If you claim to be christian, what difference does it make to your life?
If I hear your proclamation, your words professing your “faith,” what am I likely to notice about you that is different than if you did not profess christianity?
If you are a successful business person, and you have “squeezed” people, bent the truth, used inaccurate advertising to better your business, yet you claim to be christian, how will this affect the way you conduct your life? How will it influence your relationship(s) with your neighbour(s)?
If you are a politician, with a great following from your electorate, and you claim to be a Born-again christian, how will you regard the times when you have been “somewhat generous” with the “truth?” Will you have any degree of conscience about it? Will the born-again bit make any difference?
If you are financing a safari in Africa, and engage the local hunters to seek out a herd of elephant, then proceed to massacre the oldest members of the herd for their formidable tusks, then leave the other younger members of the herd without the wisdom and experience of their elders, helping to drive a beautiful animal species to extinction in our life time.....whilst back home you are held in high esteem for your good christian character........ will you feel any sense of guilt? Or will you find a good but not necessarily accurate answer for your admirers, just to keep your comfortable life?
Will your faith in Jesus do anything to make a practical difference in your life?
Do you find any good reason for being a christian? A lasting difference that makes a real, genuine, sincere and loving impact on the lives of your fellow humans – and every other living thing that has a right to life?
Or is it all about what happens when you have left this life, and nothing to do with the present life, here and now?
jonny, it's almost 1am where I am, but this is awesome and I am so coming back to it! Peace, sweet friend!
Thanks Mo, but I must point out that of course, the scenarios I have painted are theoretical. They are possible and extreme examples and simply give an understanding of how a "faith" and a "belief" are of no use, no point, no sense unless they can have a real, practical and useful influence on an individual's life. This applies equally to any one, of any religion or faith, anywhere in the world.
All the argument over theism or atheism is a waste of time without the believers doing their bit to better our world, before they die.... they can do nothing about it afterwards.
This is true and something we are charged with not only in the Bible, but by good teachers of the word.
There is no one who is sinless, not one, save Jesus, but there is the constant leading of the spirit to be more Christ like and to leave our flesh behind. There are those who spend their lives serving Christ and others in ways I dream to one day do. There are those who try and fail, but get up and try again. There are those who claim to be Christians, but they are what we call "pew sitters" those who go to church for cultural reasons or what have you. There is a girl from my home town I have been blown away by... if you are looking for a true, sold out believer... she is a shining example.
And yet, we find those who believe they are charged with teaching the word are usually the biggest hypocrites of all.
I am sinless and I know many others who are sinless.
What spirit? To be Christ like means to simply follow the teachings of Christ, which essentially are the teachings of Buddha.
Again, the biggest hypocrites of all.
Ah yes, the No True Scotsman fallacy, well done.
Agreed, "sold out" is the relevant term.
Ok, a young person following what she feels led to do. Doing it and feeling good about it. Not that difficult to do, if you know you can jump straight out of it again, just whenever you please; and when you can feel secure and upheld by some superior power; and you can feel superior yourself for having more education, better health, a better way of life (you are "civilised"), and there are others, of like persuasion, who will welcome you home again to the comfortable life.
Could you, can you, do any of that "good work" if you don't have that inherent "faith" behind you?
I have worked in Africa, amongst christian people. Many of them were doing good work. Many were inspired to do so with their beliefs. Or was it because of their beliefs? Or were they simply just good people at heart who had found their niche in life just at the right moment in time?
As a professing christian, how deeply do you question yourself and your motives? What steps do you, specifically as a christian, take to keep your selfish ego at bay? (Not speaking now of a love of yourself, an inner respect for your being and your unique place/responsibility in this world. That is different from selfishness which is a greedy, self-serving attitude.)
I wouldn't credit her with finding a niche. She has adopted 14 children before the age of 22. She runs an orphanage and gave up an affluent life... she is living out her life as the hands and feet of Christ. She is an amazing example and I would never take that from her flippantly. I have never done any thing half that remarkable and the things I have done that were Christ like, I wouldn't feel comfortable posting here. Oddly enough, I'd rather share my shortcomings and let you judge me on those. Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to judge others lives at all? Maybe we should judge our own hearts.
That's the problem, she even admits that helping others is not an option, that it is commanded in the Bible. That is the difference between what she does and what others do without the requirement of being commanded.
Yes, find fault with her. That seems appropriate.
It's not hard to find fault in ones means when the reasoning and motives are exposed.
I wonder how many of those kids she'll try to indoctrinate with her beliefs?
What are her beliefs? To feed the hungry? To help the widow and the orphan? To clothe the needy?
