JIM JOHNSON I'M CALLING YOU OUT



  • Not really. Reading your posts and being in a similar situation in my life, I just wanted to ask a question and make it public to see if it could help anyone else.

    Like you I moved from a place I consider highly immoral (NYC) to somewhere that’s kinder and with better job prospects (Wisconsin). I’m 22, and not religious.

    The issue I have is that while I don’t have any sort of belief in God, I do essentially follow most of the principles. I believe that being honest, responsible and forthright with people is the way to be, showing common courtesy and respect and expecting it in return. Before I moved I would only drink on occasion (every couple of months) with my friends, don’t smoke or do any drugs. I’ve had plenty of girlfriends but I’m chaste, I was raised by a poor single mother so I know the worst of what could happen if I get someone pregnant. I also believe in giving back when I can, whether its through favors or charity, though only to those that deserve it.

    I believe that this is the proper way to live just because it makes sense though, not because I’m being judged by a higher power. If I’m responsible and well mannered I’ll get along with most people, have a good reputation, not make enemies. If I have a good work ethic I’ll make a good wage, get promotions and such, and eventually be able to support a family, it just makes sense.

    My question is what do I need to do in order to make that final step and truly believe in God? The truly devout that I have met in my life seem to be the happiest people, I’d imagine because they’re motivated by something bigger then themselves. The reputation of the Mormons is something out of this world, and something I’m genuinely curious about. I was raised Catholic and I just can’t seem to make the connection between these principles to living a good life, and why it gives evidence or is taught to us by a higher power though I would genuinely like to. Should I go to a local church, read the Bible upside down, or what?

    If you read this I thank you for your time.



  • @hootin I am not Jim, but your question interests me and I will throw my own perspective your way.

    I think this is the center of your post:

    My question is what do I need to do in order to make that final step and truly believe in God? The truly devout that I have met in my life seem to be the happiest people, I’d imagine because they’re motivated by something bigger then themselves.

    I have met happy & unhappy Christians in general and happy & unhappy Mormons in particular. I am a non-denominational Baptist. I see many happy and peaceful people in my church as well as nervous nellie nutcases. Individual psychology is a factor, life experience is a factor, and spiritual maturity is a factor.

    I have my share of anxiety and unhappiness. My beliefs don’t make my problems go away; my beliefs give them answers and perspective.

    Now, I read your comment as saying that you want to believe (specifically the LDS brand) in order to be happy. Belief doesn’t work that way. That’s rather like the guys who “believe” in Odin. They don’t really, it’s just a cultural thing that gives them social cohesion and whatnot.

    If you really believe something, you believe it whether it makes you happy or sad. Religious beliefs aren’t real if they aren’t held without regard to the temporal benefits. Happiness is a side effect of real belief.

    If you believe in something because you think it will make you happy, but not because you believe it is true, you don’t really believe it.

    As a Christian I believe that we are all born into a spirit of rebellion. We are naturally defiant to one degree or another. In some ways we seek truth, and in other ways truth seeks us and we fight against it. This is a painful process where our vanities are removed from us until there is only one real choice; accept the truth of our place in things, or become resolute in defiance.

    I suggest that you seek truth, not happiness. The truth is much bigger than you and therefore entirely frightening. Happiness lies on the other side of truth.



  • Thanks for replying. I’d say you interpreted what I said correctly, though while writing I didn’t think I was asking this question to seek happiness, though that does make perfect sense.

    I’m primarily interested in joining a religious sect for the social cohesion. I want to have friends and eventually find a wife who have a similar moral compass to mine, and it just so happens that I live a very ‘Christian’ lifestyle.

    Though you’re right that I can’t just force myself into believing. I was just hoping there was some way I could stumble into it, as the last thing I would want to do is live a lie and marry a moral religious woman while lying about my own faith.

    I have a few close friends and family members that aren’t religious but are virtuous and respectable people, I just figured that quality of person would be more abundant in a place of worship devoted to being that way.

    Also baptist was the other denomination I was looking at, they and the mormons seem to be the ones fighting the most against today’s slipping of morals, though I’m aware theyre also slipping.

    Also to your second to last paragraph, I agree with that completely but I attribute it to the primitive reptilian part of our brains which is interested in short term gains for physical survival constantly fighting with our more developed part, which understands that humans work best together in harmony, when they put their combined energies to a common goal. I just find it strange that I have nearly identical conclusions to christian teachings just a differemt explanation. Then again I was raised catholic, so its not like I wasnt influenced.



