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72 Responses

  1. Outside T. Fold says:

    Went to visit the Nativity as Refugees in cages and barbed wire in Claremont. Baby Jesus was wrapped in the foil-like space blanket, in the creche, in a cage. Jesus, Mary and Joseph separated from each other, each one in a separate cage.

  2. Michael says:


    What was your response to that scene?

  3. Em says:

    think i like the way the Seventh Day Adventists here do it better … they recreate the ancient city of Bethlehem, the inn, the stable, donkeys and cows and sheep and sometimes a camel and invite the city to come and “walk the scene as it would have been when Mary and Joseph were required to go there…”

  4. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jesus and his family were not refugees. They came to fulfill a lawful requirement dictated by the census.
    People are dishonest liars who propose such nonsense just to substantiate their unfounded modern political bias.
    It’s funny as I don’t think Time magazine had their annual made up stories about “the real Jesus” as the internet and universities have usurped all the craziness.

  5. Michael says:


    There are excellent biblical scholars who disagree with you.
    I disagree with you.
    I believe they were refugees indeed.
    We are not going to parse this out here as your insult has already made me angry.
    This is the end of the discussion…and your comment demonstrates why such a discussion cannot take place.

  6. directambiguity says:

    I thought people could travel freely in the Roman Empire and therefore Jesus and his family broke no Roman laws when they fled from Herod.

    Merry Christmas belated to Michael and everyone and Happy New Year!

  7. Michael says:

    Let me make myself clear.
    The refugee discussion will not be happening.
    Merry Christmas and happy New Year directambiguity…

  8. Michael says:

    My state has lost its mind. They outlawed the little plastic cups you put ketchup in at 5 Guys…

  9. Jean says:

    The 8th Commandment made a cameo at 9:57 am on the TGIF thread. By 4:29 pm on this thread it left the building. Remarkable.

  10. Michael says:

    Well done.
    He knows what he’s doing and he’s taking a direct shot at me.
    I’ve been called worse.

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, I didn’t take a shot at you. It was a shot at the folks in Claremont and was based solely on historical content – not geo political.
    Directambiguity is correct and I doubt you can find any biblical scholarship before the mid 20th century attributing refuge status to the holy family.
    As I said, this is usually the stuff Time and Newsweek used to come up with each year at Christmas and Easter to reveal “the real Jesus.”
    Claremont is carrying on the tradition.

  12. Duane Arnold says:


    “Think of this, then, regarding Christ. He is wandering and a pilgrim, needing shelter; and you spend your time adorning the floor, the walls, and the capitals of the columns, and hanging lamps with golden chains … All of these treasures can be taken away …; what you do for your brother who is hungry, an immigrant, or naked, not even the devil himself can take from you.”

    John Chrysostom

    “Let no one become proud because he welcomes an immigrant: Christ was a migrant. Christ, welcomed and aided, was greater than those who welcomed and aided him … Let no one then, my brothers, be proud when he helps the poor, not even in his spirit.”

    Augustine of Hippo


    “The émigré Holy Family of Nazareth, fleeing into Egypt, is the archetype of every refugee family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, living in exile in Egypt to escape the fury of an evil king, are, for all times and all places, the models and protectors of every migrant, alien and refugee of whatever kind who, whether compelled by fear of persecution or by want, is forced to leave his native land, his beloved parents and relatives, his close friends, and to seek a foreign soil.”

    Pope Pius XII


    “Egypt, which came under Roman control in 30 B.C., was outside the jurisdiction of Herod. Egypt had been the traditional place of refuge for Jews both in biblical times (see 1 Kgs 11:40; Jer 26:21) and in the Maccabean era when the high priest Onias IV fled there.”

    Sacra Pagina

    “A remembrance of Jesus’ family in Egypt is preserved in Matariya, in the suburbs of Cairo at Heliopolis in a spot understood to be a stopping place on the holy family’s flight, and it is probably the most important site in the world for anyone wishing to contemplate Joseph, Mary and Jesus as refugees.

