Black Spirituality Religion : No One Is Immune!

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Amun-Ra, Nov 16, 2001.

  1. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    People are turning more and more toward religion looking for answers in the secular world, but a close look reveals that perhaps it may be something else--as 85% of the country is all ready Christian, but human behavior in the the United States has changed little in centuries even in the church.

    It would seem like those most directly involved in religion would be least susceptible to the ever present tug of the secular world as opposed to those who are a part of the flocks, congregations and followers who make up the body of the church.

    Unfortunately, church leaders are just as susceptible, if not more so, to the same temptations of the secular and the spotlight that is brought to bear on religious leaders. Many church leaders become targets because of who they are, including female leaders as well. The American public expects a higher degree of rectitude from its spiritual leaders and for the most part, they have delivered, but scandal has never been to far from religion.

    Since the founding of the Christian church in Rome there has been scandal surround Christianity. In the early Rome, the holy fathers of the church engaged in every conceivable misconduct imaginable including unsanctioned sexual relations and adultery to rape and sex with children. The early popes not only engaged in illicit sex but also often sired entire families of illegitimate children, as many kept mistresses and used church funds to pay for the services of male and female prostitutes.

    Theft, fraud and blatant stealing are a documented part of early Christian church history. However, the church finally put a stop to the run away behavior of its “holiest’ members and once the Reformation took place such behavior decreased, but it didn’t disappear and has translated down to today. The most recent large scandal involved high profile preacher the Rev. Henry Lyons, former leader of the National Baptists Convention.

    Lyons was caught in an illicit affair by his wife. However, being caught in the affair was the least of Rev. Lyons problems. Not only did Rev. Lyons carry out an illicit affair with convention publicist Bernice Edwards that became public, Lyons embezzled more than $4 million from the National Baptist Convention of which he was the elected leader of millions of black Baptists.
    Lyons showered his mistress with expensive jewelry and furs bought with the embezzled funds and eleven purchased a house in his mistress’s name, using the embezzled money, but the whole scheme came down when his wife burned down the house of his mistress.

    Apparently, no one was looking when Lyons was elected National Baptist president in 1994. Lyons was accused of bank fraud in 1981 and paid $85,000 restitution and served a year of probation. Rev. Lyons lover, Bernice Edwards pleaded guilty to embezzling $60,000 in 1994 from an alternative high school she had directed. Rev. Lyons is in the penitentiary for the next seven years for crimes, but the list doesn’t stop there.

    There are hundreds of such cases across the Unites States each year, the only difference is because of his high profile brings more attention. However, when it comes to stealing in the name of the Lord, Lyons is not the only preacher fleecing the flock in the black community. The charlatans and pulpit pimps come in all colors.
    Unfortunately, for the unscrupulous and dishonest, religion offers larcenous con men and women the ultimate dodge in that there is no way to ascertain the truth of the promises these charlatans pass out like free tickets to heaven. Because the greatest rewards of religion are in the afterlife, there is no way of proving these hucksters wrong as the dead cannot file complaints with the Better Business Bureau and that is what these criminals rely upon—gullibility, blind faith and an unwillingness to question.

    Despite the good works performed by the majority of the clergy, a few money hungry crooks cast all clericals in a bad light bringing distrust and negativity to the very religions in which they purport to so fervently believe as they become wealthy and increasingly removed from those who support them. The saddest part of the felonious profiteering is that the people who make these demagogues rich are the very people who can least afford it.
    It is no mistake that many of these preachers target the black community of which pollster George Gallup says "American blacks are, by some measure, the most religious people in the world." Unfortunately, this also makes them easy prey for the unscrupulous among the clergy.

    Still, there is a legitimate need for money in the church. Churches always have charitable projects and social help programs that are a boon to society, but it takes money to run these programs. However, it is a legitimate need. Most pastors are not rich. For the most part pastors do not receive extravagant salaries with compensation averaging around $39,000 annually across the United States. For many, being a pastor often requires a second job to make ends meet. Generally, it is not a lucrative business, but there are many who are prosperous and are also well known. Nevertheless, it is clear that the ministry provides little protection against human nature and weakness as the litany of light-fingered felons below attests.

