Saturday, December 08, 2007

tonight, on celebrity deathmatch:

good versus evil, the next rematch:
this time, it's STILL not personal!!

it's the return of a classic. good evening, bible fans, fans, i'm johnny gomez--and i'm nick diamond--you'd better butter up the popcorn and open up a 40, because we're in for a doozy tonight!
that's right, johnny, and not only do these two old warriors need no introductions, they're not even waiting for the opening bell. right you are, nick: i've heard the thunderbolts and felt earthquakes all afternoon, and during soundcheck, the smack talk turned downright deadly. well, johnny, let's go right into the ring so we don't miss another word:
PETE: First of all, Kim is officially the first person I've ever met [the mostly reverend: maybe i'm just the first one who's ever told you] ...that is offended because someone has wished good will to be brought to him via a god. [i've said if you want to pray for me, clearly, i can't stop you. but why in the world do you feel compelled to TELL me? if your prayers really ARE answered, then i'll see the light. isn't this really the ultimate situation where actions will speak louder than words?]
...I can assure you if you were Muslim, Hindu or otherwise and offered a prayer I'd be thankful, regardless of my religion. [why can't you be just as happy, then, when someone wishes you a "happy holidays?" did it not occur to you that that might just be as close as you can get to an agnostic's or atheist's season's greetings? no--you just get pissed off, without thinking about the deeper implications. pete, THIS is an example of what i mean when i say that i just want folks--you--to THINK, and not just regurgitate what someone else tells you to think and say.] Just knowing that someone cares enough to offer their personal time to ask for the betterment of me is rather comforting. In this world of flipping people off, gossip, back biting and political correctness a Christian comes forward with a wide open heart with no hidden agenda, (the agenda is clear that I only hope God can intercede into Kim's life and fill his heart enough that he is able to get the answer's he needs to understand the incredible love God has for him), yet he is intolerable of our good intentions. It is a reoccurring sentiment in our country that agnostics and atheists alike fight against the Christian religion but work with the other religions to allow their intolerances…just doesn’t make sense to me. There is a real “catch-22” happening here. They are intolerant of our religion but tolerant of other religions????. [hey, pete, i'm NOT an uneducated third-world hunter-gatherer, i'm a 54 year-old with a bachelor's degree and a juris doctorate and 25 years experience in the practice of law. i do not need nor appreciate a modern-day missionary telling me that i need to believe and adopt his views of a higher power. i find the underlying premise that your religious beliefs are better than mine absolutely offensive, and the fact that you continually refuse to acknowledge that i find even more offensive. i don't want your god. period. i don't believe in your god. period. your god is not going to save my ass. period. if you want to proselytize someone, pick someone else. period. if i'm ultimately wrong, then that's my ass in the grinder, not yours. period. i'm going to spend eternity in hell, and i am quite happy to accept that fate, because it's NOT going to happen to me.] we'll be right back, after this and this.

