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bejjinks

Freedom of religion in SL?

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First, let me tell you who I am not.

I am not a dominionist.
I am not a fanatic or a zealot.
I am not a member of any militant religious group.
I am not a member of any religiously based political party.
I do not want a theocracy here in America.

I am not a Catholic.
I am not a Fundamentalist.
I am not an Evangelical.

I am not Orthodox.
I am not a Lutheran.
I am not a Calvinist.
I am not an Arminian.
I am not an Anglican.
I am not a Presbyterian.
I am not a Congregationalist.
I am not Amish, Mennonite or any similar designation.
I am not a member of the Church of the Brethren.
I am not a Methodist.
I am not a Pietist.
I am not a Baptist.
I am not a Charismatic.
I am not a member of the United Church.
I am not a Quaker.
I am not an Adventist.
I am not Jewish.
I am not part of the Aryan Brotherhood.
I am not a Mormon.
I am not a Unitarian.
I am not a Christian Scientist.
I am not an Esoteric Christian.
I am not Syncretistic.
I don't practice any voodoo or Santeria.
I am not a Jehovah's Witness.
I am not a Branch Davidian.

Politically speaking, I am not a liberal but I'm not sure whether to call myself conservative or bipartisan. I lean toward conservative values but I don't see liberals as the enemy. In fact there have been a number of liberals that I consider role models. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is one example. FDR was not perfect but than nobody's perfect. FDR was a problem solver who got America through two big crises.

So who am I? If people would stop jumping to conclusions and attacking me, I'll tell you.

I believe in freedom of religion instead of freedom from religion. I believe that it is possible for a Christian, a Muslim, and an Atheist to have a civil discussion about religion and about politics. I believe that we don't all have to conform to the same way of thinking in order for there to be peace. I believe that we don't have to be brainwashed by the government to establish peace. And I will fight for the right of people to resist political brainwashing regardless of whether the political brainwashing is Christian, Muslim, or Atheist in origin.

I believe in freedom of speech but that freedom meant the freedom to criticize the government. It was not meant as a freedom to bully and harass people. V said, "People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

I wouldn't go to such an extreme but instead, I will quote from the Declaration of Indpendence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Or better still, I will quote from Jesus Christ, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves." Luke 22:25-27 NASB

The people must always have the right to petition the government and have their grievances redressed. But that is not what has become of America. Instead, we defend the right of the bully to harass while we arrest people who criticize the government.

Who am I?

I was raised in a Pietist church but I struggled with their laws. They taught laws like "dancing is a sin". They focused heavily on obeying the law and I was never good enough for them. The Pietist church I was raised in rejected me.

Then again, just about everyone rejected me. Even when I was five years old, the other kids told me that their parents would not let them play with me because I was different. I was shunned and ostracized at five.

A lot of it had to do with the fact that I wasn't masculine enough. I was never very athletic. In the small town I grew up in, all the boys were driving tractors at twelve. My dad lost his farm when I was eight and so I never learned how to be a farmer and in the small town I grew up in, that made me an outsider.

Then as a teenager, I developed a sexual attraction to men. This made showering with the other guys a hellish experience and I asked for special permission to not have to shower with the guys. And more than just simply being sexually attracted to men, there has always been a sado-masochistic element in my sexuality. It wasn't about love. It was about power, one person dominating another although I couldn't decide whether I was the dominator or the dominated.

I struggled with the supposedly Christian laws but at the same time, I didn't want to live in anarchy. There were times in my childhood where I experienced anarchy, when I was alone and a gang of bullies would come to beat me up and I had no law to turn to for protection. This was because the law in my small town was about oppression, not about protection. If I complained about the bullies, I was told that I needed to learn to defend myself. But if I defended myself, I was punished for fighting.

