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Conceptions and Misconceptions

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by NonSequitur, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. NonSequitur Gems: 19/31
    Latest gem: Aquamarine


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    No, this is not an abortion discussion thread. :toofar:

    I saw this in the Saturday Age and thought I'd share it with you folks on SP.

    The Christian paradox

    While I believe it would be :deadhorse: to get back into the "Christian fundamentalists/godless heathens/economic rationalists/secular liberals are destroying this country/world" argument, this article makes a few good points about how powerful a misconstrued idea can be. Especially at this time of year, getting back the the heart of the message - rather than how it's been evolved over the last 2000 years - is something worth considering.

    As much as Ben Franklin is a revered figure in American political history, he didn't speak for God or Christianity. Those who are familiar with my posts will know my opinions on organised belief structures and religious hierarchies; I don't propose to debate them. However, I think this article shows just how important a considered examination and personal assessment of any religious (and/or political) perspective can be.

    So, in keeping with the article's comments, I wanted to get people talking about the core tenets of their own faiths (whether theistic or not) and what their beliefs mean to them.

    --------------------

    For my own part, I've always considered humility, selflessness, charity and kindness to others as the core virtues of Christian faith (I was raised in the Uniting Church). It doesn't matter whether there is a tangible reward at the end of anything; what matters more is knowing you've done a good thing. Suffering for one's faith (whether by personal denial or standing on principles when you know it will be to your detriment) is something that comes with the territory; it is not to be feared or loathed, but accepted. There's a fair bit of cross-over with my admittedly somewhat leftist political beliefs, which I find amusing, given the apparent hijacking of doctrine by some more conservative interests.
     
  2. Saber

    Saber A revolution without dancing is not worth having! Veteran

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    You don't need to practice actively to call yourself Christian - if you believe, that should be enough. This article goes into the argument assuming that to be Christian, you have to go to church every week, know all of the stories, etc. Pah. If you believe, thats all you need.
     
  3. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Absolutely. What a great article, despite giving Ben the short stick. It's a real insult to compare Ben Franklin to the people of Alabama - he was much better than that regarding the points made in the article (please note, that I wrote, regarding the points made in the article). This idea of the South hiding behind Christian ideology goes all the way back to the founding days; when Franklin wrote that scathing rebuke of the southern members of congress who said that slavery was condoned by the Bible:

     
  4. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    The alarming trend in the article is how many people claim to be Christian, but are abandoning their faith.

    I myself am a Mormon, a specific branch of Christianity. We have in the procedures of our church means to help the poor and needy through voluntary donations of the members. Through this we have been able to send aid to victims of natural disasters all over the world.

    We also encourage members to study the scriptures on their own, and the majority of our Sabbath observances include instruction and moderated discussion on gospel topics.

    The Church is explicit with it's expectations on personal conduct, and requires regular interviews with priesthood authorities to see that we are not falling into destructive, sinful practices.

    Members are assigned certain members to check in on monthly, to see that they are well and to help them out where needed. For larger projects, members will gather and work together to help out.

    Members usually are given a specific responsibility in some capacity or another. I myself have served in the program for the young men for over three years. I've also been asked to teach a childrens class once as a replacement, and may recieve other "callings" as the Lord dictates that I am ready for and am needed. The idea is that to do all the church requires requires efforts of all the members...

    All members are required by the Lord to spread the doctrine where possible. I know I've upset some applecarts along the way, but I try to do that here. The more people we have testifying that Jesus is the Christ, the better. We realize that we cannot impose the doctrine, but we can seek to encourage people to change their ways.

    We've also been advised by our Prophet (Highest mortal Priesthood authority) that we should take an active interest in politics at all levels, to see that people we agree with get our support. While the Church does not endorse particular candidates, we do encourage the members to study and pray over the various platforms and vote accordingly.
     
  5. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    The worst part in my mind is how many people call themselves christians becasue they go to church on Easter and Christmas and maybe, just maybe give an offering on one of the two. They have little idea of what the Bible teaches and less of who Jesus was. They don't believe in Jesus, they believe in the institution of the Church, or frequently the building.

    Christ taught us that God made us all and He loves us all. That God hates sin in man, but not the man that sins. He taught us that we are to forgive others as He forgave us and that to refuse to tell others of His word would be to turn our backs on them. He also taught us that it is neither our works nor our words that save us, but our faith in Him and His mercy. To that end, forcing others to 'convert' is useless because they don't believe, they're just saying the words. He taught us to show love where there is hate, mercy where there is a desire for revenge.
     
