Spiritual fascism

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by foundationist.org, Mar 22, 2003.

  1. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Being a Christian, I think it's interesting what people have to say about the Christian faith and particularly organised religion.

    I've read quite a lot of books on religion, especially on "false Christian teachings." I've done quite a bit of thinking about the faith I follow, and I've done some vigorous reading of the New Testament and the Epistles. You could say I've come to terms with the ugliness of "Christianity" as I was brought up knowing.

    Instead of being disgusted with it, I think it made me feel better about it.

    With organised religion, I'd like to say that I am not totally against, but nor am I totally in favour of it. Firstly, I do attend a congregation weekly on Sundays, but from the books I've read on Christian ministry I've come to believe that meeting in public buildings is probably not the best in terms of spiritual experience for Christians and especially recent converts to the faith.

    Organised religion, public meeting places and meeting in large groups makes the "spiritual experience" impersonal. I think I would much prefer meeting in smaller groups and in so-called "house churches." Everything gets more close and personal.

    I am not saying the experience I had with my congregation was negative. Actually it's been quite comfortable for me because I was brought up and raised in it. I go to a Baptist church and the thing about Baptist churches is that leadership is local. That means that the leader of your congregation is free to make up his own agenda without having to "answer to a higher authority." I consider myself lucky to be brought up in that kind of environment.

    With what VirtuousValkyrie said, 'The same ones that said they "love people and care for them like Christ does..," ' I think the problem is that many people think that church is just a public building. Christians often fall for that way of thinking.

    "Do you go to church?" means do you go to that public building? If you don't it means you're disloyal or uncommitted. They put so much effort into getting people to come into that public building that they don't do anything "personal" outside the public building.

    My personal view is that "the Church" as in "the True Church," the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ, includes everything we do in life not just in a public building.

    I think the other problem (as VirtuousValkyrie said) is when people say that "certain behaviours" are Christian and others "un-Christian." I don't support this view as a Christian. My reading of the NT and Epistles tells me this is not the way of distinguishing between good/bad people and Christian/non-Christian.

    If you were actually to read the NT/Epistles, the apostles don't talk about so-called "Christian behaviours." They talk about human nature and good and evil instincts. Sin comes from following our evil instincts.

    A Christian is simply a person who believes that because Adam brought evil into the world by eating from the Forbidden Tree, Christ came to offer us a path back to God. After converting, a Christian lives by faith, hope and love and withdrawing from his evil instincts and strengthening his good instincts.

    Therefore, there is no such thing as "Christian behaviour" especially to a "true Christian believer." True Christians know there is no such thing as Christian behaviour. It's the exact opposite to what most think!!!!

    Faith, hope and love are the rungs of the ladder to God. They are the pathway laid down for us by Christ. This faith, hope and love are not about us becoming "powerful spiritual warriors," it's part of the pathway we follow. It's not something superhuman. Christ performed the ritual, and by doing so opened a pathway for us. To stay on that path we have to live by faith, hope and love otherwise we're not true believers. Comprendei? Excuse me, my Spanish is very poor.

    As for who goes to hell, I can't exactly tell you. The view I have now is that everybody will be judged, believer and unbeliever. The difference is that a believer will judged on how he practiced his faith, hope and love during his spiritual journey. Unbelievers will be judged on their deeds, actions and attitudes. Unbelievers will come from a wide range of realities and walks of life.

    Of course, I am just stating what I believe as a Christian. I am not arrogant or conceited about my faith and nor do I think we all have that "superiority complex" that many people think Christians have. I think it's the way Christians present their religion and sometimes it puts people off.

    I don't actually consider my faith "superior." I simply believe it's the True Story of God's Creation. That doesn't make me arrogant, does it? As far as I know, we are just messengers who are trying to tell people the True Story of God's Creation. Not everybody believes us.

    We don't force people to believe us, so how can that be "spiritual fascism?" Fascism involves force, coercion and domination.

    An example of what I mean could be that you know that in 24 hours the whole world is going to get blown up but nobody else knows and nobody believes you. Who's going to believe that the world's going to blow up in 24 hours? But what if it's true? It's a bit like what happened in Noah's flood.

    Anyone ever seen that kind of drama on TV? It's like you know something, but no matter what you tell people they don't believe you. They either think you're crazy or you're just making trouble.

    If you want to know what I think I reckon the Christian Gospel is in many ways inferior simply because it's "a Gospel" and was never meant to solve all of life's problems.

    That's not intellectual suicide though, I still think it's the True Story because it's the Truth that matters not practical usefulness in the world we live in.

    As it says in 1 Peter 2:7, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone."

    In other words, the Christian Gospel, the most inferior and worthless religion in the world, may actually turn out to be most important to human beings in rescuing them from a world of evil. As Jesus said, "my kingdom is not of this world."

