Church


April 17, 2014: 5:12 am: Abuse, Church, Religion run amuck, Sexuality

Daily Beast

The scandal around Phillips is just the latest in a long line of ugly shocks to the far Christian right that threaten to destabilize and possibly capsize the community. As The Wire reported in early March, Bill Gothard, the leader of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, resigned his position in the wake of a series of accusations of alleged sexual abuse from dozens of women in the organization. IBLP, like Vision Forum Ministries, is a major clearinghouse for adherents to Biblical patriarchy, teaching members to shun contraception, embrace extreme forms of female submission, and, of course, use homeschooling to shelter young people from the outside world. Unsurprisingly, IBLP is also associated with the Duggar family, who participated in the organization’s many training seminars on embracing Biblical patriarchy and who called Gothard their “number one recommended resource” for family advice. He has exerted political influence in other ways, as well, befriending Sarah Palin and bringing her in for his International Association of Character Cities conference.

Similarly, both Bob Jones University and Patrick Henry College—schools that were established in no small part to give these homeschooled and sheltered kids from far Christian right backgrounds a place to go to college—have been at the center of accusations of indifference and even of allegedly covering up reported sexual abuse on campus. BJU received a lot of heat when they fired an outside firm that had been brought on to investigate accusations of sexual abuse, only to rehire them when it looked like they were punishing the firm for being too thorough in exposing the problem. Patrick Henry College was the recent target of an exposé in The New Republic that explored how young women who brought sexual abuse complaints to the school were frequently drummed out of the college or made to felt that they had somehow brought the abuse on themselves.

The “pitch” of Biblical patriarchy, as epitomized by Michelle Duggar, is that women will be coddled and worshipped in exchange for giving up their ambitions and the autonomy to practice an extreme form of female submission. The unpleasant truth is that a culture that teaches that women are put on earth for no other purpose but to serve men is not going to breed respect for women. Instead, these incidents show a world where men believe they can do whatever they want to women without repercussions. Is it any surprise that a subculture that promises absolute control over women will attract men who want to dominate and hurt women?

19 kids and counting appears to ultimately have been a calculated gamble. A gamble that a fresh and appealing face could be put on a brand of fundamentalism so absurdist and destructive it makes the totalitarianism of Islam actually look sorta normal. A gamble that warm fuzzies and the illusion of a wonderful family could be used to sell a system of control — at least to the rest of Christendom — before reality caught up with that system.

And, it almost worked. But, what they didn’t factor in was that PR campaigns do generate interest — from people with research skills capable of connecting one silenced victim with another and getting them all un-silenced. What they didn’t factor in is that there are so many cracks in the facade that only hiddenness has protected it from collapse for decades.

At this point, pretty much everything but the PR campaign has been exposed as being shot full of those cracks — and it likely will not last much longer either…

But, sadly, the damage is already done. So much of general society now thinks this fringe set of insanity defines Christianity…

Leonard Cohen’s comment on cracks pretty much stands as prophetic here…

“Anthem” The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.
Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government –
signs for all to see.

I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring …

You can add up the parts
but you won’t have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
April 13, 2014: 5:37 am: Church, Grace, Religion run amuck, Theology

Pathos

Top Ten Tips For Evangelizing (From An Atheist).
1. Be Like Jesus: Hang With The Sinners and Judge The Judgers
2. Form Genuine Relationships With People, Don’t Treat Them As Projects.
3. Actions Speak Louder Than Words.
4. When Talking About Religious and Philosophical Matters, Ask More Questions And Do Less Preaching.
5. Don’t Give Unsolicited Advice or Judgments. Support People and Wait For Them To Ask For Your Input If They Want It.
6. Appreciate That Nominal Christians Are Still Christians.
7. Don’t Try To Force Others Into Christian Participation.
8. Understand Atheists and Embrace The Opportunity Confrontational Atheists Afford You.
9. Respect Other Religions Even As You Evangelize Their Members.
10. Love Your Enemies, Not Just Your Tribe.
The most admirable part of the story of Jesus, even to an atheist like me that thinks that both Christians and non-Christians give Jesus an overblown reputation, is the way that the Gospels portray him as a morally condemnatory preacher who focused his sermons against those who abused their wealth and religious power, rather than against those demonized already by his religion, while he spent his time hanging out with the outcasts loathed by his community. From his use of a hated Samaritan as a role model in his story about what kind of love God most demands of us, to his reputation for hanging out with the hated tax collectors and the prostitutes who were held in so much contempt, to his endless attacks on the rich and on the self-righteous religious leaders, the Jesus of the Gospels is a role model of how to simultaneously have strong opinions about morality without being a judgmental and alienating person.

