Thursday, May 10, 2012

against tolerance

{I've been convicted lately about this, and here's the first in a serious of posts on some things I want to think about. I'm writing this one first, since I feel like it's something that we as bloggers are particularly prone to.}

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life..."
John 14:6

We've picked up one of the lies that has warped our world--that there's a truth for you and a truth for me. Everyone finds their own truth. Jesus Christ for me, and whatever feels right for you. It’s all good, it’s all truth, it’s all the same. The definition of loving our neighbor has come to mean celebrating everything that they believe without question, and it's considered impolite to disagree with someone else’s beliefs.


Not all tolerance is bad. It's great for secondary issues like taste in music and favorite superheroes, but not for Jesus Christ.

When did we stop believing Jesus? When did we stop standing up and telling the truth about the one true Hope for the lost world? When did we start apologizing for our God? When did we start admiring lost unbelievers for their rejection of the Savior of our souls?

If we are Christians, then we believe in Christ. If we believe in Christ, we believe that he is the only possible truth. Jesus never says “I am a truth. But there are others, so if you feel led to follow those, go ahead." We're in his army, or we're not--and if we're not in his army, we're fighting against him. There is no middle ground.

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, 
and if true, of infinite importance, 
the only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” 
-C.S. Lewis

Despite our culture's smug and peaceful-sounding claims, there is absolute truth, and if we think logically, it's undeniable.

“If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazi less true, 
there must be something—some real morality—for them to be true about."
 - C. S. Lewis

Why is it wrong for someone to murder another person? What if the criminal explained that murdering someone was right for him? The concept of no absolute truth just doesn't work.


So why? Why are we standing in the face of blasphemous statements like “there are lots of options, and I didn't choose the one involving Jesus” and responding with "I chose the Jesus option, but you should follow your heart." This is straight-up denying Christ. 

“He who does not hate the false does not love the true; 
and he to whom it is all the same whether it be God's word or man's, 
is himself unrenewed at heart.”
― Charles Spurgeon



We were in Chipotle (♥) the day after I saw the amazingness that is The Avengers, and I clutched my sister as we stood in line. "All these people! They haven't seen it yet!" I want everyone to see it and experience it and love it and let it blow their minds like it did mine.

This is just the tiniest, barely-comparable beginning of what we should feel like about Jesus. We should look at these people--especially the ones who we have any kind of relationship with!--and think "it's horrible that they don't know this glorious thing that is Jesus' salvation!" Kind of like me posting and raving and clutching people and spazzing about this movie I'm in love with, we should just overflow with the joy that is Jesus. Not only did he rock my world, he saved me from eternal damnation!


How much more important is Jesus than all the other things we spend so much time and energy pursuing/discussing/getting excited about? We might all say "Jesus is number one in my life!" but do we act like it?

And besides, Jesus shouldn't be "number one". He should be everythingpermeating and ruling and every piece of our lives. How can we shut up about him if he is our everything?

There's a wrong way to tell people the truth. Just because it's true doesn't mean we should beat them over the head with it. But people tend to use "it's not very loving to judge others" as an argument that we Christians should shut up when we try to talk about Jesus at all.

All of us--the ones who stay quiet and commend others for finding their own truth, and the ones who give the truth in the wrong way--I think we've forgotten what love is. 

"Yes, a multitude of sins are indeed covered by love,
 but that doesn't mean that they are just ignored or tolerated.
 No, love seeks the good of the sinner enough to rescue them 
from their sin by confrontation or admonition. 
In the Church of Christ, we have a clear unequivocal command 
to love others enough to boldly appeal to them to leave their sin."
-Doug Heck


Loving does not mean "live and let live". A doctor doesn't find out that someone is sick, and, not wanting to be offensive or make them feel bad, keep it to himself. The doctor tells them the hard truth, in a honest and gentle way, and then shows them what they can do to treat it. There is a cure!
  
If we truly love others, we want the best for them. When you love someone, you want the best for them. Loving means reaching out, involving them, doing life with them, not just lobbing the truth at them like hand grenades. Loving someone does not mean avoiding confrontation for the sake of "peace". 

“Love is not affectionate feeling, 
but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good 
as far as it can be obtained."
- C. S. Lewis


We don't speak truth to people because we have it all figured out--we want to tell them about the amazing and undeserved grace that Jesus has given. It's not about us--it's about him. If we have our heads on straight about this, we won't make mistakes in our attitude toward people.

