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Time to stop their lies and fear mongering.

I have been responding to right wingers for a while- I have some in my family and have crossed swords with quite a few on the internet. Some are thinkers, but the bulk of them simply repeat what they have been told – whether it came from church or the TV or radio. If you can get them to discuss the rationale behind what they think is "right" – especially if it is something like homophobia and Muslim terrorists, you will reach a point where they simply regurgitate dogma. But, one and all, they will end up at the same point. Invariably, if you talk with them for a while, their viewpoint reduces to "God said this." At this point, no amount of reasoning will work. They have closed their mind and retreated to the walls of their religion. Their version of the Supreme Being has spoken, and the matter is settled – case closed. No matter what you say, nothing will change their minds. Or maybe not. Follow me here:

Disclaimer: I grew up in the deep South in the sixties, and sat through a lot of sermons while I was growing up. I heard segregation preached from the pulpit. I heard how the Bible said that Negroes were inferior to the white race. I heard rants about the godless hippies in the sixties. I heard sermons on how a wife should be subject to the husband. And more. And I had an uncle who was a down to earth, help the people type Catholic priest so I have a pretty good idea of how to talk the language of the Sunday Service. Wingnuts hear certain keywords, phrases, terminology, and cadences that trigger their "I believe! switch", but they seldom hear those same keywords used against them, and rarely outside the walls of a church. So what follows is couched in the language and dogma of the Southern Protestant Churches, and does not necessarily reflect my beliefs or viewpoint of Jesus as leader of the Christian Church. Like they say, you don't have to be born in France to speak French...

I have been responding to right wingers for a while- I have some in my family and have crossed swords with quite a few on the internet. Some are thinkers, but the bulk of them simply repeat what they have been told – whether it came from church or the TV or radio. If you can get them to discuss the rationale behind what they think is "right" , especially if it is something like homophobia and Muslim terrorists, you will reach a point where they simply regurgitate dogma. But, one and all, they will end up at the same point. Invariably, if you talk with them for a while, their viewpoint reduces to "God said this." At this point, no amount of reasoning will work - they have closed their mind and retreated to the walls of their religion. Their version of the Supreme Being has spoken, and the matter is settled – case closed. No matter what you say, nothing will change their minds. Or maybe not. Follow me here:

The modern day Christians, and I do not tar all Christians with the same brush, base their belief on the Old Testament, but, and here we begin the logic thread, all believe that they are "saved" through Jesus Christ. I first noticed this when I was going to the YMCA to work out: They had many little signs about, all saying what "God" said, but none, even after three years of going there, quoting the teachings of Jesus. I began to wonder why, and recalled my days of sitting on a hard pew, listening to a preacher tell me why segregation is "right", and why I am going to hell, but Jesus will save me. And I remembered a book I read way back when "Psychotherapy, East and West" by Alan Watts, which gives an overview of the world’s religions and philosophies. I then realized that it was fear that was an important tool in the arsenal of the preachers. They used fear and "the wrath of God" to generate hate, and drive their flocks into a huddle, form which, they could easily be manipulated into maintaining the flock. But, as a Teenager (and born trouble maker) I watched the near idolizing worship of Jesus, all the pictures of the benevolent being with the halo who "Suffered the little children to come to me". etc. And something started to chew on my conscience there was something here that wasn’t quite right – the fear and wrath did not lien up with what Jesus said. At all. So I began, to read more about what Jesus said in the Bible, and I got a totally different message than what the preachers were preaching- a message of love, and kindness to your fellow man- doing good. Not judging others. Pray in private, and let others judge you by what you’ve done, not by what you say. Pretty good, I thought. And later on, when I read Watt’s book, I came to understand that this was the basis for a lot of other religions and philosophies, too, so maybe what Jesus taught wasn’t so unique, after all. When I grew older, I spent some time with my uncle the Priest – a very practical person, and we had a discussion about "Salvation". That is, how does a Christian get it? And he said to me that most Christians believe in Salvation by Faith- that is- simply say it, and it becomes so. But there was another way, he said- that of salvation by works, and Jesus talks about this –"by their fruits ye shall know them." Uncle said quite wryly, "The faith way is what most Christians choose, because it’s easy and does not require work or sacrifice. But the other way is much harder, because (and here we reach the heart of the matter) it requires knowing what Jesus taught, and doing it. Every day, not just on Sunday." And here is the problem with most Christians- they do not follow the teachings of Jesus, they just want the name and the church to go to.

