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Old 03-26-2004, 07:34 AM   #106
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


If I see someone who has an "illness" and you see no "illness" - what is wrong with me offering a cure to the "illness" I see? Does it hurt you?
This sentiment has a history of varying degrees of harm.

A current example might be trying to "straighten" homosexual members of church congregations.
I imagine it is psychologically harmful for them to be told they have an illness and need to be cured of something they innately feel.
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Old 03-26-2004, 08:28 AM   #107
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In all fairness to crusader, I think he meant by illness not that something is wrong at all (as in sick) but a need he perceives in that person. Illness might be a bad analogy.
But I might be wrong.


Excuse the pun but that the hell happened to this thread??
I guess this is what happens when religion is moved into the friendly cafe atmosphere of FYM. Sarcasm thrown in for free.


But on with what this has evolved into, I ask this in all honesty. Why do missionaries even bother with religion in places like Africa? I know the short answer is to encourage these people on what the missionaries believe is the chosen path, but why the attempts at conversion? Do these people not seem happy enough with their admirable and contented spirituality? Can it not be respected, and these people left to continue in their own method of faith?

This bothers me. I really believe that the whole conversion thing starts off with good intentions. Naturally anyone who finds any kind of inner peace with their religion is going to want to share it with everyone, and even attempt to assist them in finding a mutual devotion of their own. But if someone has already found what works for them, why try and interfere? Why interrupt what works for them? The non religious, I can almost understand, but not people who are set and comfortable in their ways.
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Old 03-26-2004, 09:08 AM   #108
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angela harlem,

i dont like these missionaries. they help and then they attempt to convert...sometimes they even use money, special treatment for those who convert ..false , incorrect stories.. this is one of the cheapest things that IS happening

if i could, i would ban any theocratic helping/charity and such things. these missionaries only target uneducated people who doesnot have enough food and then convert them into their religion.

if you have the guts , try converting an intellectual guy or a girl who has enough food and money into your religion or whatever.

secular help

no help - OK

help followed by religious conversion - CHEAP ..

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Old 03-26-2004, 09:40 AM   #109
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Pretty good discussion going on in here; it's nice seeing a discussion on religion without any personal attacks or anything of that sort. Anyways, on with the topic. I think that a lot of what is being said here leads to even bigger issues. For example, why are humans obligated to help others that are starving, sick, etc.? Seriously, if this life is all there is and beyond our lives there is an empty void, then we have no obligation to help others. We may say that helping others is the moral thing to do and that it s only fair that wealth be redistributed, but why? If we are nothing but animals who can talk and apparently reason, what is our yardstick for measuring these things? If we want to boil this down to a purely scientific level, we can say that humans are nothing more than a mass of carbon that moves and communicates. I think everyone in here will agree that such an assertion borders on cruelty. Therefore, there must be something more that drives us to want to help our fellow man. As Ivan Karamazov asserts in his debate with his brother Alyosha in The Brothers Karamazov without God anything is allowed (this is not a direct quote, but an underlying theme). This includes such things as leting people starve when things can be done, standing by and watching the cattle cars carry off your neighbors to Dachau, and rationalizing the use of gulags in communist countries around the world. Many people have said in here and other places (with good reason) that such and such should be done about his or that problem in the world. But why should they? If there is no objectivity in the world then they have no reason to follow what others believe.

About missionaries in Africa, I think that it is often out of simple ignorance about their work that assumptions are made about their work (I am not calling people ignorant, but saying that there is a lack of knowledge or information). I have met many missionaries and have found that they truly love the people they are among. They would rather live in simplicity in their village than live here in the United States because they love their work so much. They are not just walking the streets pounding their big black Bibles threatening hellfire and damnation. They do whatever they can to minister to the people whether it be in a physical or spiritual way. They do not sit and preach the wondrous ways of American life but adapt themselves to their mode of life. Also, it is now a wrong assumption that Africa is still mainly the home of native religions. The Africans themeselves are becoming missionaries to other parts of the continent because the continent is now statistically more Christian than Europe. There are many more Anglicans there than in England, and recent study has shown that the Western World will soon no longer be the traditional home of Christianity but Africa will be because of its rapid spead there (I think this is shown in the Christianity Today issue with Bono on the cover. Also check out a fairly recent Christian History issue with its focus on Christianity in Africa). Much of this is not due to Western "imperialists", but to the work of Africans. Much of the work Western missionaries do now is help African pastors gain administrative and organizational skills and open seminaries. Many African countries have a sizable Christian population such as Nigeria, Sudan, SOuth Africa, and Uganda. Their conversions do not come at the point of a gun and sometimes they convert even though they know that death or pain may result as often does in Sudan where the Muslim North is waging war against the Christian/animist South.
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Old 03-26-2004, 09:44 AM   #110
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
In all fairness to crusader, I think he meant by illness not that something is wrong at all (as in sick) but a need he perceives in that person. Illness might be a bad analogy.
But I might be wrong.
No maybe he didn't mean it in that sense, but I think my homosexual analogy stands. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

But that is what it boils down to in the end, NB thinks it's broke, but I don't. So thats the end of it really.
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Old 03-26-2004, 09:59 AM   #111
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ft. Worth Frog
About missionaries in Africa, I think that it is often out of simple ignorance about their work that assumptions are made about their work (I am not calling people ignorant, but saying that there is a lack of knowledge or information). I have met many missionaries and have found that they truly love the people they are among. They would rather live in simplicity in their village than live here in the United States because they love their work so much.
first of all, i am not ignorant. i know a lot about these missionaries who primary aim is to convert people. Whether these guys live in simple house and big palaces is neither my problem nor my concern if they are there to convert people.


