The need to help each other, regardless of faith or creed.

February 25, 2008 at 12:47 am 22 comments

girl_praying_large.gifI am an atheist who happens to stay in the closet about in my real life, and sometimes to be silent about that fact — as I don’t think I have to be blatantly obvious about it — can be helpful. As is, as much as I have my reservations about Western religion…if it wasn’t for people whom I am to consider true Christians, I’d be on the streets or maybe even worse today.

They helped us to keep our apartment when we were lagging because we have been experiencing a lagging income for several months now. We owed for several months’ worth of late fees, one month’s rent, several other fees, and something about owing them for certain utilities.

These same people helped us to pay off a good part of our debts. Most of this was not debt from me personally, rather my significant other. However, legally they are now as much my concern as they are still for him.

I have my opinions and reservations about dogmatic religions, yes, but the love I have for my friends and family — regardless of their beliefs, morals, faith, or ideals — are more valuable to me than any theistic — or atheistic — ideas I myself have come to hold.

When you grew up in a world where you knew friends and family who were Jews, Lutherans, Methodists, practicing and latent Catholics, Muslims, Orthodox, Buddhists, Hindus, as well as once being a Vaishnava, Buddhist, atheist, Christian, and almost-Muslim myself personally, you learn to love and accept people for who they are.

You also learn that perhaps ultimate truth has a thousand different versions, or that truth is perhaps in the end nothing more than reality as the way we perceive it. The Buddhists themselves have a saying about how when reaching the peak of a mountain, there are many paths one can take to get there.

– Jersey

Entry filed under: jersey. Tags: , , , .

The point of Christian faith in a secular world My contempt for religious answers to psychological issues

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brad  |  February 25, 2008 at 9:57 am

    As a Christian, I can 110% agree with this (with the exception of the last paragraph).

    It’s somewhat ironic that each of us of different faiths are claiming that they help us live better lives and treat people better than X religion (or no religion). That there is no decisive answer is a pretty convincing argument that we all have work to do.

    Well said.

  • 2. TheDeeZone  |  February 25, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Wow.

    I am bothered by those who claim to be Christians but there lives don’t show it. Of course, before I start getting judgmental I am reminded of the times my own life doesn’t show what I believe.

    Good post.

  • 3. LeoPardus  |  February 25, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Excellent Jersey. This goodness that I have indeed seen practiced by the people in the Church is a big part of why I do not demonize the Christian Church like some de-cons do. (Not that I totally blame them given the horrors some of them have experienced in the church.)

    My family too has been the recipient of money, food, babysitting, clothing, companionship, you name it, during times of need.

    And i strongly agree with you, that regardless of varying beliefs, we all need to help each other. It makes life better for us all.

  • 4. Marge  |  February 25, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    True ministry is from the heart, from the simple human desire to help one another. I choose the charities I donate to carefully and tend to avoid religious-based outreaches. I’ve found however that the one charity that I donate to the most is in fact faith-based but recognizes the need for every individual to find their own beliefs at their own pace.

    Jersey, thanks for raising a point that can bring all of the participants in this forum together in agreement, if only briefly.

  • 5. kramii  |  February 25, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Jesrsey,

    Great post

    It is so easy to get into arguments over religion, and in so doing to loose sight of the fact that we only have space to disagree because we share so much common ground.

    As LeoPardus says, “regardless of varying beliefs, we all need to help each other. It makes life better for us all”. I think we can all say “Amen” – or just “yes” if yo insist ;-) – to that!

  • 6. carriedthecross  |  February 25, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Amen, Jersey.

    I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for Christians. In fact, I never would have gone off to college had it not been for a youth pastor who quasi forced me into it.

    It’s been tough for me to learn to walk in the tension between disagreeing with the truth claims of religion and accepting that smart and compassionate people can believe some wrong things and still be just as smart and compassionate.

  • 7. JustCan't  |  February 26, 2008 at 12:11 am

    I understand the sentiment here, and it is inspiring.

    I do feel the need, however, to say that in my own personal experience things are often more complicated. People of no faith seem to do good deeds like this because it is the right thing to do. They do so with no ulterior motive.

    But, in my experience, I often find that Christians tend to do these things for one of two reasons….. to be better Christians themselves (self-serving) or to use it as an opening to spread their own beliefs (again, self-serving).

    This is not always the case, and many of us have been cared for by people of faith. I can understand this help and the gratitude that accompanies it. I tend to question the motives, however, based on my own observations. I wonder if all of the good deeds described in the post and replies are free of self-serving motives. Just a question.

    I merely offer another point of view, for what it is worth. Thanks for reading it!

  • 8. writerdd  |  February 26, 2008 at 10:17 am

    They helped you because they are good people. Not because they are Christians or because they worship a specific God. That’s what I hate most about Christianity — it never gives credit where credit is really due, to generous people who do charitable things.

