Perhaps now more than ever before, there seems to be a rift between people of different religions. You see it everywhere in news articles, on social media, and perhaps in your own life. Depending on the nature of your disagreements, it can be tricky getting along with someone who is not the same religion as you. However, it’s important to respect the religious autonomy of others.

Throughout history, countless people were enslaved, neglected, demonized, or even killed because of a difference of beliefs. It’s a good idea to do our part to make sure we are being loving of all people, no matter how different they are for us. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a coworker, or just an acquaintance, here are some things you can do to help keep the relationship positive, or at the very least, neutral.

Have Humility

Humility is the first step to getting along with people of different faiths.

Humility is the first step to getting along with people of different faiths.

This is the big one. The problem of not getting along over religious differences is really all about big egos. At least one party has to think he has all the answers to the questions of life and has to insist that anyone who thinks differently is lacking in some capacity.

When defending a decision to believe in one religion and not others, people will often say that theirs is true and makes sense. We have to remember that people of any faith can genuinely give that exact response. We need to be humble; our understanding of the universe is very limited.

People can see and feel the same things we do yet be compelled to believe in a different faith. Everyone adult that is religious has given thought to why they chose to be so. Respect their autonomy and that neither of you knows the full truth.

Find Things You Have in Common

There’s a lot more to life than religion. While many people hold their religion near and dear to their hearts, there are many other things you likely have in common with the other person. Perhaps the two of you love the same kind of music. Maybe there’s a television show you can’t get enough of, or you two have the same hobbies. Finding these commonalities can help you find something to focus on. When you have something in common with a person, it’s typically easier to get along with him or her. Not only is this a great way to find a conversation starter, it’s a way you can find out what to do if the two of you ever hang out.

Don’t Try to Convert Them

If you are a religious person who is friends with an atheist or agnostic, don’t try continuously to get them to come to your church. Mentioning it once or twice is fine, but when you spend every waking moment together trying to get him or her to come to your church or holding them to your religious tenets, the relationship isn’t likely to go well.

As a general rule, try to only invite him or her to church once. There may be an event you think he or she will be interested in, or it could just be a casual invite. If he or she doesn’t seem at all interested, then let it go.

From the other perspective, try to be open when someone is talking to you about religion. You should realize most people hold religion near and dear to their hearts, and it’s something that’s really important to them. Let them down gently if you aren’t interested in attending their church. If they keep bringing them up, tell them you aren’t interested right now, but you will let them know if you change your mind (even if you don’t think you will).

Avoid Negativity

Saying anything negative about a person’s religion isn’t going to go over well. As mentioned before, religion is very important to many people, and so you should be sure to avoid negative comments when referring to someone’s religion. The same is important for someone’s lack of religion. Having respect for each other is important. You probably don’t want to be judged for your religious stance, so make sure you don’t show disrespect to other people, either.

Getting along with people of other religions can present some complications, but it certainly isn’t impossible. Finding some common ground and having respect are likely all you have to do. In addition, take an opportunity to read up on the religion so you know a little more about it. You may be surprised what great friendships can happen between people of completely different religions.

133 comments

  1. Alvin Jones says:

    Two thumbs up to this article. Just as God works through other people, so does the powers of darkness – “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. Ephesians 6:12 (that is why “WE CAN’T JUST GET ALONG”! (SMILE)

    1. Paul says:

      True, and I would like to add: The spiritual forces are a part of each and everyone of us, it is up to each and every person to choose the correct path.

      From what I have seen it is easy to see the forces of darkness, just look at any source of the News these days. There are many that are truly evil (because they want to be) in high places all around this world. As in Matthew 19:23-24, It is not the wealth that keeps them out of Heaven, it is the evil things that they do to obtain the wealth that keeps them out of Heaven.

  2. Paul says:

    The problem with most of us is that we have to deal with people with a closed mind. Peoples minds are closed when they feel that their religion and other beliefs are correct and all others are wrong.

    They can’t accept that each person has to find within their own faith a path that works for them not only as their religion but for their life as well. I know that there are people that have a very hard time with this statement, and if they are having a hard time with it… They are the reason that there is religious strife.

    Personally I don’t care what other peoples religion is, as it really is none of my business. That is as long as they are not doing criminal acts such as human sacrifice, killing peoples pets, and other crimes against others. Also if anyone know of people that do such things, it is always best to inform the proper authorities. Such things are acceptable in the “Old Testament”, Koran, and other faiths as well.

    However for the most part such things are usually not the problem. The problem is with those that can’t accept that a path that is different than their own is acceptable for others. They feel the need to convert them, and I like many others would prefer to just be left alone to follow our own path.

    The problem for me often comes because people assume that I am like them because I’m white, have a wife, and I’m well educated. However many others have the same problem, as it comes down to something very simple. Many people without even thinking about it assume that others are like them in their desires, religion, thoughts, hopes, dreams, sexual preferences, and many other traits. Also most of the religions that exist on this planet exist because of people converting others and spreading the faith. The only ones that do not do this are generally Hermetic, or part of a secret society. In other words more than 99% of the religious people in the world are a potential problem when it comes to their faith, as their book says that they are to spread the faith.

    Since this is the USA and we have the bill of rights it is not a crime to spread the faith as it is in a number of other countries around the world. We need to keep this in mind when we travel outside the USA. As an example this will get you arrested in China, or possibly killed in other parts of the world.

    1. Brother John says:

      Thanks for your well written, thoughtful comment Paul. You’re correct about “closed minds”, particularly when they result in bigotry. You listed a few of the things you’re opposed to and I’d like to expand on them from my point of view. I’m an animal lover, but killing other humans is far more serious than killing pets. The followers of Christ cannot justify the encouragement or participation in wars of aggression and should be loudly and publicly promoting peace and acceptance of others instead. I find the relative silence of mainstream churches hypocritical and un-Christian. I also object to having evangelicals influence laws and policies. This would include women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and obviously wars of aggression. I would suggest that the majority of new adherents to a religion are due to their parentage and culture, not conversion in adulthood. Most people were born into their faiths and have given no serious thought to the alternatives. Good point about proselytizing abroad. Here you will be challenged in a contrary comment, but much more serious consequences can be had in another culture.

      1. HeidiAnne Sekreta says:

        I agree with you completely, Brother Paul. I also feel that if we all practiced the Golden Rule, that so many of the Earth’s problems wold no longer be.

    2. Barbara says:

      Brother Paul I feel your frustration and passion of how you feel. I don’t intentionally want to add to that but to express what I know to be the truth given in the word of the Creator Himself who is the alpha and omega and knows the end from the beginning. Yes there are billions of religions that stem out of each individual and one can make their own choices but it is the choice we make that determines our eternal destination. What people need to ask themselves is … When Jesus comes back which of the twin towers are they going to be in … The one that is the pure word of God or the other one which will include all else. If It’s not the word of God then it will crash to rubble on the ground. 9/11 is a harbinger, a prophetic warning in the Bible of what will happen at the end of time. Your end may come before then and if you present tower is not God’s word then you will go down with the other. I can’t make you believe this I can only ask you to consider what I’m saying. Your eternal destination is the choice you have to make and only you can do that. Choose life not death that comes only through the pure word I’d God. Be blessed.

    3. WarriorMaiden says:

      Paul,
      So very true and refreshing to hear once again..!!

  3. Diane Baum says:

    People need to get over the idea that “my religion is better than yours” mentality. This is why Jesus taught is the story of the Good Samaritan. To show us that we are all children fo God, created in His image. If God made us all..how can any one of us be better than someone else? Howe can our ideas be better than another’s? Why couldn’t we just keep it all together as Jesus taught us instead of expanding from just “Christianity” to Lutheran, Methodist, and so on? Why does man feel the need to one up others by creating rigid “rules and regulations” if you want to become a “member” of their “church? We all serve that Higher Power…..so long as we recognize there IS a Higher Power…..and we treat one another with respect, love and fellowship, loving unconditionally…isn’t that all that is needed?

    1. Barbara says:

      Yes Diane, why do people want to seek other gods than God Himself. He is the only one that died on the cross for us so that we could inherit His life. It!s such a phenomenal gift from God. It!s a pity people cannot see that and go after other gods that can only lead then to death. We are all equal in His eyes. He paid the same price for us all. No-one else ever has. What’s more no-one else has any life to give us. Be blessed.

      1. Brother John says:

        There have been many resurrection deities, Barbara. Many of them pre-date the Jesus story. As Dawkin’s reminded us, we are all atheists that don’t believe in Osiris, Tammuz, Dionysus, Zeus and hundreds of other gods, which were fervently believed to exist. Some of us have just added one more to the long list of recycled, recurring god myths.

      2. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

        Is it at all plausible that the entity that you refer to as Jesus is another manifestation of Holy beings that have come to us through the annals of time? Re: Krishna, Osiris, Tammuz, Dionysus, Zeus and hundreds of other gods
        (as Brother John was good enough to mention) that were revered by the people of that time?
        Also, allow me to ask this: if Jesus is the “only way” to God the Father, does that mean that all of those that passed before his coming were doomed to your hell?

  4. HeidiAnne Sekreta says:

    My fiance is an atheist and i don’t try to make him or anyone believe the way I do. In my opinion, faith or lack of it is a personal choice and no one should tell another how to believe. i feel that treating others like i like to be treated aka known as the Golden Rule is the way to go. Too many people who claim to be religious, don’t follow this. I’m experiencing this in the church I attend right now. The people in the church I attend are not helping me, when I have asked for help.This does hurt a lot. My fiance who considers himself to be an atheist has helped others. I feel that having a religion doesn’t make a good person. Ironically, i have experienced quite the opposite. I feel respecting another person’s religion is important. In fact, people that are the same religion sometimes have different ways of expressing their beliefs. I use the analogy of fingerprints and religion. Everyone has fingerprints and at the same time they are different. No one fingerprint is more special than another No one religion has all in the answers. In my opinion, there is truth in all religions. This is so that different groups of people can learn more about the Lord. I’ve been with my fiance for almost 7 years and he now prays for me. I asked what changed, because I told him, that I didn’t want to push the Lord down his or anyone else’s throat. He told me that he started to pray for me, not by my pushing the Lord down his throat, but by my example. In my opinion, having a religion is good, but having a relationship with the Lord of your understanding is very important. it isn’t my place or anyone else’s to dictate who the Lord is. For some it’s Jesus, while Jewish people it isn’t. i do my best to follow 3 things Jesus said, ” Love your neighbor as yourself” ” He who is free of sin, can cast the first stone” and ‘ Judge not, lest ye be judged”. I find that too many people who claim to be religious , judge others, rather than loving them and forgetting that we all are sinners, not just our neighbors. In conclusion, I might not agree with with what some people have to say, but as long as we agree to disagree and realize the Lord is about love I won’t judge. I will possibly give my opinion, but won’t act arrogantly and act like it’s a fact.

