I keep hearing that the lack of religion is what is wrong with this country. Tell me what good has come from the christian religion here in America. What advancement in our society is a direct benefit of christianity?
it is difficult to measure the effect of religion in the advancement of society because the index of religiosity -- how you measure it is difficult to measure.
I have to wonder about that. If Christianity is the basis for our countries founding and existence, it shouldn't be difficult to point out examples of this in todays society. If we are in fact a Christian nation someone should be able to point out the numerous benefits to the country from christianity.
For example our form of represntative government as designed has many benefits for society. Unfortunately our elected officials have convinced the American Idol and the Biggest Loser (pun intended) set that America is a Democracy. Our present day political system is a joke that nobody seems to get, but they keep right on laughing anyway. I guess they figure someone must know what they're laughing at. Fitting in and looking intelligent have replaced actual intelligence and common sense in America.
this thread seems to be based on a "justify your existence" type of ideology. However it is not the purpose of Christianity to advance socioty, or make money, or to build and increrase production. Religion has only one reason for it's existence, and that is to provide a path for the return of the souls of mankind to their creator by preparing them to receive immortality.
Believe what you will. Problem is, if Christianity can't make itself relevant to human needs and desires on some level, it won't survive.
Consider some of the developments in Christianity in recent times:
1. The Catholic Church originally permitted church services in Latin only; starting in the 1960s (if my dates are right) it allowed services to be done in the vernacular.
2. Many Protestant preachers and ministers have become EXTREMELY popular in recent years by emphasizing the "prosperity gospel" and focusing on essentially giving their followers tools and techniques to build wealth (Biblically inspired, of course).
3. Others, in an effort to recruit more young people (who tend to be more liberal, more skeptical and more humanistic), have softened their stances on abortion and homosexual marriage and have focused more on themes that appeal to the youth.
4. Centuries ago, the latest technology would have been considered the work of the devil. Not anymore! Christians gladly make use of TV, radio, the internet and other modern technology.
And so on. You see that Christianity is constantly trying to stay relevant to a changing society and changing culture.
Some of the examples you made are based on individual interpertation of the Bible, and the old world rules that people went by are were imposed by something other than the inspiration of God. For example there is nothing in the Bible which states it has to be read in latin. But by some man made tradition people accepted it as gospel. Also in a ever changing world, sometimes there needs to be a certain level of reevaluation. For instance, there was no such thing as crystal meth in the days of Jesus, but we don't have to flip throughthe bible in order to realize that addictive behavior grosely inhibits spiritual growth.
As for the prosperity preachers and people who want to bend the real rules to be politically correct, I think it actually weakens the structure on the whole. And you are right, some religions do feel the need to take a liberal approach in order to make more money, but then again they're not really doing it for the right reasons.
You see them as man-made, but they see them as God-inspired. Who's right? No way to know. That's why there are thousands of sects and communities in Christianity, none of whom can agree on anything beyond the essentials.
In any case, the point is that religious tradition and Christian tradition are constantly being updated, as you agree. It's one thing understand new phenomena (like crystal meth) in the context of established traditions (attachment to the world/ the sin of gluttony, for example), but Christianity has been developing *new* traditions and core beliefs for centuries.
The easiest examples of this are the newest sects and offshoots themselves--Mormonism, Anabaptism, 20th century evangelism... Protestantism itself before them.
We also see new core beliefs developing within sects and communities. The Catholic Church, for example, recently changed its official belief in purgatory. That's pretty big!
Another example: fundamentalist Christianity in the late 19th/ early 20th century was key to the "temperance" movement that culminated in the 18th amendment in the US, banning alcohol. Nowadays, you won't hear a peep out of the fundamentalists or evangelicals about alcohol.
Many conservative Christians also were against women's rights early on, but today, some of the biggest names in the movement are themselves female--wearing skirts and makeup no less (previously reserved only for prostitutes)!
Bottom line, the changes are more significant than I think you realize.
