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Tolerance amongst different beliefs


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#1    Paranoid Android

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:08 PM

Hey all, I was in the middle of posting a response in another thread and suddenly my post began veering to a totally different subject to what I originally intended.  Instead of posting in that thread, I thought I'd begin a new idea.  So anyway, thinking mostly of Christians and atheists, but I think this general discussion can move to any religious or non-religious person, I was looking at how some people can get offended by what a person says or does depending on their religious outlook.  On one side, someone was suggesting that not capitalising the word "God" or "Jesus" might be offensive to Christians, if the person writing is normally perfect when it comes to grammatical acumen.  The word "god" is generic and can refer to any deity, but in the context of a Christian discussion a proper noun seems appropriate in terms of "God", and some Christians announced their view that it was insulting.  People I had read in that thread then concluded that no offence should be read into it because none was intended.

In another totally different thread, I saw some Christians (myself included) suggest that telling someone that you will pray for them is not offensive, despite some atheists who voiced differing opinions.  My initial thoughts about this are that it wasn't intended as an insult, so none was intended and therefore no offence should be taken.  But nonetheless people are offended anyway.  

So, the point of this thread - in these two situations I notice two distinct points:

1- Both atheists and Christians appear self-justified in their ideas about stating their views on what is or is not offensive, and

2- Both atheists and Christians appear confused as to why someone might feel disrespected because of their resultant actions and beliefs.

I just thought I'd open this up for further discussion.  Is one side or the other really going over the top in their confusion?  Is one side being unreasonable, or are both sides guilty of not respecting others?  Or is there actually nothing to be offended about and maybe some people are just a little too sensitive?  As said, the premise seems based around the atheist/Christian dynamic but the thread really goes for any question in which people from different religious backgrounds might differ on an answer.  

Anyway, just thought I'd open this up for debate.  I'm looking forward to discussion on this topic.  Going by both concurrent discussion there might be some polarisation in views here.  Thanks for sharing :tu:

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android, 02 April 2012 - 06:19 PM.

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#2    Beckys_Mom

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:16 PM

I am not atheist but  I have been through a lot of what you mention in the OP..Please note I have no interest in debating this.. I cannot commit, I am due soon and well  I think you can understand.... So I'll just posts things I come to see and observe....

A couple of times ( and I mean just a couple )  I have had two angry Christians  have an argument with me and  the second  they see they cannot get anywhere,  they have yelled at me for not typing God with a capital G... they still post.. but  it has happened... I put it down to anger on their behalf...

One time someone  got pissy with me because I never typed the word  Christian with a capital  C... I thought that was weird.. again just an angry perosn ...  I see anger from people if they see they cannot win or get you to accept their side and agree with them.. And This is not just Christians.. this is  just about ANYONE.  IE - Atheists, Muslims, Pagans,  others you name it.. now and again  you see the same sort of anger .....  

Pray for you....

To be fair about this part -  Usually when a Christians says - I'll pray for you.. it can be out of goodness and usually it is.. .BUT I have to be honest and say-  A number of times some will use it as a masked way to insult you....   I have had a number of Christians  in the last 7 years  say it in a spiteful manner....  Like if again in an argument they cannot seem to win or get me to accept their posts....  The anger sneaks in and  it is insulting time., they will put down your post and . they end their insults with - I'll pity you, i'll pray for you Posted Image  Or just -  I'll pray for you Posted Image  <-- the added fake smilie to make it  looks as though they meant it as nice....  You can see right through it all....  Sometimes  some really cockey ones will say  AFTER they have only gone and caused some conflict.. they go ->   I hope you find peace Posted Image... I just find it all childish and ironic....I also sometimes feel that their faith is not doing them any real favours.. Not if they are so angry all the time and use their faith like a weapon to argue and fight with...

The only times it is full of goodness and caring thoughts.. Is  when I read threads   that speak of a  tragic loss.. .Some one is ill... or you are having problems... I have seen some Christians  just say -  I am so sorry to hear this and that - I'll pray for you.. OR You will be in my prayers...   That is the only time I can see it as good ..and it fits with all they have said before hand.... But not when  some try and fit it with their multi snide remarks... it never fits

What both Christians and Atheists seem to be confused  about........

