The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury and EvangelicalSupport
for a Jewish HomelandDonald M. Lewis:The Balfour
Declaration operated enshrouded in secrecy, gave no reasons for the Declaration,
outlined no conditions – other than those in the Declaration itself
– and expected no accountability. The Declaration was not debated in
either of the Houses of Parliament and like most foreign policy issues,
was never approved by the British legislature.Many leading
Christian Zionists were Jewish converts to evangelical Christianity who
did much to shape the development of popular evangelical thinking in these
matters. It was this Protestant religious discourse that marked the family
backgrounds of many of the key members of the British political elite
responsible for formulating the Balfour Declaration.
This isn’t necessarily bad. There's plenty reason to be skeptical of
the Bible: a lot of it is either incomplete or untrue. If someone asked me if
"the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful
life,” I too would have to unequivocally answer “no”: the Book
of Mormon alone has taught me far, far more than the Bible ever could. It was
never meant to be used to the exclusion of other sources of truth and light.Also, "I love the Bible as much as anyone, but when we
use it as weapon sometimes, and expect conformity to it from people who
don't value it, we're using it for purposes other than what it was
intended for, to find (Jesus), and to point to Him.” —Truer words
cannot be found even within the Bible itself, but this statement is nevertheless
heresy in the minds of the “Christian” right in America. And…"apparently 10 percent of people surveyed believe
Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.” —This just shows that Americans
are just as illiterate about history as they are about religion, and everything
else for that matter.
I agree with the poster who stated, in effect, that we are about to reap the
whirlwind. That upcoming generation we keep hearing about most of whom now
have their children out of wedlock, many of whom have an std and seem busy
spreading it around, and a majority of whom, according to this article,
apparentlyhave a negative view of holy writ, is not a comforting thought.I think it was Brigham Young who stated that when more than half of the
people, more than fifty percent, choose evil over good, then look for the
judgments of God to expedite. I think that we "aint seen nothing yet"!
Batten down the hatches!
Since leaving first Mormonism and then Christianity altogether – and
precisely because I finally actually read and studied the Bible more honestly
& carefully – the Bible has become far, far more interesting and
challenging than it ever was when I was a believer.One of the first
things that became apparent was that if I could believe that Hebrew scripture
– the Jewish Bible, Tanakh or Old Testament – was "the word of
God" then I would have to reject the New Testament and Christianity and
"the Atonement" and Jesus as a fulfillment of Hebrew scripture and
messianic prophecy. And the Gospels as reliable history.For a long
time the Synagogue became my spiritual home and to the degree I still have one,
it still is. As I continue to read and study the Bible one thing that often
jumps from the pages is that Judaism was right about Jesus and the NT all along.
And in an increasingly Christianized world – politically, culturally and
polemically – they paid for it harshly through the centuries, often with
their lives.The Bible and Bible archaeology continues to fascinate
even as it has long since been clear that it's purely a man-made, human
A strong belief is God is possible, even when one thinks many parts ot the bible
are outright goofy.
What's worse: not reading the bible, or just not reading? ...
"....the only difference between the worship of Zeus, Thor and a jumped up
tribal deity named Jehovah is that the marketing of the Jehovah brand lead to a
lot of success...."______________________________It's
true that Jehovah had meager beginnings as the god of a tribe of Semitic nomads
who wandered in off the desert. The ascendancy of Christianity was improbable
and might never have happened had it not been for finding new blood in advocates
like Saul of Tarsus who understood the Mediterranean world and shared a larger
world view.It required packaging. Cultural assimilation always does.
@Moontan: "If I had evidence that Zeus or Thor were real deities I would
feel duty-bound to publish my proof so that society could examine the evidence
and respond accordingly. You know, like Christians have."Umm...
maybe I missed it. Evidence? Proof? The Bible saying the Bible is true is not
evidence, let alone proof. A burning in your bosom is not evidence, let alone
proof. A stack of commercially successful books saying the Bible is true is not
proof or evidence. A bunch of men in suits claiming they have personally spoken
to God is not proof unless God is on camera with them.In fact, the
only difference between the worship of Zeus, Thor and a jumped up tribal deity
named Jehovah is that the marketing of the Jehovah brand lead to a lot of
success. But marketing is only good for so long. Look at Microsoft -
still huge but losing market share like mad. Just like the Christian brand.