PETE: Now to answering your question… I have to tell you this is a GREAT question that is a very complex question for those who do not believe in Jesus and very simplistic for those of us who have a strong belief in Jesus Christ. The reason we pray for others is because God has called us to pray for others as a means to accomplish His will. As a child of faith, I do as my father asks just as I did when I was a child in my own father’s home. When Jesus asks me to pray for my fellow man, I do it. Coincidentally, prayer really works!! Through my own prayers and those of our friends and family, our little daughter’s sight has improved dramatically when the doctors said it wouldn’t. I have many stories of where prayer has worked miraculously in my life that I’d be happy to share with anyone. Not only that but there are many studies that have been done in the medical field that prove prayer works!! [THE MOSTLY REVEREND: okay, but answer THIS: does your religion command that you tell everyone what you pray about? if so, then i think that's pretty fucked up. that seems pretty simple to me, but it must seem complicated to you, because i've asked you why you feel the need to let everyone know not only THAT you pray for someone, but WHY you pray for someone. it seems to me, pete, that if you really WERE right, then your universal correctness would result in massive prayer circles entirely about saving my wretched soul. but that hasn't happened yet, or at least to my knowledge, both of which seem to prove my points. not only that, presumably folks have quietly been praying for my sorry ass for years to no avail, which proves my initial point that it won't work anyway.] You see the dynamics of our responsibility to prayer are not fully defined by God but He chooses to work in conjunction with the will of his people therefore allowing for change in one’s heart. I pray for Kim and all agnostics / atheists because I know what is coming to those who do not receive Jesus in their heart and I don’t want that. Kim is a cycling brother and friend, despite all of our political and religious differences; despite his perceived anger towards our good wishes towards him, we do get along when together. He’s a pretty easy guy to talk to, rides hard and has a funny sense of humor, (when he keeps it relatively clean). I don’t want his soul to perish in hell…is that a bad thing for someone to want? I say no.As for the assessment of prayer facilitating a “so full of themselves”, or “make us feel better” approach the answer is no and yes. I offer my prayers in complete humility to those whom I pray for. It has nothing to do with being egotistical but exactly the opposite. It’s putting your fellow humans in front of yourself. Part of the problem with this world, (Kim included), is that they subscribe to the same religion, SELF WORSHIP.Prayer for others does make me feel better; wishing good will makes anyone feel better doesn’t it? That’s not why I do it though, that’s merely a side effect; prayer is called upon by God and is a way of conversing with Him. I get to know God better by prayer and in turn we have a stronger relationship. Through the works that have been performed in my life by prayer, my faith grows deeper consequently allowing for more happiness. [pete, i'd rather not have anything to do with the development of your faith, for better or worse. seriously. and if you must involve me in your religion, PLEASE don't announce it to me or anyone else, for that matter. can you not respect my feelings enough to understand this simple request? i don't want anything to do with your religion. i'll happily take part in a rational conversation about religion and religious values, but i do not care to argue or plead with someone about whether or why i must be the subject of someone's religious efforts. i just think it's sick, frankly.]
Kim says he’s all about peace, love and happiness, yet when those feelings are expressed to him he fires back with anger, (see above posts). If that is part of his constitution of beliefs then I’m confused as to why he’d even want to subscribe to it. [what you term "anger" is in reality "extreme frustration" with you for continuing publicly to involve me in your prayers. it's an insult to me, and a very public statement that you consider my belief system and values inferior to yours. your continued inability or unwillingness to grant me the right to believe as i wish makes me feel that you are the very bigotted person you claim me to be. i've not once told you that your beliefs are inferior to mine. i've never told you that you should not believe what you do. i've never told you that you should reject your beliefs and see the light and joy of not believing in god. i've told you all this before, in fact. and yet you persist in telling me that and why you pray for me.]


6 comments:

Slicen'dice said...

Go Hillary!

She may not have the curves of that "Wonder Women" but they are on the same page!

About religion, sure seem's to be a lot of wars fought in the name of it. I may be an one of those agnostics, but the idea of the ten commandments makes sense -- but thats like a jewish thing isn't it?
And to think that I was dragged up Catholic -- Does that mean I beleive only what suits me?

Pete Basso said...

Due to the length of the response, I have emailed Kim a color coded email in response. He may post it as he wishes. Thank you for the questions and commentary. Good discussion.

pete basso said...

[preliminary comments from your host, mos rev: i've TRIED to post pete's comments doing nothing but separating his words from mine with spaces and by using "p1" and "p2" to differentiate his original comments--which are found in the post from which this came--and his reply to my comments, which are contained within [brackets]. my comments will follow in another comment. i will not resort to "cut and paste" but if i do, it will be minimal. enjoy, and thanks for reading and commenting.]

Post this as you wish, I've color-coordinated it already, but you'll have to changed the colors to work on the blog.

p1-PETE: First of all, Kim is officially the first person I've ever met ...

k-[the mostly reverend: maybe i'm just the first one who's ever told you]

p1-...that is offended because someone has wished good will to be brought to him via a god.

