Jump to content

Menu

Scoffing and Religion s/o "evil"


Recommended Posts

  • Replies 144
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

It must be unsettling and uncomfortable to read the flippant and disparaging remarks made in the other thread when you hold some of the ideas being laughed at.

 

But I'm not sure I can support censorship and not being free to discuss them.

 

We are adults, and many of us adults in process, particularly spiritual process. There are many Christians in that thread who are processing the Christianity they were taught with what they believe to be Christianity today.

 

I remember once, when I was a traditional(ish), homeschooling Christian asking my son to not wear a Harry Potter shirt to homeschool park day simply because I didn't want to "go there" with anyone. :glare:

 

I agree that there there can be what seems to be an immunity around other faith traditions. I also think there is an unacknowledged Christian over-culture (unacknowledged by many Christians) in which Judeo-Christian sentiments are the expected norm. This creates a complicated dynamic for non Christians.

 

I'm inclined to ask people who are offended by that thread to consider why it's such a long, popular thread; but I am sure that is in and of itself an insulting suggestion. But I will say that personally, the restrictions imposed on Christians by Christians has always seems contrary to the Jesus who I understood to say not to take the world, themselves, or pop culture so seriously; he came to Christians so that they can have life more *abunantly*. The serious, restrictive, Jesus embodies a punitive theory that seems anathema to joy and grace.

 

I shed punitive parenting as a paradigm, and I've shed punitive religion as well. I'm caught/stuck that talking about that process puts certain believers in a negative emotional state. That is not my intention or desire.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:iagree: Exactly. I refused to by my dds Bratz dolls because I thought they were trashy and in poor taste. They're not evil, just tacky IMO. If someone else wants to buy their kids Bratz dolls, great! I certainly don't think their girls are going to grow up to be prostitutes just because they allowed Bratz dolls in their house.

 

I think most of the people posting in the other thread were speaking of extreme beliefs. Remember the post about the mom burning the kid's Care Bears because mom thought they were evil? That's extreme, and is does a lot of damage to children. I was spanked for listening to New Kids on the Block. That's extreme, and it's destructive. There is a huge difference between refraining from _____ because it goes against your beliefs and telling (and therefore scaring) your kids that everything is evil and will lead you straight to he!!.

 

 

:iagree: I am still upset thinking how parents could have burned her handmade carebears in the name of some religion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:iagree: I am still upset thinking how parents could have burned her handmade carebears in the name of some religion.

 

 

You have to wonder... There are times when I am raising my kids that I stop and think, "Ok. If I say what I really want to say for an explanation here, how will that come back to me in 15 years??" and then pause and start over.

 

I cannot help but wonder if the parents who burned the Care Bears paused to think, "Hey, someday my kid is going to be older and this just might drive my kid from what I'm trying to guide them to altogether."

 

And I think that's a huge danger with fundamentalism of Xtianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. When you get to a point that you are utterly convinced that something relatively innoculous (like homemade Care Bears!) are EVIL in the greatest sense of that word, then you need to be prepared for your children to someday grow up and say, "Nope. Not going to follow that."

 

I have three close friends. Two of them grew up in very fundamentalist households. Ask me where everyone wants to come for the holidays now because NONE of them wants to go home. For Xmas. Now that everyone is approaching 40ish, none of my friends pay lip service to the whacky stuff they were taught as children.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I think that's a huge danger with fundamentalism of Xtianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. When you get to a point that you are utterly convinced that something relatively innoculous (like homemade Care Bears!) are EVIL in the greatest sense of that word, then you need to be prepared for your children to someday grow up and say, "Nope. Not going to follow that."

 

.

 

I know that in my own opinions and postings of same, I have posted against fundamentalist/exclusive religion of any kind.

 

And I have also posted negatively in response to the Pagan or Wiccan population that is Pagan or Wiccan primarily in response to Christianity rather than *towards* components of earth-based religion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The difference between saying that is silly and saying not eating pork is silly? One is scripturally based and the other isn't. "Halloween is the devil's birthday" is not a *religious* belief based on scripture.

 

However, belief in wearing only skirts or abstaining from coffee most certainly *could* be a belief based on scripture as could almost every one mentioned on that thread (though I couldn't state what scriptures some of them were based off of). Fact is that many people do have Biblical reasons for doing or not doing many things that aren't specifically spelled out in the scriptures.

 

We have:

*things that are spelled out

*some that are very easy to deduce from the text

*things that people have to figure for themselves (possibly based on scripture)

 

*I* took the thread as I think it was probably meant, simply a list of things some people no longer believe (or never believed). For the most part, I don't think it was offensive or meant that way. And *I* am one who holds more of those beliefs than average.

 

Of course, part of the difference may be how much time one thinks of such things anyway. Even if you held certain beliefs regarding ouija boards or certain holidays or the smurfs, you probably don't think much about them. It was only that there was a thread that I *did* think of them. Life doesn't revolve around "we don't..." very much.

 

Mostly, I hold the belief that other people have the right to hold their beliefs. I most certainly do have opinions about some of their beliefs though. I would definitely think other people do also. In real life, we don't voice those things very often, especially in a large mixed group.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:iagree: Exactly. I refused to by my dds Bratz dolls because I thought they were trashy and in poor taste. They're not evil, just tacky IMO. If someone else wants to buy their kids Bratz dolls, great! I certainly don't think their girls are going to grow up to be prostitutes just because they allowed Bratz dolls in their house.

 

I think most of the people posting in the other thread were speaking of extreme beliefs. Remember the post about the mom burning the kid's Care Bears because mom thought they were evil? That's extreme, and is does a lot of damage to children. I was spanked for listening to New Kids on the Block. That's extreme, and it's destructive. There is a huge difference between refraining from _____ because it goes against your beliefs and telling (and therefore scaring) your kids that everything is evil and will lead you straight to he!!.

