Joel Osteen starring in my new film!

"Joel Osteen in The Smiling" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Joel Osteen in The Smiling” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I know people who despise Joel Osteen. I also know people who respect him. Some hate him. Some love him. I love both those who like him and don’t. Go figure.

This summer I was visiting my family and Joel Osteen was on TV. It was a very inspiring message. I mean, biblical scholars would probably tear their hair out, what’s left of it, because of the serious eisegesis that may have occurred. Some might have been driven crazy by the false hope that may have been offered. Others may have gone made over the size of the building, its plushness, the display of success and wealth, the suits and dresses and jewelry, and the smile. Yes, the smile.

I can’t believe how much insanity his smile arouses!

But it was an inspiring message. It made me feel good.

I’ve had an interesting year. It has caused me to be even more careful about critiquing ideas and behaviors I think are harmful to individuals and communities. So even though I may critique Osteen’s theology and praxis, I don’t wish him harm. I hope if he sees this cartoon he would… smile! I don’t wish anybody harm. I do not want to destroy anyone. I really don’t.

If the kind of world I imagine doesn’t include everybody then there’s something wrong with my imagination.

I love diverse communities because they are microcosms of the what the world can possibly be. Well… the world is diverse already! It’s acknowledging it, celebrating it, and working with it, that matters and makes the difference.

This is exactly what we’re doing at The Lasting Supper. No matter where you are on the spectrum of belief or non-belief, you belong! Out loud too! I invite you to join us!

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22 Responses

  1. Ducatihero says:

    hehe,

    He has got nice shiny teeth hasn’t he. 😛

  2. Bernardo says:

    Summariazing:

    Christians should burn their copies of the NT for the 2000 year old con job that has been perpetuated on them by popes, bishops, priests, ministers and evangelicals such as Osteen. Muslims should burn their copies of the koran for the 1400 year old con job that is pulled on them five times a day by the imams and ayatollahs. . And Jews should burn their copies of the OT/Torah for the 6000 year old con job pulled on them by their past and current rabbis.

  3. I like this quote of Camille Paglia in her book, “Glittering Images”:

    “Although I am an atheist, I respect all religions and take them seriously as vast symbol systems containing deep truth about human existence. While evil has sometimes been done in its name, religion has been an enormously civilizing force in world history. Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination.”

    I think “religion” in her statement would include its texts.

  4. Ducatihero says:

    “Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination.”

    I like that, and I would include sneering at the “religion” of atheism as being juvenile and stunted too.

  5. Bernardo says:

    But the question still remains, would we be better of if religions had never been invented? For the many reasons presented previously, I conclude yes we would be better off.

  6. Ducatihero says:

    “For the many reasons “, being your arguments from authority, a logically fallacious approach resulting in opinion being presented as if it were fact.

  7. Bernardo says:

    The facts not from authority but from history, past and current:

    The NT-driven inquisition, antisemitism which led to the genocidal conduct of the Crusaders (Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews — A History by James Carroll (Paperback – April 1, 2001)
    and the Holocaust, the biblical approval of slavery, the divine right of Judaism to the “holy” land, the divine right of kings and queens and the absurdities of today’s Christian evangelicals and their empires and the
    insane believe in the papacy, dead bodies rising, angels, satan, hell, original sin and life after death.

    The koranic-driven terror of Islam:

    The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

    ■”The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million.

    and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

    and more recently

    1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

    1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

    2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

    3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

    4) and on and on in the 24/7 bloody saga of contemporary Islam.

    And the Yahweh approval of OT- listed atrocities: (although most of these if not all fail rigorous historic testing ex. Moses was to the best of our knowledge a myth as was Abraham).

    •Exodus 32: 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf.

    •Numbers 31: After killing all men, boys and married women among the Midianites, 32,000 virgins remain as booty for the Israelites. (If unmarried girls are a quarter of the population, then 96,000 people were killed.)

    •Joshua: ◦Joshua 8: 12,000 men and women, all the people of Ai, killed.
    ◦Joshua 10: Joshua completely destroys Gibeon (“larger than Ai”), Makeddah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir. “He left no survivors.”
    ◦Joshua 11: Hazor destroyed. [Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987), estimates the population of Hazor at ?> 50,000]
    ◦TOTAL: if Ai is average, 12,000 x 9 = 108,000 killed.

