I am a non-theist and tend to have friends of the same faithlessness. Forced Catholic growing up, I finally realized that "faith in God,", which also meant belief in the devil, hell, heaven, etc. was the single most destructive force in my life. This long realization was the best thing that happened to me. I view religious faith, blind faith, as a manipulative, superstitious, post-stone age myth system, and a force that causes unbelievable harm within families and nations
My sentiment exactly Linda! I lost my religion in a foxhole in Vietnam, when I realized that praying for my brother Marines was futile. They died anyway. Religious superstition is the single biggest cause of war and other violence in the world and always has been. As long as people are afraid to think logically and refuse to boot religious superstition out of their lives and their politics, things will never change. Backward people like George W. Bush should keep to themselves instead of leveraging citizen fear into mass murder. Yes, you have the right to be religiously superstitious but you don't have the right to affect my life with it. Don't tread on me any longer!
I am sorry that you had to endure the horrors of war, and you are right that much conflict is caused by religious prejudice. Superstition ought to play no part in a true religion.
A fundamental teaching of the Baha'i Faith is the independent investigation of truth. Check it out if you like at Bahai.org.
Be happy, Gail
I left the "church" at a young age for many of the same reasons as you have given, but I have found meaning and reconciliation of mind and soul within the Baha'i Faith. Check it out if you like at Bahai.org.
Be Happy, Gail
Faith in Jesus is central to my life. It informs my choices, even when I choose to behave contrary to what I believe. I freely admit that I often behave like the selfish youngster rather than my Big Brother, but He hasn?t given up on me even so.
This faith unifies my world view, it shows that being prolife means caring about a person from conception thru death. It leads me to oppose abortion and promote universal health care that makes sure the baby and mother are cared for. It motivates me to make choices that help the hungry and homeless, and to being aware and responsible for my impacts on the natural world. It means trying to understand others and be accommodating of other opinions without giving up on what I am convinced is non-negotiable. It means seeing my own choices against my Da as no less than anyone elses, and trying to stay focused on that enough that when I speak against actions it is clear that I am not condemning the person.
Most folks I know at work know I?m a Christian; I don?t push it on them, but I don?t deny the truth either. I see great wisdom in being ready to answer questions about my personal experience (church folks call that my ?witness? or my "testimony") and to admit my struggles and how I get through them; that said, I endeavor to never get involved in such a discussion without invitation. I recognize that the best I can do to follow what Da wants is build relationships that show a committed caring for others based not on what it does for me, but what it reflects to them.
The community in Oregon seems no more or less hostile to Christians than elsewhere in the US. If anything, I would submit that I would rather have folks be honest about distrusting or even despising the church than to live where they join for social or political reasons; the negative impact of the latter on our message has been a millstone since Constantine first chose to make us legal in the fourth century. Do I hate the fact that our community and nation supports murdering children? Yup. Do I resent that we treat women and ethnic minorities as somehow less? You bet. Am I willing to say that some things are wrong and we should not do them, even when I take flack for it? I think I have answered that question already.
Rather than make this into a sermon, let me wrap up by plainly saying: I am an adopted son of Da, the Living One, because my Big Brother Jesus paid for my mistakes and made my adoption possible. I know He can do the same for anyone, and I?m always willing to explain how if anyone wants.
I don't understand why there is even a question regarding religion. There is absolutely no evidence of any god or gods. I mean zero. None. We could be discussing worshipping the tooth fairy for all the difference it makes. I just don't understand how there can be any serious discussion of some imaginary being and how he has any influence on us
Is it possible to come at this as a study of what people find attractive in faith? Just scratching the surface of any group of believers, you can see pretty quickly that everybody brings something different. Some are looking for comfort, some for answers, some for purpose.
You post an interesting suggestion. Truly people embrace Faiths for a variety of reasons and that is a good thing. It is exactly the diversity of people that challenges and enriches our spiritual growth.
For whatever reason humanity has sought truth throughout the ages and we seem comfortable finding guidelines for our individual growth as well as guidance to create an ever-advancing civilization.
How we interact with those of like Faiths and those of no professed Faith is the laboratory for spiritual growth. Let deeds, not words, be our adorning.
Check out the Baha'i Faith if you like, at Bahai.org.
Be Happy, Gail
Baha'is don't attempt to define God...that would be an impossibility. However, we believe that there is a creative essence in the Universe and individuals throughout history who have given us spiritual guidance so that we can carry on an ever-advancing civilization on this planet.
If you adhere to independent investigation of truth, check it out at Bahai.org.
Be Happy, Gail
I think it's time we recognized the obvious negative effects of "faith-based" or evidence-free belief systems. For example, at a parent teacher night at Portland's Jefferson High School, a science teacher explained how local pastors (including one from Mt. Olivet Baptist Church) told their students to cover their ears, and close their textbooks, whenever "Darwin" or "evolution" were discussed...
The teacher laughed, however, noting that these pastors had apparently never heard of "natural selection," so he was able to generate an exciting, educational discussion of a central, evidence-based concept in biology in spite of religious efforts to hold the students back.
But too often religion gets a free pass, when its supernatural ideas are unsupportable and ridiculous, and yet regularly referenced to dumb down science education, prevent access to medical options (particularly for women, but also care for the terminally ill), and diminish basic civil protections for lesbians and gays.
My kids are always quick to respond to the question "But don't you believe in God?" with "Which god/goddess are you talking about? Zeus? Baal? Mary? The Flying Spaghetti Monster?" They know that our real world is a pretty cool place, too.
I am proud to be an atheist. I have felt oppressed by pushy Christians my whole life and I no longer feel the need to pretend that their behavior is acceptable. I can send you links if you like to reports about recent Federal budgets allocating taxpayer money to Christian organizations for the purpose of promoting religion, in direct violation of the First Amendment. In my PUBLIC high school my teachers used to talk about God in front of the class. I now believe such behavior warrants jail time. Seriously. Yet I still consider myself a spiritual person and I always celebrate all the Pagan holidays including Winter Solstice (commonly called Christmas), the Vernal Equinox and fertility rites known as Easter and Mayday; and of course my favorite, the Summer Solstice. You'll notice I'm not asking the taxpayers to help me promote my worldview. I wish the Christians could do the same.
One of the things I love most about Oregon (or I should say Western Oregon) is how "non-religious" it is. As someone who was raised Baptist but turned Agnostic in my late teens, moving here was like finding my true home (for many other reasons as well).
I recently moved from the Portland area to Silverton, which is a more conservative area with a lot of churches (there is one on the other side of my backyard fence - I like to sit on the patio drinking a local craft beer on Sunday morning while the church-goers file in). But I would say that it is still a much more open-mided area that many other parts of the country, and I genuinely like it here.
But in Oregon as in the rest of the USA, Christians try to legislate their beliefs into law and force them on the non-religious population. Fortunately this actually occurs less often here than in many other states, but we are still bound by Federal law (another good reason for Western Oregon and Washington to secede from the union, but that is another disucssion....). Since I have no religious beliefs, I am only affected by religion when laws are passed that force me to conform to some religious norm or idea, or support a religious institution. Examples:
1. Teaching creationism in public schools (which somehow is a valid theory yet global warming is hack science)
2. Federal funding for religious non-profit organizations (which both parties' candidates support)
3. Censorship (if someone is offended by what is written or broadcast, don't read it or watch it!)
4. Religious display in government buildings, and even on our money!
As I said, I am glad to live in Oregon which is a much more enlightened area than most of the country, but I fear the day when we will be overwhelmed by Federal laws forcing Christian "values" down our throats.
