Ebony you asked a few questions on the other thread and so to avoid further thread jackeration, I moved it over here.

First of all, I have a difficult time discussing these issues without knowing what the others fundamental beliefs are so if I may ask:

Are you a Christian? Do you believe Christianity is the 'correct' religion, or one of the 'correct' religions? Do you routinely attend a 'black' church and if so, do you routinely 'give'?

All of those questions are important (for anyone in the convo) because they define the context of your position.

For example, I will and always argue that a non-christian has no ability to debate Christian doctrine, IE a non-christian cannot critique what he disbelieves fundamental from an internal perspective. So for example, if someone Creflo Dollar is utilizing a perspective on Christian doctrine that tells him 'this is how prosperity occurs doctrinally' the non-christian can not critique his doctrinal position as the disbelieve in general the bible and Christ. In other words disbelievers have no logical ground to internally critique what a pastor believes or disbelieves his theological position should be in regard to Christianity.

Put it a different way, I can not tell Louis Farrakhan that he is a bad Muslim, when I am A) not Muslim and B) I disbeliever in the text (Koran) in which he professes to operate his beliefs.

However, they folks may be very well logically grounded in critiquing Christianity externally and individually. In this scenario, if I say Christ is about love and love represents this, and I do not follow what I profess, then you can indeed say I am not following what "I SAY" I believe. This is no different than in any other statement of behavior. But this form of critique has nothing to do with Christianity themselves. It is individually based critique of I SAID but I DIDN'T DO.

The broader external critiques are apologetical, or impactful. In the apologetical critique of Christianity or any religion what you are doing is arguing that the religion is incorrect in and of itself. So like most folks do in here they say that Christianity is not the correct religion for x,y,z reasons in the first place. An impact critique is more along the lines you may believe that, but it is having these negative (perceived) impacts. IE You believe the preacher when he says this leads to prosperity, but yet you do what he says and you are still broke, etc. This has no bearing on doctrine, it is simply a cause and effect based argument.

In a nutshell, you can't tell me that I am or am not following the bible right, but you can tell me the bible is not true, or tell me that my following of things I believe is not leading to the results that I say it should.


Which brings us to the black church.
Original Post
Ebony you asked a series of questions and I will try to address each one from my perspective.

quote:
I do believe, though, that many of them are being brainwashed, bamboozled and led astray!![quote]
For you to 'believe' this, then you must have a sense of perspective that you believe is superior to the one bamboozled or brainwashed. Would you care to explain what this is, how you managed not to be bamboozled when so many intelligent folks (as you submitted on the other thread) are, and finally what should people believe?

Since answering a question with a question isn't always fair, my more direct statement would be this. If these folks genuinely believe they are practice religion in the appropriate fashion, and they are receiving the corresponding spiritual, emotional, social, and psychological benefits of it, then I would argue that it is not brainwashing but a subconscious rational decision.

[quote]While many benefit from their religious undertakings and are receiving the Word as best it can be told to them ... there's a whole lot of Black folks (way too many, in my opinion) who are being ... well, pimped! (there goes that word again! Smile) Every Sunday, they walk into their church, sit there and get threatened with Hellfire and Damnation, try to (have to) pay to keep the evil spirits away, (or, perhaps, deal with the evil here, but buy their way into Heaven for eternal salvation!) and are then sent on their way ... only to come back and do it again in 7 days!!


First of all, don't hoes benefit from being pimped? Don't they receive monetary income, and protection. Isn't it a rational decision that if you are a ho that you have a pimp? We always talk about pimping as if it is a bad thing, but wouldn't pimping only be bad if we first agree that prostitution itself is bad? So in this context are you first arguing that Christianity is implicitly bad? If you aren't arguing that, then folks who VOLUNTARILY put themselves up under a specfic leader doing so with a rational though process? Aren't they choosing where to be being that there are sooooooooo many churches out there as we already discussed.

A more fundamental question is what accountability do people have for making decisions FOR THEMSELVES. When I went to a church and I thought the pastor was tripping, you know what...I bounced.


quote:
But let me ask you this, Dell ... how many people do you know (or think) come out of church on Sunday and truly lead a "Christian" life Monday thru Saturday??

This assigns to the church the singular purpose of improving behavior. I disagree that that is its sole purpose. Secondly, what is the 'Christian' life? In no scripture will you find that it says man will become perfect even after salvation. If that is the case, the it would only be natural that the church would be numbered with people who are further along and those who are backsliding in terms of the 'christian' life, if you can define that for me.

quote:
Confused Is this religion thing really working? Confused How many people are really following/receiving the teaching?