Actually it is fairly obvious to me in regards to the changes made in the various religions concerning their codes of conduct and standards of living. The same thing happens within my own church. As the world changes, so do the rules. It is my belief that the situations which we face in today’s society are unique to us, and dealing with them requires the ongoing guidance of a living prophet. Hence we should always be searching for that divine guidance from God who speaks through divinely appointed servents.
Consider the fact that God’s revelation to Adam did not instruct Noah how to build the Ark. Noah needed his own revelation, and so do we.
Well put! Instead of questioning what religon has done for us ask the question "What have we done for religon?" I think the answer we get from the majority would not be a good answer........
Even better yet. The other day I was talking to a guy who spends his time being completely focused on end of world prophecies. What good does that do for us today? We need to focus on ways to improve ourselves, learn from the mistakes made in the past, plan for the future, and move forward in social development as well as spiritual.
Good point Marie, I honestly believe that religion isn't the problem, it's the followers that wield their religion as a weapon who are at the root of the problems we face.
As to the eventual decline of religion that was mentioned by another, this happens every couple of generations as the old timers who preach a hard line religion based on their narrow perception of the bible die off, they are replaced with younger more progressive people. This applies to all areas of our country.
Look at the Armed Forces and the arguements againt repealing the DADT policy. The last poll I read claimed that the mojority of younger soldiers dont have a problem serving along side openly gay soldiers. The problem is that the hard line oldtimes control the decision making process. The younger generations are much more accepting of differing lifestlyes and eventually they will take control.
"As the world changes, so do the rules."
Ah, interesting you should say this! Traditionally Christians believe that God's word is unchanging, indeed the rock-solid nature of his word provides comfort in a changing world filled with uncertainty.
Hence it was morally acceptable to kill otherwise innocent people for the ancient Hebrews, because they were under specific instructions from God. But killing subsequently became immoral under the new covenant with Jesus. New revelation, new rules.
Since Jesus' message is final and unchanging, there are no "new revelations" to be had. All that is left to do is for the Christian to pray and live a life in accordance with God's demands.
So your position seems to be a very different one from traditional Christianity. Thus you would seem to be the very embodiment of my argument, ironically.
I don't believe that God ever commanded anyone to murder innocent people, and none of this has changed since the words "Thou shalt not kill" were etched into the stone tablet of the ten commandments. So there is not much of a change given from Moses to Jesus, except that he further elaborated on the definition of murder. And so we see even from the days of the ancient Hebrews, that people are taking a commandment from God and sculpting it into either a stringent "no exceptions" precept, or a rule with certain exceptions. I personally believe that it is a case by case basis, only determinable by God as to the judgment of innocence or guilt.
None the less, reverting back to your origional point, the changes made in a true religion established by God should be done by divine inspiration as they always have been. That does not however degrade from the relevence of true religion's standing in socioty, nor should the ability to change and adjust our methods of thought in any way allow the structure to align its self with the so called "worldly needs and desires" of modern living. If it is truely inspired of God then it would not be counter intuitive to the origional precepts which were set in the begining.
Know also that holding to Biblical standards does not repell growth. I can only speak for my own church in the knowledge that it is constantly growing in number every year. And we are pretty conservative when compared to most other denominations of christianity.
I'm hearing from you that you believe the genocides and atrocities committed under Joshua and others were not actually inspired by or commanded by God (as is claimed in the Bible itself), but rather fabricated by the ancient Jews to suit their own prejudices.
Whatever you or any other Christian believes, certainly this is another example that modern culture with modern humanism has caused significant cleavage among the faithful.
In any case, if your church is growing, I would be interested to learn more, but I suspect (especially given what you have said here) that it stems from a notably different take on the gospel, perhaps a different delivery or a different attitude. You mentioned something about a living prophet, for example.
Many Latin Americans, for example, are leaving the Catholic church today and its old rules and boring services for the stimulating, invigorating churches of pentecostalism and evangelism. But yet again, this is a reflection of the modern man/ woman's need for entertainment, something new and different and--dare I say--fun.
