ParanoidAndroid wrote:Yes, I believe that there is a correct way. Yes, I think people should follow the correct way rather than an incorrect way. I don't think that I'm somehow superior for being a Christian.
Something a lot of people often do is frame an argument in such a way that a particular thing is implied in a straightforward manner while they continue to believe, whole-heartedly, that they have not even suggested that idea, since they did not directly mention it or even denied it by name.
It is rarely convincing. :/
Okay, just looking for some clarification here. Are you saying that sometimes Christians have a superiority complex? In that case, I agree. Are you saying that I actually have a superiority complex and am simply in denial? One of the core tenets of the Christian faith is that no one
is superior. No one is good enough but Christ. I believe that I'm a sinner who received grace.
ParanoidAndroid wrote:I'm not smarter or wiser or more enlightened for "finding God", because He found me.
If it was through no action of your own that you came to the "correct way," why is it that there are others who have not been found in the same manner?
But still, why is it okay to assume that those who aren't Christian need saving? By your father's analogy -- do we all look like beggars who are longing for bread?
I direct you to Romans
, because that is another topic.
Well, the Bible teaches that everyone needs saving, and you know how we Christians are about the Bible...Yes, by my father's analogy we are all beggars looking for bread. To use a rather cliched saying, we spend our lives trying to fill a God shaped hole in our hearts. I wholeheartedly recommend the book of Ecclesiastes
ParanoidAndroid wrote:Evangelism should never be arrogant. It's not my way, and I certainly can't save anyone by my "pious grace". Any Christian who acts otherwise needs to see what the Bible says. It's all about unmerited grace. As my father is fond of saying, "Evangelism is nothing more than beggars telling beggars where they were given bread."
Just wanted to toss my two bits in.
The problem is evangelism is always arrogant to anyone that has their own beliefs. Basically you are telling someone that their way is wrong, and your way is correct.
By telling people that you're way is the right one, you discount that they may have already found their own way and that it is equally valid. Moreso you seem to imply that your way is the only
correct way. I think that there can be many paths to whatever diety/power cosmic there may be.
Emphasis mine. That is precisely
what this entire post is doing. You are also implying that your way is the correct way. You are saying that I am incorrect in believing my religion to be the only true one, and that you are correct in believing that there are many paths to God. We're both making differing truth claims about universal truths. My worldview says, "Go out and tell people," yours does not. There's nothing arrogant or inherently wrong with that. It's just disagreeing.
chaosspawn wrote:I was going to extend the swimming analogy, but I'll run with the beggers one. Everyone may be beggers too, but just because you've found a source of bread doesn't mean it's the only charity in town. The Hindu has found another house offering food to the poor, and even the atheist has found herself a soup kitchen. However, that person having an existential crisis has no food, and would appreciate being told where some is. However, he still has a choice on who to accept food from. So as I see it, it really makes no sense to me that you'd prefer everyone only accept handouts from your specific patron.
I have no problem with preaching that you have a path to salvation, merely when you preach that it is the path to salvation. In my varied dealings with faith and spirituality I have found a path that works for me. It may not be the same as your path, but I think they still lead to the same place.
I don't believe that there are many paths to salvation. No Christian does (at least, none should
if they understand what they believe).
6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
To use the swimming analogy: yes, I am assuming that the person is drowning. Even if I'm way off base, I should still try to help a person I believe to be drowning. I don't believe any beggar can find food anywhere else. I know you disagree with me here. You believe that our paths lead to the same place. I do not. You say, "I have no problem with preaching that you have a
path to salvation, merely when you preach that it is the
path to salvation." Basically, you think that I am wrong, you are right, and I should agree with your beliefs. Once again, there's nothing wrong with disagreeing or thinking that someone else is incorrect, and there's nothing wrong with telling them so.
Izawwlgood wrote:Christians != evangelical Christians.
It depends on what you mean by evangelical Christian, as some use that phrase to refer to specific denominations. If you simply mean "Christians who evangelize", then you have a problem with Christianity itself, not just certain types of Christians.
15He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Sorry, you're basically saying that because by it's nature, evangelism is my definition of 'arrogance' that I cannot call it arrogant? That's crap. That's like saying (poor metaphor, I understand) that because a dog has a tail, I shouldn't fault it for wagging it. I didn't wag the dogs tail, the dog did. Evangelicals aren't being forced to push their beliefs on someone else, they're choosing to.
Being evangelical is not limited to Christianity, and I fault all religions or even modes of thought that seek to propagandize their belief system and foist them upon others. I fault all belief systems that find their own method of thinking superior to others, and yes, built into that belief is a reasonable degree of uncertainty that my way of thinking may not be correct. I'm open to listening, I'll hear you out. But I'll use my own judgement to determine whether or not you are correct, and when it comes to matters of the soul, I don't think theres a single authority, neither me nor the Pope nor a rabbi nor ParanoidAndroid.
