My friend has become indoctrinated!

Lisa - Is saying "Give yourself over to God and it'll all be okay" really shoving religion down someone's throat? You might say it's a pat answer, but it doesn't sound forceful at all.
Originally Posted by Phoenix
To me, yes, it is. That's just treating God as an all-purpose problem solver, when - really, don't you think it's better, for people who purport to love God so much, to try and help a friend by giving some advice they really can use? Let's say, for example, a person loses their job, and goes to another friend for help and advice. Not a hand-out, just anything helpful. Not knowing if God exists or not - believing it, yes, but not being able to prove that - what do you think is going to be the best advice? "Pray to God for help" and that's all, OR "Are you on LinkedIn.com? What about the job sites - Hot Jobs is better than Monster. Let me help you research the names of recruiters in the area. Hey, I'm really good at sentence structure - let me proof-read your resume so it's the best it can be." THAT's helping your fellow man, which to my understanding is what "Love thy neighbor" and "Do unto others" is all about. You can also throw in, "I'll pray for you, and you pray hard too" - it can't hurt. But don't make that the only thing you try to do for that person, no.
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wow.... we've reached a stasis here
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i believe that God gives us common sense and free will to make choices for ourselves.


and while i know, for example, that there are people who won't look for work or find a mate because they are praying to God to handle it all for them, i don't agree with their particular methods, and they shouldn't be upset with God or doubt God's power and love when decades go by and they are still alone and jobless.

additionally, if it's wrong for the friend to give the OP counsel that she may not want, the OP should not question the authenticity of her friend's new-found spiritual beliefs and/or question whether she would have the fortitude to maintain those new ideals, considering her past attitudes about things.

again, i don't know the friend's tone in her message. but according to the OP, it sounds like her intentions were genuinely good and not malicious.
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Lisa - Is saying "Give yourself over to God and it'll all be okay" really shoving religion down someone's throat? You might say it's a pat answer, but it doesn't sound forceful at all.
Originally Posted by Phoenix
To me, yes, it is. That's just treating God as an all-purpose problem solver, when - really, don't you think it's better, for people who purport to love God so much, to try and help a friend by giving some advice they really can use? Let's say, for example, a person loses their job, and goes to another friend for help and advice. Not a hand-out, just anything helpful. Not knowing if God exists or not - believing it, yes, but not being able to prove that - what do you think is going to be the best advice? "Pray to God for help" and that's all, OR "Are you on LinkedIn.com? What about the job sites - Hot Jobs is better than Monster. Let me help you research the names of recruiters in the area. Hey, I'm really good at sentence structure - let me proof-read your resume so it's the best it can be." THAT's helping your fellow man, which to my understanding is what "Love thy neighbor" and "Do unto others" is all about. You can also throw in, "I'll pray for you, and you pray hard too" - it can't hurt. But don't make that the only thing you try to do for that person, no.
Originally Posted by LisaF1163
i was raised in a christian home, suffered through a tragedy as a kiddo and got to see the christian church at its finest.

the church felt like a waste.

"i'll pray for you" is one of the laziest cop-outs ive ever heard.

i have, in other situations, seen churches rally together and feed people. give housing. clothing. etc.

the bible says to take care of the widowed and the orphans...not to just "pray for them" no where in the bible does it say "dont help someone, pray, and walk away"

*steps off of soap box*
Lisa - Is saying "Give yourself over to God and it'll all be okay" really shoving religion down someone's throat? You might say it's a pat answer, but it doesn't sound forceful at all.
Originally Posted by Phoenix
To me, yes, it is. That's just treating God as an all-purpose problem solver, when - really, don't you think it's better, for people who purport to love God so much, to try and help a friend by giving some advice they really can use? Let's say, for example, a person loses their job, and goes to another friend for help and advice. Not a hand-out, just anything helpful. Not knowing if God exists or not - believing it, yes, but not being able to prove that - what do you think is going to be the best advice? "Pray to God for help" and that's all, OR "Are you on LinkedIn.com? What about the job sites - Hot Jobs is better than Monster. Let me help you research the names of recruiters in the area. Hey, I'm really good at sentence structure - let me proof-read your resume so it's the best it can be." THAT's helping your fellow man, which to my understanding is what "Love thy neighbor" and "Do unto others" is all about. You can also throw in, "I'll pray for you, and you pray hard too" - it can't hurt. But don't make that the only thing you try to do for that person, no.
Originally Posted by LisaF1163
i was raised in a christian home, suffered through a tragedy as a kiddo and got to see the christian church at its finest.

the church felt like a waste.

