Away with the Atheists

polycarp
Polycarp: 2nd Century Atheist, Bishop, Martyr

Contrary to the opinion of some, this post’s title was not the rallying cry of the alleged Bush theocracy that infringed on the rights of people who steadfastly believe in spontaneous generation.

Rather, the post’s title was a derisive chant shouted by 2nd Century pagans in reference to Christians. That “atheist” now refers to a subset of modern-day pagans is an irony lost on many.

Usage of the phrase, ‘away with the atheists!’, is documented in the account of Polycarp’s martyrdom (you can read it here).

“Away with the atheists!” was an appeal to the Roman government to murder people whose only “crime” was total and utter trust in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

The Roman proconsul plead with Polycarp to condemn his fold by yelling “Away with the atheists!”. The proconsul uttered these words to the 86-year-old bishop,

Have respect to your age! Swear by the fortune of Caesar; change your mind; say, ‘Away with the atheists!’

After this he plead with Polycarp to curse our Lord, to which the aged bishop replied:

Eighty-six years I have served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?

The proconsul then came back with threats. First it was wild beasts, which would have brought delight to the bloodthirsty ‘theists’ in the crowd.

Next came the threat of being burned alive. Then Polycarp, 2nd Century atheist, replied,

The fire you threaten burns but an hour and is quenched after a little; for you do not know the fire of the coming judgment and everlasting punishment that is laid up for the impious. But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.

I guess the faithful bishop didn’t buy annihilationism

When a Church is in Peril of Death

From John MacArthur’s teaching on the Church in Sardis,

Any church is in danger of death when it begins to worship its own past, when it is more concerned with forms, when it is more concerned with liturgy than life, when it is more concerned about social ills than salvation, when it is more concerned about systems than it is Jesus Christ, when it is more concerned about material issues than spiritual things, when it is more committed to building up its own theology than accepting the Word of God.

Melanin-based Racism within the Black Community

As I understand it, back in the Ancient world, racism was not based on skin color (a good example of this can be found here). It’s good that as a species, humans are beyond such attitudes. Now we tend to discriminate on more concrete characteristics like skin color.

It remains inexplicable (at least to me) how people can dehumanize others based on things beyond their control, including the amount of melanin their bodies express.

Even within a mixed-color nationality dark-skinned (or darker) folks will be looked down upon by society, and treated differently than their lighter-skinned countrymen. I know this to be fact in my native México, and based on conversations with Indian friends, also true of India. A glimpse at celebrities in each country will reveal that what is considered beautiful is what looks most European (light-skinned) and less indigenous (generally darker-skinned).

A little known secret to those of us here in the United States which are not of African descent (others will argue we are all of African descent, this is another argument for another post) is that even within the black community there exists a bias favoring lighter-skinned individuals over darker-skinned individuals, as the following story seems to suggest,

“Color Divide on Display in Party Invite”

This phenomenon more than likely has its roots in the fact that Western European culture as dominated most of our perceptions of what the standard of beauty is. Yet the fact that it occurs within a community which isn’t hesitant to cry “racism” whether the facts have bore it out or not, is surprising.