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Sorry I keep talking about religion so much, but I'm in the middle of Kansas, it keeps coming up.

Sometimes when I'm talking to someone who's not a Christian, I get this thought in my head that goes something like, "I wish they'd just read the Bible. I won't push it, because I don't like religious debates, but it'd be really nice." Then I think that they'll be fine, I leave it alone, it's okay. Really, it's not that important to me to get them to read the Bible.

But other times I get that exact same thought in my head when I'm talking to OTHER CHRISTIANS. The "Has this guy ever considered reading the Bible?" thought. And that's bad.

I got in an almost-debate with a guy at lunch today, it started with an innocent conversation but basically lead up to how kids in colleges were being "forced" to read the Q'uran. First off, I doubt this was true. But even if it was true, I thought it was okay. I mean, they're not forced to believe in what it's saying, they just need to know about what the Islamic religion is all about. We should all know what the Islamic religion is about, for many reasons.

So the other guy makes a statement about how, "If they were forced to read the Bible, people would be up in arms" and I said that was because it'd be too easy to push religion on kids, and it's not really necessary. We live in a Christian nation where most students know what Christianity is about. Having some christianity in a general religion class is important, but it's not as important as covering Islam, because the general population just doesn't know about it. In music classes, why don't the cover the backstreet boys? Because kids already know about it. I told him we already lived in a Christian nation, and I was really bothered when some Christians acted like we were being freaking oppressed and persecuted for beliefs. We're not being fed to lions anymore, it's time to admit this. Other groups aren't so lucky.

He got all upset about how the world was ending or something, how kids in school aren't allowed to write reports about Jesus, how they bleeped out the word "Jesus" on The View or something once, I stopped listening. Whatever. Basically, his point was that society is going downhill fast and he even quoted George Washington as saying something about how we never should have taken the Bible out of public schools, I don't even know.

I'm always bothered by the whole "prayer in schools" movement. A lot of what bothers me is just mis-education... members of my faith seem to think that a kid will get taken out and shot if he thanks God for his crappy school lunch, which isn't true. Prayer is very legal in schools. Kids can pray, they can pray in groups, teachers can pray alone, kids can bring Bibles to school, it's all very okay. What isn't legal is a teacher leading his class in prayer, and let's face it, why would anyone want a teacher to lead a class in prayer? What if the druid teacher thought it was okay to lead her class in prayer? Wouldn't that just thrill some right-wingers? heh.

And this is where the Bible comes in. One of my favorite stories is the one where Jesus is asked what the most important thing for us to do is. He lists two things. First, we must love God. Second, we must love our neighbor. Not convert our neighbor. Not make sure our neighbor is sleeping with members of the opposite sex only. It just doesn't come up in the conversation. What does come up, in another chapter, is how we are supposed to convert our peers first by living as examples of what God wants us to be. After we're living as examples, then we can use some words, but sparingly. How is, "Kids, we're all going to pray to MY God NOW because we can." loving a neighbor? It's being pushy and disrespectful. Yes, you might get a convert in there somewhere eventually, but was it really worth your soul?

Priorities, people! It says it in the Bible, if you've ever read it, you'd know!

So now I'm tiffed at my religion again, and I just wish I could meet some vocal Christians who aren't crazy. Who believe that seeking God for ourselves is the most important thing. Who aren't afraid of letting homosexuals teach our kids, because for God's sake, even if homosexuality is a sin does anyone have any idea how low it ranks on the "list of shitty stuff you can do"?

I just had a long conversation with my sister about how her college group tried to get "or sexual orientation" put on the topeka law about how you can't evict someone from rental property because of race, sex, or religion. The topeka board members were threatened in their homes! Hundreds of otherwise perfectly normal people turned out to say Topeka was going to hell for this. It made me so made, and worse, ashamed to be a Christian, because these people can't listen to themselves and think about what they're doing to their neighbors and brothers and sisters.

I want to go up to 100 Christians and ask them if they think that's right, because in my heart I'm trying to believe that those hateful people are just a vocal minority giving us all a bad name.

But I'm sometimes afraid of the answers I might get. And it makes me sick to even think about it.


( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 20th, 2002 03:40 pm (UTC)
For the record, the Koran was required reading for all incoming freshman at UNC Chapel Hill this year. [article here] That's probably where he was getting it.
Sep. 20th, 2002 03:54 pm (UTC)
ANd, for what it's worth, my brother's one of those freshmen.

