Category Archives: Religion
The following is a useful graphic display of the difference between US Christian and non-Christian views of Christianity. Barna have a similar chart relating to what people perceive as “extreme” in religion, and nearly three times as many young Brits believe religion to be a nett source of evil as believe it to be a nett source of good.
On using Dt 7:3 as justification for banning refugees because they might contaminate your society.
That verse in its context: “When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess […] you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them.” – Deuteronomy 7:1-3. That passage is *not* talking about refugees, but about Israel’s invasion of the Promised Land.
Subsequently, the Torah refers to Israel’s life in the Promised Land, saying, “‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-34. They are not treated as Israelites if they are denied the right to marry Israelites.
This injunction is repeated: “the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” – Deuteronomy 10.
The Torah does indeed require a coherent law for the whole society, which includes *equal rights* for all members of that society.”
In fact, we have the Torah in its repeated, explicit commandment to care for refugees:
• Lev 19:18 thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself
• Lev 25:35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.
• Deu 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
• Deu 10:18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
Next, the Nevi’im, continuing that theme:
• Isa 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
• Jer 7:6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
Jer 7:7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
• Hos 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
• Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
• Zec 7:10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
Then, the Ketuvim, maintaining the same discourse:
• Psa 82:3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Psa 82:4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
• Pro 14:31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.
• Pro 17:5 Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.
And finally the Christian Scriptures, following that same idea:
• Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
• Mat 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
• Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Mat 25:42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
• Luk 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? […] 33 But a certain Samaritan
• 1Jn 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
Just to make it perfectly clear, there is no exemption for a stranger who is hostile:
• Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”.
What the Bible says: “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Gen 18:19ff); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Ex 32:1-14); “Homosexuality is bad” (Lev 18:22, 20:13); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (2 Chr 30:17-20); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Is 1:10-17); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Ps 50:7-15); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Mic 6:8); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Hos 6:6); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Mt 9:11-13); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Mt 12:1-8); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Mk 2:23-28); “Valuing rules over people is bad” (Mk 12:33); “Homosexuality is bad” (Rom 1:25-6); “Homosexuality is bad” (1 Cor 6:9-10); “Homosexuality is bad” (1 Tim 1:8-11).
The only message which some people hear: “Homosexuality is bad”.
On a verbal intelligence (wordsum) test (out of 10):
* people who are certain God exists (5.83)
* people who believe in God part of the time (5.84)
* atheists (6.13)
* people who harbour doubts but still believe (6.29)
* deists (6.82)
* agnostics (7.05)
(W S Bainbridge, ‘Atheism’, Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, pp.321-2)