To believers and unbelievers alike - what makes you respect someone whose religious beliefs are entirely different from yours - to the point that you find them silly or nonsensical? Beyond respect even, what makes you willing to befriend that person?
Our honest admission that we may be nuts, but we don't care?
Not really. The honesty you show, for example, when you don't deny facts and evidence even though they very well may contradict something in your faith. In fact, I think you've actually denounced that part of your faith in favor of the facts. That's real honesty.
And, if you can't be honest with yourself, you certainly can't be honest with others.
If you believe that this "fact" proves you wrong, then we can be friends???
Nonsensical, at its finest.
It's my personal belief that God is far more rational than we choose to give Him credit for. For example...artificial contraception is a highly controversial issue among Christians. It's flat out against the laws of my Church. But I truly believe that God allows the discovery of certain things for our good and the good of the plan He has in place for us. I think he appreciates our responsibility in bearing and raising children.
Thank you. I try to be rational in the same way I believe the Creator of the Universe would be.
I try to respect the person as long as they don't preach. Someone recently has been preaching so I don't even read his posts. I've been finding it difficult to wrap my head around the hypocrisy. How can some claim God is loving and forgiving and extorts worship using the threat of hellfire? How can someone not see the problem with that?
Wait, are you talking about me?
In a roundabout way, I am talking about you. And ATM, Mark Knowles, getitrite, JMcFarland, and some of our more vocal resident atheists - at least that's the way other community members might describe you guys. I find it interesting that each and every one of you has expressed over time that though you disagree with me on issues of faith, you still respect me. I'm very grateful for that - but then you guys get pretty heated with certain other folks around here who express their faith or talk about their beliefs. Now, do not misunderstand, I often find that believers and unbelievers alike on this forum can get pretty heated - to the point of anger or disrespect, even. Where is the line that I've crossed (or other believers you respect) that puts me on the side of respect and acceptance v. frustration and disregard?
In all honesty, I want to know how to bridge the gap.
See, I have such a different take on hell, and there are believers who fear for my mortal soul even more than for yours...lol And, you know that I am a member of a Church led by the Antichrist according to others, so in essence, I must actually worship Satan...yada, yada, yada.
But every one of you is not only willing to hear what I have to say, but you actually ask me questions. Once, you even told me that you could never find anything in my posts to argue with...lol I have that day marked on the calendar, you know, because when it comes time, I want to be able to show it to the Lord on your behalf......
Simple, those other believers tell blatant lies. They know they are lies but they tell them anyway so as not to appear hypocritical to their faith. But, of course, the are hypocritical and dishonest at the same time.
hehe, good one!
Like, God healed my asthma that I'm taking medical injections for... I wasn't under medical treatment.
That one sorta stumped me too. It was why I jumped in to make the point I did.
See, there are some who would just believe him. Come to think of it what bothers me most are those who claim God answers all those little prayers for them personally, but fail to see the big picture.
And, I didn't even mention - and who would get the blame for this one, God or the doctors?? - that my husband received those same IV treatments for his severe asthma as a child, and it's possibly what led to his Congestive Heart Failure and vascular damage. If I'm to be honest, then I have to realize that if it's completely in God's hands, their must be a reason that my husband carries this cross. If, however, I do what I normally do and recognize a combination of my faith in God, and my faith in humanity in a cooperative effort with Him, then I credit them with the healing (or hold them responsible for the damage) while thanking God for both - because either scenario is meant for our growth somehow.
I thought so too.
But I guess I can see what you're saying. But, here's a question for you...when someone takes a polygraph examination, the examiner points out that if a person believes something to be true, even if it is not, it does not register as deceptive on the exam. So, in honesty, are these people actually lying or are they simply one hundred percent convinced of the truth of what they're saying and trying in some way to convince you also? Do you really believe that it's a malicious falsehood?
It's both, mixed ignorance and outright denial of facts and evidence, both a result of indoctrination.
Ah....the dreaded "I" word. But I understand your point. It is hard to let go of something you've been taught as absolute truth from childhood - especially when you've never been exposed to anything else. One of the things I'm most grateful for about my formative years is that my parents, by their very nature, befriended so many different people and as a result I was exposed to many things that I might not have been otherwise. Neither of them (well, none of the three - I had one step parent) had a judgmental bone in their bodies and they were both insatiably curious about people and lifestyles different from their own. I grew up that way, and thank God, it stuck! I naturally rebel against any sort of indoctrination or brainwashing or attempts to prejudice my thinking against anyone or anything. I absolutely have to make my own choices and my own decisions.
And, TBH, what boggles my mind about some believers is that they think everything different is automatically evil. If God created us all - why, for even one moment, do we think our faith has to be this homogeneous, static thing. Why not a diverse, dynamic, vital, and growing organism?
Yes, perhaps now, but growing up as a child, you accepted most everything without question because your mind was still developing, however the results of that indoctrination are still apparent and evident today.
Maybe. But I didn't receive any sort of religious indoctrination as a child. What indoctrination would you be referring to? And, if that's the case, isn't every single person on the planet a victim of indoctrination in some way, shape, or form?
Indoctrination is simply teaching without questioning. In other words, someone told you this and that about Jesus and you believed it. As a child, our minds our very impressionable, but they must develop properly and question everything. Of course, that will lead to thinking, logic, rationale and reason, the four horsemen of the intellectual apocalypse, for believers.
You do see the difference between you guys and some of the others right? I feel you guys are honest, both to yourself and others. There are one or two of the others that I have respect for a people, but can't understand why they don't seem to be able to be honest to themselves. There are those who I think are being as honest as they can with themselves, but can't recognize the absurdity of their own posts, but yet are most likely good people.
It's very rare that I've read a post form you, and a few others that I disagree with. I'm not opposed to your belief in God because it doesn't affect me.
Oooooh....here's one I'd like to clarify too. You know the depth of my faith right? Is the fact that I am honest about having questioned it and fought to understand it at times that makes it more acceptable for you - and what makes it not affect you? The fact that I'm not generally one to "preach" as it were?
Yes, I think. Understanding that it's okay to question your beliefs helps make you look human.
