Of Mosques and Churches

Welcome to Freedomthirst.com’s first Guest Blog. Our first “guest blogger” is Ben! It has not been edited at all, accept to add a couple of pictures. The thoughts are entirely those of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the opinion of Freedomthirst.com, and the quote of Ronald Reagan is part of Ben’s post. Having said that, I can say that Ben is a great guy. 🙂 Enjoy and leave your thoughts! Speak freely but be nice. 🙂
 

Author: Ben

“Politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality’s foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they’re sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.” –Ronald Reagan

 
Mosque

For some time now, I have been contemplating the issue of mosques being built across America with apparent funding from the middle east. Most recently, the issue has become a local one with the proposed mosque in San Martin.

The basic presupposition in Reagan’s statement is, “The heart of man is wicked.” That statement is at the root of a culture war.

If men (generic) are wicked, then they need to be restrained by laws and external force. Such restraint is an act of self defense by society. How, then are we to have liberty?

The counter argument is that men are “good” and their wickedness is caused by external forces (environment, heritage, tradition…).

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In one case, individuals are responsible (internally) for their actions. In the other, individuals are not responsible, they are victims of external forces.

America is founded upon the concept that individuals are responsible for their actions. It is also founded on the concept that men are intended to be at liberty. Here then, is a paradox:

Liberty without law is anarchy.
Law without liberty is slavery.

Church
 

Liberty with law is only possible under the “laws of nature and of nature’s God.” That is, when internal self government replaces external force and manipulation, men are at liberty. William Blackstone, father of the legal profession, wrote that man’s faulty reasoning tended to misinterpret what he observed in the laws of nature. For example, there was a time when men thought the earth was flat. Thus, reasoned Blackstone, God in His compassion for man, gave him a direct revelation.

“The doctrines thus delivered,” wrote Blackstone, “We call the ‘revealed’ … law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures.” It was the God of the Bible who said, “Come, let us reason together.” I challenge anyone to fault Blackstone’s sound reasoning in his “Commentaries.” (circa 1765)

Humans possess a wonderful gift, the gift of reason. How sad we don’t use it more often!

Let’s reason together. A mosque or a church on the corner is just a pile of bricks and mortar. It is the corporate character and actions of the people who make up its congregation that will impact our society. In America, people are free to choose which congregation, if any, with which they wish to associate.

Most religious organizations have a particular philosophy dictated by the writings of their founder(s). Most have an individual, whose life and teachings serve as a model for living. When someone associates with such a group, they are also in association with those writings and individual’s teachings. It is a choice. In nature, a choice cannot be forced, it must be free.

Society then, has a vested (i.e. self defense) interest in the impact each congregation is to have. Were an Aztec congregation, practicing human sacrifice, to spring up in Morgan Hill, it would be civil government’s responsibility to shut it down. Civil government’s prime purpose is to protect the property of its citizens. Life, like conscience, is an individual’s property.

Let us look at the typical American church and the impact of its congregations on society. Most are funded by the gifts of those associated with the congregation. Most seek to spread their philosophy and teachings locally and around the world.

Now let us consider the proliferation of mosques around America. Most are apparently being funded from the middle east. Like our churches, Muslim congregations seek to spread their philosophy and teachings locally and around the world.

Currently, the middle east is the seat of a cultural world war, one of whose major goals is the overthrow of American government and culture. Another is the “voluntary”, else forced adoption, of Moslem teaching. Contrast that with the major goal of most American churches to bring individual liberty to men and nations around the world.

It may be too early to determine if those middle eastern goals will be reflected in the American Moslem congregations. It would be insanity not to seek answers before taking them into our corporate bosom.

Lastly, in reasoning between philosophies, teachings and characters, let us compare.

The predominate church philosophy is to encourage free choice. The predominate Moslem philosophy is to force compliance. The predominate church teaching is that God is a loving, forgiving, yet just “father God.” The predominate Moslem teaching is that God demands submission or death. The predominate church impression of Christ is one of humility and reason. The predominate Moslem impression of Mohamed is one of intolerance and the sword.

It is apparent at any church business meeting that its members are not afraid to speak out against things about which they disagree. Yet, frequent news stories cover stories about Moslem reprisals against Moslems who fail to conform.

Given these stark contrasts, it behooves every church member to seek out our Moslem neighbors and encourage them to stand boldly against their radical brothers. Further, to encourage them to choose the liberty of Christianity over the intimidation of compliance without reason.

All cultures are not equal. Each of us must choose this day, which we will serve. Liberty is not free. Liberty costs more than slavery, because it is worth more than slavery!

8 Replies to “Of Mosques and Churches”

  1. Good thoughts Ben.

    It really makes me wonder about the Christian Mission of Evangelism. I know there are whole nations (India for example) where some are afraid “Western money” is funding the building of churches in their land.

    I would be very curious as to how you feel about that.

    Thanks for your post!

