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Technical Difficulties With Automated Blog Posts

[20100131] The blog is still refusing mail from gmail. I've stopped the forwarders. When the mail server stops trying to deliver mail (probably by the 5th). I'll try another strategy.
I'm trying to find the equilibrium between Google News Alerts, Gmail and Blogger to permit automated posting of Google News Alerts to the blog so I can have them for reference and work on other things. My goal is not to focus on one news topic, but to have the varied topics in the news feeds automatically posted in the blog daily or weekly because I can capture more unique data that way.

Suicide Bomb News Feed

The Jihad News Feed

Witch News Feed

Ritual Abuse and Killing News Feed

Faith Heal News Feed

Female Genital Mutilation News

Exorcism News Feed

Child Bride or Marriage News Feed

Church Abuse News Feed

Animal Sacrifice News Feed

Religious Exemption News Feed

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fruit Of The Spirit And The Problem Of The Heap

This article discusses the Flawed Principle of identifying Christians by their outward characteristics.
The problem of the heap, sometimes called the problem of the Beard is stated something like this. When you drop one grain of sand on another, when do you have a heap? Or if a man lets his facial hair grow out when do you call it a beard?

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. They are the characteristics that sum up the nine visible attributes of a true Christian life. That's a nice pile of Rhetoric and very appealing to the ego and very convincing if we don't put much thought into it. But each of these in themselves suffer from the problem of the heap as much as they all do together.

Does everyone agree on exactly what love is? When is a person experiencing Joy? What if they drift out of Joy into happiness or just apathy? How much suffering is long-suffering? How much is gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance? If we say that these only apply to Christians, do we really believe that? Aren't there people out there that are not Christians that exhibit these? I think I exhibit them, and some Christian thinkers have admitted their crises in faith. How much faith do they have? Enough to keep their positions that's for sure.

What is the difference between them and me? In some cases they are dishonest to themselves, and sometimes to others, at least I don't profess to be a Christian. I would say that if I went back to church and avoided talking about God, nodded my head and smiled politely in a tolerant politically correct kind of way, no one would know the difference. My fruits would look fine to them.

In any case, if Christians make up a third of the population of the world, and these characteristics can be applied to all categories of people, then the defining characteristic must be Faith because in this context, it would be faith in God. So what we really mean to say is that "you will know them because they profess a belief in Jesus".

So now, back to the heap, how much faith in Jesus is enough? And additionally how much faith in Jesus and how much of any of the rest of the fruits are enough? It seems to me that I could disqualify most of the Christians in any given church I walk into using this criteria. So if those that have enough fruit to be called Christians are few, and you don't know how much is enough, then you don't really know if you are leading a true christian life or not.

All this uncertainty about being a 'true Christian' and not appearing like a Christian to other Christians seems to defy reason. I think we could say that using these criteria is meaningless and I wonder, with all things being equal, why be a Christian? Why participate in the protocol? Most Christians in that 30% probably aren't leading a truly Christian life and as a result are as lost as I am. Its a narrow road, many are called but few are taken, is that how it goes? So of the billions of people on the planet since god allegedly made himself known, less than 30% are chosen. What is the point in that? That's a lot of needless suffering for someone to permit, when he set the conditions ahead of time and knew the outcome before he started. That sounds like predestination to me, and in that case, no matter what you do, you are either saved or not, your name is in the book of life or not. So how much is enough, and are you really saved or do you just think you are? Would another Christian say you are a real Christian? How do they know? By your fruits? But don't your fruits seem fine to you? How do they look to your friends?

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