Dogmatic and Spiritual Religion

by Steve Taylor

religionThere’s something very strange about religion. There have been recent appalling acts of terrorism, allegedly carried out in the name of religion. These attacks emphasize the recent findings of the Global Terrorism index, that religion has now become the main motive for terrorist acts. The report showed that the number of deaths due to terrorism increased by 60 percent last year, to 18,000. Additionally, it found that the number of annual deaths due to terrorist acts has increased five times since 2003.

However, we also know that some of the most virtuous and noble human acts are carried out in the name of religion. Many of the greatest moral reformers and activists in history were inspired by the principles of their religions, such as Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and William Wilberforce (who fought for the abolition of the British slave trade in 1807). Although I’m not religious myself, one of the contemporary figures I admire most is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has spent his life tirelessly campaigning for justice and against oppression, and embodies the Christian principles of compassion and forgiveness to the highest degree. Continue reading

The Rise of the “Megachurch”

from Real Truth

megachurchAfter a stirring live performance of “Jesus is Better Than Life,” a woman takes center stage before a roaring, enthusiastic crowd of 16,000 people. She declares, “We’re going to rock today. This place has been rocked a lot of times, but it’s never been rocked for Jesus” (The Christian Science Monitor).

Every weekend, similar scenes play out across the United States, as millions of people flock to the latest craze in religious experience—gigantic, multi-million-dollar worship complexes called “megachurches.” Resembling concert halls or shopping malls, these churches are stirring up frenzy among those seeking a more modern approach to religion. Continue reading

10 Signs of the Spiritual Gift of Healing

healing1. Desire to see People Healed

You feel more strongly about healing than other people seem to do. You are hungry to see people healed by the power of God and may have had that desire for a long time.

2. You Encourage Others to Receive Healing Prayer

You believe in praying for the sick and regularly encourage others to receive prayer. If someone shares they are unwell, your first instinct is to pray. Continue reading

Antediluvian Civilizations

from the Northwest Creation Network
atlantis”Antediluvian civilizations”’ are civilizations believed to have existed before the Great flood of Noah. If the fossil record is indeed the result of the Biblical flood as described in the Bible, then it is somewhat expected for evidence of antediluvian (pre-flood) civilizations to exist. It is assumed by many that humans reached advanced stages of technological development before the flood. Such presuppositions are usually based on the Biblical genealogy, which states that ancient people lived to approximately 10 times our current life span.  Also it is frequently mentioned that Adam and Eve would likely possess higher than normal intelligence since they were created as adults, with knowledge that subsequent humans obtain from their parents. Another theory states that the antediluvian race called the Nephilim was superior to other humans in this respect. Continue reading

Mysticism in various religious traditions

from Encyclopedia.com
mysticismThe Christian tradition manifests varied branches of mysticism, including the Discalced Carmelites, a movement within the Carmelite order that espouses a form of mystical development still followed today in the Catholic Church. Founded by St. Teresa of Avila (1515–1582) and St. John of the Cross (1542–1591) in sixteenth-century Spain, the movement defended the practice of inner prayer against its persecution by King Philip II of Spain. Educated by Jesuits, John of the Cross began theological studies at the University of Salamanca in 1567 but left to help Teresa of Avila in her efforts to found the Discalced Carmelites. Imprisoned by the non-reformed Carmelites from 1575 to 1578, he used his imprisonment to his advantage, composed poetry, and, finally, escaped to face further suspicion regarding supposed connections to socalled illuministic books roundly condemned during the Inquisition. Only after the Apostolic See had examined his orthodoxy in the early seventeenth century were his books published openly. Continue reading

Why Don’t We See Miracles Like the Apostles Did?

by Justin Holcomb

miraclesMany contemporary Christians feel disconnected from the vibrant, Spirit-filled ministries of the prophets and apostles described in the Bible. In the Old Testament, God seemingly took the people of Israel through miraculous event after miraculous event. In the New Testament, those who watched the ministry of Jesus were seized with amazement at the miracles he performed (Luke 5:25), and the apostles in the early church regularly performed signs and wonders among the people (Acts 5:12).  Continue reading

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

by JASON JEFFREY

MaryOf all the earliest followers of Christ, none has sparked the level of interest generated by one particular woman – the biblical figure known as Mary Magdalene. Revered as a saint, maligned as a prostitute, imagined as the literal bride of Christ, Mary of Magdala stands apart as an enigmatic individual about whom little is actually known, despite centuries of scholarly scrutiny and wild conjecture. Continue reading