Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This Is The World I Live In

I suppose it was inevitable that I would inadvertently "friend" people on Facebook who are allied with the ideology of my family. Louis Theroux's new documentary about my family was the impetus for just such a contact recently. Rather than describe it, I'll just republish the back and forth. Just to clarify, there is one other young lady, also a devout Christian, who challenges the original poster. To protect their anonymity, I'll call the original poster "Mary" and the other lady "Linda"

The thread starts with a link to the new documentary and this comment from "Mary". Spelling and punctuation have been preserved to provide whatever insight it may:

Mary:
THe WBC church reminds me of the way the christian church used to be in the past


Me:
Which past "Mary"? The Crusades, the Inquisition, The Salem Witch Trials? The truth is we have very little understanding of the Christian church in the past and we certainly don't have any evidence that this one version of one religion is the one path to the one god.


Mary:
THe bible is the same as today as yesterday if you do not live by the bible you will go to hell


At this point, I had just finished reading an excellent article by Chris Hitchens in Vanity Fair. The article, in part, addressed this very assertion.

Me:
Here's a link to a current article that puts the lie to that comment "Mary": http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2011/05/hitchens-201105

This is just a drop in the bucket. There are libraries of information out there that demonstrate conclusively that the bible has changed profoundly and deliberately throughout it's 1900 years of existence in some form or another.


Mary:
I do not believe in the stuff what comes from man kind I know it is a lie anytime you get to know the Humanist they turn out to be just like what the wbc church says about them the bible was written by god and it is the oldest book in the world


FACEPALM!

Linda:
but "Mary" you have to read it... and not trust fred phelps... He can lie as easy as any other man.... Nathan lived in that enviorment... he knows their doctrine...listen to him and then also read your bible and you can easily disprove any point the church makes


Mary:
I can tell that fred phelps knows the bible with out looking it up because i know the christian religion and if you like nate phelps then you are not a believer in the bible


Linda:
I do as well "Mary"... and their are many other christians that can do the same. I was in a class for spiritual formation at my christian college and we had a athiest in our class... and he could quote the scripture better than anyone since he had studied the bible over and over and over... Just because I like nate phelps doesnt mean I do not believe the bible.... In my class the athiest was converted after the class was over yet even if he was not... It is my duty as a christian to treat him kindly and set the SAME example christ would set not the example of satan

Mary:
I think nate phelps was just a rebellion


Linda:
maybe so.... every one has a right to their opinion... yet even as a athiest you are called to show him kindness and compassion because that is what christ call you to do... he doesnt call you to hate others he tells you to love your enemies and to feed them when they are hungry and to give them water when they thirst... he does not say bash them cuss them curse them.... like it or not KC NATE phelps was made in the image of GOD too.... hun... i can tell you have a wonderful heart and one that yearns for GOD... PLEASEPLEASE PLEAASE open the scriptures and find the real truth


Mary:
steve drain says that if you love your neighbor, you will point out were he is wrong to let him do what he wants to is like hating your neighbor,


Steve Drain...there's a wellspring of original thought.

Linda:
ok do you see how you are quoting other people and not the word of GOD... you are following man which makes them your idol... and you have a very jealous GOD.... the bible state yes you are to correct your neighbor but in doing so ---
Matthew 18:15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
did you see that./.... not word but GODS.... he tells us just the two of you... not picketing... calling someone out which is dishonoring... which is also talked about in the bible


Linda:
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.


Linda: ‎
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.


Mary:
they are showing commpassion to others


Linda:
1 Corinthians 13:4-13 talks about love, what it is and what it is not. This forum is not just for those who believe in God and get into His Word, this applies to all who have been or are looking to fall in love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13

4: Love is patient, love is kind. it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5: It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6: Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.

7: It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.

8: Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.


Linda:
"Mary" is the church any of these when they picket????


Mary:
well for me it led me back to church i have been attending for 6 months


Linda:
my point is proven do not go by the word of steve drain go by the word of GOD "Mary"... look in cor for yourself what love is the apostle paul defines love clearly... or google love in the bible to pull up scripture.... it will take you straight there.


So I'm watching this back and forth between the two young ladies and my head is about to explode from all the assumptions and logical fallacies. I finally decide to speak my piece and walk away from this conversation. I ended with this:

Me:
First of all "Mary", of COURSE I rebelled. The fact that I'm not there is by definition rebellion. You have much to learn in life and chief among them is to question the meaning of words. One of the most powerful tools used by people like my father is words. You hear words like rebel and the immediate perception is bad. The important question when you hear that term is: what did they rebel against? Is rebellion a proper response in the circumstance? It's a non-starter for you to dismiss someone by labeling them rebellious. GO DEEPER!