[i've said if you want to pray for me, clearly, i can't stop you. but why in the world do you feel compelled to TELL me? if your prayers really ARE answered, then i'll see the light. isn't this really the ultimate situation where actions will speak louder than words?]

p2: why are you so offended that someone is telling you they care about you? Is there something from your childhood that has lead you to a have a complex about others whom deeply care for your good will and are willing to express it somewhat publicly? I’ve only express this on your blog when appropriate in my mind. Relax a little Kimmee, there’s more important things to get upset about such as Hillary being president. (political joke to lighten the mood)

p1...I can assure you if you were Muslim, Hindu or otherwise and offered a prayer I'd be thankful, regardless of my religion.

[why can't you be just as happy, then, when someone wishes you a "happy holidays?" did it not occur to you that that might just be as close as you can get to an agnostic's or atheist's season's greetings? no--you just get pissed off, without thinking about the deeper implications. pete, THIS is an example of what i mean when i say that i just want folks--you--to THINK, and not just regurgitate what someone else tells you to think and say.]

p2: I’ve never said I wasn’t happy when someone wishes me Happy Holidays, I just don’t think it is right that Christians should be forced to say Happy Holidays if they really mean MERRY CHRISTMAS. Again, this country , mostly due to agnostics and atheists, are perpetuating a double standard; that is offering any wishes of Christianity is not good while making it perfectly ok for Muslims, Jews, Hindu’s etc to be able to express their views. With all your years of advocating “equal rights” I know you understand that, however, because of your dislike for Christianity you paint our rights with the brush of intolerance.

p1-Just knowing that someone cares enough to offer their personal time to ask for the betterment of me is rather comforting. In this world of flipping people off, gossip, back biting and political correctness a Christian comes forward with a wide open heart with no hidden agenda, (the agenda is clear that I only hope God can intercede into Kim's life and fill his heart enough that he is able to get the answer's he needs to understand the incredible love God has for him), yet he is intolerable of our good intentions. It is a reoccurring sentiment in our country that agnostics and atheists alike fight against the Christian religion but work with the other religions to allow their intolerances…just doesn’t make sense to me. There is a real “catch-22” happening here. They are intolerant of our religion but tolerant of other religions????.

[hey, pete, i'm NOT an uneducated third-world hunter-gatherer, i'm a 54 year-old with a bachelor's degree and a juris doctorate and 25 years experience in the practice of law

p2- I’m sure you’re a good lawyer, Lou speaks highly of what you have done for him. However, with all that education you’ve managed to build an ego that is getting in the way of what God is trying to tell you. Kim it’s a fact that there are much more educated people in this world then you, whom posses multiple doctorates of many kinds, who have come to the light of Christ. Take Lee Strobel for instance. A hard core atheist who set out to prove his wife’s belief in Christ to be faulty. Through his prideful quest to prove his wife wrong, he became a devout follower of Jesus Christ. You should’nt use your education as a crutch for escape, rather it could be put to better use trying to understand the Bible and what God’s plans are for you. As I mentioned before the religion of “Self Worship” has by far the largest congregation in today’s society which consequently can be to blame for many of today’s modern epidemics. It can really hinder ones ability to decipher the true meaning of God’s will.

[i do not need nor appreciate a modern-day missionary telling me that i need to believe and adopt his views of a higher power. i find the underlying premise that your religious beliefs are better than mine absolutely offensive, and the fact that you continually refuse to acknowledge that i find even more offensive. i don't want your god. period. i don't believe in your god. period. your god is not going to save my ass. period. if you want to proselytize someone, pick someone else. period. if i'm ultimately wrong, then that's my ass in the grinder, not yours. period. i'm going to spend eternity in hell, and i am quite happy to accept that fate, because it's NOT going to happen to me.]

