Baha'i Persecution In Iran

Monk BrawlRainn Wilson, popularly known for his role as “Dwight Shrute” on The Office, has an article about Baha’i persecution in Iran. First he summarizes what the Baha’i faith teaches:

I am a member of the Baha’i faith. What is that, you ask? Well, long story short, it’s an independent world religion that began in the mid-1800s in Iran. Baha’is believe that there is only one God and therefore only one religion.

All of the world’s divine teachers (Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, Abraham, Krishna, etc.) bring essentially the same message — one of unity, love and knowledge of God or the divine.

This constantly updated faith of God, Baha’is believe, has been refreshed for this day and age by our founder, Baha’u’llah. There. Nutshell version.

Well, it’s news to me that Jesus and Muhammad brought a message of “unity” — Jesus, after all, said “I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother…” (Matt 10:35) and Muhammad seemed quite keen on killing infidels. However, it’s a nice thing to believe and I’m all for unity, love, and knowledge.

But it doesn’t really matter what they believe. Persecuting people for their religious beliefs (or lack there of) is wrong and must be opposed.

A trial is going on in Iran for seven Baha’i leaders:

They’ve been accused of all manner of things including being “spies for Israel,” “insulting religious sanctities” and “propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”

They’ve been held for a year in Evin Prison in Tehran without any access to their lawyer (the Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi) and with zero evidence of any of these charges….

In fact, since 1979, more than 200 Baha’is have been killed, holy places and cemeteries desecrated, homes burned, civil rights taken away and secret lists compiled of Baha’is (and even Muslims who associate with them) by government agencies.

What can we do?

There is a resolution on the situation of the Baha’is in Iran being sent to Congress. Please ask your representatives to support it. And ask them to speak out about this terrible situation.

I know I spend most of my time speaking against religion on this site. However, I also firmly believe that religious persecution — whether of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Baha’i, or any other religion — must be opposed. People should never be hurt or jailed because they think differently, unless they are a danger to others or their property.

We can all support an end to religious persecution, even while we yearn to free people from religious delusion.

  • VorJack

    My understanding is that Baha’i was originally an offshoot of Islam, and is therefore less tolerated by the Islamic world who view them as aberrations. Sort of the way Mormons are viewed by fundamentalist Christians, only in this case the fundamentalists are in power.

    Not that it would really help them to be an offshoot of Christianity right now. Since the war began, the Mandaeans of Iraq have all either fled or been killed.

  • pascalle

    In Iran one of the fighters for an arab minority has been convicted to 30 years in prison.
    He has lived in the netherlands for over 20 years and was politically active and a very active member of amnesty international.
    The Dutch Queen even gave him Ribbon for his accomplishments.

    However.. when he was on a holiday he was taken into custody and delivered to Iran, who prosecuted him for being a “terrorist”.

    …..

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    I used to work with an Iranian Baha’i, and he used to claim on official Iranian documents to be Muslim (He was filling in a paasport application for his daughter when this discussion came up). He tells me that the problem was that Baha’u’llah is not one of the 12 official prophets of Allah (Jesus, Moses, Buddha and so on) who preceded Mohammed, and therefore Baha’i is not seen as a “true” religion. As Mohammed is officially the final prophet, any religion younger than Islam must be based on false revelation, and that makes it OK to oppress them.

    Not that it makes much sense to me…

  • Mark T. Market

    All of the world’s divine teachers (Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, Abraham, Krishna, etc.) bring essentially the same message

    I think it’s a compelling idea that all religions can be united… but how likely is it? More importantly, even if the “messages” were the same–the execution of those messages is another matter.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    “Baha’is believe that there is only one God and therefore only one religion.”

    How original!

    I think Dwight would say that this Rainn character is weak for following a minority religion and feeling persecuted against. Shrutes don’t need religion to procreate and grow beets.

    ______________

    “We can all support an end to religious persecution, even while we yearn to free people from religious delusion.”

    Well said!

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Shrutes don’t need religion to procreate and grow beets.

    It’s interesting that despite coming from an Amish family, when he listed things that Angela had intorduced him to, one item was “monotheism”…

  • Elemenope

    How original!

    Well, it really is. They don’t believe that there is one religion and they are it. They believe rather that the plurality of religious practice worldwide is collectively a part of the same religion. The variances in practice between religions are due to differing local cultures and traditions, as well as the general conditions of the world at that time.

    It’s an interesting and, yes, original notion. Not that I buy it.

  • jonboy

    I don’t think it’s all that original.

    Many Christians believe that too, or at least something close to it.

    For me it comes from an alternate reading of the biblical passage in which Jesus says: “No man comes to the father except through me.”

    Yes, that passage can be read as an exclusivity clause: ‘no one but Christians go to heaven,’ but it might also be stated: ‘anyone who does go to heaven does it through me; regardless of what they think their religion says, it is directed at me.’

    Whether or not that works for you, I dunno.

    Freedom of religion is, for me personally, the most important function of government. I get awfully concerned about steps taken to curtail religious freedom (and yes, that includes the freedom to not have a religion.) As yet, however, I am pretty sure that even the US government doesn’t guarantee freedom from religious persecution, which sort of unnerves me…

  • Elemenope

    jonboy –

    I’d say that, historically speaking (and a few Jesuit twists and turns in Asia aside), religious pluralism was extremely uncommon in Christianity for the vast majority of its existence, and the alternative Inclusivist reading of the John 14:6 text is extremely new (like, last 200 years new), and disfavored amongst most Orthodox and Protestant denominations.

    Whereas in Baha’i, the Inclusivist reading is orthodox doctrine. I think that’s a big difference. In one religion you essentially have to be a heretic to believe in the truth of all religions, whereas in the other it’s essentially a prerequisite.

  • cello

    Whereas in Baha’i, the Inclusivist reading is orthodox doctrine. I think that’s a big difference. In one religion you essentially have to be a heretic to believe in the truth of all religions, whereas in the other it’s essentially a prerequisite.

    I wonder if this is why the Iranian government seems to target the Baha’i more diligently than they do with native Jews and Christians. Inclusivism is a subversive concept.

  • Elemenope

    I wonder if this is why the Iranian government seems to target the Baha’i more diligently than they do with native Jews and Christians. Inclusivism is a subversive concept.