As for "Linda's" point about rebuking, I would also urge you to read the process that Paul prescribes. Implicit in his words is the intuitive understanding that we all have in us that RELATIONSHIP is paramount in that process. Human's are tribal by their nature. Centuries of experience tell us to be slow to trust, to accept input only from those who are in a position of trustworthiness. It is utter nonsense for my family to suggest that they have the right to go around and blast total strangers, whom they know nothing about, over sins that they can only assume.

Don't ever let someone's superior knowledge of a subject be the justification for accepting everything they say. Historically, men with a far greater understanding of the words of the Bible have drawn conclusions diametrically opposed to the conclusions of my father. That reason alone should give you pause in just accepting his dogma because "fred phelps knows the bible".

Finally, you said that you 'do not believe in the stuff what comes from man kind". Do you hear yourself? Without any evidence to justify it, you have exalted the words of the WBC above "man kind". What are their words if not "stuff [coming] from man kind"? Is it because you assume they alone use the Bible for their words? If so, you have NO BUSINESS accepting a single thing they say until you have confirmed it INDEPENDENTLY for yourself, in the Bible. That DOES NOT mean asking them for the verses and blindly accepting their interpretation. It means you spending the necessary time studying it YOURSELF. Otherwise you are simply a parrot of another man's belief system.

Make no mistake "Mary", I could care less what conclusions you draw on this subject or any other. What I do care about PASSIONATELY is that every person take responsibility to learn how to think critically and never, EVER accept something as truth without researching it themselves. It is that standard that led me away from the black and white, indefensible, hateful dogma of my father. That's what I rebelled against and I carry the label of Rebel proudly.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Turner said...

Food for thought, thanks Nate!

April 5, 2011 at 9:34 AM  
Blogger James Aufhauser said...

What makes me sad about the world regularly is the seeming unwillingness to look at the information presented to them critically and carry out there own research into it. I see half truths, half baked ideas and outright lies circulated as truth across the internet on every subject (not just religion) because people just blindly accept what's in front of them because it just feels right. To hear a man brought up the way you were talking about this, having come to it on his own terms inspite of his upbringing, really warms my heart to the point I have had to comment. So thank you.

April 5, 2011 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Prosey said...

Excellent (and exceedingly kind) response! Takes a reflective person to recognize how powerful and multilayered words truly are.

April 5, 2011 at 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In "Letter to a Christian Nation", Sam Harris wrote (I'm paraphrasing): "While the Jains believe many improbable things about the universe, they do not believe the kinds of things that fueled the fires of the Inquisition."

"The Jain patriarch, Mahavira, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: 'Do not kill, torture, abuse, enslave, oppress or insult any creature or living being."

"Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have killed, tortured, abused, enslaved, oppressed and insulted people in the name of God for centuries, while following a theologically-defensible reading of the Bible."

"It is impossible to behave this way by adhering to the tenets of Jainism. How then, ca one argue that the Bible contains the clearest statement of morality that the world has ever seen?"

April 5, 2011 at 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Linda is quite right with the verses she has pointed out here. We are called to be Christ-like. Love one another no matter what race, size or religion. I am for sure Jesus would not stand around shouting hatefull abuse towards non-believers. He would be kind and loving, inviting them to learn Gods word... Not shout hatefull words at them.

Its a real shame how WBC has turned out to be... Abusive and ignorant instead of kind, loving and inviting. But all we can do is pray they start understanding that the way they are spreading Gods word is not the right way.

WWJD

I just found your Twitter and blog Nate... Will be checking back every now and then. Thanks for sharing!

April 6, 2011 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Don said...

Fantastic!! Great "back and forth". Your response to her was magnanimous and full of things which point to truth.

April 7, 2011 at 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Erik said...

And this is the result of religion and people that can't think and question the meaning of everything.

I'm for my self an Atheist and have not that deep knowledge about the bible. But to me many things that WBC is preaching is incoherent in so many ways.

I'll love your responses thou, sometimes I'd miss out of these things since Swedes aren't that religious, well thats not a bad thing in my view.

But still, somehow It would be nice to discuss these things

April 27, 2011 at 5:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Nate Phelps,
I full heartedly agree with you when you say that the Westboro Church is acting based upon complete evil and is completely wrong. However, they do have a right, as "linda" said, to express their opinions like the rest of us. All they are really doing is exercising their right and expressing their opinion on the subject. Admittedly, they are stereotyping gays and their comments are atrocious. However, their actions are completely legal. Their actions against gays are similar to your actions against the Westboro Church. Of course, it's quite obvious to tell which is the better of the two, but it still doesn't change the fact that they are citizens of the United States as well, and that they deserve the same rights as the rest of us.

April 27, 2011 at 5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon: how are Nate's comments about the WBC similar to WBC's actions against gays? The WBC makes the most outlandish overgeneralizations against not only gays, but against entire nations of people, religious groups, ethnicities, etc. And, if they don't like what you're saying, they will block you and refuse to let you have your own say.