We're all sinners, so when we speak the truth in love to others, it shouldn't be because they offended us, hurt our feelings, made us look bad. It should be because we can't hear that twisted thinking from a lost soul, ignore it, and just keep walking. We speak up because we love them.



Let's do this. Let's be honest, uncompromising, committed, wildly in love with Jesus Christ. Let's truly love people by speaking up. Only God can change their hearts, but we're responsible to give them the truth.


co-written by Hadley

68 comments:

  1. you've expressed my thoughts on the matter precisely!! Except in a much more coherent way than my brain could ever formulate :) Thankyou so much for you're brilliant post. Looking forward to reading more!! xoxo Kailee (www.kispirazone.blogspot.com)

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  2. AMEN!!! amenamenamen. preach it sister. I couldn't agree more. tolerance has reached a let-everyone-do-what-is-right-for-them stage. and that is so not right! absolute truth...the world is running wild without it. amazing post susannah!

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  3. Great post! I have to admit that often I just keep quiet because I hate conflict and try to avoid it.

    I also loved what you said about how excited we get about books and films and things, and how we should be a thousand times more excited about Jesus.

    ~Kristin

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  4. theseeee/this are/is amazing!! <3

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  5. I just love everything about this post, the photos, your thoughts and words are just amazing! xx

    - Jianine

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  6. Wow... This is really convicting, but I think we all tend to stay quiet for fear of gaining a bad reputation. And I really love that you said we should be excited for Jesus like we are about movies =D That is actually a really good way to put it.

    ~Molly~
    mollyslittlecorner.blogspot.com

    P.S. Pictures were absolutely AMAZING!!! Especially the sixth one ;)

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  7. Seriously. This needed to be said.

    I do get so tired of Christians being all okay with EVERYTHING, just so we can "be nice to everybody." Yeah. It doesn't work that way. Right is right, wrong is wrong.

    I think sometimes we try to be so nice to compensate for the people who ARE beating unbelievers over the head. But that doesn't accomplish anything either.

    On a lighter note: I like your blossom photo. But then, I always like your photos. :D

    Thank you. JUST...THANK YOU.

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  8. hallelujah, amen, you are dismissed and this is wonderful and i love you and i couldn't have said it any better.
    also: the avengers. SO. AMAZING. oh my gosh. yes.
    -jocee <3

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  9. This is awesome. God is doing amazing things in your life! I agree with you 100%. We all need to stand up for God because he died for us. God bless you!

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  10. Thank you so.much. for saying these things. I feel like shouting for joy when people with a large audience stand up for the truth. I also meant to tell you (some time ago, now!) that I appreciate the comment you put on Olivia's (Of Horsefeathers) terribly sad post a while ago. I read most of those comments, and yours (and your friends') were the only ones I really agreed with.

    Your blog? 10 times cooler. And it was already at way cool.

    Oh, and another thing I keep meaning to tell you is that I reallyreally enjoy reading your posts. I can't help but have a grin spread across my face because you're so stinkin' funny. Seriously, I get excited when I see you've posted.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Camille

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  11. EXACTLY right! So often, we forget to blog about the important stuff, myself included. You hit the nail on the head with everything you said! (No, I wasn't trying to rhyme, it just happened. ^_-) Also, I love your blog. As another commenter said, I get excited when I see you posted. You have a way with words. ^_^ Keep it up!

    http://trueelegance92.blogspot.com/

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  12. Yes. Christians are now accepting and tolerating all things because they just want to show God's love...Well the Bible says we will be persecuted and hated. It's not popular to say what your saying but it's truth.

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  13. Amen!!! I loved what you said about the criminal saying that it was 'right for him' to kill someone. Because really, that's what it's coming to. I was really blessed by this post; thank you! :)

    ~Emily

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  14. Wow. I needed this. Thanks! :) Have you read "Mere Christianity" by CS Lewis? This reminds me of a lot of that book. Awesome post!

