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Author Topic: Responding to...defamation? of God...  (Read 4619 times) Average Rating: 0
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Cassiel
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« on: May 21, 2008, 12:48:47 PM »

I wasn't sure how to title this thread, hence the question mark.  But it sort of comes down to that, on one level at least.  Monday, as I was walking down our university campus, a bunch of people were standing on the quad with a huge sign that said "GOD IS ANGRY" and "GOD HATES..." followed by a list of groups, like homosexuals, "Romanists" (I assume this is Catholics?), adulterers, "baby-killers," and so on.  The friend I was walking with, of whose religious orientation I am not aware, smirked and said, "nice."  I said what leapt to mind: "That is painful."  She said, "yeah, people like that really give all Christians a bad name." But that wasn't really what I was thinking. I was thinking of my entire pre-Orthodox life, which I spent alternating between extreme fear and extreme denial of God.  I was sure God hated me, and when I wasn't in denial of Him I was madly trying to figure out how to placate Him.  I wonder how many other people are in the same position, and when I see friends and family in churches which essentially teach this angry God (my sister denies that she is afraid of God in the same way I was, but I think she is: whenever she commits what she considers a serious sin, she runs away from God, not to Him), it is painful to watch. I remember what that was like and I still fight with the leftovers from that belief (it's almost like PTSD; you can't just stop thinking that God hates you if it's so ingrained).

So when I see people on a college campus promulgating lies about God, essentially defaming Him, I feel strongly.  I don't think what I feel is anger so much as pain.  I don't know what to do.  I know I wasn't brought to Orthodoxy by anyone arguing with me, but rather by being with Orthodox people who were so loving that I had to know what it was that made them that way.  But I still want to run up to these people on campus and shout, "The Lord is compassionate and merciful, longsuffering and of great goodness!  He forgives our iniquities and heals our diseases! God is love!  Love is patient, love is kind!"  I haven't done it yet, but the temptation is strong.  I don't have much faith that it would get me anywhere, though.  What would (or have, or do) you do in this situation?
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 12:55:05 PM »

^Confronting them will do little or even talking to them.  People like this (and if it is the same group that I have run into before, I know first hand) are so grounded in their hatred and are essentially using God to defend their irrational hatred of others.  This is a psychosis and this can only be cured by psychotherapy, a dose of reality, and perhaps exposure to Orthodoxy.  Unless you're a psychologist or a priest, I'd just steer clear of them.  Pray for them, of course, but to try to convince them of the error of their ways is ultimately futile. 

It's good that your blood boils when you see that God is demaed as such, but as long as this country is the "land of the free" they will have the right to say such obnoxious and ridiculous things.
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 04:11:17 PM »

You could write a compassionately explaining letter to your Campus newspaper about what you saw. If you're ever in a small group talk and certain people lash out at the Christian ideas of God, even if it seems futile, I'd still articulate the Orthodox viewpoint..even if those people sneer at you. It's better to present another side of the coin and be sneered at than to have other seekers of God believe their sludge because they weren't presented with something from you. Smiley
I think that, sooner or later, these people that you and your friend witnessed on campus will remember any kind words heard from you and be thankful for them. I think people understand the truth in their own time, but it helps if we can give them a nudge.
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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2008, 04:18:13 PM »

I have to agree.  Watch out with some of these groups.  I once made a snide remark in passing and got a black eye from it (I wear glasses too, so it was twice as fun).  Seems some groups are touchy that their denominations were founded in the 19th Century...
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2008, 09:51:51 PM »


  What would (or have, or do) you do in this situation?
I wouldn't worry too much about it because God hates them and they're clearly going to hell. Grin  Juuuuuuusst kidding.  Seriously, Scamandrius is right about them having the right to say whatever they want, no matter how dumb or hateful.  Try not to let stupid ideas bother you, but I think Myrhh had a great idea if you feel compelled to do something other than pray for them.
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2008, 11:28:19 PM »

There's a man who regularly pickets the Vatican Embassy in DC with a banner linking Catholic priests to pedophilia.  Nearly everyone ignores him.

The Westboro Church of Kansas is bankrupt after losing a civil suit over protesting at a Maryland military funeral (case is being appealed to Federal Circuit Court).

