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Thank you for making your points even more lucid.
> I'm really not trying to foster this
> discussion, so let me make a few more points
> and then (hopefully) bow out gracefully.
> First, let me thank you, Michael, for not
> taking offense at my last post.
I cannot take offence. Below I explain why.
> Second, thank you for realizing that each
> world view really is exclusive -- that is,
> they cannot all be true. I've met too many
> people who claim to be
> "practioners" of multiple
> religions but, in fact, they really don't
> know what they believe. I guess they think
> they are being more tolerant and inclusive
> -- but I feel that such folk are being
> deceptive. I would rather just agree to
This is a good point. And raises something else I too will make more lucid in my post to Chris' part two post. And that is knowledge of what they believe in... the more intricate workings and history of their chosen religion.
> Third, the point about the
> "inconsistencies" of the gospels:
> Let me just say that I believe that the
> differences are intentional -- the only
> author who claims to be giving a historical
> account is Luke. The others have different
> theological points that they are trying to
> emphasize, a point which become clearer when
> you look at the elements of Christ's life
> which they stress or ignore. While many
> people think these differences condemn the
> gospels, I think they are crucial to fully
> appreciating them.
Again, this is a good point. Rather. A Good explanation of WHY the stories differ. Thank you for sharing it.
> Fourth, I don't mean to be telling you folks
> what to do -- if you want this discussion,
> have at it. I just offered a warning, based
> on my experience. Shortly after becoming a
> Christian I became involved in a discussion
> along these lines that, sadly, degenerated
> into a prolonged series of angry e-mail
> messages. Ever since then, I like to know
> whether the people I speak with regarding
> religion have real questions or just an axe
> to grind.
Funny thing. Religion. People can get very passionate about it. Because it is a part of them.
It's an interesting psychological occurance. Based on what WE individually consider is part and parcel of ourselves.
Religion and Politics. Country. State. City. County. Suburb. Street. Sporting and recreational affiliation. We own some of these things.
If I say, "Everyone in North Dakota is an idiot." People who do not live in North Dakota won't care. Residents of that state will get upset.
If I then say, "People in the USA are idiots." Those who didn't get upset previously, now will be upset. Because I have broadened the range of my insult.
If I expand that to "People in Nrth America are idiots" I now also anger Canadians.
The reverse is also true. People in Such and Such suburb are idiots will not make you bat an eyelid if you live in the suburb next door. But mention your suburb, and you take it personally.
Same goes with streets. Sports teams you follow. Cars you drive. TV shows you watch.
The same with religion.
As I mentioned earlier about Terrorists being labeled as Moslem but never Christian.
While they get called Moslem Terrorits, the Jews and Christians don't think anything of it. On the other hand, the Moslems are trying to get heard that those terrorists are NOT Moslems because their actions go against the religion. Using the same arguement which has been used by some Christians when hit up with questions about the large numbers of deaths in the Crusades... you should not blame a religion for things done in its name.
Anyway. The moment groups like the IRA get labeled Christian Terrorits we will see a HUGE outcry from the Christian community. (Maybe adoption of the Jewish "your anti-sematic" label should also be used by other religions?)
But while it doesn't happen, and while the label is stuck onto another religion instead, those not in the labeled religion don't see it. Just like my "insult" example earlier in this post.
The personalizing of topics is what causes the majority of discussions to quickly deteriorate into name calling and the like. Points about a religion as a whole get taken personally because we consider that religion is a part of us - which it is. (Not counting those with an axe to grind, as you mentioned.)
Now it just so happens that the western world is mainly Christian. And the Arab world Moslem. So we not only end up with Religious differences, there are economic differences and cultural differences too. So what could be the result of cultural or political ideologies is thus easily labeled as a religious difference.
Historically, the MO of the far far left as been violence. Even relatively civil lefties cause riots during the World trade Summit meetings every year.
When those super far left radicals also come from the Middle East, it can appear as Moslem vs the rest of us.
And when Osama says, "Do this and this and this" or the news reports that he "calls on all Moslems to..." That is like you - or any other Christian - calling on all Christians to...
In other words. No authority.
But seeing as he is the figure head of a violent extreme left ideology, he wraps it in Is-lam and the smoke job is complete.
As you hinted at... it is all too easy to call yourself a member of a certain religion, whether you practice that religion or follow its teachings or not.
Anyway. I think you have bowed out gracefully. Unless you want to chime back in again :o)
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