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The Rhino

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The Rhino last won the day on July 9 2013

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  1. As some of you know I have been thinking about attending at church. but I have some hang ups. None of the churches in my area are what I would call progressive, at least not from outward appearance. I don’t want to go to one as a hypocrite but I do want to attend church. Eventually I would love to be confirmed as a Christian, (I was baptised as a child) but how can I do this if there is so much in many denominations that I don’t agree with? Such as not agreeing with same sex marriages for example. Or believing that people go to hell for believing in the wrong thing. I consider myself a Christian because I think there is a lot in Christianity that make sense. Forgiveness, Love, Personal sacrifice. But there is so much that most denominations seem to lump in there as well, that stick in my throat. Is it hypocritical to go to church and get confirmed in a church you are not fully committed to?
  2. Thank you everyone. I am so appreciative of your kind and non-judgemental words. They really helped me a lot. I have not yet gone to church as I am still trying to work through a few things but I hope the soon I will be able to. My upbringing incidentally way never very strictly fundamentalist, though the context of my intrusive thoughts caused by my mental illness certainly was at times. I want to be able to experience a spiritual community without judgement and fear and so far this forum is the only place I have been able to experience this, but I would like to hope that there is a way of having this in a more geographically close way. As far as my wife is concerned, I am particularly worried because I think she needs some spiritual support as she has always had particular difficulty coming to terms with the idea of death and the fear of never being able to see her loved ones again. Which at times can cause her to have moments of sever panic. I am sure that this will all work out, it’s just a frightening time as thinking of going to church holds a lot of opportunities to dredge up some scary experiences for both of us. I think I will try out the local Methodist church in a week or two when I or we feel ready.
  3. There is room for fear in love. I fear losing my wife, fear her disappointment etc. Most of the time this fear is misplaced but I think fear and love are linked. I do not know how exactly this translates to the love of God. Certainly I don't think that fearing God in the traditional way that is taught is correct. That does not sit well with my understanding of love, but I just wanted to make the point that fear and love are not directly opposed. In fact I would say love can house any number of negative and positive emotions.
  4. Hi everyone. Long time. For a number of years I have been on a personal journey, which involved mental illness questioning my faith, realising my professional path. Getting married. It has been a long and painful transformation but I feel much better for it. More at peace. The problem is, much of my suffering has had a huge impact on my wife. Much of my illness was centred around faith. The upshot of it all was that I feel more secure in my beliefs now. But I'm worried I have shaken hers to the core. I feel well enough now to start seeing the damage that I have done to others, especially my wife. She is far more anxious and prone to stress and depressive episodes. Yesterday I said I wanted to go to church (Something we have never done on a regular basis together, but something she used to love doing) she said she did not think she could as it would be hypocritical as much of what is said she no longer agrees with. I don't know if she still believes or not. I'm concerned that my illness has damaged her faith. Mine is important to me, and it is important to me that she too has faith. Her beliefs got me through some tough times. I don't know if this makes sense. It's a hurried post I'm afraid. I guess I'm looking for some direction as I can't really talk to her too much, as she is reminded of my illness when I start talking too deeply about the importance of faith. Thoughts?
  5. In my oppinion. Jesus's sacrifice was in his forgiveness of mankind despite such a terrible death, not the death itself. Showing the way to peace is to forgive not to seek vengeance.
  6. It makes little sense to me either. I see it as his final example of how to respond to one another. To forgive despite the horrible things done to you, the final blood sacrifice as our understanding of God changes from angry blood thirsty representative of the greeks and Romans to the loving one we know today. The crucifixion to me was symbolic of the change from an "eye for an eye" to "turn the other cheek". But like so many other messages many would be followers missed the point entirely, including early leaders of the faith. I could be wrong, but that's the only way it makes sense to me.
  7. Hate is the word used in this thread so it is the one used in the argument. The meaning behind this word of course cannot be applied to everyone as it is a word to which everyone would have a different definition. Furthermore, proving such a thing would be impossible as proving someone's emotional state is of course impossible. Hateful intention may work better, or intolerance, I feel the point is purely somatic as the message behind the statement remains the same. In addition I said it was as hateful as any other fundamentalist religious movement. Not hateful per say. I'm cirtainly tarnishing fundamentalist christianity and new atheism with the same brush. If that is stigmatisation than so be it. However you're missing my meaning so I shall rephrase. Intolerance is intolerance. It doesn't matter which group it comes from.
  8. That's the last time I make a joke
  9. You don't have to accept we have free will. It's your choice...
  10. I don't think I'll ever know. In fact I'm almost certain that any assumption I made would be wrong. I act as if God is love and try to love my life in a loving and proactive way. Acting in this manner has been most beneficial for myself and those around me and so I believe is a good way to become closer to God, or if not closer to the universal ideal that appeals to me the most. Other than that I wouldn't like to speculate.
  11. New atheism is as hateful as any fundamental religious movement. They may have been hurt or see problems with some organised religion and then stigmatise all those of faith. I champion independant choice but new atheism simply changes the direction of the hate that people have for each other. In order to help them the answer of course is not to fight them as this will perpetuate the hate. But to love and accept them.
  12. In my line of work people have the right to make unwise decisions. They are as autonomous as we are. If it causes harm then we should try to educate, but where is the line? If you tried to enforce against particular ideals is this not as bad? History shows us that it can be terrible. Freedom is part of being human. Take that freedom away forcefully and you're causing as much hurt as they are. " an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" Ghandi
  13. 1)It makes sense that in evolutionary terms some sort of morality/ empathy would develop. 2)I have no idea how I could even beggin to speculate on this question. I suppose I'd like to think so, as faith is such a big part of being a believer, it would make sense that our spiritual leader had to go through this ordeal. You seem to be upset by these points. Do you base your faith on the requirement for God in a scientific world? Increasingly I think anyone who takes this view will be disappointed. Perhaps this is what you need to progress in your life though I don't envy you the growing pains. To me God is not an answer to unanswered questions, though I don't believe (in fact I know) that science cannot do the complexities of the mind, and emotive states of people justice. As a mental health professional, I know that on a person to person level the understanding of social evolution, genetics, neurology etc is important as a starting point and can lead to some very important management strategies. But it's the art of empathising with someone, of listening and being with somone through their termoil, of going through their ordeal with them and in coming out the otherside helping them to recovery. None of this can be put into an algorithm. None of it relys on having any actual answers, but in having faith in that person, and in many cases spiritual faith has been shown to be one of the most useful tools a person can use for their recovery. Often more powerful that very strong mind altering drugs. Is this proof of God? Probably not, after all isn't that the point of faith? Science is good to get you thinking, and to keep us progressing as a species. But the answer to these questions will not fulfil us as humans. It is the persuit of much richer and deeper understandings between unique, complex individuals that matters. And in realising this and imagining if there was a God in the traditional, parental sense of the word. Doesn't that make more sense for a divine plan then us trying to make sense of origins?
  14. I felt a bit bad today for fobbing off some Christian missionary's today. Well I told them I was christian, thanked them and shut the door, so I wasn't rude, just short, I am moving you see and times are stressful. But it must be very hard for missionaries as well, I usually like to make time for door to door people. I did say a prayer to keep them safe. What are other people's reactions when this happens to them. R
  15. Thanks for the answers. I hear a lot about why people chose progressive christianity over more conservative views, but little about why progressives chose Christianity over other religions. Any one else?
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