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Old 03-28-2009, 01:19 AM   #1
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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , William Wilberforce, and Christianity

With a passionate love and strong foundation in Jesus Christ, William Wilberforce and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have done more for the advancement of justice than any other character in history, save for Jesus Himself.

William Wilberforce information :

http://creation.com/anti-slavery-act...christian-hero

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. information:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/...nly/11.0b.html

Is it fair to say that Christianity is wrong because some nutjobs were insane and believed in the Bible?

Is it possible that the likes of Hitler and other insane leaders were not really Christian? Jesus tells us that you can tell who His real followers are in this scripture: Matthew 7:16-17 " By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit"

Examining the life of Christ, who's fruit is closer to Christ?

(edit) This is not neccessarily for the other thread, because the comparison between Hitler and MLK have been made- I just wanted to make this thread in response to a few chat room sessions I had earlier where people told me repeatedly that Hitler was a Christian.




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Old 03-28-2009, 01:43 AM   #2
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I don't think anyone is saying christianity is "wrong." Basically, for me that is, why should I believe in Christianity when there are hundreds if not thousands of other religions that are pretty similar to it. Why should I believe there is a higher power? Also, for me, the core problem isn't christianity itself with nutjobs like Hitler. How many people have been used, manipulated, or killed in the name of religion in general?
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Old 03-28-2009, 02:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obi View Post

Is it possible that the likes of Hitler and other insane leaders were not really Christian? Jesus tells us that you can tell who His real followers are in this scripture: Matthew 7:16-17 " By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit"
This this, a thousand times this! Too many bad eggs spoil the bunch and many others still latch onto Christianity for selfish purposes. Just because you claim to be a Christian does not mean that you are one. You have to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ to truly be a Christian.


Also before I'm flakked, "by faith alone you are saved" implies not murdering millions of people.

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Old 03-28-2009, 02:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obi View Post
Is it possible that the likes of Hitler and other insane leaders were not really Christian? Jesus tells us that you can tell who His real followers are in this scripture: Matthew 7:16-17 " By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit"

Examining the life of Christ, who's fruit is closer to Christ?
Very excellent choice of verse, Obi. That explains everything considering the actual followers of Christ. Thank you, by the way, it answered alot of my questions


you very much
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Old 03-28-2009, 02:02 AM   #5
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As far as I'm concerned, if you believe in Jesus and believe in God that makes some you some denomination of Christianity.

Now, just because Hitler was probably a Christian by definition does not make him an outstanding citizen, a person of sound mind/morals, or anything else our society usually attitudes to the practicing Christian.

I think this example can be placed upon a number of things. Because Hitler was a vegetarian, does that mean all vegetarians are are like Hitler? No. There is no logic to leap to in that comparison.

Extremists, fundamentalists, and the occasional crazy does not constitute an entire group of people. Christianity is not wrong because it has fire and brimstone street preachers explaining the end of the world, judgment, etc.

So, again, it is not the people that disprove a concept. It is the concept that can disprove itself, or must have someone else prove/disprove said concept. Christianity has yet to be proven or disproven to be correct, so just because Hitler fits the definition of that incredibly broud term does not constitute calling it wrong.

But, as far as who is closest to Christ...

I'm going to go with no-one.

If the Bible interpretation of Jesus is correct, then humans do not have the ability or frankly the right to compare themselves to such a deity. He is a supposedly perfect example to aspire to, but human nature seems to get in the way of that in the end.

But, if Jesus was just some normal street preacher who gained great renown then comparing yourself to such is fruitless anyway because that would imply that whoever he was has been skewed so heavily over 2,000 years that nobody really knows who he was anymore.

So, in my opinion, Hitler was a Christian. But, I warn against comparing yourself to his twisted version of Christianity in the same way I warn trying to aspire to the like of a diety. Comparing yourself to his Christian beliefs may as well be like you trying to compare your life to that of another person.

What do you gain from it? Why not accept your own beliefs and be comfortable with them instead of feeling other should be saved, or feel that your beliefs are somehow sullied by a madman? It is fruitless, and I believe the Bible warns of such comparisons as well.

But, In the end, you are human and so was Hitler and MLKjr.
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Old 03-28-2009, 02:09 AM   #6
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As far as I'm concerned, if you believe in Jesus and believe in God that makes some you some denomination of Christianity.
So every Muslim is also a Christian?

Really you need to seperate out those who claim Christianity in public, but are not in reality.


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Old 03-28-2009, 02:12 AM   #7
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So every Muslim is also a Christian?

Really you need to seperate out those who claim Christianity in public, but are not in reality.

Exactly, and the verse posted by Obi explains that very well, just look at the fruit, it works everywhere


you very much
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Old 03-28-2009, 04:01 AM   #8
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So every Muslim is also a Christian?
Point.

If Hitler was Muslim, however, he would have referred to "God" as "Allah", but this is just picking hairs and not entirely accurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommycat
Really you need to separate out those who claim Christianity in public, but are not in reality.
As I cannot be in the mind of another, I am not sure if you or I are one to make that judgment.

