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Thread: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

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    Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

    Why is it that so many Christians find it so easy to love God but so hard to love their neighbour - especially when the neighbour is not a carbon copy of themselves?

    Is it possible that we can only really love people who are like ourselves and who share our beliefs? If so, is it possible that when we get to heaven and see how different God is from us, we may actually cease to love him?

    God bless.

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    Hoss
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    Re: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

    Quote Originally Posted by twistwoods View Post
    Why is it that so many Christians find it so easy to love God but so hard to love their neighbour - especially when the neighbour is not a carbon copy of themselves?

    Is it possible that we can only really love people who are like ourselves and who share our beliefs? If so, is it possible that when we get to heaven and see how different God is from us, we may actually cease to love him?

    God bless.

    I like all my neighbors and don’t really have a problem with anyone.

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    Re: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hoss View Post
    I like all my neighbors and don’t really have a problem with anyone.
    But who are these neighbours you claim to love? Perhaps they are a lot like you - then its easy to love them!

    Almost every day I hear about Protestants who hate Catholics and Catholics who hate Protestants; white people who hate black people and black people who hate white people; rich people who are contemptuous of the poor and poor people who are contemptuous of the rich - and that is when they are all Christians!

    (I wonder how many Christians who normally vote Democrat will change their party allegiance in the forthcoming election merely because they cannot bear the thought of voting for a black man! Is that an example of Christian love? Do you really believe that Jesus would approve?)

    So many times on the Internet I see Christians who get on really well together - until one of them admits that he is a Catholic or he is black or gay and then, immediately, the atmosphere changes and the majority start to gang up on the person they used to be so friendly with. If you don't believe me, I dare you to try it. Find a new site. Get yourself known and then, just when everyone has accepted you, drop a bombshell on them. Tell them you are a Catholic / gay / black - and just watch the 'love' wash away! Believe me, I know what I'm talking about because I have done it!!!!

    And the hatred sometimes gets even worse when it is between Christians and people of different religions. Do you get on quite so well with Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists?

    And how do you feel about Muslim terrorists? I seem to remember that Jesus told us that we should love our enemies - well, do you?

    I would say that anyone who locks someone up for years without putting them on trial or allowing them legal representation is failing in their Christian duty - as well as failing in their civil duty to treat all people equally within the law! And, just in case anyone thinks I am only talking about Guantanamo Bay, let me tell you that something similar (but not exactly the same) happened over here during the recent 'troubles' in Northern Ireland. (And what a euphemism that is! It wasn't just a few small 'troubles' - it was virtually a full-blown civil war between two denominations of 'Christians', though no one would admit it!) And do you know what? During all the years of conflict, the clergy - on both sides - were among the very worst at stoking up the flames of hatred! Never once did I hear one of them coming out and saying, 'Put down your weapons and embrace each other because this is your Christian duty.' Never once!

    So do you really find it so easy to love your neighbour? If you do, you are one in a million and, with all sincerity, I salute you!

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    Re: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

    twistedwoods

    An excellent question worthy of consideration.

    I believe I fall into that groups that does indeed love my neighbours even if they are Muslim etc. I am a Christian pluralist.

    My experience on forums and especially Christian ones has been very negative. If one is a Christian with a different viewpoint one is shunned by other Christians. In fact over the years the only folks who have made personal attacks on me were "Christians". I've been called names, judged, condemned etc. LOL How come I was not surprised???

    Shalom
    Ted

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    Re: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

    I am an atheist and have no problem with loving my neighbors, or anyone else for that matter.

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    Re: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

    Quote Originally Posted by twistwoods View Post
    Why is it that so many Christians find it so easy to love God but so hard to love their neighbour - especially when the neighbour is not a carbon copy of themselves?

    Is it possible that we can only really love people who are like ourselves and who share our beliefs? If so, is it possible that when we get to heaven and see how different God is from us, we may actually cease to love him?

    God bless.
    God is imaginary and you don't have to contend with the reality whereas your neighbour is -well your neighbour and if you're really unlucky very annoying and inconsiderate. If you're not a Christian you just work out ways to get along with each other. Differences are what make people interesting

    If you are a christian you have the added problem that your neighbour might not be religious or a proper Christian in which case you have to work out how to get along with someone you think inferior.