The question has been asked on many occasions by myself. I just get answers that I consider valid. I have no more questions. The story does not change. It is the same. To be unsure still, after having received convincing "arguments" for what I believe, is to me the very definition of insanity.
Critically thinking, does it make sense to question something that you have already questioned with good result already?
Mind if I hazard a guess? God is a very serious subject for those of us who believe in him. God is very important to our lives. The issue that some believers face is that they are so wrapped up in their beliefs that they become overly emotional about it and as such lose sight of logic and reason in favor of emotion when discussing those beliefs. as a result, they become easily offended by anyone that disagrees with their views on the bible and they view those of us (like myself, you, and melissa, to name a few) heretical traitors because we are able to separate our emotions from our beliefs and we also disagree with some of their views. Apparently, Christians are supposed to stick together
On the other side, atheists lack a belief in God and as such, God is not a s serious of a subject to atheists (other than as a source of humor). As a result, Atheists appear to come across (to some) as more callous, disrespectful, and rude.
I think the reason that you, Melissa, and I come out more on the respect side is that we are able to discuss the bible rationally rather than emotionally and also stick to the subject instead of reacting to them laughing at us because we understand and accept that they do not view God as seriously. We also try to make sure we understand them even while trying to help them understand our beliefs. We also hold to the fact that our beliefs are only OURS and don't try to force our beliefs on them. But I could be wrong.. I can't speak for the atheists...LOL
I have to go back and find where I marked it, but JM actually gave you, me and Melissa a great compliment as well.. JM said a couple of weeks back that If she were to ever find her way back to a point of belief, it would be because of the considerations of the three of us as well as our efforts at showing a not often seen side of Christianity. It made my insides jump...LOL
Great answer. It's all in the approach, I'm coming to understand. When all of us are able to approach each other as human beings, as opposed to approaching each other as enemies in an endless war, we actually accomplish something. In my journey to faith, I rebelled every time that someone battered me with scripture, told me how wrongly I was living my life, threatened that if I didn't change I would face an eternity in hell. But the first time someone told me how much Jesus loved us and lived a life that reflected that, my heart jumped a bit.
We can only be who we are. This IS my evangelization, I don't deny that a bit. But most often, I answer questions that people ask me.
I totally agree. All I was ever taught was Judgment and hell for sinners and nonbelievers (OT), but I was never taught grace or other principles that are important (in the NT). I was taught by the church that not only did I have to worship God and do good things in order to avoid hell and to enter heaven (reward/punishment) Rather than doing good because it is good (ethics and morals, glad my mother taught me this stuff herself), but I was also taught that I had to depend on Him for everything and all I had to do was ask for it and it was mine.. Luckily for me, I ended up spending my teenage years and my early 20's away from church because my mother worked so much and never arranged for me to get to church. I went once in my late teens and I heard so much that sounded so incredibly wrong to me that i actually took the time to read the bible for myself and gained a new perspective on it.
The bad thing about battering someone with scripture (especially if you're not breaking the principle of it down as well) is that with atheists, they don't believe in the bible (hence the laughter and ridicule). With agnostics, even if they don't know for sure, always telling them how much of a sinner they are and how we all deserve hell, they may still not know for sure, but I doubt that they would choose to follow something they are only hearing bad stuff about.. With other believers, beating another believer over the head with scripture is redundant because we already know and believe in the bible. But also we all have gained our own understanding of the bible
The "threat" of hellfire is for those who do not believe. Now think for a second... If it is all garbage, and utterly insane, how does that affect you???
Here's where I disagree a bit. The "threat" of hell fire is bogus coming from a single human being. We are in no position to condemn another or to judge them. We may not be aware of what has happened to them in the past, and we are certainly not aware of what will happen to them in the future. And, we need to get past the letter of the law (as we interpret it) and move to the spirit of it - which is ultimately that love will conquer anything and everything - our bad attitudes, our bad behavior.
True in a sense. I am not one to scream that you will die and go to hell if you don't get your stuff together... We are judged by our own standard. If I condemn you, I condemn myself in that area. My "toe" must be on the same "line" or else. Grace and forgiveness is offered to all. Grace and forgiveness should be imparted by all.
I agree with that. I think part of what others may take issue with, though, is our imparting a standard on them that they have not chosen for themselves and then condemning them when they don't meet that standard. Because I am a believer, I feel that God has set a specific standard for me - but his standard for others is as unique as they are.
Yes! God deals with us individually as we are We are his children. A good parent deals with his own child as he is; not sister or brother. The "house rules" are for all to follow. But your sister or brother is not the doler of punishment. Dad is, when he gets home Johnny may not be able to follow rule 3 as well as Amanda, and dad knows the ability of each. He takes it into account.
I am here to remind my peers what "Dad" said. He told me to.
Some say, "Shut the f**k up and mind your business!!!" Some say, "Dad didn't say that!" Still others say, "We don't got no dad!!!" But a few say, "Oh yeah! I will keep that in mind; I will try."
Since "Dad" has a camera to the heart, he knows who is who. We do not always know. So I will do my part and tell it like he said to.
It seems as if the "bickering" occurs because I remain sure and do not question. At least that is what I've gathered from the previous posts. But again, my questions have been answered. I need not further question. I'm sorry to all who may be offended, but I am sure of my faith in God the creator of all things. I don't mind if you are unsure about everything beside supposed facts. If you like what I say, say it with me. If you don't, say how you feel, I am closed to all else (that that goes contrary) but always open to people. So I may not agree with you, but I can "play" with you.
Scrabble is fun...
Humility. It is unlike what I believe to allow my faith to elevate my mentality to the point where I am able to feel somewhat superior to anyone. My faith is tied to the traditional story of Jesus and what he did for the world. He asked that we love eachother as we love self. Some would say that God meant that we should only have those feelings for our "brother" who believes as we do. But Jesus offered himself to all. He died to tie us all together.
I respect every person because they're human just like I'm human.
Don't have to respect their religion or lack thereof.
