Monday, October 03, 2016

Purging Christ

I think it was in the 1980s sometime that I first encountered the designation “BCE.” The period I was studying was 3000 years ago and it was designated 1000 BCE. Clearly the new acronym was related to the familiar “BC” meaning “Before Christ,” but I wondered about when and why it had changed. Most people are now familiar with “Before Common Era” but it was brand new to most of us back then. I suspected it was part of an increasing purge of Christianity from the public square.
See it?[C. E. 1901]

Also substituted was the designation “CE” (Common Era) for “AD” which my students always guessed meant “After Death” of Jesus Christ, but it’s actually an acronym for the Latin “Anno Domini” meaning “Year of our Lord.” Academics denied anti-Christian bias had anything to do with the new dating nomenclature. They cited its use in the century-old Anarchist journal Lucifer The Light Bearer. They didn’t really think that would pacify Christians, did they? Jewish scholars used it too, they pointed out.
The textbook I used for the last decade of my teaching career used them and I suspect nearly all do now. Astute students would ask how the acronyms originated and I’d explain that there was a time when western culture held the most important event in all of history to be the life of Jesus Christ, so historians measured all of time by what happened before Christ and what happened after Him. 
But that’s changing, or perhaps it would be more accurate to use past tense and say “that changed.” Is the change complete? Do we live in a post-Christian America? Is that particular battle in the wider culture war over now? Maybe we’re in a mopping-up operation as they say in military parlance. When the mopping up is finished, perhaps we’ll go back to using “AD” in the way my students understood it: “After Death of Christ.”
We Christians believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, part of a triune deity and therefore God Himself. Philosopher Frederich Neitzche first declared “God is Dead” not in 1891’s “Thus Spake Zarathustra” but in his 1882 collection: The Gay Science. That was back when “gay” still meant “happy.” In it, Neitzche wrote:

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
There’s so much in there: “Who will wipe his blood off usevokes Hamlet. “What water is there to clean ourselves?” evokes Pontius Pilate and is ritualized in every Catholic mass said thousands of times every day for thousands of years. His question, “Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?” evokes President Obama’s declaration: "I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when...the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Is Obama pretending godlike powers? How about environmentalists who believe themselves capable of halting the extinction of any more species even after 99% of all species that ever existed have become so?
Simultaneous with the purging Christ from our calendar were related efforts to separate Christ from Christmas. They’ve continued to the point where few public schools call the cancellation of classes at the end of our calendar year “Christmas Vacation” anymore. Now it’s “winter break” or some such thing. Those who would purge the life of Christ from history would also purge Christ from everything. They’re careful to say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas,” but the English word “holiday” derives from “holy day.” When that fact achieves critical mass in Progressive consciousness, will there be a movement to stop saying Happy Holidays and substitute “Happy Winter Solstice”? Might that be one of the “festivals of atonement” Neitzche predicted we would have to reinvent to assuage our conscience for killing God?
Getting back to measuring time, how long until we throw out the seven-day week? That comes from Jewish Scripture and the first book of the Christian bible after all. Then on to place names? Will Progressives force the city of Corpus Christi to change its name? It’s Latin for “Body of Christ” you know. How about San Francisco (St. Francis) and Los Angeles (City of Angels)?
Then what? Ban crosses from public cemeteries? How far will they go?


Anonymous said...

There's always the repeal of The Johnson Amendment to pray for.
Only from a First Amendment perspective of course.

Dawn said...

I think I know why much of what we are seeing is happening. Slowly but surely we are distancing ourselves away from Christ and His Word and for good reason. For those in the know, and have eyes to see and ears to hear, we are in a battle. A spiritual one. The physical battle we see has deep roots we cannot see.

I've been reading scripture for decades. Back in the 70's and 80's much of the prophetical parts were cloudy and some assumptions were made trying to put the puzzle together. For one thing we were looking at the West, when we should have been looking at the East. We made mistakes. Basically more light was needed in order to see more clearly. We know the bible and prayer were pretty much taken out of the schools in the 1960's. Again. For good reason.

Back in the 60's prophecy was hard to put together. While the bible has lots to offer in the way of everyday living and examples to follow and not follow, much of it we still couldn't quite grasp or understand.

