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Thread: The Genocide of Christian minorities in the Middle East

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    5 out of 5 members found this post helpful.

    The Genocide of Christian minorities in the Middle East



    It's "news" to the New York Times.

    See:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/23/b...id=tw-nytbooks

    I have some more "news" for them. It's still going on today.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    It's "news" to the New York Times.

    See:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/23/b...id=tw-nytbooks

    I have some more "news" for them. It's still going on today.
    The relashionship of religious faith to a especific political current is always reckless and genocides may have more to do with the fear that might represent the political and economic strength of an especific religious minoritie than with the religion professed by this minoritie.


    In Brazil there is a movement of reaction of the Roman Catholics in relation to the present government clearly inclined at favoring the interests of the neo-Pentecostal Protestant groups.


    I have never been a very religious person, although I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, I only enter a church when it comes to a marriage celebration of friends or relatives or in the case of ecumenical cults of college graduates, familiars or friends.

    More recently, without no influence of mine, my son and his girlfriend became intensely participating in the activities of catholic young groups. He and his girlfriend are beautiful people and the groups are dedicated to music, singing and evengelization. I found it interesting because my son, despite liking Heavy-metal, playing electric guitar, bass and acoustic guitar and having a rock'n'roll band that, already, just performed at Hard Rock Cafe in my city, in his actuation in the catholic young groups adopts a repertoire that is soft and very lyrical, and he is an excellent guitarist and is able to play any rhythm when he wants to.


    However I can not get rid of the anger I feel of Neopentecostal Protestants, not because they are Protestants, but much more for what they are doing in Brazilian politics.


    Bad signal.


    I am of peace and love, and I always say a sonorous no to any kind of violence. I am entirely against those who preach violence.


    But I can only answer for myself.


    I can not do the same for other Catholics dissatisfied with the current situation.
    “Às vezes ouço passar o vento; e só de ouvir o vento passar, vale a pena ter nascido”.
    Fernando Pessoa

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    5 out of 5 members found this post helpful.
    I think the contexts are very different. I don't think that in the case of the Middle East it is only or even predominantly a matter of internal politics.

    Christianity was born in the Middle East and first spread there. Christians were extremely numerous when Islam arrived. Islam had no qualms about using the sword to effect conversion. In fact, that is primarily how it spread. Pagans had one choice: convert or die. In that sense the Islamic state is not such a new idea in the Middle East. "People of the Book", i.e. Jews and Christians, were not killed, although they had to pay higher taxes and had fewer rights. A particularly hated part of their lower status was the practice, in Ottoman times, whereby their sons and daughters, often the most promising and exceptional, could be "culled".

    The book examines the following:

    "The book examines three episodes: first, the massacre of perhaps 200,000 Ottoman Armenians that took place between 1894 and 1896; then the much larger deportation and slaughter of Armenians that began in 1915 and has been widely recognized as genocide; and third, the destruction or deportation of the remaining Christians (mostly Greeks) during and after the conflict of 1919-22, which Turks call their War of Independence. The fate of Assyrian Christians, of whom 250,000 or more may have perished, is also examined, in less detail."

    Such brutality, such inhumanity, would in any situation to be abhorred, but an added gloss is that these people were "natives", and Christian since the earliest spread of Christianity.

    I'm appalled that the editors of The Times seem to be surprised by these facts. Even if they know nothing of history, are they also oblivious to what is currently going on? What of the blowing up of Coptic Churches (again, the Copts are probably the most "indigenous" Egyptians), and Assyrian Christian churches, and on and on?

    In responding to the terrorism against Christian Churches in Sri Lanka, Obama and Clinton condemned the attacks against "Easter worshipers". First of all, it's stupid as a phrase. They don't worship Easter. Second of all, what, is "Christian" now a triggering word? Will it offend Muslims? Is the fear that if we name it for what it is we might have to do something about it?

    On a "lighter" note, my daughter is also turning back to the faith. :) I raised both of my children in it because I wanted the moral foundation, and for social reasons. Every child in the neighborhood went to religious services, usually Catholic, but also Protestant, and some Jewish, and went through the ritual rites of passage. Both of them declared themselves agnostics before the end of high school, and now this...