It has carried us black people a helluva a long way...that is a broader topic.

quote:
And, since that is the job of the preacher ... for those that are not "getting/doing" it ... wouldn't that mean that the preacher is not adequately doing his job, if he cannot keep his flock ... er ... people on the straight and narrow path?

You can determine what you teach, but you can not determine the response to teaching. Ask any school teacher. Also like anything, you have some folks who are better than others, some folks with talent in certain aspects of management and weak in others.

Finally...you are contradicting yourself Ebony. Previously you said people are brainwashed, but then you said pastors are not following teaching? Those are two mutually exclusive concepts. Wink The primary point of brainwashing is that people are following what you brainwashed them to do without question.
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor:
quote:
to avoid further thread jackeration, I moved it over here.


Two words: Private Message


This is an open conversation for the board. If you don't like the thread stay off it.
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:
quote:
Originally posted by Raptor:
quote:
to avoid further thread jackeration, I moved it over here.


Two words: Private Message


This is an open conversation for the board. If you don't like the thread stay off it.


Oh, then excuse me, I saw the title (publicly) addressed specifically to Ebony. Suggesting to me that you are only talking to Ebony and don't won't "outside interference".

Doesn't have much to do with rather I "don't like it" or so. But thank you for clearing that up.
Sorry for snapping.

I was just alerting Ebony that I was following up with her post and in general the way that post was diverting to.
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:
First of all, I have a difficult time discussing these issues without knowing what the others fundamental beliefs are so if I may ask:
One can start by asking the individual(s) in question.

quote:
Are you a Christian? Do you believe Christianity is the 'correct' religion, or one of the 'correct' religions? Do you routinely attend a 'black' church and if so, do you routinely 'give'?


No, I am not a christian.

I believe christianity is a religion that doesn't stand above any other religion that readily comes to mind. And like other religions, it is not immune to critique.

(I'm not a pedophile (never was), yet I doubt if I get objection from a pedophile should I critique the act)

I used to go to church a lot.(Yet, does it take one a whole day to recognize sunshine?) From the time of diapers until my early to mid teens. Until I found courage to say no, I'm not with this and I'm not going anymore, for reason you may cheaply tag as "anecdotal".

quote:
All of those questions are important because they define the context of your position.


I don't find that to be all that important. Particularly on a message board while not knowing or seeing the individual in person. Nevertheless if personA come across stating things personB disagrees with based on what personB believes to know/believe/understand/have learned with regard to a particular subject, then speak on it and let is stand on it's own legs. Instead of telling folks how they should demonstrate rebuttal/critique. ...It's a waste of time and quite frankly of no great consequence to anybody thus far.

quote:
I will and always argue that a non-christian has no ability to debate Christian doctrine
That's fine. Simply fine by me. Just don't hit me.

quote:
IE a non-christian cannot critique what he disbelieves fundamental from an internal perspective.

Sure they can. So long they don't impose their beliefs on someone. Most (on this board) you find in opposition are saying what they do or don't believe, not telling you what -you must believe. Let's not confuse the two.

quote:
So for example, if someone Creflo Dollar is utilizing a perspective on Christian doctrine that tells him 'this is how prosperity occurs doctrinally' the non-christian can not critique his doctrinal position as the disbelieve in general the bible and Christ.

I agree.

However, folks have been pretty particular about what and why they oppose or don't believe. It's just not "music" to your judeo-christian centered ears.


quote:
In other words disbelievers have no logical ground to internally critique what a pastor believes or disbelieves his theological position should be in regard to Christianity.
Is this what you believe or is this a fact?
...Never mind.

"Internally", what do you mean by that exactly? Yeah I have a textbook definition, but from you, I feel as though it means something else. Logic is to faith as oil is to water sometimes, so I'm not quite sure where you are going with that.

quote:
Put it a different way, I can not tell Louis Farrakhan that he is a bad Muslim, when I am A) not Muslim and B) I disbeliever in the text (Koran) in which he professes to operate his beliefs.


Sure you can. There's nothing proprietary about any religion. You're just exorcising your right to choose not to (for whatever reason -more important to you than anyone else).

