Red and White: The Two Kinds of People

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Photo credit: nouw.com/karolinamountain

I decided to write this post after reading a certain blog about atheism. I stumbled upon that particular blog while I was googling about religion for I was planning to write a blog entry about reasons why I am not religious (which will be my next essay after this). In response to the blog post entitled ‘10 Reasons Why I’m Not a Christian‘, I would like to post an opposite version of the aforesaid blog entry.

There are two kinds of people, introvert and extrovert, humble and proud, gentle and harsh, good and bad, optimistic and pessimistic, big and small, fat and thin, two opposing hues, red and white (I don’t want to sound racist so I changed black to red and I’m not literally pertaining to colors). There may be almost in between of those characteristics but there must be a larger portion that best classifies their kind. It has to be either cold or hot and it’s up to us if we decide to be lukewarm almost hot or lukewarm almost cool. We have given the freedom to choose. Are you a believer or unbeliever? Red

10 Reasons Why I’m Not a Christian (This is an excerpt. Read the rest of his blog.)

  1. A creator is not required for the universe to exist as it is. Religion offers no evidence but hypothesizes about the origins of the earth and human beings. According to science, the existence of a god is not needed for our universe to exist, nor is it needed for us to exist.
  2. The Bible is not convincing. There are many reasons why it is unconvincing. First there are the contradictions. The Bible was clearly written by a number of authors who disagreed on various things. There is also the fact that miracles and personal interactions with God don’t really happen any more. If they happened for 2000 years, why would they just suddenly stop?
  3. I have never seen any miracles. I have never personally witnessed a miracle and every miracle I heard about has a very natural explanation.
  4. Christians disagree with each other over almost all aspects of their religion. How do I know that you’re right and he’s wrong when you’re both giving me the same lack of evidence to support your version of the story?
  5. I don’t need God to be good.  Christianity is not the basis of morality and Christians are not the only ones with morals. I do in fact have morals. I get them from my parents, my teachers, my friends, etc. But I also get them from philosophy. It is philosophy that convinced me that abortion and euthanasia are not immoral and can, in fact, be moral.
  6. Even if the Bible was convincing, the Christian God isn’t worth worshiping. This is a God responsible for genocides. This is a God who ordered a man to kill his son to prove his loyalty, a God who killed their own son because they couldn’t figure out any other way to forgive humanity. This God even threatens to torture people for eternity simply because they can’t believe in him. Why would I worship this God?
  7. Of all the religions that exist, I see no reason why the Christian religion is more likely to be true than the rest of them. What’s more, all religions seem to be supported by the same lack of evidence. So why would I accept Christianity over all of the rest?
  8. Too many churches teach hate and encourage their congregants to view themselves as superior to all other humans. Why would I want to hang out with people who believe I’m less than them simply because I disagree with them?
  9. I don’t believe anyone deserves an infinite punishment for a finite crime. Am I deserving of hell for saying something about something I don’t believe in? Why isn’t imprisonment enough of a punishment?
  10. I see nothing wrong with not knowing the answer. It seems like a lot of people accept God’s existence because they believe it’s better to have any answer, even a wrong one, than having no answer.

