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Serious Questions for Christians

GUEST,khandu 28 Jan 01 - 10:23 AM
wysiwyg 28 Jan 01 - 10:30 AM
InOBU 28 Jan 01 - 10:33 AM
wysiwyg 28 Jan 01 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,khandu 28 Jan 01 - 10:55 AM
wysiwyg 28 Jan 01 - 11:00 AM
Jon Freeman 28 Jan 01 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,khandu 28 Jan 01 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,khandu 28 Jan 01 - 11:26 AM
wysiwyg 28 Jan 01 - 11:28 AM
kimmers 28 Jan 01 - 11:28 AM
Rick Fielding 28 Jan 01 - 11:48 AM
Butch 28 Jan 01 - 11:53 AM
Roger in Sheffield 28 Jan 01 - 11:58 AM
paddymac 28 Jan 01 - 11:59 AM
harpgirl 28 Jan 01 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,khandu 28 Jan 01 - 12:01 PM
Jim Dixon 28 Jan 01 - 12:06 PM
SINSULL 28 Jan 01 - 12:40 PM
SINSULL 28 Jan 01 - 12:50 PM
Big Mick 28 Jan 01 - 01:08 PM
Allan C. 28 Jan 01 - 01:32 PM
Big Mick 28 Jan 01 - 01:43 PM
NightWing 28 Jan 01 - 01:43 PM
kimmers 28 Jan 01 - 01:45 PM
Bernard 28 Jan 01 - 01:51 PM
Big Mick 28 Jan 01 - 01:55 PM
Big Mick 28 Jan 01 - 01:57 PM
Jeri 28 Jan 01 - 02:00 PM
Jon Freeman 28 Jan 01 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,Kernow Jon 28 Jan 01 - 02:09 PM
Peter T. 28 Jan 01 - 02:09 PM
Skeptic 28 Jan 01 - 02:10 PM
Peter T. 28 Jan 01 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,mkebenn@work 28 Jan 01 - 02:24 PM
catspaw49 28 Jan 01 - 02:31 PM
Gypsy 28 Jan 01 - 02:35 PM
Alice 28 Jan 01 - 03:51 PM
bbc 28 Jan 01 - 04:04 PM
Gypsy 28 Jan 01 - 05:11 PM
Susan from California 28 Jan 01 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,khandu 28 Jan 01 - 06:36 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 01 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,khandu 28 Jan 01 - 08:12 PM
Gypsy 28 Jan 01 - 08:25 PM
Susan from California 28 Jan 01 - 08:29 PM
paddymac 28 Jan 01 - 09:46 PM
kimmers 28 Jan 01 - 09:55 PM
Skeptic 28 Jan 01 - 10:01 PM
Big Mick 28 Jan 01 - 10:14 PM
wysiwyg 28 Jan 01 - 10:29 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 01 - 10:34 PM
Gary T 28 Jan 01 - 11:21 PM
GUEST,BO 29 Jan 01 - 01:28 AM
wysiwyg 29 Jan 01 - 01:38 AM
Dave the Gnome 29 Jan 01 - 04:24 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 29 Jan 01 - 06:38 AM
GUEST,Professor Boligraffo 29 Jan 01 - 06:56 AM
Jon Freeman 29 Jan 01 - 07:01 AM
Jon Freeman 29 Jan 01 - 07:12 AM
Margo 29 Jan 01 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,Fibula Mattock 29 Jan 01 - 12:27 PM
Margo 29 Jan 01 - 12:48 PM
Kim C 29 Jan 01 - 01:05 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 29 Jan 01 - 01:18 PM
John Hardly 29 Jan 01 - 01:30 PM
Grab 29 Jan 01 - 03:34 PM
kimmers 29 Jan 01 - 03:41 PM
Burke 29 Jan 01 - 07:06 PM
mousethief 29 Jan 01 - 07:08 PM
Big Mick 29 Jan 01 - 08:26 PM
Gypsy 29 Jan 01 - 09:59 PM
Kim C 30 Jan 01 - 05:13 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 30 Jan 01 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,khandu 30 Jan 01 - 07:13 PM
wysiwyg 30 Jan 01 - 07:15 PM
catspaw49 30 Jan 01 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,khandu 30 Jan 01 - 08:20 PM
Big Mick 30 Jan 01 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,guestguest(intruder)guest 31 Jan 01 - 01:49 PM
GUEST 01 Feb 01 - 01:46 PM
wysiwyg 01 Feb 01 - 01:50 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 05 Feb 01 - 09:55 AM
GUEST, ~S~ 05 Feb 01 - 10:05 AM
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Subject: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 10:23 AM

The name "Christian" means "Christ-like".

I do not see much Christ-likeness with in the Christians.

This is not an attempt to inflame nor to defame. This is honest, I want to know questions.

I doubt that Jesus would become angry if these questions were asked of him.

Jesus did not lobby Rome to replace Pontius Pilate as procurator. I am certain he did not agree with Roman occupation of his country, yet he did not gather a following in order to make a political statement.

Why do you?

Jesus did not carry signs protesting the practice of crucifixion. He did not, with his men, stand near the place of crucifixion saying things like "Where is a sniper when you need one".

Why do you do this at abortion clinics?

He did not buy time at the local place of meeting to raise money to buy more time to raise money to buy more time...

Why do we see you do this on TV.

He did not spend millions to build grand cathedrals while his neighbors were in need.

He did not condemn the harlots, publicans and such, telling them they were an "abomination to the Lord"

Why do you?

He did not have crusades during which he did his miracles, putting on a Las Vegas show to warm the crowd up. He did them whereever he saw the need.

He did not sell cheap trinkets or his latest book to raise money from "love offerings".

He showed Grace and mercy to the "sinners". He taught that change must come from within. The only people he raised hell with were the Pharisees, the "religious" leaders of the day..."Thou hypocrites....."

Why is there such a difference between Him and those who bear his name; those who, by the name, are Christ-like.

There seems to be something greatly wrong here. I understand Mark Twain who said (Something like) "If Jesus were to come and live among us, one thing he would not be, is a Christian".

Can any of you answer these questions? (Hopefully,in the spirit in which they were asked!)

khandu


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 10:30 AM

Khandu, the spirit in which they were asked leads me to want to communicate with you, but know this. There is not a single one of us among those you address who can take responsibility for what ALL members of the group do, nor explain it.

To understand what you are trying to know will require relationship with individuals. I am willing to be one, but not out here in the thread. In e-mail.

To explain what you are trying to know will require that individulas have relationship with YOU. Are you willing to go where the questions lead, in relationship?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: InOBU
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 10:33 AM

That is why we crucify him again and again, as we did when we shot in on that balcony when he had a dream in the US, why we beat him and left him tied to a fence to die for being gay, why we let him starve to death for basic rights in prison, why in Florida we electrocuted him twice, only to find out he was innocent when after the second time he was strapped to the chair he returned to his father, why we dam his salmon streams in Quebec making his children drug and alcohol addicted wards of the state. It is not if Christ came back we'd put him on death row again... we did again and again from the ovens of Auswitz to the homeless guy you step over on your way to work.
Have a good sunday, all
Larry


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 10:42 AM

People, please consider taking this discussion offCat.