 

 

:iagree:

 

I'm highly allergic to legalism and very anti scaring kids to death. Because of those 'out there' things I grew up thinking I could not be a Christian because I'm not a very good rule follower.

 

I won't pass that on to my kids. Jesus wasn't so hot on legalism either.

 

On the other end of the spectrum - my non religious - at the time - mother stood in front of the TV after the 1980 election screaming that we were going to all die in a nuclear war because of who got elected.

 

I won't do that to my kids either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a lot of people here seem to be saying is that they read the other thread to be criticizing the taking of what are quite legitimate positions - within the context of the community's faith practices - and transferring them to children in simplistic and possibly damaging ways. You can't really say to a child "this tv show takes for granted and reinforces cultural norms that are opposed to our faith and so we won't have it on," and so some parents or communities think the way to bring it to a child's level is to say "this tv show is evil."

 

When I posted in the thread, I was assuming this was the kind of thing people were getting at. I still hold what would be considered very liberal positions on environmentalism, but the 1970's Berkeley approach of telling small children they were at fault for the destruction of the environment was heavyhanded and inappropriate, and I don't mind mocking it.

 

What I was reading mostly seemed to be "this is the crazy overdone way that living a holy life was presented to me as a child," and except where posters indicated otherwise, I tended to assume that the posters were still in the same faith traditions.

 

YMMV.

Edited by Sharon in Austin
clarity
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So if I decided to start a thread asking everyone to list what they felt was a 'ridiculous' belief that, say, Muslims (or Jews, or wiccans, or pagans; pick one :tongue_smilie:) hold, that would be ok? We would then all still 'put on our grown up underwear and take the thread in the spirit in which it was intended'?

 

I think most people simply wouldn't identify with comments not about what conservative American Christians were told, whether religious or cultural. I certainly have had the experience where certain things are perceived as horribly scandalous or shocking for my sisters-in-law, but not for me! :lol:

 

I also think if one didn't grow up with certain beliefs, it's not quite the same to say about what other people do is ridiculous. The point was things that someone may have been told were sheer evil, that they came to see as relatively benign. It certainly is a delicate topic, and I can understand why your feelings were hurt, but it doesn't strike me as simply poking fun at others.

 

What has always bothered me is that Christians are seen as fair game for scoffing but not other religions, especially Muslims. This seems especially true on message boards for some reason.

 

There is an enormous amount of vitriol directed at Muslims. I doubt many American Christians have been told they should go back to where they come from or that being in the US means they shouldn't practice their faith ("when in Rome..."), much less having their places of worship, homes, and businesses surveyed by the local/federal government without any actual suggestion of wrongdoing, other than the faith of the participants, such as was recently revealed to have been done in NYC. And there has been plenty of off color comments on this board about Muslims, many of which were promptly deleted, as well as a fair share of criticism of certain items of clothing.

 

Given the huge web presence online of various hate groups, some of which are especially nasty to Jews, Muslims, and (perhaps to a lesser degree) Catholics and other groups, as well as various ethnic groups, I would hardly say that it is mostly white Christians who are persecuted, online or otherwise. However, there is widespread "chatter" online that whites and/or Christians are the real worldwide victims of discrimination that perhaps promotes that view. recent Pew survey of Mormons showed more believe there is significant anti-Mormon discrimination (46%) than believe there is significant anti-black racism (31%) in the US. So perhaps white Christians are more readily able to sympathize with other white people and/or Christians than others and see it as discrimination than when others are victimized, much less feel compelled to speak out about it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember once, when I was a traditional(ish), homeschooling Christian asking my son to not wear a Harry Potter shirt to homeschool park day simply because I didn't want to "go there" with anyone.

 

LOL...I was going to make quite an opposite statement to another post...I'll put it here instead.

 

When it was MY kids doing HP (we don't now; but we did at one point), my kids didn't wear HP shirts to the skate days or whatever in order to be respectful to those in a group more likely to not appreciate HP. To me, not wearing it wasn't about avoiding the discussion/judgment (though I most certainly have avoided such things in my life). To me, it was about respecting those in the group. *I* simply wished to avoid making other people uncomfortable. My kids embraced the idea of being kind to others in that way.

 

And as one with a stricter conscience, I certainly appreciate when people afford us the same respect.

 

ETA: Of course, there is no way on God's green earth I'd even dream of "going there" either. Most of the time, I'm really a smile and "pass the bean dip" type person. As we do so many things differently, we get pretty good at it. Why someone would think it okay to say something about your kid wearing an HP shirt is beyond me.

Edited by 2J5M9K
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I posted in the thread, I was assuming this was the kind of thing people were getting at. I still hold what would be considered very liberal positions on environmentalism, but the 1970's Berkeley approach of telling small children they were at fault for the destruction of the environment was heavyhanded and inappropriate, and I don't mind mocking it.

 

I'm ready to make fun of the power of overalls as gender-equalizer, Baby X, Free To Be You and Me, and several other over-the-top issues. I am all for gender inclusive language, but the term "mankind" is not a sign of the beast. I don't think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm ready to make fun of the power of overalls as gender-equalizer, Baby X, Free To Be You and Me, and several other over-the-top issues. I am all for gender inclusive language, but the term "mankind" is not a sign of the beast. I don't think.

 

Hey! I loved "Free to Be ... You and Me"! It had Harry Belafonte! And Tom Smothers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

LOL...I was going to make quite an opposite statement to another post...I'll put it here instead.

 

When it was MY kids doing HP (we don't now; but we did at one point), my kids didn't wear HP shirts to the skate days or whatever in order to be respectful to those in a group more likely to not appreciate HP. To me, not wearing it wasn't about avoiding the discussion/judgment (though I most certainly have avoided such things in my life). To me, it was about respecting those in the group. *I* simply wished to avoid making other people uncomfortable. My kids embraced the idea of being kind to others in that way.

