Fundamentalism   46 comments

Fundamentalist Christians in America scare me.

In America ABC’s 20/20 recently did a story about a particular group of fundamentalist Christian churches.  They are extreme in their beliefs and in the way they seek to implement them.  Men are always right, women have no rights, and if a woman is raped the Christian thing to do is forgive and forget, and not to press charges.

I don’t seem to be able to post the clips here myself, so here is a 7 minute clip of the 20/20 show.

I was truly sad after watching that.  The way people can be so abused and made to think they are at fault when they clearly aren’t is horrifying.  Abuses of power like that are disgusting!  And the cover ups that go with them make me angry and sick!  How dare these men abuse young women (and older women) and make them think it’s ok, that the men have a right to behave however they like!  This next clip may help you understand the attitude that underpins that behaviour.

The pastor of one of the churches who was interviewed responded to part of the 20/20 piece in front of his congregation.  Watch that here.

What a jackass.  If that’s his attitude towards women no wonder they are abused in his church!  Women clearly have no value in that place.  People who twist God’s word to suit their own purposes make me so angry!  This is the very definition of spiritual abuse: using a twisted version of God’s word to back up your own agenda.  I can’t tell whether he actually believes this rubbish (maybe it’s been passed down to him) or whether he just loves the power of his position and will do anything to reinforce it.  Probably a combination of the two.  I hope that guy isn’t married.  I would feel so bad for his wife!

There are many more things I could say on this subject, but I think everyone who reads this will be on the same page and I don’t need to keep going on about how disgusting this is, and how it is such a twisted, dangerous version of God’s word.

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Posted April 13, 2011 by Ludicrousity in Uncategorized

46 responses to “Fundamentalism

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  1. A lot of small isolated one off churches in the US have the characteristics of cults.. exclusive, tightly based on one or two families, dominated by a single personality, unaffiliated or spurring ecumenism or a shared or academically credible theology

    the westboro Baptist church stalking soldier’s funerals being a case in point
    There is, as Spike would say, “a lot of it about”

    • I know that, but these guys are not a church like that. They’re bit, and are part of a network of similar churches all over America. It makes it even more terrifying.
      And I can’t believe the westboro baptist church even call themselves Christians. Shameful.

  2. Not quite sure what this has to do with Fundamentalism. Sounds like it’s more a case of combining zealotry with confused doctrine.

    I can’t help but recite that awesome documentary title: “Jesus, Save Me From Your Followers!”

    I’m pretty sure I’m Fundamentalist Christian (at least as far as I can tell by the strict definition), and it’s a shame when people use fundamentalist values to do… well, that.

    But I guess you could say the same about anyone who actually believes in something…

    • Fundamentalism is a brand of Christianity in America, it’s not the kind of definition you’re thinking of. They are militant and literal with their interpretations. And this story has everything to do with fundamentalism. It is a direct result of their view of women. Of course if women aren’t valued this sort of behaviour will go unchecked, because the men are more valuable and powerful. There is a culture of subservience that can become abusive in these strict, fundamentalist churches. It’s horrible and shouldn’t be tolerated.

  3. Is it just me, or does Pastor “Schlepppppp” have more than a passing resemblance to our on Mad Monk in terms of physicality, swagger, “erm, um, er” and mannerisms???

    The issues of control, patriarchy, superiority etc., are typical of ‘men’ in power, be they in a church, in an office (oval and otherwise), or in a small town in Scottsdale… They are Narcissistic.

    Coincidentally, the Insight programme did a show on Narcissism last night, and these guys (and women too) are classic Narcissists, bordering on, well, let’s not stuff about, they’re pathological.

    Which makes them incredibly dangerous, and nearly impossible to reason with, in fact, Schlapphimstoopid would be impossible to deal with, and I feel that he would have me dealt with by having his buddies ‘not spare the rod’ on me.

    At the core of his belief is indefatigable self-belief that he is 100% correct in all he does, and says. Yet, as I said to begin with, I’ve worked with countless degrees of this as evidenced in the men and women I’ve had the mis-fortunate privilege to work with/for/under. If it was just in the church, it would be a much smaller (though no less despicable) problem that could be stamped out by judiciary means.

    Some of this Narcissism makes for very effective leaders, but the Mad Monk Abbot and Schaap are clearly not those, unless of course your desire is to be led into a living hell on earth.

    And people wonder why I’m an atheist…

    • why are you an athiest? :P

      • Heya Kris (O:

        Good question (O: I find it inconceivable to believe that there exists an entity that is supposed to control everything, when clearly, there is nothing remotely resembling the existence of such an entity.

        Ergo, if I went to the Police and said that I had seen a burning bush in the mall and from it a voice said, “Go to the Town of the Non Eastern Fruit and tell yer friend Kris that he needs to move out of his house and let you sell it. If he refuses, tell him that I will smote his onions out of existence!”

