone off the rails and taken advantage of those things in order to sway believers and manipulate people's natural search something more in their faith walk. There are some denominations whose bureaucracy, abysmally inadequate channels of oversight, and ill-training in the psychology of different types of abuse have also contributed to monumental failures among many churches, dioceses, parishes, districts, etc.
The question we must now ask or risk total destruction is whether The Church (regardless of denomination) is equipping believers with the tools to question so-called antics. Any Bible study class can be manipulated by a talented orator. Even Satin knows scripture. When is the Church as a collective going to start teaching people how to study the Word, thoughtfully and prayerfully meditate (not regurgitate) the Word, and interrogate what is being presented from the pulpit. When the pastor says, "Tell your neighbor.....", when is the first response going to be "Say what now preacher?" instead of thoughtlessly following suit out of social or cultural obligation? When are people invested in their local church going to get the boldness and backbone to sit down or dismiss sick, damaged, and wayward leaders? Just leaving is not going to solve the problem. If anything, it reinforces the group think among those left behind and under the spell/misguided loyalty of the failed leadership. And that's when the real antics and tomfoolery begins. This is nothing new, we just get to witness it on youtube and Facebook in realtime.
The video of Eddie Long being proclaimed as king..... What mockery and blasphemy!
Indeed, we are seeing in our days what the Book of Revelations and Daniel have prophesied long ago.
And it ain't gonna be the Catholic church ONLY with it's heresies.
The Worldwide "Church of the Deceived", the apostates... That's the HARLOT CHURCH... the one that keeps the Name of Jesus Christ,but rejects and mocks the Spirit of Truth. You can't separate Jesus Christ from the Spirit of Truth... And who ever rejects the Spirit of Truth but clings to the Name of Jesus commits blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. We are truly seeing the prophecies comming to pass.
But no man's attempt will root out this plague. Only God will weed them out. He will separate the weeds from wheat. It is His assignment, not man's!
What is the penalty you would deliver for the blasphemer?
Since you didn't read what he posted, the quote was "It is his [i.e. God's] assignment, not man's."
"Are Christian people so desperate today that we are gullible en masse?"
Oh, the ironing...
To paraphrase Groucho Marx:
That's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard!
The whole of real and effective religion, is to shape one’s spiritual character during life on planet Earth, so as not to give offense to the Creator, when we eventually find our self in the Creator’s presence. Every human body is a vessel designed by the Creator to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is why a human body is call a temple of the Holy Spirit. We have all been commanded to practice loving all other spiritual beings, starting with the Creator and then extending this consideration to all other spiritual beings. The goal is to be able to reside in true spiritual communion for eternity in one another’s presence without giving offense to others.
All other spiritual endeavors, which lead toward a goal other than attaining true spiritual communion for eternity, are fruitless in the eyes of the Creator.
All religious endeavors other than a person’s personal effort to love (be considerate of), the Creator and to also love (be considerate of), all the other people in this world are fruitless in the eyes of the Creator.
This is the only true religious effort that is acceptable in our Creator’s sight, regardless of a person's creed or denomination.
Love the Creator. Love your fellow humans beings, all of them! Nothing else is acceptable. Nothing else is asked or expected.
Is there anyone on this forum who is licensed to translate gibberish?
Thank the Lord for giving mankind the Buddha!
For those who are lost (without Christ) it is no wonder that you continually show contempt and disrespect for persons of faith. Your unwillingness to believe in God and his Son Jesus is not differcult to understand. You are of the world the world is awash in sin.
In my entire life, I have never met anyone who was not of the world. I understand it's quite hard to meet someone not of the world.
Your willingness to believe in God and his Son Jesus is not "differcult" to understand. However, some of us have intelligence or education or both, and we find it difficult to believe in nonsense.
Not everyone uses spellcheck, J. Does it make them less intelligent than you? If you were stranded on the side of a mountain at night with no food or water- it's very likely the person you're mocking would be the very one who would stop to help you. Keep that in mind...
I think this is a very serious issue in the black community. We are so afraid to face our fears and the realities of life, so fake preachers are able to take advantage of our weaknesses. I personally do not believe in a god. Not enough proof. Science has proven and continues to prove to us everyday that we are alone in this world. No one is going to magically save you. No one is going to magically find you a man, a job, a wife, give you money, etc. No matter how long you pray. Good things happen to bad people sometimes and vice versa. Its all up to you and how you deal with it......
I believe black people have far more "serious issues" than just charlatanism. With a deck of 53 seriously stacked against them, I personally do not see any 'relief' for black people in general. They have been made the world's "primitive" race and I suspect, in this world at least, they will never, never be given a truly fair shot at being "at one" with the rest of the planet.
Right direction, but the wrong 'race'. The true culprits of Mankind's misery is getting off Scot-free. They know who they are and so do I.
All religion is phony and for centuries has been used to suppress the black community; there is no god no heaven, no satan , no after life; throw off the shackles of religion and live free
You put your faith in science, but did you know that Albert Einstein believed in God? Albert was just the most influential man of science that had ever lived.
If you wish to have proof of God's existence, you only have to ask for it. The rest will be done by God. Try it. You will be surprised and pleased at the result.
Professor Einstein should have stuck with what he knew about. He was out of his specialty when he was talking about metaphysics.
Relgion would appear more credible to me if individuals and god kept religion between themselves. I tire of religious stories that are themselves, selling perspectives on religion. I challenge the world to butt out of my religion, and in return, I won't attempt to persuade your beliefs.
Most of this "buffnery" is the result of Money and/or Power corrupting the church leadership. It has turned religion into a spectator sport of sorts - just watch the high and mighty fall. Sadly at the heart of most of this mess is Television, which serves to extend the reach of the church (getting the word out, but far more importantly, getting the money in).
Churches need to rid themselves of these bozos before their credibility is in the crapper like lawyers and congresspeople.
The past, current and future "buffoons" aside, because we'll always have them. But, Reverend, given the paradigm of today, given the monumental lies, fabrications and huge embellishments that come from religions of all bents- what on Earth is one supposed to believe? If you are blessed with intelligence, logic and rationale, how can we mere humans safely and confidently believe in any of it- insofar as it relates to our salvation?
I truly want to believe in something grand and omnipotent, if it exists. But I have a greater fear and apprehension of being wrong in those beliefs. This is further compounded by the anxiety of not being able to discover "what there is" before I exit this stage for parts unknown, unprepared perhaps. Perhaps not, or maybe.....It's a mess. And I do not believe the answer is to be found in the proclamations of any man, or within the dubious, deceitful walls of a House of Worship.
Would someone ever be so brave as to give this same opinion of the Quran. So brave as to print the journalist's name and newspaper. "Monkeys know which trees to climb."
Not in the days before Jesus. Same religious fanatacism.
How do you tell if a particular religion is buffoon? What if all religion is buffoon? How do we know that any one religion has it right? Does God have a particular religion that is his favorite? We are finding that intelligent life on other planets in the universe is highly likely. What religion does God favor among that planets population? In 5 million years because of evolution Chimpanzees are as intelligent as humans are today what religions will they make up? Or, will God give them multiple religions and judge them based on which religion they pick? But, that wouldn't make sense because 99.9% of the time people are born into their particular religion. Maybe simple spirituality is the answer without worrying about the correctness of any particular religions. People throughout history have killed each other because of difference in opinions concerning particular religions. None of them is perfect. Spirituality, being good for the sake of being good, is perfection.
Sorry pal, there is no money in being good. You need to be a sinner and repent with your money . . . that is god's way !
"How do we know that any one religion has it right?"