    What if, after all the bad things that have happened in the world, all we had to do was admit that Adam really did eat from the Forbidden Tree and corrupted human nature?

    It's like we're telling people about an incredible story that couldn't possibly be true. People think we spiritual fascists. Sometimes we are, but when we tell the story for what it was really meant to be, with genuine love and honesty, with no desire for personal glory, I think the fascism disappears.

    Love is revealed for what it is in times of great trouble. Who knows? Maybe when World War 3 breaks out we will all know who the true believers are.

    As I Christian I don't see all this as a "superiority complex." It's just what we believe is the Truth about the world. When we try and convert others, we're just doing our job.
     
  2. jiii

    jiii ...

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    I think it's merely that people in this world are typically 'divided' by many things...race, ethnicity, language, politics, money...the list goes on. Dividing people on something like Truth and spirituality seems, admittedly, pretty strange and contrary to basic intuition.

    Of course...there are no absolutes with intuition, I guess.
     
  3. Curios Mike

    Curios Mike New Member

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    This is a true statement, but what do you percieve as humble? Check out Elijah of the Bible. Was he humble?

    Does this mean Elijah was a spiritual fascists? Read 1kings 18:20-40

    1 Kings 18:20-40
    20 So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people answered him not a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. 24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God." So all the people answered and said, "It is well spoken."
    25 Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it." 26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us!" But there was no voice; no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they had made. 27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened." 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
    30 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name." 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, "Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood." 34 Then he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time; and he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. 36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!" 40 And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!" So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.
    NKJV

    I think being humble about God is wrong.... But Its when we exalt ourselves weather it be becuase We are right (wether we are or not), or becuase we want to make ourselves beter then others is where we get into trouble. But boasting our God is The only true God if your bringing Him Glory rather then seeking your own glory is more or less what He desires. But theirs is a thing Called wisdom that some who may boast may lack.... Their is a time and a place.... Like Elijah that was the time and place.....

    1 Peter 5:5-7
    5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
    "God resists the proud,
    But gives grace to the humble."
    6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
    NKJV

    A Good example of this would be liken to the pharisees of the Bible.... Or yes I have to agree alot church folk can be this way tooo(probably most).... But I think God seeks for those like Elijah who boast in Him rather than selfrighttousness.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2005
  4. Katyana1980

    Katyana1980 New Member

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    I've seen this a lot too. I've also had a close friend tell me that he prays for me because he thinks I'm going to hell because I don't turn to God. My boyfriend has been in love before and he says that they split up because his ex-girlfriend had the same attitude. SHe dumped him and he acutally nearly attempted suicide. Now he's afraid to go into a church.

    People need to think about imposing their religion on others and how destructive it can be. And think about how it can make other people feel if you tell them that they are damned or act superior to them. When my friend told me that the thought I was going to hell, I felt hurt that he thought that my life was wrong, when I do everything I can to be a good person - basically in line with my Christian upbringing, but not out of Christian belief, and also from my own sense of ethics developed from experience.

    I also felt patronised when he said that he would pray for me. I know that the had the best intentions, but I don't want someone praying to a God that I don't believe in on my behalf. It seemed hypocritical.

    I am very happy for my friends and family to have strong beliefs if it helps to make them happy. I don't agree with people feeling that this makes them superior people, especially not with the responsibility to bring me in line with their faith.

    Depsite my Christian upbringing, my father is an atheist, my mother is an active Christian, and both have been to muslim and pagan weddings because of their mixed group of friends. Tolerance and doing what I think is right is the main message that I've got from them.
     
  5. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    What does it hurt though?

    I believe He was wrong in telling you that he thought you were going to hell.. I also think that telling a non-believer that they are in thier prayers can sound a bit self righteous.. but if you honestly thinking about it.. what does it hurt if he prays for you. If you dont believe his prayers will be heard then it doesnt affect you.. and if hes right.. it wouldnt be bad either. Maybe take it as I believe it was meant to be.. a friend loving another friend.
     
  6. Katyana1980

    Katyana1980 New Member

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    I guess you're right. It just made me feel uncomfortable because in his mind I needed help in certain respects, and in my mind I didn't.
     
  7. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel demned elusive

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    Sorry, I kinda lost track of the thread too :eek:

    Yeah, I guess that's a fair and accurate summary.

    okay, very good point, all of that, and something to think about.

