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  1. #51
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perfectgirl View Post
    no offense, but it's creepy ...
    Yeah. So is prominently hanging the image of the crucified son of God in your house of worship. That doesn't justify my hypothetical attempt at obstruction of worship in said house.

    Thanks for the honest response, though.
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    Sorry Jennifer I never meant to ignore you I just somehow missed this post.
    No biggie. But thank you for the response.

    I couldn't disagree more. The state has a vested interest in the sanctity of marriage. Because the state has a vested interest in the stability of society and marriage is the core building block of society.
    I'm just not going to dig into this right now, having spent so much of my life living in that environment and being bombarded by the apologetics. I know the futility of bothering to challenge you here until you're actually getting outside of your encapsulated world. Right now you've built yourself an "airtight" case, Josh McDowell style, that seems solid to you...

    I concede that Jesus dealt largely with how humanity should deal with one another on an interpersonal level. You admit yourself that I'm dealing with people in a civil and decent manner... so I'm not contradicting the teachings of Jesus.
    Lol.... no, I simply said you are being "civil" in your discourse, which has nothing to do with being Christian, right? And yes, you can contradict the teachings of Jesus by your overall approach and motivations in regards to treating people with respect, within the framework of the community you share.

    Simply because he focuses on one area does not abrogate God's teachings in other areas. I think the clear teaching in Scripture is that the state has an obligation to be in submission to God's law. As Abraham Kuyper once said: "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'"
    The issue is the interpretation and nature of Scripture, not what you say here. Again, why it's sort of pointless to argue with you. We don't have similar premises. For my own personal experience, my thoughts never shifted until my view of scripture changed... so I am fairly sure yours will not either.

    You are probably right about this to a certain extent. But, I don't consider myself part of that sub-culture or oppose same-sex marriage on this basis. The bible is clear the law does not change people's behavior, nonetheless a Godly people will uphold civil laws that are consistent with God's law.
    Again, we disagree on what is God's law.

    If you want to understand what is driving legitimate resentment towards people of your approach and beliefs, it's that you feel comfortable imposing your own beliefs on them in areas that have no actual bearing on you in a culture that was never created to be a microcosm for your own specific personal doctrines. In the process, you actually drive them further from God.

    Is this your goal?

    Think long-term victory, not short-term.
    Perspective.

    Now this I really take issue with. You have things completely backwards. It's my faith, the faith of Luther, the faith of Calvin, the faith of the puritans, the faith of the founding fathers that brought about freedom in the United States.
    I'm going to call this out for what it has always been -- an attempt by conservative Christians to establish themselves as the "legitimate heirs" to the Founding Fathers, speaking for their intent, and thus giving them power to dismiss any other voices without having to actually debate the issues legitimately.

    The Founding Fathers were deists at best, not evangelicals, and they were very clear about not establishing the US on the basis of a particular doctrine or religion. Their GENERAL Christian heritage did play into their thinking about freedom (although in other ways Christian heritage was used to implement slavery and other ills/evils), and that is about all I'll credit you on this point.

    This was an interesting argument from authority on your point, but please remember that you cannot attribute particular beliefs to people who didn't necessarily hold them in the same way you do.


    Harold Berman, who was an extremely well respected professor at Harvard Law, has made it abundantly clear that the western legal tradition was born out of christianity and not out of enlightenment thinking. If the culture turns its back on the laws of God than it turns its back on liberty.
    And who, in a political system that is not supposed to cater to any particular religion, determines what the "laws of God" actually are? This, again, is my issue. You have no special privilege, despite your claims, of speaking as God's mouthpiece except for your own personally held beliefs.

    If you were truly the minority, and Muslims were a majority, and they felt comfortable imposing their view of "God's Laws" on you, would you feel happy with that? Or would you then shift your stance and claim they did not have the right to do that? Empathize. Examine other perspectives here. Try to understand how you are coming across, and whether your actions are fair and kind again in a country that does not endorse by law any particular one religion.

    Moreover the idea that the opposition is treating me well is absurd. It is clear that many left wing groups want to extinguish christianity from society. This is especially true in Europe... and they are succeeding.
    Please don't drag European politics into this. I'm discussing American politics. You guys are not a minority, you've managed to really drag the entire Republican party towards a conservative platform that threatens to rupture the party from within, and chances are you will manage to drive out the moderates and claim the party for yourselfs. For being such a "minority victimized by society," you have far more power than you claim... enough to lead to the passing of Prop 8 in what should have otherwise been a slam dunk state opposed to it.

