Are YOU taking your Religion TOO Seriously – Part II – (Your Immediate Family)
My previous post discusses how religion, when taken “too seriously”, can cause harm and loss to others. I did not say religion shouldn’t be taken seriously. It should be. It has a role in our society, our profession and in our immediate families. But the point of the article is when religion is taken “too seriously”, ie: it is put above reality, or common sense, or love for others, or above the laws of the land, it can be very ugly and dangerous. You already know this if you have any recollection of September 11, 2001. Or if you know anything about the Catholic Inquisition, The Crusades, the Holocaust, etc. But not all harm is done on such a massive, worldwide scale. Some of the same kind of destruction, hurt, and loss is inflicted silently, year after year, within the immediate family due to religious differences. Between husband and wife. Between parents and children. And it is just as ugly and just as devastating to those marriages and relationships. Please, dear friends, don’t let your religious beliefs get in the way of your job duties; or in the way of medical care you need; or in the way of the relationship you have with your children; or most importantly, don’t let your religious beliefs destroy your marriage over differences in tertiary issues. We’ve seen enough of this within the Southern Baptist Convention over the last decades. Don’t let the same nonsense destroy your home.
July 26, 2007. It’s been over 8 full years since this blog was started. Eight long years. It’s also been several years since the settlement of two lawsuits involving this blog. That pretty much settled the matter for the parties involved.
But what about you? Have you "settled" the matter? Or are you taking your religion too seriously on how you view the blog, and more specifically, how you view those that question the “holy man of God” and the “sacred ancient texts?”
If you choose sides in these types of matters, and you take up offenses (see my previous post on this man made doctrine), then the conflict within your family is not over for you is it? You may not want the Supreme Court building to be leveled as does J.D. Hall, but you still believe that this blog “attacked” the Lord Jesus and those that support it need to repent. Or that this country is going to implode because our courts upheld the rights of gay couples to marry? Don’t let the pessimistic tantrums of the “man of God” get you all tore up about this great country. Of course, he is losing influence alright, but that is his problem and is a good thing. He spent too many years worrying over and preaching about criticism of the pastor over these past few years to even know what is going on in the culture. No surprise then that everything he has been stomping about has been rejected by society and the courts.
In other words, even though this blog was never about Jesus, His church, or the Bible; and even though the Supreme Court followed sound legal principles (See Loving vs. Virginia on Wikipedia if you are interested in understanding their decision.) you continue to hold malice, resentment, disdain and other negative feelings toward the blogger, his supporters and toward our Supreme Court. Is that being Christ like? Do you have peace now over this blog and the reactions it brought? Do you love your country? Do you love your husband? Are you able to show it, or does your religion, and your religious beliefs keep you from demonstrating true love and support?
If not, sadly, the tragic fall-out of taking your religious beliefs too seriously continues for YOU and your family does it not?
It continues in the hearts and minds of those that continue to hurt loved ones by their ongoing reactions and discussions of this blog, the gay rights issue, affordable health care, religion, and the growing population of “dones” and “nones” among our young people who are done with church and want none of it.
I can't help but wonder how many people, and I’m talking about your close, loved family members now, who have been hurt, not by “religion”, but by your taking religion too seriously. I mean imagine if you trusted Jesus so much due to your religion, that you didn’t carry concealed weapons 24 hours a day for protection. That would be taking your trust in Jesus too far, amen? Or imagine if they trusted Jesus to provide for them and their family, and stopped working to provide food, clothing and shelter. Crazy, right? Or what if they didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick, or take their daily prescription medicines and instead trusted in Jesus to heal them? Of course they don’t do that. They don’t take religion “that” seriously do they? But yet some still want to hold in disdain, and show contempt for, a loving and faithful spouse that provides for the family, simply because they differ when it comes to "religion."
You see the dangers of religion when it comes to every religion other than yours, don't you?
The Bible says show me your faith without works and I’ll show you a dead faith. Many Christians today say just the opposite: Show me your works, love, faith in Christ, provision for the family, fidelity in marriage, support and encouragement of the family, and yet you question the bible, or question the pastor, and I’ll tell you that person is no good, going to hell, is not a Christian and is not a “real man.” Sickening isn’t it? It’s what happens when you take your religion too seriously. Religion has its place. Keep it in the proper perspective and make it a priority, but not THE priority in your life. God can handle it. Jesus will understand. After all, Jesus had a lot to say about the religious when he was here didn’t he? Division over religion is sad, tragic, devastating, and oh so unnecessary. Isn't it time, eight years later, to let it go? Or is it too late? Has the damage already been done over these eight long years? Only you can decide that. The rest of us have moved on.
