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mustang84

Born again Christians

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Well, tonight I was checking out the facebook and noticed that my cousin updated his profile. And to my surprise, he has become a born-again Christian. This is the same kid that, not more than a year ago, hated G.W's guts (I don't want this to turn political...so that will be my last mention of him), drank excessively, and generally just got in a lot of trouble. Now his quotes section is filled with quotes from the Bible and his page has been cleaned up.

I guess it's just strange to see people change ideologies entirely overnight. He's a member of a student Christian organization on campus...that IMO sometimes seems more like a cult. I went to a couple Wednesday meetings for this organization my freshmen year since I figured I could find some people to go to church with me (I'm Catholic), but it was just a little too weird for me so I stopped going. It seems like everyone I know that attends it has become a born-again Christian. In fact, this girl I really liked last year started going regularly and now she has become a born-again Christian as well.

I have no problem with someone wanting to be religious, but it seems like so many of these born-again Christians lose the ability to be open minded and accepting of people once they cross over to the other side. In fact, that one girl (who used to drink alcohol) now refuses to hang out with anyone that is drinking, even if it is just something as simple as one beer at a casual get together with a small group of friends. They become highly judgemental and condemning toward others.

They also tend to read the Bible literally word-for-word, even though it is a document that was passed down via word of mouth for hundreds of years by many different people. Just like when you tell a friend a bit of information, by the time it passes through mouths of 25 people, you wind up with a story that is anywhere from slightly accurate to completely bogus. I see the Bible as a general guide for good behavior, but it should not be looked at as the absolute document of morality like so many born-again Christians do. When I see these people with 20 quotes from the Bible on their facebook account, I can't help but think they need to step back and look at the big picture the Bible presents us rather than feverishly focusing on bits of ink scribbled on paper.

I don't know, I guess I'm just a little shocked to see so many people suddenly becoming born-again Christians literally overnight. It's not the desire to be devoutly religious that bothers me; it's the few nutjob Christian organizations out there that spew propaganda and practice hate in the name of God, meanwhile brainwashing more and more people to join their cult.

Any thoughts or comments to add? (please keep it civil)

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I am no longer friends with one guy I used to be really close to in HS for the same reason. I just got tired of his constant homophobic comments (telling me only gay boys wear D&G sunglasses upon seeing me wearing a pair...ummmm yea :rolleyes:..."I feel like such a fag ordering a soy chai at Starbucks!"), never being able to have a conversation without going out of his way to remind me (or anyone) that he was a Christian (interrupting a conversation to ask for silence so he could do his "Christian time out" i.e. pray...yea you don't need perfect silence for that, way to draw attention to yourself), and generally acting like a judgmental ass towards more secular people (like me). Now, I'm Christian...but I'm not ridiculous about it...and he'd try to evangelize me. Every conversation. It just got to be a bit much.

Oh yea, same "Oh, I don't drink. (disapproving stare)"

It's too bad; we were pretty close in HS for a while...but I just had to distance myself when it became apparent that he had no respect for my less-stringent beliefs or the fact that I do not like hearing "fag" and "that's gay" any more than I like hearing "N" in conversation...ugh.

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The "not-drinking" thing is an American addition to conservatiev Christian morality stemming from the temperance movement and the historical propaganda of an early pasteurized juice company. Elsewhere it's more about self-control in relation to alcohol and other pleasures. As far as being "Born-Again" it technically refers to making a personal commitment to spiritual unity with Christ, rather than a purely nominal or traditional affiliation, or a philosophical sympathy. The behavioral changes, which may be radical, should be driven and empowered by that, but are often fabricated to comply with purely cultural standards of piety instead (something recognized and condemned in scripture). For those who make a show of their faith and piety, remind them that humility is a "fruit of the spirit", and that those who recieve recognition from men for their shows of righteousness will recieve none from God.

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Exactly, Griff.

See, for me the most important verse to keep in mind is Matthew 6:5-6. It's a great one to use when countering people who demand you go to church every Sunday.

I agree with the alcohol...I was having a conversation today with one of my other friends (she doesn't drink, but isn't opposed to it...just doesn't). And the conversation was like this:

Her: See, I just don't see the big deal about it. It doesn't affect me either way.

