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Old 12-07-2011, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,108 posts, read 1,346,313 times
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Default Religious Beliefs that are Obstacles to Treating People Well

Regardless of what you believe, I think the most important thing is that you treat people well. Unfortunately, there are some religious beliefs that serve as obstacles to treating people well. They lead people to condemn, shun, persecute, hate, or distance themselves from others. They may lead others to rejoice in the misfortune of others seeing it as a sign of God's displeasure with them. Some religious beliefs lead people to take actions that destroy their families.

What are some examples of religious beliefs that are obstacles to treating people well? And what can be done about it?



I know that I am going to get some backlash from some the the religious for saying this, but I think all the religious beliefs that lead to the mistreatment of others really boils down to this fundamental belief: that obedience to God outranks kindness to others. Now, for many there is no contradiction here because they believe in a god that wants us to treat others well, but for those who do mistreat others in the name of religion, it is because they are putting god first and their belief about god is that he condones or encourages the mistreatment of those who displease him.

That belief that obedience to God outranks kindness to others can be stated many ways. "The first commandment is to love God, and the second is like unto it, love your neighbor as yourself". But, they say the second commandment is second for a reason, if ever the two commandments are in conflict, one should serve God before providing service to other people. Again, that doesn't lead to the mistreatment of others unless you also believe in a god that condones the mistreatment of others.

Personally, I wish that if a person's belief about God is leading them to treat a person with unkindness, yet their heart is beckoning them to be kind, I wish that they would always choose the path of kindness. For after all, they may one day find out that they were wrong about god, and there will be so much less regret about the life they led with their false beliefs if they know that at least they treated people with kindness. If there is a god that condemns you for being kind to others instead of following him, I don't think he is worth worshipping.

I'll leave you with a quote from the Dali Lama, "My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:00 AM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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Ideally kindness to others is a part of obedience to God. Thinking something is a sin does not have to translate to mistreatment of sinners.

Yesterday was the feast day of St. Nicolas. In one story he gives money to three girls so they don't fall into lives of prostitution. Some therefore see St. Nicolas as a patron saint of prostitutes, or probably more accurately women who wish to get out prostitution.

Sometimes I think there should be a patron saint for homosexuals. In any event just because we deem certain things grave sins does not necessarily mean we are saying "go treat them like dirt." Ideally Christians/Catholics are to treat "the least of people" with compassion.

Now if one means we should not judge any actions people commit, or worse only judge actions by a secular standard, than obviously I wouldn't agree to that. But maybe this year I'll send a, non-religious don't worry, card or something to one of the atheists I've liked over the years.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,108 posts, read 1,346,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
Ideally kindness to others is a part of obedience to God. Thinking something is a sin does not have to translate to mistreatment of sinners.

Yesterday was the feast day of St. Nicolas. In one story he gives money to three girls so they don't fall into lives of prostitution. Some therefore see St. Nicolas as a patron saint of prostitutes, or probably more accurately women who wish to get out prostitution.

Sometimes I think there should be a patron saint for homosexuals. In any event just because we deem certain things grave sins does not necessarily mean we are saying "go treat them like dirt." Ideally Christians/Catholics are to treat "the least of people" with compassion.

Now if one means we should not judge any actions people commit, or worse only judge actions by a secular standard, than obviously I wouldn't agree to that. But maybe this year I'll send a, non-religious don't worry, card or something to one of the atheists I've liked over the years.
In my OP, I purposefully acknowledged people like you when I said, "Now, for many there is no contradiction here because they believe in a god that wants us to treat others well".

So, my OP, isn't really about you and your brand of Christianity. I am talking about those who have religious beliefs that led them to treat others unkindly (i.e., condemn, shun, persecute, hate, or distance themselves from others; rejoice in the misfortune of others seeing it as a sign of God's displeasure; taking actions that destroy families by disowning "sinful" children or divorcing spouses because they no longer believe in their religion).