I am a retired public school teacher and I was always appalled by those who would ignore the separation of church and state and try to add or remove subjects from the curriculum based on their particular religious bent.
Book banning is another topic of great concern.
I was so happy to find the Baha'i Faith which combines reason with religion and each individual is allowed to read the Holy Writings without the interference and/or interpretation of a clergy member.
Check it out if you like at Bahai.org
Be Happy, Gail
It's easy to talk about religion, but tricker to get to the heart of spirituality. I've been engrossed in what Ami, a former Oregonian living in Israel, has to say about this on his blog, Via Maris.
As a member of the Baha'i Faith, a Faith that actively seeks new members, and someone who has also lived in the midwest and the southeast, I find the Northwest one of most receptive populations in the country to the teachings of our founder, Baha'u'llah. Baha'is offer weekly devotional gatherings, children's classes, and classes for adults concerning how to live a spiritual and moral life. Baha'is see that people have a strong desire to find spiritual meaning in our lives. We see people report great comfort and satisfaction in these activities. We see the stronger sense of community improve the quality of individual's lives.
It appears that we have found the same spiritual pathway. Enjoy the journey and thanks for sharing.
be Happy, Gail
I consider myself a very spiritual person. My problem with most religions is the hierarchy that is inherent to the organizations. I don't trust them - I have a large problem with authority - especially illegitimate authority.
Worship to me is personal and can happen anywhere - from the mosh pit at a rock show to the solace of sunrise on the beach.
God is either everything or nothing. I choose to believe the former.
Your concept of worship is exactly the same as in the Baha'i Faith. Even work, if performed in a spirit of service can be made holy i.e.worship.
There is no clergy in the Baha'i Faith, but there is order. Members themselves are both followers and teachers and sometimes administrator.
Check it out if you like at Bahai.org
Be Happy! Gail
I believe my religious beliefs are quite similar to the trends that Mark Silk described. I was born and baptized Catholic, attended vacation bible school and Sunday school, etc. I still will tell people that I am "Catholic" however I only attend mass twice a year - Christmas and Easter (sometimes referred to as "Chreasters").
My spirituality is far more rooted in my beliefs surrounding nature and my political beliefs. I am an "unchurched" Oregonian. And I find that gardening, hikes, and activities along the lines of "back to the land" are far more spiritually fulfilling for me.
You sound like a spiritual person; one who tries to do the right thing and doesn't need a church in which to worship.
Truly it is easy to find an atmosphere of spirituality in nature and it is vital to go there and refresh ones self from time to time.
And, when one is God-conscious it is possible to find God in the midst of poverty and the uglier things we encounter, like Mother Theresa did.
Religion can be about service to mankind, and that doesn't require clergy or a building. God has revealed guidance to mankind throughout the centuries through chosen messengers. Baha'is truth wherever it is found and embrace all previously revealed religions. Check it out if you like at Bahai.org
Be Happy, Gail
Anybody catch Valarie's comment on air, that you can't be religious without being in fellowship? Thoughts?
if being religious is being in a love relationship with God than i absolutely beleive you can be without being in fellowship... i also have found that fellowship is a huge blessing and opportunity to encounter God's love in flesh.
Of course one can have a personal relationship with God, which may be quite private. But, religion is also in fellowship and creating service projects, such as schools which demonstrate our concern for others and for the future. Sometimes group strength is a plus. I think both are part of the religious experience.
Check out the Baha'i Faith if you like at Bahai.org.
Be Happy, Gail
I think that we need to make a clear distinction between faith and religion.
I see faith as something that is within each of our hearts and minds. It helps to define who are, the decisions we make, and what be believe.
I see religion as a corrupt institutional influence on so many societies. I strongly believe that the messages that come out of organized religion negatively influence our faith, our economics, and how we treat our fellow humans.
I feel very lucky to have been raised in an environment free of influence where I could make decisions on my own in regards to my faith.
-Aaron in Portland
While it is true that much that is negative in history can be traced to religions...generally it has nothing to do with the teachings of the Founder. As time goes by, the divine message of truth becomes corrupted by clergy or followers and that is when we see negative results.
Fortunately, God reminds us of the absolute truths from time to time through a chosen Messenger to refresh religion and get us back on the right path. Baha'is embrace the essential message of these Revelators, but not the man made rituals and practices which often follow.
Check it out if you like at Bahai.org
Be Happy, Gail
I noticed that the definition and descriptions of the different circles of different faith communities that was used to introduce the program did not include "religious liberal" communities such as Unitarian Universalists who are not main stream protestants. These liberal faith communities include people with a variety of beliefs.
Yup, and the Baha'i Faith is one....thanks for your comment.
If you're not familiar with it, check it out at Bahai.org.
Be Happy, Gail
In such a tolerant community as Portland, I find myself driven more towards Islam day by day.
Think of the beauty of Islam: its the last 'punk rock' thing you can do to piss off the general public. Think of when your boss is getting on you about this or that, "Oh, hang on a second - I need to pray to Mecca real quick...."
PS - its always nice to have you around, April. Come back soon!
You are too much! Join a religion just to rebel and tick people off?
Truly the core teachings of each religion are praiseworthy, and I suppose the ultimate rebellion is to become a Baha'i, since we respect and embrace the teachings of Zoroaster,Krishna, Buddha, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and the Bab and Baha'u'llah.
It seems to me that the only reason to call one's self a follower of any religion is because you find truth there and want to make the world a better place.
Check out the Bahai Faith if you like, at Bahai.org
Be Happy, Gail
To give background, I'm a graduate theology student in PDX with a faith background of Zen Buddhism and Catholicism. I was somewhat shocked and disappointed at the last caller's assertion that people who worship (and I'm talking here from a Christian perspective) outside of Church or outside of an organized community, what she called "Cultural Christians, are somehow less in touch with Christ or God. Although I do believe community to be the lynchpin of society in general and religious tradition in particular, the Bible makes no such requirements of doctrine upon people. It seems overly judgemental and divisive to opine in such a manner and I hope that Christians who assert themselves as Christians could follow the example of Christ and the guidance of the scriptures regarding what makes someone a 'Christian.'
I don't know which version of the bible you read but through out the bible people assembled together to worship God. In Acts, the disciples gathered together to pray and wait on the Holy Spirit. We are all one with the father, Son and Holy Ghost. Jesus also called God the father (scripture) John 6:65 - He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him."
We are all connect through him and should want to be connect spiritually with each other. The truth is the truth. Satan is very crafty at using people to mock the word of God. God is a jealous God, a God of Love and a God of Wrath. In the end, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that he is Lord. God has given us all free will to believe what we choose. Hell is real and all that have not accepted the Son are accepting Hell. Whether you feel you need it or not, I continue to pray for God to open the hearts and minds of everyone who listened to the broadcast and who have shared their stories and beliefs. It is always interesting to know what others think and feel.
Check out Gautham Pathial of Newberg, the only Hindu kid in his school. He had some thoughts on being the lone Hindu in town, posted for the website Hinduism Today
I read his beautiful post. The sooner we can get rid of all types of prejudice, especially religious, the sooner we can unite and make this planet a home of equality and justice and happiness.
