The Taxation of ReligionWritten by Punkerslut
Continued from page 1
As history has shown us, church may potentially do anything. They may make charity, but deny Homosexuals. They may give service, but deny African Americans. To other religions, they preach intolerance and bitterness, encouraging an aura of misunderstanding -- embers to violence, cruelty, and brutality. Then, I ask question again: why are churches exempt from taxation? The taxes of people that are collected to ensure a smooth-running society are used in a variety of ways: they build schools and teach children, they help run social programs such as welfare and food stamps, and they lend foreign aid to countries in dire poverty. When church has gains, it may build schools, but they might teach children racism, or intolerance, or sexism, or idea that Evolution is an evil, underground conspiracy, or a number of ridiculous and heartless things. The church might run a charity, but they might just refuse admittance by Homosexuals, members of certain races or religions, or people who dress differently. And, church might donate some of its income to other charities, but they might refuse charity to any hospital that performs abortions. Yes, we have seen churches do all of these things. There is no doubt to these questions. There is no conjecture in my theory. The church has burdened society of men with bigotry and prejudice, making us fight each other when we could have been learning new ways of love, affection, and happiness.
When churches are exempt from taxes, an apologist will often say: "It is because money of churches goes to same causes as taxes: to help general order of society, with charities, schools, and like." But, by understanding our current social situation, and one of past millenium, it is not difficult to see how wrong such an apology is. Churches must be taxed, so that their income can be fairly used and not employed to create racism and poverty. The same must apply to any religious organization. I am not arguing that churches cannot do incredible things that they already do, at least legally. Ethics is another question. I am only arguing that, as private organizations that are allowed to such activity, they must be legitimately required to pay taxes. The churches have their own interests, just as businesses have their interests of maintaining a profit and cutting back on cost. Just as a business is required to pay taxes, so should a church. The difference is non-existent.
Men and women who profess to believe in a god, a goddess, or a multiple of them, are exercising their rights as living creatures. I can never argue against a person's right to believe what they will, to share what they believe, to practice their religion or philosophy in an attempt to satisfy burnings of their heart. So long as a person's actions do not offend sweetness of justice, only argument I can offer him might be one on logical errors of what he believes. And even then, I will not say a word about what he has right to believe or practice. Ultimately, what is real or not real is something for each of us to decide. As a person who highly values Freethought and independence of spirit, I will always find myself combating religion, not unlike any other revolutionary who fights ignorance or superstition. Among great contradictions of religion, there is question on thoughts of god. When a religious follower tells you their ideas of what god believes, you will be hearing a speech about what this religious follower believes -- so it follows a person who believes in god and "knows" what god thinks will rarely disagree with god. And, so we have it today, with millions of religions, each thinking that god thinks something different. In actuality, what god believes is just what their religious followers believe. After all, if god believed in something different than religious follower, why would they continue believing something false? Even with this logic, there remains a slew of religions out there. They have their right to exist and preach, as much as I have my right to criticize and think.
For Life, Punkerslut
How to Forgive By FaithWritten by Jeff Doles
Continued from page 1
The apostles-—that’s what Luke calls them at this point-—said to Jesus, "Increase our faith" (Luke 17:5). Yeah, if they were going to have to offer this kind of forgiveness, they were really going to need to reckon with their faith.
You see, like everything else in Christian life, forgiveness is a matter of faith. For when we forgive an offense, we are giving up something. Will God "make up difference" for us? It takes faith to trust Him to do that.
So Jesus began talking about mustard seeds and mulberry trees: “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by roots and be planted in sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6).
Faith is like a mustard seed, and like a mustard seed, it must be planted to do any good. The size of seed is not important. What you do with it is. But how do you plant "seed" of faith?
Jesus tells us: "Say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by roots and be planted in sea,' and it will obey you."
Ah, yes. You plant your faith "seed" by what you say. It is same way with forgiveness. Forgiveness requires faith, and faith is a seed that you plant by what you say.
So way you forgive is to say, by faith, "I forgive." When you do that, you may not, at first, even feel like you have forgiven at all. You may even feel anger rising up again because of offense. Never mind that. You must cease from being moved by your feelings and continue to stand with your faith: "I forgive." As often as offense comes to mind, and as often as feelings of anger rise up, reassert your faith: "I forgive."
As you take your stand in faith and forgive, you will eventually find that offense has been uprooted from your life. It is no longer chained to you-—you have released it by faith. It is no longer a stumbling block for you—-you have removed it by faith. It has been cast into sea, by faith. Now you are free to move forward in your life.
© 2005 by Jeff Doles
Jeff Doles is the author of "Praying With Fire: Learning to Pray With Apostolic Power" and "Healing Scriptures and Prayers." He and his wife Suzanne are the founders of Walking Barefoot Ministries. For more faith-building articles, or more information about this ministry, visit their website at www.walkingbarefoot.com. Also visit their blog, The Faith Log at faithlog.blogspot.com.