In your opinion, why is it important for Christians to stand up for religious freedom for people of all faiths, and not just our own? - Pathfinder

In your opinion, why is it important for Christians to stand up for religious freedom for people of all faiths, and not just our own?

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    • #1440
      pathfinderlms
      Keymaster
    • #2611
      Denise DeVatt
      Participant

      Jesus said that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. He did not say that we are allowed to differentiate between neighbors on the basis of anything, including ethnicity, religion, age, economic status, etc. We must stand up for religious freedom because that is exactly what Jesus would want us to do. We must stand up for religious freedom for all religions, not just the Abrahamic religions, because that is what is expected of us as followers of God. Going a step further, I believe we are called to promote religious freedom because of the past that we have with fighting against religious freedom, regardless of how long ago that may have been. If we want others to see the way and the truth, we have to show that, and that starts with basic respect of not just the individual’s religion, but also atonement when necessary.

      • #2648
        Jordan Leatherwood
        Participant

        Denise,

        I’m so happy to be responding to one of your threads! This reminds me of Jesus’ interaction with the woman at the well – who is a Samaritan woman. The Samaritans think differently than the Jews, maybe even worshipped differently, but yet it didn’t make a difference on how he interacted with her. According to custom, he shouldn’t have even gone through that area, but he wanted to have an impact on her life and their lives to show them love.

      • #3099
        Medgine Present
        Participant

        Hi Denise! I love the point you made. I think Jesus was a very controversial person. He knew how to balance between standing up for God and fighting for humanity. I remember when Jesus said to the adulterous women “Go. Sin no more.” Many people thought that Jesus was showing that he supported her life of sin. That he was too passive. Because when people we caught in adultery, they were to be stoned to death. However, Jesus did not condemn her but told her to repent. Two things can be true at once. As Christians we should not be afraid to stand up for others.

      • #3181
        Sarah Weiskopf
        Participant

        Hey Denise! I love how you focused on simply loving one another and loving your neighbor. It’s so true that we as Christians can elevate other things, even good things like theological topics to be above the love that Jesus has given to us through His sacrifice on the cross. Standing up for people’s rights, even those who believe differently than us, will make an impact on their lives and hopefully they will be able to see the love of Jesus through these actions.

      • #3434
        Iliana Owen-Alcala
        Participant

        Hi Denise,

        You are so right. We are to love others to the best of our ability no matter their ethnicity, race, or anything else. How can we properly love someone without respecting their free will? I do not think that it can be done. I think that you made a really good point when you said that showing someone the way to the truth starts by allowing for religious freedom. Once that base is established, ideally, they will go on to follow the right path towards Jesus.

      • #3435
        Iliana Owen-Alcala
        Participant

        Hi Denise,

        You are so right. We are to love others to the best of our ability no matter their ethnicity, race, or anything else. How can we properly love someone without respecting their free will? I do not think that it can be done. I think that you made a really good point when you said that showing someone the way to the truth starts by allowing for religious freedom. Once that base is established, ideally, they will go on to follow the right path towards Jesus.

    • #2646
      Jordan Leatherwood
      Participant

      For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. -Galations 5:13

      Imagine growing up in a faith, let’s take Islam, for example. You believe in Allah and Mohammed is his prophet. You are being ruled by a Christian President, King, whatever title you’d like to give the person in power. This person makes it to where you cannot worship, you cannot pray, you cannot study, etc.

      What exactly starts to rise inside of you? Bitterness, anger, resentment, maybe even hatred for the person restricting you from practicing what will effect eternity for you.

      Flip the roles – you are a Christian in this exact same scenario.

      Do not use your freedom for the flesh, but to serve others and to love. This is why we must work on behalf of religious liberty around the globe.

      I truly believe our greatest witness to others, especially those of other religions, is to show them exactly how much we love and care for them – through the love in which He first loved us.

      At some point, it could be us who are persecuted and we would be looking deeply for mercy and relief.

      Let’s show that love to everyone, not just those who think like us.

      • #3180
        Sarah Weiskopf
        Participant

        Hi Jordan! This was so beautiful to read your thoughts on this topic. I love how you focused on simply being able to serve and love others & I believe that is exactly what the Gospel focuses on as well. Being forced to worship a certain God no matter the religion would take the rights away from humans to worship who they please. Even though I would absolutely love everyone I know to worship Jesus as King, I know that pressuring someone into a religion or a relationship with God simply does not work most of the time. Thanks for sharing!