You can CLICK THIS to continue this discussion among others who are discussing it on a daily basis in a forum as well-organized as this one. If you do, you should land at Beliefnet, in this subcategory:

DISCUSSIONS, CHRISTIANITY, CHRISTIANITY CHALLENGE & CRITIQUE.

THE GUIDELINES FOR THAT BOARD STATE:
"This forum is provided for people who have issues with Christianity and would like to express them. Christians may make their own choice about whether or not to participate here. Provocative and controversial questions and comments are invited, within the limits of the Beliefnet Rules of Conduct. Please be courteous and respectful even when beliefs differ."

~Susan (AKA Praise)


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 10:55 AM

E-mail: HG@kellys.com


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:00 AM

Thanks, khandu. You can click my name to e-mail me.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:15 AM

khandu,

Why are Americans so fat?

I don't mean to be inflamatory but hope to illustrate to you how ridiculous and unfair lumping any group of people as one is.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:16 AM

As for taking it off the Cat, I am ambivalent. First, I do not know how to "un-post". If the powers that be choose to delete this, OK.

However, the questions raised here are asked by many people every day. People are seeking answers to life and the Christians say they have the answers. Yet, people see the "representatives" (the re-presenters) of Christ and find a massive dichotomy, quite often they find condemnation, affectation, self righteousness as filthy as menstrual rags, and much disappointment! The sense is "If this is Christ, the drunks at the bar are far more compassionate, merciful and caring that He is!"

Discuss it with the "pious". Why? From experience, I have been reviled, called names, and actually kicked out because I wanted honest answers. From the pulpit, a congregation was told to avoid contact with me because I have a rebellious spirit. Honestly, Praise (AKA: What you see...)I was not rebellious, I just wanted someone to hear my questions.

If one is to be a representative of Jesus, let him re-present Jesus. I am not interested in a social club. If I were, I would join the Moose Lodge or the Rotary Club.

So, here we are. Delete this post if you choose. I have been deleted in other places. I can live with it.

khandu


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:26 AM

Jon, I know what you are saying. I understand that I sound as though I am "lumping" Christians all together.

I do not know how to articulate, especially on emotional subjects (as this one is to me).

There are may Christians that do live (as best they know) according to the teachings of Jesus. But, it seems they are few and far between.

Turn on your TV. Look and listen. IMHO, most of the ministers you hear fit into the thread's category. And look at the MASSES that follow these guys.

I am sorry to disturb the waters and offend good people, but I am heartsick at the Bullshit that I see that calls itself "Christ-like". IT IS NOT!

khandu


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:28 AM

Khandu, relax.... and read your e-mail, sweetie. :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: kimmers
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:28 AM

Khandu, those using the name of "Christian" are a diverse lot; that's part of the problem. I'm not happy about it either, as the folks you are describing (who are the ones who get most of the publicity) would love it if the word "Christian" applied only to them and not to those of us who are trying to practice a compassionate faith.

I belong to the Episcopal Church, in particular to a small parish in the poorest part of town. We are trying our best to express Jesus' love here on earth, but we ain't perfect. But we ordain women, accept gays, and leave politics to the conscience of each member. I've never been part of such an incredible church until I came here. We practice a faith and a worship that is as close to what the Christians of the first few centuries practiced that you can find -- at least where English is spoken.

When I tell people I'm a Christian, some of them immediately think of the Religious Right abortion-clinic-bombing homophobic crowd. That saddens me. We must work harder to take the name of our faith back.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:48 AM

Several recent threads have dealt with controversial subjects and remained quite civil. I think Mudcat has learned how to deal with silliness pretty well in the last year.

I'm not a believer Khandu, but like you, I've asked questions, and enjoyed discussions about beliefs all my adult life. I have theories and suppositions, and on some occasions have felt comfortable with answers given by others.

Used to have a friend who was a Jesuit. One of the most interesting people I've ever met, and he had as many questions as answers.

Religion (just like sex and politics) has been MADE into a mainstream issue these days, by TV, radio, the Net, and especially by it's current association with politics (especialy in North America). My dad's generation didn't do much open discussing of ANY of those topics, but the floodgates were opened in the sixties. At least around here, you may still get dumped on for questioning someone's dogma, (or defending it) but we've gotten rid of the stocks and the lash.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Butch
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:53 AM

In the spirit of your original question:

The very reason Christ was sent to earth was to atone for Adam's fall. We ALL fall short of the perfection of God. We Christian's (some at least) act in this way in the same way that members of other religions fall short of their perfection. If is not an excuse, only a reality.

Should I defame all Muslims for the actions I see on the television in India or Palistine, OR should I listen to the KKK and take their view of Jews? Rarely do you hear the stories of saints who live Christ's example. How often do we hear of a saintly Jew, Muslim, Hindu or humanist. It is not that do do not exisit, it is that they are not news worthy.

I was recently at in Washington DC for the swearing in of the president. I saw hundreds of environmentalists drop their posters on the ground after the President passed and walk away from the litter pile. Should I believe that all enviromentalists are bad, or that some of the most vocal ones are simply human in their inperfection? If a Christain calls for a sniper while protesting abortion, then they are wrong. That does not make all Christians wrong.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:58 AM

I for one am intigued khandu, why do you pick today of all days to post this?
Jon Freeman unfortunately many religious leaders lump people together and say they are speaking on their collective behalf - preaching tolerance while protesting at the notion of equal rights for all

Roger


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: paddymac
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:59 AM

Just to interject a little music into this topic, can we compile a list of songs that directly or indirectly pose similar kinds of queries and dilemnas? Two that come to mind ar "Plastic Jesus" (two versions in the DT)and "He Was Just Thirty-three". There must be many more out there.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: harpgirl
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 12:01 PM

...with all due respect, please put BS in front of these religious issues just as we agree to do with all none music threads so they can be eliminated when searching for music only information...


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 12:01 PM

They killed Him; Kristofferson


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 12:06 PM

Khandu: Sorry to contradict you, but there IS a viable theory that Jesus WAS a political activist and would-be rebel who DID want to overthrow the Roman control of Palestine; and that the political aspects of Jesus' message were suppressed by early editors of the gospels, probably under the supervision of Paul. They did this because they saw (correctly) that they would have greater success proselytizing among the Romans than among the Jews. Therefore they expunged anything that would be offensive to the Romans, and they shifted the blame for Jesus' crucifixion from the Romans to the Jews.

If you want to learn more about this theory, I urge you to read "Revolution in Judaea," by Hyam Maccoby. Unfortunately, the book is out of print but you might find it in a library.

Amazon's listing for this book includes 3 reviews, one of them written by me.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 12:40 PM

"Did Jesus Wear A Rolex On His Radio Show?"

khandu - why are you asking this of Christians only? Surely you know that other groups are involved in the same activities? And for the most part, all of these activities are performed by extremists within the group. Or do you believe that all anti-gay groups support crucifying gay men on fences? For the record I am an atheist.
You ask "Why is there such a difference between Him and those who bear his name; those who, by the name, are Christ-like." I suggest you look away from the television, the news headlines, and the hype. There are true Christians everywhere I go. Look hard enough and you may find that you are one yourself in practice if not on name.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: SINSULL
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 12:50 PM

in name.