Study it and see if the mans deeds and conscious intentions coincide with that faith. One does not have to be a believer to do that. (Behind close doors I bet)Theologians go at each other all the time, arguing similar, stuff that we are doing now. Who says they can go at it while others can't?

quote:
This is no different than in any other statement of behavior. But this form of critique has nothing to do with Christianity themselves. It is individually based critique of I SAID but I DIDN'T DO.


"Christianity themselves", or christianity itself. I simply don't understand that piece.

Would it make a difference if it were a collectively based critique? If it doesn't agree with your concept of reason, you'll have something to say (or think) about it no matter what...


quote:
In a nutshell, you can't tell me that I am or am not following the bible right
I can say what I think/know/believe, rather or not you agree is your burden. Not mine.

quote:
but you can tell me the bible is not true


Outside of faith, yes I can, provided I discover what I believe to be false/ bs. Like there are some (universal)wise words in the bible, I can truly dig.

quote:
or tell me that my following of things I believe is not leading to the results that I say it should.


I won't argue faith. Getting "personal" intimidates no one from saying what they feel/believe/know.

Whatever leads you to be the upstanding individual that you are, is find by me.
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quote:
(I'm not a pedophile (never was), yet I doubt if I get objection from a pedophile should I critique the act)


Of course, but like I said above, this is an external criticism not an internal criticism. For example, if there was a pedofile code amongst practicing pedofiles (NAMBLA) you as a non-pedofile who rejects the practice of pedofilia could not critique a pedofile on the skill in which he practices pedofilia because that is internal to the pedofilia system. You would not be internal to the pedofilia system.

I am not saying the Christianity is above reproach, condemnation, nor criticism. What I am saying is that you can't tell me whether or not I am a good Christian. Nor can the non-christian tell any christian if they are a good christian and be logical as they reject the precepts and tenets and doctrine which defines that which they are attempting to categorize or rank.

quote:
I don't find that to be all that important. Particularly on a message board while not knowing or seeing the individual in person. Nevertheless if personA come across stating things personB disagrees with based on what personB believes to know/believe/understand/have learned with regard to a particular subject, then speak on it and let is stand on it's own legs. Instead of telling folks how they should demonstrate rebuttal/critique. ...It's a waste of time and quite frankly of no great consequence to anybody thus far.


I will make the assumption that logic is important right. I will also assume that if I said the sky doesn't exist, and black people are the spawn of the devil, you wouldn't simply say your piece but demand an explanation that you would hope would be rational correct? I mean, last I checked, you had 359 post on this board, and I am assuming that you didn't just make stand alone comments but engaged in some form of dialogue right? Which means that the statement you just made about it being a waste of time doesn't fit with your board behavior which would make you what?

quote:
Sure they can. So long they don't impose their beliefs on someone. Most (on this board) you find in opposition are saying what they do or don't believe, not telling you what -you must believe. Let's not confuse the two.


I am not confusing the two, but I think you are behind a step or two...as I have already specified my position on this. Can I tell a woman what it feels like and means to be a woman from anything other than an external point of view? Hell no. Now if you think you can, then you have ascended from human status and become God. The frames of reference of the internal believer and the external observer are totally different. Therefore critique can only be external, and I don't have a problem with that, because what you believe about me or christianity is totally unrelated to my belief structure. Re-read my post bro.

quote:
Logic is to faith as oil is to water sometimes

Remember Raptor, logic is a process, faith is a believe, acts of faith can be logical, but logic can never be faith.

quote:
Whatever leads you to be the upstanding individual that you are, is find by me.


As long as upstanding equals what you believe it to be...which means your beliefs are determined by what?
quote:
Can I tell a woman what it feels like and means to be a woman from anything other than an external point of view? Hell no. Now if you think you can, then you have ascended from human status and become God. The frames of reference of the internal believer and the external observer are totally different.


I don't think this is a fair comparrison because most people that are doing the criticism of X-tianity at one point were X-tians, and were raised as X-tians, (not to mention they are surrounded by X-tians, and live in a dominantly X-tian society ...So they have an internal perspective on beleif/faith and the church, albeit not a 'current' one. A man can never have an internal perspective of a womb-man, because they 'were' never womb-men EVER. You are comparing apples and oranges. Faiths/Religions ect. can change, they can be a 'choice'(somewhat), gender isn't.

