This response is a little late, but it will always be timely. The article rightly complains that demons of the left and in the USA government are destroying the God orientation of American Christians and reducing their religions to Paganism.
The real complaint seems to be that the governments of the world pass laws outlawing expressions of devotion to God in association with government sponsored gatherings (like roll-call at schools), while they ban expression of revulsion at such blatant immorality as government-sanctioned gay unions, or being Gay at all.
Meanwhile, what society offers is: witchcraft, New Age theology, Gothic paganism, Satanism, Green-religion ecology, and every weird cult of religion-like expression imaginable, to supplant the waning Christianity.
I believe the author of WND's article is correct. These horrific things ARE happening, and most people don't know or care, or openly advocate them. I have not read the Whistleblower article that explains the way back, but I have my own views on the subject.
First of all, let us define "pagan". From Webster and New World Dictionary.
adj : not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam [syn: heathen, heathenish]
n : a person who does not acknowledge your God [syn: heathen, gentile, infidel]; heathen; idol-worshiper.
Usage: Pagan, Gentile, Heathen. Gentile was applied to the other nations of the earth as distinguished from the Jews. Pagan was the name given to idolaters in the early Christian church, because the villagers, being most remote from the centers of instruction, remained for a long time unconverted. Heathen has the same origin. Pagan is now more properly applied to rude and uncivilized idolaters, while heathen embraces all who practice idolatry.
Clearly, a Pagan is not monotheistic, or does not believe in a single great god of truth, beauty, and goodness. Consequently, non-pagan religion must be monotheistic, and it must see its single deity as supreme over all other powers, and as the creator of all things including human life, and the bestower of human mind, personality, and "spirit".
Therefore, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all non-pagan religions, and for the most part, all other world religions are pagan.
A non-pagan religion can have pagan roots. For example, before Melchizedek appeared to found Salem (present day Jerusalem) and cultivate his relationship with Abraham, the people of Palestine were pagan. They worshiped multiple deities, idols, and fearsome anomalies of nature. They sacrificed human beings and animals to appease their gods. They paid tribute of livestock, crops, and money to have priests act as intercessors and save them from the wrath of their gods for their wrongdoings and shortcomings. They thought they could "buy" God's favor. After Melchizedek (the "angel of the Lord" made his covenant with Abraham, Abraham founded a new monotheistic religion, the beginnings of what is now called Judaism, and the root religion of both Christianity and Islam.. However, all three religions retained the pagan roots inherited from the extant religions of their day in that area of the world.
You might say that evolved religion (incorporating worship of objects and anomalies of nature, idols, multiple gods, and sacrificial activities to appease those deities) ALWAYS has a deleterious effect on revealed religion, and that eventually they homogenize into some worldly religion that embodies both truth and falsehood. Sometimes the resultant religion is far from of the original revealed religion, so much so that members of the resultant religion will utterly reject, and even murder, a new revelator who comes from Heaven to set things right again. That is what happened when Jesus arrived to straighten the world (and Judaism) out.
A non-pagan religion can and does, therefore, keep elements of its pagan ancestry, giving it all the earmarks of paganism, but still remaining monotheistic. That is what happened to Judaism (which miraculously has dropped the practice of animal sacrifice, but still does not see God as our loving Heavenly Father), and Christianity (which kept the pagan ritual of sacrifice but transferred all its weight to the relevance of the death of Jesus), and Islam (which for the most part embraced the gospel of Jesus, but retained the early Hebrew notions of God as being a powerful and vengeful deity who somehow still loves his earth children, but punishes them harshly for wrongdoing - still not a loving Heavenly Father).
So, why would anyone say Christianity is becoming more pagan? Perhaps it is because the religion is not gratifying, and, knowing no better, people seek gratification in other corners.
When a religion is gratifying intellectually and spiritually, people generally do not seek religious expression elsewhere. It is obvious that many people do not see Christianity as gratifying. As a result they do not teach their children to be Christians, and they do not "practice" Christianity themselves.