The Pope claims to be Catholic. He is the Pope, gives speeches, and does Pope things. He has followers, and those that do his work.

Do I have 100% proof that he is Catholic? Do his own, personal beliefs even reflect what most would call Catholic? All I have to go on is his word, his public appearance, etc and the social "norm" of what being Catholic means.

I can go on what they say in public and take a guess at their personal beliefs, but from my Sociology Classes I've come to the conclusion that while you can try to make good guesses you are probably going to end up being wrong.

Which brings me to my next question:

What is a true Christian?


We all have our inside person whom only we can communicate with. Our "I". The internal us that does not interact with the outside.

And then we have the "We". The part of us that communicated with the outside. A personal mask over the "I" that we wear to change and adapt to the social atmosphere of social interaction.

Which, in my opinion, a distinction can also be made between Personal Faith and Belief, and the mask you put on for other people.

Now, how do you know that you, personally, know someone? Are you not always interacting with their "We" mask?

I can only make assumptions on your beliefs from what I know from reading your posts and vice versa. How do you know that I am not playing Devil's Advocate now and then if I do not state as such?

So, I submit to you that a "false" Christian and a "real" Christian are one in the same. A "real" Christian can only be truly defined by the person in question, while a "fake" Christian may be a speaker/friend/family member/etc who plays the Christian part but does not truly believe as such.

For an example, my Friend. Has been going to church his entire life. Goes almost every Sunday with his Parents. His parents believe him to be a solid Christian, maybe even a fundamentalist. When he is away from his parents, however, he is very much Nihilistic and expresses his distaste of going to Church and having to put on a mask for his parents.

Now, the question is: Is he a real christian or not? Is he putting on a mask for me, or a mask for his parents? Does his "I" believe, but he replaces his "We" mask to adapt to situations?

I do not know. I cannot fully make that judgment without being in his mind myself.

So, while I will contemplate the differences between public speaking and the "I" principle, I ask you to consider the differences between what is shown and what is not shown.

This thread mentions Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (I cannot comment on William Wilberforce, as I do not know enough about him). The context of the thread seems to place him in the category as a "true" Christian.

MLKjr was a well known public speaker and moved a nation with his words, if not much of the world. His preaching, speeches, words, etc all point to him being a Christian but how do we 100% know? How does he fit into a category as broad as Christianity?

In his time he demonized the Catholic church for example. Catholicism is a denomination of Christianity, so by the point of view of those on the other side of his words MLK may have been considered un-christian. By the standards of those people, he may not have been christian at all.

His praise, speeches, etc point towards it but as not having met him, interacted with him, or been in his mind I can only suppose.

And if they were not, then MLK, Hitler, and many others acted an act that played a crowd like a violin. If the masses could not see through their ruse, then who is really the "true" and "false" christian here? The public speaker, or the gullible crowds? The only evidence we have, or could ever have, about people who call themselves Christian comes from the very confession of those making the claim.

So, again:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommycat
Really you need to separate out those who claim Christianity in public, but are not in reality.
My reply, summarized, is that I feel I have no way of doing so and would ask the members reading this thread to make this distinction clearer for me.

Because, as with my friend, myself and his parents cannot tell what is public and what is, as you say, "reality".

Clarification on "reality" as well, as, from my perspective, "reality" is what we view and what is presented to us. If the "We" mask is all we seem to see, then our social "reality" would be determined by the "We" masks we interact with on a daily basis. Any attempt to translate the "I" would merely be supposition.

Which comes to the problem of: What is a social belief, and what is a personal belief?
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Old 03-28-2009, 04:19 AM   #9
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The answer is actually quite simple. Read the Gospel of John. Disregard all of the miracles, the claims of godhood and the other religious aspects if you want to and concentrate on Jesus' philosophy. He speaks it quite plainly, and that alone should provide you with the context needed to tell the true Christians from the false ones. The difference should become rather obvious to you when you observe their behavior.


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Old 03-28-2009, 06:25 AM   #10
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Well as for some like public figures the private conversations tend to be more enlightening as to their real views. One who gives a speech praising God and Jesus may only be using it for political gains. Or may even be using it to sway people into actions they might not want to do.


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Old 03-30-2009, 12:25 AM   #11
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Information on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. can also be found at these sites:

The King Center Research program page (links are near the bottom of the page)
The King Institute at Stanford Univ.
Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library which houses a tremendous amount of material on communication between LBJ and King on Civil Rights issues.

All three are repositories for huge amounts of primary source historical documents. Please feel free to PM me if you have questions on King--I did a lot of research on his work on civil rights at the Johnson Library.


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Old 03-30-2009, 01:07 AM   #12
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*ahem*

Is the argument that Dr. King would not (or even could not) have accomplished what he did without a strong belief in Jesus Christ? If not, then could you please explain what the argument is? And if so, could you please present your case for how you were able to rule every other possible influence, therefore leaving you with this conclusion?

Thanks in advance.

