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Where do you stand on the issue of faith versus works?

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:12 AM
Original message
Where do you stand on the issue of faith versus works?
Edited on Thu Jun-01-06 01:19 AM by pnwmom
An issue that people have debated since the Christian church began is called "justification by faith." Is a person saved by faith in Christ or by good works?

In modern times, Protestant fundamentalists tend to weigh in on one side of the debate, Catholics on the other.

I've noticed that most of the atheists/agnostics on this board, when defining their idea of a "true" Christian, align themselves on the side of the fundamentalists. I'm not sure they're aware that this is an argument that has rocked Christianity since the time of the Gospels. And that among the people who strongly disagree with them is John Kerry, who , not coincidentally, is a Catholic.

From the "Faithful Progressive":

http://faithfulprogressive.blogspot.com/2005/04/faith-a...

Thursday, April 21, 2005 - Updated: 03:55 AM EST
WASHINGTON - Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday attacked Republicans for having an ``orthodoxy of view'' and overly inserting religion into politics, accusing them of using God as a justification for appointing conservative judges. . . . ``I am sick and tired of (them saying) they somehow have a better understanding of Christianity, of the Judeo-Christian ethic, of values,'' Kerry added. ``We're talking about values? You show me where in the New Testament Jesus ever talked about the value of having taxes and taking money from poor people to give to the rich people in this country.'' The Bay State senator added that the Christian values and Catholic church he grew up with ``was a church of universality and understanding and true freedom of conscience'' and that there was never this kind of ``imposition of values'' into politics.Quoting the Biblical line that ``faith without works is dead,'' Kerry cited budget cuts to schools, literacy programs and Medicaid as distorted values.

"Hooray! we say first and loudest. But there is one quibble that we must raise with Sen. Kerry's statement, and it's an error that should have been corrected long before now since he has been making the same statement since mid-way through the campaign. This tells me that indeed it does come from Sen. Kerry's own heart, but it also tells me that he needs some new advisors on faith issues. The problem? His repeated statement that "faith without works is dead." This is a very charged phrase, chock full of old and bitter theological arguments-not one that should be thrown around so casually. Though FP agrees whole-heartedly with this sentiment, these are fighting words for many Protestants-those who believe in the value of faith alone.

Sen. Kerry should stop referencing this quote from the Epistle of James every time the discussion of faith and values comes up--at least if he does not want to alienate Faith-is-Primary-Protestants many of whom are moderate evangelicals. Trust me, there are such people still out there-- particularly but not exclusively among old-school Lutherans, such as those FP was raised among.

SNIP

"Justification by works," which James contends for, may be contrasted with the doctrine of "justification by faith", which Paul contends for in his own New Testament epistles. One way that Christians reconcile these perspectives by viewing that of James as a justification before others, that is to say the justification of a Christian's profession of faith by a consistent life; while Paul's emphasis was a justification before God, being regarded and accepted as just by virtue of the righteousness of Christ, which is received by faith. Another way that some Church fathers reconciled the two was to view true saving faith as faith that is energized by love, and that therefore is accompanied by good works, as opposed to a faith that is only intellectual assent to a set of beliefs. An interesting cross-reference is Acts 26:20, where Paul says that he has been preaching "that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance" (NASB, emphasis added)."



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panader0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
1. Why should you have to belive in Christ to be "saved"?
What about the millions of good people who have never heard of of Christ? Or the millions before he was born? None of them are save-worthy? What is "saved" anyway? From what? Deliver me from bush is all I ask.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:25 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. I had already changed the post because that is not the issue
Edited on Thu Jun-01-06 01:26 AM by pnwmom
I intended to raise. This is a within-Christianity issue I'm trying to talk about. Is the correct understanding of Christian theology that a person is "justified" before God by faith alone, or are good works also necessary?

(Many people who would answer the latter -- that good works are necessary -- also believe that non-believers may be "saved" (in other words, live in union with God.)
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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:30 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. So, Who is to judge?
Edited on Thu Jun-01-06 01:33 AM by TomInTib
Should we not strive to do our best for the benefit of those among us?

Or shall we blindly and numbly (is that a word?) deny the situation around us and selfishly take comfort in our Faith?

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:35 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. Each of us has to judge for ourselves. There's no other way.
But between your two alternatives, I choose the first. And that's what I've been trying to teach my kids.
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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:44 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. Good for you and great for your children..n/t
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:51 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. I hope so. But this is an awfully materialistic world and my
children are not immune, alas.

My younger son dies a thousand deaths when I pull up to his school in our kinda noisy 1987 sedan with 250,000 miles. (Usually I arrive in our "new" car, though-- a ten year old minivan.)

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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 02:04 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Aww.., come on..
Just tell them that one day they will all look back on this and say that they were part of it.

An Adventure.

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 02:26 AM
Response to Reply #18
20. Okay, I'll try that.
I'll tell 'em TomInTib says so.
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TomInTib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:20 AM
Response to Original message
2. Works..
If one does good things but does not by necessity believe, how would one be judged alongside of another who was not judged by his/her actions but, rather, that particular person's beliefs?

I have long pondered that question.

Tom
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panader0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Agreed- Works
Works actually accomplish something. Build a water system, cultivate a crop, construct a house. You can sit around all day being pious and nothing actually gets done.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Well, I'd rather be around the person who does good things.
And I think that person, whether or not s/he believes, is closer to God than someone who merely professes belief.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:28 AM
Response to Original message
5. The whole idea of "faith" turns me off
Especially when my tax $ are going for it. What does faith have to do with anything?

We have a moral compass. I'd rather pay attention to that than some faith based nonsense.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:32 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Did you know -- I'm not kidding -- that we had a faith-based
govt. approved hurricane evacuation program in New Orleans? It was called "Operation Brothers Keeper." And we all saw how well that worked.

I think all this govt. funding to faith-based organizations -- on top of being incredibly inefficient and wasteful -- is simply a way to hand money over to the organizations that are backing politicians like Bush. You get the votes out -- we'll give you the funding.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:34 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Exactly. I'll keep my tax $ and you can keep the "faith"
Don't ask me to pay for anyone's faith.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:38 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. Me, neither.
And I don't understand why everyone with -- or without -- a faith doesn't agree. Would Christian fundamentalists be happy if their tax monies were being spent to promote Muslim fundamentalism? Perhaps. How about . . . the Wiccan church? Would Christian fundies be able to swallow that?

But we can't give to some faith-based organizations and not others.
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lindisfarne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 02:44 AM
Response to Reply #13
22. Good idea. Wiccans need to establish a charity and apply for federal
moneys to help some group. That would be interesting.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 03:00 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. Very interesting!
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:34 AM
Response to Original message
10. Deeds of faith, not works of law
It's been way too long since I studied some of this, but if I recall, when Paul was speaking to Jews he was talking about works required by Jewish Law. Speaking to Jews about faith and not Law isn't at odds with speaking about the actions of charity that come from faith. Actual charitable works of faith are necessary, but following dogmatic Law without faith is useless. There was a point in time when the complete Bible actually made sense to me, all at the same time. When you slap Christianity, particularly traditional Catholicism, over top of Orthodox Judaism (Jesus came to fulfil the Law) it tends to make perfect sense.

But then Judaism, Christianity and Muslim went bonkers all at the same time and I decided it was all a bunch of bunk.
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Erika Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:37 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. Yeah...Bunk is a good word for it
and I don't want my tax $ spent on bunk nor give "bunk" any respect!
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:43 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. I know what you mean about everything going bonkers at the same
time, sandnsea. How true that is!

But I'm still hanging on by my fingernails. Not so much to the institutional church, but to the words. "In the beginning was the word. . . ." The Gospel of John, especially, still moves me.

Thanks for the input about Paul speaking to the Jews. I hadn't thought about it that way.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 03:28 AM
Response to Reply #14
24. Yeah, pretty much
"Praise God from whom all blessings flow" and that's about as far as I can get these days. I'm just worn out by it all.

I spent about 2 years studying various religions and comparing Judaism, Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism and Lutherans. I watched all kinds of programs on the religious channels, (not 700 club stuff) read lots of web sites. Any time passages didn't make any sense to me, I would read through what all of them had to say and gradually it all flowed together quite simply. But then, really, the absolute last straw was the 2004 election. It's just completely unacceptable that the world's leading religions didn't step up and tell the truth about how bad Bush really is. I can understand the fundamentalists because they don't really have central leaders, but the rest of them should have spoken up. If they did, it was to twist the issues or enable the gay bashing. They talk about Germany and never again, but how many people have to die before they stand up. It isn't just the poverty here and the war, it's teaching abstinence instead of condoms in Africa, refusing to acknowledge that sometimes abortions are necessary which is causing women to die in third world countries, so many things. When the Pope asked why God was silent during the Holocaust; criminy, WE are God's voice, how can he not get that very simple concept. All very disheartening.
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 01:44 AM
Response to Original message
15. works. a life without good works is nothing in my opinion. Works
of goodness and assistance are acts of faith, more justified of the faith God places in us than just standing around professing. Talk is cheap. All some do is blather. What you do speaks to who you are.
You can say you are a good person and have a strong belief in God but what you do will show what you
are and what you believe truly more. Personally, you don't need Jesus to be loved by God. You don't
need a faith that requires beliefs such as original sin to be God's beloved. Chistianity is full of
crap beliefs that speak more to man's intentions than God's.
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Wetzelbill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 02:04 AM
Response to Original message
19. a bit of both
however, works would have to be weighed higher. I would think so anyway.
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lindisfarne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 02:40 AM
Response to Original message
21. Would "faith in christ" be of any use if you didn't live in accordance
with xian teachings? Or does failure to live in accordance automatically mean you have "no faith in christ"?
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 04:13 AM
Response to Original message
25. Of what benefit is a lifetime of good works,
Edited on Thu Jun-01-06 04:16 AM by BuffyTheFundieSlayer
when people choose to consider you immoral and unethical just because you don't have "faith" in their god/savior?* :shrug:



*(Outside of the benefit to those aided by the good works, and the intrinsic value to the person doing the works)
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 04:30 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. But that's precisely the benefit.
Edited on Thu Jun-01-06 04:34 AM by pnwmom
Besides helping others, in the actions you take on a day to day basis you are creating yourself. You're the one, ultimately, who has to live with yourself. Are you going to want to live with that person in the end?

Why should you care what ignorant people think about you?
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #26
58. I really shouldn't care
But then it still does get to me that no matter how much good I do I can still be considered untrustworthy, immoral, unelectable, evil and more just because I am an "atheist f*ck" (as one person called me).

So my choice is to be "in the closet" about my atheism (and perhaps even lie should someone ask what my religion is--which is totally dishonest), or be open about it and face the bigotry of society.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #58
78. In what part of the country do you live? You should live here. It's
said to be the most "unchurched" part of the U.S. You'd be perfectly comfortable.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 10:25 PM
Response to Reply #78
98. I'm in MD
Sitting right atop the "Bible Belt". While we're not directly in the heart of things, we still have a good contingent of people who end their conversations and/or answering machine announcements with "God Bless". I have a co-worker at my weekend job who loudly sings hymns almost every minute of her shift, and when she's not doing that she's yelling "Amen" or "Praise the Lord" to her religious television shows. When after several months of silently suffering I let her know that her behavior was bothersome to me (it's also bothersome to the 4 other employees who work here) she told me "If you don't like it you can quit".

Nice attitude. :sarcasm:


If I ever decide to move out of state I'll consider WA. I hear Seattle is pretty progressive. :thumbsup:
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:03 AM
Response to Reply #98
110. People are too busy hiking here on Sundays to get into arguments
about religion.
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Ron Green Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #58
80. Well, there's a project for you.
You can work on being open about your atheism, and find the courage to deal with the bigotry that some people will always show.

I wish you luck and love.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #80
99. Thanks Ron
:pals:
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #58
89. Me again, Buffy..
First, I just can't imagine somebody asking you what your faith is. I mean, I can see asking "what church do you go to," etc. But asking what you believe is like asking how much you weigh or how much you get paid. But I am sure it happens because the world is full of jerks. So how about saying "I'm not into church." Or what my mother taught me: "Excuse me? What did you ask me? I THOUGHT that was what you said, but I just didn't think you'd ask something that personal!" Then just smile and watch 'em squirm.
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 10:51 PM
Response to Reply #89
100. The question comes up from time to time
Many of the people around here are very into religion and want to talk about it regularly. At work one time I encountered a Seventh Day Adventist who, after knowing me for all of a few hours, wanted to know if I went to church and "would you like to learn about the Seventh Day Adventists?".


Or what my mother taught me: "Excuse me? What did you ask me? I THOUGHT that was what you said, but I just didn't think you'd ask something that personal!" Then just smile and watch 'em squirm.


That's an interesting tactic, but I'm not sure how well it would go over in this area. It seems that people around here are of the opinion that religion is something to be worn on one's sleeve. Singing hymns aloud for hours a day in nearly any environment, talking about God and religion anywhere and with everyone and taking one's Bible everywhere are par for the course. To suggest that ones religion is a "private" thing might actually offend such people, or at the very least confuse the heck out of them.

I might just use the old dodge of "I prefer not to discuss politics or religion at work (or wherever/whenever)".

:hi:



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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 07:38 AM
Response to Reply #100
103. My goodness, Buffy
Where the heck do you live? Sounds like an Amish community in PA or something! I couldn't handle working with anyone who sang anything hours a day.

Yes, those folks would probably be very confused with my mother's old trick. I think your comment is the wisest.

I live in the Bible Belt and have never seen anyone walking around with their Bible. You are in some heavy duty religious environment!
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #103
107. I'm in MD
But we obviously get imports from the Bible Belt. The woman I work with who sings hymns all day lived in GA at one point. She claims she does that all the time no matter where she is. She carts her large study Bible with her everywhere she goes (as well as various inspirational books). A previous co-worker at the same job also carried her Bible with her everywhere, though it was a much more portable sized version.