The older and stodgier and more rigid the denomination, the less dynamism and growth it has had in modern times. Protestantism has seen more growth than Catholicism, Catholicism has seen more growth than Eastern Orthodoxy. And within Protestantism, the fiery Evangelicalism has seen more growth than the softer Episcopalianism or Lutheranism.
It's not just about exciting services, it's also about being relevant and compelling to potential converts--all of whom live in a modern, secular humanist civilization.
It is interesting to think that some churches feel the need to put a bunch of flare on what they are preaching in order to sustain their numbers. While others are getting their people fired up to wage holy war on the so called misguided ones, the sentiment which I subscribe to would be that of the opposite nature.
The Holy Spirit spoke the words of Christ to the Prophets of old, and not one word of prophecy or comandment was written without the aid of that very influence. Therefore if Scripture was dictated by that Spirit, then so must our comunications with others be if we are to represent him. And how could that spirit be resinent in us if we are to speak of eternal truths through means of debate, reason, or sophestry.
I think it is more important to realize that people won't alyays remember the message as much as they will remember how they were treated, or how the message was delivered. A clear sign to anyone that is investigating a particular religion would be what they felt when they heard the message rather than, does everything square with logic and reasoning.
I'm more willing to listen to somone who delivers the gosple message through plain and simple truth. You shouldn't have to spice it up for everyone in order to teach them a basic principle.
Onus that was not my intent. As stated, I am constantly bombarded with the statement that a reduction in the amount of religious indoctrination we are subjected to has been the driving force behind the problems the country and world are facing. If religion is the only thing that can save the world and has been responsible for everything good we enjoy today, it shouldn't be hard to show some of the actual examples of all this good religion has provided. Come folks, surely there must be at least one example of the good religion has been singularly responsible for.
Well the first thing which comes to mind is charity. I don't think any other group in the world can top the influence that Christianity has when it comes to donating truckloads of relief funds for the oppressed, or victims of natural disasters.
Thank you, this is the first response that attempted to show specific areas of positive improvement by religion. Anyone else have an answer?
I agree that religion does a good job of helping the poor and less fortunate but it often comes at a price. The recipient must profess belief in what the provider of relief wishes, if they want to recieve the aid. For example a large group of christian churches banded togethere to stop aid being sent to Africa due to the nations acceptance of abortion and the use of comdoms. These churches demanded that citizens of another nation change the laws of their country if the needed aid. Now the issue was primarily about the used of birth control in a country that is being ravished by the aids epidemic. This religious group demanded that people in this country not be given access to condoms.
The earthquake in Haitti prompted one church to donate a load of solar powered bibles. They took up the space needed on the transport plane that should have been filled with food and medical supplies. I don't disagree that religion can and does provide help to countless people. More of it needs to be offered with no strings attached. Tell those in Africa that the church is willing to withhold the lifesaving supplies unless the country changes it's laws and think about how charitable the offer sounds to you. I will help you live as long as you accept my beliefs otherwise, I will let you suffer and die. It's not all of them but too many offers of help come at a price designed to force others to change their beliefs.
...it's made folks like Jimmy Swaggert, Oral Roberts etc., etc., oh and the catholic church very very rich.
By the way,if ya study the fiction of the bible, not just listen to the bigoted teachings of yer sunday school teacher, ya might realize that this bungling, psychotic biblical god thing, flies into rages of anger, jealosy and hate and orders the outright 'murder" of tens of thousands of "its" human creations: men, women, children, the unborn, their pets and flocks! Then gives all "virgin" girls (and of course infants) to his "troops" to do with as they pls!
Then to top it off, one day he gets so pissed, he plans the death of ALL creatures and tells a man to build a big boat and gather up a pair of all animals so that when all the others are drowned, and the waters subside, he can turn 'em loose and they can begin again!
Ya'll didn't know this? Where ya'll been!
I'm still trying to figure out how he caught a trynosaurus rex and kept it from eatin' everything on that boat!