    •Judges 1: 10,000 Canaanites k. at Battle of Bezek. Jerusalem and Zephath destroyed.
    •Judges 3: ca. 10,000 Moabites k. at Jordan River.
    •Judges 8: 120,000 Midianite soldiers k. by Gideon
    •Judges 20: Benjamin attacked by other tribes. 25,000 killed.

    and on and on to a total of over one million slain in Yahweh/ Torah-approved blood baths.

  8. Ducatihero says:

    Bernardo,

    You wrote “we be better of if religions had never been invented? For the many reasons presented previously, I conclude yes we would be better off.”

    OK that’s your opinion. Do I deny that some have used religion s n excuse for evil? No. but think about it just a couple of examples of the top of my head – The French revolution and Russian communism. Both having an absence of religion. People in France being guillotined for being thought of as being an “enemy of the revolution” whether proven or not. Millions dying in concentration camps with communism in Russia. No religion in either of these.

    the list goes on – Paul Pott, Idi Amin, Robert Mugabe – people not being killed or harmed in the name of religion but in something else.

    The reality is the people like to kill people. If you remove religion, all you do is remove one excuse that people have for killing people. #what you also do is remove the comfort and hope that some people have in hardships now and in what may happen with the possibility of facing oblivion in the future.

    You provide facts for atrocities but you don’t provide and indefatigable and objective proof for “Christian practice” being “absurd” as you claim. Therefore you don’t have any “pizzaz” and you don’t “put the kybosh” on religion. What you do is argue from authority with endless quotes from “professors”. For this to carry sway, it depends on the ignorance, prejudice and fear of readers.

    with all due respect, it’s an approach that is easily refuted. There is a chance that you could make what you do look silly and not be taken seriously.

  9. Gary says:

    ” Sneering at religion is juvenile, symptomatic of a stunted imagination.”

    Boy Camille really nailed it with this one. LOL

  10. Jordan says:

    Re: “would we be better of if religions had never been invented?”

    The answer is moot because religion is intrinsic to humanity. It wasn’t invented. It evolved.

  11. Bernardo says:

    Religion was not invented but evolved? Give us a break. It was invented by people like the Jewish scribes as a means to keep the peasants as peasants and themselves in the ranks of the well-off.

  12. Bernardo says:

    And more historical facts about religion involvement in man-made atrocities:

    o WHERE WAS YOUR GOD(S) WHEN THE FOLLOWING TOOK PLACE:

    The Twenty (or so) Worst Things GOD’S CREATURES Have Done to Each Other:

    M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

    The Muslim Conquest of India

    “The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. ”

    Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..(Religions/Groups involved)*

    1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and “Shintoists”)

    2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

    3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

    4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

    5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

    6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

    7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

    8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

    9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

    10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

    11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

    12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

    13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

    14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

    15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

    16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

    17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Christians)

    18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

    19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

    20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

    *:” Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

    A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion.”

    Q: So, what you’re saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

    A: Arrgh… You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many documented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it’s more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don’t even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

    In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under “Communism”, 24 under Colonialism, 2 under “Railroads” and 2 under “Scapegoats”. Make of that what you will.”

  13. bernardo… last warning about listing statistics! Please stop. lasting warning. ok?

    and your theory that religion was created in order to control the masses betrays your lack of imagination Paglia refers to as well as your fascination for conspiracy theories.

  14. Ducatihero says:

    Thank you Bernardo, 41 “religious conflicts ” in comparison with a total of 55 for other reasons in the stats you give.

    So less conflict with “religion ” than not it would seem. Kinda challenges your point about being better of without religion.

    I like your point about the question being moot as religions were not invented Jordan.

  15. Bernardo says:

    Unfortunately, some people do not peruse cited references and/or the reference cited is huge and needs to be abstracted to the focal point of discussion.

    Referring to the French and Russian Revolutions as not involving religion: Actually both were a result of the abuses of the clergy of the Roman and Russian orthodox religions and their support of the divine right of kings, queens and czars.

    See for example:

    A People’s History of the French Revolution Hardcover – September 16, 2014
    by Eric Hazan (Author), David Fernbach (Translator)

  16. Caryn LeMur says:

    Bernardo: May I offer that you are still within the grieving process? You left the RCC, and have continued to stay angry in so many of your posts. You may wish to review the Kübler-Ross model for grief.