We do not have stories in which Jesus rails against the tax collectors and prostitutes. We do not have stories of him sitting around with them haranguing them about how they must change their lives. Yes, we have the moment where he tells the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more” but the crux of that story is his heroic effort to save her from a bloodthirsty mob of self-righteous people. We live in a society that has more than filled up its quota of Evangelical Christian Pharisees organizing contempt and condemnation for the sinners. We have plenty of highly visible Evangelical Christians invested in saying “sin no more”. They should be vastly outnumbered by Christians who stand up to them and say, “let ye who is without sin, cast the first stone”. We should have many more Christians who leave it to Jesus, presumably the only one with a right to judge on Christian doctrine, to be the one to tell the sinner to “sin no more”. The end of that story was not that those equally guilty of sin as the woman put down their stones and then stood in a circle chastising her and telling her not to sin lest next time she gets stoned for real. The end of that story was that the fellow sinners shut up and meted out no penalties nor condemnations. And Jesus alone dealt with the issue of her sin.
From an outsider’s (and former insider’s) perspective, nothing is more corrosive right now to the church than your obsession with being acknowledged, with being powerful, and with drawing tribal lines. It is killing your ability to spread the Gospel. Too many in the church are placing whatever creates a hard distinction from “the world” at the center of Christian identity instead of a spirit of love. Hard right wing politics over gays and abortion are now becoming definitive of Christian identity rather than the belief in the Gospel. When I was a believer, I know we weren’t like this. Most of our time was consumed with loving Jesus and each other, not hating anybody–even if what the media paid primary attention to was our political stances. But I hear in the rhetoric of too many Christians a strange attitude that turns opposition to recognizing the validity of gay relationships into the ultimate test of orthodoxy. There is little biblical justification for overblowing the importance of this, especially as you show little desire in forcing remarriages of divorced people (Jesus was actually unequivocally against divorces when there’s been no adultery) or in living by the book of Leviticus in any of a hundred ways. It looks self-serving when the ethical views the church is most insistent upon are those that the older leaders of the church are least affected by. The church is sneering at young people’s sexual experimentation in a way that serves the monogamously married elders, it sneers at gays in a way that does little to challenge the heterosexual majority.

Rather than loving your (perceived) enemies, you are claiming persecution every time you are asked to treat them equally and civilly under the law and in polite society. You are looking for ways to have antagonisms with feminists, with gays, with those who cry out against hundreds of years of systemic racial injustice, with atheists who plead for a secular government that doesn’t favor your religion. Rather than learning to appreciate those who force you to mature in your faith and learning to respect their admirable traits even in the midst of adversity, you’re participating in the politics of resentment and zero sum games.

You are becoming known for your preferences for only people like you, for your unwillingness to so much as accommodate others different from you without crying persecution, and for your petty intolerance of the poor, the weak, the feminine, and all the marginalized in our society.

You publicly identify whole groups of people as your enemies and wage legal and social war against them and their dignity. You leverage your considerable power with closed mindedness against everyone who lives in a way outside traditional boxes. And, all the while, you cry persecution when you’re not able to impose the ethics that only your faith justifies on those who don’t share your faith. If you want to effectively give the Gospel, you must repent and start loving your enemies as Jesus commanded, before you lose all credibility outside of the tribal boundary markers you are so fiercely asserting and defending.

A lot of the Atheists out there are more rabidly doctrinaire then many members of the Evangelical right — and just as annoying. But this guy, I could easily like…

He doesn’t get the Gospel nearly as well as he thinks he does — but his grasp of evangelism is easily twice as good as anything I ever got anywhere else. Really, what he is calling, Evangelism,” is nothing more then his grasp of how to love and be decent to others — which so much of the Church has lost.