    For new refugees, as anywhere, life would have been very hard. The first-century Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria tells us of the consequences of poverty, which could result in enslavement (Special Laws 2.82). Presumably, Jewish charity and voluntary giving through the synagogue would have helped a struggling refugee family, but they would also have been reliant on the kindness of strangers. ”

    Biblical Archeology

    The more common word used in the Church Fathers and Medieval writers is “strangers”, indicating someone who is an alien, not in their own country or homeland. This can be found in the letter to Diognetus (mid-2nd century) onwards.

  13. Michael says:

    Thank you, Duane.
    I would add that one of the reasons many in Geneva despised John Calvin was because he failed to control his southern border.
    Geneva grew to five times it’s original size as a refugee center.
    Calvin defended this with expositions of the OT regarding welcoming the stranger and the flight of the Holy Family.
    Everyone in this debate has their own set of scholars…it is irreconcilable among American Christians.
    Knowing that, it’s pointless to engage.

  14. Duane Arnold says:


    Indeed. I could have filled multiple pages with references and examples (and was tempted to do so…).

  15. Jean says:

    “Everyone in this debate has their own set of scholars…it is irreconcilable among American Christians.”

    Even so, it’s refreshing to see source-based argumentation, rather than the ad hominem that masquerades as argumentation among the lazy.

    Thank you for putting together your sources Duane.

  16. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You guys are going far afield. To make the flight into Egypt about immigration status, the need for immigration reform or the treatment of immigrants, as the Claremont display is doing (and that is my target in the conversation) is just rank unbiblical treatment of the text.
    I stand by the biblical text for the reason behind the account.

  17. Michael says:

    You’re wrong…but far be it from me to disturb the felicity of your hate.
    We all stand by the biblical text…you’re not special, just badly taught.

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    Certainly don’t want to confuse you with facts… or scholarship.

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael, where is “my hate” and who is it directed at?

  20. Jean says:

    The LCMS, Commission on Theology and Church Relations, produced a Report, Immigrants Among Us: A Lutheran Framework for Addressing Immigration Issues. While one may not agree with all of its conclusions, it provides a good departure point for a Bible study of the immigration issue. After an excerpt, I will link the entire Report, for anyone interested in working with the relevant Scriptures.

    “Otherwise stated, Scripture offers us a consensus on basic values that, as a point of departure, should inform the attitudes of God’s people towards all immigrants or aliens regardless of their status in society. Although immigrants did not always share in the same temporal and spiritual blessings as God’s people in the Old Testament, the divine command to love the alien as our neighbor remains valid and is not fundamentally tied to the fulfillment of any specific obligations on the part of the alien. This suggests that legal or illegal status cannot be a prerequisite for the church’s concern about the basic dignity
    of aliens and their families as God’s creatures, or for their need for food and clothing and a fuller life for their families, their fair and just treatment in society, and their need to hear the Gospel and receive the sacraments.”

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    As Jean points out, concern for the stranger, immigrant, and refuge comes long before Jesus’ flight into Egypt.
    So make your case from that and not the Claremont display.
    Matthew 2:15 makes perfectly clear the purpose of fleeing to Egypt.

  22. Michael says:

    Pretty amazing how you can get to Matt 2:15 without seeing Matt 2:13…

  23. Duane Arnold says:

    “As Jean points out, concern for the stranger, immigrant, and refuge comes long before Jesus’ flight into Egypt.”

    Did anyone say otherwise? You shift from one thing, to another, to another… as always. I guess it should be expected by now.

  24. Jean says:

    “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

    Who was the stranger in the land of Egypt who fulfills this passage?

    “Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’ “

  25. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, where have I jumped around? I have stayed focused on the damage done to biblical Christianity by acceptance of the theme generated by the Claremont display.

    Look. I think homosexuals should be treated nicely and fairly in our society – but not because Netflix depicts Jesus as a homosexual. They too have bastardized the Jesus narrative in the New Testament.

