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Posts Tagged ‘muslim’

by Jim Gordon

No matter what your lifestyle, what you choose to believe, how you accept things none of us will ever completely agree with anyone else. As believers, we would not expect those who do not follow the christian faith to agree with everything we think and say. Yet, we also know that other christian people will not agree with everything either. We have so many denominations in the christian world and none of them can agree completely. But this is all OK, we are all individuals who see things differently. The last thing I want is to make people feel I expect everyone to see things my way.

I think those of us trying to follow Christ should be able to accept one another, believer and non-believer alike, talk with each other about how we see things and still be respectful and kind. We are to be known by our love, but unfortunately, that just is not the case most of the time.

No matter if we are gay, straight, christian, muslim, jew, hindu, atheist, asexual, baptist, methodist, charismatic or whatever label people put on us the underlying fact is we are all human beings. We all deserve to be treated with respect and be accepted. We each should be able to live our life and make our own choices without being condemned by others. We should be able to discuss our differences respectfully, and none of us should try to force our views and choices on another.

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of name calling and disrespect among different groups of people over time. Christian people saying God hates gays, and atheists are of the devil, people being afraid of muslims, one denomination wants nothing to do with another denomination…this is all sad and wrong.

If we could look past the labels and see each other as people who overall want the same thing, to be happy, to be loved, be healthy, get our bills paid and enjoy life I think things would be better even with our differences. This is not to say we have to agree with everyone and associate with everyone and be happy together, that just is not going to happen. There are too many different thoughts, ideas, beliefs, ways of life and personalities for us to agree on everything and be totally comfortable with everyone, yet accepting each other and respecting each other in spite of our differences certainly is a possibility.

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When you read about the life of Christ in the gospels, you see someone who loved people. He did not disassociate himself from any particular group, nor did he turn away anyone or think he was better than others. Jesus showed the love of the Father by caring for people, talking with people, eating together, healing people and not condemning them. The only crowd he had a problem with was the religious leaders of the day who thought they were so much better than everyone else because, in their view, they kept the rules. Their reasoning was they did not do the ‘wrong’ things and they did the ‘right’ things. They did not associate with the type of people they thought were less religious and unworthy of God’s love. Jesus was always getting on their case for being so religious they were of no earthly good to the Kingdom of God.

Speaking of all the different views and ways of life, I can remember when I was young and growing up in the organized church how I always stayed with people of similar belief. I do not know for sure if I was actually taught this or it was just a common belief I picked up, but I felt I needed to stay away from people of different views and ways of life. I thought it would be great to work in the church system or for a christian bookstore as a job, then spend my off-time in church services and doing church work. That way I would always being around someone who saw things pretty much the same as I did.  This way I would not have to be around ‘those’ people, whoever ‘they’ were. I still see this in the church today, a separatist mindset.

Sound familiar? So much of the traditional church setting is based on separation from those who think differently. This usually brings a feeling of superiority, being separated from those who need to see God’s love in action and living a Pharisee-type lifestyle. (Pharisee: strict observance of religious ceremonies and practices, one who adheres to laws and traditions, self-righteous or hypocritical person).

Compare that to the life of Jesus we read about in the gospels, a person who loved people, was not condemning or unkind, hung out with those who the religious crowd did not want anything to do with, spent time eating and drinking with the non-religious crowd and truly cared for others.

I know we all see things differently. We will not all agree on things and we have no way of proving our point in regard to spiritual matters. Yet I think it is time the christian ‘religion’ comes to an end and Christ-like people begin to daily show the unconditional love and acceptance of God to everyone.

Jesus said to love God and love one another. He did not say love only those who live in a way you think is right or with who you completely agree. Love people the way God loves them and agree to disagree rather than judge and condemn.

Share your thoughts in the comments below

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As a Christian growing up in the traditional church we always heard that atheists were our enemy. They deny the God we love and say he does not exist.

As time has gone on I have found that only part of that way of thought is correct. Atheists are not our enemies. In fact, they are no different than anyone else with the exception that they do deny that there is a God or any gods. I have several friends that are Atheists and believe it or not, they are normal people just like you and me.