She tells the story of a small African girl who ran miles to her for shelter. Her village proclaimed her an outcast for some reason... I don't remember why. She walked the child back to the village to find out what happened... they threw rocks at her and screamed at them. She took the little girl back to her home and made her her own daughter... she showed her that she *was indeed wanted. She became her mother and loved her... let's hope she is teaching them everything she knows. I can't imagine they would not benefit in every possible way.
Her beliefs are based on Christianity, isn't that obvious?
Yes, her photo ops and book sales are on the rise as a result.
I feel sorry for that little girl in what she will learn from her; religious indoctrination.
She wrote the book to try and raise money to feed the children in the orphanage. 14 are adopted, but there are many more to feed. If she wanted a nice house, all she had to do was move home... she had a big house in Brentwood Tn.
Cast your stones, but the shame of that action rests on you.
Sorry, but she admits she is on a mission for Jesus. Other people who aren't on missions for Jesus help others because they want to help, not because of a mission. Funny, I suppose you'll never understand that huge difference. To you and her, it's all about Jesus.
Yeah, that's what I thought. Thanks for proving my point.
It's like you're putting a puzzle together ATM.
God is love... He teaches us to love. He leads us by his spirit to love. To love the less fortunate, the unwanted, our enemies. This girl has become the mother to 14 young children. She will be responsible for them for the rest of her life. She feeds them and clothes them... God led her there and she is rewarded every day just giving and receiving love in it's purest sense.
Today is "Adoption Sunday". I hadn't thought of it when I posted that link, but what a coincidence don't you think?
But, we know that is false based on the behavior of Christians.
Yes, I understand you believe that, regardless of how much conflict it causes in the world.
And, she most likely will indoctrinate them to be mindless servants of Christianity, spreading the mind virus.
What is with the blue, again?
What is "imperfect people"?
Yes, so-called Christian love does little more than cause conflict in the world.
She is not teaching any truths, she is teaching myths and superstitions. Those poor kids will not have a chance to think for themselves.
Nothing happened in my life to cloud my vision. My eyes are open to reality, not myths and superstitions from the Bronze Age.
Can you imagine being an orphan in a 3rd world country? I don't think you've got a grasp on it...
I think you're using inappropriate terminology here. "Slave" or "corpse" seems more appropriate. One or the other.
Coming from someone who hasn't even got a grasp on reality, that is hilarious.
I do see ATM's point, Beth. So much of that zeal for "helping" the "undeveloped" peoples of the world comes from an ulterior motive: teach them about Jesus. Convert them to christianity. Admittedly some (often a lot) of what is seen to be good will be done for those people.
But there is the problem: All wrapped up in that cloak of good deeds is the desire to change those people into the way, the life, that christians think is right for them. Seldom asking those people if that is what they want. To ask them means we will bring in awkward requests; not exactly the way we want things to run.... smoothly, enhancing our own status and esteem.
Even the philanthropy of people like Bill Gates has a flip side. If you rid Africa of malaria, HOW are you going to go about preventing mass-starvation? As harsh as it may seem, malaria does cause so many infants and adults to die each year, a natural population control. If industrial efforts are taken to increase food production, that will be great for the Industrialists, but the natural habitats of all manner of wild life will be gone for ever. But who cares? Those good christian people will have made their fabulous reputations and be right with their god!
Who are you? Marie Antoinette? That's kind of a 'let them eat cake' mentality.
I suppose allowing misery to prevail does make sense on some levels. Unless, of course, you are among the miserable. Then, I bet it sucks.
lol. I didn't think it was possible to even have a desire to turn what she does ugly or self motivated. Y'all can pat yourselves on the backs while she's given her life for strangers in a 3rd world country.
And, that is it in a nutshell. Those who won't do complain about those who do.
When I think of a hero... when I think of a Christian in the very sense that the Bible instructs us to be, I think of this girl. She moved to Africa, by herself, at age 19 and is literally changing the world one person at a time. A child of privilege living in squander... giving up family, friends, comfort, safety... How ANYONE could not run to her defense, I can't even imagine.
It's very simple. Some simply want to find the negative in life. But, then you just can't please some people.
The original question has not yet been answered. I see christians digging in with their viewpoint. I see confirmed atheist counter claims.
Is the christianity a net benefit? Does it stand alone as being god's gift to philanthropy? Or is it a two-edged sword?
It's now almost 9.00am here, and I must get off my stirring seat and do some physical work. See you all later.
It's a ridiculous question. We all infuse our viewpoints where we can. There is nothing inherently wrong with belief in God. There is nothing inherently wrong with belief in Jesus. It is what you do with your beliefs that matter. If someone saves another human being from starvation and, in the process, shares their views....are they responsible for how others perceive it and are they responsible for subsequent actions of the person they saved from starvation?
Whatever motivates you to do good is a good thing. For you. As for everyone else, they are responsible for their own actions. What motivates you to do good for others? Should I turn up my nose if you save a life if I don't respect your motivation? What would that make me?
