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Atheists and Fundamentalists


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#256    Leonardo

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 09:48 PM

View Postmklsgl, on 27 June 2010 - 05:17 PM, said:

Alrighty then K-Man, let's deconstruct this 'point of discussion.' Earlier in the thread, I posted that I couldn't find a valid argument in the pastors Op-Ed piece, and I stand by that statement. Yes, it is merely one man's opinion and nothing else but his opinion is decidedly ill-informed and his presentation of it takes the form of gross generalizations that have no sourced basis at all. How can the claim be made that "aggressive atheists see no shadings of gray, only black and white" without a whiff of proof? Where is his relevant evidence? Do atheists hold protests at churches, synagogues, and mosques? Or at private religious schools? Do Fundamentalists vehemently protest at Abortion Clinics every Saturday morning? Do Fundamentalists take action to change public school curricula to a more Christian Theological education?

I don't see atheists organizing for the sake of changing public policy but I do see Fundamentalists in 'full-frontal attack mode' and "weirdly obsessed" in doing so.

WIth respect to the part of your post I highlighted, mkl, the 'proof' depends on what is being referred to as 'black and white'.

If this is a reference to the existence/non-existence of deity (as I assume from the context of that part of the article), then I would think all the proof required is in the label 'atheist'. The use of 'aggressive' as a descriptor of the zealousness of the atheists is irrelevant, imo.

Edited by Leonardo, 27 June 2010 - 09:48 PM.

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#257    Mr. Miyagi

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 10:22 PM

View PostIamsSon, on 26 June 2010 - 07:04 PM, said:

Given that Jesus Himself said that, like a doctor, He came to heal the sick not the healthy (Matt 9:11-13) it would stand to reason that, whether in a mission field or at work, the subway, or the corner store, the ones who will respond to the message of Salvation, those who will seek it, are those who feel/realize they have a need that is not being fulfilled by anything else in their lives.  To then turn around and consider it bad form or dishonest seems to me to be unfair.  Would you consider it ridiculous if someone who was in pain accepted the medication they needed when it was offered to them?  I've been on mission trips, met people who were living in conditions most of us would consider squalid and deplorable, exactly the kind of people one would expect would be "ripe for the picking" and yet after hearing (most of them very cordially) the message of God's gift of eternal life, decided it was not for them.  There may well be people/organizations which are so dishonest and calculating in their approach, but most of us simply feel we are going where those in need of healing are.

My issues are the following. A- In mission work the goal of the mission, in many cases, seems to be spreading God's word primarily, and not providing physical help (food, clothing, shelter etc...). Actual aid is given, but with a condition it seems. B- When a person is living in poor conditions they are often at an emotional low and will do things they ordinarily would not do such as join a religion. This obviously isn't limited to religion. One could to turn to drugs or alcohol, as often is the case. In my opinion, it is much more effective to help a person better their living conditions, which in turn helps them emotionally (spiritually). To explain about God's word after the fact would seem to be a much more genuine situation imho. My other issue is this-

View PostIamsSon, on 26 June 2010 - 07:04 PM, said:

I've been on mission trips, met people who were living in conditions most of us would consider squalid and deplorable, exactly the kind of people one would expect would be "ripe for the picking" and yet after hearing (most of them very cordially) the message of God's gift of eternal life, decided it was not for them.

If after these people refused the gift of God, did you or the mission continue to return and offer them aid? If the answer is no, then the point of the mission is obviously not to help people, but to spread a religion and then only help the followers of said religion. If the answer is yes, then kudos to you and your mission, outstanding work sir. They and yourself are to be commended imho!

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your perspective Iams!

Hope all is well.


#258    The Silver Thong

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 10:36 PM

View PostIamsSon, on 26 June 2010 - 07:59 PM, said:

The thing is, the people who respond to the message do so because their "hunger" their "illness" is spiritual and a bowl of rice will do nothing to answer their need.  It would be like giving Zycam to someone with a gaping chest wound and thinking you healed them.  Most mission work does involve some physical help, because people need that also and because even those who do not have that spiritual need will also benefit from the physical help, but it's main intent is to find the sick and bring them healing.


quote

"The thing is, the people who respond to the message do so because their "hunger" their "illness" is spiritual and a bowl of rice will do nothing"


No, they respond because they have no other choice. Like I said, a bowl of rice if you take this bible. Give them food for conversion turns that help into a disease itself. I'm rather disgusted how you think food or medicine does less then praying. Get shot in the knee cap then pray, sorry to say it, but it won't help your knee.

