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The reason for the season



Published: Tue, December 22, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

The reason for the season

EDITOR:

I read with interest two letters from writers who felt that the billboard messages reminding people that Christmas is about Christ is somehow a blatant waste of money. From what I understand, they feel that the money could have been used to help the poor. As they go in detail about how Jesus helped the poor and healed the sick, it appears to me that they have just enough knowledge of the Bible to get it wrong.

As I recall, in John 12, Judas admonished Jesus for allowing Mary to anoint him with expensive perfume that she poured on his feet saying that the money could have been used for the poor. Jesus answered him by saying “Leave her alone ... You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

There is a growing movement to take Christ out of Christmas and to secularize this season. That is not going to happen. I applaud members of this group who have enough love of Christ in them to put up billboards announcing that this is the season of hope because God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son to save us. Whether you believe it or not does not make it less true.

I don’t understand why these critical writers feel that if you put money toward a cause you believe in than you must not be helping the poor. Does anyone follow people going into jewelry stores or mall stores and say to them that they should be helping the poor instead of buying things? It seems whenever someone takes a stand for Jesus, there are always jeering voices in the crowd trying to drown out those who speak the truth.

Christmas is revered by Christians everywhere as the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. You can wish someone a happy Thanksgiving, happy Hanukah or a happy New Year without reprisal. You should be able to say Merry Christmas without fear of offending anyone.

MARIANNE B. LORDI

Youngstown


Comments

1palbubba(671 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Well put Marianne. I guess the other writer missed the scripture that tells us not to judge others, or the one that tells us to go work it out with those we have a problem with.

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2leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Marianne, the problem with the billboards is that they're really political statements - not Christmas greetings. And while I respect the right of those who place them, to do so, I feel sad about the implied message behind them.

As for the money spent on the billboards, I have to agree with the original poster who suggested it would be better spent on the poor.

Jesus was not advocating spending money on luxuries in the passage you reference. He was anticipating his own death, and suggesting that the annointing could be viewed as preparation for it.

There's nothing wrong with spending money on a cause you believe in - but this is one situation where the question, "What would Jesus do?" is most appropriate. I doubt he'd spend the money on these billboards, when there are so many going hungry and sick.

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3Lifes2Short(3878 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Why is it that anything to do with Jesus or Christmas is a political statement? It shouldn't be a political issue at all. Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, no more no less.
Merry Christmas everyone!

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4dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

The billboard may reach a lot of people who need to hear the message.It may even remind many of us that we do need to help the poor and stop worrying about the materialistic side of this holiday. The critics are just your usual Christian-bashers who will take every chance they get to spew their hatred.

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5mikeymike(469 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

The billboards are great,Christmas is celebrated for one reason and one reason only,the birth of Jesus.MERRY CHRISTMAS !

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6smarterthanthat(10 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

"Whether you believe it or not does not make it less true. "

What arrogance! This is the problem non-believers have with the zealots. Because you believe, it is an absolute truth. You can't possibly be wrong. The non-believers have a right to their beliefs. Re-read that sentence as though a non-believer would have posted the following (though most I know are considerably more respectful of others' views and likely would never write or say such a thing):

There is no God, so the birth of Jesus, whenever it occurred, if it occurred at all, was no big deal. Whether you believe it or not does not make it less true.

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7marianne(66 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

smarterthanthat: There is only one truth. If your belief that there is no God is true, then I have nothing to lose when I die. On the other hand, if what I believe and know is true -that Jesus is the Son of God who gave his life that those who believe will be saved - than when you die, you have a lot to lose! Sad.

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8smarterthanthat(10 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

See what I mean. How do you know what I believe? Read my post again. Can we please at least respect others?

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9Lifes2Short(3878 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Before the advent of the Internet and the corruption of the media on viewers, no one had these issues or problems over Christmas. I'm sure the non believers celebrated Christmas and had days off from work and were happy, and I'm sure that holds true today. But now, no matter what, everything is politically wrong, no matter what the issue, your going to have someone or somebody complain. Thats such a shame.

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10leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Lifes2Short, What makes these billboards political is that they are not greetings; they are commands and statements. I have no problem with a billboard that simply says, "Merry Christmas", or even, "Happy Birthday Jesus". But this whole "keep Christ in Christmas" movement has sprung out of a baseless fear that some Christians have, that a conspiracy is at work to eliminate their religion. They are seeing demons where there are none.

