Nooma update

As I mentioned before, there have been requests for reviews of other Nooma videos. I have watched “You” and “Breathe” and reviews of these two videos are forthcoming — I promise. In the meantime I thought it might be of interest to note some of the things I’ve learned about Rob Bell whilst I’ve been researching.

hipglasses.jpgApparently Bell seems to disagree with the biblical idea of sin. Certainly sin is not something over which God is angered. Quite the contrary. Bell even went on a speaking tour entitled “The Gods are not Angry” to reassure us that we’re really okay. A review of that tour is available here.

In a previous post I pointed out how Bell has recommended some very questionable reading in the endnotes of his book Velvet Elvis. Well, Ingrid, over at Slice of Laodicea, has discovered another one. Apparently Bell — with no qualification at all — recommends a book by Marcus Borg. This is very important because Marcus Borg is a member of the Jesus Seminar — a group of “biblical scholars” who have taken it upon themselves to reject (on the basis of their popular vote) many of the key doctrines in Scripture. They deny the virgin birth, the vast majority of His miracles, a lot of His teachings, and the resurrection — and Bell has no problem recommending Borg’s book The Heart of Christianity with no qualifications of any kind. One would have to assume Bell has no problem with the contents of the book. What are the contents of the book? Here’s just a sample:

When a Christian seeker asked the Dalai Lama whether she should become a Buddhist, his response, which I paraphrase, was: “No, become more deeply Christian; live more deeply into your own tradition.” Huston Smith makes the same point with the metaphor of digging a well: if what you’re looking for is water, better to dig one well sixty feet deep than to dig six wells ten feet deep. By living more deeply into our own tradition as a sacrament of the sacred, we become more centered in the one to whom the tradition points and in whom we live and move and have our being.

A Christian is one who does this within the framework of the Christian tradition, just as a Jew is one who does this within the framework of the Jewish tradition, a Muslim, within the framework of the Muslim tradition, and so forth. And I cannot believe that God cares which one of these we are. All are paths of relationship and transformation. (223)

Now I base my faith on Scripture and I get the sense from Scripture that Christ’s resurrection is kind of important. But maybe I’m not understanding something. Let’s take a look…

“And if Christ is has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that He raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. for if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” — 1 Corinthians, 15: 14-19

If I’m reading this wrong someone please tell me, but it seems the Christian faith hinges on the resurrection.

Bell, by contrast, recommends books by New Age teachers and Jesus Seminar “scholars.” He admits these people have influenced his beliefs. He doesn’t seem to have a biblical view of sin nor do things like the resurrection seem to matter that much to him (small hint: this is one of the problems I have with the Nooma “You”). His teachings are thick with humanism, universalism, and New Ageism. It’s no wonder he will be participating in an “interspiritual event” with other Emergent leaders, Desmond Tutu and the Dali Lama.

I try very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt. But the Apostle Paul didn’t seem to mind calling a false teacher a false teacher. And when I hold Bell’s teachings up against Scripture I can only draw one conclusion: This guy is a museum quality false teacher.

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Big government IS the problem

goldcoins.jpgIf you’ve kept up with the news lately you are aware the United States economy is in trouble. In fact, the U.S. is no longer the world’s leading economy — that distinction has recently been surrendered to the European Union. The really scary part of this whole mess is the political rhetoric spouting from Washington. The politicians are falling over one another with their “government solutions” to the problem. Except the government is incapable of solving the problem because the government IS the problem.

Government intrusion into the free market always brings unintended consequences that create new problems. It is the rare politician who understands this. Of course, our founders understood this — Thomas Jefferson in particular. A generation later John C. Calhoun (who’s birthday was yesterday) understood it. Today Ron Paul understands it. Paul, a congressman from Texas, has recently joined worldnetdaily.com as a regular contributor, so the ideas of liberty will have another outlet. His first contribution is entitled, “The crumbling U.S. empire.”

Enjoy.