  6. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    Interesting little paragraph is that. If this was true, I might have a little more patience for Christianity. However, of the amount of people who declare themselves Christain, how many actually follow these tenets properly? Many, MANY will say they do, but very, very few actually do. Nearly all the Christians I have seen have so aggressively defended their beliefs that it just makes them look even worse. Religious people are alright in my eyes, so long as they keep their views to themselves and don't shove them in everyone elses faces. If they get warmth and pleasure from those beliefs, then good for them. They just can't expect everyone else to be so easily duped by just that, 'beliefs'.

    I wish it was God who 'taught' humans to show compassion and love. But I find it so hard to believe. These things are just human nature. None of us need to be 'taught' how to act properly, with morals and compassion. Well, we do, but that's job for parents and guardians, not some religious doctrine that causes more harm than good as far as I'm concerned.

    I might be wrong, and if I am, God strike me down and leave me to die a fiery death in Hell, but I don't believe that religion, in any forms, is necessary anymore.

    (I hope I've not gone too far off topic here)
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    @NOG and Gnarff: You two don't hold a monopoly on the definition of what it means to be christian. The definition and requirements tend to change depending on to whom you are speaking. Most Baptists, for example, don't think mormonism counts as Christianity at all, since they consider the book of Mormon to be a scam perpetrated by a charlatan (ie the prophet Joseph Smith). Just an example.

    While each of you may have the ability to make such statements as they pertain to your own specific denominations, you have no place to tell a people from different denominations who consider themselves Christian that they are not. You don't even have the authority to tell a lapsed member of your denomination who considers himself a Christian that he isn't. In other words, Gnarff, you may be able to tell someone who is not behaving in a manner befitting Mormonism that he is doesn't fit the criterion for being Mormon, but telling him he isn't Christian is pushing it. The definition of Christian is a very loose one. Believing in Christ is the main distinction, not going to church.

    [ April 20, 2006, 03:52: Message edited by: Drew ]
     
  8. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    But I've noticed those things diminishing with the diminished effect of religion.

    It's not just the Baptists, but other supposed Christians who use these claims to spew out hatred.
     
  9. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    And I've noticed it declining as the US moves toward a recession. Do two things have to have anything to do with another to happen at the same time? I also feel more awake at night, but that doesn't mean all humans (ahem, Tzenkethi :shake: ) are nocturnal. What you observe in your area might not hold true in others. Something to consider, anyway.
    *takes deep breath, stops, then shakes head* Too easy. ;)
     
  10. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Please repeat those words in every other thread in the Alleys. That is the wisest observation I have read in here for a long time. :thumb: We could all do with following Felinoid's advice here.
     
  11. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


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    Just like the decrease in pirates is clearly the cause of global warming - after all, it's only as there have been fewer and fewer pirates that global warming has come about...
     
  12. Daie d'Malkin

    Daie d'Malkin Shoulda gone to Specsavers

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    Aiky, then the Sorcerous Sundries and FAI are reducing Global Warming. Arr.

    1. Find a moderate Church. I'm a member of the Church of ENgland. We're pretty laid back. We've got lady vicars, divorce, and masons.

    2. Keep views to themselves? But, we have to save the sinners :D Seriously though, not going to happen. Most religions actively encourage converts, and it is a tenet of them to do so. Might as well wish for the sky to be green.
     
  13. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    Believing Joseph Smith was a charlattan and hating Mormons are two very different things.
     
  14. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    I've been shown some links to some sites that outright preach hatred of Mormons from people here on this site. It would likely offend many people here...
     
  15. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    Sure. But I firmly doubt that it is the official position of any major christian denomination that you should hate mormons......merely that they are not following a false faith based on the words of a charlatan and that they should be converted.
     
  16. Nakia

    Nakia The night is mine Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    That is what is wrong here in NJ. No Pirates! :lol:

    Back on topic more or less. In my area I would say that Religion is alive and well. Can't say how sincere it is but it does not appear to be diminishing.
     
  17. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    I've heard some heavy lies, where they've claimed that we believe some really wierd stuff (which is entirely false), and some stuff wildly distorted. How much is because people are too lazy to learn for themselves, and how much is because we are seen as a threat to their organizations (we are the fastest growing church in most of the world if I remember correctly...)?
     