  • 9. TheDeeZone  |  February 26, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Writerdd,

    What is so bad about a Christian giving credit to God for their being generous? Personally, if it weren’t for my faith I’m not sure that I would ever be that generous, I can be very selfish.

    DH

  • 10. Brad  |  February 26, 2008 at 11:31 am

    “Personally, if it weren’t for my faith I’m not sure that I would ever be that generous, I can be very selfish.”

    I second that. As is often pointed out on this blog, belief greatly informs behavior. The Christian’s faith motivates the action (ideally ;-) ).

  • 11. carriedthecross  |  February 26, 2008 at 11:37 am

    “Personally, if it weren’t for my faith I’m not sure that I would ever be that generous, I can be very selfish.”

    I second that. As is often pointed out on this blog, belief greatly informs behavior. The Christian’s faith motivates the action (ideally ).

    I won’t dispute that there are people who have their lives radically transformed because of their faith (I know a man who had been shot five tiems when he was in a gang and went on to be a youth leader in a church, etc.), but on the other hand I think many people who claim they rely on their faith to make them good people would just as easily do the same types of good deeds if they had never been Christians.

  • 12. Brad  |  February 26, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    “but on the other hand I think many people who claim they rely on their faith to make them good people would just as easily do the same types of good deeds if they had never been Christians.”

    Oh, I can totally agree with that. There are generous things I did before I was a Christian, and still continue to do even though my motive has changed. Whereas before, I did it to “be a good person,” I now try to do good deeds to bring attention to the goodness of God instead of myself. (not saying that these are the only alternatives, only that this is where my motives used to lie)

    I was only trying to say that Christianity is not “stealing” the credit, or anything like that. It does not have to ONLY make a bad heart good, but it can also make an already caring heart even better.

  • 13. TheDeeZone  |  February 26, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I was only trying to say that Christianity is not “stealing” the credit, or anything like that. It does not have to ONLY make a bad heart good, but it can also make an already caring heart even better.

    I became a Christian at a young age so really I wasn’t a bad person just a kid. If I choose to give God or religion credit for the good things in my life how, what is the big deal? Giving God the credit keeps me humble and from getting a self-rightouse attidtude.

  • 14. Quester  |  February 26, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Giving God the credit keeps me humble and from getting a self-rightouse attidtude.

    I’m glad it works out this way for you. For those of us with already low self-esteem, some of us find that Christianity doesn’t let us take any credit for our good actions, only blame for our bad ones. That can really tear a person apart.

    But Christianity, as so many other faiths can, even just the faith that humans have value, can lead people to do good works for each other. I agree with that much.

  • 15. OneSmallStep  |  February 26, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    If I choose to give God or religion credit for the good things in my life how, what is the big deal?

    I don’t think it’s that so much that people focus on, but the idea that God gets credit for the good, the people get credit for the bad. The only responsiblity, or thing that the ‘you’ can generate is what is bad.

  • 16. TheDeeZone  |  February 26, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Quester,

    I struggle with low self-esteem but not taking credit good actions or acknowledging my bad ones isn’t what trips me up. There are other issues that contribute to self-esteem issues.

    OneSmallStep,

    Personally, left to my own devices I wouldn’t be a very nice person or do much good. I can be very rebellious, have a quick tempor and am just plain self-ish.

    When I do something good for someone I may or may not get credit but the reward for me is how it makes me feel. In fact, I prefer to do things annoumously.

    DH

  • 17. Quester  |  February 26, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    The DeeZone,

    I struggle with low self-esteem but not taking credit good actions or acknowledging my bad ones isn’t what trips me up. There are other issues that contribute to self-esteem issues.

    There are many other issues which contribute, but being only capable of sinning on our own power, and only capable of goodness through God’s grace doesn’t help.

  • 18. BD  |  February 26, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Excellent post, its getting hard to distinguish real Christians from the ‘societal’ Christians, but real help is easy to spot and is as valuable from anyone.

  • 19. TheDeeZone  |  February 26, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Quester,

    No the other issues not sin cause more problems for me. Actually for me my faith helps my self-esteem. If you are interested in the other issues read my About Me.

    DH

  • 20. aveder  |  February 27, 2008 at 5:05 am

    Hi. Would like to know more and would like to bounce into a real person with strong views or something lively. Is there anybody out there… mtv

  • 21. exevangel  |  February 27, 2008 at 5:11 am

    There are some nice and good and lovely people in the world and some self-obsessed jerks. In the human population there are people that will help a neighbor in need and people that will walk by with averted eyes in the good Samaritan position. It’s unclear to me that religion has anything to do with it. There are both sorts both inside and outside the Christian church and inside and outside of other faiths. I’m pretty sure it’s statistically distributed regardless of faith or creed.

  • 22. aveder  |  March 3, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Hi. I am slowly coming to grips with da net and my latest utterances can be viewed in yourislam.wordpress.com
    Have a look. mtv

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Attention Christian Readers

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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