Edited by The Silver Thong, 27 June 2010 - 10:36 PM.

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#259    IamsSon

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 02:45 AM

View PostMr. Miyagi, on 27 June 2010 - 10:22 PM, said:

My issues are the following. A- In mission work the goal of the mission, in many cases, seems to be spreading God's word primarily, and not providing physical help (food, clothing, shelter etc...). Actual aid is given, but with a condition it seems. B- When a person is living in poor conditions they are often at an emotional low and will do things they ordinarily would not do such as join a religion. This obviously isn't limited to religion. One could to turn to drugs or alcohol, as often is the case. In my opinion, it is much more effective to help a person better their living conditions, which in turn helps them emotionally (spiritually). To explain about God's word after the fact would seem to be a much more genuine situation imho. My other issue is this-
So, in your humble opinion if someone had a gaping chest wound you would give them a band aid and consider that you had done a great job of healing them?  Of course not!  Like I said, there are some who do respond and others who don't.

Quote

If after these people refused the gift of God, did you or the mission continue to return and offer them aid? If the answer is no, then the point of the mission is obviously not to help people, but to spread a religion and then only help the followers of said religion. If the answer is yes, then kudos to you and your mission, outstanding work sir. They and yourself are to be commended imho!

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your perspective Iams!

Hope all is well.
No one is forced to accept anything because the work we do is for the  community (digging wells, building orphanages, etc.) and we do the work  while we are visiting people so the work gets done whether anyone  decides to come to Christ or not..


View PostThe Silver Thong, on 27 June 2010 - 10:36 PM, said:

quote

"The thing is, the people who respond to the message do so because their "hunger" their "illness" is spiritual and a bowl of rice will do nothing"


No, they respond because they have no other choice. Like I said, a bowl of rice if you take this bible. Give them food for conversion turns that help into a disease itself. I'm rather disgusted how you think food or medicine does less then praying. Get shot in the knee cap then pray, sorry to say it, but it won't help your knee.
Like I said, there may be organizations that work in such a way, but my church doesn't and the organizations we support don't work that way.  They provide help whether a person accepts Christ or not.

Edited by IamsSon, 28 June 2010 - 02:46 AM.

"But then with me that horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin, in a letter to William Graham on July 3, 1881

#260    Mr. Miyagi

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 03:02 AM

View PostIamsSon, on 28 June 2010 - 02:45 AM, said:

So, in your humble opinion if someone had a gaping chest wound you would give them a band aid and consider that you had done a great job of healing them?  Of course not!  Like I said, there are some who do respond and others who don't.

Of course not. Nor would I provide them with a bible. They need propper medical attention. I understand the point you are trying to make, as I am trying to make a similar point from the opposite point of view. Remove your band aid from your analogy and replace it with a bible. Do you undestand? I feel that in the situations that missions involve themselves with actual physical aid to better the situation is more important than religion and that a more genine discussion can occur about said religion after the fact.

View PostIamsSon, on 28 June 2010 - 02:45 AM, said:

No one is forced to accept anything because the work we do is for the  community (digging wells, building orphanages, etc.) and we do the work  while we are visiting people so the work gets done whether anyone  decides to come to Christ or not..

I understand that. That is not what I am questioning. My question was do you or the mission you are involved with return again despite your religion being rejected? Furthermore, if you do return is religion pushed further or is the issue dropped and only the needed aid focussed upon?

Thanks again Iams.


#261    Karlis

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 04:50 AM

View PostMr. Miyagi, on 27 June 2010 - 10:22 PM, said:

My issues are the following. A- In mission work the goal of the mission, in many cases, seems to be spreading God's word primarily, and not providing physical help (food, clothing, shelter etc...). Actual aid is given, but with a condition it seems. B- When a person is living in poor conditions they are often at an emotional low and will do things they ordinarily would not do such as join a religion.~~~ ... (snip) ...

