Tag Archive for Christianity

image_pdfimage_print

Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

Jesus, driving the money-changers from the Temple, in a painting by El Greco.

From the Archive: In Holy Week, many Christians celebrate what they regard as God’s sacrifice of his Son and the Resurrection. But some scholars see another narrative in which Jesus, a rural rebel, brings his critique of the Jewish-Roman power structure to Jerusalem and is killed for it, as Rev. Howard Bess wrote in 2011.

‘Christianists’ Howl at Obama’s Truth-telling

President Barack Obama addresses the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Though founded by a pacifist who spoke for the oppressed, Christianity has contributed to more wars, injustices and genocides – in all corners of the world – than any other religion. But President Obama’s glancing reference to this reality prompted howls of protests, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

The Christmas Truce’s Moment of Hope

Trench warfare during World War I.

A century ago, a remarkable moment for humanity occurred amid the killing fields of World War I as soldiers from both sides put down their guns and exchanged Christmas greetings, an unauthorized truce that was soon suppressed so the slaughter could continue – and in some ways never stop – as Gary G. Kohls explains.

Asking Christians about Tolerance of War

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Many Americans are tuning out on politics and international affairs – feeling they have no real say in what the government does – but there is a danger from such passivity, particularly the license given to the powers-that-be to make war and more war, as Gary G. Kohls explains.

Should Christians Embrace Gay Marriage?

Rainbow flag of the gay-rights movement

The issue of gay marriage appears headed back to the U.S. Supreme Court where the justices may finally decide if states can bar gay couples from marrying or not. Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia recognize gay marriage, including Alaska where Rev. Howard Bess lives.

Christians Who Ignore the Real Jesus

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

Many American Christians see themselves as devout followers of the theological Jesus but don’t want to know much about the historical Jesus, the nonviolent radical who called on his followers to resist social injustice, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

The Very Un-Christian Nagasaki Bomb

The ruins of the Urakami Christian church in Nagasaki, Japan, as shown in a photograph dated Jan. 7, 1946.

A bitter irony of the Nagasaki atomic bomb was that an all-Christian American crew used the steeple of Japan’s most prominent Christian church as the target for an act of unspeakable barbarism, making a mockery of Christian teachings on non-violence, writes Gary G. Kohls.

The Inconvenient Truth about Jesus

Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount as depicted in a painting by Nineteenth Century artist Carl Heinrich Bloch.

There is much religiosity in the U.S., with the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority even approving Christian prayers at the start of government business. But there is little appreciation of the radical political and economic message at the center of Jesus’s teachings, writes Rev. Howard Bess.

MLK and the Curse of ‘Moderation’

A mug shot photo of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

When Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. went to jail to focus national attention on the injustice of segregation, he was stung by criticism from Christian clergy who feared upsetting the status quo and urged “moderation,” prompting his historic rejoinder from the Birmingham jail, as Rev. Howard Bess recalls.

One ‘Silent Night’ in the Trenches

Trench warfare during World War I.

Dehumanizing the enemy is a key part of modern warfare, bolstered by the modern art of propaganda, often with the blessing of religious leaders. That was why the Christmas Truce of 1914 was so seditious, as Gary G. Kohls explains.