Just because our society makes an effort to be more inclusive, does not mean it is trying to destroy Christianity. There have been no reports of storm troopers marching into churches and halting religious observations of Christmas - or any other Christian holiday for that matter. There have been no laws passed that require you to take part in any of the secular celebrations surrounding Christmas; WalMart and KMart cannot force you to purchase Christmas cards with Santa and elves on them, instead of pictures of Jesus.

What we have seen is a movement to remind our government to stay OUT of religious observances; thus the rulings against government entities displaying manger scenes. This is not an elimination of religion; it is a protection of it. When any government gets mixed with religion, the result is a total distortion of the religion. (just look around the world, folks. Look at the countries with "official" religions. You wouldn't want to live or try to worship there.)

And I don't know your age, but I'm 57, and I can tell you that many non-Christians in this country have had great difficulties with Christmas, for a long time. If you take the holiday seriously, then it's not about days off from work, is it? And this is not an Internet or media phenomena. It's a very old problem.

Marianne, you claim that Jesus died to save those who believe. This doctrine of vicarious atonement, which didn't even become official doctrine until about the 11th century, is not the only Christian view. To call it the one truth is simply inaccurate. Some of us consider that Jesus LIVED to show the way. (and that way was one of inclusion, not exclusion)

And, by the way, your rearrangement of what was essentially Pascal's Wager ("....I have nothing to lose.......") is ironically humorous. It's the total opposite of faith.

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11marianne(66 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

leaveusalone: you said:
"you claim that Jesus died to save those who believe. This doctrine of vicarious atonement, which didn't even become official doctrine until about the 11th century"

What are you talking about?? What 11th century doctrine? I don't look at religion and its doctrines, I am speaking solely on what Jesus Christ said in his Word! Among others: "for my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:40 That doesn't sound like he just lived to show you the way. Jesus IS THE ONLY WAY! Read the gospel of John
Jesus also said in John 8: "He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God".

I am glad the rearrangement of Pascal's wager was humorous to you. So laugh now because one day you will bow to Christ.Then it will be too late. Sad.

There is also no need to argure with you

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12leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Marianne, First of all, I'm not arguing. Simply discussing claims that you make.

The idea that Jesus died to save you is the doctrine of vicarious atonement. It was not an idea held by the early Christians. It didn't become a fixture in Christianity until the 11th century. It is still not accepted by the Eastern Orthodox church. (would you suggest that they are not Christian?)

Rather than try to explain it all in such a small forum, I would just recommend that you look into it at your own leisure. I'm not trying to dissuade you from your personal faith; just attempting to make the point that there is more than one "truth".

And never forget, when reading the bible, that the good book has been through many, many interpretations, edits, translations, printings, etc. It has much to offer, but must always be approached with the understanding that while the word of God may be in there, there's a lot of words from man, as well. We don't really have a way of knowing which books are the most accurate - the first gospel was written about 100 years after the death of Jesus. So we don't really know exactly what he said, do we? Historians and other scholars know of a number of gospels that were eventually left out of the bible - some for theological reasons; some for political reasons.

All we can do is interpret, and try to follow the example of Jesus - and I maintain that he preached tolerance and inclusion. (and left us a little something we call the "Golden Rule.")

You need not feel sad for me - I'm not afraid of my God.

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13cambridge(3101 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

God told Abraham kill me your son,
Abe said man you must be puttin me on,
God said no,
Abe said WHAT,
God said you can do what you wanna but,
The next time you see me comin man you better run,
Abe said where you want this killin done,
God said out on highway 61.