Me: Well, that's because you're smart. See, if you make a big deal about alcohol and absolutely refuse to be near it and consume it and whatever then you need therapy cuz you are messed up in the head. If you make a big deal about alcohol and obsess about finding and drinking it...well you need therapy cuz you're messed up in the head and really immature. If you don't care either way because it JUST ISN'T A BIG DEAL, well congratulations you're a normal human being who doesn't need lots of intense psychotherapy.

Her: YUP! Agreed. Thanks for calling me a normal human being.

----

Putting anything up on a pedestal (either way) isn't healthy. Moderation is the key...

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In relation to Christian Theology (incl. "born-again"), the belief that you must adhere to a strict set of rules for living—such as abstaining from alcohol, not working on certain days, not eating certain foods (often any meat), attending mass so many times, donating so much money, spending so much time in prayer—is to be of weaker faith. Those of stronger faith realise that such rules have no value except in trying to keep a healthy diet. The basic rules of ehaviour are simple-trust God, treat everyone equally and in the way you wish to be treated (with a special responsibility towards your partner and family), look after your health (physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual) and don't do anything for selfish pleasure. The extended rules are - if you think it's wrong then you shouldn't do it, and if you know someone else thinks it's wrong don't let them know you do it.

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These people are punishing themselves for something they think is bad within themselves. Does that make any sense? Guilt can be a powerful motivator, then it becomes their mission to make others feel guilty. It is not healthy.

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These people are punishing themselves for something they think is bad within themselves.  Does that make any sense?  Guilt can be a powerful motivator, then it becomes their mission to make others feel guilty.  It is not healthy.

...and OCN has just hit the nail on the head for me. Religion is all about making other people feel guilty. I'm very self-judging, and I have my own values which I judge myself on. I don't need somebody else to tell me what my values should be, or make me feel guilty.

I was raised Catholic but have since rejected it. I took a World Religions course in my Catholic high school, and it made me realize that all world religions have one common core set of values which they all push. This has become the basis for my values. They are simple, universal truths. Respect those who help you, parent or otherwise. Help others as much as possible. Avoid being unneccessarily negative or intolerant towards others (this includes racism and other -isms, acts of violence for any reason, supporting Nazi / right wing politics, etc.)

Basically I would not do anything a Christian wouldn't do with a few exceptions. These exceptions were made because they were things forbidden by Christianity which don't hurt anybody.

My exceptions to Christian values: I believe in sex before marriage, as long as it is treated with respect and care is taken to avoid STDs/kids. I believe people should be allowed to consume things that hurt only themselves, such as alcohol and weed, as long as they do not drive or otherwise endanger others afterwards. Church is unnecessary for some (including me). I have my beliefs and I live by them. I don't need a weekly visit to some building for inspiration and reinforcement of my beliefs. If you do need this reinforcement and inspiration, then go to church by all means. It isn't for me though. I don't feel like I need organized religion in general. I'm fine with just being "spiritual".

As far as God goes, I am agnostic. I don't feel that it matters if there is a God or not, or whether or not we are being judged. If everyone acted according to my values or the values of any major religion, the world would be a better place for all. This is the important thing to me, not the existance or orientation of a God. Just live a good life, and worry about the "afterlife" or reincarnation, or whatever, when it is all over.

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See, being a Christian isn't just about going to church every Sunday, not drinking, not doing drugs, not having sex before marriage, and following the other "Do Not" statements given to us by the Bible. It's a change that takes place inside of you, where you no longer try to do things in your own strength but through Christ. If you seek His answers in earnest, you'll get them. I used to be a bit like mustang84's and Croc's friends, but not to that extreme. I just wanted everyone to feel what I felt when I accepted Christ, and got pissed when they didn't. But you know what, it's really up to them and God, and the Bible says that. Instead of acting like a "right wing nut job", I've since cooled it, and I've found it more effective to just try to be a good example - be a light unto others - and sooner or later they'll find out why I am the way I am.

I would recommend to any new Christian, or to anyone who's interested in becoming one, attending a Bible study, almost over attending a church. Finding out what it means to be a Christian involves a good understanding of what the Bible really says, not just the text at face value.

Much of the Bible was passed down orally before being written in down in Hebrew by its original author(s). During the Greco-Roman heyday it was translated into Greek, then to English and local languages for public consumption during the Enlightment (before then only relgious leaders read the Bible). Different translations of the Bible are still coming out. Many modern translations stem from the Greek text, while a few come from the original Hebrew text.