And yes in 12 years of Catholic schooling, I was taught that Jesus' crime in the eyes of the Romans was treason. He advocated the overthrow of government as they knew it.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 01:08 PM

First off, I disagree completely with my dear friend Susan on this one. There is absolutely no need to take this off the Mudcat, in fact, given the wonderful, sincere, and thought filled way that khandu asked the question, my opinion is that it is a wonderful place for the question. It is often (as in my case) our values/morality that inspires our music. It belongs here exactly and fits in to what the Mudcat is and what makes it unique. As long as it does not descend into attack, it is a worthy subject for this community, IMHO. Rick, who I count among my dear friends, I will bet that the discussions you had with that Jesuit were interesting as hell. Oft times conservative Catholics asked me what happened in my life that turned me into such a questioner instead of a follower. I gave them a one word answer.............Jesuits. Let me explain.

khandu, your questions are the very ones that some of us ask ourselves. Most people, on meeting me, would not consider me overly religious. But the fact is, I am a very religious man. But I object to the whole thing you have described. I don't begrudge others this if they need it, but I do begrudge the whole "manifest destiny", public condemnation for not "getting it" thing that goes one. FOR ME, it is about attempting to imitate the life of Christ. As I read scripture and investigate the times, I see Christ as a man sent by God to forever implant on his followers a blueprint for what he knew would be an increasingly difficult world to have values in. The twentieth century proved that. He gave us elemental rules/guidelines that are timeless and help us deal with one another and the world. In my investigation, he was a man who questioned, always questioned, the politics of exclusion. He challenged rigidity in religion that had caused people to live to the word instead of the meaning. He told us that as you do to the least among you, so you do to me. He hung out with whores to the exclusion of the accepted leadership. I always found meaning in the fact that what are called his "miracles" were the easy things to do for him. Curing a leper was no big deal for the Son of God, but he couldn't heal peoples hearts, only they could do that and he showed them how.

These things drive my music, drive my politics, and drive how I deal with every day life. If you met me, you would not know from the words I speak that I live by christian principles...........that is, if you were looking for every other statement to be one of me wearing it on my sleeve. I choose instead to try to demonstrate to my God by my deeds and thoughts that I care about trying to do my bit to right what wrong I can, to treat the people I meet with the same great dignity and grace that I see being demonstrated by others and that Jesus practiced every day of his short life, and to judge not. I believe this one is abused more than all others. I get in trouble with my fundamentalist friends over this one. I simply do not believe that I have any right to do anything but be accepting and loving of other lifestyles, religions or lack thereof. The man that I call Lord lived his life that way. I must judge not. That is strictly and absolutely the province of the eternal. My job is to love one another as I have been loved. My job is to daily examine my actions and values and try to continually strive to be more like the man from Nazareth. I know I can't get there, but it is in the trying. That is why I am what I am, imperfect and flawed as that is.

Last thing in this ramble. I am saying things here that I have not said before. Any of youse layabouts what know me acts any different and I will be takin' a stick to yer knees. And those that don't know me, expect some funny and off color jokes, a fair amount of the good black stuff to be consumed, and a wee wink and a nudge to the fair ones................hahahahahaha. My God is OK with all that. In fact I think he would tell a lot of folks to "Lighten up".

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Allan C.
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 01:32 PM

"Lighten up." That is what George Burns, in the lead role in the movie "Oh God" said when asked if God had a message for us. Amen to that.

Well said, Mick. Now, if all will just reread Mick's post and insert my name where applicable and substitute "Jesuits" with the sect of your choice, you will know my feelings for the most part. The only exception might be that I pattern myself after a broad spectrum of religious figures as well as quite a few everyday people.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 01:43 PM

Yes, my good friend Allan, I agree. I have often said that I see heroes everyday. In the context of this conversation, I would say that part of that is that they walk through all they are dealt with grace. These are the people that sanctify existence. They come from all walks of life, all creeds, some great and some small. One of the reasons I love Buddhists in general (and my friend Peter T. in particular) is that they sense the eternal and seek a path to it. I count among my religious/moral leaders people of many faiths. You all know the prominent ones like Ghandi and King, but I am constantly amazed at the people I see of all stripes, colors and persuasion that live in a way that I think the Christ would have blessed and been pleased with. It is about the celebration of all that the Creator/God/Allah/whatever name you choose to insert, has created.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: NightWing
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 01:43 PM

khandu, I'm an ex-Christian. I left it partly because of some of the same issues you've raised here.

Big Mick, I have to agree: "it is about attempting to imitate the life of Christ." That's what they said anyway.

The reason I finally turned my back on the religion (not the practices) was that I saw almost no one who was even trying. Many of them appeared to be actively trying to live their lives as LITTLE like the Carpenter as they could. And yet they still professed his name.

I know there are Xians who really do try to live like him. Presumably some of them are here. However, in my experience, they are far and away the exceptions to the rule.

I've found good things elsewhere. I won't be back. But it still makes me mildly ill to see some of the idiots who claim to follow him and instead are doing exactly the opposite of what he might've.

Blessed Be,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: kimmers
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 01:45 PM

"Lighten up." I like that, Mick. And I like your picture of Jesus, even though I might disagree on the theology a little. My Jesus was a man who, as you said, hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes, and who changed water into fine wine (gallons and gallons of it!) so that the guests could be merry at a wedding (despite evangelical temperance claims that they were really all drinking grape juice). He was not afraid to flout the silly rules about working on the Sabbath if it meant healing somewhat. He took time to speak with children, yet turned holy wrath on those who filled the temple with crass merchandising. He was probably a pretty unnerving guy to be around.

Khandu, reading through your original list, I can't defend most of the actions and attitudes contained there. I agree that most of those things are pretty reprehensible. The only one I want to take gentle exception to is the bit about cathedrals.

Religions have always built temples, altars and lavish places of worship. From the ancient Mayans to the temples at Angkor Wat; from the glorious mosques of Istanbul to St. Peter's Basilica, people of faith have been moved to create works of art to express their worship. It's true that often funds were used for these purposes that could have fed the hungry. That's a quandary I don't have an answer for, except the one Jesus gave in the same situation. When the prostitute poured expensive perfume on his head and washed his feet with tears, the onlookers scoffed and said that the perfume should have been sold and given to the poor. Jesus defended her actions.

Everyone who discovers the Divine uses a different route to get there. Beautiful buildings don't do much for me; I get bored pretty quickly on a tour of a cathedral. But I've seen my husband's face transfixed with joy as he marvels at carven stone pillars and glorious stained-glass windows. He is a mystic at heart, and mystics are generally poorly understood by mainstream Christianity (whatever that is). I'll never forget our visit to the Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco, and our delight when we discovered that they had an icon of Martin Luther King, Jr. While I believe it is extremely important for us to give of our resources to the poor and the needy, I also believe that a world without these great religion-inspired works of art would be a poorer place indeed.

