Nightcrawler/Religious & Spiritual Discussion

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Nightcrawler/Religious & Spiritual Discussion

Postby TelegramSam » Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:33 am

I've met some pretty beligerant Baptists and people of other Protestant denominations, Bamfman, and some who were certain that their particular brand of Christianity was the only "right" one and that others were invalid. NOt just Catholics, for certain. I've had some Baptist kids claim that Catholics are not even Christian, which is highly ignorant at best. I've also had athiests, polythiests/pagans of various stripes, and Muslims run on about how only *they* have the true knowlege and every one else is a bunch of fools, so it's not only in the Christian world that these problems pop up.

The fact of the matter is that people just aren't happy unless they feel that they are somehow a cut above the rest or that they are "special" and part of an exclusive group. It's human nature to want to be unique. Well, that's fine and all, but when it gets to the point where you have to harm others to feel important, that's just downright pathetic. Back to Mr. Rogers, I think if more people would adhere to his view: that you are unique by your very nature, the world would be a safer place for all of us.

The funny thing about Christians who think they know more in particular is that the Christian faith bases salvation on Christ's sacrifice: a free gift given out of God's love for all who are willing to accept Him as their Lord. The idea that special knowlege is the "ticket" into heaven is an old Gnostic idea, and actually predates Christ by a century or two. It's also an old heresy.

(ps. the Gnostics are actually a rather interesting bunch, as far as heretics go. Look 'em up on wikipedia or google. :))
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Postby Ult_Sm86 » Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:10 am

The catholics and baptists have been going at it for years. Centuries really. The main thing you have to keep in mind is baptists (if it's american southern i think is a littler different) can be too loose and chatholics are known to be too strict. It's just a commonly portrayed thing so it means it must be true. Sure not EVERY catholic church is like that but a lot of them (including the two i've been two) are very "it's written like this so you have to say it like this and there's no questions"
A lot of the atheists I know were once catholics. They say their parents drove them insane with the "go to church or go to hell" or their preists with "i shouldn't have to answer that" or "time out time because you can't say god is contradicting."
I went to a christian camp once and my counsellor says god is infallable and doesn't contradict himself once in the bible. Nothing he does is wrong. I find that totally unbeleivable because if he made us in his fashion why do some of us get tormented with the ugly stick or with deformities? or are the non deformed to us actually the deformed? and what happened to being an all loving entity? Why try to make a life for everyone and put them in hell holes that they can't get out of? Can't mess with free will? Bull sh**. That's where I have my doubts.
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Postby Maelstrom » Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:44 am

Originally posted by Bamfman
A lot of the atheists I know were once catholics. They say their parents drove them insane with the "go to church or go to hell" or their preists with "i shouldn't have to answer that" or "time out time because you can't say god is contradicting."
I went to a christian camp once and my counsellor says god is infallable and doesn't contradict himself once in the bible. Nothing he does is wrong. I find that totally unbeleivable because if he made us in his fashion why do some of us get tormented with the ugly stick or with deformities? or are the non deformed to us actually the deformed? and what happened to being an all loving entity? Why try to make a life for everyone and put them in hell holes that they can't get out of? Can't mess with free will? Bull sh**. That's where I have my doubts.


Bamfman, it sounds like your counselors aren't very good at explaining themselves, or the tenets of their faith. They should have been able to answer your questions in a much more satisfying manner than "because God said so".

Hell, I could answer them in a better manner than that, and I'm not even a minister!

The idea of being made in His image isn't just physical likeness. In fact, it has very little to do with physical likeness. It means our *souls* are made in His image. The body can look like literally anything. It's the mind and spirit that counts. That's also why He doesn't make everyone physically perfect. If we're to grow, thrive, and be challenged, we can't have everything perfect.

I know; from your standpoint, you'd like a lot less challenges. I'd love to have a body that works 100%. I'd love to get rid of the fallen arches, the bad eyes, the biochemical depression, the hypoactive thyroid. And your list must be far longer, and with far more important things. But if we have these problems, it means we have to solve them. It means acting in a way to help others solve them. It binds us together as a people.

There's countless ethical and theological debates about the nature of suffering and evil, and how it could possibly co-exist with an infallable, omnipotent, and loving God. It's been debated from the beginning of time. The simple way is just to blame "the devil", whoever or whatever he may be. But I think that's too simple.

My humble opinion of why evil exists? Because we create it ourselves. Because free will necessitates the possibility of choosing wrong. Because we are imperfect, and sometimes weak and selfish.

