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My Girlfriend And The Bible...


nick5
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Hey there.

 

I'm a bit worried about my girlfriend's recent interest in the bible and I'd like to hear some ex-christians' opinions about it. It might very well be nothing at all but I can't help but wonder if her interest in the new testament is going to grow into something more serious... I really love her and I don't want her to ruin her life with religion and false beliefs.

I should mention that my girlfriend is japanese and lives in japan, and that we visit each other occasionally, and that I'm moving there in June. When we're separated, our only means of communication are e-mails, MSN, letters, etc.

She basically knows nothing of christianity or jesus because it's just not in the culture over there, unlike here where we know the stories even if we haven't read the bible.

 

I visited her around christmas vacation last year. One day we were at the restaurant and to my surprise (because religion has never been a topic of conversation for us) she proudly showed me a brand new bible that she pulled out of her bag.

 

"Look at that nice book the english teacher gave us for christmas". It was a bilingual version of the new testament, with english on the left page and japanese on the right. I said it was nice and casually asked if I could take a look at it. Inside the book there was a christmas card with a very christian message about jesus and how he saves people who come to him (you get the idea).

I don't suppose I need to say more about what I think the teacher's agenda is... apparently she gave a copy of it to each student in the class. Should I have been surprised when my girlfriend told me she was from Texas?

My girlfriend really seems to like her and I can't see why not, because from her description she seems to be a really kind person. But that's not the problem, of course. You can probably see where this is going..

 

My girlfriend is very passionate about her study of English. She really wants to become good at it and be as fluent as possible. I think it's great that the teacher gave a billingual book to her students so that they can practice their reading skills. What I don't like is the hidden agenda behind it. Now, although I have visited the school, I haven't met the teacher, so I don't really know anything about her for sure except what my girlfriend told me. I don't know if she ever mentions christianity in class or if she uses only subtle ways like giving cards and books to her students.

However, these people are absolutely unfamiliar with the tactics christians use to reel people into their cult, so they have no way of knowing if there's something hidden behind the teacher's kind and friendly attitude. Unlike us, they haven't developped a "shell" against religion. In a way this is why I'm hesitant of telling her anything about all of that, because she might take it as an attack to her teacher and I absolutely do not want that because she really seems to appreciate her.

 

Back then, in december, my girlfriend didn't seem to have much interest for the book, which was a relief for me for obvious reasons although I obviously didn't let it show.

That was the only time where this subject came up during my entire stay in japan.

 

Anyway, I eventually had to go back to Montreal because school was about to start, and life continued as usual. This was approximately 3 months ago.

 

Last week we were talking on the phone, discussing the usual things (how we're doing in school, what we're doing to pass the time, etc) and she told me she had started reading "the book her teacher gave her last year for christmas". I think I'll continue to hide the fact that this makes me a little bit worried.

 

You see, my girlfriend is smart, but at the same time a little bit naive (in a cute way). For example she thinks temples are scary at night because "that's where ghosts appear". A rather harmless belief you'll agree, but I'm sure we all know what christianity can do to a naive mind, so I thought it was a legitimate question to ask:

Should I be worried? Or am I being paranoid? I really just want to protect her because I love her so much and I know that nothing good can come from christianity. Of course I would continue to love her even IF she became a christian (and don't get me wrong, so far I have no indication that the thought even crossed her mind) but I'm sure you'll understand why I'd rather avoid that.

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I see.. well I'll certainly be on the lookout for signs, but I don't really know what to think, she's always enthusiastic whenever she starts a new english book. And she never even mentioned christianity at all, she just seems to see it as any other book that will give her a chance to practice her english.

But I'll definitely be careful, maybe I should send her a copy of the god delusion :wicked:

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I'd say that if she actually starts reading the bible she may be horrified by it, or she may just not care much. Most Japanese give lip service to their own religion but don't take it that seriously. Religions that are dogmatic usually don't make much sense to them. I doubt she will take the bible very literally, because they usually don't take their own religious texts literally....and from what I've read are usually confused when they meet people who do.