    1. Pastor Donna says:

      I know how you feel, many years ago I wanted my children to have a church. We were in Germany where I was stationed. We attended the Mormon church and one day one of my son’s took really ill. We needed a babysitter for the other children as they felt my son would die. The church recommended a man who took care of the other three children. God was gracious after several weeks my son took a turn for the better and lived, but my life has been distroyed. The man was a known to have sexually attacked his own children. He had not only messed with my five year old but several other and one mother was told by her daughter. They made him apologize in a letter to us, my children doctor told us not to let the police talk with her as he thought at first nothing had happen but as time went on we know now something had happen. It has led to drugs, illicit sex and many babies, it not only affected her but three of the other six as what society has put us through, because at first the only person after that man in her life had been her father. He was a great dad but then he distant himself from the kids, no hugs, no kisses, no wanting to interact with them. Just work and provide. No one wants to help. I have lost the greatest gift from God my kids, my husband of forty years has lived in shame and unhappiness for many years and I do not know of affection as he is afraid of it. The kids are grown and really messed up and now I have decided to stop all my medication and insulin for my diabetes because I am so tired, I feel I am harder on myself than God is on me but no amount of helping others has made me feel good about myself, every day I have to tell people I do not drink, I do not do drugs, I do not smoke, my life is grounded on the 10 commandments but I just want to die as I feel I have lost everything in life because I have done nothing but love, work and help others. I know how I feel is wrong but I have been a good person, have helped many, never asked for anything but did as my grandmother always said. Do unto others as you want them to do onto you, love every person no matter what color or difference there are because that makes the world unique and never fear giving your last dime to help someone in need as God always provide the only wrong thing is he does give to much for a person to handle. Thank you for reading this and god bless. I pray always for peace and getting alone, everyone is special and just want to be happy.

      1. HeidiAnne Sekreta says:

        Pastor Donna, please try not to give up ok. i too was abused every way possible by my adoptive parents, who were in reality my biological sister and second cousin. I’m so sorry for all the pain you have gone through. I’m not judging you, but I suggest that you see a dr. or a therapist to help you. In my opinion, you are suffering from a severe depression. Feel free to write back ok. Hug hug

    2. WMB says:

      “I feel that having a religion doesn’t make a good person. Ironically, i have experienced quite the opposite.”

      Unfortunately, this has been my experience as well…even in my own close friends and family.

      I have read a few of your comments on other topics, and I find them insightful and well written. Please continue to share your thoughts – they always cause me to reflect!

      1. HeidiAnne Sekreta says:

        Thank you so much. I’m very sorry that you have experienced this with close friends and family. God bless and hug hug.

      2. Pastor Donna says:

        I have been blessed that no matter how bad things have been as a child I felt at least I had Jesus in my heart. I grew up by myself but cared for many people. Because of Vietnam I joined the Navy to escape all the pain, I visited many churches and met many fantastic people of all color and religion. No one need ask me for help, they say I did too much but everyone is worth help. I guess I was hard on me as I know and have forgiven all that have done horrible things in my life and I know God knows I am a good person and every chance pass on his word of love and caring but for myself I am very hard on myself as I can not forgive myself as I feel I let God down as somehow I helped others but failed my kids. I never thought of money but really needed it for legal help for my children. I know people tell me they made their choices but they are my only family, I am dieing and my only fear was like my mom was to die along. No matter what she did I always loved her. My husband is a good man and we were both active duty but I did not realize I was older and I so do not want to tell him that my diabetic medication has now probably given me cancer. It is not helping that my grandchildren are taken away as how could I explain why I cannot take them I feel like the most evil person in the world. Please forgive me but I feel no hope as my family is dead, my friends are dead, my children at least 3 are in jail and 1 is dead and 2 only want me for money but otherwise never see them. That is why I take food and bake goods out on my good weekends, along with my bibles I get at estate sales to give out. I love to talk of Christ and every now and then I meet a very special friend. This is a bad week as my strength is down and the pain horrible but if I can bring my babies into this world with no pain medication I will leave it with none. No matter how bad things have been I am proud to say I did not need anything to mask the pain. God was there to help me through it but sometimes I really wanted that knock at the door, or a strangers hug to feel the way a few of the people may have felt when they passed my way that there was someone who maybe God let me touch their lives as I knew and felt their pain but I feel so alone. I got that the day my son died 9 years ago. His last words were I Love You. Since then it has been so hard.

        1. Paul says:

          The only reason that I can think of that you could possibly get cancer from medications is due to greed on the part of a few. There have been a number of lawsuits recently about cancer, heart problems and other medical problems from the newer medications. Ironically, we as Americans are the test subjects and not only pay higher prices, but suffer the medical problems as well. I know from getting medications for myself, wife, and other relations while taking them into Mexico that those medications are not sold there, not only because they cost too much but because of the other problems. Tried and used for years with few problems is always better than the newest stuff when it is your life or the life of a loved one. There are many reasons that greed is one of the 7 deadly sins, it does kill people if not morally it does so physically.

          I hope that you can get some relief from the pain in the time that you have left. Morphine does help with many kinds of pain, and under controlled conditions very few ever become addicted. You will need a doctor to help, and people with cancer usually don’t have too much problems getting pain meds. Just have to make sure that others do not steal them from you.

          Money is an addiction to many, where myself and a number of others only see it as a means to get other things to help ourselfs, those close to us and others as we can. I can’t ever see myself buying a fancy car even if I could afford it.

  5. Brother John says:

    The bulk of the religious animosity we’re seeing today is between Muslims and Christians, but it’s more politically motivated than religious. However, it’s spread and ferocity (I’ve read some very extreme anti-Muslim comments in various posts here) is due directly to fundamentalist bigotry. There were a couple of excellent points made in this article. Proselytizing has thankfully been minimized here either through increased moderation, or multiple objections in the comments. Finding things in common is the best advice given as “We Are All Children of the Same Universe”. All mainstream religions have a version of the Golden Rule at the heart of their teachings. The world could function beautifully if all the dogma and detail of the various religions were gone and replaced with these two sweet sayings. (ULC motto and the Golden Rule)

    The Dalai Lama said:”Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people’s suffering. On these lines every religion has more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal.”

    Confucianism:”Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you” Analects Hinduism: This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517

    Islam: “None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” Number 13 of Imam “Al-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths.”

    Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary.” Talmud, Shabbat 31a.

    Taoism: To those who are good to me, I am good; to those who are not good to me, I am also good. Thus all get to be good.”

    Buddhism: “hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18

    Christianity; “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12

    1. Diane Baum says:

      what I also believe: “The world could function beautifully if all the dogma and detail of the various religions were gone and replaced with these two sweet sayings.” (ULC motto and the Golden Rule)

      1. Barbara says:

        I get more opposition from fellow Christians than Muslims!!

  6. Barbara says:

    There is only one way. The word of God.

    1. Brother John says:

      There are many paths to, and many names for God, Barbara, not just one.

      1. Sheila says:

        How are you to know whether or not the only way to the Father is through the Son, & that Son is JESUS; & He is the way, the truth, and the Life? & there is only one way, JESUS? How many ways are there though to JESUS? The Bible describes many. Is the name in Rev. 19:12 JESUS: “His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself” (NIV)? It sure sounds like right there that it is not. So when we say “in JESUS’ name,’ we are referring to the Man JESUS of Nazareth and what His name is – which is the name in Rev. 19:12 that we don’t know. So are others also doing things in JESUS’ name by calling Him something else (which is also not the name in Rev. 19:12)? My thought is yes. My “religion” makes room for others. Do others religions make room for mine? And of course I think I’m right because it’s my “religion.”
        The short of it – there is only one way, just as Barbara said.

        1. Pastor Pete says:

          Sorry, but I have to disagree, my only religion is kindness. I have no temple but my heart. No guru, no method, no teacher. just you and me in the garden, with the father. Lord Jesus HATED organised religion, he loved all equally, the parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind, rigid adherence to dogma is not bright, all this book book book business is causing division

          1. Sheila says:

            I think it’s clear you’re not understanding what I’m asking. And, please, what is it that you are disagreeing with? You also express that Jesus is someone Whose examples are ones you adhere to; & the Father is someone you are in the garden with (yet you’re getting no guidance from Him?) – yet at the same time say you’ve no guru, method, or teacher. That doesn’t even make sense. Even the Father seeks the Son & the Son does nothing apart from the Father. What tale exists that someone actually exists without a guru, method, or teacher? There’s not even a parable for that (& yes I know parables exist outside of Christianity within the Bible). Maybe my tone sounds unkind, but please have compassion, I’m seeking to know.

          2. Barbara says:

            Yes of course God hates religion which is not the truth but a perversion of it. I don’t want to be kind and lead one all the way to hell by it. As a Father God is screaming out to everyone in His word as loud as He can, saying Listen to Me. I am the way and there is no other way and I Am The Word. No-one comes to the Father but through Me. Be blessed.

          3. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

            Pastor Pete, I totally understand what you are saying and agree completely!

          4. Sheila says:

            You were noticing the “contradictions” because you were looking for them. Because if it were simply because you were reading them, you would have found far more harmonizing it altogether as completely consistent than my comment:
            “It could be that person is seeing something more clearly than I am (meaning I’m the wrong one).”

            If it’s my hope and belief that someone seeking to serve allegory Satan (Emeth seeking Tash) all his life really could be serving Jesus, and that “For all find what they truly seek” (said by Aslan, allegory Jesus) – where is it that my “religion” isn’t making room for everyone who is seeking that which is right?

            And speaking of contradictions, “proselytizing” is exactly what you do. At least I’m being honest by admitting that by the very action of explaining why I know (think I know) I’m right, I am trying to convert. You’re doing the same thing, but you’re saying you’re not trying to convert. That’s untrue and you’re contradicting yourself.

            You see contradictions in what I say because you are looking for them.

            Further evidence of your shortsightedness and refusal to look again is that you said that because if I’m convinced I’m right already, it’s unlikely I’ll be looking for the Truth in religions’ faiths and books I believe are lies. First off, I don’t know what faith exists that’s nothing but lies. But if I did know of one, I sure wouldn’t look for Truth there. You are implying that you WOULD look there – why would you do that if you knew it were lies? Secondly I do look for truth in other religions (so did Paul in the Bible) and my faith commands that I seek to take notice of all things true, honest, just, pure, lovely, things of good report, any virtue, any praise (glorifying God), and to think on these things (Philippians 4:8). I can’t think of a place I’m “afraid” to take notice of such things, and yes, I do read what I believe to be Truth in religions that don’t claim their foundation in the Word. It feels like you’ve got me pinned as some sort of stereotype of who you want to believe I’m like and are cherry-picking what I say to prove to yourself the stereotype you have in mind of me. Please abandon your stereotypes and your cherry-picking and your lie that you aren’t trying to convert, and instead look again.

            Thank you for the sentiment of your apology, but I don’t have a problem with things seeming harsh or confrontational when it’s done out of compassion. I think you have compassion. Harsh and confrontational can be compassionate ways of waking another to reality for the better of that person being waked. Another way of saying “tasty salt” perhaps.

            Peace also be with you.

        2. Brother John says:

          You contradict yourself Sheila. Near the end of your comment you say “My religion makes room for others” but also that you think you’re right (inferring others are wrong), and “there is only one way”, which I presume is your way. “Your way” is based on a single Bronze Age book which contains no eyewitness accounts of the messianic Jesus, is riddled with errors and contradictions, and has no original manuscripts to back it up… only copies, of copies, of copies, most of which were written decades and centuries after the supposed events. You don’t “know” what you’ve stated, you choose to believe it. Adherents of other religions think you are wrong, also without any evidence. Many rational truth seekers consider all “holy books” as more allegorical than factual, but containing some pearls of wisdom. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, not simple beliefs.

