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View Poll Results: Why do you accept the proposition that a deity exists?
I know God through reason, science, etc. 3 8.11%
I accept God through belief or personal revelation 11 29.73%
Other 12 32.43%
I am an atheist but want to vote in this poll because polls are dope 11 29.73%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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  #193  
Old August 25th, 2018, 05:07 PM
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Re: Used Cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysole View Post
I feel you on the salesman thing. I think I said as much earlier. For me, the big shift from that to where I am now was realizing that people don't want to listen to your faith or any other deep insights you have on life unless they first trust you enough that you see them as a fellow human. I know that by creating the relationship first, I've been able to have some very good faith discussions with people who probably wouldn't have wanted that discussion without that relationship being there first.

~Dysole, who sits in a weird bridgey place with all her intersecting identities
Your post reminds me of a post I read a long time ago, dysole, from someone who is remembered more for making maps than for wading into threads like this. I'm happy to have a reason to go find it again:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mad_wookiee View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prometheus
I guess that's just one of the fundamental parts of Christianity that I'm refusing to let go of: it's intolerant. It states what is good and what is bad. I can tolerate people, but my religion does not allow me to tolerate sin, and tell myself it's okay. I have my weaknesses, everybody else has theirs, I do not see it as judgmental to point them out in order to try and help them to see it as wrong.
Man, I can't believe I'm about to step into this. To my knowledge, I've never discussed my religious beliefs on this site and I certainly don't intend to make a habit of doing so in the future - but I'm making an exception, just this once, because I think this statement, right here, needs a response. And I guess I'm as qualified as anyone to say what I'm going to say, or at least, I have a paper hanging on my wall from a seminary that says I put in enough hours of study to earn the right to say what I'm going to say.

Look, I know what you're getting at here. And in some sense you're right in that there is a fundamental statement that Christianity makes vis-a-vis other theologies or religions or what have you, and yes, there are some fundamental statements about right and wrong that aren't negotiable. But I'm going to say that, when you look at the big rocks, the things that Christian scripture repeatedly burns a lot of ink on, this isn't one of them. The statements that you think are so black and white are really not all that black and white, and there are a great many folks who hold to the Christian faith that would say that you're out of line here. I'm one of them. I would counsel you to do more reading about this from people who know Greek and Hebrew, and do some reading about the first century ancient Near East culture, and try to understand the context before you decide this is one that you should go to the mat for. Because I don't think, at the end of the day, it really is.

Here's the ugly secret of American conservative Christianity: it's a theological approach that's based on fear. And my New Testament tells me a lot of things about fear, none of them particularly complimentary. I don't know what it is about this particular topic that makes certain segments of American Christianity so rabidly fearful, but I'm strongly concerned that what's getting lost in the shuffle is that you would likely claim to be about grace, but you're talking law here, and I think you need to consider whether that's an approach you're comfortable with. Please bear in mind that the New Testament that I've studied shows a Christ who is far, far more often telling religious conservatives that their proclamations of judgment on everyone else was going to land themselves in hot water some day. I would honestly tell you - please, take some time to read through the book of Luke and think about whether you represent your religion well by taking this approach. (Here's a hint: I don't think so.)

Let me make a final suggestion: drop the part of the line that says "hate the sin". D_S is right on - you can't do that without putting yourself in a position where you are damaging the person. I don't have a problem with trying to help people in areas where they need to be challenged, but you need to earn the right to do that, and you haven't earned that right with people that you don't know and love personally. And I suspect that if you actually got to know any GLBT persons - especially ones that have suffered at the hands of Christians - you might find yourself thinking about this whole subject rather differently.
Huh. Reading it again, after all this time, I see he borrows some of my argument, too. How bout that?

I added the italics to the little bit that dysole's post really reminded me of, but the whole thing is worth reading.

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  #194  
Old August 25th, 2018, 06:00 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Great post.