    🙂

    ThirstyJon

  2. You quoted Reagan “morality’s foundation is religion”.

    Who says?

    Are you saying that it’s impossible for an atheist or an agnostic to be a moral, ethical person? Is it your theory that nonreligious people don’t randomly rape and kill other people just because their godly betters passed laws and created a justice system to stop them?

    Come on,,, Is it possible for anyone to really be that self righteous and not have their head explode?

    The foundation of a moral society is empathy. Mentally healthy human beings can empathize with other people. They can imagine what it must be like to be wrestled down and slaughtered like a hog, and they don’t do it to other people because of that. Religion has very little to do with it.

    Tell you what – you bring up examples of non-religious people randomly killing because they didn’t have a god telling them not to – and I’ll start naming women burned alive as “Witches” by “Christians”, and we’ll see who can last the longest.

    (BTW, not that it matters, but I’m a follower of the Son of Man myself. I choose to follow him because of his grace and the beauty of his message, not because I think he’s the only thing protecting me from me fellow man).

    C

  3. Response to Casper:

    I wouldn’t say that an agnostic or atheist couldn’t have a form of love or morality. They are still individuals who were created in the image of God; thus there is such great potential, and even fallen man occasionally reveals the Glory and Goodness of God. Nor would I claim that someone who says they are “religious” would necessarily behave morally.

    I would say that empathy will never be enough to give strength to morality by itself, because in the end it is observable human nature (as well as Christian Doctrine) that without the Spirit of God and a Regeneration of the Heart mankind is basically selfish. We “empathize” with ourselves more than with anyone else, without the restraint, infilling, and wisdom from our Creator.

    So there would be no point in this context to start exchanging proof that “all atheists are evil” or “Christians burn witches.” This is because people calling themselves “Christians ” can still do evil. In fact, even a true follower of Jesus can “revert” and do evil, or do evil out of ignorance.

    I do believe that certain kinds of thinking are way more likely to lead to evil. (even some thinking called “Christian.”) This is why I suggest that Christians remain humble and admit that we are on a quest to learn and live the ways of God, so that if we find we have misunderstood God or been deceived by our own “flesh” we aren’t so convinced that we are the saviors of the world that we cannot see our error. (George Washington Owned slaves, isn’t that shocking? One of the first great Christian Councils in history had to vote to acknowledge that women were human. It barely passed! On the other hand, William Wilberforce stood for years against human slavery, and eventually saw that evil collapse in the entire British Empire!)

    But God is good and has declared (upon arrival of the Son of Man): “Peace on earth! Goodwill towards men! It would be so good if in humility we pursued His ideas for government, business, art, education, church, family, media, etc.!!

    I also am a follower of the Son of Man. I also love His Grace and the Beauty of His Message. Additionally, I am convinced that His Story (Eternity Past, Creation to the 2nd Coming of Jesus, Eternity Future) is true! He really created the world. He really came to earth and lived as a human. He really was -literally in real time and space- crucified for our sins, buried, and raised again to life! It’s all truly true! Wow. What an amazing hope. I can hardly contain my excitement as I write!

    And all that means, if we both have true Faith as we confess, we will spend forever in a world where we will know without doubt the principles of God and live in Freedom, Love, Peace and Joy forever!

    I wish everyone would come on in to this kind of life and love!

    🙂

    ThirstyJon

  4. “””I wouldn’t say that an agnostic or atheist couldn’t have a form of love or morality. “””

    Thanks, how good of you to say so. I’ll be sure to share with my agnostic friend Phil that you’ve deemed such. “A FORM or love or morality”.

    Let me tell you about Phil and Becky. Nice couple, mid thirties. Married 7 or 8 years now, no kids.

    Norm mows the yards of 5 elderly neighbors. Becky works full time at a pharmacy and then does a couple nights a week slinging soup at the shelter. They (quietly) give a good portion of their earnings to charity. While they could have put him in a home, they cared for Becky’s dad through the Alzheimers, through the dementia, through the loss of all bodily control, and through the door that leaves this world.

    Would you consider this a “Form” of love or morality?

    They pay their taxes, they obey the laws, they “work hard and play by the rules”. They are 2 of my closest friends. They also are warm, open to new ideas, accepting and non-judgmental.

    Thank you for reminding me why I no longer attend an organized church.

    C

  5. Just checking. You are aware that Christians make up about 32% of the world’s population, aren’t you?

    Do you see the other 68% of the world selfishly robbing, raping and killing one another on a freelance basis? After all, they are “without the Spirit of God and a Regeneration of the Heart”. By your logic, the world outside of Christendom should be the wild west.

    (FYI – no, crime statistics are remarkably similar the world over, even in “godless” countries).

    You “suggest that Christians remain humble and admit that we are on a quest to learn and live the ways of God”, and then denounce 68% of the earth as inherently evil.