Many religions, or at least sects within religions, are guilty of this arrogant brand of thinking, and I fault them all.
You are saying what every single evangelical religion says. "You do not believe what is true. X is true, not Y. You ought to believe X, and you are wrong for believing Y." The last sentence here says it all. You have made a very moral judgment over the vast majority of religions, declaring fault and ruling the parties in question guilty. On what premise do you base this? Why shouldn't I do this? Why should your disdain for my belief system require me to follow your own, other than you think mine wrong and yours right? "It just pisses me off," seems to be a silly reason to declare that the majority of the world should change its beliefs and behaviors. I'm not going to twist anyone's arm to try to get them to come to church or become a Christian. I will
try to persuade them through reasonable dialogue exactly like people do every single day on Serious Business. Seriously, any thread on the SB board is no more than one proponent of a belief system (be it political, economic, philosophical, etc.) arguing why their viewpoint on a matter is correct and why another is wrong.
Believing that your way may not be the correct way for everyone is not an admission that it is anything but the correct way for you. If anything, I believe it should strengthen your own belief system, as you believe in it now for personal and experiential reasons, as opposed to blanketly accepting it as a truism.
To paraphrase Kierkegaard (I think): The greatest danger Christians face is loving Christianity more than the truth. If I did not think Christianity was true, I would not believe it. I don't base my belief on the urgings of my pastor, my parents, and certainly not the pope (protestant here). I, too, am open to listening and will hear others out. The fact that I already believe something does not make this impossible. "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." I might be wrong. We all might be wrong. I have considered other beliefs. I have held other beliefs. I didn't always believe in God. I've struggled with doubt, perhaps more than most Christians.
Faith, in my opinion, is not something that everyone must approach or touch upon the same way. Gravity affects us all in the exact same way, faith does not. Again, if you merely accept your belief system as a truism because 'there is nothing else that is true' you haven't, to me, really embraced your faith, you've simply accepted it.
Favorite quote of all time is "A true gentleman knows how to play the accordion but chooses not to", meaning, you can't be a 'good' person unless you actively choose to not be a 'bad' person (and of course, choose to be a 'good' person). You cannot be a 'faithful' person unless you know what it is to be an 'unfaithful' person, because faith (again, to me), is about CHOOSING to believe in something.
Francis of Assisi: “Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.”
If I'm understanding you correctly (it is
3:00 AM), I agree, at least mostly. There isn't any one reason that will convince everyone. No one should believe something without serious thought and consideration. Effective evangelism isn't a slick commercial or power point presentation. I've never been a fan of ''door to door" evangelism. It's impersonal and it treats people like targets or customers. Evangelism that relies on pamphlets and one-size-fits-all speeches ignores the basic truth that people are unique. I have plenty of non-Christian friends. I don't berate them and I don't bring up God in every situation. David Bazan, the most honest Christian musician on the planet, put it like this:
"You were to busy steering the conversation toward the Lord
to hear the voice of the Spirit begging you to shut the fuck up.
You thought it must be the devil trying to make you go astray.
Besides, it couldn't have been the Lord because you don't believe he talks that way."
I have an innumerable amount of problems with how evangelism is ill performed by well-meaning Christians. Jesus was the guy who dined with prostitutes and corrupt tax collectors that the religious leaders of the day wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. And yet we as Christians struggle with relating to unbelieving co-workers on a personal level? Christians are called to be so loving that non-Christians will see the way we act without even knowing us and say, "Oh, they must be a Christian." The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints. I've had intellectual debates, and I've had emotional conversations with people who just have questions. There isn't a single right way to share one's beliefs with others, but there are plenty of wrong ways.
Roseate Spoonbill wrote:May I ask why it is wrong to impose ones beliefs upon others? By telling me that's wrong, aren't you imposing your beliefs on me?
When I was 17, a local church youth group volunteer announced to the 50-odd participating kids (who were promised a nice, secular event) that they were going to "burn in eternal Hellfire" for not belonging to her church. Several younger children were on the verge of tears. It may be an extreme example, but I can't in good conscience let this kind of thing slide just to avoid imposing on an imposer.
Yes, that is an extreme example, and it is inexcusable. I can tell you similar stories, unfortunately. Christians need to seriously re-examine their evangelism in light of the Bible's view of evangelism. I fully admit that it's an area where we are deficient and prone to make mistakes. This is not Christianity being defective, it is Christians being imperfect. In our zeal to preach the love of Christ, we oftentimes forget to practice his love. Sorry.