    I don't care whether someone is catholic, protestant, muslim or new age animnist they're just people. Christians can't do that they have to know and make a judgement.

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    Re: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

    Quote Originally Posted by gmc View Post
    God is imaginary and you don't have to contend with the reality whereas your neighbour is -well your neighbour and if you're really unlucky very annoying and inconsiderate. If you're not a Christian you just work out ways to get along with each other. Differences are what make people interesting

    If you are a christian you have the added problem that your neighbour might not be religious or a proper Christian in which case you have to work out how to get along with someone you think inferior.

    I don't care whether someone is catholic, protestant, muslim or new age animnist they're just people. Christians can't do that they have to know and make a judgement.
    Wow! You make an awful lot of assumptions there!

    Firstly, you seem to be saying that only Christians have problems in loving their neighbour. That is blatantly untrue. Muslims and Hindus have been slaughtering each other for generations in India and Pakistan! Also, I seem to recall that there are two 'denominations' of Muslims who are currently blowing each other to bits in Iraq!

    Secondly, you accuse all Christians of believing that people of other faiths - and no faith at all - are 'inferior' but that simply isn't true. There may be some Christians who think like that but I must admit I have never met any of them. I have met many Christians of almost every denomination and they will argue with each other about the smallest, most trivial point of faith but the one thing they all have in common is that they believe we are all flawed, we are all 'sinners'. I have never heard a single Christian say 'You are all sinners but, of course, I am not'. In fact, it seems to be you who are saying that - so perhaps you are the one with the superiority complex!!!

    Finally, you say that non-Christians are able to work out ways to get along with their neighbours in a way that Christians are unable to do. I could be wrong, but I don't think Hitler was a Christian, was he? Haven't the historians discovered Nazi documents that show that, after they had finished with the Jews, they were going to start on the Christians next? Of course, they were not going to exterminate them just for being born into a Christian family (probably because there would have been no people left alive for them to rule) but they were going to ban the Christian religion and imprison - or maybe even kill - anyone who refused to renounce their faith. It seems to me that Hitler was a very good example of a non-Christian who had an awful lot of trouble in loving his neighbours, wouldn't you agree?

    God bless.

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    Re: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

    Why is it that so many Christians find it so easy to love God but so hard to love their neighbour - especially when the neighbour is not a carbon copy of themselves?

    Because people are contemptible whereas God is not.

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    Re: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

    Quote Originally Posted by twistwoods View Post
    Wow! You make an awful lot of assumptions there!

    Firstly, you seem to be saying that only Christians have problems in loving their neighbour. That is blatantly untrue. Muslims and Hindus have been slaughtering each other for generations in India and Pakistan! Also, I seem to recall that there are two 'denominations' of Muslims who are currently blowing each other to bits in Iraq!

    Secondly, you accuse all Christians of believing that people of other faiths - and no faith at all - are 'inferior' but that simply isn't true. There may be some Christians who think like that but I must admit I have never met any of them. I have met many Christians of almost every denomination and they will argue with each other about the smallest, most trivial point of faith but the one thing they all have in common is that they believe we are all flawed, we are all 'sinners'. I have never heard a single Christian say 'You are all sinners but, of course, I am not'. In fact, it seems to be you who are saying that - so perhaps you are the one with the superiority complex!!!

    Finally, you say that non-Christians are able to work out ways to get along with their neighbours in a way that Christians are unable to do. I could be wrong, but I don't think Hitler was a Christian, was he? Haven't the historians discovered Nazi documents that show that, after they had finished with the Jews, they were going to start on the Christians next? Of course, they were not going to exterminate them just for being born into a Christian family (probably because there would have been no people left alive for them to rule) but they were going to ban the Christian religion and imprison - or maybe even kill - anyone who refused to renounce their faith. It seems to me that Hitler was a very good example of a non-Christian who had an awful lot of trouble in loving his neighbours, wouldn't you agree?

    God bless.
    Change it then if you prefer how about.
    God is imaginary and you don't have to contend with the reality whereas your neighbour is -well your neighbour and if you're really unlucky very annoying and inconsiderate. If you're not religious (instead of )a Christian you just work out ways to get along with each other. Differences are what make people interesting

    If you are a christian, muslim, hindu, bhuddhist etc etc. you have the added problem that your neighbour might not be religious or a proper Christian in which case you have to work out how to get along with someone you think inferior.