    You twice proselytize that without the teaching of your preacher (All the other preachers are Wrong!) man is little more than a beast, and then you say “So there would be no point in this context to start exchanging proof that “all atheists are evil” or “Christians burn witches.” “. Of course you don’t want to discuss it now – you’ve already got your shots in. Don’t let the other side have a say!

    I agree that we have a wonderful future in this world and in the next. Think how much more interesting that future will be if we can get some people NOT born and raised in a conservative protestant denomination to join us. We’ll do better at that if we don’t call them subhuman. More flies with sugar my friend.

    BTW – I did know that G. Washington was a slave owner. Did you know that he wasn’t a Christian but a Deist?

    BTW again – I’m really not just a troll here to yank your chain. I just get testy when people tell me my best friend is a lower life form.

    I look forward to your learned reply,

    C

  6. Response to Casper: (1st comment)

    With respect to “morality’s foundation is religion” —

    Can we agree on definitions: Morality – Human choices that are right or wrong. Religion — Man’s relationship with that which he worships.

    Unless we have a fixed measure of right and wrong, morality becomes the opinion of each individual. Anarchy is an unstable society. Thus, it becomes necessary to select the most reasonable and reliable standard of right and wrong.

    I agree in advance to accept your standard if it is proven more reasonable and reliable than the one I use. What have you to offer?

    Ben (Post Author)

  7. Response to Casper: (second comment)

    Maybe this will help:

    *It is possible for an “Atheist” to be more moral than a “Christian.”
    *It is possible for a “Christian” to do immoral acts that seem to proceed from the Devil Himself.
    *Calling oneself a Christian does not make one any better or more moral than anyone else.

    If the word “form” has offended you, I apologize. I didn’t chose that word to offend. I have a “form” of morality. I just know that me doing some good things will not justify me before God, thus I only have a “form” of morality.

    True morality will ultimately only come from being transformed on the inside by the Spirit of God. Even during that process one can be immoral at times.

    Thus, all who have done anything moral or good have a “form” of morality according to the sense in which I used the word. That includes, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Agnostics, and all of mankind!

    Regardless of what one believes, each person is created by God and will by simply existing tend to reflect Him at some point. Unfortunately mankind is in a fallen state and thus man, although made in God’s image, often tarnishes that image.

    By the way, if you are tired of the “organized” church, I have seen more than one church that is completely disorganized. I am sure you could find one. (That is a joke in case you couldn’t tell. :-))

    ThirstyJon

  8. Yet another Response to Casper:

    Casper says: “By your logic, the world outside of Christendom should be the wild west.”

    My response: Well. Much of the world, and much of history has been at times like the “wild west.” Both within and outside of “Christendom.”

    Hearts transformed by Jesus are way more effective in changing the world than “Christendom.” And it only works to the level that each heart is transformed. It is nothing like magic.

    Casper says: “You … denounce 68% of the earth as inherently evil.”

    No, I do not, and I did not. I do maintain that “all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” Including me.

    Casper says: “Of course you don’t want to discuss it now – you’ve already got your shots in.”

    My response: Discuss on. I am not afraid of discussion. I was merely trying to concede to you the point that calling oneself a Christian doesn’t make one better than someone who calls themselves an atheist. Are you getting this? Again, I am not trying to shut down discussion. I was (and am) suggesting that back-and-forth about good or bad Christians and good or bad Atheists and good or bad Anyone would be fruitless because I think we already agree there. Maybe I mis-understood.

    Casper says: “Think how much more interesting that future will be if we can get some people NOT born and raised in a conservative protestant denomination to join us.”

    My response: Amen. The more the better! Thousands around the world have given themselves to Jesus and are doing so. Actually millions. I have personally witnessed examples. None of them were raised in a conservative protestant denomination. I wouldn’t be surprised if most Christians in the world were not raised in a conservative protestant denomination!

    Casper writes: “BTW – I did know that G. Washington was a slave owner. Did you know that he wasn’t a Christian but a Deist?”

    My response: I learned in school that George Washington had slaves and ordered them released upon his death. As far as the Deist thing is concerned, I have heard that. I have even begun to research it. Although I did read a letter from his own adopted daughter saying he was, in fact, a Christian. You can read it here: http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/youasked/060.htm

    Other than that, I am still in research phase about George Washington. I do know that I have heard more quotes from him that sound Christian than ones that don’t.

    Casper wrote: “I’m really not just a troll here to yank your chain.”

    My Response: I try my best not to have a chain to yank. :-)!

    There used to be a guy (one of the professors whom some nicknamed “the Atheist evangelist”) that came up to my booth at a university to inform me that “Faith was Evil” or to ask me what superstitions I was pushing now. I was delighted to inform him of my latest “superstitions” and by the end of the semester we were on good terms. I am not deluded into thinking he believes anything I believe now, but we were able to talk to each other like human beings.

    I am leaving the country on Friday for 6 months, so if I seem to get behind on my responses, don’t fret, I’ll get caught up again eventually!

    🙂

    ThirstyJon

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