Keep asking these questions, Khandu. Asking questions should open doors, not slam them.


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Subject: Serious answer...
From: Bernard
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 01:51 PM

There are rotten apples in every barrel...


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 01:55 PM

Night Wing, I understand exactly what you are talking about. Mind if I share something that I realized though? I am not making any attempt here to denigrate, save, or in anyway challenge your way. It just reminds me of where I was at. I am a Roman Catholic, and for many years I searched for a better way because I was disillusioned with the things I saw. They were and are, precisely the things you have described. But on the way, it was, I believe it is a Zen concept, the idea that the further you travel from the beginning, the closer you are to it. The full circle concept. I realized that for me, the expression I sought was there for me all the time. It was in the teachings and example, the real one that is there to be discovered, of the Carpenter. Seeing the problems of the Church, and some of its members, is not a reason to turn my back on the truths I found there. And leaving this community that was started by the Carpenter wasn't the answer either. Because then I was abandoning it to those whose actions and judgement I was questioning. In essence, I was judging them. Going back to what had become my basic philosophy of "judge not" and "love one another" I chose to go back, find the beauty of spirit and hope that is expressed in the Mass, contribute that which I could to the community, challenge it to be better.........in essence to try and do there that which I choose to do in the rest of the world. In the end, if there is indeed a judgement day, that is what I choose to be judged on. That and my love for all of creation. Even 'Spaw...............LOL. 'Nuff said, by me.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 01:57 PM

Damn...........I have got to remember to close that bold html command. That is twice I have done that. The only word in the last one that was supposed to be bold was the word me


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 02:00 PM

Mick, one thing that is blatantly obvious when one meets you is that you're a man who lives his beliefs.

Using extremists to typify all Christians is like using Muslim terrorists to represent all Muslims. The people who stand out happen to be more "in-your-face" than the quiet people who live every day according to their own belief in good, whether those beliefs are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, etc. or just a stong belief in Doing The Right Thing.

People get into positions of power by getting folks to jump on their band wagon. If they can con people by saying they have Christian morals, family values, etc, despite their actions, it speaks more about the gullibility of the general, well-meaning public than the group they identify themselves with.

The question is why these folks can continue to con people.

Khandu, I can claim to be an environmentalist and then pollute a river. Are you going to ask all environmentalists the same sort of questions you ask Christians because I'm a hypocrite?


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 02:05 PM

OK khlandu, I understand you. I won't be watching them on the tv though as I don't have one - I get the feeling things may be a little different in the US anyway.

As for me, I am just a Christian and I do not belong to any denomination and like others, wonder about some things done by and attitudes of certain Christains.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,Kernow Jon
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 02:09 PM

Khandu
I am glad you raised the questions here that you have.
I just wished I had the eloquence of Big Mick to answer them.
Regards KJ


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Peter T.
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 02:09 PM

I suppose the real divide is in 3 parts, and is therefore one that is very hard to work through for anyone who is challenged by Jesus or Buddha or whomever. The 1st part is that figures like Jesus are deep searchers, and as such very revolutionary and disruptive -- they assault all normal truths, politics, structures, etc. Many people who are attracted to them are attracted to them for these reasons. The 2nd part is the difficult, difficult result (or result in process) of their search, which is this deep serenity and love and confidence and acceptance that suffuses them. The rest of us can only hope to get there someday; but, in the meantime, there is this part of them that is also immensely attractive -- the deep love of God or the compassion of the Buddha or Allah's protection or whatever. That is what makes deep searchers sometimes become attached to a faith tradition -- they are deeply afraid there is no truth, and yet if someone so extraordinary (actually, many people who are extraordinary) say they have found that there is something, then it gives them strength.
The problem is in the 3rd part, where the deep acceptance of the truth by the founder is turned into the complacent or required acceptance of the truth as articulated by institutions set up to carry on the teachings of the founder. For people who are outside the belief system, the whole enterprise seems reactionary and hypocritical (which it often is) -- that is, part 3. For people who are inside the belief system -- and are what I would call honest believers -- it is the 1st and 2nd parts of the religion and its founder that they focus on. It is very hard for people outside to separate the 3 parts, especially when there are many, many people inside the system who also are complacent and reactionary. Virtually every question asked by khandu is focussed on the bad parts of 3; virtually all the responses are focussed on the beautiful parts of 1 and 2.

yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Skeptic
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 02:10 PM

Khandu,

My grandfather (a lay minister) believed you can't exactly tell someone how to know if someone is a Christian. But when you meet one, you'll know. What you are talking about is people who claim to be Christian.

Assuming the definition you hold of 'Christian' is one who accepts Christ as their savior, tries their best to follow the tenets and ethics of the bible and so on, the question could be restated: Does the Bible authorize or legitimize these seeming unchristian like actions? And is claiming to be Christian the same as being one?

Sometimes and No.

On a secular level, there seems to be an "out" in Christianity for someone doing all those horrible things. You can be forgiven. And backslide and be forgiven again. Ad infinitum. Why worry about the consequences, when there's an escape clause. There is also very human tendency of people to select not only which parts of the Bible (Or any work, secular or otherwise) they choose to believe, but which elements they want to stress/de-stress. (This is the real problem, I think. And one not usually dealt with by theology). IMO, this attitude has little to do with being a Christian and a lot to do with claiming to be.

They fall into the trap of: I've been saved so what I believe must be good since I am saved. I believe in _________________, so it must be ordained by God. One of the hardest things to deal with, with this type of person, is their absolute (and honest) sincerity. Logic doesn't enter into it. Just self delusion.

That said, why don't those who are truly Christians (in word and deed) denounce those who aren't? In part because their belief tells them not to. Judgement is reserved for God.

While it seems clear that someone can live a Christ-like life and yet not believe in Christ, the converse (logically and theologically) should not be true. If you accept "being filled with the spirit", then walking the walk has to happen, it isn't a matter of choice. If it doesn't (allowing for a very infrequent slip-up), then the person probably isn't a Christian. (Strictly speaking).

The more cynical answer to most of your questions is that by condemning and denigrating others, they feel better about themselves. Their motives are internal (ego gratification) as opposed to external (spiritual). I think they're looking for a way to force the world into a mold they can understand.

Implying however, that Christianity is worse (or better) in this illogic than other religions would be wrong. People want some justification for what they do. A lot look for it outside themselves.