p2- Kim I’m not a modern day missionary, I’m just a guy who is lives in the same world you do and wants the best for everyone. Many people, including myself used to feel the way you do but ultimately our hearts were changed and our souls saved. After many frustrating years of sounding just as you do, I was able to see the light which has changed my life. Plus my outlook on others has changed. Getting mad at me is merely expressing intolerance, which further makes you look like a hypocrite.

p1- Now on to answering your question… I have to tell you this is a GREAT question that is a very complex question for those who do not believe in Jesus and very simplistic for those of us who have a strong belief in Jesus Christ. The reason we pray for others is because God has called us to pray for others as a means to accomplish His will. As a child of faith, I do as my father asks just as I did when I was a child in my own father’s home. When Jesus asks me to pray for my fellow man, I do it. Coincidentally, prayer really works!! Through my own prayers and those of our friends and family, our little daughter’s sight has improved dramatically when the doctors said it wouldn’t. I have many stories of where prayer has worked miraculously in my life that I’d be happy to share with anyone. Not only that but there are many studies that have been done in the medical field that prove prayer works!!

[THE MOSTLY REVEREND: okay, but answer THIS: does your religion command that you tell everyone what you pray about?]

p2- most of the time my prayer subjects are never revealed publicly, not because it is wrong to reveal them, but because it never comes up. I pray for lots of people including myself and family. God asks that we pray for one another so I do that with quietly… in most instances. However, you write a public blog that you feel compelled to openly degrade Christ, because of that I feel publicly compelled to express pray for your soul. I don’t usually feel the need to express my prayer publicly Kim, only in this instance. This is not an ego thing for me. If anything, you’ve managed to do a good job of making me look like a crazy religious zealot to others. I’m really not. But because of your disgusting posts, lack of respect and shear blatant disregard for Christ I feel it my duties to neutralize your fallacious writings. I don’t need to fight for God, He can handle himself, but I want to make sure that your readers and/or other monitors know that what you write about God is wrong.

[if so, then i think that's pretty fucked up. that seems pretty simple to me, but it must seem complicated to you, because i've asked you why you feel the need to let everyone know not only THAT you pray for someone, but WHY you pray for someone. it seems to me, pete, that if you really WERE right, then your universal correctness would result in massive prayer circles entirely about saving my wretched soul. but that hasn't happened yet, or at least to my knowledge, both of which seem to prove my points. not only that, presumably folks have quietly been praying for my sorry ass for years to no avail, which proves my initial point that it won't work anyway.]

p2- you have no idea how many people are praying for you!! There are many people right here in your backyard that are quietly praying for you and you don’t even know it. As a matter of fact Kim there are people in other states who pray for you. Please do not mistake “universal correctness” to be mine, I’m humbly a servant of the Lord which means it’s His universal correctness. God doesn’t work on a time frame Kim, He’s not available to put in a box and slap a date on Him. He works in patient ways, sometimes he allows you to break yourself down to your knees in frustration before you knock on his door. In the Bible it states that God’s door is always open, however, you must exercise the “free will of choice” to open it!!

p1-You see the dynamics of our responsibility to prayer are not fully defined by God but He chooses to work in conjunction with the will of his people therefore allowing for change in one’s heart. I pray for Kim and all agnostics / atheists because I know what is coming to those who do not receive Jesus in their heart and I don’t want that. Kim is a cycling brother and friend, despite all of our political and religious differences; despite his perceived anger towards our good wishes towards him, we do get along when together. He’s a pretty easy guy to talk to, rides hard and has a funny sense of humor, (when he keeps it relatively clean). I don’t want his soul to perish in hell…is that a bad thing for someone to want? I say no. As for the assessment of prayer facilitating a “so full of themselves”, or “make us feel better” approach the answer is no and yes. I offer my prayers in complete humility to those whom I pray for. It has nothing to do with being egotistical but exactly the opposite. It’s putting your fellow humans in front of yourself. Part of the problem with this world, (Kim included), is that they subscribe to the same religion, SELF WORSHIP. Prayer for others does make me feel better; wishing good will makes anyone feel better doesn’t it? That’s not why I do it though, that’s merely a side effect; prayer is called upon by God and is a way of conversing with Him. I get to know God better by prayer and in turn we have a stronger relationship. Through the works that have been performed in my life by prayer, my faith grows deeper consequently allowing for more happiness.