Matter of fact, it shows more respect for a person if I tell them the truth----that their beliefs are gonna be their eternal undoing if they don't choose right. A friend tells another person the truth when it comes to eternal consequences, even if it hurts temporarily. A friend will challenge the other person to seek the truth of eternal Life, not just let them flounder (nor revel) in their confusion.
I think there's a huge fallacy when it comes to atheists quoting the Scriptures about how Jesus was a friend to sinners. Indeed He was! He was THEIR friend. But they weren't HIS friends.
Christians befriend everyone, or we should. But we have to recognize that all those people aren't going to be our friends in return. Their beliefs are opposite to ours. The goal shouldn't be to allow them to recruit us into their circle, but to draw them into Christ's circle, whether by His Love or His judgement doesn't matter, because He is the Lord of both Love and Judgement and the two cannot be separated.
Brenda, I totally get you, I really, really do. And I believe that you do what you in terms of evangelization out of real, actual love for your brothers and sisters. But doesn't there have to come a time when we simply accept a person where they are and leave them alone to make a decision?
The most effective witness for Christ in my life never mentioned heaven or hell, never told me that I was a sinner, and, in fact never said anything to me in regard to Christianity, Salvation, or the Gospel. But, oh, how she lived her faith!! Watching her walk daily with Him was enough to make me want to know what she had that other people didn't. This amazing woman led me to the Lord without ever actually "evangelizing." She is a Bible-believing, fundamental, charismatic Christian who left the Catholic Church when she was saved. She's also the one who led me to Christ. We always thought it was kinda funny that I followed Him into the Catholic Church, while she had followed Him out of it.
You are absolutely right that you do not have to respect a person's religion or lack thereof, nor do they have to do that in return. I just think that constant, uninvited evangelization IS disrespectful - especially when it has been offered and refused. Granted, this is on a much smaller scale, but if you have a friend who is a smoker, and you tell them they're going to die from it every single time you see them - or worse, tell them that you can't be their friend until they stop, I guarantee they'll stop coming around you before you make them quit.
Does that mean you're not doing what you're doing out of love? Of course not. You are concerned for your friend. BUT, your friend is her own autonomous being who will make up her own mind to stop when she is ready. Trust me, she knows it isn't good for her. It's on billboards, tv, online, and even on the pack of cigarettes she just bought. Just like, at least here in 21st century America, the Gospel is everywhere. Everyone has heard it. Problem is that not everyone has seen it in action - and I just feel (from God Himself, as I've prayed about this particular issue for years) that living a life in Christ is so much more important than talking to people and telling them they're going to hell. We're all God's children, right? And how do our children learn from us in their earliest years? By example.
We're not all God's children until we give our hearts to Christ.
That's the problem.
There are verses in the Old Testament that talk about being "watchmen" on the wall. We must warn others about the consequences of their sins. If we don't, and they die in their sins, we are held responsible. If we warn them, and they still die in their sins, only they are responsible.
I can understand what you mean about everyone having heard the Gospel. Almost, anyway. But is that true? Really? If they've heard it, then why do so many still believe in evolution? .....So....I'm not sure that everyone has heard. Our schools have been teaching for a long time the theory of biological evolution as though it were fact.
But yes, there does come a time when we have to leave 'em alone to their own choice. And yes, by example is an awesome way to witness to people! But each Christian should make that decision themselves as to what the Lord is requiring of them and which situation they should withdraw from and which one to continue to debate in.
....Maybe it's because we're here on a forum that people think I'm constantly preaching. In my personal life, I don't always go around debating these things all the time. And I bet atheists don't always go around spreading their views as much in "real life" as they do here either. The threads and topics here are actually made for discussion, lend themselves to constant and consistent debate. In our personal lives, we don't always have the time or opportunity to even keep up an ongoing discussion like we do here, or to take up exactly where we left off. So....really.... we don't even get to know each other personally in a venue like these forums. So, what's left is what's here----specific doctrines, specific stances, specific discussions about specific topics.
As far as a person's life being the witness..............well, a Christian can be the most humble, friendly, helpful person in the world, and some unbelievers will respect that and some will mock it!
To add to my answer to your question in your original post----------I respect people who don't make personal insults/attacks on others, even if they do cut down the person's religion or beliefs.
And I respect people who, like you, are willing to apologize when they've insulted someone and realize they hurt or offended them personally.
I think you and I have trouble because you think I'm cutting you down personally when I speak against some of the Catholic Church's doctrine?............I respect you personally, but I just don't like seeing a Church (any Church, whether Catholic or Protestant or whatever) teach doctrine that isn't Biblical. And if someone wants to speak out against a false doctrine in a Baptist Church or a Methodist Church or etc., then I actually welcome knowing about the false doctrine so it can be debunked or warned about!
For instance, anytime I see it discussed, I'll hop in on a debate about how some Baptist Churches believe in eternal security (once saved, always saved). Because the Bible clearly says we must continue to strive for the "mark" of salvation, we must never deny Christ, otherwise we're in danger of going to hell. So.....the Southern Baptist Church (I believe it is....don't quote me because I'm not sure...) is in great error if they advocate that doctrine.
And many Apostolics believe that a person isn't saved if they don't speak in tongues! That's a horrid doctrine.
And some Churches don't believe Pentecostals are saved either! It's crazy out there, even in Christian circles!
And there are other fallacies, some that seem to not have eternal consequences, but do have.
For instance, contraception! I totally understand that Church's stance against abortion, and agree with it! But I don't understand why the Catholic Church is so against contraception. Because contraceptives simply keep the egg from being fertilized; there is no joining of egg and sperm, so I see nothing wrong with contraceptives. Whereas, the morning after pill, and abortion at any stage, is meant to kill a fetus that's already been conceived.
And praying to Mary!?.........Catholics take personal offense when those things are brought up and debunked by the Bible. But why? I don't take personal offense if someone debunks a ritual or a fallacy that's practiced by the Baptist Church or nondenominational Church........
Well........anyway, I'm being way too long-winded here I guess.
Bottom line is, for me, that it IS a crazy world out there, out here, and if things are that important when it comes to doctrine even within the Church (by Church I mean the collective body of Christians in all denominations)............then it's even more critical for the interaction between a Christian and an unbeliever to be clearly spelled out and specific.
