It is all cool. I have a right brain and left brain. They seem to get along. How should I communicate my love of and in my beliefs so as not to shove it down someones throat. When I get to going, I have never had anyone say, "I disagree". But getting there is a bust. Personally I like all the "sacrements" and traditions. But that is just a place and space. That could never be a religion to me. Love is my religion. And If I make folk mad at me, telling them about it ---- that is all screwed up. Teach me! Little children's hands. Heroes. giving, resolutions, Love are matters I care about, how do I say that and not offend thee.
God is love. Religion is man reaching toward God. Christianity is God reaching down to man. Do not put your stock in religion but develop a personal relationship with God, your creator and THE ONE who loves you. Start there and your problem (a bust) will disappear.
It's ok to have discussions and debates. It's when one starts using 'you' that crossing the line takes place. One should rather use, 'I' over you. 'I believe I will go heaven b/c I am Christian, I believe non-believers will go to hell b/c they are not Christians' vs 'You will go to heaven or you are a non-believer going to hell' do you see the difference in delivery? I'm aboriginal and have had discussions with Mennonites about religion and they would stay away from the 'you' perspective and we, or least some of us, remain on friendly terms. I would like to know, why it's SO important to one that 'I' must convert b/c they say so
Dame, many believers do misunderstand what we have been called upon to do. We are to spread the good news and mentor those who are accepting to it, but we have no direction to persist with those who make clear they want no part of it. Their salvation is not our responsibility, and we couldn't save them if we wanted to. That can only be done by the Holy Spirit and if they chose to reject that, it's not on us. Believers should move on and look for someone who wants to hear it, (it's a more productive use of your time). Everyone will get along better then, but by the same token folks who come to a forum on religion should expect to hear about what other folks believe.
Eric, As long as you present general platitudes that folks can mold and form into their own perception of reality you will be fine. You might say the devil is in the details. Many folks won't accept absolute truth or the idea that there may be accountability to a Creator. Even some who will accept it do so only if they can create that Creator to suit them. Reality doesn't bend to fit the whims of observers, but try pointing that out and you will be attacked.
When folks jam absolutes into matters of the heart, where faith lies, they miss the point. You cannot and should not have it both ways. My faith stays where it belongs. It stays in love and empathy and compassion. How can my love and faith have rules written by men? This wonderful dude, illusionary or not, taught us that love is the bottom line, not cannoniacal doctrine which he raged against. Somehow my people are telling me to stay true to the course, true to Love.
I have no problem hearing out what others have to say or contributing to a question asked. but for most times, I do avoid this forum but occasionally, do contribute and pardon me if I offended anybody.
Eric, few will argue with love, empathy and compassion. Your comment above should establish a good platform to allow a pleasant, feel good dialogue where folks can encourage each other without acknowledging the unpleasant grey cloud of accountability reality would one day hold them to. It is indeed therapeutic and educational to sometimes indulge in such exercises, so I will watch with interest and respecting your apparent intent, try to refrain from upsetting that apple cart.
My friend dBerean, Upset any cart I steer. Stir it up. I am guilty. I accept my punishment. I believe that the bible is a guide. I believe churches are cool places to get your head and heart straight. I actually teach a Catechism.
But how can I offend in love. If I do it is by ignorance. Paul was all things to all people. Not for him, but for others. As old Francis loved to ask "God grant me the serenity".
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
My direction and pledge for my college graduation. We are right to stand closely by the tomb of the unknown soldier and recite such commitment. for some reason I think you know not the 70's first hand, but thank you for acknowledging the wisdom thereof. These declaration should be coupled with: We are the Champions.
Actually, I have less hair than you do.
And I've got Desiderata on my very own plaque.
I have lots and lots of hair, you can have some of mine buddy.
actually, "god, grant me the serenity." is reinhold niebuhr.
I like your question Erik. Please bare with me. I do not think through the mind of an atheist. This forum though is not just a Christian forum, at least to my knowledge. I hub often in metaphysics and spirituality departments of Religion and philosophy.
Passion of what one beliefs is a great thing. I can listen well to a passionate person and it doesnt matter what they believe. Passion is part of the core. I can speak with you of my experiences over 6 decades that were/are deeply spiritual. You will feel the passion in my heart sing. You might not be able to accept it, but then you might. A spiritual person imho seems to relate to other spiritual beliefs if they hear the passion.
It become shoving to me when someone will not let me alone and they are trying to save my being from going to hell. I have had this throughout my life. I do understand the concept Christians have that you do need to convert people, but I wish they would stop with me. Do not degrade my Goddess and God. Do not degrade my beliefs. Do not degrade my spiriutal passion. That is all I ask. I do not do this to you (general you), and would like the same treatment. If this is something a person cant do then I will pray for you to have love and tolerance in your heart for all people.