        I can see the men in little white suits now; I would be certified and treated. Yet, this is one of the premises for the foundation of Judaism and Christianity.

        The Wee Townsend asked her Mam the other day, “If god made everything, who made god?”

        I prefer to think that there is no god, than to believe there is god that is just so absurd in all that ‘he’ is meant to be able to do, not do etc., etc.

        DNA’s Infinite Improbability Drive actually seems more plausible in contrast (O:

  4. Just wanted to add, Fundamentalist anything, including Atheism, gives me the willies, and we know it’s not just confined to Meerca – the Exclusive Brethren (as opposed to the nicer Inclusive Sistahood) are one such local example.

    Be afeared, be very affeared… They’re closer to home than you think…

    (O:

    • Fundamentalists are mental! In reply to your reply to my smart ass question…If I believe in God (which I do and which is fraught with such peril to say because when I say I believe in God then usually the reader/listener will have their own picture of what God is and will assume that’s what I’m representing…long winded!) do I need to believe in a God that is in control? I don’t see much evidence to suggest so. I see creation, I sometimes see what I would call God being at work in peoples lives. I don’t see a controlling God, I don’t see much, it’s all a bit of a mystery as to why God is so hidden but must be partly to do with not controlling.

      I don’t really believe in an interventionist God, I reckon it’s a free will set up we have going here and I wouldn’t want it any other way, I can’t imagine it any other way either. In my faith I’ve provided a loophole acknowledging that God can intervene and nothing is beyond God’s capability which is contradictory to my main belief. So no fundamentalism here, I’m still a bit confused and just trying to figure out how it all works and why.

      If God made made everything then who made God? Great question but wether it comes from a wee lil’ un or a seasoned genius the answer is still incomprehensible being that the truth of where everything or where God came from lies out of our linear realm and therefore I would suggest beyond our understanding. Hence To believe in a God is no more or less absurd in my reckoning than to not to. No one’s beliefs deserve ridicule…except those crazy ultra fundamentalists. :P

      • Thanks Kris for your considered answer to my answer to your question *giggle – let there be more long windedness!… Here, as you knew I would, is my own longer windedness (O:

        You see creation, I see evolution – the ‘hand of god’ in all things is a fundamental (but not fundamentalist) tenant of faith in the absence of proof; looking at nature, I don’t see a creator or Intelligent Designer, I see the shift and pull of countless generations of forebears, each one different from the last, adaptable, changeable and some, some, so far removed from the original as to think the two were ever the same. “What about the Sharks!!!!”, I hear you say! What about them? They’re a crap football team… (O:

        I don’t believe in an interventionist god, either, which would make Nick quite happy (Cave, not McK – although…) – You have chosen, through free will, to believe that god exists, and in the absence of proof to the contrary, to allow for the possibility that if god does exist, then god can intervene. I find that a little bit confusing too.

        Why? Well, it’s a bit like someone (let’s say me, for example) who says, “I’m going to step off a 1000 foot tall mountain, and place my trust in a “magical/supernatural/inanimate/life saving” 2×2 metre/2mm thick piece of glass to intercede on my behalf, and to support my weight suspended 1000 feet up in the air. When I step onto it, it might break, but I’m going to allow for the possibility it won’t and that it will do what it is intended to do.”

        Now, my mind says, “Are you nuts? Of course it will break, and I’ll fall 1000 feet to my death?” But my faith says, “No, it’s Ok, I’m going to trust that the unforeseen strength of this, “magical/supernatural/inanimate/life saving” glass will intervene and keep me safe from harm, because I’ve allowed for that contingency in my belief system.”

        “Ridiculous!”, I hear you say, “Ludicrous!” Megan replies! (O:

        Does this piece of “magical/supernatural/inanimate” glass exist a 1000 feet above the ground to which I might step onto, knowing that in the face of all evidence that it probably doesn’t, and yet put my faith in its ability to protect me from a 1000 foot fall because it possibly might exist? Yes, it’s possible, but it’s actually highly improbable. So, ‘you’ve’ chosen to believe in the existence of a ‘magical/supernatural/inanimate/life saving glass platform’ from free choice, despite the lack of proof to the contrary, because it might exist, where as I choose not to ‘believe in’ it, because in all probability, it does not, nor do I believe in the ‘supernatural’, and my death is inevitable.

        “But, you can’t compare, god to an imaginary, non-existent, magical/supernatural/inanimate/life saving floating glass floor!!!” Actually, I can, and I believe I just did. (O:

        Not to forget the other, more practical matters of how it stays suspended, how I reach it, or who put it there in the first place. My faith and trust in it, in the face of the absence of proof of its existence, or how it might support me when, or if, I find it/get there/fall, are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out there on the scale of things to believe in. “Every one has something to believe in; I believe I’ll have another beer!” To which we say, “Amen!”

