Geen vrede in Vredenburg

November 21, 2007 at 8:46 am (religion) (, , , , )

Uh oh. The freaky folk of Vredenburg have done it again.

Months ago I wrote about the guesthouse owner who declared unmarried couples would find no favour in her establishment because they’re a Christian place. This after she hadn’t declared it on her website or any other way other than when I enquired about prices, etc. Now someone has turned away a gay couple using the same excuse. Tut, tut.

What kind of God is this anyway?

One who penalises those who don’t harm others? One who casts judgement on people who have done nothing wrong other than choosing to do things in a way different to religious zealots?

What kind of God is so wrathful and angry? The same God who mobilises nutsos to get a columnist fired because he dared to speak of Satanism?

Is this the same God who was used to sanction apartheid? The same God who was responsible for millions of people being tortured and murdered by Hitler? Is it the same God who spoke to men and told them to fly into the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001?

What God is this who is still used to defend the persecution of people across the world? Is it a God who refuses gay or single parents adoption rights because they’re “not normal”? The same God who allows the death of women across the world because abortion isn’t His way? A God who thinks it’s okay for women to be infected with HIV because condoms are not acceptable?

All I can say is. . . Thank God I don’t believe.

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42 Comments

  1. madamm said,

    People. It’s not God, Toby, it’s people.

    I’ve read it somewhere before and I find it so true: Which rational person would willingly put themselves out there to be scrutinised and tormented for being gay? Therefore, I do believe that being gay is not something people willingly choose.

    I also believe that it is incredibly dangerous to use God or religion as a veil to justify prejudice or war. I do not share views with fanatics at all. People abuse religion. That made it okay for my grandparents to work in factories and iron other people’s clothes for a living. That made it okay to grant superiority to one race above all others, as if this really was God’s intention. People. It’s all there in the history books. People. They wrote the history books, remember? People.

    That there will be hell to pay for everything that’s wrong with the world because of PEOPLE, I don’t doubt for a second. That God exists, I’ll never doubt either.

  2. Toby Hanks said,

    You’re right, MrsM. It is people who are doing these things. And I totally respect everyone’s right to believe in God. I just find it so heartbreakingly sad that people use and abuse religion in this way. And who, really, is going to stop them?

  3. The Divine Miss M said,

    No one.

    What really bothers me is how so much of Christianity is based on fear; you’re very often taught to revere your God and be “good” just so that you do not go to hell, not always because it is the right thing to do. There is this constant fear of being smiting down by God for your actions and burning for eternity in hell. Why does that even have to be a factor? Look at the Jews, they just completely took out hell and don’t even believe in it’s existance. You just keep going until you get it right 😉

  4. Toby Hanks said,

    Hey, what happened to my comment?!

    I commented earlier about how I can’t see a just God “ruling” by using fear. It’s just mindboggling. One can be moral and principled without using religion as the guideline. You can be a fair, honest, decent person without believing in God. But that doesn’t seem to be a good enough thing for most people.

  5. The Divine Miss M said,

    Toby – I am so there with you, just because I don’t pray to a “God” figure doesn’t make any less of a person and most certaininly doesn’t mean that I’ll be heading to this hell place that they speak of!

  6. Toby Hanks said,

    Exactly Miss M. For me persecuting people because of their sexual orientation, their religious view or even their marital status is as close to Hell as I’m ever going to come.

  7. Gnome said,

    Ai. This makes me so sad. Mrs M hit the nail on the head. People often define God according to their needs and wants. But God cannot be confined and defined. He is God. People make religion. Even theology is the study of IDEAS about God. And always God gets blamed. Real Christianity is totally not about this. It’s not about fear, it’s not about discrimination, it’s not about separation, it’s not about hate. It’s about love and acceptance and servanthood. People are such bad witnesses to their faith. It is unfair to judge God and Christianity by something people are doing wrong. Christianity is not about being scared about doing something wrong or going to hell. It is about being FREE.

  8. Toby Hanks said,

    Gnome, I accept what you’re saying. However, I want to play devil’s advocate (seriously no pun intended!).
    If these things are all done in the name of God, why does He allow it? And where do these people get these ideas from? Are they basing it on things God has said?
    I just want to know if God is all that people say He is, how can so many bad things be done in His name?

  9. The Divine Miss M said,

    Gnome – you’re wrong there. God made the 10 commandments and the “told” people many other things in the bible; how do live life etc and He condems homosexuality and says that it is “evil” etc. True Christianity has never really existed if you are going to get technical since it is actually a religion that deviated from Judiasm. Christians were the “freaks” who believed that Jesus was the Son of God and they formed their own religion via it.