SIN - I have to agree  there is usually  confusion on both ends...   Normally  the term - SIN..  We know this is a chrisitans belief and  the way most of us Non Christians will  see it is  only for Christians.. Many of us do not beleive in sin, therefore we do not call ourselves sinners ....I think this can and has raised some issues of confusion  

Condemning  - This is a bit of a problem ... Condemning, telling someone they are doomed and going to hell..( done by some not all Christians ) . This will always cause  some sort of  argument ..The Christians does see it as offensive.. but they also fail to see it from our end...  Like on the outside looking in.. I think they  forget  that there is another angle to look at.... Some will find the Atheist or Non Christi offended and not care.... They just say -But its my beliefs.. <- Like that excuses it all ?  

Beliefs V's Facts  -   More confusion  on both sides... I feel  Some Christiana cannot comprehend what  the term  - Belief  and Faith really means... I also can safely say  some  Atheists  cannot tell what those two words   Belief and Faith mean either...  I have seen a few  Atheists  really get mixed up on these terms  it is not funny.

. All I see from so many of them is - Your god is not fact, I do not see evidence of this God..  OR... You are so deluded. you present no facts  ..   I have said  so often - What part of the words  Belief and Faith  do you not understand..? But then again you have some Christians  that post it as fact...Not all but some have...but when they do it can be annoying  and no wonder the confusion  continues ..........The confusion of these two words is  unbelievable !!  

I just want to say - It's..........A..........Belief / Faith.............facts ............are............not...........required............IF they.....were....then............it is........Not a belief... Get.....it  Now ?   <-- Condescending I know.. But  there are times I feel like saying it like that...

Edited by Beckys_Mom, 02 April 2012 - 08:31 PM.

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#3    Imaginarynumber1

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:18 PM

I think you'll find that offense comes on a more personal level, rather than whichever religion someone may or may not profess a belief in.

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#4    shadowhive

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:29 PM

I think this can be divided into two things since they're two scenarios.

First is the prey for you thing. The thing that gets to me here (and that I see causes offence) is that you can prey for anyone with no problems. The problem is telling them you prey for them. Why do religious people feel the need to tell the person that they're preying for them, especially when that person is an atheist? It might be seen as a positive thing from the person giving doing the preying, but they can go around it in a much more diplomatic way (or simply not say they're preying for the person to begin with, thus avoiding the issue).

Personally, I don't want anyone 'preying for me' but I can't stop them from doing so.

As to the god part, I am wondering something. The Christian god has a name: Yahweh. Why do they not just use it? That is their god's name and it does a better distinction than simply capitalising a word. Personally I find it rather odd that people who know an entity's name would rather not use it. I would not call my dog Dog. I would not refer to one of my friend's as Human instead of their name. So why is this acceptable?

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#5    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:17 PM

View PostImaginarynumber1, on 02 April 2012 - 08:18 PM, said:

I think you'll find that offense comes on a more personal level, rather than whichever religion someone may or may not profess a belief in.

This

View Postshadowhive, on 02 April 2012 - 08:29 PM, said:


As to the god part, I am wondering something. The Christian god has a name: Yahweh. Why do they not just use it? That is their god's name and it does a better distinction than simply capitalising a word. Personally I find it rather odd that people who know an entity's name would rather not use it. I would not call my dog Dog. I would not refer to one of my friend's as Human instead of their name. So why is this acceptable?

Specifically "LORD" is Yahweh and "God"is Elohim, the plural version of El, but yes the god of the Hebrew Bible is named Yahweh. There are a couple reason I would guess they do not use it...first, saying "God" makes it sound like the god of the Deists where Yahweh just sounds like another storm god or something...but more importantly in Jewish culture the name Yahweh was too sacred to be said. They even spelled it YHWH. So once again it comes down to a respect thing. In most of my classes we use the term Yahweh, just as we use the term negro or African American in other classes. Outside of class I use the terms "God" and "black," respectively.

You are always going to offend someone even if someone if you mean well. I just do my best to try not to offend the majority and respect them. I know that not capitalizing God will offend more people that just capitalizing it, so I use the extra key stroke to do so...I use the word "black" because it seems to be the least offensive and best logical word to describe black Americans (if anyone wants me to explain more I can. Either ask in here or PM me.) I have said offensive things and I can be real blunt but for the most part in my everyday life I try to "be nice" or not upset people. I mean is it a big deal to let a car merge in traffic? Is it that hard to capitalize God? Just do it...
Just my opinion...