    "When did we stop believing Jesus? When did we stop standing up and telling the truth about the one true Hope for the lost world? When did we start apologizing for our God? When did we start admiring lost unbelievers for their rejection of the Savior of our souls?" Great thought! I know it sure convicted me! :)

    This song really reminds me of your post here. :) Especially the part in the lyrics where it says "This is war, so pick your side". I think so many Christians have lost sight of that basic fact. We are either at war against God or Satan. There is no in-between. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyVFxPSGljg

    Keep it up! God bless,
    ~Me

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  15. Amen! I appreciate someone saying these things--since some of us (including myself sometimes) are afraid or timid to say these things.
    I'm sharing this on my blog!!


    www.ihavemusings.blogspot.com

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  16. Wow, you really hit the spot! I get frustrated about this, because I have a lot of family members who want me to just "shut up, love, and accept." But it's because I love them that I could never accept the way that they ignore Christ and go about their sinful lives. Not that I don't sin -- I'm not judging them. But I want them to have the same peace and fulfillment as I have when hard times come.

    Thanks for this -- it was so awesome :)
    xoxo,
    Jessica

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  17. Spot on! Lovely job clearly explaining this. Have you read Crazy Love by Francis Chan? It's a great book that I'm going through with a group a girls. It's so great and convicting :)

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    1. yes! love, love, love that book--so good.

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  18. Brilliant and convicting post, Susannah! We need to be so passionate about or Savior that we fade from the picture. "He must increase, and I must decrease."

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  19. Amazing as always! I'm bookmarking this post. Love you!

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  20. Yes, yes, yes, and yes! Thank you for saying this! In our world or relativism, people don't seek out a higher Truth any more. But the purpose of our education and of our lives is to seek Truth, and think all with respect to that Truth.
    I love how you pointed out that we should approach these people because we love them, and have a responsibility to shout out about our King. :)

    xx,
    Liz B

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  21. That was very brave and bold of you to write! So proud to follow your blog! ha ha

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  22. This is so spot on and beautifully written. Thanks for setting an example that other bloggers can follow. Love love love it!

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  23. <3 Love, love, love everything you said! So relevant in our lives and relationships, and especially in our culture.

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  24. This was AMAZING!!!!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful post!! :D

    C.S. Lewis is seriously the bomb, and what you said about getting excited for Jesus... LOVE IT!! :)

    Love,
    Manda
    http://meandjesus-amanda.blogspot.com

    p.s. oh, and the pictures weren't bad either. ;)

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  25. You are right. I'd rather love people to Christ in truth than tolerate them to hell.

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  26. oh dear, as I sit here beginning to type I am wondering why should I bother, you'll probably just remove it anyway because I'm not here to pat you on the back...I will do my best to have tolerance, for your "views" on things, because when you step outside yourself, that is all they are, your opinions, the things you claim as "truths" are only ideas, and when you say you have it "all figured out" that is just what you "think"...you have not gone to heaven and spoken with god, the apocalypse has not come and you have not been saved, you are ASSUMING that you have it right...and Im not telling you you are wrong, I am giving you the tolerance you so easily dismiss, tolerance to accept that you have these ideas, and there is a chance you can be right, but there is also the chance that you are completely wrong, and I have the right to believe as I wish. I am not Christian, I am Jewish, so was Jesus, he was born to a Jewish Mother and a Jewish Father and the last supper was a Passover Seder...and you can dismiss everything I have to say right now just based on the fact that I am not Christian and have different ideas than you, but to call your ideas truths and my ideas as wrong, is as silly as if I told you the same in reverse...on "Absolute" truths, you say murder is ALWAYS wrong, what about self defense? are we to stand and not defend ourselves against our enemies when they are trying to kill us, should we stand there and die because if we killed them instead we would be committing murder? what about rape if someone was to try to rape you, and your only defense was to stop them by killing them, should you let them rape you because murder is wrong...I am aware that killing and rape is not what you want to think or hear about, but it is the simplest way to make my point in that saying something is an absolute truth, when it isnt...

    so here is a "truth"... you will never, ever, ever, get everyone on earth to believe the same ideas as you, and since we all have to share the same world, you will HAVE to learn TOLERANCE, accept that you have the right to your ideas and I have the right to mine...

    I hear you saying that you want to help others, showing them love, and helping them find the "truth"...but part of loving and helping others, is letting them decide for themselves, RESPECTING their right to believe that their "truth" is right for them...and as long as we all respect each others rights, and don't hurt each other in the name of our seperate truths, we will all get along fine, and in the end, maybe we are all right, maybe god in his great wisdom, will appreciate that we all believed in something, and tried our best to follow our own truths, and didnt hurt each other, and maybe we will all be in heaven together...because frankly, I believe god is good, and that he wont turn someone away from believing in the religion of their family, and being a good and decent and godly person, just because it was this religion or that one...As I said earlier I am Jewish, but my husband is not, he is Christian, and we have 3 children, and we respect each others ideas enough, to not dismiss either, but to present both, wholeheartedly to our children, as two different views that no man on earth knows who is right and who is wrong, and that as long as you are fundementally a good person, god will see that, and not turn you away...