    Christanity judges every single religion every minute by repeating “I am the Way, the Truth and The Light” etc as you are saying that everyone else is wrong. But then again most other religions say that too – cept the Jews, they don’t want anyone else to be a part of their little click that they got going 😉

    As far as I am concerned it doesn’t matter what you believe in or who you worship as long as you are a good person and do not cause any harm. A lot of these religions do cause harm and Gnome have you ever been to a Catholic service? It is all about fear man!

    BTW, I have nothing against Christians or any other religion, I just detest the way that they all claim that they are correct and that in order to be “saved” we should be like them.

    Bleh.

  10. madamm said,

    No.

    I cannot express how important tolerance is, Miss M. And that if you can accept people for who they are and what they believe (for instance, Toby is one of my best friends and she’s an atheist) then that is being true to yourself AND your beliefs.

    People take things from the Bible (and other books) and make it relevant to their own lives. OUR PASTOR (in our DUTCH REFORMED church, which I no longer belong to) said we shouldn’t use Pantene (from Proctor and Gamble) because it is evil and a sign of the Anti-Christ. And so people stopped using Pantene. SHAMPOO, people, SHAMPOO.

    I don’t necessarily believe my pastor currently either. All I know (and want to know) is that God loves me and accepts me as I am. And he is not a hateful God. All things that are, must be.

  11. Toby Hanks said,

    Dudes. . . I just have to say this is one of the most interesting discussions I’ve been involved in in a long time. Good on all of you.

    Miss M, in many ways I agree with you but I also think we need to keep in mind that people interpret things in different ways. I agree that judgement is a cornerstone of Christianity but I also know many Christians who aren’t judgemental. So it’s a two-way thing.

    Mrs M is correct in saying we must all be tolerant. There are, Mrs M, very few religious people who are, unfortunately, so the impression given is that Christianity is an intolerant religion. However, it must be said that ALL religions, on some level, is intolerant (except maybe Buddism).
    What parent do you know who would blithely accept their daughter marrying outside their faith? A Jew marrying a Muslim? A Protestant marrying a Jew? A Catholic marrying a Protestant? A Muslim marrying a Catholic?

    I’m glad that you have that critical function MrsM – shampoo is a daft thing. However, how many people stopped using that shampoo? And that’s part of the problem – religion is used as a tool to get people to obey what a man (the pastor) is saying.
    The Bible is used as a defence for all kinds of things and as I said before – who is going to stop it?

    Part of the problem is, unlike you and Gnome, too many Christians immediately go on the defensive when you discuss the problems of Christianity. They don’t debate, discuss, explain, explore. They go into attack mode so you’re just left with angry, bitter people. Not exactly poster children for the faith. . .

    Even though I’m an atheist I respect those who believe in God. But that doesn’t mean I like it when they use that God in a bad way.

  12. The Divine Miss M said,

    Toby – you are so right. A lot of my family have rejected my mother and me as my Jewish father married a Catholic woman. And vice versa to my mother’s family as she married a Jew. Some of them have gotten over it and some of them haven’t. It’s stupid.

    Tolerance of other beliefs is not found very much in religions unfortunately. You do get the few people who are but generally they tend to not be.

    Personally I stand by the belief that if you are happy and satisfied in your life and not harming anyone else then that is fine by me. It is so funny that people argue so much and judge so many others based on something that no one can actual prove to be correct.

    It’s all about Faith and I resecpt those of you with it, I just dislike those who try and push their faith on to me.

  13. madamm said,

    oh, I can only ever accept people who DON”t IMPOSE their religious beliefs on me.

  14. The Divine Miss M said,

    I slam my door in the face of Jehova Witnesses. I hate them.

  15. Toby Hanks said,

    And Scientologists. Definitely Scientologists. *sigh*

  16. Toby Hanks said,

    So Miss M, are you religious? Do you ascribe to a particular faith? I’m just curious because you mention your parents are from different religions.

  17. The Divine Miss M said,

    I was raised a Catholic but abandoned it in my teens due to not liking the Catholic way of living in constant fear of messing up on front of God and all the judging that went on. Plus I like to think for myself and I didn’t find that it gave me the opportunity to do so. Right now I am an Atheist 😉

    But that is just me 🙂

  18. Toby Hanks said,

    No problem with that dear. I think it’s great that you choices and that you followed your heart. 🙂

  19. Heavenly Glow said,

    It’s sad for you because unless you do believe in God you will burn in hell.

  20. MrsM said,

    And that comment right there, Heavenly Glow, is EXACTLY why Christianity has a bad name. Way to go, seriously. Whether someone who doesn’t believe in God will burn in hell is NOT FOR YOU to say. I don’t recall MY GOD giving people this right to pass judgement.