    From what I recall, the extremity of the oppression of the Baha’i in Iran is in large part due to the fact that it is a homegrown faith. The Baha’ullah was Persian, and the center of the faith is (was) in what is now Iran. It’s a “home turf” thing.

  • http://digitaldame.wordpress.com Digital Dame

    I went to high school with a girl who was Baha’i. It is a unifying religion, from what I remember, extremely egalitarian including teaching equality of the sexes (no wonder the Muslims hate them). She gave me a book to read about it (which I still have) because I was curious, but she never mentioned it again. They are probably the least offensive religion I have ever run across.

  • Elemenope

    They are probably the least offensive religion I have ever run across.

    That’s been my experience, too. A good friend of mine in college was Baha’i; they are pretty extremely chill about the whole religion thing.

    The only think that annoys is they managed to keep the whole “no intoxicants” prohibition. But from what my friend said, it’s more of a guideline than a rule. I kinda got the impression that a lot of it was like that.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    From what I recall, the extremity of the oppression of the Baha’i in Iran is in large part due to the fact that it is a homegrown faith. The Baha’ullah was Persian, and the center of the faith is (was) in what is now Iran. It’s a “home turf” thing.

    I’m lead to believe that it’s at least partially because Baha’i post-dates Islam, and cannot, therefore, be a Religion of the Book, as Christianity and Judaism are.

  • Elemenope

    I’m lead to believe that it’s at least partially because Baha’i post-dates Islam, and cannot, therefore, be a Religion of the Book, as Christianity and Judaism are.

    That also makes a lot of doctrinal sense (in the sense that doctrine can make sense at all).

    According to the wiki article on the subject, this seems to be the lynchpin of the thing:

    “The Bahá’í Faith faces an additional, technical hurdle. Iranian law recognizes all those who accept the existence of God and the prophethood of Muhammad as Muslims. Bahá’ís accept both of these precepts, however Bahá’ís recognize the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh as additional messengers that have appeared after Muhammad. Muslims, on the other hand, assert the finality of Muhammad’s revelation. Iranian law therefore treats Bahá’ís as “heretics” rather than members of an independent religion, as they describe themselves.”

  • John C

    @All…

    Daniel said…

    “People should never be hurt or jailed because they think differently, unless they are a danger to others or their property. We can all support an end to religious persecution, even while we yearn to free people from religious delusion”.

    —————————————————————————

    Excellent post, stimulating conversation…Here’s my question for the rest of you…is this your position as well? Could you really see yourselves defending me from “religious” persecution…literally? Seeing that I have done you no harm , only shared Christ in love? Would you jump in the middle of the riot and pull me from the stone carrying mob to defend my right of free speech? Or would you be more inclined to…look for the nearest stone yourself? Think about it….I have my suspicions but would love to hear your thoughts on the matter, it will require a little “gut” searching on your part first…so, what did you decide? Are you gonna rescue or riot along with the crowd? Would you be tempted to join in?

    Hmm…just wondering

    Love like Him,

    JC

  • Elemenope

    Here’s my question for the rest of you…is this your position as well?

    Yes, with the qualification that I don’t believe (most) religious belief is a delusion; it is merely a belief structure I don’t personally hold.

    The question of whether I’d pull a guy out of a riot is really a question of bravery. I’d like to think that I would, but you never really know until you are actually faced with the situation in reality.

  • John C

    @Elemeno-

    Thank you for your response, your intellectual honesty…I appreciate it very much.

    Take care,

    JC

  • http://voicefromthewilderness.wordpress.com Voice from the Wilderness

    Well lookie here; Florien Speaks! I thought you let your minions do all the talking.

    Since you have taken it upon yourself to speak I must ask you: why oppose persecution, especially religious persecution! If God doesn’t exist, as you have so clearly declared then life is meaningless anyway. We are merely machines with no purpose except to exist for a while and then cease.

    Speaking against religious persecution should be beneath you. If you really are an athiest then you and your disciples should, and have actually demonstrated hatred for any other view than your own. (These who ‘religiously subscribe to your site and your beliefs are indeed your disciples and they are fervent in their devotion to you. If you doubt me and I’m sure you don’t, just check out the comments that will follow my ‘contribution.’) Can you say intolorant? Anyhow, I digress…

    Any true godless man or woman should relish the destruction of their enemys, in this case religious people for this will eliminate those problem people who don’t believe like you do. You have said that they are merely deluded by religion.

    In reality, your arguments are oxymoronish. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Jesus said, you re either for Him or against Him. Now take a stand! Either you think its ok to believe in God and this must not be for your minions are vehemently opposed to anything that smacks of God and your favor will expose you as a ‘religous sympathizer; or in reality you are against such people.

    Which is it?

    As for me, I know God! And by His grace I see people as more than machines; they are creations of God and whether they serve Him from a heart of love to Him or deny Him and rail against His truth, in the end each person will have fulfilled His decrees for “God has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil. Proverbs 16:4

    “Whether to Heaven or hell you bend, God will have Glory in the end.” John Bunyan

    As for those who are being persecuted in Iran, I am praying for them that God will deliver them or give them grace in their time of trial.

    Mike

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    @Elemenope

    Well, it really is. They don’t believe that there is one religion and they are it. They believe rather that the plurality of religious practice worldwide is collectively a part of the same religion.

    Hmm.. yes, I understand that about Baha’i-ism, and that is an original idea.

    The idea to which I was being sarcastic about, “that there is only one God and therefore only one religion”, by itself, is not new.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Oh crap, look who’s back.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Could you really see yourselves defending me from “religious” persecution…literally? Seeing that I have done you no harm , only shared Christ in love? Would you jump in the middle of the riot and pull me from the stone carrying mob to defend my right of free speech?

    My first instinct is to say “of course I would”, but, as Elemenope says, that requires a level of physical bravery that I’ve never yet needed to put to the test. I like to think I would, but I really don’t want to have to find out for sure.

    Or would you be more inclined to…look for the nearest stone yourself?

    This part, I can answer with absolute certainty. I would never, under any circumstances, deliberately cause physical harm to another human being. Joining in with a mob to lynch someone is nothing more than barbarism, and I’m disappointed that you think the question needs to be asked. Has anyone here done anything to you that would indicate a desire to cause you harm?