    Again as I have said, this used to be the domain of Time and Newsweek twice a year.

    I will bow out on this thread as I seem to hold an unwelcome opinion of the Claremont display… and I have 5 grandkids spending the week here and waiting to go to breakfast this morning.

  26. Michael says:


    So far you’ve only demonstrated that you are opposed to biblical Christianity in regard to this subject.
    I agree that it’s best to end this now…

  27. MM says:

    I know you don’t want to turn this into a political discussion on refugees so I won’t.

    What I will point out is there is a Biblical tradition and commandment to emulate God and have an “open hand”.

    It is also taught Abraham was considered one of the most open and hospitable person in the Bible. Here he was resting just after being circumcised and along comes three strangers. What did he do? He didn’t just prepared a meal, it was a full spread feast for these men he didn’t know.

    The narrative says he treated them with honor and respect before he had any idea who they were. Abraham did something men, especially who just had “personal surgery,” normally would not do, “he ran to them and bowed himself to the earth.”

    Add what you want to this narrative about these three guests/strangers, but the text is clear; before he knew anything about them he did these things.

    Jesus instructed his disciples to stay at the most worthy house in the city when they visited. Doesn’t it seem a bit odd to expect people to allow strangers to enter their homes to sleep, eat and temporarily live with there. It’s tough enough putting up with family let alone a stranger.

    Yes I believe showing care and hospitality to people in need is a God instructed virtue. Now how do we make it work in our lives. I find this part of it very tough.

    Yes Michael is correct, it is Biblical Christianity and more.

  28. Fluke says:

    Interesting discussion and always important to be engaged in helping the the needy thus pleasing the heart of God. America needs the immigrants and great opportunity as we share the Good News with them .

    Not to complicate the discussion but hopefully to expand some:

    1. The wise men gave their treasures and presented gifts to Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh…thus it is possible that Jesus did not go to Egypt poor or empty handed but had money to sustain them during their stay.

    2. Than the angel Matthew 2:13 …appeared to Joseph saying: take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt and stay until I bring you word
    …and were there until the death of Herod…thus fulfilling prophecy “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

    So unlike those attempting to enter the United States to stay permanently the Lord’s trip was temporary fleeing Herod and fulfilling prophecy. With the gifts from the wise men they no doubt did not
    need help from Egypt but were seeking political asylum helping the Egyptian large tourist thus industry.

    So fellow bloggers are we sure by the proper definition of an “immigrant” and or “refugee,” we can say for certainty that Jesus was either or both?
    Maybe he was seeking temporarily “political asylum,” but certainly per prophecy he was not nor could stay there!

    Finally do you think Jesus entered Egypt illegally or did they follow the rules of Egypt?

  29. bob1 says:

    Wow. Those 2 “reasons” are very thin gruel. Not to mention totally speculative. Looks like you’ve been sniffing Prosperity glue.

    Try something more substantial from a real theologian.

  30. Outside T. Fold says:

    Michael, re “What was your response to the scene?”

    It was powerful. Visceral. I found it to be a profound piece of art, invoking the themes of scripture — “whatsoever you did to the least of these you have done to me.” That space-blanket-foil wrapped around baby Jesus (same as what I’ve seen in pictures and videos of border cages) was a gut punch.

    There was signage in English and Spanish (referring to the trip to Egypt to escape Herod), saying imagine the 2 year old Jesus separated from his mother like the thousands of children at our borders, etc. etc. There was also a container with many 6-inch snips of blue grosgrain ribbon, and an invitation to tie them onto the cages and pray for those who are separated from their families. Many many ribbons tied to the cages, and tied to a length of rope that extends from one cage to the next. There were the two of us, and a few others who also stopped to visit the display while we were there, but the fluttering blue ribbons are evidence that many people have been here and looked and prayed and thought about the families who’ve been separated at our borders.

