#2 in a series of quotes about faith, life, or religion.

“Of all religions, Christianity is without a doubt the one that should inspire tolerance most, although, up to now, the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men”

Voltaire

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This entry was posted on Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 at 4:25 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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51 Comments(+Add)

1   Jerry    http://www.dongoldfish.wordpress.com
August 23rd, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Chris,

Especially towards our own.

And this quote is sad; but true.

jerry

2   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 23rd, 2009 at 5:38 pm

The boundaries of our tolerance are usually expanded by our own in house practices and limited by others who struggle with practices to which we are not tempted. The sins that are most repulsive are more easily seen through a window than a mirror.

(My comment is actually an expansion of Jerry’s astute perspective.)

3   merry    
August 23rd, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Is Christianity supposed to be a religion?

4   Charlotte    http://www.charlottesal.wordpress.com
August 23rd, 2009 at 10:57 pm

I feel I touched on this in my post on my blog. I didn’t want to copy and paste.. here is the link http://charlottesal.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/the-church-of-jesus-christ-in-network-marketing/

5   Aaron    
August 24th, 2009 at 1:29 am

It simply falls under “religion” as a scientific, categorical label having similar qualities as other religions such as a god, laws, etc, etc.

But no, Christianity is not to be a “religion” as a checklist, do this and don’t do that, exclude others and welcome your own type crapfest that other religions so endorse.

Oh wait…. I think I know of some people who do that…

6   chris    
August 24th, 2009 at 9:16 am

What I find most interesting about this quote is that it was stated sometime between the 15th and 16th Centuries of Voltaire’s life. Apparently “our” modus operendum has the same consistent flaws.

7   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 24th, 2009 at 9:25 am

There is a thin slice of nuance between tolerate and condone, but that thin slice is what separates redemption from self righteousness.

Rick Frueh circa A.D. 2009

8   merry    
August 24th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

My theory in progress is that all people are programmed to follow laws and rules, whether they realize it or not. Hence the hundreds and hundreds of religions that are full of “do this and don’t do that”… Jesus came and opened up a whole new system of grace and forgiveness, which is not naturally programmed into human beings–therefore, it is something Christians have to work at every single day, and will never have it down fully until we meet the Lord. Meanwhile, Christians are still humans and automatically default back to the “do this and don’t do that” method. There are some other psychological concepts that will explain why people in different religions/churches are so intolerant of each other (ingroup-outgroup, etc…) which is again, something Christians have to consciously work to avoid, because the system Jesus presented is so entirely opposite of the way sinful humans are wired.

My conclusion: Christianity will always have the same “consistent flaws”… the fact is we are helping this out by judging the people who turn Christianity into a religion.

9   troy    http://www.sheepandgoats.blogspot.com
August 24th, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Have to work at grace…ironic. I understand your meaning, merry.

10   John Hughes    
August 24th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Yes, Christianity would be great if it wasn’t for all those Christians.

11   Pastorboy    http://crninfo.wordpress.com
August 24th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Problem is, you are quoting an athiestic philosopher.

Religion is man’s attempt to please god of thier own understanding. While Christianity is, from the worlds perspective, a religion, in reality it is a relationship with God that is purchased by Christ which is the only way to please God.

Pure religion, resulting from being born again, results in Christ like behavior towards others. What voltaire was referring to was the hypocrites in the church. And there are plenty of them.

12   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 24th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

It doesn’t matter a lick if he is an atheist or not. His statement is true whether he is speaking of religion or some other worldly relationship mention.

13   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 24th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

“And there are plenty of them.”

Let’s start with John Calvin.

14   M.G.    
August 24th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Re:11

Honest question, PB.

When an atheist says 2+2=4, is that true?

15   merry    
August 24th, 2009 at 10:13 pm

John Hughes,

“Yes, Christianity would be great if it wasn’t for all those Christians.”

You’re probably being tongue-in-here but this seems to be the attitude of way too many Christians, including myself…I think it’s a dangerous attitude to take on and almost caused me to lose my faith this year. We need to be more understanding and supportive of each other and realize that we are ALL broken…God continues to demonstrate a lot of grace by allowing his spirit to work through us. Have you ever read Philip Yancey? He has some good thoughts about this.

