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GOP Nominee For Va. Lt. Governor: Non-Christians Engaged In “False Religion”

Republican nominee for Lt. Governor E.W. Jackson Jr. has opened his mouth again, and likely plunged the Republican ticket into another mess:

At a morning sermon Sunday in Northern Virginia, Republican lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson, a Chesapeake pastor, said people who don’t follow Jesus Christ “are engaged in some sort of false religion.”

Jackson offered that view while describing a list of the “controversial” things he believes, and that must be said, as a Christian.

“Any time you say, ‘There is no other means of salvation but through Jesus Christ, and if you don’t know him and you don’t follow him and you don’t go through him, you are engaged in some sort of false religion,’ that’s controversial. But it’s the truth,” Jackson said, according to a recording of the sermon by a Democratic tracker. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way the truth and the light. No man comes unto the Father but by me.’”

It is not the first time Jackson has weighed in with controversial comments on questions of faith and social issues. He has also said that gay people’s “minds are perverted. They are frankly very sick people psychologically and mentally and emotionally.”

The Web site of the Restoration Fellowship Church in Strasburg, where Jackson spoke Sunday, includes a recording of Jackson’s sermon. But a short section that included the “false religion” comment was missing from that part of the recording.

The church’s pastor, Jay Ahlemann, said he agrees with Jackson’s interpretation of scripture. He also said a member of his church staff told him nothing had been deleted from the recording.

As for non-Christians, “I would expect they would be offended,” Ahlemann acknowledged. “It’s not our purpose. And [Jackson] said he did not set out to offend people. It’s his purpose to proclaim what the Bible said as a preacher. That was not a political speech. That was a Bible sermon…Those of us who are Bible-believing Christians are very proud of what he had to say.”

Over on Facebook, some have noted that Jackson is merely stating something that many Christians already believe. That may be the case — although I’ve never heard anything like this from a Catholic Priest, or indeed any recent Pope — but that’s religion, not politics. Jackson obviously doesn’t understand where his job as a “Bishop” ends and politics begins.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mikey D says:

    Was this a political event? Looks like it was spoken as a sermon at a church. So the politics ended and “Bishop” began?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. @Mikey D:

    When you’re running for office, politics never ends.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  3. LNF says:

    Nothing new here. One of the many reasons folks go to church is to have their beliefs reaffirmed. After a long week of dealing with what they see as the fallen world, they like to be reminded that they are right and others are wrong. Jackson gave them what they wanted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  4. Pinky says:

    Well, yeah, if you believe that something is true, then you believe that other things, to the extent to which they differ from it, are false. I’d assume that whatever Northam bellieves in, he believes that what he doesn’t believe in is wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  5. al-Ameda says:

    As for non-Christians, “I would expect they would be offended,” Ahlemann acknowledged. “It’s not our purpose. And [Jackson] said he did not set out to offend people. It’s his purpose to proclaim what the Bible said as a preacher. That was not a political speech. That was a Bible sermon…Those of us who are Bible-believing Christians are very proud of what he had to say.”

    LOL! That is some restaurant quality bologna right there. The writers for Jon Stewart or Bill Maher couldn’t have said it better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. How is this different then, say, Richard Dawkins claiming that everyone who believes in God is delusional?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  7. Franklin says:

    Actually, this is perfect. As someone who doesn’t practice any religion, next time I fill out a questionaire that asks for Religion, a great answer would be “False”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. Ernieyeball says:

    @Stormy Dragon: How is this different then, say, Richard Dawkins claiming that everyone who believes in God is delusional?

    Dawkins is right!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Because Richard Dawkins is not running for public office.

    We are supposed to have a principle of separation of church and state. It’s hard to believe that Reverend Jackson as Lt Gov would respect that principle.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Franklin: I always put down “None”. If anyone asks, I’ll tell them None is a very strong preference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. Bill says:

    So Jews are practicing a false religion. Does Rev. Jackson remember Christianity 101 which teaches Jesus was a Jew? God bless the Reverend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. Pinky says:

    @Bill: The Christian reply would be that Jesus was born for the purpose of completing Judaism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. al-Ameda says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    How is this different then, say, Richard Dawkins claiming that everyone who believes in God is delusional?