    I reflected on the types of people who win favor, and the types of people who are disregarded and dismissed and how easy it is to pass by them on the other side of the road, like the priest did (before the Samaritan eventually stopped to help). The theme in scripture that the disregarded ones are people loved and valued by God. Walking from one cage to the next, tying ribbons and sighing about the families torn apart, and the inflicting of life-ling trauma in our name, in our name, in our name.

    (My companion said, ‘this is really moving and it also makes me angry’)

    (and yes, I had my cel phone out taking photos so while I was present, I was also distracted by my intention to post the images on social media because of course I was.)

    It was powerful and prophetic and challenging and dis-comforting. As I’ve thought about how to describe it in more detail and how it affected me, I also remembered the opening page of Louis Evely’s That Man is You (for which, see next comment).

  31. Outside T. Fold says:

    Would we have recognized Christ?
    So many of those He met during His earthly life didn’t.
    And we — why would we have recognized Him?
    Why would we have failed to?

    “Oh,” we exclaim, “If we’d lived in His day,
    if we could’ve heard
    and seen
    and touched Him,
    how dearly we’d have loved Him,
    how gladly we’d have left everything to follow Him!”

    Haven’t we ever seen or touched Him?
    We can commune with Him ever day…
    We never hear Him?
    He’s there every day,
    waiting to speak to us in the Gospels…
    We’ve never met Him?
    “I was hungry, and you fed Me.
    I was thirsty.
    I was a stranger….”

    Not a moment passes but we fail to ee Him
    in one of our neighbors.

    from the book:
    That Man Is You
    by Louis Evely

  32. Michael says:

    Thank you, OTF…

  33. Michael says:


    A refugee by definition is someone fleeing poverty or violence in one place and fleeing to another.
    The fact that some want to parse the definition to exclude Jesus is a heart issue, not one of definition.

    “Finally do you think Jesus entered Egypt illegally or did they follow the rules of Egypt?”
    There is now no way to legally enter the U.S. for those from Mexico or Central America other than by asylum.
    All those kids in cages and their parents attempted to enter legally…and we daily find new forms of cruelty to discourage them from doing so.
    The next generation of terrorists will speak Spanish…

  34. Outside T. Fold says:

    The current generation of terrorists speak English, wear a uniform, taunt the refugees whom they are supposed to care for, and will one day say, “We were only doing our job.”

    As someone who used to work for that agency said, “As a former agent, I can tell you that cruelty is the point. They have the ability to treat families humanely but choose not to bc Border Patrol does not value the lives of immigrants. This is taught in the academy & reinforced by management.”

  35. Em says:

    much of the animosity toward the hordes moving north is due to the term “white privilege.” those of us born in the U.S.A. and, to an extent, Canada are the children of people who sacrificed much, had little and worked very hard to build a good country. I have no patience for anyone coming to this nation expecting to be handed everything that makes life healthy and peaceful. Yes, I know we are, as Christians, instructed to give away to the needy our second and third and … coats or whatever. But there is some context to that. The needy are not exempted from putting their hand to the plow and pulling their own weight – or whatever – if they are gifted, they must get with the program that gifted them… if there is no respect and no loyalty, then go back home and build your prosperity for yourself back there – if you can… there are sound reasons that many are not very happy with the “refugees” we see now… and BTW those Spanish speaking terrorists are already firmly embedded in this nation.
    IF you have a neighbor with gratitude and respect for what they receive, they soon become contributing friends. On the other hand IF they show no gratitude or respect for what you share, you probably are not going to keep gifting that person…
    IMV – it is a two way street
    God keep

  36. Michael says:

    I live in a county with about a 30% Hispanic population.
    They outwork the natives and are far more family oriented.
    Most are not asking for anything but a chance…

  37. Em says:

    Michael, it is important to not forget the solid citizen migrants – living up here in orchard country we have many like yours, but too many who do not realize that this largess didn’t just happen – the work they do now was previously done dawn to dusk 7 days a week by the folks they work for now… excepting those orchards bought out by the big corporate agricultural businesses
    Let us hope that we can reach a mutual respect and discernment before the politicians turn us into an uncivil war that destroys everything

  38. Jean says:


    In my town, the experience is similar.