White

10 Reasons Why I Am a Christian

  1. A creator is required for the universe to exist as it is. Science is the evidence of the Bible and I’ve read a lot of articles to explain this. I believe that we are not a product of mere coincidences. A computer will not form itself without a person who will assemble its tiniest details to make it work. I am not an accident in this world, neither are you because we are here for a purpose.
  2. The Bible is convincing. There are proofs that the Bible is true and studying and reading the Bible in day-to-day basis enlighten me. The word of God strengthens me whenever I feel weak, gives me hope when I’m hopeless.”He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” -Isaiah 40:29-31.
  3. I see miracles everyday. I’ve heard a lot of stories of dying people miraculously healed and victims of tragedies that survived. The fact that I am still breathing at this very moment without knowing when and how we’re going to die is a miracle. Isn’t it a miracle that once a skeptic like me, now a believer blogging about her faith?
  4. Christians agree with each other over almost all aspects of their religion. Reading and meditating on the Bible are essential factors to grow and mature as a Christian because the Bible should be the only basis of Christian belief. If a Christian doesn’t agree with another Christian’s belief, check whether his/her creed is just manmade or from God.
  5. I need God to be good. Human beings are naturally sinful and though morals can be taught in school, morality in the absence of God is just human convention and wholly subjective. If God exists, objective moral values exist or something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. Read this article.
  6. God is worth worshiping. God became one of us, a human being. “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of humanity.” -Philippians 2:6,7. Why? God wanted to reveal God to humanity by His words and deeds. He became a man but hadn’t committed sins. He came to die for the sins of the world. He sacrificed Himself in the cross. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” -Matthew 20:28. We are unrighteous but by His blood we became righteous. I can’t simply tell you how deep and great His love for us. You have to experience it. I experience it and nothing can stop me from worshiping God.
  7. Of all the religions that exist, I see reason why Christianity is more likely to be true than the rest of them. Some believe in multiple number of gods and goddesses. Some worship curved images made of wood or metal or gold. Bible is more ancient than any other books written. I don’t want to compare but Christianity, I think, is not a religion that obliges people to follow certain traditions and rituals to be saved from eternal damnation. Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus.
  8. Christ taught and demonstrated love and encouraged us to do the same. Simply because He is love. He loves the ugliest in us and forgives the unforgivable in us. He taught us to love our enemies and forgive them. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -1 John 4:8
  9. I believe in an infinite punishment. Because God is a God of justice. I used to question the idea of hell because the notion of everlasting torment was very difficult to grasp. Can all people be forgiven and loved by God? The truth is we all forgiven and loved by God if we accepted Him as our Lord and savior and repent. But sadly, not all people can accept it because God has given us free will. You have the choice and God is calling you now to choose Him. I’ve unintentionally watched a bestiality video for the first time and I was horrified by how a human being with higher intelligence than animals will ruin their bodies for lust. It opened my mind how vicious humans are getting. Even dogs understand that they aren’t supposed to have sex with cats but humans are having sexual intercourse with dogs. If I was dismayed how much more disappointed God was. God hates wickedness so He wants us to repent.
  10. The truth will set us free. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:32

Are you either red or white? Choose.

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Meaningful Conversations

UntitledI am always after deep conversations. Small talk for me seems pointless and superficial. I often run out of words to say during social encounters. Awkward silence is too much to bear and to exit immediately is a relief. Because as an introvert, or as a person, merely talking about events and certain people don’t interest me that much. I am looking for ideas in everything. Isn’t it nicer if someone would walk into the room and would ask, “What makes you smile?” instead of “How are you?”

I love to listen before speaking and I listen very cautiously, seek meanings beyond every word spoken and pay attention to gestures, tone of voice, mannerism and choice of words. I’ve spoken to different kinds of people of different races with different cultures and languages. If anyone likes or dislikes talking to me, I can detect the reluctance or the excitement in one’s movement and chosen words even though he or she conceals it. Plato said that you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation. But for me, it depends upon what you want to discover. The way we speak and the chosen topic we prefer give hint of what’s our hearts content because anything goes out of our mouth comes from our hearts which defiles us (Matthew 15:18).

I talked to a kind of person who is really fond of explaining and describing his point of views. He’s good at selecting exact words that convey his exact feelings and he could vividly narrate his justifications. I listened to his series of stories and I waited for him to give way to my response and reactions being the one conversed with that is supposed to interact with him. He enjoyed expressing himself in speech that I forgot what I wanted to say because he kept on talking about his tale regardless of my obvious gesture to say something. So I remained quiet then he spoke again some more of his personal concerns. I figure that those kind of persons are just yearning for ears and are so-called narcissistic conversationalist. If we want to be heard we should take time to listen.

However, I still love conversing with interesting people with pleasing personalities. I can learn a lot from them as well as they can learn something from me. It’s therapeutic and beneficial. I would like to share with you some meaningful conversations I had with good people, mostly about spirituality and religion. I regularly read the Bible and we have weekly Bible studies so I believe that I have a good amount of knowledge to share about my faith. I attended several churches and tried to understand their beliefs based on how they interpret the Bible. I probed the source of their faith and doubt. I read too much; I ask too much and I think too much especially about humanity and spirituality. These are not made up. I tried my best to type down every word we chatted as far as I can remember. They are few minimal alterations which aren’t significant.