While many religions build monuments, the justification under Christianity is tenuous and more social than theological. I seem to recall that the only temple that the bible commands be built is in Jerusalem.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Peter T.
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 02:18 PM

It is also worth adding that people who assault part 3, use the disruptive power of part 1 to do it, e.g. Jesus was a revolutionary, why aren't you?
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,mkebenn@work
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 02:24 PM

I see the TV christians as the 20th century decendents of the tempal's money changers, some never have gotten it. Mostley, I agree with Big Mick, and I give change back to Micky d. clerks when they can't count. I try, not to judge, to love my neighbor, and when I fail, I attone. Mike


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 02:31 PM

That's one hell of a summation Peter. As I test my way through it, it seems to "cover the bases." Nice theory, nice work. Evidence tends to support you well here.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Gypsy
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 02:35 PM

Khandu, i am willing to bet that you know more Christians than you realize. Just as the news media can never come up with good news, the idiots you described, who profess Christianity are generally the ones who get the press. Most people don't know about my religion, because i don't stick it in their face. But in my work as a deacon, i can: Feed people, help with thier rent, get them legal aid, counseling, and emergency shelter, among other things. But i am not in the paper, and i certainly don't run up and tell everyone on the street what i have done. Course, wasn't me doing it, just channeling God. While i agree with you that plenty of people fit the picture that you paint, i must ask you to bear in mind that you don't know ALL of this particular group, and therefore should refrain from labeling all alike. I would suggest taking a private poll of people in your world. You might be very surprized.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Alice
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 03:51 PM

There are people in every belief system, every religion, who are fanatics, scam artists, hypocrites, and out to exploit/manipulate others while waving the flag of their beliefs. "Spirituality" these days is big business, and there are many people inventing their own religions or sects of traditional religions, and exploiting those whom they manage to recruit. Discerning who is authentic in their behavior, following traditional religions, requires being informed about those religious traditions and having the ability to see the difference between the religious person who lives constructively and the person who is a fanatic, scam artist, or hypocrite.

Dysfunctional Churches

and a U. of Virginia site that compiles information about religious movements, old and new.click here


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: bbc
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 04:04 PM

Those of us who call ourselves Christians are at various levels of maturity & understanding. Some of us are certainly trying to live by the beliefs we profess, in practical, everyday kinds of ways. If you judge Christianity or God by any one of us, you are likely to end up disillusioned. God is the only standard who will not disappoint.

best,

bbc (trying to live up to her calling in NY)


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Gypsy
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 05:11 PM

Ooohhh, BBC, you said it much better and more concisely than i! Thanks


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Susan from California
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 05:33 PM

After my beloved NY football Giants finish their season, I will add my $0.02 but right now I need to watch a little pre-game while I hope for no rolling blackouts. I'll try to check in during the ridiculous half time show!


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 06:36 PM

Once again, I was amiss in my articulation. I did not mean to imply that I referred to ALL Christians in the original post. I was speaking to those who either do, or support the activities I spoke of.

"Well, I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt"

I was frustrated this morning when I posted this thread. Had I been in a better disposition, I may not have posted it. But...I still ask those questions.

Thanks for all the input you have, er, put in. I appreciate everyone's contribution and views.

Let's re-title this thread (if it continues any longer) "Serious Questions for SOME Christians (or so-called ones!)

Life is short. Let's do something worthwhile, like riding Spaw's ass!

khandu


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 07:47 PM

Well, when I was young, I used to see a lot of hypocrites in church. Now that I'm older and a little less convinced of my own righteousness, I've started to listen to the hypocrites and to find out that maybe they aren't so hypocritical - they're just looking for answers, and haven't found them yet.

I find it very tempting to condemn television Christians and how they give Christianity a bad name. I can't say I see much Christianity on TV that I agree with, but - aren't those people just looking for answers, too? I have a very different view of Christianity from theirs, but I can't really see spending money on television to present my perspective.

Those of us who work in churches deal with many really wonderful people; but we also run into small-minded people all the time, and it can really be frustrating to deal with them. A very wise young friend of mine used to say, "Joe, ya gotta love 'em." So, that's what I try to do - but they still drive me up a wall sometimes.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 08:12 PM

Let me clarify one more thing. I am a believer. Jesus is my breath, my water and my bread. From 1979 till 1992, I was an ordained minister (still ordained, just not active!)

I do not push it on anyone, nor shall I deride anyone who believes differently. Each must find and walk his own road.

khandu


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Gypsy
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 08:25 PM

Well said, Khandu. Perhaps the thread might be titled, regarding hypocrites. I know a native american spiritualist who is all the things that you describe. I also know a hindu, buddist, and wiccan who would fit the bill admirably. Again, there are hypocrites in ALL forms of worship, just as there are good people. Guess who gets all the press?


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Susan from California
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 08:29 PM

OK Khandu, since you have traded in your broad brush :-) for one with a finer tip, I have a lot less to agrue with you about.

Let me just say, and not nearly as eloquently as some of the above, that most people of faith do try to follow Christ. ALL people of faith fall short of his example. I know that I do many things in my daily life trying to love the unlovable, trying to help the helpless, trying to touch the untouchable. I do it very differently (I hope) from the people who you are talking about. And many of the type of people you are talking about say that I am not a Christian. Once I was even called an agent of Satan because of my political views. But as Dr. Larch said in John Irving's "The Cider House Rules" (the Book, not the movie) "We're all doing God's work."

Gotta get back to the game, I miss those halftimes with the high school marching bands *BG*


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: paddymac
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 09:46 PM

If you are a fortunate person, your local library might have the set of videos made by Joseph Campbell on "Mythologies" - came out in 1989. I've been re-watching them this past week, and they are exactly on point as to several of the questions raised here. Campbell has several books as well, and the most widely known is probably "The Hero With A 1,000 Faces."

There is an excellant book by Ruth Underhill called "Red Man's Religion", which surveys religious beliefs and practices of native american peoples. It has much broader applications, as well. Of particular interest in re this thread, she relates the nature of religion, or the organization thereof, to the size and stage of development of the society. She distinguishes between shamans and medicine men as religious leaders who gain their credibility through direct guidance from spirits, and priests, who gain their power and authority by adherence to ritual, originally created or describes by shamans and medicine men but often elaborated by the priestly class. If this dichotomy of shamans receiving spiritual guidance, and priests receiving power and authority through adherence to ritual, can be generally applied to the evolution of christianity, the person called Jesus would be viewed as a shaman, while those who came after and presumed to speak for him would be priests seeking, all too often power and authority, but occasionally, true holy men seeking and promoting spirituality. I don't wish to offend anyone here, merely to posit another view for contemplation.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: kimmers
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 09:55 PM

An issue that troubles me these days is the whole definition of "Christian". To my Jewish friends, it's everyone one else of European ancestry: in other words, a cultural Christian. To many people I know, a Christian is one who has a had a dramatic conversion experience, usually referred to as "Inviting Jesus Into Your Heart". To me, Christianity means believing the words of the Nicene Creed (which I can get if someone wants to read it) and being baptized or planning to be baptized.

I grew up attending a Conservative Baptist Church, then became an Episcopalian in college when I realized that I needed to make a change. The last I heard, my former churchmates believe that I am no longer 'saved' because I have, in their eyes, 'left the church'. This saddens me.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Skeptic
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 10:01 PM

Khandu, Maybe the actions you talk about are because those people stopped trying to find answers (having decided they've found them) stopped trying to walk the walk. Pride goes before the fall. As a believer, you understand being a Christian is an active thing, not passive. You don't just become one and that's all she wrote. You have to live it.

My great uncle preachedc a sermon on being a Christian. The theme was that accepting Christ brings love and salvation. Being a Christian takes work.