        Linearity? All things are constructs (Neo), and linear realms are ones that I choose to see as one of the big deceptions of humanities existence? How is life linear, Kris? Where have we come from in order to be going to in/along/on this line? What is the difference between you now, today, from the moment you were born? Where is the line that has brought you to this point in time and existence?

        To my way of thinking, there is no line, for we are still living in the continuous; there has been no break in the continuum of my life, beginning with the arrival of my naked, hair-free, chubby entry into the world to the clothed, hairy, keg-esque me that I am today. Perception/constructs tell me that I’ve ‘travelled’ through ‘time’, that I have ‘aged’ from year to year, that I have ‘loved’, been ‘loved’ and continue to do so, that I have a ‘beginning’, a (rotund) ‘middle’, and an ‘end’ at some ‘future’ point.

        I go to school, I get a job, I get a better job, I advance in my career, I have/don’t have a family of my own, I rise up to the top, I produce, I consume, I prevaricate, I slide back to the bottom, I go back to school, I get another “even better” job, I…

        Humans thrive on this concept of ‘becoming’, arrival at some further point along the linear road – I am more concerned about ‘being’; in being content in the ‘spot’ I inhabit in the beautiful, endless ‘field’ on the side of the road, and in all truth, Brother Kris, I think you are too (O:

      • Thank you Megan for providing this forum for us to share our thoughts…we are getting off topic you say…we should just go and have a beer and chat face to face about this stuff…hmmm sounds like a good idea but isn’t fun to play out this conversation on this stage? Besides, Tigger would drink me under the table and I’d have to crash at his place cos I wouldn’t be able to drive home.

        So here we go…

        Evolution does not cancel out creation in my book, how do you evolve from nothing? there must be something there to evolve from. On an interventionist God Nick Cave may agree with me but the other Nick doesn’t. That comes from his own personal experience and while it differs from my personal experience it makes his no less valid to me. So the loophole, the contradiction, it’s there because I don’t pretend to know it all. I hope to rectify that, I don’t like contradictions in my beliefs but it is how it is because it is still my best attempt at explaining everything from out of my own personal experience.

        Belief is important, belief informs our values which inform our thoughts and actions etc. I sort of adopted a creed in my journey that says ‘Sow a thought, reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny.’ So when I say destiny, I mean what we make of it. There are still thoughts, actions, habits etc. that I am not proud of and want to change so that they don’t take me to an undesirable destiny. There are obvious beliefs – gravity is real and if I leap from this 1000 ft mountain I will fall to my death (nice leap of faith metaphor by the way). But what of other beliefs, unprovable ones? Can you prove that you love? We form these beliefs from personal experience, from intangible sources and provable or not they seem real to me.

        I had a profound personal experience when I was present at my father’s passing that I deduced meant that there was something more. You can put it down to human sentimentality, I can’t prove it, but I would also dispute that I’m not that sentimental. So if there is something more, what is it? Where is it? Why does it show itself only once to me in a fleeting moment? And speaking of moments…

        Linearity as a deception of human existence…wow! But we can measure time can’t we, we can prove it can’t we? This is probably going to get really weird now, cos I sort of agree with you. I see time as sort of continuous – fluid. No matter how much we measure it in small or large increments it’s sort of like looking through a powerful microscope or telescope. How far down the rabbit hole can you go before you reach the bottom? – how far out can you go till you reach the edge of the universe and then what is beyond that? It is my belief that we part of eternity and that what we do now is part of that too. We are connected to a place outside of time. So yes ‘being’ is all that you really need concern yourself with. I don’t mind having an eye what is beyond but if I don’t have an eye on now and what is in front of me then I miss life and I miss out on those moments when my life is in touch with something of an eternal nature. I waste.

        I would probably class myself more as an agnostic theist than a traditional christian except that I have an unexplainable experience to draw on and I believe the Jesus story which if true is the most remarkable tale ever told. I don’t think it hinders my life to believe and I don’t think it hinders others. I don’t subscribe to the ‘you must have a spiritual belief to have meaning’. I don’t see people just randomly crashing head on to me on the roads (and I’m always surprised and thankful of that) cos they’ve decided that if there is no God there is no meaning. But maybe you could enlighten me which you’ve done a bit so far as to where your values come from. I woud imagine that you would consider as much as me that all life is precious, that we should love our neighbours etc. I wonder how a belief or a non belief or a belief in a non belief plays out in shaping a person’s life. History and the present has displayed that coming from a spiritual belief or from a lack of one can have powerful positive or negative affects on lives and on the world.

        I could go on infinitum. Perhaps we should grab a pint sometime?