 

And as one with a stricter conscience, I certainly appreciate when people afford us the same respect.

 

My kids have worn HP shirts and the like to homeschool skate days and such. We move a lot, and it makes the friend potential winnowing easier. Better to know they are going to have a severe issue with it up front.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So if I decided to start a thread asking everyone to list what they felt was a 'ridiculous' belief that, say, Muslims (or Jews, or wiccans, or pagans; pick one :tongue_smilie:) hold, that would be ok? We would then all still 'put on our grown up underwear and take the thread in the spirit in which it was intended'?

 

I tend to think NOT.

 

Just because you haven't seen this here lately doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Plenty of people make fun of the "funny hats and clothes" that orthodox Jews wear. Plenty of people recoil in horror at the idea of old men sucking a baby's p*nis after circumcision. Plenty of people make fun of Hindus who worship cows when most people eat them. Plenty of people make fun of wiccans or pagans and their "weird dancing rituals."

 

Are you really saying you've never heard people talk about any of this stuff?

 

And of course most people are going to post in the original thread about their differences with fundamental Christianity. This board is primarily English-speaking, primarily American, and that is the religion most of people here have a close experience with (and often, bad experiences).

Edited by Galatea
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just because you haven't seen this here lately doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Plenty of people make fun of the "funny hats and clothes" that orthodox Jews wear. Plenty of people recoil in horror at the idea of old men sucking a baby's p*nis after circumcision. Plenty of people make fun of Hindus who worship cows when most people eat them. Plenty of people make fun of wiccans or pagans and their "weird dancing rituals."

 

Are you really saying you've never heard people talk about any of this stuff?

 

Wow. I can honestly say I've never heard anyone talk about any of that stuff. Here or irl.

 

I posted in that thread. A couple of things were mentioned in that thread that I believe can be evil. I wasn't offended.

 

ETA: if I heard someone say any of the things you listed, my jaw would drop in shock and I WOULD say something to them.

Edited by T'smom
Link to comment
Share on other sites

William wants a doll

William wants a doll

"A doll," said William, 'is all I need......" and I don't remember most of the rest. :D

 

I loved that album!

 

Hey! I loved "Free to Be ... You and Me"! It had Harry Belafonte! And Tom Smothers!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For me, I _don't_ respect religious beliefs, particularly. I respect peoples' right to have them, of course.

 

 

 

I think this is the problem. A lot of people do not understand the difference between respecting the *person* without respecting their *beliefs*. There is a difference, yet some do not see this difference.

 

I can respect a person because he is human. That does not mean I have to respect his religion or beliefs just like I do not have to respect someone's political stance, educational stance, parenting stance, etc.

 

I'm not going to belittle someone by calling him names or saying he is stupid for having certain beliefs as that is disrespectful toward him as a human. However, I'm not going to pretend that I think his believes are valid simply because he does.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted by Galatea

Just because you haven't seen this here lately doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Plenty of people make fun of the "funny hats and clothes" that orthodox Jews wear. Plenty of people recoil in horror at the idea of old men sucking a baby's p*nis after circumcision. Plenty of people make fun of Hindus who worship cows when most people eat them. Plenty of people make fun of wiccans or pagans and their "weird dancing rituals."

 

Are you really saying you've never heard people talk about any of this stuff?

 

I've seen mention and mocking of the LDS undergarments right here on this board.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

However, I do tend to think the responses to the OP were in the spirit meant.

 

No one listed "pork" "Saturday Sabbath" "Believing Jesus died on a cross" etc.

These would be foundational beliefs of some religions, and no one pointed to fundamental beliefs, so to speak. Granted, some said "the pope" but it was also mentioned in the passing that the poster believed that claiming the pope was satanic was scoffable. (unless that's offensive too. Surely to some it's evil to claim that the scoffing of the evil-pope claim. . . evil, or at least insensitive.) :)

 

Point is, smurfs are not anyone's religious belief, one way or another. They're an outward expression of your faith. I don't think you're meaning to conflate the two.

 

It would have been different if OP had said. "What do you find laughable about other people's religions?"

 

She asked in general about "evil" and often times, while the evil things came from a religious place. . . some didn't, and it was the disconnect between the foundations of the faith and the claims of "evil" that people found strange.

 

Er, at least that's what I'm thinking. . . (thinking aloud here!)

 

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plenty of people recoil in horror at the idea of old men sucking a baby's p*nis after circumcision. ...

Are you really saying you've never heard people talk about any of this stuff?

 

The only times I have heard this mentioned was after the mohel infected a bunch of babies with herpes. I think this does deserve analysis, as a health and safety matter, especially by the parents of boys who are hiring mohels to perform their sons' circumcisions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this is the problem. A lot of people do not understand the difference between respecting the *person* without respecting their *beliefs*. There is a difference, yet some do not see this difference.

 

 

And the other problem with this line of thought? It means that:

 

saying Harry Potter=EVIL and you're going to HELL is fine, but saying that's silly is wrong. You all don't see the disconnect there? It's not offensive to tell my kids they are going to hell for reading a book about an imaginary scenario? I think saying that's a silly belief is a LOT less offensive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:001_huh:

 

Um, Mergath, this is exactly what is bothering people about that other thread.

 

Just because someone 'believes that the smurfs are the devil' does not make them a bigot or a paranoid schizoprenic.

 

That seems likie a rather harsh judgement to make on someone simply based on the fact that they don't allow their children to watch a specific cartoon. (Or make a peace sign, or drink caffiene, or whatever else 'fringe' belief they hold.)

 

I think there's a huge gulf between saying smurfs are of the devil and your position on the sumrfs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know if we take the loaded concept of religion out of the equation it all seems a bit rude and silly.