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#6    Euphorbia

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 10:23 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 02 April 2012 - 06:08 PM, said:

Hey all, I was in the middle of posting a response in another thread and suddenly my post began veering to a totally different subject to what I originally intended.  Instead of posting in that thread, I thought I'd begin a new idea.  So anyway, thinking mostly of Christians and atheists, but I think this general discussion can move to any religious or non-religious person, I was looking at how some people can get offended by what a person says or does depending on their religious outlook.  On one side, someone was suggesting that not capitalising the word "God" or "Jesus" might be offensive to Christians, if the person writing is normally perfect when it comes to grammatical acumen.  The word "god" is generic and can refer to any deity, but in the context of a Christian discussion a proper noun seems appropriate in terms of "God", and some Christians announced their view that it was insulting.  People I had read in that thread then concluded that no offence should be read into it because none was intended.

If a Christian and an Atheist are in a discussion why do you consider it a Christian discussion? What about the Atheist?

Writing "god" is just the way I spell it. If someone wants to take offense, that is their prerogative. No man/woman should dictate how another thinks, acts or writes. You either except it or you don't. Getting angry is just silly.

Quote

In another totally different thread, I saw some Christians (myself included) suggest that telling someone that you will pray for them is not offensive, despite some atheists who voiced differing opinions.  My initial thoughts about this are that it wasn't intended as an insult, so none was intended and therefore no offence should be taken.  But nonetheless people are offended anyway.  

So, the point of this thread - in these two situations I notice two distinct points:

1- Both atheists and Christians appear self-justified in their ideas about stating their views on what is or is not offensive, and

2- Both atheists and Christians appear confused as to why someone might feel disrespected because of their resultant actions and beliefs.

I just thought I'd open this up for further discussion.  Is one side or the other really going over the top in their confusion?  Is one side being unreasonable, or are both sides guilty of not respecting others?  Or is there actually nothing to be offended about and maybe some people are just a little too sensitive?  As said, the premise seems based around the atheist/Christian dynamic but the thread really goes for any question in which people from different religious backgrounds might differ on an answer.  

Anyway, just thought I'd open this up for debate.  I'm looking forward to discussion on this topic.  Going by both concurrent discussion there might be some polarisation in views here.  Thanks for sharing :tu:

~ Regards, PA

If someone wants to ask to pray for me that's OK. I will say no and if they respect that then I would be fine with that. If they go ahead and pray for me anyway, especially doing it behind my back I would be offended by that. Kind of like the Mormons baptizing dead people that are not Christians or Mormons.

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#7    I Am Not Resisting

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 11:14 PM

View PostParanoid Android, on 02 April 2012 - 06:08 PM, said:

Hey all, I was in the middle of posting a response in another thread and suddenly my post began veering to a totally different subject to what I originally intended.  Instead of posting in that thread, I thought I'd begin a new idea.  So anyway, thinking mostly of Christians and atheists, but I think this general discussion can move to any religious or non-religious person, I was looking at how some people can get offended by what a person says or does depending on their religious outlook.  On one side, someone was suggesting that not capitalising the word "God" or "Jesus" might be offensive to Christians, if the person writing is normally perfect when it comes to grammatical acumen.  The word "god" is generic and can refer to any deity, but in the context of a Christian discussion a proper noun seems appropriate in terms of "God", and some Christians announced their view that it was insulting.  People I had read in that thread then concluded that no offence should be read into it because none was intended.
Personally, I cannot see why someone would get so offended over a capitalization issue, but then again I am not a Christian.  It is hard for me to see this from their point of view.  I feel like if they are happy in their beliefs and fine with others having their own beliefs, then what does it matter?  Then again, as someone who likes to follow the rules of the English language, I could understand why it may irk some people if "God" was not capitalized.  As far as the respect issue goes, I think as long as they aren't calling said god by an offensive or derogatory name, just let it slide.  