    For my own particular "argument from authority," remember, I spent 35+ years watching this from the INSIDE of the Baptist/right-wing/evangelical movement, was engaged with Focus on the Family, and was a registered Republican until 2004, after Bush's second election.

    I know the mindset well. It was unfair when I was struggling over my own views, and now that I have stepped outside, it seems even worse to me.

    Your presumption that the government can behave neutrally toward religion is flat out wrong. The state is either in subjection to God or it is at enmity with God, there is no in between.
    I think you fail to see that this is not a theocracy. This is not Israel. You speak in a moral sense (based on your own personal religious beliefs), and within that framework, your comment makes sense; but you're not really able, apparently, to separate that from living within a political system that you do not own.

    The Kingdom of God is its own separate kingdom. The laws of the land are irrelevant; the kingdom extends through human hearts, not through the legal system. Christians in foreign countries oppressive to the faith live victoriously in Christ without having to break or change the law. You think in very tangible, authoritarian terms about how your faith needs to be implemented, and in the process you try to strip free will from those you disagree with. You are far more concerned about making society fit your standards than actually changing hearts and wooing them; God is less interested about imposing strictures, far more interested in breathing new life into the soul.

    This is a mistake, to me; you do not liberate people by enslaving them further.

    From a theoretically POV, I guess it would interesting to see your idea of what "Christian state" would be; but considering I believe an enforced Christian state to be anathema to what Christ and God wants to do within the hearts of people, I have to be honest in saying I hope it never comes to pass.

    In any case, I know you're busy, and honestly I don't need a reply; I can probably predict what you're going to say anyway after your last post. We don't agree enough on the basis of truth / perspective to have a constructive conversation on this matter. I still stand by my prior post and hope you reconsider.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
    Yeah. So is prominently hanging the image of the crucified son of God in your house of worship. That doesn't justify my hypothetical attempt at obstruction of worship in said house.

    Thanks for the honest response, though.
    I'm hearing your fustrations. I wish I could make it better. For what it's worth, I may be uncomfortable with this topic, but I'm not prejudice; I care about people and I'm trying to understand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    Simply because he focuses on one area does not abrogate God's teachings in other areas. I think the clear teaching in Scripture is that the state has an obligation to be in submission to God's law. As Abraham Kuyper once said: "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'"
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    The issue is the interpretation and nature of Scripture, not what you say here. Again, why it's sort of pointless to argue with you. We don't have similar premises. For my own personal experience, my thoughts never shifted until my view of scripture changed... so I am fairly sure yours will not either.

    Again, we disagree on what is God's law...
    Why can't we all just get along...

    -sighs-

    Jennifer, what do you mean by this? I don't understand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    From a theoretically POV, I guess it would interesting to see your idea of what "Christian state" would be; but considering I believe an enforced Christian state to be anathema to what Christ and God wants to do within the hearts of people, I have to be honest in saying I hope it never comes to pass.

  4. #54
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perfectgirl View Post
    Jennifer, what do you mean by this? I don't understand.
    Hi, , to put it in a nutshell, I think the push for conservative Christians to codify their own particular belief system through legislation -- while I do understand the intention and I can even see why some people pursue it out of positive intent -- is not mandatory or conducive to God continuing to do what He has been doing for centuries, or accomplishing His ultimate purpose as revealed in the Bible, which is to bring people into knowledge of Himself and making them part of a community of God that lives according to its own internal rules.

    People are made part of that Kingdom by choice, not by having rules imposed on them from the outside to make them behave "like Christians" while inside their hearts are still the same as always.

    In fact, I think that imposing religious values on others makes it harder for people to come to God, because (1) they end up thinking that following God means complying with a checklist while their hearts never really become "God's" or (2) they resent how other people are controlling their behavior and thus are turned off to God in the future. So while it might make people look "better" on the outside, their true motivations might still be very selfish; and God wants to win people's hearts, not comply behavior. I think in our country this could describe a lot of the behavior in the middle of the 20th century, where our country considered itself "godly" but if you study it, it seems people were just as bad as any other time in terms of their individual selfishness and it was worse since they were able to "hide sin" behind a pleasant mask.

    As a counterpoint:

    I think in countries that do NOT allow Christianity freedom (like China or some Middle East countries, where people can be punished for their beliefs), we do not see the decline of the Church but actually the growth of the church. They are actually living out God's will for them and becoming true believers, even while they are being oppressed by the government. This is because they have learned what it means to live according to their hearts and as part of God's Kingdom, rather than through rules being imposed by the government to comply moral behavior. They are true followers of the Christian God.

    Does that help clarify what I meant?