Very helpful. The need to bring other's to Christ is a big part of possible conflict. I will reflect on that.
Christ offended others to the point they nailed him to the cross. If they hadn't and he had not been glorified we would not be having a discussion.
Thank you Eric
Maybe this might also add to your food for thought:), My love and passion for my spiritual path is as deep as yours is for your path of Jesus. Look at me as one who will take time for a stranger to listen and try to help them, without suggesting they pray to who I pray too. I do it because it is who I am and what my Goddess would wish me to do.
My oldest friend, a devoted Christian, minister told her to drop me and my late husband as friends, since we chose to not follow Jesus. She told him, she would not. She also informed him, even though we were not Christians, we treated people with love and our way was more Christian then the Christians she knew.
I understand the need to convert, and how it can go against what you are told, to not. I have been very fortunate to know many Christians who can just share the energy of love and accept me completely, without the need to convert. As I said, I have been blessed to know them, as well as others who are not Christian. I have a good life, and am very grateful.
When you take me back to the 70's I remember being young and we were the original Jesus freaks. i grew up in a small southern town and we freaked out the "frozen chosen" because we went around town in jeans t-shirts and bare feet and preached the Gospel.
In retrospect is that not what Christ did? The church leaders in our time did not know how to handle kids who looked like that showing the Four Spiritual Laws to people but you know what, people were charmed and listened and were saved.
Jesus didn't hang out in the Temple. He went amongst the sinners and saved them. he them commanded us to do likewise.
If I do like the Progressive folk want I am supposed to firmly and I do mean firmly shut my mouth when I walk out the church door.
So i can obey them or I can obey my Lord. One matters and the other one won't.
There is nothing you can SAY with your mouth that everyone hasn't heard before. We live in an age of information. We get people selling us stuff all the time. Depending which marketing report you follow, we get somewhere between 2,000 and 37,000 marketing messages a day. All day long, every day, we have to hear how great this thing is, how amazing that service is, how wonderful so-and-so the candidate will be. We are exhausted and sick of it.
So, when someone starts in on their religion and how great it is, everyone just rolls their eyes and wants that person to go away. It's not that they don't like you, its that they don't want to hear a religious sales pitch. At all.
They've already heard every possible religious sales pitch a thousand times in the course of their life. When another Christian comes along, it feels like Christians must think everyone else is just too damn stupid to have understood it the first thousand times, so we need to be told again. So, our reactions get more and more cynical. It's ironic really, but every time a Christian tries to convert... oh, ahem... tries to tell someone about how amazing their particular version of it is, they drive someone farther away from Christ.
I think if Christians (or any religious person) wants to bring people into the glory of their faith, THEY, the follower, needs to BE amazing. You want me to listen, blow my mind with the incredible things you DO. Be "Christlike." When I look out and see a bunch of people NOT asking for money and NOT telling everyone how they can live, who to marry etc., and instead just doing incredible, kind loving things, all day, every day, everywhere in this endless and conspicuous outpouring of love and action, then, I, ME PERSONALLY, will go up to them and ask, "Hey, how do you find the strength to do all that, be all that?" etc. Then, by invitation, will that person have the opportunity to TALK about religion.
You are right about how Christians need to be.
That takes faith and prayer but also others do not understand a that your faith does not mean you will live perfectly, but that you are forgiven.
Yeah, I think pretty much everyone gets that part too. Like I said, there isn't anyone that hasn't heard how it all works a zillion times. I mean, people aren't stupid, so they know nobody is perfect, whether they are Christian or otherwise. I think the main point is that because people who aren't Christian know this so well, they just get sick of having religious people wanting to TALK about their faith. To the outside observer, Christians have NOTHING to support any of the stuff they are talking about. Christians don't have less flaws, they don't live longer, they aren't happier, their marriages don't last longer, etc., etc., etc. In short, they are no different in any way from non-Christians. In fact, to many outside observers, they are worse off, because they have to give their money away to institutions that often are corrupt, and historically serve as the rallying cry for incredible cruelty and violence. So, basically I repeat what I said before. If someone wants to get people to consider their religion, they need to show through their own lives an example that others will want to emulate. When others see someone doing amazingly well, someone content, happy, inspiring etc., they will come ask how they can have that too. Bottom line, it's too easy to talk. Everyone wants to talk. Nobody wants to DO.
Imagine how amazing America would be if EVERY SINGLE CHRISTIAN donated ten hours a week and 10% of their income to charity. Not to their church, but to actual charity. Like, going out and working in the community and spending their money like that. I doubt there'd be any homeless, nor would poor people being wrecking the health care system taking services for free. There'd be no urban blight. Etc. But, that's not what happens. Instead, they want to tell other people how great Jesus is. Have a seat and start talking. Blah blah. So, that's why they get the reaction they get when the try.