And my opinion of why suffering exists? Why people are born with deformalities or crippling diseases? To give those afflicted the opportunity to rise above and be better people. To give the rest the opportunity to prove their worth by helping those in need. To remind us that anyone, anytime, needs help, and that the life you improve may be your own.
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Postby Ult_Sm86 » Thu Jan 15, 2004 2:34 am

I think sometimes that Bruce Almighty film is right. He can't answer it all but he is "all powerful" why give us problems? cuz we ate an apple. No offense god but you think your big and bad now? dangle it. Danlge it. The only real redeeming thing in my eyes, that god did was give us Jesus. He felt bad. It was guilt. Jesus is awesome and Jesus is the man Big J. Way to go.
Why'd you kill him?
What was the point in that? Good character develpment? So we could all be freed? couldn't you have done it some other way? I mean come on.
AL thought we all need to work to improve ourselves so maybe that "bigger plan" is gonna do something useful for once. I want to know what that bigger plan is for me. Why I have to be stuck with this valve.
Or why jimmy died at 5 a month ago. Why his family was sent to wait for his death in a hospital for 6 months. Why he has the exact same problems as me, he just got pnemonia. Why does he die and not me? Why can't the kid who has so much the kid who can sing, why can't he live. God's bigger plan was to take a kid at five. No. God wants to prove himself to us it's about dammned time he came down. I beleive in him but i want answers and i want everyone else to get theirs answered too.

edited: i'd just like to say that this is the primary reason I've been distant lately. Yeah.....:shame it's not fair.
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Postby Lauren » Thu Jan 15, 2004 3:45 am

erm...Bamfman? I'm Catholic, and I think I'm one of the most laid back ones around. My priest Father Chris is also laid back, and one time told me that most of the Bible most likely is fake. You could have said the stereotype of catholics is, just so you didn't look like you were stereotyping them.
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Postby thylacine » Thu Jan 15, 2004 7:26 pm

That's right. There are too many negative stereotypes of Catholics.

Also... I heard that Baptists were really strict compared to Catholics. Is this true, or not? Are there any Baptists out there who can tell us?
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Postby Ult_Sm86 » Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:10 pm

Sorry to offend you as I had said I was actually trying to think of that word but i am no longer a human theasaurus and always ferget words. :LOL

From my experience no. Baptists (protistants) are often not strict at all. That is why they left england and why they so frequently got cast out right? Cuz their rules weren't as harsh. Though once again this ist he stereotype. Although I do have to think that the way that catholic schools and churches have run kids lives since the dawn of it's time well... let's just put it this way (and this is not meant to offend) but you don't see any Baptists telling their kids they can't do such and such on TV for a reason. TV does reflect life otherwise it wouldn't be realistic to us and we wouldn't pay attention. So the boob tube has to be right about it somewhat. If the majority of catholic churches are harsh tv will reflect that and then further the steretype of it.
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Postby Wolvertique » Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:13 pm

Ahem. Not a Baptist, but I can tell you there are numerous divisions within that designation. There are liberal Baptist denominations, conservative Baptist denominations (e.g. Southern Baptists), and "independent" Baptists as well. Bill Moyers once said on his religion special on PBS, "Growing up they always told me, 'If you have two Baptists in a room, you have a fight,'" which referred to Baptist diversity of opinion on religious matters.

There are too many negative stereotypes of ALL religions that aren't WASPy in this country. Catholics are one of the many, unfortunately.

Most Catholics I've met are nice, but I've also met a few "If the Church says so, then it is true no matter what" types who scare me with their blind adherence to authority. Good to know you're a Catholic, Lauren! I like good Catholics. Especially in a white wine sauce. ;)
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Postby taekwondodo » Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:18 pm

Hate to break it to you Bamfman, but I went to a Baptist school for 2 years (4th and 5th grade) and was on a good first name basis w/the Principal and his handy-dandy wooden paddle for repeatedly asking one of the big, forbidden questions in religion class - "why?". Next on the list was "how do you know?" Then there was "can you prove it?" Suffice it to say I spent a *lot* of time trying to come up with excuses *not* to sit down. Then there were the lovely 'born again' neighbors who ganged up on me when I was 7 (2 daughters who were my 'friends' and their mom) and told me that I had to accept Jesus into my heart as my personal savior or I was going to burn in hell for eternity when I died - and who *knew* when that might be? Told me that everyone in my family who had died already (they were Protestants) were in Hell already, including my older brother who was killed in Vietnam. Reduced me to incoherent tears and then got me on the phone to their minister who reiterated it all and pressured me into doing the 'accepting Christ' bit right there on the phone. Let's just say my mom was royally pissed and I wasn't allowed to play with them anymore.