Yesterday, I started another thread specifically about shunning others out of religious convictions. These things do happen. I am talking about treating people poorly, and I am not confusing that with believing certain behaviors are a sin. One can think working on the Sabbath is a sin and still treat people well. Or, one can think working on the Sabbath is a sin and treat those that do work on Sunday poorly. I haven't necessarily seen that; I use it as an example, since discussing other "sins" can become so emotional.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
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How far back do you want to go, the OT is full of oppression of people that don't believe in the God of Abraham. Then you have the "Inquisitions" which put to death people for believing different, the whole history of mankind is full of this nonsense.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:04 AM
 
4,753 posts, read 3,867,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas R. View Post
Ideally kindness to others is a part of obedience to God. Thinking something is a sin does not have to translate to mistreatment of sinners.

Yesterday was the feast day of St. Nicolas. In one story he gives money to three girls so they don't fall into lives of prostitution. Some therefore see St. Nicolas as a patron saint of prostitutes, or probably more accurately women who wish to get out prostitution.

Sometimes I think there should be a patron saint for homosexuals. In any event just because we deem certain things grave sins does not necessarily mean we are saying "go treat them like dirt." Ideally Christians/Catholics are to treat "the least of people" with compassion.

Now if one means we should not judge any actions people commit, or worse only judge actions by a secular standard, than obviously I wouldn't agree to that. But maybe this year I'll send a, non-religious don't worry, card or something to one of the atheists I've liked over the years.


And how, pray tell, would this "patron saint of homosexuals" help gay people? Surely you're not suggesting that he "fix" them and make them heterosexual? That's awfully close to "praying away the gay", IMO.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terryj View Post
How far back do you want to go, the OT is full of oppression of people that don't believe in the God of Abraham. Then you have the "Inquisitions" which put to death people for believing different, the whole history of mankind is full of this nonsense.
I should have clarified. I mean current religious beliefs that are leading people to treat others unkindly.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
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You asked what can be done about it, these are moral issues and you can not legislate morality. As long as you have two people left on this planet that have different ideologies, your going to have conflict.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:07 AM
 
949 posts, read 407,198 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hueffenhardt View Post
That belief that obedience to God outranks kindness to others can be stated many ways. "The first commandment is to love God, and the second is like unto it, love your neighbor as yourself". But, they say the second commandment is second for a reason, if ever the two commandments are in conflict, one should serve God before providing service to other people. Again, that doesn't lead to the mistreatment of others unless you also believe in a god that condones the mistreatment of others.
Those 2 statements are a summary of the Law--which Christ fulfilled, and we no longer live under. (Rom 10:4)

The last command he gave was to go and make disciples of all nations. Treating people compassionately is a huge part of that. That's why Christians have built hospitals around the world, provide clean drinking water, feed people, etc. Sure, there are bad things that people have done in the name of Christianity, but by and large, I think we're better off because of people that have served in the name of Christ.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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Personally, I don't have any religious beliefs, but some of the kindest human beings I've ever known are deeply religious and affiliated with "major" religions. On the hand, some of the cruelest human beings I've ever known are deeply religious and affiliated with "major" religions!

Individuals inclined towards cruel behavior will always find justification for that behavior. A kind and compassionate human being will seek out the tenets of their faith which reflect their respect for humanity.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
2,108 posts, read 1,346,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terryj View Post
You asked what can be done about it, these are moral issues and you can not legislate morality. As long as you have two people left on this planet that have different ideologies, your going to have conflict.
There are more ways to do something about it than through laws, which I would agree are not the right solution.

People have been known to be persuaded to adjust or change their beliefs or behaviors by the words and actions of others. Opinions about gays have changed drasticly, even in the last fifteen years. Even many Christians are turning away from the strong anti-gay teachings in their churches. I acknowledge that there is still a lot of homophobia out there, but you have to admit that there has been a lot of movement by a lot of people towards acceptance.

Think how racist beliefs have changed over the last 50 years: from Jim Crow and segregation to electing a black president.

People can change through persuasion. I think many of the religious people who do treat others unkindly due to their religious beliefs can move in the direction of those religious people who do not treat others unkindly due to their religious beliefs. All it would take is from them to move to a kinder form of their same religion. The Catholics that shun or disown their child for being gay or leaving the Catholic faith could become a little more like the Catholic poster Thomas R. The Muslims that are tempted to kill their daughters for shaming the family for having pre-marital sex could become a little more like the Muslim poster Woodrow L.I.

It can be done and there is something we can do about it.
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