Also, I always find it ironic when some X-tians get particular about who critiques the church/X-tianity and how, when it is their religious tradition to force their beliefs on everyone and anyone, unrequested I might add... Evangelism and prostelyzing anyone?(Or my personal favorite... the history of 'conversion by the sword'.) Doesn't that 'tradition' of religious imperialism leave a 'religion' wide open for criticism from 'external' sources? Isn't that exactly why Mormons and Jehovah's witnesses get 'criticized' or rather 'clowned' by non Mormon/Jehovah's witnesses?
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Oshun, simply because you were doesn't mean you are, which means that the practicer believes, and intra-organizational doctrine are relevant, because it is predicated on BELIEF.

That immediately disqualifies the non-christian from an internal critique. You can't tell me how to be a good christian because disbelieve in the concept in and of itself. It really aint rocket science.

As far as external critique, I don't have a problem with that. Fire away.

By the way, what do you believe?
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:
Oshun, simply because you were doesn't mean you are, which means that the practicer believes, and intra-organizational doctrine are relevant, because it is predicated on BELIEF.


I don't agree, if you 'were' something then you know the standards of what makes a good ... 'fill in the blank'. That has nothing to do with 'belief'. 'Belief' doesn't make someone a good... 'fill in the blank', action does. You can't determine what makes a good 'whatever' if you never were, or know nothing about... 'fill in the blank' though.

quote:
That immediately disqualifies the non-christian from an internal critique. You can't tell me how to be a good christian because disbelieve in the concept in and of itself. It really aint rocket science.


It really ain't rocket science as to why your comparison between gender and belief wasn't a good one either. Roll Eyes

quote:
As far as external critique, I don't have a problem with that. Fire away.


You did react to some critiques(and I think they were largely external), a.k.a 'opinions' about X-tianity in general that you don't agree with, by calling them irrational, anecodatal, and self-serving myths no? Quite dismissive for not having a problem.

quote:
By the way, what do you believe?


Many people, including me, stated this on Khalliqa's Synopsis thread.
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:
you as a non-pedofile who rejects the practice of pedofilia could not critique a pedofile on the skill in which he practices pedofilia because that is internal to the pedofilia system. You would not be internal to the pedofilia system.


So it takes one to no one? Out of curiosity, have you Dell, ever been an atheist?


quote:
What I am saying is that you can't tell me whether or not I am a good Christian.


You must be addressing someone else who may have accused you of not being a good christian. You're not possibly implying that I've accused you of not being a "good christian", for I've never remotely made that case against the one Dell Gines christendom. To add to that, I don't know you. Save the spin for debating cornhusker football, 'kay?

quote:
Nor can the non-christian tell any christian if they are a good christian and be logical as they reject the precepts and tenets and doctrine which defines that which they are attempting to categorize or rank.
You're not atheist yet you seem to have exorcised your right to critique it or them, but christian(ity) is the sacred cow you don't want touched? If I desire to critique religion,I will(your requisite for how religion is to be discussed/debated has no jurisdiction over me). Now that's straight with no chaser. Dell, no chaser.


quote:
I will make the assumption that logic is important right.
It's in the mind of the beholder Dell, try something else. For logic can be argued like abortion, we won't get anywhere, just say your piece, bro. ...Bro 13


quote:
I will also assume that if I said the sky doesn't exist, and black people are the spawn of the devil, you wouldn't simply say your piece but demand an explanation that you would hope would be rational correct?
Generally, I'll give rebuttal and let it stand own its legs. If I see a "chink in the armor", I'll jump on it.

I've lived long enough to know that there are "extreme people", I maybe accused of being one my self, who knows and I don't worry about what folks think of me. What I consider "logic", others may see it different and I'm not gonna sweat that. You're simply trying to derail the discussion. It's useless. I'm still talking.

quote:
I mean, last I checked, you had 359 post on this board, and I am assuming that you didn't just make stand alone comments but engaged in some form of dialogue right?
I doubt if I've ever questioned someone's logic publicly on the board. But if I did, it's never stop one from expressing themselves and posting what they feel/think/ etc. Remember CF? 'Nough said.

But you can't come directly at that so you try to out flank someone, questioning their "logic", but failing to ask an individual direclty, why they feel the way the do. You skip all that and try to come in the back door.

If I find there remarks too absurd, I'm inclined to ignore them. That simple.