Another question I have about how you said you were saved. I'm glad you considered the testimony of that lady to be powerful and led you to Christ! But I want to know how you got saved, if you will tell me. Did you recognize yourself as a sinner? Did the Holy Ghost convict you of your sins? Did you repent? Are you born again? Because no one can be saved without understanding that they're a hopeless sinner until the Lord grants them forgiveness upon sorrowful repentance. And whose "perfection" was it that led you to that conclusion? Was it that lady's perceived perfection? Or was it Christ's? You don't have to reply if you don't want to. I just want to understand the whole thing, since you say she led you to Christ yet she left the Catholic Church. That's.....inconsistent. If you believed her witness, why would you join the Church that she left? Makes no sense!
Look, I'm sorry if I'm taking this discussion to a level that you didn't want. I've said my piece and will reserve discussion for a different thread at a different time.
sorry to butt in, but evolution IS a fact. It has been proven, tested, demonstrated and observed. It is not on par with the theory of creationism which cannot be demonstrated, observed, tested or proven. Steadfastly refusing to examine the evidence for yourself because you want to believe that god did it does not make it scientific. You are more than welcome to your own beliefs, but to toss evolution out of the window without actually ever studying it for yourself and then claiming that it isn't true is intellectually dishonest.
It would be like me, as an atheist, telling someone all about christianity and pushing them into converting when I don't believe it myself.
There is nothing left to study about evolution!
The proof isn't there for evolution at all.
If we biologically evolved, then by now there would be apes who could speak and write and do the things that humans do. We would see evolution in action-------little apes would evolve into being able to speak human language and etc. Or else we'd all be apes, having "evolved" from humanoid to perfected ape-creatures! Or else we'd be able to make a human being out of a piece of swamp scum or whatever it is that evolutionists think began the process.
You're gonna have to provide some actual evidence before I'd even consider believing that evolution isn't nonsense. The opinions of a group of people who label themselves as wise or learned "scientists" isn't good enough.
There is much much more proof, both physical and intellectual, for a Creator.
Not so at all.
Very intellectually honest, really and specifically. I'm always very honest in debating evolution. A theory has to make sense before I'll consider it valid. And evolution makes no sense at all.
i have provided you actual evidence with links to scientific, peer reviewed journals, scientific dialog and I've even given you a book suggestion. You said you wouldn't trust scientists because it disputes the creation story in your bible. Just because you refuse to look at the evidence does not mean that the evidence isn't there. It means that you're standing there refusing to examine it. You're choosing to be willfully ignorant while refusing to accept scientific fact as fact because you don't want to see it.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria. Fossil records. Genetics.
That's hilarious, Brenda. What cartoon tv show are you talking about?
But, you have no understanding of evolution whatsoever, hence the evidence would mean nothing to you.
In other words, never trust anyone who has an education.
No, you are not being honest because you don't understand what it is you're attempting to refute, highly dishonest.
Evolution is a theory. A theory is born of guesses that have been "confirmed" more often than not; using formulas that not many people fully understand.
Faith, in another form.
do you understand the difference between a theory in scientific terms and a theory in layman's terms? Can you define them for me?
Please, you define, seems like definition is your thing. or do you know the difference???
A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment.
You do have a place from a google search on that computer.
Or my dictionary app explains it this way
A system of ideas intended to explain something, esp. one based on general principles independent of the thing to be explained: Darwin's theory of evolution.
Thank you for YOUR definition. I guess J would agree with you on your definition so it seems I have a theory too!!! I have witnessed you two in agreement on several occasions so there is my evidence. She agrees with you on many other matters so there! Poof! a theory yes??? You and J agree on EVERYTHING? I'm sure many of us have witnessed it. Yes, I am being facetious. But my point may be demonstrated. A theory is only a theory until that fateful day when someone (how many does it take?) debunks. From what I've heard, evolution is being looked at again and slowly unravelling. It hardly matters to me. Evolution works for my faith in a sense. I believe that we were built with the ability to change if necessary. We all believe some theory. We have no choice. We were not there to observe evolution. Not many of us understand all that it took to put the theory together. But many of us swallow wholeheartedly its premises. That is faith. Belief without actual viewing for the self. My faith lies elsewhere. That's all. No one may actually have a personal relationship with Darwin. But, then again, the mind is powerful.
There are plenty of example of evolution in motion.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria is but one.
Human evolution happens when a group is stressed, hence we have the evolution of African Americans and Europeans that contain the enzymes to consume milk and the native peoples of the north that don't get frost-bite.
Those we not my definitions and I have no idea who will agree with them.
Yes, plenty of examples. But one day, someone may show another side of that coin which then would shake the foundation of most scientific theory. But most assuredly will be explained away "based upon all we think we already know". You got faith in evolution until that fateful day... I got faith in God...
I don't mind you having your take. I will have mine.
Yes, you don't understand, that is true.
I disagree...God is individually responsible for all of humanity's existence. Do not forget that God originally chose the Jews to be His special people. Jesus Himself was a Jew. And it was Jesus who then reached out to the Gentiles to share God's message of salvation. If we were not all God's children, there is no reason He would be concerned with the salvation or discipleship of "all nations."
I can easily see this point, and I believe that you're right. I know several folks here who have said that in their personal life, people aren't necessarily aware of the religious/non-religious convictions.
But there is absolutely no way that a person can find fault with a person living a Christian life. Francis of Assisi said "Preach the Gospel always; if necessary, use words." Let me be mocked for my silent Christian witness. Someone may mock me all they like....but for what? Being humble? Being kind? Showing compassion? Feeding the hungry? Clothing the naked? Sheltering the homeless? No one mocks those actions. They sure get curious about how anyone can do those things consistently without reward - and then they ask - and BOOM! An opportunity to share your faith and the truth of the Gospel. Make sense?
Oh, me too! That, for me, is extremely important. And thank you - I appreciate that.