Such people and groups have a right to express themselves, even as states passed laws restricting protests within certain distances of military funerals.

If I had opportunity to speak with these groups, I would ask them whether or not Jesus was angry at being crucified and being killed to fulfill prophecy and give ALL of us everlasting spiritual life as eternal children of God.
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2008, 12:00:41 AM »

I have to agree.  Watch out with some of these groups.  I once made a snide remark in passing and got a black eye from it (I wear glasses too, so it was twice as fun).  Seems some groups are touchy that their denominations were founded in the 19th Century...

Lol at the 19th century comment part.
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2008, 12:17:14 PM »

Honestly, these groups are doing a great job at defaming themselves.  I'd say most people think of the Westboro church types as a small group of people who are clearly off their rockers.  As mentioned above, avoid those people for your own safety, pray for them, and Myrrh has a good idea about presenting the other side of the story to the campus newspaper.  These people are terribly misguided and only wounding their own souls with such hatred, but unfortunately once that sort of thing takes root, no amount of reason will kill it.  It takes genuine repentance from that person and that sort of thing can only be influenced by the Holy Spirit. 

Besides that, it's been my philosophy that God doesn't need me to defend Him.  In a twisted way, that's exactly what these groups are trying to do.  I can hear Mr. Y quoting Voltaire now: "Never trust a man who puts words in the mouth of God and claims it as absolute truth."  Or something to that effect.   Wink
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2008, 12:26:03 PM »

There's a man who regularly pickets the Vatican Embassy in DC with a banner linking Catholic priests to pedophilia.  Nearly everyone ignores him.


I've spoken with him before when I lived in DC.  He was molested himself and is still angry at the way cases like his were handled.  I have to applaud him for his courage to stand out there.  I've seen him take lots of abuse, both verbal and physical, from people who drive by the embassy.  He never fights back and, to a large extent, ignores his abusers.  I think he wants to let it all go but hasn't reached that point yet.  He always asks for prayers.

My favorite sign of his was the 3/4 size caricature of the Pope John Paul II complete with rocking head. 
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2008, 03:20:18 PM »

Besides that, it's been my philosophy that God doesn't need me to defend Him.  In a twisted way, that's exactly what these groups are trying to do.  I can hear Mr. Y quoting Voltaire now: "Never trust a man who puts words in the mouth of God and claims it as absolute truth."  Or something to that effect.   Wink

Voltaire is a child of the Enlightenment
The Orthodox faith commemorates those who defended the Church, who defended Christ and his ministry.  Just because society has become secularized, Orthodox Christians are not of the secular world and await the return to the New Jerusalem as spiritual children.
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2008, 03:21:53 PM »

Voltaire is a child of the Enlightenment
The Orthodox faith commemorates those who defended the Church, who defended Christ and his ministry.  Just because society has become secularized, Orthodox Christians are not of the secular world and await the return to the New Jerusalem as spiritual children.

Sure, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.  Wink  Just because the secular world isn't part of the church doesn't mean they're always wrong.  Besides that, I'm so new to Orthodoxy that my attempts to defend it would do more harm than good, I think.  The gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church.  I leave the apologetics and such to those more qualified to do it.  The people mentioned in the OP are not going to listen to anything anyone says so in my opinion, it would be best to avoid them for now.
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« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2008, 03:30:58 PM »

Sure, but even a broken clock is right twice a day.  Wink  Just because the secular world isn't part of the church doesn't mean they're always wrong.

I realize you're new to the Orthodox faith.  By accepting the Orthodox faith, one becomes part of the whole history of the Church both on earth and Heaven.   Smiley

The Apostle Paul (formerly known as Saul of Tarsus) was the first great persecutor of the Christian Church until he went to Damascus and saw Christ who left Paul blinded for 3 days.  These groups are persecuting themselves with their false ideas and unreal declarations perhaps because these groups want to see the literal end of the world.
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2008, 03:36:05 PM »

These groups are persecuting themselves with their false ideas and unreal declarations perhaps because these groups want to see the literal end of the world.

I think they just have a horrible misconception of God.  Scarily enough, there are a few groups out there working toward their idea of Armageddon, hoping it will bring Jesus back a little sooner.  That just emphasizes their misunderstanding of Christ's presence with us. 
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2008, 10:41:36 AM »

Besides that, it's been my philosophy that God doesn't need me to defend Him.  In a twisted way, that's exactly what these groups are trying to do.
Indeed! Any god who needs to be defended isn't worth defending.