So worth the read!

March 23, 2014: 4:39 am: Church, Grace, News, Philosophy

TPM

Westboro Baptist Church members were met with a notable counter-protest at their first protest since the group’s founder died: a sign that read “sorry for your loss.”

Counter-protesters held up the sign at a Westboro Baptist Church protest of a Lorde concert in Kansas City, the first protest by the group since founder Fred Phelps died. More than 20 Westboro Baptist Church members were protesting the Lorde concert.

“We realized that it wasn’t so much about antagonizing them but sending out the countered safe that we are here for people who need that message and need that positivity” Megan Coleman, who helped make the sign, said according to Kansas’ KSHB.

The message didn’t get across to all Westboro members.

“I don’t even know what they’re saying,” Westboro Baptist Chuch member Steve Drain said.

Here’s a basic rule of thumb:

The foundation of morality is anthropology mediated through empathy.

Morality = the ability to make non-harmful choices.
Anthropology = the study of what it means to be human and your place in such.
Empathy = the ability to feel what another feels and respond to such.

In other words: You become good when you are aware of your commonality and belongingness with all other people and that awareness is then activated by feeling what another is feeling such that you take steps to offer what you would desire for yourself in the other’s place.

However, when people believe they are evil, they, by definition, cease to trust that their humanity is any longer worth listening to. And, the logical next step is to replace their humanity and empathy with a religious code as the new guide to life — believing that the following of the rules will make them less evil.

As soon as a person’s humanity and empathy is replaced with a religious code of law, we discover what Paul was getting at in Romans 7: We discover that men and women of the code will use even the most perfect rules as nothing more then a starting point to search for loopholes — or worse. In such they become utterly ugly and out of touch with even basic decency. We discover that Me + the code = chaos.

The above referenced Mr. Drain is a classic example of this. He has so much contempt for himself he bought into a code of law as a means of living — so much so that he is no longer even able to understand someone showing compassion for him, much less show compassion to others…

He’s so perfectly following his code he has become the definition of evil: Empathy free and personally heartless.

Paul answered this problem the best in verse 4:

For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
January 16, 2014: 4:41 am: Church, Depression, Freedom, Grace

Tiny Buddha

For most of my career as a teenager I was preoccupied with being cool, with cultivating a counter-culture, bohemian persona (assuming clove cigarettes, On the Road, and a pile of mixed tapes constituted “bohemian”). Rolling my eyes at my mother was a near constant affectation.

I was certain that I knew it all; I had the rest of my life all figured out and I rejected anything that didn’t fit with my narrow understanding of the world. I now know there were countless experiences I missed out on by virtue of my stubbornness and general disdain for everything.

I avoided most of the mainstream high school dances and events. I dropped out of clubs and activities as soon as they felt challenging. I didn’t bother investigating the many academic and social opportunities that came my way.

What I would have regarded not long ago as a silly, selfish, snotty teenage attitude, I now realize is something else entirely. In that picture I see the seeds of pain and hurt—some already planted and taking root; some yet to be sown.

Lack of encouragement and confidence was written all over my face. The trauma of rejection and the fear of not measuring up was so apparent. That cool thing was just an act—a part I was playing to protect the hurt little girl that I really was.

It occurred to me as I observed her tentative gaze that this girl is still a part of me and deserves my love and tenderness, not my judgment. She deserves respect for the woman she is going to become and comfort for the child she has been.

The whole article is worth reading — but it needs a fourth point (on the list of three steps to stop judging yourself):

Judgment, ultimately, is a direct result of the rules/code of law you live under and the stories you tell yourself about failing to meet such.

The rules never have and never will make anyone do anyone want to do anything other then break them.

Which is why we needed to be set free from them…

November 2, 2013: 4:00 am: Children, Church, Family Issues, Marriage

Salon

I was questioned earlier this week over a comment I made to a client that going to church alone would do little to protect marriage and that divorce rates were higher in the pews. That statement was both desperately right — and yet, the more I look at it, somewhat wrong.

