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Why such darkness?

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by Obliquinaut, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Obliquinaut

    Obliquinaut Сделайте Америку прекрасной

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    I used to be a Christian and a lot of the way I live today as an atheist is predicated on the valuable things I find in Christianity: hope, charity, peacefulness, even a form of "grace"! etc.

    And I admit that I often fall far afield of my ideals (especially when debating a contentious topic) but I've seen many Christians on CF who act in a manner I would find offensive in the most hardened atheist. It troubles me because I have almost exclusively Christian friends, whom I love and respect. Recently I even helped cover costs for some missionary work by a couple of my Christian friends.

    The reason I ask this is because here's what I've seen:

    Christians who live in fear of their neighbors and feel they need guns (so much for the exhortation to "put up again thy sword into his place" and those who live by the sword, etc.)

    Christians who love and support Donald Trump, yet Trump is the epitome of a worshipper of Mammon. He literally lived in a golden palace and he relishes and values only money.

    Recently I've tangled with a couple of Christians who were pretty vicious in their debate tactics and said things I found horrible or offensive. When I called them out on it they never back down. Even if they were only misinterpretted they never admit that someone could take their words in a negative way. There have been MANY times on CF when I've feared that my words were taken in a bad way and I apologized even if I knew my intent was NOT what they interpretted.

    And finally one poster who clearly feels they are with Christ used a statement against me that seemed to be crafted specifically to be as hurtful as humanly possible. And while I may have deserved to be thus hurt, it was strange that a Christian whose piety is probably normally beyond reproach would debase themselves to that point of such amazing viciousness.

    It actually looked like one of the darkest things I could imagine saying to someone and that darkness would give me pause.

    I am not of any illusions that any Christian feels themselves to be "perfect" (in fact it is one of the things I like about Christianity, an acceptance of our own imperfections), but it seems to me that for many on CF Christianity doesn't provide a bulwark against any of the darkest impulses we all have from time to time.

    I am curious how Christians deal with what must be silent guilt. I know I often feel quite guilty for the badness I spread and I am hopeful that I can avoid it. But it seems to me that those who pretend to a deeper knowledge of Christ's peace and love seem to go to that dark well as much as the worst among us.
     
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  2. Chosen_and_blessed

    Chosen_and_blessed Active Member

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    This is one of the best posts I have ever read on CF.
     
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  3. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting Berean through and through Supporter

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    It actually draws the devil nearer. Your observations are on point.
    What you don't see is the the Holy Spirit has taught you to treat
    other people as you would wish to be treated. Your not really an
    Atheist at all. Your just a non-churching student of the Spirit.
    I'm non-churching myself.
     
  4. rockytopva

    rockytopva Love to pray! :) Supporter

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    I came into a Pentecostal Holiness Church pictured below that was in revival. The old guys would sit back in the pew and weep while the people before them were being laid out in the Spirit. If they looked back and catch the amazed look in my eye they would weep, "The Holy Ghost! The Holy Ghost!" As they pointed to the souls blessed around the altar. After being in such an environment for months one evening while laying on my bed reading Nikki Cruises "Run Baby Run" I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me for the first time to put the book down. When I did he says again, "Where is all that stress, tension, bad feelings, and the like?" In which examining my soul there was nothing there but pure beauty, and in the words of George Clark Rankin,

    "As we returned home the sun shone brighter, the birds sang sweeter and the autumn-time looked richer than ever before. My heart was light and my spirit buoyant. I had anchored my soul in the haven of rest, and there was not a ripple upon the current of my joy. That night there was no service and after supper I walked out under the great old pine trees and held communion with God. I thought of mother, and home, and Heaven.

    "I at once gave my name to the preacher for membership in the Church, and the following Sunday morning, along with many others, he received me into full membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It was one of the most delightful days in my recollection. It was the third Sunday in September, 1866, and those Church vows became a living principle in my heart and life. During these forty-five long years, with their alternations of sunshine and shadow, daylight and darkness, success and failure, rejoicing and weeping, fears within and fightings without, I have never ceased to thank God for that autumnal day in the long ago when my name was registered in the Lamb's Book of Life." - The Life of George Clark Rankin

    [​IMG]

    If E = mc2 then we can divide and conclude that...

    Mass (m) = Energy (E/c2)

    And there are three varieties...

    Natural E/c2 - All mass is basically cooled plasma
    Mental E/c2 - Mentally, A mathematical formula, but this has chemical and spiritual properties as well.
    Spiritual E/c2 - E (motivation, warmth, love) / c2 (faith, hope, charity, joy)

    This is the kind of environment that won me to Christ... A very rich spiritual one! Scriptural reasons the darkness (opposite of light) and coldness (opposite of energy) is settling in these days....

    Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; - 2 Thessalonians 2:3

    And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. - Matthew 24:12
     
  5. NothingIsImpossible

    NothingIsImpossible Well-Known Member

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    Its easy. Don't focus on what other christians do or don't do. That seems to be the downfall of so many christians who are now atheists. They left based on how they felt about other christians. But its not our job or worry what other christians do. Because if we focus on them then all we will see is arguing, distrust, debates...etc. Focus on Jesus only and what He has done, is doing and will do. Thats how I carry on without worry about being a christian.

    I mean you see the white supremest thing and how many claim to be christian and you realize that makes all christians look bad because they throw us all in together as if we approve of those people. But not much we can do about that except just explain not all christians are the same. Some have very out there extremist views, others don't.
     
  6. TailsFox

    TailsFox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In general, when one points the finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at them. So I refuse to think in such terms.

    Also, I personally think Trump isn't any more anti-religious than any other politician.
     
  7. Obliquinaut

    Obliquinaut Сделайте Америку прекрасной

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    In my case it had almost nothing to do with other Christians. It was totally me. But you are correct, it is wrong to focus on what others do.

    And I don't want to fall afoul of the "No True Scotsman", I just would like to better understand that portion of the faith that seems to provide no stop to our worse natures.

    That being said, I'm NOT sitting in judgement here. I'm prone to saying awful things, which I usually end up regretting later on and working to dial back.

    I think this is why I like my IRL Christian friends: they are wired in a similar way. They would dearly love to NOT hurt anyone with their words (but may sometimes say intemperate things) but in the end we can all come together.

    Perhaps it is the anonymity of the internet!
     
  8. Obliquinaut

    Obliquinaut Сделайте Америку прекрасной

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    Which is why I feel bad raising this topic. I can easily find the beam in my own eye. I will, however, admit to a sense of anger when I see some who seem incapable of any sort of introspection.

    I doubt that any politician is truly a "faith based person" (with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter, I honestly think this man was likely the most real Christian we've seen in the Oval Office in my lifetime). But in Trump's case it confuses me why the Evangelical voters seem so four-square behind him considering how they have often withheld any support for others based on their worldly ways and flaws.
     
  9. Shoetoyou

    Shoetoyou Humbled Pilgrim Supporter It's My Birthday!

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    How great a reminder of our need to be charitable and humble, and seek forgivenesss when we are not. Thank you.
    How do I deal with silent guilt? Confess, repent, ask forgiveness, repeat.
     
  10. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Newbie

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    I can get into quite the paranoid nonsense about what someone is doing or is going to do to me, and the person is who-knows-where and likely not even thinking about me. So, it is good for me to read what you share, here, and be reminded to keep in a caring way of loving any and all people and have hope for them, instead of feeding on however they might mess with me.
     
  11. Obliquinaut

    Obliquinaut Сделайте Америку прекрасной

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    LOL! Thanks but indeed I'm an atheist. But I appreciate your point and I take it in the spirit intended.

    I think that perhaps my life as an atheist is greatly informed by my previous existence as Christian. As I said there is much to be admired in Christianity. And often when I wish to drive to that point in my discussions on CF I feel that because I have that "atheism" tag on my avatar it is met with scorn. How could an atheist appreciate the greatness of Christianity if they are no beholden to the core sacrificial act of Jesus and the divinity therein?

    Perhaps the worst thing we can do is to meet each other with only our FAITH icons and not our real selves. I'm an atheist who, to all external viewers IRL would appear to be a middle-of-the-road Christian. And I'm certain there are Christians who would appear as completely a-religious. I fear that in the anonymity of the Interwebs we fight each other in an armor that is really just a cartoon of our real selves.
     
  12. TailsFox

    TailsFox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I kind of support Trump, though I have remained harshly indifferent at times.

    In my case, I see multiple realities with varying degrees of truth and untruth, and I'm tired of just the left-wing (and even conservative at times) versions of reality.
     
  13. Obliquinaut

    Obliquinaut Сделайте Америку прекрасной

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    I want to say you shouldn't thank me. My post is more borne of my frustration, but I don't in any way want to feel like I'm less culpable than anyone else of the darkness that is within us all.

