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Monday, June 08, 2009

The Strive for Peace in Christianity, Part 4

In relation to modern Christianity all the facets of peace previously discussed, are evident.

Modern Christianity, is perhaps one of the most peaceful phases of Christianity in history.

In contrast to the often portrayed Old Testament concepts of peace focused on protection from enemies, the modern concept of peace in Christianity is based strongly around both personal peace and world peace.

Christian groups such as Pax Christi have consistently lobbied for nuclear disarmament and have lobbied against wars such as the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Current practices associated with achieving community and world peace include charity work, such as that undertaken by The Salvation Army. Many Christian people feel that it is a religious duty to donate to charity, this is partially due to the concept of the Good Samaritan, and fulfilling the commandment of Jesus to love thy neighbour, as is referred to in Luke 10.

A peace initiative that has risen in prominence in recent years is the Catholic “World Youth Day” initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1986. As a movement for peace World Youth Day seeks to unite all young Catholics, this can be seen as a peace movement because it unites a group of people and brings them together in a peaceful circumstance with a peaceful message. Some would argue that these actions are actually promoting division and conflict, with persons who are not Catholic.

The striving for peace in a modern Christian society is being influenced not only by media representation of world events and conflicts, but also a growing awareness of the extreme variation between living standards in countries.

A notable example of conflict within the Church can be seen in the recent events at Saint Mary’s Church in Brisbane. The catholic minister and his congregation were allowing, homosexuals and other minority groups frowned upon by the Church hierarchy to participate in the Church. These actions became surrounded by controversy, resulting in the highest levels of the Catholic Church dismissing the priest, and condemning his actions. This is perhaps indicative continuing inability of the Church to be inclusive of all peoples, as would be the ultimate Christian ideal and the basis for peace.

Many would say that the rise of fundamentalist Christian ideas within the US political system has promoted, or caused, a large amount of conflict. Particular examples of conflict justified by the utilisation of fundamentalist Christian ideas being the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Fundamentalist Christianity has, and continues to be used as a political tool to justify actions of governments and to unite people in support of the government and its ideas. This fundamentalism is perhaps the greatest example of conflict associated with Christianity in the modern world.

Personal peace, in modern Christianity is strived for through a number of practices. These are based heavily around practices appropriated from both, older traditions of Christianity, such as the study of scriptures, confession, and prayer, and newer traditions appropriated from different philosophies and religions, such as meditation.

Prayer is a very important practice in Christianity, both in its modern form and through out history. The Book of Common Prayer, used by many Anglican Christians contains several prayers relating to peace. Notable examples of prayer referencing peace are, the Morning Prayer, wherein the minister says “Give peace in our time, O Lord”, and, in the Litany which reads “We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. That it may please thee to give all nations unity, peace, and concord”. The peace referenced in these extracts, is a peace, of the world or community, it is wishing the peace of the Christian God upon other nations, and peoples. In the Evening Prayer, a reference to personal peace and peace with God is included “Give unto thy servants that peace which the world cannot give”.

Conclusion

The teachings of Christianity vary in their emphasis on the differing facets of peace and how it is best achieved. The teachings in the Old Testament have a greater focus on violence, and fighting to achieve a country, and the peace which would be associated with having a country of your own. Teachings present in the New Testament place a greater emphasis on forgiveness and love.

Despite the contrast between the testaments, overall, both testaments can be seen to be focusing around a struggle for peace, a struggle for peace with God, a struggle for peace with self, and a struggle for peace with others, or world peace. It can thus be determined that the teachings of Christianity are geared towards achieving peace in its many facets, however throughout history, texts and ideas associated with Christianity have been interpreted by both governing bodies and individuals in such a way as to provide justification for desired actions, many of which have not resulted in a peaceful outcome.

Christianity in its modern form appears to be experiencing a revival of striving for peace, this could be largely due to the change in media focus on things of significance to peace. This media focus is particularly important to the concept of world peace, with the advent of fourth generation warfare, as can be seen in current Middle Eastern conflicts, the war is brought into people’s houses, and it is therefore much more real and apparent to them, therefore they feel more of an obligation to act.