Now that I’ve done the research, I may as well post it…

(Note: The Barna Group’s, “Nondenominational,” category includes Christian ministries that are not associated with a particular denomination. Many of their members are HIGHLY fundamentalist.)

Divorce Statistics by Religion
Religious Faith Percentage of Membership Divorced
Non-denominational 34
Baptist 29
Episcopal 28
Pentecostal 28
Methodist 26
Presbyterian 23
Catholic 21
Lutheran 21
Atheist/Agnostic 21

The numbers above are from the Barna research group which actually found that divorce rates were lower for people who described themselves as atheist or agnostic. The study results indicate that having religious faith doesn’t at all shield believers from marital stresses that can led to divorce.

But the obvious question is simply: Why?

Slicing the U.S. by region, the Bible belt has the highest divorce rate, and this has been the case for over a decade, with the institution of marriage faring better in those dens of blue-state iniquity to the north and west.

What is going on? Even some secularists are puzzled. Churches provide strong communities for families. Many offer marital counseling and parenting classes. Love, they say, is a commitment, not a feeling. God hates divorce. They leverage moral emotions in the service of matrimony: a righteous sense of purity rewards premarital abstinence and post-marital monogamy—replaced by guilt and shame when nonmarital sex is unveiled or a marriage dissolves. Couples who split may find themselves removed from leadership positions or even ostracized. On the face of it, even if there were no God, one might expect this combination to produce lower divorce rates.

The reality, however, appears complex. Churches do honor and support marriage. They also may inadvertently promote divorce, especially—ironically—those churches which most bill themselves as shining lights in a dark world.

To prevent that greatest-of-all-evils, abortion, such communities teach even high school students to embrace surprise pregnancies as gifts from God. They encourage members to marry young so they won’t be tempted to fornicate. But women who give birth or marry young tend to end up less educated and less financially secure, both of which are correlated with higher divorce rates.

After marriage, some congregations, such as those in the “quiver-full” movement, encourage couples to leave family planning in God’s hands. Leaders echo the chauvinistic beliefs of Church fathers like St. Augustine and Martin Luther or the Bible writers: Women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety (1 Timothy 2:15). Such teachings grow congregations, literally, from the nursery up, but the very same attitudes that help to fill church pews can erode marital bliss. Ample research shows that for couples under age 30 marital satisfaction declines with the birth of each child. (Parenting tends to make couples happier only after age 40, when kids become more independent, and only in countries with comparatively weak social supports for aging adults.)

While my statement was painfully correct for the Church in general, that’s not the whole picture.

Actually, if you really drill down into the numbers, what the research really says is that the Church CAN provide BETTER protection for marriage then a philosophical position (Atheism) that really only condones marriages once the participants are highly educated, fully prepared and totally sure.

Secular couples tend to see both marriage and divorce as personal choices. Overall, a lower percent get married, which means that those who do may be particularly committed or well-suited to partnership. They are likely to be older if/when they do formally tie the knot. They have fewer babies, and their babies are more likely to be planned. Parenting, like other household responsibilities, is more likely to be egalitarian rather than based on the traditional model of “male headship.” Each of these factors could play a role in the divorce rate.

Could play a role? We KNOW they play a role — and have for decades…

We have to ignore the Catholic number as they tally every baptism to get their membership. The Lutheran Church is different though and the percentages are the same. They are not fundamentalist in most ways that matter here. They sat up and took notice of the social sciences decades ago — and they are not showing the high divorce rates the rest are.

That’s the other half of the story: IF and only IF the church is a non-fundamentalist place that promotes what the social sciences have repeatedly proven works, they can actually achieve the exact same 21% divorce rate (in a culture where the majority of the membership gets married) that the much smaller fraction of Atheists who are actually getting married manage to achieve.

So, yes, the family that prays together really does stay together — provided that the reverend leading the prayer meeting is not a fundamentalist nut, he advocates higher education and good paying employment, doesn’t advocate shotgun marriages, he teaches responsible family planning/birth control, educates the participants on healthy marital roles and teaches good skills to couples so they can love each other well.

So, why’s that so hard???