We'll know as soon as God shows up in person, points to 1 of the 5000 different religions that claim to speak for him, and says "This is it!"
Until that happens, save your time and money.
Unless you drive a horse and buggy and don't have electricity, I would be really worried!
The buffoonery would be the antics within the particular church being discussed (example, Long and the stage show with the Torah) not the religion or its beliefs.
Read the article FIRST, then comment.
Too many christians, too few lions. Bring back the good old days !
This is a case of a guy who believes that 2 + 2 = 509343574 pointing at another guy who believes that 2 + 2 = 2450972143 and claiming "HE'S the buffoon!". They're both scam artists competing for the same herd of weak-minded gullible suckers.
Although I consider myself a Christian, I can't say I'm proud of many things done in the name of Christ. (I doubt if Christ would be very happy about it, either.) If all religions would focus on God's love of man and how to accomplish that, rather than persecution of his fellow man, folks might be a little more civil to each other. Oh, yes, I don't buy the "imaginary figure in the sky" theory either. I do, however, believe the non-biblical saying "you play, you pay".
If you are a Christian you certainly believe Satan is going about causing trouble.
Therefore it should come as no surprise he might assault the leader of a church and give him crazy ideas that the non believers can make fun of. Satan hates religion.
Think for a moment about points scored.
If Satan manages to get a non believer in trouble with the law maybe he feels he scored 2 points.
BUT, if he can embarrass a member of clergy who is supposed to know better....BINGO...50 POINTS.
Satan is wiser and more conniving than most people understand. He is going to spend his time causing trouble where it will do him the most good. The clergy, or other church leaders.
No surprise here for me, just more of the same old news. Sigh.........
Yep. After thousands of years, God apparently is still unable to defeat Satan who he created. Maybe it was a bad idea.
Actually, the defeat of Satan is central to the Christian faith as it is in the Bible. Dont think that most of what you see is actually Christianity. Compare it to the Bible and it looks even worse.
Maybe Satan was the agent of free choice
Anyone who really believes that Satan actually exists is even crazier than someone who really believes that God actually exists.
Satan ? Damn, I thought you were talking about Santa ! No soup for you !
So in other words, as long as your Christian, then nothing is your fault. Deceptive and devious acts can be blamed on "satan" or whatever. You now have no personal accountability at all, and are basically able to do whatever you want because everything you do is motivated by some supernatural being. In the case of Christianity you can do harm and damage to a person, and then pray for forgiveness from Jesus and you're fine. Never mind that there is still a person you harmed that you now have no obligation to make any amends to.
'you're' Christian rather, sorry for the typo...
Amen Rev. Soaries Jr., Amen
God did not put the Bible together. Man did, especially one called Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea. And why did a roman pagan convert– because he saw a meteor or comet in the sky and he thought it was a message from God (christian god). So if it wasn't for that chance event we would all still be roman pagans
Or jewish ones.
Sorry, you are mistaken. Numerous early churches had the "letters" written originally by the disciples. They guarded them fiercely and made copies to share with other churches. They kept them close and saw to it versions other churches held were accurate. Gnostics tried to insert some false teachings early on but the scrutiny of the church leaders led to those false "letters" being ignored.
Constantine DID manage to unite the christian and atheist followers in a large movement. In part to his conversion and in part to his desire to increase his influence.
The main body of non Christian-pagans he brought into the church were sun worshippers. He did that by establishing worship on Sunday. A practice that continues to this day.
The Bible was put together before the Council of Nicaea, the Council of Nicaea established the doctrine of the Trinity. Also, Constantine did not personally particpate in the Council, he requested that the bishops call it to settle doctrinary arguments he beleived were interfering with his attempt to use the Christian Church as a means of supplementing Imperial administration.
I completely agree with your article, Rev. Soaries. St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying "Preach the gospel. And if necessary, use words." Such wisdom is in my opinion unassailable. As Christians we are judged and judge each other by our actions, after all who really knows whats in our hearts. Actions like those of Eddie Long bring all people of faith into disrepute. Would Jesus have ever done what he did? A man who fed the poor, healed the sick and loved the outcast. Of course he wouldnt. When one looks at the actions of Eddie Long is it any wonder that people hold the clergy, Christians and people of faith in such low repute. Yet I know so few charities run by atheists.
No charities run by atheists? Ok, how about The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rex Foundation and Richard Bransons numerous charities. I'm sure with a little research you can find many more.
The author seems a decent fellow and I'm sure he's sincere. What's he's inadvertently done here is acknowledge that Christianity fails to deliver what one would expect if it were true.
Wish CNN allowed for putting "LIKE" votes to you r comment.
I don't judge any "product" by the antics of the salespeople. I have the greatest respect for Jesus Christ and believe HE delivers what HE promises.... however... some of the people that "say" they follow him can be another matter.
You really believe that Jesus delivers on his promises, eh? Then you'll be fond of THIS excerpt from John 16:
"(23) ... Verily, verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
(24) Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."
So go ahead, show us how sincere you are in your confidence in Jesus. Ask for that Mercedes, then let us know if ol' JC drives it up to your front door and hands you the keys in person, AS HE PROMISED HE WOULD.
It's so wonderful that you have respect for jusus christ. I'd love to agree with you, but then we would both be wrong.
For those who are lost (without Christ) it is no wonder that you continually show contempt and disrespect for persons of faith. Your unwillingness to believe in God and his Son Jesus is not differcult to understand. You are of the world the world is awash in sin. Christians are told by Christian to be both Salt and Light in the world. Many preachers and clergy do not demonstrate these attributes and will be held for account for misguiding their folks.
Christians are instructed by Christ to be both Salt and Light in the world. Many preachers and clergy do not demonstrate these attributes and will be held for account for misguiding their folks. Many Christians are in various stages for their spirital growth. It is a continual process of understanding the Word, Christ's teaching and growing in the spirit. We are all works in progress. There was only ever one perfect person, perfect being sinless. That is Christ and He is God
You don't even have to ask for a Mercedes. How about the millions of people who are dying from starvation or disease? My late wife was religious and prayed for God to cure her of the cancer that eventually killed her. She died in agony, crying for the robbed future of being with her young children. Apparently your Jesus/God likes seeing pain and suffering . God/Jesus doesn't answer their simple prayers so he is either impotent, cruel or doesn't exist. I'm going with nonexistent.
When my father became a minister, he had to be ordained by someone. A reputable minister with a reputable organization of churches had to check his credentials and vouch for his sincerity and integrity. Once he was ordained, he had an organization to answer to. My father was no buffoon. But if he been inclined to do something ridiculous, a group of ministers would have had him reprimanded and removed. Churches are supposed to be part of a council, not some kind of weird religious dictatorship that answers to nobody. I would never attend a church that is not part of a larger organization of churches. And I certainly would not attend a church where the head minister is not both highly educated and ordained. That would be like going to a university where none of the professors has a degree.
You, my dear are lost. Bless your heart.
If you read the Bible, it is very easy to weed out "False" religion. For starters, if a church condones Pagan rooted practices such as Christmas, and Easter, then they are false. If a church teaches that bad people spent all eternity in a fire, then they are also false. Its easy people, just read and study the Bible.
All religions are false. Ignorant mythology from thousands of years ago.
very very true
we would all still be worshipping Zeus or Athena or whatever if it were real. But Gods, Goddesses change with the times, just like any fad.
Why, just because you say so?!?
Also, you are confusing what the Bible really teaches with what churches teach. Most all churches to practice mythology. THey practice things not found in the Bible.