A few years ago I was at my weekday job where I work with people who have mental illnesses. Early one morning I got a call from a stranger insisting that one of my "residents" was in his front yard singing loudly and disturbing the neighborhood. I went down the street to discover that it was in fact a private citizen in the same community who was singing a hymn while doing his yard work. I approached him and politely mentioned the call I received. He told me that he was singing his praises to the Lord and that if that person called back I could tell them that if they didn't like it they could come over and tell him that to his face. I told him I'd do that and went on my way. :rofl:
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:08 AM
Response to Reply #107
112. That is funny! Wow. How brave, though. I'd never sing loud enough
(outside of the shower) for someone else to hear me . . .
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #112
145. Me either
Particularly after that disastrous karaoke experience. :blush:
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #145
161. LOL!
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:05 AM
Response to Reply #100
111. I recommend when the door to door people come, you just tell
them you're Catholic. A Jewish friend of mine in N.J. does that and he says it always scares them off.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #111
127. That doesn't work down here.
The Superior and Ever So Special christians around here believe it's their duty to make catholics see the light.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:46 AM
Response to Reply #127
162. That's too bad. I've always found that they look at me like I've got
some contagious disease.

Can't get away fast enough.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:48 AM
Response to Reply #162
164. I work with a guy who's catholic.
He moved here from Denver.

He is appalled at the nerve of the baptists.

They won't leave him or his kids alone.

I told him to show up naked the next time they ring the bell.

Hey, it works for jehovah's witnesses.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #164
166. Maryland, huh? Anywhere near Baltimore or are you out in the sticks?
At the risk of sounding superior, I am really really glad that my husband talked me into moving from the east coast out to geek-land (long before it was geek-land). I wear only comfortable shoes, no one wears big hair (well, unless it's one of those frizzy days), no one notices -- believe me -- if anyone else goes to church. I can even mention my gay dad and no one faints.

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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:57 AM
Response to Reply #166
168. I'm BMUS, not Buffy.
Sorry.

I live in the bible belt.

I'm from New England originally, and I hate it down here.

Give me the northeast or the northwest, I'd be happy either place.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #168
169. I can see that must get tiresome. I'd hate it there.
I have a sister in a rural part of Texas who seems to have adjusted quite well. But she's the kind of person who goes to the beauty salon every week AND GETS HER NAILS DONE!!!

I think I would need some pretty heavy duty prescription meds to cope with life down there. The beauty parlor just wouldn't do it for me.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #169
172. Yeah, I live next door to a girlie-girl.
She irritates me to no end. She's completely helpless, can't do ANYTHING on her own. If she can't find a man to help her, she asks me. She freaks out at every bump in the night and I'm afraid she'll decide to buy a gun and end up killing the meter man.

I grew up with all brothers-I was still climbing trees and kicking their butts when other girls my age were learning how to flirt with boys.

While I do care about how I look, I refuse to spend much time on it, although I clean up nicely.

I try to tame my mop in the morning but the humidity does me in by the time I get to the car.

I can't have long fingernails because of my job, and I never had the patience for them anyway.


I'm trying to save money to move back to Vermont but it's not easy when you live alone.
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Pierogi_Pincher Donating Member (323 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #172
228. You are too funny! (Compliment.)
Transplanted New Englander here also. Been in the South 21 yrs. Still thinkin' I'm on vacation and will be headin' home soon. :crazy:

I've been known to kick butt (figuratively). The guys always made me one of the guys. ;)

Re: Vermont. Had *excellent* good times in Ludlow! Ah, the memories.

Oh yeah. And faith w/o works is dead.

P_P

:dem:
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #228
229. And back atcha!
A belated welcome to DU!

Vermont is a whole other world.

I've been in a chronic state of shock since I've been here.

People take so much for granted.

That you're a christian, a fundamentalist, a republican, a misogynist, a racist... they're always doing the "Ya know whutta mean?" thing when they talk to you.


And I keep waiting for Scottie to beam me up.
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Pierogi_Pincher Donating Member (323 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #229
231. T-Y for the welcoming shout out!
I'm waitin' for 'Calgon to take me away'.

:hi:

P_P
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:56 AM
Response to Reply #164
167. Oops! Sorry. I replied to the wrong person, I think.
Buffy's the one who lives in Maryland, right?
And you live. . . where?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:03 AM
Response to Reply #167
170. Heh, I just responded to your first post.
Kentucky.

And not the good part where George Clooney is from either.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:05 AM
Response to Reply #170
171. Hah! I had a friend who lived in Louisville at one point.
She coped by converting to Judaism.

How about that for an option? Would they leave you alone then?

;)
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #171
176. No, believe it or not, they wouldn't.
These people are raised to believe their god is the one true god and it's their duty to convert anyone who's different from them.

That's kind of what I mean when I say liberal christians are turning their religion into something else.

Liberal xians don't usually believe their god is the only one and their path is the only right one.

They don't try to convert anyone-they accept each person as they are.

I hope that you guys keep it up, christianity isn't going anywhere, and I'd much rather see your version of it replace the fundamentalist dogma that is poisoning this country.

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Pierogi_Pincher Donating Member (323 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #164
226. Faith w/o works is dead.
A friend of ours did exactly that--answered the door sans clothes, spouting stuff. Religion peddlars never came back. Ever. My hub chased after Saturday door-door 'salesmen' on his riding lawnmower once yelling loudly never to step foot on our property again. This is what these folks elicit from you. Where we are now, I had a small sign made which I placed near our drive, "Please, no salespeople", and it has had just the effect I had hoped for. I WILL call the Shereef. I don't shove mine on them, and I don't want theirs shoved on me. :grr:

P_P



:dem:
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #226
227. Thank you so much.
I was so aggravated after listening to the daily bigots and everyday bad news that I was ready to slap someone.

But the mental picture I have of your husband chasing them on his lawn mower will send me off to sleep with a smile.

:D
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #25
88. Buffy,
it doesn't matter what "they" think. If YOU are satisfied with a life of good works, that is all that is important. There will always be idiots in the world. As Christians, we are told to be cautious of being "too much in the world." Maybe that is also good advice for atheists!

TG
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Proud_Democratt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #88
234. It is good advice for Atheists...IMO.
My good works make me feel better emotionally. The lack of these good works could lead to staleness of good will. Good will isn't just a God thing.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 04:45 AM
Response to Original message
27. I'm not sure if you can really bring atheists and agnostics into this
You're talking about being 'saved' - whether the final judgement on you that Christians expect will regard you as 'good'. Since atheists (and agnostics too, I'd say, since it seems a fairly definite thing to expect) don't think this will actually happen, we don't really have much interest in a hypothetical situation. I suspect you're referring to the "Christians saying other Christians aren't real Christians" thread - which is not a matter of whether people are/will be 'saved', it's about moving the definition of 'Christian' on from "believes Jesus was divine" to "behaves in a way consistent with my reading of the gospels".
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 05:16 AM
Response to Reply #27
30. But this is why the atheists on the other thread can't understand where
so many of us are coming from. Because they are accepting the faith-is-all definition of Christianity that is held by fundamentalists, but not by all Christians.

And my definition of being saved is pretty broad; it means being in union with Love. And personally, I think an atheist or agnostic who lives a good moral life is closer to being saved (by my definition) than a faith-is-all Christian who puts himself at the center of the universe.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #30
39. You mischaracterize our position.
Faith or works, it doesn't really matter. Because Hitler truly believed that he WAS doing works pleasing to the Lord. He also felt that his faith was true, as well.

Just as Fred Phelps thinks God approves his works of picketing on street corners. Etc.

See the central problem is not the faith or works conundrum, it's determining just WHAT kind of faith or works is "good." There are mixed messages in the bible - why else would Christians have disagreed and fought over these things for 2000 years?
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:50 AM
Response to Reply #39
42. In this country, today, faith vs. works is still a central problem.
Edited on Thu Jun-01-06 10:51 AM by pnwmom
It matters hugely among Christians and -- since Christianity doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon -- it should matter to you.

People who think they are "saved" -- no matter what they do -- are in the midst of the fundamentalist craziness that is threatening to engulf all of us. Do you want to support the liberal Christians who fight on the "works" side of the argument, or do you want to undermine us?

Anyone here who argues that one can truthfully call oneself a real Christian or a true Christian -- and still commit acts of deliberate evil, without remorse -- is weighing in with the fundamentalists. Not a smart thing to do, especially if you feel threatened by the fundies.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #42
43. Oh, it matters that you fight about it
but neither of you cares what I have to say - you both lump me in with the other. Besides, for me the question is no different than debating the number of angels that can fit on the head of a pin. The answer to the question from a non-theist's position is obviously that works are more important. And as long as we are together in a society, that has to be our guiding force. I think you'll find that atheists and agnostics are almost universally agreed on that - but we don't think works need to be done to please a deity or fulfill its plan.

Anyone here who argues that one can truthfully call oneself a real Christian or a true Christian -- and still commit acts of deliberate evil, without remorse -- is weighing in with the fundamentalists.

I don't think anyone here has argued that. That's your strawman that you want to attack. But what can be, and has been argued is that someone can call themselves a Christan and still commit acts that OTHER Christians (and atheists, agnostics, etc.) perceive as evil, because the original Christian thinks that the acts are good. You can't decide on WHAT is good. That's the point.
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 11:21 PM
Response to Reply #39
63. Sadly, I think that this
"
Faith or works, it doesn't really matter. Because Hitler truly believed that he WAS doing works pleasing to the Lord. He also felt that his faith was true, as well." is very true.

Regardless of Hitler's beliefs, he did give lots of lip service to doing work that is pleasing to God. And, it's hard for me to imagine someone actually trying to exterminate and entire people if he didn't believe that he was doing God's work. He may have thought that his works glorified God, but I think that we can all say that they didn't do any such thing. (In my case, they defiled God, and in the atheist's case, there is no God!)

And you are right about the conundrum of what is good and right, as well. But, I do think that many of the Christians here embrace the two commandments that Christ gave to us (To Love God and To Love our Neighbors) as well as the Sermon on the Mount. When an individual's actions stray so far from those messages, it's difficult to believe that they actually listened to or read Jesus's words.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 07:04 AM
Response to Reply #63
66. Again, it comes down to interpretation.
What does it mean to love God? Hitler may have thought that killing Jews showed that love - by avenging the death of Jesus.

Same with loving your neighbors. Who's your neighbor? Why didn't Jesus say, "Love God and love every person as you love yourself"? Hitler might have thought that Jews were not his "neighbor" - i.e., weren't in his ethnic group.

There's really no objective way to identify a Christian other than, do they claim to be one.
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #66
72. Sure, it's interpretive.
My interpretation is to love and be charitable to everyone. Anybody who would justify killing a race of people in which Jesus was born probably didn't have too much respect for Him. Of course, that's just my opinion. I wouldn't hold that up as anything other than my own opinion.


I mean, you do have opinions on what makes people bad people, right? There is right and wrong, whether it comes from religious laws or social mores. And what he did is wrong BOTH in Judeo/Christian law (I suspect Thou Shalt Not Kill includes mass extermination) as well as society's secular laws. I've learned what I consider to be proper behavior from both institutions (religion and society), though one doesn't necessarily need both to be an ethical person. Having said that, I do think that there is an instinctual knowledge of right and wrong. Destruction (killing, raping, harming another, stealing) has negative consequences, and I think it's innate that we know, regardless of religious upbringing, that rounding up and killing millions of people is wrong. Justifiable? Perhaps in the sense that one can justify any behavior. But, immoral, bad and wrong.


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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #72
73. But even you make exceptions for "Thou Shalt Not Kill"
Self-defense? A necessary war?

Or if you want, just look at the bible. How many races of people did God "him"self order slaughtered? Hitler might have gotten all his justification right there.

Anyway, I disagree that the knowledge of right and wrong is instinctual. Maybe to a small degree, but I think evolution has left us with a very flexible mind that can be programmed into just about any moral structure. The abused often grow up to be abusers, and I don't think they have many doubts that it's A-OK. I think nurture plays a much larger role than nature in our moral senses.
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #73
74. But, the abused who grow into abusers
know that it's wrong behavior, for the most part. (Unless they're sociopaths.) I don't think we're programmed to do good. I do think that we know right from wrong, and I do believe that it is developed both by nature and nurture. Knowing that doesn't mean that one will act on it on the side of good.

Regardless, this is all just my opinion, anyhow. I think that everyone should work to the benefit of mankind. That's why I'm in the non-profit sector. Charity is my job. Of course, I struggle to always be charitable. Hell, today I screamed at someone who cut me off. I struggle with being a nice person on a daily basis. It isn't innate. But the knowledge that screaming "You're a fucking asswipe, jerk!" at some guy who cut me off on 7th Avenue in Brooklyn is just not a great thing to do was inside of me, nonetheless! :)

(I'm only human! Next time I'll have to struggle to suppress my murderous road rage when I'm driving!)
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #73
81. Hitler may have gotten some of his justification from the Old
Testament. But the message of the New Testament, which replaces law of the Old, is not war but peace. It's not "an eye for an eye" but "turn the other cheek." It's "blessed are the peacemakers." There's nothing in the New Testament, nothing in the message of Jesus, that Hitler could have used to justify his actions.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #81
84. Matthew 5:17
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill."