 

What if someone simply said "we don't watch the Smurfs?" Not because it's "evil" or "of Satan" or whatever---just "we don't watch the Smurfs." If someone hearing that comment DOES watch the Smurfs, they would have no personal attachment to it. "Okay, that's cool." BUT "We don't watch the smurfs because it's associated with witchcraft." ??? Okay... the hearer of that comment who does watch smurfs has been put on the defensive. They may either laugh at the absurdity of your reasoning, or feel a bit miffed at the assumption that they're perceived as "sinners" or whatever.

 

The problem here is one of spiritual elitism...smugness. One can't simply choose to not watch/read/wear/eat etc what they have decided is right for them without making a POINT of it. I have irl encountered people of various religious beliefs and even atheists who make too much of a BIG DEAL about their personal lists of dos and don'ts.

 

I respect a person's right to decide to not watch the smurfs----for whatever personal reason. There are things I don't let my kids watch or read. But let's recognize that it's a personal decision, not a foundational belief in ANY world religion. Religion may push someone into changing a lifestyle--but there needs to be recognition that it's a lifestyle choice. And certainly not one that all members of a particular religion should or would want to adopt.

 

I can respect "we don't watch this or read that because it's not what we choose for our family." Setting up a value statement of us vs them is what is laughable. That add-on "because it's evil/of the devil/from Satan/whatever" automatically shuts down dialogue. It reminds me of the time I was sitting in church and the pastor was ranting and railing against women with short haircuts. I had a pixie cut then. All I could think was, "Really?" I then began to doubt anything the guy had to say. The length of my hair means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of life.

 

If a woman wants to have long hair, wear a dress, cover her head or wear a burka ---that is totally fine. Or anything else. Even admirable when taken on as a personal spiritual discipline. I believe the Hindus call these extreme outward shows of faith austerities. But it's certainly not necessary for all to choose that path and it's certainly not necessary to condemn the thing you refrain from watching/doing as "evil." Where I take issue is when value statements are made that insinuates others may be doing something wrong since they believe or choose otherwise. Using such broad and all encompassing metaphysical terms like "evil", "Satan/devil", or "witchcraft" immediately makes assumptions on the character of those who do partake of that particular thing.

 

That may have been the initial spirit behind the mentioned thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bethany, I posted in the other thread because it was cathartic. I am a survivor of extreme legalism, the kind that leads to physical, spiritual, and emotional abuse. This was not at the hands of my parents, they are wonderful people. But, they enrolled me in a "Christian" school that they thought was fine - I was there for 2.5 yrs. It wasn't fine, however, and the mind games played on us were such that very few kids told their parents. We were told our parents signed a statement that they agreed to EVERYTHING the faculty did to us.

 

My list wasn't even comprehensive. It was impossible to even keep track of all of the things that were evil. And it wasn't just that the things were evil, but that the students were evil...literally, possessed and everything that could be done to scare or beat the devil out of us was done in the name of "saving our souls". I suspect that there were others that posted in that thread that weren't scoffing, but listing just as fact, the beliefs held by those in authority over them that have lead them to be VERY different people as a result.

 

I almost, completely, utterly turned my back on God. It is His miracle, and His alone, that I am a Jesus follower today.

 

From my list, here are a few of the punishments that went with the items:

 

Caught with a copy of Hamlet in my backpack that I had forgotten to take out and leave at home. Slapped in the face...verbally abused by the pastor.

 

Another girl in the school, when we were all changing for PE, squealed on me for having lace on my bra. Was labeled a hussy and a harlot. For 90 straight school days, I had to present myself to a female faculty member and remove my shirt to prove I was no longer a harlot.

 

Scrubbed bathrooms and floors with someone else's boot on my back for "rebelling" against God for reading The Chronicles of Narnia.

 

Watched a boy get whipped with a belt for being seen going into a movie theater - the movie playing being PG and not G.

 

Saw another girl have a handful of hair pulled from her head because someone saw her in a pair of shorts over the summer break. You see, there were "rewards in heaven" for squealing on the evil.

 

The only reason my dad did not go to jail for beating to pieces the school administrator when I finally told him after 2 + years how we were treated, was my mother's hand on his arm begging him to leave the office before he did something he regretted.

 

I hate to say it, but when I got to college...a somewhat liberal LAC so not a large gathering place of Christian students, I was horrified to discover that scores of people were brutalized either physically or spiritually and many times, BOTH, by legalism. It sticks with you when people who call themselves "Godly" or "Christian" call you evil to your face, tell you that you are dying and going to hell and they are glad about it because they've given you over to a hardened heart, or physically assault you to save your soul. You are never the same again. When it happens to young people, it usually has the opposite effect intended - people leave God in droves.

 

So, I totally, 100% respect the rights of people to believe any number of things. If one believes that inanimate objects are inherently evil or possessed by the devil, then so be it. But, I can't turn a blind eye to the horrible effects it has on young ones when this is preached at them or worse, driven into their brains through oppression and aggression. I think I have as much right to scoff and proclaim the opposite.

 

But, I know you know that because you have been a wonderful person on these boards. You have been loving, kind, compassionate, and nurturing. I have absolutely no doubt that you are also against these kinds of extremes regardless of your personal beliefs.

 

Sometimes, when we are just "letting it all out", we aren't always mindful of how that comes across and especially in electronic communication in which it is impossible to read tone, facial expressions, and gestures.

 

Yes, I do inwardly scoff. I've seen far more people reject God from legalism than I have from watching PG movies or listening to some rock music.

 

That said, we all can only do the best we can in making choices for our families and there is just a lot of stuff out there through which to navigate.

 

Faith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know if we take the loaded concept of religion out of the equation it all seems a bit rude and silly.

 

What if someone simply said "we don't watch the Smurfs?" Not because it's "evil" or "of Satan" or whatever---just "we don't watch the Smurfs." If someone hearing that comment DOES watch the Smurfs, they would have no personal attachment to it. "Okay, that's cool." BUT "We don't watch the smurfs because it's associated with witchcraft." ??? Okay... the hearer of that comment who does watch smurfs has been put on the defensive. They may either laugh at the absurdity of your reasoning, or feel a bit miffed at the assumption that they're perceived as "sinners" or whatever.