Baptists can be just as narrow-minded, vicious and clique-ish as anyone. I've never had a problem like that with *any* of my Catholic friends and have actually found most of the priests I've ever spoken with to be fairly open-minded, intelligent and willing to discuss differing points of view.
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Postby Ult_Sm86 » Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:22 pm

Well yes. But as i said from my experiences no. There are as wolvertique kindly put two sides there. The one i'm at well my preist (rev. dr. donald) he's the man he like hearing why he likes to know that you want to question. He sees it as god gave you the ability to question and by golly your using it. (by golly is EXACTLY what he would say too)
Anyways yes about the american all religions here are uptight.
Well thats enough of this thread for me. I miss Jim and this thread reminds me of him so I"m gonna back off for awhile and come back when I'm NOT part of the heated discussion.
Til then though I still do this day can't talk to my catholic friend about the afterlife without getting told off.
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Postby Maelstrom » Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:49 pm

Bamfman,

One thing to remember is that some of the Protestants who left England (because of religious persecution) were the PURITANS. These guys made the Catholics look like loosey-goosey hippies. They were so strict that they refused to use words that weren't in the King James version of the bible.

And so it is unto today. Some sects of Protestantism are fairly loose and accomidating, some are the fire and brimstone "keep you in line for fear of your soul" types. Though this is really no different from any other organized religion (there are moderates and extremists in any group), the Protestants have a history of just splitting off and forming their own church when they disagree, which is why there's so dang many denominations out there. The biggies are the Episcopaians, the Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Baptists, the Lutherans, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses (the dogma of the latter two I *really* don't care for :urg). But there are lesser known ones like the 7th Day Adventists, Pentacostals, Christian Scientists... and more churches are being formed as I speak. Why? Because humans naturally disagree, and the Protestant faith has made a precedent of spltting off during bad disagreements.

The Catholic church (Roman or Orthodox) doesn't allow for that. If you disagree that much, you can leave, but you can't split off and form your own sect. This is one of the things that gives the Catholics such a reputation for being strict. You don't agree? You have two choices. Keep it to yourself, or leave.

A great many RCs in America don't agree with what the Pope says, but you won't see anyone protesting over it and forming their own "true" Roman Catholic church. That simply isn't the way it's done. For those RCs who believe in Papal Infallability, the Pope is right no matter what. And for those who don't, they still respect the man deeply for his unwavering devotion to the faith. (The Pope has NO time to himself. He is 100% "on the job", day and night.)

Catholic schools are a slightly different subject. We've all heard of, or even experienced first or second hand, the nasty nuns and their metal-backed rulers of doom. We've heard of the teachers that squash all forms of questions as heresy. I would like to think these are notable abherrances, rather than the rule, as Catholic-run schools also have a reputation for excellent curriculums and graduates with excellent grades.

But, then again, if you go into ANY religious school, you're going to find the same basic things. In ANY religious school, you'll find good teachers and nasty zealots who squash all inconvenient questions that they don't know how to answer. There are Baptists schools that punish people for believing in Evolution instead of Creationism. In the Middle and Far East there are way too many Schools of Islam that are nothing more than brainwashing centers (giving the rest of the excellent Muslim-based schools around the world a bad name). And I'm sure the same thing is true of any other Religious-based instruction. What we should look at isn't just the ruler-wielding nuns, but the system that produces them, and ask ourselves whether or not the same results would occur in other religious schools.

The chances are, the answer will be "yes".
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Postby TelegramSam » Thu Jan 15, 2004 10:03 pm

Maelstrom, Mormons are not Christian, their doctrine is too far removed from Christianity to be considered such (regardless of what they claim). Namely, they consider the trinity to be 3 separate entities, I'm not sure, but I also think there is a separate "heavenly mother" or "wife of God" in there somewhere, they also have a doctrine that claims that God was once similar to mortal men today, but was somehow "lifted up" or somesuch, etc etc and that it is a man's goal to do likewise (but only if he has enough wives and children). It actually borrows heavily from certain Native American sources and old Gnostic ideas. At any rate, it's an entirely different religion from Christianity. They do include Jesus, but that's about as far as the resemblence goes, and even there, their vision of him is rather different from anything found in Christendom. It's a very unique religion.
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Postby Maelstrom » Thu Jan 15, 2004 10:17 pm

Originally posted by TelegramSam
Maelstrom, Mormons are not Christian, their doctrine is too far removed from Christianity to be considered such (regardless of what they claim). Namely, they consider the trinity to be 3 separate entities, I'm not sure, but I also think there is a separate "heavenly mother" or "wife of God" in there somewhere, they also have a doctrine that claims that God was once similar to mortal men today, but was somehow "lifted up" or somesuch, etc etc and that it is a man's goal to do likewise (but only if he has enough wives and children). It actually borrows heavily from certain Native American sources and old Gnostic ideas. At any rate, it's an entirely different religion from Christianity. They do include Jesus, but that's about as far as the resemblence goes, and even there, their vision of him is rather different from anything found in Christendom. It's a very unique religion.