I promise that I do not generally take criticism of the Catholic Church personally. I understand it to a great extent...and sometimes, even agree. Birth control - you and I are on the same page. Let me explain why the teaching is what it is - the Church is against artificial contraception because it is understood that it is humanity's way of impeding the procreative action of God - closing the act of sex to the gift of life. I understand their teaching, but it's one I do not agree with, practice, or advocate. Ultimately - I'm with you on that one.
Mary - always the biggest bone of contention between Evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics. I will say only this - we ask the intercession of Mary like we ask the intercession of a friend who prays. And the words of the most famous prayer to Mary - the Hail Mary - are taken directly from the Gospel - Luke. Ultimately, the Catholic tradition of praying to Mary and the saints is just that - a tradition. Not necessary for either salvation or for being Catholic. Which is why I so rarely get ruffled up about it when people get concerned.
That I get...completely. I think where we differ in our thought process is in how the issue should be approached.
Yes, yes, and yes.
That lady, while beautiful and holy, was anything but perfect, so of course, it was Christ who drew me to Him through her actions. She had left the Catholic Church probably sixteen years before I met her. I had a lot of curiosity about the Church. She found the Church lacking when she was saved. It didn't meet her needs in terms of being fed and didn't provide the type of teaching she was looking for. I joined the Catholic Church three years after I was saved. As a matter of fact, when I asked her about it, she gave me a book written by a former Catholic that ripped apart everything it could about the Catholic Church. But the Lord still drew me there. It met all of my needs, and I responded to the methods of teaching and felt most complete in Christ in that particular style of worship. I was also hungry for tradition and history and a sacramental faith - I found that in the Catholic Church. She didn't feel a need for those things. Sounds odd, I know. Boils down to that we were two different types of people with different needs for a church home. And, I'm in no way offended that you ask. It's a story I love to share.
Not at all...I'm thrilled to be discussing it with you in a calm, rational manner without a lot of crabby nasties thrown in from either of us. I'd rather you ask the questions than make assumptions based on what you've been told or gleaned on your own. Those things may or may not be true, and the only way you'll get the truth of my story is to ask....well, me.
Yes, then your "friend" will threaten you with their religion, telling you that you're going to roast in their eternal lake of fire because you rejected their god, then you can both be enemies forever, respectfully.
Agreeing to disagree.
We are all different - if we were all the same, the world would be dull.
As long as I am granted the same respect - that I do not believe as they do but we respect each other as people - then I am fine with someone believing in something I do not.
Forcing me to believe what they do is the moment they lose ALL respect.
Discussion on religious topics by people of differing beliefs and opinions is enlightening and educational - there is nothing wrong with learning. I am happy to have a discussion on religions till the cows come home, as long as I am respectful to the other, and receive the same from them - then you can tell me all you want, I'm happy to listen.
You answered my question perfectly!
That's exactly what I was asking. There are people - believers and those who are not - who somehow find the line and cross it and are able to respectfully and sometimes, even as friends, discuss the topic and learn from each other. My OP was about what it was for each that made them able to do that.
Your answer was awesome! Thanks for jumping in.
I try to begin with respect for all. I don't care how little I agree with a belief, I care about how it comes out in real world actions. How large your circle of compassion becomes because of belief. So, the more we talk, the more the respect I started with is slowly whittled down. Although, I respect the person who is willing to hold doggedly to belief when it is driven by their conscience.
Belief is secondary to action. If your behavior pattern doesn't indicate that your belief has widened your circle of compassion to include more than those you actively seek to ingratiate yourself to, your belief is self indulging . If your belief actively impels you to seek out others in order to insult them when sharing your belief, it is ego driven and, again, self indulging. If your belief causes you to feel compelled to belittle some, in order to make others like you, it is a sign of insecurity and causes me to question the true source of your belief.
Since I consider any conclusion on reality a belief, I believe we all fall woefully short of the mark. So, I guess all belief is nonsensical to start with, mine included, when it is what we use in order to judge the worth of any other than ourselves. I respect myself in spite of that; what right do I have not to respect another?
And, honestly, what purpose did you start this thread for, other than self indulgence?
Hmmm. Well, I started the thread because there are several people on the forums who seem able to communicate about religion/belief and learn from each other respectfully - while others seem to want to rip out the throats of everyone who disagrees with them. It's an interesting phenomenon, to say the least, and I was curious about what makes some discussions work, while others don't. If I personally, am doing something right, I'd like to know what it is. Indulgent, I guess, but aren't we all sometimes?
I'm not sure about anyone choosing their beliefs based on what gets them ingratiated to others. Lots of people surely don't like my take on God. That's never made me change it. Folks think anyone on the agnostic side of things just refuses to take a stand. Hasn't made you drop down on either side of the fence, has it? We are who we are. I have no one to please but myself, my husband, and ultimately my God. It would seem to me that if was about becoming popular and the 'best-loved' among any group, lining up with their beliefs would be the best way to go, no?
Hmm. You got me thinking, for sure. I certainly didn't see this thread as an ego boost or as a way to ingratiate myself to anyone. In the grand scheme of things, though, I think maybe I can be forgiven for that since good may come from it other than me feeling better about myself.
You know, I think what I find difficult to understand is the fact that you do make a point of implying that you are 'living a Christian life'. And, honestly, I would imagine that I would respect you; if you lived next door. But.....and this is a big but, you are (in a way) evangelizing. You think the example of your life is a testament to your faith. Correct? So, if I am right, you are doing no different from the next Christian. Your actions are used to evangelize in a different way.
My problem with this thread was probably that it seemed to be an orgy of 'ohh I like you' and 'ohh I like you too'. That's great, but it basically comes across as 'oh, if you could be like me, others might like you too'. Is that the goal in life? Is that what determines appropriate behavior? Is that how we are to determine if our beliefs are of value? I don't think so.
It doesn't matter if another considers your belief to be nonsensical. What matters is that the individual understand themselves. Understand what motivates that belief. Understand what behavior patterns are born of that belief. To know if they are proud of themselves. If they contribute to the greater good. Because belief doesn't mean jack if it doesn't produce actions that are of benefit to others. People don't have to like you. That isn't a testimony to validity. It is a testament to popularity and, well, popularity doesn't mean anything.