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    I’m going to fight the urge to give him the attention he craves.

    “Well lookie here; Florien Speaks! I thought you let your minions do all the talking.”

    What on Earth is he talking about?

  • Jonathon

    The persecution of the Baha’i and other religious minorities is intolerable and not characteristic of the history of Islam. Muslims in Iran should follow the example of the Prophet, who lived alongside Jews, Christians, Sabeans and the polytheist Arabs who dominated before and during the life of the Prophet.

    In the Qur’an, Surah 109 (“The Unbelievers”) contains the revelation/teaching that Iranian Muslims (and all Muslims) should follow:

    Say, “O disbelievers,
    I do not worship what you worship.
    Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.
    Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.
    Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.
    For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”

    (Note: this English translation is from the Sahih International translation of the Qur’an)

    It is also worth mentioning that Iran also discriminates against non-Shia Muslims. The “Islamic Republic” is neither Islamic nor a Republic, since the government interferes so with political parties and who may (and may not) actually run for office.

    Funny, yet sad, how if Muslims would follow the dictates of their own religion, this wouldn’t be happening.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @Mike (Voice from the Wilderness): Since I usually write at least one post a day, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    You said:

    Any true godless man or woman should relish the destruction of their enemies

    I don’t consider religious people to be my enemies, and even if I did, I wouldn’t relish their destruction. I do enjoy it when I think people get closer to truth, but no decent human being takes pleasure in the physical hurt of others just because you disagree about idea. Perhaps you do, and so you think we do, too. You would be wrong.

    You know, I’m very thankful you’re not an atheist. You obviously need a god and a holy book in order to be a decent human being. (Though I’m not positive you are a decent human being even with god. Honestly, you scare me a bit.)

    I’m very happy for people who need a crutch to act decently to believe whatever they need to so that they don’t endanger other people. You are obviously one of them.

    * * *

    Anyone else find it amusing/sad that we have a fundie here telling us that we should be persecuting religious people? I think people like that want to be persecuted. It makes them feel spiritual and vindicated. However, the ones persecuting others are almost always fundies of a different flavor. Religion is it’s own worst enemy.

    I believe in freedom of and from religion. I’ll even defend Mike’s right to spew his hatred saying that atheists should kill other people. But when he picks up the gun to hurt someone himself, that’s when he gets thrown in jail. Not because of his religion, but because of his danger to society.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    Since you have taken it upon yourself to speak I must ask you: why oppose persecution, especially religious persecution! If God doesn’t exist, as you have so clearly declared then life is meaningless anyway. We are merely machines with no purpose except to exist for a while and then cease.

    We give our lives meaning. If you need an external entity to give your life meaning, then I feel sorry for you.

    Speaking against religious persecution should be beneath you. If you really are an athiest then you and your disciples should, and have actually demonstrated hatred for any other view than your own.

    Uh, yeah. That’s not actually part of being an atheist.

    Any true godless man or woman should relish the destruction of their enemys, in this case religious people for this will eliminate those problem people who don’t believe like you do. You have said that they are merely deluded by religion.

    Uh, no. If one truly does not believe that there is a god, or a life after this one, then one understands that life is precious and fragile, and that people should be allowed to live their lives as they see fit, so long as they grant this privilege to others.

    Just because someone is deluded does not mean that they should be persecuted or punished.

    I’m not aware of any atheist who seeks the eradication of religion; even the most strident, such as Dawkins, only seek its removal from the political arena.

    Are you actually being serious with this? Because it really bears no resemblance to anything I’ve ever actually experienced.

  • Ty

    “The only think that annoys is they managed to keep the whole “no intoxicants” prohibition. But from what my friend said, it’s more of a guideline than a rule. I kinda got the impression that a lot of it was like that.”

    I have a friend who left the Bahai faith because of their prohibitions against alcohol and masturbation.

    It seems like a joke, but that’s his actual reason.

    Also:

    Wow, is Voice a vile human being or what? Is this what Jesus did for him?

  • Jonathon

    “There is a resolution on the situation of the Baha’is in Iran being sent to Congress. Please ask your representatives to support it. And ask them to speak out about this terrible situation.”

    Sadly, I don’t think that any action by the US Congress is going to help the Baha’i in Iran. Quite frankly, the Iranian government would probably use it as another excuse to persecute them, since they are being supported (at least in spirit) by the hated “Great Satan”.

    This is a clear example of where doing something is actually harmful.

    (Just imagine if the CIA had not overthrown the popularly-elected government in 1953 and put the Shah on the throne. Without that experience, it is unlikely (IMHO) that there would ever have been an “Islamic revolution” and the Ayatollah Khomeni would never have been able to have grabbed so much power for himself and the other clerics that are the de facto oligarchs of Iran.)

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    John C.

    “Would you jump in the middle of the riot and pull me from the stone carrying mob to defend my right of free speech?”

    I agree with Elemenope. It depends on the situation. If there was danger involved, some risk assessment would have to be done on my part.

    I also have a problem dealing with confrontation, so if there were a lot of people involved, I would probably have to be involved emotionally (i.e. agree with your views, and also feel pursecuted against) in order to step in.

  • John C

    Thx McBlog…

    Yours is only the third response I have received…I guess its too hot a topic for many.

    These kinds of questions are ones we should all be asking ourselves…they act as a sort of GPS for our true coordinates.

    Of course, this hypothetical scenario is somewhat unfair, one never truly knows how he or she would react until faced with it in reality.

    I would not be surprised to see these kinds of things begin to play out on the streets (yes the streets of america) in the not too distant future. I am not saying they will, just that it wouldnt surprise me at all.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com McBloggenstein

    Agreed on all points. And, I wouldn’t be suprised either.

    However, I don’t think people are avoiding your question.

    I’ve noticed this time of day to be a slow time for blog comments.

  • http://voicefromthewilderness.wordpress.com Voice from the Wilderness

    Hey Mr. Florien. I have visited your site and mostly I see others names not yours. I am thankful that I am not an athiest too for then I would be of all men most miserable.

    I take it from your reaction that you’re used to the milk-toast type ‘Cino’ (Christians in name only) those who lay down and yield to whatever nonsense is being spewed out rather than taking a stand for their beliefs.