So much for the background. On to practicality:

Here is the way to handle the wingers: It will help a lot to know what the verses are to refer to, but Matthew 7 has the bulk of it. The Beatitudes is another. Jesus said to take care of the sick, the elderly, the afflicted, the poor. Etc. The Golden Rule, too, and the 9th Commandment (I love this one- do not bear false witness – I use it as an opener when some wing nut spouts some lies they heard from Beck or Fox). Take them straight into the teachings of Jesus- don’t bother trying to reason with them – they will not respond. But they will, for sure, when you begin with, "Are you a Christian? Well, what did Jesus teach about that?" Note - do not respond to any attempt to get off the subject- simply refer back to the Bible’s words of Christ- don’t get drawn into a personal argument – stay on the quotes.  If they get into name calling, simply respond with, "that is not a Christian thing to do at all." You are not attacking their faith, but you are exposing their hypocrisy. And do it without mercy.

I recently had a FB dialogue with a rabid winger- The usual lies, etc., saying that Rush & Beck were "right", Obama is Satan, spouting Fox talking points, and telling me that "God will prevail". Rather than address their BS, I confronted them with the teachings of Jesus (since these types think they are all really good Christians, but always ignore the teachings of Jesus), quoting Matthew 7:1-5 (hypocrisy). Of course they came back with a dodge, which was how dare you judge me, which left them wide open for "I am showing you the Words of Christ as written in the Bible, which you refuse to listen to, by your own choice. Open your own Bible and read them for yourself." This threw them into a fit - Name calling, ranting, etc., and all the while refusing to even acknowledge the Bible quote. I returned with another quote from Matthew 7, "wolves in sheep's clothing", and that sent them over the edge.

This is the nuts cases’ weak spot, and I can't stress it more- the dichotomy of what they believe, vs. what Jesus taught in the Bible. They all consider themselves "God Fearing", but the haters of them never pay attention to what Christ taught. Hammer them with this point – they are refusing the Words and teachings of their "Savior Lord Jesus Christ" Simply put, if they did, they would not hate. Anything they come up with can be easily refuted with what Jesus is quoted as saying. Just keep going back to that- "What did Jesus say about that?" then say "Now Jesus didn't tell you to do that, did He? Of course not." And to drive the point home (and watch it here, because this is where they will blow a fuse) "I have pointed out to you the teachings of Jesus, His words from the Bible and you refuse them. You deny His words and, by doing so, you deny Jesus Himself. There is no wiggle room- Jesus told you what to do and you refuse to do it." And this will drive them nuts, every time. I have used this method several times, and it always works. Elaborate as needed.

And, yes, it's time to call them on their lies, hate and fear. And the time for reasoned discourse is over. Time to stand up for what is right. Time to hit them where it matters, and their bent version of the Christian Religion is it. In sum, you can’t have a "Christian" Nation, and ignore what Christ taught. The two go together, or they don’t go at all. Call them on it.

Comments, opinions, add ons, editing?

Originally posted to azureblue on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:15 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  When ever you confront them with the bible (5+ / 0-)

      they deny it and call themselves christians. This is scary and i hope people realize they are being dooped by beck. If following beck is what they call restoring a christan nation. Then i am daisy duck. This is reminding me of some kind of cult. Jim jones comes to mind.

      •  After seeing the "rally" on Saturday, I realized (8+ / 0-)

        that what Beck and Palin are doing, is trying to start their own religion.  They know they're unelectable, but hey, starting a religion isn't so hard, right?  Look at what Joseph Smith did in the age before the internet!

        Fake News has us all confused!

        by Fury on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:26:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  when somebody quotes Beck to me (5+ / 0-)

        or Rush, I generally reply, "Sucker! They fooled you. You know they just want your money, don't you and they'll say anything to get it." Nobody likes to admit they have been suckered, but that is what B&R and Fox do.

        "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

        by azureblue on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 09:11:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  so you hit them with more bible (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Killer of Sacred Cows

        to wit:

        Mat 15:7  Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 8  "This people draws near to Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9  But in vain they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

        Mat 23:13-15  But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men. For you neither go in, nor do you allow those entering to go in.  (14)  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and pray at length as a pretense. Therefore you shall receive the greater condemnation.  (15)  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you compass sea and the dry land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

        Isa 58:4-10  Behold, you fast for strife and debate, and to strike with the fist of wickedness; you shall not fast as you do today, to make your voice to be heard on high.  (5)  Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast and a day pleasing to Jehovah?  (6)  Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed ones go free, and that you break every yoke?  (7)  Is it not to break your bread to the hungry, and that you should bring home the wandering poor? When will you see the naked and cover him; and you will not hide yourself from your own flesh?  (8)  Then shall your light break out as the dawn, and your health shall spring out quickly; and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of Jehovah shall gather you.  (9)  Then you shall call, and Jehovah shall answer; you shall cry, and He shall say, Here I am. If you take the yoke away from among you, the pointing of the finger, and speaking vanity;  (10)  and if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall your light rise in darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.