Man I like this thread. It is a little polyannic. But I like it. Shouldn't we all be Mother Theresa? The notion of community service and donating to specific needs both resonate with me. That works for me. Some just give to the priest and let her deal with it -- that is cool also.
In person I do get inquiries, I can only imagine that is Love that attracts.
Speak not! Is really a little lame, what we are looking for is ways to communicate well, not stop communication. (although I do love - "keep quiet and appear stupid, open your mouth and remove all doubt)
I have never met an atheist, agnostic, nontheist or a no thought folk that have a qualm with Love. Sometimes, angry old farts, but generally not. So if I just interpret the New Testament in terms of Love, why would that piss a scientist off?
Science doesn't care about Religion. It's not part and has not been part of the equation since the dark ages. The two don't mix. Keep them separate and we will all be okay.
Well, on the "speak not" thing, the OP was asking "how do I do it right?" so, I was just being honest at how it works. I never said "speak not." Not like anyone would listen if I did. If there's anything I've learned over the years it's that religious folks just love talking that stuff up. People just get so darn full of "truth" they can't hold it in. So, I just avoid them where possible, torment them a little if they get too pushy, and mainly just hope they don't get so carried away that they start some holy violence or do something disgusting like protesting at funerals.
What does a scientist have to do with anything? You lost me on that last part, but I agree, that most people are cool with the concept of love. In fact, it doesn't even need a capital "L" for most people, because that's a religious affectation. Kindness and forgiveness and all the sorts of things that can be lumped in with that are social behaviors that don't require magical beings to make them important in people's lives.
Let us be clear for understanding. Love is religious? That is with the capital L.
Love has different interpretations, but essentially love needs respect to be real. Respecting that it's not necessary to push beliefs on another is a nice place to start. It doesn't matter what each of us believes if we accept that we all have different beliefs which can change during our lifetime. We are who we are not because of what we believe, but how we choose to live what we believe. An authentic person is much more engaging to me and will have my attention. I may not agree with their opinions/beliefs, but they will have my respect.
I think for some it is hard because they're not confident in their own unique abilities, so they cling on to beliefs or they are vulnerable to any belief that sounds good.
Eric, the Bible says we should be ready, in and out of season, to speak of the Hope that lies with in us. In my opinion, the best evangelism is friendship evangelism. We should act in a way that represents Christ. People who want to hear what we have to say will ask. We should pray for opportunities and the Holy Spirit will leads us into those opportunities.
I don't think we should agree with what everyone has to say because that means nothing. Should we argue - absolutely not. Nobody wins an argument.
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2
Many people run their mouths about what others should do but do not do what is right themselves. I think that is where a lot of conflict and tension begins.
Discussion is good.
And the King said 'he shall live' and he lived. We do not get to literally hug here, and we do not get to anoint or Baptize. We get to exchange opinions, views and visions, in writing. That was good enough for Paul from prison. Our words here are our actions.
I cannot apologize because I love the non-Christian and understand their lament. The uncircumcised are the same to me as the those under the law. Yes I must worry what others feel and say.
Diane how cannot not hear their voices and understand their problems?
Eric, I understand with crystal clarity! I teach school in the inner city. Christians should have compassion as did Jesus. When i have students come to school angry, belligerent and striking out I find a way to disarm them by acknowledging their pain. I let them know my family is messed up to; however, I tell them the answer is not to ruin your life. I'm getting off on a whole new subject here.
Back to my point, Christians should be able to acknowledge what they believe (without being wishy washy) and respect that fact that many people don't believe the same thing. Example: Jesus is Michael the Archangel? I don't believe it but I am not angry that other people do believe it. If I am asked I assume someone wants to know what I think. I need to be honest....
And still love and respect everyone.
Respect is a good quality and I totally agree Rebakah. I do not expect people should respect my beliefs, even though it would be nice. I never been part of any religions where it is required to convert people. I do know in the Jewish religion it is forbidden. I was raised Jewish.. Because of this, it has taken me awhile to fully understand this concept. To not try to convert a person is so against their beliefs, that to not would be uncomfortable and alien to them. I respect this is what they must do, and thank the Gods it is not something I have to do.
I am glad I do understand this now, and I do respect their beliefs. I also respect myselfl more, and basically I do not associate with them. There is no point.
Congratulations Eric. You had been concerned that you would not get much response on this thread, yet I see much wisdom and honest perspective primarily put forward in a positive manner. I have enjoyed reading it and hope you get much more.
dBerean, you are the man. 'Why so angry' is the impetus. But at least 3 blogs will come of this. And I hope 3 for you. But brother that is not the cool thing, the cool thing is that we are learning, growing and beginning to better understand our brothers and sisters and bridging that gap. Peter sure acted the fool, and Paul was on the wrong track jack, but he came back.