    (While wielding an authoritarian approach of "making people do what is right" might make sense in a family setting where parents are given responsibility to raise their children a certain way and establish rules to do so, it is not the sort of relationship that exists between peers in a democratic society... where the government should be given just enough power to keep society moving and stop abuses directed against other people but not enough to interfere directly in people's lives.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Hi, ,
    Howdy!


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    People are made part of that Kingdom by choice, not by having rules imposed on them from the outside to make them behave "like Christians" while inside their hearts are still the same as always.
    I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I think in countries that do NOT allow Christianity freedom (like China or some Middle East countries, where people can be punished for their beliefs), we do not see the decline of the Church but actually the growth of the church. They are actually living out God's will for them and becoming true believers, even while they are being oppressed by the government. This is because they have learned what it means to live according to their hearts and as part of God's Kingdom, rather than through rules being imposed by the government to comply moral behavior. They are true followers of the Christian God.
    Yep.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Does that help clarify what I meant?
    Yes, thank you.

    To the OP (Brendan): being passionate, trusting God, embracing ones inner nerdiness, staying true to oneself, falling in love, risking it all... WORTH IT!!
    Who cares what we all really think about same sex marriage or how *we* believe God feels about it anyways. If this is something that's important to you, then you gotta go with your own moral gut (and relationship w/God) on this one. It's your life and *you* are at the helm.

  6. #56
    Rainy Day Woman MDP2525's Avatar
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    Who cares what we all really think about same sex marriage or how *we* believe God feels about it anyways. If this is something that's important to you, then you gotta go with your own moral gut (and relationship w/God) on this one. It's your life and *you* are at the helm.
    Nicely said.
    ~luck favors the ready~


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  7. #57
    Guerilla Urbanist Brendan's Avatar
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    *bows to the Godhead in perfectgirl*
    There is no such thing as separation from God.

  8. #58
    Senior Member WoodsWoman's Avatar
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    FWIW
    A different take: My problem isn't the subject, it's how it's being handled. I believe "marriage" is a religious term for a religious ceremony in many different faiths. Here government is attempting to define "marriage" not "civil union" which it would have every right in my mind to do in any way it pleases and as broadly as anyone could possibly wish. "Marriage" however should be left to the various religions and denominations to deal with as they choose.

    A separation of Church and State thing.

  9. #59
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    In fact, I think that imposing religious values on others makes it harder for people to come to God, because (1) they end up thinking that following God means complying with a checklist while their hearts never really become "God's" or (2) they resent how other people are controlling their behavior and thus are turned off to God in the future. So while it might make people look "better" on the outside, their true motivations might still be very selfish; and God wants to win people's hearts, not comply behavior.
    This is very similar to Roger Williams' viewpoint, and that is where the concept of "separation between Church and State" comes from. He was also the founder of the first Baptist church in the New World. Ironically the Baptists originally gave us the separation between Church and State, but now it seems like they want to take it back.
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  10. #60
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    So I've gone through and answered some of your arguments. But, my real question is... what is your alternative? If my political philosophy isn't guided by the bible what should it be guided by?


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    No biggie. But thank you for the response.



    I'm just not going to dig into this right now, having spent so much of my life living in that environment and being bombarded by the apologetics. I know the futility of bothering to challenge you here until you're actually getting outside of your encapsulated world. Right now you've built yourself an "airtight" case, Josh McDowell style, that seems solid to you...
    Thanks... I guess for at least recognizing the consistency of my conclusions with my presuppositions. You seem to presume that my presuppositions are out of touch with reality... frankly I'm not ashamed that I turn to scripture to understand reality rather than turning to my experiences and feelings... they are inherently unreliable.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Lol.... no, I simply said you are being "civil" in your discourse, which has nothing to do with being Christian, right? And yes, you can contradict the teachings of Jesus by your overall approach and motivations in regards to treating people with respect, within the framework of the community you share.
    I should left well enough alone. I felt flattered. Now I don't. Oh well.

    I don't dispute your last sentence in this quote... although I'm sure we have different feelings on how that should play out.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    The issue is the interpretation and nature of Scripture, not what you say here. Again, why it's sort of pointless to argue with you. We don't have similar premises. For my own personal experience, my thoughts never shifted until my view of scripture changed... so I am fairly sure yours will not either.
    So from other threads I gather that you don't believe the bible is inerrant. The thing is if you don't believe the bible is authoritative and that the state should be in subjection to God than what is your alternative?