I am a member of the Baha'i Faith, living in Salem, ORegon. Baha'is believe religion is a way of life, not requiring a building to demonstrate Faith. Religion is a way of life. a Baha'i can be religious all alone, but it is wonderful to meet with like-minded folk on a regular basis, which is also part of being a Baha'i. Yes, I am religious, and yes, I am spiritual. all Faiths are welcome to study and pray with Baha'is at all times.
thanks for the topic, Gail Badiei
I despise the religious---all of them. I will go so far as to say that I also dislike spiritual people in general. To be religious is absurdly pompous and arrogant. It is to say, I have the answers to life's big questions---which people have been searching for, for thousands of years, and little me here knows the answers. I am sick of religious tolerance, particularly when it is used to justify bigotry.
The spiritual or the faithful are essentially a watered down version of the religious. In some ways they are even more offensive then the religious. Because it is simply old-hat masquerading as something modern.
The human race is an embarrassment, although there is nothing to compare it too! Religion is its chief absurdity! It is so ingrained in society that few realize the preposterousness and tomfoolery of what it means to be religious or "spiritual."
"I despise the religious---all of them. I will go so far as to say that I also dislike spiritual people in general. To be religious is absurdly pompous and arrogant. It is to say, I have the answers to life's big questions---which people have been searching for, for thousands of years, and little me here knows the answers. I am sick of religious tolerance, particularly when it is used to justify bigotry. "
It seems that you're the one saying that you have the answer to life's big questions if you're denying people the right to follow their heart and spirit. You're welcome to 'despise' whomever you want, but it seems like hatred and ignorance is what guides your life. I'm sorry for that pain.
I knew if there would be a response, it would be like yours. What answer did I propose? Did you read one? I would love to know. I am not denying anyone anything. I said I despise the religious and the spiritual for their pompous arrogance. My despising is not used to take away the rights of the religious or denying them anything. My view is not a belief, it is a lack of belief. I hope you are sophisticated enough to realize these are not commensurate.
Ignorance is believing your religion is correct and every other religion is incorrect, which is certainly how most religions view things.
God, I pray that you touch each person who feels they do not need you. Let them encounter you in a real and positive way. I pray for Portland and all the people of this world who have been blinded by the deception of the enemy. Let a word be spoken into their lives that removes the scales off their eyes. In the mighty name of our risen Savior, Lord and soon coming King, Jesus the Christ.
Jesus has been a long time coming. I sure hope he gets here real soon---for your sake. I wonder where he will stay? The Marriott? The Four Seasons? Oh, I got it---The Mandarin Oriental, where the Dalai Lama is a fan.
"I am sick of religious tolerance, particularly when it is used to justify bigotry."
Oh that's rich. Sorry Scott but your stated position is about as arrogant and bigoted as I've ever heard. You cannot go through life slinging pig s**t in the eyes of people and not expect a response. Just FYI. You have simply shown that a non-theist can be just as bigoted, uncritical and unthinking as any theist. Thanks for playing.
Great subject today! I've thought of this often.
Having moved often throughout my life and then finally moving back to the "west" Northwest was like coming home, spiritually speaking.
I was raised in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. I still consider myself and SDA but I have a much broader view of God, Jesus, religon and spirituality than the average SDA or even the average Christian.
I won't get into all of the detils of that, but what I will say is is most valuable to me about my religeon is the "Sabbath"--a 24 hour "rest" from sundown Friday night to Sundown Saturday night.
I was thrilld when we moved back to Portland two years ago. As my husband was job hunting for work in television, he was concerned about any corporation being willing to honor our Sabbath. But in an interview one day a man cleared up that concern. "Portland has a little saying," he said, "Keep Portland Werid." And from that day on we realized we were accepted no matter what we believed.
Keep Portland Weird. :) I think that's a beautiful thing.
I grew up in a strong practicing christian family. I have seen all my siblings (5 of us total) abandon christianity, and I have seen both of my parents fall away from the strict adherence to literal christian interpretation. We all still hold onto high ethical and moral standards however. I strongly believe that we can teach morality and ethics (to our children and others) in very convincing ways without attaching the idea that morality and ethics come from our religion. I also think its culturally criminal how the big western religions have and continue to wipe out the smaller tribal and native religions that are as or more important to smaller and less developed parts of the world. This aspect makes me take high offense to anyone trying to sell their religion to me, even though I am a very peaceful person. I don't like the way the idea of 'mission' feels to me at all.
I do not agree with Valerie's statement that one can't be religious as a single person. I do not belong to a religious orrganization and I consider myself a religious person. My strongest belief is following the 'Golden Rule' and I hope that Valerie will contemplate this. The woman, who was on the air just before the woman who spoke of Budism, expressed my belief system and its practice, also. I do still honor the Sabbath at the end of each week and continue to strongly believe in my Jewish heritage.
I have to agree with you Jean-Paul. I think that "Golden Rule" you're talking about is Love.
As I see it. "Love", the feeling but the action, is what God asks us to do. It seems to me that The Ten Commandments, the nit-picky rules of church, and further more our cultural and civil rules (like obeying the speed limit), could eventually all land under that one law: Love. Love of God. Love of Others.
For me, however, I find attending church once or twice a month, a way to come together with other people to share what we believe. I find that my "worship" experiences by myself or with a very small group of people are far more spiritually uplifting. Although I really do enjoy church, sitting in a pew, singing hymns and listening to a sermon doesn't grab my heart the way hiking in a forest, practicing yoga, or praying in my bedoom alone does.
In re-reading my post of 9:44:48 AM, I would like to clarify what I meant by "single person" - I was commenting on Valerie's reference to not being able to be religious by oneself, i.e. without a church, mosque, or synagogue, etc. I was not referring to a relationship with other humans.
Interesting signature friend,
The Golden Rule is present in one form or another in all of the world's religions and if we would only practice it, this would be a much different planet.
To be a Bahai is to embrace Buddhism and the Jewish Faith as well as others and to try to live one's beliefs every day all day.
Religion is a long continuum of truth refreshed from time to time through a Messenger and the social teachings differ according to the needs of the time.
Check it out if you like, at Bahai.org.
Be Happy, Gail
Thanks for the comment and URL. I became of the Bahai faith when was in college in 1966, and found it to be a very interesting. I took a minor in philosophy and found Existentialism intriguing. Perhaps I should add 'acamus' as a second nom'de'plume? jps
Bad proof reading - should have read: I became aware of the Bahai faith when I was in college in 1966, and found your beliefs to be very interesting.
Thank you for your show. Religious is obviously a complex phenomena and may of the "differences" we discuss are, for me, actually different emphases within the faith endeavor. Two examples:
As a Lutheran Christian we discuss God in terms of the world's creator - in common with Native America beliefs and many other world religious - but also as a healing or redeeming presence in our life through Jesus - which is more unique to Christians. Pacific Northwest Spirituality is, for me, primarily a creation centered experience which many hold in common - and indeed this part of world shouts beauty and love through creation. Such spirituality is a personal/private experience although it does have for many very public implications (such as concern for the environment, global warming, etc.) The question for people of faith is whether we should celebrate and unite where we agree, or whether we should self-define and separate where we are different. I feel the former should always predominate.
