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Author Topic: "Lord, protect me from your followers."  (Read 3646 times)

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"Lord, protect me from your followers."
« on: June 17, 2016, 10:47:59 AM »
"Life is Dukkha" said the Buddha. Dukkha can be defined in 3 ways: 1) suffering or pain, 2) change or impermanence, and 3) conditioned states in which everything is dependent upon something else. For the purpose of this post I will describe the effects of condition 1, suffering or pain, and an experience that I had recently involving a born-again christian and why I am both a dudeist and, at the same time, hovering somewhere between agnostic and atheist.

In my experience dealing with the loss of a loved one automatically entails dealing with suffering and pain. This occurred in my life recently and I have been dealing with the pain and suffering that goes along with it. The people around me, who knew the person who died, are dealing with the same feelings.

About two weeks ago I was out walking my dog when a car pulled up alongside me and the window rolled down. Inside the car sat a woman with whom I am acquainted who knew the departed from activities that they had in common. She began by expressing her condolences in, what seemed to me, a heartfelt manner and I was most appreciative of this.

Then the conversation changed.

She began to explain to me that she is a born-again christian and that god wrote the bible and that if a person has asked the lord into their life and accepted him as their personal savior that they will forever rejoice in the kingdom of heaven but if they have not done this that they will, for all eternity, burn in the fires of hell.

The person who had departed from me is Jewish from birth and there has always been some difference of opinion, depending on who one confers with, as to whether or not a Jew can be admitted to the kingdom of heaven regardless of their good works here on earth and the fact that the catholic church set the parameters of Jewishness as both being born a Jew and partaking of the Jewish faith. On both counts the catholic church recognizes Jesus as a Jew.

At this point my sincere temptation was to verbally eviscerate this individual right on the street but I acted with restraint. I don't know if this woman understood how sadistic her words were or whether she knew the heritage of the departed or how deep my grief runs but I took offense to this on a gut level. Looking back I am somewhat relieved that I did not act with any lack of kindness or compassion because I think that this woman, in her mind, did not mean any offense and I don't know if she was preaching for the soul of the departed or for mine. I have thought about this encounter a lot in the time elapsed since it happened and I think that the proper thing to do would have been to stop her in mid sentence and walk away and this is what I think I will do in the future.

I guess that for me the connection with being in the space between agnostic and atheist has less to do with whether or not there is a god or if anyone can conclusively prove or disprove the existence of that entity and more to do with his or her followers and their lack or regard for the beliefs of others.

This is NOT to say that all christians are intrusive assholes with no regard for the feelings of others. But I have been exposed to just enough of this type of interaction that I am convinced that this system of belief has no attraction for me.

My preference would have been for the conversation to have gone differently, she expressing condolences upon hearing of the death and wishing me well and then just stop. Maybe offer to talk about my grief if I felt I needed someone to talk to. I have the personal philosophy that if I want to hear about the guiding principles in someone's life I will ask the question. If I don't ask the question that means that I have no interest in what this person's response might be.

Maybe I should have posted this in "Over the Line".


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Re: "Lord, protect me from your followers."
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2016, 11:33:56 AM »
When you think yours is the only true path you forever chain yourself to judging others and narrow the vision of God. The road to righteousness and arrogance is a parallel road that can intersect each other several times throughout a person's life. It’s often hard to recognize one road from another. What makes them different is the road to righteousness is paved with the love of humanity. The road to arrogance is paved with the love of self.”
? Shannon L. Alder

I have met some highly intelligent believers, but history has no record to say that he knew or understood the mind of god. Yet this is precisely the qualification which the godly must claim—so modestly and so humbly—to possess. It is time to withdraw our 'respect' from such fantastic claims, all of them aimed at the exertion of power over other humans in the real and material world.”
? Christopher Hitchens, The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever

I have been called arrogant myself in my time, and hope to earn the title again, but to claim that I am privy to the secrets of the universe and its creator — that's beyond my conceit. I therefore have no choice but to find something suspect even in the humblest believer. Even the most humane and compassionate of the monotheisms and polytheisms are complicit in this quiet and irrational authoritarianism: they proclaim us, in Fulke Greville's unforgettable line, "Created sick — Commanded to be well." And there are totalitarian insinuations to back this up if its appeal should fail. Christians, for example, declare me redeemed by a human sacrifice that occurred thousands of years before I was born. I didn't ask for it, and would willingly have foregone it, but there it is: I'm claimed and saved whether I wish it or not. And if I refuse the unsolicited gift? Well, there are still some vague mutterings about an eternity of torment for my ingratitude. That is somewhat worse than a Big Brother state, because there could be no hope of its eventually passing away.”
? Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Out here we are all his children

The Guro

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Re: "Lord, protect me from your followers."
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2016, 02:57:42 PM »
I can't say that I agree with Christopher Hitchens regarding being saved whether he wishes it or not... that's not supported by the reference book. But I agree with your statement regarding the dangers of the "Road to Righteousness".

When someone is in fact following what they believe to be the revealed will/mind of their God, Prophet, Philosopher, Favorite Movie Star, etc... Then yes... they have to some degree (based on their level of understanding) have some conviction that they do in fact know something. And "Knowing" something is incredibly offensive to some who prefer to believe that life is ambiguous and without fixed or knowable truths (especially regarding spiritual matters or the possibility those even exist).

But does someone believing that they "know" something... automatically have to result in offense to those that "knowledge" places in various states of offense or judgement? If that individual themselves, while acknowledging that "truth", offers no ill treatment of those individuals or groups and merely abides? Offering that "truth" to others and not offending or taking offense (it's on them according to their "truth") if others reject it.

It is just as you have pointed out... an uncommon scenario to see an individual who believes themselves privy to a "truth" to not have a zeal for it. And if their intent is a love of humanity... shouldn't they have a zeal to share it? It's how they handle its rejection that determines where their heart really lends itself...

But the same goes for the people rejecting... Are they merely saying it's not for me? Or are they guilty of what they project onto those following a "truth" and in possession of a "truth" of their own (that definitely comes from themselves or other humanistic sources) that judges others as foolish, ignorant, misled... and even dangerous. In effect becoming "authoritarian" themselves in opposition.

But yes... that person was a Paraquat... whether or not there is a "truth"... it doesn't need any help from us and what she said is of no value to anyone...

Abiding is the higher road to righteousness in practical application.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 07:40:42 PM by ChristianDude »
~ Rev/Guro Christian Dude

"Dudeism is the outward expression of how we interact with the world and the dudes we encounter... The inner way we ruminate and allow things to affect our lives and atta-dude... Abiding."

Brother D

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Re: "Lord, protect me from your followers."
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2016, 08:20:56 AM »
All I know is, my gut says maybe.


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Re: "Lord, protect me from your followers."
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2020, 09:37:51 AM »
My preference would have been for the conversation to have gone differently, she expressing condolences upon hearing of the death and wishing me well and then just stop.
I would stop there as a believer. The rest is bad taste.
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