Religious Debate

I came across this parable last fall. I told it to my Freshman English class when we began our Utopia unit.


  • edited December 1969
    i was accosted by a christian in town today, and ended up having a rather long debate about religion, and easter in general.
    i was wondering, have any of you been really questioned about your beliefs, and if so how did you deal with that? i ask because i actually got angry with this man, and his unwillingness to consider that any belief but his own could possibly hold any truth!
    any comments would be greatly appreciated,
  • edited December 1969
    One easter back when I was a 7-11 clerk, I put a little sign on the counter saying 'happy easter'-a woman saw it and got all huffy and starting yelling at me 'i'm offended by that!' never did get what her problem was...though i could make some guesses, all involving her parentage...
  • edited December 1969
    *hums* people are strange, when you're a stranger...
    that IS strange...
  • edited December 1969
    It was a college town-lots of strange folks...anyway, I know about 2 folks total who call themselves christian and actually live their beliefs the way I think they should be: not judging, not pushing it on others, helping their fellow man-walking in Jesus's shoes 7 days a week, not just on sunday, and not trying to BE Jesus...
  • edited December 1969
    [cite] duirtree:[/cite] i ask because i actually got angry with this man, and his unwillingness to consider that any belief but his own could possibly hold any truth!

    He was desperately holding onto his belief, along with the powerful tribal instinct of needing everyone else to be of the same mind as him. In other words, his belief is 'truth' and so he just desperately needs to have everyone in the 'tribe' on board with his 'truth'. All this energy strings from his deep seated fear, like an animal cornered, and along with a serious need for his life to have meaning! Your anger also stems in part from these same roots. It is visceral, emotional, irrational. The only way to rise above it is to leave behind your fears, needs, and the beliefs to which they are attached. If and when you figure out how to do that, let us all know, for there is a whole world waiting for that secret... :) :) :) :) :)
  • edited December 1969
    tribal mind...yes, i would agree with that!
    but i do not think that my own anger was irrational; unnecessary maybe.
    i was angry because of this man's manner - he was very agressive, and underneath the surface...there was that ugliness and yes, fear!
    and yes, i have met christians with good intent, even some who i would say were not far from the way...

    but i'm over it now, which is my way of saying that i've used the event as a lesson!

    Blessings to all.
  • JoeJoe
    edited December 1969
    I've begun exploring various religions with my 9 yr. old daughter. She goes to a weekly Catholic bible study; my wife is Catholic. I'm starting to introduce her to some basic Buddhist & Taoist ideas. Such as the troubles we all have when desires grab ahold of us. We read a book today about choices, and making decisions.

    Anyway, I find that no matter the discussion topic, the harder I or anyone else hold on to my viewpoint as being the "truth", having "the" answers, the more difficulties there will be with communication. And I think every human being struggles with this in one way or another. As when Carl talks about tribalism, and instincts, I think we're hard-wired to protect what we think aids in our survival - unfortunately, most of civilized life is pretty removed from basic biological survival.

    I find it hard to stay calm when someone pushes my buttons in some way - which happens in situations like this where a religious belief is pursued as absolute truth, and if I don't agree I'll burn in hell, or something similarly judgmental. But that's just what it is - a human being expressing judgment. The more compassion I can have for the other person's need to feel secure, the more I can see past the surface judgments. Often it takes awhile for my own emotions to calm down - in which case I'm still thankful when I come back to a more accepting view of the other person, and of myself.
  • edited December 1969
    I've gotten into those disCUSSions too and when they play the "you'll go to hell" card, I just respond, "No I won't because I don't believe in it. Besides, as the bible says No one know the mind of god. So you aren't in any position to determine who go to hell and who goes to heaven".

    Then I usually walk away, if they walk with me and persist I remain quiet and keep walking away.

    If I am in a devilish mood (pun intended), I'll just roll my eyes, go "awww geeze", give a contemptuous laugh, shake my head and then walk away.
  • edited December 1969
    sorry for the double post, got another error when I hit "submit"

    message_die() was called multiple times. This isn't supposed to happen. Was message_die() used in page_tail.php?
  • edited December 1969
    compassion? for someone who is trying to verbally attack me? thank you joe, you are absoloutely right.
    thanks to everyone for replying to this, i appreciate the insights.
  • edited December 1969
    At the state fair a couple years ago my kid & I were waylaid by an older gentleman and escorted into a tent where a woman was reading to a group of mostly kids. Turned out to be a fundy Christian thing. She asked my kid if he believed in god & Jesus, wanted to go to heaven etc...he said yes, she beamed and gave him a book. She asked me and I told her I was Buddhist. She visually shuddered and said 'Oh well, it's never too late to change'. And I got no book.
    On the way out I told my kid "You're the lamb of god and I'm going to hell, lets get a corndog."
  • edited December 1969
    [cite] duirtree:[/cite]... but i do not think that my own anger was irrational; unnecessary maybe. i was angry because of this man's manner

    Spring has sprung and so much to do, but finally I'll take a few moments to respond. Although the internet allows for instantaneous responses, I've found that it is more restful when I deal with as though it were snail mail.

    By irrational, I mean any life process that is not of the '[chref=49]mind [/chref]'. Emotions (anger, fear and such) take place in the brain stem, of there abouts, not in the grey matter from which rational reason springs. Indeed though, I suspect most - if not all - of even 'pure' reason ('buddhi' as the Bhagavad Gita puts it) is rooted down there in our primordial ancient emotional being. You know, the 'animal' we are always seeking to feel [chref=39]superior [/chref] to and transcend. Nonsense I say. Observe the primordial 'self', watch it do its thing, know it, accept it so you can return to nature's simplicity. Resisting - or [chref=8]contending [/chref] as the Tao Te Ching puts it - is futile. Surrender and take the [chref=66]lower [/chref] position.
  • edited December 1969
    I find most christians are apt to quote scripture, but rarely live up to what they preach. I have met many who have informed me my thoughts are pagan in essence, and I am a sinner. All the while they seem to be blind to there own dualistic nature, condeming me on one hand and preaching love on the other. I used to get angry also but then I realized it does not matter.I find most christians ( because of western thought) have a hard time understanding the concept of duality, their anger is most often based on ignorance and an unwillingness to look at things from a perspective other than their own. Illusion is a beutiful thing in its own way, and most people don't want theirs taken away from them. So next time you find yourself in a debate with an adament soldier God, remember all is transitory and in the great scheme of things does it really matter anyway?[/b]
  • edited December 1969
    you are right, in the grand scheme of things it does not matter.
    now i prefer to say little or nothing at all, out of a desire to avoid conflict.
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