    I would like to add that in addition to being outworked, mostly at lower and unskilled labor job, natives are being out educated by Asians and Indians for the higher skilled jobs, such as in IT and the health science fields. The natives will either stop their belly aching at get to work and/or school or they will get left behind. American industry needs qualified labor and it will get it here in any color, or abroad. We need to stop lying to our people and scapegoating other peoples

  39. Em says:

    Jean, we need educators who respect both our nation and the parents of their students… educators who respect and encourage thinking, not brain washing

  40. Michael says:

    We have no problem with immigrants here except that we don’t have enough of them and our famed agricultural economy has been ruined.

    Our problem is generations of white addicts who overflow the jail and steal everything that isn’t nailed down.
    It’s white folks that have turned this piece of heaven into hell.

  41. Jean says:

    “we need educators who respect both our nation and the parents of their students”

    That would be nice of all people in general. However, while some are placing the blame on the teachers, others are encouraging and supporting their children to be productive students, learning math, science, computer science, music, English, business, finance, trades, getting internships and scholarships, and getting jobs, including in the industries of our future.

    At some point, we will run out of people to blame for our individual circumstances, while immigrants see this country, with its disrespectful teachers, as a country of great opportunity and are taking advantage of their opportunities, not to get handouts but to move up the social ladder. Many of these immigrant families make tremendous personal sacrifices to provide opportunities for their children.

  42. Em says:

    Jean, there are good schools and some great teachers – gifted ones… but the overall atmosphere in the public schools does not respect the family unit, nor the white culture that built this nation… we are probably 2 generations now into the product of the public education system and the destruction of the traditional family, i.e., Dad earns the living, mom makes it worth the living…
    in my neck of the woods, the PNW, if you are an immigrant you have “tremendous” mentoring, nurturing and “opportunities” that are not made available to the people whose lineage goes back several generations…
    blame is not the correct term… finding reasons is what we should be about… reasons for the use of drugs to escape reality, reasons for our children having no respect for academia and achievement, reasons for racking up a lifetime of debt to get a university degree in liberal arts, reasons why we vote for the politicians who promise the sky and deliver dirt, ……
    IMV – our Judeo-Christian civilization has produced the blessings of order and reason and as it fades, so will we… yes, i know that we “were never a Christian nation,” but the Faith had a respect in most quarters that is pretty much gone now.
    I am not whistling Dixie… nor am I a Trumper Christian, but i can see what is going on around me… it began in the late 60s and has steadily gained traction and the generations following my children’s generation seem to be pretty clueless, their norms and standards seem to come from the popular media, not from mom and dad, grandma and grandpa… and certainly not from the Bible
    this is getting too long – you either see it or you don’t – perhaps, God will rewind the clock – i hope so

  43. Duane Arnold says:


    “… the white culture that built this nation…”

    I must take exception. For almost 300 years over half of the economy of the colonies/nation was built upon the institution of slavery. It is an inconvenient fact that is all too often forgotten. Moreover, strictly in terms of culture, every race has made far reaching contributions. It has been part of our strength…

  44. Jean says:

    I don’t know what cultural traits one could identify as distinctively “white.”

  45. Michael says:

    Em has articulated the position of millions…maybe the majority opinion in this country.
    The polite term for “white” is “Western European”, but it means the same thing.
    I respect Em for saying it clearly and out loud, though I disagree strongly.
    Trump is the means of “turning back the clock” and the draconian and wicked immigration and refugee policies of this administration are based on this premise.
    It is also the motivating factor behind Brexit.
    In reality, migrants and people of color have been made the scapegoats for the actions of white oligarchs..