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  #195  
Old August 25th, 2018, 06:35 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tornado View Post
Great post.
Mad_wookiee's? Yes. He's a good guy. A local, so back when he was active here I got to play with him a few times, and we went to each other's tournaments once or twice.

Here is one of the posts he was referring to, when he was responding to my "hate the sinner" posts:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dad_Scaper View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prometheus
I love him. I didn't say I'm any better. I have my problems, everyone has theirs. The problem is when we say those problems are not problems. Mainly, it's hurting him. But it's also hurting kids who are increasingly being led to believe that it's okay. I don't see how saying that "you have a problem" is hurtful. I think ignoring the problem would be even more hurtful and unloving. Jesus forgave people, but he also commanded them to repent. You guys say all you need to do is "love the sinner," but it's hurting the sinner when you forget the part about "hating the sin."
That's the evil hypocrisy of the whole "hate the sin love the sinner" lie.

You *tell* yourself you aren't any better than the other guy, but as soon as those judging words come out of your mouth ("You're not a bad person, you're just doing a bad thing") you are being highhanded and judgmental just by the act of putting yourself in a position to judge. You are telling the other person you think you are better because the other person has some quality you don't. Denying that's intrinsically attached to your message does not change the fact that it's still intrinsically attached to your message.

You can add whatever back story you want about your relationship with your god and your relationship with your religion and how all that makes it ok for you to look at your friends and neighbors and tell them what to do with their lives, but in the end that's just between you and yourself.

I don't give a bowl of dirty dishwater what your religion is, as long as you are not hurting anyone. So hiding behind your religion or your faith or your god or whatever as an excuse for abusive intolerance isn't good enough, for me.
That thread was, obviously, about (among other things) the "Christian" approach to dealing with homosexuality, but the whole "hate the sin, love the sinner" [bad word involving male cows] extends beyond that one issue, obviously. If you "hate the sin," and the "sin" is something that the other person does not agree is a sin, then the polite thing to do is keep your opinion to your own self, rather than to tell the other person that some component of his or her character is, in your eyes, wanting.

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  #196  
Old August 25th, 2018, 08:19 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Well said.
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  #197  
Old August 26th, 2018, 08:20 AM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

I disagree. I think there's a difference in judging based on my own personal morals/beliefs (I think a blue shirt is a sin, so you wearing a blue shirt is sinful) and judging based on what God has laid out in scripture (God says wearing a blue shirt is a sin, so it's sinful).

For example, I personally think that drinking alcohol is morally questionable. I don't do it. But nowhere in Scripture (that I know of) does it say anything against drinking (drunkeness is different, obviously). Just because it's against my personal belief doesn't mean I can judge for it, since it's not a scriptural sin.

If they were lying all the time? That's different, Scripture says lying is sinful, so it's okay to make that judgement. Doesn't mean I'm mean or aggressive or try to confront them. Doesn't mean I stop loving them. Just means that behavior has been judged sinful by God, and I recognize that.

Of course, there's lots of areas that aren't as clear cut as we would like, and in those areas I do my best to err on the side of grace.

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  #198  
Old August 26th, 2018, 10:58 AM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Swamper! Good to see you posting again.

We are talking about different things, I think. You can go ahead and think whatever you want about your neighbors; I don't care. If your relationship with your faith is such that you think driving a car with a manual transmission is evil, and your neighbor buys a stick shift and you therefore think he is sinning, that's fine!

Just don't go to his house and tell him that you think he needs to live a better life. Or try to trick him into attending your Church of the Automatic Transmission. Or go to the voting booth and try to make manual transmissions illegal. Because your relationship with him is not such that it's any of your business what kind of car he drives.

That's what I'm saying. Which I know is not the point of the thread, but I'm trying to develop my answer to @Flash_19 , who asked.

edit: Though, @Swamper , I am also saying that there is a hair's breadth between the act of privately judging, and the act of presuming to be the salesman/muscle to get people to line up (or to suffer the this-world consequences). Several of dysole's posts and the post from mad_wookiee both address the idea that there is a line between (1) assessing what your neighbor does and (2) acting on it as if it's your business.

