What Happened To Boldness?

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by JustifiedByFaith, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. jiii

    jiii ...

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    You misunderstand, Quahom1. I absolutely don't expect you would need to apologize to anyone or anything, I was just adding my two cents:) . As far as morality, I would wager that it is a little from Column A and a little from Column B so far as America goes, but some Christians that tend to expound upon their moral superiority, or their moral high ground, in general, are what I was specifically referring to. Trying to maintain value systems is just becoming difficult for many religions, I think, and I wouldn't say it's something that only Christianity is suffering from.

    When I was speaking about a "relativistic" America, I was admittedly not referring to any statistics, at all. Long ago in days of antiquity, a man often was amazed if one philosophy on the Universe was divulged to him. Nowadays, though, we can read through hundreds of philosophies as to the nature of the Cosmos or God or however it is referred to. My comment refers to the massive influx of information that, I believe, becomes greater every year. People are less and less swayed by ideas, no matter what degree of conviction some may speak about them. This may not exactly be a bad thing...just an observation.

    Well put.

    -jiii
     
  2. Dor

    Dor Bible Thumper

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    Righteousness by itself does not lead to Salvation for us we can not do enough righteous things to make up for the mistakes. Does that mean we are supposed to do nothing. No it doesnt at all but righteousness without a personal relationship does not help anything. If it did the scribes and Pharisees would have been set.
     
  3. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    lol ... errr, I think you and I have quite a different understanding of righteousness. And that's okay, although while we do, you won't understand my point.

    The Pharisees and Sadduccees, by & large, were anything but righteous, in the way that I am indicating it. Many might have made an effort, but the righetousness I refer to has everything to do with seeking out the Christ Spirit, and living in the Light (as well as with "shining" it). And you can harp all day long about how far we fall short. Or, you can strive that much harder not to (fall short). It's our choice.

    I'm reminded of the lyrics to the George Harrison song, `The Light that has Lighted the World.' Check 'em out. :)

    cheers,

    andrew
     
  4. Dor

    Dor Bible Thumper

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    Actually I think we are alot closer than you might think. I was misunderstanding what you were saying I was reading it as the acts of trying to be righetous like the Pharisees amd Sadduccees. I think the whole difference is what we believe about Christ not whether he is needed. Oh I try believe me I try....but ever so often the old man reaches out and says I want and thats when I falter.:)
     
  5. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    lol ... if I could convert the "I want" in my personality to the `Thy Will' of the Soul, I suppose I'd be enlightened (`Saved,' Redeemed) already. :p

    andrew
     
  6. seattlegal

    seattlegal Mercuræn Buddhist

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    Matthew chapter 15 does a great job at highlighting the differences between the self-righteousness extended by the Pharasees and the true Christian righteousness extended by Jesus...
     
  7. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Nice touch. :)
     
  8. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    I thought it was the other way round. More people are leaving Christianity than adopting it.

    Hey, careful there. Careful.:eek::confused: While we may ask the question, "why do we go to church?", there's also the question, "why do we have to have a good preacher?" While we may expect to receive something spiritual from certain people, certain places and at certain times, it may not always come from the same person and that person may not always be in a position to supply the spirituality you want. I think this is why Jesus died -- so that he could disappear, become invisible but still live in the hearts of people.:D

    To some he's just a legend, but to others, he's a reality.
     
  9. kenod

    kenod "to live is Christ"

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    I agree that we should be careful who we listen to ... or at least who we spend a lot of time listening to. The point I was responding to was that Dor said she had found a good Bible teacher ... teaching is a gift, not everyone can do it, though many try.

    Our spirituality does not come from someone else, it must be an internal, personal experience. Nevertheless, having a like-minded group (such as a church fellowship) to help support you in your journey is a great help, especially at those times when we feel discouraged.

    Yes, Jesus Christ is a reality .. the Reality!
     
  10. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    I think there's a danger to saying how we think society should or should not function. Culture and society have a particular structure associated with them. It's a framework that affects our lives, but we don't have to allow it to control us. Then there are those who think it's important to shape the legal system according to "particular values." Culture, society, the legal system and the political system that control our lives are part of the environment in which we live. I think one of the most important goals in Christianity is not to control this environment, but to not be controlled by such an environment.

    I think there's a saying: One man adapts the world to himself, another man adapts himself to the world.

    Sometimes in life there are people we don't like, possibly people of bad character. Rude. Obnoxious. Selfish. Arrogant. Inconsiderate. Yet, just because they make life so miserable for us, doesn't mean we have to be just as rude, selfish, arrogant and obnoxious as them. Otherwise, it's tit for tat -- we are just as bad as them. Imagine living in a world where people always responded in kind, rather than being nice despite being wronged. You hurt me, I hurt you.

    That's when we allow the environment to control us. It's the same with a legal system, political system or even culture. When we promote certain values, we believe that people can't be changed except by changing the structure of the world or the way it functions.