Or, as I never tire of saying, most people have too much sense and decency to be 'good' believers. It's the ones who don't that you need to keep an eye on.
Don't you just love it when false prophets expose themselves in a frenzy of ego-gone-wild? Funny how it always comes down to their own words that exposes their true heart to entire world. Case in point: "In other words, even though this blog was never about Jesus, His church, or the Bible...." blah, blah, blah. After searching this "blog" as far back as Dec 2013 and finding zero reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, the fact that He is God in human flesh, that He died for the sins of His people and rose again, etc., etc., the red flag of "False Prophet" waved ever furiously in my face. Couple that with your evident disdain for the Word of God as seen in your first onslaught on the Bible from a few days ago and later in your first post about JD Hall ["What is being destroyed in your life because of your devout religious beliefs and your strict adherence to 'your Holy Scriptures'..."] gives the correct picture of an evil heart---just as evil as is found in the wicked one as he attacked God's Word in the Garden of Eden. I defend none of those that you raked over the coals, the list of pretenders to the Faith is endless. I thought about telling you of the level of hatred that is obvious in all your posts; or maybe that you are eaten up with bitterness and anger, but no, he would only excuse himself as so many of the false prophets of our day have done. One commenter praised you for seemingly having taken a course in literature-maybe. More likely it was one in journalism where they teach you the art of ambiguity, double-speak, half truths. All of this would have been to no avail. Thankfully, blog author, you have supplied the exact words needed to get the point across. And you didn't accuse anyone of anything (nor do I), you simply went to your own reservoir of thought and came up with best words for the occasion: "...this blog was never about Jesus, His church, or the Bible..." Thank you, whoever you are, you have cooked your own goose.
Did you have some sort of epiphany over the summer? I have (almost) always agreed with your past blog posts and thought that they were a wake-up call for the church (and especially mega church pastors). The comments left by people like Jon Estes only helped to confirm those beliefs. I couldn't agree more with your position on the tithe. I have defended you against trolls on this blog for years. But I can't follow you into this new arena. You have moved from critiquing abusive church leadership (needed) to condemning the average believer who "takes his religion too seriously" whatever that means. The culture rejects what the Christians believe and you take the side of the culture. I don't get it. The Roman culture rejected Christ (and nailed him to a tree). Does that make their culture right and Christ wrong?
Perhaps I am reading something into your posts that is not intended. But, as a long time supporter, it is disturbing for me. I sent a link from your blog to a friend about the Steve Gaines story. By the time he clicked the link, the story about worshiping your Bible was on the top of the site. He wrote me back and assumed that this was an atheist web site.
I corrected him, but the change in tone is curious.
Sorry if I offended you.
No offense taken. Shooting an abortion doctor, for example, would be taking your religion too seriously. Telling another believer he can't be a Christian unless he believes all the bible or none of it is taking it too far. Not respecting a loving faithful spouse because they don't believe in talking donkeys is taking it too far. Wanting to see the Supreme Court building reduced to rubble because you disagree with a decision is taking it too far. Need me to go on?
Assuming this is an atheist web site just because it warns against making your bible an idol is another illustration of taking your religion too seriously. By the way, Jesus confronted the religions and religious leaders of his day. No offense.
OK thanks dog. I think I see what you are getting at. I guess it's just a case of semantics. I wouldn't call those examples (listed above) taking your religion too seriously. I would call those examples taking scripture out of context to justify your own selfish desires.
Not sure exactly what you are referencing in your last example. Is there a specific person that is disrespecting their spouse because they don't believe in a talking donkey or is that just a general illustration?
My friend (that visited your blog) is very liberal and does not believe in the inerrancy of scripture - so I don't think he is a good example of "taking your religion too seriously."
He only assumed that it was an atheist blog, because he thought he perceived an anti-Christian tone to the post.
Thanks for taking the time to address my concern.
Dog, you are spot on. I am surprised at how " stirred up" people get on their denominational differences....and people want to condemn you to hell for what is really a minor doctrinal disagreement.
