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choosing the "correct" religion
That is just one of the many things that makes the Jesus story credible......that it is not too good to be true. If it were a myth, there would have been so may aspects of the story that were different to make it believable to the people reading the myth. After all, what myth do people buy into that is not believable or that does not give huge hope to?
Walking on water, rising from the dead, having people eat and drink his body and blood, enduring a most horrific martyr death of that time,... It all sounds to fantastical to happen to just one person. I list can go on, but I think you get my point. All of this while telling people you are a demigod and that you were born from a virgin mother (who was married by the way...yeah they chose abstinence as a couple). This is King Arthur, Hercules, Perseus, Harry Potter, it is any story with fun, scary, and amazing story lines.
This is not believable to a grown up who has never heard the story of Jesus. It is only believable to children (who are taught this is the truth like they are with Santa Claus) and people so down on their luck that they think they need something bigger then them to believe in.
Speaking of that, Santa Claus, he is the same thing. People teach kids he is real and later tell him he is not. AND what do kids say after they now know? Ah, it was kind of silly to believe in that. There are so many parts of that story that can't possibly be true.
If you told your kids that Jesus was fake and it was taught to them to teach them how to be good, but it was just a made up story...THEY WOULD BELIEVE YOU, just like Santa. Kids only believe in god and Jesus, because you tell them it is true. They love and trust you. They want to make you happy, even if there was crazy stuff that had to happen like sacrifices or killing.
We love our kids and want the best for them. The thing best for our kids is to teach them to think for themselves. If god and Jesus is real and it is right for them, let them find it on their own. Give them a bible and don't say another word. Let them decide. The next time you are going to tell your kid something like, "You shouldn't act like that, would Jesus act like that," ask yourself if you are teaching your kid about how to act or just controlling them with your religion. I think you are brainwashing your kids and giving them the easy answer out and not teaching them to think so they can become smarter on their own.
Going full circle from where you leave off, Donovan, to where the OP started, let's take a look at the legends and fairy tales you cite.
Take Santa Claus.
Sure, little kids, 3 or 4 years old, get one story and by the time they turn 8 they know that it's only one story, another being that Dad and Mom go to the store and spend some time wrapping and lo and behold, come Christmas morning there are presents under the tree.
So what do we believe? A fairy tale? Do we (as adults) think that Santa Claus is "real"?
(pause for effect)
Did you ever see the movie, "Miracle on 34th Street"? It was made many years ago and tells the story of the REAL Santa Claus in New York and the disbelief that he runs into. It's a poignant tale and highlights the joy and celebration that comes with belief in general, without which this world would be a serious (cue funeral music), dull, lifeless place, a place colored in shades of gray with no movement, no happiness, and certainly nothing that could be laid at the feet of imagination.
Take it a step further, and you come to the thought that if imagination - call it belief in spirits, fairies, demons, gods, Santa Claus, or whatever - splashes the world with color and life and joy, then hey, I WANT THAT.
Maybe that's what it is, that feeling of utter joy, that gives people the idea that they've picked the right road. I don't know: like I said many posts ago, I'm not a Christian. But I've known some, and they strike me as honorable people who believe what they believe and personally find some benefit in believing what they believe.
No, it's not Santa Claus, but yes, it is a part of you (meaning "each person") that science doesn't fulfill. Doesn't even come close. Not in the same galaxy. The spirit is part of man, and man is part of the spirit - a viewpoint that I'm sure is incomprehensible to any scientific mind, but one which is, I'm sure, part of being who we are.
OK, 'nuff said - back to work now.
We don't need a colorful Santa to be happy. The world would not be gray and dull just because there would be no god or Santa.