I've never meant to imply that I personally live the quintessential Christian life. I do mean to imply - well, actually I mean to say quite deliberately - that it is the living of a particular set of values that gives it its ultimate meaning. Do I try with everything I got to live my beliefs? Yup. Every day. Do I fail in a lot of ways? Yup. Every day. Do I perform actions or say things that might have me caught out a hypocrite? Yup. Every day. Am I evangelizing by doing so? Hope so, because it's the only tool I got. I've driven people away because of how I live my life; people who are quite important to me and that I actually care a great deal about. I never said a word to make it happen.
I think you may have read far more into the question and the pursuant thread than is there, Emile. I don't need anyone to validate my beliefs, and certainly no one needs me to validate theirs. I'm not asking anyone to like me. If anything, and you can take this for what it's worth, I'm trying to bridge a gap between people who seem to despise each other because of faith and belief and yada, yada, yada. There are quite sensible people on these forums who behave like rabid dogs fighting over a moldy pork chop. It's stupid. So what is it that you or I might do differently that keeps OUR discussion of similar topics from degenerating into that kind of foolishness? And how can we spread it around.
If I was concerned about folks liking me round here, I'd be trying to find a way to kiss a lot of ass, because, trust me, a good lot of you just flat out don't. I'm more concerned that grown men and women find a way to respectfully disagree OR to respectfully exam each others' views without snark. But I've seen this response from people before when others are of a like mind about something. What the hell difference does it make if people like/respect/enjoy each other and say it out loud? Why is that such anathema to some? Human beings are sociable creatures. They don't necessarily seek popularity as much as connection. You've said before that you have no desire to be friends with any of the folks here...just to discuss things. Maybe that's the difference. You, in your own way, might feel that your attitude is superior to others who may not feel that way?
*Edit* How does a person know if they're contributing to the greater good without any sort of feedback from others?
I don't know that I've ever said I didn't want to make friends. But, really, how much of a friend can I be? You make acquaintances here. Semantics, I suppose. But, the word friend is a stretch. I have no desire to giggle online and make sexually suggestive comments. That's not me. I don't consider it to be superior. It's who I am.
Contributing to the greater good is, in my opinion, making a difference in the lives of others; without hurting another group in the process. I realize you are probably thinking 'hey, that's me' and I'm sure there is canned applause which will be posted momentarily. But, is the applause what matters? I don't think the people who approve of our actions determine their value. I think the people hurt by our actions do. Whether it be emotional or physical. One hundred high fives weigh less than one tear.
Yin and yang. The great scale of life. The greater community. All of this has to be taken into account when we determine if we are of value to our fellow man.
That's more me. lol
But I'm really trying to change!
Yes, you've always been a flirt.
Rad man is right. It harms no one and is endearing. I just don't do it and don't feel the need to apologize for it, or be seen as thinking I am superior because I don't.
And, too...I apologize if you felt that I was accusing you of condescension. I don't believe that you make others feel 'inferior' in any way. It was a sincere question, but I worded it poorly.
Be yourself, Beth. If you're playful and/or flirty, run with it. I don't think you're ultimately hurting anyone and every now and again, somebody might need it to repair the torn fabric of a crappy day.
And how are you helping mankind in this particular forum? It appears to me that a few kind words just may put a smile on a friends face and make that world just a little happier. Mo has ask a very good question here and shouldn't be made to feel selfish for asking. Didn't you notice this is one of the few forums where people can talk about the beliefs with Atheists telling them they are deluded? It's a very good question, what is she doing right?
I didn't mean to imply that there was anything wrong with starting a thread. But, honestly rad man; do you think the fact that atheists refrain from calling believers delusional makes anything good? Does one need to coax another person into being polite? Have you ever seen me coax anyone? Why would I consider attempting to pet your ego in order to make you speak respectfully a good thing?
LOL yes I can honestly say you've never stroked my ego.
I can honestly say I did try once. Because, I do like you. But, it was a poor attempt due to lack of practice I suppose. You appeared to get even madder than you already were. Anyway, our relationship appears to work best as one of contention.
Actually, I no longer get upset by your comments, there was a time where I thought you were only trying to upset. But I get you now and I've told you that a few times. As I said before, I think of us as an old married couple bickering.
A cold shiver ran up my spine after reading that.
That one went through me with a rapier like thrust, swiftian in it's delivery, leaving a gaping and bloody wound.
You say that, but rarely if ever stay on topic yourself. Could you be any more hypocritical?
No, you're right. One may only become acquainted here...but friendships do develop often and are maintained outside of HP, maybe online, maybe not...but it happens. I may be mistaken about how you explained yourself about the issue, so I apologize if I misquoted or misinterpreted. I remember it coming up though a while back in a different thread.
I don't consider giggling and suggestive comments friendship - I think it's flirting. I'm not great at it, so I usually refrain. But I get what you're saying, for sure.
I don't know if I make a huge difference to the world, but I'm one person and the world is a helluva big place. Primarily, I try to focus on making a difference in my home. Three people is manageable. I don't know really how to tell either, most of the time...but I don't mind the occasional warm fuzzy that comes from someone telling me I've done so. Ultimately, though, JUST doing no harm, IMO, is actually doing some good. There is so much crap and so much nastiness in the world that keeping control of oneself and not joining in all the time is making a difference in its own small way.
Eh. At the end of the day, you're right, though. Everyone has to recognize their own worth and value before they're able to determine another's. Once we do that, respect for everyone does naturally follow.
I think I get fretted with the argument that respect is earned. None of us earn respect. For every good deed done there a thousand we could have done and selfishly determined reasons it wasn't convenient or advantageous.
People deserve respect. Simply because they are human. I fall very, very, very short of the mark. But, that doesn't mean I don't know what the mark is. It simply means I'm human.
But, I think the same as you. Doing no harm is doing a great deal of good.
