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New Religions

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by Zoness, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Zoness

    Zoness 667, neighbor of the beast Supporter

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    So we've before asked "where do you see current religions in the future?" but I want to pose a variation on that question: Where do you see NEW religions in the future? In this case I say that a "new" religion is any religion founded no earlier than the beginning of the 19th century with an emphasis on 20th century spiritual movements. Do you see an explosion in any of these faiths happening in the next century or two? How about entirely new beliefs?

    I believe that certain things will continue to grow; I imagine the formation of new, syncretic pagan faiths and sort of UFO-ish religions gaining legitimacy (compared to their cultish offshoots). My idea of UFO religions stems from ideas in tomes like the Urantia Book gaining popularity. Of course I see Pantheism or general "Spiritism" taking the biggest leap among religions for its information structure and almost entirely laissez-faire approach to beliefs.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. smaneck

    smaneck Baha'i

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    I expect the Baha'i Faith may very well have an explosion within the next twenty to thirty years. One reason is because I think our current emphasis on working with young people from 11-15 is going to bare fruit. This is an idealistic age and we seek to channel that idealism into acts of service to humanity. One more reason is that we have come up with learning program which is self-sustaining. As our numbers grow so will the human resources develop to manage those numbers. This is something we didn't have in the sixties and seventies when we experienced our last massive growth. This was illustrated recently in the Congo where due to the civil war, Baha'i communities were basically cut off from our administrative institutions. Despite the chaos in the bloodiest conflagration since WWII, the Baha'i communities there grew and flourished on their own, so much so that we now plan to be build a temple in that country. The third reason I think this is the case is because Abdu'l-Baha once said that for the first two hundred years we should emphasize mostly teaching. That two hundred year period ends in 2044 which makes me think we will reach a critical enough mass by then such that we can put more emphasis on things like social and economic development.

    But mind you, if the size of the Baha'i community were to grow tenfold in the next few decades our numbers would still be small relative to the other World Religions. We might grow bigger than Judaism in the next few decades but we will be nowhere near as large as Christianity or Islam.

    BTW, in my opinion American Evangelical Christianity falls under the category of a 'new religion.' It was born in the middle of the 19th century.
     
  3. Zoness

    Zoness 667, neighbor of the beast Supporter

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    Very interesting as I do not know much about the Baha'i faith or its administrative functionality. Assuming this teaching is high quality I expect your assessment is on point; I bet it will explode in the future. Honestly I think there is an appeal for such a faith as people grow disenfranchised with existing "Abrahamic" faiths but do not want to eschew religion entirely. I think Baha'ism (is that correct?) puts the whole Abrahamic causal chain into perspective very well.

    Great point about American Evangelicalism. Many of the ideals Evangelicals claim are ancient are at best inventions of the 19th century. Not that appeal to age is a good argument but their philosophy doesn't stem further back than the reformation at the earliest. So we can discuss them as well if you'd like.

    My prediction for American Christianity: Super-denominations. More or less divided into "Mainline and "Evangelical" camps with maybe a third group that call themselves "Conservative". These are basically lumps of generally agreeing denominations forming larger pan-Protestant organizations in order to shore up identity and organization. Identity expectedly will be a big conflict but with so many Mainline protestants at least informally "in communion" with each other, I foresee more cooperation but a wider gap between the two (or three) mega groups.

    I expect the Western world will see the mellowing out of Evangelicalism all while continuing to retain membership. Plus I see explosions of Protestantism in Asia and Africa coming to a head. I think South Korea is the microcosm example of this, for better or worse.
     
  4. awitch

    awitch Retired from Christian Forums

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    Given the explosion in knowledge about the world since ancient times, I see new religions becoming more tongue-in-cheek. They contains silly aspects, but the adherents are fully aware they are silly. They also contain sensible and useful philosophies while minimizing crazy metaphor and hocus pocus. I think we'll see a lot more stuff like Jedi or the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    And I'm not just saying this because I happen to be the founder of the Church of Daffy.
     
  5. BruceDLimber

    BruceDLimber Baha'i

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    No; that's considered a malaprop.

    The correct term is simply the Baha'i Faith. (And the apostrophe is important because it's the transliteration of a <silent> letter that alters the pronunciatino of the word.)

    And the Baha'i Faith is indeed Abrahamic, as you mentioned.

    Please feel free to keep any questions coming: we LOVE 'em! :)

    Best regards,

    Bruce
     
  6. light upon light

    light upon light Baha'i

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    I've been observing the Catholic Church for a while.

    The Catholics seem to be becoming much more ecumenical and universalist, which I believe strongly is divine imperative at work.

    I think the relationships among and between the religions in the next two hundred years is more interesting than looking at them in isolation.

    From what I see, the Catholic Church is a much richer and deeper tradition than almost any of the others, and allows for a diversity of viewpoints while remaining whole and inclusive.