  • @hootin I’m with the international church of Christ and they take following the word of God pretty seriously



  • @iattacku I thought all French people were Roman Catholic



  • @bem said in JIM JOHNSON I’M CALLING YOU OUT:

    @iattacku I thought all French people were Roman Catholic

    Or Muslim.

    @hootin said

    Also baptist was the other denomination I was looking at, they and the mormons seem to be the ones fighting the most against today’s slipping of morals, though I’m aware theyre also slipping.

    I think you will find there are as many types of baptists as there are breeds of chickens. :D

    Every group is slipping. Integrity is an individual trait and must be upheld by the individual. Groups serve mainly to connect those individuals.

    I’m primarily interested in joining a religious sect for the social cohesion. I want to have friends and eventually find a wife who have a similar moral compass to mine, and it just so happens that I live a very ‘Christian’ lifestyle.

    Though you’re right that I can’t just force myself into believing. I was just hoping there was some way I could stumble into it, as the last thing I would want to do is live a lie and marry a moral religious woman while lying about my own faith.

    You are a very interesting person and I don’t really know what to tell you.

    Have you spoken to any clergy about this? There are plenty of weird and disappointing ones so choose with care, but face-to-face may give you more guidance than strangers on the internet.



  • @ransom What prompted me to start this topic was that I was planning to visit a local LDS church that day, but they were closed. I should try again this coming sunday.

    I thank you for the replies, you certaintly didn’t have to deliberate so much with a stranger over the internet.



  • @hootin It’s a pleasure.

    Have you ever read A Pilgrim’s Progress? It is an allegory of the Christian life that I have derived a lot of value from. It is written in YE OLDE FANCIE ENGLISHE but there should be modern “translations” as well if you like.

    Jim Johnson and I agree on a bushelful of things, but due to our different religious backgrounds we necessarily disagree on certain doctrinal stuff. The pursuit of truth is a difficult thing with many disagreements. As with many controversies, what seems obvious may change with new information. Beware of being comfortable.

    Oh, and as a rule of thumb any group that cuts people off from everyone outside the group is probably wacko, but you knew that.



  • @hootin you can try the local international church of Christ



  • @ransom true as a matter of fact there is a whole discussion that I started in the religion section on whether water baptism is needed for salvation



  • @ransom

    The pursuit of truth is a difficult thing with many disagreements.

    That, right there, is the Truth (John 8:32). My take on religion and more particularly Christianity is this: You can go to church, memorize verses and even “walk the walk”, but until you actually grasp the underlying message you will not gain wisdom nor find the truth.



  • @ransom

    I’ll definitely check it out, I’ve picked up reading again recently so I’ll add it to the list.



  • @iattacku This coming weekend I’m going church hunting. Gonna hit every denomination in my local area, see what stands out to me.



  • @boothe said in JIM JOHNSON I’M CALLING YOU OUT:

    @ransom

    The pursuit of truth is a difficult thing with many disagreements.

    That, right there, is the Truth (John 8:32). My take on religion and more particularly Christianity is this: You can go to church, memorize verses and even “walk the walk”, but until you actually grasp the underlying message you will not gain wisdom nor find the truth.

    I think that one of the primary sins of western civilization is the belief that every meaningful thing can be reduced to mechanics, followed closely by the exaltation of measurability.

    @hootin said in JIM JOHNSON I’M CALLING YOU OUT:

    @iattacku This coming weekend I’m going church hunting. Gonna hit every denomination in my local area, see what stands out to me.

    Please report back on what you found to be a) particularly interesting, and b) particularly goofy. Especially the outfits.



  • @hootin
    Catholic here. Very, very lapsed Catholic.
    Haven’t been to confession since I was 17.
    But…if I did get back to religion, I would stick to my roots.
    Would find a Priest I felt I could relate to and have a face to face confession with him. Would probably take 4 hours minimum! Why not stick with your religion? If you are serious, try volunteering with your local church/diocese. Do they have a meals on wheels program? Or a mentoring program? Part time teaching?
    Give it a shot. Believe it or not, even being the degenerate that I am. I have thought about doing these things. May even follow through with it one day. I don’t know, maybe teach computer programming courses or something. Try sticking with what you were raised in before looking elsewhere. You may be surprised at what you find.



  • @hootin
    Also, miss your posts on the articles.
    You have some great opinions and perspectives.
    Let’s hear what you have to say!



  • @Ransom Will do.

    @AutomaticSlim I’ll probably start with a local Catholic church then, since its how I was raised. I went to an all boys high school in Manhattan, where many of the teachers were priests and I had alot of respect for a couple of them. We had mandatory confession (had to go, not neccesarily participate) every quarter. During one of the last ones my senior year I went up for the first time, and approached one of the priests. I asked essentially:

    “I’m not actually religious but I would like some advice. What do I do once I graduate?”