... In my opinion, it is much more effective to help a person better their living conditions, which in turn helps them emotionally (spiritually). To explain about God's word after the fact would seem to be a much more genuine situation imho.
Mr. Miyagi, I wonder if it was you or someone else on these threads who mentioned the book, "BRUCHKO", the autobiography by Bruce Olson? If that was you, then you know that Bruce Olson is an ideal example of the ideal missionary to "primitive natives".  :tu:

If it was someone else who mentioned this book -- and if you have not read it -- I guarantee you will agree 100% with what Bruce Olson did, and with what he accomplished. A most remarkable man indeed.


View PostMr. Miyagi, on 27 June 2010 - 10:22 PM, said:

My other issue is this-




If after these people refused the gift of God, did you or the mission continue to return and offer them aid? If the answer is no, then the point of the mission is obviously not to help people, but to spread a religion and then only help the followers of said religion. ~~~ ... (snip) ...
And these are the the type of missionaries Bruce Olson met, when he arrived in Venezuela. A fascinating contrast between them, and with what Bruce Olson did as a missionary when he searched out the native Motilone Indians. As I just said, if you have not read the book, please do so, and let us know your thoughts about the contents


View PostMr. Miyagi, on 27 June 2010 - 10:22 PM, said:

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your perspective Iams!

Hope all is well.
And all the best from me,
Karlis


#262    Mr. Miyagi

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 01:16 PM

View PostKarlis, on 28 June 2010 - 04:50 AM, said:

Mr. Miyagi, I wonder if it was you or someone else on these threads who mentioned the book, "BRUCHKO", the autobiography by Bruce Olson? If that was you, then you know that Bruce Olson is an ideal example of the ideal missionary to "primitive natives".  :tu:

If it was someone else who mentioned this book -- and if you have not read it -- I guarantee you will agree 100% with what Bruce Olson did, and with what he accomplished. A most remarkable man indeed.


And these are the the type of missionaries Bruce Olson met, when he arrived in Venezuela. A fascinating contrast between them, and with what Bruce Olson did as a missionary when he searched out the native Motilone Indians. As I just said, if you have not read the book, please do so, and let us know your thoughts about the contents


And all the best from me,
Karlis

The only missionary work that I'v referenced specifically, athough I don't remember if it was as Venkman or Miyagi, was Dan Everett and specifically his book "Don't Sleep There are Snakes" It is a similar story with the exact opposite result. A quote-

"Although I no longer believe in supernatural beings, for 25 years - after converting to Christianity when I was 17 years old, in 1968 - I was both a minister in the Wesleyan Church and a missionary with SIL International. I believe that although missionary work has some useful social effects (e.g. medical assistance and emergency flights) it is all too often divisive with negative impacts. Teaching indigenous peoples to follow the 'word(s) of god' seems less than useful. There are people who are missionaries that I respect tremendously. But I am not in favor of the enterprise."

After the tribe rejected Christianity Everett did as well resulting in, not only the mission stopping aid, but the church itself including his wife and children leaving him.

I tend to agree with Everett's mindset concerning missions.

Thanks for the Bruchko reference! I'm interested in the book nonetheless!

Have a good one Karlis!


#263    mklsgl

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 02:54 PM

View PostKarlis, on 27 June 2010 - 06:05 PM, said:

Mike, I saw the article as an "opinion editorial" type of writing. He gave an opinion, elaborated on that opinion, and then left it to the reader to consider that opinion. Yes, he gave some statistics, but the stats were not undergirding his opinion, as I see it.

The theme was left wide open for input and wide-open discussion. It was not written as an abstract for a study.

Again, just my off-the-cuff thoughts on that,
karlis

Without question, Karlis, the pastor wrote an Op-Ed piece. Problematic is that he does not frame it as 'one man's thoughts vis-a-vis New Atheists and their Irony'; instead, he posits his ideas from a self-derived authoritative POV in the form of a quasi-rhetorical declarative argument, which makes all the difference.