      • I think you guys should definitely grab a pint some time :)
        And if I was in the same state I’d join you!
        I’m not sure where to begin entering into all of that discussion, so I’ll just start anywhere.
        I definitely believe in an interventionist God. I see him intervene regularly. I just don’t think he intervenes all the time whenever we ask him to. He is not our personal genie. He knows the whole of what is going on, so when he chooses to intervene I believe he has the whole in his mind and I do not. I don’t understand why he chooses to intervene at some times and not others, other than that it is for his glory.
        I also think that God choosing to intervene isn’t the rule. It’s the exception. If he intervened all the time we’d just be puppets and no longer the products of our free will. And where does he draw the line? How much can he intervene without taking away our God given ability to choose? These are bigger questions that we can answer. And thankfully we don’t have to have all the answers! Although that doesn’t mean we should stop thinking about them and working through them as best we can.
        I actually see lots of proof for God. It’s not some invisible thing where I choose to believe something I’ve been told and have no proof for. I have stacks of proof. How do you explain the endless miraculous healings? How do you explain speaking in tongues? The earth is so finely tuned that if one small thing was slightly different it could not support life. And I don’t mean a few things lined up, I mean billions of things are so finely tuned as to sustain life perfectly. How could that possibly have happened by accident? And how could so many things have evolved so complexly and so complementary to each other to create the huge array of things that we have today, working so beautifully in harmony with one another? The odds of that happening by accident are so mind bogglingly miniscule it’s not worth thinking about. If a scientific study was done and the odds of something happening by accident were that small, no one would believe it.
        I just think that not believing in a God is easier.
        And like Kris said, you can’t measure love. But it is a thing that we know to be true. You can’t measure it in a lab, but you believe in it. Experience tells you so. I have experiences with God frequently. I talk to him and I believe some times he answers me. Usually in ways I don’t expect. But I know he always hears me and that he cares deeply. Not everything we believe can be measured in a lab. And faith shouldn’t have to be, it’s part of the organic human experience, it’s logical and reasonable to a point, but it’s also personal and experiential. As you would expect any faith to be. It incorporates all of life.
        All the things I believe stack up to reason and experience. They make sense, they translate to life.
        I honestly believe that Jesus has the best plan for living. There is nothing he has taught us to do that isn’t the best way. No other person has ever taught us how to live better, in any area of life. Doesn’t reason tell you he knows more than we do? That he is something more than a mere human? It’s just correct, and it works.
        I want everyone to know Jesus and be in a relationship with him. It’s just best. It works and it’s good.

  5. Reading about this sort of thing churns my stomach. Some atheists then assume that all Christians are like this, when clearly they’re not. They can’t tar us all with the same brush.

    • Ross, I agree. Some of my best friends are Christians, and some are Buddhists, and a couple of them are Agnosctics, and there are a smattering of raving loonies in there, and yes, many are Atheists.

      I certainly don’t think anyone I’ve seen posting on Megan’s blog fits into the Schaap model of Champions for Jesus, which is a relief, but even if there were, I would still hope that they would come to see that Hearts Won For Jesus under duress, are in fact not saved souls, but slaved souls.

      As for me, I think the man is Maniacal and definitely an outlier in the field of human faith; it’s just that I see their numbers increasing, and begin to believe that ignorance and fear are more powerful than logic or reason (O:

    • I totally agree with that. I hate that we all get tarred with the awfulness of a few.

  6. With gratitude and apologies to Megan (O:

    We’ve run out of reply room, Kris, but we do need a pint (or 12) to discuss this further, and I’d love to do the same with Megan too (O:

    Kris, I love you just the way you are (O: I’m at the Oak today from 5; fancy coming in?

    We both share the same loophole, just from opposite ends of the spectrum.

    “Can I prove that I ‘love’?” Whose definition? Yours, mine, a polar bear? Think on this for a moment; Love is a construct, we create it through experiences of others perceptions mingled with our own. To be graphic (so tune out now if you’re easily offended), paedophiles ‘love’ or are attracted to children in a way that we normally only expect one adult to behave towards another adult. You can put whatever take or words or descriptors you want on it, but the construct of this definition is abhorrent to me, yet ‘normal’ to the paedophile. What I realise is that I cannot prove anything to anybody unless my interpretation matches very closely, or exactly, their proscribed construct. This is where we find that ‘people let us down’, because they fail to match our construct.

    I watched a mother orangutan grieve when her baby, a few weeks old, died. She lay on her back and cradled her child against her bosom. Tears filled her eyes, and her mouth quivered and twisted in grief, though she made no sound, and she was attempting to hide her grief by hiding her head and upper body under a hessian bag.

    Create something out of nothing? Therein lies the infinity loop: Which came first, the god that created existence, or the existence of the creator of god?

    Good or bad people from faith-based or non faith-based upbringings? I think the field is about equal on great, good, bad, and murderous bastards from both sides of the great divide.

    Megan, thank you for allowing us to speak in your bit of cyberspace… If you want to catch up when next I’m on the Big Island, Kris can give you my details (O:

    Love, light, blessings and peace (O:

    • I just saw this reply! I replied further up the thread already… Oops…

      • Hehehehe (O:

        You believe in the structured order of the universe proves god’s existence, based on a reductionist premise. This same structure disproves it for me, in that, I’m find it easier to perceive in the complexity of life without needing a god, otherwise we find that god is part of the universe, and is therefore bound by the laws of the universe, ergo, god was created.