What about "I've read the bible from cover to cover" do you not get? I read the whole thing. I know what it says. That doesn't mean I believe a word of it. It has some good teachings, but they're just common sense. It didn't take a rocket scientist to come up with them. It's just ancient mythology. Period. End of story. If you would actually THINK about it instead of blindly accepting, it would be utterly obvious to you.
All religions are bogus attempts to defraud people out of their money and control them. The bible is a book written by Jews, about Jews, for Jews. Now how can that not be propaganda?
All religions are bogus frauds that bilk millions from people and keeping them under control. The bible is just a book of propaganda written by Jews, for Jews, about Jews. How can that not be propaganda?
And if you read the Koran, it is very easy to weed out false religions as well — all of Christianity, for example.
"But why should I believe the Koran?", you ask. Precisely! Why should ANYONE believe a book of myths and legends written thousands of years ago by ignorant, arrogant, unscientific nomadic shepherds? (Hint: There's more than one of these.)
I just started reading the Bible a few days ago. I learned about how a talking snake made the first woman eat an apple, which gave the people knowledge. An effect of that knowledge being that Adam and Eve covered their naked bodies because they had become shameful. That was followed up by how Cain killed Able because God like Able's offering of blood and disliked Cain's offering of harvest. God then wiped everyone out except Noah and his wife, his sons, and their wives, at least 2 kinds of each animal, and 7 pairs of some (So that they could be sacrificed to God. This was God's request.). After the great flood that killed everyone, God made rainbows to remind himself to never wipe out humanity again.
Lovely stories, but ..... where is the reality?
Christianity, like all religions, is nothing more than ancient mythology, written thousands of years ago by members of a primitive society in an effort to explain existence and comfort people in the face of their mortality. I've read both the old and new testaments cover to cover. I've read many other religious texts as well. They're all just ancient mythology from primitive cultures, nothing more.
When I look around, I don't see a god flying around in a cloud or pillar of fire, I don't see sticks turning into snakes, I don't see rivers turning to wine, etc. etc. If that stuff was real and happened then, it would be happening now. I don't see miracles happening, all I see is a lot of ignorant people blindly accepting ancient mythology as fact, while rejecting modern scientific knowledge. If people would use their brains for a change, THINK about it using logic, reason and objectivity, then they would understand that it's just old myths. It's just so utterly obvious.
Your arrogance, unlike your tiny guiding pe cker, is vast and preposterous. You have come to fight. Fight away. Like mini men I have listened to onliine, you believe yourself to be a god. Once again, common mistake. If we are evolving, it sure has taken a backward step lately.
Eventually religions will be seen as mythology like Santa Claus or the tooth fairy.
@toadears – I'm not ignorant. As I stated, I've read the bible from cover to cover along with many other religious texts. I'm sure I know far more than you. Your ignorant post proves that. I'm also a scientist. Science doesn't have all the answers but given enough time, it will. In the meantime, religion will fade away as people become more intelligent and better educated. They will stop clinging to old myths and accept logic and reason instead of delusional fantasies.
If we are evolving?
Well, if you truly did read the Bible from cover to cover, you missed the point. Where in the Bible did it say that you would "see " these things? I am sure you believe a lot of things that you haven't seen. You comment lacks any real logic.
My comment embraces logic, reason and objectivity. The same cannot be said for religion. It's jut fairy tale nonsense.
Well that was a bunch of arrogant hooey.
No, just the opposite, intelligent, logical deductions based on having actually THOUGHT about it instead of blindly following. You would do well to embrace logic and reason instead of ancient mythology.
"Christianity, like all religions, is nothing more than ancient mythology, ..."
I have to disagree with you here, Luis. Some religions are MODERN mythology. Scientology and Mormonism, for example, or the Heaven's Gate, Jonestown, and Branch Davidian cults. We have a better handle on the fact that they're scams, because we have more reliable historical records, but like all religions, they were created by human beings to prey on the weak-minded and have no basis in fact.
I applaud that you have read the bible from cover to cover, and yes there are times when i have doubts about my faith, a lot of times actually. But I must however say that reading the bible doesnt mean you understand the bible- if you read the bible literally, thinking in literal terms, you will never understand it. There are a lot of parables meant to teach us to think, to treat and respond to each other as human beings, to be good people, not necessarily to expect to literally see miracles. Without a spiritual reading of the bible, you just wont get it. Again, I sincerely applaud your efforts. There is nothing wrong with challenging what you read or hear, especially from self proclaimed prophets.
We are past the days when most of the population could not read/comprehend for themselves. Everyone needs to read themselves, and if you are a believer in Christ, take the time to find out why you believe, not just b/c someone told you to.
the last comment is not directed at you, but to everyone in general
Your post is the same argument that has been used on the gullible for centuries. You think because you understand the parables that you have insight into something that non-believers can't see. That I just need to turn off logic and embrace the spiritual and I will be enlightened. Yet, because I choose not to turn off my ability to reason I'm the one labeled a fool, or deceived.
"There exists in society a very special class of persons that I have always referred to as the Believers. These are folks who have chosen to accept a certain religion, philosophy, theory, idea or notion and cling to that belief regardless of any evidence that might, for anyone else, bring it into doubt. They are the ones who support the fanatics and frauds of any given age. No amount of evidence, no matter how strong, will bring them any enlightenment. They are the sheep who beg to be fleeced and butchered, and who will battle fiercely to preserve their right to be victimized."
End times apostate church. I stunned that there doesn't seem to be an ounce of discernment in the pews of some of these churches that have blatant false teachers passing themselves off as pastors, preachers etc..
Or congregations holding them accountable.
all religions are man made fakery
why do you kids find it necessary to keep changing your screen names to match the stories?? Odd
So is atheism. At least religious folks admit that they are not the ultimate authority in the world.
Then what is the ultimate authority??? We may never know. If there is one that is.
I would say that physics is the ultimate authority.
Atheism is NOT "man-made fakery". Atheism is the default position of the open-minded. "I'm willing to go where the evidence leads," says the open-minded atheist. "Make your best case. What, that's IT!? Shoot, man, there's more evidence for Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy than for God. At least they produce real, tangible blessings on a predictable basis."
Why on Earth would you believe something just because some con artist whose income depends on your gullibility tells you it's true?
If by "atheism" you mean the belief that there is certainly nothing beyond the observable, then I have to agree that that is man-made fakery. If by "atheism" you mean the belief that the god presented as the sole one in the Bible/Q'ran does not exist, then I have to disagree. If that god existed, there should be some observable evidence of that existence in the form of supernatural events. (A "miracle" that is actually the suspension of the ordinary application of the laws of nature as discovered through science, as opposed to a "miracle" that is merely the occurence of something unlikely and good.)
Red meat for the masses. Back to the video games.
Thank you Rev. Soaries! We Christian men need men we can look up to. I really like your use of the word, "Bufoon". I think it charictarized things well. I was embarrassed when I first read of Eddie Longs escapade.
What the writer proposes to do is impossible. Once anyone stands in front of the audience in the role of a priest, pastor, or any other type of religious leader, they not only appear the buffoon, they ARE a buffoon and so are the people in the audience.
and yet.................you listen to doctor phil? hahhahahaaaa OK go back to worshiping celebrities. Be sure to enter them on speed dial on your cell in case you or family needs a doctor, EMT, fire man, or funeral preached. You kids kill me.
I AM doctorephil.
So...who's advice or guidance do you follow? Your stock broker? Your professor? Your political leader? Your media talking head? Your own intelligence and wisdom? I challenge you to read the Bible daily for one year, talk with God for guidance and understanding at least once per day for one year, reach out in person to help someone at least once per day for one year. Perhaps you, too, will develop a relationship with God which surpassess all reason and rationality but brings peace and joy and satisfaction beyond what you thought you would ever find. May God bless you!