    I don't care whether someone is catholic, protestant, muslim or new age animnist they're just people. Religious people can't do that they have to know and make a judgement.
    I'm speaking in general terms not about you or your beliefs in particular.

    Hitler was raised a catholic, germany was a christian country where religion played a big part. He would never have started on the christians if the pope had actually condemned hitler and what he was doing he would have had serious problems-what would catholics do obey the pope or the leader of the state. He was not excommunicated or even condemned by his church. Popes, in fact, contracted with Hitler and his fascist friends Franco and Mussolini, giving them veto power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain and Italy. The three thugs agreed to surtax the Catholics of their countries and send the money to Rome in exchange for making sure the state could control the church.

    but they were going to ban the Christian religion and imprison - or maybe even kill - anyone who refused to renounce their faith. It seems to me that Hitler was a very good example of a non-Christian who had an awful lot of trouble in loving his neighbours, wouldn't you agree?

    Where did you get the idea the nazis were going to ban religion? Hitler's Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: "Gott mit uns" (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. It was a real Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church to blindly follow all authority figures, political and ecclesiastical. Hitler, like some of today's politicians and preachers, politicized "family values." Have a look at some of the films made by the nazis extolling the virties of a good aryan family life if you want to see what i mean. He liked corporal punishment in home and in school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it. (sound familiar to anyone)

    Anti-semitism was commonplace throughout europe at the time which is easy to forget. That the jews were the killers of christ was almost a tenet of christian belief and the justification for much of the hatred.

    from Mein Kampf
    I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work.
    http://www.crusader.net/texts/mk/

    (I have eclectic reading habits)

    That Hitler was atheist is a convenient rewriting of history. Mind you he committed suicide so maybe he stopped believing the bit about suicides no getting to heaven. I can think of far more examples of christians (muslims etc etc) who had trouble loving their neighbour because of their difference in religion and went to war than I can the odd supposed atheist.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008...india.religion

    Christians hide in forests as Hindu mobs ransack villages
    No doubt god is on both sides

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    Re: Why do we find it so easy to love God but so hard to love our neighbour?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmc View Post
    Hitler was raised a catholic, germany was a christian country where religion played a big part. He would never have started on the christians if the pope had actually condemned hitler and what he was doing he would have had serious problems-what would catholics do obey the pope or the leader of the state. He was not excommunicated or even condemned by his church. .....

    Where did you get the idea the nazis were going to ban religion? Hitler's Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: "Gott mit uns" (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. ...... Hitler, like some of today's politicians and preachers, politicized "family values." Have a look at some of the films made by the nazis extolling the virties of a good aryan family life if you want to see what i mean. He liked corporal punishment in home and in school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. ......

    Anti-semitism was commonplace throughout europe at the time which is easy to forget. That the jews were the killers of christ was almost a tenet of christian belief and the justification for much of the hatred. ......

    That Hitler was atheist is a convenient rewriting of history. ......
    Hi gmc!

    I see that you are British so I probably don't have to explain to you about the Open University and the rather unusual way its students can study for a degree. As you may know, students do not have to choose one subject and study only that subject. They can study history this year and literature next year and geography the following year. For my degree, I chose to fluctuate between my two favourite subjects - history and literature. As part of my degree, I did a major study on the causes of the Second World War, but I got so interested in what it is that causes a man - and a country - to go so far off the rails, that I have been studying the subject (on and off) ever since. I am also a History Channel addict, although the lack of depth in most of the programmes often drives me crazy!! So you will not be surprised when I say that you have told me nothing I did not already know.

    Firstly, I was very careful not to say that Hitler was an atheist. I said he was a non-Christian, which is factually accurate. He may have been brought up a Catholic but that doesn't make him a Catholic - or a Christian of any kind - in adulthood! At least half of the people I know who were brought up Catholics - or Anglicans or Methodists - now describe themselves as agnostics or atheists. In fact, there is a lot of evidence (which I must admit has recently been called into question) that Hitler was obsessed by the occult. Hardly a Christian activity!