There's that tricky bible again - it can say pretty much anything you want it to say. Again it is only your personal interpretation of Christianity that says the NT "replaces" the Old.
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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 10:52 PM
Response to Reply #73
153. More Often Abused Don't Grow Up To Be Abusers
I don't have a link

but I remember reading that only about 1/3 of abused become abusers

2/3 repel the idea, and strive to not be abusers

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #66
79. Jesus's parable of "the good Samaritan" is the definitive answer to that
question. His clear message was that EVERYONE is our neighbor.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #79
85. Not necessarily.
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 02:11 PM by trotsky
Other Christians have different interpretations of the parable. It cannot be said to be a "definitive" answer.

http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/14441.htm

And too, Jesus speaks elsewhere to his disciples, telling them not to spread the word to the Samaritans or the Gentiles. Mixed messages on just who is one's neighbor, indeed.

On edit: Another interpretation:
http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=400653

Traditionally, the interpretation of this parable is that everybody in the world is your neighbour, even your worst enemy (such as a Samaritan might be a Pharisee's worst enemy), so you have to love everybody in the world as you love yourself in order to get into heaven. Something I am bang alongside, regardless of my personal beliefs about heaven.

But that's not what the passage says. In the story, this guy gets mugged, and gets ignored by a priest and a Levite, but the Samaritan helps him. And it's made clear from the quick follow-up Q&A that Jesus has with the Pharisee that it was the Samaritan who was the muggee's neighbour; NOT the other two guys who ignored him.

Which implies that your "neighbours" are in fact only those who act neighbourly towards you. A different lesson entirely.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:00 AM
Response to Reply #85
109. Your quoted passage doesn't hold water.
I reread the citation (at your second link), and the traditional interpretation still makes complete sense. Jesus was encouraging his disciples to follow the example of the Samaritan, who behaved in a neighborly fashion to an injured man from Jerusalem -- in other words, the Samaritan cared for his worst enemy in the same way he would have cared for a friend or neighbor.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 09:48 AM
Response to Reply #109
117. Again, it's just another interpretation.
Might not float your boat, but that's not the point. It can be read in different ways, thus justifying a different type of Christianity.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #63
76. yes, Dorian Gray, I agree when you say
"But, I do think that many of the Christians here embrace the two commandments that Christ gave to us (To Love God and To Love our Neighbors) as well as the Sermon on the Mount. When an individual's actions stray so far from those messages, it's difficult to believe that they actually listened to or read Jesus's words."

It's hard for me to believe anyone who ignores these central issues if much of a Christian.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #76
86. *sigh*
One more time. It's not so much that they are ignoring these "central issues" rather than they just have a different interpretation of those central issues than you do.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #30
40. No we're not
At least I'm not and it was my thread. I was raised a catholic. Came pretty close to being a priest. I know the faith v works debate pretty well.

We are using a belief in god and Jesus as divine as a determiner as to whether someone is a Christian, NOT as to whether they are a GOOD christian, or if they are going to heaven, or anything else. Just a definitional basis so that there are goalposts that don't keep moving. We atheists like to have a rather steady bar (sorry for the mixed metaphor) that doesn't keep getting raised and lowered.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #40
44. The problem with that argument is it leaves no way to determine if
someone is merely pretending to be a Christian, professing the belief for some personal end. It leaves people open to "false prophets" like Pat Robertson.

We need to judge people, insofar as possible, in the totality of what we know about them -- not merely in what they say, or even in what they think they believe.

And though you might like to have a rather steady bar, that is an unrealistic goal. Life doesn't always provide us with nice, clear definitions.
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riderinthestorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:43 PM
Response to Reply #44
60. But even the definition of "good works" is relative
In the town I live in Wheaton, IL, Billy Graham has built a university dedicated to training televangelists.

Billy Graham (and Pat Roberts with his Liberty University) point to, and feel deeply, that they HAVE performed these critical good works in our society to educate young minds towards becoming the next evangelical leaders of our world.

These are "good works" insofar as they believe it to be so, and insofar as most 'Christians' believe it to be so.

Personally, I believe these men are charlatans. But others' believe their "good works" are self-evident.

Meanwhile, peace potlucks with Cindy Sheehan in Wheaton, IL (hosted by yours atheist truly) are vilified and spat upon.

So whose "good works" matter most in the the metaphorical world???
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #60
77. I just wrote a post, #75 below, which more or less addresses this question
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 12:54 PM by pnwmom
Tell me if I'm making any sense.
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 05:36 AM
Response to Reply #27
31. It is a big deal among many Christians, though
The "Faith-vs-Works" issue is mainly an internal debate over the required method for a Christian to assure his or her salvation. However, it's not the only consideration of Christians who place paramount importance on salvation; before the "Great Awakening" of the 1820s, the main form of Fundamentalist Christianity was Calvinism, which made salvation entirely the choice of God.

It has been one of the major debates in modern Christendom, and I'd argue that it has shaped the Fundamentalist power grab(s) in the English-speaking world in the 1820s, 1880s, and 1930s, as well as the most recent one. (The dates I give are approximate, and the particular Christian movements remained powerful for as long as 30 years.)

Worth noting, the architect of the modern Dominionist Christian movement, Rousas Rushdoony, is usually considered a neo-Calvinist.

Atheists, agnostics, Liberal Christians, and non-Christians should keep an eye on how these arguments play out, since they strongly influence the prevailing form of Christian Fundamentalist craziness of any particular era. The original "Great Awakening" was actually fairly progressive, especially when compared to modern Fundamentalists like Falwall and Robertson.

In reference to the ongoing "Real Christian" topic, I've observed that it has been consistently aimed at Christians who adopt the modern version of the "Combat Christianity" metaphor from St. Paul, at the expense of the social gospel of Jesus himself. Although it really isn't helpful in DU Atheist/Religion/Theology flame wars, it's a fairly effective method for dealing with "Combat Christians" who use Biblical literalism as part of their armamentarium. As a non-believer who nevertheless has strong sympathies with liberal Christians, I'm not bothered by it, although tit-for-tat Bible quote wars are not exactly my idea of a good time.

--p!
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #31
36. Thank you, Pidwidgeon, for a very enlightening post.
I agree with you that the result of this argument could have a strong influence on the fundamentalist craziness that is developing around us.

And it seems to me that non-fundamentalists need to fight it -- not each other.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:15 AM
Response to Reply #27
37. It's pretty clear that was exactly the OP's point.
The intention WAS to bring A/As into it, to tar them with the same brush as intolerant Christian fundies.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:41 PM
Response to Reply #37
57. Only when they use the same arguments on us that the fundies use.
If I had to live in a neighborhood full of thoughtful, concerned atheists, and faith-is-everything fundies, I'd choose the former any day.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 07:00 AM
Response to Reply #57
65. But no one is.
You're setting up that strawman, and attacking others for using it. I pointed that out in post #43.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #65
69. It hasn't happened in these threads, but it has in others.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 10:12 AM
Response to Reply #69
71. Fine then, argue with the person who brings it up.
Instead of being vague in another thread and making it sound like you're accusing the people you are addressing in it.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #71
75. I wonder, Trotsky, if part of the reason this has been
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 12:47 PM by pnwmom
confusing is that I may mean something different when I say "works" than some of the atheists do.

I just realized that some of you may be thinking that the "good works" the fundies do include fighting gay rights and opposing abortion.

This may seem strange to you, but in my own mind I've never put either into the category of "works," and I think I've just figured out why. To me, the kind of "works" the Church has always stood for involves a kind of sacrifice -- giving -- altruism.

The stuff that's really hard to do. The stuff that leaves you wondering where you draw the line. Are you really supposed to give everything to the poor? Is Jesus really in the face of every criminal? What on earth does it mean to be a Christian?

Many of the fundies seem comfortable ignoring all those issues, which to me, seem to be at the core of Christianity. Instead, they concentrate everything on a couple of issues that make them feel superior to other people and require little personal sacrifice.

How hard is it for a straight person to oppose being gay? Obviously, not hard at all. That's no sacrifice.

And at least half of those who oppose abortion are men -- who will never have to face an unwanted pregnancy and probably have some control issues with regard to women who do. When you add to this number, women who for whatever reason no longer have to worry about an unintended pregnancy, the large majority of people who oppose abortion don't have to worry that it will touch their own lives.

So the fundies put most their effort into stopping the two things that don't take any personal sacrifice. And then consider themselves good Christians for doing so. But I just can't believe that this is the message of Jesus.

Hope I'm making some sense here. I'm trying.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #75
83. It all depends on the Christian's viewpoint.
Opposing gay rights, to them, IS being altruistic - putting forth the effort to stop this because it's "evil" or against God's will or would undermine this heterosexual nuclear family model that they think has been in existence forever. They're fighting for family values, remember? Homosexuality might not directly affect them, and it may not be something they are tempted by, but they do feel they are sacrificing by speaking out, voting, giving money to Pat Robertson, who knows.

Same can be said about abortion. I'll give them this: if you genuinely believe that a person is a person at the instant of conception, and you believe that every person should get a chance to live, then logically you have to be anti-choice. If they didn't care about others - these "potential people" - they could just refuse to get abortions themselves. But they might meddle in everyone else's affairs because they truly believe they are saving lives. Sure, you can argue that they don't really believe that and it's about control of women. I don't doubt that is a factor for some. But I've met some very ardent anti-choice folks who truly are focused on the potential child. Control over women is the farthest thing from their minds. I also know that unless you can read minds, it isn't very fair to assign them motives.

So you see, your very definition of "works" is dependent on your view of Christianity. That's essentially what most of us have been saying this whole time. And to a 3rd party observer like me, their reasons for their Christianity are just as "valid" as yours.
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #83
90. Trotsky, you have given voice
to my thoughts about the abortion issue. I find it difficult to condemn people who truly think it is murder. And while I am savvy enough to know there can be an element of keeping women barefoot and pregnant in the issue, I can't determine where the line is drawn. It is, therefore, an issue I do not throw myself into either one side or the other.

But I think I have what would be for this forum, a rather radical view on "salvation." First, I have to admit that I am not convinced such a thing exists. I am convinced that there is something more after death, but I have never seen, heard, felt, or even had a good hunch that hell exists. If there is no hell, then there is no salvation.

But let's assume for the sake of argument there is hell and there is salvation. I believe that the way to salvation would be through both faith and good works. If you had faith and did no good works, you would not have lived up to your obligations. If you did good work but had no faith, then (if you take Christ's words literally) that would also be only half the equation. And I believe that it is even possible that someone like Hitler could achieve salvation. If he truly believed he was correct, and was, perhaps, mentally ill, and had no concept that his acts were an abomination... that would be consistent with my perception of salvation. The folks who would be in trouble would be the game players...I can do whatever I want and proclaim Christ in the Last Rites and I'm in like Flynn. Not good. But if you were a person of faith who constantly attempted to live by Christ's words but you kept failing over and over again (even if the failing is serial murder) then by my interpretation of everything I have learned, you would achieve salvation. To my mind, the worst of the lot are the charlatans who pretend faith and lure people in. I think if Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell honestly believe what they put out there, in their hearts and souls, then they would achieve salvation as well, as "wrong" as I believe they are about many, many things.

Now, after saying all that, the bottom line is that it really isn't any of my business whether Hitler, Robertson and Falwell go to hell. The only person I should really be concerned about is...me.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 04:52 AM
Response to Original message
28. faith -- bad people do good works.
whether i like it or not -- folks like jerry falwell carry out some good works -- but their faith is poison.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 05:10 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. I think you need to look at the totality of what they do.
Encouraging other people to do bad things through his poisonous words is something Falwell should be held responsible for.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 06:23 AM
Response to Reply #29
32. encouraging people to embrace a poisoned faith is worse.
people like a falwell pave a path to a poisoned faith through good works.

yes they might -- say -- feed the poor -- but they ultimately exact a price.

and that is membership into their evil dogma.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #32
35. Are you saying that Christianity itself is poisoned and an evil dogma?
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #35
49. i'm a christian myself -- however it has aspects that are
easily manipulated by evil people.

it's time for some mature and painful reconsideration of the bible -- at least for people who want to move on to a healthier place.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 08:03 PM
Response to Reply #49
53. Okay, that sounds reasonable.
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rock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 06:29 AM
Response to Original message
33. I'm a behaviourist
So my answer is "works".
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 07:01 AM
Response to Original message
34. Even when I was a Christian,
I personally believed that good works outweighed any profession of faith. This is because if one truly believes in the teachings of Jesus or another prophet, he/she will ACT in a way that goes with the teachings. Though I could see a "deathbed conversion" changing a person's outlook just as they cross over, I can't understand how it could counteract a lifetime of acts that go against the teachings. I see those as either helping or hindering our progress towards the One. Guess that's one reason I'm no longer a Christian.
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
38. I will avoid the charges of begging the question
and respond that my 3 years at a Catholic seminary would put me pretty firmly on the works side of the argument.

That being said, even the Puritans, who believed it was faith and the will of god that caused you to be saved, felt that what you DID was a reflection of your predestination. If you did shitty things, that was a sign that you didn't have faith and that god had not picked you to be in heaven. So, even the Calvinist pricks put a lot of weight on the actions of the individual, albeit secondary. That is one of the things that made the Salem Witch Trials a possibility. People didn't want to be seen as being associated with a witch because they would mean that they were not destined for heaven.

OK, I can't let the begging the question go, sorry. Even if you think that works are what SAVES you, that does not make it a defining aspect of whether you are a Christian or not. You may be a shitty Christian if you don't do good works or if you do crappy things, but you would still be a Christian because you believe in God and Jesus as divine. OK, I feel better now--I can't bottle things up like that.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #38
46. But all that does is support the faith-is-all people, who are
a threat to all the rest of us, liberal Christians, other religions, agnostics and atheists.

Fundamentalists are convinced they're Christian -- and therefore "saved" -- because of their faith, and that they need to do nothing more than believe. We should be doing everything we can to attack that belief, not each other.

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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #46
48. And you know they aren't because...........
That's the point. You don't know.

