My oh my, I really wavered about whether to post this one but hopefully something positive will be gleaned from it. I’m definitely hoping it’s not negative in all respects. Some might say “JimLow, why in the world are you so detailed when you post?” It is because in my experience things are easily misunderstood and misrepresented if you don’t cover them carefully (have experienced it on many occasions). I’ve been here at HP for over two years and have made very few forum posts.
This also gives me opportunity to express some things I’ve not fully had a chance to. I’m leaving HP but will get to that in my final paragraphs.
I want to start with a story and hopefully I can be brief enough with it not to bore anyone out of their skull. I wasn’t sure how else to start because I’m, wanting to first say something to Christians and then to HubPages and to the atheists who post here. None of this is meant as an attack toward anyone, its more-or-less my view of how the ‘battle of beliefs’ has been playing-out not only between believers and non-believers but that also seems to result in fellow-Christians giving each other the cold shoulder or even turning against each other. This is going to be lengthy – so read or don’t read as you choose.
The last church my family and I attended and became members of and where I last served as a Youth Minister ended in a bad experience for all of us. It’s actually far from being the only bad experience in regard to things perpetrated by fellow Christians in fact my brother who still pastors a church with a large Christian denomination also experienced his share of negatives from Christian people. He at one time was almost destroyed by the experiences at one particular church many years ago that turned against him for incredibly lame reasons. My dad and mom had to leave a church at one time because the head deacon was making blatant passes at my mom, while his wife suffered chronic illness. Needless to say this made them uncomfortable in attending, so they left.
Does this mean it left me with a hatred for church, Christians or people in-general? Absolutely not, my love for the Lord and my fellow Christians is the most important thing in the world to me but I have enough wisdom to know that people are fallible no matter how strong they are or appear to be in their faith. The experiences did however further engrain within me the fact that petty type stuff will always go on among those in the Christian community – some of it becomes foolishness.
They are still God’s children in most cases but unfortunately people can be hurt despite this fact. One Christian man here at HP posted a thread he afterward regretted posting and I did my best to uplift him and comfort him over the situation at the same time I agreed with another fellow-Christian who pointed out disagreement with the post that made him realize it wasn’t a good idea. You want to see people comforted in these type situations and you like to see that support also returned – its part of what Christianty is about.
(Now to finish my story) - The church I mentioned, where my family was deeply hurt involved the pastor’s wife’s dad, taking my son and his grandson (pastor’s son) at their ages of 14, on trips to convenience stores to buy them cigarettes. He also gave them tins of rolling tobacco and cigarette papers to make their own. He told them it was the manly thing to do (to smoke) and he bought them cigars as well and eventually involved his granddaughter (pastor’s daughter). This was actually illegal in addition to being morally wrong.
My son was involved in boxing and fought in tournaments and had aspirations to train for the Olympics (or at least go further with it) etc… He became addicted to smoking and it devastated him when he lost his ability to fight full matches because he became short of breath too easily due to a heart murmur he inherited from my side of the family, combined with the smoking. The boxing was his dream – literally but he did at least get to coach teens, later as a young adult.
Here’s the kicker to this story- When both my son and the pastor’s son told us parents (my wife & I and the pastor & his wife) about this man supplying smokes to them, the pastor’s wife was offended at us! Don’t ask me where any logical reasoning on her part comes in here but this is what happened. They literally reversed the situation on us and were angry at us for bringing it to their attention and we had to leave the church over it!
What’s my point in this story? Well, this and other experiences I’ve had as Youth Minister in churches, in which other times, people made major issue over petty differences (I once had a lady fall apart over my quoting from a Christian-authored book that states “fear is an opposite to faith” – go figure), which made me realize early-on in my faith-walk that Christians are very capable of hurting their fellow believers. They sometimes do so over ridiculous disagreements and this sends a message to the world that is observing them that Christians are not really as united as they claim to be.