Conversation #1 with an atheist

Me: Do you fear death?

A: Yeah. (nodding)

Me: Why?

A: Because I enjoy and love life. Nobody knows what’s gonna happen after life.

Me: We never know when and how we’ll die so we must always be ready. My father was afraid of death but he died at 50 and my brother died at 24. Some died younger or older but we will all die. Nobody lives forever.

A: I want to live longer. Just enjoy life, love and be happy.

Me: But you and I, all of us will die. Maybe tomorrow or the next or the next, next day. We never know. (I was smiling, teasing him.)

(I was waiting for him to speak. He was silent so I went on.)

Me: Me, I am not afraid to die. I’m always ready anytime because I believe that something is bound to happen after life. I don’t have anxieties about death.

A: Nobody knows about after life. No dead person came back and reassured us about after life.

Me: There were written… (But he wasn’t listening so I didn’t continue to talk about the story of Lazarus and the rich man in the Bible.) Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1, but I didn’t mention the verse to him.)

A: (He was laughing.) Please don’t speak like Mother Theresa. (laughs)

Me: Of course I don’t. Why? (I smiled.)

(He went away laughing.)

Conversation #2 with a Muslim

M: Quran has the same prophets mentioned in the Bible.

Me: Bible and Quran have many similarities because Quran contains the old testament of the Bible. But Christians believe that Jesus is God and Muslims don’t.

M: We believe that Jesus was only a prophet. He was only a human. Do you have a Bible?

(I was delighted to show him my Bible sitting on my desc.)

Me: I believe that Jesus is the Son of God as written in John 3:16. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.

M: (He looked bored and unamused.) God has no son. He has no wife. He has no body like humans.

Me: We have different beliefs because I believe in the Bible and you believe in Quran.

M: Who wrote the Bible?

Me: The prophets and the disciples of Jesus.

M: The Bible wrote by human but the Quran wrote by God.

Me: But the Quran wrote by Mohammad.

M: (He is shaking his head in disapproval.) No, Quran is written by God. The Bible has too many versions.

Me: The Bible is originally written in Hebrew and translated in various of languages all over the world so that the whole world can understand God’s Word. King James translation is the closest to original Hebrew Bible but it’s too deep and some words can hardly comprehend. I think it’s important to read different translations so we can understand better as long as the meanings are not altered. Does Quran have translation?

M: Yes.

Me: That’s good.

M: Bible came first and after 300 years Quran came out as last revelation from God.

Me: Oh. (First time to hear that fact.) Then why did they disbelieve the Bible?

M: There is more knowledgeable person who can explain this to you very well.

Conversation #3 with an ex-Christian turned Muslim

E: Muslim believes in Jesus. I believe in the Bible.

Me: But you don’t believe that Jesus is God and it’s written in the Bible.

E: Because there’s only one God. Allah. Jesus, the prophet, never said that He is God. Mention a verse in the Bible that He said He is God.

Me: He says, ‘I and the Father are One.’ John 10:30.

E: He meant God and he have similar goals and vision.

(I creased my forehead in objection.)

E: Even Jesus himself stated that there’s only one God – Allah.

Me: Yes, there’s only one God, but in three different persona – God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

E: It’s very impossible to believe that there are three gods.

Me: I told you, one God but in three persona.

(He creased his forehead in objection.)

E: Jesus never died in the cross. It was a different person. God would not allow, as you claim, His Son to suffer and die. He went up in heaven without suffering and dying.

Me: Jesus died in the cross for our sins but after three days He rose up again.

E: Is it possible for God to die? (The tone of his voice indicated that he was mocking the death of Jesus.)

Me: Jesus died for us to be saved and have eternal life. He is God but He made Himself nothing, in human likeness, just for us, for whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Isn’t it marvelous? (He was now looking uninterested and disgusted and ready to escape.)

E: When I was a Christian before, I went to church and then went home as if nothing happened.

Me: There are a lot of Christians like that, even Muslims. They go to church but they don’t have God in their hearts.