  46. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think that there is a basic misunderstanding of Trump’s immigration policy and pointing it to a hatred of “people of color”.
    When Trump instituted travel restrictions on Muslims 3 years ago, he was labeled as a racist who hated Muslims. This was not the case – he specifically banned Muslims from 7 Muslim dominated nation – out of 53 Muslim dominated nations worldwide. Who were those 7 nations? Enemies of our nation.
    What of the other 46 Muslim nation? No issue.

  47. Jean says:

    “I think that there is a basic misunderstanding of Trump’s immigration policy…”

    There is: By you! Stop digging, my friend.

  48. Michael says:

    I’m specifically talking about Central America and Mexico. On that subject I have no misunderstanding and probably forgot more about it before I had coffee this morning than you know. I also know it’s pointless to try to discuss it.

  49. MM says:

    There is a lot of confusion and rhetoric about the immigration policies of the USA. Sadly this has also fed into the racism and prejudices of individuals who seek self justification rather than truth.

    The USA has a responsibility to protect its borders and people from those who would come, for whatever reason, to the USA with less than honorable intent. Besides terrorism, there are economic, health and other risks involved with an open and unrestricted border.

    I think as individuals and corporate community we need to understand the need for a disciplined immigration policy. However, we must never allow our personal prejudices to cloud the need for compassion and care for the people suffering outside of our borders. This is the issue which I believe is too often ignored by many.

  50. Em says:

    The point that seems unrecognizable here is that there was no ” white supremacy” as such. The ethics that accompanied the Christian faith were the standards that built this nation.
    YES, the slaves played a part in the prosperity of the south pre-Civil War. My children were taught that those folk owned a piece of this nation bought and paid for. They had friends who were black and they paid a price for that as we lived in a bigoted neighborhood of midwestern transplants north of Seattle. But the prosperity/success of this nation was not due to slavery.
    Just as the winner of the Indianapolis 500 is dependent on the driver’s skill, so this nation prospered by the standards it held, not just muscle – yes, i know we had opportunists and crooks…. it seems, however, that it has taken these types 400+ years to become the driving (and destructive) force here.
    Labels are dangerous, destructive tools. Every segment of society has both good and bad aspects and players
    Do i mind, am i offended, by those who disagree with me here? NO – NO – Not one bit.. This is a great forum and i learn much as i read
    Again God keep (keep us all as learners, seeing and trusting His eternal truth). . ?

  51. bob1 says:

    I don’t know what cultural traits one could identify as distinctively “white.”

    Because there aren’t any that are distinctively “white.”

    This is a load of crapola — fake news. 🙂

  52. Duane Arnold says:


    “YES, the slaves played a part in the prosperity of the south pre-Civil War.”

    Yes, and more than a part. By the eve of the Civil War in 1860, southern cotton accounted for a little more than 60% of all American exports. When you add the other slave produced crops of tobacco, indigo and sugar cane, the figure rises to over 70%. All of this is well documented in a number of recent peer reviewed studies. This economy was dependent upon the 4.4 million enslaved African-Americans. A very accessible study is: “The Half Has Never Been Told. Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” by E.E. Baptist.

  53. Outside T. Fold says:

    I do not understand the use of “native” upthread. (as used by Michael, Jean)
    When I read the word native, my mind goes to (here in what’s referred to as the L.A. Basin) the Tvonga people. For you, Michael, the word “native” means (if I got the geography right) the Takelma and/or Cow Creek Umpqua peoples.

  54. Michael says:


    I get that…
    However, for Oregonians, it’s become a term that defines someone who was born here instead of a transplant.

  55. Em says:

    bob1, to extrapolate a bit on your crapola comment… “white” may be too general a label, but, for the most part it was the peoples/nations who made Christianity their dominant faith (yes, i know that many were simply ‘nod to God’ pretenders) who made the greatest advances in the last 2,000 years. Those people did live north of the Mediterranean sea and west of the Black Sea…
    Superior people? I’d say no, but a superior (true) Faith .. I think the prosperity served God’s purpose as, along with the ambitions of “imperialism,” the doors were forced open for the spread of the Good News. Was there a better way? Probably not or God would have implemented it, instead of what we see in history. .. Now, can we include the Spanish Conquistadors and the padres? I don’t know – maybe….. ?