P.S. Please be aware that I might be tempted to argue that Dr. King was also largely influenced by Gandhi, who was in turn influenced by Jainism, which coincidentally, does not hold that jesus christ is our savior as a tenet.
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles View Post
*ahem*

Is the argument that Dr. King would not (or even could not) have accomplished what he did without a strong belief in Jesus Christ? If not, then could you please explain what the argument is? And if so, could you please present your case for how you were able to rule every other possible influence, therefore leaving you with this conclusion?

Thanks in advance.

P.S. Please be aware that I might be tempted to argue that Dr. King was also largely influenced by Gandhi, who was in turn influenced by Jainism, which coincidentally, does not hold that jesus christ is our savior as a tenet.
Well, the question is: Is it ok to judge an entire group of people based on the actions of a few belonging to that group?

I had a debate with someone the day of this thread, and their only argument against Christianity was "Hitler was a christian! That should be evident there that religion drives people nuts and makes them do horrible things!" and "Christians have NEVER done anything for society!"

So I just felt the urge to point out this huge fallacy.




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Old 03-30-2009, 11:54 PM   #14
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King did read Gandhi, admired the man, and even quoted him, but King was motivated largely by his faith in Christ to do what he did. His speeches and sermons (since he was a pastor) are filled with Biblical references, and his non-violence policy was based on Christ's example, as he stated.

Within the context of the culture and community of that time, King could not have done what he did without the backing of the Christian community of all races. Malcolm X tried to accomplish black rights through the black Muslim community but could not achieve what King and other leaders were able to accomplish.


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Old 03-30-2009, 11:58 PM   #15
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I had a debate with someone the day of this thread, and their only argument against Christianity was "Hitler was a christian! That should be evident there that religion drives people nuts and makes them do horrible things!" and "Christians have NEVER done anything for society!"
And to add to that Tommycat argued in another thread that Hitler might not have even been a Christian.

@ Achilles
Also for the record, Dr. King was a Christian Pastor, so it's safe to say that Dr. King was probably a Christian...
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:01 AM   #16
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Also for the record, Dr. King was a Christian Pastor, so it's safe to say that Dr. King was probably a Christian...
Thanks, but we're all quite aware of that.

This sentence shows an absolute disregard for the point that was being made.

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Old 03-31-2009, 12:02 AM   #17
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And to add to that Tommycat argued in another thread that Hitler might not have even been a Christian.


Also for the record, Dr. King was a Christian Pastor, so it's safe to say that Dr. King was probably a Christian...
And others have made an argument that he Hitler was a Christian. Simply stating that someone else argued for your point does not make your point correct...

I'm of the opinion that its too hard to "define" a christian, and like others have said. The protestant reformation opened the door to who knows, millions of interpretations of the bible. To claim one is "more right" than another seems awkward.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:04 AM   #18
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Thanks, but we're all quite aware of that.

This sentence shows an absolute disregard for the point that was being made.
What point? Seriously, the only point I saw was that the fallacy that faith had nothing to do with Dr. King's assertation that all men were created equal, when it was faith that was the driving reason behind it.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:12 AM   #19
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King did read Gandhi, admired the man, and even quoted him, but King was motivated largely by his faith in Christ to do what he did.
I'm not sure how this refutes my point. I don't believe that "inspiration" works on the scarcity model or that people can only be "largely influenced" by one source. As always, I'm willing to entertain arguments to the contrary.

Quote:
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His speeches and sermons (since he was a pastor) are filled with Biblical references, and his non-violence policy was based on Christ's example, as he stated.
Yep, I'm aware of this. I've heard all of Dr. King's speeches (well, the ones we have recordings of anyway). But the fact is that jesus was not the only game in town when it came to non-violence and we know that he was influenced by at least one other source. We can certainly branch this off into another thread, if you'd like, but for the purposes of the point I was making with regards to this topic, I think my point stands.

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Within the context of the culture and community of that time, King could not have done what he did without the backing of the Christian community of all races.
Probably true, but again, it seems irrelevant to the point I was making.

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Malcolm X tried to accomplish black rights through the black Muslim community but could not achieve what King and other leaders were able to accomplish.
I suppose the militant nature of the Muslim Brotherhood had no impact on that.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:12 AM   #20
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Sigh. @ Garfield: Let me clarify. Faith was a driving factor in King's particular method of non-violent protest in the Civil Rights movement. Many people believed that 'all men are created equal', but it was Christ's non-violent example that served as the basis for King's actions.

@Achilles--if you've listened to all his speeches (and I would recommend to everyone reading them too, especially in historical context with the particular events of the day), along with his biographies and autobiography, then you know that he speaks of Christ as his inspiration and entreated many to follow Christ's non-violent example and have faith in Him. He was Christian, Christ was his example. He did study Gandhi to see how he accomplished what he did in India, but he stated frequently he relied on his faith in Christ to give him strength and courage to do what he did in the Civil Rights movement. Note that I'm stating what he believed, I'm not debating whether or not you think that's correct, just for clarity's sake.

As for Malcolm X, I'm sure his violent methods didn't help. However, being Muslim in a predominantly Christian nation made it nigh on impossible for him to accomplish the same things King was able to as a Christian.