The second thing which is important to me is the communal vs. private aspect of the faith life. "Spirituality" - again - tends to be private and individual. It enlightens and invigorates, but it doesn't necessarily help us in our public life. Most faith traditions are all about communal life. (Thus Valerie's sense of loss when others in her church aren't active.) The Jesus part of Christian faith is largely about our relationship with each other, as difficult as it can be. This is the "messy" part many seek to avoid - and indeed institutional religion often loses its way here. However we must relate and we must live as community. This, for me, is the failing of some who emphasize spirituality over the complexities of life in community.
Dave Brauer-Rieke, bishop
Oregon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
There is not only a difference in regions within the U.S. but also just within Oregon. I "had" to move out to a VERY CONSERVATIVE SUPER RELIGIOUS part of Beaverton when I met my husband. I am from SE PDX/Mult. Co. where there is more of a "live and let live" attitude. Out here, have been ENDLESSLY preached too and in some cases "shunned" because I am not part of their church or another church. I do consider myself to be spiritual. I was raised in the Christian faith and have NO ISSUE with people who find church necessary. Where I DO begin to have issues is when they act in extreme ways (in the public school my child attends and in all areas of life here) and if you are not on board, you are "lesser." It's so strange to me. Ironically, their actions personify the main reason I have never been able to attend any church long term as an adult -- the group think/"us vs. them"/"we're better/right and you're wrong" mentality does more to turn me off from group religion than anything else. To me, it embodies the exact opposite of biblical teachings. It's sad, as I know their beliefs are strong and I have upmost respect for that, but instead of drawing someone in and knowing them by how they live, I am repelled by the clique/judgmental/angry/condescending attitude.
Despite Portland's secular reputation, it's still difficult for me to admit to people that I am a atheist. I have been told that I am a very kind and generous person but, when I tell them that I have no religious affiliation, they often respond with "I'll pray for you." I resent the idea that I am somehow morally inferior just because I do not adhere to any religious doctrine. Is it really so hard to believe that a person can be "moral" without the fear of a wrathful deity?
I hear ya! I too identify as athiest and most people find that I am a kind and very generous person. But I've been flat out told by conservative evangelical Christians that you cannot possibly be "moral" without being Christian (specifically) because apparently Christianity defines morality...
Secular humanism all the way.
Baha'is offer an explanation for some of negative comments about religious authority. Baha'u'llah taught that when a Prophet is sent to humanity, such as Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, there is a time of spiritual renewal. Believers gain a clearer understanding of God and how to obey Him. Society improves and great advances are made. Over time, the teachings of the prophet become polluted by the desires of men and religious leaders. So God sends another prophet to renew religion again. It is important to distinguish the teachings of the Prophets from the actions and opinions of the followers. Baha'u'llah said we no longer need priests or minisiters; for this teaching he was tortured and imprisioned. He taught religion and science are two parts of the same truth; he taught the women and men are equal--radical ideas in 1863! Religion encourages people to bring themselves to account for they will have to answer to God. This improves society.
Being an 'Ambassador' shouldn't mean forcing your religious tradion upon someone else without their opening the door. Christ offered the best example of how to spread 'the word' -- by example. In living the *Example* of Christ we do our best work in spreading the beauty and understanding of his words. It is not through pushing doctrine and modern interpretation of ancient scripture that we do God's work.
Well put. Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i Faith, said, "Let deeds, not words, be your adorning." Sounds like you are doing the right thing; teaching by example.
Be Happy, Gail
Here's a poem that fits right here:
Stand Up for Judas
The Romans were the emperors
When Jesus walked the land
In Judea and in Galilee
They ruled with an iron hand
The poor were sick with hunger
And the rich were clothed in splendour
And the rebels, whipped and crucified
Hung rotting as a warning
And Jesus knew the answer -
"Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's"
Said, "Love your enemies"
But Judas was a Zealot and he
Wanted to be free
"Resist", he said, "the Romans' tyranny"
So stand up, stand up for Judas
And the cause that Judas served
It was Jesus who betrayed the poor with his word
Now Jesus was a conjuror,
And miracles were his game
He fed the hungry thousands
And they glorified his name
He cured the lame and leper
He calmed the wind and the weather
And the wretched flocked to touch him
So their troubles would be taken
And Jesus knew the answer -
"All you who labour, all you who suffer
Only believe in me"
But Judas sought a world where no-one
Starved or begged for bread
"The poor are always with us", Jesus said
So stand up, stand up for Judas
And the cause that Judas served
It was Jesus who betrayed the poor with his word
Now Jesus sowed division
Where none had been before
Not the slave against the master
But the poor against the poor
Caused son to rise up against father
And brother to fight against brother
For "He that is not with me
Is against me" was his teaching
Said Jesus, "I am the answer
You unbelievers shall burn forever
Shall die in your sins"
"Not sheep or goats" said Judas but
"Together we may dare
Shake off the chains of tyranny we share"
So stand up, stand up for Judas
And the cause that Judas served
It was Jesus who betrayed the poor with his word
Jesus stood upon the mountain
With a distance in his eyes
"I am the Way, the Life" he cried
"The Light that never dies
So renounce all earthly treasures
And pray to your heavenly father"
And he pacified the hopeless
With the hope of life eternal
Said Jesus, "I am the answer
And you who hunger only remember
Your reward's in heaven"
So Jesus preached the other world
But Judas wanted this
And he betrayed his master with a kiss
So stand up, stand up for Judas
And the cause that Judas served
It was Jesus who betrayed the poor with his word
By sword and gun and crucifix
Christ's gospel has been spread
And two thousand cruel years have shown
The way that Jesus led
The heretics burned and tortured
And the butchering bloody Crusaders
The bombs and rockets sanctified
That rain down death from heaven
They followed Jesus, they knew the answer
All unbelievers must be believers
Or else be broken
"So place no trust in saviours"
Judas said, "for everyone
Must be to his or her own self a sun"
No - no it doesn?t ?Fit right here?, Tom. This is a thread about faith in the Pacific Northwest not a platform for your repugnant assertion that all spiritual/religious people are ignorant child abusers. Your rhetoric is beginning to sound insecure. You demand proof from other thread contributors for their beliefs while continuing to spew your goofy logic with impunity. The truly secure believer (non-theist or theist ? just so you don?t mistake my meaning here) can engage others in argument and discourse without resorting to blatantly insulting and mean tactics. But I guess if that?s all you have in your arsenal?
Your thread contributions have only served to crystallize my observation that, when non-theists are given a pop-culture voice by the likes of Dawkins, Hitchins and Harris, they can appear every bit as bigoted, intellectually lazy, mean-spirited, misinformed, uneducated, superstitious and, yes, hypocritical as any theist. Many of us as theists long for a reasoned discussion with someone even half as capable as Aldous Huxley or Bertrand Russell.
Ha ha ha!
The truth sure hurts doesn't it?
But don't worry, I can write what I have been studying and thinking about but I can't and wouldn't even try to get you to question what you've been told was true.
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge. -- Daniel J. Boorstin
You have "received knowledge" so you have no need to question it, how you got it, or who benefited from giving it to you. You refuse to "discover" because you have the "illusion of knowledge".
"You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think". Old playboy joke.
And by the way, I appreciate your courage in posting under your own name instead of using a pseudonym like a less courageous person would. After all that is the rule for posting here isn't it?