I am convinced that we are approaching the day when anyone talking to god at any time (not to mention AT LEAST ONCE A DAY) will be held legally insane and confined and/or medicated so as to not remain a threat to further harm themselves or others. If I live to be 13 years old, I will never understand how a sentient being can think there is a god or that there are gods.
Definition of God – the supreme or ultimate reality. Something that is so important that it takes over somebody's life. Who is your God? Pride. Knowledge. Yourself. We all have a god, its just a matter of defining it. If you are happy and satisfied with your god, the so be it. I am happy with mine, so please give me the same respect.
Just because you don't have the courage to stand up in front of people and tell the truth doesn't mean those who do are buffoons. You're just a coward who hates anyone who isn't.
I stand up in front of large groups and tell the truth often. I don't see how anyone can keep a straight face and get up in front of a group as a priest/pastor/bishop/rabbi and think they are speaking the truth and doing mankind any good. None of it has ever been shown to be true as it has all been 100% debunked. Again, that's 100%
Genesis 1:14 says the lights in the sky are for signs. But find me a religious person follws that teaching and who loves Astronomers and the Big Bang evidence we keep finding . . . . . . .
Eddie Long is just another phony niqqer that has all his inbred brothers following him around like the idiots they are
They come in all colors: Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, Al Sharpton, Jim Bakker etc, etc, etc
2 Peter 2:1-3
...There will be false prophets... 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
One of the jobs of the elders of each church is to keep guys like these out so the Gospel is not blanketed to those not yet saved and the Name of Jesus not dishonored. I suggest the problem is churches with leadership structures that do not have the accountability of the plurality of elders centered on the Scriptures. If all churches did, this article would not exist.
On behalf of Christ and His Church I apologize to all who have to witness these kinds of men but also please remember, standing before God on Judgment Day with the excuse of "But these hypocritical leaders in Your Church kept me from surrendering to You" will not work either. Jesus came and died to save us from selfish junk like what these guys are doing. All of us are individually held responsible to respond to Jesus by believing in Him and repenting of our own sins, with or without the likes of guys like these mentioned in the article.
Jesus is still Lord and you are invited into His Kingdom.
to Ryan to illustrate how stupid, ignorant and hypocritical your post was: An extract of yours above:
On behalf of Allah and His followers I apologize to all who have to witness these kinds of men but also please remember, standing before Allah on Judgment Day with the excuse of "But these hypocritical leaders in Your temples kept me from surrendering to You" will not work either. Mohammad came and died to save us from selfish junk like what these guys are doing. All of us are individually held responsible to respond to Mohammed by believing in Him and repenting of our own sins, with or without the likes of guys like these mentioned in the article. Praise Allah!"
2 Comments for you Matt.
Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” You don't know what you're really saying, but that's ok. You can still repent and receive forgiveness if you would just humble yourself.
Proverbs 26:4-5 4 Answer not a fool according to his folly lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
I'm trying to help you and others Matt not because I know it all but because Jesus has shown me through the Bible the Truth that can set you free. The 2 verses above seem like a contradiction but rather it means we are to start trying to help someone see the Truth but if they persist in being belligerent, angry and hostile there comes a point it is evident they are not going to listen and to continue on in a conversation with them actually then makes you a fool.
Just trying to help you but if you don't want it then I'll still pray for you.
Honestly? if God is willing to inflict ETERNAL torment on a mortal, regardless of how well that mortal lived, simply because he did not kneel down and submit to God, then that God is an petty attention-wh*re of an evil monster who does not DESERVE worship, from anyone or anything. And frankly, I'm more than a little disgusted that you would honor him.
I'll stick with Jefferson's worldview: "Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear."
What's that? You don't find this quote convincing? Then why on earth would expect a non-christian to find any quote from your holy book so convincing?
Matt: God is Love... it is we who hate and reject Him and so we chose to separated from Him for all eternity... He Loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him.
Well that is the kind of problem you get once you declare that "every man must interpret the Bible by himself". A gullible moron can find ANYTHING there.
There will always buffoonery in the pulpit as long as there are people willing to take advantage of the gullible on a primitive fear of death.
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." – Seneca the Younger
1 Corinthians 1:27-29
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
Matt- Jesus came to serve us with the offer or salvation from our sins, not that people could create a huge religion to take advantage of people as many "Christian pastors/priests" have done throughout history. Please do not be blinded to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus by the junk that people have done in His name.
Stop preaching Ryan – your making yourself sound stupid.
Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.
Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
My favorite time of the day is when I get some religious nut at my front door who thinks he/she speaks for Jesus. I used to slam the door in their face, and could even get it closed before they could say two words. But now, I say to them, "Don't preach your religion to me, I will observe you for a while, then make up my own mind." I have never met a person, who claims to know the word of God, that lives the life they preach.
That is because there is NO word of God. There is only the word of Man.
wish makes perfect sense, because everyone will have their own interpretations of what is right and wrong and just. hence why so many religions and denominations throughout the world...
II understand your logic; however, there was/is only One man that met your criteria
Don't forget that the religious US conservatives are actually looking forward to spending eternity in the very model of a completely Totalitarian Socialist Heaven. :)
Totalitarian socialist heaven? Not sure where you're getting that from, because the kingdom of heaven is a monarchy.
The only way to stop buffoonery in the pulpit is to destroy the pulpit. Yeah yeah, I already know. I'm going to burn in hell for millions and billions and trillions and zillions of years whilst you and jesus dance a jig and throw more fuel on the fire.
Education, especially the methods scientific analysis and reasoning, are the cure for religion. That's why the Repulicans don't want any except the already rich and corrupt to be able to afford it.
Agreed! Check Amazon for "The Heathen's Guide to World Religions"
Pathetic, ridiculous and hilarious.
There is nothing new under the sun. Throughout history, humans have used religion, and other people, to achieve their own selfish purposes. Satan uses such people in his sad and fruitless attempts to undermine God. Those who love God need only to study the scriptures and build their personal relationship with God to show themselves approved and to identify false prophets/teachers. By the way, false prophets and tricksters are not limited to the area of Religion. They are also active in politics, government, business, charity, media, family, friendship and all other human activity. So...don't be too fast to make mankind's weakness and wickedness the sole possesion of Religion and Religious people.
Especially Wall Street. Most people have no idea that what is REALLY driving gas prices sky high is traders, not supply.
We were warned (in the Bible) of false-teachers and how their number would increase as time went by. None of this should surprise us. Most churches have left the basics and moved on to using entertainment to inflate their attendance figures... which is what they are really concerned about. (Preaching the Word of God as directed in the Bible isn't glitzy, thus crowds don't materialize.) It saddens and disappoints me, but it doesn't surprise me. Neither am I surprised when "preachers" use pulpits to rail against the government or for their pet projects. These false teachers will pay a heavy price in eternity.
Nice bit of threats of violence there . . . .typical religious "good" person.
tony, if possible, grow up. There is no violence in that post. Just the knowledge that they will not get in. End of story. If you believe that all dead people go to heaven, the Hitler and Jesus must be up there having tea. Common mistake.
You are truly delusional. There is no god. Educate yourself.
But they are ALL fakes! You can estimate the non-existence of an all-powerful God, by the need for collection plates for the fakes. So for example. Mitt Romney has more God-powers than any other so called god in America
When fakes are driven from the pulpits, they will be empty.