Thideology news of the Day

Politics

  • arrowsbw.jpgGovernment intrusions into the lives of citizens grow more egregious by the day. The reports of California’s attempts to outlaw homeschooling have been going on for weeks. Now there’s a bill in Tennessee that would essentially do the same thing. It’s just one more example of the collectivist attitude permeating American society whereby we are brainwashed into thinking our children are the general property of the community at large — a more unbiblical notion with regard to the family I just can’t imagine.
  • Government intrusions into the free market (this time subsidizing and mandating the production of ethanol) once again illustrate the law of unintended consequences — the law state bureaucrats have yet to comprehend.
  • The foundational ideal (articulated in the Declaration of Independence) that the only justified authority a government has comes from the consent of the people is all but gone. America is quickly becoming a land “Where the people don’t rule.”

We may have reached the point where the “John Galt Solution” is our only recourse.

Religion

The recent review of Rob Bell’s latest Nooma video, “Open,” has drawn a lot of interest. I’ve received requests for more reviews of Nooma videos. I will review others in the near future, but in the mean time allow me to direct your attention to a comprehensive review of Nooma at 9 Marks Ministries. There you will find a very well written assessment of Nooma in three parts:

To learn a little bit more about Bell, himself, you may want to consider the review I did of his book, “Velvet Elvis.” It provides a little more insight into his theology. In addition, I was only recently made aware of one of the endnotes in that book. It reads as follows:

“For a mind-blowing introduction to emergence theory and divine creativity, set aside three months and read Ken Wilber’s A Brief History of Everything.” –Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis, 192, endnote 143

This is significant because Ken Wilber is a leader in the New Age movement and a proponent of the synthesis of the world’s religions into one “spiritual truth” — consider his website “Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute.” I am immediately suspicious of any person who professes to be a teacher of Christianity and yet is so influenced by the philosophies of this age.

Plainly put, Rob Bell is dangerous.

Bumper sticker of the Day:

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Thideology news of the day

Education

thidshieldcolorreflect.jpgThe abuses perpetrated by American governments on citizens are becoming more and more tyrannical by the day. California is attempting to outlaw homeschooling. That homeschooling represents a better brand of education is not the issue. The fact that homeschooling parents are the kinds of parents who take an active interest in the education and development of their kids — and professional government “educators” profess to want more of those kinds of parents — is not the issue. The issue for California is that the state has reserved for itself the right to shape the minds of young people and anyone who tries to shape a young mind in a fashion not deemed appropriate by the state is to be strictly forbidden (this approach to education is identical to the approach of Nazi Germany). This is a remarkably frightening development and should scare every liberty-loving American to some form of action.

Healthcare

Massachusetts is considering fines for anyone who does not purchase health insurance, a concept that flies in the face of liberty. Every individual should have the right to decide whether or not they will purchase health insurance — and they alone should bear the responsibility of that decision. Individual liberty and individual responsibility: Once cornerstones of American society. No more.

The “drug war”

Chicago is considering banning self-sealing baggies less than 2 inches square because drug dealers use them to sell illegal drugs. Never mind millions of American have legitimate uses for such baggies. Oh no, government overreaction is a mighty “tool” in the fight against (insert your favorite government-invented crisis here). I’m sure once small baggies are outlawed Chicago will never again have a problem with illegal drugs. Yep, I’m sure getting rid of the little baggies is the solution.

Devaluing human life

Minnesota is considering cloning human embryos for research and then destroying the embryos when they are finished. All paid for with taxpayer money, of course. Enough said.

All of this represents a collectivist mindset run amok in America — a far, far cry from what the founders had in mind. In fact, Thomas Paine, the author of “Common Sense” (and a few other influential pamphlets) characterized society as a blessing but government as evil. I especially appreciate his insight toward the end of the piece where he said…

Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one. The trade of governing has always been monopolized by the most ignorant and the most rascally individuals of mankind.

When considering the current crop of presidential contenders I have to agree. We’ve digressed to a point where this may be our only solution.

Bumper sticker of the day:

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Under the influence

Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, recently claimed that Moses was under the influence of psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai according to this report. He further claimed that mind-altering substances formed “an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times.”

pestle.jpg“As far as Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned,” he said, “It was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe, or a legend, which I don’t believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics.”