    I certainly agree with that these days, but back then I would have been leery of this idea, because the mainstream Christian belief is that the only accurate way to describe God is with the terminology used within the Christian Church, and not with words intrinsic to other religions, because you want to be sure you're not worshipping false gods.

    okayyy....like I said, my understanding of Buddhist theology is very weak, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this concept. I'm not sure what to put in the place of the "root sequence".


    aha, excellent question. To address your second question first, my Bible knowledge isn't as good as it used to be - to which passage, specifically, are you referring? As for the first question, you know, I don't think that was ever specifically addressed. I kind of picked up the idea that it was just the way the cosmos worked - sort of a theological equivalent of a law of physics. We didn't judge ourselves because we haven't the wisdom, God or Jesus didn't judge us because He is loving and merciful, and not judgemental. So what else is left? All I can think of is that underwater campfire image - when we sin, we are pushing ourselves away from God - we are dooming ourselves to separation from God because sin cannot exist in His presence. Maybe "judge" was never the right word, it was just the one commonly used.


    agree with you now, wouldn't have agreed with you then. the official line is that only God can reward us because only God has the authority and power to release us from our punishment. Only God can circumvent those theological laws of physics.

    hmmm...what "something else"did you have in mind? As for it being a statement of a particular condition, I suppose you could look at it that way. but if you think of "sin" as "imperfection" and you accept that God is perfect, then you get "perfection cannot be in the presence of imperfection," which seems selfevident (and also tautological and circular, but certainly true).

    granted. God certainly doesn't want things in the way we want them. That is also a linguistic placeholder to make it easier for our limited human minds to grasp, and that is an idea I was taught within Christianity.

    I certainly understand your discomfort, and it's hard not to take this attitude as anything other than a feeling of superiority when you're on the receiving end. But I do agree with Faithfulservant's take on it.

    But it's what Saltmeister was saying, "It's just what we believe is the Truth about the world," with a capital T. Even when the intention is purely humble and helpfully meant (and often enough it is neither), the implication is "I have the Truth and you have Falsehood" and that is not easily heard by anyone.

    I think a much better approach is "I have what is True for me. Maybe it is True for you too, and I certainly hope so, because I think it's wonderful." I don't know how to make the distinction clear in practice, however.
     
  8. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    White Throne Judgement is Revelation 20:11-15
     
  9. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel demned elusive

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    Ah, thanks, seattlegal. Well, it just says
    It still doesn't bring us any closer to answering who or what is doing the judging (unless one wishes to maintain that the "things which were written in the books" were doing the judging, in which case that sounds to me as if your works yourself are judging you, which is pretty close to what both you and I are arguing. I also checked out seattlegal's link, and tried all the versions in every language I can read, and none of them say who or what is doing the judging, either.

    In my personal opinion, John of Patmos had done a few too many shrooms. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Good_Omens
     
  10. Curios Mike

    Curios Mike New Member

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    Scarlet Pimpernel
    1 Cor 4:3-5
    3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.
    NKJV
    1 Cor 6:1-3
    6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?
    NKJV

    James 1:12-16
    13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
    NKJV
    Gal 5:19-22
    19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
    NKJV
    Gal 5:22-25
    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.(james 1:13-16)
    NKJV

    Hope this answers your questions::)
     
  11. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel demned elusive

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    Uhhm, Mike, I appreciate your taking the time and all, but I don't recall asking any questions in the passages of mine you've quoted (other than specific questions to Vajradhara about what he was saying).

    I'm not having any questions here, I was just trying to explain to Vaj the Christian take on sin as I had learned it.

    In other words, and in all friendliness, :confused:
     
  12. Curios Mike

    Curios Mike New Member

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    My deepest apologies I thought you where asking for spacific(excuse the spelling) passages.... I'm sorry it was my misunderstanding!
     
  13. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel demned elusive

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    No need to apologize - I was just a little confused, and wondering if my earlier post was sounding like something I wasn't meaning it to - I wasn't upset or offended at all! :)

    But you're right, those are pretty specific passages about who will be judging whom, but I don't recall a lot of discussions about them in my churchgoing years. Maybe it's just that my denomination didn't interpret the bible too literally, and the theological emphasis wasn't on judgement anyway. But as I hope I was able to make clear, that was a theological quirk of my denomination and not something common to all Christian denominations.
     
  14. Silverbackman

    Silverbackman Prince Of Truth

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    Yes its a problem in Christianity and Islam the most. What is suprising is that jews don't tend to think this way, which is suprising because it was there religion that started many of these wacky idea;).
     
  15. Curios Mike

    Curios Mike New Member

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    Unfortanately, the denom I was apart of was very judgemental, and some still are. But things seem to have been changing before I stop going. anyways If Christ didnt come to judge the world... that is when he was in his flesh, then my question is why do Christian???? Its not our job to condem, but to share the gospel..... But I guess its a feeling of superiority that makes most do such...which is contrary to the teaching of Christ. Christ to to be meek, and lowly, not high and exalted. But As I continue to study people and even myself... this is a very hard battle for most people to wage.
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    If you christian you gotta take the log out of your eye...

    Dali Lama says...You know you are enlightened when everyone you see you see as enlightened...

