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Posts Tagged ‘atheist’

In our world today there seems to be a lot of talk in the Christian world of standing up for our beliefs and doctrines. It seems we feel this is the best way to show our devotion to God and be a witness for Him.

I am not so sure we are going about this in the correct way. As Christians we are getting to be known more for what we are against and being unloving rather than showing the love of God to others.

church masks

A lot of us go to a church building on Sunday and sing and smile and listen to a sermon and think we have fulfilled our duties for the week. All day we are feeling good and close to God and think everything is good.

Then Monday hits and we go grudgingly off to work with a frown on our face and feeling down. We may be in a bad mood and snap at our fellow employees and try to make them feel as bad as we do.

It seems we forget that Christianity is not a religion or a one day a week life. As followers of Christ we are to let Christ live through us in the strength of the Holy Spirit. We are to let his love flow out of us to touch those we come in contact with throughout the day.

Rather than try to win people over to our way of thinking by pointing out their mistakes and shortcomings, rather than condemning them and making them feel like outsiders we should be allowing the love of Christ to touch them. We should be accepting and treating all people like we want to be treated.

While Jesus lived in bodily form on earth he constantly spent time with those the religious crowd would not even think of being around. He spent time doing things that the religious leaders thought were wrong and against their religious laws. They could not even accept him as the messiah because he was so different from them and what they thought was a godly way to live.

Love All People

Christian people seem to pick out gay people to be the worst sinners around and we make atheists our enemy rather than being a fellow human being. Many whites and blacks cannot get along nor can people of different religions. We have women who hate men and men who want to demean and dominate women. We seem to divide ourselves up based on the label we apply rather than seeing another human being who many times wants the same things in life we all do.

When it comes to pointing out sin, I do not believe it is our job to do so. Sin is sin and God will convict people if there is sin to be dealt with through the Holy Spirit, not us. We are called to love God, live for Him and let Him work in us. We are also called to love one another, which means we pass on the unconditional love of God to all we meet along the way.

Rather than fighting, arguing and trying to prove our way of thinking, we should follow the leading of the Spirit for ourselves. Let each person make the decision what is right for them between God and the other person. Live your life in love and under the guidance of the Spirit, letting your life be a witness of the love of God.

Jesus accepted people for who they were, just the way they were and did not show condemnation toward them. As followers of Christ we are to do the same. It is not our job to be the judge of others, pointing out their sins and mistakes and treating them like second class people. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin where conviction is needed. We do not need to do the job of the Holy Spirit, we are here to be Jesus to all people, loving, accepting and treating everyone with respect no matter who they are or what they believe.

In our world today with all the discrimination and unloving ways of the world and even of the Church, we are to allow the Holy Spirit to love through us to touch others and let them know they are accepted and cared for, and in God’s eyes they are loved beyond measure. Love is the way of God because God is love. Stop the unloving and condemning attitudes and let those you come in contact with each day know they are loved and accepted just for being themselves.

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Why does the word inclusion make so many of us christian people cringe?

inclusion

We often want to only include our preferred group. People who think like us and have faith like us. If you think differently we feel you should stay in your own group with like-minded people, but leave us alone. Sorry to say I used to feel the same way, but have thankfully changed my mind.

I am not necessarily just talking about organized religion or institutional church, but accepting people in general in our daily lives.

We see this so much within christianity, such a wide variety of denominations and interpretations of the bible. This is only mentioning fellow believers who believe that God is with us and loves us.

When it comes to including people who we see as completely different from us, it is even worse. African-American, White, LGBT, Atheist, Muslim, Jew and on it goes. We seem to think as believers in God we need to separate ourselves from those who see things differently. We think we should not associate with them or people will think we agree with them and are a part of their way of living.

Really, behind all the labels we put on people we are all basically the same, so why not associate and get to know people who we feel are different from us? We can learn from one another and get to know one another and find that we really are not all that different.

inclusionbyjesus

We see Jesus do this all the time when reading the gospels in the bible. He did not differentiate people based on their religion, belief, lifestyle or nationality. He did not separate himself from those who thought, believed and lived differently. He loved and accepted all people.