        If god was created, then by whom?

        If god exists ‘outside’ the universe, then god has no power to impact on the natural laws that govern our universe; in other words, in order to have an effect on us, god needs to exist in the universe that we find ourselves. we get to this point and go back and forward, unable to reduce any further.

        Remove god from the picture and all of this incredible complexity actually makes more sense, because there is no limitation of possibility, which, as far as I can see, is the universe that we have.

        I went to a football match at St. James park in Newcastle, England. The home side scored a goal and the crowd erupted in to (my ears) an united and unintelligible chorus of voices. Speaking in tongue to my mind is no more than a manifestation of human emotion that has no bearing on whether or not god exists (O:

        Believe or not, god used to speak to me once upon a time (O:

      • I don’t get your logic.
        God is physically outside of our universe? Why would God be bound by the laws he created? He is bigger than any of our physical laws, he is outside time and is everywhere at once. If he wasn’t capable of all this he wouldn’t really be worth following, because as you say, he’d either be powerless to act within our universe or he’d be bound by it. God is beyond our understanding. Which is a good thing. If he could be understood by my tiny brain he wouldn’t be that great.
        That may sound like a cop out, but it’s not. I get the concept of his limitlessness, but I don’t understand it because we have nothing to compare him to. He is much more than anything we know to compare him to.
        And clearly you have never actually heard people speak in tongues. It’s quite amazing.
        And if God used to speak to you, why now deny his existence? Are you saying you’d rather ignore him? Or you think you were wrong?

        P.S. It’s hard to know how you come across on the internet. Given that we’ve never met I think there’s more room for miscommunication… I love robust discussion and there is nothing aggressive or angry about anything I say. Please don’t read that into my tone! Maybe I should just put a :) at the end of every paragraph :)

  7. (O:

    “Doesn’t reason tell you he knows more than we do? That he is something more than a mere human? It’s just correct, and it works.”

    Reason tells me to consider the possibility, and it confirms that the opposite is true.

    Buddha tells me the same thing as Jesus; Personal salvation comes through following an enlightened ‘man’ by adhering to the laws an tenants of a higher power.

    Reason, if we use the religious William of Occam’s method, tells me that, once all other possibilities are excluded, what is left, no matter how unlikely, is probably the right possibility.

    Reason is why I do not accept the belief that god exists (O:

    • Buddha didn’t say the same things are Jesus, there are heaps of differences. What is it that Jesus has said that you don’t agree with?

      • Oh, Buddha didn’t say the same things as Jesus, this is true, on the face of it, but the essence of the Gospel is exactly the same as the essence of the Boddhidharma, and is as I stated above (O:

        I did not say that I didn’t agree or disagree with Jesus; I simply said that I am not convinced, by reason, that Jesus was anything other than an enlightened man, and there are millions of people who believe as you do, and millions who believe as I do, and millions who believe in The Prophet Mohammed, The Buddha, Kali and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

        All of us hold a system of belief that teaches the same thing; ‘the path to heaven/salvation/nirvana/the home of the Celestial Teapot is through the belief in a higher power, served by a representative on earth who came amongst us to lead the way”

        That is the way of salvation for all religions, when you apply reason to it, which is what you asked if i had done (O:

      • But they can’t all be right. The fact that most religions have talked about following a higher power isn’t the point at all. If it was, who would care? The point is the content of the belief system. I honestly believe that Christianity is the best way to live, and that it is factually correct. I am yet to come across anything that makes me believe it is not true and that there is a better way to live. The content of the belief is exactly the point.
        The flying spaghetti monster does have some good ideas though… :)

      • So I’m replying to this post that starts… “I don’t get your logic.”

        Smilies are cool, but I don’t get offended by people sharing their views, even ‘robustly’ so long as robustly doesn’t become a euphemism for just being plain rude (O:

        Anyhoo, it would be, as you say, a mistake to assume too much, because we haven’t met, so… Let me just ask why you would think it’s obvious I’ve never heard people Speaking in Tongues?

        I have in fact been in many Chrisitan and non-Christian ‘churches’ where folk have been “speaking in utterances of the soul that only god can decipher”, and you’re are right, it is amazing, which is why I thought of it when I heard the Newcastle United football fans raise their voices in one to praise the efforts of those they follow.

        OK – If!…

        The universe was made by god.
        The universe is governed by indisputable forces that we call The Laws of Nature which are also ‘made’ by god.
        The laws of nature indicate that all that is known to exist had a beginning, will have a middle, and then an end.
        When things move, change are interrupted, we can see the effects of these changes.
        These laws of nature tell us that all things are reconstituted to make yet more things in the universe.
        If god exist inside that universe, god is subject to laws of this universe that god created.
        Therefore, god was created.
        If god exists ‘outside’ of this universe, then god has no power in it, because, the god-made laws of nature do not allow for such interference without traces of it.
        If god exist outside this universe/life, the question still arises, “Where did god come from?”