    I think the point of being a Christian is that you no longer want to be controlled by the world or the way it functions. One of the goals of being a Christian is to isolate yourself from negative influences of the world, or try not to be controlled by them. We are supposed to aim to be independent of how society works.

    Some societies and cultures have strict rules, but some are "very liberal." Yet despite what the world desires, we don't have to conform. We don't have to follow the strict rules just because the rest of the world does, and we don't have to be naughty, dirty, obscene and licentious just because this is what the rest of the world likes. Of course, if you're not following the rules that society throws at you, and you're not dirty because society likes to be filthy, you may conform to something else. You may follow some other set of rules. But "being different" doesn't mean conforming to something else. While there are things in society we may not like, we do not necessarily have to make a "song and dance" about so-called "moral issues." It is not our problem. If that's what they want, it's because they can handle it.

    The danger is that you can start giving people the impression that Christians have to live up to certain standards. The worst thing that can happen is that if you are one of those really "accountable" and "responsible" Christians, with a view that "being a Christian" is about being "accountable" then there is a big chance people will judge other Christians that way -- Christians that can't live up to the same standards. Moreover, they start expecting you to live up to those standards.

    What if I can't live up to these standards? It's not that I "prefer to walk in darkness." No, certainly not. I prefer to "walk in the light," but at the same time I know I can't be spotlessly clean all at once. There is a process. A process of change. Perhaps I will never be able to live up to the standards you set for me.

    Obviously that doesn't that mean that I am not Christian, just because I don't live up to the standard. It doesn't make me a blasphemer or "walker in darkness." I think not!!! I think it's the effort we put in to change and improve ourselves. The achievements themselves are less important than the effort put in.

    Imposing so-called "Christian values" or "standards" has the dangerous effect of defining Christianity for the rest of the world. What I think would work better is if we explain what Christainity means to us individuals rather than as a group. Get rid of the group think element or group mentality.

    It's a common view that actions speak loudest. But what if there's something else that speaks louder, particularly when you're sharing your faith?

    If I know I can't live up to the standard, living up to the standard is probably not the best way to share my faith. If I can't be strong, then I'll have to be weak. If I try to be strong, but can't function that way, I'd be over-reaching myself. On the surface I may appear to be a caring, nice, strong person, but deep down I'm a weakling without the heart or motivation. I can't maintain that strength because it isn't real.

    But I reckon you can still share your faith even when you are weak, when life is messy and wishy-washy, especially if you're honest about it. I think what really matters is what you live for and what you believe in, not what you do. People would want to get to know you, particularly your sensitive side. Get them to know the real you!!!

    Your personality speaks even louder than your actions. I don't think Christianity is just about actions, but also belief and faith. This is why it's important to share what you believe in and live for. That's what matters. Furthermore, actions can be used to manipulate (sell your product) whereas personality is much harder to duplicate. But at least people give you more credit for your personality than your actions. It's easier to produce actions than good personality.

    If people see what you personally believe in, they will be more convinced that there is something of substance in what you share. You wouldn't believe in something if you didn't personally have a reason for it, would you?
     
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Namaste Salt, speakin volumes here.

    But how about the bold guy on the corner, screaming into his megaphone death and destruction, hell and damnation....turns me away.

    Like the guy at the Peace Rally carrying a "Kill Bush/Cheney" sign, destroys the entire credibility.

    Or anytime anyone attempts to promote their religious beliefs by denegrating anothers...see you later.

    Boldness has its place, in your heart. Whats that line, better to be quiet and thought the fool, than open your mouth and remove all doubt?

    I think boldness, and the hypocrisy seen in comparison of so many folks' actions and personality that is increasing the demise of Christianity.
     
  12. RubySera_Martin

    RubySera_Martin Well-Known Member

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    Researchers have found that evangelicals and fundamentalists always believe they are in the minority even when they're not. What you say here fits that mindset exactly.

    I don't know where to get stats on how many people leave Christianity. But Scott Thumma has done quite a bit of research on megachurches. He calls it a megachurch if at least two thousand people attend services every weekend. Many megachurches have more like six to ten thousand attending on a weekly basis. It was two years ago when I researched this but at the time he was saying that these huge churches were springing up all over the US. And not just one or two a year. I don't know where all these people came from but it would seem that a lot of them must be new converts to Christianity. Or people who just didn't go to church. That is how Willow Creek got started. I think that is strong evidence that many people are turning to Christianity and probably at a significantly higher rate than people are leaving.

    I think I have also read sociological accounts that have found that more people have been turning to Christianity in the past ten years than leaving. If you ever read websites where people post who left you wil get the distinct feeling that Christianity is overwhelmingly the majority of the population, esp. in the Bible Belt, USA.

    I can see why some Christians might not like it. It takes away their excuse to preach boldly like JBF wants to.
     
  13. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Between 1990 and 2001, Christianity has dropped from 88.3 % of the American population to 79.8 %. It would appear to be a drop in the number of Christians if one left the stats right there.