 

The problem here is one of spiritual elitism...smugness. One can't simply choose to not watch/read/wear/eat etc what they have decided is right for them without making a POINT of it. I have irl encountered people of various religious beliefs and even atheists who make too much of a BIG DEAL about their personal lists of dos and don'ts.

 

I respect a person's right to decide to not watch the smurfs----for whatever personal reason. There are things I don't let my kids watch or read. But let's recognize that it's a personal decision, not a foundational belief in ANY world religion. Religion may push someone into changing a lifestyle--but there needs to be recognition that it's a lifestyle choice. And certainly not one that all members of a particular religion should or would want to adopt.

 

I can respect "we don't watch this or read that because it's not what we choose for our family." Setting up a value statement of us vs them is what is laughable. That add-on "because it's evil/of the devil/from Satan/whatever" automatically shuts down dialogue. It reminds me of the time I was sitting in church and the pastor was ranting and railing against women with short haircuts. I had a pixie cut then. All I could think was, "Really?" I then began to doubt anything the guy had to say. The length of my hair means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of life.

 

If a woman wants to have long hair, wear a dress, cover her head or wear a burka ---that is totally fine. Or anything else. Even admirable when taken on as a personal spiritual discipline. I believe the Hindus call these extreme outward shows of faith austerities. But it's certainly not necessary for all to choose that path and it's certainly not necessary to condemn the thing you refrain from watching/doing as "evil." Where I take issue is when value statements are made that insinuates others may be doing something wrong since they believe or choose otherwise. Using such broad and all encompassing metaphysical terms like "evil", "Satan/devil", or "witchcraft" immediately makes assumptions on the character of those who do partake of that particular thing.

 

That may have been the initial spirit behind the mentioned thread.

Nicely said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

How do we square this, trying to recognize people's strongly held beliefs, but airing our disbelieve and, yes, even our scorn of some of them?

 

Good question. A difficult one for many of us who feel pressured to keep quiet about what we really think of many beliefs. Religion always seems to get a "pass". We are not allowed to speak freely about what we think of beliefs. Well, we're allowed, but then we become the bad guys for being honest about our own beliefs.

 

For me, I _don't_ respect religious beliefs, particularly. I respect peoples' right to have them, of course. And I like many religious people; I understand the need that humans seem to have for religious belief, but mostly, I don't hold religion in any esteem whatsoever, and sometimes I truly disdain it. I try to be polite, but I also am fine with airing my views about certain things I find fringe and absurd (eg. unicorns and debit cards being from Satan).

 

Yes this. To me, beliefs, like ideas don't get respect. You can respect the person and the person's right to an idea or belief, but not the belief itself.

 

So, I'm not trying to be rude, or stir a pot, but I just think it's interesting that we have a whole thread dedicated to beliefs (that most of us think absurd in the extreme) where many of us believe that respect of religion is important.

 

 

 

I didn't take that thread as something to offend. Many people hold different beliefs than they once did, and that's what people were responding to. Also, I don't get offended by laughing at my beliefs. When I was still a believing Catholic, I read a humorous book called Growing Up Catholic. At the time I still held the beliefs of the Catholic Church yet thought the book was hilarious. I heard there are Catholics who were offended by it, and that puzzled me.

 

Hey! I loved "Free to Be ... You and Me"! It had Harry Belafonte! And Tom Smothers!

 

And who doesn't love Tommy Smothers? Well, except we know his mom always liked Dick best. :lol: (wow, really dating myself there)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And yes, I realize anyone of any religious belief could have participated. But we ALL know that thread is making fun of fundie Christians. That's the whole POINT of the thread.

 

No. The point of the thread was to compare what we were taught as kids about evil with what we now think. That is actually a very mature thing to reflect on now and then. Posting on silly forum threads isn't the epitome of maturity, but believe the underlying concept and sharing of thoughts is healthy; an analysed life.

 

Rosie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would never let my kids watch the Smurfs. If you'd really like to know why, it's because Gargamel frequently uses things our family would consider representative of witchcraft in the cartoon. How do I know? Because my parents let me watch the Smurfs when I was a kid. :tongue_smilie: It's the same exact reason we don't let our children read or watch Harry Potter. I have nothing against the little blue creatures themselves. In fact, I think the Smurfs themselves are rather cute; including the way they talk. :D

 

And if our children ever asked us why we don't watch the Smurfs or Harry Potter, dh and I would be honest with them and reinforce our beliefs about having absolutely no participation with things resembling/relating to witchcraft. And if another child asked my children why they don't watch Harry Potter or the Smurfs, our children would be honest with them about why.

 

Just wanted to give a glimpse of where *my* family is coming from.

 

 

For your own sake, you really should put me permanently on your ignore list, Bethany.

 

And, I'm not trying to be contentious to say that. If the above is really what you think, then I've led you to be a hypocrite because we've been quite friendly here on this board. Truly, I wouldn't want to do that to someone.

 

I don't really like to play games with relationships whether online or IRL. I prefer to be upfront, hence the note in my sig line. If I offend someone at least I've "warned" them so they know to avoid or ignore my posts. I'm not hiding it, and I'm not changing it. Just keeping it open and upfront.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biggest problem is trying to MAKE other people believe what you believe.

 

Saying "I hate smurfs and everyone must hate smurfs with me!" is the problem. Not "I hate smurfs."

 

 

Hey, I hate the Smurfs, too. Not for any evil connotations, but because I find them repulsive looking and very annoying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The problem here is one of spiritual elitism...smugness. One can't simply choose to not watch/read/wear/eat etc what they have decided is right for them without making a POINT of it.

