Bluey, it's funny the way that can be. Out here in Super Secular Progressive western WA simply stating that you are a Christian when asked by a customer what religion you are can result in a customer complaint. It happened to me in 2009. The woman has since apologized, but the owner was upset with me for answering truthfully LOL!! If I had not been me, meaning a newer or less influential employee, I could have been disciplined, laid off or fired.
The woman complained because she as a pantheist was uncomfortable having a Christian bar supervisor serve her beer. Yes, that is asinine but it definitely shows it goes both ways!
I was raised with Sunday School and Church every Sunday for as long as I remember, or, maybe I should say till I left home at 19. I was baptized and confirmed a Lutheran. The church that I remember was one of social significance and hypocrisy. One didn't go and see the latest hat someone was wearing but the latest fur. :sigh:
From my mid to later teen years, I honestly felt closer to God (or a supreme being if you believe) out riding my horse through what he created than sitting in a stuffy building with the Drs, lawyers, and prominent businessmen that cheated on their wives, taxes and screwed their neighbors when they got the chance. Ok, I'll admit that's not all the members but it did fit quite a few. I'm sure there were some really pious people and good people that attended. :yes:
Yes, I contributed to the church and helped with the youth movement and development until I left home. Well, the following year I get a letter from the church that I was not a member in good standing because I hadn't taken communion twice that year. Kinda hard when you're away from home to do that. :rolleyes: I swear it wasn't a month later I get a letter asking for my annual pledge ($). That's when I stopped going. I decided if I was supposed to give up something for Lent, I decided I'd give up church attendance. Best decision I made.
I don't hold anything against anyone that is a good Christian, but please DO NOT THUMP YOUR BIBLE AT ME! :yes:
OK, I'm sure I'll need my flame suit now! :D I'll bet the thumbs down will be flowing! :D
You're right, twotruckdoc, in that I'm not very tolerant in this matter and maybe in others. Not because I want to be that way, but because I'm a very flawed individual. How much of it is because that's me, and how much is because I was conditioned not to be is a question that I don't know that I'm qualified to answer. Like I said before, my personal experiences have been up close and personal, and not very good. I certainly appreciate the fact that you and others are taking the time to discuss this matter, seriously and kindly.
I know what I want to be, and I know I'll probably never get there. Maybe we all, myself included, should worry less about what others are doing to grow, and focus more on ourselves (myself). But, I really do wish I could find a place where I could feel that I was with others who were struggling with the same things I am.
Twotruckdoc LOL!! I wish, well, I had two trucks back in the day :) Now I have the worlds most darling and superfly neon green Ford Fiesta named Ike.
I hope you find what you are looking for.
Well, I told you I was flawed. Apparently that extends to not being able to read. I've been reading your name wrong for years.
Neurobiology is very clear that most humans are wired to be believers.
Originally Posted by Louise
That doesn't mean today we have to express that belief to the point of being blind to how rational our beliefs may be, depending on what culture we were born and raised into.
For those that are brainwashed from infants on a certain religion or sect of that religion, their beliefs can become so real that everything else that may not fit them is just not believable.
I know what I speak of, have plenty of examples right around me, sadly.
I think that the information age is here in full force is a great mediator in this.
I don't know what spiritual beliefs will be in a few more generations, it will be interesting to see, but unless humans change very much in important ways, believers most will be.
Originally Posted by Louise
LOL!!! That is awesome! LOL!
Yes, actually you can. Simply walking into a building once in a while, or even once a week for your whole life for that matter does not mean that everything (or even any of it) is going to stick and become a part of your life.
Originally Posted by Bluey
Lots of people go to church, who aren't Christians, who don't really believe in God and don't really care to practice what Jesus says on a weekly basis. They go because it's habit, or because they think that it's the right thing to do. Or because they feel forced or pressured. Some even go because they think that just by going into a building, they will have a better life for it. These people want the "good" without having to do anything. It doesn't happen that way.
On the flip side, there are many, many wonderful people, Christian or not, who don't go to church. It doesn't make them less Christian or less of a good person because they don't walk into a building once a week.
A building doesn't shape your life. What you choose to do with your time, in the building or not, does. So yes, you can seperate it. The church teaches certain things, but walking into a building or reading a book will not automatically change your life around. People, as individuals, are still in control of their feelings, their attitudes and their behaviour and always will be.
According to a Pew Poll, 20% of Americans say they are atheist, agnostic or have no religious affiliation, and it continues to rise.
I'm going to say that this post answers the original question best ;). Now on with the unraveling! :)
Originally Posted by ShotenStar
Have given this some thought. I’m professionally religious, a hospital chaplain working mainly in behavior health, addiction and perinatal loss. I am about as far from the religious right as one can be and still be on the same planet, theologically and socially.
There are other professionally religious folks who work in universities, some of them keep data and write on these trends, others analyze and offer responses to these trends.