    When some of us have tried to engage you with critiques of Crossan’s views, you simply ignored us… and retreated to more citations and statistics. In a sense, your response is ok (to me)… because you seem to be grieving and unable to see the holes in your own belief system. Your worship of Crossan is ok by me, just as I worship and revere Jesus.

    If you can, take a deep breath. Laugh. The world has had religion and atheism for all time — and all mixes thereof. As pointed out by Ducati, your atheism is a protected belief system in the UK.

    [Oh…I recommend you watch some Jim Jefferies on YouTube (he is an atheist comedian and spot on concerning some of the craziness of religion). He will help you to laugh. ]

    Perhaps your all-or-nothing viewpoint is causing you to believe that we are all-or-nothing. We are not.

    – Speaking for myself, I have written about my own difficulty with prayer, and how ‘heaven’ nor ‘hell’ are motivators in my life. Yet, I am a believer. I suggest that I have a complex faith of some nature. I am not all-or-nothing.

    Laugh! Enjoy! See the holes in Crossan’s theories! See the craziness of all the religions! See the craziness of people without religion! Life is so very interesting.

    Because… in the final analysis… argumentation brings no one into your camp. Your anger and fundamentalist dogmatism drives them away.

    It is the presence of peace, joy, and love that wins hearts.

  17. Ducatihero says:

    Bernardo,

    Did I comment that the French and Russian revolutions did not involve religion?

    I mentioned that people we guillotined and died in concentration camps for reasons not connected with religion.

    Furthermore, even the atheist Oxford professor Richard Dawkins says that both world wars were nothing to do with religion. Again, Paul Pott, Idi Amin and Mugabe have been nothing to do with religion. These were just names off the top of my head.

    Even your stats put less conflicts down to religion than other reasons.

  18. Ducatihero says:

    Well said Caryn!

  19. Bernardo says:

    Grieving process?? Give me a break!! Just trying to save all those who have been conned by the promises of ever lasting life in some mythical state of bliss called heaven. But hey, it is a free country unlike a lot of theocracies in the world so to those who still believe, go for it. You do a lot less harm than Muslim terrorists or the drug-driven gangs of Chicago and Baltimore.

  20. Bernardo says:

    Worship Professor Crossan? No but I do admire his scholarship in perusing and testing all the scriptural documents from the first century CE. Professor Crossan’s major failing? He, as you can see from his books, still believes in god unlike Professor Ludemann who also does an exhaustive perusal of the NT passages. Ludemann’s book, Jesus After 2000 Years should be a part of anyone’s library. Professor Crossan as a reminder is an ex-Catholic priest. Tough to break all those supernatural beliefs!! Dave might be able to relate?

    And note those guillotined during the French Revolution and those Russians who died in concentration camps suffered these indignities as a direct result of the revolution of the peasants and poor abused by centuries of domination by religion-backed aristocracies. Had these people been treated as Jesus and his “mythmeisters” noted in the NT, there would have been no guillotines or concentration camps.

    And Pol Pot’s life was not absent of the influence of religion or aristocracies. Ditto for Idi Amin and Robert Mugabe, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pol_Pot#Early_life, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idi_Amin#Early_life , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Mugabe#St._Xavier.2C_Kutama_College.2C_and_Fort_Hare:_1942.E2.80.9354

  21. Ducatihero says:

    “Just trying to save”

    Is this the second coming I wonder 😛

  22. Ducatihero says:

    Bernardo,

    Just noticed there that you say Crossan “believes in god”. As “god” does not exist any belief in “god” would be a failing. God on the other hand is a different issue.

    So again not unlike Dawkins and Lennox in the sense that two different conclusions come to between two professors in Crossan and Ludemann.

    To “break supernatural beliefs”? As difficult as to break any beliefs in there being nothing supernatural would it not? Therefore much mystery to be had and it being folly to think of one perspective in human rational terms as being superior to the other.

    Hey, maybe that’s why Nietzsche went insane – son of a pastor, letting go of his faith, and possibly trying to figure it all out and not getting there. Or maybe brought on as a consequence of catching syphilis. Who knows?