Still big, but the market share is slipping fast. By the way, people
disagreeing with your truth is not proof, either. It is just disagreement.
If I had evidence that Zeus or Thor were real deities I would feel duty-bound to
publish my proof so that society could examine the evidence and respond
accordingly. You know, like Christians have. I'd also sound the alarm if I
had proof that Mormons are trying to 'destroy families' or
conservatives want to rewrite the Declaration of Independence to erase that
nasty 'all men are created equal' idea. But I get it. We
live in an era of 'accusations are enough to establish proof' and
'let me do what I want or its proof you Christians hate me.' I am reminded of a domestic abuser I handcuffed long ago. He could not believe
I was not interested in his reasons why he had beaten his wife. Thought my
refusal to listen to his explanation was proof I was a member of a repressive
@BlueYou are totally wrong. It happened when we stopped worshiping
Thor. And I will not photograph your offensive Zeus-blessed wedding
or bake you a cake for it. I am so offended, in fact, I am going to pass a law
to keep you from offending me or anybody else with your un-Thorical Zeus
"This is empirical evidence of the downward spiral of America's ethics
and morals."Sorry, you're wrong. Civilization_actually_
started to decline when we stopped worshipping Zeus. What's my proof? I
have a strong personal testimony of it.
@1aggie ... "right-wing hypocrites (particularly in Congress) who wave a
bible in one hand..." Who? What Bible-based legislation is coming out of
Congress these days? Any examples? @Stalwart Sentinel ... what
Mormons do you know who are trying to 'destroy families'? Which
conservative has been disparaging the poor? Name, please. And has a
representative truly said recently that not all men are created equal? Lastly,
if religion truly does as you suggest, I wonder if you might answer your own
question ...."why would you want any part of it?"
Craig Clark, A perfect illustration of what I'm saying. In the
Garden of Eden, Adam had to confess his transgression to God face-to-face. Many
millennia later, we are still struggling with the same sin, the same
disobedience, the same impulse to blame the wife ... only now we can text God
our confession. That's not progress. Sure, we live
longer than our Bronze Age brothers; they'd love our dental care, and our
food storage capabilities. But when the Landowner returns to take account of the
talents left us, we both will be wrestling over the very same excuses. Scripture is every bit as relevant today as it was when written. We've no
moral superiority over the ancients; no new insights which exempt us from the
human condition, or which elevate us over them in His eyes.
Moontan,"I think it takes a painful lack of insight to suppose
we are more skilled at handling internal and interpersonal conflict, at
wrestling with eternal questions related to the human condition, than were our
Bronze Age cousins."______________________________The
Garden of Eden set the stage for Charles Darwin a few millennia down the road.
Civilization builds from the ground up through successive generations.
Aristotle, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Einstein. None of these hallowed greats were
as original as popular ignorance suggests. All did their work standing on the
shoulders of the ones who came before. Some were even humble enough to admit the
debt they owed to those long dead.In our time, we’re now so
smart that we have smart phones for everybody. Not one in a thousand may
actually understand how the technology works. But through the power of monkey
see, monkey do, any man can be an absolute whiz at operating one.
I think it takes a painful lack of insight to suppose we are more skilled at
handling internal and interpersonal conflict, at wrestling with eternal
questions related to the human condition, than were our Bronze Age cousins. @Stromwalker ... "The real killer is the lack of solid science,
math, reading, and reasoning skills." Welcome to the Information Age, eh?
Fast forward but a few minutes from the Bronze ... If art is the
outer expression of the inner state of the soul, I'll take
Michelangelo's era over Andres Serrano's era any day of the week.
Humankind is progressing spiritually? Only in dreams and nightmares.
To appreciate the Bible’s place in human experience, you don’t have
to regard it as sacred writ. It’s not infallible or inerrant. But it is a
priceless pillar of our legacy of who we are and how we got there.
Religion does not own the Bible. But it does effectively exploit it for its own
I agree with Stalwart here. The aversion felt by many is not for the Bible
itself but for the right-wing hypocrites (particularly in Congress) who wave a
bible in one hand while their actions are anything but Christian and loving.
