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Old 08-06-2005, 12:09 PM   #1
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Civil discussion on Christianity???

I think we have a pretty good consensus about the negative perceptions of certain groups of professed Christians. Although I do not call myself a Christian, I respect the orginal message.

With all deference to all the people who know their Bible and their theology better than I do, it seems to me that the Old Testament was "Thou shalt not" and the Gospels were "Thou shalt."

What do you all think Christianity or the practice of it should be?
(I know it's not up to non Christians to tell Christians what there religion should be; I'm just curious about the different viewpoints.)

For all the Christians out there, what are the "Thou shalts" to which you give the most weight and what are the "Thou shalts" that give you the hardest time. What do you do to follow your hard "Thou shalts"?

For the nonChristians out there, what do Christians need to do to repair the increasingly common view of Christianity. And for the Christians, does the image need to be repaired? What, if anything, do you respect about Christianity?

Knowing the hubris and futility in setting ground rules in a forum like this, I'd love a serious discussion in a topic that interests me.
So my wish list: Don't discuss whether Christianity does or does not make rational sense, reduce the discussion to the groups that abuse the religion, get into semantics war, get personal.
Crosses fingers.
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Old 08-06-2005, 02:47 PM   #2
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what do Christians need to do to repair the increasingly common view of Christianity.
I don't think the Christians who are out doing nice things for their communities and stuff like that should be responsible for trying to fix their religion's image-it's not their fault that people just assume things about a religion based on the actions of a few, it's not their fault that a few people out there try to mar the image of the religion. Sadly, people will continue to stereotype, so all that most Christians should do is just continue to be the good people they've always been. They will get noticed for that. Maybe their actions won't make the evening news, but people who encounter them will take note of their behavior and will appreciate what they do for others.

Quote:
What, if anything, do you respect about Christianity?
Well, I find the history fascinating, for one thing. Granted, I don't know nearly as much about it as some other people here do, but I always like hearing various tidbits about its beginnings and how it's transformed over the years and everything-it's all quite amazing when you consider it. And I think the religion does have some very good, valuable lessons that we can apply to our everyday lives. And I'm usually guaranteed to enjoy a good discussion with a Christian on various things-sure, we don't always see eye to eye, but I still enjoy hearing their views, they're just as strong in their opinion as I am in mine, and that always makes for a worthy debate, and you can't really go wrong there .

And, of course, I also respect the fact that most of the followers live up to their religion's ideals of loving and helping their fellow man. I've heard some really nice stories about Christians doing good things for others, and my dad and sister have encountered the extreme kindness of a minister before. If you're like that, you get my respect .

Angela
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Old 08-06-2005, 03:14 PM   #3
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Re: Civil discussion on Christianity???

Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint


For the nonChristians out there, what do Christians need to do to repair the increasingly common view of Christianity.
For most Christians, they don't need to do anything because most people are honest and caring members of our community.

When you speak of the increasingly common view of Christianity, I assume you are talking about the extreme right-wing Christians who are coming to the forefront of our political scene. So, to people who believe in allowing the ten commandments in government places, allowing intelligent design to be taught in public schools, outlawing gay marriage since the Bible does not tolerate homosexuality, I say PLEASE stop imposing your Christian beliefs on a society who's government institutions are supposed to be secular.
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Old 08-06-2005, 03:16 PM   #4
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Well I personally am a devout Christian, even though I find it difficult to follow the Bible for many reasons. I just try to stick to the Golden Rule as much as possible and attend church regularly, that's all I need to keep the faith .
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Old 08-06-2005, 03:35 PM   #5
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I want my government to be secular. So I don't want any displays of the Ten Commandments at the courthouse, I don't want laws that "guarantee" the "sanctity of marriage" by forbidding gay unions. I'm a practicing Catholic who thinks religion should be kept in the churches. Those buildings are there for a reason. I am, incidentally, from Roy Moore's home base of Alabama, and I'm petrified that that guy is going to get elected governor next year. We have a history of electing nutjobs for governor here. I hope it doesn't happen.
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Old 08-06-2005, 05:13 PM   #6
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Well as far as the thou shalts go: God commands us to love him. And we are to accept that the sacrifice was made to pay for our sins.
The thou shalts were made because people wanted something to live by. They wanted guidelines, they wanted parameters.
The ten commandments are still relevant in some cases but they arent the basis of Christianity. Its a relationship with God.
By loving God you will in turn love what he loves, which is good.
I found that the more I read my bible or sought out God the worse I felt when I did something stupid. You start seeing more clearly what parts of your life really need to change for the better.

I think its the fact that christians arent perfect that makes people look down on them. Theres a lot of hypocrites in the Christian community, and theres a lot of stupid humans in it as well, but then again there is everywhere. Being a Christian doesnt make you perfect, but it should make you want to become better for the glory of God.
Im faaaaaar from perfect but Im making slow progress.
I think the things that were always the hardest for me were sexual sin (which isnt an issue now that Im married ) whether it be actually having sex or just coveting somebody elses guy.
Now I have to battle with having no other gods before God God. What are my priorities? What are my motivations for doing things? Am I spending enough time on my spiritual life? those kinds of things. Selfishness, jealousy.
Things everybody struggles with, just on varying levels.

