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Old 12-22-2013, 10:08 AM
 
Location: USA
1,590 posts, read 1,649,216 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Venerable Bede View Post
- even within a single sub-forum, virtually every thread, whether it be about the nature of the Trinity or someone's favorite recipe for carrot cake, turns into a bloodbath of flaming, accusations and hurt feelings.

All of which raises a larger issue that always troubles me: If (as evangelicals at least believe) becoming a Christian opens the door to a transformation of one's life through the working of the Holy Spirit, why don't we see more (any?) evidence of this? Why are there 30,000+ Christian denominations, virtually every one of which detests some of the others? "If Jesus' message were put into practice, there would be such a difference. The problem is that the overwhelming majority of what passes for Christianity is a near-complete perversion of Jesus' message."
If you really want to know the answer, here it is:

There are many natural processes which people ascribe to God or work of God. And then, when the end result is not what was expected (not too godly) people are surprised. If this was a work of God, how could this be?

Well, it's because it wasn't the work of God in the first place.

People think that if someone's life was transformed (at least in the beginning) that means that God did it. But observe life in general. Observe other non religious causes and beliefs, and you will notice that the same kind of transformation takes place. So it doesn't have to be a religious idea or a setting to transform a person.

And it's because it's not God that does it. The belief has a power to take a hold in the person's head, to reprogram the person's thinking, and different actions will follow. This is the power of belief. Not God.

So take any cause, if a person doesn't believe strongly enough, his life is not even affected. He is like a "Sunday christian" figuratively speaking.
But if a person strongly believes (in any cause), his life changes.

Transformation is a natural process. And it happens only when someone believes something in a very powerful way.

But, old programming is still there too. So that's why some revert back to their old ways. I guess the new programming just wasn't strong enough to completely rewrite the person's programming. PLUS, whatever is natural to a person, that is stronger within a person. So sometimes it overcomes the new programming if the new programming is too foreign to the natural state of this person.


People are conditioned to form beliefs and to fight for them until death. This has nothing to do with God, religion or otherwise. If you observe life overall, you'll see that the cause doesn't matter: people act the same way, defending it, dying for it, fighting with each other on its behalf.

It's like people say: as a group, we will make this idea our king and then we will obey its rules. So that's what happens to groups of people in any club or cause related gathering. They put the idea in control and then judge each other and beat each other up as though they are servants of this King, this idea. (Christians say they are servants of God when they beat people up. Well, they are servants of their king, which is the idea to which they subscribe).



There are different brands of Christianity, there are different variations of it. And the reason is this: people got together, put together some of their opinions and beliefs, and formed some kind of a overall belief out of them, and named it King over themselves. (figuratively speaking of course) So this overall belief will have all the characteristics of the sub beliefs of this group. This belief will start to control these people.

This has nothing to do with God. It has only to do with what people happened to believe (related to any idea, be it the idea of God or the idea of being good to "mother nature" or the idea of being a communist)

Our beliefs are our God... That's why different groups have a different kind of a god... based on how they behave and what they believe. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. You will see the followers doing stuff and you will know what kind of a "god" idea they have.

Some subscribe to "fire breathing" religious ideas and they go around and judge and criticize everyone. And it's because their "god" (their belief system) is promoting this.

Some believe in love and mercy and go around and show love and kindness to everyone. That's because they ascribe to the belief system which believes in doing this. This is their "god".

If there is a GOD, overall, the real thing, then he is OVER ALL of these sub groups, and it's not HIM that these groups follow.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:11 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,564 posts, read 3,137,640 times
Reputation: 3922
Quote:
Originally Posted by manderly6 View Post
Makes sense. Obviously jesus was totally against facial hair.
When God isn't watching porn (i.e. humanity's sexual practices), he's running around making sure people are shaved properly.

What's amazing is people actually worship a being like that.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:14 AM
 
34,606 posts, read 8,914,192 times
Reputation: 4800
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Venerable Bede View Post
I have just "retired" from participation on the massive "Christian Forums" site after three disappointing years. I am wondering if anyone else shares my view that this site is just about the WORST advertisement for Christianity since the Inquisition?