    From what I see, the spirit of the age, which I identify with Baha'u'llah, has spread out and is transforming the planet, including the existing and new institutions. It is fascinating to see the new world taking shape. In the meantime, many people are resisting this spirit with exclusivist visions, seeing devils and demons all around them, and filling their hearts with fear and hatred.

    I see the Catholics and many atheists and agnostics, neopagans and the like influenced by and attuned to the spirit of truth, that all humans are one race, that the earth is a single homeland, that wars must end, that the economic system must be reformed, that men and women are equal, that science is truth and must be embraced not rejected.

    I also see signs of progress in the evangelical world. The messages of fear and hatred of others that some espouse are losing their power to command allegiance. Particularly among the younger members, love is conquering dogmas and doctrines of exclusivity and separation.

    I also see Muslims increasingly following that same path as they increasingly reject violence which has created such ruin within their own countries and delivered nothing of value.
     
  7. So many faiths, yet so hard to keep up with the ones out there. I continue seeing them pop up, but I do believe that the vast majority of "old" religions will still continue to thrive. What I do see happening more and more, and it's a good thing, is the respecting of another's belief no matter what that may be.
     
  8. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    I definitely see a rise in things such as UFO religions - although more specifically, the rise I see is the UFO-Christianity that has been happening over the past couple of years. More has been shared elsewhere in #42/ #30 / #102 - in the thread Ascended Messiahs, Angels, Aliens & UFOs: How would Spirituality change if E.T came? - on the issue of how it's possible that E.Ts are real and how that makes a difference when it comes to the atonement. .....and others such as Examining the film "Contact" & wondering what you feel Science/Faith plays in life?

    This is not something that is in any way new, by the way. If anyone recalls what occurred with the group known as Heaven's Gate (religious group), where they followed their leader (Marshall Herff Applewhite ) into committing mass suicide during 1997 in order to reach an alien space craft which they believed was following the Comet Hale-Bopp, which was at its brightest. Other groups with similar ideologies have been in existence for a long time when it comes to New Age worship of heavenly beings (as discussed here and here and here)---with it being very popular/something many today are following and see all the time in the media and bookstores

    Michael Heiser has done some really good work on the issue, as he made a book that was a story essentially meant to be a social critique of the future. The book is entitled The Facade.


    [​IMG]


    How would you respond to the news that life exists elsewhere in the universe? More to the point, how would your view of the Bible change if ET landed on the White House lawn tomorrow? Or if an ET landed noting that the stories of Giants/mythological gods from antiquity were really them? Those questions are central to the plot of The Facade by Dr. Michael Heiser, academic editor for Logos Bible Software and a scholar of Biblical Hebrew and ancient Israelite and Egyptian history. He’s also a well-regarded ufologist, and he manages to bring those seemingly diverse areas of study together in the special edition of The Facade. In his work, he discusses the evidence for contact, how the U.S. government appears to be preparing for a disclosure event, and why Christians believe the abductee phenomenon has a spiritual goal. For more background on Mike’s thinking on this issue, see his series, “Fundamentalists and ET”. Additionally, one can click here for the PDF chart comparing the experiences of abductees with those of ritual abuse survivors..

    The rise of believing Jesus was an alien and all supernatural accounts are alien life is something that has gotten more and more popular over the years - with both science helping to promote the ideology and New Age seeking to give a spiritual emphasis on worshiping the aliens. From movies such as "Prometheus" to "Knowing" and several others.....it seems that is the agenda that is being popularized - especially within Western U.S media.


    Heiser has done some amazing workin other areas as well. With the help of respected ancient language expert and Bible scholar, Dr. Michael Heiser, Chris White has produced a three-hour film, Ancient Aliens Debunked (available to watch online for free — click here), that is a must-see for anyone who’s ever wondered about the pyramids, ancient megaliths, the Nazca Lines, the Annunaki, Ezekiel’s Wheel, or any number of other apparent historical anomalies. It goes a long way in showing how much people are being prepared for things as part of massive deception. In many ways, crediting the existence of giants and other ancient actions to alien life can be seen as the product of fallen angels who want to harvest human souls...and radical action — imposition of an Old Testament form of morals and dogma on a planetary scale — is needed to save humanity from a hellish end.​

    For more on where I see religion heading in our own nation...

    I believe this country will be a mostly atheistic country in the next few decades. Sign of the times. How things are going. I also believe the U.S. will and is declining because of its loss of integrity and morality. The U.S. is just another "Roman Empire," that will crash and burn like so many other countries that had their time in the sun...that rose and then fell. Perhaps it's just me - but I thought the height of an atheistic country was the U.S.S.R and what they sought to do to believers, be it those in the Russian Orthodox Church or other churches). For the entire revolution against the Czar, to my knowledge, was based predominately on blaming God for their situation - although they didn't succedd in eradicating things since the Lord reigns...and the remant of believers will always find ways of making the truth known in ways that subvert a nation from eradicating Christianity from its midst (more discussed in "Hidden & Triumphant: The Underground Struggle to Save Russian Iconography ).