Pastorboy,

“What voltaire was referring to was the hypocrites in the church. And there are plenty of them.”

My comment to John could be reworded to say we are ALL hypocrites. And like I said, I almost lost my faith over the pain of focusing in on everyone else’s hypocrisy. Until God came into the picture and let me know in very plain terms that it wasn’t really the point…. It’s amazing that when I focused on him instead of his people I found it easier to react with grace.

16   merry    
August 24th, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I meant to say tongue-in-cheek, haha.

17   Break the Terror    http://breaktheterror.blogspot.com
August 25th, 2009 at 2:46 am

Honest question, PB.

When an atheist says 2+2=4, is that true?

No, it’s a conspiracy, it’s always been five, Winston.

Goodness, I walk away for a mere 8 months, and I pop back in for a second and there all the people are, arguing with Pastorboy.

It’s good to know that some things never change.

18   Jerry    http://www.dangoldfinch.wordpress.com
August 25th, 2009 at 7:56 am

BTT,

Has it been 8 months? :-)

jerry

19   chris    
August 25th, 2009 at 8:26 am

“And there are plenty of them.”

Let’s start with John Calvin.

Let’s start with ME!

20   John Hughes    
August 25th, 2009 at 8:32 am

Merry. Yes I was being “tongue-in-here”

:-)

21   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 8:36 am

#19 – Yep, I have many sins. However I have yet to commit murder with one hand and write theology with the other. That, to me, seems toward the zenith of hypocrisy and it just adds to the mystery concerning those who idolize him. :cool:

22   John Hughes    
August 25th, 2009 at 8:37 am

Chris, you hypocrite!

OK. Who’s next?

Question: If we are by nature hypocrites is it being hyprocritical when we act with integrity?

23   John Hughes    
August 25th, 2009 at 8:38 am

Rick: key word “yet”.

24   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 10:01 am

However I have yet to commit murder with one hand and write theology with the other.
Friar Frueh

Ah, but you have written murder with one hand and committed theology with the other.
;)

25   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 10:10 am

Don’t worry…I don’t even know what it means and I wrote it.

Rick, I’ve playfully accused you of possessing a poison quill. Hence, the writing murder.
As far as committing theology with one hand, maybe if you sign theology to the hearing impaired, or maybe if you punch someone in the jaw to emphasize the wrath of God, or maybe if you hand someone a glass of clean water in an effort to show the love of Christ, or maybe if you lay hands on the sick and they are healed in Jesus name…I don’t know…maybe…

26   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 11:19 am

Nate – Calvin’s murders were literal – his theology is fiction. :cool:

27   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 11:27 am

You have raised an interesting issue – committing theology. If theology is confined to ink and paper (or electrons) then theology is stationary, frozen, and stagnant; not unlike a literary museum.

However, if theology is designed to be lived as well as spoken and read, then we can commit theology, which would be defined as the behavioral manifestation of God.

28   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 11:59 am

Oh, that we were all guilty of committing good theology!

29   John Hughes    
August 25th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

If theology is confined to ink and paper (or electrons) then theology is stationary, frozen, and stagnant; not unlike a literary museum.

I think someone wrote about that once. Oh yeah . . .

James 1:22 – But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.

30   John Hughes    
August 25th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Actually Rick, I think your version reads better. Uh oh. Is that blasphemy to say that?

31   Neil    
August 25th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

While Christianity is, from the worlds perspective, a religion, in reality it is a relationship with God that is purchased by Christ which is the only way to please God.

Pure religion, resulting from being born again…

So it’s not a religion it’s a relationship… yet, it’s pure religion.

I don’t understand the objection to quoting non-Christians as a source. If they are correct we agree and move on, if they are not we disagree and move on.

It’s not like one’s sourcing is a litmus test to their spirituality.

32   Nathanael    http://www.borrowedbreath.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Neil,
You know better than that.
Quoting anyone means you agree with everything they say.
That’s why I cannot even quote myself.

:)

33   Break the Terror    http://breaktheterror.blogspot.com
August 25th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

BTT,

Has it been 8 months?

jerry

Somethin’ like that. It’s been since before I moved out of Memphis, and that was around New Years’.