          1. Sheila says:

            You see contradiction because contradiction is what you are looking for. The allegory about Narnia by C.S. Lewis expressed well what my hopes are, and so where my faith is, and I expressed it’s based on what I interpret as my faith evidenced by hopes from the Bible.
            Allegory from Narnia:
            1) Aslan is the ONLY way (He’s allegory Jesus)
            2) Emeth who served Tash all his life & sought out Tash all his life, was truly a follower of Aslan as Aslan explained to him.
            3) Emeth definitely took a different way to Aslan than Lucy did. Yet, perhaps from Aslan’s explanation, even then both people can be considered as taking the SAME way to Aslan.
            4) Emeth felt crushed (for lack of better words) that he had lost opportunity to know Aslan by Aslan’s name during his life. It did NOT have the same closeness for him to be serving Aslan his whole life while he was thinking he was serving Tash.
            1Cor.13 explains clearly that during this life, seeing reality (JESUS) for what it is, is like looking in a dull mirror. NONE of us are seeing clearly yet. And yet you accuse me of contraction. If I’m looking at a toe nail of reality, and you are looking to see clearly the fingernail of reality – you’ve got the short-sightedness of accusing me of contradiction. Please look again. (Not to say that I’m never short-sighted, because I obviously am, as are we all).
            I didn’t contradict myself. My “religion” DOES make room for other beliefs (NOT all beliefs, but other beliefs). And of course I think I’m right. But of course that does NOT make the other person wrong. It could be that person is seeing something more clearly than I am (meaning I’m the wrong one). But, until I’m convinced of course I’ll think I’m right; but I’ll consider the possibility of the other belief all the same unless it’s that far away from making any sense for me to consider. Even then I’m fallible, yet I’ll stick with what I believe because Truth is what I’m seeking and I have the faith that through Christ Jesus I am learning more.
            Do you still think I contradict myself? If so, you’re still short-sighted; and I doubt you looked again.

          2. Brother John says:

            Sheila, you said “You see contradiction because contradiction is what you are looking for.”
            I wasn’t looking for them. I was reading your comments and noticed them.

            “My “religion” makes room for others.” This is quite clear and commendable. I assume that you mean Christianity because of the frequent mention of Jesus and many biblical quotations.

            “He is the way, the truth, and the Life? & there is only one way” Here I saw a contradiction. Where is the room for other religions? “The Way” is more accepting than “only one way”. “A Way” would be the most humble and accepting choice of words.

            “If it can’t be built on the foundation of Christ, it’s a lie.”
            This seems very clear and again contradictory. Relating to this and what you said in the lines just below…. you’re seeking Truth, but believe it can only be found through Jesus and everything else is a lie.

            “yet I’ll stick with what I believe because Truth is what I’m seeking and I have the faith that through Christ Jesus I am learning more”

            “But, until I’m convinced of course I’ll think I’m right;”

            Sounds like you’re convinced already and it’s unlikely you’ll be looking for the Truth in religions’ faiths and books you believe are lies.

            “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is,”

            Heartily agreed! There are many people, myself included, who choose not to believe anything without reasonable proof and evidence and accept that we’ll never have all the answers. Many of us consider ourselves skeptics. Watch a couple of the popular televangelists at work. They have many thousands of believers who have witnessed them perform miracles through the “power of God” and are convinced that funding their ministries will bring them many blessings. Do you think they’ve been lied to, or are their beliefs worthy ones?

            “It could be that person is seeing something more clearly than I am (meaning I’m the wrong one).”
            This single sentence is the most important one and would soften the sharp edges of what you state as facts. To me, this is an excellent and concise statement of why we’re all involved with the ULC and taking part in discussions with others whose beliefs are different from ours. It demonstrates humility, acceptance and an open mind. I apologize if some of my comments have seemed harsh or confrontational, but the there’s much darkness in the world and only the light of Truth will dispel it. Dogmatic beliefs, bigotry and proselytizing do much to dim, and often extinguish, the Light.

            Peace be with you….

        3. Brother John says:

          Hmmmm… So your “religion” makes room for others, but you think it’s the only way, Sheila?

          Are these different or the same? YHWH, Jehovah, God, Elohim and Adonai.

          How about these? Jesu, Yehoshua, Jesus, Eashoa, Yeshua. Different or the same?

          I think that you’re correct in saying that Jesus is called by different names. The same applies to God doesn’t it? Isn’t it likely, as this article suggests, that we have more in common with others than we might think? Using different terms with the same meaning is no reason for disagreement.

          1. Diane Baum says:

            and….thus the post’s title….kind of ironic isn’t it…this discussion of precisely what the story is about! Love God…love people as much as you love both God and yourself. How can this be hard??? Everyone needs to stop compartmentalizing people! We are all created in His image and likeness! The best thing to do is to enter into each relationship with an open heart. Note that Jesus taught us about being a Good Samaritan. How much more discussion than that do we need? It’s like beating a dead horse! God is known by many Names…but He is one God. It’s like what we call our parents: “mama, daddy, papa, mom, Mother”…or our own significant other: “Honey, sweetheart, dear, darling”….it’s all terms of endearment. We need to remember this also when we meet others for the first time….with an open heart and with love within that heart.

          2. Sheila says:

            “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (part of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet). But, wouldn’t you much rather know to call a rose a rose? Really it does add to the experience. Although only Jesus knows the name on His forehead in Revelation, wouldn’t you want to at least be on the right track of calling Him Who He is by seeking Him by Who He was called as the Son of man?

            The faith anyone puts in anything is due to substance of things that person hopes for (Heb 11:1). Even things seen are interpreted based on faith in things unseen. My hope in, for example, James 4:8 & Mt. 7:7 is: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). My hope is that those who seek to get closer to GOD, do get closer to Him.

            Regardless, it’s definitely presumptuous to think that just because everyone “might” be talking about the same thing, then that means they actually are talking about the same thing. It’s simply not true.

          3. Sheila says:

            Here’s a Narnia allegory that for me has basis in James 4:8, Mt. 7:7, Heb 11:6, etc. (allegory from C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle):

            Summarized:
            A Calormene soldier, Emeth, sought earnestly to meet the great Tash, & instead was met by Aslan (allegory Jesus).

            Emeth said things as this: “Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him.” (Him meaning Aslan) &
            “Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash.” &
            “Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days.”

            Aslan told Emeth things such as this:
            “Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me.”
            &
            “For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he had truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted.”
            &
            “Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.”

            How important is a name? My faith is in this part of the Allegory:
            “Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false.”

          4. Brother John says:

            I’d hoped you’d answer the questions I’d posed regarding the different names. Are they different or the same? How about you, Barbara. Let’s have a discussion….

          5. Sheila says:

            YHWH, Jehovah, God, Elohim and Adonai are the same when being used to refer to God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. That doesn’t mean that someone else happening to call themselves the same name is God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. There is only One.

            Jesu, Yehoshua, Jesus, Eashoa, and Yeshua are the same when being used to refer to Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, by Whom were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him (Col 1:16 -KJV).

            Thank you for re-asking. I didn’t miss your questions on purpose.

          6. Sheila says:

            Brother John, regarding your 7+ questions posted on 2-17-2016, I’ll go with answering along the same lines as what Jesus did in Mark 11:33 —
            You haven’t answered my questions; neither will I then answer yours.

            BTW, I never said that the Bible is the ONLY place where Truth is found. If I’ve done something to belittle your beliefs please let me know. I have meant to challenge your beliefs and help others understand your beliefs as they are often contrary to getting along with other people and their beliefs.

            For instance, you’ve stated you’re not trying to convert. Yet proselytizing is exactly what you do. Yes, I too am doing that just by the very action of explaining why I know (think I know) I’m right. But, at least I admit it. You’re doing the same thing, but you’re saying you’re not trying to convert. That’s untrue and you’re contradicting yourself. So when you state things that are false, of course you’re stirring up contention.

            You do continue to have stereotypes of who you want to believe I’m like. Please abandon that and look again. I’m not contradicting myself. I’ve said much that harmonize what all I’ve stated that I believe. You didn’t see because you were looking for contradiction. If you had been “simply reading,” you would have noticed far more of my harmonizing statements than:
            “It could be that person is seeing something more clearly than I am (meaning I’m the wrong one).”

            Here’s a particular question I asked that you didn’t answer:

            If it’s my hope and belief that
            1) someone seeking to serve allegory Satan (Emeth seeking Tash) all his life really could be serving Jesus, and
            2) that “For all find what they truly seek” (said by Aslan, allegory Jesus) is a true statement
            – where is it that my “religion” isn’t making room for everyone who is seeking that which is right?

          7. Brother John says:

            Fair enough Sheila, but I didn’t see any questions posed. The question you want answered before replying to my Feb. 17 comment is – where is it that my “religion” isn’t making room for everyone who is seeking that which is right?”

            Here are two of the examples I’ve already presented which you’ve used to describe your religion as you believe it to be…. I’ve capitalized the words that would exclude other sources of “that which is right”.

            “He is the way, the truth, and the Life? & there is ONLY ONE WAY”

            “If it can’t be built on the foundation of Christ, IT’S A LIE.”

            There are thousands of books and belief systems that have nothing to do with Christ but are promoting that which is right and contain great insight and truths.

            I’m not proselytizing when I question beliefs that are stated as facts without sufficient evidence. You’ve done nothing to belittle or challenge my beliefs (which are few as I prefer to know rather than believe and choose to accept that the human mind has a limited capacity to perceive). I’d be happy to respond to any if you had as that’s what these discussions are all about.

            I truly hope you’ll take the time to fully reply to my Feb. 17 1:02 p.m statements/questions and hope that other Christians, including Barbara, will respond as well for the benefit of all “non-believers”, many of whom have similar questions.

            The initial 7 statements are either True or False. If false, please elaborate regarding why. I look forward to your response and

          8. Sheila says:

            My question:
            “Where is it that my “religion” isn’t making room for everyone who is seeking that which is right?”

            Is NOT the same as my question:

            “If it’s my hope and belief that
            1) someone seeking to serve allegory Satan (Emeth seeking Tash) all his life really could be serving Jesus, and
            2) that “For all find what they truly seek” (said by Aslan, allegory Jesus) is a true statement
            – where is it that my “religion” isn’t making room for everyone who is seeking that which is right?”

            This is what I think. I think you must not understand that Lucy (who knew Aslan [Allegory Jesus] by name all along) and Emeth (who sought Tash [allegory Satan] all his life) were indeed both following the ONLY ONE WAY, & were BOTH building on the foundation of Christ. At any point they weren’t (only Jesus was perfect as man) it was sin, a lie.

            Do you understand that now? Also please understand that “Tash” did NOT make room for other religion. My faith is in God as what Aslan is described as. And, if I’m off as what Emeth was, then my faith (as was Emeth’s faith) is STILL in God as what Aslan is described as.

            So, you did NOT answer my question:
            “If it’s my hope and belief that
            1) someone seeking to serve allegory Satan (Emeth seeking Tash) all his life really could be serving Jesus, and
            2) that “For all find what they truly seek” (said by Aslan, allegory Jesus) is a true statement
            – where is it that my “religion” isn’t making room for everyone who is seeking that which is right?”

            I am wanting to answer your seven questions for which your purpose is to dispel that christianity is THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH and “open” minds to other paths. But you didn’t answer the question I specifically posed, and so neither will I then answer yours (such as in Mark 11:33).

          9. Brother John says:

            I assumed you consider yourself a Christian due to your frequent biblical quotes and references to Jesus, Sheila. I haven’t read the Chronicles of Narnia so, no, I don’t understand the allegories it contains. The questions I’ve presented involve the basics of Christianity and should be welcomed by all “believers” who feel an obligation to spread and defend “THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH giving skeptical “non-believers” the opportunity to know that Truth, have all sins forgiven and eternal life granted.

            It’s ironic that you’ve chosen not to respond and defend your faith using another biblical quotation as your justification.

        4. Barbara says:

          Faith is believing the pure word of God as being the only way. All questionings against this come from the anti-Christ to keep people from coming to true salvation. Just take the pure word of God as it is and keep sowing it into your heart and ignore all other voices and God will reveal Himself to you in your heart. Be blessed and don’t allow others to discourage you. Your eternal life is dependent on this. Be blessed.

          1. Sheila says:

            Amen! Thank you, Barbara!
            If it can’t be built on the foundation of Christ, it’s a lie. Jesus is the Word. The Bible is foundation.