He thought the book was really neat, with a CD so you could hear the verses chanted in Arabic and a translation and transliteration so you could follow along. I don't think he found the discussion of the book as interesting, and a lot of those discussion groups on the book probably strayed off into the topic of being required to read the book.
Sep. 20th, 2002 03:53 pm (UTC)
amen sister...
a few un correlating points that float across my mind in no particular order...

I think it goes without saying that if the classes in question were RELIGION classes, the major religious books should be requirements. I sincerely doubt that chem 110 is looking to have students read anything other than their textbooks.

And since when did college students start actually reading ANYTHING o the required reading list?

How dare the collegiate powers that be try to EXPAND THE MINDS OF COLLEGE STUDENTS!!! fukintards... sheesh.

and lastly, I will revert back to the best most holy song ever written... What God Said, by The Uninvited!.

thanks for giving me a reason to rant spacefem... =-D
Sep. 20th, 2002 05:00 pm (UTC)
*shock* an Open-minded Christian?! I'm speechless.

But seriously.. I applaud you in your thinking. Throughout my life, no matter what "religion" I chose to affiliate with, I have often wondered how people can be so hypocritical of the BASIC rules governing their religion and/or conduct as members of that religion. I'm not talking about church rules and/or coven rules. I'm talking about things from text. Things from the leaders. i.e. things from the Bible, the Q'uran, The Satanic Bible, Aradia, the rule of three, the 13 tennemants of the Craft, etc.. etc.. etc.. No matter what religion you are, there is something like that. It amazes me... it really does.

This is one reason I no longer affiliate myself with one specific religion.

I had more of a train of thought on this.. but can't remember what it was now (apologies)... I'll get back to you, lol.
Sep. 20th, 2002 05:05 pm (UTC)
~phew~ thank goodness for that!
Thee *are* Southern States Christians who don't want me burned at the stake for kissing my girlfriend (when i get another one :/ )
*Thank* you!
Sep. 20th, 2002 11:03 pm (UTC)
kissy kissy smoochie woochie
kiss whomever you want. They wouldn't be able to burn you, because spacefem has all of the Kerosene. :P
Sep. 20th, 2002 05:15 pm (UTC)
Wrong! Music classes don't cover the backstreet boys because they aren't music!
Sep. 20th, 2002 05:18 pm (UTC)
point taken :)
Sep. 20th, 2002 06:57 pm (UTC)
I agree with you Space Fem,...
I think alot of christians are hippocrates. I am one of those
christians that believes it's OK to be Gay. I believe we should learn about all religions. No body says its wrong to pray in schools, people are just embarrassed to. Alot of Christians/Non-christians are against homosexuality, with I think is being a hypocrite.
God said that he will judge people not us. Let's face it, before 9/11, less than half of us knew Afghanistan and Islam
religion existed. I dont judge people, even if it a sin. When will some Christians learn that God Judge's, not us! And, I am not dissing christians, I am just saying, dont be a HYPOCRITE. Dont judge! Leave it to god Please! Sorry to get a little preachy, but I hate people who are frontal.
Sep. 21st, 2002 03:58 am (UTC)
Re: I agree with you Space Fem,...
Less than half? *really*? That's scary...whyever not? ~mystified~

I'd also like to make a small snigger at lots of Christians all cramming into the body of Hippocrates, the ancient Greek philosopher who devised the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors before they can go into practice and studied anatomy and other sciences :) I love spelling mistakes!
Sep. 20th, 2002 06:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was at the Topeka protest, it was horrible! The Westboro Baptist people were totally bringing in their *fetii* to speak at the council, they had like sixteen speakers with the last name 'Phelps' and we only got a few. It was still uplifting, though, we had a ton of people. I bet your sister knows hissyfit, who told me about the rally. She's heavily involved in Q&A at KU.