In 73 years, I have found that there are those who have found more comfort in attacking the Bible/men dedicated to God rather than try to move closer to God Almighty. Apparently, you took your conclusion /statistics from MSNBC; a shame indeed, because you will be held accountable by the Proper Authority at the appropriate time.
You say that, but why should I believe you? There's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that this Proper Authority exists, or that there's any kind of cosmic poetic justice after we die. Nobody's ever sent back pictures from either Heaven or Hell. It's all just speculation and fear-mongering, designed to wring yet more money out of the fearful, gullible, and easily intimidated.
And what, exactly, is "true" religion?
Thank you, Rev. Soaries for such a great article. As a CHRIST follower, I always need to remember Who I represent to the world, and how hurtful it is to them and to His Kingdom when I am my self-centered, arrogant normal self. The critical comments following your article prove it. Unfortunately, most who do not follow CHRIST judge Him by my behavior. LORD have mercy......
I think I partly agree with the story. Remember that people do stupid things and always will, they are after all people and people are not perfect by any means. That being said it is extremely critical that we Teach the Whole Bible, the parts we like and the parts we don't like so that by all means God can use it to talk to us in our daily lives to mold us in whatever it is he wants us to do. We should never slant the Holy Scriptures to the current political trends or current psychological trends or the current immorality trends of the day, to do so is absolute wickedness and those peole will pay dearly for that sin of using their position to teach false doctrine so they can have personal gain either financially or socially or politically!
I like the whole Bible bit where a loving god helps the warrior Israelites escape Egypt by parting the red sea, but later kills hundreds of thousands of innocents, including masses of children, by his Tsunamis. By definition, that's Satan US Christians are actually worshiping.
Your lack of knowledge of the Bible and its stories is only surpassed by your arrogance and extremely rude teenaged American manners. Or lack of them. Your Momma must be so proud.
Teaching the whole bible is a good way to lose congregants. Most of the bible is not so much full of love and peace and salvation as it is filled with blatant lies, deceit, murder torture slavery death and damnation.
It's Exodus 14:19 So you might want to explain why "god" couldn't kill the Egyptians the night before???
"If you talk to God, you're praying; if God talks to you, you're schizophrenic." —Thomas Szasz, psychologist
All you idiots are fakes. Your god and devil do not exist and you're just taking advantage of the gullibility of the average American moron to pad your pockets. We need to start taxing these bozos, it would pay off the deficit!
Maybe you haven't heard what God said in His Word in Ps 14:1a: The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.
So, you know one of the plethora of defensive memes that adherents of the fantasy worldviews we call "religions" have dreamt up to cow the ignorant...so what? That doesn't make your fantasy worldview any more true.
H. L. Mencken said never underestimate the intelligence of the American people.
religiousisstupid, the word you are seeking and have not been properly taught in our failing educational system is cowl. If you kids are going to use words to make yourselves appear more intelligent, I do wish you would learn their meanings and how to spell them.
You are delusional.
And the wise person says so right out loud.
But I say unto you... whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire, MAT 5:22
Always good to start a sentence with an insult. American, right? Under 25? uh huh
The most amazing thing I read in this story is not about religious charlatans. After all, they demanded the deaths of all the prophets. We've had them with us forever. No, what amazed me was his statement that in 1982 25% of people surveyed felt that LAWYERS had a high rate of 'honesty and ethical standards'!!!!!
Religion itself is buffoonery! Case closed!!!
I agree and these same people are the core of the Republican Party. This is "right" in line with Perry and Santorum supporters. How crazy is it when none of the Republicans that want to be President feel they can say they believe in science?
The Church does suffer from such "buffoonery" but more than this, the Church has suffered over the years from the exodus of high-minded "hypocrites" who think they are too good to help make the Church all it can be. They "blame" Church leaders from all denominations but refuse to step up to their own part in the degradation. If the Church is "bad", it's because good people have neglected it and surrendered the "good" in favor of the "bad". It really is that simple. Stop blaming "others". It is YOUR absence that makes the Church what it is ... or isn't.
gee maybe the mass exodus from the church could be related to not the high-minded hypocrisy of those who've left but the fact that way too many churches are in the business of politics and preaching hatred?
word............................ signed, non party voter who believes in rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's
If all it takes is my continued absence from church to make it increasingly "bad", I'll be sure not to change my present Sunday habits.
Congratulations! You are now in that ever popular group of HYPOCRITES who is COMPLETELY out of line with the teachings of the Bible! You must be so proud. In Jeremiah God specifically blames the pastors and calls them bad shepherds. He also has quite a bit to say about false prophets, who are actually a different bunch from evangelists, but have been lumped together with them in the currently dead seminaries and churches. If the leaders allow things like Republican politicians to come in and address the congregation and TELL THEM for whom they should vote, there isn't a whole lot the congregation can do except fire their hineys. MkaY???
My niece, who studied to be a Wesleyan pastor (youth ministry, of course, since she's a woman) had to sign a paper every year (before she walked away) saying she would vote for Bush. This was stranger than you might think…she's Canadian.
EverythinginModeration...she should have walked straight out the door! I told a local politician to his face to get his flyers out of a church I was attending in Florida. I became the enemy of the church for that action. No outright persecution but just a general rejection by the members. I didn't care. It is awful how they bring all that into the churches.
Ah, memories. I got shunned myself. 639 people stopped talking to me **instantly!**
What she told me, when she was finally free of the cult was "I couldn't see myself being part of a church that Jesus would not be welcome to attend."
It has been PAINFUL for a lot of Christians to withdraw from the church they attended all their lives, but as the pulpits have been hammering out more and more extreme views and social conservatives who prefer to hate than embrace from the pews use money and influence to steer congregations away from love and toward judging and excluding others, sensitive people have HAD to leave.
Then, you come along and blame them for the trouble. Make it the fault of the disappeared. They make the best scapegoats.
Looks like 52% of Americans are still ripe suckers for the picking. Let the fleecing of the gullible continue!
I have been a confirmed atheist since my teenage years (I am now 70). However, I respect sincere people of any faith who live up to the ideals they preach or advocate. Carnival showmen like Long will say or do anything to whip up a crowd and collect an obscene amount of " contributions" from their gullible and frequently poor targets.
Rev. Soaries, thank you for your excellent article, and keep up your good work.
Many people "think" they don't believe in God until they are on their death bed.
You NEED to think that, don't you? Dream on.
My mother says the same thing. I say that fear of the unknown is what started religions in the first place and is a powerful motivator for believing. This is the problem. Reasonable people who thoughtfully choose atheism may well cry out in fear at the end, but that only proves the fear, not the belief.
Personally, I'm agnostic. I don't believe we have any handle at all on what is divine, what it wants from us and what truths it speaks. I don't plan on turning Pentecostal on my deathbed, but I bet that if somebody Pentecostal applied the right pressure at the right time when I was delirious with pain and morphine, I could probably get into the whole "tongues" thing.
are you crazy loons still spewing out that "you will believe on your death bed" or "you will believe when you are in a fox hole" crap?? last time i checked, when bullets were flying over my head in afghanistan for 8 years, i dont ever remember praying to some invisible man in the sky. nice try though, buddy.
True words, in our heart of hearts we all know there is a God. We need to learn to accept Him, give our all to Him and to love Him here in this life for His free gift of salvation rather than later when it is too late and we then regret what we can no longer do anything about.
Oh Bob-it is SO true that many people turn to God when lying on their death-bed. And that's ok, God hears them and if they repent they will be in heaven once they pass. Read the Bible! It's good stuff!
Do you have any sources to back that up, or are you just talking out of your ass? An Atheist subscribes to logic and reason; we are not motivated by fear like the religious.