..., If I were an atheist -- which I'm not, I'm actually a Christian -- I would steer clear of the silliness spouted by the New Atheists ...."
Loved your post. Well, I would! I forgive your comment about 'New Atheist' silliness. You may yet come to consider 'us' more sympathetically.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,610 posts, read 3,963,999 times
Reputation: 1389
Quote:
Originally Posted by daylux View Post
Throughout my relationship with God, he never tells me I will go to hell if I don't do something he wants, and when I was first saved, it wasn't through threat of hell.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
And yet you still use the term "saved". From what?

Mordant, that is a great question. I hope Daylux answers it clearly.

OK, I will repeat it. I HOPE DAYLUX ANSWERS YOUR QUESTION!!!!!
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:30 AM
 
174 posts, read 247,319 times
Reputation: 387
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Loved your post. Well, I would! I forgive your comment about 'New Atheist' silliness. You may yet come to consider 'us' more sympathetically.
My point being only that I think the New Atheists spend too much time attacking easy targets, straw men, cartoon caricatures and whatnot, when in fact there are more serious questions that could be posed to serious Christian apologists and for which they might not be able to give their typical facile answers. I have read a fair amount of New Atheist material, and it strikes me as being as superficial and dogmatic as the Christian fundamentalist material. I have no problem with an atheist who has seriously and thoughtfully considered the issues and evidence and has come down on the side of atheism, but "Christians" and "atheists" alike seldom seem to have seriously and thoughtfully considered the issues and evidence.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
8,602 posts, read 5,123,928 times
Reputation: 3917
Default The importance of reading other opinions

OP, I read the Christian forums as a Christian coming originally from a Baptist fundamentalist background and now quite liberal about my views of the scripture and the truth that I seek.

I, too, sometimes find I'm being "blasted" by some for not clinging to the "original" faith--whatever that is. But I've decided to follow Jesus' command to "seek and ye shall find."

Here's the interesting things I've discovered on these threads.

1. I'm more Catholic than I thought. My own faith has come to see faith and works as equally important. But perhaps it has developed further than that---I see faith and works as indistinguishable from one another. It's opened my heart to more acceptance.

2. Mormons were always a cult to me until I began to read some of Katzpur's comments about the Mormon church not teaching the infallibility of the scriptures nor their own leaders, but encouraging their members to read and learn for themselves. In addition, I've become acquainted with a couple of Mormons that my wife works with who display all the attributes that I believe a Christian should have. It's opened my heart to more acceptance.

3. Several regular posters are Universalists and believe God's saving work is done and we are simply here to find out how to live closer to the life God wants for us. While I still struggle with both my own background and scriptural understanding of this point of view, it is consistent with the God that I try to worship. I prefer to believe in a God of mercy as opposed to a God of judgment--because mercy is what I need. It also meets with my spiritual stance against passing judgment on other people when I stand on common ground with all sinners in need of God. Their views have opened my heart to more acceptance.

4. There are a number of fundamentalists who post regularly. I used to be one. I understand where they are coming from, and I consider it a spiritual calling to challenge them to grow out of their shell and into the fulness of God. Their weakness is in needing more certainty in their lives (often it boils down to clinging to scripture in a sometimes unhealthy way)--they haven't discovered that faith as displayed in the works of God is fulfillment in itself, nor that certainty about Heaven is less important than certainty about the actions one is taking toward others. But they are as important to God as all the rest of us that come short of His glory.

Finally, I am still a sinner. I will always be a sinner standing in need of a Savior. My best day doesn't come close to grasping just how mighty and in the Beyond that God is for us, regardless of the Bible, regardless of my own personal faith experiences, regardless of the doctrines of churches and religious heritage. I still need to seek to live closer to Him. Sometimes I think I am, more often I know I am not. Read point three above once more. I need grace and mercy beyond what narrow-minded views allow. I don't think since I need it, I will necessarily get it--but I want to live my life in a way that when I come to the end of my ways, I will not have to admit to God, "I did it my way."