I had fully intended to write a parody of this situation implying that, perhaps, Mr. Shanon had come to his conclusions while under the influence of similar substances. Then I read the following in the report…

“Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the burning bush, suggested Shanon, who said he, himself, has dabbled with such substances.”

So, we can’t believe the account of Moses in the Bible because he was under the influence of mind-altering substances. And, we are to accept this new revelation based on the testimony of a professor who admits to having been under the influence of mind-altering substances.

I can’t attest to the authenticity of the report, but if it is true then Mr. Shanon is a parody of himself.

There’s nothing more I can do…

…except laugh.

Who defines marriage?

Barack Obama, Illinois senator and front runner in the race for the Democrat party’s presidential nomination, has opened up a can of worms with comments he made in favor of same-sex marriage — citing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as support for his position no less. Christians all across America have taken up the debate on both sides. Some claim Obama is correct in his interpretation of Scripture while others correctly claim the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality as sin and defines marriage as between one man and one woman, period.

canofworms.jpgI firmly stand with the Scriptural teaching concerning the sinfulness of homosexuality and the definition of marriage, but I think conservative, orthodox Christians are making a terrible mistake in arguing the theological points with Obama and his supporters. To argue the theology of this issue is to miss a much, much larger point and accept a premise we ought to reject.

Liberals have been pushing for federal government recognition of same-sex marriages and “civil unions” while conservatives have advocated a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman consistent with Scripture. Fighting the battle in this context assumes that the state has the authority to define what is and is not marriage — and it does not.

Marriage was instituted by God, Himself. He created it. He defines it. The state has no more authority to define marriage than it does to define salvation. The matters are just not open to debate. God has spoken. It is settled.

I really could not care less whether or not any state recognizes my marriage to my wife. It’s not open to their scrutiny. What matters is whether or not God recognizes our marriage. Do our brothers and sisters in Christ see our marriage as consistent with Scripture? Did our church authorize our union? These are the things that matter. I’ve always wondered why marriage licenses even exist. Marriage does not belong to the state so why does the state need to issue permission in the form of a license to anyone? It’s ridiculous.

Most Christians would agree that the issue of salvation is a more important theological issue than same-sex marriages. We don’t have state licenses for salvation. The state does not recognize anyone’s conversion. Why not? Because it’s not their business.

I have friends who adhere to different religious beliefs than I do. I can share my faith with them and they with me. But we don’t try to force our beliefs on one another through the power of state coercion. If we did we’d cease to be friends. Our freedom to choose for ourselves how we will conduct our lives is paramount in a free society.

weddingrings.jpgI don’t mind if two men get “married” in a ceremony by someone professing to represent God as a priest or pastor. I think they should be free to do that and the state should butt out. Is that form of “marriage” an abomination before God? Yes. Will I recognize their “marriage” as legitimate? No. No more than I will recognize someone’s professed salvation through Buddha. But, according to 1 Corinthians 5:12, it is none of my business to judge those outside the church for their sinful behavior. God handles that. I am accountable to my brothers and sisters in Christ and am to hold them accountable in turn.

But we all should agree on one point: In matters of theology — whether it concerns salvation or marriage or whatever — politicians should never be allowed to operate under the illusion that they are the ones who define such matters.

They are not.

Bumper sticker of the Day:

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How the state views our children

A California court has ordered a family to cease homeschooling two of it’s children and enroll them in a public school where they must attend, according to this report in worldnetdaily.com. This is a chilling development and just one more example of the fact that the state views our children as theirs — parents are neither qualified nor have the rightful authority to make decisions on behalf of their own children, according to state bureaucrats.

aspirinsmblue.jpgThis is not just in California. All states think they are the ones best suited to make decisions for our kids — California just happens to be the state acting on that conviction in this case. If this doesn’t bother you then perhaps you should review history just a bit. Another state took similar steps with regard to education in 1938 (it’s mentioned in the worldnetdaily article and in a previous thideology article).

It’s time America’s parents stood up and declared “we are the ones best suited to raise our children.” Christians, in particular, should be leading this charge as it is the biblical model.

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