Here’s an interesting link from “The Thinking Atheist” on Facebook and their next podcast show, “Harry Potter is of the Devil.” I bet it will be an interesting show. I remember hearing that same thing about Harry Potter.
Here’s what The Thinking Atheist had to say,
“Next Tuesday’s podcast is called, “Harry Potter is of the Devil.” This ought to be a wild show, as people discuss all of the movies, books, toys, musicians and other things their parents, pastors and teachers branded as Evil. (Anyone remember the burning of rock albums in the 80s, folks?)
If you have a story to tell, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org (keep it as short as possible, please). We’ll also take your calls.
And not just Harry Potter. All kinds of earthly influences are apparently tainted by Satan. Role playing games, songs on the radio, television shows, films, books, on Jan 24!”
For many years in fundamentalist and Pentecostal churches, I was taught to be wary- even fearful, of practicing Yoga. Years ago, I was taught that practicing Yoga could open up a person to the demonic world. (Did anyone else see the Christian film “Gods of the New Age?”)
It’s been many years since I was fearful of yoga, but I still have religious friends who would be unable to practice it in good conscience. I also still feel very uncomfortable with meditation.
With that background, this article fascinates me deeply as it suggests that the Yoga we know in the U.S. is not as ancient or as “Hindu” as we think it is!
These days I find it hard to “believe” in things that are patently absurd.
I could probably believe in a limited amount of absurdity if there was good reason or some evidence to do so. I might be able to believe that a virgin conceived a child if there was reliable evidence recorded at the time of the event by credible witnesses. I can also think of many strange, hypothetical circumstances that would lend evidence to such a “miracle.”
There are some things that I can believe.
I can believe a man named Jesus was born in the first century who had a close and special relationship with God (assuming arguendo there is a god). I can believe this man traveled, evangelized, started a movement and was sentenced to death. I don’t have any problem with that per se. I can believe there have been many peaceable, wise, spiritual people to walk this earth. Assuming the existence of a supreme God, I could believe such a God started the process of creation.
However, to believe that God made a mud pie in the shape of a human and then blew magic breath into it and the figure came to life?
This pushes my rational mind too far. I cannot permanently suspend my disbelief on this one. I just can’t do it, as I can’t believe that somewhere an Italian boy named Pinocchio began his life as a wooden puppet or that near Hansel and Gretel’s home there really was a cottage made of gingerbread and candy.
Even if I could believe the following: that a virgin gave birth to Jesus, whose father was the Holy Spirit, and Jesus was half-God, caused miracles, explained the wisdom of God to us, was crucified, rose again and then ascended into heaven in front of his disciples; there is no contemporaneous evidence that any of these things actually happened.
One recent morning, as I and my two kids sat at the breakfast table eating raspberries for breakfast, my daughter asked me, “Mom, do you still like God?”
I paused. “What do you mean sweetheart?”
“Is God still your friend?
“Are you asking me because you think I used to be friends with God and you don’t think I am anymore?”. She nodded and said, “Yes, I don’t think you like God anymore.”
Again I had to pause. After collecting my thoughts, I said something like, “Oh honey, I still like God, I’m just not sure whether people know as much about God as they think they do. Everyone says, ‘God does this and not that’ or ‘God likes this and not that,’ but I don’t think they really know as much about God as they think they do. And I’m trying to figure it all out.”
She seemed reasonably satisfied.
Then I added, “And I promise that what I figure out, I will explain it all to you when you are old enough.” She seemed pleased with this and had no more questions for me.
Even before I was “born-again”, I had seen enough examples of the “born-again” transformation to understand the “born-again” script. The basic schema is generally the same for fundamentalists & evangelicals. Think Bill Bright’s “Four Spiritual Laws.” Briefly, recognize you are a Sinner, repent (change direction and start going God’s way), believe in and decide to follow Jesus the Son of God and you will be saved from Hell. (Alternatively, some milder versions instruct you to “ask Jesus into your heart and life” enabling you to have a “relationship” with God through Christ, etc., which also leads to salvation).
Being born-again is/ or is expected to be a life transformation. In many church cultures, this transformation is followed by the command to “Go NOW and tell others.” One of the most common ways to share the gospel is by sharing one’s “testimony” (an account about what God has done in your life).
***In the church that I joined, every aspect of Christian life was more “radical,” public and expressive than most other churches so my experience might not be the average Evangelical experience if there is one.***
In my church, the testimonies were larger than life! Often they contained more personal information than the average person on the street would share with a stranger! People would become highly convicted of their sin from their pre-born-again days (convicted= strong feeling from Holy Spirit instructing person of rightness or wrongness of her actions). To evangelize, they “testified” about how the Lord had changed them. In witnessing, they would explain to perfect strangers:
“Hi! My name is Jimmy, and I used to be a compulsive fornicator, adulterer and drunkard, and the Lord saved me from being an immoral heathen and has turned me into a man of God!”
Ok, someone can see the humor in that, right? Folks publicly labeled themselves, using colorful hyperbole, in terms of some of their most egregious sins.
Humorous? Or perhaps rather sad.