Response to Comments
These were comments to this article. Go read it, we’ll wait.
First, Greg’s comment:
Thanks for posting this! I am glad for our exchanges of ideas and our ocassional friendly sparring. My point in posting this was not to use it as any kind of ‘proof’ for Christianity but to illustrate his conviction that Jesus Christ was who he calimed to be and that he was willing to die in his service. As I said in the article, “The only reason a Christian would share this with anyone is to show how this man was unafraid of death.” It might not be the only reason, I need to stop using superlatives.
His testimony and his actions during this life, in defending minority rights in Pakistan, are evidences that he was not just concerned about having “his Jesus ticket punched for the heaven train.” It shows that he was also concerned for life in the here and now. I never said that he was only concerned with having his ticket punched, he obviously had some humanist ideals that he put his blood and sweat into. I meant that he had his thoughts of death in check because of his faith.
You said, “I’m not impressed by people who believe they’ve got a fun happy place to go after death. Initially, it diminishes meaning and urgency of life.” I would argue that the Christian life does not diminish the meaning and urgency, it only increases it. It might for you, I should have wrote “it CAN diminish the mean and urgency of life.”
The Bible speaks of the brevity and urgency of this life time and time again and that when it comes to the next life, only what we have for Jesus Christ will have any credence. “Being good and feeding the poor, etc”, which I would change to “Doing good and feeding the poor, etc.” What would you rather have us do, may I ask? Doing good would have been better, yes. I’m not wanting you to do anything else at all. Shit, if every Christian was concentrating on that I can only imagine where we’d be.
We do this not because death is the focal point of our lives, but because life is the focal point of our lives. No, I don’t think so. A Christian’s life is only important because it is the proving ground before kicking the can. TJCAYPLAS, repent of sinful actions, and your winning. Don’t and you’re losing. Death is the focal point of that nonsense.
As for myself, I want to live as long as I can so that I may do all the good that I can in Jesus’name, and frankly, I fail quite miserably at this sometimes, but that’s where grace comes in, because at the end of the day I don’t have to ask myself (or God), “Am I saved?” Because I know that I am saved. So falling short of your goals is ok. Hence my comment that your faith takes away the urgency of life. You’re taken care of Greg, nothing else to really worry about too much.
Knowing that I have, as you put it, a “fun happy place to go after death” motivates me to be the best person I can be here in this life. Ok.
I’m not saying that you have to be a Christian to do good. There are many charitable people who do a lot of good things, but no amount of doing good can erase the fact that we have sinned against God. Therefore, the good does not matter, only taking care of the responsiblity of sin and ensuring a proper endgame.
I can honestly say that for me, if I didn’t believe in the next life, that this one is all there is, it would be difficult for me to have any attitude towards this life other than, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Which is wrong for different reaons to different people. I’d change just that sentence to “Eat responsibly, drink in moderation, be merry with others, for tomorrow is another day.”
I am looking foward to meeting Shahbaz Bhatti someday and tell him what an inspiration his testimony for Christ was to me in this life, but more so, I’m looking foward to meeting the focus of his life, and mine. I hope you live a good long life.
Peace be with you. And you.
Next comes Helen Troilo
The way you phrase what you’re saying, it comes across as though you’re trying to make some sort of pro-atheist or counter-Christian point and… I don’t get it. I was trying to say I wasn’t impressed with the religious convictions of people “willing to die.”
I’m a Christian and everything you’ve said in your blog is kinda obvious. I feel, reading it, like you think I ought to disagree or be offended and I’m not sure why. Please explain? Maybe because having beliefs simplified without all the poetry and zeal makes it feel awkward to you? I realize I can’t simply every Christian’s personal beliefs, but they all have a centrality.
Bloody confused… I mean… er… peace be with you*, And with you, sorry I’m not better at writing. Ask me more question on twitter: @healthyhumanist
*I’m not a very good Christian. If I were I’d probably have understood what you were trying to contradict in your article. What makes you feel like a bad Christian?
Although actually I would like to challenge “what any Christian can care about” because that is ridiculously prejudiced. Christians can care about poverty independent of their faith, and clearly dying is not “the only thing any Christian can care about” otherwise why would Christians break the rules so often (ie being rich, hypocrisy, screwing around, bullying minority groups etc etc)? I’m a humanist, so yes, I agree with you that it can appear prejudiced. People DO have different beliefs and act different from what they say. Christians would call some of this “sinning,” which I think is a horrible concept. What I’m saying is that MOST Christians put most of their emphasis on the end game. That death, or leaving this life, is when you either get to hang with Jesus or be seperated from him (a nice way of saying going to hell.) You have your different cares, but ultimately you want to be with Jesus and bring as many people with you as you can to meet him.