 

Since she is learning English and interested in reading English books and such giving her a book with counter ideas might be good...but maybe something a little less "harsh" than Dawkins. In any case, considering cultural differences she might not understand Dawkins' problems with religion. Maybe Thomas Paine's Age of Reason would be good? If I think of any other book that might be good I'll post back.

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or she may just not care much

Yeah that's what I thought too. And I mean even if she did turn christian she probably wouldn't be a fundy because she's not that kind of person. You're right that they don't take religion very seriously, although they have some ceremonies, like on new year when we went to the shrine with the family to make a wish.

however, if she has a fundy teacher putting weird ideas in her head, who knows what could happen? I'm not saying the teacher is a fundy, because like I said in the original post I never met her, but its not impossible...

And theres always some ugly stuff that comes along with christianity, like no sex befoe marriage, feelings of guilt where there shouldn't be any, etc...

 

but maybe something a little less "harsh" than Dawkins. In any case, considering cultural differences she might not understand Dawkins' problems with religion.

You're right, I hadn't thought of that, she probably wouldn't understand Dawkins's hostility towards religion.

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Hey there.

 

I'm a bit worried about my girlfriend's recent interest in the bible and I'd like to hear some ex-christians' opinions about it. It might very well be nothing at all but I can't help but wonder if her interest in the new testament is going to grow into something more serious... I really love her and I don't want her to ruin her life with religion and false beliefs.

I should mention that my girlfriend is japanese and lives in japan, and that we visit each other occasionally, and that I'm moving there in June. When we're separated, our only means of communication are e-mails, MSN, letters, etc.

She basically knows nothing of christianity or jesus because it's just not in the culture over there, unlike here where we know the stories even if we haven't read the bible.

 

I visited her around christmas vacation last year. One day we were at the restaurant and to my surprise (because religion has never been a topic of conversation for us) she proudly showed me a brand new bible that she pulled out of her bag.

 

"Look at that nice book the english teacher gave us for christmas". It was a bilingual version of the new testament, with english on the left page and japanese on the right. I said it was nice and casually asked if I could take a look at it. Inside the book there was a christmas card with a very christian message about jesus and how he saves people who come to him (you get the idea).

I don't suppose I need to say more about what I think the teacher's agenda is... apparently she gave a copy of it to each student in the class. Should I have been surprised when my girlfriend told me she was from Texas?

My girlfriend really seems to like her and I can't see why not, because from her description she seems to be a really kind person. But that's not the problem, of course. You can probably see where this is going..

 

My girlfriend is very passionate about her study of English. She really wants to become good at it and be as fluent as possible. I think it's great that the teacher gave a billingual book to her students so that they can practice their reading skills. What I don't like is the hidden agenda behind it. Now, although I have visited the school, I haven't met the teacher, so I don't really know anything about her for sure except what my girlfriend told me. I don't know if she ever mentions christianity in class or if she uses only subtle ways like giving cards and books to her students.

However, these people are absolutely unfamiliar with the tactics christians use to reel people into their cult, so they have no way of knowing if there's something hidden behind the teacher's kind and friendly attitude. Unlike us, they haven't developped a "shell" against religion. In a way this is why I'm hesitant of telling her anything about all of that, because she might take it as an attack to her teacher and I absolutely do not want that because she really seems to appreciate her.

 

Back then, in december, my girlfriend didn't seem to have much interest for the book, which was a relief for me for obvious reasons although I obviously didn't let it show.

That was the only time where this subject came up during my entire stay in japan.

 

Anyway, I eventually had to go back to Montreal because school was about to start, and life continued as usual. This was approximately 3 months ago.

 

Last week we were talking on the phone, discussing the usual things (how we're doing in school, what we're doing to pass the time, etc) and she told me she had started reading "the book her teacher gave her last year for christmas". I think I'll continue to hide the fact that this makes me a little bit worried.

 

You see, my girlfriend is smart, but at the same time a little bit naive (in a cute way). For example she thinks temples are scary at night because "that's where ghosts appear". A rather harmless belief you'll agree, but I'm sure we all know what christianity can do to a naive mind, so I thought it was a legitimate question to ask:

Should I be worried? Or am I being paranoid? I really just want to protect her because I love her so much and I know that nothing good can come from christianity. Of course I would continue to love her even IF she became a christian (and don't get me wrong, so far I have no indication that the thought even crossed her mind) but I'm sure you'll understand why I'd rather avoid that.