          2. Brother John says:

            That’s a narrow definition of faith, Barbara. Faith extends far beyond religious beliefs. It’s defined as “confidence or trust in a person or thing” and “belief that is not based on truth.”

            People can make up beliefs that may be difficult to prove or disprove, but they can’t make up their own facts.

          3. Brother John says:

            I submit the following to Barbara, Sheila and others who believe the Bible is the only true word of God, infallible and accurate. This is not meant to belittle your beliefs, but to challenge them and help others understand them as they are often contrary to getting along with other people and their beliefs (“the only way”, “If it can’t be built on the foundation of Christ, it’s a lie” and others as examples). I encourage all “believers” to respond to the following, point by point, to help others understand your views, as this is the purpose of an open forum and discussion.
            If you disagree, please provide the reasons…..

            1. The Bible is not the written word of God. It was written by 40 or so men who claimed to be inspired by God, often through their dreams and visions. Other groups of men decided which “prophets” to accept as inspired by God and which to disregard. All of these men were fallible.

            2. There is no original Bible. All existing manuscripts are copies (of copies, of copies) written decades and centuries after the events they chronicle. Many of these are mere fragments. All were handwritten by fallible, often ill-educated scribes.

            3. The four Gospels are the heart of Christianity. They recount the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, cleansing humanity of their sins, and setting Christianity apart from all other religions.

            4. There are no eyewitness accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in, or outside, the Bible. All were written decades and centuries after the supposed events based on oral stories and traditions that had circulated for decades and centuries.

            5. There are thousands of textural variants, errors and contradictions amongst the existing N/T manuscripts.

            6. Because of #4 & 5, there is no truly reliable record of anything Jesus said or did.

            7. Although NT scholars like Dr. Bart Ehrman have thoroughly studied existing Greek manuscripts, anyone with a Bible can check the Gospels for consistency. Compare the same story from each of the four Gospels in detail. Are they the same?

            For example, what were the last words of Jesus as he died on the cross?

            What happened at the tomb? Who was there?
            Was the stone rolled away? What was said?

            How did Jesus interact with the two thieves crucified on either side of him?

            Is there an unforgivable sin? Compare Mark 3:28-29, 1 John 1:9, and Colossians 2:13

            Is Jesus the same as God? Compare John 10:30 and John 14:28

            Again, my point isn’t to belittle fundamentalist Christian beliefs, but to dispel the notion that their’s is THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH and open minds to other paths as this article encourages.

          4. Brother John says:

            It’s been a week since I posted (Feb. 17) a series of statements and questions regarding Christianity and the Bible and there’s been no response so far. I find this surprising as there are a number of knowledgeable Christians with strong beliefs posting regularly.

            The first 6 I stated as fact, not beliefs, and encouraged anyone who disagreed to provide evidence to the contrary. They were followed by a series of questions about the accuracy and consistency of the Gospels which only require a Bible and a few hours to answer.

            As Christianity is the predominate religion in Western culture and the source of much of the controversy in our treads, I encourage everyone, believers and non-believers alike, to find the answers to the questions posed in each of the 4 gospels and compare them, side by side. A simple 4 column chart would make the comparison easiest. As they involve the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, they are at the core of the Christian faith. Are the accounts of the Gospels consistent and accurate? If not, how is one to know what is the actual Truth?

          5. Sheila says:

            Brother John, in Mauritania Sharia Law does NOT only apply to Muslims. It is ALMOST 100% Muslim (which means it’s NOT 100%). Mauritania is one of the 13 countries in the world that punishes atheism by death. The government of Mauritania limits freedom of religion by prohibiting the distribution of non-Islamic religious materials and the proselytising of Muslims. So I’m not allowed to teach christianity to Muslims in Mauritania, which means they do NOT allow me to practice my religion because as part of my religion I’m supposed to teach it to all peoples.
            Mauritania does NOT make room for my religion. There is no freedom for conversion to any religion other than Islam. http://rescuechristians.org/in-mauritania-it-is-extremely-difficult-to-be-a-christian/ . The difference in laws we’d hold against the practice of Sharia law (religion) in America would be it’s criminal to cut off someone’s right hand because that person was trying to steal. And also that applies to everyone else, too. Yet, in Mauritania it’s ok to convert Christians to be Muslims; but not Muslims to be Christians. Mauritania infringes on others’ rights & freedoms by the religion (Sharia law) being used there.

            Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. In other words, firm belief in something for which there may be no tangible proof. I think it’s important to include the “shaky evidence” involved when it comes to defining faith of any sort. Thank you for defining what truly looks like is the crux of your faith, and for revealing that you too recognize your faith is also at best, shaky evidence, because you know human perception and understanding is limited. I disagree that you know that there are many questions without answers. But, I’m believing that’s what you think you know. Really, for all you know, all questions do have answers. You say you know they don’t. But, I’m saying I believe you don’t know (even though you think you know), and that I believe all questions do have answers.

            Regarding faith you stated, “Many others prefer to keep the door open to new ideas, thoughts and truths and have the courage to constantly explore their beliefs and discard those found to be untrue or lacking.”
            Yes, this makes sense. The Apostle Peter lived his life this way. What part of this did you think I may not understand?

            You also commented, “…but find it a little sad to see anyone lock their doors, then shelter, protect and fervently defend their existing beliefs as the absolute and only Truth.”
            Yes, that is a good description of how I feel about you clinging to what you believe to be the absolute and only Truth. You state it within your description of “I don’t practice any particular faith…” etc. If you believed in an “absolute Truth” other than that possibly existed, you wouldn’t be so close-minded. For instance, you’d recognize you’re trying to convert people; you’d recognize it’s possible someone is right; you’d recognize it’s possible there is ONLY ONE WAY, you’d recognize that just because a person is so sure she is right, does not mean she is wrong; and so much more you’d recognize if only you weren’t so fervently defending your belief that “…what works well for each and every one of us to improve ourselves and grow is what is right for us and us alone.”

          6. Sheila says:

            Brother John, really by trying to dispel that christianity is THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH, you are trying to convert christians into believing christianity is NOT the only way and truth. Conversely, I’m proclaiming JESUS is THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH; and taking a look at where that ONLY WAY AND TRUTH exists where only appears to be “elsewhere.” By “elsewhere” I’m meaning it is there in other “religions.” It’s simply my faith that you are trying to convert me out of. Whereas other “religions” can disagree with me that JESUS has anything to do with their religion, and we can disagree to disagree. Me, with the hope that they are seeking the same WAY AND TRUTH I am, and them not recognizing that doesn’t change what is. And them with believing I’m just flat wrong and whatever the repercussions they believe exist for me for being wrong; and later they get to see JESUS and are saved regardless of what they thought of me. But at least our minds were open enough to speak clearly to come to that point of “agreeing to disagree.”

            You stated, “The whole point of the ULC is to open our minds to other paths and to understand, but not necessarily accept, the beliefs of others, particularly when they are strongly held and voiced.” Ok, then understand this: what does it mean for reality if there is ONE WAY AND TRUTH? You haven’t opened your mind to understand that.

          7. Sheila says:

            Brother John, you stated, “I assumed you consider yourself a Christian due to your frequent biblical quotes and references to Jesus, Sheila.”
            Yes, I do.

            Since you’re a non-believer, from my perspective, it does seem arrogant of you to state what “…should be welcomed by all ‘believers’ who feel an obligation to spread and defend ‘THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH’ giving skeptical ‘non-believers’ the opportunity to know that Truth, have all sins forgiven and eternal life granted.”
            Yes, that is what I want to do, though it wouldn’t be me; it’d be JESUS doing it.
            This, for lack of better words, was an interesting statement from you:
            “It’s ironic that you’ve chosen not to respond and defend your faith using another biblical quotation as your justification.”
            What’s going on is I’m wanting to answer your 7 questions. However, Biblically I’m seeing there’s a problem with that. When I refrain from doing what I want, there’s typically a Biblical reason for it. I was letting you know what my Biblical reason was.

            It’s disappointing for me that you don’t understand the allegories the Chronicles of Narnia has. But thank you for letting me know. If you want to try to wrap your mind around the Aslan vs. Tash/ Lucy vs. Emeth allegory, it can be found at https://emeth.wordpress.com/2007/11/18/emeth-the-last-battle-cs-lewis/ ).

            Here’s the question again, instead in a straight up hypothetical way:
            Let’s hypothetically say it’s true that:
            1) to “seek to do what is right” is NOT open for interpretation
            &
            2) that “For all find what they truly seek” is also true.
            &
            3) that there is just ONE GOD Who is JESUS to be sought Who is RIGHT by all standards of that word
            &
            4) there is a “father of lies” out to deceive the whole world from truly seeking what is RIGHT
            &
            5) Hypothetically there’s this person named Emeth who is seeking RIGHT, but is seeking the “father of lies” because that is the name he has learned, and he believes the oaths he’s taken to serve his fellow man out of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control all honor the “father of lies” and draw others to the “father of lies.” Let’s say Emeth is convinced JESUS is mean, and a liar. And Emeth is convinced it is better to die serving the merciful “father of lies” than to live at the sacrifice of being vile for Almighty JESUS. Then, upon the end of the world, and ushering in of a new world upon which the faithful to JESUS continue to exist; Emeth finds out he’s wrong. It was the “father of lies” who was vile. And, although the “father of lies” lived well being allowed to be ruler of the whole world for a time; upon meeting his Maker, Emeth overcome by the joy of it – that he’d rather see his Maker JESUS and die, than to have been the “father of lies” himself and rule the whole world and not to have seen JESUS. Emeth is overcome by sorrow also, having served “the father of lies” all his life. But, JESUS assures Emeth that RIGHT was what he was truly seeking and RIGHT is what he found. And that whatever Emeth had done unto the least of JESUS’ brethren, he had done unto JESUS.
            6) And there was a Hindu that found out the same thing, & a Muslim, & a …. (the list goes on)
            (OK – so that’s the Aslan/Tash allegory reworded, but I left out the specific Lucy part).

            So the question is:
            If it’s my hope and belief that
            1) someone seeking to serve “the father of lies” all his life really could be serving JESUS, and
            2) that “For all find what they truly seek” is a true statement
            – where is it that my “religion” isn’t making room for everyone who is seeking that which is right?”

            If you’re open-minded (& you can choose to be), you can answer it.
            This is that specific question I’ve been asking, but I’ve reworded it. It’s a question that you haven’t answered yet; and so neither will I then answer yours (such as in Mark 11:33); although I am wanting to answer your seven questions.

          8. Brother John says:

            I understand that you would refrain from proselytizing in Mauritania, but this is a safe, secure forum, Sheila. It’s also a diversion from the start of this discussion, which was my Feb. 17 post.

            Sheila, you’ve said….

            “as part of my religion I’m supposed to teach it to all peoples.”

            And also…..

            “Brother John, really by trying to dispel that christianity is THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH, you are trying to convert christians into believing christianity is NOT the only way and truth. Conversely, I’m proclaiming JESUS is THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH; and taking a look at where that ONLY WAY AND TRUTH exists where only appears to be “elsewhere.”

            I don’t think “convert” is the right term, but yes, I am stating that Christianity is not THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH and that there are many reasons not to believe the Bible accurately represents the life, death and resurrection of Jesus or anything he (or God) said or did.

            I had presented 6 clear, concise statements regarding the Bible. These are presented as facts, not beliefs, based on decades of research by New Testament scholars who have access to, and can read, the existing ancient Greek manuscripts. The questions that follow them are straight forward and easily answered…. essentially Christianity 101. I encourage all Christians to first record what they believe the answers are before checking the four gospels for verification.

            Sheila, although I find this a bit confusing…..