Regards

John


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 10:14 PM

Thanks, Jeri. Check's in the mail.........***chuckle***

Peter T., this is why I have such respect for you, you cad. That was a wonderfully put together analysis. I think you crystallized for me another step I must take, and that is the one of bringing these three elements into their proper positions of influence as one continues on the journey. Thanks for a wonderful post.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 10:29 PM

Khandu, I am very pleased that you chose to share openly what you had already shared with me earlier today. Your struggles in this area have been much on my mind, all day. Since you came to us for help with these issues, I am going to offer some sisterly words. I will be pleased also to continue our e-mail discussion of this.

As soon as you judge the people with whom you take issue... you have already become them. You have taken on the sin you abhor. Your effectiveness stops as soon as that occurs. I invite you to ask our Lord to restore it.

So the question is not, are you right about what you see? Of course you are, and you did not need us to tell you that. You already know it through logic and conscience.

I believe that the first question is, what do you (personally) do with the reality that so many are living, teaching, and preaching in error?

To try to first gain understanding, as I believe you tried to do, is a wonderful thing. I have seen your soft, sweet spirit often, in posts throughout the Forum. But dear... you know, you will not find too many here at the Mudcat who live, teach, and preach from the viewpoint you describe finding so wrong. So when you ask these questions here, see what answers you got. (Not me, not me, not me.... not so badly... not like that....) Your view was simply affirmed. And a number of people shared openly, in deeply moving ways, because you had created a thread couched in terms that caused them to think about a matter in a particular way.

Here, what I believe you can actually accomplish is gaining support for whatever you yourself choose to DO about what you see happening around you.

Whatever you choose to do, you will not find anyone who actually lives, teaches, and preaches as you describe amenable to the questions you posed. For these questions are cast in the paradigm of legalism and judgmentalism. Your "opponents" are already masters at this approach and they will "win" every time you take their approach as your own. If these people and their viewpoints were not so rigid, your questions would work. But you yourself know that you have tried them before. You know they did not work.

What I think we-- your friends-- can offer is support for the grief and outrage left behind from these attempts to be heard in the past, and a cheering section as you look ahead.

The larger question will be, who do you actually KNOW who holds these views on life and faith, and what is in the way of your lifting them up? Where are they stuck that needs your love and support and encouragement to a softer spirit?

What does Jesus say to YOU to do about it? What does your understanding of YOUR beliefs require of YOU in these matters?

To the rest of you, I would say this. I know the deep satisfaction of speaking with the openness many of you have found today in this thread. I pray that you will not receive the same treatment for it that I have, but I am not naive enough to think that just because it does not come in this thread, it will not come.

I also pray, and ask, that you watch carefully the atmosphere at this Forum. There are a lot of people here who find this kind of discussion incredibly painful to witness, and they have reasons for that which we must respect if we are true followers of the Christ. And these people, if they do not attack you directly in this thread, will, sooner or later, have "enough" with hearing one more time about Jesus, and they will boil over. It may be at me, it may be at you, it may be the next new Christian member of Mudcat who stumbles in here and finds the apparently open and "civil" forum irrestible. But every one of these threads has been followed by a backlash, and we have lost members and heart each time.

Every time we have a "civil" thread like this, people get more open throughout the Forum, and Bamm! Up comes the outrage. (It isn't always out here in the threads where all can see it.) Some of it is mischief. But some of it is real hurt rising to the fore for needed attention and respect. We are not called to judge which is which. We are called to love, whatever the behavior we receive. And it is not loving to jump up and down on sore toes just because you have an opportunity and feel you have a "right." We Christians do not have "rights." We are bought with a price, and we have given these "rights" to the One who paid for us, to be used as He directs.

So remember, the cycle has not stopped, just because you have not seen the flaming out in the open, lately. (You may have posted openly, today, but not yet boldly enough, to cause it to rise.) I pray that the next time this occurs, we will all have the wisdom to support one another more effectively than has been the case thus far.

I thought about nothing else all day, and this is the best I can see it right now. I would invite continued discussion privately in e-mail, on any points I have raised.

~Your Sister in Christ


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 10:34 PM

Hello Khandu - I appreciate your concerns. The trouble is, how does one define the word "Christian"? There are probably thousands of possible definitions. What you are perturbed about is not Christians, per se, but bigots, hypocrites, and some very disturbed people who claim to be Christians, yet behave in a manner which does not exemplify Christ's teachings.

So it has ever been.

There are good people and scoundrels in all "faiths", and there are good people and scoundrels who claim to be atheists too. It's a pity that the most rabid and extreme members of any existing group are the ones to whom the media generally devotes its primary attention.

But the media is only interested in turning a quick profit through creating a sensation. In fact, that is where virtually all the evil and corruption presently afflicting this society stems from...the search for a quick profit, regardless of consequences. I regret to say that it is the present dominating factor in the "American Dream".

Obviously, Christ's genuine teachings are desperately needed these days...whether or not they are called "Christian" beliefs. If they were applied, then maybe people would stop worshipping money ("In God We Trust") and start honoring life instead. All life.

We each have a role to play in doing something about it...every day of our lives. I don't care what people call themselves...only what they actually do about it.

Jesus was indeed a GREAT shaman. He was merciful and loving. His spirit lives on.

Best wishes,

Little Hawk


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Gary T
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:21 PM

I'll share a few thoughts.

The name "Christian" means "Christ-like".
That's one meaning, but not necessarily a realistic or helpful one to apply to most who profess to be Christians. I would venture that most who call themselves Christian are referring to a belief in Jesus as Son of God and Savior. Being Christ-like may be a desirable attribute or goal for Christians, but I don't believe it is what they are claiming.

Jesus did not lobby Rome to replace Pontius Pilate as procurator. I am certain he did not agree with Roman occupation of his country, yet he did not gather a following in order to make a political statement....Jesus did not carry signs protesting the practice of crucifixion. He did not, with his men, stand near the place of crucifixion saying things like "Where is a sniper when you need one"....
Jesus' role was necessarily different from that of those who follow him, and the setting in which he appeared is different from the setting in which the above-mentioned actions occur. Political protest on his part may well have resulted in the execution of Jesus the man before Jesus the god fulfilled his mission. Said mission was not political, but spiritual in nature. Asking why Christians do things Jesus did not do strikes me as an apples-to oranges comparison.

Still, the answer as to why Christians do some of the things you mentioned would typically be that they believe these are the right things to do bring Man closer to God. Given that plenty of Christians believe that these examples are NOT the right thing to do, one can especially appreciate the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution's and Government's doctrine of separation of church and state.

Extremely few people follow Jesus' example and teachings in basic lifestyle, which would encompass giving away virtually all material goods. Are we ready to ask why most Christians don't do likewise?