 

You could explain that a lot of western religions produce very nice, but very crazy people who lose their grip on reality in some respects. Christianity falls into this, as well as it's many sub cults, like Jehova's Witnesses and Mormons. It's mostly used for political leverage, and behavior control, and is causing all sorts of problems in the US. There are even people who believe George Bush thinks he's trying to start the end of the world because of the bible. The scary thing is, it's possible, but unlikely. It's interesting to learn about, and it would be considered rude to say anything to her friend about it, but she shouldn't take it seriously.

 

To someone still outside the circle, it could be just how you present the information.

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Yeah, her teacher is trying to convert them, but Christians have been trying that for hundreds of years in the East, and the East has not been impressed. Kuroikaze is right, most people in Japan are "Buddhist" the same way most people are "Christian" in the US. It's part of the culture, but they aren't serious practioners.

 

I say if it's worrying you, you might bring it up. Don't demonize her teacher, but tell her your concerns and tell her why. Emphasize that you aren't telling her what to do or what to read, but explain a bit about the problems the religion and the beliefs cause.

 

Or you can just wait and watch for signs, that's fine too. Your girlfriend, if she starts getting very interested in it, will likely come to you to talk about it. If she does, tell her about it. Again, don't demonize anyone, but be honest.

 

Seriously, I can't imagine a WORSE book to be giving somebody trying to learn English. The Bible sucks as a literary nightmare.

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I was thinking you could also just get her a copy of Plato's works in the dual language format and tell her that since she seemed interested in mythology you thought you'd get her some more. Since you knew she had Jewish mythology you thought you'd get her some Greek mythology that may have even helped inspire some of it. Now it's nothing special.

 

mwc

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Well if she is interested in bilingual books in English, and you'd like to suggest some more reading, perhaps something that was originally written in English would be a good idea. Or at least a book that has a relatively common translation in Japan.

 

This a kawaii gesture turing kowaii? I am not sure how much you have to worry about. Some people (myself included) almost feel obligated to read books that are given to us.

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Slap your girlfriend with the justice/Hell paradox, and explain why the pathetic rationalizations the texan offers are nothing but handwaves and avoidance.

 

And be nice but somewhat blunt about it.

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But isn't there a danger, by addressing the theology directly, of giving weight to something that she may not really be giving any real consideration to? The culture there isn't "programmed" to swallow the bible whole as the western cultures are.

 

Perhaps someone like Jun or Huai Dan (I know I screwed his name up) could offer some better help since I believe they have experience from that part of the world?

 

mwc

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I constantly come across Americans "teaching English" in Japan that are actually there to "spread the word of god." Especially in Tokyo and around Yokohama. They are sneaky and very good at it. They often "innocently" bring up bible stories and such in their lessons and introduce Christian ideologies into class. There are a lot of American Evangelists in Japan working at conversion of the "Godless." The Japanese are naive, it's true. There is an interest in anything that is not Japanese - especially American.

 

I think I'll continue to hide the fact that this makes me a little bit worried.

 

No, be quick to explain your feelings about Christianity and why. Tell her you are a mushinronsha (無神論者 Atheist) and explain why. Make your point clear. Richard Dawkins books are available in Japanese, perhaps you can buy her some? Don't push anything, you would be just as bad as the fundies. Do a search here for my Ha Kirishitan article (the whole thing is still being translated), the points made there are from a Japanese Zen Buddhist.

 

Ultimately, the decisions she makes are hers and hers alone.

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That's ok...when she gets to the parts of the OT where god is vengeful and mean...that'll probably make her say "huh?"

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Ooh, I just noticed this thread.

 

I was an "English teacher" in Japan for two years. It was merely a front to support a missionary's activities--supporting the mission with the profit from my salary and subtly predisposing the students favorably to xianity. I'd wager my little finger that this is the case here, too, although I suppose there's also a slim possibility that the "teacher" is an independent loony who feels the need to spread the "word of god" to the "heathens." It's far more likely that this "teacher" has a missionary visa than a teaching visa.

