- Religion and Philosophy
Believers -v- Non Believers
- Religious Hate
Click on the link to read Anna's article on Religious Hate.
In the short time I have been hubbing here, it has been a complete revelation to see how non believers and believers fight so vehemently between themselves, and never more seriously than on the forum, especially the Christian forum subjects. Even worse was the fact that as soon as I started posting in the forums myself, I also became defensive, then offensive and started joining the fray.
When that happens one needs to step back and examine the situation.
Last night I chanced upon an excellent hub on the subject, from a non believers viewpoint which explained perfectly the accussations against believers, it was called Religious Hate and was by Anna Erwin.
Anna had posted a forum subject called 'What part of the bible is fact?' and late in the day I started posting, mainly because the normal gaggle of atheists had hijacked the topic with their normal inanities and scorn, but that's just my opinion based upon what I read.
I don't want to get involved in the forum again, the atheists have won as far as they are concerned, my voice will stay silent to them. I may respond to other believers posts, but the agitators can safely be ignored as far as I am concerned.
Anna's hub makes some very real points to be answered and is a fascinating insight into how a non believer sees believers, especially fundamentalist believers.
Maybe with this hub, I can explain why believers act as they do, and start a process of understanding between the opposing sides.
Understanding, not agreement.
Agreement is very unlikely, the chasm between those opposed to each other is simply too wide for agreement. It is possible that there may be an occasional defection from one side to the other. I am a defector myself, so I understand that, but wholesale agreement - no chance!
But understanding may be possible.
I have been a believer for one third of my life, but was a non-believer for two thirds, so statistically I have more experience in unbelief than in belief.
However when I was an unbeliever I never had any of the amount of anger that I have seen here on the hubs and forum. If someone preached at me I either just ignored them, or I might discuss things with them, but it was of no consequence to me, because I was not in the market for any religion and certainly not Christianity, the religion that my parents put on my passport, the religion that claimed me from an accident of birth.
So why do we see such vehement opinions being expressed here?
Why must those who hold no belief, or believe differently from Christians attack, pour scorn, try to belittle, gang up on and generally try to silence believers of Christ?
My reason for writing this here is to avoid the abuse that would be hurled at me if I wrote this as a forum subject, a subject which would immediately be hijacked by the small atheist cabal that work so hard to silence any real discussion on any topic that they disapprove of.
Maybe their leaders are high up in hubbing terms and have enough points to do as they like, it matters not, they can do as they wish, just not with me.
All the major religions agree on one thing:
That you should treat your fellow man as you yourself would wish to be treated.
This is known as the Golden Rule examples of this are as follows:
Buddhism : "...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?" Samyutta NIkaya v. 353; and “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18
Christianity : "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12, King James Version; and, "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.
Confucianism : "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you" Analects 15:23; "Tse-kung asked, 'Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?' Confucius replied, 'It is the word 'shu' -- reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'" Doctrine of the Mean 13.3
Egyptian (ancient): "Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do." The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109 - 110 Translated by R.B. Parkinson. The original dates to between 1970 to 1640 BCE and may be the earliest version ever written.
Hinduism : "One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself." Mencius Vii.A.4; "This is the sum of the Dharma [duty]: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you." Mahabharata 5:1517
Secular Humanism : "(5) Humanists acknowledge human interdependence, the need for mutual respect and the kinship of all humanity."; "(11) Humanists affirm that individual and social problems can only be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, critical thinking joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living beings. "; 4. "Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you, British Humanist Society. “
Islam : "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths."
Judaism : "...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.", Leviticus 19:18; "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31a; "And what you hate, do not do to any one." Tobit 4:15 6
Wicca : "An it harm no one, do what thou wilt" (i.e. do what ever you will, as long as it harms nobody, including yourself). One's will is to be carefully thought out in advance of action. This is called the Wiccan Rede
So most everyone agrees with this.
The problem between Christians and non Christians is NOT about what is agreed, it is about statements made in the bible, attributed to Jesus Christ himself, and literally fundamental to the situation.
Who do you say I AM?
C.S. Lewis is revered by half of Christianity and shunned by the rest, however one views his works, he has stated some real truths that cannot be ignored or dismissed easily.
Speaking about Christ he said the following:
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.'
That is the one thing we must not say.
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.
He would either be a lunatic-on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.
But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher.
He has not left that open to us.
