Check out my records of religious conversations!
I really hate being told to quit sinning and come to Christ; I really hate when Hare Krishnas attack me for my unwillingness to chant; I really hate being told I don't believe in the "right" god, and I really, really, REALLY hate when people are so sure they're right that they don't see how wrong they are.
In my opinion you can never be sure you're right about much of anything. Take any philosophy class and you'll see how hard it is to even "know" you exist, for God's sake, no pun intended. For a lot of people, religion is a matter of faith. But I don't find "having faith" a particularly virtuous attribute in and of itself. Here's my take on that: You can have faith in anything you want. But the question is, do your beliefs deserve your faith? Are you making a good choice in what you'd bet your life on? I'm not going to think you're righteous or give more stock to your beliefs just because you have faith in them . . . it doesn't make them true, it makes you a believer and that's all. I'm not sure I understand why being able to believe in something without proof or evidence--and sometimes in spite of it--is considered a good thing . . . to me, it sounds like you're a bit gullible. Even though I understand the concept of trusting that you are taken care of (or whatever), it just doesn't make you look any more "correct" to me if you are willing to believe something just because a book said you should and you think the book's right based on . . . well, the book saying it's right.
A whole lotta people are willing to say that the absolute proof of their "rightness" is in whatever book they choose as the word of God. Some call it the New Testament. Some call it the Bhagavad-Gita. The Koran. The Torah. Great-Aunt Gilda's Cookbook, whatever, it's all the same . . . passed down through the ages, full of pretty good information if it's used correctly, and probably outdated and/or full of smudges later generations have put on it. I can't believe people are willing to be such complete assholes to me over religion when all they've got to back them up is a book that says "Only *I* am the true God, believe in ME, not those other impostors. Only this book is truth." I believe you take what truth you can from the wise men but don't digest anything verbatim.
Ehh, the Bible is fulla mistranslated stuff and symbolic stuff that people are taking too literally anyway. Don't people realize that all the religions that are popular today have about as much stock as, say, Zeus from ancient Greece? Back then pissing Zeus off was serious business. Now very few people give a shit about Zeus. Maybe two thousand years from now, the "real" religions of today will fade to mythology. And new religions will be there to take their places.
In Turlington Plaza at the University of Florida, where I went to college, there were these jerky people who came around and yelled at the students to come to Christ. I really hated it--they spoiled way too many of my lunch picnics in the Plaza of the Americas, too. I know that their religion asks them to spread the word, but I wish they'd do it in a less obnoxious way. And I wish they'd think about why they believe what they believe. They don't seem to realize that by accusing everyone else of being sinners and assigning them faults from some really old collection of stories, they're just making themselves look like lunatics rather than helping anyone. I guess they go home happy after pissing off lots of "godless" people, satisfied with the knowledge of a job well-done spreading the Lord's message. Well, dude, if you were a little more respectful of these people you're trying to conquer with your screwed-up logic, maybe someone would listen to you and actually consider what you're saying. The way you approach it, even other Christians are often embarrassed of you.
There are others there who hand out Chick Pamphlets on why we should be Christian. And there was that one Hare Krishna dude who always tried to make me buy his yoga books even though I have them all and am pretty uninterested at this point after having read several. On top of all that, people find out I'm Pagan and have a grand old time putting me down for wanting proof or maybe SOME shred of physical evidence that what they're saying is true. I don't believe that any god worth his salt would create us with senses and reason and then expect us to prove how much we love him by refusing to use them.
Bottom line: When you try to school me on religion, you are telling me that you understand what God wants better than I do even though you have NO PROOF. On one level it makes me laugh. On another level it makes me roll my eyes. But ultimately, there is a very serious level of deep offense I take at this behavior. You are telling me you know what God wants. You are putting words in God's mouth and claiming *I* am the one who doesn't understand despite the fact that we are equally equipped to interpret our world. Is that not the absolute pinnacle of ARROGANCE??
God, please protect me from your followers. . . .
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Comments from others:
Sardonyx: I loathe single-minded people who just insist on everything being one-dimensional. NOTHING is one-dimensional/one-way. Religous people need something to lean on when they have no control over their lives. Having sex out of wedlock is a horrific sin punishable by guarenteed rotting in hell. Homosexuals are "abominations" (shit, that enrages me to no end). Cussing inpurifies you, seperates you from God. It's just all bedtime stories told to kids who won't behave - "If you don't obey Mommy, you're going to a dark, horrid place with fire and evil people." "I'll be good, mommy! I'll go to heaven and I'll get wings and a halo and I'll be pure!" Yuck. There's hardly any good or bad anyway, mainly gray areas. That's empathsized wonderfully the the Francesca Block book, Violet & Claire, which I finished recently and absolutely loved. And I'm done rambling. :)
Sarah: Ah...the Mythology argument-I've used that one often during discussions. Unfortunately, it does nothing to sway the other party and only adds to their need of proving that they are right. I think it's pretty arrogant of people to claim that their religion is the one true religion and people who believe otherwise are misled. I don't know if gods exist or not (finding the answer is not on my list of things to do), but if one exists...they ALL exist (or most, anyway). Ah well, much of the zealous "I'm right! You're wrong!" attitude amounts to childhood brainwashing. Many people seem to worship certain gods and believe in them wholeheartedly for the simple reason that they are afraid of being damned to hell. I think their being naive and not being able to produce anything credible for their side of the matter is the only thing less annoying than them trying to make me accept their beliefs. It's fine for people to worship whatever/however they choose, but at least respect the beliefs of others.
david: I am a christian I would never harm you or wish you harm in any way, even though you pratice pagan beliefs. I worpship a god of love to all his creation! God doesen't hate the persons them shelfs! It the acts that he hates. God loves a homosexual but hates the homosexual act. I guess what I'm getting to is that the early church members (apostles) never did such things as the things that were done to people in the middle ages (witch hunts for example) Those weren't true christrain that did those in my belief. That's why they called them the dark ages. My god is a god of light not dark.