    Oklahoma evangelist James Roy Whitby was convicted of swindling an 83-year-old religious widow out of $25,000. Later, he was charged with selling $4 million in worthless Gospel Outreach bonds. Also charged in the same scheme was convicted swindler the Rev. Tillman Sherron Jackson of Los Angeles, who had previously bilked the born-again in the Baptist Foundation of America—a $26 million fraud that resulted in congressional investigation.

    Faith healer LeRoy Jenkins of South Carolina grossed $3 million a year by selling miracle water and prayer cloths and healing T-shirts to believers who watched him on 67 television stations. Jenkins ended up being sentenced to a 12-year prison term for conspiring to burn the home of a state trooper who had given his daughter a speeding ticket, burn the home of a creditor, and mug a newspaperman who had exposed his money abuses and drug arrests.

    The Rev. Hakeem Abdul Rasheed was convicted of mail fraud in California where he once operated a $20-million-a-year church in an Oakland movie theater. The Rev. Robert Carr of Durham, N.C., was sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking paychecks, food stamps, and welfare checks from members of his Church of God and True Holiness. In Chicago, The Rev. Roland Gray was convicted of theft, fraud and conspiracy and served two years in prison after falsely collecting $43,000 in welfare checks and food stamps. Welfare fraud slipped into Washington, DC where Bishop Lucius Cartwright and Pastor Albert Hamrick were sent to jail for embezzling $250,000 while administering food stamp distribution.

    Basically, this surface research shows nothing more than human beings being human beings. This in no way absolves either the religionist or the nonbeliever of their transgressions, it simply points out that religion hasn't had much affect in curbing the excessive behavior of humanity and that there is no logical reason to assume the more religion will make a difference especially considering its track record.



    :confused:
     
  2. tophat

    tophat Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    YOU GOT THAT RIGHT!

    You got all that is in there on the money. People are People. Some are SUCKERS tryin to pay cash for a ticket to the hearrrr after. Always a conductor with a hand out to take that cash....
    and sidetrack the foooooool,. Watch the AI they comein down
    from the north side hooked with the Mongol "oid" With Their
    prayer for the destruction of the white man and his ways (ghostdance 188o's) comin true. Trobble is I like electricty and
    other so callewd "white mans ways. They mine now:flamet:
     
  3. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sad Story

    It is a sad litany, but it seems that religion doesn't do much good at all in curbing bad behavior. The only time I've seen it work is in folks who are getting ready to die or folks who are now too old to really commit the sins they'd like to commit. It's hard to fornicate when your fornicator no longer works. When you get old, your sinning drops dramatically and religion becomes stronger, but not because of any miraculous change of heart, but simply because we begin to know we don't have long and now we are hoping that we can make amends for the **** we did before we die, but I would bet my years salary that if you could give youth back to the elderly, the sinning rate would be off the hook!

    Ra

    ;)
     
  4. tophat

    tophat Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Reflections

    At 19 I tripped on my life to that time and projected the future. All I could comprehend was sunshine. Now at 52 I have already projected There is a cloud on the horizon but the sun is still shinein. I looked over my backtrail. Wasn't that much ugly doggin me. However I did ask of my conception of the force. (GOD) who I
    prefer to call "HOMEY" cause Homey don't play. What I could do to square up. I got my awnser and I'm Half ast on it. Slackard that I am.My heart Is KNOWN. I want to be like "JOHN HENRY" I
    want to die with my hammer in my hand. Laughin at VIAGRA...

    My kids asked me about GOD I told them God was like a big ol tree with branches stickin out everywhere.One for every human culture and time period. They said where are you on the tree? I said "DOWN WITH THE ROOT" that was too hard for them.

    So I broke it down to the bottom line.. "GOD IS ICE CREAM!"
    People argue about their flavor bein the one. Thats all crap GOD IS ICE CREAM.. You got to watch out for SATANS Imatation low fat yogut lookin ****.!!It looks like ice cream tastes like ice cream
    acts like ice cream.. BUT IT AIN'T ICE CREAM!!!!:jawdrop:
     
  5. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Ya Got a point!