It's ridiculous to suggest that because atheists form their beliefs on reason they are somehow immune to fear as a motivator. Humans are hardwired to be motivated by fear. It's a survival mechanism.
BOB: Prove it...
prove that atheists on the death bed are suddenly believers in G-d. Christopher Hitchens certainly didn't change his tune.
I'm not an atheist but I can certainly appreciate their rationale in not believing in G-d and disdain for organized religion. What I don't understand is why some religious people, usually Christians, need to feel that their religion and their belief in G-d is the only way to be a good and moral person. Just because they'd be incapable and unmotivated to be moral without a fear of punishment and desire for reward doesn't mean that everyone has the same shallow and arbitrary view of morality as they do.
You just reminded me of my days as a fundy. I was young, maybe 11 or 12, reading a Christian comic book about the Rapture. It depicted the morning after and how this one young man was left all alone in his household. He went to buy some bread for breakfast at the local store but the owner, a neighbour and once friendly fellow was now charging $12 for a loaf of bread because he wanted to. Everyone in the world was suddenly immoral and depraved.
This was actually one of my motivators for questioning what I was being taught. It was completely illogical.
So, when one faces death one can simply cast off all reason and conjure up a belief in a deity? Do you have the capacity to start beliving in fairies and leprachauns at will?
I'm not sure who you're responding to, but if it's me, what I mean by that is only that I know of three people who were otherwise pretty solid in reasoned atheism "find the lord," as their caregivers called it, on their deathbed.
I don't think this proves they were bad at atheism, or that atheism is wrong. I think it proves only that people can get very very frightened about impending death. It also proves that those who tend the dying have a heck of a lot of sway over them.
It is not the "fear" of death that brings someone to God because if you believe you die and there is nothing else than what is there to fear, it is the "knowledge" in our very "being" that tells us there is "something else" after death. And there is, something else.
No, sorry, that's not true. Death is a mystery to everyone. It's the darkness beyond the firelight and our species has always feared that unknown. To say there is nothing after death when you are not in the process of dying is all well and good, but it doesn't mean the transition is without fear. And not every atheist has nerves of steel.
It doesn't matter, in the end (no pun intended). If they were to get better, suddenly, and take a sincere look back at their mindset in that moment, THEN would they say they are atheist? I think some still would. Because I don't think they are choosing to believe from some yearning in their soul. I think they are just frightened of the dark.
Good post. I agree with you.
Thank you for your insightful comment. Sorry you don't believe. I think of earth as a testing ground to see who gets to graduate and go on to a higher life form after this one, thus all the seed references in the parables of Jesus. Just my thoughts. Good news though....tomorrow people with screen names like eff off have to go back to skewl and fight with people their own age! yey!!!!
Very good artiicle on an age old problem. We all need to be responsible for our actions and what we encourage. This is why I don't think churches should be tax-free and they need to incorporate like a non-profit with a plan on how they spend donations. It needs to be upfront if the bulk of the money is for a lavish lifestyle by the minister. All in all, those ministers who do their work for God will get paid in the hereafter.
Excellent suggestion, but in this political climate, there is no chance. If anyone suggested it, they would be demonized. This only possible path to clean up this cesspool of hypocrisy and fraud would be if it came from responsible persons of faith, like the author of this article. Can you see Republicans like Mr Santorum embracing any check on Christian dominion of American society?
If Christians actually followed the words of Christ, everyone in the world would be Christian.
Mostly they're just a bunch of hypocritical lunatics who use their religion as a justification for hate and bigotry
But it gives you something to hate, right? You're gonna love Islam. Coming to a Mosque near you soon!
Speaking of hate...
I realize I am imperfect. There are no perfect Christians. I struggle with conflicting emotions and beliefs, often lying at the crossroads of faith and society. I acknowledge these, and continue to seek God's grace and mercy. That said, I am not a public figure. I do what I can to make the world around me better, spurred on by my faith and my sincere convictions. I am sorry that you view the public face of Christianity as the norm. The truth is, what you hear from the politicians and the televangelists is what they think their people want to hear. There is gullibility in the conservative church, and the people who are before them in public do take advantage of this. Those of us who choose to think and debate within ourselves to come to a less hypocritical faith are rejected for being intellectuals, liberals, or, as Rick Santorum said, "working for Satan." The conservatives, on the other hand, give Satan far too much credit (sometimes it even borders on worship) by making him the source of all that they perceive to be "wrong" with society. Human beings have choice; they can choose the good or the evil, the compassionate or the exploitative.
Been saying this for decades. Good salespeople make their living selling products. Better Salespeople become lawyers. Even better salespeople become politicians.
But the best salespeople become religious leaders... God has an extremely low 'cost of goods.'
holy crap, 52% of people actually think priests are honest and have high ethical standards? Do these people live under a rock? I expected that number to be more like 5%
There are hundres of thousands of priests all over the country. A very small group does not define them as a whole. Just cause some are a disgrace, doesn't mean all of them are
Exactly. This just proves what the author was saying. A few cause people to judge the whole with contempt.
"In those days black people raised their children to abstain from behavior that would give credence to the stereotypes that society had used to characterize us and justify the injustices heaped upon us. And most of us embraced that ethic."
If everyone abided by this simple concept, there would be none of this pulpitting nonsense to begin with. If we all put our best efforts in everything that we did, and not speaking about school or work, rather being the best that we can be, no one could say anything about you or your people. May they be asian, hispanic, black, green, purple,white. We as the people of America have gotten passed the color issue, EVERYONE is colorblind yet we all know how to push eachothers buttons and the stereotypes all come out.. why continue to teach these stereotypes? If we all learned how to build relationships with everyone and see where were all coming from, then maybe we could all live happier. 2 heads are better than one, well why cant we have 6 billion heads together instead?
In those days people used to quietly think – I will do no wrong.. because I as a person, an individual, try my best to not taint my heart, my soul or my thoughts. But we are in denial to this. We look to our right and see them doing as they please, we look to our left and see these others – again, doing what they want. We see no repercussions, we see them getting richer and stronger. In our ego and arrogance, we presume we have the right to obtain that also – no matter the cost. Somewhere, we have lost ourselves, by trying so hard to mirror others... but if we close our eyes, we are there.. quietly waiting to be rediscovered. Do you know of these beautiful animals that wake with the mornings dawn? They annouce themselves to the world loud as ever and strut up and down... yet none can even compare – to the elegance of the very silent butterfly – whose mere fluttering presence, draws our fulll attention.
Back in those days parents raised their kids with morals, ethics, & standards. There is the solution to most of our culture's problems. Back in those days parents took responsibility, not so today. Regardless of color, our parents took responsibility. Sure, some didn't but most did. Today, some do and most don't.
When I see clergy acting like hell, it upsets me. Why? Because there are many out there giving their best for what they believe, some are being persecuted, some in other countries are giving their lives. We need to focus on what is important and truthful and leave the ones acting like fools to themselves.
Is this part of CNN's "Crack Down on Religion" campaign?
C'mon everyone. Let's get behind the administration and go after religions that don't believe what we believe!!!!
Did you even read the article?
"The remedy that can put a halt to this behavior is some form of formal accountability that protects the flocks from the wolves in sheep clothing."
Yikes Think about what he's suggesting and the ramifications
It's no coincindence this opinion piece appears hear as the bishops are pushing back against Obama
If Christians actually followed the words of Christ, everyone would be Christian. Mostly they're just a bunch of hypocritical lunatics who use their religion as a justification for hate and bigotry.