Quote:
They are not just walking the streets pounding
their big black Bibles threatening hellfire and damnation.
If they can, they will do. But they are not stupid. They think they can convert more by helping and such step. This is the next step. These people are dreamer. They dream of a world where everybody is of their religion .They fantasize. . Their purpose of converting also deteriotes the harmony of the already existing society and religious equations. This is not a great thing. They use unfair, unethical, monetary means, false story to convert. Whats great about that ? Why the hell would people want to CONVERT..especially if they are poor and UNEDUCATED..just think about it..you will get the answer yourself


Quote:
Their conversions do not come at the point of a gun
From the tone of this line, it looks like they do everything but using a gun.. Thats exactly I want to say..


Quote:
because of its rapid spead
yeah true...looks like we are agreeing ..

Well I can write on and on but I think I'll avoid it
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Old 03-26-2004, 10:02 AM   #112
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"Without God anything is possible," which implies we have moral contraints because God does exist , seems to be a relatively meaningless statement at this point for two reasons. (though I suppose it could be meant to make you stop and consider and reach the conclusion that God doesn't exist as well)

1.Well, if God exists, the statement is false because anything and everything does happen.

2.It is possible or likely that human morality is a product of evolution; as homo sapiens behaved in a certain ways flourished, and those who didn't were selected out. I am reading an eye opening book at the moment called "The Blank Slate" by Steven Pinker. I recommend it to everyone. It argues a strong case for human nature vs. the idea that we are products of our environment.

As for missionaries. I have no doubt that they love the people they minister to, and that they are wonderful people. I have no image of a fire and brimstone preacher threating eternal damnation. I do have some experience with these people. I was involved the Navigators and somewhat exposed to Campus Crusade for Christ in my university years. So I know the kind of people I am talking about.

I am just questioning the underlying motives and intentions of the mission.
I must also say that I am not sure that it would be better without Christian missionaries in Africa.

And I am not sure what saying Africans now converting other Africans means. It is only a testament that the underlying goals of Christian charity have been met.
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Old 03-26-2004, 10:13 AM   #113
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I dont disagree with you as such iacrobat, I'm just trying to see it from his point of view.

Ft Worth Frog made a good point about ignorance or rather lack of understanding. All this might be moot if we really dont have a clear understanding of how missionaries work. Whether we're viewing it as good or bad, its very hard to know just how it really is. It would take a lot of experiencing how missionaries interact and in a very large area to be able to say with any certainty. If anyone has ever read A Man Cannot Cry, it seems this is how much of the work missionaries do is viewed. Whether it is accurate, who knows. They can't all be overbearing Quakers with nothing but educating these people on God on their agendas. That said, there is more to it than providing the basics all humans require like food and water. I agree with the sentiments in here that it is in a way out of place. I personally dont like anyone approaching me to convert me either by knocking on my door or starting up a preachy lecture on a bus. I find it so rude. To do this as a life's work kind of thing is even harder to accept. It seems so wrong.
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Old 03-26-2004, 10:19 AM   #114
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Iacrobat

I need to make a correction to my statement from Dostoyevski. I should have said "permissible" because that fits in to what he is saying a little better. Permissible conveys a much different meaning than possible.
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Old 03-26-2004, 10:46 AM   #115
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Ft. Worth,

yup, that does change the meaning completely!

However, I am not sure that even that sentiment is true. If morality is evolutionary, then it would suggest it has taken shape naturally, in the context of natural selection. It is not based on revelations from heaven, but it is innate.



WHOOPS! Sorry this got posted twice, maybe a mod could delete this post!
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Old 03-26-2004, 10:53 AM   #116
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Ft. Worth,

yup, that does change the meaning completely!

However, I am not sure that even that sentiment is true. If morality is evolutionary, then it would suggest it has taken shape naturally, in the context of natural selection. It is not based on revelations from heaven, but it is innate.

And AngelaHarlem, I do understand NB's perspective. I reached a point in my life where I wasn't too far away from doing missionary work myself. Of course one would have to know a lot of missionaries in a lot of contexts to get an accurate picture. Therefore, I have tried not make sweeping generalisiations about character or even say that ALL Christian charities behave in the same way.

However, I think it is not unreasonable to say that underlying motive of most Christian missionary/charity work in Africa is conversion.
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Old 03-26-2004, 11:01 AM   #117
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Quote:
Originally posted by FizzingWhizzbees
Your sentence just sums up this debate.

Who are you to judge that somebody is "ill" because they don't share your religion?
How can I be judging someone when "my religion" says everyone is "ill"? Isn't your statement judgmental in and of itself?
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Old 03-26-2004, 11:14 AM   #118
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I have become awfully confused all of a sudden. I'm not sure if I was replying to you or AcrobatMan, iacrobat!...I think you were both saying things along a similar vein so...ah, I'm lost.


nbc, if your religion has passed judgement and you take the terms of the religion and follow it yourself, are you then accepting that judgement as well? I dont think that is judgemental on Fizz's behalf to then make that point. Do you agree with your religion's ascertation that these people are ill?
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Old 03-26-2004, 11:34 AM   #119
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


How can I be judging someone when "my religion" says everyone is "ill"? Isn't your statement judgmental in and of itself?
It is a judgement NB, you are judging everyone, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. People judge each other all the time based on different criteria.

Its just that we don't all agree on this particular judgement.
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Old 03-26-2004, 11:47 AM   #120
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Originally posted by iacrobat
It is a judgement NB, you are judging everyone, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. People judge each other all the time based on different criteria.
Is it really my judgment, or my understanding of God's judgment?

I realize we are looking at this matter from two entirely different perspectives.
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