    However the overall population of the United states has increased by 13.2% from 1990 to 2001, and by actual numerical growth, Christianity increased by 5.3%.

    The remainder of the population increase were non Christians.

    So, in shear numbers of Christians in the US, the percentage did not drop at all, but rose from 212,803,000 to 223,443,150, or an increase of over 10,500,000 Christians to the overall population of the United States.

    So, Ruby is correct. In the US, Christianity has not dropped in actual numbers, it climbed, at a growth rate of + 5% per decade.

    v/r

    Q
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2006
  14. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    You're talking about bad personality types here.:)

    I didn't say bad personality should be used to share Christianity.

    Whether it's sharing personality for the sake of sharing personality, or performing actions for the sake of actions, the issue is the same. It's just that "right actions" are nothing without the right personality. The right personality will do the job.
     
  15. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    These figures seem a bit hard to believe . . .

    As I'm not American, and don't live in America, I've perceived Christianity to be a minority. I thought they were also a minority in America.

    Depiction of American life seen on television don't depict much interest in Christianity. Whenever I see a depiction of Christianity in American TV programs, it's usually accompanied by comments on the so-called "Jesus freaks," "Bible Belt" or "Bible Thumpers" as if Christianity is something foreign. Deeply spiritual Christians (or simply, "Christians") are depicted as obnoxious or deranged characters that have nothing better to say than "we love the Lord Jesus" or "God works in mysterious ways." They are portrayed as people who do nothing else by utter the mantras commonly attributed to Christianity.

    I guess if Christians really are a majority in America then they are probably bolder (and perhaps more "obnoxious" and "deranged") than I think -- more predisposed to "utter the mantras." The sense of being a majority means there is less fear of being seen as "deranged" and "obnoxious." There is more freedom to be reckless.

    Still, it's a bit hard to believe Christianity could be a majority in America. How can anyone like a Christianity that dominates? A sense of majority causes audacity and obnoxiousness (especially with people like Pat Robinson). Power and domination corrupts. That's why I find it hard to imagine that many people would like Christianity that much.
     
  16. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    I didn't invent the numbers...Salt. I just posted them. And I'm very sorry you can't believe that the majority of America is Christian....neither can the rest of the world I suppose.

    But that is what the numbers say...I guess you thought what, maybe 48 %?

    ouch.

    v/r

    Q
     
  17. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Like a little salt with that? Nice thing about salt...after awhile, it no longer stings...
     
  18. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    Aw . . . no, I thought it was even worse than that -- maybe 6-10 %?

    That was what I heard in a report I heard in my church about Christianity in my local community, state and country. Some books I've read say that more churches are being replaced by mosques and Buddhist "temples" than are being planted in the West. Christianity was depicted as a religion destined either for extinction or just destined to become a minority. I had the idea that Western (as in "Western European") countries had developed a kind of "dislike" for Christianity.

    America might be an exception. Perhaps the downwards trend is happening more in Britain, France, Germany and Australia.

    It's also possible that the report may have focused more on "traditional," "denominational" and "mainstream" Christianity.

    Actually, upon looking up Christian population statistics (collected by census) for Australia, the figures added up to 67 % in 2001. Now that's strange. Why do we keep hearing alarm bells going off and voices saying that Christianity is facing a crisis, that people are leaving Christianity and its churches? I started to get a feeling that I was looking at the wrong statistics.

    Perhaps what I heard was about church attendance? In other words, the report was not about Christian/non-Christian porportions but churched/unchurched? If the statistics were on church attendance then the statistics are definitely very low -- around 6-10 % attending every single week, the figure I suggested before. The actual proportion of people considering themselves to be Christian may be higher. At least 70 % of Western populations don't attend church. That means that around 20 % of people actually attend church, once in a while.

    That must be it then. Leaders of Christianity are probably more worried about church attendance than census results of who considers himself/herself Christian. Church attendance is seen as important as interest/lack of interest is an indication of who is actually concerned about being part of the community.
     
  19. kenod

    kenod "to live is Christ"

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    I am a parent as well as a Christian. I don't intend to be quiet about what sort of society I want my children and grandchildren to grow up in. I may not be able to do a whole lot about it, but in my little corner, I can at least speak up.
     
  20. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    Here is a World Break down:

    [​IMG]

    It is true that Christianity is dropping and Islam is rising, while most others are more or less stable. However this is based on total world population percentages. In reality Christianity is growing (not declining), in actual numbers of Christians, world wide @ 1.4%, however the world population is increasing at a rate of 1.4% which means the Christianity is growing at a pace equal to the world's growing population The greatest rates of population growth are in the Middle east and in Asia, where Islam is the more or less dominant religion, Hence the steady climb of Islam per capita of people. However the growth of Islam surprisingly, is only @ 1.5%, which is slighty ahead of the the overall growth of world population in general.

    v/r

    Q

    edit: Also note that the non religious category is declining at a rate of .5% per year, which would possibly indicate that people are choosing a religion or faith instead of remaining agnostic or atheist.
     

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