"You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!" - James 5:8-9
James starts by telling us that we should be thankful when we run into hardship, because it's merely our faith being "tested". Presumably this "test" is being performed by God. However, James says that when we are tempted, we should not blame God because God doesn't tempt people to sin. Jesus didn't seem to be aware of this when he gave the disciples the Lord's prayer ("And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.").
Chapter 1 ends with James telling us to follow the words of the "law". It's unclear if James means the law of Jesus or the law of the Old Testament.
The letter continues with James forbidding favoritism, with respect to wealth. This is because the poor are "rich in faith". This is probably the first passage that's actually true to Jesus's teachings since we started reading Paul. James goes on to say that if you break one of the commandments of the law (he's clearly talking about Old Testament law now), that you are guilty of breaking all the laws. But wait, I thought we weren't under the law any more (according to Paul). There seems to be something fundamentally wrong about lying being just as bad as murdering in the eyes of God.
The latter half of chapter 2 is about doing good deeds, not just having faith. In fact, James goes so far as to say, "faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead". I know a lot of Christians that only ever go to church on Sunday, or give money to the church. The example James gives as action is "feeding the hungry". I don't think "feed the pastor with church donations" counts as feeding the hungry. I guess faith is dead.
Almost the entirety of chapter 3 is about not cursing. James goes on to give us several metaphors about how cursing can lead you astray. He compares your tongue to a rudder on a ship, and a spark that starts a forest fire. He also says that our mouths are like a spring, in that salt water (cursing) and fresh water (praising God) cannot come out of the same place.
Chapter 4 echoes some of the sentiments of Paul that we heard over and over again. Namely, don't quarrel among each other. James says that we should submit ourselves to God rather than quarreling among each other.
Chapter 5 is probably the most interesting chapter of James's letter. He implores the people he's writing to (whoever that is), to be patient for the coming of Jesus. He promises them that the coming of Jesus is near. What could he possibly mean aside from promising Jesus will be coming within his generation (which is what Jesus has said all along)?
James ends the chapter by saying if someone is sick in the church, they should ask the church elders to pray over them. This is surely where the idea that you don't need modern medicine came from. The children that have died of treatable illnesses as a result of "faith healing" should attest to the falseness of this claim.
This is just too stupid for words:
Why has President Barack Obama on at least two occasions told specifically Muslim audiences that America is a nation of -- among other things -- "non-believers"?
Yeah, why does Barack Obama pretend that there are some people that aren't religious in America? And why, for Jesus's sake, is he telling the Muslims?
The Pledge of Allegiance says America is one nation under God, our national motto says in God we trust, the Declaration of Independence says we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and since the time of George Washington our presidents have placed their left hands on the Bible as they raise their right hands and swear to defend our Constitution.
"Under God" was added in the 1950's, our national motto was originally "E Pluribus Unum" ("One From Many"), and the founders probably meant "creator" in a decidedly more deistic sense than what this article is implying. [Way more info] Even if all these things were not the case, nobody is implying (or nobody should be implying) that the founders of the United States weren't violent defenders of freedom of religion.
The Census Bureau's official Statistical Abstract of the United States says a miniscule 0.7 percent of American adults -- or 1,621,000 out of 228,182,000 -- are atheists.
The smallness of the U.S. population number betrays just how old the study he's quoting is. Not to mention that "atheist" is not the only measure of non-belief. There are also agnostics, and people who simply say "none".
Here are the current statistics: First of all, the US population is estimated at a little over 310 million (not 228 million); according to a Pew research poll (done in 2008) 16.1% of the US population define themselves as "none", 1.6% and 2.4% refer to themselves as atheist and agnostic (respectively). Using 310 million, and combining atheist and agnostic (the groups that generally don't believe in God), the number comes out to a little over 12 million atheists and agnostics (as opposed to the writer's estimate of 1.6 million).
If you do this same combination of atheists and agnostics (4%), they out number the Jewish (1.7%) and Muslim (0.6%) populations combined. The question then becomes, if the president acknowledges Muslims and Jews (he does), why wouldn't he acknowledge non-believers?
The writer of the article spends several paragraphs giving instances where Obama spoke of religious diversity (including the phrase "non-believer"). I'll spare you his repetitiveness. Moving on:
Is Obama's repeated declaration -- including to Muslim audiences -- that America is, among other things, a nation of "non-believers" truly accurate? Does it comport with Obama's professed strategy of reaching out to the Islamic world and improving America's standing there by increasing understanding of our true nature as a nation?
The answers are: No and no.
First answer, yes (for the reasons stated above). Second, it may not "improve America's standing", but it certainly doesn't hurt us any more than saying we're a "Christian nation". Either way we're horrible infidels.
In the end, Obama is just trying to be as inclusive as possible in his religious diversity speeches. By mentioning Christians, Jews, Muslims, and non-believers he's probably included upwards of 98% of the US population. I didn't, until now, think it was possible to criticize someone for trying to highlight diversity and acceptance of others. Thanks, Terence Jeffrey, for lowering my opinion of humanity.
(via The Patriot Post)