    At the time I really had no direction, being a dumb teenager and all. He tells me essentially:

    “Go out and travel outside your comfort zone. You will not find out what you truly enjoy or dislike staying here where you’re not being challenged”.

    Four years later I’m now inadvertently taking his advice having moved halfway across the county where I know noone. I can say he was right, I’m going through some challenges but they’re satisfying to face and conquer. I recently got a job offer where the owner of the business wants to groom me for a manager position. I have no relevant experience, the guy says I basically just wowed him in the interview so he’s giving me a shot. I wouldnt’ have had the balls to even apply for a similar position back home. I think I’m just ranting nowso Ill cut it here.

    Thanks for the kind words! I didn’t think my posts would be missed. I’ve just been busy, working around 50 hours a week and now I’ll be moving to Milwaukee for this new job which is another ordeal. I’ll try to post when I can in my cracks of free time.



  • @ransom

    Its been awhile, so here’s an update since you asked.

    I read A Pilgrim’s Progress as suggested and found it enthralling, so much so that I also gave John Bunyan’s “The Holy War” a read as well. Reading these two novels provoked me to give the Bible another shot, but this time I read it with an actual motivation to understand what was written, rather then just read passages that I was forced to back in middle school and high school.

    After going through certain books multiple times (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and The New Testament, in particular) something began to hit me. Every time I read the passages over there was some sort of level of deeper understanding that I seemed to gleam from them, and it hasn’t stopped yet. I keep reading the same things over and over but they weigh more in my heart every single time if that makes sense.

    I believe that I’ve had a change of heart experience as my motivations in life are now different. I now do believe that I’ve been saved purely due to the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, and that its my responsibility to live life as its written in order to celebrate this salvation. I started attending a Reformed Baptist church about 3 weeks ago, and they’ve mostly affirmed my beliefs including that the Bible is the inspired word of God and the only source of authority, no man made dogma should be followed. The people I’ve met so far seem to be cut from a different cloth then what I’m used to, and I hope to emulate how kind and compassionate they are.

    I’d like to sincerely thank you for the book suggestion, since it spurred me to have this conversion. You’ve done more for a young man over the internet then you can ever imagine.



  • @hootin said in JIM JOHNSON I’M CALLING YOU OUT:

    @ransom

    Its been awhile, so here’s an update since you asked.

    I read A Pilgrim’s Progress as suggested and found it enthralling, so much so that I also gave John Bunyan’s “The Holy War” a read as well. Reading these two novels provoked me to give the Bible another shot, but this time I read it with an actual motivation to understand what was written, rather then just read passages that I was forced to back in middle school and high school.

    After going through certain books multiple times (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and The New Testament, in particular) something began to hit me. Every time I read the passages over there was some sort of level of deeper understanding that I seemed to gleam from them, and it hasn’t stopped yet. I keep reading the same things over and over but they weigh more in my heart every single time if that makes sense.

    I believe that I’ve had a change of heart experience as my motivations in life are now different. I now do believe that I’ve been saved purely due to the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ, and that its my responsibility to live life as its written in order to celebrate this salvation. I started attending a Reformed Baptist church about 3 weeks ago, and they’ve mostly affirmed my beliefs including that the Bible is the inspired word of God and the only source of authority, no man made dogma should be followed. The people I’ve met so far seem to be cut from a different cloth then what I’m used to, and I hope to emulate how kind and compassionate they are.

    I’d like to sincerely thank you for the book suggestion, since it spurred me to have this conversion. You’ve done more for a young man over the internet then you can ever imagine.

    Hootin. I am glad to hear from you and overjoyed at your news. You have spent this last month most profitably.

    Keep on this walk. It is not always an easy road. The most important things in life happen when we can go no further on our own feet.

    I would recommend that you build good relationships with seasoned members, people you can confide in when it is rough. We all end up at that point and it is better to have allies before then. Beware the shallow smilers.

    What stood out for you in Ecclesiastes? It is one of my favorites but not a sunshiny book.

    I have not yet read The Holy War. It is on the list.

    I will be praying for you, brother. It is very good to hear from you again.



  • Since we’re recommending great Christian-themed moral books, here’s a must-read: The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis. It’s a series of letters from an elderly devil to a young devil instructing him on how best to corrupt humans. Superfamous title.

    It sounds like you’re at an important crossroads in life. This is a great one, short and easy to read. I look at it every two or three years.

    Cheers
    jammyjaybird


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