    It could make your head spin. :)

    Luckily, for my sake, it's a Catholic youth group which she has joined, and not a Protestant Evangelical group denying evolution, or even a Catholic, speaking in tongues, let's all hold up our hands type group. They seem sensible, grounded, focused on the moral aspects and aspirational, personal spirituality aspects of religion, as well as some Bible study, and lots of trips and social gatherings. Coincidentally, she's also into the music: she sings at their special Mass and at their meetings. :) The priest who started the group has obviously taken inspiration from Protestant youth groups.

    It's fine with me, except that like a lot of people who are experiencing renewed religious feelings, she wants to share it with me by getting me to go back to Mass.

    I have a feeling I'm at the beginning of that time of life when there is role reversal between parents and children. :)
    Last edited by Angela; 24-04-19 at 22:12.

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    3 out of 3 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I think the contexts are very different. I don't think that in the case of the Middle East it is only or even predominantly a matter of internal politics.

    Christianity was born in the Middle East and first spread there. Christians were extremely numerous when Islam arrived. Islam had no qualms about using the sword to effect conversion. In fact, that is primarily how it spread. Pagans had one choice: convert or die. In that sense the Islamic state is not such a new idea in the Middle East. "People of the Book", i.e. Jews and Christians, were not killed, although they had to pay higher taxes and had fewer rights. A particularly hated part of their lower status was the practice, in Ottoman times, whereby their sons and daughters, often the most promising and exceptional, could be "culled".

    The book examines the following:

    "The book examines three episodes: first, the massacre of perhaps 200,000 Ottoman Armenians that took place between 1894 and 1896; then the much larger deportation and slaughter of Armenians that began in 1915 and has been widely recognized as genocide; and third, the destruction or deportation of the remaining Christians (mostly Greeks) during and after the conflict of 1919-22, which Turks call their War of Independence. The fate of Assyrian Christians, of whom 250,000 or more may have perished, is also examined, in less detail."

    Such brutality, such inhumanity, would in any situation to be abhorred, but an added gloss is that these people were "natives", and Christian since the earliest spread of Christianity.

    I'm appalled that the editors of The Times seem to be surprised by these facts. Even if they know nothing of history, are they also oblivious to what is currently going on? What of the blowing up of Coptic Churches (again, the Copts are probably the most "indigenous" Egyptians), and Assyrian Christian churches, and on and on?

    In responding to the terrorism against Christian Churches in Sri Lanka, Obama and Clinton condemned the attacks against "Easter worshipers". First of all, it's stupid as a phrase. They don't worship Easter. Second of all, what, is "Christian" now a triggering word? Will it offend Muslims? Is the fear that if we name it for what it is we might have to do something about it?

    On a "lighter" note, my daughter is also turning back to the faith. :) I raised both of my children in it because I wanted the moral foundation, and for social reasons. Every child in the neighborhood went to religious services, usually Catholic, but also Protestant, and some Jewish, and went through the ritual rites of passage. Both of them declared themselves agnostics before the end of high school, and now this...

    It could make your head spin. :)

    Luckily, for my sake, it's a Catholic youth group which she has joined, and not a Protestant Evangelical group denying evolution, or even a Catholic, speaking in signs, let's all hold up our hands type group. They seem sensible, grounded, focused on the moral aspects and aspirational, personal spirituality aspects of religion, as well as some Bible study, and lots of trips and get social gathering. Coincidentally, she's also into the music: she sings at their special Mass and at their meetings. :) The priest who started the group has obviously taken inspiration from Protestant youth groups

    It's fine with me, except that like a lot of people who are experiencing renewed religious feelings, she wants to share it with me by getting me to go back to Mass.

    I have a feeling I'm at the beginning of that time of life when there is role reversal between parents and children. :)
    Unfortunately Islam's view of Christianity is a distorted view, a vision of hatred. For them we are the unfaithful Crusaders and that is how the Islamic State referred to Christians.
    I fully agree with you when you said that the "indigenous" Christians of the Middle East were slaughtered by the newcomers, the Muslims, and it seems that this practice lasts to this day, and the attack against the Christians in Sri Lanka is the lastest case, in this sad history.
    I see in young people today a greater interest in the Christian faith. I am from generation X, post-baby-boomers, a generation very influenced by the ideology of the left, at least in Brazil, and who departed formally from the faith (of any kind of faith).
    Today I remember with affection from my parents and grandparents and how much they were dedicated to Christianity and Catholicism.
    My son was baptized and received the sacraments of communion and chrism (confirmation of baptism) in the Catholic faith. Although I am not a practicing Catholic, I have always made a point of maintaining the tradition of the Catholic faith of my family, which for me is a cultural issue.
    My son isthe Z generation and his spontaneous return to the Catholic faith, for me, is cause for great joy :)