Thats the problem Dell, with regard to religion, you haven't ask me any direct questions? Quit hiding behind petty jargon and step up. I'll answer as honest as I can. Your sugarcoated means of censorship is inert to me. I'll piss right on it then watch the sugar dissolve and run off the curb into the drain.

quote:
Can I tell a woman what it feels like and means to be a woman from anything other than an external point of view? Hell no.
Uh, use another analogy. How many strawman tainted analogies are you gonna use to boaster your position? Just come out the closet, already.

quote:
Therefore critique can only be external, and I don't have a problem with that, because what you believe about me or christianity is totally unrelated to my belief structure


More spin. Now you're resorting to just throwing the gun at me.

What does your belief structure has to do with my beliefs, Dell? If you don't answer any of my questions, answer that one. Please. You do not own the right to who can say what about this or that. You have no authority whatsoever.


quote:
Remember Raptor, logic is a process, faith is a believe, acts of faith can be logical, but logic can never be faith.
I'm not arguing "acts of faith", Dell. Next!

quote:
As long as upstanding equals what you believe it to be...which means your beliefs are determined by what?


Upstanding=Morally upright; straightforward.

Dell do you obey the law? Do you steal? Do you fight someone for no reason or if you haven't been provoked? If your answers are yes, no, then no, Then I don't need to go any further. I have more examples, but these will do. Tell me, yes or no, if you can not relate.
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Raptor ...

No, Dell and I can't get a room! He don't know how to act! Big Grin

And Dell ...

Good lawd ... what are you talking about, sweetie?? Confused

quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:
Are you a Christian? Do you believe Christianity is the 'correct' religion, or one of the 'correct' religions? Do you routinely attend a 'black' church and if so, do you routinely 'give'?


Okay, first of all, no, I am not a Christian. I'm not sure if Christianity is the 'correct' religion because I'm not sure what real Christianity is!! I certainly don't believe it's this watered-down, self-righteous, spread-by-the-sword version that is practiced today! Eek In it's present state, it certainly is not 'correct' for me.

And no, I don't regularly attend any church! As I stated before, I go on weddings and funerals! I was raised as a Methodist but stopped going when I was young. When I got old enough to search for a 'religion' for my own independent investigation of the truth .. I was able to find none that suited my spirituality! And I wixh I would give my hard-earned money to some preacher!! I make my own charitable contributions to whomever I please!

Now, as for the rest of this post ... I can't really answer any part of it, because I have no idea what you're trying to say/ask! Eek I'm not trying to argue doctrine with you at all ... nor am I trying to change your mind about how you feel about it! If it floats your boat, darlin' ... then sail on! Smile

What I asked about is the so-called "behavior" of a Christian ... what it is, what it's supposed to be, and please don't give that, 'No one can judge another' crock because that's just not gonna fly with me! There are far too many Bible-toting, scripture-quoting, self-righteous, sanctimonious people walking around here shaking their finger at me telling me what a "good Christian" is and how they're supposed to act for me not to know! Eek

But, it's funny how I see them same sisters up in the club on Saturday night, doing the same thing I'm doing, with the same people I'm doing it with!! And the only difference is they get to go to church the next morning and have their sins removed ... while I stay home and remain a pagen! Confused

So, as I understand it, the Black preacher is supposed to be showing his Black congregation the way of Christ .. is this not correct? Eek Or, exactly what is his job?? And if he's doing it right, then why are our people and our communities still in so much trouble? Confused
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
But, it's funny how I see them same sisters up in the club on Saturday night, doing the same thing I'm doing, with the same people I'm doing it with!!


what are the "christians" doing in the club that they shouldn't be doing? Why would Christianity bar an individual from dancing and mingling with others?
No, NS .. dancing and mingling .. not a problem!! But, flirting with men other than their husbands ... or showing public drunkenness, has to be breaking some rule or law towards being an example of a "Christ-like" or virtuous image, right? Confused
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
I don't agree, if you 'were' something then you know the standards of what makes a good ... 'fill in the blank'. That has nothing to do with 'belief'. 'Belief' doesn't make someone a good... 'fill in the blank', action does. You can't determine what makes a good 'whatever' if you never were, or know nothing about... 'fill in the blank' though.


yeah
Line em up, one by one...

Ebony...

You are making my point. You say you aren't a Christian, you don't know what a real Christian is, BUT you know it isn't what you see???

1st of all, I am not saying folks can not criticize individuals. In fact, I have written some scorching articles online and in some local papers here about where the church is at...including black churches collective impact, and the whole mega-church concept. So I don't blindly nor naively say...yo, it is all good!