The confounding influences of political powerbases and human foibles have meant that despite the groundings of Christian sacred texts and teachings which support the striving for peace, that in reality the historical record demonstrates an ongoing story of both success and failure in the striving for peace in Christianity.

4:10 pm - 1 comments - 2 Kudos
Monday, June 08, 2009

The Strive for Peace in Christianity, Part 3

Christianity has a history of ultimately striving for peace, and yet the contrast and contradiction is that Christianity has a violent past, and is, perhaps, one of the most violent religions still practised.

In the early formative years of Christianity, Christians avoided conflict of all types, preferring to die rather then fight to defend themselves.


The ways and means associated with the striving for peace in Christian history can be seen to be contradictory, both when compared to each other, but also when compared to teachings presented in the Bible.

This contrast was perhaps initially fuelled by the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of two of the largest empires in history, the Roman and Byzantine. It could be said that the marriage between a large militarily based political body and a religion promoting the concept of peace at a number of levels, led to interpretations of religious texts and ideas that better suited political aspirations. Building on the concept of righteous anger, the concept of the “Just War” was used for political purposes.

This concept of a “Just War”, meant, effectively, that a Christian could engage in military conflict, so long as it was “justified”. The boundaries between political aspirations, motivations, and religious justification of war, and other conflicts, have throughout history often been blurred.

Christianity has long been used as a tool in the justification of wars, not least the crusades, which occurred in the period between 1095 and 1291 AD. Other acts of extreme violence sanctioned by various Church organisations include the Spanish, and other inquisitions.

In contrast, many Christian groups have consistently lobbied for peace related initiatives, including, anti war movements, prison reform, factory reform, civil rights, and many other initiatives.

These two facets of Christian history appear to be at odds with each other, one, being effectively, Church sanctioned bigotry, and xenophobia. The other being anti-discriminative action, which was effectively in direct contrast with actions such as the Spanish inquisition, which were based upon discrimination of people due to their faith.

The striving for peace in historical Christianity, appears to have been largely governed by the idea, that to create peace, everyone had to practice the Christian faith. This perhaps based on an interpretation of the comment by Jesus that he who is not for me is against me as said in Luke 11:23.This arguably, actually worsened relations between Christians and people of other Religions or faiths, causing the exact opposite of the desired effect.

In conclusion, when we look at the historical record of Christianity, the spiritual aspirations for peace as portrayed in the Bible, have often not been reached in the actual application of Christianity as a religion.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

The Strive for Peace in Christianity, Part 2

The teachings of the testaments vary somewhat in their approach to peace, with less emphasis being placed on forgiveness and love in the Old Testament. It is important to note at this point, that the entirety of the Old Testament is very violent. The Israelites are constantly engaged in conflict, fighting to establish a country. However, it can observed, that this conflict, is seen as a struggle for peace. The Israelites strove for peace, though, in doing so, there was a great deal of conflict, and, as so often happens, this conflict was violent. In the Old Testament, it is portrayed that God was on the side of the Israelites, and thus was violent in many of his actions. Therefore it is not surprising that commentators have said that God as represented in the Old Testament is a God of violence, not peace. This portrayal of God as a God of violence is perhaps based on the view of God as protecting his people from enemies, and thereby giving them peace.

Conflict, the absence of peace, is portrayed in the first book of the bible, Genesis, when, firstly, Adam and Eve are cast out of paradise by God, resulting from a conflict, and, later, when Cain murders Abel. Peace with your family is discussed several times within the bible, honouring thy mother and thy father is considered so important that it is even included in the Ten Commandments.

The striving for peace is presented in Exodus. The Israelites, imprisoned in Egypt, are effectively, in conflict with the Egyptians. Conflict continues, even after the Israelites have fled Egypt. Firstly the conflict occurs amongst the Israelites themselves. As Moses ascends Mount Sinai, the Israelites construct a golden calf in order to worship. Upon descending the mount, Moses, angered by this act, destroys the stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were engraved.

