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America’s Newest Export: Jesus

No, it’s not true that America has to import everything and that we have nothing to contribute to the rest of the world. We do too.

Even as we speak, boatloads of Bible-totin fire-and-bri mstone-spewi ng Christians are being shipped out to ports all up and down Europe and Britain. They’re cheaper by the gross.

Ah heck, maybe this will do ‘em some good. Europeans are too bland; too much ennui and sophisticati on. Maybe a little holy rollin’ and hootin’ and hollerin’ will inject some life into them.

Answers in Genesis is an American organization — based in Kentucky — that’s trying to spread Creationism throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. Battles over Creationism vs. Evolution have actually been spreading to Britain, Germany, Poland and Italy.

Creationism is still pretty much marginalized in Europe, but it’s increasing. Evangelical worship is spreading all over the Continent. Don’t they have enough problems already?

And now some homegrown organization s are following in the footsteps of Answers in Genesis. A British group called Truth in Science has been sending DVDs to every high school in Britain, trying to argue for “intellige nt design.” And if that’s not bad enough, an organization called AH Trust wants to build a Christian theme park in northwestern England.

The president of Britain’s National Secular Society (founded in 1866) is concerned about the increasing spread of Evangelicals  : “Creationi sm is creeping into the schools. There is a constant pressure to get these ideas into the schools.”

Simon Barrow is the co-director of Ekklesia, a British-base d, Christian-or iented research group. He says that until recently, there were lots of people who held Evangelical views but also endorsed mainstream science. He says the militancy and the “either-or” battles have been imported from the United States in the last few years. “There is a lot of American influence, and there are a lot of moral and political and financial resources flowing from the United States to here. Now you have more extreme religious groups trying to get a foothold.”

The Council of Europe is a human rights watchdog group consisting of 47 countries. They’re worried about the quality of education in Europe being jeopardized if their schools are flooded with Creationism and other religious dogma. They’re right to be worried. All they have to do is look across the Atlantic. Note the extreme mass gullibility and lack of critical thinking skills in that country. Be very afraid.


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Surprising survey shows Democrats breaking through to born again Christians

A surprising survey out today shows that if the general election were held today, Democrats would stand a better chance than Republicans to pick up the majority of born again Christian voters. (Let’s take a moment to reflect on this moment of irony, talking about the general election before “Suppah Tuesday” even wraps up.)

Now let’s not run outside to see if the sky is falling. Yes, the survey (conducted by The Barna Group) shows a generic win for Democrats, with an “unknown Democrat” taking 40 percent of the vote compared to an “unknown Republican” at 29 percent. This discrepancy is likely to do with the fact that neither side has settled on a candidate.

But that said, and pardon the pun, but holy moly! This is huge news for Democrats, and shows that the work they’ve done since 2004 to woo religious voters is really working. Sure, this gap will narrow. But it’s safe to say that religious voters are up for grabs in 2008. Or as George Barna, head of the Barna Group says, “Evangelical s are clearly sending a message to Republican leaders this time around. There is tremendous frustration among evangelical voters, in particular … given the stands of some of the leading Republican contenders, evangelicals are registering their discomfort with the choices they have at hand.”

Echoing the Barna Group study, a new poll out from GodTube.com  (yes, I’m not making that up…there really is a GodTube, and if you go there, prepared to be treated to some Christian rock!), showed that Christian voters currently favor Democrats over Republicans. Their new poll found that 43.9 percent of Christian voters support the leading two Democratic candidates while 34.7 percent back Republican candidate Mike Huckabee.


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How evangelical is West Virginia? Ask Mitt Romney.

Well, Super Tuesday is only a few hours old, but already my favorite sneak attack has happened, courtesy of the McCain campaign. According to Christianity Today.com, McCain asked his West Virginia supporters to switch their vote to Huckabee after the first round of caucusing, selling Mitt Romney out to dry.

Huckabee is almost a natural fit for West Virginia, given that 44 percent of the state supposedly identifies as evangelical.   But Romney made a significant play there in the past few days, hoping to pull together a West Virginia, Georgia, Utah and California win. (I bet that’s the first time those states were lumped together!)