And God forbid you question any of these so-called theological experts.
We are to contend for the faith once delivered, and beyond that, are not to put stumbling blocks in each others way. Romans tells us this.
We do ( all of us ) tend to make huge deals out of what is really our own personal convictions, demanding others toe the line, and this really does set others up to stumble or to question their own faith and walk with the Lord.
I've been told a Democrat cannot be Christian. Heh. Well, I'm a Liberal Democrat and every inch a Christian. So there.
I really love this new take on your old blog, Watchdog, and I can't argue with a single point you're making here. :)
As to J.D and company ~ Reach back and pull your shorts out of your butts. You make the rest of us Christians look bad, and I'm tired of apologizing for you.
Anon - the talking donkey example is just a general illustration.
Dawg, I am a Christian, but don't believe in talking Donkeys, but Shrek WAS a hoot. I also don't think the story of Jonah is literal. The meaning or the teachings of a bible story is what is important, not whether the reader takes them literally or not. I guess that is what you're saying although I was taught that if you were a good and decent Christian you MUST believe there was once upon a time a talking Donkey and a guy alive in the belly of a whale.
I have had the other reaction. I am quite sure one cannot support the entirety of the Republican platform and be a true follower of Jesus, but one can and have great standing in most evangelical circles. I tend to be a "red letter" Christian. I interpret the rest of the Bible based on the teachings of Jesus. And I am willing to dig into the Greek in the New Testament, particularly in attempting to understand and apply the teachings of the books ascribed to the Apostle Paul. When I do, I find that most evangelicals are applying mistaken understandings of those writings, and preaching that living in accord with those misunderstandings is necessary to be a Christian!
I think you should clarify that "taking religion too seriously" is different than "taking Jesus and his teaching" very seriously" and using it to guide your life and interactions with others.
Arce, thanks for the clarification. I agree wholeheartedly with your description as well.
I think it is important for your readers at this point to know exactly what your own beliefs are. I find your posts and tweets on this point to be somewhat ambiguous. I don't see any good reason for ambiguity rather than clarity on this point. In order to properly construe someone's words, it is vital to know his or her core beliefs. Could you provide a clear answer to the question of whether you believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus? Do you believe in the divinity of Jesus?
I always found it curious that some individuals have no trouble believing that God created the universe and then balk at the idea that he could make a donkey talk or a man live inside a fish for 3 days.
And everyone understands that the "red letters" in the Bible were not written by Jesus right? They were written by men just like the other books. So do we take those words literally or not? By what rule of logic or is it just people's feelings since no one was there?
In other words what evidence is there that these stories are allegorical?
Arce, So do you have an example you can share with us of how "evangelicals" are misconstruing Paul's teachings because of a lack of understanding of the original Greek? My apologies for the following bit of condescension, but over the centuries there have been countless "evangelical" Greek scholars of unimpeachable qualification, training, and expertise, and their interpretation of the original Biblical language is the foundation for the "evangelical" understanding of the Bible. Indeed, their translations are the basis for our modern English versions of the Bible. Now, here you come along to apparently assert that they've gotten it all wrong.
So please enlighten us and set us straight. How do we misconstrue the original texts? Someone with such a transformative and paradigm-shattering knowledge of Ancient Greek must not keep that knowledge to himself/herself.
I believe in Jesus. Not talking donkeys.
You didn't directly answer the question I posed. "Believe in Jesus" is vague and could mean only that you believe Jesus existed as a historical figure. I'll ask again: do you believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus, and do you believe in his divinity? Thanks
I believe in John 3:15. Do you? That's all I'm going to say about my faith for now. But stay tuned. :)
Anon, who cares what FBCJ believes? He said he believes in Jesus. That's good enough for me and tells me he is a brother.
What this type of questioning tells me is that some just don't trust God. They can't leave it to God and Watchdog, they want to know so they can classify Tom as this or that according to their.....RELIGION. Watxhdog/Tom, I totally get it. If you have a relationship with Jesus, that tells me all I need to know. Keep preaching it bro.
August 14, 2015 at 1:52 PM
I'm not Arce, but I can help with your question as to how Evangelicals are misinterpreting Scripture.
They're not only misinterpreting it, but making entire doctrines out of their misinterpretations.
The Headship doctrine for instance. 'Head' in the original Koine Greek means 'source'. Man is the source of the woman and God is the source of man. "And he will rule over you" is the result of the fall, not a divine mandate.