Plenty of lousy things have been done in the name of Christ. That's not likely to change, nor is human nature, nor the diverse and sometimes irreconcilable differences of opinion folks have on how to best follow Jesus' teachings and God's will. Most of the questions raised in the opening post strike me as being rooted more in politics than in theology. My advice--find a church that's a good fit for you, where you can be more effective in practicing Christianity as you believe it should be done.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,BO
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 01:28 AM

Just a couple more thoughts/questions before this thread dies: I am always a bit wary of perspectives of people or groups which are based on what is seen on television. It is obviously a pretty warped and distorted view of reality. As a Christian, I am accountable to a community of faith called the Church. While that has its own set of problems to be sure, it also tends to be a corrective to the tendency to think faith is all about ME. It is counter-cultural in that way - it goes against good old American Individualism. From this perspective it seems that those who say "I'm saved, it's just me & Jesus and the rest of you are going to hell" and those who say "I'm a spiritual person but not religious; I choose my own path" are actually much closer in thought than appears on the surface. The New Testament is alive with the mind-boggling notion that God is seeking us, not the other way around. Whenever I hear explanations of the "development of religion" or "how people form their ideas of God" the question continually nags at me, what if God is more real than we are? What if God is at work despite our disbelief (despite, for that matter, our belief)? What if the Bible, in all its ambiguity and strangeness, is true? Jesus is far more radically liberal and more reactionary conservative than most of us will ever be. His teaching is always challenging for those who try to follow Him - he constantly nudges us out of complacency, be it from the left, right or middle. But the depth and profundity of his stories and life seem to defy simple political classifications. The love He preached is both far simpler and far more complex that we can grasp.

Shalom, Bo


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 01:38 AM

Bo, I hope you'll stick around. Would you like to join the prayer chain some of us are on? You can e-mail me by clicking:

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 04:24 AM

Chuck in my two pen'urth before we finish. Perhaps the thread should be called serious questions for humans? - Or as Khandu changed it later, for some Christians/humans?

ALL people claim to be human (apart from some such as me who are from mythical races;-)). From human come the terms humane and humanitarian. Yet how often do we see inhumane and non-humanitarian acts?

Sorry Khandu but hypocracy if the not the exclusive domain of the Christian.

Dave the Gnome


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 06:38 AM

Thanks for the link Alice, and the reminder about BS, Harpgirl! As for songs, Paddymac, Tom Lehrer's Vatican Rag comes to mind. And Dogma manages to be a hilarious film without offending Christians, as far as I know.

Good point about changing emphasis on the nature of Jesus, Jim Dixon - but it goes a little farther than you said. The "king of the Jews" bit (which seems closest to the historical Jesus)
had to be played down, for the religion to survive under Roman occupancy. TThe idea of Jesus as Messiah only got going in that period (35-70CE). Hence little fictions like Pontius Pilate handing Jesus over to the Jews. (Cucifixion was an exclusively Roman punishment; Jews had their own methods, including stoning.)

Jon's "fat Americans" point often is disingenuous. What was ever done collectively in the name of fat Americans? And if anything ever was, they could have disowned it, just as Christians could condemn the abuses of their churches if they had the guts. As Edmund Burke siad: "For evil to prevail, it is necessary only that good men do nothing." (Why should that bring the words "Pope Pius XII" and "Holocaust" to mind?)

Christianity deserves all the stick it gets, having been far the most persecuting religion. It would not have survived at all, except that in 315CE Constantine adopted it as the Roman state religion, to help consolidate the power of the empire. The arrogance this bred in Christians resulted in brutal intolerance of other faiths, notably Muslim and Jewish.

As well as the books mentioned by Jim, try "Religion and the Rise of Capitalism" by C L Tawney, and it becomes obvious, if it wassn't already, that God is a human invention, to facilitate the manipulation of other humans.

Does anyone still believe that he is up there, watching over the life forms on prehaps thousands of planets, deciding our individual exam results on the basis of who flatters him most and lights most candles ("pp" mmeaning "publication promised" in those tragic classified ads), and deciding which of us gets to heaven and which don't? If there really is some guy doing that all day, it's a pity he hasn't got a dad who could drive him out the house to get a proper job.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,Professor Boligraffo
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 06:56 AM

Oh my dear chap. The answer is so simple. Mankind has evolved as the most ruthless and intelligent predator and will adapt any circumstance, idealogy, theology, opportunity to ensure survival. Christianity is no different from any other profound truth. It has been twisted, subverted, profained and degraded out of all recognition to further the predatory power instinct. As an atheist I am constantly drawn to the Sermon the Mount. You can dispense with all the rest. In those few words are enshrined a blueprint for compassionate co-existence and it doesn't matter a hoot to me whether they were uttered by a visiting deity or a mere mortal - the wisdom defies corruption. I only hope there is no such thing as eternal life. Oblivion I can cope with but eternity terrifies me. Live and love, and die in peace. Expose the cruel hypocrisies by example.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 07:01 AM

Fion, my point was that the grouping of people is unfair not that anything had been done in the name of fat Americans. If however, you did check back and read the thread I was reffering to which caused so much anger, I think you will find that there was an inference that fat Americans as a group were in some way responsible for world starvation.

I do believe he is up there and as GaryT said,is "Jesus as Son of God and Savior. " but no, I do not belive he is stupid enough to be deceived by flattery and, I do not believe in the lighting of candles except as a symbolic representation of the Light Of Christ.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 07:12 AM

Oh and as for grand churches, I am not much of a church goer and the last service I attended was at Christmas where I joined a small gathering that use a rented floor above a shop. The time before that,a few days earlier was a carol concert at a really posh and grand venue - Norwich prison.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Margo
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 12:11 PM

Khandu, why is it hypocritical to be a Christian and protest abortion? I don't get that.

Margo


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,Fibula Mattock
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 12:27 PM

er, I think Khandu's (rightly) getting at the people who proclaim themselves to be against abortion because of their faith and because they see it as murder, yet see nothing wrong in taking shots at doctors and clinic staff and attempting to murder them.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Margo
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 12:48 PM

OH. Yeah, that is definately looney.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Kim C
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 01:05 PM

Khandu I have often wondered the same thing, and not just about Christians, but about all people who claim to be religious. It is why I no longer choose to worship in a group, but privately. A lot of people don't understand this. They ask where I go to church, and I say, at home or wherever I happen to be. I don't think it has to be sit down stand up sit down kneel and pray sing a hymn listen to sermon stand up sit down kneel and pray some more. But some people think that isn't right just because they are called in another way.

In the book of Romans, Paul talks about how there are many different ways to worship, and don't dis your brother because he doesn't worship the same way you do. If what he does is for God's glory and praise then it's just as good as what you do. Since a physical body has many parts with specific functions, so does the body of Christ. I have my own function, you have yours, Susan has hers, so on and so forth.

I think what happens is that people don't know how to listen for the guidance of their Higher Power and they rely wholly on themselves instead, then get into all kinds of trouble.

Jesus was a rebel, though, and he did say that he came not to bring peace, but a sword; because sometimes when you do follow the guidance of your Higher Power, you may get in trouble with your friends, family, coworkers, etc., because they don't understand what you're doing.

I said in another thread that I wished people could play nice with each other but unfortunately it doesn't always work that way. "Religion" can cover up a lot of people's flaws.

KFC


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 01:18 PM

"Blessed are the meak," Prof? Why? What's that all about?