[Kim -pete, i'd rather not have anything to do with the development of your faith, for better or worse. seriously. and if you must involve me in your religion, PLEASE don't announce it to me or anyone else, for that matter. can you not respect my feelings enough to understand this simple request? i don't want anything to do with your religion. i'll happily take part in a rational conversation about religion and religious values, but i do not care to argue or plead with someone about whether or why i must be the subject of someone's religious efforts. i just think it's sick, frankly.]

p2-Question for you Kim, you say you spent many years going to church, what part of your education of Christ turned you away? What is it about God’s love and compassion for his people, His will to bring you to an incredible existence in Heaven for eternity and the ability to love one another turned you off? What part of the Bible do you find unbelievable? What part of God turned you so HATEFUL and hypocritical?

p1-Kim says he’s all about peace, love and happiness, yet when those feelings are expressed to him he fires back with anger, (see above posts). If that is part of his constitution of beliefs then I’m confused as to why he’d even want to subscribe to it.

[what you term "anger" is in reality "extreme frustration" with you for continuing publicly to involve me in your prayers. it's an insult to me, and a very public statement that you consider my belief system and values inferior to yours.]

p2- another hypocritical statement from Mr. “Free Speech”. You seem to forget many things that you write but I recall you saying that your blog is free for anyone to say whatever they want. But because I’m preaching a Christian message of brotherly love your insulted?. Nicely done Kim, you continue to prove your bigotry without needing my help.

[your continued inability or unwillingness to grant me the right to believe as i wish makes me feel that you are the very bigotted {bigoted is spelled with one “t”} person you claim me to be. i've not once told you that your beliefs are inferior to mine.]

p2 – (another hypocritical or bigoted remark Kim), you may have not said it directly that your beliefs are superior to mine but you’ve very clearly implied it with your posts. For a guy with a bachelor’s degree and a juris doctorate I’d expect you to be able to have a more accurate account of your own writings

[and i've never told you that you should not believe what you do. i've never told you that you should reject your beliefs and see the light and joy of not believing in god. i've told you all this before, in fact. and yet you persist in telling me that and why you pray for me.]

p2 – by your own standards and those of which your affiliations continue to work for in America I will always maintain the freedom to express my prayers, love and compassion for YOU and others. By God’s command of prayer for one another, I will always pray for YOU and by my own personal care for YOU, I will maintain a consistent daily prayer for YOU. If that bothers you then I’m sorry, but THAT IS MY RIGHT as a Christian and an AMERICAN. Kim, thank you for opening this blog for such dialogue. I really do appreciate you challenging my faith with your objections. The objections by you and the questions by Buckshot have helped me search my heart and soul deeper allowing me to grow even closer to God. It’s almost like your ministering to me, helping me grow even stronger in my faith. For that I say thank you and God Bless you.

One last suggestion before sending this off to you to make fun of; if you don’t want people to pray for you then I suggest you stop advertising FOR PRAYER on your blog. Any Christian that reads your blog will automatically know that you are the “poster boy” for needed prayers!!

Kim, I leave you with this passage from 2 Timothy 2:23-26:
Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil's trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.

Buckshot77 said...

You gotta love it when you're doing mindless tasks so your mind starts to wander...

As I was priming my freshly textured ceiling this weekend, I was contemplating the exchanges in this thread.

Now Pete (I wish you had made it to the ride with Steve F and I yesterday), I thought you did a great job of explaining why you pray for someone even if that person isn't part of your faith. Obviously Kim made a pretty pointed retort that he doesn't want anything to do with your God.

Now my question back to Pete is due to you stating a couple things that got my attention.