May I ask you where you see the pastor leaving the theme wide open for input and discussion? Yes, the publisher allowed for reader-comments, but I don't see any attempt by the pastor to invite other opinions. Essentially, he is preaching.

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#264    Karlis

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 02:59 PM

View Postmklsgl, on 28 June 2010 - 02:54 PM, said:

Without question, Karlis, the pastor wrote an Op-Ed piece. Problematic is that he does not frame it as 'one man's thoughts vis-a-vis New Atheists and their Irony'; instead, he posits his ideas from a self-derived authoritative POV in the form of a quasi-rhetorical declarative argument, which makes all the difference.

May I ask you where you see the pastor leaving the theme wide open for input and discussion? Yes, the publisher allowed for reader-comments, but I don't see any attempt by the pastor to invite other opinions. Essentially, he is preaching.
Yep, I'd have to agree that he is preaching. That howver -- being an article -- gives opportunity for comment and discussion, as here for example.


#265    mklsgl

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 03:52 PM

View PostLeonardo, on 27 June 2010 - 09:48 PM, said:

WIth respect to the part of your post I highlighted, mkl, the 'proof' depends on what is being referred to as 'black and white'.

If this is a reference to the existence/non-existence of deity (as I assume from the context of that part of the article), then I would think all the proof required is in the label 'atheist'. The use of 'aggressive' as a descriptor of the zealousness of the atheists is irrelevant, imo.

Good pull, Leo. I have to concede your point. I thought he was implying that atheists' world-view was the same 'black and white' as it is regarding the existence of [G-d].

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#266    mklsgl

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 04:05 PM

View PostKarlis, on 28 June 2010 - 02:59 PM, said:

Yep, I'd have to agree that he is preaching. That howver -- being an article -- gives opportunity for comment and discussion, as here for example.

How very true, Karlis. If you check the OP article, there have been 354 comments by readers as of 12:01pm EDT today, and not a single one from Pastor Prather. Certainly, he is not obligated to interact with his readers, but logic would dictate that if he was interested in furthering the discussion, he would engage his audience--unless, of course, he is barred from doing so by the publisher.

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#267    Karlis

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 04:45 PM

View Postmklsgl, on 28 June 2010 - 04:05 PM, said:

How very true, Karlis. If you check the OP article, there have been 354 comments by readers as of 12:01pm EDT today, and not a single one from Pastor Prather. Certainly, he is not obligated to interact with his readers, but logic would dictate that if he was interested in furthering the discussion, he would engage his audience--unless, of course, he is barred from doing so by the publisher.
Yes -- interesting. We seldom know "what's behind the scenes",
Karlis


#268    IamsSon

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 11:00 PM

View PostMr. Miyagi, on 28 June 2010 - 03:02 AM, said:

Of course not. Nor would I provide them with a bible.  They need propper medical attention. I understand the point you are trying to make, as I am trying to make a similar point from the opposite point of view. Remove your band aid from your analogy and replace it with a bible. Do you undestand? I feel that in the situations that missions involve themselves with actual physical aid to better the situation is more important than religion and that a more genine discussion can occur about said religion after the fact.
Come on Mr M., you're an intelligent guy and I'm sure understood that  the bandaid here would be any physical act, like handing out rice  bowls.  The gaping chest wound would be the spiritual need some of the  people feel.  Giving them physical aid, whether a bowl of rice, medical  attention, a new communal water well, electrical power for the village,  etc. will have little to no impact on the spiritual need they feel.  They need a spiritual response.


Quote

I understand that. That is not what I am questioning. My question was do you or the mission you are involved with return again despite your religion being rejected? Furthermore, if you do return is religion pushed further or is the issue dropped and only the needed aid focussed upon?

Thanks again Iams.
Well, I must admit we've never had 100% rejection.  There are villages in which only a few feel the spiritual need, and there have been villages in which a great number felt it.  Usually we try to go to a new area each year since we feel that those who had the spiritual need either responded during our first visit or now have a fellow villager who can help them.  Like I said, the mission work I and my church are involved in usually involves doing something that improves things for the community not individuals.

