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DPChallenge Forums >> Rant >> Michael Vick renews faith in Christ
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02/19/2010 01:15:05 PM · #1
Oh good Lord (pun intended)!

I know I shouldn't be judgemental and thank God if it's real. But, I worked in a prison. I don't believe in jailhouse religion, and I don't believe in Michael Vick. Convicts always thought that if they started spouting off religious rhetoric that it would buy them a free pass to be able to 1) get away with more within the prison, 2) make parole, 3) completely erase what they'd done.

I used to joke to my mother when she'd get upset that my job was dangerous. I'd tell her, "Don't worry, Mom. God is there." She'd say very sceptically, "He is?" And I'd say, "Well, everyone finds him there."
02/18/2010 01:11:17 AM · #2
Originally posted by zeuszen:

Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

...When I see how blind others can be, it makes me all the more grateful that I'm part of the flock ...


My version of this would be: "When I see how blind I can be, it makes me all the more grateful I'm not surrounded by others with the same affliction."


Nice one, zz. Reminds me of how positive the story of the blind men and the elephant really is.
02/12/2010 06:42:07 PM · #3
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

But apparently that lesson doesn't stick for three years in 66% of the people.

I really can't believe you are trying to make the argument that the most likely thing that changed Vick was his prison term. It doesn't seem like a very Shannon argument.


I myself think that it was getting caught that changed him. Not prison, not Jesus... getting caught. He's doing it to make sure he's not put in that position again... it's just risk avoidance reinforced through negative feedback.

02/10/2010 04:17:01 PM · #4
You need to be very careful with what you mean by "all the answers"...
02/10/2010 03:43:46 PM · #5
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

The context to which I'm referring was the "answering Louis" context, and the point I was making was in reference to Louis's characterization of Doc as "Of course you'd feel that way, you believe in God" (I'm paraphrasing there) when that's not actually relevant to the discussion.

Actually, it's entirely germane. He asks, "Who am I to discredit his belief that God helped him out?" Well, the only answer is that he's the one who has a stake in the belief. You cannot divorce his belief from his view about this man's re-conversion.

You make the same error in the "other" thread:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Neither Doc or I are claiming that religion, any religion or all religions collectively, has the all "answers", whatever they may be.


Jason does make that claim, very specifically, and has even inferred such here -- post #33 (ironically). Everything he says regarding the reasons for Vick's outcome can, and must, be viewed through this lens, and so when Jason speaks, the subject of the existence of God is relevant, because his views can only be refuted in light of that question.

02/10/2010 02:58:49 PM · #6
Originally posted by scalvert:

Does anybody seriously think someone who's lost everything due to his own actions isn't going to reconsider the wisdom of those actions? The ONLY way to recover a semblance of his formerly cushy life would be to turn over a new leaf. Prison rehabilitation statistics are heavily skewed by drug abusers and thieves with little to lose and tougher path to clean living. They're often starting over with few skills and a rap sheet, and for many returning to prison is actually better than life on the streets. I submit that Vick didn't really have that choice— he could try to come clean and rebuild his career, or what... continue dog fighting on a Burger King wage? Duh. He HAD to give up his old ways, period. Now, whether he wants to accept that he had no choice is another matter (he couldn't even accept that he was wrong until he went to jail).

This, to me, being both reasoned and a real point, is what makes so many conversions suspect to me.

Personally, I'll believe it when we're five years down the pike and Vick is still on a righteous path. Overnight conversions happen, whether they're a personal, spiritual, or religious epiphany..........but only the test of time will tell you whether or not they're real. And celebrities have a really nasty habit of reverting to form once the spotlight dims.
02/10/2010 02:38:14 PM · #7
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

As usual, you've removed the context, Shannon.

As usual? You used to be better than this.

The context *FOR THIS THREAD* is Michael Vick's belief that he changed his ways because of faith. The question *FOR THIS THREAD* is whether that's actually true. I reiterate that he didn't really have a choice, regardless of whether God exists.

Vick's decision to change may have been a no-brainer, but his choice to listen to Dungy and listen to the Gospel is probably more genuine. Sure, he could just be doing this for good publicity, but I don't think that's really the case. He was already beginning to restore his reputation by working with the human society, and he's had a job in the NFL for a whole season already since his release from prison. If he had shared his testimony last summer before being signed by the Eagle's I would be more inclined to think that his faith is just a stunt. But considering everything he accomplished before talking about his faith, I'm thinking that it's not just for show. Besides, it's not like this is a major story in the media. If Vick was really doing this just to make himself look good, you would think he would have arranged a major press conference or called up Oprah or Larry King. The timing and the manner of this suggests he's genuine.
02/10/2010 02:30:39 PM · #8
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

As usual, you've removed the context, Shannon.

As usual? You used to be better than this.

The context *FOR THIS THREAD* is Michael Vick's belief that he changed his ways because of faith. The question *FOR THIS THREAD* is whether that's actually true. I reiterate that he didn't really have a choice, regardless of whether God exists.