    With the U.S, it does seem we're living in a Post-Christian society where Christianity is not the dominant influence - and that can be beneficial to believers since it causes those serving Christ to shine brighter when the darkness is bigger.....and it does seem Christianity always seemed to thrive on the margins.

    Essentially, many are fearful of becoming minorities----feeling as if believers disagreeing with it will lose more power/influence while those disagreeing with Christ will become MORE powerful. But history doesn't seem to support that. I'm reminded of Jim Wallis' thoughts about post-Christendom (A Christian Mistake - Jim Wallis | God's Politics Blog | Sojourners ), which for the most part I agree with:

    "Personally, I am not offended or alarmed by the notion of a post-Christian America. Christianity was originally and, in my view, always meant to be a minority faith with a counter-cultural stance, as opposed to the dominant cultural and political force….. Martin Luther King Jr. did not get the Civil Rights Act passed because he had the most Bible verses on his side but because he entered into the public square with compelling arguments, vision, and policy that ultimately won the day. Those faith-inspired movements are disciplined by democracy, meaning they don’t expect to win just because they are “Christian.” They have to win the debates about what is best for the common good by convincing their fellow citizens. And that is best done by shaping the values narrative, as opposed to converting everyone to their particular brand of religion.”

    ______________________________________________________________________________-
    Living in a Post-Christian society can have negatives - and yet there are also strong benefits as well. There is a lack of dominance developing by the traditional parties like the Christian RIght and readjustment of how to interact with ideas.

    In many ways, it seems similar to what happened with believers in the Early Church when they became a majority over time and yet had to still find ways of working with the culture/other Non-Christian views - even though the West differed sharply from the East in what developed afterward ( #23 ).

    - And in some respects, The coming evangelical collapse with Evangelicals is also on the rise because of it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  9. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    It does seem that the Election 2012 marks the End of Evangelical Dominance in Politics
    [/COLOR]


    And with post-Christian U.S, although other doors have opened up for many things, I am afraid for other things as well.

    Sadly, it does seem that secular humanism is a dominant force and something that's seeking to dominate in many ways - although where we're at is tolerance being the new religion, IMHO. And a view of "tolerance" that's intolerant toward Christianity because of its traditional stance that it is supreme and the best out of all other roads...the way to the Lord. It makes no sense as to why others demand Christians to be tolerant of other religions/beliefs - all of it based on moral relativism/the belief that there are no absolutes - and yet they are aggressive in making absolute statements and new religion to proclaim itself as the only way to salvation.

    All these things are necessary for us to focus on...and thus, I thank you for making the thread available.

    I do think these kinds of discussions are necessary to speak on - for as Dr. Philip Jenkins has noted in his work The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia–and How it Died, "Besides the missionary theology cultivated by many churches, we also need a theology of extinction (Jenkins, 249)." Jenkins did an amazing job restoring this lost history of expansion that happened in churches - and yet he also gives due consideration to the near extinction of Christianity in these lands by about 1300. ...something that requiress a nuanced discussion of the "ferocious organized violence" (pp. 101, 141) of Islam that conquered many of these Christian lands. For Between the years 1200 and 1400 most all of these churches had vanished except for significant remnants like Coptic Christians in Egypt....and by around the year 1900, writes Jenkins, "the whole Middle East accounted for just 0.9 percent of the world's Christians" (155) — a stunning reversal of fortunes for a once powerful presence.

    From an historical perspective persecution both kills churches and spurs them onward. In example, think of the now non-existent church in Algeria and Tunisia and the growing church in China as examples of each phenomenon. According to Philip Jenkins, author of The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, “The difference [between churches that last and those that perish under persecution] is how far the church establishes itself among the mass of people and doesn’t just become the church of a particular segment, a class or ethnic group.”


    Post 9/11, there's little talk of the disapperance of Christianity in Asia and Africa during Muslim conquests in the 600s - or of how Christianity reshaped itself in light of how other religions began to rise in certain areas to take over what it had developed.

    But things have gotten worse and persecution of the saints has gone to the the highest levels ever....with it potentially developing into that in the U.S---and of course, my thoughts were that from the perspective of those being persecuted in the GLOBAL churches around the world, the Church has been persecuted more than ever before anyhow. ...

    But I do see the Church standing strong - especially in Orthodox Christianity as it spreads to other places/centers of development.....the same with Catholicism and Pentecostalism, which is very much the most expansive to my knowledge. I don't see that going away any time soon.

    That said, as it concerns new religions, one that has caught my eye are Omoto, Konk&#333;ky&#333;, and Rissh&#333; K&#333;seikai .... examples
    of New Religions among Brazilians of Japanese descent, and Sekai Ky&#363;seiky&#333;,
    S&#333;ka Gakkai, and Reiy&#363;kai as Japanese new religions that have expanded
    through propagation to Brazilians of a non-Japanese ethnic background
    . The New Religions in Taiwan are also intriguing to examine for me

    For new religions outside of that, one that has been coming out A LOT over the past couple of years is Transhumanism. In fact, that seems to be perhaps amongst the largest religions growing currently - even though others may claim that it's NOT a religion.

