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An Apology (and realization)

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Posted

Wait. You had a girl preacher?

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Posted

Yup. Definately not the norm, and she apparantly got some flak for it, but she was pretty good at it

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Posted

@Chase, you say that a punishment is what we do to ourselves. You said that we are "broken down and humbled". What do you specifically think of indulging in "sin"? Can you see sinning as a "ripening"? If a person is "lost and then found", then wouldn't it have more meaning that being "righteous"? I am starting to believe (or realizing that I have been believing) that maybe big highs and big lows are the only way for redemption to make sense. From a personal standpoint and from a religious standpoint. For a moral compass to even make sense, I think taboos, skepticism and "sinning" should be explored and indulged. I am not saying that people should do bad things even if they don't want to. I just believe that people can get lazy and misguided in their beliefs if they are only going through the motions. Example: In the same way that in war or after a war, you can see displays of rare good will and tolerance, I think that you have to hit your personal low before "good" can make any kind of sense. Tragedies and bad things shake people out of apathy and indifference. I attempted to get at this same concept in the Tumblr thread earlier, probably not to any success. 

 

In short, I think you have to be tempered in "evil" before you can see "good". Otherwise you are just repeating someone else's idea of "good". I am glad that you questioned your own beliefs, but I won't comment on them specifically because it's not my place. 

 

Also, the other day, Pheo, Sayuri and I watched Fight Club (a movie that I've seen you quote before). Bradley Pitt said that self-improvement is masturbation and then was like "but self-destruction...", implying that it was even better as his sentence trailed off. What do you think of that? I liked the line. I thought it was adequately relevant, at least to what I was attempting to get at. I have been reading a lot about spirituality through sin and bad stuff. So I apologize if this post is getting off topic. 

Sin can absolutely be used by God to break you down and then build you up. God's love, and God's hate, are much different than our concepts of love and hate. Got hates sin. And God hates sinners. But God is love. God, in his hate, breaks down and destroys sin and sinners. In his love and mercy, he then rebuilds the sinner into a new man. We see this process in one of his foremost apostles, Paul. Paul was originally Saul. A Christian killer. He would get hitlists from the Jewish leaders and take with him Roman soldiers to destroy and kill Christians. God, for reasons very obvious, hated Saul. But, unlike a human, who, in blind rage, would kill and destroy and wish to leave no trace (have you ever wanted to kill anyone? Wished them dead? That's the blind hate I'm talking about), God chooses to rebirth a new man from the ashes of the old. He simultaneously crushes and destroys the sinful man (Saul), and in the process, creates and molds a new man (Paul). A much better man. A man who can withstand sin and save/help others do so too. Saul is no more. God completely obliterated the man called Saul. In his place is a man called Paul, who leads many to God and gives hope to people today, even after his death.

 

Indulging in sin is anything that is contrary to God. The book of Romans gives a detailed list of things that God hates and considers sinful. I must say, I am guilty of almost all of them. We will all come to realize, through punishment, WHY the sin is bad and why we need God. You've probably heard the verse/paraphrase "spare the rod, spoil the child." It's a similar concept. God, our father, chastises those he loves. The elect will be saved from the judgement that is to come. The judgement is described as similar to the pain of childbirth, and it will come with the same suddenness and severity. It seems to be less of a physical pain, and more of a mental agony. You will feel regret, sorrow, and shame for sins you commit. After that, God will invite you in, you will enter because you understand, and we will all go together with Christ to God in heaven. 

 

Christians, true ones, should rejoice in earthly judgement and discomfort. Why? Because, the sins they have committed are no longer held against them by God. Jesus paid the price for their sins, and they accepted his sacrifice as payment. He then gives them the ability to conquer sin. Their minds will no longer be sinful, though their bodies will still be in the sinful world, as all of us are. The judgement that true Christians are receiving is building them up, sharpening them, and allowing them to be the elect that God will use to help judge the world. Interestingly, similar to Christ, it will be other humans that will provide the judgement, with stoning, persecution, killing, torture, etc. But, true Christians are to rejoice in the knowledge that the punishment they are receiving today is much less and much shorter than the punishment for those after. And they will also rejoice in the knowledge that they are sons of God, who will reign with him in the coming eons. That's what they're so happy about, despite being persecuted. The Lord is using evil people and deeds to bring about good, like he always does.

 

You're right, Alex. A lot of people have to go through the evil, the bad, the shame, before they can see the good. And once they open their eyes to it at the end, they will profess with their tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord, and they will bow. Not because they were forced, but because through great pain and punishment they came to understanding. I had it wrong. I always thought God valued free will above all else. Well, God DOES value free will. The fact that we have choices and can choose to the do the right thing, is a beautiful gift. BUT, divine preference will overrule free will in order to save. God wants to save everyone, so that's what will happen. Christ will drag you kicking and screaming into heaven with him, because that's what's good for you. As a father might make his son do something he doesn't like, if it is good for him, the son should eventually come to understand his father and realize why it is good for him.

 

Fight Club is one of my favorite movies. Tyler Durden represents the unrestricted, unchained man. What man becomes when he casts aside all social norms, all petty thoughts and arguments. He does what he wants and accomplishes his goals of resetting the world to zero. I like to call it "controlled chaos."

 

Do I think that we should emulate Tyler? Absolutely not. He's a very evil guy. But the message behind the movie sticks with me. We ARE buying things we don't need, with money we don't have, to impress people we don't like. We ARE acting like corporate drones that don't question corporate policy. We ARE refusing to shake up the norm, because we're scared of being ostracized. We are Jack's worst nightmare. We are Jack. 