You're "preaching to the choir" on this subject, T.Sam. ;) I included Mormonism as a "branch" of Christianity because that is what THEY claim to be, and it shows just how far some schisms can go.
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Postby BamfChyck » Thu Jan 15, 2004 10:52 pm

Originally posted by TelegramSam
Maelstrom, Mormons are not Christian... It actually borrows heavily from certain Native American sources ...


No, it doesn't. It's what a bunch of White men THOUGHT were AmerInd beliefs. That's very, very different. Personally, with all the cultural appropriation that has happened, I find that concept one of the most insulting to me, as an Indian and a woman. So guess what I talk to the Saints about when they come knocking?

Last time some Saints came to my house, I asked the nice young women if they wanted to start with the racism or the sexism. They stayed for 45 minutes and helped me bake. They were a bit surprised I knew so much about it, but my step-dad was a Mormon and my mom is a (retired) minister, so I learned a lot listening to them talk.
The thing I didn't like was how circular their arguments became when I pressed an issue. Don't schools teach critical thinking anymore?
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Postby Maelstrom » Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:01 pm

Well, think about it. Mormonism is considered a cult by many. And in such a system, you won't want critical thinking. You actively discourage it. If they think critically, they may well leave....
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Postby Wolvertique » Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:06 pm

MOST extreme religious arguments become circular if you push. It's not just Mormons who are subject to this kind of behavior; fundamentalist Christians, extreme right Catholics, and non-religious crazies (e.g. John Birch Society) get that way if you challenge them.
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Postby Warbird » Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:26 pm

For the record, No, Schools don't teach critical thinking anymore. Unless you go to a private school or take AP classes, kids are just spoon-fed facts that they regurgitate on tests. You can get A's and B's in public highschools today just by memorizing. There's allmost no need for applied knowlage in school anymore. It's a bit frightening. People aren't being taught to think at all. It's like soon Big Brother really will be able to controll us all because the new generation of people won't know how to think except for what they're told is right. Even if history was completly re-written in one day, if the Gov. says it really is that way, then no one will question it. If you've ever read 1984 you'll know what I mean. Independant thinking needs to make a comeback and soon!!!
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Postby Gaz » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:39 am

The problem is that it's hard to get anywhere in life with complete independant thinking. Most of the stuff people do can be acheived unconciously or at least subconciously. Even if independant thinking is important, it is no longer neccesary in a society where you can get away with doing everything half-assed.

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Postby Lauren » Fri Jan 16, 2004 4:02 am

*hugs Nightcrawler* You see? This is why Nightcrawler is so great! He's Catholic, but he's not the stereotype, and he doesn't act one minded or anything. He questions things that need to be questioned and he doesn't just take what he's given either! *huggles him some more*
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Postby TelegramSam » Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:50 pm

No, schools don't teach critical thinking anymore, because the employers of the world don't want employees that think for themselves.

Most Mormon missionaries are kings of the circular argument, and the'll run it into the ground until you acquiesce. They've got this whole stupid thing where they'll say crap like "you have to eat the milk before the meat" or some shit and refuse to answer probing questions about their religion until you're too far into the system to get out. And trust me, if you do later want to get out, they aren't going to make it easy. Generally you'll be ostricized from the community completely as an apostate, and if your family is devout mormon, well you can forget about Thanksgiving Dinner at Mom and Pop's house. They also have strictly enforced tithing laws that are responsible for them being the one of the richest religious organizations on the planet.

Frankly, I find them to be a rather scary bunch, but some people like that kind of thing I guess...
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Postby Maelstrom » Fri Jan 16, 2004 4:39 pm

This is kind of a reprint from an earlier thread, but since we're delving into cult behavior, I'll repost it here. ;)

Cult behavior short-circuits your critical thinking process. You're taught to ignore any evidence to the contrary and remain "safe" in the knowledge that you are right. Any "inconvenient" facts are rationalized as "oh, well, I guess (cult leader X) had his reasons", or considered anathema and shunned. It's the mental equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and loudly singing LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA LA LA!!