        When I say “god used to speak to me” I mean that I used to convince myself that it was god speaking to me, when in reality, it was a manifestation of my own making, and I was listening to my own delusions of the ‘presence’ of god. Once I realised this, god stopped talking to me, and I started conversations with myself (O:

        You’ve replied to the last post (email arrived to let me know), but I may have to leave it to later, as I have a 5pm AEST commitment

        Thank you; as Kris will tell you, I love these kinds of conversations (O:

      • There are different kinds of speaking in tongues. SOme are ‘heavenly languages’ that no one understands. Some are actually people speaking other earthly languages. That stuff is amazing. People who do not know another language can pray in it fluently. How do you explain that?
        Your whole God being in or out of our universe logic I don’t agree with. I believe he is outside our universe and is not governed by it, but given that he created it he has control over it, he just chooses to allow us the free will to live as we choose, although he does intervene and keep us all together to varying degrees. I don’t understand all of this, but it is clear that he intervenes at times, and others he leaves us to the consequences of our choices.

  8. “But they can’t all be right. The fact that most religions have talked about following a higher power isn’t the point at all. If it was, who would care? The point is the content of the belief system. I honestly believe that Christianity is the best way to live, and that it is factually correct. I am yet to come across anything that makes me believe it is not true and that there is a better way to live. The content of the belief is exactly the point.”

    You’re absolutely correct, they can’t all be right, but they most definitely can be all wrong (O:

    I’ll be back to see your response (O:

    • Yeah, we can all be wrong, but clearly I think I’m right :)

      • Then, clearly, you are what you claim you dislike (O:

        “I honestly believe that Christianity is the best way to live, and that it is factually correct.”

        “I want everyone to know Jesus and be in a relationship with him. It’s just best. It works and it’s good.”

        followers of Sharia Law, or the Tali Leaders say in defence of their views, or The COJCOLDS (Mormons).

        They work for you; that’s great, and if you choose to live your life according to those words, that’s obviously your choice.

        To claim they are the best for everyone is to claim to know everything, otherwise, how could you possibly know what is best for me, or a Hindu devotee, or apples? (O:

        Your view is fundamentalist, for it sees no other way, takes the words of the christian god (bible) to be literal truth, and believes in the power of an otherwise unknowable supernatural being without being able to justify christian actions (good or bad) with anything other than a feeling, or to condemn those who do not follow this belief because they are wrong, in your opinion.

        “But they can’t all be right.”

        Why not?

  9. If you were born in India, is it possible you would believe that Hinduism is the best way to live?

    Had you been born in Japan, would you possibly believe that Zen Buddhism id the best way to live?

    Our beliefs are more often than not informed by where we born as part of the ‘accident of birth’?

    Actually, the following of the higher power is exactly the point, because 4/5ths of the world follow the teachings of one higher power or the other, so many billions do, in fact, care (O:

    • Yes, but you can’t live your life on ‘what ifs’. I think God put me here. It seems a little useless to talk about hypotheticals like that because they seem self defeating.
      And I totally disagree that following A higher power is the point. I think the content of the belief system you follow is the point. I think almost all of the people who think that way are atheists.

      • You’re a teacher right? You deal in hypotheticals all the time, then. (O:

        So, god put you here. And… If god created all things, then he put people in India, Japan and everywhere else. If god put you here, that means he put your parents here too, in a specific place and point in time, so you would be born here. Where then is the free will?

        Before you launch into predestination logic, it is not an argument that has ever convinced me that it is possible to have god direct your life to any degree, yet still allow free will.

        Not sure I understand this statement at all:
        “And I totally disagree that following A higher power is the point. I think the content of the belief system you follow is the point. I think almost all of the people who think that way are atheists.”

        Firstly, the content of the belief system isn’t the end goal of the belief system, or the starting point either. In your belief system, a higher power called god gave you your belief system including its content, ergo, you are following the words/directives/rules of that higher power, end of story.

        Secondly, the content of your belief system points you to the realm of the higher power called god, and this realm is heaven, to which you can enter only by obeying the commands of this higher power, end of story.

        Thirdly, the content of your belief system says that in order to get to heaven and reside with this higher power, all you have to do is to follow the content of the higher power’s book, the bible (and Jesus is included here as the Living Bible). Without the higher power, there is no content, so the content is meaningless without the higher power which all who follow such content believe in, end of story.

        So atheists agree with you then? (O: I’m foncused…

  10. Sneaky last reply as I run (late) out of the door:

    Tell me something, in once sentence (quote scripture, whatever) that Jesus says that is unique or differentiates the Gospel from all other belief systems (O:

    • “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” – John 14:6

      • So, if I interpret this correctly, in order to reach god in heaven, you must follow the example of the Living Bible (the content/the scriptures/the gospel). To be at one with god, or enter in the presence of god in the heavenly realm, you must follow the words and actions of Jesus, a man-god.