He did not intend to. (end quote)
Now if I just ended it there, then this would just be another hub that the non Christians could ignore or use to show how intolerant we Christians are, but I'm not leaving it there, for the simple reason that to do so will serve no useful purpose to Christians or non Christians.
The things that Christ said and which cause the problems between Christians and Non Christians are normally the following statements:
I am the ONLY way to God
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
This is such an 'in your face' statement that it is guaranteed to offend anyone who disagrees, but still thinks that they deserve to be with God on their terms or via their religious belief or system.
Yet Christ is the ONLY person to have ever stated this, none of the other religions PROMISE salvation and declare that there is no other way to get it except through the founder, nor who expand the offer to 'whoever', as in:
John 3 16.19 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
But then the verses deny it to whoever does not believe.
These statements make any disciple (OK you can call us 'fundamentalists') face an unenviable task, they believe them, so they tell people about them.
A believer accepts that these verses are true, and as such, nothing a non Christian can or will say makes a scrap of difference to their position.
Obviously any non Christian has rejected these words, they have decided that they are meaningless, so in theory they should be able to understand that the believing Christian is COMMANDED to....
Preach the Gospel
Mark 16:15 -16 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
2 Timothy 4: 2-5 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make foolproof of thy ministry.
Not a suggestion, indeed I have studied papers that propose the concept that the 'confession of faith' that we need to make with our mouth, consists of preaching the word, for when you do that you invariably end up having to defend your faith and suffer derisions from your audience.
So yet another anger point for non Christians is set into place, because when 'we' have preached the Gospel and been derided, by you, then 'you', who have rejected the gospel, are confirmed by Christ as being 'condemned already'.
When a Christian talks to a non Christian about what happens after death, they seem to get accused of threatening the non Christians with Hell.
In reality it's the words of Christ that warn of what happens post death to those who have refused His offer to all in the world.
That's when non Christians accuse us of 'separatism' - when from a Christian perspective, it's non Christians who have refused the invitation to the party, and it is the non Christians choice to come along or not, so how have 'we' separated ourselves from 'you'?
If someone rejects what Christ states, refuses to believe it's true, why make a fuss about it?
When I was a secular humanist I cared not a jot about whether someone thought I was condemned by their god for rejecting him.
My conclusion is that non Christians feel threatened by the choice presented, because it challenges their belief system and self will.
Most of these divisions between Christians and non Christians are about self will and the determination that non Christians exert over their rights to self will, and their subsequent attacks on Christians, who by their decision of faith in Christ, have submitted willingly their will to the will of God.
Dust your feet
Matthew 10 13-16 If the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye thereforewise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Thankfully, Christian believers are given a release from obligation when the gospel is rejected and we are ignored, we are allowed to 'dust our feet' - but even this 'just leave them alone' verse has warnings attached for those who refuse Christ, because it tells Christians that the non Christians will have a worse time than Sodom & Gomorrha, which town was wiped out completely by fire and brimstone, (yet another thing to enrage non Christians)
Once again the non Christians are faced with a threat attached to non belief, no wonder they get angry, our God just will not allow them to exercise their self will or non belief without mentioning some penalty they will incur.
But again, why complain, it never bothered me, and it should not bother anybody who TRULY believes that they are 100% correct in what they believe, or don't believe.
Luke 16:12-14 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters : for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon . And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and th ey derided him .
Most non Christians don't want to serve any master, indeed the self will in them seems to be so prevalent that even the suggestion that you MUST serve someone will enrage them and bring about abuse and personal attacks against ones sanity and character. But then again serving the 'world' seems inevitable when someone other than yourself controls your finances.
Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are you when men hate you , when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evi l, because of the Son of Man . Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.
Luke 14:25-27 ....and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple .
Here the first verse is used by non Christians to claim that we are suffering from a persecution complex, when in reality it's just a small explanation that we need to carry on, regardless, it's a pep talk if you like.
The second verse is often used to try to make 'our puny little god' into a raging monster or madman, when in fact it is illustrating the point that if even your own family refuse to recognise Christ, then the disciple must be prepared to lose contact with them and carry on serving God.
Does that make God bad?
No at all, I was fortunate that my family were professing Christians, not church going Christians, certainly not in discipleship, but token believers who kept a basic faith and lives by the principals of Christianity, as they had been taught in Sunday school. But many Christians have to face families who react badly to their son or daughter becoming a disciple of Christ.