OH! I can so get behind this. I don't think any of us really knows what the mark is. Those of us who think we do are probably wrong, and will probably find that out in some painful way along the road. Maybe you and I stand on different sides of the fence as far as the respect issue goes though. While I agree that every human being is worthy of love, by virtue of their very existence, I think respect is different. I may give an addict respect as a person, but if she has repeatedly abused or neglected her children over the years to the point where they have needed parenting from elsewhere, I will give her no respect as a mother, nor will her children. Am I making sense?
You can certainly determine that behavior patterns don't deserve respect. An unfit mother is an unfit mother. But, she deserves more respect than we would afford ourselves. Would we, if we could evaluate our behavior honestly enough to determine we were unfit; not accept the loss of our child? We would hate ourselves for it. Punish ourselves continually because of it. Never forgive ourselves. We wouldn't do the same to that woman. Would we?
But, I disagree on the fact that we can't know what the mark is. We simply have to look around us. The mark is expanding our circle of compassion until it encompasses everything. I suppose you are referring to a mark that determines your disposition in the afterlife. I don't really think in those terms. Here and now is what matters to everyone else; from where I am standing. If I worry about an afterlife for me, then I have fallen short of the mark in this life.
No one in the world can ever mete out greater punishment to me than I do for myself, that's for certain.
This second paragraph is absolutely awesome!!! I feel that too many people place far too much emphasis on the afterlife in the whole belief argument. Here and now is what matters for everyone, IMO. I don't want a mansion in heaven, for example, if I have to starve in a hovel on earth. What the hell good does that do anyone? I can know for certain one thing about my death. That I will be stuck in a box in the ground after it happens and that the world will continue to turn. My belief is that there is going to be more after that, but do I know without a doubt? Can I provide physical evidence that will convince anyone else? Nope.
So, what is my purpose here? To convince others that it's okay that they are starving, dying, living in abject poverty now because they won't be after they're dead? Good God, no. It's to feed them, do the best I can to help them live a quality life, and help them become self-sufficient HERE. NOW. I guarantee that I will leave nothing of lasting value in this world if all I concern myself with is what happens after I leave it. On that, you and I agree. Humanism as a philosophy is the only thing that's ever gotten that right, as far as I'm concerned...but the faith I practice takes more of that into account than others I've seen.
There are a few reasons I respect people whose beliefs are different than mine. 1) I recognize that we're all like a thumbprint.. no two of us are exactly the same.. I like diversity. 2) Because I understand that my beliefs are strictly my beliefs and that I have no proof that could be deemed sufficient enough for some people, I am understanding enough that I am able to separate my personal emotions from my beliefs in order to discuss them logically (I know I know.. Logical beliefs is an oxymoron). 3) I'm always looking to increase my understanding and one way of doing this is to gain other perspectives on certain subjects. I respect that there are some that (mostly) are willing to engage me in a manner of discussion and debate without bashing me totally nor passing judgment on me. 4) Some of the atheists have actually defended me when I was being attacked myself. We may not agree on some things, but I can appreciate that even in disagreement that they are willing to stand up for me. 5) I respect the way they conduct themselves when in an actual discussion or logical debate.. I can't stand emotionally driven ones. 6) I believe that the Bible speaks often of God's miracles, but it also speaks about living in principles. I believe that the more you operate in principles, the less you need miracles.A lot of the atheists here (based on conversations that I've had) live a life of biblical principle (the difference is that they of course do it more out of a lack of belief in God) 7) The atheists have acknowledged that I think differently than others rather than lumping me in with others.
Beliefs (or lack thereof) are only part of a whole person. They do not make up the sum totality of people. Outside of beliefs, Most of you are pretty cool people in general.. I'd definitely go out to a karaoke bar with you guys
If I find their beliefs silly and nonsensical, then it's unlikely I could respect or befriend them.
I can disagree vehemently with someone's views and still respect them, but only if they are able to justify their beliefs sensibly. If all they can do is say, "well, I believe it because I believe it", then there's just no basis for intelligent interaction.
The reason I consider you, deepes and a couple others respectfully and would like to consider you friends is solely because of your approach. We may disagree, vehemently at times, but you do not tell me that I'm stupid for not believing in god. You do not threaten me with hell. You do not assume things about me, and if you want clarification, you ask for it. You offer respect and because of that, you receive it. Additionally, you have something significant to add in order to further conversation. You don't preach at me, you discuss things with me, and I feel as though I can learn things from you and express myself without being judged or ridiculed just because I believe differently.
Julie, this is an awesome answer, IMO. And it's exactly how I feel about my relationships with you guys. I think where things get murky with some of us is that we assume that because one is an atheist, they've 'never read the bible,' 'hate God,' 'think all believers are stupid and/or deluded." And the other mistake is thinking that those of us who are not scientists and/or historians...are somehow able to "debate" on the same level with those who are. Can't be done.
I even know for a fact that I can't debate Scripture with YOU on the same level because you are a Scripture scholar, while I am not. I can speak to how it has indeed changed me and changed my life because I have internalized it deeply, but I can't generally speak intelligently to the origin and development of Scripture - how it has been translated or mistranslated from its original languages, etc. But one of the things I love about you is that you also do not look down on me or think me uneducated or stupid because of that. You take seriously and give consideration to what I do have to say about it.
Thank you, Mo.. Sincerely. Yore respect is appreciated, and I enjoy our conversations. I enjoy talking to you and exchanging ideas, even though we don't agree on some things. I like learning from you, and I enjoy sharing my experiences and thoughts with you. I mean that sincerely and genuinely.
Because you secretly have the hots for me!! Don't deny it.. I have the proof...LOL!!
Not believing in God has nothing to do with your level of intelligence. Your lack of belief is solely based on lack of evidence as well as your general disdain and disgust of come of the acts written in the bible. For me to call you stupid would also be passing judgment and I try not to do that..much
There are three reasons for this in my case.. 1) It makes no sense for me to threaten you with something I have no proof. 2) You do not believe in Hell. For me (or anyone for that matter) to threaten atheists with hell would be like someone telling me that if I'm not a good boy Santa won't bring me any presents at Christmas... and 3) For me to use that "warning" (as some would like to call it) would imply that I definitively know beyond a shadow of a doubt what God will do to you when the truth (so to speak) is that I have no idea of what God will do.