  21. Toby Hanks said,

    Ah Heavenly Glow, you’ve just proven, as MrsM says, that there are folk out there who sully the name of Christianity.
    And you, of course, can’t see the irony of telling me I’ll burn in hell – if you don’t believe in God, and you don’t believe in heaven and hell, then why would you be afraid of burning in hell when you die? Ja nee, smart one you are.

  22. Gnome said,

    Wow! This really is a great discussion! Thanks Toby 🙂 As for Heavenly Glow – I think you can just go away.

    At the outset I just wanna say that I am not commenting to convince anybody of anything. I am the first in line to critisise Bible bashers and people that force their religions down other’s throats. I’ve had MANY friends who don’t believe, and I TOTALLY respect that. They respect what I believe, so why should I be any different. I don’t need to defend God – he’s God after all 🙂

    I believe what I believe because it has worked for me beautifully. I feel God speaking to me, listening to me, loving me, working in my heart & life, moulding me into a better person, guiding me in the right direction, convicting me etc.

    Toby: you are so right. People do such terrible things in the name of God. I can’t for a second believe that God condones this. The Bible, the Koran etc is not the literal word of God. It was written by fallible people. People who wrote in a context that is different from the one we live in today. If you take everything from the Bible literally, you will get yourselves into knots – there are many contradictory passages. Who cares if the world was created in 7 days or by the big bang? Do you know that there are 2 different creation stories in the Bible? If you believe the Bible is literally word for word what happened, then you will be confused after the first Chapter in Genesis! People had oral traditions, spoke in parables and metaphors…

    Take the homosexuality thing. Don’t even get me started. I’m sorry, but people who say that God condemns homosexuality are taking verses completely out of context. This is the problem: people use the Bible and God to their own advantage. To gain POWER. Bottom line is people are selfish and self-centred. They will use anything and everything to become powerful, even if that means taking verses out of context to support your cause, twisting them to underpin YOUR will. *Shakes head*. Ai.
    I wish I could tell you why God doesn’t intervene more. All I know is that He gave us free will so we could decide for ourselves – and people are screwing it up ROYALLY.

    Miss M: I have never been in a Catholic service, so can’t really comment on that. But us “freaks” (hehe) that believe in Christ also have a New Testament and not only the Old Testament which is all about law. The NT is all about grace 🙂 According to what you guys are saying, most Christians obviously don’t get it! Or maybe you guys have unfortunately only met the bad ones 😦 I will speak for myself then: I feel less fearful the further I travel on my faith journey. God forgives. He is not like a big policeman in the sky that zaps you with lightning when you do something wrong. He is merciful and loving and compassionate and with you in your darkest hours of suffering. He understands and listens and comforts and loves loves loves loves. He makes you wanna cry with joy sometimes because you are just so filled with happiness. Without my faith, my life was meaningless and dark – like there was always something missing. I was yearning for something. My life now is fulfilled. Even though that doesn’t mean I don’t suffer or struggle, or even doubt at times, I am complete.

    Gosh. What a ramble.

    BOTTOM LINE: PEOPLE are evil, power-hungry and selfish. They use the name of God to justify evil evil things. God is NOT what these people say He is! God is God. You will know who God is when you meet Him.

  23. madamm said,

    GNOMIE!
    You DO know the BIBLE very well.

    I don’t know the Bible very well at all, and I don’t know if that’s wrong necessarily, you know. What I’m afraid of, Gnome and Toby, is that what if I DO know all these things and have them at my disposal and I was WRONG all along.

    As you may or may not know, I am very apprehensive about dying. I believe in God, I really do…but I think I kind of “punish” myself with thoughts about not KNOWING enough….

    sigh. I don’t know. I only trust that God knows I believe in him.

  24. Toby Hanks said,

    Gnome, thanks so much for this. It really enriched this debate and to me this sounds like what i think Christians should sound like – accepting, loving, forgiving and tolerant. Sadly, I suspect you’re in the minority on that front.

    People like Heavenly Glow and millions others like them have made the world a bad place using religion and the Bible as arsenal. It makes me furious when they discriminate against gay people, non-white people or even non-religious people. Those are the people I would gladly bash in the face – perhaps then they can start praying for me.

    ** For those of you who can read Afrikaans, have a look at the comments on http://www.dieburger.com/Stories/News/15.0.3347403391.aspx and read the rubbish the people who claim to be Christian are writing.

  25. Gnome said,

    Mrs M, I did do my Masters in Theology after all 🙂
    We are SO totally on the same page Toby…

  26. kash99 said,

    Wow..looks like i missed out big time!!!! Hey tobes…howzit?? Are u sufficiently snowed under, like me???