I'm a vocal Christian, and I try not to be crazy. :)
Sep. 20th, 2002 10:55 pm (UTC)
Really? I am a christian and I have vocals too! It was very nice to meat you!
Sep. 21st, 2002 02:13 am (UTC)
Sep. 21st, 2002 02:54 am (UTC)
Sep. 21st, 2002 01:26 pm (UTC)
That is correct.
Sep. 21st, 2002 03:34 pm (UTC)
OH...BWA! Now I get it.
Sep. 20th, 2002 07:59 pm (UTC)
Strangely, the person I know who's read the bible the most often and knows it the most thoroughly is the one who hates Christians the most and is the least "let's all get along", "let them believe what they want," sort of person. I think he took the whole "know thy enemy" clause to heart.
Sep. 20th, 2002 10:52 pm (UTC)
I think that is sad, because they are reading it, and just like some Christians, are missing the point. With so much in common, I wonder why they disagree with eachother?
Sep. 21st, 2002 01:22 am (UTC)
Because some of us out there are atheists and the bible just serves to reinforce our beliefs. However, it's often necessary to know it when people try to pull things on you and display that they don't understand it that well themselves.
Sep. 21st, 2002 02:40 am (UTC)
How does it serve to reinforce your A Beliefs? What do people--I am assuming Christians--try to pull on you, an atheist, from the bible in which is of no significance to you because the idea of God is that there is no idea--There is no God! What does it matter? If I was an atheist--and I thank God I am not--I wouldn't even listen to, or take a believers arguments seriously; I would see it as a superflous notion that doesn't need entertaining. I would also use my knowledge of science to try and refute any belief in God, because we all know that a study based on empirical methodology will somehow disprove anything non-physical to be false. How, you say?...I honestly cannot say; I guess I have faith...
Sep. 20th, 2002 08:43 pm (UTC)
For the record I had to read the Q'uran for Western Civ I which was required for being a liberal arts major. So in a way many college students are forced to read it, but I don't think anyone in my class was converted by it. We just discussed it as a work of philosophy and compared it with western religions, such as Christianity. We also had to read parts of the bible for the class as well, so it's not like it didn't give both perspectives.
Sep. 20th, 2002 10:47 pm (UTC)
I would rather read the Tao Te Ching...I wonder if that will ever be a requirement?
Sep. 20th, 2002 11:05 pm (UTC)
Maybe someday when Taoists start blowing up buildings and there are lots of misconceptions about what they believe, it might be a requirement.
Sep. 20th, 2002 11:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah...that is likely to happen. LOL
Sep. 20th, 2002 11:31 pm (UTC)
(I'd find it hard to believe that Washington said anything about public schools, as there weren't public schools then. Most schools at the time, I believe, were run by institutions--religious institutions for the most part. There might have been one or two enlightened communities that founded public schools, but there wasn't a public school system as we know it now.)

It's not that I disagree with you. I just think that what you're saying wouldn't be convincing to people who don't already agree with you. Take Jesus' second commandment that you should love your neighbor. What does it mean to love your neighbor? Does it mean to stand by idly as you watch him or her destroy his or her life with destructive habits? If you love a friend, would you let him fall into a drug habit? Would you let her stay in an abusive relationship? They might feel the same way about some of the things you condone. They might see living an active homosexual life (or not believing in God) as just as destructive to the soul as drug abuse or an abusive relationship is to the body. If you love somebody, how can you stand by and watch them race down a road to hell?

(And while we're not throwing Christians to the lions, until the 40s or so, there has been quite a bit of anti-Catholic bigotry. Did you know that until the 20s, Catholic could not hold public office in North Carolina?)

There's no problem with prayer in schools here. Several of our teachers lead the class in prayer in every class. But then, I guess this is a special case.
Sep. 21st, 2002 01:27 am (UTC)
Because no matter how convincing the hell argument may be to some, there are still us crazy atheists who have logical, well-reasoned beliefs that we feel as just as valid as the Christian "friends" who think it's their duty to try and show us the path to salvation. Drugs and abusive relationships are quite objectively destructive, but personal opinions and lifestyles are not and as such, throwing yourself into them is merely rude.

I'm absolutely stunned and apalled that there is teacher-led prayer in public school though. Just because the majority of parents tend to be Christian doesn't mean the children are or want to be. I can imagine a situation like that being very intimidating.
Sep. 21st, 2002 09:49 am (UTC)
Consider the premises:

  1. My religion teaches that I should love my neighbor.
  2. If I love my neighbor, I don't want to see him or her condemned to hell.
  3. My religion teaches that any person who rejects God and Jesus will be condemned to hell.
  4. My religion teaches that those who engage in homosexual intercourse will be condemned to hell.