        To follow ‘The Way (Jesus)’, you must repent and renounce your former life/habits/bad associates, and live according to the studies laid out by The Way as an example.

        The reward is, that if you follow ‘The Way (Jesus)’, you will reach heaven and meet the source of all knowledge, called god, and you will know god’s mind and comprehend the previously unknowable.

        These are the words taken from or said by the Living Bible, agreed? (O:

        So, Buddha, when asked, “What is The Way?”, replied:

        “Those who, taking leave of their families and adopting the life of renunciation, understand the mind, reach the source, and comprehend the immaterial, [are followers of The Way]*”

        So, in order to reach Heaven (Nirvana) and know the true source of all things (god/dharma), a devotee must turn from their old life, recognise and repent of their sins, and follow the teachings of Buddha. If they do this successfully, they will enter into the heavenly realm and all the mysteries will revealed and they will dwell there.

        So, no, not unique to Jesus (O: Care for another?

        I chose Buddha at random, by the way; it could have been Muhammad, or Joseph (from Judaist Talmud), Ras Tafri or any number of Hindu Avatars.

        *called Sramanas – followers of the way.

  11. “There are different kinds of speaking in tongues. Some are ‘heavenly languages’ that no one understands. Some are actually people speaking other earthly languages. That stuff is amazing. People who do not know another language can pray in it fluently. How do you explain that?”

    I can’t explain spontaneous ‘earthly’ languages, for I’ve never heard or witnessed in happening, and I strongly doubt it is possible. I’m willing to test that doubt, but I would want to experience and investigate it in order to ascertain, as well as I could, that there was no other possible explanation.

    I have heard speaking in tongue, as I said before, many times, and my explanation for the so-called ‘heavenly’ ones as nothing more than the participants being caught up in the ‘ecstasy’ of the moment (O:

    There has never been a translation of these ‘utterings’ when I’ve asked for one, and every such occasion has seen each ‘church’ have its own ‘language’, a commonality of syntax, grammar and phonics. Yet no one to translate or interpret.

    Reminds me of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:19, “But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.” Rapture does strange things to people, and the right conditions can see do all manner of things in such a state, given there is power in ‘Group Think’. See this rapture for an example at the extreme end.

    • I would agree that sometimes people are just caught up in the moment and aren’t really speaking in tongues. But I have actually been present when someone has done it and someone else has interpreted it, having been spoken in an actual earthly language. I would agree that this is not the norm, but it certainly happens. I’ve seen interpretations many times.
      And as far as Jesus being unique is concerned he was the only one who ever claimed to be God. Everyone else was pointing the way to God, but Jesus actually said he was God.
      I am honestly not smart enough to go into all of this enough. I highly recommend you read the book “Mere Christianity” by C S Lewis. It’s a brilliant book that says things better than I can.

      • Thank you, Megan. I have two copies of Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”. one given to me when I was about 12, and the other I bought when I was 25, as I thought I’d lost the first one. It is, indeed, a wonderful book on C.S. Lewis’ life and interpretation of his walk with god.

        Lewis’ central argument for belief is that, like you, Jesus is the only ‘man’ ever who claimed to be the Son of god. Not true. Yet, what is argued in MC, is the claim that because he said this, he is either telling the truth, or he’s telling a lie, or he’s bonkers. Lewis’ then uses the Bible to back up the claim that he was telling the truth, and this relies on accepting the Bible as the literal truth.

        There is very little historical evidence that Jesus actually claimed to be the Son of god, other than the Bible, and the historical and literal accuracy of the Book is proven time and again to not be reliable as an historical reference. Who wrote the bible, why, for whom, in what context, and to whom were they speaking, and with what intent? It is fact that all of what was written in the Bible about, and attributed to, Jesus was actually written third, fourth or sixth hand, many years after his death, and by people who never knew him. There are so many questions unanswered by Lewis, and he ultimately falls back on the Proof of existence through the scriptures.

        Respectfully, this is not enough for me, and many others, Christians (I suspect like Kris) included, who have this nagging gnawing feeling that they want more, but won’t just accept it because it is written in a book, regardless of how special it seems to some people.

        Lest I sound to your ears like a complete Arse Hat, I for one love much of what is attributed to Jesus, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”, “Before you critcise another for having a blind spot toward charity, search your own heart and see that yours might be even greater” (Specks and Logs in eyeballs – a great metaphor that speaks about being unable to see another’s point of view through empathy and understanding). Lot’s of humanitarian and social tools for living better with each other, causing minimal harm to others and living a life that adds to the good in the world.

        One of favourite sayings of any of the wise is, “Before you criticise another, you must walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you can criticise them from a mile away, AND you have their shoes!” Guru Bob (Greg Champion)

        I wish you love, light, happiness and peace, Megan (O:

      • Who else claimed to actually be God? And I don’t mean local nutbags, I mean historical figures that are still followed today.