Plus, you have a post at the bottom of this thread rightly telling you that there are a large amount of "faith based" people that aren't fundamentalists. Yet another example of my point from another thread.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #46
56. " We should be doing everything we can to attack that belief"
Edited on Thu Jun-01-06 10:10 PM by beam me up scottie
I was accused of attacking and mocking YOUR belief when I posted a cartoon of Zombie Jesus.

Now you're attacking the beliefs of other christians?

What a hypocrite.

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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #56
61. Great Pic Of The Church Lady
I forget about her from time to time!
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 07:05 AM
Response to Reply #61
102. Thanks, Southpaw!
Where I live, I'm constantly reminded of the Church Lady. :D
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TallahasseeGrannie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #38
92. I agree
We have to bite the bullet and own our mistaken Christian brethren. Just like I have to "own" bad teachers. They are still teachers, even if they do suck.

That said, it is embarrassing to be put in the same pile as a sucky teacher, and it is equally upsetting to have to sit in the same boat as the fundamentalists. But here we are.

And can't say they aren't Christians but I can say they are stupid f*cks. How's that?
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:28 AM
Response to Original message
41. observations from a whackjob
I think the issue of faith and works has been made into a strict either/or debate by the evangelical movement, which tends to focus on personal salvation to the exclusion of other parts of the Christian message. For them, each person is either saved or not saved, and the specific mechanism by which one is saved becomes very important. Within that mindset, "Am I saved by faith or works?" becomes a critical question that must have a definitive answer.

Progressive Christians, on the other hand, look at being "saved" not as either/or, but as a continuum. One can be closer to God or further from God. And when one is close to God, strong faith and good works both come naturally. The idea of having one but not the other is somewhat nonsensical.

(I am only an atheist whackjob, but this is based on my observations of Christian thought from the outside. :))
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #41
45. Bill McBlueState, you said it better than I could. Guess it takes an
outsider's perspective.
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Pierogi_Pincher Donating Member (323 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 01:11 AM
Response to Reply #41
230. 'Zackly'! n/t
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El Supremo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 11:10 AM
Response to Original message
47. Don't call me a fundamentalist.
A fundamentalist believes in the literal historical inerrancy of the Bible. He can believe either way concerning faith and works.

We are commanded to do good works. But we are not judged by our good or bad deeds. Everyone is a miserable sinner and we can't do much about it. Calvin said that our salvation was preordained. He just didn't say who was saved.
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Zebedeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
50. Salvation is by the grace of God, through faith, not works
Edited on Thu Jun-01-06 12:37 PM by Zebedeo
"There is no one righteous, not even one" Romans 3:9

"The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one." Psalms 14:2-3

"all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23

"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." Romans 3:21-22

"a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." Romans 3:28

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

These passages make clear that salvation cannot be achieved by works, but only by faith in Jesus Christ.

That is not to say, however, that we should not do good works. Of course we should, out of gratitude and service to God.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

One of the greatest joys in life is doing good works. The joy results from doing God's will. Every day I pray for God to use me as His instrument, to accomplish His purposes. There is no greater joy than serving God.

(Edited to delete inadvertent emoticon)
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #50
52. i also think that works is a hold over from the mother religion.
as it should be.

in the old testament the people are called how many times? to care for the poor and work on the side of justice.

those two things are called out again and again in the old testament.

but christ comes to fulfill the spirit and not the letter.

works in christianity comes i think in the carriage of tradition.
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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 12:41 PM
Response to Original message
51. Not this shit again.
Edited on Thu Jun-01-06 12:43 PM by Evoman
Again, you completely misunderstand my argument. It is not my belief that "All christians will be saved". I have never talked about being "saved". Even if we assumed that only works, and not faith alone, would save you, it just means that some christians would not go to heaven. I.e. they are still christians, they are just not all "saved". If your idea is that christians are people who are good, and do good works, and help the poor, then you would probably have to include some agnostics and atheists in Christianity. And that is ludicrious. Atheists who do "good works" are not christian. I am not a christian. Why not? Because I don't believe in Christ.

Heres the skinny:

Fundies are christians. They believe in christ. They are "true" christians. You are also a "true" christian. Now, whether all true christians are saved or not is up to debate. Fundies think you are going to hell. You think they are going to hell (or not going to be saved, or whatever). Which of you is right?

To them, good works are going to church, killing homos, stopping abortion, and preventing the death of vegetables. You believe good works are feeding the poor and supporting the homosexuals (I hope). Which of you is right?

What I am saying is not that the fundies are right, or you are right. I am simply saying that, unless you actually talk to god, nobody knows whos right. You each are interpreting the book in different ways. Your both "true" christians...at least, you both believe you are "true" christians. Whether or not you or I believe that they are good or bad christians is merely opinion.

And again, stop with the strawmans. Atheists do not believe that it is faith that saves, not works. We don't believe anybody is saved, PERIOD. God does not exist, after all. As far as I'm concerned, the theological arguments between fundies and liberal christians are stupid and useless. There are both based on personal intepretation, not any kind of objectivity. The only arguments that are imporant to me are those based in reality and which have an affect on me. As long as I don't have to follow biblical law, I'm good.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 08:06 PM
Response to Reply #51
54. Sorry, but I really wasn't addressing you, Evoman.
It's not all about you.
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
55. Works ARE faith.
Talk means little. Sincere belief means little, if it's not demonstrated in action.
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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 10:43 PM
Response to Original message
59. Faith Without Works Is Dead
If you have faith and do not act on your faith, then you are full of it!

If you have faith and you act on your faith, then your faith comes to life.

If you don't act on it, nothing happens.

I go back to "faith can move mountains, but you better bring a shovel" because God isn't going to do for you what you can do for yourself.!
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Dorian Gray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-01-06 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
62. Well,
to me, the faith seems entirely empty without the works, so both are necessary. Without works, faith means little. And I'd rather hang out with a person who does good things and doesn't believe as I do than a person who claims to believe the same things as I, yet behaves horribly.

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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 12:53 AM
Response to Original message
64. I think something should be clarified...
and that the concepts of redemption and salvation are purely spiritual concepts that have little meaning or relevance to anyone besides committed Christians.

Aside from some of us whacky universalists, few Christians believe in salvation without faith-- the idea of accepting Christ in SOME way is central to the whole point of the religion.

But, salvation is personal and is about only our individual relationship with God. The question of works is more universal and while it relates to faith, is still an entirely different thing.

Calvinists believe that the "elect" will be recognized by their works. Catholics and many protestants believe that works and faith are intertwined, and faith will either lead to works, or they grow with each other. Or something along those lines.

As a Quaker, I take the stand that the relationship with God and the Light necessarily lead to works, but salvation is to some extent irrelevant. Rather than "profess Christ" for our immortal souls to be saved, we're not all that sure we even have immortal souls and prefer to concentrate on the present life. Any "salvation" that may or may not occur will be God's decision, and the best we can do is try to come to some arrangement with God and live proper lives. We then assume everything will work out in the end.






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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 07:42 AM
Response to Reply #64
67. Salvation can be in this life
just as Heaven can be, in my opinion. Personal salvation, etc.
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 08:07 PM
Response to Reply #64
143. Makes some sense to me
But then again, I'm another one of those whacky universalists!
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 07:46 AM
Response to Original message
68. The two are inextricably intertwined; those that have faith will do good
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 07:46 AM by kwassa
works.

I tend to fall into the camp that says "faith without works is dead", even if those works is how you interact with others in your lives. It makes good works a form of worship, actually.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #68
82. I like that. Good works IS a form of worship.
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ozone_man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
70. Good deeds are their own rewards.
One should do good deeds in life not for any rewards other than the pleasure of knowing that you have done something good, helped someone, helped the Earth and the nature that lives on it.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 02:34 PM
Response to Original message
87. Neither faith nor works...
It's he who dies with the most toys who wins! O8)
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:48 AM
Response to Reply #87
163. Okay I'll bite.
Wins what? A lot of "toys" in the physical world? You can't take them with you, you know.

But, if you could get a lot of "toys" without harming nature or compromising other peoples' situations, then I suppose everyone "wins", in a way. But a lot of people care only about acquiring wealth and convenience without regard for other life forms on our planet. If this selfish disregard for other people and other life-forms continues, eventually all life on Earth loses. Including the selfish people. And then when you're dead, you will have left your offspring a little wealth and a diseased, uninhabitable planet.

(I used "you" for ease of writing. I didn't necessarily mean you.)
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:24 AM
Response to Reply #163
180. He was being facetious.
We're all a bunch of smart asses down here.

You'll get used to it. :evilgrin:
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #180
192. I didn't think the risk...
...was too high of being taken literally. Then again, I have to remember... these are the internets. There's always at least one out there. :)
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
91. One cannot "earn" salvation - grace only. But without works, faith sucks.
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 04:28 PM by Rabrrrrrr
Another poster mentioned the passage from James, "Faith without works is dead", and I believe that to be totally true.

But our works do not earn our way into Heaven, nor are they any part of salvation - that's where grace comes in, because none of us can be good enough to *earn* it on our own merit.

So the works come as our loving response to that grace. So in a sense, it's faith - but I'm a universalist, so I don't believe one needs faith in Christ or God or anything else to have the grace. I think Jesus died and was raised for ALL people, all of humanity, throughout all of time.

Of course, I'm talking only Christianity here, and my interpretation of it; other religions will view it differently, but then other religions don't have the debate between "faith" and "works", so I can only assume the OP is asking about a Christian perspective.

For me, it's not about faith or works: it's solely and totally about grace. It's not about what we do, but about what God has already done and does and will do.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #91
93. The whole concept of "grace"...
...is repellent and stupid.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #93
94. Well then, good for you!
Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 04:58 PM by Rabrrrrrr
Speaking personally, I think infinite love and forgiveness are wonderful things.

But, to each his own. We all have our own path.

Personally, I find green peppers repellent and stupid.

We're all different.
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Silent3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #94
95. Not so wonderful when...
...you don't happen to get that grace, either because you didn't follow the right magic formula, or simply didn't luck out in the cosmic lottery, and you get infinite torture instead.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #95
96. I didn't realize grace was doled out by chance.
Did you read my first post?

No, of course not. Or you would know that I believe differently.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:13 AM
Response to Reply #96
113. In Catholic theology, grace comes to anyone who asks for it.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-02-06 06:06 PM
Response to Original message
97. The traditional Lutheran doctrine is faith alone, but
Luther was reacting to the bribe-your-way-into-heaven approach to salvation that prevailed in the Catholic church of his day. Church officials were raising money for construction in the Vatican by selling "indulgences," tickets out of purgatory, that people could buy for their deceased loved ones. Luther found this practice so revolting that he wrote his 95 theses (questions for debate) and nailed them to the castle church door at Wittenberg, as was the custom.

However, Luther over-reacted. He was a perfectionist and a control freak, and he was frustrated that he couldn't make himself perfect. That's how he came up with the doctrine of salvation by grace alone. He was so into this that he wanted to banish the Book of James (which discusses good works) out of the Bible.

Actually, there are a lot of indications in the Bible that works are important, even more important than faith. Take Romans 2:12-16, which discusses "righteous pagans," who have the law inscribed on their hearts. Jesus himself praises those who help the unfortunate and condemns those who do not. At one point he asks, "How can you say that you love God, whom you have not seen, when you do not love your brother, whom you have seen?"

So I'm coming down firmly on the side of works, not that we have to be perfect, but that we have to try to do the right thing and not give ourselves over to evil.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 07:04 AM
Response to Original message
101. Oh brother. On the side of tolerance. I let individuals define themselves.
But I'm not surprised that the concept of religious tolerance is lost on you.


I've noticed that most of the atheists/agnostics on this board, when defining their idea of a "true" Christian, align themselves on the side of the fundamentalists.
It's the DU christians who insist THEIR brand of dogma makes them the REAL christians who align themselves on the side of the fundamentalists.



I'm not sure they're aware that this is an argument that has rocked Christianity since the time of the Gospels. And that among the people who strongly disagree with them is John Kerry, who , not coincidentally, is a Catholic.
Of course atheists are aware of it. That's why we use the broad definition of christian instead of the narrow biased ones used by some christians on DU.



That's called tolerance, fyi.

You should try it out sometime.

Here's a little something from religioustolerance.org to get you started:

Range of definitions of "Christian:"

There are also many distinct definitions of the term "Christian" (pronounced 'kristee`n). Different people have defined a "Christian" as a person who has:


1.Heard the Gospel in a certain way, and accepted its message, or
2. Become "saved" -- i.e. they have trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior), or
3. Been baptized as an infant, or
4. Gone to church regularly, or
5. Recited and agreed with a specific church creed or creeds, or
6. Simply tried to understand and follow Jesus' teachings, or
Led a decent life.


Following these different definitions, the percentage of North American adults who are Christians currently ranges from less than 1% to about 75%.

Within a given denomination or wing of Christianity, there is usually a consensus about who is a Christian, and who is not. However, there is often little agreement among members of different faith groups on a common definition of "Christianity."


Problems arising from exclusion and inclusion:

This web site uses an inclusive definition of Christianity -- the same one that is used by public opinion polls and government census offices: Anyone who seriously, thoughtfully, sincerely, prayerfully considers themselves to be a Christian is considered a Christian for the purpose of our essays.

The alternative is religious exclusion. This involves defining some individuals or their denominations as sub-Christian, quasi-Christian or non-Christian. This approach has led to serious conflicts. In some countries, such as Bosnia and Northern Ireland, discord has resulted in mass murder and even genocide. Recent religiously based conflicts throughout the world have shown that if the political and/or economic climate is highly stressed, some believers find that it can be only a series of small transitions to go from "You are different from us," to "You are not a real Christian," to "You are sub-human," to "You have no right to live." Fortunately, there is a great reservoir of tolerance in North America that has prevented intra-Christian and inter-religious friction from degenerating into widespread violence.


Which definition of christian is correct?