There are many reasons Christianity is not gratifying to actual and would-be Christians:
1. Its plan of salvation is the only real reason most people would be interested in a religion. Unfortunately, it is insulting to intelligent truth-seekers, and it has been for nearly 2000 years. It requires that a person profess belief that Jesus is Lord and that Jesus died as a human sacrifice to atone for our sins. There is nothing wrong with seeing Jesus as our creator or universe sovereign, but the idea of sacrificial atonement is purely pagan.
a. The principle of atoning sacrifice was certainly never taught by Jesus himself (anyone who studies the four gospels hard will find no direct teaching of Jesus to support such a fallacy).
b. The principle is insulting to the concept of a Loving Heavenly Father - no loving father would condemn his own son to death, particularly not when that son was both humanly perfect AND a divine being nearly the Father's equal.
c. No sacrifice of any kind, particularly not a human sacrifice, could possibly buy the favor of a just God. A just God, if he punishes anyone at all, punishes people only for their own sins, not the sins of someone else. The idea of sacrifice is a pagan concept that one can live an unrighteous life, and then pay a bribe of some kind to the gods in order to purchase atonement for the unrighteousness. Even the most backward of Americans recognize the criminality of the attempt to bribe a government official. There is no higher government official than God himself. Thus, offering a sacrifice is an affront to God because it is an attempt to bribe him.
d. God certainly would not issue commandments and then expect his children to live by them while he openly flouts them. An order to murder Jesus so as to atone for the sins of others in an open flouting of the commandment "Thou shalt not kill".
e. The roots of sacrificial atonement go back to pagan practices that began way before Abraham, or even Adam and Eve. Even Abraham, as enlightened and intelligent as he was, nearly murdered his first-born son, Isaac, as a human sacrifice. It took 500 years before Moses abolished that absurd Hebrew practice and replaced it with ransom payment to the priesthood. It took another 1500 years before Jesus abolished all forms of sacrifice with his bread and wine sacrament, a substitute for murdering sacrificial creatures. Christianity seeks to perpetuate the belief in a pagan ritual of sacrifice, and that is both an insult to God and to those who would believe in his sublime goodness.
f. In reality, God has never required a sacrifice so that people can atone for their sins, and the reason is that no sacrifice can or could suffice as a bribe that God would accept in lieu of righteousness. One could reasonably assert that the only sacrifice God will accept is the sacrifice of giving up unrighteous behavior. To many people that is indeed a demanding sacrifice, but that is only because they are not familiar with the purity of joy in righteous living. Jesus brought orders directly from God to man when he said "Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect". That command implies perfection is possible (otherwise, why bother commanding it?) for every normal minded human being, to the extent of one's perfection capacity. God's capacity for perfection is limitless, but ours is profoundly limited. As we grow intellectually, physically, and spiritually, however, our capacity increases as we exercise sincerity. In other words, we can be relatively perfect - relative to our capacity therefor. While we might not always know what is right, as long as we sincerely attempt to think, say, and do what is right, we are being relatively perfect, and our path will lead us ultimately toward absolute perfection. A relatively perfect person, although sinless, might still make honest mistakes. If we were to define "evil" as "mistaken" we might say Man has an evil nature, but not a sin nature. One purpose of human life is to come to terms with that and strive to be perfect.
2. Christianity is A religion ABOUT Jesus, not THE religion OF Jesus. As such, it can be considered another errant cult among the many that assert they teach the absolute truth while nearly completely sidestepping it. According to the bible:
a. Above all, Jesus lived and taught a perfect religious life, and became the inspiration for all people who suffer and desire to know and live the truth. His life therefore, is an example of living the truth to all people on all worlds. He was courageous, cheerful, poised, well-balanced, unified, and consummately devoted to doing the Father's will: pursuing truth, beauty, and goodness in thought, word, and deed. He lived his "religion", just as he taught it.