And, in fact, I think people find certain people very annoying in how they talk about their diet. As if, now that Mary has now had a conversion-like experience and has cast aside her sinful ways, I too am supposed to want to go vegan/low carb/locavore/chocovore/cabbage soup for every meal, and I just don't care about my health if I don't. It's quite a similar thing.

 

I highly doubt everyone who posted about religion is anti-religion, or against any one religion. I am certainly not. I try to impart on my children something else through religion than a worship of restrictions and criticism of others, something much quieter and focused on self-improvement and kindness to others. I find the legalism and cruelty I have seen from others repulsive and alienating. It's not about finding religion itself awful, but how it is used against others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bethany, I posted in the other thread because it was cathartic. I am a survivor of extreme legalism, the kind that leads to physical, spiritual, and emotional abuse. This was not at the hands of my parents, they are wonderful people. But, they enrolled me in a "Christian" school that they thought was fine - I was there for 2.5 yrs. It wasn't fine, however, and the mind games played on us were such that very few kids told their parents. We were told our parents signed a statement that they agreed to EVERYTHING the faculty did to us.

 

My list wasn't even comprehensive. It was impossible to even keep track of all of the things that were evil. And it wasn't just that the things were evil, but that the students were evil...literally, possessed and everything that could be done to scare or beat the devil out of us was done in the name of "saving our souls". I suspect that there were others that posted in that thread that weren't scoffing, but listing just as fact, the beliefs held by those in authority over them that have lead them to be VERY different people as a result.

 

Holy cow. I think we went to the same school! I don't think I posted in that other thread, but this is very, very similar to how it was for me, too. My parents, thankfully, were not very extreme (although there were things they didn't allow that now seem a bit silly), but the school knew no bounds. A girl in my class was prohibited from wearing a Native American arrowhead-style necklace, because it "pointed to her bosom" and so was a stumbling block. My pencil box was thrown away because, among other images, it had a peace-sign, a zodiac symbol and some movie or television saying such as "Happy Days" or something similar on it. :001_huh: My parents pulled us out of that school when I was in 6th grade, because the principal was requiring us all to "recommit" to our signed list of legalistic rules, which was to govern not just school hours, but our entire lives.

 

And I hate to say, some of the people who continued in that school and church turned out to be the most messed-up people I have ever met.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For your own sake, you really should put me permanently on your ignore list, Bethany.

 

And, I'm not trying to be contentious to say that. If the above is really what you think, then I've led you to be a hypocrite because we've been quite friendly here on this board. Truly, I wouldn't want to do that to someone.

 

I don't really like to play games with relationships whether online or IRL. I prefer to be upfront, hence the note in my sig line. If I offend someone at least I've "warned" them so they know to avoid or ignore my posts. I'm not hiding it, and I'm not changing it. Just keeping it open and upfront.

 

Audrey, I don't understand how me being kind and friendly to you makes me a hypocrite.

 

Just because I would not let my children be entertained by something I believe represents witchcraft does NOT mean that I hate people who practice witchcraft. Not at all.

 

I can like you as a person, Audrey, without agreeing at all with witchcraft. Exactly the same as I can love my stepdaughter even though she lives a lifestyle that is unpleasing to the Lord.:001_smile: it's not 'playing a game'. I'm a very genuine person.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Audrey, I don't understand how me being kind and friendly to you makes me a hypocrite.

 

Just because I would not let my children be entertained by something I believe represents witchcraft does NOT mean that I hate people who practice witchcraft. Not at all.

 

I can like you as a person, Audrey, without agreeing at all with witchcraft. Exactly the same as I can love my stepdaughter even though she lives a lifestyle that is unpleasing to the Lord.:001_smile: it's not 'playing a game'. I'm a very genuine person.

 

 

If you don't feel hypocritical, then that is fine. I am saying *I* wouldn't want to make you feel that way. If you were just being nice but inside feeling like you shouldn't because of your beliefs that would bother me. If it doesn't make you feel that way, then I'm glad, because I didn't get the feeling that you would be the kind to fake it.

 

Thank you for keeping it upfront. :001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can like you as a person, Audrey, without agreeing at all with witchcraft.

 

You might have enjoyed being a fly on the wall at my place yesterday while we sorted through what my mum had been taught about paganism and witchcraft and compared it with what neo-pagans and witches think they are doing. Mum doesn't deal too well with heavy conversations as a general rule. It was interesting...

 

 

As others have said, people on this board have more experience with extra-biblical rules and regulations than they do with extra-scriptural anyone elses and that's why there is more conversation about Christianity than anyone else. I also had another thought just now. It seems to me that fundamentalist Christians have a stronger relationship with evil than anyone else I've met (apart from the Taliban.) "Strong relationship" isn't a good phrase, but I can't think how else to express it so I hope you all understand what I'm getting at. I've been listening in on a pagan forum (Australian, so there's that cultural difference too) for a few months now. If we were to draw pie charts, the slice labelled "evil" would be a very, very small one. It seems fundamentalist Christians (and others with high levels of enthusiasm) have a much bigger slice of the pie labelled evil because they include the parts of the pie others outside these traditions label "not my cup of tea," "unhealthy" and "hogwash, but they keep it to themselves so I don't have to hear about it so whatever."

 

I can tell you, my mum's beliefs were a whole lot scarier than anything I've actually met so far in my young life. (And she's not fundamentalist about anything except manners. :p)

 

:grouphug: to all, ('cept the Taliban because they wouldn't like it.)

Rosie

Edited by Rosie_0801
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hm.

 

I guess now I kinda feel like people think I'm defending legalism. I don't. My husband and I talk about legalism a lot, and are quite aware of it, and strive to keep ourselves from it. I could really horrify you all with the details of the cult that I was born into. No joke. It was insane. I'm talking 'you must get permission from the pastor who speaks directly with God before you, say, get your car fixed' sort of extreme cult legalism. So yeah, I'm pretty sensitive to it. But at the same time, I'm sure there are people on here (and IRL, I *know there are) who assume I'm legalistic because of my convictions.