In any case, each translation is created by a group of scholars who do the best they can to interpret whatever source they're using. Because of that, it's very likely that the text you're reading could differ from the thought that God originally intended when He inspired the original authors to write it down. Good Bible study leaders take this into account, and typically use multiple translations to develop their lesson plans. The assistant pastor at my church works a few offices down from me, and I know he's got a bookcases filled with just Bibles.

I think I digressed a bit, but I felt it was important to say.

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Z and I have very different views when it comes to this topic, and yet, we see eye to eye on so many issues including those that require a moral judgement.

We listen with respect and find consensus instead of having a shouting match. In the mod/admin discussions and Underground projects we find common ground easily. To me, that is how religion should interface with the world - with respect shown for the beliefs of others without evangelism and hate which organized religion so often promotes. There is one religious quote I can wholeheartedly back: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

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I agree with 99% of what's been said.

I'm not religious and stopped calling myself religious the day I realised that when speaking of God & the Bible I was trying to convince myself, not others. I think I was probably like 15 or so.

Anyway you slice it I'm Spiritual and beleive in God, I think we look at God differently but in the end Buddha, Jesus, Allah, Jehova & Mohamed are all the same entity.

What matters is being a good person... this has nothing to do with drinking and or being gay. It comes down to respace, civility, empathy and kindness.

Religiojn is the opiate of the masses anyway. It's about all the wrong things and clouds the real issues.

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I have no problem with someone wanting to be religious, but it seems like so many of these born-again Christians lose the ability to be open minded and accepting of people once they cross over to the other side. 

I too, am a 'born again' Christian (although I simply go by the title 'Christian').

Although there are good, and bad, in everything, I disagree that majority of Christians lose their ability to be open minded. I would simply say that Christians, like other groups, have a clearly defined, and purposed, sense of what is right and wrong. Look at any group, be they religious, or secular (PETA for example); it's undeniable that most people have some sense of guiding principles (the golden rule, for example).

As far as Christians being accepting of people, I agree; too many Christians aren't accepting of people. And to such people, I would remind them that Jesus hung around not with the religious peoples of the day, but with outcasts.

t's not the desire to be devoutly religious that bothers me; it's the few nutjob Christian organizations out there that spew propaganda and practice hate in the name of God, meanwhile brainwashing more and more people to join their cult.

I understand your concern, and it's somewhat valid - to the extent that there are cults everywhere, and just because someone says that they're a Christian organization, doesn't make it so. But again, cultish behaviors can be found amongst all peoples and beliefs; not just certain one's. I am glad that you're keeping your eyes open for your cousin though...

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These people are punishing themselves for something they think is bad within themselves.  Does that make any sense?  Guilt can be a powerful motivator, then it becomes their mission to make others feel guilty.  It is not healthy.

I think it also has a lot to do with addiction replacement. Most people can't just quit one addiction without replacing it with someone else. That's why you see a lot of ex-junkies who are really gung-ho for God. They're trying to fill the void in their lives where drugs and alcohol once were.

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I am no longer friends with one guy I used to be really close to in HS for the same reason.  I just got tired of his constant homophobic comments

Those are the 'Christians' I have the greatest problem with; their un-Christian behavior is a poor representation of Christ.

See, for me the most important verse to keep in mind is Matthew 6:5-6.

Matthew 6:5-6 is in reference to hypocrites, who only do what they do for appearances' sake.

It's like the person who will donate their time, or large amounts of money, to a public institution, so they will be recognized, and thanked, by all. Yet, if said person's older relative called, to ask them for a ride to the store - at a time of their choosing - they'd be too busy to help.

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In relation to Christian Theology (incl. "born-again"), the belief that you must adhere to a strict set of rules for living—such as abstaining from alcohol

Not true; alcohol can be consumed, but in moderation.

not eating certain foods (often any meat)

Certain religious groups prohibit the eating of certain foods, but not 'born again' Christianity.

Those of stronger faith realise that such rules have no value

I agree with you 100% (what you wrote is actually in Col 2:8 )

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One last thought, before I head off to work:

I find it really cool, that a group of people of various beliefs, or non-belief, are having this discussion, and respect is being dealt all around. For I really find that the root of society's problems, are owed to a lack of communication (and respect).