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    Replies
    1. Another AnonymousMay 10, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      In answer to your first objection (we don't know whether we're right), if we didn't know that we are right we would not be true Christians. If you know that the sky is blue it is foolish to say that it may be red, even though in your personal opinion it is blue. You say we do not know anything for sure until we die, but that is only living in constant doubt; if you don't truly believe that you are right, why believe at all? Everyone doubts at times, but even then let us be Puddleglum and say that our "fake" world is a good bit better than their "real" one.
      With prayer,
      ~ A Christian

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    2. What Polka Dot says is right. Christians are Christians because we know God's Word is true.

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    3. Dear Anonymous (1st),
      I would love it if you would answer this:
      If you don't believe your Jewish beliefs are better than anyone else's- even your Christian husband's - then why do you believe them? If you think that there is no surety in belief, why not make it easier on your kids and believe the same thing?
      Don't you hold to your Jewish faith *because* you believe it's the best thing, because you believe it's true? Even if you say you think it's the best thing for you and you wouldn't push it onto anyone else, you wouldn't believe in it unless you thought it was good and it worked, am I correct? So don't you believe in it enough to think that it could change anyone's or everyone's lives?

      I cannot help but think, that if you don't believe that your faith isn't really true, and it can't change the world now, at least in some way, then you actually don't believe in it at all. If you say that you don't know anything to be true unless you're dead, then what hope is there?

      Also, if you truly believed in tolerance of others' views, why did you respond?

      You're right that everyone gets to choose what they believe truth to be. Yahweh calls us to make that choice, and to make the right one: “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15).

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    4. Yet Another AnonymousMay 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      Personally, I disagree with this completely. I think that religion, faith etc. , things that are based on belief rather than proof, are things that people should in fact tolerate other opinions on. I would tolerate this post, this comment that I'm replying to, but you guys are specifically telling me not to. And I find that mean, as well as a violation of my rights. I think that my view on this is much better in Jesus, or who ever really is God,'s eyes, because I'm not unfollowing her for saying this. I'm not telling her that she is a horrible person, even if it does seem that way for a bit, I'm just saying, that you are discriminating against many people. In some ways, a am an Atheist because I don't see any certain way as the only way. If there is no proof, why are you violating the constitutional rights of others by forcing them into your belief?

      I apologize if this came across as harsh, I wasn't intending it that way. All I want is for you guys to read this, see my opinion, and, hopefully, understand where I'm coming from.

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    5. Yet Another AnonymousMay 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      I agree with the first anonymous entirely. You will eventually need to learn tolerance. Have you ever known somebody that was a very good person- volutered, helped people in need, was very kind? Have you ever met somebody like that, somebody who was also an Atheist? Or a Muslim? Or a Jew? Or.... I don't know, you probably haven't met many Buddhists or people of other religions... Did you tell them that they were going to Hell or that they were sinning because of their beliefs? That they were sinning, even if they had done much good for the world? I hope that you didn't. Because that would make you truly a bad person- in Jesus' eyes, too.

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    6. Dear Yet Another Anonymous,

      So are you saying that our belief that Jesus is the cure for the world, is a wrong belief, or it's only wrong when we share that with others?

      The beauty of having 'rights', is that those 'rights' we think of, are actually gifts and blessings. We have our constitutional rights, but we forget that the Untied States could fall apart in one day, like the empire of Rome did... and if that happened, what rights would we actually have? Are there intrinsic rights as human beings, or are those only manufactured ideas?

      I believe that Jesus Christ came to save the world, not because I saw it happen and could show you proof thereof, but because I see and live what has happened as a result of that, and I see the proof that there is hope, that there are things we *can* know for sure, and that you and I get to play roles in this amazing story.