Skinwalker can split the thread as he desires--doesn't matter to me either way.


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Old 03-31-2009, 12:16 AM   #21
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but it was Christ's non-violent example that served as a basis for King's actions.
fixed.

If you're going to insist on knowing Dr. King's motivation (as opposed to speculating), I'm going to have to have ask for sources.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:17 AM   #22
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Sigh. @ Garfield: Let me clarify. Faith was a driving factor in King's particular method of non-violent protest in the Civil Rights movement. Many people believed that 'all men are created equal', but it was Christ's non-violent example that served as the basis for King's actions.
Jae, I wasn't responding to one of your posts, I responded to one of Achilles posts and contributed to a post Obi made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I'm not sure how this refutes my point. I don't believe that "inspiration" works on the scarcity model or that people can only be "largely influenced" by one source. As always, I'm willing to entertain arguments to the contrary.
How about the fact that Dr. King was a Christian Minister... I'd say that indicates that Dr. King was probably influenced by faith...
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:18 AM   #23
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Jae, I wasn't responding to one of your posts, I responded to one of Achilles posts and contributed to a post Obi made.
She was trying to help you to understand the point which you just missed. Twice.

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Old 03-31-2009, 12:23 AM   #24
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@ Achilles
Also for the record, Dr. King was a Christian Pastor, so it's safe to say that Dr. King was probably a Christian...
I don't recall calling into question his religious affiliation.

EDIT: @sub-topic

This is hardly an academic source, but anyone wanting a primer on the discussion may find this helpful.
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:03 AM   #25
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Sources--his biographies (there are numerous good ones). His speeches. His sermons. His books. His autobiography. The King papers. The papers housed at the LBJ library that discuss him (he was the subject of much government investigation, as you can well imagine). The King Center. See the links I posted above. It's about as easy to separate Christ from King as it is to separate Christ from the Gospels.

One of many sources from the King papers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by King quote
At present I still feel the affects of the noble moral and ethical ideals that I grew up under. They have been real and precious to me, and even in moments of theological doubt I could never turn away from them. Even though I have never had an abrupt conversion experience, religion has been real to me and closely knitted to life. In fact the two cannot be separated; religion for me is life.
Your "source" on Gandhi and King--lovely feel-good article by a former Indian Ambassador-turned-journalist (no bias there of course), not scholarly at all. There is no documentation for the quotes listed.

Anyone who wants a _good_ history of King should look up any of the many scholarly historical books written about him, and cross-reference it with his speeches and the documents housed at the King Center, Stanford, and LBJ Library.


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Old 03-31-2009, 01:24 AM   #26
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It's about as easy to separate Christ from King as it is to separate Christ from the Gospels.
Is that what we're discussing? If not, then it seems you're introducing a strawman.

No one is arguing that Dr. King was not religious. The questions that I raised can be found back in post #12 if you would like to address them. The track you're on now appears to be addressing some other argument.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
Your "source" on Gandhi and King--lovely feel-good article by a former Indian Ambassador-turned-journalist (no bias there of course), not scholarly at all. There is no documentation for the quotes listed.
I suppose it's a good thing that I never claimed that it was then. I offered an intro to those that might not know that much about Dr. King or his influences. If I thought the conversation warranted more than that I would have done something other than Google "MLK Gandhi" and posted the first result that came back.

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Anyone who wants a _good_ history of King should look up any of the many scholarly historical books written about him, and cross-reference it with his speeches and the documents housed at the King Center, Stanford, and LBJ Library.
Indeed.

Is the argument that they wouldn't find any ties between Dr. King and Gandhi if they did? If not, then I suspect that this is yet another strawman. Please clarify.

Thanks!
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:05 AM   #27
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Is that what we're discussing? If not, then it seems you're introducing a strawman.
That's the OP's call.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
No one is arguing that Dr. King was not religious. The questions that I raised can be found back in post #12 if you would like to address them. The track you're on now appears to be addressing some other argument.
I went with the discussion on an interesting bifurcation. No, I don't think King would have been the kind of leader he was without his faith, and no, the civil rights movement would not have been the same had he not been a Christian pastor in a Christian black community galvanizing people to act in the name of Christ's love to overturn an unjust institution. I'm not entirely certain if that could be accomplished in today's society, as an aside.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I suppose it's a good thing that I never claimed that it was then. I offered an intro to those that might not know that much about Dr. King or his influences. If I thought the conversation warranted more than that I would have done something other than Google "MLK Gandhi" and posted the first result that came back.
This is an area of special interest for me. Crap links aren't going to cut it for me on the history of King and the civil rights movement, just like crap links don't cut it for you, either. If you're going to call me out for sourcing, don't try to post non-historical garbage and expect me not to comment on the poor source quality.