b. Jesus taught that people should love God, and love, forgive, and unselfishly serve our fellow humans. He taught that if we do these things, we will live forever, have our sins forgiven, and have a high estate in Heaven. He demonstrated a profound and living faith in the goodness of God and confidence in man. His exhortation to be of good cheer, to be perfect, to be sinless, to forgive others without limit, and to be devoted to a relationship with God, showed faith in the effectiveness of the supreme human desire to be like God. He indicated that any one who sincerely approaches God in this way will not be disappointed. That is his personal plan of salvation.
c. Jesus asserted that he brought new truth to the world. Even before ordaining his apostles in his Sermon on the Mount (turn the other cheek, carry the burden an extra mile, let your light so shine that others know you are his followers), he went about teaching the above "Gospel". But what could that Gospel be? If you ask the typical Christian today what the "Gospel" was, you do not get 2b above as the answer. Because the four gospel records of his life and teachings do not specifically enumerate the above points of Gospel, preachers and teachers are left to construe the writings of the followers of Jesus as though they have equal or even superior weight to the actual teachings of Jesus himself. The brilliantly classic example of this is the atonement doctrine. It could not have been part of the Gospel Jesus taught because Jesus never mentioned his death to the apostles until upwards of three years into his public ministry. Even 8 months before his death, when descending Mount Hermon after the transfiguration, the apostles were dumfounded at his pronouncement that he was going to be killed by the Jews. Clearly, neither his death nor the significance thereof, had anything at all to do with that Gospel.
d. Just before disappearing from view for the final time (ascending into Heaven), Jesus delivered his "Great Commission" to his apostles and to all who would call themselves his followers. He told them to go into all the world teaching all he had commanded. In other words, he told them to spread his religion - the religion OF Jesus. Fundamentally, that religion is outlined in 2 b above (complete references to scripture are available on request). And yet, just a few hours later, after Jesus' personal spirit presence, the Spirit of Truth, the "comforter", was "poured out on all flesh", Peter enthusiastically rallied his hundred or so associates in the upper room, took them down to the Temple Court, and preached his unforgettable and fiery sermon on the "risen Christ". In one sweeping episode, he swept aside the gospel Jesus had inculcated into them and taught for 4 years both directly and in parables, and supplanted it with a new religious cult based on the resurrection of Jesus, not on the Gospel itself.
e. The apostle Paul followed suit. In spite of his repetition of the platitudes of loving and being good to others, he submerged the actual gospel of Jesus beneath his personal religious philosophy, partly Jewish, partly Mithraist, partly Greek Philosophy, partly Jesusonian, and with the keystone of a plan of salvation based on the sacrificial death of Jesus to atone for man's sins due to the sin nature inherited from Adam and Eve. The codification of this cult belief in Paul's letters and the book of Hebrews completed the suppression of the Gospel Jesus lived and taught, and it is the backbone of Christianity today.
3. Although the Gospel elements that are residual in Christianity are the reason it has grown to the extent it has, Paulist cult beliefs and practices are holding Christianity back from proper expansion in the modern world.
a. Most unbiased, intelligent truth seekers recoil at the atonement doctrine as being illogical and portraying a picture of God as being mean, unjust, vindictive, unforgiving, and anything other than the God of Love both Jesus and Isaiah taught about.
b. When they challenge fundamentalist Christian preachers and theologians on the irrational atonement doctrine, they receive the response that the atonement doctrine must be true because the whole bible is true, and that is because the bible is the infallible, inerrant word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
c. After hearing this, they protest that the bible is loaded with errors, not the least of which is the creation story - no way was the universe of universes created in 6 earth days.
d. Then they receive a barrage of attacks such as accusations that they are trashing the bible, that they are disputing God's word, and often even worse. Those in a congregation who question it are often given the cold shoulder, accused of being heretics, and excommunicated or ostracized. Such behavior toward them is anything but Christian.
e. In other words, Christians can only maintain the atonement doctrine is true if they maintain the whole bible is true, and that alone is enough to drive unbiased, intelligent, educated truth-seekers into a tailspin. Christians themselves have a hard time with their own tenets, a fact that has produced upwards of 400 different denominations and sects.