Edited by IamsSon, 28 June 2010 - 11:01 PM.

"But then with me that horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin, in a letter to William Graham on July 3, 1881

#269    Mr. Miyagi

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 03:23 AM

View PostIamsSon, on 28 June 2010 - 11:00 PM, said:

Come on Mr M., you're an intelligent guy and I'm sure understood that  the bandaid here would be any physical act, like handing out rice  bowls.  The gaping chest wound would be the spiritual need some of the  people feel.  Giving them physical aid, whether a bowl of rice, medical  attention, a new communal water well, electrical power for the village,  etc. will have little to no impact on the spiritual need they feel.  They need a spiritual response.

I understand that. What I am saying is that the "physical" needs often exacerbate a percieved need for "spiritual" aid. I feel that a more genuine approach would be to offer "spiritual" aid once they have recieved the physical aid they often desperately need.

View PostIamsSon, on 28 June 2010 - 11:00 PM, said:

Well, I must admit we've never had 100% rejection.  There are villages in which only a few feel the spiritual need, and there have been villages in which a great number felt it.  Usually we try to go to a new area each year since we feel that those who had the spiritual need either responded during our first visit or now have a fellow villager who can help them.  Like I said, the mission work I and my church are involved in usually involves doing something that improves things for the community not individuals.

I wouldn't expect 100% rejection, especially under some of the circumstances. Given what you've said and from my own experiences I feel the spiritual side of mission work is more important to establishments involved in these endeavors. Once either 100% rejection has been established (IE Dan Everett) or a religous foundation has been established within a community then the physical aid diminishes at best and stops alltogether at worst.

I do not agree with the priorties of many missions. That being said, any aid is better than none and I continue to help fund friends who are in more of a position to take part in this type of work over seas, while remaining active within my own community via local charities both religous and non. I only hope that the aid stays just as strong despite the "spiritual" success, or non success of the mission.

Thanks again Iamsson. I admire you for the help you bring to these communites, regardless if we disagree on how to go about it. Bravo sir!


#270    IamsSon

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 03:04 PM

View PostMr. Miyagi, on 29 June 2010 - 03:23 AM, said:

I understand that. What I am saying is that the "physical" needs often exacerbate a percieved need for "spiritual" aid. I feel that a more genuine approach would be to offer "spiritual" aid once they have recieved the physical aid they often desperately need.



I wouldn't expect 100% rejection, especially under some of the circumstances. Given what you've said and from my own experiences I feel the spiritual side of mission work is more important to establishments involved in these endeavors. Once either 100% rejection has been established (IE Dan Everett) or a religous foundation has been established within a community then the physical aid diminishes at best and stops alltogether at worst.
Of course it is!  The gaping chest wound should receive  attention way before the bullet wound on the arm!  Understand, from a  Christian perspective the spiritual need has an eternal consequence  while the physical one has a temporary (hours, days, weeks, years,  decades) impact.

Quote

I do not agree with the priorties of many missions. That being said, any aid is better than none and I continue to help fund friends who are in more of a position to take part in this type of work over seas, while remaining active within my own community via local charities both religous and non. I only hope that the aid stays just as strong despite the "spiritual" success, or non success of the mission.

Thanks again Iamsson. I admire you for the help you bring to these communites, regardless if we disagree on how to go about it. Bravo sir!
Frankly I think you're setting up a no-win situation for the missionaries because if they go out and try to meet the spiritual needs along with the physical needs then you say they are taking advantage of the "weakened" state of the recipients to "Sell" them the Bible.  But if they instead go out and just do "good physical works" then the accusation could easily become that they are just doing that to build up a sense of indebtedness on the recipients that they could take advantage of later on or even that they do not care about the eternal situation of these people.  Now while there may be people/organizations that are being callously calculating, I think your stance does not allow for the fact that from the missionary's perspective they are attempting to save someone from an eternal situation while also helping with a temporal one while undergoing many personal sacrifices and risks to do so.  It's a labor of love and concern.

Edited by IamsSon, 29 June 2010 - 03:04 PM.

"But then with me that horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin, in a letter to William Graham on July 3, 1881




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