2nd of all, like I said before, I don't have a problem with someone arguing that Christianity is not the correct religion. That is perfectly fine 'apologetics' to me. I prefer it be logical argumentation and most times it ain't, but if you believe in something else then you SHOULD be willing to defend what you believe and if question answer why other folks should believe it. This implies that you have to make a statement that the other religion is not correct and why, if you are not a universalist.

My point revolves around what you said Ebony:

1. You aren't a Christian
2. You don't know what a real Christian is
3. Yet you presume to know what it is not

That is the type of argument that drives me absolutely batty and I see cats do it all the time in here. You can NOT know what a real christian is outside of understanding and accepting the tenets of what Christianity is. Since it is a belief predicated system, and a system based off belief as framed by doctrine, you have no position to tell someone that they aren't behaving like a real Christian if you aren't one. That is my point.

Now you can say, wow, I don't like the (&**# way they act. Or you can say, damn, why are they telling me I should be this way, and that they should be this way but they are doing the opposite and being hypocrites. To me, that is not an evaluation of Christianity, that is an evaluation of personal hypocrisy.

An example. We have a nation of Islam cat who opened up a clothing shop. One of the ladies in my business class who is a Hebrew Israelite went in there, so all the hoochie gear and asked, "Do you let your daughters where this stuff"? He so no, in the NOI you teach women not to wear this stuff. She was like, then how are you going to sell it if you believe it shouldn't be worn? And then she walked out.

This was not a critique of the NOI it was a critique of him not living up to the standards that he professed as a member. Those are two different things.
Raptor, no disrespect guy...but remember this and we can continue the discussion rationally or I won't bother. If I am talking ABOUT YOU, I will say RAPTOR YOU DO THIS and show you how. Everything else is an abstract logical argument that is universal in nature.

I have limited time to chit chat in here depending on my schedule and I don't have time to do pissing matches, I retired from that when I stopped battle rapping.

Take that for what it is worth, or continue as you are but don't expect me to follow up and don't bother with threads. I don't dislike you but your rancor just tires me out.
quote:
I don't agree, if you 'were' something then you know the standards of what makes a good ... 'fill in the blank'. That has nothing to do with 'belief'. 'Belief' doesn't make someone a good... 'fill in the blank', action does. You can't determine what makes a good 'whatever' if you never were, or know nothing about... 'fill in the blank' though.
- Oshun

What is good Oshun and how is it determined? When the Nazi's were gassing Jews THEY thought it was good. When we were in slavery a large portion of whites in THOUGHT it was good.

Good / Bad
Evil / Righteous

Are defined according to the contextual position of the one who is morally defining. Religion, philosophy etc. generally acquire collective groups of individuals who join together to define common morality. This is then generally expressed through political structure with the will of the majority (in a democracy) expressing moral will through legislation.

The point being that the group defines its morality according to its belief system. Those external to the group can criticize it for not 'living up to' the standards that those outside the group hold. They also may work to persuade those internal to the group that there positions are not correct and they need to break from the group or work to change the group. But in terms of defining the morality of the group? You can't.

Be back later
First, per Dell's request, I will give the following testimony, which I have given here on numerous occasions.
1. Yes, I am a Christian. I was baptized at 6 years old. During my junior year in high school, I had a profound encounter with Christ and committed to being an instrument of his will. In college and grad school, I was involved in Navigators, Campus Crusade, and InterVarsity. I would eventually go to seminary, graduated and licensed to preach in 1992, and ordained an American Baptist clergy in 1994. Before starting my PhD in 2003, I had amassed 13 years of campus ministry/Chaplaincy experience at 4 schools.
2. I believe that the Christian tradition is still correct for me.
3. My wife and I have not joined a church in Houston. I have expressed my profound frustration on the status of the black church in this area. We most frequently attend Pilgrim UCC near TSU, which is a black congregation, but not part of a historic black denomination.
4. I give an offering at whatever church I attend. Unfortunately, I am not part of a community to which I feel led to tithe.

Now that that is out of the way, one of the issues that we are dealing with here is one that people who study religion deal with all the time, which is the insider/outsider dilemma (in anthropology – you will here people talking about the emic and etic . Insiders will say that there is no way of understanding what we are about unless you are a part of this community. Outsiders (in my context, usually scholars of religion) want to say that such is not the case, that there are in fact aspects of your tradition that they may know better than an insider knows.

I think that much of this from the part of insiders is a defensive strategy, with which I have serious problems. It often serves as an impediment to serious self critique and reflection, which is something, IMHO that is desperately needed within all organizations and institutions, particularly religious ones.