34   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Rick,

You have raised an interesting issue – committing theology. If theology is confined to ink and paper (or electrons) then theology is stationary, frozen, and stagnant; not unlike a literary museum.

However, if theology is designed to be lived as well as spoken and read, then we can commit theology, which would be defined as the behavioral manifestation of God.

I say this many times and every time someone comes at me saying I deny doctrines… really I am calling that doctrines be so ingrained that they become a part of oneself… yet also that these doctrines are ingrained in us by God Himself and not by men…. God is not stagnant… yet some teach that very thing… they say God never changes… yet… that is He character… God has changed His mind and done strange things like forgive people… weird as that is! BTW my favorite verse on God changing is in Hebrews were it states Jesus “learned obedience”… one cannot learn and not change. God changed when He became a man…(though Chris P finds Jesus being human offensive… go figure that one out!?)

Bottom line, we live the Life of Christ imparted to us… if we settle on living by doctrine we short change ourselves and Jesus as well.

iggy

35   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 8:55 pm

There are those camps that spend the overwhelming amount of their time defending doctrines as opposed to living them. And when we see some with solid doctrine who are unkind and judgmental, and others who are doctrinally deficient but kind and forgiving, what are we to make of such a paradoxical spectacle?

I would say that deception is a mercurial parasite that can adapt to any host.

36   nc    
August 25th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

religion, from an academic standpoint, is any collection of beliefs and practices that are held sacred, or articulate any understanding of human/divine interaction and relating.

so…

christianity IS a religion…

and ALL religions are attempting to define/describe the human/divine relationship.

37   nc    
August 25th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

i get what people are trying to get at when they say the “religion vs. relationship” thing…but that just wouldn’t wash with most people i know….

it’s a cliche that means nothing…

again…

christianity is a religion
all religion speaks of relationship.

the issue isn’t religion vs. relationship…

38   nc    
August 25th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

give me a kind and forgiving heretic or atheist any day…

i’ll let God sort it out…

39   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 25th, 2009 at 9:18 pm

No man inherits eternal life except through faith in Jesus Christ. That must never be compromised even when those who claim faith in Him do not act like Him. The sin issue is also core to redemption through the cross of Christ.

My point has always been about how we manifest, reflect, and actually live like Jesus in this world, not changing the gospel itself. It is my opinion that the church is far closer to “correct” doctrines then we are to Christ living. To live and behave and reach out like Jesus may require a more profound departure from accepted norms than we have ever imagined or than we are willing to even contemplate.

Spiritual inertia is a comfortable and safe prison. To consider a prison break is dangerous, uncomfortable, and ultinately will cost you your life.

40   merry    
August 25th, 2009 at 10:14 pm

all religion speaks of relationship.

Yes, “relationship”… better tell this to the Jihad in Afganistan or the Hindus with their karma… I’m seeing less relationship and more people just trying to be good enough. I try to imagine if I had to work to be good enough to have a relationship with parents or friends. Religion makes for pretty crappy attempts at relationship. “Religion vs. Relationship” could be reworded to “Religion vs. Grace” or “Works vs. Grace” but it’s basically all the same argument. Forgive me, I tend to get a little annoyed with “academic standpoints”… The definition of religion goes a bit deeper than the academic definition, and Christianity doesn’t really fit in with the rest of major religions .

41   nc    
August 27th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

not really…

the Jihad is an outworking/expression of a particular understanding of relationship to the Allah and what Allah asks of his followers.

and let’s not talk about the Crusades or any of the other things in Christianity that parallel jihad, etc. etc.

Karma is a description/system of how our total interactions–read: relationships– with the world and divine functions….

btw, i know a lovely hindu man who is deeply connected to the stream of hinduism that is focused on the god Krishna. in general it’s described as Krishna devotionalism…if you heard him talk about Krishna, it be clear to you that he has a deeply “relational” construction of his life with Krishna.

His wife is deeply involved with the devotion to the goddess Devi.

my point is that you can’t really bracket Christianity in such a way as to either claim or imply that no other religion speaks of relationship.

i’m not trying to say that there is a legitimacy to these other systems, etc. I’m just saying that it’s really not honest, once accurately informed, to perpetuate this idea that there is a radical divide between religion and relationship.