    Kabala...all paths lead to G-d

    I think my favorite though is those that say that everyone is exactly where they need to be according to their consciousness....all sounds good until they finish in their head....and that is where your consciousness says you need to be.

    Life is good, like the title of this site...I think comparison to others is what allows us to see where we are... isn't saying that others are judgemental being judgemental?
     
  17. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    I wouldn't say they don't ever feel superior, it's just that they're God's chosen people and they're special. I suppose that's why they're quiet about their faith. It's also because they were not instructed to get other people to follow their faith. As it says somewhere in Exodus/Deutoronomy/Numbers, if there were foreigners among their communities, they would invite them to observe the same traditions and practices as a courtesy of living among them.

    It also says in Genesis that God told Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that it was through them that He would bless the nations. Likewise, they don't proselyte so vigourously as they don't need to. The idea is that God will somehow bless the rest of us.

    With us Christians and Muslims, we do have this notion of having to tell the world about our faiths, but I think our reasons for doing so are probably not in line with the original mission statements of our faith.



    As for the judgmentalism, legalism and "superiority complex," I don't consider myself superior at all. If you're better than me in terms of being responsible, accountable and making the right choices in life, then all the best!!!

    However, I don't think judgmentalism and legalism is a property of the Christian faith. I think there are a few passages where the Bible actually discusses judgmentalism and legalism in the New Testament. One example might be Romans 14:1-12. This is where Paul says that a person who is a vegetarian should not judge a person who eats anything for not following the rules. On the other hand, the person who eats anything is not to despise the vegetarian for following these rules. There might be other examples, but this is one.

    I think the judgmentalism and legalism is more of a result of "copy-cat Christianity." This is where Christians, with no better way to understand their own faith, take what someone else says and make that part of their religion. In other words, teachings on Christianity spread by word of mouth rather than through readings of the Bible.

    I'm aware that a lot of people often think of Christianity as "the Establishment." It's the notion that Christianity is an institution more than it is a living community of human beings. It's because of a kind of dogmatic and doctrinal view of Christianity among Christians that without these dogmas and doctrines, they don't have Christianity.

    This view has been with Christian commuities for centuries, but I don't think that was what the Early Church was actually founded on. I don't think it was the core of the Early Church at all.

    I don't think the Early Church was an institution or "Establishment." It was a community with its own conflicts, problems and issues. The role of the apostles was to lead and direct them in a spiritual journey towards God and His Kingdom. There were no founding institutions, dogma or doctrine because these things didn't lead people to the path toward God and His Kingdom (as from a Christian point of view).

    The Bible can be very hard to understand, especially with so many different articles in it. To understand it, you first need to know the purpose of each book/article/document in the Bible. This is called exegesis -- figuring out the context of what it meant then and then deciding what it means now.

    I've read enough of the Bible to be able to say the following.

    1. It is about a spiritual journey to God and His Kingdom.

    2. We are all at different points in this journey and each of us has different needs.

    3. In this journey there are people to meet and relate to, people to help and people who come to help us. We are all in this together.

    The "helping" part is more about our spiritual journey than being some kind of "power source" of altruism. I think this is the mistake among many Christians that creates this "superiority complex," that we're a "power source" of altruism rather than people who help each other because it's one of the things that happen in our spiritual journey.

    This means the following.

    1. No judgmentalism
    2. No legalism
    3. No dogma
    4. No doctrine
    5. No institutions
    6. No worldly/earthly political system or so-called "Establishment"

    Instead, as Peter says, we are living stones of God's Temple (1 Peter 2:5)

    The judgmentalism and legalism is not part of the Christian faith itself, but comes from Christians. While we are at different stages of the spiritual journey to God and His Kingdom, the idea is not to "judge and condemn" but "assess/examine and advise/warn/mentor."

    Of course, you might still think my spiritual journey is still part of some "superiority complex," but to me it's just a spiritual journey.
     
  18. kabir

    kabir New Member

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    Spirituality has never been a group project. God doesn't care about what organisations we're in good standing with. God knows the Truth about each of us.

    jack

     
  19. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    As said earlier...extends everywhere...at peace rallies they have signs that say kill Bush and Cheney....those that are pro-life bomb and kill people at abortion clinics....to teach people not to kill, we have the death penalty...

    It all makes great sense to me. After all I know better...do as I say, not as I do.

    namaste,
     
  20. harticulate

    harticulate New Member

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    Wil..............I think you have become my spiritual advisor. A good friend tells you the things you don't want to hear, instead of humouring you by agreeing just to not rock the boat.

    In my endeavor to bring to light the harm of being judgemental..........I in turn was judgemental..I became the that which I disliked.

    It is much easier just to let my inner feelings about myself dictate how I feel about myself..............instead loathing my judger.

    If I am to be labeled a sinner...........let the labeler be stuck with the label........I am a lover of Christ .........that is what I am.

    Heidi
     

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