    Let me get back to you on that – I’m going to have to spend 20 years wandering in the desert before I can answer that question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  14. Actually I think Jackson and his ilk would do well to read what the current Pope and his two immediate predecessors have said about ecumenicism, both among different Christian sects and between Christians and people of other (or no) faiths. Of course, he probably comes from one of those churches that doesn’t think very much of Catholics either I’m guessing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. Grewgills says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Dawkins isn’t running for office in Virginia or anywhere else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. @gVOR08:

    Because Richard Dawkins is not running for public office.

    All atheists (as opposed to agnostics) implictly believe religious belivers are deluded. Are you saying that atheists should not run for public office, or are you saying they should not say what they really think?

    It’s hard to believe that Reverend Jackson as Lt Gov would respect that [seperation of church and state]

    Oh agreed, but that is a problem which has nothing to do with this particular statement. The various world religions are by and large mutually incompatible, so on some level nearly all religious believers must think other religions are false. To suggest otherwise is to essentially say that religious faith is just a cultural affectation rather than a sincerely held belief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  17. grumpy realist says:

    Well, if I’m a non-Christian, I’m going to wonder how much respect the Reverend will give to representing me and support my rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  18. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    All atheists (as opposed to agnostics) implictly believe religious belivers are deluded.

    No, we don’t. Speak for yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  19. @mantis:

    So you don’t think religious people have a “belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary”? Please explain to me how you can simultaneously believe there is no God or gods, but that people who believe there are can be correct in the belief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  20. Ernieyeball says:

    …(how can) people who believe there are (gods)…be correct in the belief.

    Belief is not based on evidence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Pinky: Tell me Pinky, did Jesus complete Judaism before or after they crucified him?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    All atheists (as opposed to agnostics) implictly believe religious belivers are deluded. Are you saying that atheists should not run for public office, or are you saying they should not say what they really think?

    Ohhh absolutely they are deluded in their beliefs. But far be it from me to ridicule them in their beliefs (really, i am no Richard Dawkins. I actually try to respect the religious beliefs of others and keep the ridicule to myself) As far as atheists in this country? Running for public office???

    Less said the better, if you want to have a chance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    Belief is not based on evidence.

    Correction: Faith is not based on evidence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  24. Ernieyeball says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus lists these words as synonyms for faith.

    trust, belief, confidence, conviction; optimism, hopefulness, hope.

    What’s the difference?

    Or try it this way. Religious belief. Religious faith.
    Again. What’s the difference?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    So you don’t think religious people have a “belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary”?

    I don’t believe there is superior evidence to the contrary. I believe there is an unsatisfactory lack of evidence supporting claims of a supreme creator. I can no more prove that no god exists than I believe they can prove one (or more) does. I acknowledge that I am at the disadvantage in that it is impossible to prove a negative, but that comes with the territory with believing a negative exists. In the end, we both believe something we cannot prove in any satisfactory way that all rational people could agree upon. If they are delusional, am I not? I like to think my eyes are open and seeing fine.

    I do believe some religious people are delusional in their religious beliefs, but they are often delusional in many other ways as well!

    Please explain to me how you can simultaneously believe there is no God or gods, but that people who believe there are can be correct in the belief.

    Being incorrect does not necessarily make one delusional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  26. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I think that whatever his opinions, an avowed atheist running for public office would be a damn fool to state publicly that believers were deluded. Were he to do so, believers would be entitled to fear he would act against them in office. The same applies to the Rev. Jackson. If he can’t even manage to respect other religions in public statements during the campaign, what should we expect of him if elected?