    Secondly, I would never defend the Pope's decision not to denounce Hitler and his fascist pals. There can be no excuse for staying silent in the face of such evil. Nevertheless - and this is no excuse - from what I have read, he thought his first duty was to protect Catholics and he was worried that Hitler (who no longer claimed to be a Catholic) would turn on them next if the Pope denounced him. He probably also thought he himself was very vulnerable as the Vatican is right in the middle of Rome! That is still no excuse. The Church has asked many, many people to die for their faith, so the Pope should have been willing to do the same! As you know, I am a Christian, so I believe he will have to account to God for what he did and what he did not do!

    In recent years, I have not had access to primary sources but I have read several articles, and seen a couple of programmes, that make it clear that Hitler wanted to wipe Christianity out of Germany because he believed that the German people owed all their allegiance and loyalty to the state. He was very unforgiving of anyone who put other loyalties first. In other words, he was a typical dictator. However, he was astute enough to know that he could not fight the Christian faith and the Jewish faith at the same time, so it suited him to court the Christians while he persecuted the Jews.

    To their eternal shame (or, as I claim to be a Christian, perhaps that should be, 'to our eternal shame') only a tiny minority of Christians had the common sense to realise where it would all end and even fewer of them cared enough, or had the courage, to stand up against the Nazis. For most of them, by the time they realised, it was already too late! (I'm having a senior moment right now and so I cannot remember the name of the person I am thinking of, but there was a Christian pastor who was killed in a concentration camp and after the war they found a note he had left which said something like, 'They came for the Jews but I was not a Jew so I did nothing. They came for the Communists but I was not a Communist so I did nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to do anything.' (Sorry the quote isn't exact but I'll Google it tomorrow, if I have time.)

    Of course anti-semitism was rife throughout Europe (including Britain) in the past. And yes, it did exist in the 20th century, before Hitler came to power. And, even more shamefully, it still exists and I have no doubt that it will continue to exist long after I am dead and gone.

    Believe it or not, it breaks my heart which is why I do whatever I can, whenever I can, to counter this type of bigotry and hatred. And, furthermore, I am proud to be a member of a church that feels as strongly about this as I do! A couple of years ago the BNP descended on my neighbourhood and leafletted every house with the most foul, antisemitic literature I had ever seen (not including historical documents, of course!) Anyway, my church decided that we could not let it pass unchallenged! We printed our own leaflets and put them through every letterbox in the area. One of our members (quite an elderly man) was physically attacked but he chose not even to defend himself because he thought that if he used violence against them (even in self-defence) he would be playing into their hands. Also, for more than 20 years now, my church has invited the small Jewish community to use our Parish Rooms for their Saturday worship as there is no synagogue in our small town. Of course, we know we cannot make up for what misguided people have done in the past, but we can do our utmost to try to prevent it from happening again!

    I fail to see why you even mention 'family values' or Hitler's homophobia. Neither of these prove that Hitler was a Christian, which seems to be what you are trying to prove. Both of these attitudes are rife within the general community - especially among the older generation, my peer group - but that has far more to do with the way we were brought up, rather than any religious beliefs. (Don't forget, when I was young, homosexuality was actually illegal!) Even so, I have rejected the attitudes that were prevalent in my youth and I have made up my own mind about these matters. (I do not wish to take the time to repeat my views on homosexuality here but you can find them in the homosexuality thread, if you care to look. In fact, it was because of something that was said in that thread that I started this one.)

    Finally, I would say this. Of course there have been religious feuds and religious wars. Of course there have been Christians who have behaved badly. That was precisely why I started this thread. But I'm afraid you are very much mistaken if you think that atheists are any different. They do the same things. They love and they hate as many different types of people as Christians do. After all, we are all human, aren't we? There are good and bad people in every country, every walk of life, every religion and among those who have no religion at all. There are only three differences between Christians and atheists:
    1. Atheists cannot conveniently hide their innate cruelty behind convenient quotes from the Bible and the idea that Jews were responsible for killing Jesus.
    2. Atheists have no one outside of themselves calling them to deny their human nature and strive for something better.
    3. When Christians behave badly, they dishonour their God and their Saviour. When atheists behave badly, they dishonour no one but themselves - unless of course, despite what they believe, they are also dishonouring their God and their Saviour!

    Dare I say it? Yes, I will - because I mean it ....

    God bless!

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