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Religious Tolerence
#1
Touchy subject, but what do you think of religious tolerance? Some churches now are having "interfaith meetings" to explore and discuss what different religions believe in and have to offer. I guess it's easier to witness to other faiths if we are willing to be open to theirs as well.

But if we strongly believe in our faith, then it's the only way right?
#2
What do these 'interfaith' meetings aim to achieve? If everyone's universally coming together to oppose something like going to war, then I guess it's ok.

If you're coming together to learn more about each other's faith and to see what you can get out of the other faiths, then I'd probably start feeling weird about attending the meeting.

But yeah - it's a tough one isn't it? If you're invited but don't go, they might think you're a snob, but if you go, what is your purpose for being there? To convert them? To be a witness (which is ultimately to convert them)? I think it would get very political, and that's something I'm not good at.

I was once invited to a Mormon service. A friend of my friend said that if we attended one of her services, she'd attend one of ours. At the time, I felt that was fair (and I'd never been to a Mormon service and was curious) and I didn't want to be seen as a snob, but making 'deals' like that to get people to church is not the solution I think. We were hoping to 'convert' her and she was hoping to do the same, so I think both parties had misguided motives. Perhaps I should have just said no.
God has placed me on earth to accomplish certain things.
Right now, I am so far behind that I will never die.
#3
Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!! :x :x :x :x :x :x :x

Our church is opposed to interfaith meetings. In our one-horse-town, the Church of England and some other wasters wanted a "forum" and the PAGANS insisted they be included too.

Now officially, our church is C of E, but we dont subscribe to many of it's modern, liberal, half-soaked, brain-dead, homosexual nonsense.

Boy, someone calm me down!!!!!

:x :x :x :x :x


Should I moderate this? It's a bit aggressive........... Hmmmmm........No. I'll wait and see if someone else does!! Big Grin
Cave canem
#4
So, Rufus, I guess your church is hoping that the 'pagans' (which really means "country dweller" by the way, as does "heathen") will just go away if you ignore them long enough?

If you want to change the way people think, you must engage them in dialogue. To do that often means meeting them half-way (at least). The purpose of 'inter-faith' meetings or forums, as I understand them, is to two-fold:

1) To explain and describe the various belief systems present in a community and to dispel any myths and misconceptions about those faiths (Christians, included.)

2) To focus on what different faiths have in common in order to achieve positive change within communities (social justice initiatives, etc.)


I am always disappointed to hear so-called Christians flat-out insult and disparage (and discriminate against) non-Christians - or Christians who don't share there particular doctrine.

Zaccheus springs instantly to mind... as do a few other names from the Book. People who were non-believers and, therefore, marginalized by the religious community - the Pharisees. Of course, one member of the religious community of that time saw things a little differently and engaged these people - without harsh words, but words of comfort and encouragement - much to the disgust of the Pharisees. Anyone care to guess who this person was? I think we know.
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#5
Cailean Wrote:So, Rufus, I guess your church is hoping that the 'pagans' (which really means "country dweller" by the way, as does "heathen") will just go away if you ignore them long enough?

Cailean. Dont patronise me :x I know what Pagan means, know what it stands for, how it ticks. I've been there.
They wont go away, on the contrary, they are growing. That fact does not mean we should hear them. Let's face it the Devil has always wanted to be heard too......

If you want to change the way people think, you must engage them in dialogue. To do that often means meeting them half-way (at least). The purpose of 'inter-faith' meetings or forums, as I understand them, is to two-fold:

Similarly, other faiths such as Muslims. Do you not realise that an interfaith forum is a forum of compromise? It is unacceptable.
Do not mix up evangelism with liberal, politically correct, distortion.

1) To explain and describe the various belief systems present in a community and to dispel any myths and misconceptions about those faiths (Christians, included.)



2) To focus on what different faiths have in common in order to achieve positive change within communities (social justice initiatives, etc.)


I am always disappointed to hear so-called Christians flat-out insult and disparage (and discriminate against) non-Christians - or Christians who don't share there particular doctrine.

Zaccheus springs instantly to mind... as do a few other names from the Book. People who were non-believers and, therefore, marginalized by the religious community - the Pharisees. Of course, one member of the religious community of that time saw things a little differently and engaged these people - without harsh words, but words of comfort and encouragement - much to the disgust of the Pharisees. Anyone care to guess who this person was? I think we know.

Liberal nonsense! There is ONE truth, ONE way, ONE God. How should we make that acceptable to those who worship idols whilst KNOWING the gospel???

We arent talking of "non-believers", we are talking of idolators.
Anyway Jesus did not address everyone with words of comfort. Not at all!

Please remember, that others may not possess your theoretical knowledge, but do have experience beyond theory.
Cave canem
#6
And.... There's more.

Here is a part of an exchange between our Vicar and a Pagan:



Andrew M of the Pagan Federation suggests the creation of a local inter-faith forum "to promote understanding and mutual respect between all faiths", presumably including paganism (Letters, November 14th).

The Lord of the Church is Jesus Christ. The lord of paganism is Satan.

I have no problem discussing issues of belief with Mr. M on a one-to-one basis, but to suggest a forum where Christianity and paganism sit side by side only highlights the true spiritual state of our nation.