You're still missing our point of disagreement. I'm actually on your side in this one and you don't even know it. The context to which I'm referring was the "answering Louis" context, and the point I was making was in reference to Louis's characterization of Doc as "Of course you'd feel that way, you believe in God" (I'm paraphrasing there) when that's not actually relevant to the discussion. As you've just taken pains to point out to me, as if it were not obvious I'd already taken that stance.

If I "used to be better than this", that's possibly because I used to think you were a lot more open-minded than you've proven to be, and possibly because I've become a little tired of the way you leap in, time after time, to score points off the same people as if this is some sort of *game* instead of an attempt at reasoned debate. And my frustration is starting to show.

R.
02/10/2010 01:58:27 PM · #9
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

As usual, you've removed the context, Shannon.

As usual? You used to be better than this.

The context *FOR THIS THREAD* is Michael Vick's belief that he changed his ways because of faith. The question *FOR THIS THREAD* is whether that's actually true. I reiterate that he didn't really have a choice, regardless of whether God exists.
02/10/2010 01:52:50 PM · #10
Originally posted by scalvert:

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

It's worth pointing out that the question *for this thread* is not "Does God exist and was Jesus His son?", but rather; "Does Michael Vick sincerely *believe* that God exists and Jesus was His son?"


Actually, that NOT the question...


As usual, you've removed the context, Shannon.

In the context where I posted, it was about Louis *possibly* steering the thread in his normal "there is no God" direction, and I was just submitting that it would be pointless to allow Vick's "conversion" to push us down that path again. I realize there are larger issues, but I was just focusing on that one and I'm pretty sure you know it :-)

R.
02/10/2010 01:40:10 PM · #11
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

It's worth pointing out that the question *for this thread* is not "Does God exist and was Jesus His son?", but rather; "Does Michael Vick sincerely *believe* that God exists and Jesus was His son?"

Actually, that NOT the question. It's a given that Vick believes faith has led him to turn his life around. The question is, DID IT? Does anybody seriously think someone who's lost everything due to his own actions isn't going to reconsider the wisdom of those actions? The ONLY way to recover a semblance of his formerly cushy life would be to turn over a new leaf. Prison rehabilitation statistics are heavily skewed by drub abusers and thieves with little to lose and tougher path to clean living. They're often starting over with few skills and a rap sheet, and for many returning to prison is actually better than life on the streets. I submit that Vick didn't really have that choice— he could try to come clean and rebuild his career, or what... continue dog fighting on a Burger King wage? Duh. He HAD to give up his old ways, period. Now, whether he wants to accept that he had no choice is another matter (he couldn't even accept that he was wrong until he went to jail).
02/10/2010 01:37:06 PM · #12
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

But apparently that lesson doesn't stick for three years in 66% of the people.

With overall unemployment around 10%, the rate for black males closer to 20%, and the (essentially) disqualifying question "have you ever been convicted of a felony" on almost every job application, the opportunities for ex-convicts to survive outside of prison are pretty limited -- I don't think it's altogether surprising that quite a number return to criminal activity just to survive. Not saying that's an excuse, or right, but it seems understandable to me.

Not every convict has a multi-million dollar NFL job waiting for them when they say the "right" things. Would you hire somone convicted of heroin possession to work in your office?

Message edited by author 2010-02-10 13:42:31.
02/10/2010 12:30:22 PM · #13
What was I thinking...?!?!?

Message edited by author 2010-02-10 13:02:39.
02/10/2010 12:20:07 PM · #14
Originally posted by NikonJeb:

Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

But it's fun and sometimes edifying to have a discussion with someone completely opposed to Christianity.

Don't forget that just because someone doesn't believe the same thing you do doesn't mean they're opposed to it. You are attaching undue importance to your beliefs in others' eyes.
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

When I see how blind others can be, it makes me all the more grateful that I'm part of the flock :)

It's also possible that those you consider blind may have no clarity issues whatsoever. They just don't choose to share your vision.

I guess the more I'm around you guys, the more it is that you constantly affirm your "My way or the highway." convictions, and yet you don't see it.

The rest of us out here are full of wonder and awe at the infinite grandeur around us every day.


Actually, Jeb, you are probably in your own little boat with the "every path leads to enlightenment". Well, dahkota might share a seat. But Shannon, Louis, and the typical others, I believe, are as certain of their convictions as the few of us Christians around here. They just belong in a different camp.
02/10/2010 12:19:33 PM · #15
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

...What are your thoughts?


That,while I'm glad this person made a positive change in his life, I still don't understand why the theatrics / drama of religion are needed?

02/10/2010 12:08:48 PM · #16
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

But it's fun and sometimes edifying to have a discussion with someone completely opposed to Christianity.

Don't forget that just because someone doesn't believe the same thing you do doesn't mean they're opposed to it. You are attaching undue importance to your beliefs in others' eyes.
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

When I see how blind others can be, it makes me all the more grateful that I'm part of the flock :)

It's also possible that those you consider blind may have no clarity issues whatsoever. They just don't choose to share your vision.

