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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
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
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, 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 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.

4:10 pm - 0 comments - 0 Kudos
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
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