    Where does law come from? If it doesn't come from God than it has to come from the state. Then the state becomes a God unto unto itself incapable of doing wrong... if this is the case the Nuremberg trials should have never happened because what the nazis did was legal because there is no higher authority to turn to in order to condemn people who commit genocide that is endorsed by the state.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Again, we disagree on what is God's law.

    If you want to understand what is driving legitimate resentment towards people of your approach and beliefs, it's that you feel comfortable imposing your own beliefs on them in areas that have no actual bearing on you in a culture that was never created to be a microcosm for your own specific personal doctrines. In the process, you actually drive them further from God.

    Is this your goal?

    Think long-term victory, not short-term.
    Perspective.
    I don't believe apologetics or political/legal action are fundamentally evangelical in nature. The main point of apologetics, and thus my purpose here, is not to convert, but to convince those that are already converted that there are good underlying reasons for the things they believe.

    As for political/legal action... again there isn't neutrality in that arena. Everyone is trying to impose there beliefs on other people... especially people who want pluralism.

    Historically the church has gone back and forth on how politically involved they should be. From the early 1900's through the 60s the church was largely uninvolved with politics... which I believe led this country down a very dark road. Then roe v. wade came and Christians woke up to the fact that there needs to be a moral influence on the government. This led Francis Schaeffer to write the Christian Manifesto. His message was that redemption is bigger than individual salvation. That God is not only redeeming individuals, but that he redeeming the world and every aspect of culture. Thus all aspects of life (including politics) are equally spiritual. While Schaeffer was an intelligent and humble man, those that heard his call were not always that way. In fact a rather toxic brand of legalism had made its way through many of the denominations that had not turned liberal. So when Schaeffer made his call the only people who responded were those like Jerry Falwell... who obviously has probably done more harm than good politically and evangelistically. In recent years I think things have gotten better and while the news reports every idiotic thing that Pat Robertson says, behind the scenes Christians are working diligently and humbly in the legal and political arena.

    So bottom line Christians have an obligation to engage the culture on every level including politics. Christ is offensive enough on his own and christians should try not to add to that offense. But that doesn't mean we slink back into our sanctuaries and ignore political chaos around us.

    Ultimately though non-Christians already hate God, I don't take any of the blame for people who feel pushed away from my religion. Anyway, people aren't saved by politics or apologetics they are saved supernaturally through the the work of the spirit and normally that occurs through relationships irl.

    Finally. I'm conservative... not progressive. I'm not the one trying to legislate morality. It's the left that's trying to legislate their own brand of morality and redefine the place of government in society. I'm on defense, not offense.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'm going to call this out for what it has always been -- an attempt by conservative Christians to establish themselves as the "legitimate heirs" to the Founding Fathers, speaking for their intent, and thus giving them power to dismiss any other voices without having to actually debate the issues legitimately.

    The Founding Fathers were deists at best, not evangelicals, and they were very clear about not establishing the US on the basis of a particular doctrine or religion. Their GENERAL Christian heritage did play into their thinking about freedom (although in other ways Christian heritage was used to implement slavery and other ills/evils), and that is about all I'll credit you on this point.

    This was an interesting argument from authority on your point, but please remember that you cannot attribute particular beliefs to people who didn't necessarily hold them in the same way you do.
    Frankly I find it very hard to trust historians on both sides of the debate on the founding fathers, because both sides seem to be incredibly biased. But, I'm convinced that most of the signers were christians and that the deists like Jefferson and Franklin were not deists in the modern day sense. Moreover the deists felt that religion was critical to the success of america.

    Also lets not forget Washington's farewell address.

    Quote Originally Posted by George Washington
    Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    And who, in a political system that is not supposed to cater to any particular religion, determines what the "laws of God" actually are? This, again, is my issue. You have no special privilege, despite your claims, of speaking as God's mouthpiece except for your own personally held beliefs.
    Well that's just it I believe that the federal government should cater to Christianity in a broad sense. That's the way the country started. Separation of Church and state was a federal/state issue. They allowed states to set up there own religions.

    No, I don't have a special privilege... its the left that think they have a special privilege. I'm willing to work trough the democratic process and try to convince people. On the other hand the left want to use tyranny. The Left supports judicial activism. If the american people decide that abortion should be legal than by all means go through the democratic process and get legislation or amendments past. But, instead of having the people decide the issue 9 people who were never elected determined the future of millions of unborn children... that is tyranny.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    If you were truly the minority, and Muslims were a majority, and they felt comfortable imposing their view of "God's Laws" on you, would you feel happy with that? Or would you then shift your stance and claim they did not have the right to do that? Empathize. Examine other perspectives here. Try to understand how you are coming across, and whether your actions are fair and kind again in a country that does not endorse by law any particular one religion.
    I try to be consistent. I believe in majoritarianism... our political system is based on it. If I felt that my fundamental rights were being violate I would do what Christians for 500 years have been doing... I would revolt or leave.

