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Old 12-26-2006, 11:11 PM   #61
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Originally posted by Liesje




Your post reminded me of a story my mom tells that also proves not all Christians are the same and some of the most theologically strict can be the most bigoted. She used to work in a doctors office and the conservative Christian doctor was rude and stingy, not willing to help patience with no money or insurance, while the Universalist doctor, who did not attend church *gasp* was very kind and patient and went out of his way to help people.

I'm sure this extends even beyond sects of Christianity. Our theological and doctrinal convictions really are no indication of how much compassion we actually show towards people. Some of the most religiously pious people I know would cheat a poor person of their last dime.
If you can find it, I invite you to watch video of a story 20/20 did about several weeks back called "Cheap In America"; it might cause you to question your preconception that religious people and conservatives are not generous.
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Old 12-26-2006, 11:23 PM   #62
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^I saw that episode of 20/20! I thought it was really good.

I don't think Lies was arguing that conservative Christians are always stingier, or even "often stingier." I think she was actually making the argument that there really ISN'T any correlation one way or the other between a persons religiosity or theological conservatism and their Christian charity and love. In other words conservative theology doesn't make you a more (or less) loving person.

I would tend to agree with such a conclusion, and take it perhaps a tiny step further, and say that conservative theology by the very nature of it's Absolute Certainty, has one pitfall that we have to be aware of: the tendency towards pride that comes with knowing that you are Right. I think the church leaders of Jesus day illustrate this quite well.
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Old 12-26-2006, 11:39 PM   #63
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I don't think Lies was arguing that conservative Christians are always stingier, or even "often stingier." I think she was actually making the argument that there really ISN'T any correlation one way or the other between a persons religiosity or theological conservatism and their Christian charity and love. In other words conservative theology doesn't make you a more (or less) loving person.
Exactly. I live in a very conservative, religious community and we have families here that are three times as wealthy as Donald Trump, but of course they don't make the news because instead of running their mouths and acting like bastards, they are engaged in thousands of philanthropic and charitable causes. My aunt's life was saved because of one of these families (they paid to fly her on a private jet and paid for her to see cancer specialists in NYC). From scholarships to sports equipment to better technology in my schools, I've benefited first hand from the generosity of politically and religiously conservative people.

All I was saying is that I do not directly relate their generosity to their religion. I've met as many people who are religiously conservative and don't even understand the concept of social justice. Just like I have friends who are athiests, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, etc who have some of the strongest moral compasses and act more compassionately than 2/3 of the people I go to church with. I don't think it's fair to argue that Christians are more likely to be generous and compassionate, because even while I would hope this is the case, I can't endorse the opposite being true (non-Christians are cheap and bigoted).

In my experience, people's religious and theological reflections tend to follow/mirror/compliment the basic moral convictions they've already developed. You are who you are, and then what doctrines you choose to believe in fall into place. The same is true for me - I went through some personal struggles and came to some theological conclusions based on all of the different points of view I studied and everything I've experienced in my life. I don't think that my theological convictions are what have led me to decide one way or the other on some of the huge life choices I've made, even if this would ideally be true.
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Old 12-27-2006, 11:34 PM   #64
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If you believe in GOD then you believe in the Devil,because if your crazy enough to believe in one you must believe in the other.
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Old 12-28-2006, 08:59 AM   #65
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje


I don't think it's fair to argue that Christians are more likely to be generous and compassionate, because even while I would hope this is the case, I can't endorse the opposite being true (non-Christians are cheap and bigoted).
But John Stossel from 20/20 (and the book "Who Gives More" by Arthur Brooks) did endorse the idea that people who have religious faith are more likely to give, and when they do give, they give far more. And 20/20 pointed out that the idea that religious people give only to the church and not charity is a myth.

from http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=2682730&page=2 :

Finally, the single biggest predictor of whether someone will be charitable is their religious participation.

Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much. And Arthur Brooks told me that giving goes beyond their own religious organization:

"Actually, the truth is that they're giving to more than their churches," he says. "The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities."
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:19 AM   #66
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But John Stossel from 20/20 (and the book "Who Gives More" by Arthur Brooks) did endorse the idea that people who have religious faith are more likely to give, and when they do give, they give far more. And 20/20 pointed out that the idea that religious people give only to the church and not charity is a myth.

True, but you can't possibly establish causation just based on that relationship. Maybe people who are the type of people that are more giving and compassionate are predisposed towards Christianity? See what I mean? Just because Christians are more generous in general does not mean that Christianity is the cause. I'd like to think otherwise, but I don't. Too many times people have been clumped into groups and categorized as being this or that based on correlations and not provable causation.

I guess another example that's totally unrelated is that some studies have shown that girls in gymnastics have a higher rate of eating disorders than regular girls. For years, even experts blamed the sport, like there's something inherent about the sport that causes a higher rate of eating disorders. Now, we know that's not true. Further studies have shown that while there is a relationship, there is not causation. Girls that are most likely to excel in gymnastics fit the profile for those girls who are most likely to have an eating disorder. It's not the sport, it's the type of individuals it attracts.

So maybe Christianity vs. giving is the same thing. It's not the religion, it's the type of people who generally practice it that are more likely to give.
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Old 12-28-2006, 12:33 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally posted by Liesje

True, but you can't possibly establish causation just based on that relationship. Maybe people who are the type of people that are more giving and compassionate are predisposed towards Christianity? See what I mean? Just because Christians are more generous in general does not mean that Christianity is the cause. I'd like to think otherwise, but I don't.
Many people who come to Christ aren't "moral people with good values and generous hearts". Many people become Christians because they want to change and they realize Christ is the answer. In fact, the Bible says that upon becoming a Christian, a person is changed - he becomes a "new creation" and that the "old self" is crucified with Christ. He receives the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit urges the person on to righteous living. So yes, I would say that many Christians are generous because of their religion and the effect that Christianity has had on them.

Do not get me wrong; I am not saying that NonChristians aren't generous. I am simply pointing out that amongst Christians, it often is their Christianity that is the cause of them being generous.
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:32 PM   #68
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Which is more moral, helping the poor out of concern for their suffering,
or doing so because you think the creator of the universe wants you to do it, will reward you for doing it or will punish you for not doing it?
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Old 12-28-2006, 03:07 PM   #69
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Which is more moral, helping the poor out of concern for their suffering,
or doing so because you think the creator of the universe wants you to do it, will reward you for doing it or will punish you for not doing it?
I 've answered questions similar to this many times here at FYM, and I always give the same answer. As a Christian, yes, I am interested in pleasing God, but not because I am afraid I will be punished if I don't. The whole "God's gonna get me if I don't do the right thing" idea has nothing to do with grace, but legalism, and legalism has nothing to do with the Gospel.

I'm interested in helping people because:

(1) I love God and I want to obey God
(2) I love righteousness and want to do what God says is righteous
(3) I love people
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Old 12-28-2006, 03:15 PM   #70
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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest

I 've answered questions similar to this many times here at FYM, and I always give the same answer. As a Christian, yes, I am interested in pleasing God, but not because I am afraid I will be punished if I don't. The whole "God's gonna get me if I don't do the right thing" idea has nothing to do with grace, but legalism, and legalism has nothing to do with the Gospel.

I'm interested in helping people because:

(1) I love God and I want to obey God
(2) I love righteousness and want to do what God says is righteous
(3) I love people

if you did not have number (1) or (2)

helping the poor is still a good thing to do
and the benefit to them would be the same
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Old 12-28-2006, 04:20 PM   #71
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if you did not have number (1) or (2)

helping the poor is still a good thing to do
and the benefit to them would be the same
Helping the poor is still a good thing to do, whether I love God and want to obey him or not; you'll get no argument from me about that. I've never said otherwise.

However, I do think that if the person doing the helping has faith in God, it can be an added benefit, because the person can help feed the needy's spiritual needs as well as physical needs.
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