        And clearly we just need to agree to disagree, because I agree with all of C S Lewis’ conclusions in that book :) I don’t think Jesus is some nice figure who we can take some things from. I think he is exactly who he said he was, and everything in my experience confirms this to be true.

        And I love that saying too. Who doesn’t want someone else’s shoes!

  12. Come on, Teach! Surely you studied Ancient Egypt in school? (O:

    OK – The Universal Christian Church founder and his followers, Rastafarians, Jim Jones and the remaining few followers of the Peoples Temple, Sun Myung Moon and his millions of followers, Shoko Asahara and his followers in the Aum Shinrikyo movement, and there just the ones who claim/claimed to be Jesus and/or god, and their followers number in the many hundreds of thousands and some cases millions.

    Others, some notable, some not, who claimed god-like status, many of whom still having followers.

    Nutbags, but how is Jesus any different from the many quoted? Their followers believe their Master to be god, just like you do. Their followers have ‘Bibles’ of their own, that contain the words of the Master, just like you do?

    Other than because you think so, what makes Jesus any less or more of a Nutbag than any other ‘man’ claiming to be deities, just because you follow him? There are enough people claiming Jedi as their religion and belief in The Force to register in America, so numbers, belief, claims to divinity do not seperate Jesus from anyone else. They’ve all got scriptures to prove the god-ness of their Masters.

    (O:

    Conversely, I think Jesus (as far as real history tells us) did exist as a man, and that he did have some rather nice things to say, and everything in my experience tells me that this is all he was; a man with a message.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree some more (O:

    • I think we will. All of those other people you mentioned are clearly nutbags and are commonly thought of as so. The difference with Jesus is there is no recorded sin against his name. Sin is obviously a highly religiously charged word, but you get what I mean. He is the one that stands out above all others as having a better way to live, and is still followed. I think a big difference is people who don’t follow him think he was a good man, not a nutbag like these other cases you’ve mentioned. Jesus always stands up to criticism. The only point of difference is that some don’t believe he was God, but no one seems to have a problem with his advice or how he lived his life. Which to me seems bizarre. Like C S Lewis says, if he said he was God and he wasn’t, why the hell would you want to take his advice? He’s either a liar or a lunatic. Not someone I’d want to follow. The only choice available to us is to say he is who he said he is (if you want to following his ideas), not just that he was a good teacher.

      We’re just going around in circles though now aren’t we? :)
      We are clearly coming to different conclusions from the same information.

      • Ahh, yes, circles it is… (O:

        “One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” (O:

        Does Jesus always stand up to criticism? I understand he may have stood up against it, or to criticise others. I can’t agree that he passes the criticism test from a point of verifying everything about him or his actions, just doesn’t happen.

        We will disagree here too, as you are playing the man, and not the ball (O:

      • What is it about his life that you would criticise?

  13. That it is wholly based on unsubstantiated claims from any reliable secular or religious source that can be relied on as an accurate historical source that he ever existed.

    The one source often quoted is the Bible, but as I’ve alluded to already, most of what is said about Jesus is based on unreliable, third sources and beyond. Again, the agreement on this is universal amongst both serious religious scholars as well as the secularists.

    What we do know, and what is generally agreed upon but religious and secular historians is that a man called ‘Jesus’ was born in and around the time that the Biblical Jesus is supposed to have lived. The most famous of these is by Flavius Josephus, but even this testimony is question, again by all sides as to to reliability.

    If Jesus actually existed, and that is a big if, then I think he was a man of great character and his dedication to a life devoted to bringing peace among (wo)men is to be admired. After a lot of years (I’m ancient, but not farting dust yet) of study, reading, researching, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is all he was.

    (O:

    I understand your position, I do, I just don’t agree with it (O:

  14. OMG!

    http://www.news.com.au/features/anzac-day/jim-wallace-from-australian-christian-lobby-causes-anzac-day-outrage-with-anti-gay-anti-muslim-twitter-message/story-e6frfldi-1226044466591

    Why does the ACL have a fundamentalist for a managing director? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…The ACL does not speak for me. Can we have an Anti Australian Christian Lobby Christian Lobby please. So glad we have the seperation of church and state so that fundamentalism can’t weild much power in this country. An ACL as far as I am concerned should only be lobbying for things that all christians can agree on (is that possible?) like looking after the widows and orphans etc (do these fundamentalists even give a hoot about though?).

    I am seriously bewildered by how christians in the far right can justify their christianity, how do they sleep at night? Please help me to understand. Obviously I am pretty angry right now. Watched a story on Dateline last night about fundamentalist muslims in Indonesia, very freakin’ scary the level of pure hate and blood lust that you could see in their eyes. It affected me and the hate that I see from fundamentalists everywhere is affecting me. I HATE HATE!

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