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  #199  
Old August 26th, 2018, 12:16 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Swamper, is anyone not a sinner?
So what is the point of judgement?

Perhaps we should leave judgement to God and the world would be a happier place.
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  #200  
Old August 26th, 2018, 01:11 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

@Dysole , thanks for your response to my question. Based off of your descriptions of God, it seemed you had a belief that was different from the norm, which was interesting to me because most Christians view my beliefs on God as highly unorthodox. So, thanks.

@Dad_Scaper , thanks for your responses as well. You shared a lot of wonderful points. I guess if I had to sum up what I'm thinking about everything that you shared, I would turn to one of my favorite stories in the scriptures - the woman taken in adultery from John 8.

You quoted from Mad Wookie - he gave some important context for this story by describing some of the religious fanaticism that existed at the time (particularly among the Pharisees). Many Pharisees received some of Christ's sternest rebukes because they were so caught up in their religious tradition that they had forgotten about the most important parts of the law - that being to love God and love your neighbor. This seems to be the major point in your responses as well.

The scribes and Pharisees bring the woman before Christ, and ask Him if He thinks they should stone her for committing adultery. I love His response, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." There was only one person there who met that criteria - Christ, Himself. He was the only one who would've been justified in throwing a stone at her. But He didn't. As I read the story, it's clear to me that Jesus did not condone her sin, but He loved and cared about her. He invited her to be better while expressing and demonstrating love.

My goal in life is to try to be like Christ. He taught truth, and asked His disciples to do the same. He was full of perfect love, and I'm sure people felt that as they interacted with Him. I think Dysole expressed this Christ-like love particularly well and the importance of having it for others. So, that is a great challenge as a Christian and one that I hope to accomplish - to be able to appropriately balance the two principles of being loving, and sharing my beliefs. I always want to share my beliefs with love and respect and never in such a way as to put somebody down, or make them feel like I'm trying to sell them a car with an automatic transmission. And I realize that more often, the best way to do that may be without words - by demonstrating love for others through service free from ulterior motives.

After discovering this thread, I felt like it was appropriate to share some things I believe in as they pertained to questions being asked. Again, I hope to never come across as being arrogant or a salesman. But, I think anytime you share a belief or opinion in an online forum like this, that is going to be a challenge no matter what you believe, and especially if it is something that you feel strongly about - like religion. I do want to hear other's opinions and perspectives because then I come to understand them better and know them better. And that, to me, seems to be one of the greatest reasons for the existence of this thread.

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  #201  
Old August 26th, 2018, 01:30 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

I will one up you and say the existence of this community.
Try to have this conversation anywhere else, I dare you.
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  #202  
Old August 26th, 2018, 01:54 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flash_19 View Post
Again, I hope to never come across as being arrogant or a salesman. But, I think anytime you share a belief or opinion in an online forum like this, that is going to be a challenge no matter what you believe, and especially if it is something that you feel strongly about - like religion. I do want to hear other's opinions and perspectives because then I come to understand them better and know them better. And that, to me, seems to be one of the greatest reasons for the existence of this thread.
What we have in this thread is an open dialogue. Those who are here are welcome to come and go as they please, and they are, by participating, volunteering to be in the debate. That's important! That's what a real exchange of ideas looks like! I certainly hope I haven't come on too strong either, but I think we've all been good buyers and sellers in the Marketplace of Ideas.

I will pull back the veil a little bit on my current approach to discussing social, religious, and political stuff now, on the internet or among a wider group of family and friends.

Rule 1: Don't do it. That's what we were taught when we were younger and it was good advice then. Remains good advice now. Exceptions to be made when it's an appropriate environment, such as this thread, where the pot is intended to be stirred.