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Is the argument that they wouldn't find any ties between Dr. King and Gandhi if they did? If not, then I suspect that this is yet another strawman. Please clarify.
You and I both know that King found Gandhi's methods of use in the civil rights movement, and why you would try to imply otherwise when I've talked in two separate posts above about Gandhi's influence on King's methods is bizarre. If you're going to quote about the influence of Gandhi's nonviolence on King's policies of non-violence, at least find something better than an article by a guy who doesn't even know how to cite sources (or a website owner that doesn't know how to include them if the journalist did originally cite them).


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Old 03-31-2009, 02:32 AM   #28
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That's the OP's call.
The OP doesn't get to decide whether or not your argument is a strawman. If you and I are dialoging about X and then you present a counter-argument as though we were discussing Y, then it's a strawman. We may discuss Y at some point, but for the sake of our discussion involving X, the Y argument is unrelated.

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I went with the discussion on an interesting bifurcation. No, I don't think King would have been the kind of leader he was without his faith, and no, the civil rights movement would not have been the same had he not been a Christian pastor in a Christian black community galvanizing people to act in the name of Christ's love to overturn an unjust institution. I'm not entirely certain if that could be accomplished in today's society, as an aside.
This largely addresses the circumstance in which he acted. I was more interested in his motivation.

The argument that I thought I heard the OP making (and which I seem to be hearing here as well) is that Dr. King would have had no interest in the civil rights movement had it not be for his belief in jesus. A reoccuring argument that I hear from theists is that non-theist are incapable of moral reasoning or moral involvment. If that is the arguement that you would like to make, then I would like to discuss that, rather than whether or not he needed to appeal to the circumstances in order to accomplish what he did.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
This is an area of special interest for me. Crap links aren't going to cut it for me on the history of King and the civil rights movement, just like crap links don't cut it for you, either. If you're going to call me out for sourcing, don't try to post non-historical garbage and expect me not to comment on the poor source quality.
And had I been sourcing, your argument would have significant merit. However as I stated before and I will state again here, I'm simply providing an introduction for those not familiar with the history.

It seems as though you want to introduce the claim that Gandhi had no influence on Dr. King without actually making it. If you accept that Gandhi had some influence on King, then we can move on. If you want to deny this or try to minimize it because you feel it helps your argument some how, then we can continue on the track we're on now. Just keep in mind that quotes that mention jesus don't tell me anything about Gandhi.

If you really want to make your case, please present a quote something along the lines of "Yeah, Gandhi was cool and all, but he was like, number 57 on my list. Jesus? He was definitely in the top 5". While it's possible such a quote exists, I suspect that it's highly unlikely, hence my bewilderment at why you would wish to make such a huge issue out of this and take a stance which seems almost impossible for you to defend.

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You and I both know that King found Gandhi's methods of use in the civil rights movement, and why you would try to imply otherwise when I've talked in two separate posts above about Gandhi's influence on King's methods is bizarre.
I'm sorry, why I would try to imply what?

If you acknowledge Gandhi's influence, then I suppose I'm confused as to why you seem to want to minimize or dismiss it.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
If you're going to quote about the influence of Gandhi's nonviolence on King's policies of non-violence, at least find something better than an article by a guy who doesn't even know how to cite sources (or a website owner that doesn't know how to include them if the journalist did originally cite them).
Indeed. If I make an argument that requires sourcing, I will be sure to keep this advice in mind. Thanks you.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:02 AM   #29
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The OP doesn't get to decide whether or not your argument is a strawman. If you and I are dialoging about X and then you present a counter-argument as though we were discussing Y, then it's a strawman. We may discuss Y at some point, but for the sake of our discussion involving X, the Y argument is unrelated.
I thought your point was directed at the OP originally. I did go off on a tangent, and I apologize for the confusion. The OP states that Christians get blamed for the evil done in the name of Christianity but not credit when Christians do positive things in the name of Christ. If non-Christians are going to slam Christians for the bad things, then they should acknowledge when good things are done. If not, it's hypocritical. If your argument is that these good things are done whether or not someone was Christian, then why does that not apply to the bad things also? You can't blame but then not give credit when it's due. It seems to me that atheists (not necessarily those here, to be clear) like to pick and choose what to blame or give credit for, and there's no rational basis for that.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
This largely addresses the circumstance in which he acted. I was more interested in his motivation.
Social justice, love for mankind based on the love Christ showed us, his experience with racism at a young age, and assorted other experience the source documents describe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
The argument that I thought I heard the OP making (and which I seem to be hearing here as well) is that Dr. King would have had no interest in the civil rights movement had it not be for his belief in jesus.
That's not the argument I heard, so I think we're on two different tracks, then. I'm hearing 'if Christians are getting blamed for things like religious wars, they should be getting credit for good things done in the name of Christ.' I think we end up doing this a little too often--we think each of us are arguing the same thing when we're off on subtle differences, and I'd like to avoid frustration/contempt issues based on misunderstandings over what we're actually talking about. I'll try to remember to ask if we're on the same page. If you could take that as a legit question on clarification instead of me trying to be a smartass, please, I would appreciate that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
A reoccuring argument that I hear from theists is that non-theist are incapable of moral reasoning or moral involvment. If that is the arguement that you would like to make, then I would like to discuss that, rather than whether or not he needed to appeal to the circumstances in order to accomplish what he did.
Why would I want to make that argument? You and other atheists are certainly capable of doing positive things. Theists get underlying moral justification for acts confused with the acts themselves, Zacharias discusses the philosophical basis for morality far better than I ever could if you really want to pursue that for your own interest. However, that's not a direction I want to go in. You and I suck at discussing religion with each other in a civil manner so I'd just rather we avoided the subject as much as possible.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
And had I been sourcing, your argument would have significant merit. However as I stated before and I will state again here, I'm simply providing an introduction for those not familiar with the history.
Let's give them some good, solid information, then, please, rather than something like this, since both of us appear to enjoy educating when people are interested in the topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
It seems as though you want to introduce the claim that Gandhi had no influence on Dr. King without actually making it.
Well, I said three time now that King read Gandhi and utilized his methods. I'm kind of confused why you're thinking I'm making the claim in that case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
If you accept that Gandhi had some influence on King, then we can move on. If you want to deny this or try to minimize it because you feel it helps your argument some how, then we can continue on the track we're on now. Just keep in mind that quotes that mention jesus don't tell me anything about Gandhi.