Marintha: I really don't mind christians in general. It's the overtly religious PSYCHOS that make me want to kick someone in the head. >.<
In my hometown in Indiana we have this little festival called World on the Square. (this is relevant, I promise) You know the kind, family event, everyone comes to see dancing and singing etc from different cultures. It's really great.
But then, the picketeering bastards arrive. Really REALLY bad christians, don't know what "sect" of christianity. I just know I was with my taekwondo school in a demonstration there and we were all surrounded by police in case. :rolleyes:
Now, remember, family event right? You have your little 10 years olds, 5 year olds, the whole litter. These picketers come with large signs against abortion, gay people, HARRY POTTER, drinking. Those are the main ones I remember. And the abortion pictures are GRAPHIC. Imagine 4' by 4' poster with a chopped up baby on it. And if that weren't bad enough the leader brought a megaphone with him. "Faggots burn in hell" was one of the NICER things he said. WITH CHILDREN AROUND. AND THE PICKETERS HAD THEIR KIDS WITH THEM. THEY WERE HOLDING SIGNS!!!!
Apparantly, (I did research), these people picket in the hopes someone will start something (Thus the police barricade) so they can SUE the person for money. Sadly, IT WORKS. They've won almost all their attempts so far. I HATE THESE KIND OF PEOPLE. When people start doing these things to CHILDREN it makes me wish the death penalty were used more often. >.<
Otherwise, christians are fine. Most of my friends are christian.
antiflagjoe: I feel exactly the same way you do. Makes me think of this jesus freek kid that I knew in high school who would go on these horrifying rants about God and stuff and saying that everyone was going to hell except him. Anywayz I love what you said and your my hero for saying it. Keep up the great work!! peace out
D.: Sure they're supposed to spread the word... but not like that.
If you've seen The Matrix, then what Morpheus tells Neo at one point is the way they are supposed to do things. "But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it." They can't force you, that's part of their edicts, and one of the ones they seem to like to ignore.
My best friend always tried to guilt me into it. She would tell me she didn't want to go to Heaven alone while her best friend went to Hell. Nice, isn't that?
jay: all i can say is once i lived what i thought was a good life.i was faithful to my wife for 15 years,2 great daughters,flurishing business, and then started cheating on my wife,after a little while longer i started taaking pills and then meth.i lost my business and almost lost my family and my life to drugs.i had never been much for going to church before but started back after kicking the drug habit.i now have a new business,my family and friends have forgiven me.i have been back in church for awhile now.it hasnt been perfect but i thank god every day for showing me his mercy and grace. i know he is with me and my family,and i will never leave him again.
Stephen: I'm a religious person, and I've explored other philosophical and religous thoughts (let's just say I've been around the block). I still subscribe to Christianity. And while I love God and his people, I disaprove of zealots, Bible-thumpers, televangelists, and people who are willing to chase you down in order to convert you. You guys are totally right: all Christians are obligated to do it make their message AVAILABLE and maybe give a convincing argument, not coerce someone into believing out of guilt.
As an aside, everyone knows their are hundreds of different Christian denominations and schools of thought. My church doesn't teach that non-believers will be immediately sent to hell or something. We believe that everyone will get a second chance to believe in the new "Heaven and Earth"... that is, after the believers of the post-Christ age are gathered into heaven. After that, all the people pre-Jesus who weren't capable of total salvation, will get a chance to believe in Jesus. We teach that only the people who have given themselves absolutely to the devil will go to hell. And by the way, the Bible doesn't say much about hell (more of a pit of fire thing).
Anyway, I agree with your message that people should believe in what makes sense to them as long as they can back up that faith with at least a rudimentary argument as to why they beleive it.
Somnite: I like you, extremely dislike the people who try to push their religion off on others and shout to whoever about it. I am proud to say that I am a Christian and believe in the Bible, but I do not advocate being aggressive and trying to "convert" people.
I just felt that I should comment on one thing.You said that Zeus was forgotten after so long. Now I don't want to claim that Christianity is true because it has been around for so long. If we take only the supported historical accounts of the bible, then Judaism and the Christianity have their origins far beyond any other religion, and are still around at least 2,000 years later (from the historically proven life of Christ), and during that amount of time, no other religion has had so many threats to its eradication, or so much persecution and yet survived and is active today in very much the same form it was 2,000 years ago, and is likely to last quite a bit longer.
Now I don't make the claim that it is true because of this, merely that this is a little bit different already than Zeus worship, and other religions that have come and gone.
Apologies if this is too much "God discussion" and not enough commenting on the post.