            “I disagree that you know that there are many questions without answers. But, I’m believing that’s what you think you know. Really, for all you know, all questions do have answers. You say you know they don’t. But, I’m saying I believe you don’t know (even though you think you know), and that I believe all questions do have answers.”

            …. the questions I posed do have answers. They don’t require any interpretation. They are all about the Bible and the Truth. If no Christians choose to reply, it will speak volumes about the basis and strength of your faith as well as your conviction to spread the truth as you see it.

            The reason you’ve given for not responding directly, Sheila, is an odd one, but not surprising.

            “What’s going on is I’m wanting to answer your 7 questions. However, Biblically I’m seeing there’s a problem with that. When I refrain from doing what I want, there’s typically a Biblical reason for it. I was letting you know what my Biblical reason was.”

          9. Brother John says:

            How pitiful that not one of the Christians regularly posting their beliefs responded to my
            Feb. 17 1:02 pm post. Perhaps a few began the process but found the actual “Truth” too uncomfortable to continue.

        5. Barbara says:

          Hi Sheila. I just wanted to expand on what I have already said. Religion is knowing doctrine, etc. But God wants us to know His Heart. To know Him for Himself, just who He is, just the same as we want people to know us as we really are. His name is The Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He has other names that expresses his nature, e.g. Shalom – His peace. My sister calls me Babs, others call me many names! But none of them change who I am. Likewise all the different names that expresses God idoes’t change who He is. He is still the one same God. So don!t get hung up on names. He answers to any of His names but the name He has given us is Jesus. I am not trying to shove religion down your throat as people accuse us of doing but simply to share with you whom I believe God to be. I feel your frustration because I’ve been there many times myself. All I can say is God loves you. He gave His Son’s life for you. The ultimate price He could pay. He gave His all – just for you – the same as He did for every other person born onto this planet. Just sow His word into your heart. That is all you have to do. He will do all the rest. He will reveal Himself and the truth to you. And you will come to know God for yourself. He sees you as His daughter that He loves and treasures above all else. I’m saying this in love and pray it helps you. God bless.

          1. Sheila says:

            Hebrews 4:12 (KJV)

            “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

            Thank you & Blessings for your comments, Barbara. You’ve been succinct at expressing what’s true.

      2. Barbara says:

        One word one path the pure word of God. Any other path is not of the true God. Be blessed in His name.

      3. Barbara says:

        No there isn’t Jesus says I am the way and THE path. There is no real other God or path. Just the devil and his net of destruction.

        1. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

          To die consciously, you must live consciously. To live consciously, you must have the courage to go inside yourself to find out ‘who you really are.’ To understand that behind all of the masks of individual differences you are a being of beauty, love and awareness. Christ said, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” He wasn’t just putting you on. When the Buddha said, “Every person is the Buddha,” he was saying the same thing.

          -Ram Dass

    2. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

      See Barbara, that is the crux of the problem. When someone thinks that theirs is “better” than the next person. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about Gods or ham sandwiches. There is no better or worse except in the individuals eyes (or taste buds, as the case may be). It’s just different (and yet, the same).
      When you say “the word of God”, which one do you mean? Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc., all said the same thing, “The kingdom is within you” and “Love everyone”.

      1. Pastor Pete says:

        Absolutely, I have teachers, beliefs, but understand that it’s all a finger pointing at the moon. Ultimately, here we are, let’s love one another, fo me, that is enough, one man’s belief is heresy for someone else. My spirit to yours, dear brother

      2. Brother John says:

        Rev. Nagi Mato…. Good point, but for some people it’s not just a matter of “better”. They believe their’s is the only truth and all others false. As it’s all based on belief (mostly dogmatic) rather than fact, I find this rigid fundamentalist approach disrespectful, closed minded and contrary to the ULC credo. Sharing your beliefs is one thing, but stating them as factual truth is another matter.

        1. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

          Brother John…I couldn’t agree more! Most “religions” are based in ego anyway, in my opinion…

          1. Paul says:

            One of the other things that most religions have in common is the “show”, in many people just go there to watch. Others most participate in the Rituals.
            I have found that there are many people that say that they are religious, but can’t understand the basic principles such as be your brothers keeper (look out for your family, neighbours and help others), or the meek will inherit the earth (as in live within your means, something that few do or can do as that many once did). Also God gave man dominion over the earth, this does not make destroying it for our enjoyment acceptable. The last one goes along with those that think that the earth is only 6000 years old, and yet there are many civilizations over many parts of the planet that lived in cities made of stones larger than we use for construction today more than twice that old. Some found under earthen mounds, and others under lakes, oceans and seas. They were not placed there to test people, but people once lived there till it was no longer habitable. The sea levels have gone up, and we can’t walk through the forest between what is now France and England due to it being underwater. The same applies to the rest of the planet as well. Such as the ancient cities in the Mediterranean north of Libya and Egypt, and the tropical forests that existed in what is now the Sahara Desert and the deserts in the South-west USA.

          2. Brother John says:

            Paul, your mention of “the show” is expanded in Richard Dawkin’s book, “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

        2. Paul says:

          You hit a spot there that resonates with me, and it is what drove me away from church years ago. From my personal experience there is only one religion that I can’t stand it is Fundamentalism. The faith that it stands on is widely varied, but the result is the same. Their beliefs are stronger than any scripture, and it is easier to understand the universe, physics, sciences, engineering, chemical processes, and basically what Einstein referred to as the manifestation of God. Than get a fundamentalist to accept that a path different than theirs is acceptable for others. Best way I have found dealing with such people, is avoid the land mines and not spend too much time with them in regards to things outside of work.

          1. Brother John says:

            I watch in utter amazement as humans accelerate the destruction their planet..(“God gave man dominion over the earth”) Contrary to the general human consensus, we are far from the epitome of creation. Humans are, without a doubt, the most dangerous animal on earth and a serious threat to the survival to all species including our own. I was brought to tears watching the “violence porn” of the 2003 Shock and Awe campaign destroying the “Cradle of Civilization.”
            Are you currently living in England?

  7. Joy Maestas says:

    Excellent article, keep up the good work Monastery!

  8. Anne says:

    I believe all religions have some common ground. And I believe with all my heart that all religions were originally based on love and light and a sense of balance within. It’s a shame that over the ages, spur-off groups have formed (and grown) who believed that they were right. Somehow being right translated as “everyone else is wrong.” I turned against certain factions of Christianity because of that monumental premise that everyone is evil because they don’t toe the same mark as the guy on the pulpit who is probably just mouthing words that someone else wrote in the first place. I think it starts with first accepting ourselves, individually, as we are, and then we are better able to accept others as they are.

    1. Barbara says:

      Christianity has been perverted and joined the rest of false philosophies called religion. The only truth is the pure gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will only get that from Him alone. Just you, His word and the Holy Spirit, who will teach and reveal all truth to you is all you need. So just take hold of the word of God yourself and sow it into your heart and you will come to know the truth, the true God. Don’t listen to anyone else. You will only get the truth from God Himself and He is there with you 24/7. Be blessed.

      1. Brother John says:

        I’d like to understand your beliefs, Barbara. You say Christianity has been perverted but also that the “pure gospel” is the only truth and that you can only get it from Him alone. Do you believe the Bible has been perverted or that the Gospels are perfect and the only source of the truth?

  9. Sheila says:

    What if a person is basing their religion on Sharia Law? I don’t see how humility works for every aspect of that. I am seeing that it’s downright dangerous to find things in common with it unless it’s for reason of trying to convert the person. I don’t see how “Don’t try to convert them” works when their motive is to convert you or kill you (if you say not all do this – on the same hand, some most definitely do!). And I don’t see how “avoid negativity” works, when simply saying “I believe what I believe” is taken as a negative by the person using Sharia law as a religion, and that you won’t convert to Sharia law is a negative. Salt is useless if it’s lost it’s saltiness – and I am referring to in the form of talk. NOT all religions are peaceful, even on a grand scale.

    1. Brother John says:

      You ask some important questions, Sheila.

      Sharia Law commonly comes up as an example of the “evil of Islam” as opposed to the freedom and democracy of Western nations. I’ve attached a couple of links to dispel some of the misconceptions that are prevalent today. Here’s an excerpt from the link below regarding one of the most common examples…. brutal criminal penalties..

      “Do all Muslim countries adhering to Sharia engage in stoning and amputations as punishment for crimes?

      No. These penalties are not allowed in 52 countries that make up the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, encompassing most countries with a Muslim-identified government. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim majority country, along with Egypt, Turkey, and Morocco all use Sharia as a primary source of law and none allow these punishments.

      In countries where extreme interpretations of Sharia are applied, like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Somalia and 12 states in northern Nigeria, stoning and amputations for adultery and theft are rarely used or enforced.” It’s interesting to note that Saudi Arabia has been, and remains, a close ally of Western nations, while their much less repressive neighbouring countries have been decimated by Western forces to “free the people”.

      http://www.tolerance.org/publication/sharia

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_of_sharia_law_by_country

      Regarding the most commonly used example of evil, beheading….. were you to be sentenced to death would you rather be electrocuted, gassed or beheaded? Which is more humane?

      Many countries have eliminated the death penalty entirely. Compare the number of “first world” countries with and without the death penalty… http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0777460.html

      Consider the shocking inhumanity of locking people in a 9 X 12 cell for decades as an alternative, often for non-violent crimes and sometimes for 23 hours/day with minimal human contact.

      This list is the number of citizens per 100,000 imprisoned by country…. Why is the U.S. #2 with it’s closest neighbours Mexico and Canada ranking 64th and 141st respectfully? Where do the Sharia Law countries rank?

      http://www.prisonstudies.org/highest-to-lowest/prison_population_rate?field_region_taxonomy_tid=All

      1. Sheila says:

        My point was to give an example of a religion that doesn’t
        1) Do only that which is right &
        2) Every individual is free to practice their religion in the manner of their choosing, as mandated by the First Amendment, so long as that expression does not impinge upon the rights or freedoms of others and is in accordance with the government’s laws.

        Offhand, the strictest following of Sharia law was the best example I could readily think of.

        Perhaps a better short of it is that religion that doesn’t allow my “religion,” isn’t one I can get along with; because it’s insisting that I convert (if it even allows that).

        You have good points about all the other wrong that goes on that people justify as “right” and “justice” (sending people to jail, etc.) But that wasn’t the purpose of what I was trying to explain.

        I put “religion” in quotes for me because of course I think my “religion” is right, & that’s why it’s my “religion.” Yet I make room for religions that make room for mine when it too
        1) seeks to do what’s right
        2) does not infringe on others’ rights & freedoms (or break sound government laws – which is up for interpretation, but moral law really is pretty obvious)

        1. Brother John says:

          Sheila….. In your last paragraph you’ve described nearly all religions with the exception of those variations practiced by fundamentalist evangelicals. That includes Islam, Baha’i, Buddhism, Jainism, Judaism and many more.

          1. Sheila says:

            Brother John, I don’t know what you are trying to show me. Yes, I said, “Yet I make room for religions that make room for mine when it too
            1) seeks to do what’s right
            2) does not infringe on others’ rights & freedoms (or break sound government laws – which is up for interpretation, but moral law really is pretty obvious)”

            And, then you go ahead and list some that you are thinking at least have some people who make room for my “religion” and do point #1 & #2. So?

            What you are not taking into account is, do you, Brother John, believe that the strictest following of Sharia Law is a religion that makes room for my “religion” and follows point #1 & #2.

