So I saw this map here and it's apparently not real accurate BUT it does raise a point, have you chosen your religion based on it's 'truth' or on the simply fact that that's what you were raised with? Can you honesty say you wouldn't be a Muslim or a Buddhist if you were born in Iran or China? Are you a Hindu simply because you live in or your family comes from India? Are you a Christian because you were born into it or because after searching through ALL the worlds religions it's really the only 'real' one? Have you actually really looked into your religion and others?
So logically if your religion reflects where you live then are any of them really true or are you simply told it true as a child and that's hammered into you until you believe it? Simply because that's the religion of the area?
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I am always happy to answer any questions I can:)
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Sunday, May 6, 2012
This Sunday, are you REALLY being honest?
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I was born into the Mormon church (yikes - the stories I could tell) and that's all I knew for the first 21 years of my life. Then I saw the church (as well as EVERY OTHER American religion) for the sexist, bigoted, and homophobic entity that it was. No thank you!
I was born into the Lutheran Church. I went to Lutheran, Baptist, and Catholic schools up through elementary. I have a good understanding of different religions and I have chosen to remain a Lutheran. For those that don't know the Lutheran faith is a direct offshoot of the Catholic church that occurred because of problems that Martin Luther had with the Catholic church. Very similar faiths, but none of the child molesting in mine.
Why stop at American ones, they are pretty much all the same in regards to equality;)
So you know something about 3 Christian religions... did you take any comparative religions classes about religions outside Christianity?
I classify all Christianity as basically the same as there are 35,000 different sects so lumping is easier as they all believe in Christ. But have you studied Islam or ancient Greek?
Brett, the American ones are pretty much all I know about. I haven't studied much outside of that, so I didn't want to label any others as being bigoted, homophobic or sexist, because I wasn't sure.
It's very easy to look back in on a religion, having seen it from the inside, and realize that religious choice is a very regional/cultural/familial thing.
Trying to get a believer who thinks they were specially chosen and beloved of God to recognize that is pretty much impossible.
Good points Brett!
So looking at the map creates some very interesting questions. Look at the birth place of Christianity, ancient Palestine, we see it is colored entirely for Jewish or Sunni faiths. What happened? How did Christianity spread worldwide? Why is it growing fastest in China, Africa, India, and Central and South America? Why isn’t it growing in America? How come something like 80% of Americans claim a religious faith based off of Christianity, but few actually live a life representative of the teachings of Jesus? What is the difference between family tradition, heritage, religion, faith, and genuine Christianity?
Once you read the Bible you realize something very interesting. God chooses a people to be His special people, the Jews, but they continually reject Him. The OT is one long story of God being rejected by those who by birth should know Him best. You get to the NT and Jesus declares traditional religious faith to be useless for salvation, what is required is a relationship with God. Suddenly rather than being born into a faith, God declares salvation is possible for the outsider and salvation comes by adoption! Family of origin is actually shown to be a hindrance to knowing God because it leads to a cultural faith, traditions, rules, regulations, and people separating themselves away from the unconverted.
Consider the Apostle Paul’s stance on the matter, who if anyone had reason to boast about their family of origin and upbringing it was him:
“…put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” -Phillipians 3:2-7
What we inside Christianity see actually rather than birth creating converts is it tends to create an inoculation to true faith. It creates an atmosphere of cultural adherence rather than heart felt conversion.
Please do as Brett asks and I did from the ages of 17-21 with incredible zeal, step back from your faith of birth, look at it from the outside, study other world religions. Do you believe what you do because it is the faith of your family? Is your faith cultural only? Do you simply follow family tradition? Why do you believe?
Thanks Brett! Good topic!
The map isn't really accurate, I think because there are multiple religions from the area they simple picked the largest. I'd also counter that maybe they think the Roman empire was really the start of a massive Christian religion. Might be why they didn't have it in Israel.
A few of your points were something I was going to post about next week. so I'll save them for later, I thought I was going off on a tangent but I guess I wasn't.
Why is it growing fastest in those areas. Missionaries. I'm sure starving people will accept Jesus for food. And I'm not sure if it's the fastest in those areas. I though Islam was in China and Africa... but they aren't all that different, they spring from the same source. What is interesting is that it took 2,000 years, starvation and missionaries to bring it there. God seems to not really care about anyone but the Jews and the white people if it's taken him so long to get there. I guess they have less important souls. And South America... they converted that by force hundreds of years ago. Burned up a whole lot of information in the process:(
"Missionaries. I'm sure starving people will accept Jesus for food."
Not to mention the message. "Oh, your life here sucks?" "Your starving, desperately impoverished and the lifestyle of the poorest Americans is so much better that you strive to be that well off."
We-He-Hell have I got a deal for you. For the low,low cost of your soul, after you die a horrible excruciating death here on earth, I can promise you eternal bliss in the afterlife. Really! No pain or suffering, all the food you could want, and a gold crapper to boot.
And of course if you do happen to crawl out of poverty and escape this 3rd world hell with the free indoctrinat... I mean education and food that we provide, you can absolutely show your gratitude by giving us 10% of your future income. But don't quote me on the 10% thing. With inflation and all it's probably up to like 30 or 40% by now.
Fatboy, Brett, do either of you research this stuff or do you just post whatever comes to mind? I don't know any missionary organizations which work in the fashion you caricaturize them as performing their duties. It makes no sense, what is their motivation?
Does it ever bother you that to strengthen your position you must lampoon and distort Christianity into a untruthful representation?
As always you are free to believe what you want, I tend to favor going with facts over made up tales of starving folks in order to get converts with the hope of a 10% cut on the back-end.
I had plenty of missionaries(in Zaire) from my church who would visit every now and then and revel us with tales of of how bad it was where they were and how well the pushing of the "word of god" was going and how many converts there were.
That being said, the extreme that I took in my previous post was meant as humor and I believe that most missionaries priorities are in the right place. I just believe that updates from church missionaries who are begging for money, shouldn't be done wearing expensive designer suites, gold watches and jewelry. with the 1980's equivalent of a $80,000+ vehicle in the church parking lot.
And I definitely believe that relief from hunger and poverty and giving someone an education should have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with pushing a religious belief on someone.
Further, even if the missionary is there for the right reasons, the church or group backing them is most definitely in it for converts. Go ahead Steve, visit any missionary organization website, and look at their mission statement, philosophy or what they're about page. I can guarantee that most if not all of them put proselytization first or at least above alleviating human suffering.
Okay Fatboy, sometimes it is hard to hear the humor in typed words on a screen. What you are saying now makes more sense.
Missionaries are on a mission to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This includes preaching the Bible as well as showing tangible real love-education and medical care.
No one has to accept Jesus to get care from a missionary, if you've ever been on the mission field you understand how ridiculous a stipulation that would be-it is impossible with all that is going on, the crowds, the naked desperation, the sickness, and the language barrier to insist anyone first makes a commitment to Christ.
Is there a small minority getting rich off of others need and the generosity of Christians? Oh I imagine so, you can always find a hypocrite if that is all you have eyes to see.
No Steve, you are mostly correct. Most of those people are really good people trying to help (but I wouldn't consider spreading the word of Jesus, help.) BUT this is not always the case and in the past force has been used. Google Christian Missionaries Abuse and you will see it's far worse than I even knew about.
Kidnappings, manhunts, threats of violence, rape... It seems these might have been a bit more common in the past, and that people coming forward have limited it's continued practice.
Scary stuff... but nothing to do with the topis at hand. Can you legitimately say your religion it true because you just happened to be born in the right place? And I know you haven't studied all sorts of religions so I think you need to take your own advice and look at some other relgions;)
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