    Whereas others feel things such as Islamists are a growing religious threat, many have often noted that an even greater threat than anything else is Transhumanism (more here and here) and Secular Humanism, with the former on the rise and growing in control of much in the world---from human genetic enhancements/claiming to improve the human condition and doing a lot of messing with things/trying to get patents on biological elements (be it with Monsanto in its work with food or others working with gene therapy/finding ways to alter humanity in its evolution, regulation on human repopulation, eugenic population control, etc). In many ways, we're moving towards an alternative humanity: transhuman existence. This is based more on the technological than the biological. Scientific advances are enabling what once was purely science-fiction to become reality (take cybernetic limbs for example). We are spending increasingly more time interacting with computers than directly with other humans. How then will our ethics and laws alter to cope with these kinds of changes, and what impact will it have on our humanity?

    Many have been discussing the ways that a lot of the people working with trying to get patents on human genes are Transhumanist on differing levels......and that's one reason why it's so scarey.


    Militant Atheism is what often tends to come about from those venues....as well as social darwinism amongst other things (similar to the Eugenics programs hailed by Hitler in the Holocaust, alongside Margret Sanger in her plans for minorities in America with the Negro Project...and of course, the ways that Stalinism arose once Germany was defeated)....although I will say it's interesting seeing the ways that Hitler himself interacted with people from Radical Islam (a real threat)---for he worked with others who were leaders in radical Islam such as the Grand Mufti ( the highest official of religious law in a Sunni or Ibadi Muslim country), Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el-Husseini (more shared here, here, here and here )---more shared at Haj Amin Al-Husseini - Nazi collaborator and model for today's Islamists - Militant Islam Monitor andHitler's Mufti | Catholic Answers. There was a good documentary one Jewish believer showed me when we did a study on Islam/the dangers to be aware of (paticularly with Radical Islamists)....and it was interesting seeing the hate that hate produces:



    Granted, other Grand Muftis of today have denounced violence on multiple fronts (more here, here, here and here )--although it is still a serious issue to see others proclaimign violence. Palestinian Grand Mufti shocked Israel when it came to Fatah’s Muhammad Hussein urging killing Jews...(more here , here and here /here)..and sadly, many assume that anti-semitism agaisnt the Jewish people by radical Muslims is an indicator that all Arabs are the same way---and that is an error that has grave consequences when it comes to ignoring the many Arabs (be it Arab Christians or non-believing Arabs ) who've NEVER supported things done by the Grand Mufti during the time of Hitler.

    But the reason that all noted is due to the fact that it's interesting how often competing religions/ideologies may compete with one another many times - even wishing for the destruction of another - and yet they will come together creating a NEW religious dynamic for another group they may not like....and with new religions happening today, I see the same thing happening. In places persecution is occurring and attempts to wipe out religions like Christianity happen (as with Syria or Iraq), new religions are attempting to fill those power vaccums.
     
  10. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    If I may say...


    Many have noted how the Evangelical CHurch is dying off in our times and less people are going to those churches....yet, as it turns out, what has often been happening is that only one form of it has been dying of while those churches that are multicultural have been thriving. Others were of the mindset that it was actually thriving in communities that are minority based (i.e. Hispanic, Black, Asian, etc) and in urban centers because they had battles that many in other parts of the Evangelical world were NEVER concerned with ...and other have often noted how theological battles are often tied to cultural views and evangelicism has often been accussed of intentionally limiting the views of other theologians with a multicultural perspective (seen here in The Next Evangelicalism by Soong-Chan Rah - Internetmonk). One can look up Soong-Chan Rah noting how what others deemed "Evangelical" was often Euro-Centric/Caucasian /Upper Class views in dominance...and those views are not longer at the top as they were in previous eras. As he said:
    For more on the man who was interviewed by Michael Spencer:

    For so long, they were not in view due to not being the dominant voice....and yet, because of the shift in mindset and others going toward more of a "social justice" mindset when it comes to getting involved in Urban/Street Ministry and things common in minority cultures, the increase is happening there. A really excellent book I've been blessed to read on the matter is ..and its entitled "Many Colors"
    [​IMG]

    The other one that's solid is entitled "The Next Evangelism"
    [​IMG]


    Interview with Dr. Soong-Chan Rah
    ThinkFwd: EP015 Soong-Chan Rah - White Captivity of the ...



    For more info, one can go online/investigate the following under their respective titles:

    • —”Soong-Chan Rah – White Captivity of the Church Pt 1&#8243; ( //theooze.tv/thinkfwd/soong-chan-rah-white-captivity-of-the-church-pt-1 )
    Growing up going to a multicultural church, Soong-Chan Rah is one whom I admire for his work and the vision he brings. He is one of the main leaders within CCDA, an organization aimed at aiding others in ecomonically deprived communities/lower-income areas....