I strongly believe in the phrase "seek to understand before you seek to be understood". Rather than assume anything by your forum posts, I took the time to go to your page and read some of your hubs.. As a result, I learned what you believe (or not) as well as the reason. As such I figured out the best way for me to approach you with my responses and questions before responding.
Yeah. That's it. Sure. I reject your proof :-) Just messing with you. I think that you're a pretty cool cat, although we disagree about god. The fact that you're a fellow Floridian just makes it better.
I agree with your point about intelligence, and I respect that you, Mo and a few others approach me as an intelligent and knowledgeable person despite the fact that I don't believe in your god. A lot of others jump to "only a fool says in his heart that there is no god" which automatically (to them) makes atheists stupid or uninformed. That's a pet peeve of mine, and I appreciate it when others don't do it.
The fact that you took the time to actually learn things about me before jumping into conversation and that you ask for clarification when things are unclear or unknown is a mark of true respect, in my opinion. I've been guilty of lumping christians together on more than one occasion, and that was an error on my part - an error that I've tried to correct going forward.
Of course you would reject my proof even though your own words are the evidence Tell the wife I said hello and not to worry, I won't let you leave her for me
Your degree in the subject also makes a big difference. I know that a lot of atheists are former believers and have read the bible and studied, but the fact that you went to college to learn apologetics, the original languages...etc is very impressive to me because it makes reading your debates with others that much more interesting (and funny considering that you are an atheist with a theological degree)
Gaining as much understanding about someone is majorly important because it reduces the amount of confusion. Another thing that cuts down on conflict is to make sure you are clear about the message being sent before responding and also pulling as much emotion out of the subject as you can.
Don't feel bad, I've lumped atheists together as well myself then separated them once I've learned more about them. Emotively, I lumped all of you together because i felt that I wasn't even being given a chance to express my belief well enough and to clarify my stance that I was seeking honest and open discussion, not passing judgment on anyone. I've learned a lot about atheism and actually heard quite a few things from atheists that confirmed things in my mind regarding my own beliefs. Now of course I don't speak about them much here because, as you can see, I catch it from everyone because I admit a lot of things about the bible and as such open myself up to other possibilities rather than stick to the interpretations that I was exposed to as a child. Not saying that I am specifically making up my own interpretations, but when looking at the bible with a dictionary nearby, I've learned that definition changes scripture (especially when looking at context)
well, that is the fact that though we have different beliefs and ideology, its still the moral standard of ethics that we are both human, and has the right to be respect.
Rad makes the point that I'd like to reiterate, because I think it's a key difference: Your faith doesn't affect me.
It's really quite simple. You (anyone, the royal YOU,) can believe in whatever you like, the great and mighty Zuul, for all I care. It doesn't affect me.
However, once legislature starts being passed that we can no longer roast marshmallow's on a Saturday night, (Zuul's holy day,) I start getting peeved
Down with Zuul! I am NOT giving up my right to roast marshmallows!
I see exactly what you're saying, Nicole, but what frightens me is that it's become about SO much more than just that, IMO. People can barely discuss the topic with any sort of civility these days in a private situation - and I think that's why more and more folks are trying to legislate or anti-legislate anything related to religion and morality. The long and short of it there, I think, is that just because something is legal does NOT make it right. And lots of things are right, IMO, that are illegal. If I am forced to steal food to feed a starving child (because I have none of my own to share or because others are taking more than they need), I'll do it in a heartbeat. I don't give a shit if it's legal. Feeding a child is the right thing to do.
Legislating morality or anything related to religion should just be done away with because it flat out does not work!
Its a shame that some peoples words in the present do not match up to their actions in the recent past
To be fair, I think we have all been guilty in the past of approaching others with something less than an open mind. We change over time as we come to know each other - and become more humble in our own opinions. It's the willingness on both sides to forgive...in the hope that it will allow a deeper understanding of the other person.
Wow, this is becoming a really productive conversation! Thanks to all of you for becoming a part of it.
"I try to begin with respect for all".
"So, the more we talk, the more the respect I started with is slowly whittled down".
( OR re-affirmed, which ever the case may be.)
@Emile R ... I respect you and your attitude and opinions more than anyone else here on HP and I want to thank you for participating.
The way I understood the OP , It could have been about anyone such as yourself.
Well, For a while this thread seemed to me, to have become a mutual gratification club of sorts which I don't think it was origionally intended to be.
Okay, I can't help but butt in here.
Respect is actually relatively easy. I can respect somebody's views, up until the point where they start attacking me personally.
Where I think there is a problem is tolerance, not respect. Many people...on all sides...find it hard to acknowledge that the world is big enough for all viewpoints.
Furthermore, I've found that a lot of religious people aren't willing to let others make their own mistakes. We are not sheep. We are not children - at least I assume nobody here is under 18 ). We are responsible adults and have the right to make our own decisions *even if they are wrong*. Preaching at people for their own good IS treating them like children. As Motown pointed out, you'll do a better job of evangelizing if you actually live what Christ taught - which the most vocal evangelists often don't. (I'm not saying that's true of anyone here, but there are an awful lot of very loud hypocrites out there).
On the other side of the equation, I have encountered far, far too many atheists who are burying their heads in rationality. I have been told I am delusional for being a theist, told I should be committed. I've had people say I belong in a concentration camp...or dead. I've actually had far worse things said to me by fanatical/fundamentalist atheists than by fundamentalist Christians - many of whom are at least managing "Hate the sin, love the sinner."
The problem? It's not what you believe. It's how you express it and how you treat others.
On evolution. Brenda, your problem is a problem of scale. A human generation is about 20 years. The very system of life leans towards a status quo with relatively minor changes each generation. Evolutionary change can, however, be observed in species with much faster "changeover." Bacteria are a classic example, but some interesting changes have been observed within a human lifetime in certain species of small reptile. The question I have for *you* is why does the theory of evolution contradict the hand of God?
I try to avoid those parts of them that might diminish my respect for them and concentrate on those things I do like or admire.
In other words, it's a work-around kind of deal for me.
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