    You got a point here--I think many delude themselves into believing they are changing because of God when it it is nothing more than the desire to live forever--we all get real serious when death is immenent--if I was still 30 years old, my sinning would be regular and often, but all that sinning takes too much energy now--Ra

    :x:
     
  6. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Free Will vs Omniscience

    Omniscience means all knowing (past, present, and future). If the future is known, then it is determined since there can be no other possible outcome. Free will means that at any given moment, a human has the choice to choose between two or more moral alternatives. If humans have free will, then for any given moral choice a human may decide among two or more possible outcomes. If there is an omniscient being, then there can be no choice about the future, and hence free will cannot exist. If the future is not known then there is no omniscient being and free will exists.

    You may claim that both free will and an omniscient being can exist at the same time with the most common rationalization being that God is outside of time, so therefore, God can know the future and free will can exist without a conflict. However, this places another set of rules on the table that asks us to believe another reality, but even under that set of rules there is either reality or none.

    If an event happens absolutely, then God is not exempt in either case. Either events happen, or they don’t. They either have happened, or they have not happened. These are either or propositions, and they are absolute. There is no other choice. Free will and omniscience can't co-exist without bending the laws of the omniscient being.

    Ra


    ;)
     
  7. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    It is very simple!

    Either one knows or one does not! It has nothing to do with logic. It has to with clear thinking. If one knows something--one knows. If one does not, one doesn't know. Conversely, if God knows all things and this includes the future, then he or she knows the final outcome of all things. If he or she doesn't know what the outcome will be, then that God is not omniscient! God can't know all things and be ignorant of what will happen in the future unless God doesn't know what is going to happen in the future, in which case God is not all-knowing which now brings question to God's other attributes, such as being all-loving, all-powerful and perfection.

    Your analogy of a child and parent is lacking in that it doesn't address the issue of an omniscient God. By making reference to rules being made and rules being broken such as children playing fire only raises another question about the perfection of God. Can a perfect God make an imperfect creature, and if so, what is the reason? Again, it goes back to omniscience. If God is all knowing, then he knew he created an imperfect being in man. If he or she didn't, then God is neither all knowing nor perfect.

    This also brings into question God's motives. Does a loving God set up her children for failure claiming free will, when he or she all ready knows the out come, if they are omniscient? Any way you look at it, if God is all-knowing then we have no free will. Address the issue! Either one has a free will or one does not. Omniscience implies a type predeterminism in that no matter what choice we make the outcome is all ready known and if that is the case there is no free will because the future cannot be altered if it is all ready known. Again, if it can be altered then it is not yet known, which puts us directly back where we started. There is no free will if there is omniscience.

    To put it in basics, saying that God knows all means that he knows everything and that means he knows what will happen in the next second to what will happen 2,000 years from now. In that case, he would know if a person is going to heaven or hell when they die. If he or she all ready knows, what is the point of living if your fate has all ready been set? Or, is it set? If it isn't set, then it means that God doesn't know what choices you will make or your ultimate demise, which says that God is not omniscient.

    Yes, children are taught the difference between right and wrong, but what difference does their choice make if it is all ready known what the outcome will be? Address the issue of free will and omniscience, or how do you square choice with predetermination?

    Ra



    :cool:
     
  8. dnommo

    dnommo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    systematic theology at its best. forgive me for not getting into this one but i am enjoying reading the discussion so far...very interesting points on both sides...
     
  9. Amun-Ra

    Amun-Ra Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Typical Response

    Whenever this issue comes up the typical answer is to go outside the realm of normalcy in another "who can know the ways of God" argument, which totally avoids the question. It is the evasive answer that does not address predetermination and free choice. It is the same as the "God works in mysterious ways" answer which is another way of saying, that I have no idea or avoiding answering the question straight on without resorting to supernatural mysticism, convenient abstraction or divine mystery. It is a simple question--omniscience versus predetermination.

    Ra
     
  10. dnommo

    dnommo Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Can I step in for a minute?

