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  • Choices

    Last night I was watching the special on Showtime about the Westboro Baptist Church and reading through some emails. Now, normally I just delete the religious ones my friends send without responding, but I was probably in a confrontational mood due to the program I was watching.

    One of the emails bothered me enough that I had to respond. My friend responded in, what is to me, typical christian fashion. She couldn't understand how I could see this email as anything less than patriotic. I've quoted the email below. The fact that the email is a gross exageration doesn't concern me (6), I know it is a sentiment shared by many Christians, at least the ones I know.

    To my friend, Chistianity means "peace" and Muslim means "war". To her, this is a Christian nation at war with the Muslims. To me, that is a very ignorant viewpoint but one I think a lot of people share.

    She got so mad just about the fact that I disagreed with her that I never even got to make any valid points. I never got to ask her if she knew what religion Hitler was.(1) Or if she knew what the Spanish Inquisition was all about. Salem witch trials?(2)

    I didn't get that chance to ask her if she had read the parts of her bible that commanded HER to kill anyone who works on the Sabbath(3) or curses their parents(4),

    To her, this country was built by Christians and that gives them absolute moral authority. Of course it's lost upon her that those Christians were stealing Muslims from Africa and then forcing them to convert to Christianity. Sanctioned by their god, of course.(5)

    I just don't get this mentallity at all. Anyone here care to defend her side and help me understand?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1) Yes, I know the argument that Hitler rejected Christianity, so I guess it's just a coincidence that he was raised Roman-Catholic and shared their hatred for Jews.

    2) Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live -- Exodus 22:18

    3) For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the LORD; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. -- Exodus 31:15

    4) For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death -- Leviticus 20:9

    5) Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids -- Levticus 25:44

    6) The letter was actually written by a prision priest, however, the conversation within has been determined to be completely exagerated. For instance, it was not a Muslim Imam, it was merely a Muslim inmate. Snope Article


    Allah or Jesus?

    Last month I attended my annual training session that's required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers who represented the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths who explained their belief systems. I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say.

    The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam complete with a video. After the presentations time was provided for questions and answers. When it was my turn I directed my question to the Imam and asked: "Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that all of the Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that's the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?"

    There was no disagreement with my statements and without hesitation he replied, "Non-believers!"

    I responded, "So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to heaven. Is that correct?"

    The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, "Yes."

    I then said, "Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Pat Robertson or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to heaven."

    The Imam was speechless.

    I continued, "I also have problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a question . . would you rather have your Allah who tell[s] you to kill me in order to go to heaven or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to heaven and wants you to be with me?"

    You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame.

    Chuck Colson once told me something that has sustained me these 20 years of prison ministry. He said to me, "Rick, remember that the truth will prevail."

    And it will!

  • #2
    Re: Choices

    What a fantastically ignorant email forward.

    Hold on, that was kind of redundant.
    ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
    No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

    <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

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    • #3
      Re: Choices

      Theres just no arguing with the faithful but if you had to you might start by asking her if her attitudes exhibit the ideal of love and forgiveness so elemental in the Christian faith. My advice-- Take the energy you were about to expend on arguing with her and apply it towards the application of universal love and acceptance....now that is a truth that will prevail.

      Not all churches are created equal. I belong to the Unitarian Universalist Church here in Quincy MA. Each Unitarian Church is free to worship how they see fit as are all Unitarians themselves are. We enforce no creed or dogma as we believe questions of faith are best left to the individual to decide upon. We have members of our church from all kinds of faith backrounds (and I mean ALL kinds !) and also welcome with open arms those who call them selves agnostics (me) and atheists. Our covenent reads:

      As a free fellowship of this historic church, We unite to lift our hearts and open our minds to a larger reality; To accept, support and encourage one another; To seek the wisdom in all religions; To cherish and sustain the web of life; And to strive for justice, compassion and peace.

      Next time...ask her what she thinks of those ideals--no never mind...you know what she'll say.

      I have a Christian Evangalist friend with whom I engage in frequent discussions about theology. He's forever deriding how the UU faith is more like a club than a religion and saying we aren't "religous" enough. Now - UU's have a long and colorful history of social activism and he knows that and so he qualifies his comments over and over again with the observation that "UU's often act more like Christians than Christians"...

      Good luck with it and remember to keep your own light shining bright regardless of ignorant assumptions and offensive beliefs. You'll do just fine if you do.
      sigpic
      |TG-1st|Grunt
      ARMA Admin (retired)
      Pathfinder-Spartan 5

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      • #4
        Re: Choices

        I think I've seen that email before, maybe just read it one day on Snopes. First, there are a lot of things in the Old Testament that are voided by the New Testament. The difference being before and after Christ's birth/resurrection on earth. Most Protestant Christian sects focus on what is in the New Testament for direction and use the Old Testament for moral stories(because well it's full of them).

        Brings pack the whole "Perspective" or "Point of View" cliche. Ignorant individuals led by corrupt power hungry leaders are the cause of the strife on either side, not the religions themselves. The only persecution of Muslims in my area is at the local BBQ joint, informing my Muslim friend how much better the sliced Pork was than the beef or chicken :)
        |TG-12th| tHa_KhAn

        XBL GT: Khan58

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        • #5
          Re: Choices

          Originally posted by Grunt 70 View Post
          ... My advice-- Take the energy you were about to expend on arguing with her and apply it towards the application of universal love and acceptance....now that is a truth that will prevail.

          Not all churches are created equal. I belong to the Unitarian Universalist Church here in Quincy MA. Each Unitarian Church is free to worship how they see fit as are all Unitarians themselves are. ...
          That's actually really good advice. Thank you. I think I'm going to have to check out a UU church. I am agnostic, but I do try to live my life in a way that if there is some type of creator I believe (s)he would be proud of. I've always wanted to participate in group activities like you mentioned, but I am just turned off by the degree of spiritual back-patting.

