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Public prayer and Christian hypocrisy

(54 Posts)
absentgrana Wed 17-Oct-12 13:33:49

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites! They love to stand up and pray in the houses of worship and on the street corners, so that everyone will see them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you."

Why don't Christians do this? Do they think that they know better?

Sel Wed 17-Oct-12 13:57:33

Interesting question. I'd imagine though there are multiple contradictions in what the Bible says and what people do. I was always told it wasn't a good idea to disagree with the travelling Jehovas Witnesses, the door knocking ones, as whatever you said, they would product a Biblical quote to counter it. No win situation!

kittylester Wed 17-Oct-12 14:00:00

My son once invited the JH in and argued with them for hours! grin

Not sure it's just Christians though absent

kittylester Wed 17-Oct-12 14:02:09

* that's JW not JH (whoever they might be!) blush

absentgrana Wed 17-Oct-12 14:03:46

The instruction is for Christians though kittylester.

Sel Wed 17-Oct-12 19:12:05

Kitty: my daughter did the same (think it was in her Religious Studies A level phase so almost research for her) I sort of left her to it but then after copious amounts of printed matter, appointments etc I stepped in. I was brought up in a Catholic household, no arguments, no questions. So the idea of 'recruiting' a potential JH was abhorrent to me.

I wonder at times how many people would actually sign up to any religion if, at the age of say, eighteen, someone sat them down, laid out all the various belief systems and said, 'ok, choose!'

And I do say this as someone who as rejected most of what I was indoctrinated to believe but will still enjoy going round old churches and will light candles for deceased family menbers.

Go figure (as they say!)

Sorry this doesn't address the thread question!

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 08:51:45

I have just read the following quotation which amused me and seems rather apt. "Don't stay away from church because there are so many hypocrites. There's always room for one more."

vampirequeen Thu 18-Oct-12 10:24:58

I love arguing with JWs. It's great fun. I always warn them that I'm a RC and if they try to convert me then I will try to convert them. I let them get started then when they do their first quote I ask them to show me where it is in the Bible. Nine times out of ten they can't find it.

My best was when a man came to the door with his little girl (about 8). I hate the way they drag their children around to hear the abuse that many give them. Anyway, he started to quote to me from Daniel so I asked him to show me where it was. He couldn't find it. As he struggled a very cold, biting wind whipped up. The discussion continued and then sleet started which ripped into him on the doorstep. Finally he admitted defeat and, to my sheer joy, as they walked away he said to his little girl, "That was no woman, that was the devil." Yes!!!!!!

Bags Thu 18-Oct-12 10:32:31

Poor, poor child sad

Barrow Thu 18-Oct-12 10:35:11

Best way to deal with JWs is to remember they are not looking to save your soul but their own. They believe they have to convert a certain number of people in order to be amongst the chosen who will be taken up to heaven to rule over the rest of us who will be left on earth

As I have said on another thread, I think of prayer as a private conversation with God.

vampirequeen Thu 18-Oct-12 10:43:28

I used to be polite to them...each to his own sort of thing...until I lost my son. Not long after there was a knock on the door and it was a JW. In converstation I said that I called God a bastard. He told me that I was destined for Hell and there was nothing I could do in the future to change that because I had insulted God.

From that point onwards I declared war on JWs. If they leave me alone then I leave them alone but if they want to take me on then they're fair game.

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 10:55:40

Good for you Barrow.

gracesmum Thu 18-Oct-12 11:30:40

"When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites! They love to stand up and pray in the houses of worship and on the street corners, so that everyone will see them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you."

Why don't Christians do this? Do they think that they know better?

Sorry to rise to the bait absent, but who says they don't? Many Christians (maybe most of them for all I know ) of all denominations lead good, privately Christian lives.
Is it right to judge all by the behaviour of some - especially JWs and Mormons and I am not sure they are Christians in the accepted sense of the word, or bible-thumping fundamentalists. Just as there are countless good, dewvout Muslims and Jews.
Would you make the same comment about Muslims as they face Mecca for prayer, about Jews at the Wailing Wall?
Why do Christians always seem to get the flak?

gracesmum Thu 18-Oct-12 12:22:30

dewvout?? I meant devout of course.

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 12:23:46

gracesmum The quote is from St Matthew's Gospel giving an account of Jesus' teaching about prayer so it applies specifically to Christians. Churches, basilicas and cathedrals are places of worship. Places of worship are designated by Jesus as places where those attending and presumably those conducting services are hypocrites. No doubt there are plenty of Christians who do follow this teaching and do pray in private, but clearly there are many who don't. I just wondered why those who don't think they know better than Jesus or is this just another example of pick and mix?

In answer to the rest of your post, public displays of piety do not impress me and always seem embarrassingly overdone whatever the religion.

feetlebaum Thu 18-Oct-12 12:25:53

"Why do Christians always seem to get the flak?"

Presumably because we are more familiar with them than we are with the other religions. My own opinion is that Judaism, Islam and Christianity have it in common that prayer about something is a jolly good way to avoid actually doing anything useful... Can't speak for Hindus, as I know almost zilch about their beliefs and notions.

feetlebaum Thu 18-Oct-12 12:26:44

PS: One interesting fact about Hinduism - all their gods have female names.

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 12:28:39

Even the males ones? How fascinating. Why?

gracesmum Thu 18-Oct-12 12:31:44

I know where the quote is from, absent but how are people kneeling in prayer in a house of God being ostentatious or hypocritical?
In a funny way, I think you are guilty of the sort of literal Bible interpretation that many of us find so offensive in fundamentalists like Jehovah's Witnesses. I think we know what was meant and while you are entitled to your opinion there are traditions of public piety in many religions as I pointed out and who are we to criticise their traditions or form of worship? It does us no harm and mutual respect and consideration are a considerable advance on the religious persecution of the past - or, sadly, still extant in many parts of the world. As I asked - why do Christians get the flak?

absentgrana Thu 18-Oct-12 12:37:12

You'll have to ask Jesus not me gracesmum. It is a piece of direct teaching from the horse's mouth, as it were, according to Saint Matthew, although, of course, he probably wasn't there at the time.

jeni Thu 18-Oct-12 13:39:08

When the JWs come to me , I tell them I'll listen to them after they've shown me their blood transfusion record card!

Mishap Thu 18-Oct-12 16:12:39

Happy for people to worship in private or in their temples/churches.; and I'm polite to JWs (my Dad used to set the dog on them!).

But I object to public prayers where non-believers have no choice but to join in/ stand by - e.g. council meetings etc.

vampirequeen Thu 18-Oct-12 16:30:07

I don't mind standing or sitting quietly if it's a praying, mosque etc but I object to secular places and events being used for prayer.

Barrow Thu 18-Oct-12 16:56:18

Mishap and vampirequeen I agree with you. Secular places should be just that and not bring in religion, apart from anything else not everyone at the meeting or whatever will be of the same religion.

Greatnan Thu 18-Oct-12 17:01:13

A spokesman for Catholic Voices was on Breakfast this morning,talking about the proposal to slightly liberalise the abortion law in N. Ireland. He said there was no demand for it. Then why do thousands of women have to leave home and travel to England for an abortion every year? He was such a smug twit I wanted to slap him.

I have found JWs usually give up if you say you are Catholic - they know a brick wall when they hit one!