Quote

In another totally different thread, I saw some Christians (myself included) suggest that telling someone that you will pray for them is not offensive, despite some atheists who voiced differing opinions.  My initial thoughts about this are that it wasn't intended as an insult, so none was intended and therefore no offence should be taken.  But nonetheless people are offended anyway.
As an atheist, I don't take offense when someone tells me they will pray for me for a few reasons.  One, they usually don't know that I'm an atheist and probably assume I'm christian, so the thought wouldn't cross their mind.  Two, they mean well (usually).  It would be like me saying to them, "I'll keep you in my thoughts."  Now, just because I don't take offense doesn't mean I like it or am comfortable with it.  I would prefer that people don't say it to me, but I'm not going to get my panties in a wad about it.  However, I have had a few people say it just to get under my skin.  Not in the nice and sincere way, but the malicious and offensive way.  Now THAT really irks me.

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#8    shadowhive

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 11:36 PM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 02 April 2012 - 09:17 PM, said:

Specifically "LORD" is Yahweh and "God"is Elohim, the plural version of El, but yes the god of the Hebrew Bible is named Yahweh. There are a couple reason I would guess they do not use it...first, saying "God" makes it sound like the god of the Deists where Yahweh just sounds like another storm god or something...but more importantly in Jewish culture the name Yahweh was too sacred to be said. They even spelled it YHWH. So once again it comes down to a respect thing. In most of my classes we use the term Yahweh, just as we use the term negro or African American in other classes. Outside of class I use the terms "God" and "black," respectively.

You are always going to offend someone even if someone if you mean well. I just do my best to try not to offend the majority and respect them. I know that not capitalizing God will offend more people that just capitalizing it, so I use the extra key stroke to do so...I use the word "black" because it seems to be the least offensive and best logical word to describe black Americans (if anyone wants me to explain more I can. Either ask in here or PM me.) I have said offensive things and I can be real blunt but for the most part in my everyday life I try to "be nice" or not upset people. I mean is it a big deal to let a car merge in traffic? Is it that hard to capitalize God? Just do it...
Just my opinion...

See that still doesn't make sense. I get them not wanting to use the name because it's sacred, but what I don't get is why they take two more general words (god and lord) and use those instead. Why not create something else? To me it seems quite the opposite of what they were trying to achieve (at least in the case of god). Calling a person whose name you know as Human is much less respectful than using their actual name. God, like human is what the entity is not it's name. Now lord strikes me as different because it's a title and that is much more respectful (certainly there are many cases were a person's title is just as acceptable to use as their name, if not more so).

I make a point never to use the 'extra keystroke' to capitalise god unless it's the start of a sentance. It's not about respect to me. In general any 'real' god is an unknown entity (at least to me). If I had evidence that a: a certain god was real and b: that god was ok being refered to as 'God' then sure, I'd use it. If I am refering to a specific deity I'd use the name (Isis, Thor etc) or the religion that god belongs to (ie the christian god). That's the best way, for me, to refer to such entities. Until now, I've not seen anyone have a problem with capitalisation. I've even seen believers that don't capitalise god. So to me it's pretty much a non-issue.

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#9    CommunitarianKevin

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:47 AM

View Postshadowhive, on 02 April 2012 - 11:36 PM, said:

See that still doesn't make sense. I get them not wanting to use the name because it's sacred, but what I don't get is why they take two more general words (god and lord) and use those instead. Why not create something else? To me it seems quite the opposite of what they were trying to achieve (at least in the case of god). Calling a person whose name you know as Human is much less respectful than using their actual name. God, like human is what the entity is not it's name. Now lord strikes me as different because it's a title and that is much more respectful (certainly there are many cases were a person's title is just as acceptable to use as their name, if not more so).

I make a point never to use the 'extra keystroke' to capitalise god unless it's the start of a sentance. It's not about respect to me. In general any 'real' god is an unknown entity (at least to me). If I had evidence that a: a certain god was real and b: that god was ok being refered to as 'God' then sure, I'd use it. If I am refering to a specific deity I'd use the name (Isis, Thor etc) or the religion that god belongs to (ie the christian god). That's the best way, for me, to refer to such entities. Until now, I've not seen anyone have a problem with capitalisation. I've even seen believers that don't capitalise god. So to me it's pretty much a non-issue.

Well I am not an ancient Israelite or Judahite so I cannot tell you the logic behind it...but they must have had some reasoning behind it...