            Please look again. My point wasn’t to show a list of religions that my “religion” makes room for. My point was to show a religion I would NOT have room for because it does NOT make room for my religion and does NOT follow point #1 & #2. And, even then, I would seek to do as my “religion” commands and still look for ANYTHING that is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, things of good report, any virtue, any praise (glorifying God), and to think on these things (Philippians 4:8). But my sinful nature gets in the way & really I feel angry toward people committing atrocities on other people.

            Do you, Brother John, believe that the strictest following of Sharia Law is a religion that makes room for my “religion” and follows point #1 & #2.

          2. Brother John says:

            Sheila, you stated that if it’s not based on Christ, it’s a lie. I provided some examples of religions that are not based on Christ. How can you possibly suggest you accept any of them if you believe they are lies. These are all examples of religions that do accept Christianity, but may have issues with it’s claim that the only Truth is biblical and the only way to God is through Jesus.

            You asked, “Do you, Brother John, believe that the strictest following of Sharia Law is a religion that makes room for my “religion” and follows point #1 & #2.” I’ve provided links to information about Sharia Law in previous posts. Here’s an excerpt from one of them….

            “Most countries of the world do not recognize sharia; however, some countries in Asia, Africa and Europe recognize sharia and use it as the basis for divorce, inheritance and other personal affairs of their Islamic population.” It’s not “religion” in those countries, it’s the basis of their legal system, and it applies only to Muslims. If there was any controversy it would be more secular and cultural than religious.

            Would they make room for your religion? Yes, they would, providing you weren’t encouraging Muslims to break the law by selling alcohol, distributing porn, stealing, wearing hot pants, etc.

            Would you enjoy living in a culture defined by Sharia? Probably not and neither would I, so I don’t.

            “Doing what’s right” is open to interpretation. If a fundamentalist Christian culture were to abide by the 600+ laws in the OT, “doing what’s right” would involve some horrific punishment for menial offences. I know I wouldn’t want to be part of that either.

            Before we drift off to other topics, I’ve answered your question in another reply and hope that you’ll respond to the 7 statements and questions that I posed regardless of what Mark says. Doing what’s right should include happily and accurately defending and clarifying your faith when it’s questioned.

          3. Sheila says:

            Brother John, you asked, “Sheila, you stated that if it’s not based on Christ, it’s a lie. I provided some examples of religions that are not based on Christ. How can you possibly suggest you accept any of them if you believe they are lies[?]”

            My answer:
            Like Emeth who sought to serve Tash [allegory Satan] all his life, and yet truly was seeking and serving Aslan [Allegory Jesus] all his life [and so was building on the foundation of Christ, NOT Satan], so is my faith for all “religions.” This is where my hope is. And, just as I accept that in allegory form, Emeth WAS a follower of Aslan, I accept that’s got to exist in “religions” other than christianity as well. Do you understand?

            Another aspect of my answering:
            I accept other religions where I recognize they have truth. I don’t accept parts I recognize as lies. This is NOT hypocritical because I know there must also be lies (misinterpretations I have) that I also believe. I accept any lies I happen to believe because I don’t know better yet (I’m not complete yet as what the Bible describes in 1Cor.15:52 & 1Cor.13:12 etc.) Do you understand?

            Yes, I did ask you, “Do you, Brother John, believe that the strictest following of Sharia Law is a religion that makes room for my “religion” and follows point #1 & #2.”
            And, NO, you did NOT answer. Instead you gave an answer based on the weakest forms of Sharia law in “Countries where Muslims can choose to have their cases heard under Sharia law or secular law” (Wikipedia, “Application of sharia law by country”).

            Apparently you need it more specific. In Mauritania, the Penal Code contains Sharia crimes such as heresy, apostasy, atheism, refusal to pray, adultery and alcohol consumption. And, punishments include lapidation, amputation and flagellation.
            So, do you, Brother John, believe that the strictest following of Sharia Law in Mauritania is a religion that makes room for my “religion” and follows point #1 & #2 (these points I’ve mentioned before)?

            You’ve stated, “Doing what’s right should include happily and accurately defending and clarifying your faith when it’s questioned.” Yes, Brother John, please do that regarding your faith; and then I imagine I’ll happily do the same for my faith. Because no, you did NOT answer my specific question in a previous reply. The question was:

            “If it’s my hope and belief that
            1) someone seeking to serve allegory Satan (Emeth seeking Tash) all his life really could be serving Jesus, and
            2) that “For all find what they truly seek” (said by Aslan, allegory Jesus) is a true statement
            – where is it that my “religion” isn’t making room for everyone who is seeking that which is right?”

            If you are thinking that “Doing what is right” is so open to interpretation, what’s the point in trying to dispel that christianity is THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH and “open” minds to other paths? You are trying to convert, aren’t you?

            Regardless, you didn’t answer the question I specifically posed, and so neither will I then answer yours (such as in Mark 11:33); although I am wanting to answer your seven questions.

          4. Brother John says:

            “Yes, I did ask you, “Do you, Brother John, believe that the strictest following of Sharia Law is a religion that makes room for my “religion” and follows point #1 & #2.”
            And, NO, you did NOT answer.”

            “Would they make room for your religion? Yes, they would, providing you weren’t encouraging Muslims to break the law by selling alcohol, distributing porn, stealing, wearing hot pants, etc.”

            “Yes” was my clear answer. Sharia Law only applies to Muslims. You would be expected to leave them to their beliefs and customs and to live and act respectfully as a Christian. My answer was not based on the “weakest forms” of Sharia. I was pointing out the there are few places that practice strict Sharia Law and that it is more secular and cultural than it is religious.

            Mauritania, the country you chose as an example has a population of 3.6 million, less than most major cities. It is 100% Muslim. It’s a presidential republic with a legal system that’s a mixture of Islamic and French civil law. The have a Constitution, a Senate and an elected President. It is seen by the West as a valuable ally in the fight against Islamist militancy in the Sahel region. Mauritania has one of the most open media environments of the Maghreb region. Internet access is unrestricted, with number of users reportedly exceeding 455,000 by 2014.

            Sheila said…
            “You’ve stated, “Doing what’s right should include happily and accurately defending and clarifying your faith when it’s questioned.” Yes, Brother John, please do that regarding your faith; and then I imagine I’ll happily do the same for my faith.”

            OK Sheila…. Faith is defined as strong belief or trust in someone or something. I don’t practice any particular faith and have been a seeker of Truth from many sources for most of my life. I do not believe in supernatural deities. I do not believe the Bible is factual, accurate or the word of God. I choose to know, when possible, based on sufficient evidence, rather than to believe without it. I know that human perception and understanding is limited and that there are many questions without answers. I feel no compulsion to answer the unanswerable with myths and “strong beliefs”, and gladly accept the label of “non-believer”.

            You said….”If you are thinking that “Doing what is right” is so open to interpretation, what’s the point in trying to dispel that christianity is THE ONLY WAY AND TRUTH and “open” minds to other paths? You are trying to convert, aren’t you?”

            Claiming there’s only ONE WAY AND TRUTH (in this case through Jesus) leaves little room for interpretation and other paths where great truth might be found. The whole point of the ULC is to open our minds to other paths and to understand, but not necessarily accept, the beliefs of others, particularly when they are strongly held and voiced. I’m not trying to convert anyone, Sheila. I’ve simply posed questions to Christians, some of whom do proselytize in their comments, to explain them by addressing issues that many “non-believers” have. This should be a welcomed opportunity.

            As the many of comments seem to be from Christians, I once again encourage all of them to respond to my Feb. 17 1:02 p.m.(scroll up) post to clarify the basics of your beliefs and to do it in a concise point by point form to make it understandable to all. Just a head’s up…Using the Bible to verify itself is not proof or evidence.

  10. John Owens says:

    Everyone should practice, as we in the country say, “Don’t start no trouble and there won’t be none.” Solomon said, “Strive not with a man without cause, if he hath done thee no harm.” I don’t dream for one minute that everybody can get along with everyone else. That is pie-in-the-sky fantasy, like Utopia and Unicorn junk. Christian tolerance does not mean tolerating EVERYTHING. There are some offenses that should not be tolerated. I say, don’t push the envelope, and we’ll be ok. If people are different than I am, that’s okay with me. If those same people try to change me, they will meet resistance. If they try to force me to change, they will be met with FORCEFUL resistance. If people leave a horrible culture and come to my community, they should not want to change my community to be like the one they fled. I believe in hospitality, and I also believe in respect. Respect me, and I will be hospitable. Disrespect me, and I will be hostile. That is unwritten natural law, and no amount of philosophy or religion can ever change that.

    1. Brother John says:

      Agreed John Owens…. Christian tolerance should eliminate proselytizing to those with beliefs other than their own. And, yes, making a stance against bigotry, ignorance and the promotion of hatred, division and violence should be “forcefully resisted”. It’s ironic that many of the Christian fundamentalists railing about Muslims converting the world to Islam also engage in proselytizing “missionary” work. 100% agreed that there’s a limit to tolerance, and that certainly includes the Christian evangelicals that frequent this site with their “pie in the sky” fantasies.

      1. Barbara says:

        If Christians have to tolerate all other religions then the same goes for them. They should be tolerated.

  11. mitch says:

    As a boy I was told that I was going to everlasting hell fire because I didn’t believe that Jesus Christ was my Lord and savior. To me that statement is as indicative of religious belief as is the golden rule. Belief is the enemy of openness which by its nature is devoid of belief. When people learn to surrender belief perhaps we will have found the way to harmony and peace.

    1. Brother John says:

      Well said mitch!! What an awful thing to tell a child. Here’s a video of Matt Dillahunty’s Mafia Boss analogy you might enjoy.

    2. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

      It’ll certainly be a step in the right direction, Mitch. Well said!

    3. Barbara says:

      I was brought up the same way and eventually came to understand that I had been preached the anti-Christ and not the real true God, Jesus Christ, at all. I’ve now found the true God and He is the God of the pure word of the Bible, the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is who He is. You won’t find Him anywhere else because that is the only place He is. Let all the rest seek whatever God they want. If you want to know the one and only true God then just take hold of the Bible and keep,sowing His word and through it He will reveal Himself to you. He is the only one that can give you true salvation. No other God can. Be blessed.

      1. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

        “It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.”
        – Epicurus.

      2. Brother John says:

        Barbara said, “You won’t find Him anywhere else because that is the only place He is.” This is one of the issues for “non-believers”, Barbara. There is no verified evidence of the existence of Jesus outside the Bible. There are no eyewitness accounts of Jesus in the Bible. There is no “original Bible”. All existing manuscripts (many mere fragments) are copies (of copies, of copies) written decades and centuries after the fact. For many, these facts and more make any degree of belief tentative and skepticism understandable. I have no issues with fundamentalist beliefs so long as they aren’t stated as facts and “the only Truth.”

  12. Pastor Pete says:

    Actually Christian tolerance does mean tolerating and forgiving everything… Love one another…

    1. John Owens says:

      Pastor Pete, that statement is utterly ridiculous. You cannot tolerate people who murder indiscriminately or sexually abuse children. That kind of tolerance itself is ungodly. Please modify your statement to something more intelligent. You can pray for them, but you cannot tolerate their behavior, and if they are in your area, trying to do those things, you cannot tolerate their existence. We are not called to be pushovers. That kind of pseudo-religious swill only encourages evil.

      1. Brother John says:

        Perhaps you’re not a Christian, John, and are simply stating your personal beliefs, but Pastor Pete is correct. Tolerance is an important Christian virtue. Most Christians believe that all sins, including the most heinous crimes, are forgiven by accepting Jesus as your personal saviour. Not only are all sins forgiven, but the reward of eternal Heaven is granted. I do not adhere to this belief myself and agree that it does little to prevent evil, providing you make your conversion before death. The concept of karma makes more sense as a deterrent to evil doing. You’re stuck going around the wheel of life over and over, death after death, hardship after hardship, until your karmic debt is paid through good works. The penalties imposed by the legal system also help keep rampant crimes in check. But as a Christian, the Bible is very clear…….