    We are free to believe as we wish. There are constraints on how we may act, or speak.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. Pope Francis pissed off many of the Warvangelicals/Theocons early on by following Pope Benedict’s stance on being anti-war. Then add recently that he said that the Catholic Church focuses way too much on gays and abortion (I’m pro-life BTW). I would bet that many of them don’t like Pope Francis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. Argon says:

    I’m not offended by the statement. Besides, you hear that stuff all the time. Most religions have to believe that most if not all of the others are wrong. What bothers me as that this a-hole won’t hesitate to create a religion-based government

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  29. Argon says:

    @gVOR08:
    I think Barney Frank came out as homosexual long before he came out as an atheist. Like after retiring from the House. And note that the Boy Scouts of America remains more comfortable with gay scouts than non-believing scouts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “How is this different then, say, Richard Dawkins claiming that everyone who believes in God is delusional? ”

    Well to start with, Richard Dawkins isn’t running for high elective office.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Kylopod says:

    Probably most religions (at least those in the West) deny the basic tenets of other faiths. But that doesn’t necessarily imply a belief that members of other religions are going to hell, or that God doesn’t hear their prayers, or that they can’t live spiritually satisfying lives. The problem with Jackson’s remarks is that they implicitly come with those other beliefs.

    That said, while I do find Jackson’s remarks offensive, they are far from unusual among conservative Christians, even many seemingly tolerant ones. Of all the things he has said on the campaign trail, these are hardly the most shocking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  32. john personna says:

    @Pinky:

    Somewhat. A religious person can say “we think our faith has the best path to God,” which doesn’t actually close the door on other paths. A religious person might even consider the rightness or wrongness of those other religions to be God’s business, and not something for man to decide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  33. john personna says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I was surprised to find that my nephew had caught a militant atheism from the Internets.

    IMO, agnosticism is fine as far as it goes, but the sort of extreme atheism where you start lumping happy, healthy, and productive families with extremists, genocidal regimes, and mad bombers is off the rails.

    Well, it’s a little like lumping all Muslims with the terrorists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. john personna says:

    (Oh, and I think Dawkins doesn’t actually have his science right(!). If religion is a productive belief, then it is a productive belief. As I told my nephew, if someone survives major surgery better with faith, why exactly do you want to take that away from him?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. gVOR08 says:

    @john personna: Wandering around Wikipedia, I discovered I’m actually an “ignostic’. Wiki has a nice article. Short version, I’d probably be an atheist, if I cared. I’d recommend it to your nephew. My brother, the Reverend Bruce, is leading a happy, productive life. I have no motivation to interfere.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  36. john personna says:

    @gVOR08:

    Maybe in a few years. Right now he’s 17 ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. Pinky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    did Jesus complete Judaism before or after they crucified him?

    As they crucified him. The old temple ritual had been based on imperfect sacrifices offered by imperfect priests; Jesus completed Judaism by being the perfect sacrifice offered by a perfect priest. (Didn’t you tell me that you know this stuff? This is pretty basic.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Pinky says:

    @john personna:

    A religious person can say “we think our faith has the best path to God,” which doesn’t actually close the door on other paths. A religious person might even consider the rightness or wrongness of those other religions to be God’s business, and not something for man to decide.

    No Christian should consider it his right to decide the value of other religions. It’s definitely not his right to decide the value of the practitioners of other religions, or, as an American political officeholder, to modify his representation of people by their religious practice. Christianity does, however, teach that Jesus is the unique path, based on his own words. I can say that with full hope that Jesus’s sacrifice will enable all to enter Heaven. Hope that makes sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. john personna says:

    @Pinky:

    I would say that when Jackson says “some sort of false religion” he is indeed making that decision, and preaching it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  40. Ernieyeball says:

    @john personna: Lumping…Isn’t that the Baptist’s word for sex?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Ernieyeball says:

    @john personna:…if someone survives major surgery better with faith,..

    How do you test for that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  42. Pinky says:

    @john personna: Let me try to say this differently. As a Christian, I believe that, based on eyewitness accounts and records, Jesus was real, did die and rise, and did say the things that are credited to him. I believe that he was telling the truth. Therefore I believe that he was/is God, and that while it is only God’s business to judge the accuracy of a religion, God has in fact declared that all other religions, to the extent that they disagree with Christianity, are in error. And again, none of that is to say that any non-Christian religion may not have its merits, or that a particular Christian person is better or more correct in his beliefs than a particular non-Christian, or is more likely to end up in Heaven.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. Ernieyeball says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: This is what I mean when I say that belief is not based on evidence.