    I’m a Christian, not a pacifist. If my stand for truth makes me out to be an indecent human being in your eyes, well then, you merely have a typical worldview of what you think Christians ought to be like. And of course you are wrong.

    Does this rub you the wrong way Ty? That was not my intention. But then standing up to error never wins a popularity contest.

    Wintermute, God gives people real purpose for living. Rather than survival of the fitttest, He grants life and that more abundantly. And even in the face of persecution He gives strength and grace in time of need.

    Now the Bahai’s are actually living out their faith; probably on a greater scale than many so-called Christians and they are suffering for their ‘stand.’ It takes real guts to stand up for what you believe. This is what they are doing. To them its worth their lives!

  • Mark T. Market

    @Voice

    In reality, your arguments are oxymoronish. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Jesus said, you re either for Him or against Him. Now take a stand!

    Which is it?

    I think you are making two arguments: you are explicitly criticizing moral agnosticism (i.e. people who don’t make a stand–or relativism), but in so doing making a positive case for religion (in your case, the Christian religion). Is this deliberate?

    I definitely agree that one should take a stance and defend a position, but that doesn’t necessarily make me sanction ideas such as yours, particularly one that makes an implicit assumption on certain things. Like when you say:

    As for me, I know God!

    Do you allow for any margin of error in that statement?

    Taking a definite stance is separate from making blanket declarations. And taking a stand based on arbitrary authority without any critical thinking is dangerous.

  • cello

    @ John C

    Would I nonviolently support free speech in any way that I could? Yes, including religious speech. (As it is, the more religious people talk about their views, the more likely they are to discredit their religion.) Free-speech is the lynch-pin on which all our of other rights rest.

    Would I risk my life to save yours in face of a persecuting mob? I don’t know. The question reminds me of the black civil rights workers who sat at the coffee shop and while whites poured hot coffee over their head. That always struck me as requiring more bravery than hand to hand combat. Most likely, I would not have the guts to confront such hate so directly.

  • John C

    Thanks Cello…

    I appreciate the well thought out and candid response.

    JC

  • Elemenope

    Sadly, I don’t think that any action by the US Congress is going to help the Baha’i in Iran. Quite frankly, the Iranian government would probably use it as another excuse to persecute them, since they are being supported (at least in spirit) by the hated “Great Satan”.

    This is a clear example of where doing something is actually harmful.

    (Just imagine if the CIA had not overthrown the popularly-elected government in 1953 and put the Shah on the throne. Without that experience, it is unlikely (IMHO) that there would ever have been an “Islamic revolution” and the Ayatollah Khomeni would never have been able to have grabbed so much power for himself and the other clerics that are the de facto oligarchs of Iran.)

    This is a really important point. Interference has in some ways gotten us to where we are now. The assassination of Mossadegh certainly boomeranged into a lot of the bitter feelings that Persia tends to have about the US these days.

    (Stand back! I’m gonna try a metaphor!)

    It’s kinda like the argument over in our economic situation, a stimulus is a good idea, and if so, what sort of stimulus would be best. Many say that we are locked in a deflationary death spiral; some of those say that we should spend more, some say we should cut more taxes. Everytbody on this side, though, agrees that we MUST DO SOMETHING!!! To not do anything when we are in a crisis is deeply counter-intuitive.

    Some others however will say that this is simply the bottom part of a regular business cycle oscillation, and if we do nothing, everything will slowly return to normal…BUT! If we interfere, we are practically guaranteed to make things worse, by distorting the business cycle and causing the economy to snap completely out of equilibrium.

    Now, I don’t want to turn this into an economics slap-fest, but my point is that not doing something (or, more accurately, refraining from positive action) has consequences just as much as actively choosing from amongst positive actions. Often we as human beings are so addicted to doing something that we sometimes fail to see that the thing will work much better if left alone.

    • cat-who-sleeps

      “Sadly, I don’t think that any action by the US Congress is going to help the Baha’i in Iran.”

      Actually, the pressure does affect Iran. Iran is very sensitive to outside pressure and conditions have gotten slightly better for the Iranian Baha’is. Iran feels this pressure and is sensitive to it.

      (by the way, I will not be reposting, so say what you will. please look it up if you doubt me)

  • http://voicefromthewilderness.wordpress.com Voice from the Wilderness

    Mark T Market:

    Yes I am deliberately speaking out against those who would merely hide in the shadows and say, “I don’t want to get involved” when their involvement would directly or even indirectly help those in need.

    I understand your apprehension concerning my statement; I Know God! By that statement I am saying that I am “all in” with Jesus. He has revealed Himself to me in such a complete way that I am willing to die for my faith! For this faith that I possess is a gift from God.

    And for me there is no margin for error in my statement. Again for me Christ is all in all. Now you can surely see a difference between this and the half-hearted ‘belief systems’ that many people adopt for various reasons.

    I agree that making blanket statements is foolish; I have made them before and lived to eat crow big time! But Christianity is not some mindless ‘religion’ where we work ourselves into an altered state of consciousness.

    Christianty is God visiting man and drawing man to Himself in an unbreakable union of love and grace. It is the Divine revealing Himself to the sinful, the Infinite Mind revealing Himself to the finite and that revelation being a catalyst for deep critical thinking as one suddenly has glorious truth revealed in majestic splendor. And this revelation is a marked difference from those who ‘make a descision.’

    When Paul was on the road to Damascus to capture the Christians there and bring them in chains to Jerusalem (in order to put them to death) he was visited by the Lord Jesus Christ. This visitation was so transformational that Paul who had been an enemy of Jesus now became His most ardent supporter.

    All of the scholarly study of scripture rather which had been mere dusty clinical information suddenly came alive and Paul, seeing the Truth began to preach that truth so forcefully that death warrents were issued! Here is critical thinking with muscle. Here is the taking of a stand with the Ultimate Authority behind you!

    And what’s more we are talking about a man who was filled with rage at the Name of Jesus now standing forth and proclaiming that there is life to be found in His Name.

    What was the motivation? Money? Fame? Glory? Just check out his life after God had saved him and you will see terrifying persecution in the form of stonings, beating, whippings…

    His motivation in all of this was the love of God. He specifically said “The love of Christ constrains me…woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.” He so wanted men to know what he had found that his life didn’t matter anymore if only one sinner would come in repentance to the throne of Grace and there find salvation! For rather than fading earthly glory, Paul had found eternal life, real purpose for living. He had found Jesus!