Obviously loving and accepting people does not mean agreement nor are we going to always get along in life and live happily ever after together. Yet I believe it does mean treating others the same, with respect, kindness, acceptance and with the love of God through the power of the Spirit within.

Inclusion is not a bad word. It is not a bad or unholy way to live. Inclusion is about ALL of us. Inclusion is about living full lives – about learning to live together. Inclusion makes the world our classroom for a full life. Inclusion treasures diversity and builds community. Inclusion is about our abilities – our gifts and how to share them. Inclusion is the way of God and the way of showing the love of God to all we meet.

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I am becoming more and more angered over the religious freedom talk and the laws being signed in various states across our country.

I know it sounds good and I do believe everyone should have religious freedom. Yet a lot of these bills sound more like discrimination to me.

When we sign into law a bill that forces one groups views on everyone, or when the religious beliefs of one group are forced on another group that is not standing up for your faith…that is discrimination.

Whether it is discrimination against Muslims, Gays, Atheist, Black, Christian or whatever group we could mention, forcing the views of one group on everyone else is not right.

loveyourneighbor1

It is also hard to believe that people want laws passed saying that if you have a certain religious belief you expect everyone to adhere to that belief and you do not have to give the same rights and consideration to other groups of people.

What happened to the teaching of Jesus to love our neighbors and do not judge? Do we not remember that Jesus spent time with the non-religious people and those who the religious crowd would not spend time?

We need to remember just because people are different, just because we have different views and different faiths or no faith at all, as christians we believe God created us all and He loves us all. We as his followers are to do the same.

We are not going to legislate christian morality. We are not going to convert anyone to our way of thinking by passing laws, especially those that discriminate against anyone.

Remember, as christians we are to love God, love our neighbor, love our enemies, and love those who hate and mistreat us. The Holy Spirit is the one who will convict the world of sin where convicting is needed.

Obviously, this does not mean we are all going to agree. We can have our individual beliefs and ways of life and still respect and care for each other.

We should stop trying to do the job of the Spirit and love one another in spite of our differences.

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I don’t know about you but there is a bumper sticker I have always liked yet I understand many christian people would not agree with me. It is the coexist bumper sticker.

coexist

I do not necessarily agree with all the beliefs of the organizations in coexist, but there is a basic concept that I think we as christians should be showing to the world.

Now there are several institutions that I do not know a lot about that make up the group, and I am sure I do not agree with every concept of all of them. What I do like about the coexist organization is the statement that their mission is to advance social cohesion through education and innovation. That they work at the fault-lines of conflicting cultural identities to strengthen the bond that holds a society together through a sustainable model of people working and learning together. This generates social cohesion that reduces prejudice, hate and violence and prevents conflict from emerging again.

I know many christian people will take this in a way that says anything goes. Whatever you want to believe is fine no matter what and we can all go through life together happy and accepting each other with no consequences. Many will feel that education is the key and if we just learn how each other thinks we can be accepting and get along with no problem.

For me, I agree with some of this way of thinking. We should be able to talk, learn, and get to know others of different ideas, faith, lifestyle and nationalities. We should be able to get along, love and accept people who see things differently.

That does not mean we have to always agree or change our way of thinking just to get along. We can be loving and accepting of others even in our differences.

There are certainly many different ways of thought, many different religious groups, the LGBTQ community, atheists, different nationalities, ethnic groups and on and on. We certainly are not all going to agree with each other.

What I am saying is even though we see things differently and we do not agree on everything we should be able to accept one another in love and respect, accept each other for who we are and get along together in our differences yet keep our personal beliefs and individuality.

loveandacceptanceofothers

Those of us who are following Jesus and consider ourselves christians are called to love God and love others. The others we are to love are not just those who believe, or go to the same religious organization or interpret the bible the same way. Many times it is loving those who most religious people would not take the time to be around. It seems to me this is the way Jesus lived.

I think we can coexist with our fellow humans and still hold to our personal faith and beliefs. Each of us can live our lives in a way we feel is right for us and accept those who feel differently.

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What do you think of when you hear the word atheist, gay, transgender, muslim, jew, christian, black, white or a host of other labels we put on people?