This doesn’t take away from the fact that some Christians do display wonderful unity and support for their fellow Christians but it is probably further between to find this than at any other time in modern history. In my opinion it may be part of the “falling away” spoken of in 2-Thess 2:3 that accelerates before the appearance of the anti-Christ and sincere Christians may unwittingly play a part in that.
I can totally understand Christians getting upset when a branch of so-called Christian faith literally changes the core principles – the major held doctrines that literally define Christianity but when disagreements over “fine-points of doctrine” cause Christians to turn against their fellow believers this, points to a serious lack of wisdom.
Christians will ALWAYS disagree on specifics apart from the major-held doctrines. I’ll repeat: Christians…will…always…have…disagreements…over…fine…points…of…doctrine.
Some areas the Bible is ‘silent’ on require some speculation but we use scriptural backing for these types of opinions every way possible. We don’t withhold our best ‘possible’ answers because of it (sometimes more than one possible answer or just answer “I don’t know”), especially when there are people who have hindrances to belief in the Bible due to questions they have in certain areas not fully covered by the scriptures. I posted my core beliefs on the forum here>>
An example of something the Bible is silent on: Did Jesus live a normal childhood after being a newborn infant, up to age 12 years? The Bible doesn’t say because we see the first reference to his youth, at age 12 teaching the religious leaders in the temple and their being amazed at his knowledge (Luke 2:41-52). We can of course safely ‘assume’ that yes, he lived a relatively normal childhood.
Another area I’ll mention: If a Christian is a ‘fan’ of something or someone that is not specifically a Christian work, does this mean they give a stamp of approval on everything these fallible human beings are involved in? For example if you’re a fan of a sports team does that mean you approve of the lifestyle of every one on the team? Can Christians be honest in saying they enjoy some entertainment and not to deceptively pretend it has no part in their lives? Do we need to give non-believers opportunities like that to point a finger of hypocrisy at us? I’m totally against idolizing people, teams, music, TV shows – you name it but if there are Christians who are totally void of non-Christian entertainment they are very rare indeed! I’m not one of them.
I’m also against pretending that Christianity makes perfect people out of imperfect ones. If, you want a good avenue for turning people away from Christ that’s one way to do it by telling them this. Thankfully God actually sees us who are in-Christ through his righteousness. People know they cannot aspire to perfection and second of all, when they fall short of it after becoming a Christian it will discourage them when they see they have not reached it if they are told this is what God expects. God will continually work in their lives as long as they are sincerely yielded to him to ‘conform’, them to the image of his Son but this process continues lifelong.
I have removed all of my articles from HubPages because I disagree with how far they’ve allowed the comments to go against Christianity. Some of the Christians here – bless their hearts - served to fuel these attacks at times and I likely had a part in that failure as well. I have never once flagged anyone’s content here (other Christians have) but as my way of protest, my Hubs are no longer here - respectfully. Be assured I have them all saved and they will be published again but I prefer a site with a little more neutrality (no offense HubPages).
Do I blame the atheists for how far they’ve taken their comments against God and Christianity? Not at all, they’re doing exactly what they believe and if I were on their side and could get by with what they’ve been posting and hubbing, I would have done the very same thing! I don’t hate any of them and that’s the truth.
BTW: for those Christians who may have been upset at me for apologizing to Mark Knowles be it known, that he had that apology coming to him. I believed him to be responsible for particular comments posted at some of my hubs that after investigation I found he was not responsible for. Having discovered this, had I not corrected that, it would have been a false-witness on my part – it was my place to set it straight with him.
While I’ve had some disappointments here, I have no grudge, whatsoever toward Christians or atheists and I’m grateful to HubPages for the time I did have here at the site. They have every right to run this site any way they choose and I’m simply exercising my right of protest for the lack of moderation for comments that still appear on Hubs and posts. I choose not to support it. At the same time I’m sure they see it as free speech and it’s at their discretion to keep them posted, not mine.