    This is what I’m talking about!

    Mike

  • http://billpost.blogspot.com/ Bill

    Voice! You crazy theist you. I see you’ve decided to come back. What a barrel of laughs you are!

    Hey, not for nothing, but are you going to answer my questions from the “Let There Be Light Thread?” Just wondering.

    In case you’ve forgotten, they can be found here:

    http://unreasonablefaith.com/2009/02/12/let-there-be-light/#comments

  • Mark T. Market

    Christianty is God visiting man and drawing man to Himself in an unbreakable union of love and grace. It is the Divine revealing Himself to the sinful, the Infinite Mind revealing Himself to the finite and that revelation being a catalyst for deep critical thinking as one suddenly has glorious truth revealed in majestic splendor. And this revelation is a marked difference from those who ‘make a descision.’

    Thanks for the exchange of thoughts Voice.

    Actually between fundamentalist and the so-called ‘moderate’ Christians, I join you in your abhorrence for the latter. I agree that you really can only accept or reject an ideology or religion (say Christianity)–and to dwell in the middle ground is a weaker position.

    Three further points:

    1. There’s more than just accepting an ideology based on its moral or philosophical premise–there’s also accepting an ideology based on its empirical and historical base. A “good” ideology can fail in practice. For me to accept Christianity means accepting not just its premises but also the results and actions of those who practice it.

    2. While the idea of accepting or rejecting God seems like a binary decision–in reality it’s multi-faceted. Which God or version of such are we really accepting or rejecting? Christians for instance are of so many denominations–and they don’t all agree. The bible isn’t just about Paul and Jesus. So by cherry picking the parts of Christianity and the bible we prefer–and criticizing those who don’t believe in the bible, is like making a blanket assertion that all Christian beliefs are the same. (Which is incidentally along the same lines as the Baha’i folks–who would like to lump all religious ideas together).

    3. The moral/philosophical attributes (#1), and the specificity of ideas (#2) aside–there’s also the truth-component on which the idea is based. Relying on revelation solely doesn’t seem like a practical way to find truth–since there’s no way of confirming revelation apart from assertion by authority. How different can we say “my revelation” can be from “your revelation”? Relying simply on authority + morality is not a formula for testing something as true.

  • Elemenope

    …and to dwell in the middle ground is a weaker position.

    Why?

  • cello

    @ Mike (aka Voice from the Wilderness)

    Now the Bahai’s are actually living out their faith; probably on a greater scale than many so-called Christians and they are suffering for their ’stand.’ It takes real guts to stand up for what you believe. This is what they are doing. To them its worth their lives!

    Out of curiousity, are you an universalist like the Baha’is? Or do you think that if a Bahai were to die for his faith – it would be in vain – as he would go to hell?

  • Mark T. Market

    …and to dwell in the middle ground is a weaker position.

    Why?

    Because to “not decide” or have “no position” doesn’t lead to truth, much less to any practical, moral, or knowledge value.

    One should always adopt the best position they can afford, and always be open to changing or improving their position once more or better basis presents itself.

    However, for me adopting a static position–based on arbitrary authority, (such as religion) can only be a starting point, because we aren’t infallible.

    But being fallible or imperfect doesn’t excuse us from the making a stand.

  • Elemenope

    Since when is the identification of a middle or median position the same as taking no position?

    There are very, very few arguments in this world that only admit of themselves two coherent positions.

    Part of the problem might be we are using two different sense of “middle position”.

  • Mark T. Market

    ^ Good point–in this case I would clarify my point as taking a median stance between conflicting or contradictory ideas. You either decide or lean towards one idea, or simply do not participate in the conversation.

  • Elemenope

    On that, we agree.

  • John C

    The striving, straining, sorting through of all the various positional possibilities are a product of our choosing to exist outside the mind God. There is tremendous peace and wisdom in the laying down of one’s many striations, divisions and assuming the mind of Christ which is a benefit of the cross of Christ.

    When Oneness is re-created in the spirit, all duality and its accompanying fractioning of the self is remedied. When seperate, we are unknowingly our own worst enemies. The unrenewed mind will, if not reconciled and made whole eventually hasten its own demise. So we hear these words (if we want to) “let this mind be in you also, which was in Christ Jesus” and “be renewed in the spirit of your mind”. The very word renewed implies an original, superior state to the current.

    When we properly comprehend the complete, true offer of Christ and can seperate these from our faulty pre-conceived “religious” notions, we can again be as we once were…in the original, paradaisical state which is a One, not a plurality.

    There are two states of existence, one being the realm of the natural, ie the “flesh” and the other being the realm of the supernatural, ie the “spirit”. The kingdom restoration is a life in the spirit…where there is no (more) duality, no potential for both good & evil, only good.

    These objectives can not be undertaken without the elements of love & trust which are both mostly foreign in our current, devolved, lowered condition of existence, that being the realm of the flesh.

    When we know the Father, are intimately secure in His love for us and His true nature & character then the restoration to our original, spiritual state is possible.

    Truth is a Person, Love is knowable…Himself.

    JC

  • Ty

    John C:

    I saved a coworker from being kicked to death by skinheads. I don’t remember stopping to ask him what his religious beliefs were first. Of course, that was 20 years ago, and I was a bit more hot headed then. I have to think I’d probably do it again even now, though probably less successfully.

    Voice:

    It’s your sort of angry certainty that lies behind most of the world’s greatest evils.

    Yeah, I find it fairly vile.

  • John C

    Ha, ha…Thanks TY…I appreciate the response…all the best to you.

  • Jabster

    @Elemenope

    “Now, I don’t want to turn this into an economics slap-fest, but my point is that not doing something (or, more accurately, refraining from positive action) has consequences just as much as actively choosing from amongst positive actions. Often we as human beings are so addicted to doing something that we sometimes fail to see that the thing will work much better if left alone.”