 

I'd be concerned, but not panicking yet.

 

There are a couple of things you need to know about the situation and it's dynamics: If you try to push your religion on an average Japanese s/he will be very polite, but frustratingly (to you, the pusher) not open to actually being taken in by your scam and converted. They do get their occasional convert, so of course you should be concerned, but there were students who hung around at our mission for a long time without actually converting. The odds are in your favor.

 

Not living under the dirge of constant xian influence, I think many Japanese are able to look at our religion fairly dispassionately (although they also know very little about it, so they don't have as good a basis for examination). I had a conversation with one of my students who pointed out some of the extremes of bad behavior (possible causes for that, etc.) that seemed to occur under the xian flag. She was very astute. I did not have an answer.

 

And there was the girl I had the big crush on, but was constrained not to pursue unless I converted her (ugh). She was the more naive sort like your girlfriend (by the way, I doubt that your girlfriend takes ghosts at temples toooooo seriously) I finally got her to church. Her biggest reaction was how amusing she found the singing! In truth, it WAS pretty weird at that church--it was small of course and a couple of people sang really LOUDLY, in errrr... unusual voices.

 

If I were in your situation, I wouldn't dance around in hidden concern being worried about approaching the situation. She has the benefit of not having been pounded with 20 or 30 years of conditioning. You will not be the pariah there that you would be here if you are not a supporter of xianity. Even though being "worked on" by this missionary English teacher, she'll probably be a lot more capable of reason here than her Western counterpart. Have good old fashioned CONVERSATION with her on this. Let her know hare your insights on things with her. You know all the stuff she hasn't seen and her missionary friend isn't telling her. I don't think she needs dramatic admonitions or anything, just normal, open, honest communication.

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That's ok...when she gets to the parts of the OT where god is vengeful and mean...that'll probably make her say "huh?"

Do they teach the God kills everyone during the selling stage?

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Ooh, I just noticed this thread.

 

I was an "English teacher" in Japan for two years. It was merely a front to support a missionary's activities--supporting the mission with the profit from my salary and subtly predisposing the students favorably to xianity. I'd wager my little finger that this is the case here, too, although I suppose there's also a slim possibility that the "teacher" is an independent loony who feels the need to spread the "word of god" to the "heathens." It's far more likely that this "teacher" has a missionary visa than a teaching visa.

 

I'd be concerned, but not panicking yet.

 

There are a couple of things you need to know about the situation and it's dynamics: If you try to push your religion on an average Japanese s/he will be very polite, but frustratingly (to you, the pusher) not open to actually being taken in by your scam and converted. They do get their occasional convert, so of course you should be concerned, but there were students who hung around at our mission for a long time without actually converting. The odds are in your favor.

 

Not living under the dirge of constant xian influence, I think many Japanese are able to look at our religion fairly dispassionately (although they also know very little about it, so they don't have as good a basis for examination). I had a conversation with one of my students who pointed out some of the extremes of bad behavior (possible causes for that, etc.) that seemed to occur under the xian flag. She was very astute. I did not have an answer.

 

And there was the girl I had the big crush on, but was constrained not to pursue unless I converted her (ugh). She was the more naive sort like your girlfriend (by the way, I doubt that your girlfriend takes ghosts at temples toooooo seriously) I finally got her to church. Her biggest reaction was how amusing she found the singing! In truth, it WAS pretty weird at that church--it was small of course and a couple of people sang really LOUDLY, in errrr... unusual voices.

 

If I were in your situation, I wouldn't dance around in hidden concern being worried about approaching the situation. She has the benefit of not having been pounded with 20 or 30 years of conditioning. You will not be the pariah there that you would be here if you are not a supporter of xianity. Even though being "worked on" by this missionary English teacher, she'll probably be a lot more capable of reason here than her Western counterpart. Have good old fashioned CONVERSATION with her on this. Let her know hare your insights on things with her. You know all the stuff she hasn't seen and her missionary friend isn't telling her. I don't think she needs dramatic admonitions or anything, just normal, open, honest communication.