October 7, 2013: 2:51 am: Church, Theology

Andrew Sullivan

Read the whole thing, but here are two quotes:

[Francis] is great because he is everything. He is a man who wants to do things, wants to build, he founded an order and its rules, he is an itinerant and a missionary, a poet and a prophet, he is mystical. He found evil in himself and rooted it out. He loved nature, animals, the blade of grass on the lawn and the birds flying in the sky. But above all he loved people, children, old people, women. He is the most shining example of that agape we talked about earlier…

Francis wanted a mendicant order and an itinerant one. Missionaries who wanted to meet, listen, talk, help, to spread faith and love. Especially love. And he dreamed of a poor Church that would take care of others, receive material aid and use it to support others, with no concern for itself. 800 years have passed since then and times have changed, but the ideal of a missionary, poor Church is still more than valid. This is still the Church that Jesus and his disciples preached about.

The above is from the pope himself. This is from a comment on the above from Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry:

The problem here, as always, is pride. We think like politicians. We parse words for whether they help the Republican Party of the Church or the Democratic Party of the Church, whereas we should be humbly receiving the teachings of the Vicar of Christ. When those teachings seem shocking to us, common sense alone dictates that, instead of rending our garments, we should, with humility and charity, check ourselves to see what we can learn.

On the one hand we have the Republican Party of Fundamentalist Evangelicalism trying to shut down the United States Government – and on the other we have the Pope sounding like one of the most sane and reasonable Church leaders I have ever heard.

This proves it. Quantum theory is true – and I’ve somehow landed in an alternate universe…

October 3, 2013: 1:09 am: Church, Freedom, Grace

Phil Drysdale

The simple formula to spotting all false movements:

I know personally how hard it can be to spot these movements – I’ve been involved in all 3 at some point in my life to pretty serious degrees! I even preached some of this stuff!

These are just what I believe to be 3 of the biggest false movements in the church, there are many, many more though. For that reason I want to give you a very simple formula that will help you know if you are being deceived or if you are enjoying all that God has for you as a Christian. I would hate for you to embrace a “false grace movement”.

GRACE
Your relationship with God, standing before Him and personal development has NOTHING to do with your conduct but everything to do with Christ’s gift of grace to you and your free and simple acceptance of that gift. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

FALSE MOVEMENT
Your relationship with God, standing before Him and personal development is deeply tied to your conduct. You thank Jesus for His gift of grace and acknowledge that without it you would be nowhere but then try to add to that grace by doing your best to change, grow closer to God and improve yourself. It’s mostly fruitless, extremely difficult and frustrating.

Or more simply put:

If your holiness or relationship with God is solely reliant on Christ = Grace

If your holiness or relationship with God is in any way reliant on you = False Movement

There you have it – these are the 3 most dangerous “grace movements” in the church today and how you can spot them. As well as my simple formula to spotting any others that are out there.

One of the most annoying features I’ve seen in modern Evangelicalism is a network of churches spread all over the world calling themselves, “Grace Churches,” (lead by a master of shame, fear, guilt and judgment with a radio program ironically called, “Grace to you”) and outfits of supreme control like Sovereign Grace Ministries (Who are busy with sexually abusing members) and other organizations that wrap themselves in the flag of grace to cover the iron grip of control they continually exert on others.

This guy gets it — and simply but throughly lays out the favorite masks these con artists wear. It’s so worth the read!

September 21, 2013: 2:17 am: Church, Freedom, Grace

Donald Miller

A Christian leader who is manipulative will:

• Never be truly vulnerable. They will never tell stories about their weaknesses. If they do, those stories will be about how they are too strong, too devout and too many other things that are more or less humble brags.

• Always have the true answer, and truth is truth because they said it. The truth is the Bible is complex, but a manipulator knows they can’t get you to submit if they don’t have ALL the answers. Certainly trained pastors have answers, but nobody has all the answers. Manipulators do. They want to tell you how to live.

• They make you jump through hoops. If you want to get married, you must go through hours of classes so they can approve. If you want to be a member, you must sign a contract or a statement of theological belief. Now many wonderful churches do this sort of thing, but when there is a manipulative leader, you’ll normally find an endless number of hurdles to jump over. They want to test you, over and over, to make sure you’re being submissive.