Rule 2: Especially in environments where people already know how I feel, just try to model reasonable behavior. Don't discuss this stuff and just be good to people. So that when my friends go back to their own homes, and their own communities, they will know that there is a person in Baltimore who is open to discussion, and who might not agree but he treats people with respect. So that my friends, if they happen to encounter people at home who would speak ill of broad groups that would appear to include me, will know better. And they might speak up, and they might not, but at least they will know better.

Rule 3: When I encounter people in my own circle who would speak poorly of groups that might include my other friends, given the right social situation I will take the opportunity to try to guide the other person to a place where the person will not generalize that way.

And this, @Flash_19 , is why I referred to this as one of the Great Questions of Our Time (or whatever language I used). It's because proselytization, whether it's religious or political, whether it's Christian or Jewish (there are Jewish sects that proselytize within the Jewish community) or whatever, it reinforces our willingness to generalize. To identify some specific group of people to be persuaded / compelled / addressed.

It is the generalizations that are interconnected with our sense of The Other. It is very, very easy to fall into a trap of thinking of some Other as a threat (or sheep in need of shepherding), and then dehumanizing the Other (Episcopalians; Jews; coastal elites, Fundamentalist Christians; whatever some "Other" might be) from there.

You want to be a part of a better society, with less judgment of others and less unkind words? Be the change you want. Judge less, and use kinder words. That, @Flash_19 , is why your question to me was so important.

Thank you for asking.

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  #203  
Old August 26th, 2018, 02:09 PM
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What Is Deity

Glad I could help. I have some opinions on a lot of the current Christian structure in America due to my experiences growing up inside multiple groupings within it but primarily what is now called evangelicalism and also due to my experiences after that once I realized I was a queer person. These dual identities have allowed me some interesting perspectives that aren't as common in American Christianity. Also, I read a lot and am constantly reading perspectives and also deeper historical, linguistic, and cultural understandings of a lot of scriptural texts. These combine together for a perspective that I think the Church needs.

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  #204  
Old August 26th, 2018, 04:01 PM
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Re: Food for Thought: A Discourse on Deities

As an atheist (much as I dislike beginning a sentence in that particular manner), I have no problem with someone sharing their faith with me in a general sense. Religious expression or even a polite discussion for the sake of clarity are no issue to me, whether they come from a friend or a stranger. An actual conversion attempt is where things get a bit prickly for me.

For starters, as a rule I avoid trying to tell other people how to live their lives regarding religion, and I tend to expect the same courtesy in kind. Of course, some faiths expect their followers to spread it, so this isn't a hard and fast guideline. Method is important, though. If a stranger or even a friend tells me I'm sinning (or, generally speaking, that my behavior is bad for any purely religious reason) then my patience will evaporate rather quickly. Sin doesn't mean anything to me on its own--it doesn't meet a standard of harm to myself or to other people that I would expect from someone asking me to change how I act, and I'm not interesting in choosing my spirituality based on shame or fear. At risk of generalizing, I imagine many other non-spiritual people feel similarly that sin is a rhetorical dead end for them.

Encouraging spirituality as a method for leading a happier, fulfilling life is a more respectful tactic that I'm more open to listening to. That said, I would only accept the conceit of it from someone I knew fairly well, who I could reasonably trust knows what I want from life or is at least close enough to me to ask. Someone on the street could not effectively make this argument to me because I believe fulfillment is a personal matter--it's not one-size-fits-all. Even coming from someone I know, it would not be a conversation I would want to repeat--I would expect them to respect my final answer and not bring it up again unless prompted--unless, again, it was as a simple discussion rather than an attempt at conversion.

Obviously, this thread is an exception to a lot of these rules. It would be dishonest of me to voice my opinion and expect the people around me in this setting to keep theirs quiet. But, since more perspectives were asked for, I thought I might as well throw this one on the pile.

Last edited by All Your Pie; August 26th, 2018 at 07:43 PM. Reason: Really went wild with hyphens on this one, huh?
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