Got any ideas?
With all that putrifying water around, lotsa dead stuff in it, did this god thing create flies and mosquitoes just to "bug" us and remind us of his vengeful nature?
Stump, I dunno! The "damned" religious don't pay taxes but they have lotsa control over our politicians, like dubya, and are capable of foolin' lotsa the people lotsa the time! I can't think of a damned way religion is of value in anyway about anything! Can you?
"I'm still trying to figure out how he caught a trynosaurus rex and kept it from eatin' everything on that boat!"
Good one! But they already have an explanation...
No Trex's on the big boat.
All dinosaur bones were planted there by Satan so he can misdirect us away from baby Jesus.
Religion is not from God, it was created by man. It does not matter what faith you follow, whether catholic, Jewish, christian, etc. Unless you put the basic fundamentals to practice, walk the walk instead of talk the talk, that is your answer.
Why throw left overs out, just because you do not want to eat them a second time, when you can give perfectly good food to your neighbor who just lost their job, are having financial troubles, or the homeless person sitting on the corner, which you walk by everyday ignoring.
People can make this world a better place very easily. Imagine what could happen if every human being performed an act of kindness for one day, how much of an impact that would make.
I realise that for the USA it seems that the world only started a couple of hundred years ago.
However, your question could equally have asked what has Religion done for the world in ten thousand years ?
But if you really want to keep it that side of the pond lets hear from the Native Americans and the original peoples of South America what they think Christianity did for them !
If ya really look at that situation you might see that most of the people that came to the Americas in the 17th and 18th century were not religious. They were running away from the religious.
They were however .. most every one ..Europeans.
So .. What conclusions may we derive from that?
I disagree with you on the religious make up of the original settlers. Most were religious and were escaping religious persecution in their homelands. They The Puritans for example were run out of England and first moved to the Netherlands before setting sail for America. They came to America to practice their form of Christianity freely.
There were literally 100's of different sects of Christianity represented in the early days of this country. Bloody battles between sects were not uncommon nor was death for having differing religious beliefs.
I agree with you about the general knowledge most Americans have about world knowledge. The problem is compounded by the fact that most have no clue what the real history of this country is. Our elected officials in their infinate wisdom have decided that Americans can't handle the truth anymore. They have set out to rewrite the history of our country that is taught to our young people, to suit their beliefs. Too many of our elected officials are hell bent on destroying our educational system and the futures of our children to satisfy their beliefs. They fight the spread of actual knowledge at every turn.
Good point about the time span. I am trying to make it easier for most Americans to respond to this question, too many can't even spell world history let alone discuss it.
I have heard that removing prayer from school was the downfall of our country. What positive change did forcing prayer in school have on our country? What specific triumphs, can you show to a direct result of religion?
What advancement for society can be directly related to religion in this country?
These questions are for anyone to answer.
It often amazes me to hear so many Americans berate Hitler and blindly ignore America's attempt at genocide. Yes sir there were many a prayer offered up to god asking for the strength to kill a few more of them heathen indians.
Stumpy. The definition of religion is this: A belief, set of beliefs, or belief system, by which you live your daily life. Everybody has a religion. You just mean the big 3. Or maybe just christians.
Dude, simply because there are things that I believe and this belief can be labelled as part of my belief system in no way proves that I have a religion. What's the old saying, if atheism is a religion, then off is a tv channel. I think this comes down to the fact that most religious people feel their beliefs are the most important part of their being. Since they are unable to, in their mind function with out this belief system, they assume that all people in the world are subject to the same limitations. This possibly comes from the fear so many people have of those who differ.
Christians of all generations have had someone to hate and persecute to their hearts content. Native American indian, Original Spanish settlers of America, Catholics, Irish, Germans, Hippies, Blacks, Chinese, Japanese, and now it's the gays. I am beginning to think that if the church ever runs out of people to hate it will collapse.
I can offer plenty of examples of atrocities proudly and happily carried out by christians in America. Surely someone out there can show me a few examples of real benefits to society from religion in the last 400 years of American history.