I dont really blame people for disliking christians. You tend to see the christians doing bad things more prominently than the ones doing good because they are less noticeable and also wouldnt want to draw attention to themselves. Also, people tend to riducule or fear things they dont understand. Some people just might not understand christianity.
There are still others that have been hurt deeply by somebody in the church. This is really sad because its not God thats hurt the person, its other's sinful nature that have torn them apart.
Okay, :rantover:
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Old 08-06-2005, 05:47 PM   #7
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Re: Civil discussion on Christianity???

Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint


With all deference to all the people who know their Bible and their theology better than I do, it seems to me that the Old Testament was "Thou shalt not" and the Gospels were "Thou shalt."
I understand why you say this, but I don't see the OT and the NT that way at all. The God of the OT is same as the NT. I see in the prophets, and historical books a God who desperately wants whats best for His people. He is trying to show them, teach them, and most importantly be with them. The "thou shalt nots" are a loving guidance of how to live as you were created. You may be agreeing with this, so its not meant as argumentative. To me God is not the God of law in the OT, and the God of grace in the new- but really the same all the way through.

Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint

What do you all think Christianity or the practice of it should be?
(I know it's not up to non Christians to tell Christians what there religion should be; I'm just curious about the different viewpoints.)
Christianity is coming to the realization that I have nothing to offer to God. He doesn't need me, but He has chosen to extend an opportunity to a relationship with Him through what He has done. I am the one who has received grace, and I should treat people as such.
As far as how I am to live in light of that; James 1:19-22, 27 Says it better than I could.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires.[e] 21Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.



Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint

For all the Christians out there, what are the "Thou shalts" to which you give the most weight and what are the "Thou shalts" that give you the hardest time. What do you do to follow your hard "Thou shalts"?
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

I can be very selfish with my time, and resources. To truly love your neighbor as yourself is not any easy thing, esp. when you don't feel like it.

To try to follow, humbly come to God, knowing in and of myself Ocannot do it. Prayer, focus on walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5).

Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint

And for the Christians, does the image need to be repaired? What, if anything, do you respect about Christianity?
Yes and no. The majority of the Christians I come into contact with are living their faith very admirably. The sad part to me is there is a loud minority of Christianity that is not really what I would say is biblically following Christ. Do i feel the need to try to fix that? Not really, i just try to present a life of true biblical faith to those I come into contact with.
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Old 08-06-2005, 06:08 PM   #8
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Gosh, my first post was too negative. It's true that I do *not* want religion in the courthouse or the statehouse, generally speaking, although I do not object to my current state governor having prayer breakfasts. OK, so what do I like to see in Christian practice? It can mainly be summed up in the three theological virtues, faith, hope, and love. When you're out there helping your community, be it in your church's homeless shelter, cooking meeting for Meals on Wheels, or whatever, you're living your faith. I belong to my church's altar sodality, which is a ladies' service organization in my Catholic parish. My group cooks and socializes. I originally joined because I feel like there's more to being Catholic than just attending mass. That's important but that's not the whole experience. Some others in my church are in different ministries, but they all have the same purpose, bringing the Kingdom of God to life on earth.
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Old 08-06-2005, 10:40 PM   #9
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Re: Re: Civil discussion on Christianity???

Quote:
Originally posted by jphelmet
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

I can be very selfish with my time, and resources. To truly love your neighbor as yourself is not any easy thing, esp. when you don't feel like it.
This statement resonates well with my philosophy on Christianity. I think there's too much emphasis on legalism in Christianity a lot of time, particularly since Pauline Gentile Christianity was extremely opposed to anything legalistic.

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." - Romans 13:8-10

Watching Christianity turn into the antithesis of this statement is probably why I've turned away from it these days. Of course, I was once accused of having too much integrity and then setting such impossibly high expectations onto everyone else. But right now, it seems like a heterosexual supremacy group, so I don't think my rejection of Christianity is the result of me overreacting and expecting something unrealistic out of people.

Melon
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Old 08-06-2005, 11:34 PM   #10
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Re: Civil discussion on Christianity???

Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint


For the nonChristians out there, what do Christians need to do to repair the increasingly common view of Christianity.

Before I've even read the other responses, so forgive if I repeat what some others have said.

1. All those nice, balanced, this-is-my-religion-but-it-doesn't-have-to-be-yours Christians out there might try to corner some of the reactionary, fanatical, and\or fundamentalist Christians who are trying so hard to give Christianity in general a bad name and explain to them what the first amendment means.

2. Quit trying to shove your religion down the throats of those who don't share it (I tend to think that the biggest problem with Christianity is the evangelic nature of the whole thing.)

3. Understand that I am free to choose my religion. Just because I am an American and it says 'In God We Trust' on the money, doesn't mean I have to.

