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  3. Christians, you ever feel the urgency present in our faith?

User Info: Frolfer

Frolfer
2 months ago#61
kozlo100 posted...
Frolfer posted...
This is pretty ignorant. Missionaries?

Bob brought up missionaries. I was addressing that point specifically. I know that they are not the only Christians being persecuted, and so does Bob.

But you're still doing the same thing Bob is doing. You're pulling out incidents and hotspots, which I have never denied exist, without placing them in any larger statistical context. You're not presenting Christians who never experience any meaningful persecution. You're not presenting Christians who enjoy special status or privileges in their societies because of their faith. Those people exist as well, and without showing both sides of that equation, you can't demonstrate a downward trend.

I'm not saying every Christian alive today has it just peachy. I'm saying that I don't see any evidence that the world has been getting continually worse for Christians since Christ's time. What I do see is that there are more Christians than there have ever been. Christianity is growing, and not just through birth, more people join the faith than leave it. Those are the data points I have. And they don't jive with the notion of this being a particularly troublesome time for Christians in the full scope of history, nor with the notion of the world getting continually worse unless you go down the road YHWH_Saves is going and saying that most Christians aren't really Christian, and are instead the source of the problem.

My apologies. That is the danger of skimming too fast through a topic trying to get back up to speed on what's been said in one's absence. I missed the prior context of your post.
Wimoweh!

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
2 months ago#62
kozlo100 posted...
unless you go down the road YHWH_Saves is going and saying that most Christians aren't really Christian, and are instead the source of the problem.

I know you approach this from a different starting point that I do, but what do you think about this?

The urgency that I alluded to can perhaps be summed up in this way: attacked from the outside, infected on the inside.

And this idea didn't originate with me. Jesus warned about the many pretenders that would eventually come; Paul warned against the infiltration of the faith by heresies and false doctrines; the apostles warned against succumbing to the ways of the world. What if there is a small remnant of believers who are the real victims? For example, a preacher I know in Missouri recently had a longtime member of his congregation detained and threatened with deportation, without care of having him severed from his American family and life. Legalities aside, the bulk of those who are pushing this "no questions asked" border/deportation policy are professing Christians, that very Christian majority that is continuously referenced.

https://twitter.com/BrianZahnd/status/1009981064503332864

=========

The way I view Christianity today is the same way that Jesus would've viewed his Jewish faith during his time - a small, oppressed (both by world and religion) group of individuals who are without a shepherd. It's easy to be secular, and it's easy to be a political Christian. It is not easy to be a follower of Jesus.
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: Frolfer

Frolfer
2 months ago#63
YHWH_Saves posted...
I was raised Catholic, but hated church and people. Grew up absolutely hating Sundays.

Oh, you should come back! Don't be afraid of the tares: they're not meant to be dealt with until the end of time. The visible, institutional, Catholic Church is the only path to Christian unity. And history shows that we're going to get through our present troubles. To appropriate a Charlie Daniels quote: "This lady may have stumbled, but she ain't never failed!" (sorry, I get a kick out of incongruous pairings).

The Church needs people like you.
Wimoweh!

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
2 months ago#64
Frolfer posted...
YHWH_Saves posted...
I was raised Catholic, but hated church and people. Grew up absolutely hating Sundays.

Oh, you should come back! Don't be afraid of the tares: they're not meant to be dealt with until the end of time. The visible, institutional, Catholic Church is the only path to Christian unity. And history shows that we're going to get through our present troubles. To appropriate a Charlie Daniels quote: "This lady may have stumbled, but she ain't never failed!" (sorry, I get a kick out of incongruous pairings).

The Church needs people like you.

I'm actually leaning towards Catholicism as of late. I was just saying how I felt during my upbringing.
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: kozlo100

kozlo100
2 months ago#65
Frolfer posted...
My apologies.


No need, I thought that's probably what happened, and I was not offended in any way.

YHWH_Saves posted...
I know you approach this from a different starting point that I do, but what do you think about this?


It feels a lot like a 'No True Scotsman' kind of thing. I know it isn't, but I wanted to say that it felt close by way of explaining why I'd be kind of wary of holding the opinion if I were in your shoes. Also, I should probably just call out that as an outsider I can't look at it the same way you do. I can't actually feel the urgency, and I can't interact with your faith in the same way you do. So, you know, take what I say in that context.

In any case, I can't say it's a wrong position, especially if you're careful about who you choose as the real Christians and who are the imposters. It's certainly very easy to make the case that the highly visible segment of Christianity in the US has some serious moral problems and apparent discongruity with biblical teachings, and if I were a Christian I want to distance myself and the practice of my faith from that.

But I'd say the thing I'd be wary of is that this is a very common feeling and it has often led people astray. Every person who ever split off and started their own little stand-alone church had this feeling. Everyone, of any religion, who ever stopped going to worship services and made their practice personal justified it with this kind of feeling. Of course, that doesn't mean that any one of them, or you, are wrong about it. But you can't all have been right either.

