Really, how can you believe what your religion is preaching?
November 21, 2007 12:01am CST
Do you really believe in your religion? I see so many people who consider themselves faithful but are they? How many people practice what their religion preaches? It's nice to put on the show but I don't know many people who are let's say "Ned Flanders" (in case you don't know, Ned Flanders is the religious guy on The Simpsons.) The others who basically pick and choose which part of their religion they will follow...??? Do you really believe that religion is open for choice? I felt like posting this because I just saw a bunch of religious posts and got annoyed. I believe in a god but I don't believe in organized religion. The only exposure I have had is pretty much Catholic and Protestant. If anyone would like to discuss religious beliefs I would be more than happy to debate different views. All welcome.
• United States
22 Nov 07
When you say "faithful," it looks as though you mean something like "blameless and upright." No one is blameless and upright, which is precisely why Jesus came to take our debt upon Himself. Of course this doesn't mean we're so privileged we can now go and indulge ourselves in sin, but the good news is that we aren't expected to be perfect. We live under the new covenant, not the old covenant (10 Commandments). These days, faith is more frequently used to describe strength of belief than adherence to some agreement. Personally, I'm at the point where I don't "hope for the best and expect the worst" when I'm interceding for someone. God really does answer prayers, especially intercessory prayers. A couple of months ago, I watched God deliver one of my best friends from an abusive relationship, when she was too petrified to try breaking up with the guy. Lately, I've been praying for a friend in the choir, whose wife has been suffering terribly from a malignant case of cancer. He was a basket case the last time I saw him, then gone for two or three weeks. I continued to pray daily for them, begging God to put their suffering to an end. Three days ago, I saw his smiling face behind me in the choir, telling me how much better she's been feeling. It's not over, but she is doing better...for the moment. I've noticed over the years that God has a pattern going on, a perfect pattern. If He were to answer prayers immediately, one of two things might happen: 1) I'd think I was some sort of God, being able to sway things just by "praying" for them. 2) I'd be spoiled, and think God was my genie, my servant. :S No, God answers prayers in His own time, usually right when we start to lose faith, when everything looks hopeless. But to see God come through again and again and again reminds me over and over and over to pray harder, rather than throw up my hands and give up. (see Luke 18:1-8) It's not uncommon for nonbelievers to use the imperfections of believers as an excuse for wholesale condemnation of "organized religion." But this is not about believers, it's about our LORD, our Creator. "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" (Romans 1:20) It's also not uncommon for atheists or agnostics to use eyebrow-raising passages in the Bible as an excuse for wholesale condemnation of organized religion. If this were the case, I'd probably never find a church home for myself. I go to church not because I believe every word of hagiography in Moses' book of Genesis; I go because there are other believers there. Dr. Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life) says, "A believer without a church family is an orphan." I do believe in the four Gospels, among other things, and one thing I get out of the Sunday service is having scriptures explained to me by someone who went to school for this stuff. That's why I go to church. You should never forget that some of the very most upright, law-abiding citizens in Jesus' day were the Pharisees. They looked down on other believers, and thanked God they weren't "like those people." But it was the Pharisees who committed the unforgivable sin: Having just seen Jesus cast out demons, they said it was the work of the devil and formed opposition. While it was indeed God's intention for His Son to die, isn't it ironic that it had to be Jesus' enemies who damned themselves and carried out the work? It does happen that way. Ask yourself one question: Do you believe this world, and everything in it, was created by accident? Was it by chance that you ended up here, in a world of symbiosis, where you and the plants around you provide for each other the most basic need...the breath of life (organisms need oxygen, which is provided by plants; plants need carbon dioxide, which is provided by organisms)? Was it by chance that you were created in an exquisite, mirror image, with the ability to see colors and speak and think in a dialect consisting of thousands of words? If you believe that, more power to you. If you don't believe that, welcome to faith. It's up to you whether you want to remain "spiritual," and avoid the "cancerous corruption" of organized religion, or to pick a church where you can nurture your beliefs. "Use it or lose it," they say. If you decide church might be a good thing for you, my only suggestion is to find a church that makes you feel comfortable. It's up to you what kind of church makes you feel comfortable, but here are a couple of exemplary extremes from my own life's experience: 1) A church where no one talked to me, save for the few I knew ahead of time, and the few they introduced me to. A church where a male pastor said every Wednesday evening that "The blessing of the LORD makes a man rich," and where a female senior pastor said every Sunday morning how much closer we were to reaching our $$$ quota, so we could build our new building. 2) A church where some 10-20 people picked me out as a newcomer and came to greet me. A church where someone sitting in front of me, who heard my voice during the hymns, took me to meet the choirmaster. I found myself robed and seated in the choir my second Sunday there. That was just over a year ago, at Grace Presbyterian Church, my home church.