Robert Zimmerman:1965

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14gypsygirl720(186 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Hi CAM,
Like Zimmerman quote [1965].
Have a wonderfilled WOODSTOCK hollandaise!
~~~best to you.

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15Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

"“Leave her alone ... You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

The message here is that those who are taking care of us should be taken care of . MAY GOD BLESS THOSE WHO FEED US, HOUSE US AND KEEP US WARM ! Too many for far too long have taken America the land of plenty for granted .

In spirit with the season:

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

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16Lifes2Short(3878 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

leaveusalone
It's a gesture to remind people to keep "Christ in Christmas", no more, no less. We as a society have forgot what the true meaning of Christmas is. And where does this article mention about the Government and religion? Thats another story for another day so won't even go there. As I'm not even going to bother with the bible history.
And by the way, Walmart did demand there employees say "Happy Holidays" instead of the traditional "Merry Christmas". And the conspiracy demons you mentioned is a joke, right? I hope you weren't serious.
If someone wants to put a billboard up to remind people to keep "CHRIST" in Christmas then God Bless them, they have every right to do so.
Merry Christmas, Everyone!

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17marianne(66 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

leaveusalone: I am saying that any religion that does not hold to the truth that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that he is the only way to heaven is not Christian. That is what Jesus said when he said that "NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME". To be Christian, you must follow what Jesus said. So please don't tell me about doctrines of some religion. I could not care less. Only thing that matters is Jesus Christ and him crucified.

I do feel sad for you and for all who will one day say , "Lord, Lord" and have Jesus say, "Depart from me, I never knew you".

You can attempt to follow all the "Golden Rules" you want, without Jesus as your Savior, you will not enter heaven. I am not arguing with you. I am trying to reason although I am sure you will dispute that.

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18leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Dear Marianne,

I respect your right to your own faith and opinion. However, I question your definition of "reason". I see very little reason in your letters to the editor, or Christianity in your responses to various posts. I see only dogmatic reaction and slavish obedience to man-made rules and doctrines.

Nevertheless, I wish you well and hope you have a Merry Christmas.

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19cambridge(3101 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Marianne....According to your "reason" Hitler and his fellow Christians are all in heaven and the Jews they killed are not. Those wonderful Christians that committed genocide on the Native Americans are in heaven but the Native Americans are not.

Thanks for clearing things up. It all makes sence now.

I mentioned Abraham in an earlier post. He knew nothing of Christ. Do you think he or anyone that lived the thousands of years before Christ made it to heaven?

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20candystriper(575 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Did Santa get laid off?

...excellent letter Marianne...they hijacked our jobs and now our religion.

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21cambridge(3101 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

USEless1....I did study history and it taught me that Hitler slaughtered 6 million Jews. I don't recall any mass murder of Christians by Hitler.

The link below provides quotes by Hitler regarding his religious beliefs and his relationship with the leaders of the Catholic Church.

Tell me, will all those Priest that molested and raped little kids for generations and the rest of the clergy that covered it up go to heaven and all their victims and and the victims supporters that left the church as a result be condemned to hell?

http://www.remnantofgod.org/NaziRCC.htm

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22RFederer(116 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Religions real doctrine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwK...

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23Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

"I don't recall any mass murder of Christians by Hitler."

You had better restudy history cambridge . Hitler had many Christians from occupied countries in his concentration camps . Some survived many went to the ovens . The Christians who harbored Jews or helped them escape were amongst the first to be executed . Today they are the forgotten ones . Far mor than just Jews died at the hands of hitler .

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24KimS(10 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Cambridge and Leaveusalone, I admire your efforts. But you can't open a closed mind.

You know the worst part about being an atheist? We will never have the opportunity to say "I told you so".

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25cambridge(3101 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

KimS....I'm not an atheist. I just believe you have the right to be one. The fact that someone is upset and effected by what someone else believes is against every religion I know of and isn't preached by any atheist I've ever met.

It's people like Marianne and USEless1 that turn myself and others against organized religion.

RFenderer....Thanks for the video. It says it all.

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26marianne(66 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

cambridge: are you saying that because Hitler had a relationship with the Catholic church that he went to heaven?? Where did you get that or by what reasoning? Who said all priests go to heaven? Jesus said the exact opposite. He rebuked the high priests more than anyone in the bible. Religion will never save you. Only a relationship with Jesus Christ where you make him your LORD and Savior will ever get you into heaven. For some reason, you seem to think that everyone who says they are a Christian is going to heaven.

You said that I turn you against organized religion.
Good!! Instead of religion which can do nothing, try asking Christ into your heart.

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27grapejuice(9 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