        Mat 25:31-45  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:  (32)  And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:  (33)  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.  (34)  Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  (35)  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  (36)  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  (37)  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  (38)  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  (39)  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  (40)  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  (41)  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  (42)  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:  (43)  I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.  (44)  Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?  (45)  Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

        Mic 6:6-8  Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  (7)  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  (8)  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

        Isa 59:1-15  Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  (2)  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.  (3)  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.  (4)  None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.  (5)  They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.  (6)  Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.  (7)  Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.  (8)  The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.  (9)  Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.  (10)  We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.  (11)  We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.  (12)  For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;  (13)  In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.  (14)  And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.  (15)  Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

  •  Very good. I myself have a "Jesus said" file (7+ / 0-)

    full of bible quotes.  As an ex-Catholic I'm not too up on the bible myself, but I thank God everyday for the internet!  Otherwise, I just refer to most of these "christians" as CHINOS...christians in name only!  

    Fake News has us all confused!

    by Fury on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:23:59 AM PDT

  •  Not a Christian and (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Renee, Nina Katarina, Fury, commonmass

    Hi -

    I'm not a Christian.  I don't know the Bible.  I'm not going to have time to learn it.  I think your idea is good for those who have the skill and knowledge.  Wont work for me.  I am stuck with either avoiding them or saying shut the fuck up.

    This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone may be proud of us.

    by marthature on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:26:17 AM PDT

    •  you don't have to know the Bible (3+ / 0-)

      Google will work fine, and just pick up some of the sayings of Christ and save them to paste in as needed. You'll soon find you'll be using the same ones over and over..

      "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

      by azureblue on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:27:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's easy. Use the google. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      just pick a topic, for example, loving one another.  Then google "Jesus, loving one another".  Voila!

      Fake News has us all confused!

      by Fury on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:29:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I read , but not enough, but i do know that what (3+ / 0-)

      he is promoting is not in the bible. i don. 't go to church because i find the ones i visited to being not what they claimed. So i decided to read for myself. The basic is about how we treat one another and how we live our lives. I am for LGBT rights, i believe in the right to marry. I believe in treating everyone fairly I believe in treating peole fairly and i strongly believe in helping those less fortunate than me. I am poor.

    •  What I have found that works (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vita Brevis

      (because I forgot all the stuff I learned sitting on the hard wood pews) is to say to them that I don't talk about my personal religion with strangers because it is far too sacred to me. It shames them into shutting up.

  •  Here Is My Choice For Best Religious Nuts (7+ / 0-)

    My choice for the top religious fanatic, nut case "Christian" website is AMERICAN VISION (and especially their Forum) which promotes an extremely toxic brand of Calvinism (which is toxic enough to begin with) that has permeated much of what now passes for Christendom in the U.S.

    They are headquarters (along with the Chalcedon Foundation) of the "Christian" Reconstructionist-Dominionist (Bowel) Movement.  Anyone wanting a better idea of how "Religion Poisons Everything" should take a good look at these Assholes.  

  •  It's no so much pure hate as contempt (6+ / 0-)

    Contempt for others.  The opposite of what Jesus stands for.

    They don't see that, of course.  It's not the quiet, private, loving hope that others will change their ways.  It's the loud, screaming faces of the Ground Zero Mosque protesters, of the Teabaggers, of the Birthers, of the right wing shock jocks.  

  •  What particular brand of Christian? (5+ / 0-)

    I think a lot of the folk who think America is a Christian nation think it's their particular kind of Christian.  Not Catholic.  Certainly not Mormon.  Not Episcopal with all those sinful gay priests.  Not Lutheran, not Methodist, not Russian Orthodox.  AME?  Don't make me laugh.  Presbyterians are a little suspect.  Baptist?  It depends on the kind of Baptist.  All those fall under the "not REAL Christian" umbrella.  

    "Right wing freak machine" General Wes Clark

    by Tracker on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:33:17 AM PDT

  •  Most right wing 'Christians' don't quote Jesus (8+ / 0-)

    They quote Paul.