  27. Toby Hanks said,

    Mrs M – life is about not knowing. Nobody will ever know everything and they can never claim to do so.
    Gnome, I’d forgotten you had a M in theology! Tell me, did you guys have to discuss or deal with this kind of thing in class? Intolerance and stuff?

  28. Toby Hanks said,

    Kash, all I can say is I’m more than snowed under. I’m drowning in all this work. Yet still find time to rant and rave here. What do you think about this whole debate – especially coming from an Islamic perspective?

  29. kash99 said,

    Meisie..u know i am very Moslem..My other half was born Roman Catholic, but at the moment he is nothing (his words)..but we’ve never ever had heated argments about religion EVER..i also had a bad experience at my job in CT once with the Muslim Judicial council – will tell u all about it one day – but i haven’t done a story with religious undertones since then..ag, when i still used to go to Moslem school, ours was at ur old Primary school, remember??, one of the things we were taught was to never ever ever argue about religion, u had to be tolerant and may never force ur beliefs on other people..so as much as i sometimes hated moslem school and the teachers , some good did in fact come out of it ne?? I find that arguments about religion is so draining and tiring..but i have to say: this is one of ur best discussions..How ever are you going to top it????Consider it a challenge!
    Praat van klom werk, kyk hoe sit ek nou en skryf op n blog plaas van my werk doen!!!!

  30. Gnome said,

    Why is my comment not appearing… 😦

  31. Gnome said,

    Toby, BIG TIME. We had a brilliant class called “Church & AIDS” where discussions got really hectic i.t.o morality, homosexuality, sexuality, sex before marriage, promiscuity, punishment from God, SIN SIN SIN etc. I couldn’t believe what some of these people were saying!! Were these a bunch of Christians?! But by the end of the course I think people really started getting it. It was great. Even though I think I’m pretty tolerant and accepting and open-minded, my prejudices were challenged in this class! You get more liberal Christians who see the Bible in context etc, and then you get more Evangelical Christians who are a little more conservative and believe the Bible word for word…

  32. Gnome said,

    I give up..

  33. Gnome said,

    is my comment seen as spam? Are there some words that I’m not supposed to include? Taboo terms…?

  34. The Divine Miss M said,

    Gnome – I completely respect people with faith. Faith is an amazing thing and if you have the ability to believe in something without any proof and have it enrich your life to such an extent that you are happy in every that you do then it is fantastic.

    Unfortunately I am a very literal person and can not believe in something without any proof. I have no problem with people believing in what ever they want, my immediate family are very tolerant of each other BUT I do not like being judged and the unfortunate fact is that the majority of Christians do judge 😦

    Though on the other hand my Jewish family judge too because they refuse to acknowledge me at all. I think that that sometimes is what makes me hate all religions – having family who refuse to acknowledge you or meet you just because of what faith system I was born into. It wasn’t like I had a choice and it wasn’t like my parents were not going to marry each other just because their belief system was different.

    I mean if they can do and get through it then why can’t the outsiders? It isn’t as if the Aunts and Uncles etc actually have to live with it day to day?

    But apparently the worst travesty ever for a Jewish man is to marry outside of his faith because then the children do not carry the Jewish strain.

  35. The Divine Miss M said,

    arg! It won’t accept my post!

  36. Toby Hanks said,

    Gnome, I don’t know what is going on with wordpress. I’ll check if your comment is in spam and let you know.
    Kash, that was very good teaching there at your school. If you and your other half can be tolerant while together then why can’t others?!

  37. The Divine Miss M said,

    Ooo – there is my post! 😉

  38. tbhanks said,

    Sorry dudes. There were comments in spam. i’d submitted a complaint earlier about spam coming through so perhaps they’re going overboard now with protection! I’ve reloaded so they should all be here. Let me know if they’re not. Duplications have been deleted.

  39. tbhanks said,

    Miss M, I can hear the anger – and the pain – of what you’ve just said. How can your own family reject you? This is the thing that also makes me think religion is mostly a construct used by weak men and women (by this I don’t refer to people like Gnome and MrsM because I think their interpretation of religion is the right one. Then again, who am I to say it’s right or not?).
    Gnome, I applaud you for rising above the prejudices and being honest enough to admit that you were challenged. We sooooo need more people like you in this world!!!

  40. Gnome said,

    Excellent. Thanks Toby 🙂 Sorry I probably posted it like 10 times at least!! 😛

  41. tbhanks said,

    Don’t worry about it hey, I get very annoyed when I write a comment then lose it. Have gotten into the habit of hitting Ctrl C before I press submit!

  42. Gabriel Smit said,

    morality might keep you out of jail – but it won’t keep you out of Hell!

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