I've read the Bible many times, and read it almost every day. The previous
two comments greatly undervalue this precious book. Jesus summarized the old
testament with the first two commandments to love God and your fellow man. He
summarized the new testament with the commandment to be cleansed and reborn of
the Spirit. Both testaments, as well as The Book of Mormon, Another Testament
of Jesus Christ, bear powerful witness of the Son of God, His atonement and
resurrection.If you want to learn how to love God and your fellow
man, and to be reborn of the Spirit, read the scriptures. There apply to any
age, not just the Bronze one.
Recently, there have been other studies that actually explain why younger
generations are averse to organized religion and reluctant to view the Bible as
their parents and grandparents did. The reason: conservatism. Indeed, conservatives incessantly tout their judeo-christian values while
simultaneously marginalizing entire groups of Americans, disparaging the poor,
fighting against equality, and undermining anyone different from them. If that
is what religion turns you into, why would you want any part of it? I myself am LDS but I don't blame people when they look at the despicable
acts of my fellow mormons who justify their own efforts to literally destroy
families simply because that family doesn't meet our personal standards.
It's actually saddening to admit but I see more christlike attributes in a
rally for SSM or raising the minimum wage or equal pay for equal work than I do
when I attend my Church services on Sunday morning.
Ancient writings are valid if you believe there is a bigger purpose to this life
than merely being a participant in a long chain of evolutionary events. The
Being that put our lives into motion would have us know how to live to become
something more than the evolved version of an animal and communicated that
through the generations of people who lived on this earth. In
regards to the "us and them" idea, the fact that humans have free will,
unlike other living creatures, allows us to consciously choose our beliefs and
actions regarding ourselves and our interactions with others. In that light we
become "us and them" because of our own choices. We can choose to follow
the instruction book of God, twist it to suit our purposes, or choose to brush
it aside as irrelevant. Science and sound reasoning do not
contradict the choice to believe because they cannot prove or disprove the
truthfulness of the Bible or the existence of God - making the choice completely
ours to make.For those of us who choose to believe the current trend
I think we're at the start of a whirlwind we'll be reaping for quite a
while after sowing seeds of disregard for marriage, family and the spiritual
source that sustains those institutions and the nation.In the early
80's video tape and VCRs started becoming ubiquitous sources of in-home
entertainment. I remember being increasingly disturbed as I witnessed the
rising number of parents who, neglectfully I thought, seemed unconcerned by the
rising number of movies with graphic violence and sexual content. I saw more
and more of those kinds of movies becoming more and more commonly viewed by a
broader range of ages in people's homes. The trend continued in the
increasingly prevalent cable TV content.Predictably, the coarsening
effect on more and more children and families became more pronounced. We are
simply farther down that same downward path. The causes are the same. The
remedies are the same.Unfortunately, as we've seen so often,
societal transformations from a downward trajectory to an upward one seem to
only happen after a dramatic and very traumatic upheaval. Ironically, this is
all predicted in the Bible. Apparently, fewer and fewer people know that....or
This is empirical evidence of the downward spiral of America's ethics and
morals. Certainly when the Bible and Book of Mormon are used as a tutelage for
right and wrong, societal standards are established for the benefit of all.
Rather than love your neighbor as thyself, we're now facing the facet of a
lot of people believing that it's alright to dig a pit for thy neighbor.
And we're worse off for this mentality.
It's tough to see a 'troubling trend' in a group of people who
question the validity of a cryptic collection of versed stories that today is
twisted and lawyered and used to justify all kinds of things. Many of them very
harmful and negative. We should question anyone who claims authority or superior
knowledge of such a vague tome.
In the US we have founding stories about the Columbus and the Pilgrims, George
Washington and Daniel Boone, about people and events. The fact is that many of
the stories are not factual - some are embroidered, some are outright fiction.
They don't tell history, they define us as a people, they tell us how
Americans are supposed to act and the things that are socially unacceptable. The Bible is a collection of stories to help a Bronze Age nation-tribe
define itself as a distinct people seperate from its neighbors. The recurring
theme "we're better than they are, if you act like them God will punish
you" consolidates their worldview. The New Testament repackages
that paradigm and sells it to a new audience: "God loves you, but only if
you don't act like Them..."The rise of the Information Age
is finally moving a generation of people out of the Bronze Age religious
worldview. Biblical illiteracy is no more damaging than ignorance about the gods
of Olympus. The real killer is the lack of solid science, math, reading, and