The Ten Commandments proclaim that thou shalt not kill, and thus they can be observed to be promoting peace, as killing is conflict, the opposite of peace.

Peace with God is an important element in the Christian scriptures. God instructs the Israelites on how to be at peace with him in the first four commandments. Peace is often used within the New Testament in association with God as well, notably; the Christian God is referred to as “The God of Peace” in 1st Thespians 5:23.

An interesting quote concerning peace with God is the line from Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ”. It can be understood from this, that, to achieve the peace of God and for you to “keep” that peace, you must follow the teachings of Jesus.

The concept of personal peace is explored frequently in the New Testament, notably in John 14:27 and 16:33 Jesus says unto his followers, “My peace I give to you” and “…that in me you may have peace”. This concept of Jesus giving his peace unto others is symbolic of God giving peace to all people.

Matthew 5:9 shows the importance given to peace in the scriptures “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. This idea, that peacemakers are so close to God that they shall be called his sons highlights exactly how important peace is to Christianity.

When Peter came to Jesus and asked how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me, the response from Jesus that forgiveness should have no boundaries encapsulates the concept of striving for peace in personal relations.

Despite the importance with which peace is viewed, the concept of righteous anger is also explored within the testaments. Two notable example of righteous anger are recounted in the New Testament. Firstly in Mark 3:5 when Jesus entered the synagogue at Capernaum and was greatly angered by the hard hearted people, and secondly when he entered the temple in Jerusalem and cast out the money lenders and people who sold doves Mark 10:15, “And they came to Jerusalem and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and over-threw the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves”. Thus it can be observed, that, there is righteous anger, and therefore, righteous conflict. This can be considered the justification behind many of the “just wars” fought in the name of Christianity. And this brings us to the next facet of Christianity that must be looked at in terms of its struggle of peace.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

The Strive For Peace in Christianity, Part 1

This is a speech I wrote for my studies of religion subject, any questions or comments are appreciated.


Peace can not be looked at as a single idea, but rather, a multifaceted concept, that encompasses peace with oneself, peace with God, peace with family, and peace with others and between nations. It can be observed that peace, as represented in the Bible is the absence of conflict, and the presence of love. The concept and act of forgiveness is inextricably linked with the striving for peace in both the Old and New Testaments.

The two testaments often place different emphasis on concepts of peace. Peace in the New Testament is often represented as “The absence of chaos” or simply “security” as written in Luke 11:21 and 1st Corinthians 14:33 .The New Testament places a greater degree of emphasis on personal peace, peace with God, and Love as an overarching concept. The teachings of Jesus imply peace as being optimal, notably in Luke 10 Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan, and how anyone in need is thy neighbour, and that we must show love to all. Peace is also used in other instances with different meanings. In the Old Testament, the word “Shalom” is generally used as synonymous with peace, and is often thought of as protection from enemies by God. In the Old Testament peace in association with material wealth is discussed in relation to prophecy. Material wealth as peace is associated with the false prophet 1st Kings 22:5 whereas the true prophet was above the desire for material gain Micah 3:5.

A similar idea is repeated in the New Testament, Jesus is quoted as saying, in Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. There is an intimate relationship between the concepts of peace and love as presented in Biblical texts.

In all instances, peace is seen as desirable, a good outcome, and something to strive for.

We can examine the concept of striving for peace in Christianity in reference to,

  • Ancient traditions and sacred texts
  • History of and historical events associated with Christianity
  • And Current Practice associated with Christianity

Within the ancient traditions and sacred texts of Christianity, peace is viewed with great importance, with the biblical texts promoting the many facets of peace, including, peace with God, this is presented in the covenant with God, both that made with Abraham and that mediated by Jesus.

4:10 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Monday, May 18, 2009

Why I'm Still Banned

After realising how much time I was spending on this site I decided, that since it was my final year in highschool, I should request a perma-ban until further notice. So, yeah, I shan't be posting till the end of the year basically.