Adam and Eve we co-rulers in the Garden of Eden before this.
Then we have "I do not allow women to speak in church" In the original language, it is "That woman", and that woman was a disciple of Diana, there to preach heresy to the new believers.
The Diana cult believed they had to worship her, or women would die in childbirth. This follows Paul's next statement, "Women will be safe in childbirth." Not, 'saved', as is mistranslated in the English versions of the Bible.
To properly understand Scripture, you have to know not only what is being said, but to whom, the circumstances at the time it was said, etc.
So there's a couple of them for you.
You are grossly misinformed. You're entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. Go research these two examples using recognized scholarly interpretations of the Greek, not something you've read somewhere on the Internet.
August 15, 2015 at 4:07 AM
I believe it is you who are grossly misinformed. Instead of 'recognized scholarly interpretations', get off your butt and read it for yourself. Every version is on Bible Gateway in every language and free to use. Do some heavy lifting of your own.
Paul was making notes and answering questions, and what used to be in the margins of the Bible as nothing more than that, was placed right into the body of Scripture as we see today.
Are women saved by giving birth or by Christ? Were there women with both Christ and the Apostles and did they preach and teach? Yes.
Paul would not teach anything contrary to Christ, and by adding in those notes, it makes it seem he had.
Most pew sitters are Bible illiterate.
Here's another example of Evangelical misinterpretation for you, and a huge following called Word of Faith was born from it ~
"Life and death is in the power of the tongue. "They believe it means you get what you confess. What it really means is don't gossip.
I would be happy to debate theology with you, but given your condescending tone, I hope for your sake you'll be wearing a cup. I give as good as I get.
I can tell by your hysterical rant above that any debate would be a waste of my time and an exercise in frustration. You went all over the place there, sis. But said nothing that was logic-based. And that closing statement lacked civility. I do read the Bible, but I do rely on scholarly interpretations as to the import of the original Greek (chief among which are the translators themselves), and any relevant historical context that is not immediately recognizable from the Scripture itself. Your assertion about Paul's statement being targeted strictly to the temple of Artemis cult is not based in scholarly research or opinion.
Bye, have fun with the last word.
I will go ahead and respond to your statement about "life and death in the power of the tongue." Yes, the Word of Faith movement does grossly misconstrue this passage. But it has nothing to do with their not understanding the original Greek. The original Greek conveys the same message that the English translation does. No, their misconstruction is a pure and simple misunderstanding (diplomatically) or twisting (less diplomatically) the passage, whether in English or Greek. They totally take the passage out of its surrounding Scriptural text. Some verses are susceptible to that kind of twisting because on their face, in ISOLATION, it may not be completely clear what they are saying.
But then there are others which are rather unequivocal on their face. Like when Paul says that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Or when he says that homosexuality is unnatural. Pretty hard to HONESTLY construe those any other way than what they literally say, and the English translators have made no error in translating these passages from the Greek.
Thank you, whoever posted the examples of the gross mis-translation of Paul's writings. In much of his writing, he was addressing particular problems in particular churches, rather than making general statements applicable to all Christians and to all churches. And if you read carefully, it is easy to tell where general statements are made, as in the "love chapter" in Corinthians. Paul was the original church consultant, addressing problems in the churches to which he wrote, and pointing to a better way, the way of love, as taught by Christ.
We need to tread carefully in applying what has been derived from and polluted by the KJV, which was a politically driven translation by committee of loyalists to King James, who had to deal with threats from women of royalty who had their own followings and would have like to replace him given the chance. That is is not more misogynistic is amazing. And the base writings were in a time when, in many of the cultures of the day, women were chattel, with fewer rights than slaves.
And I am a man, a Christian for some 60 years, with an extensive theological library in my home office, raised in an SBC home and church, with immediate family members retired from SBC missionary service. But I believe that God encourages me to study for myself and not accept what someone else has to say until I can explore fully whether it is believable and it is what Jesus would have me to believe.
Anonymous August 15, 2015 at 12:16 PM,
I didn't think you would take me up on my offer of debate. The sun is in your eyes or you have a bus to catch. Whatever.
I will ask you, in the last word I'm enjoying ~ What great an impact do you suppose we as the Body of Christ would have had if misogynistic false doctrines wouldn't have sidelined over half of us down through time?
