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Old 09-01-2007, 12:29 PM   #21
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Yeah, I was thinking internationally. Obviously in the US they make up a smaller percentage. The figure I have is ~400-450 million protestants, 1+ billion Catholics and ~150 million Orthodox (who believe as Catholics do insofar as the topic is concerned).

But it's a good point, because we are constantly on this forum inundated with what is usually an evangelical protestant US view. That is a VERY minority view worldwide. I guess it makes sense since most posters here are American, but we should bear in mind that the vast majority of Christians around the world believes differently on a number of these issues.
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Old 09-01-2007, 07:05 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by MadelynIris
True believers are starting to wake up and see just how bad we've been exploited by right wing politicians (Sadducees).

We have a lot to "take back" from that group, to include helping the poor, taking care of our planet and all kinds of forms of social injustice.

Unfortunately, evangelicalism has been 'perceived' to be one with this movement, and I say it's time we take it back.

I could not agree more completely! There's a book I just read recently called "Why The Christian Right Is Wrong" It's written by a pastor named Robin Meyers. I can't say I agree with all his theology, but in his political and social policies I am with him 100 %. I would say check it out if you get a chance.
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Old 09-01-2007, 07:11 PM   #23
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Originally posted by MadelynIris



But "grace" is the key, the thing that is different from most other religions. It is freely given. Oh, how Christians forget that over and over again.

Once again, I agree with you! I've been listening to a lot of Jay Bakker's podcasts lately, (son of Jim and Tammy Faye) and I'm completely finding myself just so encouraged and filled with hope. He is nothing but grace, and I just find that so refreshing and pure. I started a thread about him here. http://forum.interference.com/t178363.html

It quickly went OT, though

Anyway, he talked in one of his messages about how Christians are constantly saying "Accept Jesus, Grace is a free gift from God!" Then, once a person is saved, it becomes, "Ok, now give up alcohol, swearing, secular music, etc." Jay compared it someone saying, "Here's a brand new Ferrari! It's free!" However, when you get in the car to drive away, they say "Oh, could you please sign here for the monthly payments?" To me, that's what I've seen over and over again in the church and it just hurts me.


Btw, another reason to love Jay Bakker: He's a huge U2 fan.
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Old 09-01-2007, 07:21 PM   #24
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This piece makes no sense. If you're not a Christian, you do not truly know what it is like to live as one in the United States, so the above has no backup or support.

In response to that, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a Christian in the United States and to live out my beliefs the way I wish, and unless you are one, you cannot say otherwise, so don't bother. It is difficult to be a Christian anywhere in the world. I'll never forget what one of my professors said last year. He said that in one country (I think in the middle east, I wish I could remember) if I was to go over there, walk down the middle of the street and say "I'm a Christian!", I would be shot on the spot. And as a formal military man and police officer, I believe him. Tell me that's not persecution. Last time I checked, we don't do that to Muslims here in the states.
I don't really understand this either. Indra's original comment was about Christians complaining their rights were being taken away here in the U.S. I'm not sure what that has to do with Saudi Arabia. I don't know what their stance on religious freedom is there, but I'm guessing it's not as lax as that of the U.S. Honestly, this whole "wounded puppy" complex that the church has about being trampled on has nothing to do us being able to worship as we please. We are allowed to have churches, we're allowed to advertise them, use them for community activities, etc. We're allowed to read our Bibles, or pray in public so long as we're not disruptive. That goes for people in the U.S. of any religious faith. I went to a public high school and I go to a public college, and I've never been told to put my Bible away if I was reading it in the library or in class during free time, of course. The incessant whining about rights being taken away has to do with us trying to legislate them for people. THAT is utterly wrong. We are a republic, not a theocracy. The founding fathers kept church/religion and state separate for a reason. If any religious tradition or lack thereof took control of government and/or legislation, we would see the theocracy stated above. That is precisely the thing the people who first came here were trying to avoid. They wanted to be free to worship, or not worship as they chose. When it comes to government, we as Christians have no precedent over anyone else. To even subtly say that, as so many Christians do, is a slap in the face to the Jesus we claim as our Savior and Lord.
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Old 09-01-2007, 08:01 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2isthebest