(I'll follow this up later tonight, or tomorrow)

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There seems to be a bit of confusion referring to the verse I referred to...

It plainly says:

5And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

It clearly is about how to pray, and how NOT to do it like the hypocrites (who do it in public).

Also, back in Biblical times, a "church" was anytime 2 or more people gathered to talk about the Good News. I do that with my friends regularly. We can actually debate the Bible, unlike in a Church where a) the verse is read to you and b) you listen passively while the nice man tells you what to think regarding it. No. Learning comes through dialogue, and I second the poster who said Bible Study > Church.

Anyone who continues to make judgements about me due to my refusal to go to weekly services can be reminded about planks and specks as well as knowing that they can keep their judgements to themselves.

Wildman, your last quote really nails it. Once you understand that and actually make an effort to live it, everything else just falls naturally into place. I disagree, though, with your threat about paying the consequences. I think it's well established how merciful God is, so one cannot hand down that kind of threat with any authority or credibility.

Croc, out.

Edited by Croc

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Oh, wow, this topic...and I have a bit to say about it.

First, I was raised Catholic and still consider myself one. Sixteen years of Catholic school. I like the foundation they have given me. It's a church that has its problems, but then so do the others, so why switch? That's my thought. I don't accept 100% of it, but then I wouldn't accept 100% of other Christian religions either...let alone non-Christian religions.

Now, for the "born again" part. First and foremost, I will NOT accept any difference between any New Testament based faith. Period. The only difference is the institution or flavor one chooses to surround themselves with. Through the invitations of people I know, I have gone to other Christian churches. They are not for me. I didn't feel comfortable. The New Testament message is and ought to be the same. Then, why this ardent recruitment of members content in one sect to another? I'm not buying.

I find the overused line "Have you been born again and accepted Jesus as your personal savior?" annoying. I was baptized, took First Communion and was confirmed by the time I was a teenager. The way I choose to look at it is that, at the time, I was going through formalities programmed by my parents. Now, I affirm those "vows" by having matured in my Christianity. I think that if a person believes in and tries to live by the New Testament, they have nothing to worry about. (I still worry though, you've seen the bumper sticker "Jesus is coming...and boy is He pissed").

I was at Starbucks one night. I tried to avoid a co-worker (who I like very much) and his wife, but they saw me. They are very Christian. I wanted to avoid them because I had things to do. At any rate, the topic predictably went to religion. She had to talk about her negative and empty experiences in the Catholic church. Within no time, she had invited me to their church...almost pushing. And, of course, the question "Have you been born again and accepted Jesus as your personal savior?" It drives me nuts. I accept my faith through my actions. I can be an ass hole sometimes, but I make a concerted effort NOT to be one. Simply put, I try to do the following: 1) treat others the way I want to be treated, 2) know that every one is equal in the eyes of the Lord ($h!, I could have ended up in an embryo in Kenya instead of one in Los Angeles - how can anyone think they are more worthy than someone else?, 3) try not to be greedy...comfortable is fine, excessive is not...others have needs, too, and 4) remember that I am an inconsequential piece of crap on the face of the earth -- 9/11/2001 really drove that home...your Hamptons estate, Upper East Side apartment, Harvard MBA, money, accoutrements, connections and corner office weren't insurance for what transpired on that day....you can never take yourself too seriously.

I plan on remaining a Catholic. I find it to be a user-friendly religion that, beyond a couple of hang-ups in certain areas of doctrine, is actually liberal, tolerant and egalitarian. So, maybe, I plan on remaining a "cafeteria Catholic" - pushes the tray down the food line "I'll take that and that, but not that." Either way, I'm just as much a Christian as the "born again" individual who talks about it ALL the time. I never talk about it...this has been the first time since Starbucks, about 5 months ago. I just try to let my actions speak for how Christian I am.

Mustang, you're tough. I know you will stick to your convictions.

Edited by trinacriabob

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Bob, have you looked into Eastorn Orthodoxy? I'm just now delving into it and for the most part it is extremely similar to Catholicism, except that it definitely addresses most of my concerns with Catholicism. Might wanna read a book on it, especially since Orthodoxy and Catholicism share such a rich history.