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#10    Beany

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:16 AM

It's very difficult to have a productive discussion over the internet with strangers with whom we have no history, no understanding of their life's experiences, or influences, or major events & people that shaped their lives. Nuances are lost, body language hidden, good will invisible, so it all sort of remains at the intellectual level, when the conversation is really about beliefs, emotions, feelings, etc. Semantics becomes a major issue, because on this forum words are all we have to communicate with. No one can see a smile, a head nod or shake, can look a person in the eye, those things that communicate so much without words.


#11    Paracelse

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 06:00 AM

I have to admit that if the word god with or without a capital G doesn’t bother me at all, the word lord has a condescending aspect which can twitched my nerves.  But same could be said when someone attempts to make me eat kosher or halal.

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#12    Arbenol

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:52 AM

I don't think either of the examples is offensive.

If an atheist does not use capital letters when referring to a specific deity and someone takes offence, I think that someone needs to understand that you can't deliberately disrespect what you don't believe in. It may show disrespect for another's belief but that comes with the territory. It's not the same as disrespecting the person.

If a christian offered to pray for me I would accept this as a token of their affection / respect / care for me.

If people take offence I think it shows a lack of understanding of the motives of the other. And that's just tough. Life's too short to go around walking on eggshells for fear of upsetting the oversensitive.


#13    Parsip

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

Oh, for God's sake, nobody was offended! :rolleyes: When I said "I'm sure Christians will be offended by your refusal to capitalize Jesus" I was being sarcastic. Nobody in the thread was offended. I was pointing out how childish and petty radical atheists can be when they try to insult Christians. No one refuses to capitalize the names of fictional characters. Only radical atheists refuse to capitalize God and other Christian words.

As for praying for me, I have no problem with it. If it doesn't accomplish anything, no harm done. If someone innocently says they'll pray for me, it would be immoral to lash out at them.

Edited by Parsip, 03 April 2012 - 09:21 AM.


#14    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 09:44 AM

I teach my students that when you pray for someone what you're doing is asking God to help that person in a certain specified area because they think that that person needs help. But, this is the important part, you pray for them you don't tell them so - you don't have to tell people, it's an act of kindness that should be faceless because it's about the person you're praying for not the person doing the prayer.

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#15    libstaK

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:08 AM

View Postshadowhive, on 02 April 2012 - 08:29 PM, said:

I think this can be divided into two things since they're two scenarios.

First is the prey for you thing. The thing that gets to me here (and that I see causes offence) is that you can prey for anyone with no problems. The problem is telling them you prey for them. Why do religious people feel the need to tell the person that they're preying for them, especially when that person is an atheist? It might be seen as a positive thing from the person giving doing the preying, but they can go around it in a much more diplomatic way (or simply not say they're preying for the person to begin with, thus avoiding the issue).

Personally, I don't want anyone 'preying for me' but I can't stop them from doing so.

As to the god part, I am wondering something. The Christian god has a name: Yahweh. Why do they not just use it? That is their god's name and it does a better distinction than simply capitalising a word. Personally I find it rather odd that people who know an entity's name would rather not use it. I would not call my dog Dog. I would not refer to one of my friend's as Human instead of their name. So why is this acceptable?

Hi Shadowhive,
I understand what you mean.  Even as a believer, I have a different understanding than my brother for instance.  I have lost track in our lives, after heated debates, of the amount of times he has insisted on having the last word by saying "I always pray for you", gah!  Translation, "I pray one day you will see things my way":w00t: .

On the other hand, sometimes people, atheists or people of different faiths speak about their personal problems and health of themselves or loved ones.  It is inate for a believer to offer that they will "pray for them" .As much as another might just say, "I hope the best for you" I find it automatic to say "my thoughts and prayers are with you".  Fact is, I don't expect an atheist to see this as a prayer to God, what I imagine is that they know my heart is reaching out and wishing the very best with my thoughts in the way I know how.

As to the God v god.  I don't get offended and don't much care, I am as likely as any other to write it one way or the other.  I really don't like speaking too directly about "God" if that makes sense.  I tend to consider discussions a matter of opining and intellectualising rather than speak for him/her or speaking words that are somehow construed to be sacred or "gospel"  - they simply are not.  That is a little harder to quantify, I suppose, I just hope it makes sense.  A degree of distance is very apparent to me in the discussions between people's and that which is actually divine or sacred may be a better way of putting it.

As to using his name - a God of everything - the God, so to speak, encompasses all things and is just that in absolute totality I guess - God.

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

Inscription - Temple of Delphi




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