Smart move by McCain. Bad luck for Romney. Huckabee, ever now the token candidate, gets a state.


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Removing The Thin Veil Of Evangelical Eisegesis

Before I begin, let me be clear…I have great sympathy for the immense pain and loss the family of Matthew Murray must be enduring. I don’t for a moment question their sincerity and I’m certain they love Matthew, and I wish them well. We will likely never fully understand the dynamics that led to this tragic ordeal. However, it is important to explore all of the mechanisms which may have contributed to this terrible tragedy so that others might be spared the life-shatter ing agony. Additionally  , with measured and objective reflection, perhaps we can uncover the means to save the lives of people like Matthew and his innocent victims. I offer the following with this in mind.

As I read an account of the funeral of Matthew Murray, it crystallized the certainty of my long held concern. There’s no better way to state it…Christi anity has been hijacked by those who will spare no effort in their goal of coalescing each and every individual within the confines of their beguiling brand of fundamental and fraudulent evangelicali sm.

This broad movement, populated by dangerous demagogues, is tireless in its efforts to define God’s intentions via literal, though laconic, interpretati ons of Biblical passages. They set out to instill this canard via a cunning sleight of hand…one that endeavors to package biblical eisegesis as biblical exegesis in an effort to engender irrefutable status and unyielding support.

The end game seeks to insure that every human act can be filtered through this masterfully manipulated prism…rega rdless of reasonabilit y. Sadly, the efforts to view Matthew’s life and death through this narrow purview have already commenced.

Since the tragic events unfolded in Colorado, I’ve watched as a number of conscripts have sought to sell the theory that the “normality ” of Matthew’s younger brother precluded the casting of doubt or the shining of a suspicious light upon the environment in which Matthew was raised. This crock block has been expressed as follows:

He (Matthew), in my opinion had the best, most supporting family. The whole family is so nice and giving. 
IF his condition was caused by an event in his life, it would have to be something outside the family because his brother is a happy, friendly and a talented piano player. If it were his mum or dad wouldn’t his brother also be at least somewhat affected???

On the surface, one might be inclined to accept this argument…o r at least consider its plausibility . Needless to say, even the underlying premise of this statement misses the mark. Clearly the relevant problem exceeds his “mum and dad” and the fact that his brother may have embraced the religious teachings of the higher authority brought into the home via his parents doesn’t mean the environment was healthy or connected to rationality.

A siblings acceptance of the prescribed ideology doesn’t affirm its validity nor does it necessarily absolve the parents of any potential responsibili ty. One can just as easily argue that the brother has, in fact, been affected…n ot only as a result of parental oversight; but also as a product of intense ideological indoctrinati on. Should there be any doubt as to this likelihood, let the words of Christopher Murray persuade you otherwise:

Even though Satan attacked my brother, I truly feel God is going to save a whole generation of people through this.”

I suspect Matthew felt attacked by something other than Satan. I also suspect he would have been overjoyed to simply find the means to save himself…but even Matthew realized that wasn’t in keeping with the “master plan” of his “handlers”.

Anyone who has read Matthews voluminous writings will immediately know how to draw the necessary connections to, and conclusions from, this telling statement of Matthew’s brother.

While one might expect Matthew’s tragic death to lead his family to question their fundamental beliefs…as well as the rigid script they pushed upon Matthew suggesting his eventual role as a prophet (even to the extent that it foretold he would first turn away from his faith), it appears that his death has simply been incorporated into an ongoing story line.

The fact that the family would continue to brandish this biblically based biography (adaptations included as needed) with unflinching adherence may surprise or shock the objective observer…b ut it shouldn’t…es pecially if one remembers the constructs upon which this movement is premised. Nothing, not event the death of a loved one, can force them to deviate from their doctrinal diatribe. If the outside observer can discern that rigidity, is it any wonder Matthew would be tormented by it?