AtheistsandChristiansAccording to statements made on atheists.org, “Atheism is one thing: a lack of belief in gods. Atheism is not an affirmative belief that there is no god nor does it answer any other question about what a person believes. It is simply a rejection of the assertion that there are gods. Atheism is too often defined incorrectly as a belief system. To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods. Atheism is not a belief system nor is it a religion”.

The idea that Christians and Atheists are enemies and cannot get along is the wrong way to think. So many Christians see things differently and interpret the bible in so many different ways, yet we are all part of the body of Christ. We all have our unique and individual thoughts, interpretations, ways of life and interests. In the same way, although Christians and Atheists see things differently there is no reason why we cannot get along and treat each other respectfully and with kindness.

Christians and Atheists are the same in the fact that, again quoting from atheists.org “All atheists are different. Atheists come in a variety of shapes, colors, beliefs, convictions, and backgrounds. We are as unique as our fingerprints. Atheists exist across the political spectrum. We are members of every race. We are members of the LGBTQ community. There are atheists in urban, suburban, and rural communities and in every state of the nation”.

Christians come in all the same areas as mentioned above. We are all unique and, coming from a Christian perspective, we are all created in the image of God and are loved by God.

I understand that Atheists do not think this way, and that is OK. Rather than condemn one another and argue and name call, we should accept that we are different and we see things differently. Unfortunately, I see this happen from time to time from Atheists and Christians alike. I wish we could accept that we are different in this one area and treat each other with respect and decency.

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One last quote from atheists.org “Being an atheist doesn’t mean you’re sure about every theological question, have answers to the way the world was created, or how evolution works. It just means that the assertion that gods exist has left you unconvinced. Wishing that there was an afterlife, or a creator god, or a specific god doesn’t mean you’re not an atheist. Being an atheist is about what you believe and don’t believe, not about what you wish to be true or would find comforting”.

Not much different from Christianity. We cannot prove anything spiritually or in regard to creation or evolution or if God is real or not. We certainly believe in God. We believe Jesus came to show us that God is love, yet we cannot prove it one way or another.

I am certainly not an expert on Atheism and as a Christian I do not think Atheism is the correct way of thinking. Yet Atheists think the same way about us Christians. The main point for me is to be accepting, loving, kind and respectful to all people no matter how they choose to believe, not believe or what they do not accept. Under all the labels such as Christian, Atheist, LGBT, Muslim and so forth we are human beings who have a variety of interests in life, we want to be happy and live a good life. There is no reason why we have to act as enemies due to a different perspective on God.

From my viewpoint, God is able to take care of himself. We can talk until we are blue in the face but that will not change most people. It is the Spirit that leads people to the Father. He will convict people of what needs to be changed in their lives, it is not our job. Until God makes himself known in a way that Atheists come to know there is a God, we should accept the differences and continue to love God and love others just as they are.

(Quotes taken from atheists.org About page at https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/about-atheism/)

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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.

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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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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.

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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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Thinking about the tragedy in Orlando and several of the other terrorist tragedies around the world got me to thinking about all the blaming and finger-pointing going on. My personal opinion is more about extremists, which is a group we really do not hear a lot about. We hear a lot about Muslim extremists but extremists in general are much more than Muslim or any particular group of people.

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Extremists are a group made up of many groups. We have religious extremists, political extremists, LGBT extremists, racial extremists,  Christian extremists (another group we hear little about), Muslim extremists and a host of others groups that go to the extreme with trying to force their belief on others.

Extremism according to the dictionary is: going to the utmost or very great lengths in action, habit, or opinion; exceeding the bounds of moderation.

Today this seems to be associated with those who are dangerous and who will go to any lengths to promote their way or life and get others to accept their beliefs, even to torture and killing.

In a world where extremism takes over there is no peace. No one is safe from verbal and physical abuse and harm.

This is not to say that every person should be lumped into the extremist basket. Each and every group have many people who want to have a happy life, accept others and enjoy living in a way that they are happy and comfortable. Each group mentioned above have people who get along with others, love people, go to work, pay their bills, enjoy their family and are satisfied with life as they know it.

Unfortunately it is the extremists who get all the attention. It is the extremists who do all the damage and cause the hatred and un-acceptance of others who are different from them.

To me it is really disturbing to read some of the Christian extremists comments, a group who should be known for love and acceptance but are showing their true colors of hatred and unacceptance. These are not true Christians and it is a tragedy in itself that people will use the guise of Christianity to promote and spread their hatred and un-Christ-like ways.