    Pinky says:
    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 15:31
    @john personna: Let me try to say this differently. As a Christian, I believe that, based on eyewitness accounts and records, Jesus was real, did die and rise, and did say the things that are credited to him. I believe that he was telling the truth. Therefore I believe that he was/is God, and that while it is only God’s business to judge the accuracy of a religion, God has in fact declared that all other religions, to the extent that they disagree with Christianity, are in error. And again, none of that is to say that any non-Christian religion may not have its merits, or that a particular Christian person is better or more correct in his beliefs than a particular non-Christian, or is more likely to end up in Heaven.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. Pinky says:

    @Ernieyeball: Ernie – What other kind of evidence is there for events that happened 2000 years ago? Belief or distrust are the result of consideration of the available evidence. I see nothing in the reported actions of those who claimed to witness Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection to make me think that they were lying, and previous to that, I satisfied myself that the philosophical arguments in support of the existence of God outweigh the philosophical arguments against it. I’ve considered other religions and philosophies and they all strike me as substantially flawed.

    Belief is how you look at evidence, but unless you’re a dolt, you don’t look at all evidence trustingly. It’s a process. The believer can’t demonstrate to you that he initially approached the questions with skepticism, but I assure you that many did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Matt Bernius says:

    @Pinky:
    Couple points on your very thoughtful response:

    As a Christian, I believe that, based on eyewitness accounts and records, Jesus was real, did die and rise, and did say the things that are credited to him.

    In terms of “say the things that are credited to him”, what’s your perspective on the issues of translation? There has been a lot of discussion as to what degree the original biblical texts were “goosed” during the action of James’ translation. Even before that they had gone through previous translations (into Greek and Latin). And how do we reconcile differences in translation and wording between the multiple English version of the text?

    And again, none of that is to say that any non-Christian religion may not have its merits, or that a particular Christian person is better or more correct in his beliefs than a particular non-Christian, or is more likely to end up in Heaven.

    Given what you’ve said, I have a hard time understanding how your can add on the last provision. If you except that the bible is the “literal” word of Christ, as Christ says that the only way to the father is through him, then it’s *impossible* for non-Christian’s to ever get to heaven. This was Luther’s argument, and was adopted by many of the later hardline protestant fathers.

    If on the other hand, you believe that God will take up who (s)he wishes, then Christ cannot be seen as speaking the literal truth (unless one accepts the fact that Christ is far more inclusive than his followers often are — not a bad line of thought IMHO).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. Matt Bernius says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    This is what I mean when I say that belief is not based on evidence.

    Slight push back here. There are a few documents (letters) that corroborate that an individual names Jesus, who rose to some level of notoriety, did exist in the correct time and period. And one of the Gospels was written by someone who had access to the original disciples. Further the Epistles section can all be considered “source” documents (with the provision that everyone is reading translations of translations).

    So in that respect, these biblical texts are legitimate historical documents that can be traced back to the historical Jesus and his followers.

    As to the divinity stuff, this is of course the material of “belief.” As is the concept that these are the “transcribed” words of Christ.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky: What other kind of evidence is there for events that happened 2000 years ago?

    Since you asked here are two sources to begin with. Just keep in mind that no one claims that these authors were “inspired by God”. (Whatever that means.)

    Azimov’s Guide to the Bible
    http://www.amazon.com/Asimovs-Guide-Bible-Isaac-Asimov/dp/051734582X

    The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Jefferson-Bible-Morals-Nazareth/dp/1604591285

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Ernieyeball says:

    @Matt Bernius:There are a few documents (letters) that corroborate that an individual names Jesus, who rose to some level of notoriety, did exist in the correct time and period.

    Don’t forget Monty Python’s Life of Brian

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  49. Pinky says:

    First, on the question of translation. The easy answer is this: that most of the available texts we’ve seen agree on most everything, excluding the really amateur translations. The more complicated answer would involve understanding the Catholic concept that the Holy Spirit protects the Church from error (not “protects every Catholic from sinning”). That is a bag that would take quite a while to unpack, but suffice it to say that the majority of Christians have never believed in the inerrancy of the King James Version.

    Secondly, “that a particular Christian person is better or more correct in his beliefs than a particular non-Christian”. To whom much is given, much is expected. A particular Christian may believe only a little of what he professes to, or believe wholeheartedly but refuse to give up his pet sin, or believe wholeheartedly but completely miss the point. It’s not my job to judge whether a devout Muslim who worships and loves God to the extent that he understands him is better or more correct than any of the Christians I described.