So I wrestled with God about the law. Have you seen Forest Gump? Do you remember the scene where Lieutenenat Dan had a screaming match with God? I believe that is a good thing to do. I believe that more people should have a screaming match with God. Go out by yourself where you can be alone with God and just be honest with Him, yell at Him if you have to, cry if you have to, but be honest. Too few people are honest with God. Too many people, when they pray, try to manipulate God or they try to restrain themselves according to some religious ideas about what prayer is supposed to be. But have you ever simply gotten honest with God and told Him how you honestly feel.

Jacob wrestled with God and God blessed him for it.

But people attack Christians thinking they can manipulate Christians. These people who attack Christianity are not being honest. We say that people who are violent against homosexuals are living in denial of their own homosexuality and I believe this is true. But I'm going to say the same thing about people who are violent against Christianity. People who are violently opposed to Christianity are trying desparately to supress the fact that deep down in their heart, they truly believe in God. A true Atheist wouldn't care enough to be violent. A true Atheist would let those foolish Christians believe whatever nonsense they wanted to believe. But I am convinced that anyone who goes out of their way to try to force me to change my beliefs cannot be a true Atheist. The militant Atheists are too angry and irrational to be true Atheists. Methinks they doth protest too much. They need to go spend some time being honest with God and admit that they believe in God and are angry at God instead of trying so desparately to prove to themselves that God doesn't exist.

Either that, or they are angry at certain Christians and are taking it out on all Christians. I used to hang out in the gay bars but many of those homosexuals were jerks that mistreated me. If I got angry at all homosexuals because of what a few jerks did, you'd be up in arms calling me a bigot. Well I'm going to turn the same standard on you. If you get angry at all Christians because of what a group of Christians are doing, than you are a bigot.

I feel like I'm caught in the middle. We've got the homosexuals lining one side of the street and the Christians lining the other side of the street and they are very angry at each other, violently so. And I have to walk down the middle of that street. The Christians reject me because I used to be a homosexual. The homosexuals reject me because I am a Christian. Well I'm used to being the reject. I'm used to being the outsider. So be it.

I wrestled with God about the law and what I discovered is that many of the so called Christian laws were not from God. The Pharisees of old added laws that were not from God. The Catholics added laws that were not from God. And even modern day Protestants add laws that are not from God.

I wrestled because I needed reasonable rules. The church was always saying, "God said it and I believe it and that's good enough for me." BUT IT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME. It never was good enough for me. I needed to know why. I needed to know that God was not some arbitray or capricious God. I needed to know that God was not just making up rules randomly just to test our obedience. I hate blind faith.

I asked all the questions that the church hates. I asked, "If God is good, how come there's suffering on Earth". I asked, "Why did God create something that he hates and why does he condemn his own creation?" All these questions, the church hates to answer, but I asked them anyway. The difference is, I didn't ask these questions of the church. I asked these questions of God himself. I went to God in my alone time when no one else was around and I cried, "Why did you make me gay and then make a law against it?" It was going to God with this question instead of going to Christians that made all the difference.

This does require a bit of a paradigm shift. Not all questions are good questions. For example, "Why are you stupid" is a bad question. Most bad questions are presumptive questions. When you presume facts that are not in evidence and than make questions based on those unsupported facts, you are asking a presumptive question. Presumptive questions are bad specifically because the whole presumptive question has to be refuted and therefore cannot be simply answered. For example, if I ask you, "Why did the tooth fairy leave me only a nickel?" You only have two options. You can either lie and make up an answer to my question or you can refute my whole question by telling me there is no such thing as a tooth fairy.

Many of the questions that the church hates are presumptive questions. We presume to understand what good means. We presume that God created everything. We presume that God micromanages the universe and therefore everything that happens is because God caused it to happen. Based on these presumptions, we argue with the church asking questions that the church hates to answer and the church hates to answer these presumptive questions because they cannot be simply answered. The questions themselves have to be refuted.

So here is your paradigm shift. If you want a religion that has been so simplified that it can be spoon fed to you like baby food, convert to Islam. The Bible is hard to digest. It isn't simplified. It isn't something you can just swallow. You have to chew on it a while as if you were eating a thick juicy steak. Like medicine, the Bible is hard to swallow. It tastes nasty at times. But once you've wrestled with God for a while, you'll discover that he is truly good.