Oh, that's right, you don't, you're above the rules of normal humans, because you're a religionist.
One of our guests today is Gregg Harris, a well-known Evangelican minister in his own right, and father of the rock stars of online Christianity, Brett and Alex Harris. At their website, you?ll find the post I mentioned about challenging adult expectations.
***ooops. I just realized I misattributed the quote on air to Brett & Alex. They were quoting John Piper. Apologies to the Harrises!! --ab
Applying Occams Razor I find that the only difference between religious people and non-religious people is a belief in some imaginary supernatural being.
Religious people like to wrap their belief with various things to make it more palatable and pretty; things like ideas of justice, doing good, etc but those are common to all human beings. But the only difference is in keeping their imaginary childhood friends way too far into grownup adulthood.
Grownups put aside their imaginary childhood friends and face and deal with reality straight on.
"Grownups put aside their imaginary childhood friends and face and deal with reality straight on. "
Your reality isn't everyone else's reality. That you can't find evidence for God doesn't mean God doesn't exist any more than the fact that you can't independantly find proof of 'quarks' means that quarks don't exist.
It is not to me to prove a negative, it is to you to prove your alleged positive. You make the assertion that there is a God, so it's up to you to put up or shut up, show us the evidence!
For some 3,000 years nobody has been able to present any evidence, all the way back to the starter, the man who would be King. And any child who questioned was beaten and intimidated into acquiescence.
Show me the money!
I am a proud pagan. I have been for some time now. The professer from Vermont, I believe, has a flaw in his thinking. There are some religions that do not have a common "place of worship." I have several friends who are also pagan. Once a month, we go out to a nice wooded area and discuss what it is to be pagan, what it means to each of us, and how we feel about it. If you look and the Portland/Salem area, you will not find one Pagan temple around. How does he judge pagans? How does he judge people who belong to a religion but can not attend services because there is no house of worship?
Pagan in the northwest has been hard for me. I think most pagans will agree with me that it may not be the best of idea's to claim your religion out in the open. I personally have been called names, slapped, and even attacked by people simply because of what I believe in. There are still alot of misconceptions about paganism. 9/11 was a direct cause of alot of misconceptions about the muslem faith. There are still some people out there that believe, honestly, that all muslims want to destroy America. We know that is not true. The same misconceptions about pagans exist: That pagans worship the devil, that pagans sacrefice people and/or animals. I believe that education needs to happen before all people of all faiths can live in piece. Once that happens, I also believe alot of the violance out there will go away.
Thank you for trying to dismiss some of the misconceptions about your chosen path. The more we know about the truth of one another's beliefs, the more we can understand that all those who claim a religious or spiritual identification are basically all trying to be good and make the most out of their time on this planet. Ignorance breeds prejudice. Knowledge can bring down walls.
Be Happy, Gail
I am a Christian who has a personal relationship with God our father. My soul weeps for the State of Oregon and this world that has been deceived by Satan into believing that we do not need God. Only Jesus was raised from the dead. Not Budda nor Mohammad. Only Jesus. My role is to show God through me and to bring him to those who do not know him. God loves us all. By reading his word (the Bible) and understanding his word we will draw closer to him. Nature and trees cannot save you. Only Jesus can save you.
God isn't "our father." God is our father, our mother, our sister, our brother. God in the original Hebrew is a verb ( "I Am" ) and is without gender. My soul weeps for you that you feel the need to usurp God's judgement for yourself.
As for 'rebirth' (or ressurection), your theological assertion that Christ is the only one raised from the dead is inaccurate.
If you want to show God through you, then you should be a shining example like Christ and embrace the marginalized, poor, those outside of society rather than attacking them. Nature and trees can save you in this life. In the after life, what constitutes being 'saved' is a personal matter.
The I Am refers to the one who answers the question "what is your name?" the answer is "I am", then my name. You, Dionys, are "that" I am. You are the referent! That is what Joseph Campbell said Jesus meant. You are the god referred to, all mankind are the god referred to, not some supernatural being.
What if you don't want to be saved?
I remember being told as a child that because I was athiest that I would burn in hell...
Later I heard a retort to that statement that I found so perfect, I will repeat it here:
"That's one way to keep me from joining your crazy cult!"
Why would anyone who cares about all of humanity wish to believe that certain people's "souls" will suffer for eternity? It seems antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.
" Why would anyone who cares about all of humanity wish to believe that certain people's "souls" will suffer for eternity? It seems antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. "
It is. Which is why not all Christians take this path.
See I know that... because I've talked to more than one "sect" of Christian. But it is really the most appalling thing for me to see when someone puts this sort of statement out there... it's like the poster who says he thinks religious people are "arrogant." When they act like this: THEY ARE!
I respect people who are Christian because they follow the teachings of Jesus and want the world to be a better place and enjoy the "community" and traditions of the church.
But I don't want to be prayed for because I don't believe, and I certainly am turned off by those who will say that I will burn in hell because I don't believe what they do... I mean, this person actually said that people who follow other religions are wrong... do they realize that they are in the minority? I think not -- they isolate themselves in their cult and don't look at the reality of the world.
"Only Jesus was raised from the dead. Not Budda nor Mohammad. Only Jesus." "Only Jesus can save you."
Two words: Prove it. And don't say, "You have to have faith." Faith is belief, and in order to believe in something there has to be a good reason to do so, other than "That's what my mommy told me when I was a kid and now rather than face the fact that it's all b.s. and deal with the ensuing mental crisis, I'll defend it with moronic slogans and force it on everyone else instead." Again, prove it.
I am an American born Sikh. My parents both came from Christian backgrounds and converted to Sikhism before I was born. I went to a Sikh Boarding School in India. I have lived in all parts of the US. I am originally from Florida. I have lived here in Eugene for the past 11 years. I have found South Eugene area to be extremely accepting and inviting to the Sikh community. My daughter went to a Jewish pre school for the past two years and loved it. We have the interfaith service each 11 of the month whick brings faiths together in a very positive way. There is the middle east peace group that brings religions of the middle east together for Peace.
As long as you know who you are and and am willing to see the other person as you, you can find the similarities, while respecting and appreciating the differences.
Overall, my experience in Eugene has been that it is full of spiritually aware and curious people, who are open to allowing people of all faiths to be practice that faith.
Sikhs wear their identity very openly, yet not out of fanatism or exclusion, but for the right to express our identity and that our identity is the life that we live and practise.
My advice to people is to meet others and ask questions and educate yourselves on the world around you because there in no black and white and no one diementional spiritual path or person practising it.
My thoughts parallel Linda Martin's. I too am a science writer in Portland that grew up in Alabama going to a Southern Baptist church. My disgust with organized religion grew from growing up listening week after week about how humans were doomed to never be worthy of God's love. Coupled with the fact that the congregation was more concerned with the weekly show of fashion that spiritual journeys, I turned away from organized religion altogether. I find my spirituality in nature, and therefore love being in Oregon because "religion" can be tailored to individual needs and exploration of spirituality is encouraged not condemned.
But I'd like to be clear, that I do not (and believe like-minded people do not) worship nature, I find the essence of humanity--of being one of many living beings--when I am in nature.