• They will never let you off the hook. A manipulative leader can never, ever let you be fully free in Christ. There must always be something wrong with you or else you will no longer need them and will no longer have to submit.

If you’re in a church with a manipulative leader creating the culture, I believe you should leave. The only way a manipulator stops manipulating is when the manipulation stops working, and by staying, you’re saying to the manipulator that it’s working. If you fight them, you’ll lose.

The respect I already have for Miller just doubled. Though I definitely wish he had gone further, someone had to at least go this far and we all knew it would take someone with his storytelling and personal credentials to even be heard… I just can’t help but honor the guts he has in going up against the kind of forces this will stir.

And, he still took the easy way out.

We know, for example, that 3% of women in church are subjected to clergy based sexual abuse – that works out to about 32 persons in your church alone. But, after an hour of research, I have been unable to find a single credible study of how many persons in those same pews have been subjected to spiritual abuse.

Maybe no one ever thought of doing that sort of study. Ya, maybe…

Except we know that domestic sexual abuse is usually only started after emotional, mental and physical abuse is already commenced. It’s exceedingly doubtful that churches would find the sequence inverted…

Or, perhaps no one wants to be the messenger who delivers the news about how few churches DON’T fit the above list or be the one who suggests they all walk out the door and never look back.

Miller delivered the definition of spiritual abuse and the suggestion to flee. If only he would have delivered some actual stats of how many people he just told to leave the building and never set foot in it again…

September 12, 2013: 2:44 am: Church, Rants, Religion run amuck

Seth Godin

Natural talent is rewarded early and often. As Malcolm Gladwell has pointed out, most of the players in the NHL have birthdays in a three month window, because when you’re 8 years old, being six months older is a huge advantage. Those kids, the skaters with good astrological signs, or possibly those performers with the genetic singing advantage–those are the kids that get the coaching and the applause and the playing time. Unearned advantages, multiplied.

If we’re serious about building the habits of success, tracking is precisely the wrong approach. Talent (born with or born without) is not your fault, is not a choice, is not something we ought to give you much credit or blame for.

Godin is one of my favourite biz consultant thinker types — mostly because of how quickly he gets things that are mostly ignored by everyone else. This one is classic Seth.

Think about it: With all of the huge churches focusing on business models, growth driven strategies of hiring and firing people like they are so many cogs in the wheel and ratcheting parishioner number/giving per/head up like they were preparing for an S&P evaluation, we mostly forget Jesus pretty much surrounded himself with misfits, outcasts, outlaws and losers.

You know, all of the people who finish last…

April 6, 2013: 4:20 am: Church, Grace, Philosophy, Theology

Ok, first of all, I’m not going to live link to this guy — but here’s the source:

whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/how-to-get-rid-of-religion/

It’s definitely worth a read — mostly because of how strikingly similar it is to the awarenesses Jesus had about what is so ugly about religion…

In the end, I think more studies like this will ultimately explain much of the variation of religious belief among the world’s nations. And it tells us something important as activist atheists or secularists. We can’t get rid of religion simply by pointing out that it’s false, disenfranchises women, fosters guilt, and so on. Yes, those are important things to do, and do make converts, but in the end religion will be with us until we create more just, more egalitarian, and more caring societies.

He lists a whole set of stats about how religion is strongly associated with utterly messed up societies and advocates the creation of what is pretty much the opposite of neo-conservative utopia as a means of ending religion. In doing so, starts to sound almost identical to this guy: Bruxy Cavey — the pastor of one of the largest Churches in Canada and a man who is also bent on the end of religion.

I had to think: How much do true believers not share with the atheist community?

We all want to:
- End superstition.
- Cancel fear, shame and guilt.
- Erase injustice.
- End war.
- Stop the abuse of women and children.
- Equalize inequality for women etc. and stop exploitation.
- Stamp out homelessness and hunger.

And, yes, get rid of religion.

The only real difference: Atheism wants to replace religion with a faith in secularism and it’s systems of corporate ideological control while followers of Christ want to replace such with a faith in the power of the love of Christ flowing through the lives of those filled with His Spirit.

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