Usually we think of something specific and usually something we have been taught or heard over the years. It depends on where you heard it or who taught you but a lot of times what we think is negative in one way or another.

With all the prejudices, fear, hate and misunderstanding among people it is sad that we forget behind each one of these labels there is a human being.

labelsonpeople

I know that not all people believe there is a God or they believe in different gods and I do not want to argue on that point. None of us can actually prove one way or another as to what we believe about God or life after death. It is basically a matter of belief or faith or scientific understanding. Yet as a christian I personally believe there is a God and He created each person in His image. He loves each and every one of us no matter what label humanity has put upon us.

Each of us deserves love, respect, acceptance and the basic human rights we all should enjoy.

Just because we accept one another and respect each other does not mean we always agree or always condone the actions of another, but we should be able to treat each other in kindness and respect even in our disagreements.

Rather than profile people into a particular group based on the label we use, we should remember the individual person behind the label. Even if there are a few bad apples in each particular group it does not mean everyone is the same.

As human beings each of us wants to live a happy, satisfying life. Each of us has worries, bills and every day obligations. Each of us wants to love and be loved, each of us wants to be accepted and happy.

We will not all see things the same way. Each of us has our own personality, belief system, lifestyle, desires and things we enjoy and that make us happy. We cannot expect everyone to be the same or believe the same or interpret things the same. We are each uniquely made and we each have our own path to walk throughout this life.

I know many in the christian world will not agree on this outlook on life. Many feel it is our job to point out the mistakes and sins of others as a way to witness to the love of God. I do not see it that way. In the bible we are told the Spirit will convict the world of sin, so I do not believe it is our job to convict others of sin. Besides, what is sin to one person may not be to another. It is not our job to be judging others. We are called to love one another even in our differences.

donotcondemn

Jesus came as the Son of God to show us what the Father is like and Jesus was not a condemning person. He loved and associated with many people who the religious crowd wanted nothing to do with. Sure Jesus said go and sin no more but he never condemned. He could say the same thing to each of us because we all sin. Jesus was perfect and never sinned so he had the right to condemn people and tell them how bad their mistakes were yet he never did.

The bible says Jesus came to proclaim the good news, yet when we only condemn and point out the mistakes of others that does not seem like very good news. Sure there are times when love needs to be tough and things need to be done that are hard. At the moment these actions may not seem very loving. We all know that we can be tough when needed because we do care for the other person and we are doing what we feel is the best for them, but we still love them even when things are not going so good.

As a christian I believe that God loves each of us and wants each of us to follow him by the Spirit. Even when we do not always make the best choices he still loves us and wants to have fellowship with us. As his followers I feel that is the same we should be doing to everyone we have contact with each day. Love God, love others and seek God’s leading each day. Look past the labels society has placed on people and see the human being that God created and loves.

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It is amazing to me to see such strife, arguing and condemnation among people….and I am talking among Christian people. For a group of people who are supposed to be known for their love for one another it seems there is more back-biting, arguing and sometimes near hatred than anything else among some groups.

I grew up in the organized church and was a part of it for well over 50 years, so I am not an outsider who knows nothing about the system. I saw first-hand within the church and I see first-hand through social media and other venues how we can treat those who believe differently than us.

We would go to Sunday morning church service and greet one another and sing of the love of God. We would hear the pastor preach on loving our enemy and loving one another and we would be all excited to go out and do that….until we got to lunch after church and met someone from a different denomination. That is not to mention someone who never set foot in a church building at all.

arguments

There is also the fact that many times there were those within the same church who could not get along with others over petty little things. Fortunately this is a small amount of people I am talking about and there are many faithful, loving people inside and outside the walls of the organized church.

Now days my wife and I are outside the walls of religion and no longer attend an organized traditional church. Now that we are outside the walls looking in, I can see why some people want nothing to do with Christianity today. We have become a people known more for what we are against rather than showing acceptance and love to people.

Why is it that we think our way of interpreting the bible is right and everyone else is just a little off base? There is nothing wrong with friendly debate, questioning and trying to learn from one another but many times even friendly debate ends up trying to prove our point and disprove others views.