    He understands what it means to come from a multi-ethnic background and has given unique perspectives when it comes to views on church growth. Soong Rah once noted why Asian communities find commonality with African-American ones..discussing how Theologian James Cone makes this assertion in the commonality of suffering that is found in the black church experience and the experience of the Korean community. As a Korean American, Soong-Chan Rah thinks there is a powerful common thread in both the Korean and black communities in the stories of tremendous victory amidst great suffering and persecution. For both communities have experienced oppression (slavery, Jim Crow laws, racism, conquest, persecution, etc.), but both communities have experienced God in very deep ways in the context of great suffering.

    Soong-Chan Rah also relates to the black community in light of how his own father was absent as is the case for numerous black men. For most of his life, his father was absent, having abandoned his family when Soong was in elementary school. As the majority of his work has been in urban settings and working alongside other black leaders, I think he has much to say as it concerns credible ways of how to improve black families. What has happened in many black communuities at an alarming rate is that others are growing up in multi-cultural settings and the integration dynamic has literally changed the face of what black church/family looks like..............and many often miss that when focusing on one form of that.


    Some of it hits home for me personally, For in many ways, differing cultures have intersected with the the black community and have created entirely new dynamics that many blacks are unaware of ….be it with Black Hispanics, White/Black mixes ("Mulattos" ) or various other variations. One of my co-workers at the youth rehabilitation facility I work at is mixed with Black and Korean….and it was interesting to hear from him what his views were whenever it came to black culture or why its not doing well. His views were very much different from others, due to him growing up and feeling as if he was a child of 2 differing worlds, with the larger culture ignoring his views when it came to critiques of blacks.

    This is something that has been arising for awhile when it comes to those in Afro-Asian communities–and Of course, historically, there’s an entirely different side of black culture that’s often left out in discussions whenever it comes to issues in regards to Afro-Asian interactions….as it concerns historical interactions between “black” and “Asian” communities during the period of abolition, free labor, imperialism, and decolonization.


    This is one of the main factors of change/newness I see at play


    One of the biggest shifts I see with Evangelicalism is the fact that there are stereotypes that are now being broken extensively...


    Some of this can be seen in what MANY believers called out when it came to Lifeway Christian Bookstore having an "Asia Day!!" advertisment with every kind of stereotype on Asians that could be developed - and many Evangelicals were bothered by the ignorance of the actions as well as thinking it was all good because the goal was the Gospel...


    Rick Warren also got into trouble recently when it came to an image he placed up of Asians that was highly irreverent (As noted here and here and here). The controversy was surrounding Rick Warren’s (Pastor of Saddleback Church) posting on Facebook relating his staff team to a picture of the Chinese Red Guard. And on where I stand, I believe the picture he posted represents a gross lack of cultural and racial literacy..

    But of course, this isn't the first time Warren was approached by Asian-Americans - and others at Lifeway were approached with their promotion of Lifeway's racist Rickshaw Rally curriculum....something Lifeway FINALLY apologized for. . Soong-Chan Rah was the one who spearheaded the protest movement against Lifeway's racist Rickshaw Rally curriculum a few years back, and more recently, racially insensitive content in Zondervan's Skits That Teach: Speaking Up for Asian Americans. The materials featured egregious Asian stereotypes intended to be seen and heard by Christian youth. ...and that's a pretty horrible thought, considering that for a lot kids, these stereotypes and caricatures might actually be their first interaction with Asian peope and culture. While the controversy over Rickshaw Rally caused a ruckus, it never seemed to pick up support. ....and unfortunately, the publisher Lifeway refused to acknowledge any harm or wrongdoing on their part. Thankfully, Rev. Rah's dealings with Zondervan proved to be quite productive, with the publisher apologizing and taking drastic measures to rectify the situation. Although it was a small victory, it was a very big deal.

    And a BIG reflection on what I've pointed out before when it comes to insights from other minority groups not being considered in the everyday context of Christianity in the Dominant culture.

    For more:






     
  11. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    I forsee identity being a problem more so among ethnic lines than anything else..


    A lot of these difficulties have come due to the dynamic of attempting to intergrate within White communities and yet not having enough realization of the issues that Asian Americans deal with and what their actual culture is like - much of that being remnants of the 19th century in how others were seen...and thus we see shifts happening today that try to correct some of the problems that came with intergration.
    Integration can and does have some downsides, especially when it comes to seeing whether or not schools that tended to have groups focused upon more so end up being neglected and agreement is forced rather than sincere. The ways that battles over Intergrationism and Seperatism/Nationalism have intermixed is something many need to remember, especially as it concerns what occurred prior to others such as Dr.Martin Luther King and Malcom X in the ways they debated on how much others need to either unite or diverge....