4. Stop telling me I'm going to hell because--
a) I support a woman's right to choose;
b) I'm not married, and I still occasionally have sex;
c) I haven't accepted your Lord as my personal savior;
d) I don't think Georgie Jr. is playing straight with us;
e) I think Darwin was on the right track.
f) I think that creationism is non-scientific religious belief that doesn't belong in a science classroom;
g) I think that the Ten Commandments have no place in public schools except between the covers of the Bible on the shelf in the library, where it should occupy space right next to the Koran, the Talmud, and the Book of the Hopi;
h) All of the above.
In fact, just stop telling me that I'm going to hell; it sounds a awful lot like judgement, condemnation and persecution. Making someone feel judged, condemned and persecuted is not a good way to make friends with them.

Please do not take my lack of interest in your religion as a condemnation of you personally. It's nothing of the sort. I think that there's a lot of value in Christianity. It's just that I don't believe in the heavenly provenance of the Bible. It's not personal.

And please stop blaming every single thing that is wrong with the world on a lack of Christian faith. It doesn't help or fix anything.

What do I respect about Christianity?

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and unto God what is God's. (see, even Christ advocated seperation of church and state.)
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Old 08-07-2005, 05:48 AM   #11
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The evangelical nature of christianity is due to the fact that christians are called to preach the good news for all to hear.
Personally I cringe when I hear our church is going door to door handing out church invitations. But they are doing it because they feel they are suppsed to.
I'll just play ill every time door day comes around

You guys are right, its not a christians place to judge anybody. Its not anybodys place to judge anybody!

Well, its time for me to start getting ready for church
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Old 08-07-2005, 07:20 AM   #12
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Re: Civil discussion on Christianity???

Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint

What do you all think Christianity or the practice of it should be?
(I know it's not up to non Christians to tell Christians what there religion should be; I'm just curious about the different viewpoints.)
I'm a member of the Christian Reformed Church, so here's what we have to say:

Quote:
About the CRC

The Christian Reformed Church is a denomination that has about 300,000 members in 1,000 congregations across the United States and Canada.
We call ourselves

Christian because we belong to Jesus Christ and want to be his followers. We recognize as fellow-Christians all people who accept the teachings of the Bible as summarized in the Apostle’s Creed.

Reformed because we're part of that historic branch of the Christian church that follows the teachings of 16th-century reformer John Calvin, who struggled to return Christianity to its biblical roots.

Church because God has called us to be a fellowship of his people in the world.
What distinguishes us from other forms of Christianity can be answered by the very first question of the Heidelberg Catechism:

Quote:
The Heidelberg Catechism

Lord's Day 1 (Q & A 1 2)
Lord's Day 1
Q & A 1

Q. What is your only comfort
in life and in death?

A. That I am not my own,^1
but belong—
body and soul,
in life and in death—^2
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.^3

He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,^4
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.^5
He also watches over me in such a way^6
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:^7
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.^8

Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life^9
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.^10

^1 1 Cor. 6:19-20
^2 Rom. 14:7-9
^3 1 Cor. 3:23; Titus 2:14
^4 1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 John 1:7-9; 2:2
^5 John 8:34-36; Heb. 2:14-15; 1 John 3:1-11
^6 John 6:39-40; 10:27-30; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:5
^7 Matt. 10:29-31; Luke 21:16-18
^8 Rom. 8:28
^9 Rom. 8:15-16; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14
^10 Rom. 8:1-17


Quote:
For all the Christians out there, what are the "Thou shalts" to which you give the most weight and what are the "Thou shalts" that give you the hardest time. What do you do to follow your hard "Thou shalts"?
Honestly, I see nothing more than tradition and some wisdom in the Old Testament. I'm not saying that because I don't believe on following the Old Testamentm it's OK to cheat, steal, and murder. If you want to know how to live and what rules to follow, you really need to look no further than the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. I think it's easy for non-Christians who are not familiar with the Biblical context to place WAY too much emphesis on certain passages like the Ten Commandments. The Old Testament is a series of prophecies and covenants (and personally I think most of the stories in the OT are only true in purposem but not in fact); the stories of Christ in the New Testament are the fulfillment of these prophecies and covenants. We no longer need laws written in stone that say "Thou Shalt not....." b/c in Christ we have the perfect example of how to live in a way that pleases God.
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Old 08-07-2005, 07:42 AM   #13
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compassion
social justice
unconditional love

Jesus offers this to us

Who are we to deny these things to anybody else?
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Old 08-07-2005, 08:43 AM   #14
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jesus sort of said it best: love the lord your god with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind. and love you neighbor as yourself.

those are the most important commandments. hillel said something similar as well. if religious folk could focus on those two things instead of the gays and war i think they would make a good turn around.
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Old 08-07-2005, 12:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by u2bonogirl
I think its the fact that christians arent perfect that makes people look down on them.
I know Christians aren't perfect. I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who was perfect.

It's when a Christian tries to pass themselves off as being all high and mighty and perfect when they really aren't, I think that is what bugs a lot of people, that is what makes them frown upon the people. If you're not perfect, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Don't try and pass yourself off as perfect if you really aren't.

And I'll agree with echo, too. It is God's job to judge people, according to the Christian faith, so please let him do his job. In the meantime, the followers can go about their own lives and work to make their lives the best they can be .

Angela
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