Tribalists, like nationalists, are, by nature, incapable of “learning their lesson” from outsiders. The Middle East’s tribal religion must be displaced by a non-tribal religion. America’s religiously illiterate policies will prove very costly once again. Never before have we faced a greater need to support indigenous Christians and Christian missionaries in that region of the world.
Disaffected fundamentalists make for the most strident atheists. Shame on fundamentalists for producing them.
From the beginning, cleaning up the litter of unbelievers has been a hallmark of our faith. This morning, it happened to be my turn for scoop duty. Good day.
”I'm quite sure that Linda Cooper will find another church, and she may well by this time have received many invitations from several other churches who are not hung up on hammering cherry picked passages from the Bible while completely ignoring others that if taken literally, would apply as well.”
Oh, no doubt. Another negative is America’s shallow, individualistic, and narcissistic mindset of shopping for a church or brand of churches that best caters to you individual preferences and whims. No church is immune from cherry-picking, nor are the church’s critics. As is abundantly clear in this forum, very few people are skilled at interpreting ANY literature, much less that of the Ancient Near East. And this is yet another source of church disunity and unfounded criticism of the Bible in America.
alprova said...”World stats are highly irrelevant to this discussion as well. I'm well aware of the efforts to convert people to Christianity around the world, but in this nation, Christianity, while the dominant religion, continues to be extremely divisive, and who knows how many people from those 41,000 denominations are attempting to sell their brands of Christianity around the world … And you know what? Each and every one of those different denominations believe their version is the correct one and all other have it wrong. The natural progression of my stance would most definitely have to include that it is the Bible that is at the core for the divisiveness among Christians.”
You earlier stated “Religious belief has divided more people on this planet than all other divisive causes combined.” I responded to that statement, not the one you wish you had made now that it is clear that you cannot defend it. You have yet to do so, and you will continue to change the subject to avoid it.
World Christianity was diverse long before our republic was ever born. Critics of “organized religion” like yourself, confine your perspective to that of Europe and America. This is very ignorant and dishonest.
Americans are an entrepreneurial people and, when applied to the church, it has had both positive and negative effects. Educational and charitable Institutions tend to spring up around the varieties of Christianity in America (and elsewhere). The Ivy League schools were associated with the largest denominations in colonial America. There was healthy competition and debate among and within those schools, as well as in the various land grant universities. The same goes for k-12 schools and benevolence societies. Denominations sponsor thousands of hospitals, literacy programs, orphanages, and other services for believers and unbelievers alike.
The primary negative is that, as renewal movements develop and become institutions (a necessary step for the survival of ANY movement of ANY type), they tend to calcify and some of the creative energy is lost. This spawns new renewal movements and the process of organizational development starts over. The process is not unique to Christianity or to religions in general. The simplistic assessments espoused on this forum are lazy, dishonest, and historically inaccurate.
alprova said...”WWWTW, I noticed that in your response to my charge of divisiveness, you completely left out any retort to the fact that there are more than 41,000 different Christian denominations, WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. Divide that by the 50 states, and you have an average of 820 different Christian denominations per state. I'm sure that it doesn't play out like that, but it's very easy to understand that all those different Christian platforms did not evolve out of total agreement among all Christians.”
While there are many varieties of Christianity as it has adapted to and taken root in hundreds of cultures and subcultures around the globe, America’s experience is somewhat unique. We had HUNDREDS of varieties of cereals in our grocery stores. There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of stores for any given type of product or category of products. There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of civic clubs with different emphases and beliefs, but by and large in agreement with our form of government. This does not make any of these entities DIVISIVE. In some ways, it makes our society healthier.
One third of the planet’s population is Christian. Christianity's diversity of expressions should not be surprising for a movement that has proven to be highly adaptable and appealing to such a wide diversity of cultures and subcultures. In an immigrant nation such as ours, we see it, albeit on a smaller scale.
The whole idea behind the formation of organization is to unite people with similar beliefs, values, or agendas. The idea of “divisive organizations” is an oxymoron. Individuals and ideas can be divisive, but if the tendency of an entity to create diversity of thought within its unity is your criteria for being labeled "divisive," then you would have to include online political cartoons, newspapers, political institutions, and the free market in your criticism of “divisive” forces. The church is not unique in its ability to foster debate and occasional splits. Many denominations are actually formed by bringing together several like-mind churches or groups of churches. The church in question is part of one such denomination (even though they profess to be opposed to the whole idea of denominations). A careful study of the history of denominations will make this phenomenon abundantly clear.
Notice that DD, in his righteous indignation against Christianity, almost exclusively quotes the Hebrew Bible, and he does so in ways explicitly condemned in the New Testament. What a literalist dunce.
"Those of you bring Islam into this debate are bring up something that is not part of this subject."
You, DD, and lkeithlu introduced other religions to the discussion with your lame-brained broad-brushes. I mentioned some specific examples and comparisons to disprove your ridiculous generalizations. You have no trouble making your own rules. You just have trouble living by them.
"ANY secular institution is more inclusive than any most churches in this nation."
You also have trouble responding to my actual statement about the inclusiveness of institutions on the planet. The planet is not limited to America. You did not (and cannot) name an institution which includes more cultural expressions than Christianity. Secularists, by contrast, are almost exclusively rich white westerners and their disaffected-fundamentalist sycophants.
Attending different churches or having different theological emphases or cultural traditions does not entail being “divisive.” Besides, if everyone attended the same church building, where would we put everybody? Is complete agreement among billions of people – or even a few – realistic or even desirable?
New churches are rarely born over disagreements about “the meaning of a particular passage of scripture.” The variety of causes is as broad as the American frontier (and the frontier denominations it spawned), not the least of which is the fact that that American churches are corrupted and fragmented by their shallow, consumerist mentality of constant rebranding and hyper-independence, thus my comment about the mess it’s in. Church-hopping is pretty unique to America, which is why church discipline (preserving a group's identity) is such an anomaly here. These are American values, however, and not Christian values. And the church was born in (and is closer to its essence) in places other than America.
"If and when a Muslim church [sic] exiles or executes one of its members for failing to follow some established edict, let's be sure to revisit the issue."
It’s official. Al-disproven know even less (absolutely nothing) about the world’s second largest religion than he does about the largest.
Try converting from Islam to another religion or to atheism. OMG you are ignorant. No group kills more Christians worldwide than Isalmists. No group kills more Muslims worldwide than Isalmists. It’s so bad, even religion-haters in the secular press have to cover it. Do you live in a cave? Be honest. You do, don’t you?
Most of what you call your own morality was given to you by Christianity. Even Nietzsche admitted this.
“Fundamentalism” is a divisive, pejorative used by atheists who are unaware of or unappreciative for their Christian heritage. If terms from 20th century American theological controversies are one’s primary context for understanding the world’s religions, then one’s perspective is very narrow. Yet it comforts fellow atheist fundamentalists to "think" in those terms.
alprova said...Religious belief has divided more people on this planet than all other divisive causes combined.
Another ill-informed judgment on religion from Alprova.
Name one historic institution on the planet more inclusive than the Christian church – one. Chanting the mantra that what is true of Islamism is true of all (or any) religions is a popular way to excuse oneself from religious literacy and a factual understanding of world events.