The law of the Lord is perfect. The problem is, the law of the church is not the same thing as the law of the Lord. The law of the church is oversimplified, just like the Sharia laws. The law of the church is based on external behaviors and a simple equation of sin should be punished. The law of God is completely different and you need a paradigm shift in your thinking to understand this. The law of God is concerned with internal spiritual matters and is less concerned with external behaviors. The law of God is concerned with natural consequences and is less concerned with punishment. The law of the Lord restores instead of punishes. The church gets all bent out of shape about punishing the wicked but God restores even when God has to oppose the church in order to do so.

The law of the Lord is contextual. He made some laws that only applied to certain times, places or people and were never intended for everyone. Jesus never abolished any of the laws of God. He didn't have to. The priestly laws were only for the priests and only for the time before Jesus came to fulfill the law. So the liberal Christians are wrong when they say that the law is abolished but if anyone tells you to obey the priestly laws or any other laws that were only for a specific time, place or people, than they are wrong.

I have wrestled with God. I need reasonable rules. I need rules I can live by, rules that don't condemn me. I need standards that anyone can live up to. I need standards that don't ostracize people just because of how they were born. I need rules that don't condemn people but build people up instead.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 NASB

One year my cat developed a rash. He was scratching his head vigorously all the time. He scratched his head so vigorously, he drew blood. I hated seeing Fred suffer. I was angry with Fred because he wouldn't stop scratching. I was angry with him because I loved him and I didn't want him to suffer. I took him to the vet and got medicine for him. I tried giving him the medicine to cure the rash so he wouldn't itch anymore and wouldn't scratch his head until bleeding anymore. Of course Fred fought the medicine. Have you ever tried giving medicine to a cat? One day, in frustration I yelled, "If you would stop fighting me, I'll make the itch go away. Just cooperate with me."

Then I heard God say, "That's exactly what I've been trying to tell you all this time."

One day, I was trying to feed Fred but because I was in the middle of moving, his food was on the opposite end of the apartment from his food dish. As I was walking, Fred kept getting underfoot. He had to be right where I was trying to walk. Finally in frustration I yelled, "I'm trying to feed you. I could rearrange your entire world for you if you would just get out of the way."

Then I heard God say, "That's exaclty what I've been trying to tell you all this time."

One day, I was sitting on the couch watching Fred struggle with the cone I force him to wear to keep him from hurting himself. I began talking to him. "When you hurt yourself, I feel pain because I love you. That's what love is, to hurt when someone else hurts and to celebrate when someone else celebrates. I love you and so I feel your pain and it hurts me to see you suffer. I hate you because you cause pain to yourself and I hate anyone who hurts one I love. Would you really prefer that I stop loving you? The only way that I can stop hurting when you hurt yourself is if I stopped loving you, is that what you want? Do you want me to cast you out into the cold darkness where you'll have to fend for yourself without me to take care of you? I hate you because I care about you and you hurt yourself. The only way I can stop hating you is either you stop hurting yourself or I cast you out and stop caring about you. Which do you prefer?"

Then I heard God say, "That's exactly what I've been trying to tell you all this time."

I'm not going to boast of an instant cure. The truth is, I still feel a sexual attraction to men from time to time. But the itch is significantly less severe. I don't have to scratch to the point of harming myself anymore. More importantly, I know that God loves me and cares too much about me to let me go on hurting myself.

And Fred's rash cleared up too and he no longer hurts himself.

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At first I thought this post was about whether there was freedom to express a religious view in SL.  Then I thought it was about cyberbullying, then about our unalienable Rights as US citizens, then maybe about your path to finding peace with your god.  There is way too much to touch on without writing my own book.  You are free to think as you will, accept that not everyone will agree and be happy you are able to be yourself somewhere.  It is lovely to meet you and read your words, Bejjinks.  I hope you enjoy your Second Life and I hope you find a way to express yourself in whatever way you see fit.