And another thing I'd be wary of is that there is an undeniable allure in being the underdog. Being part of a small oppressed group that is fighting the good fight has always carried a sense of nobility that being part of a stable prosperous majority just doesn't have, and humans crave that kind of nobility. I'd want to be very careful that sort of thing wasn't coloring my thoughts and beliefs.

Being among the small oppressed righteous group also makes it a lot easier to stick to your guns when maybe a lot of the world is calling some of your practices into question. For example, if the world is starting to say that maybe a patriarchal society, or even a patriarchal household isn't the best thing, or maybe it's ok if two men have a child, or maybe even a marriage with three women and four men is an ok basis for a family, and those things make you uncomfortable, being in that oppressed minority makes it easy to dismiss. Always be wary of the easy path.

The final thing I'd be thinking about is that when you're a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. As you say, the Christianity of Jesus' time was a small oppressed group. That's the core foundation of the theology. If you're that kind of Christian, being small and oppressed is your nail. I'd be careful of seeing what I want to see, rather than what is. I know it's weird to say someone would want to be oppressed, because obviously nobody really does, but if that's where the faith functions best you can see how that might tend to color one's view of the world.

Anyway, that possibly got more rambly and stream of consciousness than I intended. Certainly longer. But yea, that's what I think about this.
Time flies like the wind,
and fruit flies like a banana.

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
2 months ago#66
kozlo100 posted...

Anyway, that possibly got more rambly and stream of consciousness than I intended. Certainly longer. But yea, that's what I think about this.


Actually, it didn't. Very well written, and I actually agree with most everything you've written. I tend to skim over long posts (which is bad, since I write so much myself), but I read through every word, and it's very hard to find fault in anything presented.

Having been on pretty much all sides of the fence, I understand all too well the allure to paint myself as the victim of some world conspiracy. I am ashamed that my faith was once based upon a very bad reading of the Book of Revelation. How I wished for all signs to be fulfilled in my own time, in spite of whatever suffering that meant for other human beings. A very sad state indeed.

===========

Having admitted this, I would just add one thing - not necessarily a challenge, but an alternative view/consideration. As you've stated, not all of the Christian cults can be "right." And from the outside, bearing witness to all the internal finger-pointing is surely a spectacle, and it's probably easy to dismiss it as all being nonsense.

However, I would suggest that the feeling of being the flickering light amid a world of darkness is not only, as you say, a core element of Christian theology, but is also a core element of human society as a whole. Philosophers throughout the ages have alluded to the spirit of revolution that arises in the few, and yet is necessary for preserving (dare I say, saving) the world. Knowing what I know about human nature, I truly believe that the narrow and difficult path is the correct one.

As for the specifics of how I comfort myself, knowing that so many others who share my faith label perhaps disagree with my doctrine, I honestly believe that each heresy is easily detectable by following Christ. I'm not referring to mysterious interpretations of vague, out-of-context verses; I'm speaking about the very obvious mission and purpose of Jesus the Christ.

I know that this part of the discussion perhaps doesn't interest you in the way that it does me, but it bears mention. There can be no valid form of Christianity that espouses prejudice or racism, participates in warfare, endorses torture of suspected terrorists or promotes lewd living. And yet, most of my constituents are comprised of people who do these very things. Without "getting in it," surely you must see why it is very important for Christianity to deny these folk.
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: kozlo100

kozlo100
2 months ago#67
YHWH_Saves posted...
However, I would suggest that the feeling of being the flickering light amid a world of darkness is not only, as you say, a core element of Christian theology, but is also a core element of human society as a whole. Philosophers throughout the ages have alluded to the spirit of revolution that arises in the few, and yet is necessary for preserving (dare I say, saving) the world. Knowing what I know about human nature, I truly believe that the narrow and difficult path is the correct one.


I understand what you're saying, and why you say it, but I don't think I actually agree. I don't think the narrow and difficult path is always the correct one. And not that you've said as much, but I also do not think a path being narrow and difficult is any indicator of its correctness. That said, I will give you that the feeling of being the flickering light isn't unique to Christianity, and does crop up in every society.

Like I said, I don't think that makes it right, but you are good to point out that it's ubiquitous anyway.

YHWH_Saves posted...
I know that this part of the discussion perhaps doesn't interest you in the way that it does me, but it bears mention. There can be no valid form of Christianity that espouses prejudice or racism, participates in warfare, endorses torture of suspected terrorists or promotes lewd living.


With the proviso that I don't think there's anything wrong with what you'd call 'lewd living' I do hope that more Christians come to adopt a similar view.
Time flies like the wind,
and fruit flies like a banana.

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
2 months ago#68
I had a rare talk with my father-in-law last night, and it drove this home for me - exactly how much we're "against" when we are spreading the gospel.

My father-in-law is a good man. He cuts my grass, does circles where he visits friends every day to make sure they're in good health, he goes to Vietnam every year to give his family thousands of dollars, he cooks/cleans for the family, etc. I can't imagine a better person to be my father-in-law.