11:28 pm - 3 comments - 2 Kudos
Friday, May 15, 2009

Faith + 1

Why not, put all your faith in God?

Has he ever betrayed your trust?

Missionaries of the modern day

Armed with an m16 and a gunship

Preach the word, we know that it’s right?

An enemy of the state

A child, with a book that preaches hate

Why not put, all, all your faith in me?

After all

It’s an awesome God that we worship today

Are you mine, to take?

A body broken, for God’s sake?

Put all, all your faith in God

I’m leading you to water, and I’m going to make you drink, drink tonight

PUT YOUR FAITH, PUT IT IN GOD

I saw it all come alive

A teacher, in her class

A king on his throne

Put your faith, put it in God

Has he ever betrayed your trust?

Salvation, is what we seek

As evil as everyone else on a weekday

God fearing sons of bitches on Sunday

How can you put, your faith

In someone, who you can’t trust

What can I do, but what I think is best?

Put your faith, put it in God.

5:47 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Friday, May 15, 2009

Less Then Perfect

You

Were

Not what I was hoping for

Less then perfect

No, a b cup isn’t fine

I was not conscious, of destruction at it’s finest

Violence, is beautiful, arts last frontier

A man dying in the street

I pray, everyday, that I will be unstoppable

Be inclusive, of one and all

These pills, are holding me up

Run from the cops

Invading my privacy

I, am, not

What, I once was

I want you to dance

I want you to cry

Be my slave

An eye for an eye

Cain said to Abel

“Let’s fight them in the fields

On the beaches, and in the skies”

Fight god, fight death

It’s like the bible, a worthless scrap of paper, with words of power

5:47 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
Monday, May 04, 2009

On the occurence of homosexuality

This is admittadly copied from an article on the net, but I thought it was blog relevant.

From the middle of October until next summer the Norwegian Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo will host the first exhibition that focuses on homosexuality in the animal kingdom.

"One fundamental premise in social debates has been that homosexuality is unnatural. This premise is wrong. Homosexuality is both common and highly essential in the lives of a number of species," explains Petter Boeckman, who is the academic advisor for the "Against Nature's Order?" exhibition.

The most well-known homosexual animal is the dwarf chimpanzee, one of humanity's closes relatives. The entire species is bisexual. Sex plays an conspicuous roll in all their activities and takes the focus away from violence, which is the most typical method of solving conflicts among primates and many other animals.

"Sex among dwarf chimpanzees is in fact the business of the whole family, and the cute little ones often lend a helping hand when they engage in oral sex with each other."

Lions are also homosexual. Male lions often band together with their brothers to lead the pride. To ensure loyalty, they strengthen the bonds by often having sex with each other.

Homosexuality is also quite common among dolphins and killer whales. The pairing of males and females is fleeting, while between males, a pair can stay together for years. Homosexual sex between different species is not unusual either. Meetings between different dolphin species can be quite violent, but the tension is often broken by a "sex orgy".

Homosexuality is a social phenomenon and is most widespread among animals with a complex herd life.

Among the apes it is the females that create the continuity within the group. The social network is maintained not only by sharing food and the child rearing, but also by having sex. Among many of the female apes the sex organs swell up. So they rub their abdomens against each other," explains Petter Bockman and points out that animals have sex because they have the desire to, just like we humans.

Homosexual behaviour has been observed in 1,500 animal species.

"We're talking about everything from mammals to crabs and worms. The actual number is of course much higher. Among some animals homosexual behaviour is rare, some having sex with the same gender only a part of their life, while other animals, such as the dwarf chimpanzee, homosexuality is practiced throughout their lives."

Animals that live a completely homosexual life can also be found. This occurs especially among birds that will pair with one partner for life, which is the case with geese and ducks. Four to five percent of the couples are homosexual. Single females will lay eggs in a homosexual pair's nest. It has been observed that the homosexual couple are often better at raising the young than heterosexual couples.

When you see a colony of black-headed gulls, you can be sure that almost every tenth pair is lesbian. The females have no problems with being impregnated, although, according to Petter Boeckman they cannot be defined as bisexual.

