What is up with religious competition, really? Why do people feel they must defend their God to others, to the people who don't believe. I think it's a blatant demonstration that they lack faith. Why else would you need to push your beliefs on others? To try and get them to agree, so that you can affirm that yes in fact, your God, your beliefs, they must be right, because others believe them as well. I wish religion wasn't all about power of persuasion, about which set of beliefs seem more likely, which will really "set you free", "save your soul".

I find myself questioning religions that bother to preach what they believe to the world, especially on television. I have and always will keep my beliefs inside, where they belong, sharing them in my own way, rarely through words.

The most infinitely sad part of religious competition, is that as long as it exists, there will always be conflict, especially of the violent nature. The bible is packed with examples of people literally fighting for their beliefs, inflicting pain on others because they refuse to believe, or refuse to treat others as equal. I'm a firm believer that violence is not the answer, not to anything, and it never will be.

You don't need others to believe what you do, you need to believe it yourself.
Bravo, Hamster! Way to go!

I differ with you (slightly) on only one point: "I have and always will keep my beliefs inside, where they belong."

The operating principle about religious beliefs can be "don't tell me - show me." Show me by the way you1 act what you really believe in, not by what you preach. The power of example is the best was to make your point.

And, by the way, let the record show that I don't care whether you believe in God.


1) I don't mean you, personally, of course.

What both of the previous posters seemed to have missed (or at least failed to write down) is this: If, as part of your religion, you truly believe that if you do not worship Zuul by saying the Lord's Limerick three times a day, that Zuul will punish you by having a giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man trample your fair city under his giant marshmallow feet, then wouldn't you try to have your all your friend worship Zuul too, so that their cities wouldn't be trampled in puffed sucrose and Titanium Dioxide?

In more obvious words, many people believe that for example, failing to introduce people to Jesus to save them from Hell is even worse than failing to throw a drowning man a rope.

So I can understand this type of behavior, it's perfectly logical, given the premise of a deeply held religious belief involving salvation of the believers and damnation of the non-believers. Well, for me, the premise doesn't hold water though, so...I guess it's Damnation for me then, at least according to some folks.)

I like the Japanese Zen master confronted by a miracle working claim by the priest of a Nichiren Buddhist sect saying:

"Your fox-spirit may well be able to do these things. My miracle is when I am hungry I eat, and when I am tired I sleep."
Well, my Goddess started the War of Troy (in the Near East, not Troy, NY). Thanks to that, we can enjoy the Iliad, the Aeneid and the Odyssey as well.
She also inspires people to do Discordian celebrations and random acts of randomness.

And she never came back from the dead, because she never died !!!. She is too smart for that. Dying is for amateurs, and dyeing is for amateur dyers.

Her chief virtue is the ability to inspire uncontrollable glee in bad situations, and great seriousness in front of jokes. She also had something to do with a golden apple, but I don't know if she actually made, even if the ability to produce golden fruit would be a pretty cool one.

People argue about religion for the same reason they argue about any other subject: ideas are important to man. Man depends on his concepts in his interactions with the world, and the degree of his success in life is the degree with which his concepts reflect reality. People know this implicitly, and their automatic emotional response to learning of their own errors is negative because of what this implies about their fitness to live.

To avoid finding himself in error, man can take one of two approaches. Some men correct their errors mercilessly and make pursuit of knowledge a primary goal in their lives. Other men dismiss the importance of knowledge and reason and prioritize evasions. Men need a set of beliefs from which to act, but since the latter gave up their rational faculty, they now have no choice but to absorb their beliefs by chance: from people around them, from mass media, from wishful thinking. The would-be tyrants of man's mind provide them with ready-to-wear excuses. Knowledge is picked up "intuitively," they purr. "Knowledge is relative," insist others. "Knowledge is impossible," proclaim still others.

Argument about religion is a symptom of a much greater issue: it is a sign of a man who has abandoned his mind and is looking for moral sanction for his action. He feels terror at his inability to deal with reality, he feels (rightly) that his mind cannot provide him with what he needs to survive, but he's too terrified to correct his prior mistakes: he sees his mind as impotent, reality as unknowable. He proclaims that "mystical" knowledge, or "intuitive," or "a priori" knowledge is what counts. Or he proclaims that there is only "relative" or "subjective" knowledge--or no knowledge at all--parroting the tyrants who offer those bromides to him under the auspices of the science which is supposed to enable man to reason: philosophy.

There are of course good reasons to argue. If a man discovers something which he judges as good, his benevolence might encourage him to share his find with other men. A man might realize that there are others who are willing to trade their knowledge for his by means of conversation and argument, and he will seek out those other men of honesty and integrity. When a man of honesty meets a man whose purpose in life is to evade the knowledge that he's unfit to live, his disdain for the latter is appropriate. But it is important to identify the essentials in this matter: what a man of honesty and integrity opposes are men who have abandoned their mind--whose only means of survival is by manipulating those who haven't--he does not oppose religious argument on the grounds that a participant is refusing to grant equal validity to conflicting claims. After all, granting equal validity to truth and falsehood is just another form of denying reality and of abdicating one's mind.

For Christians at least the answer is one, very simple, phrase: "The Great Commission".
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28 18-20)

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16 15-20)
In addition to The Great Commission, Christians will also often refer to John 14 6:
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The Great Commission, as it has been known for most of this millennium has been used to justify Christian projects from The Crusades to present day Televangelism. It is the primary basis for all Christian evangelism.

Christians would hear "You don't need others to believe what you do, you need to believe it yourself" and respond, "I do believe therefore, in order for you to be saved, you must believe too."
Note that I do not necessarily agree with this opinion; I simply state fact.

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