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Bob, I agree with your statements. I'm pretty much the same way...I'm happy being a part of the Catholic Church and if someone doesn't like it or doesn't consider me Christian, whatever...no skin off my back. Actually, I remember the first time I went to that student religious group, the person next to me asked me what religion I was. I said "Catholic," and she kinda grimaced for a second, and then began lecturing me on how I should come to her church on Sundays (Southern Baptist). I was actually offended.

I guess I don't see what is so bad about the Catholic Church. The media focuses on the child molestations, but none of the parishes in my area never had anything like that. For Sunday School, many times we would go out into the community and help rake leaves at elderly peoples' homes, collect canned goods for the local food pantry, and just do general good deeds and charity work. Sunday school wasn't about memorizing lines from the Bible so that you could repeat them word for word; instead, we were taught values like being a good friend, family member, and community citizen. Sometimes we even discussed things like alcohol and pre-marital sex and the consequences associated with them. It wasn't a scolding session; instead, it was a casual, open discussion to raise our awareness and teach us to make good choices. Now that I look back at it, our Sunday School was very progressive compared to what my Protestant friends told me they discussed on Sunday mornings.

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All I was saying was that treating others like dirt will have consequences, be they from man or from God. Like the rather impolite gentleman who screamed invectives at me this morning about taking "his" parking space (it's a first-come-first-served permit lot) and then was shocked later to find out I was the one who showed up with the tow truck when he called the University to have someone jump-start his truck. Now I could have been mean and "accidentally" crossed the jumper cables, or unplugged a few things as long as I was under the hood, or take my good sweet time getting the job done, but I think the look on his face when I showed up and the fact his wife was ragging on him pretty badly was punishment enough. That's just like me, though. Someone tells me to go f@#k myself and I can't even muster the will to do anything bad to them. Phooey. :AH-HA_wink:

I don't need to say this, but that was honorable of you, and exactly what Jesus would have you do. There is no need to rag on people, God will answer that call if necessary, and mostly people can come in and out of your life to try and pester you, but it is all molding you and making you a better person. The virtue you showed in practice was patience and forgiveness as well as an act of gracious help when help was needed. But, we don't dwell on what we do that is good [not that you are, I am], we should appreciate what makes us good, and the potential for more good and positive impact throughout our life.

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Bob, I agree with your statements.  I'm pretty much the same way...I'm happy being a part of the Catholic Church and if someone doesn't like it or doesn't consider me Christian, whatever...no skin off my back.  Actually, I remember the first time I went to that student religious group, the person next to me asked me what religion I was.  I said "Catholic," and she kinda grimaced for a second, and then began lecturing me on how I should come to her church on Sundays (Southern Baptist).  I was actually offended.

I guess I don't see what is so bad about the Catholic Church.  The media focuses on the child molestations, but none of the parishes in my area never had anything like that.  For Sunday School, many times we would go out into the community and help rake leaves at elderly peoples' homes, collect canned goods for the local food pantry, and just do general good deeds and charity work.  Sunday school wasn't about memorizing lines from the Bible so that you could repeat them word for word; instead, we were taught values like being a good friend, family member, and community citizen.  Sometimes we even discussed things like alcohol and pre-marital sex and the consequences associated with them.  It wasn't a scolding session; instead, it was a casual, open discussion to raise our awareness and teach us to make good choices.  Now that I look back at it, our Sunday School was very progressive compared to what my Protestant friends told me they discussed on Sunday mornings.

Actually, it's really funny that this topic is coming up; a friendship of mine that I cared a lot about has come to an impasse, my friend literally told me if I didn't believe in the Catholic religion, the fiery gates of hell would take me. And I believe in Jesus, Lord! Needless to say, I had to exercise a lot of patience with this person, everything he was saying was so off the wall. But he really condemned me! I could believe this was coming from him, but I just couldn't beleive he would take it that far. This is called a religious spirit.

As for this attitude of snobbery, Mustang, I wouldn't take offense for it. A lot of people have a religious spirit that overtakes them and they feel they have to make up for something that is void in thier life, so they spend a lot of time preaching, preaching what can often turn out to be a bad interpretation of what Jesus would like.