"If a female has sex with a male one time, but thousands of times with another female, is she bisexual or homosexual? This is the same way to have children is not unknown among homosexual people."

Indeed, there is a number of animals in which homosexual behaviour has never been observed, such as many insects, passerine birds and small mammals.

"To turn the approach on its head: No species has been found in which homosexual behaviour has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis. Moreover, a part of the animal kingdom is hermaphroditic, truly bisexual. For them, homosexuality is not an issue."

Petter Bockman regrets that there is too little research about homosexuality among animals.

"The theme has long been taboo. The problem is that researchers have not seen for themselves that the phenomenon exists or they have been confused when observing homosexual behaviour or that they are fearful of being ridiculed by their colleagues. Many therefore overlook the abundance of material that is found. Many researchers have described homosexuality as something altogether different from sex. They must realise that animals can have sex with who they will, when they will and without consideration to a researcher's ethical principles."

One example of overlooking behaviour noted by Petter Bockman is a description of mating among giraffes, when nine out of ten pairings occur between males.

"Every male that sniffed a female was reported as sex, while anal intercourse with orgasm between males was only "revolving around" dominance, competition or greetings.

Masturbation is common in the animal kingdom.

"Masturbation is the simplest method of self pleasure. We have a Darwinist mentality that all animals only have sex to procreate. But there are plenty of animals who will masturbate when they have nothing better to do. Masturbation has been observed among primates, deer, killer whales and penguins, and we're talking about both males and females. They rub themselves against stones and roots. Orangutans are especially inventive. They make dildos of wood and bark," says Petter Boeckman of the Norwegian Natural History Museum.


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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fairy Tales

I don’t believe in any of this

I don’t know, but I was told, the enemy is coming

The end is nigh, come my brothers, its time for our final flight (brace for landing)

Over the hills and far away, is a kingdom

There lives a princess

She’s a real fucking slut, she’s always high, on LSD, and coke baked into pies

She’ll sleep with you for money, to save her kingdom from her evil step mummy

There’s this scene, playing on my television screen

It’s scaring the shit outta me

Is it a nightmare on my TV screen?

Or a nightmare inside me?

Life’s not what it used to be

Let’s party, into the night, and fight, fight for our rights

I’m not, one to judge, but I reckon, this situation, is pretty fucked

Cassius my king, king of the big screen

Tell me my lord, oh what should I do

I would do it all, all for you

Let’s fight the enemy, at the gates

Fight the broken promises that we made

I’m not here to judge, is that for god above?

To judge me

To judge us

In a galaxy far, far away

There lives, a king, who’s probably gay

They say that he likes, to fight you in the night

Are these the last days, of our empire of the sun?

We were brothers in arms, brothers to the end

I abandoned my brothers on the hill

Left to die, by God’s left hand

Sodom and Gomorrah all over again

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away

There was a war, a war to end them all

Only it began again, and never ended.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Elephantiasis

I’m better then this

Not so locked up in being conceited

More open to differences…

What you be hunting for?

Is it a god, that you can blame?

A devil? It’s all the same

You’re wasting time here, locked in battle

Is it a really a god complex, if I am god?

It’s all just chemical reactions

That make us tick

Like a broken bomb, ready to go off

You’re not the one, prophecies unfulfilled, my son

I’m crushed like a bug

Tinned sardines, canned and ready to be sold

A contradiction in terms

I’m not, what I once was

Not the best, of what was left

I’m the worst of what was

Faith weeds out the weak ones

My original sin, is not quite what I thought it was

Left alone in the dust, of rotten pages, of a forgotten book

You’re not, as good as you thought

Broken down, and justified, everything’s right in your mind

Bloated stomachs, gorged on lies

Everything ends, the same way it began

With a bomb, a feeling of fun, a broken glass, a gun held, against your heart

Don’t, get, sentimental

Crushed like a sparrow in the snow

I see signs all the time, that I’m alright, and not out of my mind

It’s time, to move on

It’s not, that I, missed you

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