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Duarte View Post
    Unfortunately Islam's view of Christianity is a distorted view, a vision of hatred. For them we are the unfaithful Crusaders and that is how the Islamic State referred to Christians.
    I fully agree with you when you said that the "indigenous" Christians of the Middle East were slaughtered by the newcomers, the Muslims, and it seems that this practice lasts to this day, and the attack against the Christians in Sri Lanka is the lastest case, in this sad history.
    I see in young people today a greater interest in the Christian faith. I am from generation X, post-baby-boomers, a generation very influenced by the ideology of the left, at least in Brazil, and who departed formally from the faith (of any kind of faith).
    Today I remember with affection from my parents and grandparents and how much they were dedicated to Christianity and Catholicism.
    My son was baptized and received the sacraments of communion and chrism (confirmation of baptism) in the Catholic faith. Although I am not a practicing Catholic, I have always made a point of maintaining the tradition of the Catholic faith of my family, which for me is a cultural issue.
    My son isthe Z generation and his spontaneous return to the Catholic faith, for me, is cause for great joy :)
    I've recently become a parishioner in my local church, as it is necessary for us, since we want to get married in a Catholic Church next year. Despite the fact that I'm actually agnostic (I was raised Roman Catholic, baptized, communion, and confirmed) I am really enjoying Mass every Sunday. More so than I did when I was younger. I find the sermons to be very inspiring, and I can appreciate the cultural and moralistic values it teaches. I agree with you, I intend on raising my children to be Catholic in the future.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    4
    The Lord GOD has given me

    a well-trained tongue,

    That I might know how to answer the weary

    a word that will waken them.

    Morning after morning

    he wakens my ear to hear as disciples do;

    5
    The Lord GOD opened my ear;

    I did not refuse,

    did not turn away.*

    6
    I gave my back to those who beat me,

    my cheeks to those who tore out my beard;*

    My face I did not hide

    from insults and spitting.

    7
    The Lord GOD is my help,

    therefore I am not disgraced;

    Therefore I have set my face like flint,

    knowing that I shall not be put to shame.

    ISAIAH
    Chapter 50
    I found this particular passage to be quite touching.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Duarte View Post
    Unfortunately Islam's view of Christianity is a distorted view, a vision of hatred. For them we are the unfaithful Crusaders and that is how the Islamic State referred to Christians.
    I fully agree with you when you said that the "indigenous" Christians of the Middle East were slaughtered by the newcomers, the Muslims, and it seems that this practice lasts to this day, and the attack against the Christians in Sri Lanka is the lastest case, in this sad history.
    I see in young people today a greater interest in the Christian faith. I am from generation X, post-baby-boomers, a generation very influenced by the ideology of the left, at least in Brazil, and who departed formally from the faith (of any kind of faith).
    Today I remember with affection from my parents and grandparents and how much they were dedicated to Christianity and Catholicism.
    My son was baptized and received the sacraments of communion and chrism (confirmation of baptism) in the Catholic faith. Although I am not a practicing Catholic, I have always made a point of maintaining the tradition of the Catholic faith of my family, which for me is a cultural issue.
    My son isthe Z generation and his spontaneous return to the Catholic faith, for me, is cause for great joy :)
    Does Islam not have a vision of hatred toward all non-Muslims?
    What e.g. about the Yezidis?
    Why do apostates deserve the death penalty?
    Islam makes a big differentiation between 'fidels' and 'infidels'.
    Infidels don't deserve any respect.
    Love thy neighbour is not a sentence found in the Quran.

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    3 out of 3 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Duarte View Post
    The relashionship of religious faith to a especific political current is always reckless and genocides may have more to do with the fear that might represent the political and economic strength of an especific religious minoritie than with the religion professed by this minoritie.


    In Brazil there is a movement of reaction of the Roman Catholics in relation to the present government clearly inclined at favoring the interests of the neo-Pentecostal Protestant groups.


    I have never been a very religious person, although I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, I only enter a church when it comes to a marriage celebration of friends or relatives or in the case of ecumenical cults of college graduates, familiars or friends.