Thanks, Virginia. I hope I didn't express that I worship Nature. I no longer worship. The church I grew up in was similar to yours, but it wasn't an organized religion (the Church of Christ, but not the United Church of Christ). I'm sure you will recognize it. It's great to know that there is another person with a similar background and profession! Thanks for your encouragement.
P.S. I fully understand your reference to the "weekly show of fashion." You expressed our collective experience extremely well.
Religions were created in the times of top down rulers like pharoahs, kings, emperors, popes, and that ilk, and are unsuited to modern democracy, which is people governing themselves.
Rulers rule through fear and intimidation with religion as their installation tool, and democracies govern by cooperating and negotiating with each other.
I like what the current guest is suggesting, insofar that Americans go through the motions without much contemplation. I was baptized Presbyterian, but found in my youth that the congregants simply showed up to socialize, to don their new dresses and suits, etc. It was never spiritual or reflective. If anything, services were dogmatic and repressive. I have discovered since, in my adulthood, the power of meditation--whether Zen or otherwise--and believe that Oregon greatly enhances the Transcendental experience. Religion and faith are fine and dandy, insofar that people think for themselves, and reflect on their relationship with each other, and Nature.
Iam 52. I have been in and out of churches of many doctrines my whole life and I have come to at least one conclusion. Even though the members of those churches were dedicated and convinced... They (the numerous doctrines) cannot all be correct, so that none of them probably are. I believe that the nature and will of God (if there is one) is largely ineffible. Anyone who thinks they have the "inside track" to him is kidding not only himself but others.
I too visited many churches and other places of worship when I was young and studied comparative religion. I found more similarities than differences in the core teachings brought by the founders.
Only in the Baha'i Faith have I found the belief that all of these paths to God are valid, that all refresh spiritual truth from time to time and offer a social teaching suited to the time in which they appear.
Now if the time for world unity and justice for all human beings.
Check out the Bahai Faith, if you like...at Bahai.org
Be Happy, Gail
As a "p.s." I do concur with the thoughts that the natural beauty of this place does make you feel more "spiritual" and/or "religious" as how can you see the abundance of beauty around us and not at least ponder something greater than yourself. I know there are atheists who see it differently, and I have no issue with that. So, I guess, I think there is a place for all. Whether you see a divine hand in what is around you or whether you don't, we can all experience the joy and celebrate the beauty we live in.
Religion is the absolute worst form of child abuse, it is mental, it leaves no physical scars but great psychological scars. It makes people susceptable to propaganda, non-factual assertions by rulers. Religion is the reason that Conservative Evangelicals believed without question the lies that Bush/Cheney told about WMDs in Iraq.
Religion is basic boot camp for training people to believe propaganda without question!
What you say is true of some religions, but children of Baha'is are taught from the beginning that independent search for truth is a fundamental right and God-given responsibility.
We have no clergy; each individual can read the revelations from God and choose to follow the guidance or not. Truth is free; and it needs no coercion.
Check out Bahai.org if you like.
Be Happy, Gail
I reject strongly any religion, but particularly those that proselytize door to door or have "campaigns" for membership. What's it all for? If it doesn't relate to helping the community at large, to work for social justice, and built communities of understanding rather than division. The fault of evangelical christians is that their goal is "stonger" beliefs or to "stand up for God" is that they build walls rather than bridges by pointing fingers at non-evangelicals as apostate or worse. As a Catholic, I believe that God gave us the duty to help others, to join with and respect those who love the truth and build understanding so that we can live in a better world.
I'm a Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) in a small Eastern Oregon town. I'm grateful to be able to worship in the way I choose and I'm happy to let others worship as they choose - in fact I enjoy the diversity of religion that surrounds us in our state.
One of our creeds states, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."
In my small town of about 2,000 there are approximately 2 dozen churches to choose from.
In our church services many times thankfulness for the scenic beauty of our surroundings are expressed in prayers and in testimonies.
I have personally found people to be open to my religion. In my workplace, my boss has been especially accomodating to my belief of keeping the Sabbath Day holy, which surprised and pleased me.
For me, baptism is an important step - therefore organized religion is important - because it's following Christ's example. Eventhough he was perfect and had no need for baptism, he set the example for us. His life is a pattern for us to follow and His sacfrice was for us all and He lives!
As a child my religious examples ranged from a very religious Presbyterian mother to a non religious geologist father. At the age of twelve I was thrown out of confirmation class because of my questions as to how one could interpret ?The Apostles? Creed.? I recall having a particular problem reconciling the concept of the Trinity with monotheism.
?Young man, if you can?t accept the Creed exactly as written, you are not a Christian.? is what the minister said. So I left Christianity and became an observer of religion.
That was sixty four years ago. I had the good fortune to meet and marry a girl who had a similar disbelief in God, Heaven and Hell. We are both strong believers in the golden rule, at least where it can be logically applied.
I am happy with my choice not to fight my ?excommunication? from Christianity. I am proud to have seen the light at the tender age of 12.
I went through the same experience as yours at the age of 12 in the Presbyterian church. For awhile, I visited many Faiths and clung to the Golden Rule.
I found out about the Baha'i Faith at the age of 17 and was so happy to find a religion that explained God is an unknowable Essence, that mankind is one and that all of the religions are really one, ever-evolving.
you might find it interesting at Bahai.org.
Be Happy, Gail
I am a spiritual man: a Southern Baptist. I am proud of that because of the core beliefs of our Baptist faith. I believe that God created man so that we might have, if we choose, a personal relationship with Him and that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. I believe that the Bible is God?s word, given to us through those He endowed with His Holy Spirit. The knowledge that God is at work around me is a great comfort, and a guiding force in my life. I was not always aware of His work, but have learned, through prayer and adult Sunday School, to recognize it, to act upon it, and give God the glory for it. I am not perfect, but Jesus leads me toward improvement and a turning away from my sin. I am also blessed to have a great pastor to help me grow in my faith, and a loving church family that has always been supportive and caring of my wife and I. It?s this loving and caring environment that has sustained us through trials and ordeals that might have led us to a life less pleasing to God. Our church family is one of the more appealing aspects of our church: second only to the spiritual growth we?ve enjoyed.
Living in the Pacific Northwest (Newberg, Or.), we, as a church, see our un-churched brothers and sisters and our concern for them weighs heavily on our hearts. Our expression of faith manifests itself in our love for our enemies as well as our friends, and we are convicted to bring them to the redeeming salvation only Christ can give. We love our brothers and sister (as Christ commanded) so much that we can not bear to see anyone spend eternity in hell, especially our friends and family. For no one comes before the Father except through Jesus Christ. So God has placed those who are so convicted here in the Northwest so we might accomplish His will. You might say, it?s a target rich environment.
People here are not generally hostile to our outreach, but neither are they embracing us. We enjoy very modest success at best. By my experience, people will just walk the other way if you approach them with a Bible in your hand. The open hostility seems to be coming from these opinion polls where folks can express themselves in the relative safety of anonymity. The hostility also seems to be mostly directed at the institution of religion rather than at God.
I have come to realize that the negative image religion has garnered has been wrongly blamed on God and His church. I realize that a lot of evil has been perpetrated in the name of God and religion throughout history. I also know that this was not from God, but from the evil one who would destroy what God has built. Satan enters a man?s heart as easily as God when that man turns away from God to serve his own selfish interests such as greed, power, and lust. When a priest commits sins of the flesh, it is to satisfy his own carnal lusts, and is not from God. When a televangelist begs for your money and promises God?s favor, it is to satisfy his own greed, and is not from God. They have received their reward here on Earth, and will not receive their heavenly reward as a consequence.