If you really want to make your case, please present a quote something along the lines of "Yeah, Gandhi was cool and all, but he was like, number 57 on my list. Jesus? He was definitely in the top 5". While it's possible such a quote exists, I suspect that it's highly unlikely, hence my bewilderment at why you would wish to make such a huge issue out of this and take a stance which seems almost impossible for you to defend.
It is possible to look through documents and determine the amount of influence of both Christ and Gandhi by looking at how many times both are referenced. The lion's share of quotes that King makes in speeches, sermons, and his books are from Christ or the Bible, not Gandhi. If you count up the references (which someone may have done), you'll find your answer on who had more influence on him. It's an indirect measure, but that makes it no less valid than the quote you're asking for.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
I'm sorry, why I would try to imply what?
You're implying that I'm arguing Gandhi had no influence. I don't know why, and don't know why you're continuing this line of thought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
If you acknowledge Gandhi's influence, then I suppose I'm confused as to why you seem to want to minimize or dismiss it.
I'm confused why you're wanting to make the influence equivalent to Christ, but I'm beginning to think we're arguing about something that is way off on a tangent from what we're actually trying to get to. If we want to skip this as not what's germaine to the argument, I'm OK with that.


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Old 03-31-2009, 11:57 AM   #30
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I thought your point was directed at the OP originally. I did go off on a tangent, and I apologize for the confusion. The OP states that Christians get blamed for the evil done in the name of Christianity but not credit when Christians do positive things in the name of Christ.
That seems like a difficult argument to support.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
If non-Christians are going to slam Christians for the bad things, then they should acknowledge when good things are done.
I believe that all good things deserve to be acknowledged. I guess I would want to know why we need a special category for "good things done by christians". With regards to the conversation of MLK vs. Hitler; both men proclaimed to be christians so clearly being a christian isn't enough to guarantee noble endeavors. And since MLK was also influenced by non-christian leaders, we can't say that his belief in christianity was the sole cause of his achievement. Therefore, I think the most rewarding position is to acknowledge him for the unique individual that he was. Trying to piggy-back some glory for jesus on top of this almost seems petty and insulting.

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If not, it's hypocritical.
Not necessarily. If someone does something "bad" and says it's religiously motivated, and then we look and we find that indeed that religion does promote that behavior then both the individual and the system of belief that allowed that action deserve our scrutiny. Now on the other hand if someone does something "good" and it's religously motivated, well that's fine too, however there are lots of people who either aren't religious or don't share that particular flavor of religion that also do good things, therefore trying to attribute that "good" action to religion doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense.

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If your argument is that these good things are done whether or not someone was Christian, then why does that not apply to the bad things also?
Bad things do happen whether or not someone is a christian. However when bad things happen and the persons themselves tell us that they were motivated by their religion to do the bad thing and the religious doctrine does actually support that, then that's a problem for the religion.

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You can't blame but then not give credit when it's due.
See above.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
It seems to me that atheists (not necessarily those here, to be clear) like to pick and choose what to blame or give credit for, and there's no rational basis for that.
I certainly cannot speak for all non-theists, but I'll be happy to try to address any specific examples that you would like to bring forth.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
Social justice, love for mankind based on the love Christ showed us, his experience with racism at a young age, and assorted other experience the source documents describe.
I guess I fail to understand how "love for mankind based on the love of jesus" differs from "love for mankind". I think it's pretty obvious that he had copious love for mankind and since I've yet to see anything which we cause me not to think that jesus is a fictional character, it seems to me that the unembellished version is more than sufficient.

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That's not the argument I heard, so I think we're on two different tracks, then. I'm hearing 'if Christians are getting blamed for things like religious wars, they should be getting credit for good things done in the name of Christ.'
Why?

"I helped a little old lady across the street today".
"I helped a little old lady across the street today, in jesus' name".