    Third, it could be that we are saved through Christ’s sacrifice without each of us being aware of it. The only way to the Father is through the Son – but the only way to this site is through some server and relay that I’ve never seen and wouldn’t understand if I did see them. Am I going to bet on salvation through Christ despite ignorance? No. I’ve got a system that I know: belief and the sacraments. I’m going to promote that system because I believe it to work. I’d rather see Joe Muslim sign up for Christianity, but it really, really isn’t my job to guess what his odds are if he doesn’t. I’ll pray for him, and I’ll inform him about the faith if I get the chance, but I don’t judge whether God will judge him worthy or not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. Matt Bernius says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    Don’t forget Monty Python’s Life of Brian

    I realize this is tounge-in-cheek, but the fact is most historians agree that there is enough evidence to suggest that there was a dissident Jewish leader name Jesus (of Jesu or whatever the proper form is) and that he was from Nazareth.

    Everything after that is up in the air, from a scientific historical perspective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  51. Pinky says:

    @Matt Bernius: What I don’t see is the big discontinuity: the “someone dug up the Book of Mormon” moment. We’ve got people in the 90′s referring to the events, people in the 400′s referring back to the events and the writings in the 90′s, people in the 800′s referring back et cetera.

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  52. Ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky: It’s not my job to judge whether a devout Muslim who worships and loves God…

    So Allah and God are one in the same?

    I’d rather see Joe Muslim sign up for Christianity,..

    …or not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  53. Ernieyeball says:

    @Matt Bernius:…most historians agree…

    Name ten and cite their work on the subject.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  54. Matt Bernius says:

    @Pinky:

    We’ve got people in the 90′s referring to the events, people in the 400′s referring back to the events and the writings in the 90′s, people in the 800′s referring back et cetera.

    Referring to the general events is one thing.

    Referring to the specific words of Christ as being “literal” is something entirely different and ignores all that is added or removed in translation. Hell, I still remember the outrage that occurred around the release of the “Good News” (i.e. colloquial English) translation of the bible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. mantis says:

    @Pinky:

    The easy answer is this: that most of the available texts we’ve seen agree on most everything, excluding the really amateur translations.

    Do you just make this stuff up or do you really believe it? Because that is so false it isn’t even funny.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  56. Matt Bernius says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    Name ten and cite their work on the subject.

    Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

    Key paragraph:

    Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and most biblical scholars and classical historians see the theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[1][3][4][6][7][8] In antiquity, the existence of Jesus was never denied by those who opposed Christianity.[28][29] Robert E. Van Voorst states that the idea of the non-historicity of the existence of Jesus has always been controversial, and has consistently failed to convince virtually all scholars of many disciplines.[6] There is, however, widespread disagreement among scholars on the details of the life of Jesus mentioned in the gospel narratives, and on the meaning of his teachings.[5]

    [Emphasis mine]

    Again, this is separating the issue of Historicity from Divinity. Feel free to debate the latter. But it’s more or less given that some dude name Jesus existed at the time and in the places that Christians believe and there is significant, scholarly historical evidence to justify this claim to the degree is should be considered “settled.”

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  57. Ernieyeball says:

    @Matt Bernius: Everything after that is up in the air,..

    Are you talking about the Ascension…

    Acts 1 v7-11 New International Version
    7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

    10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

    (Any day now…)

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  58. Ernieyeball says:

    @Matt Bernius: Help me understand where I have questioned the existence of Jesus.

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  59. Ernieyeball says:

    So Allah and God are one in the same?

    …or not?

    Downvote? Apparently reasonable questions are not welcomed by True Believers. I should have known…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  60. Matt Bernius says:

    @Ernieyeball:
    First, serious *ba-dumpt-cha* (rim shot) on the Ascension joke. Well played sir, well played. ‘Specially the waiting gag (which I have to admit was subtle enough to go way over my head on first reading).

    But, I have to admit I was a little thrown by:

    @Matt Bernius: Help me understand where I have questioned the existence of Jesus.

    All I was doing was responding to what you wrote here:

    You quoting me: @Matt Bernius:…most historians agree…

    Name ten and cite their work on the subject.