Much has changed. Now in 2016 it's very very clear. The cloud has lifted. What has made the difference? Islam. The Islamic force was the missing puzzle pieces we didn't have. Back in the 60's most of us (unless you were a history buff) had no idea about Muslims. They were far far away and had no bearing on our lives.

I've been studying (digging very deep) those before hard to understand prophetic books/scripture and now it makes perfect sense. The Islamic World Power is that missing piece that ties all the scriptures together. But guess what? Nobody is reading the bible anymore because it was deemed unreadable, irrelevant or not understandable by many in the 60's and beyond. Now when we need to be in it, it has no real place in the everyday life like it did before. Now is the time to open this book up. It is the playbook for what is going on in the world today.

So basically, for good reason, Satan and his minions made sure back in the 60's the bible was thrown out of all the public places before people would make sense of it and see the whole truth. It was a strategic move for good reason. Well played. It's a battle.

Ronnie said...

“American Psychological Association to Classify Belief in God As a Mental Illness.”

A study led the APA to conclude that “a strong and passionate belief in a deity or higher power, to the point where it impairs one’s ability to make conscientious decisions about common sense matters, will now be classified as a mental illness.” Faith’s recurrent lethality was adduced: “Every year thousands of people die after refusing life-saving treatment on religious grounds.” Dr. Lillian Andrews: “Religious belief and the angry God phenomenon has caused chaos, destruction, death, and wars for centuries. The time for evolving into a modern society and classifying these archaic beliefs as a mental disorder has been long overdue.”

In fact, religion, so potentially dangerous that the Founding Fathers established a “wall of separation” to keep it clear of our affairs of state.

True, belief, say the polls, is waning, but that it persists at all, given the advances of science in the past couple of centuries, and especially since Darwin published “The Origin of Species” in 1859, does nothing if not lead a rationalist to despair. To have all the resources to begin reliably fathoming the mysteries of the universe, and yet to cast them aside for slavish fidelity to primitive fables (most of which deserve no more “reverence” than tales from the Brothers Grimm) that no one past the age of six or seven should believe . . .

The macabre atrocities of ISIS and Boko Haram hardly require description here. Suffice it to say that religion is the chief motivator of terrorism the world over. Apologists can rant themselves red in the face trying to ascribe such crimes to anything but faith, but the truth is, any Islamic fundamentalist can claim, with irrefutable textual justification, to be acting in accordance with “holy writ.”

Unfortunately, this story is a hoax, professionals are, nonetheless, taking note of the danger it was parodying. A San-Franciscan human development consultant named Dr. Marlene Winell, herself a survivor of a Pentecostal upbringing, has bruited the idea of “religious trauma syndrome” and established its symptoms as “anxiety . . . depression, cognitive difficulties, and problems with social functioning.” Kathleen Taylor, an Oxford neuroscientist, has proposed treating religious fundamentalism itself as a “mental disturbance.”

For the sake of humanity’s future, for the sake of our children, rationalists need to be unabashedly “bulldoggish.”

Tom McLaughlin said...

Ronnie, thanks for personifying the condescension with which Progressives view us Christians these days. If we believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God, we're morons.

Ronnie said...

And if I believe that I have a pet Sea Monkey that is the daughter of God, am I a moron? At least my belief has led to no violence and intolerance for others.

Ronnie said...

And, may I add, you seem to believe that men who believe they are women and vice versa, are morons, and you are very condescending towards them. Why is your belief more sacred?

Peter said...

Tom, I have an honest question that I would like to pose in a non-combatitive way.

I understand that you have the right to your opinion about religion, and that is a good thing, something our country was founded on. I am not looking down on you, or being condescending about your beliefs, you surely have a reason for them. May they do you good. But my question is - why all this commotion about Christmas or solstices or whatever? What is the concern about what other people call a holiday? Call it what you want. Celebrate it like you want. Let them call it what they want. Believe what you want. Let others believe what they want. Why let it bother you if other people think God is dead? Isn't what's important is if God is dead to YOU?

Happiness. Goodness. Cheer. Empathy. Whatever it is that causes such feelings as these is God to me. And they are not dead. Can you respect that? Am I doing harm to the world with such thoughts? Am I in need of "converting"?

So why be concerned if how other people handle things does not fit your religion? Who cares if they do change the calendar? It is hard to argue that we shouldn't have changed to the much more logical and simple metric system...why the fear in change?

I guess this was more than just one question....but I welcome the response.