StopExtremism

Rather than blame as a whole the LGBT community, Christian, Muslim and other religious people, the various races or the gun rights advocates for all the trouble, hatred, condemnation and judgment we should be looking at the extremists of each group. They are the ones who keep things stirred up and causing mistrust, unacceptance and hatred.

It is said that Jesus was an extremists in his time. I tend to agree with that statement. Yet Jesus was an extremists of the opposite kind. He was extreme in his love for others and those the religious crowd did not want to be around. He was extreme in bucking the religious system of rules and working your way to favor with God. The extremists today use hate, fear and murder to promote their way of life. Jesus used love, acceptance and doing good to others. We need more extremists like Jesus in our world today.

If we could change or control the extremists of today and get past all the labels we put on one another, maybe we could begin to see each other as human beings who want a good, happy and satisfying life. It will be then that we could learn to accept one another and live in a more peaceful atmosphere.

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I think that as followers of Christ, we should be able to accept and love everyone. No matter what we believe, what our faith or doctrine is, no matter our religion, nationality, sexual preference or color, we want to see each other as Jesus sees us. This is a type of love we cannot do on our own. It is only possible by the love of God within us. We want to love, accept and care for people. It’s only natural that we will not always agree, but we want to look past those areas and love each other in Christ. This seems to be the way that others will come to see the love of God, not through condemning and bashing one another. Not in trying to prove we are right and everyone else is wrong. Love doesn’t mean seeing eye-to-eye, it doesn’t mean we agree or even like some of the things people do, but it does mean we look past the differences and love each other as Christ loves us.

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No matter if we are gay, straight, religious, atheist, asexual, baptist, methodist, charismatic or whatever label people put on us, the underlying fact is we are all human beings. We all deserve to be treated with respect and be accepted. Each of us should be able to live our life and make our own choices without being judged and condemned by others. We should be able to discuss our differences respectfully, and none of us should try to force our views and choices on others.

equals

If we could look past the labels and see each other as people who overall want the same things, to be happy, to be loved, be healthy, get our bills paid and enjoy life, I think things would be better even with our differences. This is not to say we are going to agree with everyone, always associate with everyone and be happy together, that just isn’t going to happen. There are too many different thoughts, ideas, beliefs, lifestyles and personalities for us to agree on everything and be totally comfortable with everyone, yet accepting each other and respecting each other in spite of our differences certainly is a possibility.

Let’s look past the labels and see each other as human beings who have feelings, who want love and friendship. Let’s be people who can get to know one another, learn from, share thoughts and ideas with and accept each other as being created in the image of God.

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Kindness is something you do not find much of in our world today.

The Bible speaks about kindness many times. Kindness is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.

The dictionary says kindness is being considerate, or helpful. I think the world be a better place if everyone treated each other with kindness. I am talking about all people, even those you do not agree with in life. Those who have different interpretations, lifestyles, sexual orientations, political stands or religious beliefs.

It usually doesn’t take a lot to be kind. Sometimes I think we make it so hard, when something as simple and easy as a genuine smile can brighten someone’s day. Being polite and kind to others can sometimes be just what they need to make their day. Holding the door for someone, letting them go ahead of you in line, smiling and saying hello… you never know.

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Simple Kindness

The little, everyday things we can do to show others kindness can be a seed planted in their lives that will one day grow and help lead them to Christ.

These days it seems we even have a hard time with Christians treating each other with kindness. We want to fight and argue over our views and interpretations and forget that as Christians, we all have the common ground of faith in Christ.

A friend of mine recently talked about relationships and how they seem to come to an end. He said it is based on what the relationship is about. If it is based on some thing or some activity, once we get tired of that particular thing and move on, the relationships based on that activity usually come to an end. I have noticed the same thing among those who attend an organized church. You may spend many years there, making many friends and being involved in all the activities. Yet once you leave, either to move to another church or to have communion outside the walls of the organization, all your friends from the old place seem to disappear also. Our friendships and relationships should be based on the common ground of faith in Christ and His grace. This should not change no matter where you go or how you participate in life as the Church.  Our love of the Father and for one another as His children should be the one thing that can hold together a friendship.

Let’s see if we can make a point of doing at least one act of kindness each day. You never know where it may lead.

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