 

 

Saturday at fellowship, one of the brothers shared how we all have a 'line in the sand' that we draw. Each one of us. We each will say 'Well, ok, you can do X. But if you do Y, that's it, you're out. You're not 'Christian enough' anymore. And it's true. We ALL have that line we draw. The question is, is our line drawn at the same place as Jesus would draw it, or not. And perhaps we should only be focusing on our OWN line, rather than the line of our brothers and sisters.

 

That's what we strive for. Me, anyway. I don't want to be legalistic. I don't want to put condemnation unneccessarily on another. But I *do* want to walk in the light that Jesus has given ME.

 

Just some thoughts. :001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hm.

 

I guess now I kinda feel like people think I'm defending legalism. I don't. My husband and I talk about legalism a lot, and are quite aware of it, and strive to keep ourselves from it. I could really horrify you all with the details of the cult that I was born into. No joke. It was insane. I'm talking 'you must get permission from the pastor who speaks directly with God before you, say, get your car fixed' sort of extreme cult legalism. So yeah, I'm pretty sensitive to it. But at the same time, I'm sure there are people on here (and IRL, I *know there are) who assume I'm legalistic because of my convictions.

 

 

Saturday at fellowship, one of the brothers shared how we all have a 'line in the sand' that we draw. Each one of us. We each will say 'Well, ok, you can do X. But if you do Y, that's it, you're out. You're not 'Christian enough' anymore. And it's true. We ALL have that line we draw. The question is, is our line drawn at the same place as Jesus would draw it, or not. And perhaps we should only be focusing on our OWN line, rather than the line of our brothers and sisters.

 

That's what we strive for. Me, anyway. I don't want to be legalistic. I don't want to put condemnation unneccessarily on another. But I *do* want to walk in the light that Jesus has given ME.

 

Just some thoughts. :001_smile:

 

:grouphug::001_smile: You are a sweet person, Bethany!

 

Faith

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Saturday at fellowship, one of the brothers shared how we all have a 'line in the sand' that we draw. Each one of us. We each will say 'Well, ok, you can do X. But if you do Y, that's it, you're out. You're not 'Christian enough' anymore. And it's true. We ALL have that line we draw.

I am not sure that that is true, based on the people I have seen. Someone can say that doing Y is improper, ill advised, or sinful. That doesn't mean everyone would say that doing Y makes someone not a member of their religion. I certainly know a fair number of people who believe even the worst of sinners (or those sinners who are "believers") will eventually be released from hell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hm.

 

I guess now I kinda feel like people think I'm defending legalism. I don't. My husband and I talk about legalism a lot, and are quite aware of it, and strive to keep ourselves from it. I could really horrify you all with the details of the cult that I was born into. No joke. It was insane. I'm talking 'you must get permission from the pastor who speaks directly with God before you, say, get your car fixed' sort of extreme cult legalism. So yeah, I'm pretty sensitive to it. But at the same time, I'm sure there are people on here (and IRL, I *know there are) who assume I'm legalistic because of my convictions.

 

 

Saturday at fellowship, one of the brothers shared how we all have a 'line in the sand' that we draw. Each one of us. We each will say 'Well, ok, you can do X. But if you do Y, that's it, you're out. You're not 'Christian enough' anymore. And it's true. We ALL have that line we draw. The question is, is our line drawn at the same place as Jesus would draw it, or not. And perhaps we should only be focusing on our OWN line, rather than the line of our brothers and sisters.

 

That's what we strive for. Me, anyway. I don't want to be legalistic. I don't want to put condemnation unneccessarily on another. But I *do* want to walk in the light that Jesus has given ME.

 

Just some thoughts. :001_smile:

 

I've been reading this thread with interest. I could have contributed to the other thread but did not b/c I started to think it could be offensive and I could come off sounding like I look down on others. Then, otoh, there are things we don't allow based on our beliefs, and if I posted about those things, THEN I might come off as though I'm looking down on others.

 

I appreciate your thoughts. That thread gave me many conflicting thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not sure that that is true, based on the people I have seen. Someone can say that doing Y is improper, ill advised, or sinful. That doesn't mean everyone would say that doing Y makes someone not a member of their religion. I certainly know a fair number of people who believe even the worst of sinners (or those sinners who are "believers") will eventually be released from hell.

 

Interestingly (well, to me), I've been reading Augustine's City of God, and he devotes a substantial section to arguing gently against this position. Gently because, from what he says, apparently these were widespread views among mainstream Christians in the fourth century, and while Augustine disagreed with them, he didn't find them to be heretical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hm.

 

I guess now I kinda feel like people think I'm defending legalism. I don't. My husband and I talk about legalism a lot, and are quite aware of it, and strive to keep ourselves from it. I could really horrify you all with the details of the cult that I was born into. No joke. It was insane. I'm talking 'you must get permission from the pastor who speaks directly with God before you, say, get your car fixed' sort of extreme cult legalism. So yeah, I'm pretty sensitive to it. But at the same time, I'm sure there are people on here (and IRL, I *know there are) who assume I'm legalistic because of my convictions.

 

 

Saturday at fellowship, one of the brothers shared how we all have a 'line in the sand' that we draw. Each one of us. We each will say 'Well, ok, you can do X. But if you do Y, that's it, you're out. You're not 'Christian enough' anymore. And it's true. We ALL have that line we draw. The question is, is our line drawn at the same place as Jesus would draw it, or not. And perhaps we should only be focusing on our OWN line, rather than the line of our brothers and sisters.

 

That's what we strive for. Me, anyway. I don't want to be legalistic. I don't want to put condemnation unneccessarily on another. But I *do* want to walk in the light that Jesus has given ME.

 

Just some thoughts. :001_smile:

 

To me, legalism means focusing on actions more than attitudes. It is worrying about whether your children follow all the rules more than talking to them about forming their beliefs and learning to trust their own heart/spirituality/holy spirit.