I contend such an environment essentially relegates a child like Matthew to irrelevance… a virtual character in a play whereby the doubts and discomforts of the real person (Matthew) are inconsequent ial. The ideology, the church, and mom and dad have but one objective… to direct the production of the preordained outcome. As such, understandin g Matthew was unnecessary. Instead, they set out to make him understand his role regardless of his protestation s. When he failed to comply, they simply wrote his behavior into their script…all the while preserving the integrity of the ending.

I would compare the situation to a father who dabbled in golf as a child, but for whatever reason never succeeded in the sport, who then becomes determined to turn his child into the next Tiger Woods regardless of the child’s total lack of athletic ability and an unbridled interest in classical piano.

As this process unfolds, the child will undoubtedly feel inadequate. If the pressure persists or advances, the child’s identity will suffer untold damage. In extreme situations, some children will strike out in an effort to be seen as more than an object being utilized to augment the insecurities of the parent(s).

Returning to Matthew’s writings, in one of his many entries he states:

As far as dealing with parents….I don’t think the woman known as my mother really is my mother. She doesn’t act like it. My “mother” is just a brainswashed  (sp) church agent cun,t. The only reason she had me was because she wanted a body/soul she could train into being the next Billy Graham, Bill Gothard, or Peter Wagner. […] She had a “special plan from the Lord” for me. No easy way out for me. Almost every f***ing day and at every church service the pastors and our parents would tell me and the other youth that “God has a very special plan for this generation…. .don’t break any rules or you’ll miss out!!! Honor and OBEY your parents and the pastors (”god’s anointed”) or your life will be cursed and you’ll open a doorway for demons!”

Clearly little interpretati onal analysis is needed…Mat thew, in his own words, vividly supports the argument I’ve made. One needn’t take license to realize that Matthew felt invisible.

We may never know what Matthew sought to impart in his final actions…bu t I’m willing to surmise that the words his brother spoke at his funeral would serve as one further reminder to Matthew of his inability to be seen outside the constructs of the dogmatic design of those he knew.

Nonetheless, those who contend that looking at Matthew’s brother should absolve the family or his faith from any accountabili ty is akin to suggesting that Nazi war criminals were not influenced by the rampant rhetoric and reprehensibl e rationale of Adolf Hitler’s “final solution”. Let me be clear, the acts of those who carried out the Holocaust can never be justified and neither can Matthew’s. While this is an extreme comparison, even in the resolution of far more innocuous liability cases, the attribution of responsibili ty is rarely applied solely to one party.

Those who manipulate others in order to execute misguided agendas are sullied by the acts of their minions…ev en if those injustices are perpetrated by the willful behavior of adults…and those in positions of authority mustn’t be allowed to reconstruct reality in order to absolve accountabili ty.

Matthew, unlike these Nazi criminals, was systematical ly submitted to indoctrinati on his entire life. If grown men in Germany were susceptible to the suspension of reasonable and long-establi shed mores, what chance did a vulnerable child have to avoid the madness that ensued from his efforts to reject hypocrisy and see life outside of the prison he was forced to endure? If our condemnation of Hitler and his ideology is justified, so too is our questioning of parental propriety.

It should come as no surprise that the world Matthew chose when rejecting his faith was filled with the constructs of his overlords… a world immersed in images of evil and inhumane idols…a world cast by the iron fisted adults in his life as the only alternative available to those who would fall from grace. In limiting Matthew’s contact with the outside world…as well as vilifying it…they precluded him from witnessing moderation and escaping the confines of the black and white extremities they promoted.

Now, more than ever, it is time to break the back of religious extremism lest we regress into the throes of a dark ages mentality… a time where the pursuit of objective knowledge is subjugated to the asserted infallibilit y of religious ideology.

When the following statement can be accepted as a reasonable reaction to Matthew’s horrendous final actions, have we not commenced the suspension of our humanity in favor of a contrived denial construct?

just thought I’d let u guys know…i go to new life…and i love it there..God forgives and so do i…i forgave matthew the minute it happened…w e are all sinners and capable of making huge mistakes. God loves everyone…i pray for his family…and that somehow through this tradegdy (sp) that God WILL be exhaulted (sp)  […]

The nature of man tells us death is first met by grief and anger and sometime in the future forgiveness will hopefully emerge. When those of faith leap to make statements that deny as much, have we not injected the very ideations that led Matthew to reject the sincerity of religion? Any faith that believes we can or should abandon our basic human traits is suspect.