    • #2706
      Evan Crain
      Participant

      There are rational and theological reasons to support pluralism. Rationally, although based in the Hebraic worldview, religious requirements have always resulted in persecution. The human condition to desire power and the potency of religion for expressing our spirits makes for perfect conditions for the abuse of power. Even in societies with religious freedom, passive persecution is common as any group (again, religion being the basis for tight communities) tend to fear and avoid anyone unlike them (e.g. the legalistic Baptists who literally frown on dancing, as a stereotype).
      Theologically, Christianity obligates respect for other’s beliefs as God respects our response to His holiness. From Nicholson’s article referenced in one of the lessons in this course: “Christians … believe in the Hebraic God—a deity who limits his own will out of respect for the will of man and the desire for a love that is uncoerced, voluntary, and true…” (“Islam is Different—and That’s Okay”)

    • #2804
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      It is very important for Christians to fight for religious freedom for people of all faiths because, like some had said, ”It is critical to the health of any diverse society.” If a society is to be healthy in terms of peace, co-existence, freedom of expression, worship and gathering, then, Christians must muster the courage to fight for that right – religious freedom for other faiths. In fact, fighting for the rights of other faiths allows their religious practices and beliefs to flourish and blossom even in an unfriendly environment. For me, at this point, it is not about our faith again as Christians but about serving God’s people. It is worth noting that Christianity is about serving (fighting) for other people’s rights. As Christians, our faith is grounded in the belief that God is Sovereign over the affairs of entire earth and all that live within it (Psalm 24:1-2). God also given us the freedom to choose not to follow him or follow him. The question now is, why then should we stop others or not fight for others to enjoy this peace or freedom? Therefore, just as God has given all of us the freedom to choose and express ourselves, we must make sure that others from different faiths have the same freedom to their religious practices and beliefs and must live in peace irrespective of their faiths. In short, serving other faiths by fighting for their rights fosters peace and unity! But only God will separate the wheat from the weed in the Day of Judgment.

    • #3023
      Cara Brown
      Participant

      Religious freedom is an essential building block for a healthy, flourishing society, in every manner, whether socially, politically, and even theologically. First, society without freedom of conscience curtails individual thought and expression which is fundamental to the human experience. Similarly, it is politically advantageous for government to pursue a policy of tolerance. Freedom of conscience and expression require a government structure that permits and promotes a diversity of thought, including religious belief and practice. From a theological perspective, some may argue Christians cannot actively support religious freedom for all faiths as that would be denying the Gospel. Yet, each person must come to his or her own conclusions regarding faith and what he/she believes about the world. Is it not better to have freedom of conscience and also discourse so that we may practice and discuss our faith freely with others? Ultimately, we can love our neighbors and know God more fully with religious freedom than without.

    • #3074

      The Bible says, “Pray for those that persecute you.” This should be a strong driving force for all Christians to accept religious tolerance to the highest core. What I’ve come to realize about God is that he saves, blesses, gives us all we need when we ask; but when it comes to making decisions, he’s given us His Free Will to either choose him or reject him.
      So I think Christianity should not be imposing but people should willingly decide to accept Jesus upon hearing the Good News.
      One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians is love: and love brings about peace and reconciliation. Once everyone feels included and is given equal rights to practice their faith void of discrimination, peace will always reign.
      I am glad that my country, Liberia, is a safe place for religious tolerance.

    • #3098
      Medgine Present
      Participant

      I think this is a great question. It is important that Christians stand up for religious freedom of people of all faiths because freedom to express our thoughts and live our life is a part of the human experience. We should have the freedom to worship, share our faith to those who are willing to listen, and gather. Even if we disagree on certain things, it is important to cultivate a society that is not afraid of ideas that conflict with their own. I think the reason many Christian (myself included) may shy away from standing up for religious freedom is fear that standing up for their freedom means we are not standing true to what we believe. Two things can be true at the same time. Standing up for people to have religious freedom is not in contrast with having a different faith than that group.

      I also think having some form of religious belief is good for society. When people are blinded by a common faith, they tend to be more family-oriented and children thrive off of a strong family. No one is perfect, but when religion is done correctly, it can have great benefits for people all around.

    • #3162
      Donna Molloy
      Participant

      It is important for Christians to support freedom of religion for all because within Christianity there is a belief of free will. We know not everyone will come to Christ. But forcing/not protecting all religions does not foster a world of forgiveness and truth. A lot of salvation stories come from wills who saw Christians extending love to everyone regardless of beliefs and them wondering why or how can Christianity be so different to other religions. This is also the reason the US never established a government religion even through most founding fathers were professing born again Christians. They saw that by force created tyranny and the way to a true free society you let people believe what they want and pray for their salvation and don’t stop preaching the gospel with your own freedom. This belief has kept us the most Christian nation in the world and we never told people how to believe.

    • #3183
      Sarah Weiskopf
      Participant

      It is important for me as a Christian to stand up for religious freedom, because of how the Gospel is centered around loving people well and loving God. Even with the differences in belief, I believe that being able to fight for those who can’t and to grant them the access to believe freely can lead them to a faith in Jesus. When one is forced to believe in a certain god or religion, then it can either be a belief only because of the pressure and culture around them, or it is something that a person does not genuinely want to believe and they may ignore it.