My own parents were concerned that (in their lack of understanding) I was 'taking it all to seriously' - and any Jewish convert stands the chance of being expelled from the family, whereas Muslim converts stand the very real chance of being killed.
Christianity seems to be a threat to a whole lot of people, who really should simply ignore it if they truly know it is not the truth.
Dead bury the dead
Luke 9:59-61 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
I never understood this verse until my father died.
He had a bad death, in that it took him 10 days to reach death and eight days to come to terms with his condition. He had been baptised as a young lad in the Boy Brigade and called himself a Christian, but had real problems forgiving himself for the things that had happened during his war.
He could not forgive himself for being a survivor, and on our mantelshelf stood an ageing photograph of a group of young men standing in the Khyber Pass, taken whilst that generation 'brought peace to the region' like so many other generations of British troops had tried to do, and still are trying to.
He was the ONLY man to survive the Second World War from that line up, and he could never get rid of his survivors guilt complex.
Was he saved in the end? - frankly I don't know (and many would say that in that case he was not) and in any case it's not mine to judge or decide thank God, but I did see him lose his fear of death (and that was what made him fight for the last ten days of his life) in the final hours, and he died peacefully, albeit with the assistance of morphine that the doctors administered.
I understood the scripture "Let the dead bury their dead" when I saw the undertakers come to remove my father corpse, because they were spiritually dead themselves, they exuded no spiritual aura or presence whatsoever.
That's what Christians notice about those who don't believe in the world, no spiritual presence, or worse the wrong spiritual presence.
They are already 'dead' or never awakened.
They are of no consequence to the Christian whilst in that state, they are unable to hear the truth and until they are changed from their condition, destined to separation from God for eternity.
That's why Christians keep on with their witness for as long as non Christians will listen, they are trying to break through the spiritual death that encompasses non Christians and allow the breath of life in that only the Holy Spirit can bring.
If you want us to stop, then stop responding to our witness, because even your contempt is recognised as signs that you are still not sure of your position.
Non Christians who are convinced pay no attention to Christians who witness Christ to them.
Every knee shall bow
Romans 14:10-12 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ . For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Absolute red flag to a bull for non Christians, who rant and rave over the presumpion that ANYTHING could make them bend the knee to Christ.
Strange really, because should they EVER find themselves standing before Christ, they would be dead, yet still existent in an eternal version, therefore even the simplest mind should be able to fathom that their worldly wisdom was not correct.
I would imagine that any former human being, facing the majesty that Christ would present at that meeting, would realise that the appropriate action was to bow down and confess their earlier error.
So why would logical and rational thinkers get so irate at the concept that they may be required to bow the knee?
- If they are right, they face annihilation on death.
- If they are wrong, they'd better make peace with the God of all creation if that were possible.
What other options are there?
Well of course the best option would be to make your peace with Christ BEFORE you die and stand in front of Him for judgement.
Jesus confirmed that he was the awaited Messiah, not only a prophet.
Mark 8 : 27- 30 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am? " They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets."
"But what about you? " he asked."Who do you say I am? "
Peter answered, "You are the Christ " Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
Every Christian that has ever lived, has reached the conclusion that the Jesus Christ of our bibles is the Son of God. They have reached it alone, without coercion and from a sound examination of what that means to them, to their families and to the rest of the world.
Now there are, have been and probably will be in the future, many people who claim the title Christian that did not reach that conclusion as outlined above.
There are also those who have been induced to 'join' a church for the wrong reasons (fear of Hell or to receive a gain from the promised prosperity preached) but God knows our hearts and also knows that He has no grandchildren.
There is only one way to God.
I was 'born' a Christian, raised as one, sent to Methodist Sunday School and taught Christianity at school, but I was no more a Christian than Richard Dawkins.
Because I had never examined the exclusive statements Christ has made and decided for MYSELF (using my own self will) that He was who He said He was.
Nobody can call themselves a Christian until they have made that decision and accepted Christ as being the Son of God.
Perhaps I can phrase that better.
Nobody can call themselves a disciple of Christ until they have made that decision and accepted Christ as being the Son of God.
Disciple means student, one who studies, in this instance to be approved by Christ and God as correctly discerning the word of God:
[Middle English, from Old English discipul and from Old French desciple, both from Latin discipulus, pupil, from discere, to learn; see dek- in Indo-European roots.]