Blessings.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:36 AM
 
2,250 posts, read 1,276,489 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
And yet you still use the term "saved". From what? From hell, of course, ultimately. At the very least, you are saved from the consequences of sin, even if only natural consequences in this life. It's still a reward and punishment system and therefore inherently based on judgment, blaming and shaming.

I am mature enough not to care anymore, but when visiting my fundamentalists relatives last week I was judged for having facial hair, much less not being officially married, not attending church, etc. Being divorced and probably the death of my 2nd wife were probably seen as my fault somehow or at least reflections of god's displeasure with my conduct. On and on it goes. And the Bible is basically silent on most of those things. That I am a good and decent human being who loves his children and his S.O., treats his employees well, pays his taxes and picks up his litter apparently doesn't matter because I don't shave a certain way.

It reminds me a bit of Pope Frances saying "who am I to judge" gays. But he still leaves the judging to god in the full belief that god WILL in fact punish them for what his church till teaches is wrongdoing. Similarly, when we don't personally judge whether someone is hell-bound, yet still believe there is a hell or at least some form of punishment which we are simply leaving entirely to god, are we any less complicit for all that? If we aren't overtly expressing disdain for unbelievers and yet are okay with a god who is going to consign them nevertheless to eternal perdition, does that really make us inclusive and welcoming, or is it just cover for darker, deep-seated beliefs and judgments?
If what the Bible says is true, then the answer to your question is yes. It seems that these kinds of people are entirely dependent on somebody telling them what is right and what is wrong. Or they accept that in order to have a "relationship" with God, they must agree with the Boss in order to receive the benefits.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
37,055 posts, read 17,464,329 times
Reputation: 16833
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Venerable Bede View Post
but "Christians" and "atheists" alike seldom seem to have seriously and thoughtfully considered the issues and evidence.
I do not see that the above applies to the majority of atheists in this forum, it seems chockablock with numerous thoughtful, knowledgeable, intelligent people who express themselves well. The type of atheist you characterize above is actually the sort who would not be interested in these discussions.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:41 AM
 
34,606 posts, read 8,914,192 times
Reputation: 4800
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Venerable Bede View Post
My point being only that I think the New Atheists spend too much time attacking easy targets, straw men, cartoon caricatures and whatnot, when in fact there are more serious questions that could be posed to serious Christian apologists and for which they might not be able to give their typical facile answers. I have read a fair amount of New Atheist material, and it strikes me as being as superficial and dogmatic as the Christian fundamentalist material. I have no problem with an atheist who has seriously and thoughtfully considered the issues and evidence and has come down on the side of atheism, but "Christians" and "atheists" alike seldom seem to have seriously and thoughtfully considered the issues and evidence.
I know just what you mean, Bede, but I discovered early on that talking sense to these people is..well, the best simile is trying to play chess with a pigeon.

I do (militant aka 'New' atheist though I be) still try to talk serious stuff in the hope that someone is giving it consideration. But the fact is that some hard hitting slogan that slips under the mind before the shutters have time to slam down makes more impression than a page of scholarly argument, and some raucous mockery does more to dent the smug self - belief of the devoted Christian (of whatever denomination, including one specially made up to suit the wearer like a non - Jewish bespoke suit) than eighty well - reasoned posts.
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Old 12-22-2013, 10:46 AM
 
2,250 posts, read 1,276,489 times
Reputation: 2392
Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
I know just what you mean, Bede, but I discovered early on that talking sense to these people is..well, the best simile is trying to play chess with a pigeon.

I do (militant aka 'New' atheist though I be) still try to talk serious stuff in the hope that someone is giving it consideration. But the fact is that some hard hitting slogan that slips under the mind before the shutters have time to slam down makes more impression than a page of scholarly argument, and some raucous mockery does more to dent the smug self - belief of the devoted Christian (of whatever denomination, including one specially made up to suit the wearer like a non - Jewish bespoke suit) than eighty well - reasoned posts.
I give your posts consideration. The thing about these eighty well-reasoned posts, is that they were never truly wanted by the one who they were meant for.
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