          Originally posted by tHa_KhAn View Post
          I think I've seen that email before, maybe just read it one day on Snopes. First, there are a lot of things in the Old Testament that are voided by the New Testament. The difference being before and after Christ's birth/resurrection on earth. Most Protestant Christian sects focus on what is in the New Testament for direction and use the Old Testament for moral stories(because well it's full of them).

          Brings pack the whole "Perspective" or "Point of View" cliche. Ignorant individuals led by corrupt power hungry leaders are the cause of the strife on either side, not the religions themselves. The only persecution of Muslims in my area is at the local BBQ joint, informing my Muslim friend how much better the sliced Pork was than the beef or chicken :)
          Ha, now see, I'm all about making fun of religion. I just can't stand the self-righteous point of view. BTW, I love that whole new/old testament thing. God is all-knowing and never makes mistakes, but sometimes he needs to add an amendment.

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          • #6
            Re: Choices

            I can see the headline: Man Shouts At Chain Email.

            QFT:
            Originally posted by Buck Fush
            Ha, now see, I'm all about making fun of religion. I just can't stand the self-righteous point of view.
            Indeed.

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            • #7
              Re: Choices

              Originally posted by Buck Fush View Post
              BTW, I love that whole new/old testament thing. God is all-knowing and never makes mistakes, but sometimes he needs to add an amendment.
              In general, the principles of the Old Testament did not change in the New Testament. However, the application of those principles changed somewhat. The concept of death as punishment for sin has not been removed, but the execution of that punishment was postponed to allow for Redemption (the guiding principle of the New Testament).

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              • #8
                Re: Choices

                lucky you...a UU church right in Littleton!

                http://www.columbineuuchurch.org/
                sigpic
                |TG-1st|Grunt
                ARMA Admin (retired)
                Pathfinder-Spartan 5

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                • #9
                  Re: Choices

                  To be honest, I've never received the impression from the Presbyterian church I grew up in that Christian morality is based on anything more than the "fruit of the Spirit":
                  Originally posted by Galatians 5:22-23
                  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
                  Then again, maybe this church is an exception.
                  The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. ~
                  I have a tendency to key out three or four things and then let them battle for supremacy while I key, so there's a lot of backspacing as potential statements are slaughtered and eaten by the victors. ~
                  Feel free to quote me. ~

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                  • #10
                    Re: Choices

                    When I was a kid, I found it pretty effective to lure crayfish into my bucket with a piece of chicken meat tied to the end of a piece of string. This worked a lot better than trying to chase them into the bucket with a stick.

                    I try to approach religious and political arguments the same way.
                    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                    • #11
                      Re: Choices

                      You should try a shotgun or cherry bomb ;) WAY easy.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Choices

                        Originally posted by ednos View Post
                        To be honest, I've never received the impression from the Presbyterian church I grew up in that Christian morality is based on anything more than the "fruit of the Spirit":
                        Then again, maybe this church is an exception.
                        That's the whole point of the difference between the Old and New Testaments.

                        Originally posted by Buck Fush View Post
                        BTW, I love that whole new/old testament thing. God is all-knowing and never makes mistakes, but sometimes he needs to add an amendment.
                        It's not about mistakes or amendments, it was more about the symbol of what Jesus Christ was besides the obvious. Old Testament was full of sacrifice and harsh punishment. Then comes Christ and he becomes the sacrifice and absorbs the harsh punishment on the people's behalf.

                        It's all POV still though, if you choose to not explore religion that is your choice. Most religions revolve around that central principle. However, the human element begins to get in the way and provide a very human response to the problem, Force. What I have read in the Bible states, share/present the love of God/Christian religion and nothing about "Choose My way or Die" of the crusades or inquisition. I've not gotten deep enough in the Quoran(Koran?) to say for sure that it doesn't state use force, but I doubt it does in the original translation. There will always be those individuals who are willing to use anything for power. As long as those people exist and throngs of people ignorant to their own religion exit there will be issues. We're essentially living the Crusades Pt.2 because of it.

                        I too loathe self-righteous religious nuts no matter the religion(especially those associated with hippies).
                        |TG-12th| tHa_KhAn

                        XBL GT: Khan58

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                        • #13
                          Re: Choices

                          Khan is very much right.

                          Jesus, in the New Testament, directly challenged a lot of the Sabbath and death laws that had been set up for the HEBREW TRIBES in the Old Testament.

                          His point, basically, was "Hey... get over yourselves and love one another."

                          The original hippie, if you will. :)

                          Seriously, though, there's a reason that many Christian organizations hand out the New Testament only- that's what Christianity is really based off of, practically speaking. Using quotes from the Old Testament to make a point about Christians being bloody and violent makes as much sense as those fringe people who would use those same quotes to actually commit bloody and violent hate crimes against particular groups- that is, no sense whatsoever.

                          Actually, painting all Christians with a brush of a few people, or even events unrelated to us now (like the Inquisition) is about as ignorant as people saying that any homosexual person is a rapist because of the actions of a few. You wouldn't want to be culturally insensitive like those darn conservatives now, would you? /rolls eyes
                          ---------------
                          Doc-in-training

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                          • #14
                            Re: Choices

                            Originally posted by leejo View Post
                            You should try a shotgun or cherry bomb ;) WAY easy.
                            It's hard enough finding the meat in those things as it is, without picking it out of the pond mud!

                            Leejo's recipe for Crayfish Stew:

                            Cherry-bomb the pond.
                            Place pond over low simmer for several days until stock is reduced.
                            Add seasonings to taste.

                            :p
                            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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                            • #15
                              Re: Choices

                              I was talking about religious and political arguments! :D

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