      Every other religion in the world preaches a gospel of good works, doing good things to get into heaven, or at least some kind of reward. But being a follower of Christ means that Christ didn't save you because he thought that you were a good person, or that he saw that you did good things (if I was a good person, why would I need saving?). Christianity is the only religion in the world that offers true hope: that no matter how much of a sinner you are -whether you are a thief or a philanthropist-, Christ can look beyond your actions and motivations, and He will love you nonetheless. That's why Jesus is for everyone.

      Now, I don't say that because it is my desire to offend you; I say that because with every fiber in my being, I believe it's the only truth out there. If you believed you had the only truth out there, wouldn't you want to share it too??

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    7. and yet I find something fundementally wrong with the concept as you said "that no matter how much of a sinner you are -whether you are a thief or a philanthropist-, Christ can look beyond your actions and motivations, and He will love you nonetheless."

      I dont have a problem with god or christ loving people who do bad things, I do however have issue with the concept that someone who is evil and does bad things throughout thier life, cheats, steals, lies, hurts people, rapes, molests, and murders can ask for "forgiveness" can simply ask to be saved and is purely because he believes that Jesus is his personal saviour, but according to your beliefs a GOOD person, who volunteers, gives charity, helps others, loves and shares and teaches, who has a different religious belief will not be saved in the end....

      that is a concept I cant wrap my head around

      -the first anonymous

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    8. to respond to some of the replies

      I was asked "If you don't believe your Jewish beliefs are better than anyone else's- even your Christian husband's - then why do you believe them? If you think that there is no surety in belief, why not make it easier on your kids and believe the same thing? "

      I do "believe" in my beliefs, but I am not so foolish to think that I cant possibly be wrong. Man is not perfect. So for me to say that my beliefs are right and yours are wrong is foolish, I have not heard Gods voice, and he is the only one who knows for sure...The problem is when people confuse belief, faith, and hope, with FACT and TRUTH

      I think only a fool is so sure they are right on something that cant be proven, that they dont entertain the concept that they may be wrong...

      I think that my children DO have it "easier", this world is a melting pot of different religions, and tolerance is a necessity moving forward, because unless you stick your head in the sand you will encounter people who believe different things than you, and my children understand this first hand....

      It would be unfair for me to ask my husband to change his beliefs or pretend they dont exist, just as it would be for me if he asked me to...my children understand both sides, both beliefs, enjoy both cultures...

      and your other question:
      "Also, if you truly believed in tolerance of others' views, why did you respond?"

      It bothered me, speaking against tolerance, speaking of absolute truths, It bothered me enough that I wanted to say something, but
      I believe my response held true to having tolerance, I never said I am right and you are wrong, I was trying to show a different view..

      to a christian

      The sky IS blue (most of the time, not counting bad weather, sunsets, sunrise or parts or times when it isnt)

      grass IS green (most of the time, not counting fall and winter, poor growing conditions and different varieties when it isnt)

      those are things that can be seen, are proven infront of your eyes, beliefs however are just ideas, they are not something you can prove

      so saying that Jesus will save you because you have accepted him as your saviour....there isnt proof to that, that day hasn't come yet

      so therefore no matter how much you believe it, it doesnt make it true

      again, I have not once said it was not true, I said maybe you're right...

      but to say it is the truth or a fact, Im sorry it is not. it is a belief, there IS a difference

      and I am not saying your belief is wrong, just it is not a proven fact, the only way to know is after it has come to pass...

      What I dont believe as I said before, is that I cant believe god will turn you away for believing in the wrong religion, I think your actions is what you will be held accountable for, and that good people will be welcomed by god, and if anyone gets turned away it will be based on their actions alone...



      -the first anonymous

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    9. Dear First Anonymous,

      I totally agree with you that we can't stick our heads in the sand to pretend other religions and philosophies aren't out there. But what you believe is important because it directs your decisions and actions; I think you'd agree with me there...?

      But, if there's no way of knowing God actually exists, why do you believe in Him?
      What if there is no Heaven, and God turned away everyone to Hell- how do you decide whether that is false or true?
      How do you know what is fact and truth? Are they determined by what has happened in the past, or by what is present?

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    10. the thing is I cant "decide whether that is false or true" just because you believe something doesn't make it fact..

      If I were to "decide" you are going to hell and call that the truth...it doesnt make it so, I am not in any way saying that to you directly, I am making a point, that just because someone believes something doesnt make it true

      I choose to believe in God, but deciding that there IS a god is not a proven fact. I am not arguing his existence, I am saying it isnt a fact.

      but that is the POINT of FAITH, faith is believing in something without facts, not claiming your beliefs ARE facts...

      the facts regarding religion are not able to be proved by past and present, they will only be proved in the future...

