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6 Times Stephen Colbert Got Serious About Faith

I don’t know if I could love this anymore than I do… I think that an article like this can serve as a good reminder that nobody deserves a claim to faith over anyone else, as Mr. Colbert would likely be assumed to be an enemy of the Christian population. I don’t think that he is, and I don’t think that he we find himself to be either.

 

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6 Times Stephen Colbert Got Serious About Faith

When Colbert dares to get real, he’s surprisingly passionate about his beliefs.

 

Next year, when David Letterman signs off as host of The Late Show for the last time, Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert will take over, positioning himself as the new face of CBS late night.

Though he’s made a name for himself by creating an over-the-top persona satirizing the hyper-conservative on The Colbert Report, the real Stephen Colbert—the one headed to CBS—is very different from the character he’s created. When he’s not in front of the camera, Colbert is frequently teaching Sunday school, attending mass or spending time with his family, who are all devout Catholics. Here are six times the funnyman got serious about one of his favorite topics: faith.

The Time He Talked about Faith and Tragedy with The New York Times

Back in 2012, The New York Times profiled Colbert, who reveal details about the man behind the persona.

At one point in the interview, Colbert talked about the experience of losing both his father and two brothers in a plane crash when he was just 8 years old. Colbert said it was the example of his mother’s faith that has helped him process the tragedy: “She taught me to be grateful for my life regardless of what that entailed, and that’s directly related to the image of Christ on the Cross and the example of sacrifice that He gave us. What she taught me is that the deliverance God offers you from pain is not no pain—it’s that the pain is actually a gift. What’s the option? God doesn’t really give you another choice.”

 

The Time He Explained Hell on NPR

When Colbert was a guest on NPR’s Fresh Air, host Terry Gross asked how Stephen Colbert—the real, religious father, not the persona—explained complicated issues like God and hell to his own children. And though not all Christians may agree with his personal interpretation of what hell looks like, his thoughtful response is a reflection of someone who has genuinely wrestled with big ideas surrounding faith: “I think the answer, ‘God is love’ is pretty good for a child. Because children understand love … My son asked me one day, ‘Dad, what’s hell?’ … So, I said, ‘Well, if God is love, then hell is the absence of God’s love. And, can you imagine how great it is to be loved? Can you imagine how great it is to be loved fully? To be loved totally? To be loved, you know, beyond your ability to imagine? And imagine if you knew that was a possibility, and then that was taken from you, and you knew that you would never be loved. Well that’s hell—to be alone, and know what you’ve lost.’”

The Time He Embarrassed a Guy that Suggested God Caused Evil

Poor Philip Zimbardo. When the Stanford professor appeared on The Colbert Report in 2008 to promote his book The Lucifer Effect, he clearly didn’t know what he was in for. Despite a jab at Dr. Zimbardo’s villainous facial hair, the interview—which focused on a behavioral experiment that the book is based on—started out civil enough. Then at the 3:30 mark (warning, the video contains a bleeped-out explicit word), things take a dramatic turn when the discussion turns to the origins of evil in the Garden of Eden. When Zimbardo suggested that, “Had [God] not created hell, then evil would not exist,” Colbert broke character and snapped, breaking into an impromptu theology lesson. “Evil exists because of the disobedience of Satan. God gave Satan, and the angels, and man free will. Satan used his free will and abused it by not obeying authority. Hell was created by Satan’s disobedience to God, and his purposeful removal from God’s love—which is what hell is. Removing yourself from God’s love. You send yourself to hell. God does not send you there.”

The Time He Argued for Christ’s Divinity

Stephen Colbert is not a fan of Bart Ehrman. The religious scholar came on The Colbert Report to promote his book Jesus, Interrupted which questions the credibility of the Gospel and the divinity of Christ Himself. It got brutal. For nearly 7 minutes, Colbert deftly explained seeming contradictions in the New Testament, showed how Scripture supports Christ’s divinity and intellectually embarrassed the scholar in Zimbardo fashion. You can watch the entire exchange here.

The Time He Discussed the Importance of Humor in Faith

In 2012, Stephen Colbert took part in an event called “The Cardinal and Colbert: Humor, Joy and the Spiritual Life” at Fordham University. Moderated by Rev. James Martin—Jesuit and priest and author—the event featured a light-hearted, but intelligent conversation about faith and humor between Colbert and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York.

“If Jesus doesn’t have a sense of humor, I am in huge trouble,” Colbert joked at the event. Though the two discussed a variety of issues, the one thing Colbert made clear was the genuine love he has for the Body of Christ and being a part of the Church: “Are there flaws in the Church? Absolutely. But is there great beauty in the Church? Absolutely … The real reason I remain a Catholic is what the Church gives me, which is love.”

The Time He Used the Bible to Advocate for Immigration Reform at Congress

Though much of his testimony before Congress—advocating for immigration reform and farm workers—was played for poignant laughs (“Like most members of Congress, I haven’t read [the bill]”), Colbert also used a another strategy to get his message across—quoting Scripture.

After talking about how he spent one day as a farm worker (making him an expert, of course), Colbert got serious about his motivations. “I like talking about people who don’t have any power, and this seems like [some] of the least powerful people in the United States are migrant workers who come and do our work, but don’t have any rights as a result. And yet we still invite them to come here and at the same time ask them to leave. And that’s an interesting contradiction to me. And, you know, ‘whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers,’ and these seem like the least of our brothers right now …. Migrant workers suffer and have no rights.”

Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/6-times-stephen-colbert-got-serious-about-faith#ubP5caTTYJi58Bgc.99

The Moth Presents Ophira Eisenberg: The Accident

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I love her… She is just one of my absolute favorites. Please do yourself a favor and go read her book “screw everyone: sleeping my way to monogamy”, it is tastefully inappropriate and absolutely hilarious. Also, I recommend listening to her podcast from NPR called “ask me another”, which is a game show with very, very nerdy trivia 🙂

This is a very serious story from a very funny person.

Pope Benedict XVI Resignation – Mea Maxima Culpa (HBO) – and Eckart Tolle on Children

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With the recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI being announced, and hearing that it has been about 600 years since a Pope resigned (for political reasons), and 719 years since they did so willingly, this is obviously big news… Needless to say I thought it would be worthwhile to spend my night catching up on what seems to be happening. I have heard many people talk about this Pope being one of the more controversial Popes in some time due to his connections with the nondisclosure policy of the church about molesting of children around the world, but not being Catholic I haven’t really taken it upon myself to learn as much as I might otherwise. One of my dear friends informed me that he had just finished the new documentary on HBO about the Catholic Church, and that it was pretty heavy… I decided that I couldn’t hear that and not find out what he was talking about.

So a few minutes ago I just finished watching the documentary Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (HBO Documentary), and it compelled me to look up an old quote from the book A New Earth, by Eckart Tolle. I have heard people say many times in my life that it’s funny to look at children and think about them just being little people, or little adults. I prefer however to do the opposite and consider the vastness of human incapabilities and consider all people to be on a spectrum of adolescence.

On a spiritual level I don’t see all things as Eckart Tolle does, but I do have profound respect for him as a thinker, and a person of transparency. As I was watching Mea Maxima Culpa I couldn’t help but think about how people seem to do very toxic things when they aren’t in environments that encourage or require transparency. And while transparency alone isn’t the cure to people doing bad things, we could still do terrible things, however the cleansing value of ridding one’s self of stagnation in the mind due to secrets and pain is much stronger than we might realize.

The following is a quote from the book “A New Earth” by Tolle, and I put this quote in my phone a long time ago for moving me to consider my respect for my brothers and sisters of all ages:

“In the human deminsion you are unquestionably superior to your child. You are bigger, stronger, know more, can do more. if the dimension is all you know, you will feel superior to your child, if only unconciously. And you will make your child feel inferior, if only unconsciously. There’s no equality between you and your child because there is only form in your relationship, and in form you are of course not equal. You may love your child, but your love will be human only, and that is to say; conditional, possessive, intermittent. Only beyond form, in being, are you equal. And only when you find the formless dimension in yourself can there be true love in that relationship. The presence that you are, the timeless I am, recognizes it’s self in another. And the other, the child in this case, feels loved, that is to say ‘recognized.’. To love is to recognize yourself in another.” – Eckart Tolle (41:50 into the audio book “A New Earth”)

I find this to be a very profound statement, and I recommend considering it’s meaning if you plan to watch the movie Mea Maxima Culpa. Anything in life that is worth fighting for is worth the pain that comes from those fights. If you are a devout Catholic, or Christian in general I think that watching this will maybe hurt your feelings some, but it will also re-instill the true tenants of what it means to be a part of a church. I recommend watching this no matter what you believe, but if it hurts your feelings I think you should examine what is causing you pain about this, and face it. The film is somewhat critical of then Cardinal Ratzinger (currently Pope Benedict XVI). Also, do remember that this is a trailer, and there is much more to the film.

I know that there are some websites where you can watch this film for free (possibly here), but just look online, it’s worth the search in my opinion. Also, if you watch the movie and want to watch something similar I know that Deliver Us from Evil (2006) tells a similar story, and I don’t encourage this begrudgingly, I simply think that we need to have open conversations about things this pervasive and heinous. If you are catholic and offended please let me know, I’d be very open to hearing more.

I did find this resignation and the release of this film coinciding so closely to be very odd, and the conspiracy theorist in my wants to know more, but I am adamant about not jumping to conclusions, as easy as it may be to do so. Please let me know if you have anything more to offer on all of this.

The Amazing Morphing Campaign Money Map on Vimeo – NPR

The Amazing Morphing Campaign Money Map on Vimeo

I originally saw this at Metoisiosis.Com, which is a very interesting blog that I like to follow.

I first want to point out that it was put out by NPR, which I’ve said for a few years that I think if people had to choose one news source to pay attention to that NPR would be the best one. And I do attribute part of that to being that NPR doesn’t have to seek advertisers and can tell a straight story without worrying about stepping on everyone’s toes

THIS is awesome… Well, the story being told is not awesome at all, but the telling of this story is absolutely awesome. We really do have such a convoluted election system. Some of this problems with our electoral system seems to be by design, but a lot of it seems to be due to a lack of design – which is not to say that it simply sucks because it has to do with the government, because we are smart enough to make this work better.

A lot of people would probably say that if we just got rid of the Electoral College this would mostly fix it’s self, and I partially agree. The problem however is that we are facing more than just regional and demographic barriers, we are facing campaigns that are financed by figures that we cannot comprehend (and I mean that not in jest, I mean that we don’t understand the gravity of these numbers), to deal with issues that are multiple thousands of times larger in terms of actual quantitative numbers… We literally have no idea what we are dealing with here…

Ok, I’ll just let the video do the rest of the talking, but Please share this, because campaign finance has already left it’s mark on this cycles campaigns (namely the Presidential campaigns), but campaign finance reform only happens if it is demanded by the people.

Here are a few snapshots incase you want to share any of this with others.

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