As for the Catholic faith, first Catholics can be Christian as well, but mostly Catholicism has its own doctrine that you would have to follow in order to be Catholic. What I don't agree with in the Catholic faith is the extended doctrine they have created. The idea that saints and Mary, mother of Jesus, should be prayed to, when they were just people. They are not Jesus and cannot act as mediators for God, only Jesus can, imo. Also, according to the Bible, there is no scripture that says anyone should pray to Mary or any saints. That and a couple other elements of doctrine I don't agree with.

The thing I appreciate with regard to Christianity is the emphasis on bible teaching, bible reading, and prayer life. Prayer as well as a spiritual combining to Christ as described above are what I beleive in.

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raised Catholic. pretty much didn't go to church during college. after all, no one was going to MAKE ME GO EVERY sunday.

anywho, I married a Lutheran and do that now. Its all tame in comparison.

If I ever reach a point someday later in life where I am alone again or something, I may return to the Catholic Church, I don't know; if so, it would be 'cafeteria style'. Like a previous poster said, they are indeed 'liberal, tolerant and egalitarian'....just under a heavy and screwed up Management structure (like GM is). I am not crazy about how it is packaged, i.e. priests can't be married and need to be celibate, and a bunch of other things. I think there is too much emphasis on 'works' and 'sacraments and rituals' instead of faith.

Lutheran strengths are emphasis on 'grace' instead of 'works' and its on believing and trusting and faith. Doing things not out of requirement, but out of love. Overall its just too mellow in some ways, however.

We get all the flyers in the mail and hear from lots of folks about the non-denominational 'churches'. My feeling is they exist for cash flow and 'entertainment' and don't really concentrate on religion as much as they are a shroud for 'life coaching' and making people feel good. Still, I know they can relate real world experiences to spirituality in some cases better than some more established religions. I just don't think they have a centered focus as much on worshipping God as much as just personal power and 'this world' type stuff. I.E. let's not TELL people they are sinners.......we don't want to make them feel bad. Its a very 'suburbia' type phenomenon these days.

Catholics in comparison, cut to the chase....i.e. "you've f-king sinned, get on your hands and knees and pray, b1tch....3 hail Marys, now". LOL. "and leave a fifty in the collection basket".

I do think that those who turn away from or bash religion for things they disagree with or don't understand, I think they are short changing themselves. No relationship in life is perfect...including your realtionship with your God. You're being unreasonable to expect perfection, complete satisfaction, and complete logic or understanding in the process. The delivery method you seek for spiritual well being will indeed be marred with HUMAN imperfection. Don't use that as an excuse or cop out for giving up on religion altogether. And at the same time, don't use it as a crutch to not participate in worhsip with others. Example, because some priest molests a boy is not your ticket or excuse to not having a realtionship with God. Its your duty to figure out what that relationship needs to be and to cultivate it. And don't ignore all the things he's done as just being something that would happen on its own. God is behind pretty much everything that happens. Everyday is your test. I believe everything we have is due to what is given to us. We don't create it for ourselves....it is given to us.

Thing is, I really have not read much of the Bible. I need to get to that someday. I know you can get it on Audiobook now.....(on Ipod too!).

Someone said above about religions having universal truths. To some degree I agree. As far as the rules and standards of a religion, to me the function for those are primarily personal integrity and the honor and protection of others. This morning I walked into work and the first person I saw was our new hire chick dressed in the pink minskirt and black scoop neck top. Would I love to nail her? SURE. But my religion says, you must be faithful to your spouse. Well, that's not convenient. But here's why it exists.....or so I figure. If you cheat with someone else, you hurt your wife and kid and undermine the entire foundation of your family. All sorts of people get hurt. Imagine how unbearable it would be if everyone did as they pleased and hurt others at will all over the globe. So, its not to spoil your fun. Its to some degree a social order thing but has as much to do with respecting and honoring others. When certain groups say 'no drinking' its merely their interpretation that they think consumption of alcohol of any amount could lead to later abuse or whatever and the types of things that can degrade respect and honor to others and God. I think the no drinking thing is extreme myself, but this is how some folks need to survive.

Another bit I would add is its not our job to judge others. That's done (at least in my religion) by God. I don't think religions are entirely trying to judge people with rules and punishments although it may come off that way. Therefore, we are not judging but will be judged...so you had better live in a way (whatever the rules may be) that will please whoever your God is. YOU WILL be held accountable.

