Well, I've been away for a while because I've been so busy at work, but I have been spending a little time on another site which, unfortunately, turns out to be overrun with xtians. The nonsense that these people believe! I read this stuff with my mouth hanging open and my eyes rolling, and all I can think is I wish Felch were here, I wish Felch were here.
You don't have to know what the discussion thread was about to enjoy these comments, but in some instances you can probably guess. I know this is a little long, but there are some real belly laughs here. Enjoy.
After you read this stuff, I don't want to hear anyone ever complaining about some of the members of A|N ever again. - DG
Also, just because we see religious leaders engaged in inappropriate behaviour does not mean that religion does not offer a solution. We can not brand an ideology as faulty because its followers are faulty. Judge the faith on its own merits and I think you'll see that true Christianity would be an excellent and ideal solution for solving the world's problems.
Christ does indeed change lives. However, it all begins with a supernatural conversion followed by a process of change in each individual believer's life. Christianity does not produce perfect people. It takes very imperfect people and often very wicked people and makes them children of God and then transforms them day by day.
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God." John 1:12-13
Your comment, "It certainly doesn't strike me as being very effective" is not looking at the facts of Christ's impact on either individuals or societies as a whole. What other religion has produced so many great men and women? What other religion has produced such freedom, civilization, philanthropy and good?
Yes, I agree that America is sick and in decline in some ways. We are perverting our constitution. We are increasingly snubbing our nose at capitalism, the very economic system that made us the most powerful nation in the world. We are increasingly scaling back our military, another attribute that has made us the most powerful nation on earth. We are forgoing our duty to procreate and sustain the population. Our tastes and interests are increasingly decedent and depraved. However, Europe is in far worse of a decline in these areas and a lot of the worlds cultures are still underdeveloped.
Every society has it's faults but I do agree with Mr. White that the American society is the best that has ever existed. But I still think it's time for cultural cleansing and awakening and perhaps accepting the inherent differences of the sexes and genders and embracing them is a good start.
Having 3 sons I am intensely interested in this subject! I agree that our society has really lost or down played rites of passage for young men. Our family follows a series of rites of passage found in the book, Raising Modern Day Knights, that uses stages of accountability and expectations w/ corresponding privileges and rituals. At age 8 each boy is inducted into the order of the Page where he learns and is expected to practice, manners, how to do chores w/ excellence etc. He is given a big party and formerly inducted. A symbolic gift is a Horbook with 8 Knightly Virtues which he is required to memorize and understand. These form the basic virtues Western society has prized in men for hundreds of years. At age 13 he is solemnly inducted into the order of Squire, where during a big medieval themed party he is given charges by men in the family admonishing him the importance of each Knightly Virtue. He is given a study BIble and flag with our family crest for his room. We end the event by laying hands on him and commending him to God as he goes through his squire years. As a squire he is expected to be much better at living out the Knightly Virtues and be a big help at home as well as beginning the search for his future occupation and getting ready to drive. Finally, at age 18 or upon graduation from High School he is Knighted after a night of reflection and prayer. He is presented with a crest ring and a sword to hang under the flag he was given earlier. He is expected to begin the separation process and either go on to college or begin his occupation.
I chose as a result of going back to the basics of my religion and what it asked of me. I stand solidly in my beliefs because I am unafraid to challenge them, or have them challenged.
I know what God asks of me as a Man, and a Human being, and why I should do many of those things.
It is my opinion that we are geared to understand first, then believe. Hence, we attempt to look at all the facts before we arrive at a conclusion. The fly in the ointment, however, is that we humans have no real way to assimilate all of the facts (apart from supernatural intervention) and therefore we all too often arrive at a conclusion that is woefully lacking in underlying facts.
Take for example, the atheist position. The atheist says, "There is no God". How did he or she reach that conclusion? Certainly not by examining all the facts. Good Lord, the average human being probably knows less than one one-thousandth of one percent of all that can be known. Therefore, if an atheist is honest and were to be asked the question, "Could God exist outside of your own minute knowledge of all that exists?" He would have to say, "Yes," and, would then have graduated to being an agnostic, one who says, "I don't know"... a position that is both accurate and intellectually honest.
Not only has God revealed himself down through history, he did so explosively when He himself became a man and lived among us. This morning, I was reading Jesus words in Luke 11:20 where he said...
"But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you."
I looked up the Greek word Jesus used there for "finger" to determine if he was talking figuratively ... ie ... "by the power of God" and found the word was daktalupsis the literal word for finger. This is but one small instance but, after 48+ years of studying the Bible, I have come to the conclusion that Jesus was just who he said he was ... God in the flesh ... and his fingers were, in fact, the fingers of God.
Here's a couple of other scriptures that speak to the God who has revealed himself in spades in history.
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." Hebrews 1:1-3
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men." "He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-3,10-11,14
Keep in mind the possibility that all "religion" (including a good portion of the so called "Christian religion") might be one and all dead-end alleys leading to nowhere and smoke-screens to keep people from connecting with the true and living God. I strongly believe this to be the case because I have "been there, done that."
Jesus Christ, however, is altogether a "horse of a different color." Hebrews 1:1-3 says this about him...
"God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high ..."
One of the oldest tricks of the Arch-enemy of our souls is to get us to "throw the baby out with the bath water." Religion is the bath water ... Jesus Christ is the baby.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, 'God with us.'" Matthew 1:23
The Christian belief, as far as I understand it, is that the bad things that happen in the world are a result of sin. When the world was first created, it was perfect. When sin entered the world, the world was corrupted, people started dying, etc.
So while it is accurate to say that the tragedy in Haiti is caused by sin, it isn't for us to say that this sin or that sin has caused it. We're not God, we don't know His mind. In certain cases, consequences of sin are obvious. One example that comes to mind is the suffering of a family after the infidelity of a parent. In this case, the situation is far too complex.
Let's all be gracious and not point the finger in a time of tragedy. Christ wouldn't, so why should we?
As far as Pat Robertson is concerned, he does seem to have good intentions. I'm not a big fan of his theological take on a number of issues, but he has certainly done more good than harm in his lifetime. At least his misunderstanding of the nature of God is coloring his perception not his compassion.