ATT_VerticalLogoAt the Threshold received this response to last week’s email. The thoughtful reply compares Christianity and paganism, and examines ways in which Christians still adhere to pagan ways of violence and thought. We’d like to know if you have anything insightful or interesting to add to the conversation. Do you agree or disagree that Christian leaders use fear and guilt to gain conformity and obedience? Does God choose certain people to provide special blessings of power, wealth and status? Read the response below and then add your insight and intelligence. These are important issues that need deep discussion to better the Christian church and people. Respond here.

By Anonymous

We accept the challenge that was issued in last week’s email message. It was founded on the assertion that there is an unfortunate and on-going tie between Christianity and the paganism of the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Mayans – of all of the great civilizations that emerged from tribal society, some of them becoming empires. The point being made is that Christianity has to be on constant guard against sliding back into pagan religious assumptions and pagan ways – and that it does so all too easily and all too often.

The challenge was to examine the comparisons made between the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition and paganism as presented in the introductions to each of the sacred Old Testament stories during the recent Easter Vigil of The Society of St. Polycarp. (We are confident in our comparison of Christianity to paganism because we have read Bishop Doss’ book, The Songs of the Mothers, and especially his section on justice. Even so, we can do no more than suggest the distinctions.)

Paganism: No one is created equal.
This discrimination applies even to the gods, and certainly to human beings. It is seen straightaway in the various pagan myths of creation. The gods are unequal and operate within a strict pecking-order – a view of reality often depicted by the pyramid. They, as well as all creatures “below” (as viewed in the pagan cosmology), get treated accordingly by those whose positions in the respective social pyramids of heaven and earth are “above them.” Read More…

By the Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service

TECThe Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Feb. 27 took a stand against gun violence and gun trafficking, and called on Episcopalians to “repent of our own roles in the glorification and trivialization of violence.”

The resolution “really bubbled up from the grassroots,” Byron Rushing, vice president of the House of Deputies, said during a press conference in the middle of the last day of council’s Feb. 25-27 meeting at the at the Maritime Institute Conference Center here.

The resolution expresses “profound sorrow at the epidemic of gun violence” and urges Episcopalians to work toward “comprehensive social responses that seek to stem the cycles of violence that fuel gun crime.” It affirms a number of previous General Convention resolutions, including Resolution 2000-D004 that spoke about the church’s “deep concern about the repeated use of easily available hand guns and assault weapons by and against children,” and called for Episcopalians to seek ways to develop community strategies and create sanctuaries for children, “so that all may come to identify and value themselves and others as the precious children of God that they are, and that they may come to know peace in their lives and to create peace for future generations.”

Episcopal News Service has the full story.




California legislator Tim Donnelly

By Cavan Sieczkowski, Huffington Post

A California Republican legislator, who is a vocal opponent of President Barack Obama’s gun control proposal, believes that guns are “essential to living the way God intended.”

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly called in to the AM740 KBRITE Christian radio show, “The Bottom Line,” to discuss gun control on Wednesday, when he revealed that he believes firearms are part of God’s plan.

“Guns are used an average of 3 million times a year according to the Clinton Justice Department,” Donnelly said via RawStory. “That’s like 6,900 times a day. That’s the high end of the statistics. Other people say it’s only 200 times a day. Whatever that number is, they are used to defend human life. They are used to defend our property and our families and our faith and our freedom, and they are absolutely essential to living the way God intended for us to live.

Annie-Rose Strasser of ThinkProgress notes that Donnelly’s “God and guns” argument can be disputed by Bible verses pointing to the notion that “life should focus on family, not firearms.” Read the full story at

By Alex Seitz-Wald,

Last week, people were shocked when the Drudge Report posted a giant picture of Hitler over a headline speculating that the White House will proceed with executive orders to limit access to firearms. The proposed orders are exceedingly tame, but Drudge’s reaction is actually a common conservative response to any invocation of gun control.

The NRAFox NewsFox News (again)Alex Jonesemail chainsJoe “the Plumber” WurzelbacherGun Owners of America, etc., all agree that gun control was critical to Hitler’s rise to power. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (“America’s most aggressive defender of firearms ownership”) is built almost exclusively around this notion, popularizing posters of Hitler giving the Nazi salute next to the text: “All in favor of ‘gun control’ raise your right hand.”

In his 1994 book, NRA head Wayne LaPierre dwelled on the Hitler meme at length, writing: “In Germany, Jewish extermination began with the Nazi Weapon Law of 1938, signed by Adolf Hitler.”

And it makes a certain amount of intuitive sense: If you’re going to impose a brutal authoritarian regime on your populace, better to disarm them first so they can’t fight back. Read the full article here.