And hi, Arce! :)
Since you asked me a question with your "last word", I will answer. I don't believe God's will can be thwarted and it is always effectuated. Period. So even though I disagree with your premise that women have been unjustly "sidelined" by the church, the concept of the church "making an impact" is not a concept I lend any credence to. God will make whatever "impact" on mankind He wishes to make with or without the church, and He doesn't need the church to accomplish His will. So in sum I find your assertion to be based on an implicit assumption that humans can thwart God's will, and accordingly I find your assertion to be fundamentally flawed right out of the gate.
Anon 10:32PM... There are two churches one real and one false. God created everything for His purpose, unfortunately the false church doesn't believe in His word and attempt to overthrow Him, whereas the true church stands for the Word of God and not that of MAN. God's will has been, is, and will forever be perfect. In the book of Revelation God speaks of the 7 churches. God down through the last 2000 years as used His church to spread the Gospel. When the real church is caught up there will be a lot of people looking for someone to help them and even wishing the rocks to fall on them. Yes, God uses His church to fulfill His will!!!
Anonymous August 15, 2015 at 10:32 PM,
I believe the will of God is Galatians 3:28. How many ways have the church turned that on it's head?
In closing, I leave you with this ~
Palmations 3:16-18; And it was released to congregants, man-made doctrines, and the gullible were deceived. And though the gullible did believe, it caused many skeptics to facepalm. They did facepalm until their foreheads were red, for the ignorance of the gullible was much.
Bereans rule, pastors drool. Nuf said.
I believe in James 2:19 do you?
Let's be careful about building theology on one verse (especially when it is half a sentence).
So are you saying you don't believe John 3:15? Or that we should be careful in putting faith in one verse? Wow. It looks like you are one that can't trust the clear meaning of all verses.
James 2:19? I guess john 3:16 should add "except those demons that believe" lol. You are making my points for me.
By the way. I'm not trying to "build theology." That is the religious man of god's job. As I've already posted, I'm not interested in your theology or your religion. If you want to debate those topics, the professors at Duke, UNC, Harvard etc would love to engage you on theology and doctrine, not to mention the Mormons, JWs, Catholics, etc. but thanks for reading. Much more to come. :)
"So are you saying you don't believe John 3:15? Or that we should be careful in putting faith in one verse? Wow. It looks like you are one that can't trust the clear meaning of all verses."
The latter. Especially when you are looking at half a sentence pulled out of context that contradicts another verse and you haven't defined the words in the short phrase.
For example, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses would both believe in John 3:15. Although they would pour different meanings into the words.
"James 2:19? I guess john 3:16 should add "except those demons that believe" lol. You are making my points for me."
Well, only if your point is that you have to take scripture in context (and that usually doesn't happen when you only look at half a sentence) and that if one scripture contradicts another then you have to dig deeper to find out what both verses mean (considering historical context, genre, and of course the illumination of the Holy Spirit).
"By the way. I'm not trying to "build theology." That is the religious man of god's job. As I've already posted, I'm not interested in your theology or your religion. If you want to debate those topics, the professors at Duke, UNC, Harvard etc would love to engage you on theology and doctrine, not to mention the Mormons, JWs, Catholics, etc. but thanks for reading. Much more to come. :)"
I'm unclear as to why you are being so condescending. I haven't called you any names or tried to embarrass you (I thought that was one of your complaints about mega-church pastors). I'm simply trying to have a discussion about proper interpretation of scripture.
If this isn't the correct forum I apologize.
I'm new to reading this blog and like the direction it's going. I'm commenting because I used to put so much value in knowing all the issues in debating theology, etc. While I do see the benefit to some right beliefs, It's really not about what I know, it's Who I know. If I can't interact with others in love, I'm just a clanging symbol.
But I'm still surprised to see how a person's faith is measured or judged by how much information they know between their ears or if they agree with specific doctrines which are secondary issues. Knowing Jesus and having a relationship with Him trumps all the head knowledge you can repeat or think is important for your salvation or for showing the kingdom of God.
My mother took her religion too seriously. She made horrible life choices that affected the whole family. Strained her marriage and relationships with her children...for what? She allowed her children to be abused because the bible told her to honor thy parents...who were the abusers. She ended up alone and very bitter. She had a near death experience that helped her some. Wasted years! All for nothing.
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