I have lots of Christian friends, plus some Hindu, among other sects. There is nothing wrong with the people as individuals. I love my friends. I would get between them and harms way if need be. It is when a belief interfers with other people's lives that I have an issue with. It is when they corrupt a child to the point of that child must be forced into spiritual craziness or be shamed for life. Maybe you are not looking at this globally enough. I am sure the Christians you know are great people, but you have to look bigger that the individual person to see the harm. See the movie Jesus Camp, (which is about 100 miles from where I am at today) (on Netflix still and hasn't been pulled yet) now that kind of stuff makes me really hurt inside to see what they do to those kids. And that is just one place and one religious sect.
I am at the point where I have to decide what to do best for my kid. she is now 13 years old and she is asking about all of this stuff. Luckily she has a diverse friend circle. It is filled with at least 4 different type of religions being thrown at her. I have to decide what the best for her.
Do I give here a bible and say ok, if you want to know what all this is about, start with this book. Then give her a koran and book of the mormon and so forth. If she wants to go further with one of them, so be it.
I believe if you really read the bible, you will really not want anything to do with it. She will hate reading about stoning gays and accepting slavery, and so forth. I would hope she would hate that book as much as I have grown to hate what it teaches those who do not think for themselves. Yes, it has good stuff too, but so does Harry Potter. ;o)
I just don't really know what to do what is best for her. My views should not be shoved down her throat. I will not indoctrinate my own kid into my beliefs. If I did, I would be no better than the others who do this with thier religions with no other options allowed.
Originally Posted by
See the movie Jesus Camp, now that kind of stuff makes me really hurt inside to see what they do to those kids. And that is just one place and one religious sect.
Jesus followers fully expect to be persecuted for claiming that there is a morality (that they know they necessarily fall short of) that is higher than their own.....rather than a morality of "do as you see fit".
And then there are things that we do that are outside of what Jesus calls us to. Of course there is sin, were we/I intentionally disregard/disobey what we know is right since we want the immediate gratification of what seems good at the moment. But, sin leads to negative consequences (destruction).
Most of the stuff in this film falls in the category of trying to do good things that are outside/beyond what is called for in a life of a humble and submissive obedient response to Jesus' love. And, it is easy to see from the outside looking in that even trying to do good stuff that is outside of what God calls us to is destructive (and it is sin too).
This particular religious sect happens to be about as extreme as they come in this regard......and they are not a good reflection of what Jesus teaches.
To give a little perspective on reality in the USA however, this problem (and yes it is a painful problem) is absolutely dwarfed by the problems of inner city poverty where survival of the fittest is a daily literal reality.
Originally Posted by
I just don't really know what to do what is best for her. My views should not be shoved down her throat. I will not indoctrinate my own kid into my beliefs. If I did, I would be no better thatn the others who do this with thier religions with no other options allowed.
You know Donovan, this for me is really where the rubber meets the road in a lot of this stuff we've been discussing. Given the understanding of where each of us stands on "theology" (although certainly limited/incomplete), I MUCH prefer to grapple together with these topics. I really appreciate you steering the conversation to this!
And I have been grappling with this since I read it last night. And, I do want to respond since I share in the fatherhood struggle of trying to do what is best. My oldest daughter is turning 11 this summer. When I have some coherent thoughts formulated I will post them.
Thanks Dave242. I know this is an extremist film and not the norm. But this stuff does happen in many varying degrees. I don't need to debate the actual film as I would hope anyone who sees it, would feel as horrified as I do. My real point is basically, religion can give people platforms to do real harm. The person is good, but the belief systems can be destructive on those who are not paying attention and get caught up in the power that group minded thinking can cause. Kamikazes, religious snake handlers, Catholic priest & alter boys (with no convictions), gay bashing, and so forth. These are just a couple of way that religions get out of hand. How many things can you name, where atheism beliefs, have gone too far? I think I need to see our destructive side from your point of view, as maybe I'm too close to my own way of thinking to see it.
Dave242, I can't wait to read what you have to say about our kids. Thanks for sharing in this with me. I'm sure other will be interested in how where we take this. I will start a separate thread for this so we don't lose where we are in this one. Thread called: Raising the Kids
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