I’ve read quite a bit of their work but am by no means and expert. I’ll offer my response based on that reading, and the insights from a few conferences and classes I’ve attended and my work in the hospital and local congregation.
Our entire world is entering into a paradigm shift. The culture of white male dominated power is eroding. It is slow and painful. We are no longer a nation where minority voices are subjugated—they are now being heard loud and clear.
The power structures of the Church have traditionally aligned themselves with the white male dominated power structures—follow the money and influence, if you will.
Jesus, as we can know him in the Christian Bible would have hated that. He was all about trying to help us know that God is on the side of the poor and abandoned, the powerless and the hurting. In fact, there are an increasing number of Christians who are coming to understand that, perhaps, we in the Church have been missing the whole point all these years; they are coming to understand that, perhaps, Jesus’ death at the hands of the religious powerbrokers of his day and resurrection appearances were intended to potentially put an end to all that, pointing us back to doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly (Micah 8:6) and loving God with all our heart, mind and strength and our neighbors as ourselves.
I also know life sucks. People are hurting and struggling to make meaning out of meaninglessness. They are lonely, isolated (often, even in the midst of family and friends) and searching for responsible, emotional intimacy in relationships of safety.
Despite the trends, those who self-identify as Christian and/or Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) often find, what I have come to call “the religiosity of culture” sorely wanting when the sucky shit of life hits the fan. Which it always does. In every life.
The Church, at its best is the place where other people confronted with the sucky shit of life gather. It is the place where they, for better or for worse, struggle together to know Jesus risen in their own lives relying on his grace to struggle toward deeper relationships with Him and one another. It is the place where other folks longing for deeper levels of connection and intimacy are trying to figure out how to find deeper meaning, to live justly and merciful-fully and in humble gratitude for all that they are and have been given. It is the place where others are trying and failing and trying and failing to love God more than all that they are and all that they have, trying to love themselves as God loved them and their neighbors, perhaps, even a bit more.
Mostly, the Church is a long, long way from this ideal of the beloved community. It gets co-opted, used and abused. It gets itself all screwed up with itself and with others. It treats people sucky, shitty.
On the other hand, it is not alone. The critical voice of culture and abuse of power rings loud and clear. What the Church will be in 50 years is anyone’s guess but there are people committed to the heart of Jesus’s message who also are confident in God’s proposes continuing prosper despite our propensity to pervert them and historic times of decline and renewal like the one which we are currently experiencing.
Just some thoughts.
Originally Posted by ReSomething
Oh, did you get that Bible Park? My city turned it down, after it dominated politics for over a year. How's that working out for you? Or is this a different Bible Park? The one being pushed in my community was going to be run by the same group that was running the (now defunct, I think) Hard Rock theme park.
Personally, I feel that religion and politics should be kept far, far apart. Not only do I not care what religion a politician is, I don't think they should discuss religion at all. Clearly, being a certain religion does not automatically make you a good person or a better candidate, just as as not being a member of that religion doesn't make you a bad person or a poor candidate.
Really, religion is a personal thing. VERY personal. Your relationship with God (whatever god that may be) is really nobody else's business. And people have very strong emotions about it, clearly. Why can't everyone just worry about his/her own personal relationship with god and not worry about anyone else's? It's none of your business. And I might not have cracked a bible in over 20 years, but even I know that it says to pray in your closet, not in the street.
I do need to point out that the Bible does not say that :) As I would point out an incorrect statement made of any book I have read.
In Mathew 6:6 it says "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Mathew was written as a letter to the Jewish believers in exhortation of Jesus as messiah. The verse is complete and understood if you read the whole thing--
Mathew 5:5-6 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
As you can easily see, it is decrying those who use a blatant show of religion or piousness as pride :)
1 Thessalonions 5:17 "Pray without ceasing,"
So I don't have an exact quote, but the gist is the same. As to how you interpret that, well, there are of course many ways you can interpret it. My argument still stands.
It does not. But, you go right on believing whatever your little heart just thinks you want to believe :)
Actually, my heart is quite big, metaphorically speaking, thank you very much. As for your belief that your interpretation of the bible is the only correct one, well, that attitude is one of the many reasons that I am not affiliated with any organized religion and now have my own religion. :yes:
My attitude is that you can just go right on believing anything your little or big heart desires :) I'm not affiliated with any "organized" religion either, by the way. I have, however, read and studied the Bible quite a bit and understand how and why it was written. However, your understanding of anything is of no consequence to me.
Understanding and interpretation are two entirely different things. I would never tell someone that their interpretation of the bible is wrong, even though I spent years in mass, CCD, religion class (Catholic school), etc. Even religious scholars who spend their lives studying these things frequently disagree about interpretation.
It all comes down to respect--I respect others' beliefs/interpretations/etc. even when they differ from my own.