    As a general point I agree as there is certainly the view that you’re paid to do a job and part of that job is trying to improve the situation as much as possible as this means actions must be taken. In this case what you are talking about is governments and for them to sit back and do nothing is electoral suicide. Think of it like this, when the good times are rolling everyone is so quick to claim that is because of them and when the bad times come it all of a sudden has bugger all to do with them what if they really didn;t make much difference either way?

    p.s. Wouldn’t it be great to have a job where doing nothing was considered the right option — it’s all gone horribly wrong what are we going to do about it; nothing!

  • Derek

    Hi,

    Reading each of the messages on this site has been a very interesting and rewarding experience.

    I am a recent addition to the numbers of those who are Baha’i’s.

    My parents were officially Church of England faith, though they were not church-goers as it were.

    My ‘godparents’ were Lutheran, so I was taught and raised within the teachings of the Lutheran Faith.

    Eventually I met a Baha’i and read about the religion and it’s beliefs, history, principles and teachings.

    Some outside it view it as a sect of Islam, which it is not.
    It is a totally independent religion.

    I liked what I read. Very much. I liked what I heard. Very much. So much so that I have converted to it.
    It was my choice, freely-and happily-made, without any pressure or inducement of any kind.

    I wish I had known about the Baha’i Faith years ago, because I would definitely have joined it years ago.

    But at least I have done so now.

    Best wishes to you all.

  • Elemenope

    @Jabster

    In this case what you are talking about is governments and for them to sit back and do nothing is electoral suicide. Think of it like this, when the good times are rolling everyone is so quick to claim that is because of them and when the bad times come it all of a sudden has bugger all to do with them what if they really didn’t make much difference either way?

    That really is the conundrum, isn’t it? If you appear to be doing nothing, people assume you are lazy and unresponsive. People wonder why I’d like Economics, Philosophy, and Engineering taught in high school; my experience is that many never really get exposed to the doctrine of unintended consequences nor are exposed to the notion that most things cannot be analyzed effectively on the level of individual actions but only at the level of systems, which really comes from familiarity with subjects like those three (and a few others).

    Wouldn’t it be great to have a job where doing nothing was considered the right option — it’s all gone horribly wrong what are we going to do about it; nothing!

    Would be neat!

    @Derek

    I’m glad to hear you found a belief system that works for you.

  • http://wmute.livejournal.com wintermute

    It’s what they call the Politician’s Syllogism:

    We must do something.

    This is something.

    Therefore, we must do this.

  • Elemenope

    @wintermute

    We must do something.

    This is something.

    Therefore, we must do this.

    LOL! Yes, that’s the one!

  • http://voicefromthewilderness.wordpress.com Voice from the Wilderness

    Mark T. Market you are a real, true thinking man, an actual reasoning individual. You don’t just ‘react’ but you actually think; you check things out. This is very refreshing. I checked out your site and there I saw some deep thinking. This is good! I want to thank you for being a voice of reason to smooth out the rough edges here.

    You are right in your statement that “For me to accept Christianity means accepting not just its premises but also the results and actions of those who practice it.” If there is no evidence in the lives of those who claim to have been born again, then why bother. Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit” that the evidence of their lives will speak louder than their words.

    Christianity is not the ‘smorgasbord’ religion that many ‘denominations’ make it out to be. You’re right when you say we can’t cherry pick what we want to believe; the so-called ‘good parts’. God said what He meant and meant what He said and His word must be recieved exactly as He said it.

    Now many people can take anything in the Bible and run with it and say all manner of things like was said on another blogsite… specifically that God sanctioning all manner of wickedness. Such statements are without foundation, having been laid out to slander God and His Holy Word.

    As for God, yeah there are many people who have many ideas of what they believe God to be. You hear statements like “My God is…” and they add their own description. But if the version of God being stated does not compare to the Biblical version, then you’re just whistling Dixie. Especially because God Himself said; “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

    What about all those denominations? Which one is right? Are any of them right? In my opinion denominations are man’s attempt to systematize the word of God into a set of beliefs. Now these beliefs can be Biblical or they can be whatever the pastor or the congregation can dream up. The latter results in nonsense and in some cases horrors like Jonestown.

    Then there are the denominations that began well but slowly lowered the Biblical standard and ended up with what you see today. There are no perfect Churches just as there are no perfect men. There are Churches which hold up the Biblical standard, the faithful remnant which have not bowed the knee to worldliness but who have continued with what little strength they have, who have kept the Word of Christ and have not denied His Name.

    And the Church is not just a building on the corner where we meet; the Church is made up of men, women and children who have heard the voice of God and have been tranformed by His saving grace. They are not perfect but they strive to follow after the One who called them.

    And this brings me to the Bible. Mr. Florien stated “You obviously need a god and a holy book in order to be a decent human being.” He went on to say that he didn’t think I was ‘a decent person, even with God.” I can state for the record that I am not a decent person…I am a sinner and many times I lash out in anger which demonstrates my sinfulness. Praise God that Jesus said “I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Repentance is an ongoing thing and here is an example. Mr. Florien, I was extremely disrespectful to you and I apologize.

    But it is in the Bible that we hear God’s voice. You may say, “That is an entirely subjective experience.” And in some cases you are right. There are many who have taken the Bible and read into it whatever they wanted to. There are others who, seeing an opportunity to lord it over gulible people, have taken the bible and used it for their own self agranizment. But for those who have been truly called of God, they see the scriptures as, not open to private interpretation but as Gods revelation of Himself and His Commandments for His creation.

    This, I believe, is the crux of taking a stand, not trying to be a chameleon. The chameleon says “what’s true for you may not be true for me” which, when applied to Christianity is a way of excusing oneself from accountability before a Holy God. If only it were that easy.

    God has revealed Himself in nature and in His word and in the Person of Jesus Christ. He declared the truth, was hated for it and eventually murdered for His crime of being who He is. But He rose again and the day is coming when He will return to judge the world for their sins. Those who have bowed the knee in repentance before God and have entrusted their never dying souls to Him who is able to save to the uttermost, those who believe in Him.

    And you are right Mr. Florien, this does make me a fundie!

  • http://voicefromthewilderness.wordpress.com Voice from the Wilderness

    Hey Teleprompter:

    Could you explain what you mean “but what if the god of the Bible *in one part* doesn’t compare to the god of the Bible *in another part*?”

    What I mean is, do you see a difference or do you know of a difference between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament? And if so, what is the difference?

