Sunday, June 29, 2014

Prosperity Doctrine Fuels Cultural Subjugation

The Prosperity Doctrine 

What is it?  It is the belief that by giving the church money that your material wealth will increase as a direct result.  But also, let me take it a step further.  The prosperity doctrine in several forms other than this form have been used to assert cultural superiority on the basis of cultural or societal success.  Let me give you a few examples:  Firstly let us examine the Native American Boarding Schools.  The boarding schools weren't just easy places to send Native children, but were a place where culture and language were driven out of children in the name of White-American superiority as late as the 1960s.  Children were seized from reservations and placed in these schools where their cultural identity was literally beaten out of them.  The justification for such measures stemmed from the belief that Native cultures were savage cultures and uncivilized.  That Anglo-white culture was superior because it was a "Christian" culture.  Further to how it relates to the Prosperity doctrine would be statements like "God has blessed the US, therefore our society should be Christian because of the blessings bestowed upon it."  Or other statements like "White people have proven to be God's chosen, look at the wealth and power we've amassed."  Or other assertions like the one's above.  The assertion of property does not give rise to the belief that it makes other cultures inferior, less deserving of respect and love and compassion, or even more so, that other religions are inferior to Christianity.  The false belief that Christianity is superior to any other religion is despicable in every way to me.  It's the same thing as saying that a White person or a Black person or an Asian-descended person are of any lesser value than any other skin-toned person (Race is not the appropriate term to describe skin color).

A variation of the Prosperity Doctrine was used to justify the subjugation of Black Slavery in the Americas.  The belief that our civilization was superior and that blacks would live better as slaves beneath us was often cited as justified reasoning to own a slave.  That blacks were poor living in hovels and dirt-floored huts in Africa means that they were not following God and should be saved from themselves.  The viewpoint that someone who is suffering economically must mean that they do not follow the teachings of Jesus is a deeply horrible falsehood.  The belief that someone is suffering financially simply means they are suffering financially and has no relation to their belief or non-belief in Jesus.  There is a difference between someone who say has a gambling problem and has thrust himself into insurmountable debt because of it, and someone who just got landed with three kids and no job through no fault of his or her own after a nasty divorce.  Blacks were also subjected to this cultural genocide that was observed in Native American boarding schools.  Many masters sought to raise God-fearing slaves, and prohibited expressions of their original culture...not that it really stopped it, but it actually ended up being something even better as the two cultures blended to form a unique culture in of itself.  And mind you, this also happened with Native Americans' contact with White civilization as well and numerous others that we came in contact with such as Hawa'ii, India, Africa, and the South and North American peoples.  Culture was adopted from the cultures we contacted and the best parts of it were incorporated into them.  The Cherokee culture so very much identified with the tenants of Christianity that much of the ideology was viewed as extremely compatible and even adopted...even though the aftermath of such contact were atrocities like "The Trail of Tears" and a despicable president (Andrew Jackson) that is personally responsible for the genocide of 4000 Cherokee personally.

In Europe, prosperity was used to justify the Serf system and to exalt kings and lords over the common folk.  The divine right of kings and the divine assertment of lordship over people is often justified by wealth.  "Wealth means God favors you" is often a fallacious and even dangerous doctrine for one to assert.  Even a rudimentary shows that Christ himself had a worrisome view of the wealthy and seldom had anything to say about them that could be mistaken as favorable.  "It is far easier for a rich man to fit through the eye of a needle than for him to get into Heaven" is often a good one to remember.  Jesus basically saying in a nutshell that the love of money is so strong that it either is the man's Lord, or The Lord is.  They can't serve both.  "Give all your money away to the poor and serve me" was also popular.  "The love of money is the root of all evil" is definitely anti-greed and anti-prosperity doctrine.  James' condemnation of favoritism to one person above another...though the subtext to me definitely reads like specifically referring to the wealthy and well-connected.

The Prosperity Doctrine in many ways and in it's various forms has been used to justify religious and cultural subjugation, and genocide for generations in our past.  I cannot comprehend how any person claiming to live by the principles set by the Christ-Jesus can engage in such despicable and inhuman treatment.  And I cannot believe for one second that God loves any one person less just because of their skin tone or sexuality or other religion.  If we are called to be servants of all mankind and we are called to be compassionate, loving, and generous, then I find no ethical, moral, or even legal justification for subjugating and killing off any culture or religion or ethnicity in the name of "religious superiority" asserting "We're prosperous, therefore we're the best of God's people."  If we are truly the best of God's people, then let us humble ourselves before others, and be the servants of those less fortunate.  The prosperity doctrine is poison, toxic, and not in line with Christ-like Values.  It should be discarded as a doctrine, and the fundamentals of Christian thinking and action should prevail.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bigotry Has no Place in a Christian's Heart

One of the most trying issues of our time is that of Homosexuality and Marriage and the Family.  Who decides what is what?  What rationale is justified in regulating these various facets of society?  And ultimately, how should a Christian feel about such things?

Let's talk about a few of the talking points in this debate.


