I am perhaps one of those people you are talking about. I do write a lot. What I am thinking about writing in my next post should be interesting....and long.
Well, if truth be told, I don't really object.
In any case, you aren't one of that anonymous bunch; you don't post even once a day.
Yes, your posts are long, but they tend to be interesting - or, at least, introspective.
Truth is, though, one of the reasons I "friended" you in the first place is the same that makes me tend to put your longer posts aside until the nebulous future - intrigued by (a) your religious beliefs and (b) your open-minded exploration of same, I am nevertheless a hard-core atheist who often can't be bothered to pay sufficient attention to your thoughts to give you a fair hearing.
No doubt, part of my reaction (or lack thereof) is a question of age - I spent 5 or 10 years seeking out people of the cloth in hopes of disputation. Now, my curiosity is mostly academic, and my desire to convert almost non-existent.
Also think it is awesome that you find my beliefs so interesting as well. I do not mind you taking a look at them for curiosity sake. I am not the best representative of my church in the world, but I guess I can be the best representative of my personal beliefs.
I know that you do not comment much (I do not myself as well), but always feel free to tell me what you think, specifically with regards to religious views. I study people and religion everyday, but I could not really get an outside view on myself as easily.
But then again, if you are really just seeking my thought processes and how I come to terms with them, you may not want to comment because that may alter them right?
Okay, I have been taking way too many sociology courses.....
2004-08-20 02:02 pm (UTC)
It's not so much that I am looking at your journal as an exercise in cultural anthropology, and so, worried about "contaminating" the sample, but rather, that I'm 39 years old and no longer have the stomach to argue about religion.
I maintain a certain curiosity about why so many people believe in what is, to me, the un-believable (especially when they are thoughtful and intelligent people, as you seem to be); I am open to an exchange of views, but as soon as I feel as though someone is trying to convert me, or that I am trying to convert them, I want out of the discussion all together. I've been there too often and no longer enjoy it.
Intelligence can be a problem with one's faith. I find it very hard to believe in literal interpretations of the Creation myth. It is like sitting in a room with a blue wall in front of you. You see the blue wall, but your sacred text tells you that the wall is green. What do you believe? What is so blatantly obvious, or your sacred text that you value so highly?
As for conversion, you have no problems from me there. I know my faith requires me to "witness," but I do not feel that involves forcing my views upon everyone. I just attempt to witness by example and by praising God for what I feel to be blessings. If that attracts someone to it, then I would be more than glad to share my faith. Otherwise, I see no point in harassing someone about it. I was once not a Christian myself, and that kind of stuff really ticked me off more often than not.
I used to never understand why some very smart people were Christians as well. If it were nor for the Pentecostal faith, I doubt that I would have ever coverted. Pentecostalism's emphasis on emotions and feelings really made an impact on me. Other Christian faiths claim close feelings with God, but the Pentecostal faith involves altered states of consciousness that can fulfill the believer's desire to feel like they are really in touch with God. Plus it is just a very functional faith for someone in my circumstances and makes me feel better than any drug ever could.
2004-08-23 02:40 am (UTC)
Intelligence can be a problem with one's faith.
I agree - but I also know it is not a guarantee against it. One of my best friends, a man I have known since grade 7, is an Orthodox Christian and very far from stupid.
I find it very hard to believe in literal interpretations of the Creation myth.
Have you read The Pagan Christ by Tom Harpur? He is a long-time Canadian religious commentator (and, I believe, ordained minister) whose recent book concludes that none of the Bible should be taken literally, that it is all "myth", by which term he means metaphoric truth.
As you probably know, his ideas are not new, but they are unusual coming from someone who was a mainstream (Canadian) Christian, and who still calls himself a Christian.
As for conversion, you have no problems from me there. I know my faith requires me to "witness," but I do not feel that involves forcing my views upon everyone.
I think when I mentioned that concern, I was thinking more of the frustration one can so easily feel when another person doesn't "get it" - you want to shake them and make them see! (Back in the days when my Orthodox friend and I would argue, rather than just explore one anothers' ideas, that would happen a lot, much to the frustration of both of us.)
... Pentecostalism's emphasis on emotions and feelings really made an impact on me ... involves altered states of consciousness that can fulfill the believer's desire to feel like they are really in touch with God. Plus it is just a very functional faith for someone in my circumstances and makes me feel better than any drug ever could.
Forgive me if my ignorance sounds offensive (I tend to lump "protestants" together much as I imagine the average (if there is such a thing) Moslem might lump together all Christans), are Pentecostalists the ones who speak in tongues and handle snakes?