    The issue also tends to extend into the realm of religious experience, as it concerns the ways that churches arose to deal with the needs of neglected communities who struggled with many things (from education to economics)---as seen frequently in the Black Church and its rising to address social problems and have a prophetic voice as an historic institution. Many have noted that there's no need for a Black Church as it concerns the diversity today---and yet, for others, they've often noted the ways that there'd be no need for having a Black church that's predominately black if the needs of black communities were addressed adequately by other non-black groups.

    Others have been of the mindset that it's promoting racism to seperate and not being welcoming toward non-blacks---and others who have gone to multi-cultural churches have noted the need to promote them more so as a means of bringing healing. Others who are white have noted that they want to have a black church experience and be involved in aiding others in the black community....although many have noted that something's off when that's said by others and churches with predominately black demographics are consistently led by a predominately white leadership staff----all of it in the claims of being multicultural.

    Others have noted that for them as whites, it's odd that many whites say that want to be involved in a black community/church and yet don't want to be under the leadership of black ministers.....and others have said that many whites don't want to see united churches due to reasons of whites not being in dominance rather than any real legitimate reasons. For many, it's a matterof not promoting paternalism...and seeing the ways things get complicated is interesting.

    For more:


     
  12. smaneck

    smaneck Baha'i

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    You draw our attention to a complicated issue. It is only the white evangelical churches that tend to be associated with right-wing political issues. While black churches may be morally conservative, they are usually not socially and politically conservative. That creates a pretty significant divide that goes beyond skin color.
     
  13. Zoness

    Zoness 667, neighbor of the beast Supporter

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    Gxg as always has written a fantastic amount of content, all of which is difficult for me to address in a brief manner. I do think smaneck's comment is a succinct summary of what the future may hold; tensions on Ethno-political lines over theological lines. It may not be the tension of the past but it could be possible that people will fill niches into forming identities around religions. I think there might be possibly be even bigger rifts between "white Christianity" and "non-white Christianity", exacerbated by the explosive growth of Christianity in non-white nations. I wonder if we will start to see the same in Islam or in Buddhism (traditional Buddhism vs "Western" Buddhism or something).
     
  14. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Very good observation - although seeing the Black Church in action, I've seen many that are indeed politically conservative and it's not a new dynamic..
     
  15. BaconWizard

    BaconWizard Regular Member

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    Gxg, I'm interested in why you regard transhumanism as a bad thing; I know you've already posted, I'll get to it, but maybe you have more to add?

    I am talking about transhumanism itself, not merely that the wrong people might own the rights to the tech, or license it, or restrict access to certain groups, or that our governments and legal system are slow and out of date etc. But that's not transhumanism, that is the failure of our leaders to adapt.
     
  16. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    When it comes to the way that machines and man are becoming more and more unified, it is something that takes away from the dynamic of what mankind is. ...especially when it comes to the dynamic of Eugenics/social Darwinism and seeking to eradicate others who are not physically on par (i.e. genetic manipulation, eradicating those with disabilities, class stratification, etc.)

    Not many of us are able to realize the physical battles occurring where there has been a substantial drive to transform humanity from the inside out---and this, by no means whatsoever, has been something very secret. There was an excellent documentary series I recently saw on that very subject, as seen here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2wO1CY7OcA

    • Brave New World: Transhuman Part 1
    • The Age of Transitions (full length documentary)

      TransHumanism P1 Mark of the Beast.divx - YouTube

      TransHumanism Part 2The Digital Messiah.divx - YouTube


      Part of me was of the mindset that the Soul isn't necessarily erased by the mechanical. In example, if you had it where you utilized mechanical innovations to live longer - like an artificial lung or replacing a limb if it was lost - who you were as a person would still remain. I would think it's more so about the aspect of glorifying the mechanical and trying to escape some of the natural aspects of life.

      And yet In our diets, our medical health, how we are medicated to perform/behave/societally trained - and even things which had potential for good (like certain types of medication and much of what comes out in the world of pharmacy ) has been used as what others turn to. Even the foods we eat are quickly becoming PATENTED so that corporations control the food supply and it is predomatiately the result of Genetic Engineering that is not natural. It's as though we are quite literally a new species ... some version of "homo sapien" that is more akin to a domesticated pet engineered by masters, rather than the original version of the wild animal. In many ways, we struggle to find our identities, and our identities are so important to us ... because we are artificial and trying to figure out if we're really alive or not, like a robot becoming sapient and self aware

      I've often been astounded at the ways that mankind has sought to improve himself, to the point that much of what's deemed as an "improvement" has greatly kept man from being natural in many respects...and indeed, as you say, synthetic/artificial and in a state of being that was not meant to be. Even in things such as the foods that man eats, much of it has been altered and there's a significant battle occurring over who will control it since many see the agenda to transform man---and in many ways, make him greatly limited in what he can do in the process..


      According to NASA, the technological singularity is a mathematical certainty. They, in conjunction with IBM, Google, Intel, etc, etc, have created a university to research the implications of this singularity, and whether we can use it, or whether it will use us, ignore us, or simply wipe us out.