22 Nov 07
I do believe that we should all be introduced to the core values That religion has to offer. Where I start to get irritated is that once you know the values wouldn't "God" rather we spent our time bettering ourselves and others than repeatedly drilling the same stories in over and over for the rest of your life. I truly believe that western religion is a business. When someone who takes a vow of poverty is covered in gold the whole idea of believing in these people becomes ridiculous. The Christian faith has kept people in its grasp through fear. They have presented themselves as the keepers to the gates of a great afterlife of ultimate pleasure. For centuries they have abused, extorted and enfeebled their followers. I have a strong belief that people need to work on their own self confidence and inner strength over praying for help from "God." If people only believed in themselves half as much as they believed the powers of "God" they would probably find themselves in a much better state of mind. I think many people use religion as a crutch. They have some sort of complex which is satisfied through organized religion. I don't think religion has any answers. It provides good rules of conduct but does not follow up on implementation. I would rather go to a church where people gathered and said these are the problems that face our community, our country and our world and this is what we can do to solve them. I like to believe that "God" put us on this earth to better ourselves, not to worry about what others(including God) thought. Instead of praying so much I think people should exam themselves. It can be hard and takes a lot of courage and sometimes can't be done on your own, but I think it's more constructive and self-fulfilling than praying to "god" to heal someone or forgive you for something. If is someone is sick think about them and love them. If you did something wrong and you know it and you feel bad about it then you must face what you did and overcome the reason that pushed you to do it. Once you forgive yourself and don't do it again you will feel much better than worrying about "god" forgiving you for the rest of your life.
• United States
22 Nov 07
'Where I start to get irritated is that once you know the values wouldn't "God" rather we spent our time bettering ourselves and others than repeatedly drilling the same stories in over and over for the rest of your life.' --Again, it's not about us. It's about God. We belong to Him, not vice versa. God does NOT want you to put Him on the back burner, assuming that the temporary things in this mortal world are more important than the everlasting things in His kingdom. He wants a relationship with you. You don't say, "Okay, God, I believe in you. Now back off and let me do my own thing." Why does God create other living beings, when He is supposedly complete and lacking of nothing? Because He wants company. Is that at all different from interpersonal relationships in this corporal, human world? Or are you some kind of hermit (no offense)? 'I truly believe that western religion is a business. When someone who takes a vow of poverty is covered in gold the whole idea of believing in these people becomes ridiculous.' --Whom are you talking about? Do you think seminary school is for lazy people who look at religion as easy money? Any way you slice it, school is school. Besides that, pastors don't just sit around and wait for Sunday, then present a totally impromptu speech (not to say it's all scripted, but they do make outlines). They have to study, and figure out what their lesson is going to be. Besides that, they answer phone calls from people within the congregation, pay hospital visits, and intercede for hours on end. 'The Christian faith has kept people in its grasp through fear. They have presented themselves as the keepers to the gates of a great afterlife of ultimate pleasure.' --Atheists always get this one wrong. Faith in God is not about a choice of whether or not you burn in Gehenna (at least not my faith); it's devotion to your Maker. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him." I go to church and pray to God not because I'm afraid He'll punish me otherwise; I do these things because God is my King, not vice versa. 'I have a strong belief that people need to work on their own self confidence and inner strength over praying for help from "God." If people only believed in themselves half as much as they believed the powers of "God" they would probably find themselves in a much better state of mind. I think many people use religion as a crutch. They have some sort of complex which is satisfied through organized religion.' --Is that what you think? Are you joined with the notion that believers are cowards, who wait for their ships to come in? Do you think we ask God to do everything for us, then sit back and do nothing? Who told you this? A Christian? Probably not. This is called contempt prior to investigation; it's called talking about something you know nothing about (no offense). As far as this "complex which is satisfied through organized religion," please, tell me more. Tell me what it is about me that makes me feel so "less than," that I have to validate my life and everything about me by "creating my own Creator," then using Him as a crutch. 'I would rather go to a church where people gathered and said these are the problems that face our community, our country and our world and this is what we can do to solve them.' --There are foundations that address many of the problems in our communities, our country, and our world. But there's more to church than just charity. I go to church for me. I go to church to learn. Have you ever heard the term "Sunday school?" It's where you go to learn, not plot and scheme. 'I like to believe that "God" put us on this earth to better ourselves, not to worry about what others (including God) thought. Instead of praying so much I think people should exam themselves. It can be hard and takes a lot of courage and sometimes can't be done on your own, but I think it's more constructive and self-fulfilling than praying to "god" to heal someone or forgive you for something.' --Just like an atheist. You sound like you're more important than the Creator and Ruler of this universe. Are you God? Does this world belong to you? Is anything in this world rightfully yours? I heard a joke once: A man went to heaven and told God, "God, in case you haven't noticed, our technology has given us control over all our problems. We don't need you anymore." God said, "Okay," then grabbed a handful of dirt and made a man. He told the first man, "Now you try." The man started to reach for some dirt. God smacked his hand and said, "Get your own dirt!" 'If is someone is sick think about them and love them.' --That's exactly what I do. That, and pray for them. What's wrong with intercession? Am I supposed to go around, fixing everyone else's problems until I go broke? You have control over ONE thing in this world, just ONE. You have control over yourself. Asking God to bring healing to a cancer patient is not to resign everything to Him. Do you think Christians will pray for God to take the cancer away, and never check into a hospital? Ridiculous! God works through people, in case you didn't know. 'If you did something wrong and you know it and you feel bad about it then you must face what you did and overcome the reason that pushed you to do it. Once you forgive yourself and don't do it again you will feel much better than worrying about "god" forgiving you for the rest of your life.' --I don't go to church because I'm so guilty about everything I've done, I go to worship and to learn about God. I also read scripture in my own free time. I didn't create my Creator so I had someone to crawl back to and beg forgiveness. When I do something wrong, I apologize to the one(s) I've harmed, just like everybody else. "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." (Matthew 5:24) I'm not trying to chastise you or anything like that. You want to know how I've come to believe what my religion is preaching, and I'm happy to answer for you. If I sound harsh, try not to take it that way. This is just the way I present an argument. Salute!