      Jesus was always on his way to those who were hurting, suffering, sick, broken, the lost, and those whose rights were taken away. In the same way, I believe it shows the love of Jesus and the cross to allow people the freedom to choose where their worship goes toward, and hopefully in doing so, the light of Christ can shine.

      • #3432
        Iliana Owen-Alcala
        Participant

        Hi Sarah,

        I totally agree! Standing up for religious freedom for all people is consistent with our beliefs as Christians and so very important. People can be led to Christ just by witnessing another who is Christ-centered fight for them. This is a very good point because it is crucial to be a role model for others. People can witness Jesus through these things as well. I find it very interesting and so good how you show your love for Christ through loving others.

      • #3433
        Iliana Owen-Alcala
        Participant

        Hi Sarah,

        I totally agree! Standing up for religious freedom for all people is consistent with our beliefs as Christians and so very important. People can be led to Christ just by witnessing another who is Christ-centered fight for them. This is a very good point because it is crucial to be a role model for others. People can witness Jesus through these things as well. I find it very interesting and so good how you show your love for Christ through loving others.

    • #3431
      Iliana Owen-Alcala
      Participant

      I think that is it crucial for Christians to stand up for religious freedom for people of all faiths. Christianity is the true faith and I completely understand that and that is why I chose to be a Christian. Everyone should have that choice and be able to pick for themselves. God pursues us but we have to say yes to Him. Religious freedom needs to be respected. As an American, I believe that people should inherently obtain religious freedom as soon as they come into this world. Free will and reason are gifts from God, and we do not have the right to take that away from anyone. Christians are also called to love our neighbors and we cannot properly love without allowing for freedom.

    • #2612
      Denise DeVatt
      Participant

      Olivia, I like that you pointed out that people do indeed look to the Christian church to advocate for those who are attacked. I honestly hadn’t considered that in responding to this, but it is good to remember. Thank you! I do feel like we have a duty as Christians and followers of Jesus to be the example, and that starts with respect of each individual’s religion, even if it isn’t the same as our own.

    • #2805
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      Hi Olivia,
      Your second point is very powerful because it is the core value to our value in Christianity or in our fight for people of all faiths. You made mention of “Love” – it is that love that brought Jesus from his heavenly home to come down and fight for all of the world (John 3:16). I want to agree with you that the “Love of Christ that we have in our hearts” helps us to fight for people who don’t look like us and believe in our beliefs. I think love prompts us to even fight more and more for people who believe in difference deity other than ours.

    • #2613
      Denise DeVatt
      Participant

      John,
      I like where you pointed out that they are made in the image of God! We have a responsibility to respect and protect other’s religious freedoms because if we are to love others as ourselves, and to remember that they are made in the image of God, we have an obligation to help them, simply because that is what God expects of us. You made another really good point in referring to “their right to peace and salvation” and I appreciate that, considering their pathway is very different than ours. Thanks for your post!

    • #2647
      Jordan Leatherwood
      Participant

      I believe this is why God gave Man free-will. Faith in Him isn’t true or authentic if He forces us to love and have faith in Him. If he is willing to give us that agency, we should be willing to fight for that agency for our fellow man.

      I agree that fighting for this liberty isn’t a concession. I would even argue it bolsters our faith more, pursuing a loving God in our actions of loving our neighbor.

    • #2806
      Kenneth C. Jackson
      Participant

      Connie,

      Thanks for your point. In Liberia, we are not coerced but free to worship God in every form and faction. However, when I hear fighting for the rights of people of all faiths, I think it goes beyond worshipping or gathering or choosing. What have observed over the past years has been, many Christians in Liberia (who are even political leaders) have just refused to give (fight for) freedom of bread to the marginalized, and freedom shelter to the vulnerable and the lists goes on and on. For me, our God is holistic in giving us his free will so our fights for other are.

    • #2904
      Hannah Longo
      Participant

      Grace, I thought your post was entirely accurate. If we want sincere converts, it is through tolerance and love, not coercion, that we will win them; this is evidenced by the crypto Christians of the 19th century. In addition, I think it is important to stand up for religious freedom for all because that is the very definition of religious freedom. It is not freedom if only our group is allowed. If we do not stand up for the rights of others, they will not advocate for us if we find ourselves in the same position someday.

    • #3100
      Medgine Present
      Participant

      Hi Harvest! I like the opening of your discussion response. Even God, gave us free will to chose Him. God never forces anything onto us. But because He loves us, He tells us of His plans and wishes that all would repent and come to know Him. It says so in the Bible. However, we can not force people to believe or observe something that they don not believe in. All people should have the space to chose God.

    • #3154
      Loncey Elie
      Participant

      Hey Taylor,
      Your response to this question is amazing. One word that stood out to me that you mentioned is “respect.” This word is so powerful and means to be able to understand and be non-judgemental of the other party. Christianity is a religion about love, kindness, and respect so everything embodied within this has to revolve around those values. Therefore, for Christians to stand up for religious freedom, it has to be done in a respectful manner that considers the everyone’s views.

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