"i'll pray for you" is one of the laziest cop-outs ive ever heard.

i have, in other situations, seen churches rally together and feed people. give housing. clothing. etc.

the bible says to take care of the widowed and the orphans...not to just "pray for them" no where in the bible does it say "dont help someone, pray, and walk away"

*steps off of soap box*
Originally Posted by Sleigh
Correct, it actually says just the opposite. However, my question was is it "shoving religion down someone's throat?" That to me means forcing religion on a person even after they've made it clear they're not interested and would prefer you not discuss the subject; it's overkill.

Lisa said, yes, it is. But at the same time she, and now you, said that saying "I'll pray for you" isn't overkill or too much, but it's the exact opposite...it's not enough.

Which is it? Too much? Not enough? Can't be both.

Is it a cop out? I can see how it is, although sometimes prayer is all you can do for a person.
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Last edited by Phoenix; 02-15-2009 at 05:21 PM.
I can see how it would be too much and not enough at the same time. Not enough of the "unconditional" type of love, and too much of the "I love you so much that I'm going to pray for God to change you" kind of love.
When someone tells me "I'll pray for you" it usually means "I'll pray for you to change." Not always, but usually.
I don't know if that's what they meant. Perhaps.
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From a bit of a different perspective, I am a very religious person. When my little baby died this past summer, I really didn't want to hear "God has a bigger plan" or "it was God's will". I don't buy that. I was very annoyed with these type of statements. I also think often when people say they are going to pray for you, they really don't. The ones that do though are doing the best thing they know how to do to help you, because there really isn't much else at their disposal. I really think your friend was trying to help, but she obviously isn't very good at evangelizing. I bet she meant well though.
From a bit of a different perspective, I am a very religious person. When my little baby died this past summer, I really didn't want to hear "God has a bigger plan" or "it was God's will". I don't buy that. I was very annoyed with these type of statements. I also think often when people say they are going to pray for you, they really don't. The ones that do though are doing the best thing they know how to do to help you, because there really isn't much else at their disposal. I really think your friend was trying to help, but she obviously isn't very good at evangelizing. I bet she meant well though.
Originally Posted by poisonivy
phoenix this was more the pov i was coming from - that even the religious/christian/etc can become annoyed with those statements too.
I once had a falling out with a coworker/friend when she announced in a triumphant tone and totally out of context to our conversation, "By the way, I'm praying for you about your little problem." I was taken by surprise because I didn't know (until then) that I even HAD a problem.

I said, "My problem? What problem?" She said, "You know, your little 'situation'".

I knew she was ultra conservative but until that moment, I hadn't realized how judgmental she was about my choice to live with my SO for the past 12 years. I said, "You know, I appreciate that you think you are doing something good for me, but that is insulting on so many levels. We've got war, starving people, disease, (I can't remember what all I said), and you're praying that I get MARRIED? I don't WANT to be married, I'm happy, I'm a good person. Don't you think God has other things to address rather than the licensed state of my vagina?"

She apologized profusely and later called me to say that she was way out of line and I was absolutely right. We are good buddies again but I remember being quite hurt that she had apparently used this one choice to judge my morality.

Not sure why I'm telling this story, but I remember thinking that she had somehow taken this moral "high road" when I knew quite a few things about her past but had never felt a moment of judgment of her life choices.

Her heart was in the right place but I did have to set a few boundaries with her. She respects those boundaries and we are very good friends.

I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
I can see how it would be too much and not enough at the same time. Not enough of the "unconditional" type of love, and too much of the "I love you so much that I'm going to pray for God to change you" kind of love.
When someone tells me "I'll pray for you" it usually means "I'll pray for you to change." Not always, but usually.
Originally Posted by tmmy_cat
Yup, that's what I mean. And it is forcing it down peoples' throats, in my opinion. What it's REALLY saying is, "I want you to be like me. YOU have to change to be more like ME, because now that I've got religion, everything is cool."