Brian said...

Tom, do you really have such a defeatist attitude that you think it is pointless to save the lives of eagles, apes, elephants, etc, because of the extinction percentages? Sure species will come and go, and with another almost inevitable planet catastrophe somewhere down the line most, it not all, will be wiped out again - so just give up already? Wow. Why give a baby medicine? 99.999% of all one-time babies have died off already!

Anonymous said...

Why on Earth should schools call the vacation "Christmas Vacation" when many students observe Hanukkah or something else? Simply because that is the way it has been done? That is not good enough or we never would have changed lots of dumb things. Easter often falls during schools Spring Break, but it is not called Easter Break. Winter and Spring are the same for everybody. Why the need to push your thing on others?

Ronnie said...

Christianity SHOULD be purged from the public square, just as our Founding Fathers wanted it separated from State. I hear a lot of complaints about this happening, but no real reason why it should NOT be happening.

Steve said...

Ronnie's got you there, Mr. McLaughlin. Your blog posts are dredged in condescension and ridicule towards those who have the temerity to think differently than you. I never understood how inconsolable conservatives get at the use of happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas. I was raised Irish Catholic – no Catholic School, but I was baptized, confirmed and lived through eight years of CCD. I wish people a Merry Christmas when I know they celebrate it, but if I'm unsure, I'll wish them happy holidays. I wouldn't be offended if someone wished me Happy Hannakuh, but it would be as strange as someone wishing me a happy birthday six months too early. Conservatives are quick to laud the Judaeo-Christian foundation of this country. The Judaeo portion of that foundation doesn't celebrate Christmas, yet Christians expect everybody to wish everyone else a Merry Christmas. I think it's just another manufactured way for Christian conservatives to feel like they're an oppressed minority in this country.

Greg B. said...

How dare scientists try and and save species from extinction! What gall? Who do they think they are, God?

The fact is that they have already saved some species. And now bees have made the endangered list. If you are not up on your science (oops, how silly, of course you are not up on your science...just look at your thoughts on global warming and the earth's creation) but bees are extremely important to us.

Does it really seem foolish to you to try and save these creatures?

Brian said...

Nobody wants to "separate Christ from Christmas", they want to separate Christmas from whatever it is that they themselves celebrate. Why should their holiday or vacation be named and overshadowed by something they don't believe in? Keep your Christ, keep your Mass, keep your Christmas, just don't force it on others. It would be nice to hear an explanation as to why this is a difficult concept for many christians to grasp.

Anonymous said...

If thinking that a president is foolish and being a narcissist for listening to scientists and trying to help the planet, I can see why to plan to vote for Trump.

Tom said...

I read your blog all the time and there is nothing remotely Christian about it.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine Jesus calling people "fat feminists". No, that is more Trump style.

No loving thy neighbor here. Especially if they are Muslim or different in any way.

Judge not? hah!

The Jesus quote that fits here is:

"ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

Brian said...

Tom seems to disappear when confronted with questions that make him think deeper about his beliefs. This happens in most of his posts, but is he really "too busy" now to even try and defend his thoughts on his religion?

There are at least a dozen questions posed here, none of them answered. Of course, as always, we are left to assume that the reason is because you have no solid answers, so you go into hiding.

When the going gets tough, the not so tough are nowhere to be found.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

American's perception of religion started changing in the 1970's and 80's when fundamentalist religion became political. Schools started forcing small Jewish, Muslim, non religious and other children to pray to baby Jesus. When people of religions other than Christianity complained about a government agent forcing their children into another religion the government followed the constitution and told public schools and other government agencies that they couldn't promote one religion over all others.

People of different religion, non religious people and mainstream Christians saw religious zealots demand that schools stop teaching science and replace it with religion. They saw an ethic standard where people calling themselves fundamentalist Christians lied on a regular basis. Thou shalt not bear false witness were just words to be ignored. Some Christians were violent, killing people that they didn't like, like abortion doctors. They saw case after case of child sexual abuse by fundamentalist where the offender was defended and the four year old victim was blamed for the crime. The final straw against organized religion was 911. Christians pretend that Christians and Muslims were totally different but if you listened to extremists on either side you could exchange God/Jesus with Allah and not be able to tell the difference.

Religious people say that you can't be good without religion. But from the outside of religion you see an organization that lies, promotes violence and promotes child abuse.