Honestly, this whole "wounded puppy" complex that the church has about being trampled on has nothing to do us being able to worship as we please. We are allowed to have churches, we're allowed to advertise them, use them for community activities, etc. We're allowed to read our Bibles, or pray in public so long as we're not disruptive. That goes for people in the U.S. of any religious faith. I went to a public high school and I go to a public college, and I've never been told to put my Bible away if I was reading it in the library or in class during free time, of course. The incessant whining about rights being taken away has to do with us trying to legislate them for people. THAT is utterly wrong. We are a republic, not a theocracy. The founding fathers kept church/religion and state separate for a reason. If any religious tradition or lack thereof took control of government and/or legislation, we would see the theocracy stated above. That is precisely the thing the people who first came here were trying to avoid. They wanted to be free to worship, or not worship as they chose. When it comes to government, we as Christians have no precedent over anyone else. To even subtly say that, as so many Christians do, is a slap in the face to the Jesus we claim as our Savior and Lord.

I knew there were some sensible Christians who understand there is room for everyone in our society regardless of faith or lack thereof. And there isn't a witchhunt to erase Jesus from the western world.
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Old 09-01-2007, 08:07 PM   #26
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Originally posted by trevster2k



I knew there were some sensible Christians who understand there is room for everyone in our society regardless of faith or lack thereof. And there isn't a witchhunt to erase Jesus from the western world.
Thanks! The God I believe in and serve says that all people are equal in His sight regardless of religion, race, gender, socioeconomic standing, sexuality etc. I don't see why I should believe any differently!
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:55 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by 2861U2




This piece makes no sense. If you're not a Christian, you do not truly know what it is like to live as one in the United States, so the above has no backup or support.

In response to that, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a Christian in the United States and to live out my beliefs the way I wish, and unless you are one, you cannot say otherwise, so don't bother. It is difficult to be a Christian anywhere in the world. I'll never forget what one of my professors said last year. He said that in one country (I think in the middle east, I wish I could remember) if I was to go over there, walk down the middle of the street and say "I'm a Christian!", I would be shot on the spot. And as a formal military man and police officer, I believe him. Tell me that's not persecution. Last time I checked, we don't do that to Muslims here in the states.
Bollocks, you are not a Chaldean Christian in Iraq you are living in a secular nation where freedom of religion is a guaranteed right with no persecution from the state. The instances that are run off ad infinitum as examples or persecution usually involve Christian groups being denied promotion from government or taxpayers funds, and no government promotion of religion is the flipside of no persecution within the confines of a secular state.

Your right to be a Christian and to live out your beliefs does not extend to legislation of marriage equality, euthenasia and abortion rights of other individuals that do not adhere to the same belief sytem or suffer the same hangups towards those issues. Neither issue is settled under law because your particular brand of masturbatory theobabblery declares it to be wrong; when that expectation that a Biblical perspective is a legitimate argument gets dashed in the courts it is parroted off as an example of anti-Christian bias despite the fact that your nation supports some of the most observant Christians in the western world today and that by virtue of numbers faith is a precondition for holding elected office.

When Christians are getting whole families executed for holding that faith and we start seeing Churches getting firebombed then you have an argument, because at the moment all that bleating is even more pathetic than Islamic PR groups.
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Old 09-01-2007, 11:24 PM   #28
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Originally posted by 2861U2
In response to that, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a Christian in the United States and to live out my beliefs the way I wish, and unless you are one, you cannot say otherwise, so don't bother.
Why waste my time typing out a lengthy reply about how ludicrous your statement is when I can just use a handy image?

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Old 09-01-2007, 11:40 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by MadelynIris
True believers are starting to wake up and see just how bad we've been exploited by right wing politicians (Sadducees).

We have a lot to "take back" from that group, to include helping the poor, taking care of our planet and all kinds of forms of social injustice.