And at the same time, it's not doing enough for someone who needs help or advice. "I'll pray for you" or "You should pray" or "You should be saved" doesn't put food on the table or get medical care for a sick kid just in case that big man upstairs doesn't exist. And again, isn't that the whole point of why churches take up clothing and food and money donations for the poor? Because THAT'S what God might want you to do, all the "Love thy neighbor" and "Do unto others." It's all about "think for yourself and try to make your best decisions, and help out the other guy if you're able to as well." Leaving it all up to some omnipresent being is potentially being caught with your pants down.

And honestly, why can't you extend yourself beyond that to the other guy? What's it going to hurt you? Saying, "Here, have some religion" and walking away - is that really better than pulling out a few bucks from your wallet during the collection time in a church service? Why do you think they have those - it's not so they can pay for a catered lunch after the sermon is over. Clothing donations - right there in the back room, ready to go off to various charities. At your local church. Habitat For Humanity - a Christian organization, where you build houses with your own two hands, rather than just say "I'll pray for this family" and walk on by. So clearly, these churches, charities and organizations recognize that no, prayer and conversion isn't enough. Actually get involved, it's not going to kill you.

Like I said, I believe in Him. I say my prayers for the safety and health of my family and friends, and for Him to help me make the best decisions when necessary. And not just when the chips are down - I pray every single night. During the good times, I thank Him for the things that I have. But I also make sure that I check in on my family constantly myself to make sure if they need any help, and that I stop and think important decisions through on my own as they come along. I'm 45 years old, and I have no idea if there's some God up there who has helped me along at those times. I can believe in Him till I'm dead and buried, but I have no proof. So you'd better have your act together, and not try to make "I'll pray for you" the only thing going on when there's trouble.
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Last edited by LisaF1163; 02-16-2009 at 09:20 AM.
I can see how it would be too much and not enough at the same time. Not enough of the "unconditional" type of love, and too much of the "I love you so much that I'm going to pray for God to change you" kind of love.
When someone tells me "I'll pray for you" it usually means "I'll pray for you to change." Not always, but usually.
Originally Posted by tmmy_cat
Yup, that's what I mean. And it is forcing it down peoples' throats, in my opinion. What it's REALLY saying is, "I want you to be like me. YOU have to change to be more like ME, because now that I've got religion, everything is cool."
Originally Posted by LisaF1163
You can think that, but it really makes no sense to me. It's like you're trying to make it worse than it is just to criticize it. It's not force, it's just not. And maybe for some people, it is saying, "I want you to be like me." But for the majority of people, I don't buy that. At all. If it's put in the same tone as what the poster above experienced with her coworker, that's one thing. "I'll pray for your little problem..." Huh? Wha? Totally judgmental. She never said she had a problem.

For many people, they are only doing what they know to do and feel commanded to do, and they believe prayer actually changes things...accomplishes something, and isn't just positive thinking or a just-in-case act. For others, could prayer be a cop out? Yes.

And how does saying you'll pray for someone translate into "I want you to be like me" anyway?

And at the same time, it's not doing enough for someone who needs help or advice. "I'll pray for you" or "You should pray" or "You should be saved" doesn't put food on the table or get medical care for a sick kid just in case that big man upstairs doesn't exist. And again, isn't that the whole point of why churches take up clothing and food and money donations for the poor? Because THAT'S what God might want you to do, all the "Love thy neighbor" and "Do unto others." It's all about "think for yourself and try to make your best decisions, and help out the other guy if you're able to as well." Leaving it all up to some omnipresent being is potentially being caught with your pants down.
Originally Posted by LisaF1163
No, it's not the whole point. Saving souls is. But helping others hands-on is one function of the church, just not the only one.

