Equality not based on belief
There is such an obvious lack of love in the heart of all who consider themselves better than others or those who consider they know better than others.
This is not in line with scripture nor is it in line with Jesus' teaching.
Imagine the discouragement or the harm we administer to others through our objections and rejections of the thoughts of others. We have heard the pen is mightier than the sword, how words can cut out our legs from under us, especially those who have self esteem issues, such as teens or those who had already experienced abuse.
James 1:19-20 (NIV)
19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
Let us consider each other as equals; does any man or woman because of a difference in appearance, perception, values etc. exclude them from being heard or from enjoying the same privileges based solely on our opinion?
Absolutely not! Even within the perimeters of Christianity, considering perimeters to certainly be only what man/woman is capable of comprehending from scripture, what superiority does anyone base a claim on baptism of water is the only true way of being accepted by Christ and ultimately God or the bigger picture and this is sure to be controversial and there are scriptures that say this is true, but in fairness to others who feel/know differently I will say it, but in my own words. From John 14:6 again this is my understanding as heard from others.
"The only way to the Father is through Christ Jesus" and now the scripture itself as read from the NIV of 1984
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
In this context, I understand that Jesus is the "Way", but he is also the "Truth" and the "Life"
As children of God; giving over our hearts, minds, souls and strength to God the way is the way you live your life. Do you live it in truth; are you seeking life or do you die in sin?
Jesus took so much time to elaborate not on whom he was, but what we should do with our lives and then he gave all of us free will to choose his precepts as correct or incorrect.
He gave every man, woman and child as God or a wise man (for those who don't believe) the choice of living a life that would glorify God or again for those who don't believe. He certainly presented a better way of relating towards each other with compassion and empathy.
This is my personal commandment from Jesus that I do the utmost to uphold; "to love my neighbor as myself"
I have found several references that point towards Thomas Jefferson being an atheist or at the least an agnostic. To these claims I must say "Did you know him personally?"
I'm not asking that to be mean, I'm asking so I might understand how another point of view. I did not read or feel that in the following bill, I did however read from the text and discern a spirit that considers all people to have equal rights not based on what they believe, but based solely on there status as a human being and deserving dignity, respect and liberties that all mankind are entitled to equally.
A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom by Thomas Jefferson 1779
Section I. Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments, or burthen, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by its influence on reason alone; that the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others,..
...that event he forcing him to support this or that teachers of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness;...
...that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; that therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right;