 

Cinn

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Why this elucidation? In need of attention? Or just provocative? Who do you want to convince about what? Or is it just some sort of a complaint, being gay but not stepping out of  the closet all the way for reasons you only know? What is the use of discussing religion anyway? You either believe there is some god figure, or you know there's just not. Endless and useless. What is the importance to rub in your way of thinking? Who cares if you are religious. Good for you of course. But to know why and how is totally irrelevant. It is just as important as to know you like or dislike peanut butter and why. 

Do you ever really enjoy yourself? (Besides placing threads like this maybe :smileywink:) Maybe it is time to let go the past (yeah yeah it made you to who you are now) and focus on the now and here! Maybe it is time to stop to obey rules made by others! Create your own rules! It will save you a lot of wrestling I bet.

And find yourself a nice dude, do not longer deny and ignore yourself! Rely on yourself and not on some books written by people who also never could prove there is a god! (Maybe they had magic mushrooms too back then!)

Lighten up. Don't wait for some light at the end of some tunnel.

Oh and this, don't tell me to ignore this thread just because I think different. That is not what you want with your thread. And it would have been to easy :matte-motes-big-grin:

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I have the exquisite cover of our beautiful antique family bible on some of my clothes inworld.

It is a nice way to express your belief/s without having to be too concerned about religion/s,

Actually I have many beautiful crosses on clothing, but that one is the best.

This method of display/personal expression can apply to most religions and doesn't seem to raise anyones ire.

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Maryanne Solo wrote:

I have the exquisite cover of our beautiful antique family bible on some of my clothes inworld.

It is a nice way to express your belief/s without having to be too concerned about religion/s,

Actually I have many beautiful crosses on clothing, but that one is the best.

This method of display/personal expression can apply to most religions and doesn't seem to raise anyones ire.

That is a really lovely idea!  I appreciate you posting that here...and gives me some ideas too. ;)

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bejjinks wrote:

First, let me tell you who I am not.

 

Let me tell you who you ARE: a preacher. There is nothing at all wrong with preaching if you have an audience that has asked for your sermon. This audience has not.

It's fine that you've found what you believe is your path.

It's a lot less fine (in my opinion) that you are so ready to proclaim it as the one and only path and you are so willing to trash any other belief system in the process (your comments regarding Islam, for example). You also seem to somehow have missed the fact that there are many homosexual Christians and probably even more non-homosexual Christians who are completely tolerant of homosexuals, be they Christian or otherwise. I think your sermon would go over quite well at Westboro Baptist, actually. It certainly doesn't resonate with any of the feelings I've gotten from Christians I've met, either in SL or RL.

There may someday be a Forum subsection for Sermons, and those who wish to partake will visit there. There is no such section at this time

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bejjinks wrote:

Who am I?

 

 

I saw this topic, and saw who started it, and said to myself.....'oh no...here we go again'.  But the above three words jumped out at me.  You could spend a lifetime pondering those three words, but its not words themselves, but the question.  One day you may simply be able to say, "I am" with the quiet confidence of a person with an unshakable belief in who they are, balls to bones.

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I find that a lot of people who are "violent" against Christianity are the ones who have it forced upon them through either blatant Bible thumping, or misleading titles on forum posts, such as your own.

As an atheist, I believe your assessment of atheism is incorrect as well. Frankly, I think you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about and decided to use the forums to preach at people and, dare I say, convert them to your beliefs through the words you poorly chose in your post. Unless I'm just reading too far into it. And I might be. I'm tired.

All in all, I'm not too surprised at the negative responses you have receieved to this post. I know a lot of Christian homosexuals, and, honestly, none are as "holier than thou" as you have protrayed yourself to be here. Next time you post, could you please make the title relevant to the actual things contained in said post? I was led to believe that this was to be a discussion about whether there was freedom of religion in Second Life, not to be thumped with a person's interpretation of other people's chosen religions, or lack thereof.