    I didn’t have 10 names to hand, but the article provides exactly what you were asking for. Which backs up my previous claim here which you seemed to have responded to:

    most historians agree that there is enough evidence to suggest that there was a dissident Jewish leader name Jesus (of Jesu or whatever the proper form is) and that he was from Nazareth.

    So I was just providing you with links to what you asked. And for the sake of a broader audience (not just you) suggesting that most agree that a historical Jesus did exist (which got back to half of the question of proof you put to Pinky — though I am in no way saying that the existence of a historical Jesus equal proof of religious claims).

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  61. Matt Bernius says:

    @Pinky:
    Thanks for the excellent representation of your view points. I’m curious as to which branch of Christianity you belong to (if you don’t mind me asking).

    The one thing I will take some issue with is the following statement:

    but suffice it to say that the majority of Christians have never believed in the inerrancy of the King James Version.

    Regardless of the specific translation, my experience is that “inerrancy” is very prevalent in the modern church, and, in particular among American Evangelicals.

    I would further suggest that your final paragraph flies in the face of most straight-forward, inerrancy-based interpretations of the bible. I also suspect, based on my interactions with evangelicals, that Mr. Jackson would take issue with the rather progressive interpretation of scripture that you are putting forward therein.

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  62. Ernieyeball says:

    @Matt Bernius: Thanks for the Kudo’s! I keep sending jokes to Johnny Carson so I can get on the Tonight Show but I never hear back from him???

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  63. Pinky says:

    @Matt Bernius: Catholic. We’re not obscure – we were the only Christian church for the first 1000 years, the only one in the West for the next 500, and we’re larger than all other Christian churches combined. I love American Evangelicals in a condescending, older-brother-to-little-brother kind of way, but they speak for a miniscule percentage of historical world Christianity.

    This whole inerrancy thing may be a stumbling block for non-believers approaching Evangelicalism, but it’s simply not an issue for Catholics. The Church predates the Bible – we’ve been going around preaching before anything was ever written, and we were the ones who, upon prayerful meditation, consultation, and scholarly research, compiled the Bible. Our go-to is the Vulgate of St. Jerome, but we recognize the scholarly merit in older translations, and don’t claim that the words of the Vulgate are perfect. We translated the Bible into a lot of languages, including English, long before the King James Version. When you’re catholic (small-c, universal, multicultural and multilingual) you don’t get as hung up on whether one text in one language should say “sapling” or “shrub”, as long as you can say with some confidence that the correct translation isn’t “the Taco Bell on Eighth Street next to the movie theater that’s always closed”. A lot of translation debates are of the sapling/shrub variety, and a lot of the historical errors over the years are of the Taco Bell variety – easy to pick out, and unique to the work of one half-asleep scribe.

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  64. Ernieyeball says:

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 21:31
    @Matt Bernius: All I was doing was responding to what you wrote here:

    You quoting me: @Matt Bernius:…most historians agree…

    Name ten and cite their work on the subject.

    Earlier you wrote:

    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 17:14
    Slight push back here. There are a few documents (letters) that corroborate that an individual names Jesus,..

    What were you “pushing back”? I do not think I had challenged the existence of Jesus before your rebuttal.
    That’s what had me confused.
    After further repartee I just went along with your presumption.

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  65. Ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky: The Church predates the Bible…

    I thought the Catholic Bible included the Old Testament.

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  66. Ernieyeball says:

    I am compelled to address this downvote.

    Ernieyeball says:
    Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 15:21
    @john personna:…if someone survives major surgery better with faith,..

    How do you test for that?

    Reply
    Like or Dislike: up 0 dn 1

    All kinds of claims are made for religious faith and other metaphysical phenomenona. I hold that it is a legitimate exercise to challenge these assertions. Otherwise people can make up whatever they want and the rest of us are just supposed to believe it without question.

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  67. Pinky says:

    @Ernieyeball: You’re right. (I’m not sure if you’re trying to be snarky or if you’re raising a point. I’m fine either way, just unsure.)

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  68. john personna says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    I didn’t down vote you, but neither did I answer the question.

