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November 28, 2005



This is truly excellent. You are of course right, in that far too many right-wing people use religion as an excuse to persecute those who deviate ever so slightly from the "norm", whatever that awful term means. There are few things in life I can read and then immediately wish I'd written, but that letter is one of them. What would be interesting would be to read her response!

An excellent post, Andy.


You would like The West Wing


Oh, and who would want to own a Canadian?
Although I always felt sorry for them, close to the americans and living with the french, it's almost a biblical curse on a nation.


I'd quite like a Canadian.

Would benice to have one aboot the hoose.


Yes Ian, it seems this, and similar themes have done the rounds. That's fair enough - I like the responses and wish I'd thought of them too.

One of my aims for the year ahead is to make fewer assumptions and listen harder before doing that "all-too-quick" judgement.

Not easy to do.

Being as I'm nearly always right.


Yes, I understand. It's hard to be nearly always right isn't it.

John Cooper

A couple of things to say on this post and comments. Firstly, it may be right and proper to "exclude" someone from fellowship if after being approached by the leadership of the church someone, who is in habitiual sin normally, does not get it sorted. More importantly if they're not willing to even try to get it sorted. 2 Corinthians tells us that it's for their own good that they are temporarily put out of fellowship. This should be done as a last resort and in love with it being explained that they are welcome to come back if their willing to change. After all a church is not a social club, and all participants have a responcibility to whatever statement of faith the church adheres to.

Secondly, it's definitely not "right-wing" to have a concept of truth. Post-modern thought may not espouse absolutes. But, not all post modernists are liberal and not all absolutists are fascists! You can think whatever you like, I won't kill you, imprison you, or call you nasty names - but I might just say your wrong. And by wrong I do mean that I'm right. If I believe I believe in God, and you don't, then one of us must be wrong.

Thirdly, Dr. Schlessinger is Jewish then of course she believes in Levitical law. She doesn't believe in the new covenant etc. But, she has every right to express her opinions in whatever way she feels, as long as it doesn't affect the political or human rights of the people she disagrees with. She's not advocating "gay-bashing" as far as we can see in this article. Just saying what she feels based upon her own religious beliefs. Anyone who is not an Orthodox Jew who doesn't believe in Levitical Law should just dismiss her as being wrong.

I was recently ask by a non-Christian if, as a Christian, I believed in hell, and if I believed that, as a non-Christian he would go their. I answered yes and yes. He then got really angry. How dare I believe that he was going to go to hell. I answered politely that as he said he didn't believe in the concept of hell it was about as offensive as me suggesting he was going to end up in neverland. Why was he upset that, in his opinion he was going to an imaginary place.

We have to stop worrying what other people believe in, and worry what we believe in. As long as people aren't acting on their beliefs to affect the rights of others then don't worry.


Thanks for your comment, John. Excellent stuff.

I particularly liked the bit about hell. Vintage. What was the guy's response? Interesting that he got so excited about it.

John Cooper

Just lots of bluster really. Made no sense to me . I just smiled sweetly and told I was sorry he felt aggrieved, but it was what I believed.


The fact that you make such intelligent response obviously precludes you from being one of the right-wing types I was commenting on, John. Thankfully, the people I was talking about don't exist here to the degree they do in some parts of the USA. Let me clarify what I meant: Right-wing types who use religion as an *excuse* - that is, organisations who may not necessarily believe in the Word of God, but who are all to quick to quote it when it helps to bolster their cause. Not for a second did I mean a genuinely religious person who follows the Bible to the letter. If one is such a person, then that is of course fine as it is a *belief* rather than a weapon to marginalise someone.

Personally, I a Christian, I do believe in Heaven and Hell, but I am prepared to be tolerant of others, whether that be their belief system or their sexuality.

Finally, do you really believe that a case such as the one you mentioned really boils down to one being right and the other being wrong? If so, where do you stand on other faiths or denominations?


All I would say, by way of re-engaging with the subject matter, is that we might all do well to remember respect and, dare I say it, love for others.

It's very easy to reach for the rule book, and a lot harder to reach out and try and understand someone's situation - particularly if it is complex.

I think I would rather aim at being a person whose mind remains open for as long as possible. That is my goal.

John Cooper

I think we're all sing from the same hymn sheet (pardon the pun). As Andy just wrote the most important thing in all of this is love. Just because I don't agree with someone I can still love them ITL. I can respect their right of opinion even if I don't agree with it. I have friends of varying race, religion, sexuality etc (choose minority group of choice :) and I hope I treat them all with the love and respect that I hope people would give me. I respect their right to opinion, and more importantly, their right to freedom of speech. But, I believe what I believe. It would be plain stupid of me to say "I beleive Jesus is the only way to God" for instance - but (insert other religious preference) may be right". It makes no sense. But, we must, especially in an age where the Evangelical Christian church is a minority, protect freedom of speech. As long as, as I said in my first comment, it doesn't incite someone to, or affect anyone else's human rights or free speech.

John Cooper

sorry missed out denominations. I am an ardent denominationalist. Means we can find a way to worship which makes us feel comfortable, as long as it Evangelical. And even if it's not it's a persons choice to attend if they please.


I don't think I understand enough about Evangelism to make an intelligent comment, but needless to say I would like to learn more. You're obviously an intelligent and caring person, John, so I'd be happy for you to help me understand more if you're willing - although I suspect a blog (and not ours, at that) isn't the best place :)


I don't know anything or believe anything, so my life is complicated.

Liz Marshall

I dunno Rebecca, maybe your life is actually simpler. I believe quite a lot of things, I have been tied up in knots by some of it and some people who believe what I do. I go with Andy on this one ... to quote Corinthians ... the greatest gift is LOVE. If we put love, care, consideration, being helpful to others in front of what we believe, think or do, then it will change both our attitudes and behaviour I believe.


I was going to say simpler, but then really thought about it in the sense that if I really believed in something then I might be able to make sense of everything, instead nothing makes sense and more so now than any other time, therefore remains complicated.


Hear hear, Liz. Well said.


Rebecca - I hear what you're saying, but I doubt there is a religion invented that is simpler than not having one. In my view - we all have a religion, a personal one.

We have things we believe, and things we do not. We have our moral and ethical code, together with our opinions about others and our own framework for right and wrong.

Put in a mainstream religious conext, we still have those same choices to make. Therefore, little difference.

So why bother? For me, it is as simple as this: In my personal experience I have come to an unshakable belief that God exists. End of.

How did I get there? Well, that's a very long story. :)

However, my problem comes in resolving my unshakable belief with what is on offer Churchwise. It is very very easy to criticise the church because.... well, everyone knows. :)


I hear you Andy and I respect everyone's beliefs whatever they may be. I think I better leave it at that as I am sinking here, because I am complicated and trying to tell you all, that you have something special, but then again you know that already:)


Rebecca, don't ever write off the possibility that the same thing can happen to you. Having spent almost all of my life without a belief, I was lucky enough to have a complete turnaround earlier this year. It can happen to anyone, given the right set of circumstances and a sufficiently receptive mind :)


Oh, I would never do that, I was brought up with regular Sunday school etc and my father reads every week for the church, but thank you for your kind thoughts.


I believe everything I hear and read, which I think makes me more able to make informed choices in life, even if they're all wrong, which they have been so far.

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