If I can read the English language…a nd I believe I can…then aren’t those who are leaping to accept and embrace Matthew in death, the same who ignored and rejected him in life? If that is a demonstratio n of Christianity  , then Jesus Christ was a fraud.

On the contrary, I contend those who portray their Christianity through trite statements and symbols, as if it were the equivalent of a badge that can be slapped upon one’s lapel, are simply engaged in a never-ending spiral of hypocrisy and self-decepti on.

While I applaud the sincerity and compassion being exhibited by many people of faith, those easily identified interlopers who wear their faith like a badge, and who seek to usurp Christianity  , must be exposed and forced to travel far deeper than the pretty proclamation s they’ve begun to toss upon this terrible tragedy.

Unless and until this happens, we’re never going to save the Matthew’s of the world…or prevent the needless carnage they inflict.

behindtheveil.jpg

Cross-posted at Thought Theater


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Matthew Murray, nghtmrchld26: The Confrontation At New Life Church In 2004

There appears to have been a connection between Matthew Murray and New Life Church in 2004…one that resulted in a confrontatio n. Perhaps this explains why Matthew chose New Life as a target. Even more significant, the staff at New Life allegedly warned Murray’s mother that Matthew might be “planning violence”.

The gist of the situation seems to suggest that two staff members told Matthew’s mother that he “wasn’t walking with the lord and could be planning violence”. From that situation, Matthew’s mother found his stash of “evil” items (music, books, video games) and confiscated them. It appears he may have blamed this on the folks at New Life.

Forum Thread Number One:

First Entry:

On 09/04/06 - Chrstnghtmr wrote:

Thread: Growing up in the nightmare of Bill Gothard and Charismatic Christianity  (short version) (Healing)  (Posted on: 04 Sep : 13:04)

I am 22 years old and I was raised in Bill Gothard’s homeschool program all the way through high school. I went to both the Basic and Advanced Seminars. My Mother was fully into both Bill Gothard’s programs AND the Charismatic movement. She followed Peter Wagner, Mike Bickle, Joyce Meyer, Ted Haggard of New Life Church, Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets and any other person who was popular in the Charismatic movement at the time.

In addition to all of Bill Gothard’s insanity my mother was into all the charismatic/ ”fanatical evangelical” insanity. Her and her church believed that Satan and demons were everywhere in everything. The rules were VERY strict all the time. We couldn’t have ANY christian or non-christia n music at all except for a few charismatic worship CDs. There was physical abuse in my home. My mother although used psychotropic drugs because she somehow thought it would make it easier to control me(I’ve never been diagnosed with any mental illness either). Pastors would always come and interrogate me over video games or TV watching or other things. There were NO FRIENDS outside the church and family and even then only family members who were in the church. You could not trust anyone at all because anyone might be a spy.

At age 17, I decided to “go all out for Jesus” and do my best to practice christianity and live it out. I went to the bible to read for myself how one gets “saved.” I found several different versions of getting saved from the gospels. In John it was mainly “have faith” but in Mt, Mk, and Lk, it was as found in Mt 25, that you would have eternal life by doing good works(which of course is considered heresy). So I went to the books from the man that “had all the answers,” Bill gothard’s Basic and Advanced seminar textbooks.

What I found were all these other rules Irealized I could never live up to, yet, the man seemed to have a biblical basis for everything. In Februrary 2001 at age 17 I plunged into a dark suicidal depression all because I thought I had lost my “salvation” and somehow couldn’t live up to the rules. Every single hour of every single day, up until October 2001 I thought about ways of suicide and hating myself for not being worthy enough and failing God. I felt like there was no reason to live because I had lost my salvation and could never live up to the rules. In May of 2001, I told my parents I was depressed and they put me on 2 anti-depress ants(in addition to the other crap pills they had me on to try to brainwash me).