  • John C

    @Tele-

    You and I have had similar discussions, just as a reminder:

    The bible is not intended to be our (only) guide, but rather the inner light (of Christ) within. His spirit witnesses to ours, in fact is united to ours. This is why we hear words like these (if we want to) “he who is joined to the lord is one spirit with Him” 1 Cor 6:17

    Its not about some external print, but rather an internal blue…print. A new nature, a re-creation, a spiritual make-over…back to our intended originality prior to the rebellion, the great separation wherein we were marred, impaired and became dull of hearing. AWAKE and Christ will shine on you (and in you, and thru you…as you). For “as He is in the world, so are we” 1 John 4:17.

    Then, who are we? What does this mean Tele??

    All the best…

    JC

  • Ty

    “Then, who are we? What does this mean Tele??”

    Nothing.

  • http://voicefromthewilderness.wordpress.com Voice from the Wilderness

    Hey Teleprompter;

    I will deal with your questions one at a time.

    1. Is the god of the Bible a god of fear or a god of love?.

    God is God and by nature of His very being; someone who has the power to speak a universe into being, well that’s someone to be feared. But the scriptures declare that the fear (the reverence) of God is the beginning of wisdom. It is only those who rage against God and His Law, who shake their fists in His face in rebellion, that have any real reason to fear.

    But this God has demonstrated love for His creation in that He gives us air to breathe, Sun for warmth and light and rain for water and life. So all men are recipients of His love in a general way. But God did something else for His creation. He demonstrated supreme love in sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. If we put our trust in Him we will never be ashamed. He will forgive you for your crimes against Him and make you a brand new person. And instead of eternal punishment He will give you eternal life and eternal peace and an eternal home in Heaven.

    2. Jesus forgives, Yahweh condemns.

    God is the Ruler of His creation. He has issued His laws and unlike men who issue laws with no teeth. God will carry out His judgment against those who continue to rebel against His Authority.

    Mr. Florien has a page dealing with God murdering His children. Now what could possibly be the reason for this? The Bible says that the earth was filled with violence and rebellion. “The thoughts and intents of the heart of man were only evil continually.” I think this is clear. And God as the Supreme Judge declared them guilty. But was He without mercy? I don’t think so. Enoch called his generation to repentance and Noah preached for 120 years while he built the ark. 120 years is a long time. In the end the only ones who were saved were Noah and his family. No one else cared. They were too busy filling up their time with ‘their own lives.” They were too busy to care about what God had said or the provision God had made in the ark that Noah built. And so they stood unrepentent and God rightly condemned them to death.

    You say that Jesus forgives and that is true; if we repent of our sins and follow Him. But Jesus will return the second time to judge the world. He condemned the Religious leaders of His day in very harsh terms. Just check out Matthew 23. He is the only way of salvation and if you repent and trust in Him for the salvation of your never dying soul you will be saved from the wrath to come. If not you will be judged/condemned/punished! He made the rules.

    3. Jesus chides hypocrites who take advantage of their positions in society as holy people; Yahweh does everything for his own glory.

    If you are referring to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day you need to check out what they were doing “in the Name of God.” They had actually thrown out the Scriptures of the Old Testament in favor of their commentaries on it. Whay I mean is that they had taken the Old Testament and had written commentaries on what ‘God really meant.’

    Check it out; God said “remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. 6 days you will work and do all your labor but the seventh day is a day of rest and worship.” Now what the Pharisees and the Sadducees did with this was to ‘explain what God really meant.’ This included stuff like “If you spit on a rock on the Sabbath day that’s ok. But if you spit in the dirt, well then you’re making mortar so you are working.” In other words, these men had replaced Gods command to rest with burdens that no one could bear. Jesus condemned them for this. Holy people? I don’t think so.
    To be holy is to be two things;
    a. set apart to God to serve Him with your whole heart, and:
    b. living pure before God, that is turning away from sin in every form and trying to do everything as a service to God.

    As for God doing everything for His own glory, He’s God. All things bring Him glory. They either bring Him glory because they are a demonstration of His grace or they will bring Him glory as a demonstration of His justice. His grace is glorious and His justice is glorious.

    4. Shut the door when you pray? or Every knee shall bow?
    The first statement is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees who stood on street corners shouting out their prayers; not because they wanted anything from God but because they wanted everyone to think they were ‘holy.’ Jesus said that if your going to pray, pray to God, not to be seen by men.
    The second statement refers to the day when Jesus returns. On that day, everyone will bow before Him and everyone will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

    5. The meek shall inherit the Earth? or An egotistical
    dictator?
    Those who have humbled themselves before God in repentence for their sins, who have cried out to God to have mercy upon them and forgive them, these will be saved from the penalty due them for their sins. The bible speaks of a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells. Gods children, the repentent, the meek, will inherit this new earth.

    Now why do you consider God to be an egotistical dictator? You are putting your humanness on God, making Him like His creation. God is love, God is just, God is Holy! Holiness not egotism, characterizes His character.

    6. Perfect love that casts out fear? or A scheme of threats and punishment?

    Those who have come to Him, who have been called by God to repentence and forgiveness of sins, who have been given a brand new life; these have been set free from the penalty that was due them for breaking Gods law. Fear has been replaced with peace and joy and hope.

    Those who don’t; Jesus said they were condemned already because they did not believe in Him. The threats of eternal punishment only affect those who would rather not obey God and repent.

    Rather than painting a black picture of misery look at the whole picture. There is grace and there is justice. Even human beings demonstrate this. If someone hurts you but then comes to you in heartfelt repentence and asks your forgiveness, will you not show mercy.

    But if someone hurts you over and over again and shows no compassion, if you get the chance you will deal with this individual. This is a glimpse of what God does.

    We have all sinned. But if we come to God in heartfelt repentence and ask Him to forgive us, the Bible says that He will do just that and more. He will forgive us and make us new creations, make us heirs of an inheritance that will never fade away.

    But if we live in constant rebellion against Him in whatever form that rebellion takes, we will get what we worked for. We will judged guilty of rebellion at the judgment bar of God and the sentence will be death.

    Mike VFTW

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  • http://kaweah.com/blog Dan Jensen

    @Derek

    I’m an Ex-Baha’i. It didn’t work for me. It’s not the worst thing on Earth. It’s a rather nonviolent form of blindness, though like any blindness it oppresses in its own way.