This is not to say that there is not reason of concern on the part of the insider regarding types of outside critique. I think in part that this is what Dell is trying to address. For me, however, this is not a matter so much of doctrine et al in some abstract sense, but what should be protected are peoples descriptive experiences of what these communities are and how they function for them. I also agree that language or charges of one not being a good x, y, or z are not at all constructive.

Again, what is to not be dismissed or taken lightly are people's accounts of their experiences within their particular communities. To do this is to engage in what Wayne Proudfoot refers to as a descriptive reductionism. However, I do believe that one has to right to engage in critique and to offer alternative explanations for what transpires, and that such explanations can provide powerful insights into religious institutions, practices, and communities of which the insider does not have access to. In this way, I do believe that an outsider may know more things about a "religion" than a believer may.
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:
Those external to the group can criticize it for not 'living up to' the standards that those outside the group hold. They also may work to persuade those internal to the group that there positions are not correct and they need to break from the group or work to change the group.



Uhmmm, Dell... This was all I was saying. I didn't say 'I' as a non-X-tian decide what standards X-tians uphold for themselves. I'm saying I, and EVERYONE else in this society who usually grow up as X-tians and are surrounded by X-tians EVERY DAY, KNOW what basic standards X-tians claim to uphold, reguardless of denomination, because we get it shoved down our throats via prostelizing and evangelism from birth(part of what creates the conditions for consistant criticism). Therefore, if I don't see X-tians holding up to the practices/standards that they themselves profess, I and everyone else in this society are well aware when they are not meeting their own qualifications of 'good'. It really isn't that difficult a concept DEll, I don't know why you pretend to not 'get it'.
quote:
Originally posted by kresge:
I think that much of this from the part of insiders is a defensive strategy, with which I have serious problems. It often serves as an impediment to serious self critique and reflection, which is something, IMHO that is desperately needed within all organizations and institutions, particularly religious ones.


yeah
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:
You are making my point. You say you aren't a Christian, you don't know what a real Christian is, BUT you know it isn't what you see???


Dell Gines ...

What have I told you about putting words in my mouth? nono You know, you must like those spanking ... because you sure are angling for another one right about now! Eek

I have never said that I don't know what a real Christian is!! I said I didn't know what the real Christian religion is really all about ... because I don't believe it's ever been taught to anybody!! Not anybody alive, anyway ... and going back a few centuries at that!

You really should try listening, Dell!! It's this fantastic concept where one actually learns to broaden their horizons by seeing that there are actually realities other than ones own stubborn and sometimes inaccurate assumptions! Eek What Oshun Auset is telling you is the truth ... anyone who has once 'been' a Christian pretty much knows that all is involved being/doing so! I mean, it's not like the rules change, do they Dell? Confused Are you saying there's different criteria for being a Christian now than there was, say, 100 or 200 years ago? Confused Isn't Christ's word, Christ's word from the time he first uttered them? Confused

Oh .... but your little club is so exclusive, it takes one to know one and anybody who isn't one can't possibly relate to anything because only you are right and righteous enough to judge!!

You see ... it's this kind of close-mindedness which is why I am not and don't want to be a Christian. Because not being so means that I can be flexible enough to not judge and condemn you based on your beliefs ... I can actually listen to what you have to say and whether or not I agree with it, not call me right and you fatally wrong for seeing two different points of view!!

But being the 'good Christian' you are, you certainly cannot afford me the same consideration, can you?!!? No, I'm sure that would be breaking at least a half a dozen of your doctrines to actually see a side other than your own! Eek Well, I'll tell you what, Dell Gines ... I'm gonna let you hold steadfast to your irrational behavior ... because you know I really like you ... and I'll just chalk it up to "he knows not what he says!" Razz

And I'm gonna pray for you too (yes, we Pagens do know/remember how to pray!) and hope that one day you come to realize that that religion you cling so tightly to was one used to justify the murder of our ancestors. People who speak the same words as you and declare the same sort of profound devotion and worship and knowledge have done unspeakable cruelties in the name of Christianity! Now, I suppose being on the outside, I wouldn't know that the difference between you and them is the way that that (same) religion is individually taught and applied and conceptualized and practiced. 'Cause I'm not one now, so how can I really be knowing!

But, if I didn't, I would be expecting you to murder me in my sleep ... because after all, so many other 'good Christians' have ... so why not you? Roll Eyes

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