      IF you wind up in heaven, and even then you will only know for sure if you ask and are given the answer, because you might be sharing heaven with other people who believed in other religions...but until then, none of it is facts, its all just beliefs


      going back to the original blog poster, you mention a doctor telling a patient the truth, number one a patient goes to the doctor asking for help...people go to doctors for help and the "truth" that doctors give to patients are based on medical facts that can be proven...

      I dont have a problem with you having your beliefs, I just want you to respect my right to have my own

      -the first anonymous

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    11. Responding to this :

      "I dont have a problem with god or christ loving people who do bad things, I do however have issue with the concept that someone who is evil and does bad things throughout thier life, cheats, steals, lies, hurts people, rapes, molests, and murders can ask for "forgiveness" can simply ask to be saved and is purely because he believes that Jesus is his personal savior, but according to your beliefs a GOOD person, who volunteers, gives charity, helps others, loves and shares and teaches, who has a different religious belief will not be saved in the end....

      that is a concept I cant wrap my head around "

      When a person who has done evil things as you mentioned--rape, murder, cheat, steal, etc-- doesn't just "ask for forgiveness." If a person who has done horrible things and asks for forgiveness from Christ and turns from sin, that is much different that asking for forgiveness and continuing to do wrong. I think that is the concept that you can wrap your head around. A convicted person, by God's grace, longs for a new beginning only found in Christ. If a person uses God has a forgiveness slot machine to retrieve atonement from sin only to fall back into sin, that is when hypocrisy is found. If you saw a person doing this, it would be quite annoying to watch them claim to be a "Christian."

      part two:

      "but according to your beliefs a GOOD person, who volunteers, gives charity, helps others, loves and shares and teaches, who has a different religious belief will not be saved in the end...."

      Yes, good works do not make you righteous is God's eyes. As you've said before, people aren't perfect and therefore according to God's standards, the ten commandments, we aren't able to survive God's wrath. But, this is where Jesus comes in. He bridges the gap between the Father and sin as a wrath removing sacrifice. This requires nothing on our part. It is solely God sending HIS son to die for humanity. Faith without works is dead, so doing good things is apart of having saving faith in Christ.

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    12. Dear First Anonymous,

      Thank you for replying/answering my question... I was kind of confused though as to how you personally determine/define fact, truth, reality, as those things... are you saying there is no such thing as knowing truth here on earth? If so, why?

      Also, I could see how the concept you said you couldn't wrap your mind around could be weird; but humanity has created an idea that doing good things with selfish motivations are okay... But it's not.
      If someone who takes care of the elderly or sick, or feeds hungry people -all good things in and of themselves- are doing it to make themselves 'feel good' or because they want recognition from it, or even because they want a special reward (Heaven, even), then their heart isn't in it for the right reasons, wouldn't you agree? If you're doing good things for you, then don't you think those 'good things' are ultimately tainted with selfishness (maybe not by anything anyone else can see, but God sees hearts, he knows what's behind actions)?
      I'm saying that God looks past that, sees the work His Son Jesus did as it replaces our own attempts at goodness, and loves us. God can love any kind of person, and it can seem offensive to think that he could offer the same redemption and love to a rapist as a missionary... but that's what makes Him so incredible: we all are sinners, and He can save us all.
      I've never killed anyone, but certainly there are people in my life I've withheld forgiveness from unjustly, and I would say even hated at some point. And I've never committed fornication, but I would be lying if I said that I never lusted after someone who God hadn't given me. And I've done "good things"- volunteer work and mission work for those in need - knowing that someone would see, and hoping I would get recognition... My heart -as is all of the human race- is selfish and prideful, but through Christ's blood, I have hope, for right now and for eternity...
      if you say we can't know anything for sure -no facts or truth- until you're dead, then what hope do we have for being in Heaven? If we can't know anything, is there even hope that Heaven exists?