  56. Outside T. Fold says:

    Duane, Ed Baptist’s book is on my To Read list (so. many. books.)

    Recently came across a citation on population of enslaved and how it had been dwindling in the young republic, but then the 1973 invention of the cotton gin and the prospect of profitable agribusiness led to systemic increase* in the population of enslaved people to labor in cotton fields.

    Ah. Found source. It’s from the intro to book I’m currently reading — Ladies of Liberty by Cokie Roberts, a recounting of the lives and correspondence of the wives of the early U.S. Presidents from Abigail Adams through Elizabeth Monroe, wife of James M. Tidbit from above is on page xxii of the Introduction to the paperback edition.

    *cultivating = rape. Lots and lots and lots of rape of enslaved Black Women.

  57. Outside T. Fold says:

    oh oops. 1793 invention of cotton gin. Sorry.

  58. Jean says:

    “for the most part it was the peoples/nations who made Christianity their dominant faith (yes, i know that many were simply ‘nod to God’ pretenders) who made the greatest advances in the last 2,000 years. Those people did live north of the Mediterranean sea and west of the Black Sea…”

    There are probably a half dozen sub-threads that could be pursued by this comment, but I will concentrate on just two. It is problematic to attribute advancement and prosperity (your next paragraph) to Christian faith, because according to the Bible, the Christian faith places one at odds with the world and is more likely to bring poverty and suffering. The converse is also true, that if one is prospering in the world, then one is likely not holding to the tenants of the Christian faith. For evidence of what I’m arguing, one might review the circumstances of the 7 churches written to by St. John in Revelation.

    The other point, and this is also missed by many, is that the “advancement” (a key promise of the Enlightenment and modernity) in Western Europe and now in America has resulted in that culture “advancing” our way right out of Christianity altogether. In other words, it is not the external forces of another country or immigration (or our white teachers) here, but our own “advancement” that now perceives the Christian faith as an ancient superstition.

    The more “advanced” we become, the more difficult it is to hold to the Christian faith. It’s not impossible, because the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, but “advancement” just bends our natural reason more and more against the will of God, that we even need a Savior, much less believe in a crucified Savior.

  59. Duane Arnold says:

    We’ve been here before, but here we go again…

    During the first four centuries of the Church, it’s major strength was in North Africa, Syria and much of what constitutes present day Turkey. Augustine of Hippo was reputed to be of a “very dark complexion”. Northern Europe played no part in the formation of the canon of Scripture, the Ecumenical Councils or the formulation of the Creeds. The conversion of the northern tribes did not even start until the 4th-5th century and took almost 500 years. The first Christian Kingdom was not in the north, but was in Ethiopia, in the early fourth century and it was black. There is considerable archeological evidence that Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians actually greatly influenced Celtic Christianity in the British Isles. All of this is to say, we owe much more to the African, Egyptian and Middle Eastern Church than any other region…

  60. Em says:

    Jean, valid points.. thinking deeper into the aspects
    Particularly the tendency of humans to take credit for God’s gifting
    Dr. Duane, which peoples embraced the Faith over time and which ones cast it off in favor of other gods?

  61. bob1 says:

    Em, I’m the first to acknowledge I don’t know the last 2000 years of Christian and general history very well.

    But I’m not sure you do, either. And whitewashing it to make the Church look better than it is/was
    is something I’m not interested in. It doesn’t honor our God, for one thing, Who calls Himself
    the Truth.

    To mention the Crusades, etc., is necessary if one wants to look at the entire picture as opposed to cherry picking what one prefers to see. That’s doing no one a favor, IMHO.

    As one quick example: wasn’t there a flourishing of culture in Islam for three or four centuries
    along the way? If you believe everyone shares the imago Dei, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch
    to believe that other religions and cultures have also done much good.