      To explain what the technological singularity is, we begin with a phenomenon called Moore's law. Moore's law states that technology roughly doubles every 18 months. While Gordon Moore intended his observation to explain only the growth of integrated circuits, however, the law can be extended back through time remarkably consistently. The reason technology is growing faster is because of the exponential nature of Moore's law. Here, let me demonstrate with a graph of an exponential curve (please forgive the poor artistic or professional value, I put it together quickly)

      [​IMG]

      Once artificial intelligence reaches roughly the level of human intelligence, we will be on the event horizon of the singularity. 18 months from that point, artificial intelligence will be double human intelligence, and Moore's law will be cut in half. Nine months later, it will happen again. 4 1/2 months later, it will happen again. 2 months, 1 month, 2 weeks, 1 week... Eventually technology will advance instantaneously (or it will appear to, as our minds will not be able to keep up with the pace well before that time).

      Whether nanobots are keeping us healthy, or if Skynet is trying to wipe out humanity... .it's a problem.

      I still find it, of course, a bit unsettling to consider the ways that a Skynet reality (or that of the Matrix) is something that'd not be that impossible - man setting up his own destruction due to the ways he neglected the natural world the Lord made....and placed himself in a position where he began to abdicate his abilities to the mechanical world (or the synthetic/artificial and bio-technological) when he damaged the natural world/its ability to sustain him. I say that in light of the sheer amount of damage man has been doing to himself as well as the Earth....

      We can see this directly in the ways that key animals have been going extinct due to mankind being quite ruthless with his environment - especially those animals that keep the food supply going. And sadly, without the use of a broad group of insect pollinators, including honey bees, mason bees, moths, flies, and butterflies, most of our crops and fruiting trees will no longer produce food for mankind and animals. Already our crops are being affected by bee colony collapse. We don't even see how we treat the workers who make our honey/keep the eco-system going can easily result in dealing with more problems to work with that you'd never have considered.....from food to dealing with the bees we get in place of ones we kill off (Killer Bees) which are far less tolerant/more 'thuggish' and more than ready to strike back at those hitting them

      But with the thought coming up that many may have to end up pollinating by HAND when the bees die - the concept of machines becoming a real reality does not seem that far off. And with mankind becoming more and more synthetic and artificial - especially as it concerns our food supply being so greatly damaged, I do wonder how things will transpire. For an excellent interview on the issue:
      So many have ignored the way corporations have been trying to take over the food supply ALL over the world - and doing extensive damage as a result. And some of it is no surprise. Having to do a research project on the issue recently for a Graduate School project and being shocked to see the ways the president promised to not support Monsanto - only for them to maneuver/outfox the Presidential administration to have essentially no limits in what they do - it is something I wish more were aware of. Some of the issue was discussed more in-depth elsewhere in places such as Green Patriarch, bee colony collapse, EPA, and use of pesticides & herbicides andOT: The President has signed into law the Protection of Monsanto - as well as BLUE GOLD: World Water Wars and Fighting Privization of Natural Resources in Crisis

      Of course, others have said how wild would it be if other generations looked back/considered the times we lived in as a matter of "The Dark Ages" compared to where they were at - prior to the return of Christ in THEIR times..

      You never know...
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2014
  17. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Very possible reality development.

    Alongside that dynamic, I do see a rise in the dynamic of what you've mentioned in the current development of Catholicism...the divide being seen more and more as it concerns ethnicity and the ways politics have shifted things....

    We see this in the choosing of Pope Francis...the new Pope is from Argentina, the first non-European leader of the church in more than 1,000 years -an advocate for addressing poverty...one named after Francis Xavier ( a fellow Jesuit/amazing missionary to Japa...n/Asian countries) and very humble pastoral figure whose background sends a powerful message that the future of the Church lies in the Global South, the location of the majority of the world's Cathlolics.

    He has taken a lot of heat for His promotion of Liberation Theology and critiquing Capitalism in the ways it has harmed so many. I find it noteworthy that he took bus to work and the people could come up to talk to him anytime..in addition to the fact that he lived in an apartment/ cooked for himself - and isn't afraid to speak out on the issues of economic corruption and capitalist mindsets that have led to others being seen for the sake of profit (as shared in http://www.christianforums.com/t7750312-71/#post63292739 and pope francis | BillMoyers.com )...issues that have ALWAYS been more relevant to those in 3rd world nations than other places..

    Pope Francis Takes on Economy in Name of Conscious Capitalism - YouTube
    Pope Francis Slams "Tyranny" of Capitalism and "Idolatry of Money" - YouTube
    Pope Francis Slams GOP Trickle-Down Economics, Greed & Cruelty! - YouTube
    Pope Francis Goes Off On Capitalism - YouTube


    A lot of networks are saying his election was a night of firsts for the Catholic Church. And for many of the humble/God-Fearing Catholics who've done serious ministry in down-trodden areas, I am glad they're encouraged.