"Only a relationship with Jesus Christ where you make him your LORD and Savior will ever get you into heaven." So, it's WHO you know, not WHAT you do that's going to get you into heaven? So, all we have to do is repeat meaningless phrases, and tell ourselves over and over that we know Jesus? We don't actually have to DO anything? Like love and care for our fellow man, and not be self-righteous or holier-than-thou?

Gee, if heaven is full of this type of person, I'm not so sure I WANT to go there.

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28KimS(10 comments)posted 4 years, 12 months ago

Oh I didn't mean to imply that you (or leaveusalone) were atheists, just that trying to open a closed mind is very difficult. The atheist remark is only my opinion.

But your posts are very well stated. I just wish there were more believers like you, and a lot few of the "holier than thou" folks who are posting here.

Merry Xmas folks!

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29marianne(66 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

grapejuice: Yes it is who you know as personal Savior and Lord for nothing you do can ever earn you heaven. However, if Christ is your Lord, than you have his power living in you. You then allow him to do good works through you. It is all by Christ that none of us should boast. It is faith in Christ that is evidenced by the fact that you surrender your life and let him rule in your life. For that reason, Christians reach out to the poor and the hurting with the love of Christ.

You may not think so now, but I assure you that one day you will regret not caring about getting into heaven. I assure you will care one day!

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30grapejuice(9 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

So all the people on the planet who do good work and care about others, can't go to heaven unless they are Christians, (as you define it)? All the good Jews, Muslims, Buddists, etc. will have to find somewhere else, huh? Well, that's okay - 'cause I bet Jesus will want to join them there. Hey - now that I think of it, I bet Jesus isn't in heaven - since by your rules, he wouldn't have qualified!

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31VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I am a Christian. A Catholic. A believer. But, If you want a good fight, start up a discussion on religion. Religion has started more wars, killed more people and ruined more lives than any dictator has. It is not the religion that kills, it is the people. People are brutal. That's why we were given religion. So, what have we done with it?

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32marianne(66 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Religion is man's way to God. It can never save you.
Grapejuice: Good works cannot save you. Good works cannot take away your sin or let you stand before a holy God. The bible says that all of your good works are just filthy rags! Once again, I will tell you that all that matters is the good works that Christ does through you. The only thing that will take your sin away is the blood of Christ. It is a free gift so that none can boast that they had anything to do with it. I didn't say that only Christians can go to heaven. Jesus Christ said that the only way to heaven is through him. I happen to believe him. I am a sinner saved by grace. His power changed me.
And let me say it again, religion of any kind can not save you! May people that go to church are going to hell. Only through belief in Christ and the work he did at the cross can anyone be saved. I cannot save you and I cannot change your mind. You must seek and want to do that. I can only pray.

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33leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Marianne, Did it ever occur to you that many people do good, just because they want to? There are many loving, caring people in the world, who reach out to others, not because they will receive some reward, but because they simply see the need of other human beings.

There are many wonderful people in the world, who plan on doing right by their fellow man, regardless of whether or not it's a ticket into heaven. In fact, many of them would view it as selfish in the extreme, to follow Jesus like a rock star groupie that hopes to make it backstage by claiming to be "with the band".

I'm sure you draw strength from your personal faith, and I have no problem with that. But I'd be curious to know: if you didn't believe in heaven or hell, and weren't afraid of not getting into heaven, would you be at all interested in helping your fellow man? Or is all this just about saving yourself?

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34cambridge(3101 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Marianne....The more you post the more obvious it becomes that you have some deep emotional problems. I'm guessing you have had these problems all your life. You need to seek professional help and I wish you luck and hopefully some degree of recovery that will allow you to function in society.

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35XFilesX(77 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

I believe that most of the problem here is no one like hearing the truth. No one likes being told "what to do". And no one likes being told what they have done or are doing "isn't good enough". So I will tell you that I was where you are. I can only say from experience that you have to hit a point in your life where you face yourself and KNOW that there is more than material things, physical encounters, drinking, partying, spending money, going on vacation, getting knocked down, suffering illness, disappointment, lonliness, despair, abuse, etc, or even having wonderful things happen where you feel hollow, and you KNOW that you need more. MORE. And you KNOW that GOD is real. You know that no one or nothing can sustain you or make you happy as HE can. And then you find out that EVERYTHING you ever wanted or needed was right in front of you. And you only had to accept it. Accept HIM as your Lord and Savior. It's that simple. And you win. It's like the old saying: If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand.

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36sistersun(49 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Lifes2Short.......You said it all.........Merry Christmas

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37leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

XFilesX,

To the contrary, most of the people questioning Marianne's assertions, are, indeed,asking for truth - but personal, subjective experience, no matter how powerful, is NOT necessarily truth, to anyone beyond the person experiencing it.

