This has always been an interesting subject for me. I was raised in a very Christian home. My parents were the kindest, most giving people I have ever known. I seldom see their brand of Christianity. Their faith was silent in words but large in action. I don’t see god in their way, I see the beauty of their life I have never felt that i had to believe in the same way that they did to be like them. I cherish their kindness, forgiveness and non judgement. I don’t believe that god or the promise heaven or whatever guides that or should. Those ideas should be self driven. I am comfortable with other people’s faith as long as it isn’t forced on me. I have no patience for those who hyjacked what they believe is religion into politics and use that as a measuring stick for everyone else’s morality. In my mind it you don’t do something or don’t do something because you will go to hell or because god does or doesn’t like it, your actions are false. Well, the start of a conversation
Nice post. Your parents would have thrived in secular countries such as those in Scandinavia who don't associate prosocial behavior with religion. I seriously doubt their faith had anything to do with their kindness, though they likely attributed it to their religion.
If Christianity was actually followed to a tee, as noted in the bible, believers would be required to sell everything, put the well being of their family on the back burner and make the great commission their main purpose. There are some upsides to cherry picking.
I was raised in a small mining town. People were generous and kind and shared, even though there wasn't much to share. This seems to have somehow gotten lost. Was it the excesses in the 80's that turned people greedy? I wish I knew what caused this change. Even in politics, congress worked in a bi- partisan way across the aisles; no more.
I agree that compassion and equanimity should be self directed but even that has gotten tied in with religion and the outcome has been that the biggest proponents in judging others have become the most vocal of those claiming Christianity. Where do we go from here?
My parents were Christians but not so much in terms of church attendance and more in how they lived their lives. They were very loving people and also very giving. They expressed their love in their deeds and their deeds were always good and loving. I certainly miss them.
I also grew up in a house like this and I explain my parents to people like, "they are the type of Christian the Bible says they should be". When I "came out" as Agnostic a few years ago, I wasnt that worried about what they would think but it still took me 5 years to tell them. Anyway, they thanked me for being honest and nothing has really changed in our relationship except my mom has stopped recommending single women from my old church that I should date.
I find "Christians" today to be vulgar caricatures of one of the old mystic schools. I see intolerance, ignorance, hatred and stupidity. I am genuinely afraid of the "true believers" because that tells me they can justify murder, mayhem and any other vile criminal behavior in the name of their god. My grandmother was somewhat a devout church-going lady and she tried to live a good life, at least that is how she presented it. I stay away from those who are truly devout, because I will just piss them off. My atheist friends are the most caring, honest and in that sense moral people I know. Coming from a scientific community, we prefer the facts. The more you understand, the more you can see that good "moral" behavior is not due to religion, but is good overall for us in actual practice. As we say in the industry, it is good business, especially within interpersonal relationships. There is nothing inherently wrong with integrity, honesty and altruism.In the context of a religious belief system they are inherently incompatible. How can you have integrity and curiosity when you believe in lies? I don't associate with felons, because it is incompatible with my lifestyle and belief system (yes we all have one). Religious people cannot have true integrity because they close their mind to possibilities. It has set mankind back a thousand years, I have no patience nor tolerance for it whatsoever. It is a vile corrupt perversion that damages millions of people. We could eliminate religion in 1 generation with a simple rule, just like tobacco and alcohol, children may not be exposed to it until the age of majority. Stop letting them indoctrinate children and it will fade away faster than it already is.
In my experience there are 2 kinds of people when it comes to practicing faith. The cloak wearers and the club weilders.
The cloak wearers wrap themselves in their faith for protection and comfort. And while it's clear to anybody that bothers to look that they are wearing a cloak, it's mostly a personal matter and rarely trips anyone else up. And if they see someone in need of comforting they will offer to extend the cloaks protection to them and share in its warmth.
The club weilders see their faith as a weapon to be brought to bare at the slightest provocation. They never feel safe unless everyone else is cowering before their club. They bludgeon others into submission and never stop waving their club's around, oblivious to all the collateral damage their causing as the try and force others to follow their tenets.
It may seem that the club weilders are more numerous but I believe they're just louder. It's part of their nature to drown out others. The cloak wearers are out there, they're just less boastful, carrying on quietly. We need more people with this personal view of faith.
I am glad you had such awesome parents and that you appreciate them. My take is that they would have been the same regardless of what religion they did or did not follow.
You could say they were wonderful despite their beliefs rather than because of them?
I had a great Aunt and a Mother in Law who were just lovely, and very devout Christians.
My friend and I have discussed this. I don't think you have to be Christian to practice good citizenship in the community. People assume that because we're atheists or agnostics that we don't have a heart, or don't know how to love others. It sounds like you were raised by lovely people. I love giving back to my community. I do so in various ways. I think people have good hearts and don't need an organization to teach them right from wrong. That's just my opinion.