None of that touched this depression at all. Everyone prayed, they laid hands on me, spoke in tongues over me, I sought out every kind of christian spiritual help I knew of in charismatic christianity . I through away video games, a few movies, anything that could possibly be “bringing demons” that would cause me to lose God’s favour and make me depressed. I never told my parents I was suicidal however, that would have gotten me in big trouble, I just told them I was depressed.

In Oct 2001 I decided it had to end somehow, so I decided to simply reject the idea that Bill Gothard was infallible. The depression mostly cleared right up. I was still a little depressed because I saw other youth in another group doing so well and happy with life. That group was called King’s Kids.
King’s Kids is a youth ministry of YWAM.
I got involved with King’s Kids and went on missions trips with them.

At age 18, in 2002, I went to Youth With A Mission to do their “DTS” program which lasts a total of 5 months, the last two months you go on outreach. On the YWAM base several of the other young men smoked pot, looked at porn, listened to heavy metal, AND were involved in homosexual activities. 6 of the guys made a homosexual porn videotape together on the YWAM Denver campus but only one got kicked out because his face was on the video. 1 week before I was to head out on outreach, I was told by the YWAM Denver staff that I couldn’t go because I “wasn’t popular and talkative enough for missions work.” They admitted that I hadn’t done anything wrong, just that they had prayed and felt I wasn’t popular/”con nected” and talkative enough. I had already raised the $2600 for the 3 month course AND payed the $2200 for the missions trip(I did get a refund).

When I got back home it was back to the good old restriction and that is when I started having serious doubts about christianity . I got on staff with another group that is a program of YWAM called King’s Kids. I was on staff with them until mid 2005.

In early 2004, I was still living at home at age 20. I went to a charismatic conference at New Life church with my mother and her church. At the conference I got into a debate with two prayer team staff members. These two staff members watched me throughout the conference to find out who I was with. They found my mother and told her this story that went something along the lines of I “wasn’t walking with the lord and could be planning violence.” Two weeks later my mother brought over one of the pastors to search my room for “anything evil”(which included my Xbox video game and DVD collection). I tried moving all the video games, DVDs, and a few non-christia n books over to a friends house, but that woman was a church member. My mother and the church leadership called that woman, got into her house and basically destroyed at *least* $900 worth of property. I wasn’t involved in anything like drugs or anything like that. I just had video games, some books about other religions, DVDs and such.

After that incident my mother searched my room for the next 3 months EVERY SINGLE DAY. After that I decided it was over, that I had had it with christianity . Seeing how there are all these different churches and interpretati ons of the bible and what Jesus said, many different views on what a sin actually is and isn’t, different views on what God approves of, and all kinds of different views on:On how to get “saved” and how to stay “saved,” I realized that Christianity was mostly a big lie. Everyone has different ways of getting and staying saved and staying in God’s favor yet somehow there’s “only one God, one way to God and only one Word of God.”

I had already told my mother to lay off or she’d regret it. After that incident in 2004 I immediately went into all of Marilyn Manson’s thinking, ideas and music, believe it or not.

I found a LOT in common with Marilyn Manson and what he had to say, especially on his “Antichrist Superstar” album. I got involved in several other things too.

I never bothered to tell my King’s Kids leaders and friends that I had changed beliefs. I just stayed on KK Staff because I enjoyed going on outreaches and helping people. In 2005, I had written some poems about my experiences and sent them to some of my friends, 2 of which were on King’s Kids staff. One them got upset about it and forwarded it to the local King’s Kids director. He called me up and said he needed to have a meeting right away about “these e-mails you sent.” At the meeting I told him that they weren’t meant for him or anyone not on the list and that I didn’t see how any sin had been done. He admitted that I hadn’t done anything wrong by writing poetry, but he was still upset about it because it was talking bad about christians. He told me not to go to anymore meetings and that he would call me every other week to talk. He only called me the next week and has never called again. I had faithfully served them for a totall of 4 years, 3 of them on King’s Kids staff. I found out with them just who my friends really are.

After the 2005 King’s Kids I have not had any other affiliation with christian groups. however I’d say I left christianity in 2004.