  62. Outside T. Fold says:

    There’ve been some comments posted here talking about whiteness in various ways. White people, white culture, white privilege, white label, etc.

    I strongly recommend the Seeing White podcast, specifically Episode 3, Made in America. (Page contains both audio player and a link to the transcript). This episode describes pre-United States of America colonial history and the first legal definition of White in colonial law. Episode also traces the transition from indentured servitude of Africans to status of life-long enslavement, and intergenerational enslavement.

    Back in September, in the 2nd comment in a Linkathon entry (, Wenatchee The Hatchet posted a link to an article about Quaker history in colonial times, and it traced the origin of the term “white”
    From WenatcheeTheHatchet’s link: “In the seventeenth century, the concept of race, as we know it, did not exist; the concept of ‘Whiteness’ had not yet been created. So slave owners created the ideology of Protestant supremacy, which used religion to justify slavery.”

  63. Duane Arnold says:


    Ethiopia remains Christian. Coptic Christians are 10% of the Egyptian population and under terrible persecution. The remainder were conquered by Islamic armies… they did not “cast” off the faith, they were, in many cases, massacred for their faith. During Islamic expansion Spain was part of a caliphate and Austria was threatened. In terms of “casting off the faith”, that would be Northern Europe in the last 50 years. More Christians presently attend church in the single country of Nigeria than in the whole of Europe. Nigerians, by the way are black.

  64. Duane Arnold says:


    “…wasn’t there a flourishing of culture in Islam for three or four centuries
    along the way?”

    Yes, the only reason that medicine, mathematics and much of ancient philosophy was transmitted to the West was owing to Islamic scholars. That’s not speculation… it’s a fact of history.

  65. Outside T. Fold says:

    while I’m waiting for my comment containing two links to escape moderation, I’ll add this to Duane’s, above— al-jebr from when we get algebra

  66. Em says:

    bob1, good or bad, i believe the overriding purpose of the Crusades was to thwart the dominance of intruding Islams? Were the Crusaders defenders of the Faith or a way of life? I suspect the latter… possibly a mix of the two.. dunno
    Yes, religions can do good, do kindness, but they will do evil. The biggest evil is a self righteous pride – self justifying.
    The letters to those 7 churches are instructional – warning as well as commending….
    The true “religion” the cross where we crucified God’s only begotten son requires humility to bow, asking a holy God’s mercy, instilling in us a Faith, a lifetime of dependence on God’s provision for life and growth
    Too many modifiers, but explaining God might be beyond me – i am not called to teach – just pontificate… ?

  67. Outside T. Fold says:

    whence. ?sorry.

  68. Em says:

    Points taken, Dr. Duane… I am aware of the massacres and the skin color. And i do see indications that God no longer uses the western world to carry the Faith…
    Question is has the Gospel reached the whole world? If so…

  69. Duane Arnold says:

    The crusades were launched in the first instance to ensure that pilgrims had access to the holy sites in Jerusalem. In reality, the desire was to establish European style kingdoms in the middle east and provide new lands for second sons of the nobility. When they eventually conquered Jerusalem (1099) the Christians spent two days slaughtering the population of the city. The Jews of the city were burned alive in their synagogues. Muslims who had surrendered the previous day under Christian promises of protection were all executed as well.

  70. MM says:

    The Crusades, in general, used Christianity as an excuse for personal and national gain. Typical of what humanity does.

    It doesn’t matter what religion or belief system is being used, the motivation seems to be mostly the same.

    Yep, I’m a bit jaded and also a realist. Basically I’m tired of the current trend to blame religion on all the worlds evils, when it is clearly the human spirit which dreams up such atrocities against their fellow man.

    BTW the Crusaders eventually got theirs and were driven out of the land.

  71. Duane Arnold says:



  72. Meanwhile, Mughal (Islamic) emporers to The East committed perhaps the largest genocides in human history. No matter the label, humankind carries the second sin of Cain.

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