It is good to listen to each other and hear different views and opinions, yet we must remember we are only hearing opinions of people. Changing our opinions based on what man says only gives us another man’s opinion. It is the Spirit of God within us that will teach, lead and guide us. There are many people in the church and outside the church who follow Christ and are kind, loving people who want to love one another and love others. Whether you attend an organized church or not does not make a difference. We need the encouragement and support of one another but that can happen anytime the Spirit draws us together.

We feel the Church is the people and we can assemble together any where, any time, any day. It does not have to be an organized meeting with one person in charge. We are all kings and priests according to God and we can all have a song, a word or teaching. The Holy Spirit lives within each of us and he is our teacher and guide. When you have the Spirit of God living within you and leading you there is no need for a man or woman to be your spiritual guide.

The sad fact today seems that a lot of us are so hung up on our personal beliefs and interpretations that we fail to see the human being behind all the labels we put on them. Each of us has the right and ability to seek God for ourselves and listen for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead us in the path he has for us. That does not mean everyone else is going along the exact same path and that is OK.

Even to those who do not believe in God or who believe in different gods, it is not our place to judge and condemn them. We are to love them with the love of Christ. I do not believe we are to push our ways on them or to try to convert them. That is the job of the Spirit who is the one who draws people to Christ. It is the decision of each individual to respond, reject or even deny that drawing.

acceptoneanother

Rather than continually fighting and arguing amongst ourselves and trying to prove who is right, who is wrong, whose interpretation is of God or not it is time for us Christian people to come together in love for God, for one another and for the people of this world who need to hear and see the love of God in action. We waste so much time trying to prove our way of thinking to one another while those outside of Christ are looking at us and trying to figure out why in the world they would want to be a part of us.

Obviously we are not all going to agree or see things the same way. We also need to remember that loving and accepting others does not mean we always agree or condone others actions, but as followers of Christ we can love and accept people even in our differences.

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If you are around people a lot or are on social media you will see many people are ready to argue in order to prove their way of thinking, especially in regard to spiritual matters.

arguingoninternet

Some atheists complain about christians believing in a fairy in the sky, some people get mad over the transgender debate, gays are treated like second-class citizens and some of them are hateful toward christians. Many christians fight with other christians and some can be very judgmental and condemning of atheists and the LGBT community. It seems each group is trying to prove why they are right and the other group is wrong and many times they do it in ways that are not so nice.

Why do so many people spend so much time arguing and defending personal views when we cannot prove any of it? Seriously, none of us can prove beyond a doubt our thoughts and views on spiritual things or life after death. We cannot prove God exists and we cannot prove he does not exist. There are so many varying doctrines, interpretations of the bible and denominations among christianity that it is not surprising we do not know who is right or wrong?

If we really think about it no matter what your religion, what your faith or belief, what your lifestyle, if you are atheist, christian, gay, agnostic, transgender, if you have a scientific view or creationist view none of us can prove our way of thought in regard to spiritual matters. It is our personal view and it is good to have those views but we should not be trying to prove our way and push it onto others expecting them to see things our way.

Each group is passionate about the way they see things and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is expecting everyone to agree and go along with our way of thinking.

We are not all going to agree on things, yet we should be able to be accepting of others. Being accepting does not mean we always agree with one another or approve of everything people do, but we should be able to be kind and show respect for everyone even in our differences. Being judgmental, condemning, or poking fun at one another is certainly not being loving and kind.

It all boils down to no matter what route we take in life, what we think about life after death, what we think about God or spiritual life, none of us can prove our way of thinking, at least not until death. Once we die, if there is life after death and I believe there is, we will know for sure at that point. Until that time we can only follow our way of thinking or believing, yet we should be respectful of others and the way they think.

loveyourneighbor

Those of us who are followers of Jesus should especially be loving and kind because Christ told us to love God and love one another. He did not say we should only love those who believe like us.

When reading about Jesus in the gospels we see a person who loved people and was accepting of everyone. He did not condemn nor judge and I believe he was God in human form showing us that God loves us all.

I believe God provides grace for everyone, but he gives us all freedom to choose what to believe and whether to accept it or not. I believe we should offer the same option to our fellow human beings no matter what label we put on them.

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