Since leaving christianity I have gone on to the following:
Freemasonry- Scottish Rite, York Rite, Shriners
Everything Alesiter Crowley and Thelemic Magick, Marilyn Manson, Ceremonial Magick, Hermeticism, the Golden Dawn, Kabbalistic magick and studies.
Alice A. Bailey and her books, Lucis Trust, H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophy.

This story is kind of a shortened form. A LOT went on up until age 18, and then a lot happened at age 19(2003) to now.

____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____
Every man and every woman is a star

Editor’s Notes:

The following postings provide some poignant and troubling insights into Matthew and his thoughts. If one believes what Matthew has written, he asserts that he is bisexual…and has participated in “every sort of sexual perversion”… a statement which likely reflects some of the very religious judgments he sought to escape.

The last entry in this posting is perhaps the most significant… and perhaps one of the most troubling. I’ll offer a note of caution, in that Matthew uses some harsh and crass language in recounting an alleged conversation he had with his mother.

What is clear is his growing resentments and his determinatio n to effect a change. I contend his rejection of his religious ideology unfortunatel y didn’t include the ability to separate his newly chosen activities (drinking, sex, etc) from the construct of sin which had been ingrained in his psyche. While choosing to rebel, it is obvious he still loathes his actions though sees them as equal or superior to the hypocrisy and abuse he believes he experienced while attempting to live his faith.

Sadly, in the end, I suspect he couldn’t find a comfortable and comforting choice…hence his decision to end his life. It’s unfortunate that he apparently concluded he had no reasonable alternatives to the path he ultimately chose. I find it difficult to fathom being in that state of mind…but then that’s the primary reason for this exercise.

Let’s hope that our society will decide to be more proactive in the future.

Read more…


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Matthew Murray: nghtmrchld26…In His Own Words (Updated)

As most of you know, it has been determined that Matthew Murray was the shooter in two incidents at religious organization s in Colorado which left five people dead…includi ng Murray.

The following entries are Matthew Murrays postings on an internet site where ex-pentecost als share their thoughts and experiences. Aside from the first entry, I’ve attempted to organize them in date order so the reader is able to follow the progression of his thoughts and his obviously spiraling hopelessness and depression. Let me be clear…I don’t offer this observation as a defense for Murray’s actions…they cannot be justified. Rather, it is an opportunity for us to learn more about the dynamics which lead these individuals to such heinous acts.

The first entry includes a music video which I think is fundamental to understandin g the mechanics involved in these individuals attempts to dissociate themselves from their religious upbringings. I contend that the imagery in this song…though seen by Matthew and others as a means to rebel against or reject their religious ideology…is in fact still attached to the constructs and notions that were found in their faith.

Further, the imagery in both (their prior faith and their newfound anti-faith) is a manifestatio n of extremes…ext remes that often preclude these individuals from achieving some semblance of balance in their lives. In essence, in order to achieve the freedom they seek and to break the ties of the belief system they’ve been raised to follow, they move towards the very images and ideations which they were presented as representati ve of the “other side”…images and ideations which are no more real than the ones they seek to reject.

Unfortunatel y, they often lack the means to visualize their rejection of faith in ways which would bring balance and a far more healthy world view. In the end, the place they arrive is little more than a rejection construct populated by the same extreme concepts they seek to escape…ever steeped in the vividly defined notions of darkness which they have been instructed to resist.

I intend to offer additional observations and analysis of these writings but I wanted to first get them published so readers have an opportunity to ruminate on Murray’s state of mind as well as the circumstance s which contributed to his tragic decision.

NOTE: I’ve included more of my own thoughts at the end of the posting.

Subject: From the Cradle to Enslave - Music Video
Posted By: nghtmrchld26 Friend
Posted At: 10/29/07 8:52 pm
Reply

I saw this band in concert recently, They kicked a**.
Some people say this is “just entertainmen t,” but for me, and some of my friends, the songs bands like this sing are VERY REAL, it’s kind of something we can “see” and can feel and in a spiritual sense and we’re able to “connect” “into” the music. Very powerful song…..

Editor’s Warning: This video contains adult content, violence, & is rather disturbing.

Read more…


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