1)"I can assure you if you were Muslim, Hindu or otherwise and offered a prayer I'd be thankful, regardless of my religion.
2)"(the agenda is clear that I only hope God can intercede into Kim's life and fill his heart enough that he is able to get the answer's he needs to understand the incredible love God has for him)

What would happen if say a muslim, buddhist, etc told you there were going to pray for you so that their God (Buddha, Allah, etc) would find you and that you would realize that their God is indeed the one and only? What would your recourse be other than to vehemently defend the position that your God is indeed the correct choice? Would you still be so tolerant of their religion when it would obviously be conflicting directly with your belief that your God is the one true God? (and yes I capitalize the word God out of respect for everyone's belief in some form of God)

Pete Basso said...

Buckshot: More great questions, thank you for asking questions that everyone can really learn from. Sorry I missed the ride as well. Riding in the basement was not my idea of fun.

You asked: What would happen if say a Muslim, Buddhist, etc told you there were going to pray for you so that their God (Buddha, Allah, etc) would find you and that you would realize that their God is indeed the one and only?

My answer is -The first thing I would do is thank them for their consideration for my well being. I would do everything possible to remember what Kim has taught me about how not to react and behave exactly the opposite of how he did!! Beyond this, the answer is going to have to be broken into separate parts:
1. Allah / Islam: I would ask them some questions related to their God and religion such as: If Allah is God then why did it take him till 610 A.D. to show up on the scene? (that was when Muhammad received his first series of visions in the cave of Allah). What took him so long? I would ask why Allah only loves those in which he deems to be good, while my God loves everyone, even those whom have sinned. I would ask this person to explain to me why the Qu’ran is not accurate in its chronological depiction of history? I would ask them why the Qu’ran lends credence to the fact that Jesus did walk the Earth as a prophet however, the Christian Bible makes no mention of Allah or Muhammad. They even believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and remained sinless but will not agree that he was the Son of God? The Muslim faith is a faith based in good works. If Allah feels you haven’t done enough good works, (defined as those which are compatible to the Qu’ran or Hadith not giving food to the poor etc), but, if you want a free pass to heaven by avoiding judgment of Allah then you must become a martyr for the Islamic faith. The Christian God of the Bible allows those into heaven based who accepts that Jesus has died for their sins and they are willing to accept his love in faith. I could give you more but it’ll get too lengthy for a comments box.

2. Hindu / Buddah: First of all, Buddah is not recognized as a god, but rather as a idol. He has a man, (Siddhartha Gautama), who became “enlightened” in a search for Nirvana. He died at age 80 very peacefully. He found the key to living was the “Way of the Middle”. That meant living between unreasonable excess and unnessessary deprivation which were found in the Four Truths: 1. Life is all about suffering 2. The cause of suffering is our desire and greed 3. There is a way to overcome our desire and greed 4.The path to happiness and relief of suffering is an 8step process. It kinda boils down to Wisdom, Discipline and Conduct. So you see, Buddah really isn’t a god, the Buddahist way more about evolving through life peacefully. They feel a spiritual goal of self discovery and awareness is what you need to find and you can find that through the reincarnation circle. The more you meditate and the more you are reborn you gain more wisdom.


You also asked: What would your recourse be other than to vehemently defend the position that your God is indeed the correct choice? Would you still be so tolerant of their religion when it would obviously be conflicting directly with your belief that your God is the one true God? (and yes I capitalize the word God out of respect for everyone's belief in some form of God

My answer is: I don’t feel that other religions conflict with my belief that Jesus is the one True God. As a matter of fact, the more I learn about other religions the more convinced I am of how TRUE Jesus’ walk is!

Again, thanks for your comments. I look forward to riding with you in the future.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu said...

Not by silence
does someone confused
& unknowing
turn into a sage.
but whoever--wise,
as if holding the scales,
taking the excellent--
rejects evil deeds;
he is a sage,
that's how he's a sage.
Whoever can weigh
both sides of the world:
that's how he's called a sage.

-Dhammapada, 19