 

For example, my own parents would get so angry at my brothers and I as teenagers when we wanted to sleep in and would sometimes skip church on Sunday mornings. They never talked to us about the purpose of church being to learn about God, to get spiritually fed, or any kind of spiritual purpose, it was always about rules and social expectations and "if you don't go to church you can just leave" type of talking.

 

Or the Harry Potter thing. Saying "Harry Potter is witchcraft and of the devil, reading Harry Potter means you'll go to hell" is vastly different than trying to teach your OWN child to avoid things that interfere with their relationship with God, whether that's Harry Potter or something else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interestingly (well, to me), I've been reading Augustine's City of God, and he devotes a substantial section to arguing gently against this position. Gently because, from what he says, apparently these were widespread views among mainstream Christians in the fourth century, and while Augustine disagreed with them, he didn't find them to be heretical.

Be that as it may, it was certainly the core tenet of Universalists (one of the "parents," if you will of Unitarian Universalism), so much so that it is their most identifying feature, and there is a general sense that the notion of takfir (i.e. declaring someone else a non-believer) among Muslims is offensive, and that those groups that practice it or espouse it (often including those groups with violent leanings, most notably Al Qaeda) should be considered terrorists. The point of contention is that these groups are quick to declare others as non-believers. Therefore, it appears that in at least some cases, there are some people who object to a non-divine third party presuming to suggest that someone will be eternally d***ed or declared a non-believer, on the basis of his/her behavior. Perhaps the rules don't apply to Christians, though, and they are free to pass judgment on others without the government having an opinion one way or the other.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Be that as it may, it was certainly the core tenet of Universalists (one of the "parents," if you will of Unitarian Universalism), so much so that it is their most identifying feature, and there is a general sense that the notion of takfir (i.e. declaring someone else a non-believer) among Muslims is offensive, and that those groups that practice it or espouse it (often including those groups with violent leanings, most notably Al Qaeda) should be considered terrorists. The point of contention is that these groups are quick to declare others as non-believers. Therefore, it appears that in at least some cases, there are some people who object to a non-divine third party presuming to suggest that someone will be eternally d***ed or declared a non-believer, on the basis of his/her behavior. Perhaps the rules don't apply to Christians, though, and they are free to pass judgment on others without the government having an opinion one way or the other.

Oh, I wasn't arguing that Augustine objected to such views, therefore they're out of bounds, but rather observing that they were soteriological views apparently broadly held among early Christians, such that Augustine felt he needed to spend a lot of effort opposing them, but even so without saying they were actually heretical.

 

ETA: His counterarguments are also surprisingly weak. It's like he didn't have his heart in it.

Edited by Sharon in Austin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this is the problem. A lot of people do not understand the difference between respecting the *person* without respecting their *beliefs*. There is a difference, yet some do not see this difference.

 

I can respect a person because he is human. That does not mean I have to respect his religion or beliefs just like I do not have to respect someone's political stance, educational stance, parenting stance, etc.

 

I'm not going to belittle someone by calling him names or saying he is stupid for having certain beliefs as that is disrespectful toward him as a human. However, I'm not going to pretend that I think his believes are valid simply because he does.

 

I think that's sort of ****ing with faint praise and an oversimplification of how I, at least would feel. I respect my son's music teacher tremendously. She's a wonderful compassionate person who's generous spirit comes through when she teaches my son. She's hold specific religious beliefs I have no respect for.

 

I respect her not because she's simply human but because she's a gifted teacher and the kind of person I count myself lucky to know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hm.

 

I guess now I kinda feel like people think I'm defending legalism. I don't. My husband and I talk about legalism a lot, and are quite aware of it, and strive to keep ourselves from it. I could really horrify you all with the details of the cult that I was born into. No joke. It was insane. I'm talking 'you must get permission from the pastor who speaks directly with God before you, say, get your car fixed' sort of extreme cult legalism. So yeah, I'm pretty sensitive to it. But at the same time, I'm sure there are people on here (and IRL, I *know there are) who assume I'm legalistic because of my convictions.

 

 

Saturday at fellowship, one of the brothers shared how we all have a 'line in the sand' that we draw. Each one of us. We each will say 'Well, ok, you can do X. But if you do Y, that's it, you're out. You're not 'Christian enough' anymore. And it's true. We ALL have that line we draw. The question is, is our line drawn at the same place as Jesus would draw it, or not. And perhaps we should only be focusing on our OWN line, rather than the line of our brothers and sisters.

 

That's what we strive for. Me, anyway. I don't want to be legalistic. I don't want to put condemnation unneccessarily on another. But I *do* want to walk in the light that Jesus has given ME.

 

Just some thoughts. :001_smile:

 

Amen, AMEN!

 

I think we'll all be at least somewhat surprised when we get to Heaven:001_smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing I have noticed is that those who call themselves tolerant as a badge are the least tolerant. They believe they are right and just, and so they think what they dictate and ridicule is a necessity. I spent my 20s with people like that, and they would say "We can't tolerate the intolerant."

With straight faces.

 

I think religious threads should go the way of political threads. I can't believe long threads making fun of religious beliefs are allowed. I don't get the point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But, to be fair, the thread was NOT "a long thread to make fun of religious beliefs". It was what ppl were previously told was evil and now they believe otherwise. Because most of us have had interaction with xians (because they dominate America and to my knowledge most of the board members are American....) those comprised the majority of responses.

 

I'm still baffled by the new xian desire to cast themselves as the downtrodden martyers when they are STILL the ones attempting to suppress the rights of others in this country!!! Based on their religious book!!!! :confused:

 

It is simply un.believable.

 

I respect the fact that ppl can believe whatever they want, but it is still okay for me to say that men putting their mouths on babies peniss is WRONG. That's not hateful, it's opinion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...