Kim, I don't think you'd often get asked in England where you go to church. The first assumption would be that you don't go, like most other folk. And believe it or not, things are moving that way in Ireland too, north and soutn. (A large proportion of the youngsters who do go, do so only to keep the old folk happy.)


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: John Hardly
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 01:30 PM

Peter,

You write so well (all your posts in every thread) that I hesitate to even bring this up. It's just that the 3 point post, while well-written and definitely a majority opinion, from this "christian's" point of view arrogantly accepts a priori that no religion is objectively true.

While it can probably safely be asserted that no religion is empirically true, most people of faith DO believe that what they believe is true--that's the nature of religions. It doesn't mean that religions can't live together in a pluralistic society, though those days for the USA are numbered.

Jesus had a message (according to my read of the Gospels) that was inclusive--"Whosoever will come" and exclusive (not "coming" held more than an implied condemnation). I don't find a Gospel that implies a "searching" Jesus, as my read of your post seemes to imply.

Johnwhoshouldprobablysticktoguitartalk.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Grab
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 03:34 PM

Fionn, top notch comment. State religion is the problem. If it's down to each person's interpretation of the Bible, and everyone must live as best they can, then that's fine. But once it's a state religion, then laws MUST be drafted from the holy texts, bcos the holy texts MUST be right - it's provided by God, and God can't be wrong. And that fixes the whole country to follow that specific interpretation of the rules. Once it's fixed for the whole country, then it's the country's responsibility to ensure that everyone follows it, so you get indoctrination going(family/school/friends/TV/whatever) to make sure everyone not only follows that interpretation, but believes that any other interpretation is wrong and/or evil. And strict parents or a strict community can do just as good a job, too.

If you're lucky then you get a man at the top to allow the rules to bend over time. But to become the man at the top requires you to have followed the specific interpretation better than everyone else, so don't expect too much change when they get there! Popes, Ayatollahs and some Jewish leaders (a certain Ariel Sharon springs to mind) don't have too good a record on this.

So - state religion, no. Bush worries me by saying that he's going to incorporate Christianity into the law. Which bits? Come to that, which Christianity? You'd think that seeing the results of strict "Christianity" (in inverted commas; that is, following the teachings of strict preachers who call themselves Christians, not following the teachings of Christ strictly) in the past would be disincentive enough.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: kimmers
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 03:41 PM

Candles, and candle lighting...

Candles aren't for God. If we believe that He is there, in whatever form we believe in, He hears and sees us without regard to whether we are lighting candles or whether we are eloquent in our communication with the Divine.

But we are earthly, concrete beings, though we may occasionally touch something beyond this world. Candles, and other touches such as incense and (gasp!) music, are for us... to focus our thoughts, to make us aware that when we pray or worship, we are thinking of a life beyond this one. Staring into a candle flame is hypnotizing, and a aid to meditation. Historically, the Church (especially the Catholics, Anglicans and I presume the Orthodox folks as well) have used the concrete act of lighting a candle to help mark the fact that someone is praying or has prayed.

Liturgy and symbolism ain't for everyone. I happen to love it, and I feel I get glimpses of God in the context of our high-church liturgy and traditional Anglican music. I also felt that way when I was 19 and singing praises songs by the creek in the middle of the night with my college friends. Completely unstructured, but worship all the same.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Burke
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 07:06 PM

If it's understanding you want try:
Armstrong, Karen. The battle for God. New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. (See Amazon for reviews)

Karen Armstrong provides an excellent historical analysis of the rise of fundamentalisms in Christianity, Judaism & Islam. Read at least the introduction & conclusion. I've got a much better understanding of the the culture wars of the past century that have helped bring about what we have now.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: mousethief
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 07:08 PM

I cannot be held responsible for anybody else's sins (even Adam's). Then again, my own are burden enough.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Big Mick
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 08:26 PM

Wow...............what a thread!!! In terms of information to ponder, it is one of the best I have seen. And I have been around for a bit......congrats to all points of view expressed here.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Gypsy
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 09:59 PM

I've posed this one before, and will do so again. Go for 24 hours using only the words "Us" and "We", and no "They" or "Them". You would be amazed how your opinion changes, when you are lumped into the group that you denigrate. After all, we ARE all one animal, yes?


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Kim C
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 05:13 PM

Here in Tennessee you get asked a LOT where you go to church. ;)


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 07:03 PM

Burke, I second that recommendation. I can't agree with her on lots of things, but Karen Armstrong is one thought-provoking dame. A great woman.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 07:13 PM

The problem, dear Catters, is not in the Stars, but in ourselves.

I posted this in frustration. But the real frustration was not at the ones to whom I referred, but at myself.

I left the ministry years ago, but the Minister did not leave me. There are things within myself that I must deal with. As a diversion, I focused on others. Your responses have influenced me to focus on khandu, and what I must deal with.

Thanks to all for your words and insights.

May Grace and Peace prevail with us all.

khandu


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 07:15 PM

Amen.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 07:22 PM

Khandu, you give me reason to want to visit Mississippi again..........and that's sayin' somethin'. You're a good man.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,khandu
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 08:20 PM

Coming from you ,Spaw, that touches me deeply. No BS!

I ask everyone to please let this mis-posted thread DIE!!!

khandu


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 08:45 PM

Not before the aul big Mick gets a chance to wish you well......and express a hope that the peace of that which you hold holy be with you always.

And thanks for one of the most interesting threads yet.

All the very best,

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST,guestguest(intruder)guest
Date: 31 Jan 01 - 01:49 PM

...further deponent sayeth not.

sheesh, as if 2000 years has any significance... druids have been around 8000, and they actually had to work at bewildering people.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 01:46 PM

God does not play dice with the universe: He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players (i.e. everybody), to being involved in a obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time. -- Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens

Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit: bidden or not bidden, God is present. -- Carl Jung


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Feb 01 - 01:50 PM

The thread's originator had asked that this thread pass into history (my paraphrase), but it seems to keep coming back.

You are all cordially invited to visit
>THIS THREAD
for a related discussion.


~Susan


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 09:55 AM

From Khandu's re-conversion, with WYSIWYG there to hold his hand whether he needed it or not, I am bound to fear the very worst. Sadly WYSIWYG's link didn't work - not for me, anyway. But maybe it wasn't meant to. I expect it's an act of faith.


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Subject: RE: Serious Questions for Christians
From: GUEST, ~S~
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 10:05 AM

The explanation is quite simple, Fionn. I can't see very well, and I made a bad link. The discussion was, "What Would You Do Differently?" and it was a music thread about applying what we believe--whatever we believe-- in our music.

And BTW, there was nothing of conversion or re-conversion in the talks I had with Khandu. I don't do that, as people who know me well will tell you. What I did was ask him what was going on that brought these questions to such a head. And then I listened. That's most of what I do.

Your assumptions about what I do are based on whatever you choose to see. I've offered to listen to you in the past, but you've declined. So you are looking in from the outside and making judgments based on a real lack of information. The view is bound to be a bit off. I'm sorry to be a source of upset for you, but you do it to yourself, you know.

~S~


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