This question assumes that there is one and only one correct definition of the term "Christian." However, depending upon your understanding of the nature of truth, all of the above definitions may be "true":

To conservative Protestants, a Christian is often defined according to their salvation status. Their definition is "true" to them, because it agrees with some of their foundational beliefs: that the Bible is inerrant, that salvation is by grace, and that one must be "born-again" to be saved and avoid eternal punishment in Hell.


To Roman Catholics, a Christian is often defined according to their baptism status. Their definition is "true" to them, because it agrees with their fundamental beliefs, including their understanding of the Bible, the declarations of many Church Councils, the statements of many popes, and their church's tradition.


To many in the very early Christian movement, a Christian was defined as a person who was baptized and proclaimed "Jesus is Lord." Their definition was "true" to them because it agreed with their understanding of their religious belief at a time when the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) had not yet been written and assembled.


And so on, with the remaining definitions.

Each group has their own definition of "Christian" which agrees with their own beliefs about the nature of Jesus, God, church tradition, written text, evolved theology, etc. There appears to be no way to compromise on a single definition that is acceptable to all. One apparently cannot call on a higher power to resolve the problem, because there seems to be no way to assess the will of God on such matters. If there were such a method, then different definitions would have been harmonized centuries ago. People would simply have prayed to God and asked Him to define what a Christian is. Then, a consensus would exist today on the true meaning of the word "Christian."

There is no consensus on what the "correct" definition of "Christian" is. There is only a near consensus within individual faith groups.

The definition used on this web site:

We accept as Christian any individual or group who devoutly, thoughtfully, seriously, and prayerfully regards themselves to be Christian. Included are: the Roman Catholic church; the Eastern Orthodox churches, conservative, mainline, and liberal Christian faith groups; The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons); Jehovah's Witnesses and a thousand or so other religious organizations who view themselves as Christian in North America.
Gee, I guess religioustolerance.org also "align(s) themselves on the side of the fundamentalists". :sarcasm:



Dictionary definitions:

Unfortunately, an air of religious intolerance permeates North America. Many Americans and Canadians equate "Christian" with being kind, decent or good. This implies that non-Christians lack these qualities. The purpose of dictionary definitions is to reflect the actual usage of words. Many dictionaries reflect this prejudice:

Webster's:
"1. A person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ, or in the religion based on the teachings of Jesus.
2. A decent, respectable person.
3. having the qualities demonstrated and taught by Jesus Christ, as love, kindness, humility, etc.
4. Of or representing Christians or Christianity.
5. humane, decent, etc."


Other dictionaries:
Word iQ: "A follower of the faith of Christianity."

Encarta: "Any phenomenon as complex and as vital as Christianity is easier to describe historically than to define logically...the centrality of the person of Jesus Christ...is...a feature of all the historical varieties of Christian belief and practice. Christians have not agreed in their understanding and definition of what makes Christ distinctive or unique."

hyperdictionary:
a religious person who believes Jesus is the Christ and is a member of a Christian denomination.
following the teachings or manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus Christ
(religion) relating to or characteristic of Christianity; 'Christian rites'."

TheFreeDictionary: "A monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior."





Thanks for the lecture, pnwmom, but I think this atheist will continue to use the inclusive definition of "christian".


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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 11:55 AM
Response to Reply #101
104. Of course you let individuals define themselves. Political, not tolerance.

Atheists have no definition, so there is nothing to be lost by letting each define themselves. There is no commonly-held belief, according to them, so there is nothing to define.

Theists have common beliefs, different beliefs, conflicting beliefs, even among those that say they are of the same religion. Christianity is extremely complex that way, which the quotes you posted point out.

It is politically expedient for some atheists to claim that anyone is a Christian who claims to be. This allows them to ascribe the crimes of a few who claim to be Christian to all the believers in the faith, which is important for political purposes, not purposes of tolerance. It allows some atheists to claim general characteristics of the faith that are not true, to claim moral or intellectual superiority, or to sometimes justify intolerance on their side.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 01:20 PM
Response to Reply #104
105. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:20 AM
Response to Reply #104
115. Kwassa, you said this so well.
I wish I could say you took the words out of my mouth. You didn't, but thanks for putting them into my head.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #115
116. thanks, pnwmom!
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #104
118. kwassa, your assertion is bullshit.
This allows them to ascribe the crimes of a few who claim to be Christian to all the believers in the faith, which is important for political purposes, not purposes of tolerance.

Point out to me exactly where someone blamed YOU (or any other Christian, for that matter) for the crimes of Hitler, for instance.

Go.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #118
119. You blame Christian scripture for the crimes of Hitler, which is
something a Christian would take personally. For example:

"How many races of people did God "him"self order slaughtered? Hitler might have gotten all his justification right there."
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 03:01 PM
Response to Reply #119
120. No, he doesn't. NO atheist has done that on this site.
I want you to show me where trotsky "blame(s) Christian scripture for the crimes of Hitler"

Talk about straw men. :eyes:

You must have an entire village by now.

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #120
122. Did you read the actual post? Or just the subject line? The quote was
from his post #73, above:

"Or if you want, just look at the bible. How many races of people did God "him"self order slaughtered? Hitler might have gotten all his justification right there."
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #122
125. Actually, I seem to be the only one who is reading posts in here.
Edited on Sun Jun-04-06 04:29 PM by beam me up scottie
As opposed to taking quotes out of context and using them to support accusations of intolerance.

Let me help you out since your computer doesn't seem to be capable of cutting and pasting more than one sentence.

Here is the post trotsky was responding to:

Sure, it's interpretive.

My interpretation is to love and be charitable to everyone. Anybody who would justify killing a race of people in which Jesus was born probably didn't have too much respect for Him. Of course, that's just my opinion. I wouldn't hold that up as anything other than my own opinion.


I mean, you do have opinions on what makes people bad people, right? There is right and wrong, whether it comes from religious laws or social mores. And what he did is wrong BOTH in Judeo/Christian law (I suspect Thou Shalt Not Kill includes mass extermination) as well as society's secular laws. I've learned what I consider to be proper behavior from both institutions (religion and society), though one doesn't necessarily need both to be an ethical person. Having said that, I do think that there is an instinctual knowledge of right and wrong. Destruction (killing, raping, harming another, stealing) has negative consequences, and I think it's innate that we know, regardless of religious upbringing, that rounding up and killing millions of people is wrong. Justifiable? Perhaps in the sense that one can justify any behavior. But, immoral, bad and wrong.


And here is trotsky's reply:

trotsky (1000+ posts) Fri Jun-02-06 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #72
73. But even you make exceptions for "Thou Shalt Not Kill"

Self-defense? A necessary war?

Or if you want, just look at the bible. How many races of people did God "him"self order slaughtered? Hitler might have gotten all his justification right there.


Anyway, I disagree that the knowledge of right and wrong is instinctual. Maybe to a small degree, but I think evolution has left us with a very flexible mind that can be programmed into just about any moral structure. The abused often grow up to be abusers, and I don't think they have many doubts that it's A-OK. I think nurture plays a much larger role than nature in our moral senses.


He was attempting to explain why christians make exceptions for the commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill".

But you knew that.

And you still tried to make it look like he blamed your precious scripture for the actions of Hitler.

How disingenuous.

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Proud_Democratt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #119
129. Someone else has done his dirty work.
Here's one example.
Time Location Perpetrators Victims Number of victims
1492 to now Western Hemisphere Western European Christians Aboriginals Millions or tens of millions.

For about 300 years, during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance periods, the Roman Catholic and Protestant faith groups were directly or indirectly responsible for the arrest, torture and execution of persons believed to worship Satan or express heretical religious ideas. Most of the death sentences were passed by civil courts, not by the churches. However, the Christian churches were indirectly involved:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/genocide2.htm
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Proud_Democratt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #119
130. Here's an example of Biblical genocide...
Edited on Sun Jun-04-06 04:27 PM by Proud_Democratt
Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.)

Exodus, Chapter 34, verses 11-14


You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you. For I will look on you favorably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you. You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new.



Leviticus, Chapter 26, verses 7-9
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Proud_Democratt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #130
131. And more....
Edited on Sun Jun-04-06 04:39 PM by Proud_Democratt
"When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you may nations...then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy." Deuteronomy 7:1-2, NIV. 1


"...do not leave alive anything that breaths. Completely destroy them...as the Lord your God has commanded you..." Deuteronomy 20:16, NIV. 1


This is genocide.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 07:48 PM
Response to Reply #119
141. bmus pretty much cleared up your misstatement.
But I will also chime in that even showing that bad people were able to justify their deeds using "Christian scripture" doesn't mean the scripture itself is bad - just terribly vague, and it lends itself well to misinterpretation.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 10:14 PM
Response to Reply #141
148. I really have no idea what bmus was saying, but I agree with you that
Scripture, which is full of stories, parables, and poetry, does lend itself to misinterpretation and even excuses for evil.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 03:51 PM
Response to Reply #104
124. No, kwassa, that's called tolerance. Look it up.
To clear up the confusion, maybe you should read the definitions from http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_defn.htm

Or even better, how about learning the dictionary definition of tolerance, instead of the biblical one?

tolerance (tŏl'ər-əns)

n.

The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others




Atheists have no definition, so there is nothing to be lost by letting each define themselves. There is no commonly-held belief, according to them, so there is nothing to define.

If there's NOTHING to be lost by letting us define ourselves, why won't you let DU atheists do that, kwassa?

IIRC, you claim to know better than we do how to define the "beliefs" of DU atheists.

Care to explain how not letting others define their faith, or lack of it, is tolerant?



Theists have common beliefs, different beliefs, conflicting beliefs, even among those that say they are of the same religion. Christianity is extremely complex that way, which the quotes you posted point out.

Why are you telling me this?

I already knew that.

Why do you think I use the inclusive, less discriminatory definition, instead of the one used by christians who believe they're the only "true" christians.



It is politically expedient for some atheists to claim that anyone is a Christian who claims to be. This allows them to ascribe the crimes of a few who claim to be Christian to all the believers in the faith, which is important for political purposes, not purposes of tolerance. It allows some atheists to claim general characteristics of the faith that are not true, to claim moral or intellectual superiority, or to sometimes justify intolerance on their side.

Huh?


It is politically expedient for some atheists to claim that anyone is a Christian who claims to be.


Sounds more like religious tolerance to me.

But I'm sure the more paranoid individuals will continue to believe it's a conspiracy against christians.




This allows them to ascribe the crimes of a few who claim to be Christian to all the believers in the faith, which is important for political purposes, not purposes of tolerance. It allows some atheists to claim general characteristics of the faith that are not true, to claim moral or intellectual superiority, or to sometimes justify intolerance on their side.

Really?

Which atheists claim general characteristics of christian faith aren't true?

A minute ago, you claimed I was being intolerant by using the inclusive definition of christians.

Which is it?

I can't wait for you to explain how using the obviously more tolerant and broad DICTIONARY definition, the one used by ReligiousTolerance.org, allows atheists to "claim general characteristics of the faith" aren't true.

By excluding the christians who use a different definition than yours, kwassa, you're no different than Fred Phelps and Pat Robertson who do the same thing.

And also explain, please, how using the broad definition allows atheists to claim moral superiority and/or justify our "intolerance"?



Because when christians use the exclusion of their fellow christians, they are the ones claiming the moral high ground and also the ones who are being intolerant.




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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 09:24 PM
Response to Reply #124
144. self-delete
Edited on Sun Jun-04-06 09:35 PM by kwassa



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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:17 AM
Response to Reply #101
114. Your welcome. Glad I could help.
Edited on Sun Jun-04-06 06:18 AM by pnwmom
Though you're obviously still having a little trouble with some of the details.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 03:24 PM
Response to Reply #114
121. You helped me understand your belief that christians are morally superior.
I guess I should have used the sarcasm smilie, since subtlety apparently is lost on you.

Here's the "details": religious bigotry is ugly, hateful and illiberal.

That's one of the reasons I included information from religioustolerance.org.

Apparently holding up the mirror of hypocrisy worked as well as subtlety.

But, just for you, I'm going to repost the parts that illustrate the intolerance in the hope that you will read them this time:

The definition used on this web site:

We accept as Christian any individual or group who devoutly, thoughtfully, seriously, and prayerfully regards themselves to be Christian. Included are: the Roman Catholic church; the Eastern Orthodox churches, conservative, mainline, and liberal Christian faith groups; The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons); Jehovah's Witnesses and a thousand or so other religious organizations who view themselves as Christian in North America.


Problems arising from exclusion and inclusion:

This web site uses an inclusive definition of Christianity -- the same one that is used by public opinion polls and government census offices: Anyone who seriously, thoughtfully, sincerely, prayerfully considers themselves to be a Christian is considered a Christian for the purpose of our essays.

The alternative is religious exclusion. This involves defining some individuals or their denominations as sub-Christian, quasi-Christian or non-Christian. This approach has led to serious conflicts. In some countries, such as Bosnia and Northern Ireland, discord has resulted in mass murder and even genocide. Recent religiously based conflicts throughout the world have shown that if the political and/or economic climate is highly stressed, some believers find that it can be only a series of small transitions to go from "You are different from us," to "You are not a real Christian," to "You are sub-human," to "You have no right to live."


Unfortunately, an air of religious intolerance permeates North America. Many Americans and Canadians equate "Christian" with being kind, decent or good. This implies that non-Christians lack these qualities.


They use the inclusive definition, just like we do. How does that make us intolerant?

What makes christian hypocrisy even worse, is the fact that the christians who claim they're morally superior to non-christians seem to believe they're being tolerant.

That kind of dogmatic thinking and denial sickens me when Fred Phelps does it, and even more when I see it on a liberal political forum.

Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, and I'm damn glad I was never brainwashed into thinking that I was morally superior to people who were different from me.