I guess the more I'm around you guys, the more it is that you constantly affirm your "My way or the highway." convictions, and yet you don't see it.

The rest of us out here are full of wonder and awe at the infinite grandeur around us every day.
02/10/2010 11:44:23 AM · #17
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

...When I see how blind others can be, it makes me all the more grateful that I'm part of the flock ...


My version of this would be: "When I see how blind I can be, it makes me all the more grateful I'm not surrounded by others with the same affliction."
02/10/2010 11:32:52 AM · #18
Originally posted by DrAchoo:


But on the other hand Johnny we are placating the non-believers in the group. You and and I both believe that God is real and has the power to change lives. The lost are found and the dead raised to a new life. So while I can speak the langauge of the infidel (.org), it's mainly with a wink while I go on believing something completely different.

True. But it's fun and sometimes edifying to have a discussion with someone completely opposed to Christianity. When I see how blind others can be, it makes me all the more grateful that I'm part of the flock :) And the Michael Vick story just blew me off my chair when I heard about it. Another shocking thing I read was the martyrium polycarpi, which is an account of the martyrdom of the early church father Polycarp. Check it out if you can find it.
02/10/2010 11:14:40 AM · #19
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

I agree with DrAchoo and Bear. Ultimately there is no way to know what was the motivation behind Vick's change. All we have is his personal testimony that he turned back to God and whatever else we learn about him from the media. We can speculate as to what's in his heart all we want, but in the end all we can judge are his actions. Whether or not God exists is irrelevant. Santa Claus inspires little kids to change their behavior and I don't think anyone is going to argue that he is real. A miracle or divine intervention are probably not what caused Vick to change his ways. But if Vick believes that God is real, then God is real to Vick, and that could very well have motivated his change.


But on the other hand Johnny we are placating the non-believers in the group. You and and I both believe that God is real and has the power to change lives. The lost are found and the dead raised to a new life. So while I can speak the langauge of the infidel (.org), it's mainly with a wink while I go on believing something completely different.
02/10/2010 11:04:14 AM · #20
I agree with DrAchoo and Bear. Ultimately there is no way to know what was the motivation behind Vick's change. All we have is his personal testimony that he turned back to God and whatever else we learn about him from the media. We can speculate as to what's in his heart all we want, but in the end all we can judge are his actions. Whether or not God exists is irrelevant. Santa Claus inspires little kids to change their behavior and I don't think anyone is going to argue that he is real. A miracle or divine intervention are probably not what caused Vick to change his ways. But if Vick believes that God is real, then God is real to Vick, and that could very well have motivated his change.
02/10/2010 11:00:02 AM · #21
Originally posted by Louis:

You? You're a guy who thinks god is real. Other people are reasonable skeptics, and they have every right to challenge this claim, if he insists on airing it for public view.


I think I meant that even from an atheist point of view, if Vick claims it then I would consider the "idea of God" (even if he doesn't exist) to be a necessary ingredient in this specific turn around. Prison may have been the tiller to prepare the field for sowing, but God (or the delusional thinking about him) was the seed.

Does that less offend your atheist sensibilities? ;)

Once again I see I am on the same vein as Robert. Makes me feel good... :)

Message edited by author 2010-02-10 11:00:44.
02/10/2010 10:54:43 AM · #22
Originally posted by Louis:

You? You're a guy who thinks god is real. Other people are reasonable skeptics, and they have every right to challenge this claim, if he insists on airing it for public view.


It's worth pointing out that the question *for this thread* is not "Does God exist and was Jesus His son?", but rather; "Does Michael Vick sincerely *believe* that God exists and Jesus was His son?"

I'm not sure, from the above, that Louis is making this distinction, although he may be. But I'd hate to see THIS thread, also, sink into a "God exists!" vs "There is no God!" quagmire; we've had so many of those...

R.
02/10/2010 10:37:28 AM · #23
Ya gotta be open to the fact that his very public persona indicates which path he's going to go down with his claims of reformation.

He's certainly not going to claim that his devotion to Lucifer was his divine inspiration, now is he?

Having hit the wall myself in my life, I can honestly say that not only was my change of life choices not only *not* from my devotion to, or guidance from Christ, but very much from the love, help, and experience that I got from people who'd gone before me.

And again, this in a lifestyle that has an abysmal attrition rate, though I'm not sure what the attrition rate of converts from any problematic life path has to do with whether or not some people make it.

There are people who change their lives because of their arrest, conviction, and serving time that simply decide that the pain and misery of what brought them there was not worth it any more, so they sucked it up and did something about it. No miracles required.
02/10/2010 10:22:05 AM · #24
I'm glad he turned it all around. The trick will be keeping it that way.
Would I trust my Pitty in the hands of Vick? HELL NO! Not very Christ like I know....but that's how I feel.
02/10/2010 09:59:18 AM · #25
You? You're a guy who thinks god is real. Other people are reasonable skeptics, and they have every right to challenge this claim, if he insists on airing it for public view.
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