    Others have spoken on the issue before in-depth. Philip Jenkins - The New Christendom (latest edition). - comes to mind. He has written about the South being the new centre of the Church and the North / West losing out to secularism. I've read the work "The New Christendom" before...around 2 years ago, actually. Awesome read, IMHO, when it comes to showing Global Christianity.


    A lot of people were concerned that choosing a Pope from the Global South would signify that the North/West were being abandoned as the center of definition in influence for the Catholic world. Others felt that choosing a Non-European pope would send a signal that they are giving up on being an active force in the Global Borth and looking to become increasingly insular in that part of the globe, while looking to the Global South to be the cultural center of the Church for potentially centuries to come, relying on the high conversion rate and zeal for religion down there- and swinging way to the conservative end of the spectrum.

    However, I think that perhaps shifting to the Global South as a dominant force/the spot to influence things globally would not be negative...for the opposite result is that there'd be implict focus on the Global North seeking to be the main source of influence/not allow for a new time of influence to develop and take a rest in history. Having the Global SOUTH - which is shaping things would not necessarily mean that the Global North was abandoned ...no more than it'd be the case that having the Global North lead would mean the Global South was abandoned. It seems that others are seeing the writing on the wall with the SOuth rising more so in prominence and leadership - and thus, to have a face representative of that would be beneficial.


    Indeed, the Church is not going to give up on Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim in favor of building up in the high growth areas of Africa and South America. As it is, the Pacific Rim in addition to Asia is also connected to the Global South dynamic. There do seem to be valid reasons why the Global South should be more of a focus. As one author said best:
    Across the global South cardinals and bishops have become national moral leaders in a way essentially unseen in the West since the seventeenth century. The struggles of South African churches under apartheid spring to mind, but just as impressive were the pro-democracy campaigns of many churches and denominations elsewhere in Africa during the 1980s and 1990s. Prelates know that they are expected to speak for their people, even though if they speak boldly, they may well pay with their lives. Important and widely revered modern martyrs include Archbishop Luwum, of Uganda; Archbishop Munzihirwa, of Zaire; and Cardinal Biayenda, of Congo-Brazzaville.

    As this sense of moral leadership grows, we might reasonably ask whether Christianity will also provide a guiding political ideology for much of the world. We might even imagine a new wave of Christian states, in which political life is inextricably bound up with religious belief. Zambia declared itself a Christian nation in 1991, and similar ideas have been bruited in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Liberia. If this ideal does gain popularity, the Christian South will soon be dealing with some debates, of long standing in the North, over the proper relationship between Church and State and between rival churches under the law.


    I agree with others who note that it is simply a change in atmosphere that has been a long time coming. The Global South does seem to be where we're headed back to - and interestingly enough, historically it was the case that the world was guided by it once before - a thought often forgotten historically - so it's not the first time that area has shaped the world and it shouldn't be something people get concerned with since it may be necessary to bring change.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2014
  18. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    I think we'll be seeing a lot of the same as it concerns Christianity around the world and the ways it has interacted with Folk religions - even though that is easier when we acknowledge where things have been and where they can go..

    I'm reminded of Dr John Harris, author of One Blood, a landmark study into 200 years of Aboriginal encounter with Christianity.....for he sought to discuss the impact of European missionaries on Aboriginal Culture. Specifically, out of a burning conviction that “God made of one blood all nations”, Christians have carried their message to Aborigines throughout Australia....and John shares how, in the face of abuse, paternalism, prejudice, isoluation and crippling hardship, the Christian gospel was brought to Aboriginal people. Although sometimes blind to their own faults, those who brought this message were remarkable people of great compassion and courage....and yet their actions had severe consequences. Historically, Christian missions were sometimes places of regimentation marked by a loss of freedom or places of survival and refuge for a suffering people. And although the missions may seem to have failed, from many of them emerged distinctive Aboriginal churches with strong Aboriginal leadership (more here and here or here)

    And that new flavor is something that is happening more than what occurred before:) For others:

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]








     
  19. smaneck

    smaneck Baha'i

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    I realize Pope Francis is a Jesuit but do really think he named himself after Francis Xavier rather than Francis Assisi? He certainly seems to be following the pattern of the latter.


    I don't think he follows Liberation Theology in the pure sense of the word. In fact, he got a lot of flack in Argentina because they felt he didn't support the Liberation Theologians within his order sufficiently.

    I don't think it is an accident that they picked a South American who was at the same time Italian.

    I think we have to be honest and acknowledge that Europe, for the most part, has abandoned Christianity.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
  20. Zoness

    Zoness 667, neighbor of the beast Supporter

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    Yeah, I think this is sort of a "Shots fired" line to Europe that they have fallen out of good faith with Catholicism. Additionally I don't think that the formation of Christian nations in the global south is good for the global south or Christians, tbh.

    All of that said, Gxg has some pretty interesting analysis. I think that Christianity becoming more focused to the global south might tangentially mellow out the American Evangelicals.

    What are your thoughts on Islams future development? Will it eventually surpass Christianity in raw numbers or will Christianity hold strong with its global south growth?
     
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