Please help me understand how these are different. Why does the addition of three words make one act more noble or courteous than the other?

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I think we end up doing this a little too often--we think each of us are arguing the same thing when we're off on subtle differences, and I'd like to avoid frustration/contempt issues based on misunderstandings over what we're actually talking about.
One would think that my ban from Kavar's would've fixed that up, eh? Yet here you are, so perhaps there is still more work that needs to be done.

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I'll try to remember to ask if we're on the same page. If you could take that as a legit question on clarification instead of me trying to be a smartass, please, I would appreciate that.
Sounds good.

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You and I suck at discussing religion with each other in a civil manner so I'd just rather we avoided the subject as much as possible.
Yet, you responded to my post.

Please forgive me if I find your actions to be inconsistent with your words.

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Well, I said three time now that King read Gandhi and utilized his methods. I'm kind of confused why you're thinking I'm making the claim in that case.
Post 14.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
It is possible to look through documents and determine the amount of influence of both Christ and Gandhi by looking at how many times both are referenced. The lion's share of quotes that King makes in speeches, sermons, and his books are from Christ or the Bible, not Gandhi. If you count up the references (which someone may have done), you'll find your answer on who had more influence on him. It's an indirect measure, but that makes it no less valid than the quote you're asking for.
Assuming that such a nose-count would actually be a valid way to determine such a thing, sure. I am skeptical of the validity of such an argument.

Hint: the bible is the single most reproduced work in the history of mankind and Gandhi's writings mostly consisted of letters and essays written in a foreign language. Out of curiosity, I wonder how many references there are to his mother in any of these works. I hope that one would not be tempted to argue that her influence over him was negligible based on a relative lack of shout-outs in his collected works.

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You're implying that I'm arguing Gandhi had no influence. I don't know why, and don't know why you're continuing this line of thought.
No, I'm stating that post 14 would seem to be a deliberate attempt to discount or minimize said influence. My counter-argument to that point, which was offered in post 19, has been ignored.

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I'm confused why you're wanting to make the influence equivalent to Christ,
Who said that I did? In fact, I think I specifically stated in post 19 that influence is not limited. He could have been "very influenced" by jesus and "very influenced" by Gandhi. The only person trying to place some sort of system of measure on this is you (post 14 and all subsequent posts).

Which again, is completely unrelated to the point that I was making, specifically: If we have to count Dr. King's actions as an attaboy for christianity, then we have do so for non-christian belief systems as well. Or we can just acknowledge that he was an incredible human being and leave the theology out of it.

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Originally Posted by Jae Onasi View Post
but I'm beginning to think we're arguing about something that is way off on a tangent from what we're actually trying to get to. If we want to skip this as not what's germaine to the argument, I'm OK with that.
Sounds great.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:07 PM   #31
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King's the one who said it was Jesus' example that motivated him to do the great things he did. You don't believe that since you are atheist--fine for you. It doesn't negate that King said he did it to put his faith into action and be an example of Christ's love. That was his stated motivation. If you're disputing that he did it just because he's a good guy, OK, but it's not supported by the numerous documents where he states that it was his faith that gave him the courage and conviction to stay on course and continue the fight for civil rights in the midst of government surveillance and numerous death threats. I can't say 'He did great things because he was a great man' when King himself said 'I'm doing these things in the name of Christ.' He obviously didn't believe Christianity was a fairy tale. King and I'll chalk one up for Christ (though King would probably say he wasn't doing enough for Christ), you'll continue insisting it doesn't count because you don't want it to, so there's nothing more to say on that at that point.

As far as religion is concerned I don't plan on discussing it with you anymore than is absolutely necessary for the purposes of this thread. As you stated, you were banned from Kavar's. I prefer not to be the catalyst for further infractions so it's best if we leave that subject off limits as much as possible. I'm here because I love studying King and want to make sure misinformation about him isn't promulgated (and no, I am not saying anyone here is spreading misinformation).


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Old 03-31-2009, 06:28 PM   #32
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Christianity, I believe, did influence King's work, however, I do not accept his faith to be the primary motivation for his good works. Even though he repeatedly accredited his altruism to Christianity, I do not see him as some sort of poster child for Christian generosity; I see him simply as a representation of goodwill within man. This is also due to the equal or greater amount of evildoers that have also professed their faith to Christianity (Vlad the Impaler comes to mind, as well as several others.)

I will not attribute MLK's successes to his faith, as that only breeds further divide and hatred between religious groups; by singling out a supposed "superiority" in a religion, due to a few of its more generous followers, only produces more inter-religious hatred violence that has dominated world history.

Additionally, most individuals that I consider to be Christ-like aren't Christian at all. Gandhi, Guru Nanak, Siddhartha Gautama (and all of his subsequent reincarnations), Confucius, Bahá'u'lláh, and many others, are all prominent examples of people who exhibit what Christians consider to be Christian, sans Christ.

