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mike9999

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About mike9999

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  1. and often the hideous one is the act of extortion
  2. This is my first read on child sex abuse in Jewish community http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/11/10/outcast-3 I was shocked things like this occurred in addition to the Catholics I recalled one of my uncle once mentioned his experience with Buddhist monk in a temple at a funeral event: He ridiculed one of them who recited the words for sending the deceased to heaven, saying that you buddhists are the most snobbish; you treated your clients(the deceased families) differently according to their wealth. I respect different religions or beliefs, yet not few of the claims or liturgy or instructions are set by people in their prejudice, bias, limited capacity, if not their own interest.
  3. People are really different. Being married for more than 20 years our family have grown into elder ages and young adults. It has been a few difficult years in our journey financially. My wife would hold on to our pastor's teaching and has told me that it is the faith that she draws from him that supports her through these difficulties. I am on the contrary. The more I am in a hardship the firmer I would not force myself to something that I don't believe. I tend to let people decide what they want to believe, as long as they feel better from their beliefs and those do not harm others. Practically I consider trying to prove something that is beyond normal human experience is impossible, but if that something/belief can help someone to cast a meaning on that person's journey and help his/her deal with daily life, it is good enough.
  4. I was given the testimony of our pastor's life changing experience that led him to become a Christian and a pastor later. I was told that our pastor, before he was a Christian, was holding barely on his life to a disease that probably would take away his life, when he received a good message from a Chrsitian who was his coworker at that time; he was saved miraculously when he called out the name of Jesus while his suffering was enormous, and so he became a Christian and not long after became a pastor too. He then continued on his journey as a pastor for more than 50 years. He would then never gave up his belief and never short-changed what was said in the bible (yes, he has been the fundamentalist) and he has overcome all the obstacles small and big. I was then told that one of his friend, also a pastor, changed his conviction and became a Buddhist, and had criticised Christianity every now and then. I was told, in conclusion of this informal testimony, that we should hold on to the teaching of the bible and believe in it 100% because that was what revealed on our pastor's life. I was speechless. What can I say to this testimony? I don't want to rebuke and question it. Firstly I don't know exactly what happened in those events and what were the causes and factors, especially the first one that our pastor survived with? Then I also didn't want to negate his family's belief which must be the persuation of the meaning of his holding on to the bible literally. To be objective we don't know what have been through in those so called events for testimony, and we don't know all the elements of them. We also don't know if any exaggeration, pretending, self-persuation, limit of capacity, or even real miracles could play in a role in resulting that event. For me to try to be as open-minded as possible, or equivalently to be as critical as possible, I do not shut down any possible explanation. It is however a difficult task that I gave up not long ago that I could have a open-minded discussion with my fellow Christian friends who attended our church led by our pastor.
  5. Elen1107 said on Oct 25: I realized people are different in their portions that they put into different subjects with different priorities. I had been on one side of a polictical preference because of my own experience and was resentful to the other side; I was thinking the other side was too critical of some small shortcomings and let them overshadowed the majority goodness. That was then. I then realize that similar situations applied to my not letting go of the shortcomings that I see in the traditional Christian teachings; maybe to my fellow church firends they think I am letting some small portion of the negatives overshadow the majority of goodness. I would think people of different backgrounds, experiences, capacities,and propensities focus on different spots in different ways. I would just say that because the ones that I cannot accept happen to be the ones the fundamentalists stress as the essentials and therefore I have no way of expecting them to look at those differently.
  6. It is pretty ok and cool that someone is willing to get back to my post not very soon. I am, and I expect many of you are, consumed in the daily making-a-living efforts. To me no matter how much we achieve materially matters only in terms of enough for passing-by, but the thrill of feeling a little closer to "I have lived my life thoroughly," is what is worth awhile. At this point of time in my life I am taking my thoughts seriously, yet I will walk around lightly and expect nothing to come to me. Just a sharing of fellowship, even a disagreed one, can light up a day. Wish you all well today, especially who may come to this message much later.
  7. Maybe I am too lazy as a scientist. But it is easier for me to accept the idea that everything is not beyond "God" and I have no problem to appreciate others who consider themselves atheists. Even with revolution I can see it is a theory yet it is the best human beings come up with and there might be pitfalls, shortcomings but it is formed with due diligence. I don't see conflict with the notion that I hold of "God"; He is beyond everything and humans are acting humble when they are exploring in His playground. It is only when the literal interpretation that holds on to their power and rigidity that won't change their understanding.