And honestly, why can't you extend yourself beyond that to the other guy? What's it going to hurt you? Saying, "Here, have some religion" and walking away - is that really better than pulling out a few bucks from your wallet during the collection time in a church service? Why do you think they have those - it's not so they can pay for a catered lunch after the sermon is over. Clothing donations - right there in the back room, ready to go off to various charities. At your local church. Habitat For Humanity - a Christian organization, where you build houses with your own two hands, rather than just say "I'll pray for this family" and walk on by. So clearly, these churches, charities and organizations recognize that no, prayer and conversion isn't enough. Actually get involved, it's not going to kill you.
Originally Posted by LisaF1163
As shown by your HforH example, plenty of people do. And you're right the Bible says prayer isn't the only thing you should do. But just I don't look at prayer/God as my contingency plan when my own abilities are no longer enough.
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You can think that, but it really makes no sense to me. It's like you're trying to make it worse than it is just to criticize it. It's not force, it's just not.
Originally Posted by Phoenix
Sure it is. When you have the same person over and over again telling you that you need to be saved, it's force. And I've had people like that say those things to me. And to be fair, as you point out, not all religious people are like that. But there are plenty who do have that kind of mentality.
For many people, they are only doing what they know to do and feel commanded to do, and they believe prayer actually changes things...accomplishes something, and isn't just positive thinking or a just-in-case act. For others, could prayer be a cop out? Yes.
We're going to have to agree to disagree on this. Because when my brother was diagnosed with cancer, I prayed to God to please spare him. He was a great guy, why take him? Clearly I'm not an oncologist, so all I could really do on my own was pray, and go see him every day in the hospital, and try to keep my family together. And he died anyway. At age 46, clearly not at the end of his life. So, if prayer fixes things, please, answer that for me - why isn't my brother around anymore, healthy and happy. And I keep saying again - prove to me that God exists. Even after all that, I still believe in Him, even though I don't understand why he took my brother, I still believe in him, but my brother's death is a perfect example of - prove to me that God exists.
No, it's not the whole point. Saving souls is. But helping others hands-on is one function of the church, just not the only one
.
Again, if you can prove to me that God exists, I'll believe your "saving souls" being the prime function of the church. You think that saving souls is the prime function of the church because of what you've been taught. But by whom? Regular human people AT that church - priests, nuns, etc. They're just people who have chosen to follow that way of life. And they work for and at that church - which is a building, built by men. None of this happened by waving a magic wand. The Bible was written by men. Unless you can go back to the beginning of time, and prove that any of this happened, isn't a person's own competence and innate kindness preferable? My guess that if there's a heaven and you get there when you die (and I do believe in that too), God would probably be a lot more pleased with someone who actively got out there and helped others than someone who just sat around and said "I'll pray for you."
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Again, if you can prove to me that God exists, I'll believe your "saving souls" being the prime function of the church. You think that saving souls is the prime function of the church because of what you've been taught. But by whom? Regular human people AT that church - priests, nuns, etc. They're just people who have chosen to follow that way of life. And they work for and at that church - which is a building, built by men. None of this happened by waving a magic wand. The Bible was written by men. Unless you can go back to the beginning of time, and prove that any of this happened, isn't a person's own competence and innate kindness preferable? My guess that if there's a heaven and you get there when you die (and I do believe in that too), God would probably be a lot more pleased with someone who actively got out there and helped others than someone who just sat around and said "I'll pray for you."
Originally Posted by LisaF1163
i'm confused by you and the OP. do you believe in God or not?

to me, when you believe in God, it is through faith that you accept His existence. also, there is no way to prove God's existence or any of the bible's events to a nonbeliever who will only be satisfied with tangible proof.

i didn't get the impression, based on how the OP described the scenario, that her friend was coming from a bad place with her advice. if anything, it was the OP's reaction to her friend's advice that makes me wonder about how God plays a role in her life. after all, she says that she believes in Him, but her reaction to her friend's advice seems like one that i'd expect from a nonbeliever. very confusing.

regarding God answering prayers. nowhere in the bible does it say that by simply praying to God, that your wishes will be answered. each of us has a purpose in this world that is greater than ourselves. look at your life as a small piece to an immense puzzle. God designed the puzzle, made all the pieces, knows how they all should fit together, and is determining which piece He'll put down next to get the finished product the way He wants it. He gives us free will, but even with our free will to do good or bad, to love or hate, or even to choose or not choose to believe in Him, He knows our hearts, what our destiny is, and how we are vital to the bigger scheme of His plans. maybe your brother dying had nothing to do with you or your family and the sorrow that you'd feel. maybe there was someone God wanted to reach, and through your brother's sickness and death, that person's faith was born or restored. and maybe that person's destiny is to greatly affect numerous people in ways that they can't imagine. this is why we shouldn't question why God lets people get sick and die, or allow famine to occur, or natural catastrophe's to happen, or question why a friend now has spiritual convictions that she's never exercised before (the OP and her friend).