With those premises, the only logical conclusion is to try to dissuade people from engaging in acts (rejecting God, for example) which will get them condemned to Hell.

You probably reject some (or all) of the premises, but can you fault the conclusion? The conclusion follows logically from the premises. (Of course, the way a lot of people go about trying to change people is remarkably ineffective, but I think that might be due in part to frustration and wanting to get immediate results. Who knows, after all, when God will call somebody back?)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the behavior of people who you might find fault with follows logically from what they believe. They're not illogical, irrational people.
Sep. 21st, 2002 11:39 pm (UTC)
While I'll admit that you have good intentions there are some problems with it nonetheless. I do not believe in hell, thus I have absolutely no fear of it. I often find it interesting when people try to say something that they think will be incredibly hurtful to you like "You're going to HELL for not believing in god!!" Sorry, it doesn't work that way. It's just as effective as telling them that the giant invisible rabbits in my garage are going to eat them. Thus I don't think that choosing to believe something else is wrong, I don't think homosexuality is wrong and I'm willing to believe that anyone who you try to dissuade is likely to think that whatever they're doing is perfectly normal and would prefer it if you'd leave them alone.

Further while there are those who use the wrong methods people tend not to want to be preached to regardless. I'm personally a teetotaler for a variety of reasons, but I don't try to convince others that they ought to join me in this. I know that anything I say despite the proof I have for it won't have any effect. All it will do is irritate them and might make some people simply increase their drinking just to be obstinant. Considering I'm dealing with something that can be logically and concretely proven and people wouldn't be willing to listen even though what I'm doing is in their best interests it follows that something based on personal convictions and belief alone would fail to be effective in a similiar manner.

I would be just as right to try and convince you to stay home on sundays, sleep in, and have some exciting homosexual intercourse since I only want to help and according to my beliefs you'd be better off doing it. Just because you feel it may be the correct course of action doesn't mean that it necessarily will be from anyone's point of view and until god pops out and settles it for everyone noone will ever be verifiably correct (for all I know the deists could be right, they've really got a strong position).

I know this won't change you and you'll still want to help people, but perhaps another method might be more helpful and better accepted.
Sep. 21st, 2002 03:57 pm (UTC)
Excellent points. On a related point, I find it amusing how homosexuality and atheism are often lumped together as if they are similar offenses. While I am not gay, I think telling someone you are gay gets about as warm as a reception as telling someone you are an atheist.
While I won't speak for all atheists, most the atheists I know have spent considerable time contemplating religion and have a serious working knowledge of the Bible.
Believe what you want, but at least know what you believe
Sep. 21st, 2002 11:31 pm (UTC)
I find it amusing how homosexuality and atheism are often lumped together as if they are similar offenses

A gaytheist? That is offensive.
Sep. 21st, 2002 11:41 pm (UTC)
Hmm... I know a gay Jew and a gay Discordian, but no gay atheists... only lesbians (not to get pedantic, but a literal interpretation has nothing against lesbians as far as I've been able to tell).
Sep. 21st, 2002 04:12 am (UTC)
Yes, but having relationships with a person of the same sex is my decision (well, hers too) whereas being beaten up in an abusive relationship wouldn't be the choice of the person being hit.
An abused partner would be always asking themself whether they really should stay - take the rest of the world away and they'd still be unhappy with what's going on. Whereas if you took the rest of the world away from me + female partner i wouldn't be still intrinsically unhappy as a result of being gay. Although i'd probably be wondering where i'd get food from with all the shops gone.
Because a gay person wouldn't ask to be "saved" from what some might see as sinfulness, there isn't consent for anything that might be seen as salvation. In that way it's like surgery without consent and to me therefore wrong.
Hey, that *does* link up with Hippocrates. Well done that man!
As well as that it involves arguing with people and being called a pervert which i also don't like.
Sep. 21st, 2002 09:56 am (UTC)
I don't know much about abusive relationships, but I'm under the impression that many people stay in them voluntarily. If it were a matter of getting up and leaving the first time (or the second time or the twentieth time) somebody hits you, there wouldn't be much of an abusive relationship.