If I had been, I'd probably be posting on freeperland instead of DU.


See, pmwmom, I'm not confused at all.

Disgusted, yes, but not confused.





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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 03:37 PM
Response to Reply #114
123. "I guess I should have used the sarcasm smilie,
since subtlety apparently is lost on you."

DITTO.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #123
126. Ah, pnwmom, I see you skipped over the information on tolerance again.
Would it kill you to read them?

Or is looking in a mirror too painful?


I'm still waiting for you to explain why you're accusing me of intolerance when I'm the one using the inclusive definition so as not to exclude any christians.







Oh, and I just love the "DITTO" response.

Why it's almost as funny as getting a "whatever".

:rofl:
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #126
132. Why should I bother reading the post of someone who's insulting me?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #132
133. Pay attention. What I'm asking you to read is information on tolerance
from the site ReligiousTolerance.org that explains why accepting the right of every believer to define themselves is tolerant.

The fact that you refuse to read it tells me everything I need to know about your belief system.

Thank you.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #133
134. Or bossing me around?
Edited on Sun Jun-04-06 04:54 PM by pnwmom
Ooops. I forgot to say, "you're welcome."
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #134
135. ASKING you to read the essays is bossing you around?
In your world, do dictionaries use antonyms instead of definitions?
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #135
136. DIRECTING me to "pay attention" is
condescending and bossy.

I have never claimed superiority as a Christian. I don't even know what exactly I believe half the time.

I wanted to start a discussion about faith versus works, and getting into another argument with you is going off-topic. Sorry, but that's how I feel.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #136
137. Now you're being disingenuous again.
I've noticed that most of the atheists/agnostics on this board, when defining their idea of a "true" Christian, align themselves on the side of the fundamentalists.


You wanted to call out atheists who use the broad definition of christian.

And it backfired on you, since we accept every christian's definition while YOU exclude your fellow believers.


I'm still waiting for you to explain how allowing all believers, including christians, to define their own faith aligns us with the fundamentalists.






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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #137
138. I've told you before.
Because you accept their definition of being a Christian. In their eyes, and yours, their claim to be Christian IS the proof of their faith. All you have to do is say you are a Christian and "poof!" you are one.

Other Christians believe that Christians are defined not merely by their claim to be Christian, but also by their behavior.

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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #138
139. How are you not getting this?
Edited on Sun Jun-04-06 06:32 PM by beam me up scottie
Have you read the essays?

We HAVE to accept your definition of your faith, just like we HAVE to accept theirs, because there IS no litmus test, there IS no belief-detector that can be hooked up by electrodes, and there IS no one correct definition of christian.

Unless you can prove, without a doubt, your claim that YOUR brand of christianity is the only correct one, we have to accept each individual's definition.

To do otherwise would make us bigots.

Just like Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

Your inference that DU atheists are the only people who accept each christian's definition of their faith is baseless.

Of course, if you had read the essays, you couldn't continue to assert that we're intolerant.


Which definition of christian is correct?

This question assumes that there is one and only one correct definition of the term "Christian." However, depending upon your understanding of the nature of truth, all of the above definitions may be "true":
To conservative Protestants, a Christian is often defined according to their salvation status. Their definition is "true" to them, because it agrees with some of their foundational beliefs: that the Bible is inerrant, that salvation is by grace, and that one must be "born-again" to be saved and avoid eternal punishment in Hell.
To Roman Catholics, a Christian is often defined according to their baptism status. Their definition is "true" to them, because it agrees with their fundamental beliefs, including their understanding of the Bible, the declarations of many Church Councils, the statements of many popes, and their church's tradition.
To many in the very early Christian movement, a Christian was defined as a person who was baptized and proclaimed "Jesus is Lord." Their definition was "true" to them because it agreed with their understanding of their religious belief at a time when the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) had not yet been written and assembled.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #139
140. It's not that I don't get it, it's that we disagree.
And we're not going to change each other's minds. So why bother to keep running around this same circle?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #140
146. Fine. I'll be tolerant of all christians while you'll be whatever you are.
Your whole premise from the start was that DU atheists are intolerant because we accept the right of everyone to define their faith.

Since your straw man was exposed for what it is, I won't bother trying to convince you to be tolerant and accept the beliefs of other christians.

You can continue to wallow in whatever it is you believe makes you better than them, as long as you stop inferring that you're morally superior to atheists.

If you do that again, I will call you on it.


Last time:

I've noticed that most of the atheists/agnostics on this board, when defining their idea of a "true" Christian, align themselves on the side of the fundamentalists.


We're aligning ourselves with religiously tolerant people, not the fundamentalists on the right or the left who think they have the right to decide who is and who isn't a christian.

Are we clear?


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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 10:10 PM
Response to Reply #146
147. So I've said I'm morally superior to atheists? That's interesting.
I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm sure you'll tell me. I'm waiting for one of your legal briefs. Go right ahead.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 10:36 PM
Response to Reply #147
151. Are you kidding?
How many more times do I have to post this?

Many Americans and Canadians equate "Christian" with being kind, decent or good. This implies that non-Christians lack these qualities.


By using the No True Scotsman fallacy, you are implying that you are morally superior to non-christians.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 10:50 PM
Response to Reply #151
152. You know perfectly well that isn't something I said.
And you know I'm not among the "many Americans and Canadians" who equate espousing Christianity with being kind, decent, or good. In fact, that's pretty much the opposite of what I would say. A claim of being a Christian would mean absolutely nothing, morally speaking.

You are reading something into my statements that simply isn't there. I'm still waiting for an actual statement that I've made about my moral superiority to atheists. . . not your personal interpretation of what you THINK I must be implying between the lines somewhere.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #152
155. Sure you have. Many times, actually.
And stop misrepresenting my words.

My post read:
By using the No True Scotsman fallacy, you are implying that you are morally superior to non-christians.


And you do love that fallacy:

pnwmom (1000+ posts) Wed May-31-06 11:15 AM
Response to Reply #136
142. Hitler wasn't a true Christian. Bush isn't a true Christian.


Christianity, on the other hand, isn't just about a belief in a certain deity. It is about certain moral beliefs, the first and foremost being "love thy neighbor as thyself." And many Christians see no evidence that this is remotely true for Bush. In almost every encounter he treats every other person with some degree of contempt (if nothing else, with "teasing" and other evidence of his assumed superiority). And he literally treats the whole world with contempt.

How can someone who expresses (through his behavior) no love or even respect for anyone except himself possibly be considered a Christian, when that is the whole message of Christ?


Lots of non-believers go simply because society expects them to. They're going through the motions, not worshipping.

Hitler never completely disavowed Christianity, but "by his fruits you shall know him." (New Testament, somewhere.) By the last years of his life he wasn't following Christ. Any show he made about religion was just that -- a show.



I'm saying that it may be hard to discern in many cases, but a truly evil person like Hitler isn't a Christian no matter what he says.



I'm not reading minds, I'm judging Hitler purely on the basis

of his actions. "By their fruits they shall be judged" is basic Christian teaching.



bluesbassman even called you on it:

bluesbassman (164 posts) Fri Jun-02-06 02:12 AM
Response to Reply #178
197. Your on a slippery slope pnwmom.

Edited on Fri Jun-02-06 02:16 AM by bluesbassman
And it's called legalism. The "basic Christian teaching" you are referencing does not concern salvation. Salvation is the "free gift of God", Rom 8: vs23, through the affirmation "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" Rom 10: vs9. The former sets up the condition that we can provide nothing for salvation; it's a free gift. The latter provides for how we take possession of that free gift.

What you are suggesting would imply that someone could become a Christian, then lose their Christianity through "non-Christian" actions. Impossible, as that would negate the "free gift of God". Therefore it would not have been free if you had to spend the rest of your life "paying" for it. No, what unethical, immoral or "evil" actions result in is a judgment or accounting from God, and not from me or you.

But before someone jumps on this as an endorsement for bad behavior, let me stress that it is not. I think Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as you love yourself" sums up our obligation to be on our "best behavior". Will some slip?, sure. Will some slip badly?, history reveals as much. But, does that mean that the offenders are not Christians? That can never be our call. The only "man" to ever have the authority to execute judgment was Jesus, John 5: vs27.


And then you went on to accuse me of "aligning" myself with the fundamentalists and being a "fundamentalist atheist" because I accept everyone's definition of their faith.


pnwmom (1000+ posts) Thu Jun-01-06 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #172
179. People who accept the "faith is everything" definition of Christianity

are aligning themselves on the fundamentalists' side of the "faith versus works" debate that has raged through the centuries.

The Catholic Church has always taught that faith without works isn't true faith.

Many fundamentalists, on the other hand, think they are Christians and are saved PURELY on the basis of faith, no matter what they do.

So the non-Christians who push the faith-only view are siding with the Christian fundamentalists.

One more reason to call some people "fundamentalist atheists."


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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 11:53 PM
Response to Reply #155
157. Where did I say that a Christian is morally superior to an
atheist? I have said repeatedly that atheists can be good, moral, people, just as some people who call themselves Christians can be.

And please stop throwing that "No True Scotsman" argument at me. Your own citation from Wikipedia (in an earlier post) says that the statement "no true Christian" would do some such thing is OFTEN a fallacy" -- not ALWAYS a fallacy. In the case of Hitler, I'm sure there is virtually universal agreement among Christians that Hitler was not a true Christian. Hence, there is no fallacy.


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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #157
159. The total disconnect is stunning.
By using the No True Scotsman fallacy, by SAYING that evil people CAN'T be CHRISTIAN, you are inferring that christians are morally superior to non-christians.

My gawd. :banghead:

Do you realize that the NTS fallacy specifically describes people like you?

There should be a picture of you next to the definition.



Maybe if I break it down for you it will make sense.

From Wikipedia:
The statement "no true Christian" would do some such thing is often a fallacy, since the term "Christian" is used by a wide and disparate variety of people. This broad nature of the category is such that its use has very little meaning when it comes to defining a narrow property or behaviour.



By saying bad people aren't "true" christians, you are using the NTS fallacy because you are narrowly defining "christian" to support your conclusion that bad people aren't good enough to be christians.


Wikipedia:
It comes in many other forms - "No decent person would" - it is argued "support hanging/watch pornography/smoke in public", etc.



Using your words:
"No true christian would" it is argued "express (through his behavior) no love or even respect for anyone except himself possibly be considered a Christian"




Wikipedia:
Often the speaker seems unaware that he/she is, in fact, coercively (re)defining what the phrase "decent person" means to include/exclude what he/she wants and NOT simply following what the phrase is already accepted as meaning.



Using your words:
Often pnwmom seems unaware that she is, in fact, coercively (re)defining what the phrase "christian" means to include/exclude what she wants and NOT simply following what the phrase is already accepted as meaning.


You are redefining christianity to exclude bad people because it supports your claim to moral superiority based on your religious beliefs.


If bad people are christian, using the broad definition, that supports the conclusion that they are not morally superior to non-christians.



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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:41 AM
Response to Reply #159
160. OFTEN is not ALWAYS. This is one of the exceptions to the No True
Scotsman fallacy, which your own Wikipedia citation allows for.

And I never said that an evil person couldn't CALL himself a Christian. (That's your definition of being a Christian, not mine -- which is why this whole argument of ours is so incredibly circular.)

I said that Hitler, by his actions, proved to the world that he wasn't a true Christian, no matter what he may have called himself.

Your problem is that you are attempting to make (what you view as logical) extensions to what I say that actually go beyond what I'm saying.
I'm making no statement that Christians are always good.
I'm making no statement that atheists aren't just as good.

I'm just saying that by my definition -- which I know isn't yours -- Hitler was not a true Christian, because he obviously did not share a Christian's most basic moral beliefs. His behavior belied that.

An atheist, however, isn't defined by any particular set of moral beliefs, because atheism is more of an absence, than a presence of beliefs. An atheist could have the highest ethics, or the lowest. It wouldn't have anything to do with his or her atheism.

I'm afraid you're going to keep bashing your head against that wall because we're never going to agree on this.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 12:53 AM
Response to Reply #160
165. If you say you BELIEVE that Hitler wasn't a christian,
Edited on Mon Jun-05-06 01:01 AM by beam me up scottie
I can't possibly argue with that.

That is your belief and I don't question that.

What I disagree with is when people emphatically state that Hitler wasn't a christian because he was evil as if it were fact.

You believe he wasn't.

Fine.

But that doesn't prove he wasn't a christian.

There's the difference.


You hold christians to higher standards, I don't.

No way in hell does that make me intolerant, align me with the fundamentalists, or make me a "fundamentalist" atheist (which doesn't even exist).

And since quite a few christians in this forum agree with me, I really don't think the inclusive definition is MINE alone.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:18 AM
Response to Reply #165
177. I can say that. I believe he wasn't.
Edited on Mon Jun-05-06 01:19 AM by pnwmom
I don't hold Christians to "higher" standards though -- just to a particular set of standards. An atheist theoretically could have higher ethical standards, depending on what they were.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #160
175. See, this is where problems really come up...
hate to insert my two cent in here, but BMUS is technically correct. The problem is that Non-Christians do not attribute any moral behavior as being "Christian" in an of itself. Christians are simply people who assert the belief that Jesus was divine, and worship him accordingly. This is the simplest definition I can think of, isn't it enough to say that Hitler was a bad human being? Why should his faith matter?
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:21 AM
Response to Reply #175
178. It only matters to me when I hear people criticizing Christianity
itself because people like Hitler have claimed to be Christian.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:27 AM
Response to Reply #178
181. I have never done that.
And I never would.

I don't know any atheist who has.

If someone does this, pm me.