Typically Christians like to cite the Christian influence in the abolitionist movement in the 19th century. And some Christian leaders were speaking out against slavery and the genocide of Native Americans centuries earlier.
Also, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s was led by Martin Luther King and other Christian leaders, and the movement was laced with Christian themes and motifs. The vast majority of the participants in the civil rights movement were devout Christians, and often organized in churches.
Various charity organizations have their roots in Christianity. Many of the universities of the US also were founded under the auspices of Christianity and ministry.
None of this excuses the horrors that Christianity has produced, in the US or elsewhere. But we must give credit where credit is due.
Good and bad, good and bad. Sounds like people in general. Good and bad. What if Christianity was built upon a lie, but not the lie you think?
(Actually, I think I'm the only one listening cuz it looks like everyone else went home for the night)
Still there? Anyways, how about this scenario? Judas didn't betray Jesus. He did what he was told to do by Jesus himself. Peter lied, the lie perpetrated to this day. Peter understood nothing. It's in the Gospels. Judas and Jesus and James were all betrayed by Peter. Paul, a late comer was complicit to Peter's highjacking of the teaching. This is why what Jesus said, is different from where the Church(es) have ended up. They don't practice what Jesus taught. They left it alone, because they thought no one else would understand it either.
It is not only Christianity that was built upon a lie, the whole tri-religious ideal is based upon the single lie that there was only One God.
But there again repeat a lie often enough, with the threat of death and the power to complete that threat over a few hundred centuries it is not hard to work out why we are where we are.
Plus I'm not convinced I can accept the following quote from someone dressed in full military dress and holding a gun as serious....
"I don't believe that God ever commanded anyone to murder innocent people, and none of this has changed since the words "Thou shalt not kill" were etched into the stone tablet of the ten commandments."
On the surface this seems to be a valid point until you consider who they were fighting against, other christians.
In regards to the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement ect., religion did have some influence in these struggles. Unfortunately it was other christians in this country that they were fighting. How many white christian churches fought the civil rights movement from their pulpits? How many Christian churches fought the abolitionist movement? Now these same churches are fighting the homosexual community and will until they are forced to stop. This stands in direct opposition to every attempt at good they make.
You all seem to be focussing on earthly, material, political events, when in reality we need to consider the spiritual input, which is considerable.
Believers battle in the spiritual arena, not with flesh and blood, and all those who kill in the flesh cannot claim Christ as their Master, and no matter how much you want to tarnish Christianity with claims of these vile events, in fact one attacks Churchianity, not Christianity.
In the spiritual arena, believers stand against the excesses of Satan in our societies, where believers stop praying and battling against dark forces, then the society slowly becomes mired in the ways of the world, and things go from bad to worse.
You are witnessing this now.
When God was in authority in the world (and USA) things were kept under control in the spiritual world, and folk benefited, since 'we' banned His authority, things go downhill....
I don't know how well the ban worked aqua, but we have around 5 billion religious people in the world. America has no apparent lack of the faithful. I don't know of a western civilization with more religion in it's populace.
No American President today would be game enough to admit to not being a believer in a select few of those religions to have any hope of being elected to office.
I doubt a non believer would make it above local council.
Now that face made my whole day!
Hi Hope u r Well my friend
Hi Kimberly! Nice to see you too! I can't shake a virus I have had for over a month, cos the twins and Angus keep bringing home kid super-viruses from kinder and school. Other than that I am a happy and well unit.
I hope I find you robust and in rude health?
Hi Earnest, good to see you back....
By ban I mean the push for 'separation of church and state' which has been corrupted to effectively 'ban' things like prayer in schools, any mention of the ten commandments in courthouses, that sort of thing... and as for the leadership, no matter what they profess, I doubt it would be possible for any true believer in Christ to serve in any public office IF they tried to actually live their faith in their decisions.