I don't recall Nate saying that the WBC doesn't have the right to say what they want to say. He simply feels that they shouldn't be allowed to hatefully harass people at funerals, for example.

April 29, 2011 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Ernest L Sewell, IV said...

The fact is that WBC operates in the realms of arrogance and true rebellion (which God himself likens to witchcraft). They have rejected the teachings of Christ, the basic principles of becoming a Christian, and maneuvering within that domain, in favor of something thin and fragile that feeds an aborted sense of purpose and an altered state of pride. To say they are hateful almost seems too simplistic, and status quo.

I've long examined my beliefs as a born-again Christian. I still am one, because my salvation is sealed by the Holy Ghost until the Day of Redemption. However, it's taken years to deprogram my Independent Baptist upbringing and shake the man-made traditions and ideology that were ingrained in me, to break out and simply enjoy life and being a Christian.

Brow beating never solved anything, other than to push people away from God. Unfortunately, WBC have excelled greatly in that, and have become a shining reprobate example of that.

April 29, 2011 at 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I in no way support the actions of the WBC and they really make it even harder for a person to follow their Christian beliefs when people like the WBC sets us up to be ridiculed and attacked for simply being a Christian in the privacy of our own homes.

I just want to worship my faith and not bother anyone.

May 20, 2011 at 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

A recent comment from WBC on their blog:

"Our soldiers are not forced to join the (U.S.) army."

No, nor are several WBC members forced to work for the U.S. gov't (or at least the Kansas State gov't, as members of the Kansas Dept. of Corrections.

"Oh consistency, thou are indeed a rare jewel." (I forgot who coined that proverb, certainly not WBC).

May 20, 2011 at 10:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What I do care about PASSIONATELY is that every person take responsibility to learn how to think critically and never, EVER accept something as truth without researching it themselves."

This comment makes my head spin, because of the assumption it makes regarding the capabilities of people. I agree with the lofty ideal it presents, but it is simply NOT ACHIEVABLE. I think an extremely large portion of humanity doesn't possess the necessary faculties to accomplish such a level of critical thinking. "Mary" appears to be one such person. Granted I am missing an incredible amount of information regarding her, but the tone of her responses indicate someone incapable of logical, critical, independent thought.

Nate, your response to "Mary" is great, assuming she could comprehend things such as the subtlety of language you describe in the first paragraph. However, I dare say that your response was likely indecipherable to her.

June 9, 2011 at 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*couldn't care less, I think you mean

June 30, 2011 at 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Bob Perez said...

I am not a member of the WBC, but I wish to join their ranks in the next few years. I know the Bible very well myself, and when I see those people who know the Bible even better than me, they made me realize that they are the only people who know the TRUE word of the Lord my God.

I read about your father's discipline methods, and I use the same tactics myself to a much lesser extent on my children and my dependent stepson. I have a refrigerator magnet that has Proverbs 13:24 on it: "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him," and my children respect that. I beat my children with the rod, thus saving their souls from death (Proverbs 23:13), and I've disowned one of my own kids as well because he continued to rebel against God's law, just like you. Just like my own son Robbie, you are a rebelling piece of scum who is bound for the fiery pits of Hell for all eternity.

November 11, 2011 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Nate Phelps said...

Bob: I'm not sure who I feel worse for, you or Robbie.

I find it interesting that you qualify your adherence to the Biblical standard of spare the rod by saying that you do it "to a much lesser extent". If you imagine some divine value in physical abuse, why not be as extreme as my father? Why limit yourself? Is it possible that you don't have enough faith? And are you sure it's respect from your children or fear?

As for disowning your own flesh and blood because of the words of a book...wow. Like I say, I'm not sure who I feel worse for.

As for your final sentence, I've said it before but it bears repeating here: resorting to personal attacks exposes the weakness of any argument. And do you really, really believe that there is this big lake of fire somewhere that burns people for eternity without burning them up? How does that work exactly? How big is this place? What will fuel it for eternity?

Here's a word to look up Bob: Metaphor.

November 12, 2011 at 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob: even Singapore and Malaysia, which are spanking cultures that have harsh corporal punishments (e.g. rattan caning on the bare buttocks) for male offenders found guilty of serious crimes, would probably condemn Pastor Phelps for the kind of extreme physical punishments he handed out to his children, if what Nate says is true.

January 15, 2012 at 5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've only just come across this, and Nate, keep doing what you're doing, you're an inspiration.

May 4, 2012 at 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! This is so what I needed to read. The church I came from used words and twisted logic also. They treat women as second class citizens. I was never allowed to wear trousers, cut my hair, hats and long-sleeved shirts HAD to be worn at church and tights were encouraged (i always felt really daring when I bared my legs on a Sunday). I finally got free age 19. Proud to call myself Rebel as well.

March 21, 2014 at 6:23 AM  

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