I'm trying to get you to understand where I'm coming from and I don't like people who use this forum to encourage division.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 02:49 AM
Response to Reply #181
183. No, I didn't think it was ever you. If it happens again, I'll let you know
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:41 AM
Response to Reply #178
182. The biggest thing about this is the fact that so many...
Christians have tried so hard to disassociate the religion from people like Hitler, it seems rather dishonest. To put it in persepective, think of Stalin, who killed even more people during his reign, even if it was longer than Hitler's. His lack of belief had about as much a influence on his actions as Hitler's beliefs did for the Holocaust. The only thing that is different between the two is that Hitler tried to use a combination of Thule Society beliefs and the Bible in conjunction to justify his actions. His Christianity neither deterred him nor encouraged him on these actions, it probably only influenced him in his choice of targets for his tyranny. That is about it.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 02:50 AM
Response to Reply #182
184. Sigh.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 11:28 PM
Response to Reply #140
156. Maybe this will help, pnwmom.
TreasonousBastard summed it up quite nicely in Goblinmonger's thread when he posted this:

Some people are assholes.
Some people are Christians.
Therefore some Christians are assholes.


I feel the same way about atheist assholes, muslim assholes, jewish assholes, etc.

To me, the label "christian" only tells me that you believe in the christian god.

I expect no more and no less from you as a human being than I expect from anyone else.

To me, that is the most tolerant position of all.

I judge all people by their actions, not what they believe or don't believe in.

Do you really think that I'm intolerant because of that?



I will admit that I do, however, hold people who call themselves liberal to higher standards.

And I consider you a liberal of the highest standing based on your posts in this forum and others.

To me, the fact that you're a christian has nothing to do with it.

I realize that you hold christians to higher standards because of your religious beliefs.

But to expect me to do the same would make me intolerant.

I was upset that you called me a fundamentalist atheist and inferred that I was intolerant, because as an atheist, I don't take religious beliefs into consideration when I judge people.

I judge them by their words and their actions.


Does that make any sense?

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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #156
158. I'll think about it sometime, Beam Me Up.
When I have more energy.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:12 AM
Response to Reply #156
173. delete
Edited on Mon Jun-05-06 01:14 AM by pnwmom
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #156
187. Inconsistent
bmus:

"To me, that is the most tolerant position of all.

I judge all people by their actions, not what they believe or don't believe in.

Do you really think that I'm intolerant because of that?"

Actually, I think you intolerant because of your general behavior and attitude, but that is a different matter.

We also judge people by their actions. That is why Hitler is not a Christian, and for you to call him one indicates that you are not judging him by his actions, but by his words, and only some of his words.
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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #187
193. Your Actions Don't Make You A Christian
your beliefs do-and I challenge you to find me evidence of anything else that is scriptural that says otherwise.

Hitler may or may not have been a Christian, but if he believed in his demented violent mind that Christ was his savior, then he was a Christian.

It's hard for me to imagine a Christian acting like that. But then it's hard for me to imagine ANYONE acting like that. It's so far removed from anything or anyone I know.

Lots of bad people have existed throughout history.

The 9/11 hijackers claimed to be Muslim, were they not Muslim because of their actions?

In the end, who is or who isn't a Christian will be decided by a higher authority than you or I.

Until then, I will say that Hitler was a man who deserved to suffer the deaths of 6 million plus Jews, homosexuals, mentally ill, political dissidents, etc. In my mind he will not be in heaven, but again, that isn't for me to decide.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 10:56 PM
Response to Reply #193
197. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #193
200. Then BMUS doesn't get to decide that Hitler is a Christian?
BMUS flip-flopped on who got to decide Christian membership, from herself to God back to herself again. She again maintains that if they say they are a Christian, they must be one. Pretty low threshold.

I disagree with you, Southpawkicker, on this issue. As the oft-quoted Relgious Tolerance site shows, there are different beliefs about who is is Christian, and mine might be different than yours. I believe that words are cheap, and that actions reveal everything about everybody, so words alone convince me of nothing, particularly from a pathological liar like Hitler. By my personal standard, and most of any sanity, Hitler was not a Christian.

The even greater problem is that choosing to focus on Hitler's Christianity, out of all his expressed beliefs is to be almost blindfolded about Hitler's total beliefs. This is a history problem.

We also need to see who promotes these ideas on the Internet about Hitler and Christianity. Google that combination and you will hit lots of atheist sites. This is a political agenda, not religious.
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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #200
207. So By Your Standard, If I Say I'm A Christian, And I Do
you will decide whether to accept my statement that I'm a Christian? Sure you have that right, you can in fact say I am not a Christian.

It doesn't change the fact that I say I am, and I believe I am.

If Hitler said he was a Christian, then what right do you or I have to decide whether he was or not?

If he believed that Christ was God's son, and that he died for his sins, then he would have he right to call himself a Christian.

Now the question is does he end up in heaven? My vote would be no, but I don't get a vote, and neither do you as far as I know.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #200
209. It was never my decision, kwassa. Each christian decides for himself.
Hitler believed in the christian god and repeatedly claimed that he was a christian.

He made the decision, not me.

Just like you decided you're a christian.

You needed to prove him wrong, kwassa, not me.



See, you no more get to decide who is a christian than I do.



Hitler decided he was a christian, not BMUS.

kwassa decided he is a christian, not BMUS.


See where I'm going with this?


I, BMUS, have nothing to do with the decision.



By my personal standard, and most of any sanity, Hitler was not a Christian.



Thank you.

Your continued insistence that you can decide who is and who isn't christian is educational.

That's a wonderful example of the No True Scotsman fallacy.




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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #187
198. " I think you intolerant because of your general behavior and attitude"
Prove it, kwassa.

Show me where I'm intolerant of anyone (other than bigots who hate atheists, that is).



For the record, unlike you, I don't constantly malign, insult and bait one group of people so that I can use their reactions to prove how "intolerant" they are.


And unlike you, I don't claim to know, better than they, what their beliefs are.


And unlike you, I CAN back up my claims:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...



Your accusations are as credible as your claim to tolerance.

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 08:19 AM
Response to Reply #198
201. Pattern of behavior, BMUS
In my opinion, you are usually intolerant of those who disagree with you. This can be seen in the endless series of notes where you badger people to comply with your arguments, which often are more persistant than logically sound. In responding to me you simply ignore rebuttals you apparently can't handle, even when you are caught in contradictions, you ignore those, too. To me, your primary quality as a debater is endless persistance, not logical rebuttal. For you to represent yourself as an arbiter of tolerance is really, really funny.

I can't prove it to you because you don't accept any proof from me, and your own standards of proof for yourself are highly flexible.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #201
202. kwassa, you might want to analyze your own "pattern of behavior"
before you begin to lecture anyone on intolerance or argument by persistence.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #202
203. trotsky, you might want to mind your own business
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #203
204. LOL
Threat duly noted. What a great example of Christ's love you are.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #204
206. Threat?
What threat?
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 05:52 PM
Response to Reply #201
210. Not accepting your opinion as proof makes me intolerant?
That's a new one.

I guess that would make every atheist who refuses to accept your definition of their atheism intolerant as well.


Actually, a better example of an intolerant person would be someone who denies atheists and christians the right to define themselves.



I can understand why you find it frustrating to debate me, kwassa, since I don't accept YOUR opinion as proof that someone else is not a christian, and since I don't accept YOUR definition of my atheism.


But keep trying.


You never know, someday I may fall and hit my head and suddenly realize that you really do have the ability to read minds.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 07:15 PM
Response to Reply #210
211. No, your treatment of others displays your intolerance
Edited on Tue Jun-06-06 07:16 PM by kwassa
And I mean many others, not just myself.

Of course, you don't answer what I actually write. You try to cast some wacky spin on it, because you can't answer it. You have to try to twist by restating it as something I never said, of course.

Over and over.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #211
212. Intolerant of the intolerant? Yes indeed I am.
The fact is, kwassa, I accept the right of others to define their religious beliefs.

Or lack of them.

You don't.

There's no need to spin what's contained in your posts.

Besides, I can't stand the smell, how can I get close enough to spin it?

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #212
213. You judge anyone who disagrees with you as intolerant
Your first approach to a new person in this group is usually an attack.

Over and over.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 07:51 PM
Response to Reply #213
214. Nope, just the people who refuse to accept the rights of others.
Like the right to define their beliefs or lack of them, for example.

Lots of people disagree with me, I don't call them intolerant.

You, on the other hand, constantly display intolerance towards DU atheists by telling us we don't know what we believe, and then turn around and accuse us of intolerance because we don't allow you to do so unchecked.



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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #214
216. You behave in an intolerant way
Hearing you talk about tolerance is a bit like getting a lecture on sex from Pope Benedict.

bmus:
"You, on the other hand, constantly display intolerance towards DU atheists by telling us we don't know what we believe, and then turn around and accuse us of intolerance because we don't allow you to do so unchecked."

Both of these statements are false.

1) The "constantly" is false, as I have kept my opinions on that subject to myself is quite awhile. I also think only a few specific atheists act like true believers, not all. Simply my opinion.

2) You are the only one I accuse of intolerance. I haven't accused any other atheist of intolerance. This is based solely on your pattern of behavior, not only on things that you have said.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 08:28 PM
Response to Reply #216
217. Your words speak for themselves:
There are several definitions of atheism

Edited on Tue Feb-28-06 05:31 PM by kwassa
you and other atheists here choose to express only one of them.

Frankly, no one fights hard over a lack of belief, or anything they don't believe in. I think you and many others here have a very strong affirmitive belief that there is no God, judging simply by your behavior in this group.

And that is another definition of atheism.


I ask only for a rational position

And "lack of belief" is not the definition of atheist.

atheist ( P ) Pronunciation Key (th-st)
n.
One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.

atheist

adj : related to or characterized by or given to atheism; "atheist leanings" n : someone who denies the existence of god


A "lack of belief" is a belief in itself

which is the dogma of Athiesm, as limited a dogma that it is.

We've been through this several times already.

Want me to post the definitions of dogma again?





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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #217
219. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing, though it is offpoint as usual.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 09:33 PM
Response to Reply #219
221. You're quite welcome.
Let me know if you'd like more.

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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #139
142. What complete nonsense
bmus:
"Unless you can prove, without a doubt, your claim that YOUR brand of christianity is the only correct one, we have to accept each individual's definition."

Why? You make the rules, BMUS? Nobody has to do anything. No one has to accept anyone's definition of anything. That's life. No one elected you chief arbiter, so you can do you-know-what with your command for us to accept a definition.

Your claim to tolerance is just as hilarious as when you first posted it. It is simply a smokescreen to hide a political agenda behind, which is guilt-by-association of Christians.

Tolerance!

You should do stand-up.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #142
149. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #142
150. Now I Don't See That As Being The Case Kwassa
I think BMUS is saying that I (or anyone else who is a Christian) doesn't have the right to say that a person isn't a Christian.

If a person professes to be a Christian, then I take them at face value. If they don't act the way I want them to, well that seems to be life! (Life ain't fair and people don't act right)

I just don't see this as being the case:

"Your claim to tolerance is just as hilarious as when you first posted it. It is simply a smokescreen to hide a political agenda behind, which is guilt-by-association of Christians."

I don't like what Robertson, Falwell, Phelps, Dobson usually have to say. I even try to tell myself that they "aren't Christians". But that isn't true. They are Christians, they just don't act the way I want them to, or say the things I agree with. My job is to speak up and out against what I disagree with, and not to say "well they aren't real Christians", because I am not their judge.

While I differentiate between judgment, and judgmentalism (judgment is good sound ability to make decisions about all kinds of things including whether to trust what another is saying) whereas judgmentalism is casting judgment upon someone. It is sometimes a challenge to tell the difference between the two.

Thanks
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 11:07 PM
Response to Reply #150
154. I'm curious to know how far you'd take this Southpawkicker.
Would you also agree that Hitler was a true Christian as long as he said so?
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 04:48 AM
Response to Reply #154
186. I think I see where the miscommunication is occurring
Where BMUS, RA, myself and some other non-believers are coming from is merely identifying people as Christians. We don't get into whether or not they are "good Christians" or "bad Christians" (or what you would define as "true Christian"/not "true Christian"). For us, if a person fits the dictionary definition of a Christian, they are a Christian. Determining whether they are "good" or not is a completely different ball game.

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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #186
189. And Not Something For Humans To Judge n/t
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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #154
188. A "True Christian"
First of all, I think a Christian is a Christian and I don't differentiate between "True" or "False"

bin Laden is Islamic, he may be a radical insane person, but he is Islamic.

Is he a "True Muslim"?

I think it is enough to know he is Islamic, but that one Islamic doesn't speak for all Islamic people.


Was Hitler a "True Christian"?

Hitler was a Christian if he said he was (although I'm not sure he said he was) I know he was interested in the occult, so he may have been an occultist, or another belief.

But if he said he was a Christian, then he was as "true" a Christian as anyone else is because it isn't my place to say what God will say about him. (See God is the ultimate judge on these things)

Personally I am sickened by Hitler, or any other sick psychotic drug addicted, narcissistic, sociopathic killer who uses religion to hurt others.

But I can't take away the fact that he or anyone else may call themselves a Christian or a Muslim, or a Jew, and not live up to what I think they should, but still have the right to call themselves that.

So that's how far I take it.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 12:24 AM
Response to Reply #142
199. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #142
208. Tolerance is nonsense?
Yes, I'm sure it is to you.

But the rest of us need to accept everyone's definition of themselves if we want to be tolerant of others.


bmus:
"Unless you can prove, without a doubt, your claim that YOUR brand of christianity is the only correct one, we have to accept each individual's definition."

Why? You make the rules, BMUS? Nobody has to do anything. No one has to accept anyone's definition of anything. That's life. No one elected you chief arbiter, so you can do you-know-what with your command for us to accept a definition.


No, of course not.

You don't have to be tolerant of the religious beliefs of your fellow christians.