    More recently, without no influence of mine, my son and his girlfriend became intensely participating in the activities of catholic young groups. He and his girlfriend are beautiful people and the groups are dedicated to music, singing and evengelization. I found it interesting because my son, despite liking Heavy-metal, playing electric guitar, bass and acoustic guitar and having a rock'n'roll band that, already, just performed at Hard Rock Cafe in my city, in his actuation in the catholic young groups adopts a repertoire that is soft and very lyrical, and he is an excellent guitarist and is able to play any rhythm when he wants to.


    However I can not get rid of the anger I feel of Neopentecostal Protestants, not because they are Protestants, but much more for what they are doing in Brazilian politics.


    Bad signal.


    I am of peace and love, and I always say a sonorous no to any kind of violence. I am entirely against those who preach violence.


    But I can only answer for myself.


    I can not do the same for other Catholics dissatisfied with the current situation.
    As a Catholic Brazilian (one a bit lapsed from the public ceremonies, but still very attached to the Catholic tradition, doctrine, history and system of values), I second what you say. The present situation is the pentecostal and neopentecostal evangelicalism in Brazil (as I believe elsewhere, too) has become increasingly sectarian, divisive and recklessly bold in their attempts to gain more converts and especially more political power, not seldom reminding me of some of the tropes of conservative Muslims in the Muslim world (with their leaders often claiming things like we need to and will make an evangelical Brazil or this is a Christian-majority (read = Christianity as interpreted by Protestants) countries so the government must obey the will of the Christians and be guided by the Bible). The most famous evangelical leader of Brazil, Edir Macedo, has even an entire book in which he teaches his followers to get into all instances of power and influence of the country and gradually start to rule Brazil from the inside out, with the goal of establishing an "evangelical Brazil". Those are in my opinion very worrisome signs, especially as I have noticed that it's not just the narcisic dream of a few big leaders, but a kind of narrative widely supported within the pentecostal and neopentecostal groups, with an increasing number of them openly proposing things that are indirectly intended to upset Afro-Brazilian religions and declaring things that basically amount to "Catholics are not actual Christians". I'm a very tolerant person, but exactly because of that I can't say I'm glad with the growing number of pentecostal and neopentecostal evangelicals in Brazil. The former atmosphere of live and let live that was very common in the religious sphere of most of Brazil has been clearly poisoned by a much more "crusading" spirit and excessive, disturbing proselytism that is now almost the monopoly of Protestant Christians in Brazil at least. :-(

    But, on a final note, I have to agree with Angela that the situation in Brazil and other parts of Latin America and Africa, with a growing shock between "new" protestantism and the Catholics and mainline Protestants (and of course every other non-Christian religion), is still fundamentally different from the existential threat faced by the traditional Christians of the Middle East. There are a few parallels, but the radical evangelicals are not nearly as politically and culturally dominant as in the Middle East, and the pressure tactics are incomparably less serious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    It's "news" to the New York Times.

    See:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/23/b...id=tw-nytbooks

    I have some more "news" for them. It's still going on today.
    I find it incredibly sad that so many people had to die before one of the united states' main newspapers decided that this was a story worth publishing.
    I believe that many more innocents will have to die before politicians decide to do something about Islamic extremism without the fear of being labeled racist. And in Europe we are still very protected against this Islamic religious zealotry, but these people in Islamic countries, I can only imagine the fear they live every day.
    This is just a thought, but why should the EU and the USA tolerate this happening every day in Islamic nations when a Muslim faithful in the EU or the US can worship with relative safety (as he should). The EU and the US should only tolerate the same conditions for Christians in Islamic nations as Muslims are treated in majority Christian nations, but unfortunately I guess that politics (relations with Islamic nations and commercial deals, mostly) get in the way ( along with lack of bravery, and motivation to do something since it does not earn votes).

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    4 out of 4 members found this post helpful.
    One of the things I most regret about the attitude of the U.S. government is that no distinction is made in terms of priorities for emigration from the Middle East. I would think it would be obvious that those targeted with annihilation, i.e. people like the Yezidis and Christians, should be allowed to emigrate first, certainly before economic immigrants. Plus, for goodness sakes', they'd be the last people to be Islamist militants, and their priests, in the case of the Christians, who often have ties abroad, could vouch for their identity.

    Yet, the government officials babble nonsense about how no priority can be given on the basis of religion. It's not about giving them preference because like most Westerners they're Christian, Orthodox or Eastern Catholic, but because they are most at risk. As Ygorcs said, they are facing an existential thread.

    I worked some years ago for Catholic Charities in trying to get them asylum and sponsors in churches, and it was heartbreaking.