Forgive me if I don't follow up on replies but everyone feel free to express as usual.
I wish everyone the very best!
Does this mean you're leaving because you're a little uncomfortable?
....I personally don't see the splitting-up of man-made churches as a bad thing, when and if those differences can't be worked out. Because Jesus never intended all these different ritual-organized churches anyway! "Churches" for the most part end up settling into a phase where the Pastor and members think it's THEIR church, and preachers often refuse to listen to any constructive criticism......there are many who think the Word of God comes to only them and will not consider nor test the average Believer's interpretation!
I'd love to find a local church to attend regularly.......it's just that I've been so disappointed with several of them, and I've learned this-----NEVER follow a Pastor or church leader unless it's brilliantly evident that THEY follow Christ and are willing to BE instructed at times themselves by Biblical interpretations of others.
The "Church" is in our hearts, not in a church building and not in any particular congregation.....
Am I rambling...?
...The Bible says if you're persecuted for the Lord's sake, to count it all Joy!
I believe that means you have the right to stand your ground and not take outright cursing, etc., but also to count it as a chance to witness for the Truth...........
I'm rambling.....I don't really know you, just curious as why you're leaving instead of staying in the "fight".....
I read through this entire post and I find it sad that a person would decide to leave for the reasons stated as I understand them. That said I have been on forums and on sites where the comments and arguments get pretty shocking! I doubt there are many sites that can attract a wide range of people and maintain a civil and respecting environment such as I have seen here. Could be that the sites I have visited in the past are chock full of trolls, spammers and flamers but I have not found many sites with so many users as hubpages that maintains a pleasant environment like this one and would suggest for those who are upset or hurt by the political and religious forums you don't have to read or post to em, just avoid em. There are no rules stating that we have to participate in forums threads that we find upsetting or offensive. If people avoid getting into the arguments in the first place they arguments will dry up, it takes two (or more) to argue.
...and actually.....it's not so bad unless the persecutors succeed in having Christians expelled from a site....
That happened to me on an Avon site (yep; a seemingly civil, harmless Avon Representative site).....
It got so bad that the liberal bullies including athiests and certain Muslims, could say about anything they wanted to, while I and other Christians were told to bite our tongues about right and wrong and what is or isn't sin.
Needless to say, I did NOT bite my tongue, and was expelled. One day there will even be a certain justice in that matter, but until then, the field of social activity (and indeed the mission field) is still open here and in other areas.....
I'd recommend you not give up, since you're not banned.....but then that's a personal choice.....and I'm hard-headed; I'll fight tooth and nail to defend my rights as simply a person and as a Christian....
Gosh, I didn't realize this was as religious writing community more than a writing community. Too bad you're leaving for the reasons stated. I actually like people independent of religious or non-religious beliefs. I don't care much for what their beliefs are, if any. I care more about the quality of the person.
Despite all that, I certainly wish you well in where ever your road in the journey of life takes you.
Jesus said not to cast pearls before swine.
He also said not to hide our light under a bushel.
I consider today's tendencies to promote "political correctness" as a bushel, and I will not hide under it nor be forced to hide under it.
There's also an old saying "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen".
But....If all the Christians leave the kitchen, who, I ask you, is in charge of the frying pans and the fire?
Okay. I've said my piece; done now! ha
so that's all there is ?
A kitchen and frying pans ?
Now I understand why you all get upset for nothing.
ans thanks for the pearls and swine part.
Very nice !!
And there's also ...let's see....toasters and knives and spoons and ...other rooms besides kitchens...
I don't recall me being "upset over nothing", but then, maybe that's just in your own mind...?
He said he isn't likely to follow up on replies, but just in case, Jim, I'm sorry to see you go. It's too bad when someone's opinion offends another so much he'll leave and take a cut in pay, too. You simply participate in what you want and don't participate in what you don't like. But, you don't have to leave the house. We'll still be here if you change your mind.
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