        1 Peter 3:8-11 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.

        John 8:7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

        Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged.

        1. Pastor Pete says:

          Thank you brother John, peace upon you

        2. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

          Why does it have to be classified as “Christian”? To me, that’s just another box.

        3. Barbara says:

          No we are not to tolerate anything – God doesn’t. He says those that will not listen and be corrected by Him will be turned over to a reprobate mind. Stop living a fantasy and face up to the truth or continue to be deceived by the philosophy of the anti- Christ. Psalm 1.1 blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly… Psalm 2.1 why do the heathen rage and imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2.2 the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel against the Lord and His anointed …you must know what God is saying and not make up your own version of it. This is a message for everyone out there.

          1. Brother John says:

            Many “non-believers” are confused when some words are attributed to God, and some to Jesus, as it seems that many believe they are one in the same…. yet different. It can be quite confusing. However, CHRISTians are supposed to follow the teaching of Jesus Christ. I find much of the OT appalling, barbaric and immoral, including many of the laws and instructions attributed to God. Why use any of these in place of what I quoted to John on Feb. 11? They seem clear, humane and sensible. I’ve seen many comments from “Christians” on this site that contradict the teachings of their Saviour. If it ever appears that God and Jesus seem to contradict one another, shouldn’t Christians follow Jesus and concentrate more on the New Testament?

      2. Pastor Pete says:

        Sorry you feel like that my brother, hate the sin, not the sinner, only the boss can judge, it’s our task to love all the people, sounds like you have a little anger situation, not that it’s my job to judge you or anything, love to you, may you live to see the dawn, you don’t defeat evil by adopting its methods P

      3. Pastor Pete says:

        John, on reflection I’m afraid I haven’t made myself clear. I believe that people who commit crimes should be punished, and such punishment is not purely on a temporal basis, if kids were dealing crack outside my front door, clearly I would call the cops.
        However, I would view this in terms of trying to help the entire situation, and would try really hard not to have negative feelings about the kids.
        I don’t know if you remember the terrible incident during the Irish troubles in Enniskillen? There was an explosion during a Remembrance Day commemoration, which was being attende by a lage crowd. After the explosion a father found himself in the rubble, near his daughter, a nurse. He lay in the rubble holding her hand as she died.
        When he was released from hospital, he asked to meet the men who had planted the bomb, members of the IRA. So he could forgive them. You may well regard this as simple-minded John, but to me this man is a hero, a giant, a man who realised the danger of harbouring such darkness in his heart. I don’t know if I would have the greatness of soul to follow his example, but I pray that I would. Hate the sin mate, not the sinner. Love to you and yours, P

        1. Barbara says:

          Yes this is the heart of God expressed in real life. I too wish I could say I would react in the same way but I know I’m not there yet but I do know what is right and one day God will get me there. In the meantime we must not allow our hearts to become hardened and be as understanding and compassionate as we are able to be. What a blessing to have been able to witness someone doing this. This is how God is and how He sees us and how He forgives us unconditionally. Be blessed.

          1. Pastor Pete says:

            Absolutely sister, we all struggle, and as you say we are so blessed to have examples to follow, only God can judge, I suppose we are here simply to witness his eternal love, bless you, love and peace to you and yours XXX

    2. Barbara says:

      You are not meant to condone it but through love guide them into the truth.

  13. Pastor Pete says:

    All this trouble in the world, and so-called people of faith still arguing over dusty old books, let’s get out there and spread some love people, that’s rule one I believe, when we can do that perhaps there’ll be something to talk about 🌻

    1. Sheila says:

      Sometimes salt stings, but there’s no compassion in salt that has lost it’s saltiness.

    2. Barbara says:

      Yes it’s not about dusty old books that people read as laws but the Bible being revealed by God Himself as the truth. Read it with your heart that is written to you by your loving Father and you will find the loving heart of God and not a bunch of rules.

      1. Pastor Pete says:

        I thank you for your sentiment, but cannot agree with your conclusions. The books In my opinion were written by fallible people in an effort to understand, so many contradictions, so much plainly of its time. This is, after all, a universal church, I have my way, you have yours, you believe the Bible is the literal word of God, I don’t… In your world I do understand that this puts me beyond the pale, please understand I don’t feel the same about you, but we will have to disagree. P

        1. Barbara says:

          I respect and appreciate your views as I’m sure you do mine. We are only trying to help each other the best way we know. It is of course up to you what you personally believe. I, however, do believe that the word of God was imparted through his prophets genuinely and this is what faith is. To believe His word when questioned. Be blessed.

          1. Pastor Pete says:

            Thank you sister, God bless you, we are all seeking the way P x

        2. Brother John says:

          What you stated is not just your opinion, Pastor Pete, it’s fact. The Bible wasn’t written by God. It was written and edited by fallible men, many with their own agenda and preconceived beliefs. There is no “original Bible”. The book that’s known as the Bible is riddled with errors and contradictions. Although it contains some great truths and wisdom, so do many other books and some of them are much easier to understand and comprehend.

          1. Pastor Pete says:

            That’s certainly what I believe Brother John, and agree that there are many indications in so many great works, not just religious tracts, Walt Whitman, Shakespeare, the list goes on and on thankfully. However the sister believes in the Bible, the truth of which is certainly highly debatable from my point of view, and I don’t think an out of hand denial of her beliefs is in the spirit of the discussion, as its fundamentally about tolerance.
            Having said that, thank you for another perceptive comment, I’d say I’m kind of a Christian agnostic if that makes any sense…

          2. Brother John says:

            I’m not denying her beliefs, Pete. We can believe anything we please in this life. I am denying that anyone has the “only Truth” and it is not only disrespectful but also dishonest to portray beliefs as indisputable facts. I posted a series of statements and questions for Christians yesterday as a reply to one of Barbara’s Feb. 15 comments and hope that some of them will respond in full.

            If you’re stating facts rather than beliefs, you have to be prepared to back them up. The onus is on those making extraordinary claims to provide evidence and proof. For many of us, quoting the Bible is neither, for good reason.

            Not all beliefs are harmless. People have died (including children) unnecessarily by choosing the healing power of God over basic medical intervention. Many people, including children, have been traumatized by being told they would burn in eternal Hell if they didn’t accept certain “facts”, avoid certain thoughts, and participate in certain ceremonies. Billions of people have been demonized as “non-believers” and “infidels” and hundreds of thousands killed without conscience because of it, all the result of religious beliefs. If beliefs harm no one, OK. But if they do (or could), they should be exposed and eliminated/changed.

          3. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

            I’m right there with you, Brother John. A little happening called the “Crusades” might sink it in a little deeper.

  14. Kingsley chimtuwa luke says:

    I believe that believing is a dission one can make, no one should be forced to do what you do not believe on, the only thing which is naccesry to know is that the Bible says we should know the truth and only the truth should set us free

  15. Dennis says:

    My way is right for me, and your way is right for you. We can teach and learn from each other.
    Many great responses here.
    A faith of intolerance is hard to deal with and I prefer not to engage with any who follow such a path.
    Fortunately the vast majority of people I meet seem to accept that I have other views when I gently assert my right to my views and that I respect that theirs work for them. Most of the issues we see are politically motivated.

  16. rev Joseph r godleski says:

    First off Jesus said I am that I am which God in the Old Testament indentified himself to when he appeared to Abraham in the burning bush Jesus told his apostles if you have seen me you have seen my father who sent me
    He also said I and the father are one Jesus proves he is God the God man fully God and fully man also in the bible God is asked Is their any other God besides me and God answers nay their i know of no other God besides me
    The bible says it I believe. It the bible is the inerrant word of God I do not need to analyze it or speculate the. God of Islam or Buddhist or confucism or hiduism are not a personal God just.statue or images Jesus is a real and living God who cares about his creation and no Christians are. Not hypocrite we believe the bible. Is true the. Bible speaks of Jesus.as the only way to thh

    1. Brother John says:

      The Bible is not the “inerrant word of God”, Joseph. It was written and edited by men and contains thousands of errors and contradictions. No one knows with certainty what Jesus said and did because there are no eyewitness accounts anywhere, including the Bible. Stating beliefs as facts do not make them true or valid.

  17. George Girman says:

    My problem with mainstream Christianity was when somebody would ask me if I was “Saved”. Typically, it would take place during the coffee social after the services. It would typically start off with some casual conversation, such as the theme of the sermon, until they’d challenge me with the question “Are you saved?” , which always proved to be a prelude to a debate, or even an argument! It seemed that even if I shared their beleifs with the same degree of sincerity, I still couldn’t convince them that I was worthy of considering myself “saved”. After many years of dealing with this, I decided to explore some other paths! I was finally led to a Unitarian Universalist congregation, where I was able to find acceptance! We believe that all religions are of equal value, and therefore, we make no distinctions between “Saved and unsaved”! I sure do find myself to be more accepted there than I ever did in the mainstream “Christian” churches!

  18. George Girman says:

    The problem I found with in the mainstream christian churches I was involved with was too many “Holier than Though” members in the congregation! Typically, the situation would occur during the social gathering after the service, when a member would challenge me with the question “Are you saved”? , as though i was suppose to prove it in some objective way! It seemed that no matter how I’d apply some reason and logic, there was no way I could convince them that I was quite equal to them! After many years of putting up with such pointless bantering, I decided to explore alternative paths. Eventually, I discovered a Unitarian Universalist congregation. It is a very liberal and open minded denomination, which believes in the inherit worth and dignity of all people, and in the equal value of all religions! Since they don’t tend to categorize people as either “Saved or unsaved” don’t challenge you to prove yourself worthy!

  19. George Girman says:

    Moderator-I apologize for the double posting! I didn’t think the first one went through! Thank-You!

  20. WMB says:

    “Saying anything negative about a person’s religion isn’t going to go over well. As mentioned before, religion is very important to many people, and so you should be sure to avoid negative comments when referring to someone’s religion.”

    Thank you. This reminder came at the perfect time in my life.

  21. Pastor Pete says:

    I’ve lost track of the thread a bit, so just to clarify, I have my teachers, you have yours, but ultimately this is what we have in common, just us in the garden with the Father (however you see him) love & peace all round

  22. Sheila says:

    This is far better stated than it was before. Thank you. Your faith in this is evidence of this that you hope for. You are basing this on faith.

  23. Tom Jaynes says:

    This article was well written and makes some cogent points about dealing with people of different religious beliefs. It has provoked a number of thoughtful and sometimes provocative ideas and responses.

    The comments about dealing with those who have closed minds were particularly valid, as we see more and more of this In our world today. One thing that has come out In many of the comments is that it is. It just people of different faiths we must learn to deal with. Sadly, within each core faith there are distinct differences in belief. One may be a Christian, but his Christrian neighbor may have different views on what that means. Jesus walked this earth over 2,000 years ago preaching a very simple three word message. “Love one another”. As a result today there are almost 40,000 recognized Christian denominations on the earth and they cannot agree on what “love one another means”. From the things they say, clearly there is a big disconnect between those words and the core values of feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, healing the sick and caring for the aged and downtrodden in our society.

    The same can be said for other faiths, while they Dom it have as many recognized denominations with them, they clearly have so many differences among themselves.

    The advice given in the article was spot on. Do not try to convert, do not condemn, rather seek to understand, live your own faith and let it be an example of what you believe…whatever you believe. In the Christian bible it is said that “the Kingdom of God is within”. It should remain within as a guidepost for our own behavior and actions as we go forth into the world each day. Truth be told, I do not believe any of us has an inside track on any God. But I firmly believe that what works well for each and every one of us to improve ourselves and grow is what is right for us and us alone. Every one of us must find our own path and what works well for us. In doing that, we must respect what works for others, regardless of their faith or lack of it and wish them well. We are all children of the same universe. We all have our own orbit as we circle through the cosmos.