    Now Ra you have penned a good argument but i belive that your view of free will and predetermination (predestination for those who read it thus so) is not completely valid. When we attempt to fully understand the ways and concepts of God then we tend to remove the omnipresence of God. The one problem which many say kept Einstein from accepting mainstream theology, was being unable to resolve God absolutely knowing the future and free will. If the future was cast in stone - then the entire reason for Jesus, the bible, the Church all go away. If an exact number of people are saved - and an exact number of people are lost - then the whole purpose of faith becomes meaningless.

    Why bother with any of it, if it is already a done deal - finished in eternity??

    Zwingli, using the humanistic rationalism of Erasmus, simply extended Luther's "faith only" to its illogical conclusion: if salvation is by "faith only" it excludes even faith gained by reading the Bible. The problem rests in people not understanding INFINITY. The limitless nature of God. The Predestination crowd tends to think of God and the future in a LIMITED fashion: That the future is going to follow one course - and one course only. But INFINITY is LIMITLESS. There is a break down in grasping the MULTI-DIMENSIONAL nature of God. A key and important knowledge at which Christ crucified is the apex. Knowing what will happen does NOT exclude free-will. I can know that you are going to rob a bank; that I know that, does not take away your free will to accomplish or not accomplish that action. You are still acting freely even though I have foreknowledge of that event.

    Think of this - God knows all events, all choices, and all the consequences of those actions - good or bad. Encompassing the full range of all human and universal events. Thus, Free Will is the result of the Limitless Knowledge of God. God, being free and flexible, knows all events all choices, and all the consequences of those actions. Good or bad - encompassing the full range of all human and universal events. This is Limitless Knowledge. Jonah and Ninevah show this. The message Jonah delivered to Ninievah was: Either repent or be destroyed. God knew the outcome of both. God knows: if mankind travels down the path of lawlessness and injustice - the world will become a burning wasteland in short time. He also knows: if people obey Him and do love and justice - the whole earth would be transformed back into a garden paradise.

    It is our free will choice.

    Therefore it is quite possible for both to exist without removing the omniscience of God. Remember man is not "all-knowing" God is "all-knowing" and although it may seem difficult to comprehend that God would allow such catastrophic incidents to occur, there was still a point of free will within the person who carried out such actions. The concept of free will and predetermination has and will continue to stay on the discussion tables of scholars, theologians, clergy scientist and all others who deem a hand in it but the reality still comes down to who believes what.

    A cornerstone of true religion is free will - that people can and do make their own choices, that we determine our own destiny...for God to hold you in a clenched fist would be uncharacteristic of God...because Jesus says: sin enslaves...and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. If you deny free will, your interpretation of God is full of error...God is freedom...to realize freedom - Christ must become real in the mind and heart...because He is the truth, and the truth will set you free...
    If God wanted people to simply be fully obedient and compliant to every command of God, He could have created people to be just that way. This is what Limited Predestination says: "ultimately, indeed, God did create people to be ROBOTS. Pre-programmed people with no real will of their own." This sounds very wrong.

    I believe God gave man a free will, so man would come to God of his own independent, fully aware, fully free choice. Because God wants us to be His fully loyal companions forever and ever. A loyalty, so strong as to compel a person to die a hellish death for the kingdom of God. For a person to choose God by an independent intelligent choice of free will is much more rewarding and satisfying to God. It would be no fun to have companions whose actions and thoughts were totally predictable.

    Scripture shows in several places, history is not cast in stone. People can repent and turn the wrath of God. Therefore, the future is in flux. For us, it is to choose: good or evil. On that choice, the future will be determined. (Abraham bargaining with God about Sodom and Gomorra, Jonah unhappy because Ninevah repented) God knows all of past, present, and future. We are free in our ignorance of His will. [Isa 55:8.7] For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. [Isa 55:9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Because of this fully free will we have been endowed with by God, people make their own independent choices as to what is right or wrong. People choose Heaven or Hell by the way they speak, and think, and act - moment by moment, day by day.

    FREEDOM is the product of the INFINITE PREDESTINED KNOWLEDGE of God.

    just my views...
     
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