  18. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    You are treading on dangerous grounds, Gnarff. I might feel compelled to point out that, through some wierd coincidence, the Book of Mormon has the exact same geographical errors as the King James Bible. Given that the Book of Mormon was translated from Golden Tablets written in Heiroglyphics that no one has ever seen, the odds of making the same exact errors in the same exact places while translating are abyssmally low. Or I might feel compelled to point out that absolutely no archaeological evidence whatsoever has ever been found of the existence of the tribes mentioned in the book of Mormon. The odds of a people dying out without leaving even a shred of evidence of their passing are also abyssmally low. The geographical errors are linguistic facts and the lack of archaeological evidence is also well documented.......these items aren't lies. They are true. Now, neither of these details mean that nothing in the book of Mormon is true, but they aren't "lies", either.
     
  19. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    First of all, the biggest misconception there is is that religion is an entirely private matter. Wrong. Religion is a social thing.

    It's easy to say one just believes otherwise and, because he's too lazy a couch potato to lift his butt for an hour or two on Sunday, one believes attending services is not necessary for his salvation, and hide behind freedom of conscience, but here's the news: it works in this world. But whatever constitution or rights charter you have in this world doesn't protect you from the consequences of your choices in the next world.

    Some people can't grasp the idea that God isn't bound by mortal laws and philosophy and not quite a cash machine or genie in the lamp, either.

    My favourite pet peeve is people calling upon, "whoever of you is without sin, let him throw the stone," conveniently without remembering the, "go and sin no more," part. Jesus doesn't say pick what you believe is good or evil, right or wrong, nice or bad, He reaffirms the Decalogue and moral tenets springing from it and gives no leave to dispense with one or two or more.

    Another favourite pet peeve of mine is the "Jesus didn't want organised religion" talk, while it was clearly Jesus who set up the sacraments and ordained people to minister them, as well as promised to build such a church on the foundation of Peter that the gates of hell would not prevail over her.

    Yet another is "personal opposition" to one's own ideas, John Kerry style. The Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the most orthodox Protestant denominations hold that abortion is murder. If you believe that abortion is murder but at the same time it's a woman's inherent right at her discretion, then you basically believe that people should have the right to commit murder in certain cirumstances posing inconvenience. Then why not abolish the whole of criminal law? Let's all love an forgive and decide in our consciences. Heh.

    As for what denominations are Christian and what are not, I really don't think it's my place to judge them, and I believe there is a lot of misconceptions and misperception by other denominations, so it's not so easy to assess the tenets. Basically, as the name suggests, it requires belief in Jesus Christ, as the messiah in accordance with the Old Testament prophecies, and in His teachings. (Hint: hand-picking Jesus quotes doesn't cut it) Jesus Himself says you will know them by the fruit. And that's it. Note that being a Christian isn't exactly the same as being a good Christian, nor is it a ticket to heaven. The Catholic Church doesn't recognise the validity of sacraments of some denominations. For example, we don't recognise Anglican clerics as valid priests unless they were ordained by someone with valid orders because while the current ordination rite can result in valid ordination, the previous rite could not possibly, which means the Apostolic succession is broken. We don't recognise Orthodox or Protestant (or any other) subsequent marriages while the first spouse lives. We don't recognise the baptism of certain denominations diverging too much on the doctrine of Trinity or of baptism itself (from what I know this would be Mormons, certain Baptist denominations and some others) and, with Baptism invalid, any other potential sacraments. So long as they believe themselves to be Christians and believe in Christ's teachings, I would have a problem calling them non-Christians, but this doesn't mean I don't have a huge theological problem with some doctrines being presented as the true Christian doctrine.
     
  20. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Which is why I'm screwed if people like Chev are correct about the afterlife. I'm Catholic, but I admit that I am a very poor Catholic, in that I find it impossible to "walk the party line" so to speak. I can't seem to wrap my brain around the logic of some of the Pope's edicts (note I do agree with a lot of them but there are exceptions) and as a result, I don't go to church because I feel like I'm faking it. I also have a friend who thinks as I do, but he goes to church every week to, as he says, "cover his bases". I think that's total lunacy. If you know you don't believe everything in Catholic doctrine, and you just go to Church to make it look good, wouldn't God see through this simple deception in the afterlife? Unless God can be that easily fooled, I don't see the sense in thinking that way either.
     
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