No doubt some liberal churchgoers will think it's a wonderful idea, all in the name of tolerance and multi-faith. But there's only one Saviour, who lived and died and rose again and that's Jesus Christ.

His birth, that we are soon to celebrate again, was unique. So was His life and death and resurrection. Because He is unique. He's God.

He longs for everyone to turn to Him to find forgiveness and life, whereas Satan would deceive people into following him in order to take as many as possible with him to Hell.

This is the choice that lies before each one of us.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Andy Kelso
Cave canem
#7
For more from Rufus's church, please see:

http://www.christchurchmatchborough.org.uk/
Cave canem
#8
Sorry, wasn't trying to patronize you... I only recently found out the original meanings of Pagan and Heathen and thought it they were interesting bits of trivia... For everyone else's benefit: Pagos (Greek) means country-side. The people living there were the last to be converted because churches grew fastest in the cities... Similarly the Heathen were those people who lived out on the heath and, again, were the last to be converted because of the distance from urban centres. Both words were mere geographic references - but, of course, alot has changed in the intervening 2000 years! {note edit!}

Rufus Wrote:There is ONE truth, ONE way, ONE God.
This I do not dispute. I do, however, understand that not all people see things my way, Christian, Muslim, Pagan, or otherwise.

My first, and arguably only, responsibility on this Earth is to love others as I have been loved by Him. (Matthew 22:39 & John 13:34) For me, that means doing whatever I can to improve the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of all people. I will do anything (and everything I can) that accomplishes any of those goals as long as it does not work against either of the other two. I am human and have limits to what I alone can accomplish. Together with my congregation, however, I can effect more positive change. Congregations together can achieve even more! Often, the most good can come to the physically, emotionally and spiritually troubled if the most people are involved in their uplifting.

This is the tricky part...

To improve the physical, emotional & spiritual well-being of a community (or any one of its members) without damaging any of those three requires some compromise. All that is required is a softening of the projection of one's beliefs. No compromise of the beliefs themselves is necessary.

I'm a little rushed for time so I will cut to the chase...

Loving my neighbours trumps converting them or discrediting them.

To get back on topic, perhaps inter-faith forums in your area have different purposes than they do here. Here they are almost always arranged to faciliate the accomplishment of some other goal like helping the poor and homeless or sending aid overseas, addressing violence in the community or a thousand other things. Faith and belief, in and of themselves, are not usually the focus.
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#9
Rufus Wrote:There is ONE truth, ONE way, ONE God.

True...

Cailean Wrote:Loving my neighbours trumps converting them or discrediting them.

Also true...
#10
Spreading the good news doesn't mean arguing with someone and convincing them that you're in the right and they're in the wrong.

You could have all the answers and they could be totally in the wrong, but as Paul said, without love, you're just a clanging cymbal, and people will just close their ears and walk off.

It's not our job to convict people - that's the Holy Spirit's job. We're only required to bear witness of the great things that Jesus has done in our lives.

Bringing this back to the interfaith discussion, I don't believe we should ignore them. While we are not of this world, we do still need to live in it and be real, loving people to those who are of it. Jesus did not fear to be a friend to prostitutes and tax collectors, and even his enemies, and he certainly did not compromise while he was in their midst either.

And it's worthwhile to note that not all who listened to Him subscribed to his point of view. While we need to give opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work, each person still ultimately has their free will to choose to accept or reject Jesus.

I think the motives for these interfaith meetings need to be clear in our minds - why do we have them? what are they meant to achieve?
God has placed me on earth to accomplish certain things.
Right now, I am so far behind that I will never die.
#11
Cail, I'm sorry if I was a tad aggressive, but........

Cailean wrote:

Loving my neighbours trumps converting them or discrediting them.


Yes. It's good for you, and your walk. However, the Bible doesnt say it saves them.
The only way to save them is to convert them. Watering down our message destroys us and them. Can this be good or right?

To get back on topic, perhaps inter-faith forums in your area have different purposes than they do here. Here they are almost always arranged to faciliate the accomplishment of some other goal like helping the poor and homeless or sending aid overseas, addressing violence in the community or a thousand other things. Faith and belief, in and of themselves, are not usually the focus.

Hmmm. It's very unlikely that any faith forum here would avoid spiritual issues. In this town, the Muslims and Pagans are strong, and each wants an end to "Christian rule", whilst the absolute non-believer prays to footballers, alcohol and drugs.
It's more than possible that Canada and Australia are still civilised.
We arent.
I have a friend who went to NZ a few years ago. He told me that it was like the UK used to be 30 years ago.
To give you some idea of this countries condition, you have to realise that everything is deteriorating. For example:
Men's groups. Attacked by feminists
Christian groups. Attacked by everyone
Football supporters. Attacked physically by each other.
Pensioners. Robbed, raped, killed.
Buildings and public areas. Vandalised, smashed down, ripped up.
Cemeteries. Desecrated.
Churches. Robbed and vandalised.
Faith.......... Lost.