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    13. "If someone who takes care of the elderly or sick, or feeds hungry people -all good things in and of themselves- are doing it to make themselves 'feel good' or because they want recognition from it, or even because they want a special reward (Heaven, even), then their heart isn't in it for the right reasons, wouldn't you agree? If you're doing good things for you, then don't you think those 'good things' are ultimately tainted with selfishness (maybe not by anything anyone else can see, but God sees hearts, he knows what's behind actions)? "

      NO, I do Not agree, not everyone who does charity does it for "something", some do it in secret, for no recognition, just because it is a good thing to do...while I will never critisize someone for giving even when they are CLEARLY looking for recogniton, I know there are people who purposefully give in secret because they DONT want the recognition because they feel that cheapens the act of giving...there are people who give for no other reason than it is good, or right, or needed, and not because they think it will get them into heaven, or put them in gods favor, or give them the warm fuzzies, but for those who do give for those reasons, those are not reasons I would find fault in...nor do I find fault in those who give openly so those who need can find them for help...and I think it says something about your heart if you think there are alterior motives in the hearts of those that give..some just give selflessly, and any act of giving should be commended...

      I never said you cant know any facts or truths, until death...

      there are tons of solid facts in life

      however the beliefs of religions, yours mine everyones they are ideas only, and can only be proven once the time comes...

      "then what hope do we have for being in Heaven?"

      that is EXACTLY what you have HOPE...Hope and Faith and Belief... these are the foundations of religions, not you are right and I am wrong, but faith, believing in something for which there is no proof... believing in a God you cant see based on the word of Man, ancestors telling stories...THAT is all we have...your faith, your hope, your belief is what will take you from today to your end, and in the end you will find out if it is all true or not...

      Lacey:

      so someone on death row in prison who has done horrible things his entire life can on deaths door repent and he will be saved, but someone who lived a good life will not JUST because the religion they were BORN into was different than yours?

      I cant believe that, I am sorry, I just cant

      And in all of this I have not once gone into who is right about god, or which religion is right, or argue any points about that, because just like you cant convince me to change my views, I wont try to convince you...

      in all of this all I have wanted to express the importance that everyone of every faith or lack thereof has a right to their beliefs

      -the first anonymous

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    14. Dear First Anonymous,
      Thanks again for answering my questions!

      I can see how my comment about people's intentions was odd: it was more of an example that people can do good things, but they are not always in it for the right reason. But you are right, some people do good things for the sake of doing good things... But I do agree with Lacey when she said, " Faith without works is dead, so doing good things is apart of having saving faith in Christ."

      You said: 'I do "believe" in my beliefs, but I am not so foolish to think that I cant possibly be wrong. Man is not perfect. So for me to say that my beliefs are right and yours are wrong is foolish, I have not heard Gods voice, and he is the only one who knows for sure...The problem is when people confuse belief, faith, and hope, with FACT and TRUTH.'

      If God is the only one who knows for sure (which I agree), what is your basis for believing in God? What personal reasons are you for being Jewish vs. anything else? You might be born into a religion, but at some point, you have to choose who you are/what you believe. So I'm wondering why you've chosen to have faith in what you believe... (your own personal reasons).

      I am not saying either I can prove God to you- but then I would argue, that nothing in this life doesn't require faith. We have faith in gravity, that the sun will rise, that we will get hungry when we need food; some may argue that those are facts of life, but we put faith in all regular occurring things... You said there are plenty of solid facts of life: what are they, and how do you define them as 'solid'?

      I guess this is all boiling down to one question: By what standard do you draw lines between good and bad? Your own personal belief? Because that would make good and evil up to each person, and then why would rapists be evil? By the majority? The majority of people in Nazi Germany agreed that Jews were sub-human: horrific and evil tragedies resulted because of that... There are so many answers with so many exceptions in history and in culture.

      The reason I can have faith in Yahweh is because I believe that the oldest book in the world -the Bible- is the inspired Word of God: it is my life-manual, and I look to it for drawing the lines between good and evil. And I believe it's a life-manual for everyone, even you... Partly because your Jewish heritage is based in the Old Testament and those traditions, but also because God doesn't love people based upon their works, He loves people because He wants to (love them, and save them from themselves), and I know that because the Bible is the standard for right and wrong... how do we define right and wrong otherwise? We are left with cultural standards and traditional laws- all of which have no true basis for right and wrong.

      'I dont have a problem with you having your beliefs, I just want you to respect my right to have my own.'
      What about when people's beliefs oppress women or children, or when they take the lives of others, or when they destroy families, marriages, and homes? Is there a point where you stop respecting someone's right to their belief, or do you let their belief lead them to a place where savage cultures believe it's acceptable to eat human flesh, and we let them do it?