    In many ways that is how I do so as well. The confession (I usually do out loud and try to grin and take my lumps as they are deserved), the repentence I try (desperately) to do by moving forward with a different response to a point I have been proven incorrect on. The "repeat" phase, sadly, is all to familiar to me as I am prone to repeat my errors requiring the cycle again. I hope I can learn and move on to a better position in the conversation, but I also realize I'm not going to 100% of the time.
     
  14. NothingIsImpossible

    NothingIsImpossible Well-Known Member

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    True, often the biggest doubters of us is...well us. I am totally flawed. I may have been vastly improved from my teen years but I still swear sometimes in anger. I still make stupid remarks online. Then I erase them and pray for forgiveness for not lashing out.

    And yes the internet makes up more willing to act different because we are hiding behind a screen. Most of the arguments I have had with people online I'd never have offline. I prefer peace, I don't want trouble.
     
  15. Shoetoyou

    Shoetoyou Humbled Pilgrim Supporter It's My Birthday!

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    No less reason to thank you...we should all support each other in our growth. Sometimes that involves being honest and open about ours and our brothers' failings...especially if we can relate to the same. A "smug, holier-than-thou" position is poison, but a "we're in the same boat, how can we fix this?" Is medicine.


    Persistence is key to growth.
     
  16. Halbhh

    Halbhh Hubble telescope saw in empty sky....galaxies! Supporter

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    He said, "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me."

    Ergo, when they break his commands like this one --

    "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you..."

    Or never apologize or turn if they fail, then...

    Those are people who don't love Him, He says.

    Don't consider them to represent His teaching.
     
  17. golgotha61

    golgotha61 World Christian in Progress

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    According to Holman, the correction to Jesus’ companion was not to suppress self-defense but to warn His followers that God’s work is not to be moved forward by use of force (Wilkins 166). If one uses force as a method of establishing a specific ideology or government, then force will be used against what is established. Remember that Scripture is not contradictory which means that Luke 22:36 must be taken into consideration. In view of this, it helps to put Matthew in context and not to take Jesus’ rebuke as a condemnation of using weapons as a means of protecting innocent people from those who desire to do harm or of self-defense.

    I asked a missionary friend of mine, who was in Colombia with his young family during the governmental unrest in the 70’s, why the men who were killed by the Auca Indians didn’t have guns for self-protection. He smiled and informed me that using guns to defend themselves against what the Auca’s perceived as dangerous to them would be self-defeating in the interest of leading them to Christ. How could Jim Eliot shoot the Indians and then tell them about the love of Christ? As it turned out, God was glorified when the missionaries followed Matt. 26:52 and relied on God for His ultimate purpose. The work of the Gospel must be accomplished by submission to Christ’s example and His example was sacrificial and not by force. However, when someone is attempting to do bodily harm to me or my family, I am not reacting as a method of promoting the Gospel. I am protecting innocent people from those who are evil and whose intentions are to do grave harm.



    There is something to consider here that escapes many of us. Christianity as a religion cannot force itself upon those who claim its name. There are some who claim the title but who find it difficult to submit to Christ and to follow Him in the various aspects of our lives. I know that I am constantly challenged to stop and think before I speak or act without filtering my words and actions through the witness of Jesus' life. When I fail, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts me of my missteps and this is done through Scripture and many times through my godly wife.

    It is not deeper knowledge of Christ or how much Scripture that one knows that keeps us living like Christ. It is a constant and intentional dialogue with the Spirit that indwells the believer and submission to the biblical witness of Christ’s life that keeps the Christian from behaving badly. Bart Ehrman, who Graduated from Moody which is my alma mater, is one of the most respected Bible scholars in the field. Yet with all the knowledge and degrees that he has accumulated in the area of biblical studies, he is not a follower of Christ.

    In order to reflect Christ, one must follow Him and emulate Him but it cannot be done without His Spirit residing in us. I don’t think that there can be a “silent guilt” when it comes to sinning against God and publicly demeaning Christ by acting in a way that violates His character while carrying His name as an identifier. It is my understanding that if one is submitted to Christ, any sin committed is made known without any doubt or ambiguity. Internet anonymity may be a reason but it is not an excuse.

    Works Cited

    Wilkins, Michael, and Craig A. Evans. "The Gospels and Acts (The Holman Apologetics

    Commentary on the Bible)." (2013).
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017 at 7:54 PM
  18. PloverWing

    PloverWing Episcopalian

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    I have seen some of this darkness, in CF but in other places too, and I've seen it often enough that it troubles me. I am concerned that it may be more than just a few prickly personalities, that there may be something we're doing in our churches that encourages this kind of violent emotion, or at least fails to discourage it. Something broken in the way we preach or teach, perhaps? I don't yet know.
     
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