I have never read The Pagan Christ, but I have heard of the concept. Sounds to me like one of those guys who believes that all religions are metaphorically true. I do not believe that, because then anything can be true. SOMETHING has to be 100% correct even if we have never fully discovered it.
Pentecostals do believe in speaking in tongues, and an extremely small percentage of which handle snakes (most of these live in extremely rural mountain regions and are usually very uneducated and of the working class).
There are wide variations. You have traditional Pentecostals that believe that women should wear dresses and have long hair, etc. You have liberal Pentecostals that use new translations of the Bible, worship to popular style music, believe that you can speak in tongues anytime you want if you have the gift, and etc. And then you have everything in between.
Oh yeah, you also have Jesus-nly Pentecostals that believe that Jesus is the only God, and not the Trinity, as well as United Pentecostals that believe that you have to speak in tongues to get to Heaven, all all kinds of very rare beliefs.
Most Pentecostals are somewhere in between the two extremes, such as those who attend the Assemblies of God (one of the fastest growing churches in America today) and the Churches of God. Also, Pentecostalism is not like the stuff you see on TV either. Most accept traditional Protestant beliefs, and are very similar to Baptists.
But yeah, I did not take offense to what you said. It did give me the chance to explain that Pentecostals are wide in variation.
2004-08-26 03:33 pm (UTC)
...Sounds to me like one of those guys who believes that all religions are metaphorically true.
I don't think that's unfair towards Harpur. But, in his case, he has, in a sense, converted from his previous, more literalist interpretation.
Thanks for the intro to Pentecostalism, by the way. Are the "Churches of God" in any way related to the Plain Truth people?
I have never heard of the Plain Truth people, So I would not know for sure. I doubt it.
2004-08-27 04:11 pm (UTC)
I don't know if they're even still around - they used to publish a magazine by that name and were also known as the Worldwide Church of God. This - http://www.ptm.org/
- might be the same group, but I'm not sure (and haven't the stomach to go in and find out).
My church has nothing to do with them, and I think the movements are unrelated.
I also do not think these people (in the site) are the same Worldwide Church of God that I am aware of. My grandmother used to get stuff from the Worldwide Church of God. In the WWCOD that I know about, people were not allowed to eat pork and all kind of Old Testament rules. I did research on the leader and found him to not be the saint he claimed to be.
Perhaps the people from the sites are a spawn of the WWCOD I know of, or maybe not. Maybe both were known as the WWCOD. But the WWCOD I am aware of was very different than the Church of God or even these people.
2004-08-28 01:03 pm (UTC)
I've only scanned the article, but this
seems like a fairly even-handed history of the church. When I was a teenager, I subscribed to the magazine for a while, partly out of curiosity, party because it was free. And this
looks like the website of the church itself.
Yep, that is the one I was talking about that my grandmother was a part of.
That kind of weird theology really messed up my mom and my aunt and uncle.
2004-08-30 03:07 pm (UTC)
Somehow that doesn't surprise me. What I remember about the magazine was the every article was about 2/3 quite intelligent analysis, then 1/3 utter lunacy. A strange combination.
Going back two or three days usually gets me about 220 entries back.
I'm not going to compare the length of our reading-lists, but - christ - it adds up, d'un it?
Most definitely. I'm starting to lose the patience to do it everyday.
I periodically go through minor friends-cuts. I don't think I've ever bothered to make an announcement - simply, certain people's posts haven't interested me for a certain amount of time (but they have posted enough that they took up my time) and so I "un-friended" them.
Often - probably usually - a day or 2 or 3 later, that person will remove me from their friends' list.
Anyway, point is: during my most recent cut, one of my long-term "friends" did not cut me back. 3 or 4 weeks down the line, they (I presume) are still reading me, without being offended that I am no longer returning the favour.
Which is as it should be, I think; I don't expect that Samuel R. Delaney would necessarily want to read my novel (should I get around to finishing the 3rd draft) just because I think so highly of his.
As someone who is slogging through 375 postings from last week onwards, I share your pain.
Like you, I routinely do friend purges and hope they're not offended. But if they're only reading me because I'm reading them then I'd rather they didn't have to suffer!
livejournal does encourage a certain narcissism, doesn't it? I'm thinking especially of those posts which announce that someone's made a friends' cut and those who want to be reinstated must make an application, etc.
(Who the hell wouldn't want as many strangers as possible reading their deathless prose? Sheesh.)