Eric in case you really aren't aware you are being led down the path to atheism.
Worry not Barefootfae. There is a Valley I walk in, some would say consumed by the shadow of doubt. Mine is not to judge who lives there. Mine is to bring my light into shadows. The comments above and my understanding are not of my work. I wake up in the morning and do my readings and writings and meditate on the word and pray faithfully. The rest of any day is seen through that lens. "Who can I help" is my cry. So these friends tell me to back off in one way and lead in another. I must slow down enough to also hear their cry. Atheism might be anothers' beginning to look for truth, if need be I will follow them in order that we both may find it. God is Love. When I Love I am with God. When I am afraid of Loving I am afraid of God, I must be free, to love. I shall love you and I shall love Mark Knowles and Ralph Deeds, that valley beckons me. And I shall fear no evil.
I just wanted to offer my sincere apologies for posting in this forum Seeing it was listed in Religion and Philosophy, I figured I would post. I am new to the forums and didnt realize this post and couple others that I contributed too was on Christianity and Atheism. If I knew that, I would have stired away from the topics.
Again, I do offer my apologies for posting in a section that I should not have. I am also grateful that I have figured out how the forums work.
Well I only read the first page, but what a lovely thread! So beautiful to read ppl from either side of an issue speaking so kindly and respectfully with one another and having such deep and meaningful chat. Well done to all of you!
Thanks Beth37, your post got me to come back and read again. It is good to see the open respect and remember from it.
We have to live our beliefs and we have to show love. People really don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Obviously, we have to also share Jesus but we need to be careful not to browbeat. My sister and I were both believers before our younger brother. My sister took a very authoritative tone with our younger brother (then in his late twenties) that made him avoid her. My husband and I shared Jesus and took his girls to church when allowed and helped him when we could with other things (car trouble, moving). He and my husband would go to ball games together and on one of those outings, my husband was given a real opportunity to witness. He took it and soon my sister in law came to me with a desire to get into church. All the browbeating did was put a wedge between siblings. Love, care, and giving an account for why we love and care had the desired affect.
Mommy that was awesome. Functional families are awesome. I think your story just made my day!
My siblings were too far away to take my kids to church with them, but had they offered I would not have accepted. Had they persisted I would have been offended - my children's education, and what they are taught, is up to me and not something I would appreciate others trying to do.
Should I have gone with my brother to a ball game and had him "witness" to me it would probably have been the last ball game I went to with him. The rest of my family is quite religious, but never "witness" their beliefs to me - I already know their beliefs, they know mine and we don't bother each other by trying to convince them that we're right.
I would interpret your "sharing Jesus" with I or my kids, your "witnessing", etc. as "browbeating" in other words. There is no need to share your specific beliefs with me - let your actions and life to the talking for you.
That isn't love or caring, that is evangelism.
That's the thing. When my husband witnessed at that ball game, my brother asked him a direct question. As for the nieces, he had no problem with us taking them for the weekend so that he could have a much needed break and he knew the girls would go where we went, including church on Sunday morning. He also knew that if this was a problem then we would happily take the girls on Friday and bring them back on Saturday night. The fact that we respected where he was and loved him anyway was what eventually led him to ask questions. I won't deny that my sister's browbeating (constant badgering of him to go to church and refusal to accept no for an answer did harm. We just didn't do that. Instead we made the commitment to love him for who he was regardless of whether or not he believed like we did. Did this mean we didn't want to see him saved? Of course not. It simply meant we were going to love humans have a relationship with him regardless. Christians are viewed as haters because the world has seen too many of the browbeaters and not enough of the Jesus imitators. Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes. He loved them where they were but he also showed them a better way.
I think we are all tax collectors and prostitutes and if we keep this in mind, we will understand our need to be saved.
Intent and motive makes such a difference. If you go to a ballgame to have a good time it's wonderful to be with family/friends. If you go to have a captive audience to preach to it's not.
If you take your nephew/niece/grandchildren for a weekend to have fun with them it's wonderful. If you take them in order to pound your beliefs in, no matter how gently, it's not.
We sometimes left our kids with their great grandparent - a pastor at a local church. No problem - she wanted time with her grandkids and we realized that she would be going to church, along with the kids.
It does make a big difference, and I'm sure that grandma's primary motive was spoiling and showing off those babies. The rest was just a nice byproduct.
Wilderness, I hate that captive audience factor. Especially when used on children.
I think we can take your scenarios to heart. Yes just because someone is stuck with us does not mean they are fair game for our beliefs.
Well, I'll only be a captive audience a very limited number of times. When it quickly becomes obvious that's all I am, I'm also gone - not only not captive, but not an audience at all. Not even available to quietly observe the life style and actions any more.
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