    It is never about what Jesus would say or do, it is always what Paul said to the Romans, or they quote the Old Testament.

    I have a family member who does this a lot.  She will introduce bible quotes to back up her debate.  So in one conversation, I was ready with a few quotes of my own.  When I said one, her response was, "That's not one of my quotes.  What Bible are you reading from?"

    I gave up after informing her that she does not belong to a Christian church, but a cult.  My church encourages discussions on interpretations on the bible.  Her church preaches political dogma.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:33:53 AM PDT

    •  it bother me so, that my morning trip to school (5+ / 0-)

      with my children, i bought up the importance of reading and finding things out,i told them to be careful with believing others view. I then told then that its important to treat people with respect and rights. I always remind them about the wrongness of judging.

      •  Robertson Davies,a Canadian author well worth (0+ / 0-)

        reading said in one of his books-"Be careful what you choose to believe in.Know what you believe,and why you believe it.Else some belief-and probably not a very
        savoury one- will choose you."
        I think that is what has happened to many of the right
        wing religious movement-they have-either from emotional
        laziness,or fear,or just plain meaness allowed themselves to be chosen by their unsavoury,un-examined
        Davies did quite a bit of spiritual exploration in his
        books.I think that quote came from one of the books in a trilogy he wrote,which are interelated.
        They aren 'Fifth Business','The Manticore' & 'World Of Wonders'.

        Conservatism is killing this country. Jayden

        by swampyankee on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 09:50:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, Paul was the worst. (4+ / 0-)

      I grew up in a Paul quoting church. They loved them some Ephesians!

      My granddad told me that we don't pay attention to the gospels because that is just the story of Jesus. My brain exploded.

  •  You nailed it with these words: (10+ / 0-)

    "This is the nuts cases’ weak spot, and I can't stress it more- the dichotomy of what they believe, vs. what Jesus taught in the Bible. They all consider themselves "God Fearing", but the haters of them never pay attention to what Christ taught."

    That is so totally it.

    Jesus said, it's harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

    Jesus said, blessed be the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

    Jesus said, don't show off praying in public.  Go into a closet and pray sincerely, by yourself.

    Jesus said, when someone asks for your coat, give them your cloak too.

    Jesus said, when someone slaps you on the cheek, turn your face and offer the other cheek to be slapped too.

    Jesus said, go ahead and cast a stone at someone if you're without sin, otherwise don't do it.

    Jesus said, do unto others as you'd like to have them do unto you.

  •  excellent (4+ / 0-)

    I found an old friend from 37 years ago through face book. We were close friends in high school but he was two years ahead of me in school and when he graduated he enlisted in the army and went to vietnam. By the time he came home I had left the area. I had some contact with him but not enough to maintain a friendship. I found out several years after his return that he had become a minister within some Christian denomination. He was married and had 4 children. When I found him again 5 months ago I found out that he now has 13 children, continues to think of himself as a "Christ follower" and considers himself Libertarian politically. In our first emails back and forth I tried to get a bit more information about his thinking on political and religious matters. He gave me back rather defensive quotes from C. S. Lewis about why he was a Christian and thought that I was trying to pigeon-hole him when I asked him about being a libertarian.

    I just spent 3 days writing a letter to him. I am hoping to start an open dialog about politics and religion. I did challenge him, using the teachings of Jesus, to see if he can see the hypocrisy of following Christ and then voting Republican.

    I am hoping that the young man that I knew and liked so many years ago will respond in his own words and not quote scripture or hide behind his own ideas of personal salvation. Those who profess to be followers of Jesus should be able to talk about what the message of Jesus was (is) all about. I don't believe that very many can because they have been instructed not to think for themselves.

    Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

    by BMarshall on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:45:18 AM PDT

  •  I love how so many "Christians" wear WWJD shirts (5+ / 0-)

    But seldom actually ask themselves that question.

  •  This rings very true to me. (4+ / 0-)

    Though Jesus also said that if you want to follow me you have to "hate (or disown or leave, depending on the translation) your family, sell all your posessions and follow me".

    Sounds pretty anti-family and Communist to me. LOL.

    Great diary, thank you.

    Gustav Mahler(1860-1911)is God--Leonard Bernstein.

    by commonmass on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:58:39 AM PDT

    •  and this verse (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      commonmass, swampyankee

      is also translated as "attachment to--" IOW release your attachment to these things. A zen concept, reworded, but Jesus was pretty brutal about it. If you read St. Thomas, you'll get a perspective of a sort of acerbic person, who didn't tolerate BS very much. I like that.