    They are the best of immigrants, often skilled and educated, eager to assimilate, and pathetically grateful to be safe from their Muslim neighbors. The insanity extends to the fact that they're all mixed in together at the camps, and continue even there to be subject to harassment and outright violence.

    The stupidity astounds me.

    As for Pentecostals, I have to admit that they strain my tolerance, because they are so intolerant of others. Even here in the North, I know a few people who have gone down that road, and it's as if they've turned off their brains.

    I have to say that I think they make their greatest inroads among Catholics and people from the mainstream Protestant Churches because with the decline in Catholic school education, and the watering down of theology courses even in the schools that remain, many people have no intellectual "ammunition" to combat some of the many idiocies that they spout. Jesuits they're not. :)

    One thing my Catholic school education, all those daily theology classes did do is give me the ability to shut them up pretty fast. I once let a pair of Mormons on "Mission" into my living room on a rainy afternoon because I felt sorry for them, but after twenty minutes or so I couldn't stand any more. I felt badly twisting them into rhetorical knots, because like most Mormons I've met they were personally nice people, and painfully young and innocent, but I just couldn't bear listening to it.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    As a Catholic Brazilian (one a bit lapsed from the public ceremonies, but still very attached to the Catholic tradition, doctrine, history and system of values), I second what you say. The present situation is the pentecostal and neopentecostal evangelicalism in Brazil (as I believe elsewhere, too) has become increasingly sectarian, divisive and recklessly bold in their attempts to gain more converts and especially more political power, not seldom reminding me of some of the tropes of conservative Muslims in the Muslim world (with their leaders often claiming things like we need to and will make an evangelical Brazil or this is a Christian-majority (read = Christianity as interpreted by Protestants) countries so the government must obey the will of the Christians and be guided by the Bible). The most famous evangelical leader of Brazil, Edir Macedo, has even an entire book in which he teaches his followers to get into all instances of power and influence of the country and gradually start to rule Brazil from the inside out, with the goal of establishing an "evangelical Brazil". Those are in my opinion very worrisome signs, especially as I have noticed that it's not just the narcisic dream of a few big leaders, but a kind of narrative widely supported within the pentecostal and neopentecostal groups, with an increasing number of them openly proposing things that are indirectly intended to upset Afro-Brazilian religions and declaring things that basically amount to "Catholics are not actual Christians". I'm a very tolerant person, but exactly because of that I can't say I'm glad with the growing number of pentecostal and neopentecostal evangelicals in Brazil. The former atmosphere of live and let live that was very common in the religious sphere of most of Brazil has been clearly poisoned by a much more "crusading" spirit and excessive, disturbing proselytism that is now almost the monopoly of Protestant Christians in Brazil at least. :-(

    But, on a final note, I have to agree with Angela that the situation in Brazil and other parts of Latin America and Africa, with a growing shock between "new" protestantism and the Catholics and mainline Protestants (and of course every other non-Christian religion), is still fundamentally different from the existential threat faced by the traditional Christians of the Middle East. There are a few parallels, but the radical evangelicals are not nearly as politically and culturally dominant as in the Middle East, and the pressure tactics are incomparably less serious.
    Hello Ygorcs,
    Congratulations by your sensate comment. You did a very good analysis of actual situation in Brazil. I fully agree with you.

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    Congrats J :)

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    I've recently become a parishioner in my local church, as it is necessary for us, since we want to get married in a Catholic Church next year. Despite the fact that I'm actually agnostic (I was raised Roman Catholic, baptized, communion, and confirmed) I am really enjoying Mass every Sunday. More so than I did when I was younger. I find the sermons to be very inspiring, and I can appreciate the cultural and moralistic values it teaches. I agree with you, I intend on raising my children to be Catholic in the future.
    Congratulations Jovialis.
    I wish you much happiness in your future married life and that your children can be very happy and as intelligent and friendly as you, future dad, proves to be in this forum :)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I have to say that I think they make their greatest inroads among Catholics and people from the mainstream Protestant Churches because with the decline in Catholic school education, and the watering down of theology courses even in the schools that remain, many people have no intellectual "ammunition" to combat some of the many idiocies that they spout. Jesuits they're not. :)