      For the sake of not filling up this entire page with our discussion, I will end my posts here, but I again would love it if you would answer my questions... I would also love it, if you wanted to continue the discussion: I could give you my email address if you're interested?? Just let me know if that's something you'd like to do...

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    15. It makes me sad to know people who aren't christian. I am strong in Him, and Him alone! It broke my heart when I found out that one of my best friends wasn't christian. Your conversation has lifted my spirits. Thanks, I'm going to talk to my friend shortly!

      -A Young Teenage Christian

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  27. W.O.W. so thought provoking! made me really think!

    ~Hannah

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  28. Inspiring post! Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed it so much and was blessed! <3

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  29. What a well thought-out, articulate, and persuading post! A hearty 'Amen'!!

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  30. I like this post, great thoughts. Side note - C.S. Lewis' book The Four Loves is a great read. I believe the quote you used is from there (he's talking about agape love).

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  31. posting something like this takes courage.
    i am inspired by you.

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  32. Bravo, girl! Regarding some of the anonymous comments, please understand that those of us who have put our trust in Jesus love Him. That doesn't make us NOT love those who don't believe in Him. Just the opposite.

    Polka Dot is saying that if we do love them, we will want to share Jesus with them. We know what He has done in our lives, and we want to share that. And she is rightly challenging those who claim the name of Christ.

    If we believe Jesus is the Truth, we cannot pretend that what is true for one person may not be true for another. Truth is absolute, not relative as our culture would like to believe. However, we can believe that truth is absolute, and still respect and love those who disagree. We just can't agree with them. Part of loving them is sharing God's truth with them.

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  33. You have inspired, encouraged, and blessed me all at the same time. I can see that God is working through you to witness in other people's lives. It does take courage to write something like this and share it with the world but thank-you sooooooo much!!!! Keep it up, girl!!!

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  34. Preach it, sister! :)
    That was a wonderfully brilliant and artistically and theologically enriching post on a subject that needs much discussion. Keep up the good fight!

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  35. I know that Pushing Daisies was an awesome but somewhat silly show, but it had one of my favorite lines ever which was by the character Emerson Cod, "Truth ain't like puppies; a bunch of 'em runnin' around, you pick your favorite."
    I've been thinking a lot about this very thing. To

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    1. If I'd remembered that quote, I would have put it in here! Emerson Cod <3 Most everything he says is so quotable.

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  36. How wonderful it is to hear somebody say that! (I'll keep all you anonymous people in prayer)
    -Teenage Christian Girl

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  37. Yet Another AnonymousMay 15, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Dear Rebekah F.,
    As a matter of fact, I do believe that I have the one and only truth. And I am an Atheist. But am I running to tell you not to believe in Jesus? No. I think that religion is a wonderful thing, it gives structure to the world and helps strengthen moral values (And I just sounded like a guidance counselor...) but I think that in religion, the most important thing is tolerance. I don't see you or Polka Dot or anybody else similar as a bad person for strongly believing in and wanting to share your beliefs, but please don't force them upon us in a "no tolerance" manner. In fact, I think that, of what you are doing, it is wonderful. You are standing up for your beliefs, and I support that. I would like to be "allowed" to stand up for mine, too.

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  38. It's so cool that this topic is so fervently discussed! It's the same discussion over and over! I would be worried if I didn't see any discussion on this particular topic. Keep hitting that nerve Polka Dot!!

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  39. This is so amazing, I want to read it over and over to grasp it all. I've seen this around, ALL OVER. "You can't tell me about Jesus, I have my own belief." But, in the Bible it says God is seen through His creation, and deep down everyone knows of Him. But they can choose to ignore it. And we, as His followers, should not back away from proclaiming Him just because the world says we have no right to judge them, their beliefs, or because we think we need to tolerate it all to be loving. David didn't tolerate Goliath after all.

    Anyhow, I hope that made sense, sadly, I'm half asleep as I write. But, I'm so very pleased to find such a wonderful post. Thank you.

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  40. Great pictures. http://savoriesoflife.blogspot.com/2012/05/book-giveaway.html has a giveaway just for you, My blog has two!

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  41. Amen! We are commanded to tell others about Jesus, that is our major responsibility and you said it very clear. I just quoted you on Facebook because I feel many people should read your statement.

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