to me, if you have to have a backup plan in case God doesn't come through for you, that is taking your focus away from God. and when that happens, you may not have the kind of faith in Him that He'd want you to.

so as ironic as this may sound, if you still believe in God, even in light of the terrible things that have happened to your loved ones or to you, instead of asking someone to prove God's existence, maybe you should ask God to help restore you faith in Him. because as long as you question if God is real, to me, He won't be real to you, and you'll never feel spiritually satisfied.
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i'm confused by you and the OP. do you believe in God or not?
Originally Posted by rainshower
I sure do believe in God. I pray to Him every night. But I can't prove he exists. I've never seen Him. Have you? Do you have some proof that you'd care to share with the rest of us?
because as long as you question if God is real, to me, He won't be real to you, and you'll never feel spiritually satisfied.
I wholeheartedly disagree. You can't tell me what my feelings for God are just because they differ from yours. THAT is the issue that I think a lot of people who may be religious, but not AS religious, have with people who are very very religious. This blind faith you have - that it has to be all or nothing. That if you believe in God, but admit you can't prove He exists, then you don't have faith in God period. And I'm sorry, but you are sadly mistaken in telling me that just because I haven't seen God for myself, and haven't got any proof, that I don't really believe. Again - have you seen him? Where's your proof? You want to come across as so holy because you don't question this at all. It's very possible to say, I can't prove God exists yet I do believe in him. What part of that is so hard for you to understand?

To me, this is the problem with overly religious people, and my whole point - if everyone isn't completely on board with the way YOU THINK, then they don't love God, they don't believe in God, and they're wrong. And isn't that what you're really saying - that if myself and other people don't believe the same exact way you do, we're wrong. I have you quoted above. Don't you dare tell me I don't feel spiritually satisfied - you have no business telling me how I feel about my religious beliefs.
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I don't question if God is real, because honestly, if his existence can be proven or not isn't really that important to me. I believe in him, that's enough for me. I just don't believe in religion and religion's view and version of God. People who are religious have a hard time separating God from religion. They are not the same thing, at least not to me. I think a lot of what you (rainshower) expressed applies to someone who believes in religion, but it doesn't apply to me and the way I view God.
I don't question if God is real, because honestly, if his existence can be proven or not isn't really that important to me. I believe in him, that's enough for me. I just don't believe in religion and religion's view and version of God. People who are religious have a hard time separating God from religion. They are not the same thing, at least not to me. I think a lot of what you (rainshower) expressed applies to someone who believes in religion, but it doesn't apply to me and the way I view God.
Originally Posted by Sairis
Another very good way of looking at it. You believe in him, and that's good enough for you. Same here. To me, it's the really overly religious people who force it and won't allow people to just believe in God in their own way. And I like your comment about separating God from religion - again, great point. They're two very very different things, but they don't necessarily have to apply to everyone the same way.
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i'm confused by you and the OP. do you believe in God or not?
Originally Posted by rainshower
I sure do believe in God. I pray to Him every night. But I can't prove he exists. I've never seen Him. Have you? Do you have some proof that you'd care to share with the rest of us?
because as long as you question if God is real, to me, He won't be real to you, and you'll never feel spiritually satisfied.
I wholeheartedly disagree. You can't tell me what my feelings for God are just because they differ from yours. THAT is the issue that I think a lot of people who may be religious, but not AS religious, have with people who are very very religious. This blind faith you have - that it has to be all or nothing. That if you believe in God, but admit you can't prove He exists, then you don't have faith in God period. And I'm sorry, but you are sadly mistaken in telling me that just because I haven't seen God for myself, and haven't got any proof, that I don't really believe. Again - have you seen him? Where's your proof? You want to come across as so holy because you don't question this at all. It's very possible to say, I can't prove God exists yet I do believe in him. What part of that is so hard for you to understand?