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Posted

I particularly like the story of Saul/Paul. Acts is also a favorite of mine, because it tells an interesting story

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Posted

I'm sorry, but can we just take a moment to chuckle a little bit at Phanta's post.

PrimaGaga and Chase like this

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Posted

It was so out of place but i just wanted to be part of the conversatiooooooooooooooooooooooon

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Posted

on children & religion

...ceiling so high it could be three stories tall and house the homeless I kept seeing everywhere, yet they still ask for money. She never provided me with a satisfactory answer. I still think churches should be required to pay taxes. There's no reason they should get special treatment.

I forgot to say this, but just thought I'd point out that most churches aren't 3-story Megachurches with a capacity for thousands of people. For every huge, well-to-do church out there, there are many more small churches that still struggle to afford paying down the building/room they're in on top of monthly bills despite the tax-exemption. In our area especially, there are tons of small (mostly baptist) churches scattered around that I don't ever notice until I happen to get up close.

 

Plus, now I might be overestimating the burden a loss of tax-exempt status would impose, but people have the right to worship or not however they chose, and part of many religions is an emphasis on inter-faith community. Now, if taxes were a factor, representation of different faiths/denominations would be further limited to those who could afford this new standard. The tax exempt status doesn't apply only to christian churches but religious organizations in general. I don't know the actual numbers of the situation, but it seems obvious to me the intent of the law is to make it so anybody can have a place to congregate with people of similar beliefs as long as they can afford what I'd expect is the fairly low monetary cieling to overcome. Maybe the law could use some tweaking, and I'm sure certain churches could get by fine with paying taxes, but I'm no lawmaker so I wouldn't know how to improve upon it.

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Posted

In the atheist community, they often cite this Mormon church:

 

san-diego-mormon-temple.jpg

 

This is not a low monetary cieling. It's a palace. Here's another Mormon "temple".

 

salt-lake-mormon-temple1.jpg

 

Then there's scientology, which is pretty objectively a pyramid scheme. Any organization that makes an income should have an income tax. Freedom of religion isn't freedom from the law.

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Posted

Yes, there are some religious organizations that are highly organized, and have many rich, dedicated members to contribute funds, but my point was that those are far from the majority and that all of the small churches, like the baptist church being run out of a small storefront in the strip mall down the road from where I live, don't have that luxury. It's not remotely fair in my mind to say that this small church, which likely has less than 100 regular members, and not rich ones (judging from the size and location), should have to pay for the excesses of some people who obviously have different priorities than you or I do.  I'm open to the idea of there being some way of setting apart the religious groups that have plenty of money to throw around, but I don't know what kind of legal process would lead to that.

 

Also, it's not freedom from the law if the law grants said freedom. The tax exemption is exactly that, an exception, but it's a legal one despite how suspect some of the ways it's used are. There are people who take advantage of many well-meaning laws, and this is only just one example.

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Posted

Actually, Saha, I think I have a pretty weak argument here and don't want to cause meaningless friction. You seem to feel very strongly about this. I do too, but since I've grown up in a church environment and don't regret it I think this is probably irreconcilable no matter how bad my argument is. I'm done.

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Posted

It's an actual issue that should be debated, kind of like how the second amendment has persisted due to tradition even though our system was literally designed around making changes to our law system if they aren't relevant to society anymore. Like sure, the right to guns is all fine and dandy, but guns are lot different now. Much more efficient at murder. In the same vein, churches back then were before the industrial revolution, before big global businesses really started to take off, and business sense leaking into church practices, I feel, can be wrong on multiple levels. Since [some] churches can't get away with mass murder as much as they did before, they've found new ways to prosper in dirty practices. We were founded on separation of church and state, but that doesn't mean a church existing in the state should be able to skirt state practices. People feel the need to worship en masse, and that's fine, but I feel the need to eat, too, but I still get taxed on it.

 

This should definitely be its own thread though. We've been talking a lot about how our practices have been outdated for a long while, and there seem to be some proponents of preserving old ways. I staunchly disagree with holding onto something for its cultural value if it doesn't make sense in the present day. It's like letting a bunch of garbage accumulate in your house.

 

Reiterating though, I don't care if you debate me back. This is supposed to be a discussion. If at any time you feel that you can't make points at me, then maybe your stance wasn't strong enough to begin with, or you're just not that good at articulating it. Be flexible, idk? :S This isn't life-or-death, I just like talking about stuff that matters with my friends.

emsomniac likes this

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Sorry, I lied last night so I could get out of this as quickly as possible. I don't actually feel as unsure of my stance as I said, but engaging in this debate, at this time, was a very poor decision on my part. I'd be happy to continue discussion later. Again, sorry about that :(

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Posted

What if Church taxes were like people taxes. If you make under a certain amount in a year, I think its 20,000, you get all you federal taxes back, state is more complicated but that's another matter. That way Mormon Disneyland pays what they can afford, but smaller start up churches that can't afford as much get the money back. Maybe that's an oversimplification, truth be told, the bureaucracy of taxes is far too complicated for me to fix...

Agent Zako likes this

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Posted

Sounds like a good idea. Though I don't think it sounds like something that would be too hard to fix.

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It's actually against Christian teaching to tell people how much they have to give, money or otherwise. Taxes and tithes are two sides of the same coin.

True religion and faith is free. A church is not a building; it is a communion of believers.

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