    I agree that it isn’t a sect of Islam if one defines “Muslim” as one who believes Muhammad is THE prophet of God. It is, rather, an offshoot of Islam, with some very Islamic core characteristics. The Baha’i “Most Holy Book” stands as a splendid example of the Judeo-Islamic legalism that is the Baha’i religion. The Baha’i idea that previous religions were from God is essentially what the Qur’an teaches. The Qur’an teaches that military force is sometimes necessary, and so does the Baha’i Faith. The Qur’an says no more prophets will come; the Baha’i Faith says no more will come for a millennium. Etc.

    Baloney or not, though, I’m with Mr. Florien and Mr. Shrute: religious persecution must be opposed.

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  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    you said:

    “But if the version of God being stated does not compare to the Biblical version, then you’re just whistling Dixie.”

    Hmm…but what if the god of the Bible *in one part* doesn’t compare to the god of the Bible *in another part*?

    Then what is your standard?

    The Biblical version often doesn’t compare to the Biblical version.

    It’s no surprise that all of these different denominations have emerged, considering the conflicting Biblical contexts.

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    VFTW,

    Is the god of the Bible a god of fear or a god of love?

    Jesus forgives, Yahweh condemns.

    Jesus chides hypocrites who take advantage of their positions in society as holy people; Yahweh does everything for his own glory.

    Shut the door when you pray? or Every knee shall bow?

    The meek shall inherit the Earth? or An egotistical dictator?

    Perfect love that casts out fear? or A scheme of threats and punishment?

  • http://avertyoureye.blogspot.com/ Teleprompter

    VFTW,

    “It is only those who rage against God and His Law, who shake their fists in His face in rebellion, that have any real reason to fear.”

    Those who rage? Rage how?

    Those who believe in the *wrong* religion, like Islam or Hinduism? Those who simply don’t see enough evidence to believe in a god? Yeah, I find it hard to believe that these people “rage” “in rebellion” against a being they probably don’t believe in or worship?

    I find that hard to believe.

    And why should an all-powerful fear those who would question? Would this being be so petty?

    “But this God has demonstrated love for His creation in that He gives us air to breathe, Sun for warmth and light and rain for water and life.”

    Ahemm…we have no evidence to believe this.

    Do you have anything that shows that there was divine guidance to bring you air, warmth, light or rain?

    History shows a long line of supernatural explanations being replaced with natural ones…certainly not conclusive in and of itself, but definitely that should be considered.

    “But God did something else for His creation. He demonstrated supreme love in sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. If we put our trust in Him we will never be ashamed. He will forgive you for your crimes against Him and make you a brand new person. And instead of eternal punishment He will give you eternal life and eternal peace and an eternal home in Heaven.”

    Supreme love? I’m not sure that you can really call it “supreme love”?

    What would Jesus have given up if this actually happened?

    Imagine an atheist leaping in front of a bus to save a child…believing that this is the only existence.

    Now tell me who would have made the “supreme sacrifice”?

    Eternal punishment for thought crimes? Thinking the “wrong” religion was true? Thinking that there wasn’t enough evidence? And you’re trying to convince me that this is a loving god?

    “He has issued His laws and unlike men who issue laws with no teeth. God will carry out His judgment against those who continue to rebel against His Authority.”

    What? “Laws with no teeth?” If you are caught smuggling drugs, I’m pretty sure that you are going to spend some time in the big house. That is a law with teeth. Breaking it has consequences. Now, I don’t want to ever be incarcerated — but eternal punishment? A lake of fire? Our criminal justice system has teeth, yes, but it also has a sense of justice. No court judge has ever given a life sentence for jaywalking. Yet the Biblical god would serve eternal punishment for thought crimes. Unreal.

    “All things bring Him glory.”

    Really? So then I guess it doesn’t really matter what happens does it? If everyone on Earth was tortured for eternity, that would just be fine and dandy, wouldn’t it? Because essentially, that’s what you’re admitting.

    Let’s see here…I didn’t make it obvious that *my religion* was less mythological than the other ones…that my followers’ actions were no better statistically than the followers of the other religions…that any one version of Christianity was correct, causing hundreds of years of conflict and death; yeah, that’s completely sensible.

    Really, when it comes down to it, here’s the thing: which hypothesis is a better explanation? Naturalism, or any of the supernatural ones, and if so, which one(s)?

    The origin and development of religion can be explained very well as natural phenomena. But supernatural speculation cannot account for the murky origins of religion nor its subsequent fragmentation.

    I could say a lot more but I feel that would detract from what I have said so far.

    Really, the crux of what I am saying is that I feel that naturalistic explanations are better able to describe the state of the world as it is today, better than any religious explanations.

    Christianity has not been able to account for why other religions are seemingly just as moral — some people say that this implies that notions of morality have an external source, such as a Creator, but then how can highly complex social structures existing before the appearance of modern-day religions be accounted for?

    What better explains things: that is what I am looking for. That the Bible is compiled by humans and not divinely inspired? Or that it is?

    I am afraid that we are going to talk past each other: me referring to naturalism, and you referring to Christian teachings.

    When I think about all the different religions in the world, and all the different versions of Christianity, human origin seems more and more plausible. That is the bottom line for me: I think religions arose from humans, much of the Bible is absurd today because it was written by people living a long time ago, much of it is contradictory because it was written by different people at different times in different language.

  • http://voicefromthewilderness.wordpress.com Voice from the Wilderness

    Teleprompter;

    I want to thank you for these thought provoking questions. I do not mean this facetiously. I want you to know that I can probably count on one hand those who could answer you and articulate their reasons for believing in God, while you and those on this site can readily give a reason for why they believe what they do.

    I also want you to know that I used your questions in my Sunday Morning Bible study and the answers I got were predictably the same I have seen on this site as unprepared Christians try to defend what they do not know. Mr. Florien’s words continue to ring in my ears. If I cannot give a compelling reason why I believe what I believe, then what good is my belief?

    It does no good to tell people to believe in God and then offer them no sound argument as to why the should. Christians must be able to articulate their faith or they should not speak at all.

    Thank you
    Mike vftw


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