I am constantly amazed at peoples' ability to function in and navigate through a sensible, physical world ? and still cower behind the variable B.S. of their particular superstition. I am also amazed at the number of political candidates who seem to think I'll consider their belief in spirits and invisible friends to be a qualification for a job that will allow them to affect my life.
Any belief system that posits an omniscient and omnipotent deity like Christianity or Islam also predisposes its followers to assume the most arrogant of postures ? created in the image of their god. Simultaneously, they are enjoined to believe that they come from "sin" and must spend their lives preparing for some brass ring when they die. No wonder that "believers" can't appreciate the sense of awe and wonder a convinced atheist feels when looking out at the vast grandeur of the galaxies and the spaces between them. We are intimately aware that there is something greater than ourselves, but it's right there in front of us ? not up in cloud-land ? and it is part of us and is our source.
How would I react except with patient bemusement when the Vatican says it's ok to believe that there may be intelligent life on other planets. That's big of the Pope to concede such a thing ? credible authority that he is with his red shoes, dress and funny hat.
How would any reasonable person react except with outrage and disgust to some of the barbaric practices protected and propagated under the shield of religion ? mass public circumcision of boys in sports stadiums in the middle east, "honor" killings (murders) of female relatives who had the audacity to be looked at or touched (or assaulted) by a man not related to them, wholesale "shunning" of congregants who dare to question the "true faith" of their church, excommunication of those who end their marriages as if the administrative infrastructure of their faith system had any real authority over them. How else but with incredulity should I respond to those who assert that they have found "the way" and proceed to convince me with their circular reasoning and reliance on null authority?
Those who cling so stubbornly to their faith without examining it from outside suffer from a kind of fear peculiar to the small-minded. They fear that, without the over-arching protection of an agency (God) upon which to hang responsibility for their own creation and upon whose glory to hitch their destiny-wagon, they will have to fall back on their own inadequate devices to determine right from wrong. Surely, being mere humans (although claiming the apex of so-called creation), we cannot possibly have any way to determine right from wrong without the omniscient guidance of a God - "Great Sky-Father" - who himself exhibits the manners and ethics of a spoiled child.
Don?t get me wrong ? I absolutely respect anyone's right to have any religion they choose. I absolutely do not respect the religion itself, or its practice if it impinges in any way upon my life. Religion is intellectually dishonest and dangerously obstructive to real personal growth, and I will not be dragged along by the slipstream of your flight heavenward. I will never grant any authority over my life to any one who tells me ? especially with a straight face ? that they will explain "God" to me. When the rapture comes, can I have your car?
?...and still cower behind the variable B.S. of their particular superstition?
Not sure I understand. I see hundreds of religious people every week who are involved and helping their communities, giving of their finances and time and personally sacrificing their immediate desires in order to aid others.
??number of political candidates who seem to think I'll consider their belief in spirits and invisible friends to be a qualification for a job that will allow them to affect my life??
Fair enough and well stated.
?Any belief system that posits an omniscient and omnipotent deity like Christianity or Islam also predisposes its followers to assume the most arrogant of postures ? created in the image of their god.?
To you it appears arrogant, to many spiritual people it brings meaning and purpose to life. To be created in the image of a highly improbable accident doesn?t do much for a sense of purpose in this life. Oh wait, you?re from the Foucault school of thought, i.e. ?There simply is no purpose in life?get over it.? Well alright but this philosophy has proven simply unlivable to many individuals that are smarter than you or me ? arguably even to Foucault. What I find to be arrogant is the assumption that > 93% of the earths? population is backward, mislead and uncritical while you, magically enough, seem to have all the obvious answers.
?No wonder that "believers" can't appreciate the sense of awe and wonder a convinced atheist feels when looking out at the vast grandeur of the galaxies and the spaces between them. We are intimately aware that there is something greater than ourselves, but it's right there in front of us ? not up in cloud-land ? and it is part of us and is our source.?
Oh where to start. This statement demonstrates a lack of even remedial understanding of scientific history and the contributions to it by Christianity. Starting with the preservation of literacy and learning after the fall of the Western Empire, through St. Thomas Aquinas and his development of rigorously logical theology, on over to Nicolaus Copernicus and the advent of the Scientific Revolution, and on to Fresnel, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Eddington and on and on and on?. It is because, not it spite of, our doctrine of a created universe that Christians believe the universe can be understood logically in the first place. There is not much point in studying a random system for too long because you never come to repeatable conclusions. And FYI, the idea of a random and non-created universe was around long before Darwin. That one goes aaaaaaaaaall the way back to ancient paganism. So if you wish to feel more enlightened in your non-belief, that?s fine I suppose.
?Those who cling so stubbornly to their faith without examining it from outside suffer from a kind of fear peculiar to the small-minded.?
Yes, you?re absolutely correct.
?Surely, being mere humans (although claiming the apex of so-called creation), we cannot possibly have any way to determine right from wrong without the omniscient guidance of a God?
No, we cannot. Philosophers have tried building a moral framework without God for millennia and gotten nowhere fast. Without God my morality is as good as yours, is as good as Hitlers and there is no way you can posit otherwise without slipping in the concept of an overarching morality created by someone or something. Natual law? Not a chance. As Ravi Zacharias would counter, ?In some cultures they love their neighbors, in others they eat them. Do you have a preference?? Even Bertrand Russell was not as certain of this dogma as you seem to be for when confronted with the question of morality?s bedrock during a debate with Frederick Copleston, Russell claimed he knew right from wrong ??by feeling, what else??. Well I?m sure Pol Pot felt moral too.
"Businesses may come and go, but religion will last forever, for in no other endeavor does the consumer blame himself for product failure." Naldo Dantini.
I recommend "The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell, if you want to really learn about religions all over the world; all of Karen Armstrong's work, Elaine Pagels, and some I've forgotten, darnit.
Here is an interesting piece:
"New Torah for Modern Minds"
"Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions -- the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years -- have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity -- until now."
Many people around the world have become alienated from religion and God by what is and has been done in the name of God. In our country, for most people, the religious right exemplifies Christianity and, especially in progressive Oregon, people don't want any part of that. I usually don't mention anything about being a Christian to people when I first meet them as I don't want to be stuck in the "religious fanatic" box.
My hope is that people will look deeply into what is happening in many churches and find a church/synagogue/mosque etc. that enables their spiritual journey. such places do exist! Imagine a religious community that hopes you will keep asking questions such as:
1) is it possible that heaven and hell coexist here on earth?
2) is sin all about sex and drugs or is it really about not living up to our potential as fully self actualized humans?
3) is everything in the Bible literal?
4) can a story be True without being true?
I find my church community to be the most important place to ask these questions and share with others in their journey. My church helps me to see God in every person and to work towards social justice and co-create heaven with God right here today.
Religions are human institutions and as such are fallible. Just because terrible things have happened in the past doesn't mean that we have to throw in the towel. Keep the faith!
I think this show presents a fabulous topic. There is alot of, well, judging by reading some posts it seems like animosity isn't too strong of a word, against Christians particularly strong in Portland Metro area. This isn't new to me.