I was a student of the bible from day one, mainly because I wanted to be sure that I was studying and submitted to the right spiritual force.
Christ proved that to me, in a dramatic way when He dealt with Satan and his claims over my life.
I have ALWAYS stated that if I ever found the bible to be errant, I would rip it to shreds and be the most ardent advocate against what it preaches and teaches, but after 16 years of study, I have not found that to be the case.
How many non Christians rejected the word of God in much less time than that? who stop seeking the truth in the bible because they have seen the lie in a man? - or because the 'church' hurt them or abused their trust or just did not feel real because it was not real.
Well that's not the fault of Christ, that's man using His word to gain power for themselves (it's that self problem again) or a church caught in their own doctrinal deception because they do not apply the word to their actions and lives, they follow the traditions of man.
When I first came to faith in Christ, first surrendered my rebellion against God, first decided that I had been wrong all along, that self will was the cause of my problems, not the solution, I took a long hard look at the other 'Christians' surrounding me in the small body of 'believers' I had found myself in.
It was apparent that had I found myself 'locked' into their company for eternity a few weeks earlier I would have rather slit my wrists than stay with them.
But by then God and Christ had already shown their power in my life and I knew that I was no longer my own, but was now owned by Christ. So if Christ, my master, wanted me to be with this oddball group of people, it was OK by me.
To non Christians wincing at the thought that I had accepted this indignity, let me tell you it was preferable to being owned by my previous master, Satan.
I asked my new found God how many were 'real' Christians and got an answer that surprised me: 10% - with a quick maths calculation I reasoned that meant 250 million Christians who could be considered Gods 'remnant' in the world.
Did that mean the other 2.25 billion professing Christians are not saved?
Not at all, it means that MOST Christians are followers of Christ, they believe He is God, they believe the core beliefs of mainstream Christianity and they are, or try to be good people, and most succeed to a high degree, but they are not chosen as disciples, or maybe they choose not to be disciples, maybe they do have family to love, fathers to bury, other things to do.
But that does not mean that Christ will view them as inferior, or that there are classes of believer, because when you cannot earn salvation, when it is a free gift, there can be no conditions.
Some choose to be disciples, others followers, both receive the same reward.
Matthew 20 10-16 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. "These men who were hired last worked only one hour", they said, "and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day."..."But he answered one of them;
"Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you.
Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money?
Or are you envious because I am generous?
"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
Non Christians often fail to understand this, they live in a world where you only get what you are due, at best, and often don't even get what is your due.
One of the most prevalent complaints snarled against God is "If your God's so great, why does he allow all the starving millions in Africa (or replace with your favourite gripe).
The answer of course is that God does not, it's the collective will of the worlds poplulace that allows it to happen. God could intervene, God could FORCE mankind to behave in a godly fashion, but God gave us free will and if we choose to use that free will to advance ourself, to deny God and therefore empower Satan, then God MUST say so be it.
Every word we speak will be either a prayer to God or an empowerment to Satan.
And there is the other main division between Christians and non Christians - Satan, the devil, whoever you want to call him, the liar, cheat, murderer, deceiver, the one you deny exists, the one who has convinced the secular world he is a figment of 'our' imagination.
The ruler of this world and all in it who have not rejected Satan's authority over their lives and submitted themselves to Christ.
Those who by denying Christ have chosen Satan by default.
The fact is that for the self willed person, any concept of submitting their will is inconceivable, so anybody who has done this represents a complete threat to their ideology.
If we Christians are actually mislead, fooled into believing the lies of men designed to control the masses, weak puny specimens in need of a crutch to lean upon, what is it to non Christians.
Why must you try to convince us we are wrong.
To Christians the efforts of non Christians to attack our belief and weaken our resolve is akin to being a believer sitting on a large and secure ship, watching people in the sea, amongst crashing waves, calling for us to jump overboard, especially as we can see the sharks circling not far away.
Christians view the world through a God 'filter', whereas non Christians view God through a world 'filter' - no wonder we see different things in His word.
The promises we read daily, the evidence of their outworking in our lives, the inner peace that belief gives us, the power that we can call on spiritually to protect us and help others, these things no true believer would ever surrender for a 'mess of potage'.
We know that;
Romans 8 28-31 .........all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things?
If God be for us, who can be against us?