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Old 03-31-2009, 07:07 PM   #33
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Christianity, I believe, did influence King's work, however, I do not accept his faith to be the primary motivation for his good works. Even though he repeatedly accredited his altruism to Christianity, I do not see him as some sort of poster child for Christian generosity; I see him simply as a representation of goodwill within man. This is also due to the equal or greater amount of evildoers that have also professed their faith to Christianity (Vlad the Impaler comes to mind, as well as several others.)
Christianity was the primary motivator for Dr. King, whether you choose to accept it or not.

As for Vlad the Impaler, wasn't he also a sadistic lunatic, that it could be argued that the man wasn't playing with a full deck.

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Originally Posted by PastramiX
I will not attribute MLK's successes to his faith, as that only breeds further divide and hatred between religious groups; by singling out a supposed "superiority" in a religion, due to a few of its more generous followers, only produces more inter-religious hatred violence that has dominated world history.
It doesn't breed hatred, the facts are the facts. Christianity was where Dr. King got his values from, it wasn't atheism it was Christianity. What I'm seeing is more of the same propaganda that atheism is somehow superior to people that believe in God which is a load of garbage.

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Originally Posted by PastramiX
Additionally, most individuals that I consider to be Christ-like aren't Christian at all. Gandhi, Guru Nanak, Siddhartha Gautama (and all of his subsequent reincarnations), Confucius, Bahá'u'lláh, and many others, are all prominent examples of people who exhibit what Christians consider to be Christian, sans Christ.
I thought this was about Dr. King, whom was a Christian Minister?
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:18 PM   #34
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As for Vlad the Impaler, wasn't he also a sadistic lunatic, that it could be argued that the man wasn't playing with a full deck.
There are theories, but unless you have the testimonials of a 15th Century Wallachian Psychiatrist, we won't know.

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It doesn't breed hatred, the facts are the facts. Christianity was where Dr. King got his values from, it wasn't atheism it was Christianity. What I'm seeing is more of the same propaganda that atheism is somehow superior to people that believe in God which is a load of garbage.
Where did Pastrami state, or even imply that Atheism was inherently superior? Or indeed, that MLK got his values from Atheism?

He didn't, so I don't see what your point is. His point was, I believe, that MLK was likely influenced by different faiths, and not solely Christianity.






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Old 03-31-2009, 07:58 PM   #35
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It doesn't breed hatred, the facts are the facts. Christianity was where Dr. King got his values from, it wasn't atheism it was Christianity.
I'm trying to point out that touting Christianity, or any religion, as superior, just because that one specific good doer belongs to said religion, is completely ignorant and illogical.
Quote:
What I'm seeing is more of the same propaganda that atheism is somehow superior to people that believe in God which is a load of garbage.
Again, I'm saying quite the opposite; Christianity should not be given special treatment just because of one "good" follower.
Quote:
I thought this was about Dr. King, whom was a Christian Minister?
It is, but I brought it up because not every righteous individual is Christian, contrary to popular belief.
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:59 PM   #36
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There are theories, but unless you have the testimonials of a 15th Century Wallachian Psychiatrist, we won't know.
Considering the guy took sadistic pleasure in torturing rodents to death in dungeons where he was imprisoned kinda indicates the guy wasn't playing with a full deck.


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Where did Pastrami state, or even imply that Atheism was inherently superior? Or indeed, that MLK got his values from Atheism?
It just seems to be a running theme with you guys.

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He didn't, so I don't see what your point is. His point was, I believe, that MLK was likely influenced by different faiths, and not solely Christianity.
Most of the examples given involved philosophies not religions.
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:04 PM   #37
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It just seems to be a running theme with you guys.
"You guys"? You mean the non-conservative Christians, particularly the liberals, right?
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Most of the examples given involved philosophies not religions.
Except for Nanak, Buddha, and Baha'u'llah, who all formed Sikhism, Buddhism, and Bahai. Confucius can be debated, but he was not Christian by denomination, which was the point.
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:06 PM   #38
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"You guys"? You mean the non-conservative Christians, particularly the liberals, right?
Nope, I was referring to certain members of the board specifically, whom will largely remain nameless.

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Except for Nanak, Buddha, and Baha'u'llah, who all formed Sikhism, Buddhism, and Bahai. Confucius can be debated, but he was not Christian by denomination, which was the point.
And when did he read anything having to do with those Religions? Buddhism is a philosophy btw, not a religion.
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:11 PM   #39
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Nope, I was referring to certain members of the board specifically, whom will largely remain nameless.
Okay.
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And when did he read anything having to do with those Religions? Buddhism is a philosophy btw, not a religion.
Uh, nope. It does involve a great amount of philosophy, and there is really no official deity, but overall it is a true religion.
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Buddhism
a religion of eastern and central Asia growing out of the teaching of Gautama Buddha that suffering is inherent in life and that one can be liberated from it by mental and moral self-purification
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:34 PM   #40
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It just seems to be a running theme with you guys.
Is it a running theme, or just supposition on your part?

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What I'm seeing is more of the same propaganda that atheism is somehow superior to people that believe in God which is a load of garbage.
What do you have to back that up?

Last edited by True_Avery; 03-31-2009 at 09:48 PM.
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