  24. Sheila says:

    It’s close-minded to believe that no one is right/can be right. And it’s close-minded to believe that just because a person is so sure she is right, she is wrong. And if you know that plugging in a TV is going to turn it on, you’re not going to open your mind to the possibility of the person beside you with a sledge hammer believes who is insisting that what you need to do is break the screen (& the TV is off) and let the all the little people out. So-called “open-mindedness” is just wrong, and makes no sense, and certainly ought not be touted as the end-all-be-all-right-thing-to-do. If you’re right and you (think you) know it, stick with it.

    Also, statements such as, “But I firmly believe that what works well for each and every one of us to improve ourselves and grow is what is right for us and us alone,” really are attempts at convincing others to believe that. It’s to try to change the function/character of people (such as christians) whose faith is to speak about their faith and whose hopes are to convince others that their christian faith is true. So statements about “don’t try to convert” are said in attempts to convert others to a function of non conversion.

    There’s got to be a peaceful way of getting along with others who openly and nonviolently try to convert others (& we are all trying to convert others). Taking a look at things you don’t have in common and confronting negativity (all in love as each of us in our paths of growth know how) are actions that so often bring the people debating each other closer together. Just so long as one of the debaters isn’t trying to skip out on finding out about what’s not in common and what’s negative. Yet, there are people who simply don’t function well facing negativity and finding out what’s not in common, and their energies are likely better spent doing something else. I think that needs to be respected, just as I think the “find what’s not in common & face negativity” approach needs to be respected. There’s people who’d like to just walk away from one approach or the other, and that needs to be respected. The approach Paul used in the Bible was to find what was in common, and then try to convert. For those already converted, he was in supervisor mode which is different than communicating with those who aren’t signed up for the same job (how to treat believers vs. unbelievers – also described in the Bible, by Paul as I remember it).

    1. Brother John says:

      Sheila, you say “So-called “open-mindedness” is just wrong, and makes no sense, and certainly ought not be touted as the end-all-be-all-right-thing-to-do”. If you know you’re right all the time, you have a closed mind. If you believe you’re on the right track, your door is partially open. If you’re always searching for truth the door of your mind is wide open. Some people feel more safe and secure with the door to their minds closed and locked. These people include fundamentalist evangelical Christians. Many others prefer to keep the door open to new ideas, thoughts and truths and have the courage to constantly explore their beliefs and discard those found to be untrue or lacking. I accept that this may make no sense to you, but find it a little sad to see anyone lock their doors, then shelter, protect and fervently defend their existing beliefs as the absolute and only Truth.

  25. Brother John says:

    Nowhere in the entire comment section have I seen anyone other than Christians saying that their beliefs are the only truth.

    1. Pastor Pete says:

      Don’t know if you’re familiar with “To him who was crucified” by Walt Whitman? It kind of sums it up for me…

  26. Rev. Nagi Mato says:

    Brother John, That is an excellent observation. I was noticing that myself. Funny, huh?

  27. Pastor Pete says:

    Absolutely Brother John, thank you for the clarification. P

  28. Pastor Pete says:

    I’m reminded of a great and good friend of mine, the Reverend Mike Pritchard, an Anglican minister, he’s chaplain to a number of hospitals in the London area, an enormous Welshman with a heart as big as outdoors. He’s a Church of England vicar, and a very good man. He was visiting the intensive care ward, and he just goes in there to be a friend, help out however he can. Anyway, one day he was visiting with a few young volunteers who happened to be born again Christians, and very evangelical. Just before they went through the doors he turned to them and in his dark brown Welsh said ” Now lads, there’s some very sick people in here, you’re not going to go on about this Jesus business are you?” I’m sure some Christians may find that shocking, but in my mind this is a real priest, not interested in ramming his beliefs down anyone’s throat, simply loving his neighbours without an agenda. He is the one who made me turn to Christ, but also to understand that really it’s people I believe in. To quote Mike “I only have a little faith, but what I have is rock hard”

  29. Brother John says:

    I’ve used my ordination to publish articles in our local newspaper alongside those of various other churches. I encourage others to do the same in order to expose people to the ULC and it’s principles. Here’s one of that is in line with this topic….

    Which is the Right religion?
    Brother John

    Although people’s religious beliefs may bring comfort and meaning to their lives, they’re also at the root of much of today’s hatred and violent conflicts. With Islamaphobia and the connected violence rampant, this is a good time to go back to the basics and read a variety of opinions about religion.

    The first four quotes remind us that our religious beliefs are often not the result of any serious exploration and informed choice on our part, but simply the acceptance of the beliefs prevalent in the family, location and culture into which we were born. Beliefs that would otherwise seem nonsensical or at best allegorical, are taken literally and accepted to be the one and only truth. When banded together in groups with like minded believers, humans are capable of some very inhumane behavior, particularly when they believe God is on their side. Like religions; racism, capitalism, imperialism and patriotism all require the mass belief of rightness and superiority over others (we are right and others are wrong). They often mix with religious beliefs resulting in a festering brew of misconceptions and self imposed ignorance that are the fuel for bigotry, hatred and wars.

    “What religion a man shall have is a historical accident, quite as much as what language he shall speak.” ~George Santayana, Reason in Religion

    “There are ten church members by inheritance for every one by conviction.” ~Author Unknown

    “In religion and politics, people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten second-hand, and without examination.” ~Mark Twain

    Who would have guessed that a professional boxer had a philosophical side? As there are far more similarities than differences in the major religions, why is the focus so often on the differences?

    “Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.”
    Muhammad Ali

    “Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.”
    ― Richard Dawkins

    “The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organized religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.”
    ― Jawaharlal Nehru

    “The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives.”
    Gandhi

     
    “God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him?” ~Martin Buber

    “Scriptures: the sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.” ~Ambrose Bierce

    If people feel the need to affiliate with a particular denomination, they should do their own thorough research to ensure they are comfortable with it’s teachings before making any commitment. This approach also applies to those who already belong to a specific church through familial inheritance. As there are thousands of different denominations of Christianity, any qualified pastor/minister should be able to clearly outline what makes their particular brand of faith the right one. For example, what’s the difference between a Lutheran, a Baptist, an Anglican and a Catholic?

    For those with a social conscience, what is each denomination’s position on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights, the ordination and treatment of women, killing/murder/war, acceptance of alternative beliefs, etc? Are they “walking the walk” or just “talking the talk”?

    Without challenging the ignorance based beliefs that give racism, patriotism, nationalism, imperialism and religious bigotry influence and widespread acceptance, they will continue to spread divisiveness and untruths wide and far.

    Brother John is ordained through the Universal Life Church

  30. Diane Baum says:

    “Are the accounts of the Gospels consistent and accurate? If not, how is one to know what is the actual Truth?”

    this question posed during the comments has only ONE answer. That answer is FAITH. I am reminded…(oh my, going back to the Gospels,) in which the woman with the hemorrhage had FAITH enough to know that “if I just touch the hem of His garment, I may be healed!” she did and was!
    I cannot believe how picked apart this thread has become. SERIOUSLY? If you choose to pick apart what we all know, then you have no faith. Remember, those who have faith can just accept what “is.” For those without faith, well….no amount of explaining will answer all of your questions. Truly we ARE like sheep….sheep are pretty “stupid” and will blindly follow anyone who lures them. Again…Jesus “said,” “I am the Good Shepherd, my sheep know Me, they know My Voice!” All we need to do is follow the One who will lead us to greener pastures. Not the pastures that are filled with every lust/sin/temptation that will only lead to our downfall, but to the pasture that will eventually take us all the way to God.

    Put more simply….who has the most straightaway path to heaven? The most knowledgeable theologian…or someone whose simple faith will guide him or her there?

  31. Brother John says:

    Your comment is very interesting, Diane. You said ….”sheep are pretty “stupid” and will blindly follow anyone who lures them.” And followed this with …”Jesus said,” “I am the Good Shepherd, my sheep know Me, they know My Voice.” You also gave an example of how faith can heal. There are tens of thousands of Christian evangelists who claim to heal through the power of God. Some have small, local followings, but some, like Benny Hinn, Peter Popoff, Pat Robertson, and others, reach many millions of “believers” every year.

    Please pay careful attention to the crowds in this video as the “healings” are taking place…. thousands upon thousands of them, hands waving in the air, overcome by the Spirit. All of these evangelists are Christians of different religious backgrounds (so it’s right on topic). All use similar Bibles, pray to the same God, and revere the same Jesus as other Christians.

    As you’re watching, ask yourselves these questions….

    Are these millions upon millions of people actually being healed or are they just “stupid sheep”?

    Are the “healers” actually using the power of God to heal, or are they charlatans preying on the faith of people desperate to believe and experience an epiphany of some kind?

    Have the tens of millions of people who pay to attend these events and donate to the ministries through their faith, accepting it as “what is”, been blessed or duped?

    Most of the attendees seem ecstatic. Are these examples of “the most straightaway path to heaven”? Aren’t some of these men and women preachers knowledgeable theologians?

    What do you think Muslims watching this would think about Christians? Would they convert or shake their heads in disbelief?

  32. George Girman says:

    I Myself could never believe that any one religion has the monopoly on the one True God! I think it was Huston Smith who said “The value of any religious experience can be known only by the inner experience to the individual” or words to that effect! speaking from my own experience, it was when I finally conceded that there is no “Absolute certainty ” in matters of religion or spirituality that I got liberated from the fear of what others had to say, and those who tried to put the “Fear of God” in me by expressing doubts as the whether I was truly “saved”! I think the Mythologist Joseph Campbell offers the best advice when he said “Follow your bliss, find your center, and once you find it, don’t let anything throw you off! I myself found my center in the Unitarian Universalist Church, and I’m not going to let anybody throw me off!

  33. eliud colbath says:

    I blieve in the one and only God. The christ that died for me.jesus is the only way truth and the life.I do not mix my faith and friendship.I do not judge others. You wrote not all of us know the truth. Well I know the truth.the truth is jesus. If my friends worship to other fake gods the only thing I can do ls pray for them and wipe my feet on the way out.

    1. George Girman says:

      I’m glad that you’ve found the way that’s right for you, Ellud Colbath, just as I’ve found the path that’s right for me!

  34. strumquiver (Daryll J Alt) says:

    AHO Mitkuye Oyasin-I honor the Great Spirit by honoring “All my relations.”

    Late for this train, it would appear. This selection of comments offers so many trails to follow, each of which looks to be leaving footprints on the Beauty Path, I am in hopes that the embers I have found here can be reignited.

    I walk the Red Road in ceremonial space…while in the practical day to day living and interacting with the community(75-80 per cent christian) I am a part of, honor individuals and their beliefs as they present themselves. I am learning to express gently the ‘Golden Rule’ which includes drawing spiritual strength from a variety of sources.

    Brother John: Thank You for the selection of quotes and the suggestion that we express our beliefs in the public forum. Keep doing good work.

    Pastor Pete, Shiela, Barbara: What a beautiful exchange. This is the Way of the Peaceful Warrior exemplified. Keep Walking in Beauty.

    John Owens: I honor your passion. The Maori have a tradition of dealing with what would be considered harmful actions. The entire community comes together, including that one which has committed a wrong. I see this as an inclusive way of dealing with ‘sin’.

    I want to honor each of you. For now, I must be about my sheep, ducks, turkeys and go to honor the Earth Mother. Such is the life of a farmer.

    Walk in Beauty

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