I feel so driven to spread the message of Christ. But I don’t know how…
Not just a Christian, but also a Mormon one. But I think your perception of Christians is sort of like my sister’s of Idahoans (despite being raised here—this perception came back with her from years of living in a city in another state). Whenever she starts generalizing about Idahoans, I find myself confused. I’ve lived here most of my life and know fewer than a handful of people like those she describes, and lots and LOTS of people who are nothing like those she describes. I remind her, “I’m an Idahoan, Les,” and she says, “But you’re different!” And I think of all my friends, all the people I know and have known, four decades of Idahoans, and think, “No, actually, I’m not.”
I know the kind of religious person you are talking about, but from the inside I see a lot fewer of them and a lot more people something like me. So maybe you’re looking from the outside and only seeing the ones who are in your face, and don’t know that behind them are hundreds and hundreds of people who believe in Christ, who believe in the Atonement, who believe in salvation and believe in an ultimate truth, who try to develop the characteristics of Christ in themselves but who don’t think it’s wise or kind or right to use those beliefs as a weapon or a siren or a measure of value. And while I believe in ultimate truth, the only way I believe you or anyone else would ever recognize or embrace it is if you felt the same kinds of feelings that led me to do so-
and I can’t make you feel that. I can’t preach until you feel it, I can’t use rhetoric to make you feel it. I would, given the chance and good feelings and less than an ounce of encouragement, try to explain how it feels to me and what it has done for me, and see if you were interested in giving it a sincere try. Lots of people are. (I got a call yesterday from a friend who wasn’t very religious when we met, who became more so over the time we were associated-she called because her sister was recently murdered, and her conversation was laced with little bits of gratitude for what our shared faith has meant to her and her neice while she dealt with this—so it’s worth it to me to share my faith.)
And lots of people aren’t interested.
Of course, you are right.
What I see are those who are “in my face.” I can hardly ignore them, after all.
Look, though I don’t share your beliefs and convictions, they are none of my business and, actually, I respect you for feeling and living your beliefs.
I’m no foreigner to religious thought, it simply makes little sense to me.
Nor has it ever.
I was raised a catholic (I’m Italian…it’s a law, I think…) and went to a catholic boarding school…but even when I was a little kid I never believed any of it. I have never believed in a god, Mormon or Dominican.
But, at the risk of repeating myself, I have absolutely no problem with what anyone believes.
What I have problems with is having someone else’s beliefs force-fed to me, or that attempt being made.
I have problems with people condemning me or others because we or they may not believe the same things, live the same way, or have the same values.
Though not christians, the muslims have this technique perfected.
You don’t agree with our silly ideas? Ok, die.
Here in the largely christian U.S. we have our own “christian taliban” who can be seen or heard in the media daily. Most of them don’t have guns yet, but with god on their side, that can’t be far behind.
By the way, I know very little about your church…but I do know that you folks take care of each other when it’s needed.
Spiritually, you would say, but physically is what I refer to. If someone needs help, you help.
If one needs taking care of, you take care.
Positive and loving action is far louder rhetoric than shouting any day.
A tip of my hat. (If I wore one…I get headaches…)
Uncle Enore, a tip back and a cheer. I worried a bit after posting how my post would be taken, because (as you may be aware) a lot of the anti-religionists who get in-the-face of people like me aren’t inclined to be particularly reasonable, either.
And then I came in and discovered that I had been subtly nurturing prejudices of my own, of the very same kind I had been talking about here.
Which just goes to remind us (by which I mean us Christians, as well as us humans in general whose beliefs support personal growth) that no matter what our personal beliefs, none of us are very good at living them all the time.
If you know very little about my church but what you know, then I’m pretty sure you’re aware of what I mean when I say we proselyte. I know sometimes that’s viewed as “force-feeding,” and I know some missionaries’ actions support that view. I also know most missionaries are there to look for people who are personally interested in giving a sincere effort to the process of receiving a spiritual message from God about truth. They do this by knocking on doors and offering an expression of belief and a couple of ideas that may be new to the person to whom they are talking. If a person doesn’t believe in God, or doesn’t believe God does that kind of thing, or doesn’t feel the need for such a witness, that set of missionaries will generally back off and go look for those who are searching for what they have to offer (and there are those who are—they meet them all the time).
The frustration for people who aren’t interested is that these missionaries get transferred all the time, and before long there’s a new set who have no idea that someone’s already been there…I’m pretty sure I would find it annoying myself, since I have to work pretty hard at accepting the repeated approaches of certain other proselyters with grace and kindness and respect for what they are doing!
Well, I am certain you could put me in the "anti-religionist" catagory...
But there are seperate areas of concern to me.
You and I can sanely discuss theology, if you’d like.
My non-belief in a god, and your belief in her are fair and intellectual game, as far as I am concerned. The conversation has great potential.
I have lots of trouble understanding you folks, but find the effort interesting and often entertaining.
And then there are the self-righteous assholes to whom I referred earlier.
These people may as well just paint a target on their foreheads as far as I am concerned.
To me they are objects of scorn, targets, and meddling cretins. It is those religionists that set fire to me, and for whom I have absolutely no respect.
I had forgotten that you people cruise around on bikes looking for infidels to convert. Personally, I don’t want anyone coming to my door…least of all a couple guys in $15 Penny’s white shirts seeking to point out the error of my ways.
However, as long as they are able to politely take a “No thanks, nothing but atheists roam these halls…” I really have no problem.
I do have a problem with door-to-doorers who are agressive and pushy. That is always a mistake with me.
And, by the way, what’s with that weird looking underwear you people use?
Do they come in lace or spandex?
No, and no on the lace and spandex. They’re just a spiritual symbol, like a yarmulke or certain tattoos are for others. A reminder of some promises we’ve made to ourselves and our God.
Infidels? Nope, wrong missionaries. ::g:: Although the bike part and the white shirt is spot on. But we’re not looking for infidels whose erroneous ways we can lay bare. What we’re doing is trying to share something that has been of immense value to us with other people who might benefit from it. I realize you don’t consider it to be of value at all—but only because you and I have been talking here. The fact is, our missionaries meet people all the time (by knocking on doors, even) who have been looking for exactly what they have come to share. There are people out there who want what we are offering but don’t know where to find it until a couple of guys in white JC Penney shirts knock on their door. So we keep it up.
Sorry. We weren’t looking for you personally, really.
I suppose your difficulty understanding me and people like me is similar to mine in understanding people who think the Holocaust was a hoax, Area 59 is for real, and the government (or aliens) has implanted a mind-control device in their cranial cavity. So I kind of think I know how you feel. My reason’s simple, though. I think there’s more to everything than our finite minds can comprehend, so the idea of God doesn’t seem ludicrous to me (esp. not the God I understand). I find life easier to deal with because of my beliefs and my faith. I like what I have become as I have tried to live them. I can’t imagine being happier, more centered, more at peace, or more content without my religion, so I have no interest in leaving it.
If I came to the end of my life and learned that none of it were true, I can’t think of a thing I would feel I missed out on, and I can think of a lot of things that I would feel had been better or easier because I believed it was true.
A lot of what I see in life that I want no part of, my beliefs have to some extent protected me from. And most of what I have in my life that I really value is connected to my beliefs. My husband is the kind of husband he is largely because of what he believes about marriage and family, for example. Now, please don’t take that to mean that I think nobody can be a good husband unless they believe as I do, because I don’t. But this particular man, my husband, bases his choices about how he will behave toward me and his children on his religious beliefs and his upbringing (also influenced by the same religious beliefs). And he makes good choices. So I value his testimony.