    One thing my Catholic school education, all those daily theology classes did do is give me the ability to shut them up pretty fast. I once let a pair of Mormons on "Mission" into my living room on a rainy afternoon because I felt sorry for them, but after twenty minutes or so I couldn't stand any more. I felt badly twisting them into rhetorical knots, because like most Mormons I've met they were personally nice people, and painfully young and innocent, but I just couldn't bear listening to it.
    I absolutely agree with you on that point. I have often noticed that most of those who tend to convert to pentecostal or neopentecostal churches from Catholicism or mainline Protestantism tend to be those people who had never learned anything about Christianity and about the theological aspects of the churches they were raised into except for the most basic beliefs (things like "Jesus is good, Jesus resurrected to save us all") and the most superficial understanding of the main rituals their congregation practices. They were very easy preys to the admittedly very emotional and charismatic preaching of pentecostals and neopentecostals, whose religion is clearly (in my opinion worryingly so) based almost entirely on raw emotions, instinctive reactions and a completely subjective experience of faith and God, that which they consider a "personal relationship with God" and "the action of the Holy Spirit in one's body", but it all tends to become blurred amidst so much mysticism and subjectivity that they barely have any theological grounding and doctrinal coherence to make all those strong feelings and emotional reactions translate into something more spiritual, reasoned and "internalized". But their tactics certainly impress those who never had any deeper understanding of why they believe what they believe and any sense of a rational relationship with their religion, its teachings, history and values, so they feel the emptiness of their utter ignorance about their own religion and try to fill that void with a "powerful emotion" that won't require them to actually read, criticize, analyze and understand. They just have to feel and to "let it go", and the rest they leave to their priests who preach them in such a way that I am often baffled at how much they resemble a cult, because many of them follow the words of the local pastor as if it were the word of God. As you say, they have no intellectual ammunition to hear all of that and think on their own, especially when there is so much ingroup pressure to not stand out and not become the annoying member that is always questioning and doubting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    I absolutely agree with you on that point. I have often noticed that most of those who tend to convert to pentecostal or neopentecostal churches from Catholicism or mainline Protestantism tend to be those people who had never learned anything about Christianity and about the theological aspects of the churches they were raised into except for the most basic beliefs (things like "Jesus is good, Jesus resurrected to save us all") and the most superficial understanding of the main rituals their congregation practices. They were very easy preys to the admittedly very emotional and charismatic preaching of pentecostals and neopentecostals, whose religion is clearly (in my opinion worryingly so) based almost entirely on raw emotions, instinctive reactions and a completely subjective experience of faith and God, that which they consider a "personal relationship with God" and "the action of the Holy Spirit in one's body", but it all tends to become blurred amidst so much mysticism and subjectivity that they barely have any theological grounding and doctrinal coherence to make all those strong feelings and emotional reactions translate into something more spiritual, reasoned and "internalized". But their tactics certainly impress those who never had any deeper understanding of why they believe what they believe and any sense of a rational relationship with their religion, its teachings, history and values, so they feel the emptiness of their utter ignorance about their own religion and try to fill that void with a "powerful emotion" that won't require them to actually read, criticize, analyze and understand. They just have to feel and to "let it go", and the rest they leave to their priests who preach them in such a way that I am often baffled at how much they resemble a cult, because many of them follow the words of the local pastor as if it were the word of God. As you say, they have no intellectual ammunition to hear all of that and think on their own, especially when there is so much ingroup pressure to not stand out and not become the annoying member that is always questioning and doubting.
    I completely agree. If you move from "feeling God's presence" to the things they say about why, for example, Catholicism is idolatry and evil, why Communion doesn't matter, why everything in the Bible has to be taken literally, they can't answer. On person I know, for example, is "born again". Her church allows no drinking. It also says everything in the Bible is literally true, and you should do as Jesus did in every particular. My immediate response was, then why don't you drink wine? After all, Jesus did.

    There's another aspect to their success, I think. At least here, and more so in the south, they create a community of believers. Every week after services there are gatherings at the church. Children are brought to classes while adults go to the service, and then there is organized play time for them after the service. The week nights and especially the week ends are full of activities for the entire family. Children, into adolescence, are kept busy with activities through the Youth Groups. If you're sick, need transportation, are experiencing a life crisis, all you have to do is call the church, and people will come over.

    In a modern America where people move constantly for work, don't have any family nearby, may be newcomers without friends, the church provides much needed support.

    If the Catholics want to keep their adherents, they should pay attention and try to create the same kind of structures.

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    ...Edit...

    There's no “gentle” solution for this!

    too bad.
    Last edited by Salento; 26-04-19 at 07:05.

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