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August 03, 2006

Comments

This extract seems to assume that 'Christian' and 'naturalistic' are the only two categories. Where do non-Christians who believe in God fit into this?

I didn't get the impression that White was assuming there are only two categories of minds. His interest just seemed to be in comparing the "Christian" mind to the "naturalistic" mind, which is highly prominent currently in our culture (even amongst people who profess a belief in a god).

Becca, he specifically said that this divide "sets the Christian mind apart from all others". No, it doesn't; plenty of non-Christian minds also share the trait of believing in a God who "is not only there but is not silent", and claiming that Christians are unique in this regard is rather insulting to the many practicing Jews and Moslems who feel this way.

If I might be so bold, I am not certain as to what you mean when you speak of insulting practicing Jews and Muslims. It all depends on what is meant by "there but is not silent".

I can certainly tell you that God means one thing to the Christian, another thing to the Jew, and again something completely different to the Muslim.

Well, what James Emery White said it meant was "something outside of ourselves that we must take into account... God’s existence and his self-revelation". Jews and Moslems clearly don't believe the same things about God as Christians do; but they do believe that God exists, has revealed himself to humans, and must be taken into account. They believe, to quote further from the article, that "God is on the loose... this God brought forth truth and order, purpose and authority into the created cosmos".

So James Emery White is simply not correct when he states that this belief sets the Christian mind apart from *all others* (emphasis mine). What I find insulting is that he talks as though his religion were the only one to believe in God. Believing that other religions hold inaccurate beliefs about God is one thing; talking as though their beliefs didn't exist is another.

I don't know what White had in mind when he used the phrase 'all others' yet I am not insulted by his use of it and I am wondering why others would be insulted unless perhaps they are Jew or Muslim, especially when the entire context of the piece is taken into account. But even at that it seems that our culture is moving towards a place where one simply disagreeing with another is grounds for insult when formerly it was the basis for debate in the free market place of ideas. And White never says thee Jewish or Muslim perspectives don't exist which really needs to be consider when rendering a judgement.

John wrote: "I am wondering why others would be insulted unless perhaps they are Jew or Muslim"

Exactly. I think it's insulting to Jews and Muslims. And, I suppose, to non-Christian theists.

John wrote: "But even at that it seems that our culture is moving towards a place where one simply disagreeing with another is grounds for insult"

I don't regard the insult here as being that White disagreed with Jews and Moslems, but that he talks as though their beliefs don't exist. What he is essentially saying is that Christians are the only people who believe in a God who has revealed himself to humans and must be taken into account. That's blatantly inaccurate.

John says: "And White never says thee Jewish or Muslim perspectives don't exist"

Indeed. He simply talks in a way that clearly excludes them from consideration. When you say that Christians are the only ones who believe in a God who has revealed his existence to humans, then that does specifically mean that you don't think anyone else believes that. It isn't necessary to spell out that particular other groups don't believe that. The problem is that White has fallen into the common trap of believing that his religion is the only one out there.

Sarah wrote: "Exactly. I think it's insulting to Jews and Muslims. And, I suppose, to non-Christian theists.

To have some direct knowledge of White's offense to these groups, you would have to be a member of one of these groups or recieved communication from one of them on how White's remarks were offensive. Without this direct knowledge, your statement is merely an opinion.

Sarah wrote: "The problem is that White has fallen into the common trap of believing that his religion is the only one out there."

You apparently believe that all viewpoints of God are true, but that cannot be. The major truth claims of Judaism, Islam, and Chrisianity conflict with one another, they don't even compliment one another. To even initimate that all religions are the same is, as I heard someone say one time, like saying that aspirin and arsenic are the same just because they come in tablet form. The details here are critical.


John, you're still not getting what I'm saying. I don't believe all viewpoints of God are true (I don't believe any of them are, but that's a separate issue): I believe that Christianity is not the only religion to believe in a God who takes part in this world.

I didn't say that White believed his religion to be the only *true* one out there. I said that he believed it to be the *only* one out there. What I should have said, of course, was that he believed it to be the only *monotheist* religion out there; but my point still stands.

White was trying to claim that the belief in a God that reveals himself to humanity is exclusive to Christians. It isn't. The fact that some other beliefs *are* exclusive to Christians does not change the fact that this one is not. It is a crucially important belief in the lives of two other religions as well. How would you like it if someone was talking as though Christians didn't hold a belief that they actually do?

This thread has me confused. It starts off by quoting White as saying "a woman who was not a follower of Christ was more orthodox and biblical (and informed) in her thinking than one who professed an allegiance to Christ."

Then at the end of the post "the great divide, and its nature is what sets the Christian mind apart from all others."

So how can a non-Christian have a Christian mind?

Is the essential character of a Christian mind simply theism, as opposed to the recognition of only the natural realm as the excerpt seems to imply?

Something here is just not adding up for me.

Perhaps the excerpt, taken out of context, is creating this confusion.

I think that, as it stands, this excerpt does imply, as Sarah says, that there is the Christian mind and there is everything else.

Of course, you could say the Jews and Moslems also have a Christian mind but this seems silly to me.

Sarah:
Yep, I don't get it. We'll try one more time.

You wrote: "I don't regard the insult here as being that White disagreed with Jews and Moslems, but that he talks as though their beliefs don't exist."

I simply did not understand the basis for your statement. Perhaps you felt compelled to speak up on behalf of Jews and Muslims, maybe you have some accurate knowledge as to what is insulting to those two groups, or perhaps you yourself were insulted by White's remark.

If I were to write that I find other poster's remarks to be insulting to the people in the Netherlands, someone might wonder why I would make such a statement unless I happen to be part of that group of people.

Make sense?

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