22 Nov 07
I appreciate the responses don't worry about the directness it's normal. Don't get me wrong either I believe in a "God" my logic dictates to me that there has to be one. I was raised in a Catholic family I have been confirmed, however I don't believe in the Church Organization as a whole. I know that most individual churches help there members in many ways and I am willing to acknowledge they do help. I feel they are inefficient and outdated though. The main memory I have from early education was Jesus going into the temple and telling off the merchants. I then think of the Catholic church's behavior over the centuries and can only associate the two. Maybe it's time once again for the old way of thinking to be put aside or changed to meet the needs of this modern world. As for "God" wanting company the statement contradicts itself. Lacking of nothing specifically describes a state of having no wants. If he wants company he would have company. If he had to create man because angels were not meeting his social needs sufficiently then the direct creator of man is not "God."If man was created with choice so that he could be enlightened enough to provide "God" with good company then that creator is not "God." That creator is showing a need therefore is not lacking of nothing. In that case "God" created the creator of man so is responsible for the creation of man but would not be the direct creator. I need a much better reason to believe I was created than "god" is lonely. I'm sorry I can't cut and paste yet so I'll keep my response brief this time. You are welcome to respond and we can come back to other parts later. Have a great day!
1 Dec 07
It take guts not to believe in an ultimate power. All people believe in a higher power. I believe in God and that He created me and that Jesus Christ gave Himself for me and saved me from the penalty of sins. It's not somebody telling me to believe but I know deep down in my heart that it's the right thing to do. You lied when you said you are overexposed to religion and God's Word. Nobody is overexposed! You didn't even read the whole Bible yet you claimed you are overexposed! Study in Religion does not mean an intimate study in God's Word. That's what most people are exposed, religion but not God. I pray that the grace and mercy of God overshadow thee, like what happened to apostle Paul on the way to Damascus!
2 Dec 07
I definitely believe in an ultimate power. As I stated in previous posts my logic dictates to me that there is an ultimate power so superior that understanding even the concept of him is nearly impossible. Not all people however believe in a higher power. That is totally false. Lot's of people think that the big bang started on it's own and before that, there was never anything, anywhere of any kind. I am not one of them. I don't believe in organized religion in its present form. Okay, if it's not someone telling you to believe then what is it? Where did you get this information? You read a book, people told you about it, you went to church events? Sounds like you are listening to someone or did "God" speak to you in your dreams and say "do what your church says." It's good if deep down you feel the need to be a good person but I don't think it's good for people to feel so whole heartedly in their religion and churches. In my opinion they do not have YOUR best interests at heart. I am not lying when I am saying I am overexposed. My analysis is my opinion and your analysis is yours. Neither is right or wrong. I suppose that you might be right though there is always something to learn from unknown texts. I probably didn't explain myself well. I meant to say that I have seen, heard, taken part in, with enough of my religion to know that I can't trust it. I am sure that anybody who spends there time reading the bible over and over will start to believe it. That's what it was written for, and so what if I didn't read the whole thing, have you? I am not proclaiming to be a biblical expert here. I am saying that religion is corrupt, misguided, and based on shaky premises in the first place. Oh and the guys name was Saul while he was on his way, but that's probably what it would take though. If a celestial being came down and told me to believe everything the church said because what they rule on earth will be the rule in heaven, I'll believe in my religion. The bible does say that "God" will honor church dogma on earth and that's another major point that makes me doubt in the book's validity.