Edited to correct typos. Remind me not to post when sleepy.

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tl;dr

I read the replies, though.

A pet peeve of mine is when someone mocks someone else's sacred beliefs. It's the height of rudeness and arrogance in my book. 

That's all I want to say about that.

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I may have missed it but where, in that monstrous wall-of-text, is there any discussion of 'freedom of religion' in SL ?

To my eyes, you're just another fundamentalist nut-job looking for an outlet for to push your personal delusions. Please take it elsewhere.

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I am still a little suprised by the responses. I honestly expected more flak from fundamentalist than I did from homosexuals. I thought fundamentalists would get on my case for being as liberal as I am and they'd accuse me of being a traitor.

Joshua 5:13-14a NASB 13 Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 14 He said, “No;

I will continue to stay impartial. I will neither turn to the left or the right on this. I will neither side with the antigay agenda nor with the gay marriage agenda. I'm sure my neutrality will leave me very unpopular but so be it.

In the words of Martin Luther, "I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen."

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bejjinks wrote:

I will continue to stay impartial. I will neither turn to the left or the right on this. I will neither side with the antigay agenda nor with the gay marriage agenda. I'm sure my neutrality will leave me very unpopular but so be it.

 

 

actually no

most people actual dont care either way. they neither  anti or pro same sex marriage or anything else. they quite happy to let other people live their own lifes as they choose

when we dont care about the choices other people make for themselfs then is a more happy world

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bejjinks wrote:

...

I believe in freedom of religion instead of freedom from religion.

...

Freedom from religion is included in freedom of religion.  You have the freedom to practice
your own personal beliefs
the same as others have the freedom to not practice those same beliefs.


bejjinks wrote:

... I believe that we don't have to be brainwashed by the government to establish peace. And I will fight for the right of people to resist political brainwashing regardless of whether the political brainwashing is Christian, Muslim, or Atheist in origin.

I believe in freedom of speech but that freedom meant the freedom to criticize the government. It was not meant as a freedom to bully and harass people. ...

 

Well here is what I believe...

 I believe that we don't have to be brainwashed by religion to establish peace. And I will fight for my own right to resist religious brainwashing regardless of whether the religious brainwashing is Christian, Muslim, or whatever in origin.

I believe in freedom of religion but that freedom means the freedom to practice, or not, the religion you believe in. It was not meant as a freedom to bully and harass people, like the constant harassment of gays and lesbians at the hands of some religious followers for example.

bejjinks wrote:

...But people attack Christians thinking they can manipulate Christians. These people who attack Christianity are not being honest. We say that people who are violent against homosexuals are living in denial of their own homosexuality and I believe this is true. But I'm going to say the same thing about people who are violent against Christianity. People who are violently opposed to Christianity are trying desparately to supress the fact that deep down in their heart, they truly believe in God. ...

I think those religious believers that feel "attacked" are people that tried to force their beliefs upon others and continued doing so even when they got rebuffed by the real victims that didn't share the same beliefs. The passing of laws based on a certain religion's belief system would be another reason for backlash by non-believers of that faith or of any faith.  Personally I do get tired of some Christians behaving like victims when their forced sermons get rejected by the disinterested.  

As for the story of your cat Fred...

Being gay is not some rash that needs to be fixed or cured.  Sorry you feel that way and I hope you find the peace you are seeking.  Just remember it is something you need to come to terms with and not something you need to save others from unless they ask you to.  

And...

Is there freedom of religion in SL?  Sure there is.  Practice whatever religion you want in SL...  Just expect to get ejected and banned from any place that doesn't want to hear your sermon.

 

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bejjinks wrote:

 

 

So who am I? If people would stop jumping to conclusions and attacking me......

 

This attitude is about as un-Christlike as you can get, which is the crux of the problem.  As it is with so many of the self proclaimed enlightened, if you have to ask if you are, or try to convince others that you are, you simply are not.