What if the person you knew were the abuser, though, and not the abused? If you love him or her, would you let him or her stay in the relationship and continue to abuse his or her partner?
Sep. 21st, 2002 01:40 am (UTC)
I think that people will try to use whatever they can to try and justify their position. Religion just happens to be one of those things than can easily be twisted to mean often what you want it to and which people will listen to frequently. No offense to the Christians but there are a lot of really, amazingly stupid ones out there. I'm friends with a number, but at the same time there are people willing to belive immediately anything they read in a book of unverified authorship without any corroborating evidence and little to no notes on translation. For people like this there isn't much you can do to help them... just try to get them to move out to western Kansas and leave the rest of us alone.
Sep. 21st, 2002 05:44 am (UTC)
I think it's a very good point that a lot of people who call themselves christians should take a look into the bible but face it, things have always been like that. By this i mean christians in the past have done some pretty stupid and unchristian things. I guess that's like every religion. Some people only take what they want to believe and that's sad 1. for them, 2. for other members of the religion.

I myself am a christian. I believe that we should seek to get ourselves right with God but we should also bring up the topic of religion, church, ect. with other people. Just having a conversation about it isn't like you're enforcing your opinions on the person but if they don't know much about your religion it's a great opportunity for you to share. I guess what i'm trying to say is that although we must be seeking God we must provide the opportunity for others to seek God but forcing them to isn't going to do anything except push them away(9 1/2 times out of 10 anyway).
Sep. 21st, 2002 12:10 pm (UTC)
we must love our neighbor. Not convert our neighbor.
*nodnod* And the bit about taking the plank out of your own eye before removing the speck from your brother's....
Sep. 21st, 2002 12:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, and "let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
Sep. 21st, 2002 12:14 pm (UTC)
::glutealdivide chucks a boulder::
Sep. 21st, 2002 12:23 pm (UTC)
It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye. Er, a head.

Watch out with those boulders. You could hurt somebody with them.
Sep. 21st, 2002 02:12 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I'm one of those Christians who has actually read the Bible. And I'm an incredibly tolerant and open-minded Christian.

It sickens me how many people out there that really haven't seemed to read the Bible at all...and there's a lot. And I really don't like how a lot of people call themselves Christian when they really aren't. But ehn, that's a more semantic discussion.

Still, we need a total religion education class for everyone, about the basic tenets of a good portion of the major world religions (Christianity, Islamic, Taoist, Buddhist...)
Sep. 21st, 2002 05:29 pm (UTC)
the separation of church and state issue
I know the discussion has expanded beyond the First Amendment and the separation of church and state, so I'm backtracking a little. We need to remember that the separation of church and state serves a dual purpose, aimed at maximizing freedom of belief for all of us.

(From a site called Institute for First Amendment Studies) http://www.ifas.org/
"The term 'separation of church and state' means more than the absence of a state church; instead the principle serves to prevent one institution from supporting and controlling the other. Rather than being anti-religious, the separation of church and state is essential for religious liberty and the growth of religious communities. It is because of church/ state separation that religion has flourished in the United States.....

"The separation of church and state ensures the autonomy of religion, while it acts as a check on possible governmental overreaching into the rights of conscience. It assures that no citizen be forced to attend religious services of any kind, or support any religion. Separation of church and state does not mean the removal of religious influences in our society; instead it means a secular government that is truly neutral on religious matters. "

This principle may seem offensive or restrictive, but it's essential. A country that incorporates the Christian Bible into government policies may seem benign, but if the government decided that Taliban-esque beliefs might be more suited to contemporary society, welcome to a whole 'nother nightmare. The protection goes both ways.


Sep. 23rd, 2002 10:11 pm (UTC)
Condemned to hell anywho
We are all condemned to hell 'cording to the Bible. Gays, lesbos, non-christians, and we all brake the commandments... cuz some contradict each other. Lets go to hell in style. If we are gonna go let us brake the worst Commandments.

Join me and stop believing in hell if there is anything that will happen the few "perfect" people will go to a lesser hell. If we gonna go there then don't worry bout the after life.

Bout the religious in school thingy. I think school is hard enuff without having to worry bout the religious theories. I mean all but 1 of my teachers, being jewish, would be appalled talking bout a different religion. If a person wants to bring religion to schools, they have 2 options leave it outside of the classroom, or homeschooling (preferably the 2nd.)
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