    But, I'm not going to empathize. Christianity gives a basis for fundamental rights... I don't believe new rights can be created so I don't think my views on same-sex marriage is depriving anyone of their rights,,, in fact quite the opposite as Washington noted above religion preserves those rights.

    If you strip religion from the political sphere you are left with social darwinism and positivism... law is nothing, but power. Those political philosophies have far more damaging effects than Christianity could ever have.





    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Please don't drag European politics into this. I'm discussing American politics. You guys are not a minority, you've managed to really drag the entire Republican party towards a conservative platform that threatens to rupture the party from within, and chances are you will manage to drive out the moderates and claim the party for yourselfs. For being such a "minority victimized by society," you have far more power than you claim... enough to lead to the passing of Prop 8 in what should have otherwise been a slam dunk state opposed to it.
    What happens in europe is important. The guiding political philosophies of the left in Europe are very similar if not Identical to the guiding political philosophies of left wing americans. By seeing what the left has done in europe we can se what the left may do in america. My argument isn't that we are victimized. but that we may be victimized if we don't stand up for our rights. Yeah no one here has been interrogated by police for over an hour in there own home about their religious beliefs about homosexuals,but it happened in England and if it happened there it could happen here.

    In regards to republicans you know its the other way around. The republicans have duped evangelicals into supporting them. I'm no fan of George W. Bush or any of his neo-con cronies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    For my own particular "argument from authority," remember, I spent 35+ years watching this from the INSIDE of the Baptist/right-wing/evangelical movement, was engaged with Focus on the Family, and was a registered Republican until 2004, after Bush's second election.

    I know the mindset well. It was unfair when I was struggling over my own views, and now that I have stepped outside, it seems even worse to me.
    I'll be the first to admit there are plenty of wack-jobs in the right wing. I'm sorry if you had bad experiences or were mistreated.

    As for Focus on the family I really haven't interacted with their material much. I have credible friends who indicate to me that they are not very academically rigorous or even have much academic integrity in their studies and writings... which is unfortunate.

    But, there are good organizations out there who engage the other side in a fair and loving manner.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I think you fail to see that this is not a theocracy. This is not Israel. You speak in a moral sense (based on your own personal religious beliefs), and within that framework, your comment makes sense; but you're not really able, apparently, to separate that from living within a political system that you do not own.
    Your right I don't own the system. Who does own the government?


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    The Kingdom of God is its own separate kingdom. The laws of the land are irrelevant; the kingdom extends through human hearts, not through the legal system.
    Those are the exact same things that leaders of the Lutheran and Catholic church told themselves when they acquiesced to german demands under Hitler.

    Thankfully one lutheran, Dietrich Bonhoeffer rejected this idea of two kingdoms, and stood up to the nazis. Bonhoeffer died in a concentration camp before he finished his book, Ethics, in which he wrote: "Obedience to God's will may be a religious experience but it is not an ethical one until it issues in actions that can be socially valued."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Christians in foreign countries oppressive to the faith live victoriously in Christ without having to break or change the law. You think in very tangible, authoritarian terms about how your faith needs to be implemented, and in the process you try to strip free will from those you disagree with. You are far more concerned about making society fit your standards than actually changing hearts and wooing them; God is less interested about imposing strictures, far more interested in breathing new life into the soul.
    There are just a ton of presumptions here. I've only expressed my religious views on politics, I have not expressed my views on faith and community.

    I'm concerned with both wooing unbelievers and bringing the laws of society into compliance with God's law and thus bringing healing and redemption to society. I think those two things work hand in hand with one another.

    Do you have a problem with my desire to bring redemption to society when it means the protection of state parks or making child pr0n illegal?

    Let me ask you in 20 years if the Church in China encompasses 80% of the population should they not try to topple there oppressive regime? And if they do where should they look to determine what government they should have?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    This is a mistake, to me; you do not liberate people by enslaving them further.
    How exactly do my views enslave people?

    I don't think we should pass sabbatarian laws or force people to go to church.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    In any case, I know you're busy, and honestly I don't need a reply; I can probably predict what you're going to say anyway after your last post. We don't agree enough on the basis of truth / perspective to have a constructive conversation on this matter. I still stand by my prior post and hope you reconsider.
    Yeah, I couldn't help myself.

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