Quote
I can hear Mr. Y quoting Voltaire now: "Never trust a man who puts words in the mouth of God and claims it as absolute truth."  Or something to that effect.   Wink
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Voltaire is a child of the Enlightenment.
He is indeed. Glad to see the ideals of education espoused by the Enlightenment have done their job by teaching you history.
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2008, 12:12:59 PM »

The Westboro Church of Kansas is bankrupt after losing a civil suit over protesting at a Maryland military funeral (case is being appealed to Federal Circuit Court).

Have you ever read the Westboro site or blogs? I have.  They're not bankrupt as they are not paying anything in the case the last I knew.  They are rejoicing in the publicity as well and write of how anything unfortunate or bad that happens in places like Maryland or other places they've had pickets is because God is on *their* side only and is punishing those who do not agree with Westboro.  Their "God" is a malicious, vindictive figure that kills people with pleasure. According to them the Amish girls killed about a year and a half ago are in Hell as are all of the military personal killed, the presidents who have died, the late John Paul II, Tammy Faye Baaker.   Their writings are adolescent, puerile and nasty with no recognition of anyone beyond themselves being Human.  They use crude and petty put-downs and name-calling as though that somehow "proves" that they are right. 

They're not down and finished by a long chalk.

Quote
Such people and groups have a right to express themselves, even as states passed laws restricting protests within certain distances of military funerals.

The protest restrictions have been challenged in law from what I've read.  I'm not a lawyer.

Quote
If I had opportunity to speak with these groups, I would ask them whether or not Jesus was angry at being crucified and being killed to fulfill prophecy and give ALL of us everlasting spiritual life as eternal children of God.

Well, from reading the Westboro sites they do not believe that Our Lord did die for ALL. They say that that is a lie. I also suspect that they would not engage you in actually dealing with what you were saying as they are so assured in their own Correct Belief and Rightness.  Undecided


Ebor
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« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2008, 03:11:20 PM »

I don't see anything wrong with arguing with them.

This youtube clip is from Darwin fish. Darwin fish's group is just as bad as the Westboro Baptist group. But this clip shows the both of them going at it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFMdQTpPKc4

a quote from an unknown West Boro dude:
"Shut your trap, shut your trap, I'm bout to quote you some Bible verse" LOL!






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« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2008, 03:27:31 PM »

I don't see anything wrong with arguing with them.

This youtube clip is from Darwin fish. Darwin fish's group is just as bad as the Westboro Baptist group. But this clip shows the both of them going at it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFMdQTpPKc4

a quote from an unknown West Boro dude:
"Shut your trap, shut your trap, I'm bout to quote you some Bible verse" LOL!






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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2008, 04:58:10 PM »

I visited the Westboro site one time and that was more than enough for me!  That is one sick site.  I should pray for them, because anyone who has that much hatred in them needs our prayers.  I believed in their God for a lot of years. 
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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2008, 06:56:41 PM »

I don't see anything wrong with arguing with them.

Well, one might quote the old saying about "Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and annoys the pig."   

Do you really think that they would listen to you?  Do you really believe that they would change their minds right there on the street? How much do you know about them?

Their minds are quite assured of their own righteousness and correctness.  Their group is the small and chosen few that God favours.  If people agree with them, then they are Right.  If people do not agree with them, then they are still Right, because only they know the Truth.  If they are arrested or harassed or sued, then it means that they are "persecuted" and *that* means that they are Right, because the Scriptures speak of being persecuted for righteousness-sake.  It's a 'win-win' for them because they Know that They Speak for God.

Quote
a quote from an unknown West Boro dude:
"Shut your trap, shut your trap, I'm bout to quote you some Bible verse" LOL!

Like I wrote above, puerile and bullying.

Ebor
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« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2008, 09:10:22 PM »

What would (or have, or do) you do in this situation?
I would video them and post it on youtube and open it up for discussion.
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« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2008, 10:50:13 PM »

The tangent on the Enlightenment and Existentialism has been split off to this new thread on the Religious Topics board:  The Enlightenment, Existentialism, and Other Enlightenment Philosophies
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