      "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

      by azureblue on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 09:09:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent Diary (7+ / 0-)

    Too many on our side are afraid to engage people based upon scripture, and it's a shame because at least for many of these folks, the Bible is considered both inerrant (free from error; not factual error as too many on the Left assume, but free from "wrong" in terms of establishing principles of a Godly life) and the literal word of God.  It has been my experience that folks are more than happy to spout talking points until you pull out the good book and show them where what they are being taught is Christianity either (a) is not in there at all - as is the case with Jesus and homosexuality; he said not a peep about it or (b) is 180% different than what Jesus actually said about the matter (I use this approach most with the danged prosperity gospel folks, for whom I reserve special ire in light of Matthew.)

    So keep up the good work.

    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

    by shanikka on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 08:59:09 AM PDT

    •  OK As Long As We Understand the Audience For (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Killer of Sacred Cows

      this is not the spouters but persuadable onlookers.

      The most you can do with a fundamentalist is quiet them down. Remember another tenet of the faith is that God is partnering with them realtime and that they can be certain they know what he wants of them and everyday matters, and who else God's guiding and who's on the out.

      There aren't citations or arguments that can break such a mindset. There are some that can help resist such a mindset getting a foothold.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 09:29:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Issue That Gets Far Too Little Attention (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kingsmeg, Vita Brevis, swampyankee

    is the involvement of the realtime supernatural in our everyday affairs. Their God is not stuck in the book, he's among us working by the minute, and fundamentalism involves a certainty that we're seeing and being guided by him and a certainty that we can tell who else is on the team.

    To my eye liberals can't wrap their head around that. We hear a Beck or Palin speak about an interaction with God and all we can do is say it shows they're individually crazy. Most of us don't get that this is ordinary many-times-per-day experience and talk among all the 1/4 of the American population in that movement.

    More of us need to attend a megachurch service or public event and pay attention not just to the theology but the available literature, and the way people talk about faith and reality outside the formalities proper.

    Do they talk to God? The reality is close enough to a simple direct "yes" for scientific precision.

    And the implications of that for negotiating and collaborating with them in the affairs of our shared world are grim.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 09:25:56 AM PDT

    •  false dichotomy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Killer of Sacred Cows
      it isn't a matter of God vs Jesus. It's a matter of following the teachings of Jesus or not. IOW, you can say "God told me to do it", all you want, up to the time it conflicts with what Jesus told you to do.

      "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

      by azureblue on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 09:35:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Semantics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Killer of Sacred Cows

      They call it God, we call it beauty or chance or good feeling or ...

      I had an exchange with some missionaries that was interesting. I told them I didn't read the bible. They told me they didn't know how I could live without that guidance. I told them "you know that feeling when you are praying and you find the truth inside yourself and you know what the right thing to do is?"

      Those poor women were smiling and nodding and suddenly they realized that they were talking about their intimate experience of their god with someone who wasn't a Christian. How could that be?

      It's like someone who says I love you. What does that mean? Something different to every person who says it. But when we hear it, we think we know exactly what the other person is saying.

      The part where I think they are mentally ill is the part where they believe they know god's will instead of understanding that it's all a guessing game.

      •  I'm slowly learning this... or trying to. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's hard. My entire perception of a god (and I can't bring myself to dignify that word with a capitalized initial letter, even now) is one which is hateful, petty, and angry, ready to punish at the drop of a hat and only reward those who punish right along with him (i.e. Saul of Tarsus). The idea of experiencing god as a feeling, or as a non-personalized Deistic sort of entity, instead of an angry, vengeful creature who handed down incomprehensible rules, is so foreign to my entire experience of religion that just thinking about it for more than a minute or two at a time makes me very, very uncomfortable.

        When believers talk about a "loving god," I can't take it seriously, because in my experience with the beliefs and preaching of the Christian church, and the actions of its leaders around the world, there is no such thing. The only god they ever told me about or showed they believed in was a god of anger, wrath, self-righteousness, vengeance, and violence in the name of Law Over All. There's no love there, and there never was.

        So when my partner tells me that "You know how you feel when I hold you? Or when I say 'I love you'? Or when you and I are holding hands while we drive in the car? That's what god feels like to me," I just. can't. get it. I've been trying, but it's just too confusing and alien to what I have seen from the majority of Christians I know to take it seriously. And I want to - but I can't.