"It's a ridiculous question. " Maybe - if you say so. I certainly will not withdraw it, others might not consider it ridiculous.
"Whatever motivates you to do good is a good thing." True, a good thing is a good thing. However, the motivation can be an ongoing bad thing if it unreasonably interferes in the life of another, with ulterior purpose. Of course, the person on the end of the "good thing," and benefiting from it, will be satisfied for the time being. If the ulterior motive then brings previously unseen obligations, or a change of life style, or "mixed blessings," then the original "good thing" might not be seen as such after all.
I am suggesting that ulterior motives are common in business, politics and enterprise. And religion is one of those ulterior motives.
Of course religion falls into the category of ulterior motive. My point is that you are responsible for your reactions. This line of thinking is a growing problem in our world. The attempt to transfer blame and Finding reasons within others for our personal problems.
Your comment on actions being seen is the point. How you see is your responsibility, not the responsibility of the person you see; just as their reaction to you is their responsibility. We are not children. There is good and bad in everything. Finding the good, reacting to the good with good is a choice just as seeing the bad and reacting poorly is a choice. No one is responsible but the individual reacting.
If belief compels you to do good, that is enough. In my opinion. The good outweighs any belief I may disagree with. This attempt at high brow drama created by those unwilling to view the world realistically creates conflict where none need exist. Which is exactly what the root beginning of Christianity was addressing.
That is why we can't take your opinions seriously on this matter.
I hold her opinions in relatively high esteem because she is open minded, fair, honest and level headed. Qualities I really respect.
And, that is why we don't your opinions seriously, either.
I spose we can't come to agreement on everything can we? Some things seem basic to me, but on the positive side, Im glad I got the chance to share about this amazing woman.
Yes, Beth, it's very difficult to see the big picture. Christianity has been synonymous with Progress and Bettering our selves, our lives, for so long, that it is very difficult for christians to step away from faith and see reality from other points of view.
Not trying to negate yours or anyone else's faith here, just trying to show how difficult it is to see all sides of the equation.
Yes, I agree that young lady is doing a wonderful job..... but don't let that cloud the reality of christian evangelism.... control of people the way "we" want it.
That's what I find fascinating. People seem to want to point a finger over and over because Christians aren't perfect. I think a good Christian is one who knows they aren't perfect. Shame on Christians because they aren't like Christ, but the act of judging them is against the teachings of Christ also.
I don't get the whole, 'I'm not a Christian, but Christians aren't Christian' mentality. It's basically saying Christ was perfect and you'll never be, which is the same thing Christians say and get complained to because their statement creates conflict.
Hypocrisy must be synonymous with the word humanity.
Mo, the conversation will have moved on considerably by the time you come back to it. Hope your original thoughts/emotions about it remain intact.
Hey john - I think what you describe in your examples are hypocrites - which includes the vast, vast majority of those claiming to be Christians. I won't get into a religious debate here (that's been done over and over in this venue) because they usually turn ugly. That too, is at the heart of the problem.
A hypocrite is essentially a liar. I wonder if that makes the majority of politicians Christians? Would that make the vast majority of prisoners and lawyers and con men Christians? Seems to me a liar comes in just about any and every form... which would mean they were lying about being a Christian... which would maybe make them not a Christian? I don't know... that makes sense to me.
People here know about my flaws, but they know because I've admitted them. I believe in confessing your sins, in not playing games and pretending to be something your not. I've never pretended to not be a sinner, but to sin less and please God is my goal.
No, just the majority of Christians, especially those who follow Christianity.
No, they're not lying about being a Christian, they are lying about following the teachings of Christ.
How every unfortunate. Doing things just to please God means that one is unable to think and rationalize what they do. That's the difference between Christians and non-believers, who actually know that they do things to help others rather than to please some god.
You got that right trouble! There is such confusion and contradiction within whatever Christianity is supposed to be. Why are there so many different churches, so many different sects, so many different versions?
if you wanted to believe, how would you know which one was the true one. Or, is there no true one, just someone else's version?
Im sorry that you haven't met or gotten to know any loving Christians.
Beth, don't be sorry girl. I've met, and gotten to know, many loving people. I don't give a hoot whether they are Christians, Muslims, Jews, Humanists, believers, non-believers, or aliens.
Good! Im glad... glad most of all that you accept them no matter what their belief or background.
Acceptance only if they don't try to press their beliefs on me, try to convert me, and don't ask me if I've found Jesus.
Well acceptance comes with boundaries for some of us.
Which is exactly what this young woman is doing...