Religion, all of them, are an attempt to speak of the why’s, how’s and wherefore’s of relationship with the Divine.

to be sure, Christianity offers a radically different description/system of relating with God, but they all are talking about how they each believe and structure that relationship.

just say’n…

p.s. in Japanese buddhism there is Amida buddhism which is not about works. Their doctrine is simply: “Call on the name of Amida and you shall be saved”.

sounds almost…Christian….

42   nc    
August 27th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

another thing…

i’m grateful for the “academic standpoint’…it’s from that vantage point that i was able to read the texts of hinduism especially and saw the wide wide ranging viewpoints about how God, gods, karma, etc. all work.

is there some “earning” of salvation for some?

yep.

there’s also some interesting and intriguing articulations of what could only be described as “grace”….

i’m not saying it’s legit or salvific…that’s not my concern here.

i’m just saying you can’t bracket out religion in that christian “cliche” with any real honesty.

43   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
August 27th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

The active ingredient in Christianity that separates it from other “systems” is redemption that is found in God sacrificing Himself as the free offering for that redemption.

No works, no levels of knowledge, no physical flagellation, no offerings of material goods, no vows, and in reality just faith in the God who offered and wa the offering.

Nothing more…

44   Neil    
August 27th, 2009 at 4:42 pm

RE :43

Agreed, most certainly.

That “Christianity is not a religion but a relationship” is a tired cliche.

Also agreed.

45   merry    
August 27th, 2009 at 7:49 pm

nc,

I was only giving a couple of examples, mmkay? ;) I’m sorry you didn’t like them.

It’s a cliche that means something for me in my own mind. I can see how it may seem dishonest. But there are many who believe all roads lead to heaven, and for them to hear some equally vague sentiment about how “all religions are about relationship” seems equally dishonest. There are many different KINDS of relationships, but only one is the way to heaven. That is why Christianity doesn’t fit in with the rest of major religions, and why I personally can’t think of it as a religion, whatever opinion acadamia has of it. Perhaps it’s time to start a new tired cliche….

46   nc    
August 28th, 2009 at 3:36 pm

merry,

i hear you.

i also don’t buy the “i’m spiritual but not religious” line either…

all that is is an “anti-religion” religion.

like when people posit “theology” as a problem and how we all need to just love Jesus…when the argument “we all need to just love Jesus” is a theology….

but that’s another conversation for another day…

47   merry    
August 28th, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Well I guess where I’m coming from then is that I AM anti-religious…

I get what religion means. But when I think of it all I can think of is hyper-religion. I guess that’s my main sore point. Hyper-religion. Lots of empty religious rituals, and lots and lots of rules and traditions added onto the ones that already exist….like when the Pharisees kept adding rules onto the law of Moses, and the Catholics with their extra-biblical rituals…

(Are my examples getting better?)

Christians do this, too, although it may not be as “official,” but we add on rules and regulations to how things are done all the time, and do all kinds of things that really aren’t in the Bible….

So I guess what I’m saying is to get rid of the [hyper] religion and focus on the relationship…. and I’d much rather be “spiritual” that [hyper] religious…

Does this make sense? I don’t take my tired out cliches too literally….

48   merry    
August 28th, 2009 at 4:45 pm

*I’d much rather be spiritual THAN hyper religious.

Why do I never proof read? :(

49   nc    
August 28th, 2009 at 6:30 pm

merry,

i hear you…

and agree!

:)

50   Break the Terror    http://breaktheterror.blogspot.com
August 28th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

*peeks in*

i also don’t buy the “i’m spiritual but not religious” line either…
all that is is an “anti-religion” religion.

A different perspective:

“Spirituality” does not necessarily imply a desired relationship with the supernatural. I think far too often, people hear the phrase “spiritual but not religious” and immediately box it in with the idea of “lukewarm faith” as posited in the scriptures. However, much of spirituality exists quite apart from religion/faith, organized or not. The Venn diagrams obviously overlap for some people, but for many, spirituality is merely an aspect of the human condition which we don’t understand, yet experience all the same.

/$.02

51   nc    
August 29th, 2009 at 12:05 am

i’m just saying that “religion” is a social phenomenon and the whole push within a society to say “spirituality vs. religion” doesn’t quite really get the irony of just how deeply religious of a thing it is to say…

but i get what you’re saying too.