        (Background: raised Roman Catholic until the age of five; mother left the church and went to the Crystal Cathedral - Schuller's megachurch - until I was twelve, dragged back into the Catholic church when Mom had a crisis of conscience, realized I couldn't believe in their angry god by the time I was fifteen; atheist for the twenty-four years since.)

        There is an art to teaching that is independent of the subject matter. - daveinojai

        by Killer of Sacred Cows on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 12:55:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  First, I'm sorry for your experience. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Killer of Sacred Cows

          I had similar ones.

          What I'm saying is that I suspect humans who are atheists have the nice connective experiences that a Christian would call feeling god. We just call it something else... I mean, I don't identify as atheist, I'm not sure what I identify as, but I don't relate to the Christian god, or rather I use the word god to describe what feels right to me.

  •  No, not really. (2+ / 0-)

    They do not base their beliefs on any biblical interpretation whatsoever.  Their beliefs are based on what they're told, and holding those beliefs is viewed as a matter of loyalty much more than any sense of correctness.  

    I use my own family as an example: their beliefs change on a regular basis, as they receive new directives through the church hierarchy.  Loyalty to the church means unquestioningly accepting those changes in dogma as they come from headquarters.  Ask them a question?  You're likely to be met with an "I don't know why" or "I'll have to look that up and get back to you".  So they hold certain things to be absolutely true (up until the belief is officially changed) without ever knowing the reason for the current version, previous versions, or ever asking why the belief was changed.  But dispute them on any of this, and you're an 'opposer', sent from the devil to challenge their faith (literally).  It's all about tribalism and loyalties, and simply disputing their version of truth is enough to make them put up their defenses and treat you like a hell-bound heathen.  It really doesn't matter if there are direct biblical quotes that disprove their version of truth; their belief was never based on the bible they never read.

    Interestingly enough, people like Glenn Beck are able to create this sense of loyalty in their followers on political issues.  Ask a Beckerhead why Obama is Hitler, you won't get a coherent response, but you'll certainly be grouped in with 'them'.

    This comment was brought to you by Goldman-Sachs: Our clients' interests always come first.

    by Kingsmeg on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 09:43:26 AM PDT

  •  Dear Azureblue, I like a person who can (2+ / 0-)

    turn years of hard bench seating into effective (and diabolical) tactics. I'm inspired to read up on Matthew, in order to have a few useful weapons in my bag.

    You go, and may your wit always be with you!

  •  I agree they are stirring up hate (0+ / 0-)

    and fear and there is a whole list of items I disagree with when it comes to modern day faith and politics, but you can not earn salvation by works. In order to get faith by works, you would have to have perfectly kept the law from birth to death, which biblically no man has been able to do. Jesus was able to do this which made him a perfect sacrifice.

    Ephesians 2:8-9

    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    If men could do it on their own, there would have been no need for Jesus to die.

    "Science is mans way of discovering what God has already created." - My Mom

    by S C B on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 09:53:26 AM PDT

    •  That's Pauline teachings--post Jesus's life (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Killer of Sacred Cows

      and James directly contradicts him (Paul)

         What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But some one will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.

      both writings were after the death of Jesus; Paul never met Jesus; Biblical scholars still argue over who James actually was--some claiming he was the brother of John the Baptist, Paul described him as the brother of the Lord.

      Which speaks to the point of this diary: where are the words of Jesus on this theological bone of contention?  It is not called the Paulite religion, after all, or the Jamesian religion.  It is the Christian religion.

      Teachings of Jesus are in the four gospels and, to borrow from Rabbi Hillel, all the rest is commentary

      •  That means if you have faith it is manifest (0+ / 0-)

        via your actions/fruit. Too many people ease their minds by "praying" when they should be "doing".  Works have their place, there is scripture that says there are rewards given in heaven for works. Works are separate from salvation. Rewards can be lost, salvation cannot.

        "Science is mans way of discovering what God has already created." - My Mom

        by S C B on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 12:09:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Too Bad We Are Not A Christian Nation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    On the other hand, it would be beyond nice if we were a genuine "Christian" Nation following the teachings of Jesus (and Buddha etc.)at every turn?

  •  If Beck is so godly,... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Killer of Sacred Cows

    ... why does he ask his followers to put their faith in Gold?

    Because he is in it for the money!

    No oil has gushed into the gulf from Macondo 252 in 46 days.

    by Tomtech on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 12:20:42 PM PDT

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