You invite this upon yourself for the sake of the show, as if to say "look at me....see what I'm doing"

Let me try to get this through your thick head. What you probably need to do is take a vow of silence, and actually learn what it means accept people for who they are..as you expect people to to do unto you.   I hope you get this.  I hope you eventually understand that you are not a victim of attacks, but that you are the cause of your own suffering and confusion.

You need to be confident in who you are, without regard for who others are, or choose to be....this is where Christ met people..He met them where they are...and loved them just the same, without fanfare, or cause for attention.

Please do no assume that people who live an play In SL have anything but freedom of Religion..they have it in spades.  Take some time to learn this.  Most are wiser that you assume them to be, and more loving and accepting than you can imagine.

 

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If there is a god, he left along time ago when you look at the state of this planet and it`s inhabitants

If there are humanoid aliens, i wonder how fast the church will make a spin so it`s alright that we weren`t created in "his image"

If in a couple hundred years science proves we our selfs are alien to this world and came from a giant big rock from outer space, will such posts still be made?

If human evolution was lifted by aliens millenia`s ago, god doesn`t exists as the stories evolve around "them"

 

Every one is free to believe what they want, just don`t push that crap onto us...

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I'm an atheist. I have to hear, day after day, that I live "in darkness", that I need "salvation", and that I need to change *my* life in order to live up to *their* rules. If atheists would behave like believers, we would indeed push for the closure of houses of worship. We would incessantly emphasize the need to "liberate" poor believers who, obviously, live "in darkness". Thing is - we do not. We're an easy lot. You go to your temple on your chosen day of worship and we go to the beach. You teach your kids all about how God wants this or that and we teach ours much the same values, but coming from the heart and from understanding how a society can function, instead of from some book. It's all good. We do not push our (lack of) faith upon others. But here's the catch - many of you do. They do not want us to have abortions. They do not want us to enter into gay relationships. They don't want us to go shopping on Sundays. They don't want us to be "indecent" in public. They don't want us to voice our honest opinion about your leaders, your Gods, your Saints and / or your Prophets. If you are against abortions, by all means don't ever perform one. If you are against gay marriage, please marry someone of the opposite sex. If you are against working on Sundays, then don't. If you think nude beaches are the Satan, don't go there. If you think Jesus / Muhammad / Krishna / Buddha / the Big Tree in the Forest is untouchable, don't touch them. But do not ever try to force *me* into *your* rules. Because "freedom of religion" should also mean freedom to be non-religious.

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" We do not push our (lack of) faith upon others.  "

 

Some do. 

There are imperfect practitioners in every belief system.

 

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Give me one example where believers were forced by atheists to live by atheist rules and abandon their practices. Make it a recent one because the Soviet Union is dead and gone. Tip: recent attempts in Europe to ban some Islamic practices are not pushed by atheists but by people claiming to have a "Judeo-Christian" agenda.

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The only difference between a theist and an atheist is one holds religious beliefs and the other does not.  Beyond that, people are the same.  Tall/short, smart/dumb, and pontificator/introvert are ways to describe anyone regardless of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

When Melita quoted you, she quoted "We do not push our (lack of) faith upon others."  That's quite different than “forced by atheists to live by atheist rules and abandon their practices.”

In the first quote, all that's need to push faith (or lack thereof) on others is to start preaching to people.  While certainly not all atheists do, I'm pretty sure there are plenty of atheists who have created books, blogs, videos, and even comedic routines that blast the religious and are a veiled (if not open) attempt to convert people to atheism.

The second quote is a stronger statement where people are literally forced to give up their religion.  Since atheists don't seem to mind bringing up the Crusades as an example of how religion is bad, it's unfair to demand recent examples of forced atheism.  It's no matter though.  Forced/state atheism didn't die with the Soviet Union.  I'm no expert on the subject or these countries, but I'm pretty sure that places like China, North Korea, Cuba, and perhaps some others are *very* unfriendly towards the religious.  Oh, these countries may have some churches but that doesn't mean people are truly free to practice their religion without any consequences.

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