Do you actually feel threatened by this article? The man who wrote it is a Christian. Hello!!! Wake up, sir.
Yes I do. He's subtly suggesting what China already has in place. State approved religions. The rest have to go underground and risk prison.
Kirk The Christian pastor who wrote the article is just giving the state of the Christian church an honest look. What specifically do you dispute about his view?
Kirk is just expressing typical right-wing paranoia.
You are beyond paranoid! What is wrong with accountability in the church? And how about in Congress and the banks and Wall Street? He speaks the truth but there none so blind as those who will not see and none so deaf as those who will not hear.
This article was written by a Christian. As Christians, we have an obligation to evalute the role of belief in our lives and critically evaluate whether we are acting as Christ would have us act. Are our actions representative of the best of our faith or can we do better? There is nothing to fear in self examination as part of the process to stop behaviors which misrepresent Christ. We are all human & fallible and we only improve if we are willing to see where we are wrong, accept that we can be wrong & make changes.
What's the surprise, a religion that purports morality and strong etics and courage without proving it and uses these principals to gain power is going to attract people like this. Or simply corrupt people who are honest and have strong moral and ethical standards.
Not EVERYONE reading this Article will Recognize the Object of Your Concern. Sunday Morning is STILL the Most SEGREGATED Hour in America. But JESUS would find very FEW Churches of Any Variety in AMERICA whose Congregation as well as Preacher are Followers of His WAY.
There is a PHONY THEOLOGY taught and practiced today. JESUS – When asked by the RELIGIOUS of His Day, what the MOST IMPORTANT Commandment was answered, as found in the Book of MARK – " HEAR O' ISRAEL, The LORD Thy GOD is ONE. And You Should LOVE the Lord with your Whole Being and your Neighbor as Yourself." He later clarified that Our Neighbor is WHOEVER We Meet on the Road of Life. AND That When WE Do NOT Do for the LEAST among US – We prove We Do NOT Love JESUS or GOD'S Spirit which is in ALL MEN. GRACE is a FREE Gift of LOVE from GOD but We Are TAUGHT that there are those who Do Not DESERVE Happiness and Health or Our Love; because We Ourselves will be CONDEMNED to BURN in HELL if We FAIL to FOLLOW the LAW. This is the FALSE RELIGION of POWER and GREED and HATE. It is NOT the WAY of the LAMB of GOD.
It's unfortunate that so few so-called "Christians" actually follow the words of Christ.
Hey, just FYI, I think your Caps Lock button is getting stuck while you are typing. :|
I You could HEAR me – The Inflection in my VOICE would convey what I Use Written Means to COVEY. It is a COMMON Online Idiom.
"Covey" away, dude... and don't forget to flap your tiny wings...
Jesus went to Church.
And we should too, but Jesus saw their hypocrisy and He said: Do as they say (telling you to seek God and His commandments) but not as they do. Not all are hypocrites by the way.
God's Spirit is in all men? Wow. I must have missed that in Sunday School.
Organized religion is a scam that allows crooks to rob the gullible and molest the innocent.
Since the Bible says that there is only "One God, One (true) faith and One baptism" Is it any wonder that there are so many fakes or imitations around? That is to be expected. Do what Paul said in the Bible "Prove all things..." Truth will withstand scrutiny.
Great column. Now if we could only get people to take "thou shall not kill" seriously.
It is not Thou shalt not kill. It is Thou shalt not murder. God said it was OK to kill. Look it up.
You can start by ending the practice of getting religious degrees over the internet but at the end of the day you have to understand that the whole basis of religion is buffoonery, showmanship, and slight of hand. Spirituality is OK, organized religion is the problem.
People love a show. And you never know what's going to get them into the seats.
God doesn't bow to our beliefs... we bow to Him.
It's really not that hard to tell the real from the fake: The real glorifies G-d, the fake glorifies itself. Eddie Long's "crowning" is a man glorifying himself. Reject him, because he's not glorifying G-d.
You can believe whatever you want... or you can believe God.
You can believe in the real world...or you can believe in God.
God doesn't bow to our beliefs... we bow to God.
Buffoonery starts with the bible and ends up in the pulpit.
We can not deny the abundance of false prophets. A dozen a dime, I can say. Of all shapes, sizes, denominations, and colors. The only two things in common; their love for money and oppulence. Quite disinct for the one who lived in poverty and that kicked the merchants from the temple...
They are the priests of the golden calf...leading people away
You forgot one thing: G-d always "tells" false prophets that they get more women than anyone else.
Jesus was not poor. He was a very successful carpenter as was his step daddy. The "poverty" of Jesus is another myth that is not found in the Bible.
True biblical Xtians eat and drink anything set before them. own all things in common, forbid women to speak in the churches or teach men, pray in secret, send all of their widows to minister to those in prison, cover the heads of unmarried women, only marry if they cannot keep themselves chaste. They always obey their husbands if they are unfortunate enough to have one.
No Xtian churches follow these biblical rules today ergo they are all buffoons.
All of you religious people are seen in the same way from the perspective of those of us who are not fooled by unicorns and leprechauns. You are seriously dragging down the rest of humanity. SERIOUSLY. Can you stop? Thanks.
I once asked my grandmother – how can she prove to me love exists? You cannot hold it, you cannot see it, there is no real tangible proof it even is.. real. She said, because, you feel it in here – and gently touched my heart as she hugged me. Is love real or is it some chemical feeling we get when we connect w/ someone? God is love.
Where are the Christians who model service and sacrifice, as Jesus did?
The Salvation Army
You are so right, Rev.! Personally, some of my most painful moments have been those of discovering that a sister or brother in the ministry has done wrong. We in the United Methodist Church require years of study, a series of entrance interviews and examinations, psychological testing, and background checks; but even with all of those precautions (which do eliminate a number of would-be clergy), we still have the occasional individual who abuses the trust and authority with which s/he has been entrusted. It's a difficult time in history to be a pastor, but we all need to hold one another accountable.
Sounds all well and good, but don't they all indoctrinate children before the age of reason? Don't they all make claims as though they know what "God" or "Jesus" wants without any credible evidence? Don't they all cross the line of decency when they ask people to just have "faith" and trust what they tell them about the unknown as though they know?
Magicians are at least honest... when you go to see a show you know it is trickery and you have fun. Psychics all must use trickery, yet they claim to be honest individuals.
I ask you to think about the wickedness of indoctrinating young minds. DNA proves that Adam and Eve are mythical characters yet still.... the clergy insists on telling innocent and beautiful babies they are born into sin and are the reason why a god/human was tortured via horrific means so they may be washed of their sin. It is becoming more and more evident among rational adults, that putting on a scale whether to teach children they are born "beautiful" versus teaching them they were born sinners... is a no brainer.
We must support future generations and the very first way to do so is to support them from birth and stop the ridiculous bronze aged ceremonies of virgin sacrifices.
Not all psychics are fakes. I am not, my son is not, my ex was not, my friends were not, etc. There are more wonderous things in Heaven and Earth than you can ever imagine, Horatio. Ooga Booga is real whether you like it or not. Sorry..
Actually, DNA proved we did come from one male and one female. Please don't quote from wiki's.
George Carlin hit the nail on the head in his rif on organised religion. I believe that whatever lit the fuse on the Big Bang is what "created" the universe.
No regular non-perfect humans in the ministry? It must be nice Reverend that you are completely without sin, so cast the first stone at the rest of us. I dare you. We throw back with the truth. I am a shaman in the Pagan faiths and a healer. I have studied the Bible so thoroughly that I can no longer believe in the full gospel. Please look up Dr. Bart Ehrlichman (sp?) PhD for more info like his book Laughing Jesus or his video college lectures. Good stuff. I guess the guy who wrote the above article is not a sinner. Only the rest of the world is. For shame. Oh well.