    Basically, it works as a simple survey, doesn’t it? You ask people pre-surgery about their beliefs, and then post-recovery tally the results. If there is a correlation, there is a correlation.

    Now my nephew cries “it’s just the placebo effect.”

    Well it may be, or or may not, but in either case, why take away something that works.

    Maybe it’s easy for someone a little out on the autistic scale to think like a Martian scientist. If “the humans” find religion to be a productive belief, then it is a productive belief. This regardless of whether they are actually right or not.

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  69. Ernieyeball says:

    @john personna: I never assume where the dnvotes come from. Much like faith healing claims there is no way to know. You made the allegation I was questioning so your name was included in the post.

    Simple Survey? I would hope you are kidding.
    First a definition of terms is required. Words like “faith” mean different things to different people.
    Then I want to know what you mean by “surviving surgery better” and how you measure that.
    Of course to really get this right the same patient would have experience the same surgery twice. Once while professing faith and once while denying it. Then tally the results.
    I suppose we could use your method to “test” to see if Astrology causes patients to “survive surgery better.” But of course we all know that Astrology is hocus pocus mumbo jumbo so what would be the point?
    “…why take away something that works.”
    Who wants to take it away and how do we know that it works?
    Correlation? Here is a correlation for you. I brush my teeth every morning and after that my car starts. Car must start since I brushed my teeth.
    …Oh, by the way. Thumbs up to your nephew!

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  70. Ernieyeball says:

    @Pinky: Me… snarky? You are arguing from a position of authority and I am questioning your authority.

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  71. john personna says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    With any subjective experience a survey is all you’ve got.

    Self-reported “faith” is the best measure for the same reason self-reported “happiness” is.

    There is no other measure which does not introduce one man asserting a condition for the other.

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  72. Ernieyeball says:

    So if one patient without “faith” “survives surgery better” (whatever that means) than someone with “faith” I guess it would be evidence that “faith” does not always help.
    Also we must consider those who profess “faith” and then die on the operating table.
    That is a correlation we must consider in your survey “test” results.
    Of course maybe they did not have enough “faith” and god is punishing them for their lack of “faith”.
    If I were a surgeon I would want some sort of assurance that if “faith” is a factor in my patients survival the patient should have enough of it so I will not be sued for malpractice for a bad outcome when it was really the patients lack of “faith” that killed them.

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  73. john personna says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    Science: The role of spirituality in health care

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  74. Ernieyeball says:

    Mortality

    Some observational studies suggest that people who have regular spiritual practices tend to live longer (9). Another study points to a possible mechanism: interleukin (IL)-6. Increased levels of IL-6 are associated with an increased incidence of disease. A research study involving 1700 older adults showed that those who attended church were half as likely to have elevated levels of IL-6 (10). The authors hypothesized that religious commitment may improve stress control by offering better coping mechanisms, richer social support, and the strength of personal values and worldview.

    “studies suggest” “possible mechanism” “may improve”

    This is pretty lame stuff.

    I can’t find any definition of “spirituality” here so I really don’t know what they are talking about.

    …and service the work of the soul.

    Are we to assume here that something called the “soul” exists?
    What’s that? And where in the human body does it reside?

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  75. Ernieyeball says:

    Maybe I should relate a personal experience. This is just an anecdote so I am not making any claims that it proves or disproves anything.
    In 2008 I required intestinal surgery. The diagnosis was diverticulitis complicated by an abdominal abscess. Very nasty and pain I do not ever wish to revisit.
    I do not worship gods or practice religion and I refuse to be spiritual.
    The proceedure was a success.
    I think I survived surgery better without faith than I would have with faith.

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  76. Ernieyeball says:

    I know everyone has moved on. I’m just doing this for myself.

    The authors hypothesized that religious commitment may improve stress control by offering better coping mechanisms, richer social support, and the strength of personal values and worldview.

    That’s it? Did the authors test the hypothesis? If there was testing where are the results of the test?
    Or are we to unquestioningly accept that “religious commitment may improve…” ?
    My opinion is that who ever wrote this work was biased in favor of spirituality, a term that is never defined, “can be an important element in the way patients face chronic illness, suffering, and loss.”
    I can’t wait to read their paper documenting how many angels can dance on a pinhead.

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