I appreciated the Muslim caller who said that he noticed that talking about religion to white people made them particularly tense, but didn't find this same level of tension when discussing religion with immigrant groups. Talking about religion makes alot of people uncomfortable, if not in all the US, particularly in Portland.
By way of observation after 20 years of being a Portland resident and through this thread, there is a good deal of offense at the Catholic and Christian churches. People in Portland don't like Christians much and faith issues do make people bristle here. I too don't typically mention my faith unless directly asked because I would like to avoid the pigeonhole I will get slammed into, or I don't want to have to duck to avoid the rotten vegetables I can mentally see being lobbed at me.
And ironically, Portland is supposed to be this very open-minded place. Yes, it is, as long as you agree with the majority of blue voters and their post-modern mindset.
I want to hear more about how church leaders, like the ones on the show, approach the not merely skeptical, but our current age that would rank anyone of faith with the cave-men because they consider faith to be a testimony to backwardness.
Thanks for the topic of today's show. I want the dialogue to continue, if for no other reason than to challenge the church to have something to say to our current Portland climate of having "evolved past" religion/church or faith.
"I want to hear more about how church leaders, like the ones on the show, approach the not merely skeptical, but our current age that would rank anyone of faith with the cave-men because they consider faith to be a testimony to backwardness. "
Very intelligent people believe, the question I have is why?
The explanation has to do with how it is installed and who is targeted and at what age, among other things.
A Jesuit priest said "give me a child before the age of seven and I'll give you a Catholic". Now what can we learn from that?
Consider a child, who is totally dependent on parents and authority figures for food, shelter, nurturing, and lessons about how to live and what the world is like and then consider who benefits when that child is told to believe without question whatever an authority figure pronounces as "truth".
That child is under the risk of "excommunication" from her own parents, food, and shelter, if she questions or asks for evidence of that "truth".
Consider peer pressure, how would that child find friends or companions?
There is so much pressure to go along to get along that it gets far too easy to just give in.
Now ask how many human dysfunctions are because of religion?
It is monstrous! It is three thousand years of child abuse at the whim of a King!
It is time to say no!
?That child is under the risk of "excommunication" from her own parents, food, and shelter, if she questions or asks for evidence of that "truth".?
C?mon ? I don?t believe this in general for a moment and I doubt you do either, Mr. Ford. Having been reared in a Christian family, I was always free to doubt, question and even reject my parents? faith - as I did for many years - without fear of losing the love, protection and guidance of my parents and friends. In addition, most of my friends were and still are Christian. To the best of my knowledge, they?ve all managed to question, modify or abandon their faith at times throughout life under their own guidance without fear of retribution from their parents. Come to think of it, I don?t personally know of one individual whose experience even remotely resembles your statement above.
?Consider peer pressure, how would that child find friends or companions??
Roller skating, church, school, the mall ? what, do you think we all lived chained to a church dungeon wall somewhere?
?There is so much pressure to go along to get along that it gets far too easy to just give in.?
Sigh ? yes. And we had to give in to brussels sprouts and broccoli as well. It was truly a shameful period of childhood.
"Now ask how many human dysfunctions are because of religion?
It is monstrous! It is three thousand years of child abuse at the whim of a King!"
I'm tired of seeing this old, flaccid argument flung about in these religious debates. It's so completely intellectually dishonest I don't know where to begin. OK, let's begin with Stalin and atheistic communism, under whose purges millions of his nations own died - millions more continue to suffer even today in the name of this anti-religious worldview.
I don?t even take Dawkins seriously when he espouses this argument. So really, lovingly leading a child down a spiritual path through their formative years is tantamount to child abuse? Give us all a break. Perhaps we should withhold judgment calls about nutrition or bicycle safety from our children as well since that would be imposing our will on them and they should be free to discover these things on their own.
What you cannot possibly realize, Mr. Ford, is that many, many (> 93% of world population) people really do believe in a spiritual reality that they consider to be of at least equal importance with nutrition and physical safety. They also consider their childrens? spiritual training to be honorable and sacred and don?t take kindly to anyone painting it as child abuse! That is simply inflammatory and misinformed rhetoric that serves no purpose in civil dialog.
A credulous defense of ignorance. You're inside your box and determined to stay there. I can't blame you because I used to live in fear also.
But come on out and play, leave your god-fear behind! It isn't some imaginary god you need to be afraid of, it is the people who created that imaginary god that are the very real threat.
Tom, I'm disappointed. I was maybe hoping for an articulate, point-by-point rebuttal - but all you got is cheap slogans and school yard insults.
You know, had we met under different circumstances we probably could have enjoyed a beer together. It's too bad really.
hb1736: Good post, thanks.
I would tend to agree with your perception of the hostility and presumptions many of the comments express, especially against Christians; we are fools, child abusers, and/or slaves to what they assume we were taught as children. Kind of hard to overcome such prejudice, especially when they are taking on the very ?holier than thou? attitude that they would paint all of us with.
So, how do you find yourself sharing your faith with folks like these? I know it?s a struggle for me to keep a proper perspective, even though I once was like them... I find myself wondering all too often how can what is so obvious to me now seem to have eluded them, especially the older ones who should have had enough time to not only hear the Good News but see the disappointment of life without that hope.
I wish I were better able to reach out to everyone, but have discovered that I am best where and with whom I'm gifted the chances. There are too many who want our help and need His hope; for the rest I feel limited to talking with Da (or Daddy, Pops, Abba, etc.) for them.
I think the best way to express any faith is through service. Education, medical attention and all whole variety of service opportunities await Christians who will no more than seek them out.
Giving people what they need, when they need it will always go further than reading bible verses to them that they don't comprehend. Christ didn't merely preach, he healed and taught. That is why people flocked to him. They killed him for what he said (that he was the son of God), they followed him for what he did.
Christians prey on children, the weak, and poor, they're easier to manipulate and brainwash. How sleazy!
"...they're easier to manipulate and brainwash."
Easier than whom? If you mean non-theists, you're not doing a very good job of bearing out that point. It's fair to say that your posts exhibit a very knee jerk and uncritical (dare I say brainwashed) ideology concerning religion. I must say, your faith is stronger than mine, dude.
Ah well, this thread is getting old and cold. Don't forget to turn off the lights when you leave, ok Tom. Thanks.
"dare I say brainwashed"
Ayup! Washing my brain of the ignorance of religion! Cleaning out the filthy lies told by religionists!
"When I was a child I spoke as a child and acted as a child, when I became an adult I put away childish things" or similar words. I put away my imaginary "god" friends when I became a grownup. Why don't you?
(sigh) ok, Tom:
"Christians prey on children, the weak, and poor"
hmmm... one misspelling and one word off... I would submit that a true statement would be:
"Christians pray for children, the weak, and poor..."
One might also replace the rest of the comment with "and they try to find ways to help them and give them hope."
Perhaps the reply was meant for a different post, it would seem a non-sequitur for what I wrote. Considering your other contributions in this thread, I do wonder why you choose to repeat the same things as if we didn?t hear you (ok, read you) the first time... not trying to pick a fight, are you? I would have hoped you were perceptive enough to at least stay on topic within the train of thought you chose to reply to... especially since you seem willing elsewhere to press the ?post your reply? button for a first level entry.
Comments are now closed.