Unfortunately, evangelicalism has been 'perceived' to be one with this movement, and I say it's time we take it back.
Great post.
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Old 09-01-2007, 11:56 PM   #30
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I should make clear that my third point -- prosyletising -- has not been an issue for me here on this board, or by anyone on this board. I appreciate that. It has been all too common in "real" life though. The other two points I have had come up in both online and offline situations.

2861U2 -- Your reply is textbook example of what I meant!

And although it is beside the point, if I walked down the middle of that same street in that same unnamed middle eastern nation saying "I'm an atheist or agnostic!" I might very well be shot on sight too. I, however, wouldn't be foolish enough to do that, and I suggest that if you ever find yourself in the middle of the street in that unnamed middle eastern nation that you also avoid drawing attention to yourself in such a manner. It's just common sense.

MadelynIris -- I probably should have phrased that a little differently, because I think we essentially agree on this point. I do believe someone can be a good Christian (or any other religion, or even no religion) and have flaws -- even serious flaws. The key is in the desire and the attempt to correct those flaws, not the complete absence of them (which I believe is impossible for any human anyway). But if someone is a truly vile human being and has no desire to change and become a better person, I can't see that person as a good Christian.
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:01 AM   #31
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I have met or exchanged with many Christians who have bettered my world and pushed me to think out of my box. I have met or exchanged with many nonbelievers or believers in other religions who have done the same. I don't want to judge a religious philosophy by some of its practitioners anymore. I just look at the people. Do I admire their behavior or am I repulsed by it? Their religion doesn't enter into it too much for me. But, yeah, if I see a glimmer of Christ in someone who calls himself a Christian, I will give them time. If I don't, I won't.
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Old 09-02-2007, 09:07 AM   #32
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But, yeah, if I see a glimmer of Christ in someone who calls himself a Christian, I will give them time. If I don't, I won't.
BonosSaint -- From a Christian's perspective (mine), that kind of proselytizing is exactly what Christians need to do, not the preaching stuff.... and most certainly not the stuff you see on TV -- the many forms of poison -- health and wealth stuff.
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Old 09-02-2007, 03:38 PM   #33
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I don't mean to steer this off the direction it was going, so feel free to continue that. I did want to ask, however, about something I've been noticing lately. I'd be curious as to some non-Christians (and Christians who'd like to add) perspectives on the new "methods" of evangelizing. By that I mean, the edgy, hip, ministries such as Stephen Baldwin's extreme sports for Jesus ( there's many other ministries like his; I just wanted one to attach a name too), Ron Luce's "Battlecry For A Generation"/"Acquire The Fire" ministries (you can Google him/them if you're not familiar with them) etc. All of them are boasting about having teenagers "on fire for Jesus!!" etc. However, what I see is people trying to make Jesus "cool" and "edgy" and "hip" I am all for using these methods of relevance in today's culture. However, most of these people are trying so hard to make Jesus relevant, they end up making themselves and Christianity seem hollow and fake. If they used them to simply present the bare message of Jesus, "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself." Christianity would probably have a much better face in the world. However, too many of these ministries are teaching "Jesus+ Kick-Ass Morality Guyz!!111"
Most of the time, it's centered on the morality issue. I have nothing against morality or trying to prevent young people from drinking too young or too much, trying to prevent drug use, promiscuity etc. Yet, it's touted as the cure for whatever ails you, and it's just not. For example, I could never have sex until I get married, never taste a sip of alcohol, never let another swear word pass my lips; and still be broken, miserable, judgemental, intolerant, self-righteous, and an all-around jerk. That's what so many of these "on fire for Jesus" teens are. Their hearts may be in the right place, but they're so wrong. They hold impossible standards for themselves and others and they can't handle it if they or others make those mistakes. They don't know how to relate to anyone outside the little Christian club, and they make everyone around them feel bad for being the way they are. How do I feel qualified to make these observations? It's because up until about a year and a half ago, I was one of those people I just described. Thankfully, God used people like Bono, Brennnan Manning, Jay Bakker, and numerous others along with His own voice to reach into my heart and grip it with grace. It's a stunning, yet painful thing to realize that, pardon the expression, "everything you know is wrong." All I'd been taught about God, being a good Christian was simply...wrong. Now, my heart breaks every time I see another Christian judging, and trampling, and hurting people. I used to be that person, and that's who Non-Christians thought Jesus was. I want them to see the real Jesus in me; the Jesus who loves them just the way they are, and has no ulterior motives, except to love them unconditionally forever.
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Old 09-02-2007, 03:45 PM   #34
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it's a pleasure to read these posts, U2isthebest -- you're thoughtful, articulate, considerate, and have an expansive worldview. you've become a true credit to your religion.