E: When I entered Islam, I found myself. Before I was lost and completely broken but when I got to know God, that He is always there us for, guiding us. I found my purpose in life through Islam.

Me: I understand what you felt. When I was new here in abroad, I struggled a lot but God’s presence never fails to renew my strength being a Christian.

(He cringed in distaste for what I told. We had so many series of conversations about Islam and Christianity. We were opposing magnets that can’t succumb to each other’s beliefs. I often apologized if I unintentionally offended him by my brazen remarks and he apologized too. There was a time when he came to me with troubled face and teary eyes and spoke to me about his love for his religion because it changed him for the better.)

Me: I understand you. I’ve talked to other people with different religions. I’m not telling these to convert you again to Christianity. I’m just sharing with you my beliefs like how you share yours. I’m interested to know others’ faith because I like to learn from it. What I would like you to understand is that don’t build a barrier in your mind thinking that your religion is the only right thing that prevents you to listen to other beliefs because you think they are all fraud.

I attended some churches such as Roman Catholic, Iglesia ni Cristo, Seventh Day Adventist, Baptist, Methodist and figured out their differences. I researched about Islam and Hinduism weighing every belief. My grandfather is a pastor, a minister and I grew up going to church but that didn’t hinder me to open my mind to comprehend other religions. I’ve also become bitter, doubtful and hateful to Christianity before.

Again, I’m not trying to convert you and also don’t try to convert me. But knowing first before rejecting is the wisest thing to do. Assess yourself on how well you understand Christianity.

Conversation #4 with a Roman Catholic

R: Karen, you told me about Exodus 20:4 that God forbade people to make images of any kind. Because of that I researched why Catholics have images and statues in the chapel and I found out why. God commanded Moses concerning the statues on it: And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work shall you make them, on the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub on the one end, and one cherub on the other end; of one piece with the mercy seat shall you make the cherubim on its two ends. Exodus 25:18–19. (He was reading his Bible.)

Me: Cherubs served as ornamentation for the temple that time.

R: -which means God doesn’t prohibit creating images in any form because he commanded Moses to do it.

Me: -as a form of decoration. God doesn’t want us to make a graven image to be worshiped and bowed down. Exodus 20:4 to 6 says ‘You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.’ (I was reading my Bible.)

R: We don’t bow down and worship images. It’s just a representation.

Me: I’m sorry but I saw them bowing down to the images of Jesus, Mary and many other prophets.

R: Father *** was always reminding us that those images are just images that should not be worshiped. But should be at least respected because those are images of the saints and Jesus himself.

Me: How about during fiestas? They bring out the images and devotees are displaying excess fanaticism like the frantic devotees of the Black Nazarene.

R: They should be corrected.

Conversation #5 with an Iglesia ni Cristo

I: We believe that Jesus is just human.

Me: The same with Islam but their prophet is Mohammad and your messenger is Felix Manalo.

I: Jesus didn’t say He’s God.

Me: Do you still call Him Lord Jesus though you don’t believe He’s God?

I: Yes.

Me: I think it’s very essential to read the Bible in regular basis and not just to listen. Reading is confirming what is heard.

I: Yes, I read after the congregation because it will be very disorganized if all of us will read simultaneously. Listen, then read at home.

Me: Do you read daily?

I: Yes.

Me: Do you remember John 3:16?

I: No.

Me: (I was taken aback by his answer. John 3:16 is the very first memory verse I memorized as a child.) It says that God loves us so much that He gave His Son who is Jesus Christ that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

I: I invite you to come to our church and observe. Ask your queries and they will explain to you.

Me: I have nothing to ask. I understand your religion.

I: I can see that you have tons of questions and doubts in your mind. Come to our church and see. Don’t worry you will not be converted right away.

Me: I will go to your church if you will also come to our church. That’s a deal.

I: I was a Roman Catholic before so I know the beliefs and I don’t want to go back.

Me: I am not a Roman Catholic.

I: Your religion also believes in trinity which is similar to Catholic.

Me: I am willing to go to your church if you are also willing to come to our church.

I: I told you, I don’t want to go back.

Me: Then I can’t come.

(They are not allowed to attend another churches because if they would, INC would excommunicate [ititiwalag] them.)