To me, this is the problem with overly religious people, and my whole point - if everyone isn't completely on board with the way YOU THINK, then they don't love God, they don't believe in God, and they're wrong. And isn't that what you're really saying - that if myself and other people don't believe the same exact way you do, we're wrong. I have you quoted above. Don't you dare tell me I don't feel spiritually satisfied - you have no business telling me how I feel about my religious beliefs.
Originally Posted by LisaF1163
no, that's not what i'm saying at all. i'm not saying or suggesting everyone must worship the same way. that's impossible. i do, however, believe that a basic tenet of a conviction is that a person believes in it. otherwise what do you really have, but a notion?

how can you believe in God, but at the same time question if he's real and ask people to prove to you that he exists? this is what confuses me. i know that people have different relationships with God and that there is not one right way to worship Him or relate to Him.
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You can think that, but it really makes no sense to me. It's like you're trying to make it worse than it is just to criticize it. It's not force, it's just not.
Originally Posted by Phoenix
Sure it is. When you have the same person over and over again telling you that you need to be saved, it's force. And I've had people like that say those things to me. And to be fair, as you point out, not all religious people are like that. But there are plenty who do have that kind of mentality.
Originally Posted by LisaF1163
Exactly! But that is *not* what we've been talking about for a couple of pages now. Previously, I said:

Is saying "Give yourself over to God and it'll all be okay" really shoving religion down someone's throat? You might say it's a pat answer, but it doesn't sound forceful at all.
You said, yes, it is. There was no mention of repeated calls for giving oneself over to God. Saying anything over and over again would get annoying, even something you might initially want to hear. Make it a religious topic and it gets really annoying. But that's not what we were talking about. You sounded as if saying "Give yourself over to God" once is shoving religion down someone's throat. In fact, that is what you said.

For many people, they are only doing what they know to do and feel commanded to do, and they believe prayer actually changes things...accomplishes something, and isn't just positive thinking or a just-in-case act. For others, could prayer be a cop out? Yes.
We're going to have to agree to disagree on this. Because when my brother was diagnosed with cancer, I prayed to God to please spare him. He was a great guy, why take him? Clearly I'm not an oncologist, so all I could really do on my own was pray, and go see him every day in the hospital, and try to keep my family together. And he died anyway. At age 46, clearly not at the end of his life. So, if prayer fixes things, please, answer that for me - why isn't my brother around anymore, healthy and happy. And I keep saying again - prove to me that God exists. Even after all that, I still believe in Him, even though I don't understand why he took my brother, I still believe in him, but my brother's death is a perfect example of - prove to me that God exists.
Your brother was a great guy, therefore God should have let him live? God's standards of "greatness" are different than ours. And sometimes He doesn't answer prayer the way we want. This, we know. Maybe your brother's life and his passing served God's purpose (no, I don't know what that purpose could be) not yours. What, only the "bad" people should die (I presume die prematurely, since everyone dies)?

And you question God's existence because your brother died? Because your prayer wasn't answered? Prayers are answered every day, all day, but some aren't. No one can really answer why your brother is gone. Do you really expect that?

I'm not even 'getting' your request to prove God exists. How could I? Why would I? Believe or don't. Pick one, not some hazy stage in between the two. I agree with RS that isn't clear whether you believe or not.

When I use the term "belief" in regard to God, I usually mean "faith," which means to believe without knowing. We can't know God exists...or that He doesn't. We choose to believe -- or have faith -- that He does (or doesn't). You make a choice. It's not going to be handed to us on a platter. Poof, here's your evidence.

No, it's not the whole point. Saving souls is. But helping others hands-on is one function of the church, just not the only one
.

Again, if you can prove to me that God exists, I'll believe your "saving souls" being the prime function of the church. You think that saving souls is the prime function of the church because of what you've been taught. But by whom? Regular human people AT that church - priests, nuns, etc. They're just people who have chosen to follow that way of life. And they work for and at that church - which is a building, built by men. None of this happened by waving a magic wand. The Bible was written by men. Unless you can go back to the beginning of time, and prove that any of this happened, isn't a person's own competence and innate kindness preferable?
No, I believe that saving souls is the main function of the church because that's what the Bible says not priests and nuns. But you believe was "just" written by men. I believe it was written by God through men. And no I don't have proof.

Isn't a "person's own competence and innate kindness preferable" to what? But my answer will probably be no...

My guess that if there's a heaven and you get there when you die (and I do believe in that too), God would probably be a lot more pleased with someone who actively got out there and helped others than someone who just sat around and said "I'll pray for you."
That's nice. I guess we'll all find out someday. But I also believe that those who don't accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, regardless of how much they "got out there," won't be getting to Heaven at all.

I'm sure that will get everyone up in arms... Cuz I'm shoving my religion down your throat now, right? Oh well.
No MAS.

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