The problem some of us have with Marianne's statements, is that she is trying, on the basis of her personal experience, to dictate how everyone else should live their lives. And she is trying to use the bible, as an unimpeachable, authoritative source to support her approach. (actually, she is selectively using certain sections, and conveniently ignoring others that don't support her.) While I have no problem with someone taking strength from their personal faith, and while I have great respect for the bible, I have very large problems with anyone who insists that their way is the only way; that their interpretation of the bible and Jesus' words is the only interpretation. This attitude is behind every religious struggle that has taken place on the planet. Too many humans have died because foolish, frightened people have latched onto a religious perspective, and refused to let go. Jesus himself was trying to make that point.

On your point that no one likes being told what to do: I wish that were true! It strikes me that way too many people LOVE being told what to do - believing that turning their lives over to God, or Jesus, or Allah, etc., somehow frees them from something. But for too many, it just provides a rationalization for ignoring the problems of the world.

I believe that Jesus was trying to teach us to have a personal relationship with God - one that didn't require a large set of rules and rituals; that didn't need priestly authorities or fancy buildings. But he never said, "stop thinking." And when he said he was the way to the Father, I believe he was trying to set an example, not recruit groupies.

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38marianne(66 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

leaveusalone: First of all, I would like to ask what sections of Scripture do you believe I am using that aren't supported by other ones? The bible does not contradict itself. I think you just say things to say them. No basis. And yes, I do believe that there are people who do good just because they want to. Before I was saved, I did a lot of good works. Trouble is, good works can't save you and they can't earn heaven. Salvation is a free gift and until I understood it, I tried to earn my way. I always enjoyed helping others. I still help others but now I allow Christ to do it through me by his power.

To those who believe that they do enough good to get to heaven, I ask whose standard do you base your "good enough"? Man can never do enough God to make up for sin against a holy God.

Cambridge: Once again, if you can't attack the argument, you attack the person. That is the tactic of a small person. Sad.

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39leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Marianne, you also selectively choose which questions in the posts you'll answer. So I'm bored with this discussion, and won't waste any more time.

Good luck - because when you meet Jesus, I suspect he's going to have a few harsh words for you, too.

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40cambridge(3101 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Marianne....My last post was not an attack against you. I truly believe you are mentally unstable. You are not a rational person.

First of all you act as though the Bible is the written word of God. It isn't. It is the written word of bunch of different men written hundreds of years apart.I want to ask you a question about the Bible but I doubt that you will answer it. The Bible states that the universe was created only six thousand years ago. Do you actually believe that?

Second, you somehow believe that you are so self righteous that you should pass along your assumptions as to who is worthy of heaven and who is not based on you being saved. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe some of us were never lost?

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41AXLE69(181 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh usa1-pro-conservaterican,why are you always telling people to go back where they came from? If that was the case you would be back in the middle ages.Hey,come to think of it...........Hmmmm. Those billboard ladies need to get another hobby.Maybe a knitting/teabagging club.You can be the Chairman.LOL..HAPPY KWANZAA usa1-pro-conservatrican.I saw it on a billboard.Oh wait a second,you hate KWANZAA but want to force everyone to say Merry Christmas? Shucks,I thought I would get through the year without MORE conservative hypocrisy.Wishful thinking.I promise I will monitor youe hypocrisy very,very closely in 2010.HAPPY NEW YEAR............p.s Barack Obama is STILL your President........lol

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42AXLE69(181 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

Oh usa-1/pro-conservaterican,like 99% of stuck in the mud conservatives there you go again trying to label me as a communist while you are the all American boy.Can`t you come up with something intelligent to write? I fly the flag of the USA not the old Soviet Union.And what does Obamas poll ratings have to do with him still being your President? With the pile of manure that W left him,I`m surprised his ratings are even at 50%.When you have to follow a disastrous presidency like that,in reality the numbers should likely be in the high 20`s.So I am very happy with the change as are the MAJORITY of people that were polled.I know it hurts usa-1 when the same polls show Americans believe you and your tea party imbeciles are just not that credible nor do you or they speak for the majority.Of course with a new year and decade on the horizon,you can still come over to the right side.After all, you already have some street cred from being a member of the progressive UAW which kept you firmly situated in the middle class for 24 years.When you get down on your knees and pray to Glenn Beck tonight,please be thankful for that.LOL

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43cambridge(3101 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

DJcolon....According to Mathew Jesus was born "in the days of Herod" in 4BCE. Do the math.

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44leaveusalone(103 comments)posted 4 years, 11 months ago

DJcolon: Actually, the earliest gospel in the New Testament is Matthew, and it is generally believed to have been written long after Jesus' life. There is no evidence that any of the New Testament gospels were written by contemporaries of Jesus. While this does not take away from the beauty, and wisdom of the New Testament, it is difficult to say that any of it is definitely the word of Jesus.

At last count, biblical scholars were in possession of over 5,000 early manuscripts which have been shown to be the source of much of what we now call the New Testament. Scholars have demonstrated that some stories which now appear in the New Testament were never in the original manuscripts; and likewise, much of what was in those early works has been edited out, for various reasons; some political, some religious.

Again, none of this has to detract from the importance of the New Testament. But it does suggest that we all tread carefully when quoting it as an authoritative source.

Happy New Year!

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