  8. There were things that I had in mind or expected when I brought our children to the sunday school or sermons for youth: Just had a listening of a story or some emphasis on loving or lending hands to others in need. Of course later when I believed that they must have instilled the anti-science teachings into the session I do not like my children to be there. When they were in high schools, I want them to learn how to be independant in their thinking; not to be fooled or silenced. The steps that I always take is to tell them, after the session that this is just a particular view from someone and I, as your father, do not believe it because of so and so. I believe when they have a love of persuing knowledge and the truth, and they are working hard toward them, and with a person to walk with them through the process, they will come up with the best answer for themselves. I felt amazed when some of the parents boasted that their young ones who were only about 5 to 7 were able to memorize the verses from the bible; I did not approve of that kind of teaching but what can I say? that's their children. Another thing that I learn through experience is that don't believe 100% when the something is quoted to support the sermon. It is often quoted in our sermon that, as I mentioned before, that this scientist is great and he believe in Christianity, meaning believe in our pastor's literal interpretation of the bible. One example is Einstein. I happened to have this blurred memory that Einstein made some good comments about Buddism and he might not like the literal interpretation of bible, so I went to the web and found out I am right. Newton is another one he would quote as being a great scientist and a good Christian. I was very keen to find out why it is possible for such a great mind to lean on literal interpretation. The few things that I found out, at least from a few articles, was that like Einstein, Newton may believe there is a "God" or just for the sake of attributing something of that enormous power and unlimited wonder that have our universe and life working, to such a tiny detail beyond our comprehension. I don't think Newton will subscribe to the literal interpretation. Of course I am not these two scientists and I do not know everything they believe, but that's what I read after researching an hour or two.
  9. Dear Elen: I cannot thank you more for your sharing your thoughts and your time, among others like Joseph and Paul. One thing similar in my situation and yours is that I decided to hold myself to the conviction that I will live my life to the truth as much as possible just a few years before I approached my 50; it seemed just a short time ago. As Chinese saying by Confucius: People should be independant by 30, without confusion by 40 and knowing their destiny by 50, I was keen to take on that attitude when I was turning that 50. I stay gentle but I am firmmer, and it has been turmoil and ecstasy at the same time. The hard thing for me was that was the time when our family were trying to fit into a new country setting, with my children still in their teens and I was not happy about the way the preaching was done too the children; I have total respect with other's views, like my wife's, but was utterly opposed to the ideas that children/teen agers were put in a wash-out preaching that I considered not fair to their minds. That was the source of conflicts during those turmoils. Luckily my wife and I sensed that we each holds very different views and our commitment to our marriage encourages both of us to step back to respect each other, meaning not to talk about it; and I was able to take it lightly that my children would develop their own judgement in their future what's they believe and what not. It was lucky that in just a few years that they turned young adult and I have a sense that they might not be as zealous as we older ones are and that's good for them. I would rest my faith on that their early years of good values and learning would steer them through any challenge ahead of them and they can be as different as I am and I will be all proud of them anyway.
  10. Something very different from the majority of your is that I came from a Chinese background (not China though) and there might be less than 5% of us who are in Christianity. I have different issues that are very unique in one way that I seldom find answers among discussions. On the other hand the core of the conflicts are simliar: science vs religion, religion A vs Christianity, family values, homosexuality, death sentence etc. It is rather unique that I felt pretty at home when I attened our church at my home country with a pastor who didn't stress too much about the "fundamentals" of Christianity; he spelt them out but didn't try to use them to negate a lot of other thoughts or values; and I felt connected and included in that environment. On the other hand when I came to another Western country here and attened our church, I began to feel an outcast from our group. In our pastor's sermon he constantly picked on science and derided evolution; he would compare one scientist with another, concluding one being real great just because he was a Christian; he would cast down a great Chinese intellectual in the Chinese history just because at a certain point of time this person happened to express a different perspective about Christianity. I ended up with when I had to sit in the sermon I would use my mobile to read articles, books so I can endure the whole session. I still go to our church when necessary because my family go there and I stopped any spiritual conversation with our family after a few heated exchanges I had with them; they are with the fundamental teaching from our pastor, at least my wife is, and I don't know for sure about my grown up children since they didn't share too much about what they thought. There was one point in time, probably 3 years ago, when I had to assume that I was wrong and the fundamental teaching was right, to continue the discussion. I realized very quickly that I should not step back when I am not convinced. I am very open to different ideas, perspectives, experiences, and not insistent on me being right; yet I cannot blindly force myself into something that I don't think right. Even tough I am science trained I considered it is just one perspective of our understanding of our life, and I would listen to both sides of the argument and do not jump into any conclusion and even not consider it's possible to get a clear cut answer for these BIG questions of our life. But the fundamentalists will blame me of being too proud and they would tell me "you have to be humble and you have to accept what was taught in the bible, 100%" After reading articles/interviews and books from pastor Spong, I once thought he might be too strong and too firm on what he believe in, that he might be wrong in some points he made. Even though I don't totally agree with everthing he said, I have the highest respect of him because his view and his willingness to stand up in front of the fundamentalists. More and more I realize he has to be strong considering his journey through the so called main stream Christian thoughts and their fierce attack on him. One thing I change about myself is that I will stay firm on what I understand and what I believe in, no one will push me around, and that I will open up more to others' experience and perspectives, and empathize with them and walk with them through our journey.
  11. hi: In the last few years I had no places or Christians to share my views, mostly my rejection of being put in a frame of literal interpretaion of bible. I don't want to take away my Christian friends' faith when they are facing their personal challenges in their lifetime by arguing with them; on the other hand I don't want to force myself into something I don't believe in. I have been driftting away since. Everytime I showed up in my church when I had to, I just keep my mouth shut. The weeky Q&A from pastor John Shelby Spong is my only source of consolation. As a matter of fact I knew him for the first time in my life when I read his book Why Christianity Must Change Or Die, when I was browsing books in our local library and I was thrilled that finally I had someone who shared similar thoughts. It's nice to be among people who I can share my thoughts.
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