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Old 09-02-2007, 03:48 PM   #35
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it's a pleasure to read these posts, U2isthebest -- you're thoughtful, articulate, considerate, and have an expansive worldview. you've become a true credit to your religion.

Thank you! Your posts are definitely something that always give me something to think about. I've learned a lot from you! Btw, I just found out about what happened to you in the pool accident, and I'm so sorry. Thank God, you're alright. I was reading the stories in your journal, and it sounds horrifying! I hope you're feeling a LOT better now!
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Old 09-02-2007, 05:03 PM   #36
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They hold impossible standards for themselves and others and they can't handle it if they or others make those mistakes. They don't know how to relate to anyone outside the little Christian club, and they make everyone around them feel bad for being the way they are.
I worry about these kids too. Being human and all, they're going to fail at meeting those unrealistic standards, and then where do they go? Their "perfect" friends won't know what to do, and won't be able to help them in any way. And, when they do fall, they fall all the way. It's all or nothing with those kids. That's no way to live.
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Old 09-02-2007, 08:18 PM   #37
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I worry about these kids too. Being human and all, they're going to fail at meeting those unrealistic standards, and then where do they go? Their "perfect" friends won't know what to do, and won't be able to help them in any way. And, when they do fall, they fall all the way. It's all or nothing with those kids. That's no way to live.
I've seen it in my own life. My cousin is going to a Bible college and is heavily involved as a leader in a church youth group there. One of the girls in the youth group just got pregnant. Obviously, I'm not going to stand up and cheer for a teenage pregnancy. However, my cousin acted as though the world has just crashed to pieces. She was moaning how this girl's entire future was ruined and implied that there was no way God could ever use her. (Apparently, this girl had felt as though God had called her to ministry). The girl's life is going to change in a major way, and some of her plans may be on hold. Yet, God isn't done with her because she made a mistake. As you said, Martha, this all or nothing mentality that so many Christians have ruins more lives than it helps.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:21 PM   #38
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A favorite saying of mine, from someone prominent in my "church" is: It's easy to know God's Will. It's what happens!

For your cousin to assume to know God's Will for this girl is really assuming one whole lot, isn't it.
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Old 09-02-2007, 10:32 PM   #39
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A favorite saying of mine, from someone prominent in my "church" is: It's easy to know God's Will. It's what happens!

For your cousin to assume to know God's Will for this girl is really assuming one whole lot, isn't it.
I don't think my cousin was assuming God's Will for said girl. I might have phrased that wrong! She was, however, telling me what this girl had told her what she thought God's plan was for her life. I just didn't appreciate how my cousin acted as though her future was now set in stone and basically ruined and changed irreparably.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:59 PM   #40
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I think people have to remember that, Christian or not, they /are/ teenagers, and teenagers don't always have a handle on life experience. Adults tend to expect teenagers to know what adults know, and to do things the way adults do it. On the other hand, you have those adults who will always hold a teenager's perceived lack of experience against them - often in the same sentence or lecture.

As far as those 'edgy, hip, cool' clubs and whatnot - I don't know, they sound a lot more interesting than the usual run of drudgery that churches often offer to kids: sugary, stifling, sucking the life and craziness of kids right out of them. Truthfully, even at 31, I'm far more likely to attend an extreme sports club than a regular church event.

Well, that, and people forget that Jesus was rather an edgy man - he hung out with the people the churched often see as beneath them: prostitutes, Samaritans, Gentiles, Jews..criminals..you know, the dirty peons of the world.
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