Marriage is an institution that has persisted in one form or another for millennia.  That fact is not in question by anybody.  What is in how that institution has progressed through the years.  Is marriage truly and only between a man and a woman.  Well most conservative-minded folks believe yes.  Why?  Most of the time the answer stems from a response to the degree of "Because God/Nature/whatever created us that way.

Fallacy:  Marriage has been between a man and a woman for over 6,000 years.

Fact:  Marriage has been many things to many cultures over the last 6,000 years.  Even Judeo-Christian traditions going back that far question this viewpoint.  Marriage has been used to join households increasing the available resources usable to each, polygamy has been practiced for just as long, meaning that it was not only between man and woman, but man and women as well.  Marriage has been used in political alliances, such as the marriage of Louis XIV, King of France to Queen Maria Theresa of Spain for the purposes of securing peace between the two warring nations.

Fact: Native American cultures throughout North American celebrated unions of two men and women together.  They are called "Two-Spirits" people.  The term also has been studied by Anthropologists which led them to conclude that perhaps some Native American communities had up to four genders.  The unions of these individuals were widely celebrated among these tribes and likely predate 6,000 years as asserted by anti-equal marriage advocates.

Fact:  Same sex unions were celebrated in Rome, Greece, and in many parts of Mesopotamia until the Roman Catholic Church squashed such expressions and unions in the 300s A.C.E.

Conclusion: Marriage traditions vary per civilization, culture, and religion.  To assert it's that hetero-marriage is the only valid marriage is wrong and academically dishonest.  It's also ethnocentric to believe that one cultural tradition is superior to another on the merits that it's your tradition.


What constitutes family in our culture has often been motivated by the view of marriage.  Marriage between a man and woman, who then produce children is the idyllic marriage.  This viewpoint has been perpetuated by the political right who believe it is their sacred duty to protect what, in their eyes, is viewed as "God's Plan" for society.

Concession:  I will concede that children should always have two parents.  It is the most ideal circumstance for a child.  It provides a safe environment and the security of two adults in the household to attend to the every day tasks of the home and to provide varying types of nurturing and rearing to the children in the household.

Fallacy:  The the ideal home is one with One Mother and One Father.

Fact:  No scientific evidence of any kind has concluded that a home with One Father and One Mother is the most ideal one.  The latest study done by Boston University in 2013 which examined gay-parent households concluded that those households function JUST as well as hetero-households.  Other studies attempting to assert that hetero-only households are the best households have been soundly rejected by various academic associations across the country.

Fact: The ideal family image that has been part of our society since the 50s has long been perpetuated by government, business, and religious organizations.  The growth of the suburbs created this image of mom, dad, children, a dog, two cars, and white picket fence.  This image of the family was enshrined as the "American Family"...or as it's often referred to as The Nuclear Family.  By no means though is this family structure exclusive in Christianity or any other religion.  It is not upheld as the perfect "godly" family by any ounce of scripture.


Homosexuality as a societal structure has only been out int he main stream in US Culture for a short time by comparison.  Europe, Japan, Canada and Mexico have all embraced LGBT persons as fully functional members of their societies and go to great lengths to protect their legal rights.

Fallacy: Homosexuals are not natural in their impulses or feelings.

Fact:  Actually, that's not true.  Homosexuality CAN be observed in nature to an alarmingly huge degree.  If homosexuality is not natural, then why do we observe it in over 3000 species on Earth?

Fact:  Physiological and unique physically observable psychological differences have been seen in the human brain which differentiates homosexual from heterosexual, such as certain neuron configurations as observed in a study conducted by a Dr. Simon Levay discovered differences between heterosexual neurological configurations and homosexual configurations (Sex and the Brain, Discover Magazine, March 1994).

Fact: Sexual orientation develops during pregnancy.  According to a study published by the Best Practice and Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in Sept 2007, the process of the selection of gender identity (that is, the sex a person thinks he or she is psychologically) is developed in the womb concurrently but independently of the physical sex characteristics, such as the penis and testes or the vagina and the ovaries.  This occurs when physical characteristics do not align with the psychological characteristics.

Fact: Geneticists such as Simon Levay and several others who do research into genetic disposition of gay men and lesbian women found genetic markers and genes which contribute to the disposition of one's attractions to another of the same sex or both sexes.

In conclusion, marriage and family are subjects to be decided by culture ultimately.  It is not for religion or law or anything else to decide what is socially acceptable or not.  It is for society to decide that.  Our laws prevent harm from befalling people as a result of culture.  They protect the minority from the majority and the rights therein.  Whether you believe homosexuality is "morally" right or not only affects one person: you.  If you think it's wrong, then you're entitled to your opinion.  But when your opinion causes harm to others by violating their legal rights...then your opinion has moved into public policy matters.  And from here-on, LGBT citizens are going to fight for what is legally theirs by right of virtue, humanity, and law.  If you don't like it...that's kinda too bad.  Let's move on from this debate, accept each other as equals, and treat each other as though we are all of equal value and worth.