Noah, the Kabbalah, and Gnosticism

If you’ve seen the movie Noah, you might have wondered about where the filmmaker is getting all of that extra-biblical stuff.  Adam and Eve as beings of light?  The angels imprisoned in matter?  Blessings from the skin of the serpent in the garden?  Brian Mattson shows that all of this and more–down to the names of the angels and jargon such as “Zohar”–comes from the Jewish gnosticism of the Kabbalah.

The use of the Kabbalah and gnostic texts is so blatant that Dr. Mattson asks how all of the Christian leaders who endorsed the movie could have missed it.  He calls on all seminaries to require their graduates to have read Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, since we are, in effect, he says, back to the 2nd century. [Read more…]

“Coming out” as a Christian

In her memoir Dancing Through It, ballerina Jenifer Ringer tells about her Christian faith.  I was struck by this line from Washington Post reviewer Rebecca Ritzel:  “Coming out in a dance memoir as an evangelical Christian is nearly as rare as coming out as gay in the NFL.”

Back in 2012, we posted about the apotheosis of homosexuality and the demonization of Christians, asking whether Christians might someday become “the new gays.”  That is, whether being a Christian might be seen as socially shameful as homosexuality once was, that Christians would become “closeted,” keeping their faith secret from the public, except for those brave enough to “come out.”

Now we have a major media outlet using that kind of language for Christians.  Some will say, “That’s justice!  Now you Christians will know how it feels.”  Maybe so.  I can imagine the comments:  “They should not be allowed to get married!”  Certainly there is still stigma against homosexuality among the masses, if not in the media and elite circles.  I am not saying that Christians are treated worse than gays, which is obviously not true (nor am I saying those are  mutually exclusive categories), and I don’t want Christians to develop a persecution complex.  I am just wondering if we Christians are ready for the possibility of there someday being a severe  social stigma against our faith.  [Read more…]

Making religion as unacceptable as racism

What would it be like if religious belief were to become utterly socially unacceptable?  Imagine a time when believing in God would be as contemptible and as shameful as racism is today.  That’s what Irish actor Chris O’Dowd is calling for.  He says that he used to be tolerant around religion, but that he has become “less liberal.”  Now he thinks that religion should become as unacceptable as racism.  And that people shouldn’t be “allowed” to say religious words.

There are so many more religious people than atheists that this is unlikely for the foreseeable future.  But, still, note the trajectory.   Being unbigoted used to mean “not discriminating according to race, color, or creed.”  Then other categories were introduced:  sex, gender, sexual orientation, physical handicap, etc.  But there are attempts now to start excluding “creed.”   But hating people because of their religion and hating people because of their race are both bigotry. [Read more…]

“National Bolshevism”: Russia’s new ideology

Vladimir Putin’s speech annexing the Crimea echoes the language of a new political ideology being formulated in Russia, according to Canadian journalist Doug Sanders.  A melange of postmodernism, nationalism, and Russian Orthodox mysticism, it goes by the name of “Eurasianism” or “National Bolshevism” (cf. “National Socialism” ).

The ideology’s founder is Alexander Dugin, who calls his movement a “Fourth Way” between liberal democracy, fascism, and communism.  Though the big enemy is liberal democracy, so that he calls on an alliance between fascists, communists, Islamists, and other pre-modern forces to overthrow it.  He describes his ideology as “socialism without materialism, atheism, progressivism and modernism.”  Read about it after the jump, noting my highlights, and then read my reflections. [Read more…]

When the church “doesn’t really stand for anything”

Newsweek has an article about how Protestantism is dwindling in the land of Luther.  It shows, I think, the futility of the liberal theology that the state church has embraced, the notion that in order to reach people you need to change your teachings so as to conform to the dominant culture.  That’s a formula for making the church irrelevant.

The article also credits the Lutheran churches of East Germany, under great persecution under Communism, for its role in the anti-communist protests that brought down the Berlin Wall.  This reminds us that NOT following the path conforming to the dominant culture can have great power and that the church is at its best in times of cultural conflict. [Read more…]

Satanism is having a Reformation

The group that is trying to erect a statue of Baphomet next to the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma state capitol represents a new strain of Satanism.  It isn’t just about black masses, occultism, and deliberate acts of evil.  The new Satanism is allying itself with atheism in an attempt to destroy traditional religions.  And yet just as the atheists are having a schism, so are the Satanists, with orthodox devil worshipers complaining that the new groups are not real Satanists.  So reports Joseph Laycock at Religion Dispatches, excerpted after the jump.

Think of it as an atheist Reformation, with a greater emphasis on spreading the bad news, replacing ritualism with a personal faithlessness, and de-emphasizing damnation by works.

[Read more…]