Those who have faith in Christ MUST stand firm and remain clear.
Even now, (as you know), our church is vandalised and stoned. We have 7ft high security fences, shutters and heavy duty locks.
Even now, our congregation is being corrupted and misled by outsiders.
Even now we are being bullied into accepting gays.
This is WAR, plain and simple.

Englands green and pleasant land has no pleasant people in it, unless they know, or will come to know, Christ.

I hope this isnt too depressing, but beyond the TV news and the propaganda, this is how it is from my seat. Sad
Cave canem
#12
I think the motives for these interfaith meetings need to be clear in our minds - why do we have them? what are they meant to achieve?

Yes, yes, yes!

Jesus did not fear to be a friend to prostitutes and tax collectors, and even his enemies, and he certainly did not compromise while he was in their midst either.



Yes X 1000

We must go out and talk, however difficult, yes. Absolutely, indeed, certainly, yes.


You could have all the answers and they could be totally in the wrong, but as Paul said, without love, you're just a clanging cymbal, and people will just close their ears and walk off.

I do agree, (granted, it may not seem that way), but without love, we just wouldnt go near them at all!!
Love doesnt mean being nice. It means doing what is right, through our belief. It means trying to put ourselves in another's shoes, it means dying for a friend. But who is that friend? Everyone?
First, our friends are our family in God.
When the disciples were sent out, they were told to shake the dust off their feet, and walk away where they werent accepted. They werent told to stay no matter what. Once rejected, they left.
So it is with many round here. They know the message, but reject and ridicule it.
Those who do listen are spoken too. Those who's views are unknown are also spoken to, but the hostile, the would-be Christian conquerors???? No.
Cave canem
#13
Rufus Wrote:This is WAR, plain and simple.
War, my friend? I must remind you of your other cheek. I must caution you not to be drawn into the battles offered by the Enemy through the innocent. The only winner of a power struggle is the Enemy. No person is the Enemy... Hate is the Enemy.
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#14
Eph 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

1Co 9:26 So then I run, not as if I were uncertain. And so I fight, not as one who beats the air.


The only winner of a power struggle is the Enemy.

No. The Devil is engaged in a power struggle with God. He believes himself to be like God, and still able to influence the final outcome.
Are you suggesting that he will win??

Dont misunderstand me. ALL people need to be brought to God, to accept his authority and Grace, but the struggle to do so is war.
I realise that in some places life is very different to here, but deny the struggle, (war), and you become a victim.

Fear not!! I know what I am saying, even though you may disagree. Our whole lives are the fight between our soulish nature and spirit. So too, our engagement of others.
To "heap coals upon the enemies head" one must first see who IS the enemy!!
Cave canem
#15
Isaiah 21:11
Watchman, what of the night?
What enemies are abroad? Errors are a numerous horde, and new ones appear every hour: against what heresy am I to be on my guard? Sins creep from their lurking places when the darkness reigns; I must myself mount the watch-tower, and watch unto prayer. Our heavenly Protector foresees all the attacks which are about to be made upon us, and when as yet the evil designed us is but in the desire of Satan, He prays for us that our faith fail not, when we are sifted as wheat. Continue O gracious Watchman, to forewarn us of our foes, and for Zion's sake hold not thy peace. "Watchman, what of the night?" What weather is coming for the Church? Are the clouds lowering, or is it all clear and fair overhead? We must care for the Church of God with anxious love; and now that Popery and infidelity are both threatening, let us observe the signs of the times and prepare for conflict. "Watchman, what of the night?" What stars are visible? What precious promises suit our present case? You sound the alarm, give us the consolation also. Christ, the polestar, is ever fixed in His place, and all the stars are secure in the right hand of their Lord. But watchman, when comes the morning? The Bridegroom tarries. Are there no signs of His coming forth as the Sun of Righteousness? Has not the morning star arisen as the pledge of day? When will the day dawn, and the shadows flee away? O Jesus, if Thou come not in person to Thy waiting Church this day, yet come in Spirit to my sighing heart, and make it sing for joy. "Now all the earth is bright and glad With the fresh morn; But all my heart is cold, and dark and sad: Sun of the soul, let me behold Thy dawn! Come, Jesus, Lord, O quickly come, according to Thy word."
Cave canem
#16
Rufus Wrote:The only winner of a power struggle is the Enemy.

No. The Devil is engaged in a power struggle with God. He believes himself to be like God, and still able to influence the final outcome.
Are you suggesting that he will win??
No. I am suggesting that when two people (or groups of people) are at war, the only winner is the Enemy. Our personal battles with Evil are fought within our hearts "for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood."
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#17
You know, I think this is one of those situations where a written conversation just doesnt quite make it.

I actually dont think we disagree at all here, but perhaps my manner is odd to you, and my terminology rather unclear.

I'm going to give some thought to this, because I know from scripture that I am right, and I know that you are ALSO right. Rolleyes

Hmmm.

It must be that we simply dont quite look from the same direction... I think.
Cave canem
#18
Atlantic interference, perhaps? Wink
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#19
Sunspots!
Cave canem
#20
Smile Or is it a case of 'you say toe-mar-toe, I say toe-may-toe'? Smile
God has placed me on earth to accomplish certain things.
Right now, I am so far behind that I will never die.
  


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