Or anyone else, for that matter.

Considering how you treat atheists in this forum, we'd be crazy to think you'd start now.

And fyi, when I said "we", I wasn't talking about you. ;)

I was talking about people like Southpawkicker, T.Grannie, hunter, bluesbassman and all of the other liberal christians who aren't arrogant enough to think they can decide who is and isn't a christian.

So, I wouldn't worry too much about it, kwassa.

The chances that I would expect you to behave as they do are slim to none.

No, I lied.

Forget the slim part and go with none.



Your claim to tolerance is just as hilarious as when you first posted it. It is simply a smokescreen to hide a political agenda behind, which is guilt-by-association of Christians.

It's not just MY claim to tolerance, kwassa, I use the same definition as ReligiousTolerance.org when I decide whether or not someone is a christian.

Let's look at it again, shall we?

Which definition of christian is correct?

This question assumes that there is one and only one correct definition of the term "Christian." However, depending upon your understanding of the nature of truth, all of the above definitions may be "true":

To conservative Protestants, a Christian is often defined according to their salvation status. Their definition is "true" to them, because it agrees with some of their foundational beliefs: that the Bible is inerrant, that salvation is by grace, and that one must be "born-again" to be saved and avoid eternal punishment in Hell.

To Roman Catholics, a Christian is often defined according to their baptism status. Their definition is "true" to them, because it agrees with their fundamental beliefs, including their understanding of the Bible, the declarations of many Church Councils, the statements of many popes, and their church's tradition.

To many in the very early Christian movement, a Christian was defined as a person who was baptized and proclaimed "Jesus is Lord." Their definition was "true" to them because it agreed with their understanding of their religious belief at a time when the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) had not yet been written and assembled.

And so on, with the remaining definitions.

Each group has their own definition of "Christian" which agrees with their own beliefs about the nature of Jesus, God, church tradition, written text, evolved theology, etc. There appears to be no way to compromise on a single definition that is acceptable to all. One apparently cannot call on a higher power to resolve the problem, because there seems to be no way to assess the will of God on such matters. If there were such a method, then different definitions would have been harmonized centuries ago. People would simply have prayed to God and asked Him to define what a Christian is. Then, a consensus would exist today on the true meaning of the word "Christian."

There is no consensus on what the "correct" definition of "Christian" is. There is only a near consensus within individual faith groups.

The definition used on this web site:

We accept as Christian any individual or group who devoutly, thoughtfully, seriously, and prayerfully regards themselves to be Christian. Included are: the Roman Catholic church; the Eastern Orthodox churches, conservative, mainline, and liberal Christian faith groups; The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons); Jehovah's Witnesses and a thousand or so other religious organizations who view themselves as Christian in North America.

Now, if you want to claim that allowing other people to define their faith is intolerant and part of some agenda, take it up with ReligiousTolerance.org, because I'm sick of hearing it.

And when you accuse me of intolerance, you'd better be able to back it up.

Prove it.



Tolerance!

You should do stand-up.


No, kwassa, the stage is all yours.

After you provide proof that I'm intolerant of christians, how about for your next trick you tell us, out of the estimated 2,039 million christians in the world, how many of them are REAL christians?


I'm sure they're dying to know whether or not they qualify.


We'll be waiting for you to pull that out of your....uh, hat.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 09:05 PM
Response to Reply #208
218. But the rest of us need to accept BMUS's version of "tolerance"
bmus:
"But the rest of us need to accept everyone's definition of themselves if we want to be tolerant of others."

See? Here is BMUS telling us what need to do. The word according to BMUS. We are not tolerant unless we accept your definition of tolerance. Rather intolerant, don't you think? Your way or the highway.

Thank you for sharing that.

You are also quite funny when you try to back up your transparent political agenda with this website.

two things:
1) I don't accept your definition of your motivation, which has changed quite recently to these sudden new claims of tolerance. You change a lot, BMUS, but not convincingly. This tolerance sackcloth does not fit you.
2) This Religious Tolerance website can choose a broader version of the notion of Christianity than I do. They pointedly choose NO position, in order to facilitate discussion.
3) I don't care if they are more tolerant than I am. Tolerance is relative, I am quite intolerant of Adolf Hitler. Pardon me.

The other monster falsehood you indulge in is the "defintion" routine you repeatedly go through.

You can define yourself however you want, and so can I. There is nothing I can do to prevent you from defining yourself.

let me repeat this again:
There is nothing I can do to prevent you from defining yourself.

Your claim that I can, or that you can, or that anyone can, is false.

Define away.



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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #218
220. You know, if you were as tolerant of others as you claim to be,
Edited on Tue Jun-06-06 09:35 PM by beam me up scottie
I would simply tell you what I just told another poster, that it comes down to the difference between them(the other christians) believing they're christian and you believing they're christian.

And that, since no belief is absolutely right or wrong, people will just have to agree to disagree.



But since you claim to KNOW that others aren't christian and since you continue to accuse me of intolerance without providing proof (you seem to have a lot of trouble with the definition of that word, among others) I'll just repeat MY definition of religious tolerance:

Letting people define their religious beliefs and/or lack of them regardless of what YOU think, is tolerant.

Claiming that you know, better than they, what they believe or don't based on YOUR opinion, is intolerant.

I choose to do the former.

You choose the latter.


To back up MY belief, I'll once again use your words:


Yes, atheists have beliefs, and evangelize them, right here in this forum.


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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #220
222. You are consistently inconsisent.
bmus:
"But since you claim to KNOW that others aren't christian ..."

I never claimed that. Try again. It has never been more than my opinion. What are you arguing about?

"Letting people define their religious beliefs and/or lack of them regardless of what YOU think, is tolerant."

I never stopped anybody defining anything. I can't, as I pointed out. Nor can you. Our definitions are up to ourselves only.

"Claiming that you know, better than they, what they believe or don't based on YOUR opinion, is intolerant."

No, it is disagreement. Has nothing to do with tolerance or lack thereof. I also quite clearly and repeatedly stated why.




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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #222
223. "No true Christian would be a Nazi."
Edited on Tue Jun-06-06 09:54 PM by beam me up scottie
I wonder who said that?

Sure sounds like they're claiming to know who is and isn't christian.

I'll bet if I look, I can find many more statements just like that one.

Oops, here's another one:

I can say Hitler wasn't a Christian. It is quite easy to do.


Want more?


Just say the word, kwassa.



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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 10:03 PM
Response to Reply #223
224. So? It's my belief. What do you want to do about it?
Edited on Tue Jun-06-06 10:05 PM by kwassa
I state my beliefs. You choose to see it as me stating a fact. Sorry, but that is your issue, not mine.

bmus:
"Sure sounds like they're claiming to know who is and isn't christian."

I know who I BELIEVE is a christian, and who isn't. I never claimed to know. Your misunderstanding is your problem. You claimed to know exactly who a Christian was for quite awhile, though you got off the knowing train, turned it over to God for awhile, which is where it belongs, and then came back to the knowing train with your newfound "tolerance" agenda smokescreen, which had the same agenda: we have to accept anyone as Christian who claims to be. Or else.


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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 10:11 PM
Response to Reply #224
225. Are you going for the record, kwassa?
How many more times do you want to be wrong tonight?

I never claimed to know who is christian, I have ALWAYS said we have to take the christian's word for it since we can't KNOW what they believe.

I said that only GOD would know if the christian was lying.


Unlike you, who did claim to know who is christian.


I can say Hitler wasn't a Christian. It is quite easy to do.


No true Christian would be a Nazi.


These are your words, kwassa, not mine, and nowhere do you qualify your statements as "beliefs".

Keep dancing, I'm loving every minute of it.
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kwassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #225
232. Reading comprehension: My words don't need to be qualified
Your belief that I am stating it as a fact is simply your ASSUMPTION. And it is all yours, as changeable as that might be.

and your positions change with the weather, apparently.
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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-07-06 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #223
233. Then Ratzinger isn't a Christian, since he technically WAS a Nazi.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

BTW, you're really holding your own, and I can see that Southpawkicker has also stepped up and debated this honestly. Good on both of you!

(Oh no! He complimented an atheist AND a believer! Whatever will the "atheist backslapper club" people think?)

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Proud_Democratt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
106. Faith alone...is only talk. I have seldom seen
Edited on Sat Jun-03-06 05:16 PM by Proud_Democratt
people of faith "walk the walk".
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SPKrazy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #106
195. I Know People Who Walk The Walk
but I agree

in fact I'll go you one further

faith without works is bullshit!

one must exercise their muscles of faith in order for them to be useful, and that is through action.

If I say I'm going to move a mountain and take no action to make it happen then I'm full of it. (so to speak)
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rasputin1952 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-03-06 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
108. Essentially "works" should be the product of "faith"...
If one follows the teachings of Jesus, "works" become an inherent part of the religious experience.

Sort of like this...If you see an individual that is in need, you help to provide that need; not out of self gratification or because there is a reward attached, but simply because one is called upon to be empathetic and helpful wherever need is present. For the hungry, you try to provide food, whether that food is a direct gift,or if you are in the capacity where you can alleviate the suffering by logistics...the end is the same, the hungry should be fed, the naked clothed and the ill cared for. Simplicity is the key, not the convoluted stuff that so many try to foist on the population.

It is also wrong to be intolerant of others, however justice for crimes is permitted. It is fine to be tolerant of other religions and beliefs, but it is not fine to be tolerant of thieves or murderers, for those, one seeks justice. (Which opens another can of worms, "what is justice?")

There is nothing complicated about love, tolerance, empathy, caring or any of the other aspects of Christianity which are cardinal to the religion, and many other religions express the same tenets in their own religions.

"Works" are not something one "has" to do, they should come naturally and w/o complications...People complicate the simple to their own tribulations...it basically comes down to doing something, simply because it is the right thing to do.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-04-06 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
128. I judge a person on what they do, and not....
on their capacity to believe things that are not true.

--IMM
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:15 AM
Response to Original message
174. Excuse me if I'm missing something, but...
If I have no faith, then all I have are my works.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #174
179. True enough.
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Meshuga Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #174
190. I replied to the wrong post...
Edited on Mon Jun-05-06 06:56 PM by MrWiggles
ignore this post.
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Random_Australian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 04:25 AM
Response to Original message
185. Now that the flamewar has died down a little,
"I've noticed that most of the atheists/agnostics on this board, when defining their idea of a "true" Christian, align themselves on the side of the fundamentalists."

Would you mind not doing this? Although this time I believe it was in anger, I should hope that there was not something else clouding your judgement.

Anyway, enough sentimentality, time for my objections & exceptions.
(Yes, this concentrates on the quote above)

(0) It would seem to me that you are advocating that A) Works save a person and that B) Fundamentalists believe that faith saves a person, (which is equivalent to the atheist definition of Christian) otherwise written as follows:

(1) Unless I am mistaken, the fundamentalists believe that Christian faith is what saves a person.

(2) Unless I am again mistaken, the non-theists here proposed the definition of "Christian" as one who believes in Christ;

However, (1) and (2) are only equivalent when "Christian" = "Saved" (or for reading convenience, read (1) using the equality "Christian faith" = "bieng saved")

But "Christian" = "Saved" excludes non-faith having good work doers.

Therefore it contradicts {(0) A)}

Therfore not valid. (Unless you were a fundy, of course, but I hardly think that the case)
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Meshuga Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
191. Works - more important by far!
Good doesn't just happen. You have to pursue good in order to achieve goodness. Faith alone doesn't cut it.
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Proud_Democratt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 08:09 PM
Response to Original message
194. For Christians that believe that FAITH is all you need...
Edited on Mon Jun-05-06 08:11 PM by Proud_Democratt
Works seems to be needed for reward.
Matthew 16:27
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.


John 10:37
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.

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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-05-06 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
196. It's neither OUR faith or works - salvation is "not about me", it is a
gift from God. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, death was put to death for all.

Carl Braaten explained it best, at least for me...

"The Christian hope for salvation, whether for the believing few or the unbelieving many, is grounded in the person and meaning of Christ alone, not in the potential of the worlds religions to save, nor in the moral seriousness of humanists and people of good will, not even in the good works of pious Christians and church people. ... There is a universalist thrust in the New Testament, particularly in Pauls theology. How else can we read passages such as 'for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ' (1 Cor 15:22)?"

"To say we are saved by faith alone means we let God-in-Christ do all the saving that needs to be done, apart from any works we can perform. ... If I confess that God has saved me, a lost and condemned sinner, whom else can he not save? Faith is precisely awareness that Gods accepting love reaches out to all sinners, even to me. Faith is the opening of heart and mind to the universal grace and goodness of God."
(And the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our "works")


But hey, what can I say? I'm one of those Lutherans by choice, rather than lineage (I wasn't born or raised Lutheran)
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Brentos Donating Member (230 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #196
205. Faith...
There is nothing anyone can do to be saved. Everyone is saved through Jesus...everyone. The only thing humans can do is choose NOT to be saved by rejecting God. By accepting Christ, you will (should) choose to do good works in His name. If you truly have accepted the teachings of Christ, and learned them, then you become His Church and desire to do His works. Too often, only lip service is played to this part, and many will pull random quotes from here or there in the Bible to justify their position. Pretty sad, really.

The hardest part about Christianity is that it is deceptively easy. I can be saved and do evil, because I'm forgiven...but at what point, while choosing to do evil, have I actually rejected God? That is the point of repentence.
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Proud_Democratt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-06-06 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #205
215. According to the New Testament, Jesus healed MANY...
Here's a few examples:
Matthew 12:22
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

Matthew 14:14
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Matthew 15:30
And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:

Matthew 19:2
And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

Matthew 21:14
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.


My question is...why do many "people of faith" go to the doctor or hospital, when they are sick? Isn't this a lack of faith? I just don't buy the excuse "God works through their hands".


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