 

Ah, good sfuff there. Shackled has it from the inside (the missionaries side) and that's good advice.

 

I might point out here that the Japanese translations of the bible that I've come across don't have all the bad bits of the OT included. They have been somewhat cleansed using a meaning-based translation philosophy. So her getting the complete picture from the bible is not something I'd expect. Again, make your thoughts known from the start. It is far more important to the Japanese to be truthful and honest right from the beginning.

 

If you are game, grab a hold of her multi-lingual bible and highlight all the rape, incest, murder etc (the stuff that has been left in) on the English side and have her read it in both English and Japanese.

 

I once attended a Catholic church in kichijoji, they have a small congregation (mostly American), and it seemed to me that it was more about copying the Americans and their culture than actually practicing the religion.

 

On a side note, as an indication of the general Japanese perception of Chrisitanity; 90% of marriages are conducted in a Christian church with a Christian priest and with a Christian mass - but nobody is Christian including the "priest." The "priests" are foreigners hired to say the mass and get paid a great deal to pretend they are members of the clergy. The churches are often real churches that have been shipped over stone by stone from Ireland or Scotland. Why? Because they believe it looks good and that's what the Japanese perceive is the "right" way to get married. No doubt you've seen Japanese teenage girls with crucifixes around their necks? You'll find they have no idea what it actually means, and they're not Christians - it just looks different and cool. Like non-Japanese who get kanji tattos 99% of whom don't know what it means.

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Thanks for the great replies everybody, they will surely be of great help when deciding what to do if this situation becomes more serious.

At least I'm glad to know the alarm in my head was there for a reason and I wasn't just being paranoid. With all the great tips I've received I'm sure I'll know what to do if the situations requires it.

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Well guys, it seems like I have nothing to be worried about anymore. I casually asked her how was the book she was reading, and she said she thought it was really boring so she started reading "catch me if you can" instead :HaHa:

 

I guess the "teacher" failed, at least with one of her victims. I should have known she wouldn't fall for it. Man, I feel silly now...

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Guest brookacton

do you go to mcgill by any chance? just wondering because i used to go there.

 

Most of my japanese friends (from kobe and yokohama) seem to have an interest in christianity, but from our conversations, it seems it is less a fundie/evangelical kind of christianity and more an interest in a "be a good person/the golden rule" kind of thing. I'm sure most of them have never even heard of the book of Leviticus.

I remember when I was a fundie I gave my friend from Kobe a Billy Graham tract written in japanese. She giggled and said that she sees those all the time, didn't seem to take it very seriously. I think a lot of japanese people have been so overexposed to evangelism they start to ignore it like in NY we ignore homeless people. (sad state of affairs for the latter)

 

hope you enjoy japan!

Do you know anything about Soka Gakkai International? (a kind of nichiren buddhism). They were trying to convert me at school (they are rather evangelical) and a lot of people seem to think they are cult-like. But they are a major religious and political force in Japan, apparently.

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Do you know anything about Soka Gakkai International? (a kind of nichiren buddhism). They were trying to convert me at school (they are rather evangelical) and a lot of people seem to think they are cult-like. But they are a major religious and political force in Japan, apparently.

 

 

Danger Will Robinson, Danger!!!! Danger! Danger!

 

If any cult group is responsible for taking the Buddhism out of Buddhism, it's Soka Gakkai. "Money is their Dharma" is commonly heard in Japan about Soka Gakkai.

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do you go to mcgill by any chance? just wondering because i used to go there.

 

No, but I have a friend who goes there. I go to dawson college in Illustration and Design but I'm graduating in less than a month. I'm going to study in Japan to learn Japanese during the first year then next year I'll try to enter a school where they teach animation (cartoons)

 

Do you know anything about Soka Gakkai International? (a kind of nichiren buddhism). They were trying to convert me at school (they are rather evangelical) and a lot of people seem to think they are cult-like. But they are a major religious and political force in Japan, apparently.

 

I never heard of them, I don't really know much about the religious organizations in japan. I'm a little familiar with some of the main ideas of buddhism (and I find it a lot less offensive than christianity) but I really don't know much.

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