Lots of folks ask if God exists. I believe so and its hard for me to see when others don't think so. Every day when my girl smiles and I see how she is learning and growing is one reason I think so. Or, if the sun is out and its a nice beautiful day. Or, if you've ever needed help with a sick relative or a family situation and there has been people who could help you with that. Or, if you have a good job mentor at work who helps you succeed. Or, a nice loud concert with lots of people having a great time. Some on C/G might find a new Camaro to be a blessing from God.

I just got a chuckle. I remember when my sister in law said I was going to hell for not getting married in the Catholic Church and also wouldn't allow my brother in law to be one of the Godparents for our kid, because 'Catholics couldn't be Godparents outside their own faith'. Its that kind of sh1t that I find annoying about how some folks cling to aspects of religion. Especially when they can't even keep their own kids out of deep trouble.

I've had to work on projects with Scientologists before. Now that's a hosed up deal, IMHO.

I think the 'born agains' are merely so fervent about their beliefs but can't temper them with tact and craftful evangelism. I think its excessive, but they must feel its the only way they can please God. I would ignore them as much as possible. And chances are they have a s many skeletons in the closet as anyone. But like I said, God judges, not us. One of my buddies too says 'wathc out for the people with fishes on their cars they are the ones who will screw you the most!!'

Edited by regfootball

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As for the Catholic faith, first Catholics can be Christian as well, but mostly Catholicism has its own doctrine that you would have to follow in order to be Catholic. What I don't agree with in the Catholic faith is the extended doctrine they have created. The idea that saints and Mary, mother of Jesus, should be prayed to, when they were just people. They are not Jesus and cannot act as mediators for God, only Jesus can, imo. Also, according to the Bible, there is no scripture that says anyone should pray to Mary or any saints. That and a couple other elements of doctrine I don't agree with.

Catholics are Christian! There is no "can be." It is just as Christian as (can even be argued more so than) Protestantism.

Saints are not exclusive to Catholics. Methodists have them. Eastern Orthodox has them. As for Mary...well she had to be mighty special to be impregnated with God. Common misconception: they aren't treated as mediators to God. They are primarily used for inspiration, to "channel" some spiritual "essence" that they exemplified. They are used not as mediators but more of examples of human transcendence of the worldly for the spiritual.

As far as lacking scripture, well yes. There is no scripture supporting a lot of Christian traditions. The traditions help build the spirituality and understanding of the faith in a way that builds bonds among members and is accessible to the population. Different Christian sects practice the Eucharist in very different ways. Why? No set scripture exists on the "correct" way to do it; all is interpreted. Also, no one HAS to pray to Mary or the Saints if they don't feel like it. I can't remember the last time I prayed to a Saint (have I ever? Who knows...). I do the Mary thing, but nothing (except Rosary) requires it (though Rosary is optional too). I think the main thing with Mary is that God decided she, out of all the women in the world, was pure and worthy of carrying the Jesus fetus, and therefore she was "special" and "blessed" (which is why we ignore Joseph; he wasn't directly involved).

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For many people though, in all denominations and more so in those with strong family traditions like catholicism (and there are other "Catholic" churches beside the Roman), many people who claim to be of that faith are only so nominally—they say they are but have no real faith, commitment or often any idea of what it is they say they are. It's this nominalism that the disctinction oif being "Born-Again" was created in reaction to. I've heard people who have no current connection with Christianity, no belief in God or Christ, beyond that there maybe something somewhere, who will say "I though I was Methodist because that's were I was sent to Sunday School, but it turns out that I'm actually baptised Church of England." Their "faith" becomes nothing more than a set of rituals to be performed when being married or buried, of less importance than avoiding the number 13. Just saying you are Catholic or Episcopalian or even Baptist (but less so since you have to actually make a confessed commitment to become a member) doesn't mean anything anymore, and hasn't for hundreds of years—even priests and bishops are sometimes vocal about their atheism. People who haven't made a personal commitment to unity with Christ often don't get it, so many of those who are when for some reason they need to know (esp. dating and marriage) find they need to ask "are you born again" instead of merely "are you Christian?". For most people instead being Christian is not about a chosen belief system, but like being Jewish—if you are, you are, even if you're a psychopathic athiest.

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