However, last night the topic of religion came up, and he basically expressed a viewpoint that I think is untenable and super frustrating. He was talking about the countless divisions that plague Christianity - Baptists, Methodists, Catholic, etc., and used this as a springboard to say that it's fake. He possibly believes in God, but will not take "Christianity" seriously because of all the internal strife and division.

Furthermore, he reads a lot of the holy scriptures (in Vietnamese, of course), and compared Jesus to Muhammad, and said that these institutions are basically the same and only exist to take money from people and to control them.

=====

How do I correct someone whose language I don't speak? Why do I have to explain away the faults of other "Christian majority" folk every time I want to share the simple truth of God/Jesus?

This is exactly what I meant when I brought up that true Christianity is difficult and narrow - plagued from the inside.

On one hand, it's frustrating because there's no way that one can properly conclude that Christianity is about money, has similarities to oppressive versions of Islam or was created to control people. These things don't even begin to make sense in the proper historical context of the faith. On the other hand, there's obviously some validity to this viewpoint, because sooOoOoO many people hold it (even someone "good" like my father-in-law).

How can I not hate Western Christianity?
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".

User Info: Frolfer

Frolfer
2 months ago#69
YHWH_Saves posted...
I had a rare talk with my father-in-law last night, and it drove this home for me - exactly how much we're "against" when we are spreading the gospel.

My father-in-law is a good man. He cuts my grass, does circles where he visits friends every day to make sure they're in good health, he goes to Vietnam every year to give his family thousands of dollars, he cooks/cleans for the family, etc. I can't imagine a better person to be my father-in-law.

However, last night the topic of religion came up, and he basically expressed a viewpoint that I think is untenable and super frustrating. He was talking about the countless divisions that plague Christianity - Baptists, Methodists, Catholic, etc., and used this as a springboard to say that it's fake. He possibly believes in God, but will not take "Christianity" seriously because of all the internal strife and division.

Furthermore, he reads a lot of the holy scriptures (in Vietnamese, of course), and compared Jesus to Muhammad, and said that these institutions are basically the same and only exist to take money from people and to control them.

=====

How do I correct someone whose language I don't speak? Why do I have to explain away the faults of other "Christian majority" folk every time I want to share the simple truth of God/Jesus?

This is exactly what I meant when I brought up that true Christianity is difficult and narrow - plagued from the inside.

On one hand, it's frustrating because there's no way that one can properly conclude that Christianity is about money, has similarities to oppressive versions of Islam or was created to control people. These things don't even begin to make sense in the proper historical context of the faith. On the other hand, there's obviously some validity to this viewpoint, because sooOoOoO many people hold it (even someone "good" like my father-in-law).

How can I not hate Western Christianity?

Is it your job to correct your father-in-law? You say he is a good man: perhaps he is sincerely convinced of what he says about Christianity. Will God fault him for that? I don't think so, not if his beliefs are held in sincerity. Faith requires the work of the Holy Spirit, which is why it is called the "gift of faith". There is nothing wrong with having conversations or debates about faith, but if your efforts are not coupled with prayer, it's really kind of a meaningless intellectual exercise. The timing of the Holy Spirit is unknown to us. The best we can do is pray that we might be in a position to cooperate with the Spirit when we are called upon to do so, when it is the Spirit's will to act in someone's life. Remember the Parable of the Workers: a deathbed conversion is as legitimate and life-giving as a lifetime of faith.
Wimoweh!

User Info: YHWH_Saves

YHWH_Saves
2 months ago#70
Frolfer posted...
Is it your job to correct your father-in-law? You say he is a good man: perhaps he is sincerely convinced of what he says about Christianity. Will God fault him for that? I don't think so, not if his beliefs are held in sincerity. Faith requires the work of the Holy Spirit, which is why it is called the "gift of faith". There is nothing wrong with having conversations or debates about faith, but if your efforts are not coupled with prayer, it's really kind of a meaningless intellectual exercise. The timing of the Holy Spirit is unknown to us. The best we can do is pray that we might be in a position to cooperate with the Spirit when we are called upon to do so, when it is the Spirit's will to act in someone's life. Remember the Parable of the Workers: a deathbed conversion is as legitimate and life-giving as a lifetime of faith.

You're 100% right. I tend to have a savior complex, I suppose.

I do believe it is my job to explain my faith clearly when misinterpreted (which is what I believe Jesus did, and we are called to do in his "absence"), though, and so I guess that's where the frustration comes from. As my friend likes to put it, "All those with the bad interpretations are the ones with the platforms of power." I always feel like I'm playing from behind, because I have to explain the noise away before even getting to the meat of talking about God. I get invested very easily :(

At any rate, you're right. Odd story, I have been praying for my in-laws to seek/find God, and while they're not full-on converted, I think that they are starting to understand that I am the "faith guy" and are prone to mentioning God and religion when I'm around. They even booked a trip to Israel for this December, so maybe these are the early fruits?

Thanks for the encouragement.
"Man will not live off of bread alone, but by every word proceeding through the mouth of God." "You are not able to serve God and wealth.".
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