"Katie, a charismatic and articulate young woman, is in the process of adopting thirteen children in Uganda and has established a ministry, Amazima, that feeds and sends hundreds more to school while teaching them the Word of Jesus Christ."
http://www.christianbook.com/kisses-kat … ew=details
Yes ATM, she's like a missionary. Missionaries bring the gospel to all the corners of the earth... she's sharing the Bible with them.
Hmm. "Sharing" or forcing, on pain of starvation and probable death if they don't listen?
Yuck! Anyone who sits in their comfortable home while she is out their starving with them, out of no motive but love, is despicable. Did you read any of her blog? You don't know her at all, you shouldn't speak. It's shameful to degrade what she does.
"Degrade" what she does? By observing the reality of it rather than the fantasized, sanitized version? I don't see that at all.
The woman is trading food for the children's time and acquiescence in stuffing their minds with myth presented as truth. That she believes the myth doesn't change that. It might make her motives seem better (and does) but it doesn't change the reality at all.
Nor do you know her motive. Should she take these children into her home as her own that's one thing, but I gather from your post that many of them remain with their biological families. She still feeds them and she still stuffs them with the lies of Christianity, but they are with their families. And you do not know her motives here - whether to save their souls or whether to get herself into heaven through good deeds. Whether she is merely following the edicts as she interprets them out of fear of hell or whether it is all out of love. You cannot know.
Personally, I feel that it is you who is degrading this woman when you assign her motives based on what you want them to be. Leave her with her own mind, her own motives and just accept what she does. The results of her actions are good - leave it at that instead of pretending you know her mind and turning her into something she may well not be.
Yep! If it doesn't fit within the twisted, foul creations of religion it is "yuck". People are only allowed to be "Good" when they are Christian (and fit your mold of Christian), aren't they? As soon as we acknowledge the bad, as well as the good, within everyone it becomes "yuck".
Your spin on what she does... no... your desire to spin what she does into something ugly and self serving is to me... disgusting. I can't fathom that *anyone would dare to, let alone want to discredit her beautiful sacrifice. I think if you met her, or heard her speak, you would be ashamed. I would rather be mute than to say the things you have said today.
The great commision of the Christian is to spread the word of God...your disbelief has created in your mind a self- seeking disgusting motivation behind this womans actions and then you attack Beth for seeing her differently because Beth is a believer, and you accuse Beth of exactly the thing you are doing which is projecting your beliefs and disbeliefs onto this woman.
Apart from that "Great Commision" you refer to, how does it influence You in the actual conduct of Your life, compared with a person who does not hold to that Commision?
(I had to edit that "not" into the sentence, omitted previously.)
Excellent question! I strive hard to be the person God has designed me to be. To understand my gifts and weaknesses. I fail often mind you, but I strive to make sure to be a person who "acts" like Jesus, in high hopes to "reflect" Jesus to those around me. I do not preach to people, I'm not nearly eloquent enough for that. But I am a helper. Anytime, anywhere, anyone; I strive to be that person who helps. From putting buggies away left in the parking lot, too anonymously paying for someones childs field trip whom I know can not afford to do it, to simply smiling at someone or sparing time to talk to someone who is obviously lonley...I strive hard to be that person by the grace of God. If anyone wants to talk about the Lord with me I am happy to do that, but my main hope is to bless others anyway I can in hopes that they may see Christ through me
Now I am certain the next comment to me will be there are plenty of people who do these things who are not believers, and that is very true...but we have different motivations I guess, but I am thrilled that anyone would want to perform random acts of kindness for any reason...Good acts aren't what gets us too heaven but sharing the person or personality of Christ is IMHO an important part of the Christian walk.
Yes, and there are genocides associated with Missionaries who have brought the gospel to all corners of the Earth, but I understand you ignore stuff like that.
It's funny, for someone who says he understands so much, you appear to be completely void of actual knowledge.
She is trading brainwashing for food. Nothing new here - churches running soup kitchens, homeless shelters and the likes have done that for centuries. It's a good trade for those that are starving as they keep body in one piece.
Well, I said in my original post that I wouldn't get into a religious debate, because they usually turn ugly, and this one did.
The believers trying to convert the non-believers. The non-believers baiting the believers. throw in some nasty insults, and you have a religious debate.
No thanks you all - I'm otta here.
If you can't tell I am a Christian without my professing so then I believe that to be a real problem. I believe many have migrated away from Christianity due to the wide spread hypocrisy of what I have termed "pharisses." Many religious people who live by a set of rules and works but have not love. I think many are stuck in the strangle hold of living with one foot in Heaven and one in the world, which of course never works. My hope is that for everyone I meet to know I am a Christian without ever having to say so...
Wow Jonny. Congrats on a very revealing, (disturbing, but revealing), thread. I've not learned a thing about self proclaimed Christians, but have learned a great deal about some of the resident Atheists. Interesting stuff. Thank you for the thread.
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