Aguasilver, as I indicated to Onusonus above, the problem for your side is that humans are fundamentally earthly creatures. Even if one accepts the belief that we have souls and spiritual needs, nevertheless the vast majority of our existence is worldly in nature--from food to finances. So if Christianity or any religion cannot change and update itself to changing human worldly needs and desires, it will eventually wither away.
You refer to some as practicing "Churchianity, not Christianity." Question: how does one know which is which?
When believers have these fantasies, do they imagine in full technicolor or is it in black and white?
"In God we trust,the rest pay cash"in the monetary standard of the U.S. To paraphrase Kennedy, "Ask not what religion has done to you, but ask what you have done to religion,AMERICA
Sorry to hear about the flue bug.
Children ar great even when they bring bugs.
They are worth it.
Remember this George Bush Senior quote?
" "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
This is the level of "lack of intelligence" American voters vote at.
I said it before, I'm gonna reiterate; "American voters are scary!"
In general; people are scary!
Every one thinks that we are OK.
Didn't read the book "I'm OK, Your OK"
The title scared me off.
Everybody thinks that they are doing the best that they can at what ever they are doing. .. and they probably are! That is what makes THEM scary.
'I'm OK Your OK" is a brilliant children's version of transactional analysis. I let all our children read it as soon as they could read. Simple, accurate way to communicate.
When i made that statement as posted above I think my mind was in a different place than you might know.
I think that I had just bounced off of a thread about criminals and such. Was thinking how they probably think that they are OK when most other people wouldn't think so. That is why they are in Jail.
When I saw that Bush quote originally I near crapped myself!
I thought "how can such a low-brow be running America?"
Religion has done one thing for America, with statements about it from the likes of Palin and Bush...... made America a laughing stock to the rest of the world.
I don't see how one could see that in a positive light.
Marijuanna has more benefits than any religion. Politicians who believe life started in a lush garden that included a talking snake, serpent, excuse me, are against common sense issued like stem cell reaserch, gays in the military, legalizing pot, abortion uner any curcumstance (are these pro lifers going to adopt these children?) and the list goes on.
I would like to make it compulsory for all world leaders and religious fundamentalists to toke up before meetings. War would stop overnight! Not much else would get done for a while either maybe, but that too would pass.
Cool idea, I love it, for the same reasons I think if this was given in prisons no-one could be bothered to fight or cause riots. Fabulous
Now there is a great idea Misty! No more guard bashing, no more homophobic attacks, no more buddy bashing, 3 meals a day.
Sounds great. I may commit a little crime every now and then to gain access!
If it had been a decent garden it would have had the good weed in it and none of the smiting would have taken place I reckon!
Cooooooool dude, God gave us weed for a reason, after all, it is a plant, not a man made chemical drug. If smoked in its natural and basic form it is fine, and a great example of 'God's Gift'.
Well I give it a good nudge sometimes. I use it for CNS pain.
Very effective actually and much better than morphone hydrochloric or any of the other pain killers I have tried.
I have a bit of a giggle at some who use marijuana for pain relief though.
You see it makes injuries and most pain a fair bit worse!
It works best on pain that is generated in the CNS such as the spinal column in my case.
There I go with the teaching thing again!
Can't help myself!
Well I used to find it very helpful for women's period pains some years back, which are not CNS pain of course. Not sure why, perhaps because most period pains are 'cramp' based, and marijuana relaxes, so the cramps stop. Of course we all know MS sufferers seem to benefit hugely from using it, either in its natural or tablet form.
PS. Looking forward to that 'joint jail meeting', should go off with a 'bong' or should I say 'bang'..... actually the first option sounds better
Spot on about the cramping, and it is used by a few female friends for the same reason. Funny how periods knock the crap out of some, yet others escape the dreaded cramp pain. It works well to relax things.
If a muscle locks up take one joint and call yourself in the morning!
As MS affects the CNS I can see why it would work well.
We'll need a good jail song to bong along to.
Off to bed in a minute, but you left me smiling as always. Looking forward to being a fellow jailbird and bonging along!
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