4. As if that were not enough, Islam is alive and well, outgrowing Christianity both in the USA and internationally, and many of its proponents are deadly intent to eliminate all religions on the planet aside from Islam. Islam represents an enormous threat to Christians and Christianity because both are strongly based in hard-sell recruitment for garnering new members, and because Islam is militant to the point of being a direct enemy to all other religions.
a. In some ways, Islam is more loyal to the gospel teachings of Jesus than is Christianity. It makes devotion to God (praying 5 times a day) one of its main principles. It extols the virtue of brotherhood with fellow believers much more than does Christianity. It makes caring for the poor and orphans one of its main tenets. It provides social regulation that upsteps more primitive cultures. And it is highly moral, in spite of the primitive methods of many groups of its adherents in enforcing that morality. For these reasons Islam is attractive to converts seeking discipline in a religious practice, and appeals to downtrodden people and prisoners who desire strength and safe havens among a community of fellow believers...
b. True, there are many problems with Islam. It is still struggling with its 7th century roots and it is being dragged kicking and screaming in protest into the modern world. It promotes holy wars, offering heavenly rewards to those who die in combat against injustice. It offers no concept of God as a Heavenly Father, but sees him as a tyrant who is benign to those who do his will and viciously mean to those who do not. It demeans women and makes them second class citizens. Its social regulations are grossly out of date and do not serve a modern world adequately - many if not most of the regulations are the province of government rather than a religion. It is oppressive to women and non-Muslims. Many of its adherents are openly militant toward non-Muslims and non-Islamic governments. For these reasons Islam appeals to violent people and finds its fastest rates of conversions in prisons and among primitive peoples in strife-torn lands.
c. In the Qu'ran, Muhammad recants much about Jesus and Mary, and even elevates Jesus above Muhammad in terms of divine characteristics, claiming that Jesus was perfect, a creator, and born from the spirit of God himself. Although Muhammad rightly complains that Christians had not been true to the teachings of Jesus, he blatantly warns Muslims that they are to adhere to the Gospel of Jesus or suffer severe chastisement. Muhammad does not attempt to iterate the tenets of the Gospel, and so most Muslims wrongly tend toward the belief that the Qu'ran's teachings are a restatement of the Gospel.
5. Both the Bible and the Qu'ran contain the seeds of the salvation of Christianity, and that is the Gospel message Jesus taught and lived.
a. All Christians need to do in order to resurrect the esteem they once had in the minds of average citizens of America is to become what they never have been: devoted practitioners of the religion OF Jesus instead of a religion ABOUT him.
b. Jesus did command his followers to teach his commands to all nations. It is time for Christians to start doing that. The actual Gospel is so simple, sweet, logical, and fun that people of all races and creeds will have little if any trouble accepting it... if only the purported followers of Jesus will learn it and start teaching it as Jesus commanded.
c. All Muslims need to do in order to get their own religion on the right track is to discover the Gospel of Jesus as outlined in the biblical records of his life and teachings, and set them as supreme over all their other beliefs. After all, Muhammad did command them to do it, and promised painful punishment to those who resist it.
When Christians start becoming followers of Jesus, students of his teachings, and adherents to his personal religion of devotion to God's will, love for God, love for fellow humans, and delivery of unselfish loving service to others, then will they find themselves friendly to all other religionists, particularly to Muslims, and then will the lives they live become clarion calls for truth seekers and beacons of golden light in the new-age pagan darkness for those seeking peace of mind, spiritual tranquility, and harmony of relations among peoples.
The Gospel of love, forgiveness, and service is positively irresistible, and the vestiges of that gospel in Christianity and Islam are the only reasons people anywhere find either Christianity or Islam remotely acceptable as bona fide religions. Christians will do well to note that religion means "devotion to supreme values", and that the pursuit of greatest value in the universe is the quest to know, love, and be like God. That value pursuit is the core of the religion of Jesus. Refocusing on the religion OF Jesus will bring converts to a transformed Christianity in droves, and new-age paganism will die the quick death it deserves.
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