Here's an interesting example from 1989, when George Bush Sr. was President. I was in college, and a rather scary man called Lyndon La Rouche was trying to gain power for his little "political party" (cult). He was an anti-semite, a Holocaust denier, a rampant homophobe who believed AIDS was spread by mosquitos, etc., etc. (Eventually, he went to prison for child molestation. :shocked) He had one of his followers in the courtyard (along with people from legitimate political parties, fraternities, sororities, and credit card companies) trying to raise interest and gain members. I walked up to him and engaged him in conversation. Here is that rather one-sided conversation.

Me: How can you believe in and follow a man who says the Holocaust never happened?

Him: You've swallowed Bush's lies!

Me: .... No, I hate Bush. I voted against him. But your boss said these things....

Him: You've swallowed Bush's lies!

Me: Okay, look. I have a recording of your leader claiming the Holocaust never happened....

Him: You've swallowed Bush's lies!

Me: *exasperated and looking to other tables for support* Somebody hit him! He's stuck!

For the Mormons, the fact that the Book of Mormon has been EDITED (that is, rewritten) over 5000 times is conveniently ignored. Name ONE other religious text that has been EDITED, not translated. As an example most of us on the board are familiar with, take the Bible. The King James version of the Bible was a translation from Latin, and the Protestant Bible removes a few sections completely (like the story of the Maccabees), but nothing is DELIBERATELY EDITED. No words have been DELIBERATELY CHANGED from their original meaning, no "errors in grammar" have been "fixed". No embarrassing or inconvenient parts have been made more "palatable". (Hell, the Pauline Letters embarrass ME, but I'd never change a word. If a book is really holy, it's not your place to do so.)

Also, one of the original Mormon texts, The Pearl of Great Price (once required reading), is now kind of set aside as it's a bit politically and socially embarrasing and hard to defend. And the entire dubious (perhaps even shameful) history of its author, Joseph Smith, is NEVER, EVER TAUGHT. After all, if you knew the historical TRUTH about him, you'd lose all respect for him and the religion he began.

Some religions are shrouded in what other faiths might consider "myth", such as Hinduism. These are not "historically provable". Others, like Islam, Judiasm, and Christianity, have definite "real world" people involved, and their history may be up for a bit of minor scholorly debate, but there are no "skeletons in the closet" that would destroy the faith they set up. But when you've got a (relatively) modern-day founder, whose life can be easily traced by hundreds of impersonal, factual records, and you deliberately keep that life from being accurately portrayed to his or her followers, you've got a cult. Period. End of statement.
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Postby Lauren » Fri Jan 16, 2004 5:50 pm

Wow, I couldn't help but laugh when i read that he repeated the same thing over and over again. That's just...sad in so many ways!
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Postby thylacine » Fri Jan 16, 2004 6:40 pm

Quote: Most Catholics I've met are nice, but I've also met a few "If the Church says so, then it is true no matter what" types who scare me with their blind adherence to authority. Good to know you're a Catholic, Lauren! I like good Catholics. Especially in a white wine sauce. <-- (fresh!)

Those fanatical people scare me, too! I've known a few! They are so far gone.

Catholic schools are actually okay. They are not these "torture chambers" they are stereotyped to be. The nuns are okay, about average teachers. Some were terrific, and one nun I had was bi-polar. But most were average. The big problem was that there is a large concentration of upper class wealth in those schools, since they are expensive. And the rich kids are total brats. "My daddy is a lawyer. He bought me a pony." "Oh yeah. My daddy owns the Patriots." "My daddy bought me a stereo system that cost $1,000." And, "My daddy bought me a diamond necklace." "What did you get for Christmas?" "Ah... I got a sweater and a pair of mittens." That hurts, yah know.

John Smith was mentioned... ? What is the real history of this dude that is so interesting? Tell us, do! :D
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Nightcrawler/Religious & Spiritual Discussion

Postby Wolvertique » Fri Jan 16, 2004 7:32 pm

"No words have been DELIBERATELY CHANGED from their original meaning,"
Erm...three letters. NIV. Certain discrepancies HAVE been edited to make them consistent with other parts of the Bible.

Ahem. Carry on, though. :)
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Postby Maelstrom » Fri Jan 16, 2004 7:46 pm

Seriously? I thought it was just omission of the Apocrypha! And maybe an updating of archaic language (you instead of thee, etc). They actually "edited" things to make them "consistent"?? :eek

Shows you how long it's been since I actually looked at the NIV Bible. I only use the Orthodox one now, which does have the Apocrypha and is supposedly translated directly from the original Greek texts.....
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