That's Bart Ehrman
Oops! My bad. You are so correct. Thanks for the info.
It is nice you are those things, however... people look to the church for guidance, purpose and knowledge. The persons in power should not misuse their trust. That is what this writer is talking about. A church leader should not have the congregations bowing before him, but rather he should be bowing beside them. These people are our leaders, and we follow, we need to believe they are leading us down the path to where our hearts and souls need to be, not where their or bank account should be.
Sir, you are ignorant. This article in no way claims that the writer is "sinless." If you had actually READ the BIBLE, then you would know that most Christians KNOW that they are sinners and that is why you must have a relationship with Christ. Grace is a wonderful thing and everyone who follows Christ understands this concept. You, on the other hand, absolutely do not. Who cares if you're a pagan high priest and why do you feel you have to announce it. It just shows you're out to slam Christianity with your uneducated, unrighteous beliefs. And why are you on here commenting..I'm sure there are plenty of sick people you should go heal....
Eat it and die MF. That was the polite way of saying that you are an ungracious ingrate who should have been left outside to die by your own ignorant relatives, not me. You obviously have not read the article or the Bible. The pastor is saying that ALL ministers must be PERFECT and cannot have any defects of character. Your ugly mouth proves you not to bea true Christian.
Yes, thank you for pointing that out, sparknut! How ironic that the pagan tells me my mouth shows me to be UN-Christian....because I speak the truth? I didn't call you, James, any foul names beside pagan (which you called yourself) and unrighteous, which you are by my Holy bible's standards; as well as uneducated and ignorant- which explains itself when you claim knowledge of something that you clearly do not.... I believe, once again, the acts of the unrighteous speak for themselves. Thank you for showing your true 'self' (with your lack of a loving heart and clean mouth) to all who read.
You told me I was ignorant and did not even read the excerpt and that I was talking BS. That was from you, not me. Next time you foul moth someone just because they don't agree with your little religion, they will wipe that stupid smirk off your face for the rest of us. In the mean time here is a crowbar and a flashlite so you can pull your head out of your butt.
Perhaps you should have read the article. He called for accountability for all clergy. I believe he would have been included.
By the way, as a shamam, who are you accountable to?
He did not call for accountability for all clergy, so to speak. He complained because they weren't all holy like he was and never did anything dumb. As for who a shaman is accountable to: my people and my tribes (not your people), and of course God, my higher power, or whoever my own Gods may be. We'll just call him God for now even tho that is not a given name but a street knickname for him.
You want to see Buffoonery? Google "Pope", images, and look at some of the outfits this guy and his cronies sport. They make Madonna's Super Bowl half time show look like a girl scout cookie sale.
Amen my brother.
so, can't we just reject all religious leaders? because when it comes down to it, they are all fakes.
Exactly. But I'm going to play make-believe with Reverend Soaries and assume he's talking about the really really ridiculous fake ones.
They should be sued for false and misleading advertising.
Buffoonery is putting it mildly. This is outright blasphemy. It is sick and disgusting. I wish I could convey my sentiments more accurately; but it escapes me at the moment.
Unfortunately, there's no objective way to distinguish "real religion" from buffoonery. That's a fundamental problem with any non-reality-based worldview.
We should remove all the apples from the orange barrel! They're making the rest of the fruit look bad.
Actually there is. A humble man or women should be who leads the church. A person who has forfeited their ego for the good of the people they lead, who continually looks for guidance from God and does not presume to know it all. A person who never asks the church to do something he himslelf (or she) is not willing to do first, to guide the way.
Newsflash: anyone willingly participating in any religion...whether at the pulpit or not...is by definition a buffoon.
Wow, so virtually 98% of the world are buffoons. Thank God for someone like you to tell virtually the rest of the world they are wrong. At least you didn't say religious people were arrogant...but that would make it way too easy for me
Nice article. Getting tired of the Do as I say not as I do preachers.
Isn't "gullible en masse" a prerequisite of cults/religions? What you describe as "sacrilegious circus" is mild by any measure versus the vile track record of arguably all religion.
I occasionally watch TV preachers to see what they are up to. Today, on Camp meeting, the guy was telling folks tha god expects the faithful to "seed". He suggested that everyone watching should "seed" $1000.00 "to god". He suggested if they did, god would return it to them several fold.
Yeah, by the way, god wrote a p.s. to this first message. All those $1000 should be seeded to me.
In my opinion, in this day and age, seeding should come from actions and not money. Make committments to visit a shut-in and check up on them, read to them, repair bridges you burned long ago w/ relatives, think past yourself and to where and how your time, no matter how small can be used to lighten someones day, mood and heart. This..... is true seeding. When you walk, walk w/ your head high, and smile. Last week one young man's smile, made my entire day brighter. No, it's not about money, it never was. It is about the heart.
Precisely, my friend. The whole "prosperity gospel" goes against the teaching that says one should not profit from the Gospel (1 Cor. 2:17). Who is profiting? Not the viewers, but the televangelists. I am quite skeptical of the stories one hears about giving money to a ministry and finding oneself suddenly out of financial trouble.
Why not stop believing in the buffoonery of fringe beliefs, such as Blacks are the "Original Jews." That's as bad as saying Jesus was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Nordic übermensch. Organized religion is a crock anyway.
I recommend a much simpler headline – stop financially supporting anybody in a pulpit
Well done, Buster.
I personally, find all people who make unfounded claims... as though they are fact, as dishonest. Especially those behind pulpits. For instance: "God" wants us to; "Jesus" love you; "God" says' etc... are all unfounded claims that not one of the 7 billion persons on this planet could possibly know. Most if not all the clergy I have met cross this line. It is dishonest, it is an attempt to indoctrinate young minds into not thinking on their own.
"Just have faith" the clergy tells us. In effect it is asking us to have faith in their ridiculous claims of supernatural knowledge. What will the clergy do if they choose not to make such claims? Well, you can preface your statements with "I believe" if you truly do. Otherwise, do what so many other committed clergy members do who have found their conscience... find a job like the rest of us or perhaps... start telling children the truth. DNA proves that Adam and Eve was a myth, hence,.... there was no original sin. Now we can start telling them they were born beautiful and are not responsible for anyone dying or being tortured. It's really a no brainer if you are not under the spell of trying to save your face.
Just take it on faith that the Flying Spaghetti Monster loves you. We are all His children. It is written in the book that men call holy, therefore it must be true.
Your correct. The bible is about continued struggle and people binding together to get through and past. We live lies, we tell our sisters and brothers are okay, when we are not. We live for our ego, our pride. And this, is what needs to stop. We all have problems, but are so ashamed for others to find fault with us, we hide them and we get stressed and the lie grows and cointinues and etc.. Mostly because we think we have fooled eveyone, when we may have but mostly fooled ourselves. Be around those that would love you no matter what.
But it's ALL buffoonery. Some forms are just more acceptable than others but over time even the most over the top examples can become commonplace.
"True religion" is an oxymoron. Just because Person A believes a somewhat different set of crazy things than Person B doesn't mean one of them HAS to be right. They're all scams.
Being Catholic, I could not agree more!!!
As a presumably religious person you are a follower of buffoons so I am not sure what you are agreeing with.
Its extremely rare that i agree with anyone, but in this case, i have to agree with Mz Kelly and say i couldnt have said it any better.
Rev. Soaries, I enkoyed your column. Very well thought out and written.
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