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Old 11-13-2001, 10:53 PM   #46
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Originally posted by Anthony:
And also, as Melon pointed out, all the gospels are written by four of the apostles.
Actually, they weren't written by any of the apostles. What you might be referring to was the fact that the gospels were written between the two factions at the time: the Jewish-minded Church of Jerusalem (which is why Matthew is pro-Mosaic Law) and the more inclusionist, Gentile-minded Church of Antioch (most reflective in Luke). Modern Christianity is a reflection of the Church of Antioch, the primordial Catholic Church, which had more of a traditional element--i.e., non-Biblical--component to it. This is why St. Paul often crafted his own rules, while also throwing out the Mosaic Law, which is reasonably supported by what the gospels. Regardless, it was the Church of Antioch which successfully dominated the Church and created the New Testament canon.

Anyway, as I am Catholic, I will quote what is written in the introduction regarding authorship of the gospels:

Matthew: "The questions of authorship, sources, and the time of composition of this gospel have received many answers, none of which can claim more than a greater or lesser degree of probability. The one now favored by the majority of scholars is the following.

The ancient tradition that the author was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew (see Mat 10:3) is untenable because the gospel is based, in large part, on the Gospel according to Mark (almost all the verses of that gospel have been utilized in this), and it is hardly likely that a companion of Jesus would have followed so extensively an account that came from one who admittedly never had such an association rather than rely on his own memories. The attribution of the gospel to the disciple Matthew may have been due to his having been responsible for some of the traditions found in it, but that is far from certain.

The unknown author, whom we shall continue to call Matthew for the sake of convenience, drew not only upon the Gospel according to Mark but upon a large body of material (principally, sayings of Jesus) not found in Mark that corresponds, sometimes exactly, to material found also in the Gospel according to Luke. This material, called "Q" (probably from the first letter of the German word Quelle, meaning "source"), represents traditions, written and oral, used by both Matthew and Luke. Mark and Q are sources common to the two other synoptic gospels; hence the name the "Two-Source Theory" given to this explanation of the relation among the synoptics.

In addition to what Matthew drew from Mark and Q, his gospel contains material that is found only there. This is often designated "M," written or oral tradition that was available to the author. Since Mk was written shortly before or shortly after A.D. 70 (see Introduction to Mk), Mt was composed certainly after that date, which marks the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans at the time of the First Jewish Revolt (A.D. 66-70), and probably at least a decade later since Matthew's use of Mk presupposes a wide diffusion of that gospel. The post-A.D. 70 date is confirmed within the text by Mat 22:7, which refers to the destruction of Jerusalem.

As for the place where the gospel was composed, a plausible suggestion is that it was Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria. That large and important city had a mixed population of Greek-speaking Gentiles and Jews. The tensions between Jewish and Gentile Christians there in the time of Paul (see Gal 2:1-14) in respect to Christian obligation to observe Mosaic law are partially similar to tensions that can be seen between the two groups in Matthew's gospel. The church of Matthew, originally strongly Jewish Christian, had become one in which Gentile Christians were predominant. His gospel answers the question how obedience to the will of God is to be expressed by those who live after the "turn of the ages," the death and resurrection of Jesus."


Mark: "Although the book is anonymous, apart from the ancient heading "According to Mark" in manuscripts, it has traditionally been assigned to John Mark, in whose mother's house (at Jerusalem) Christians assembled (Act 12:12). This Mark was a cousin of Barnabas (Col 4:10) and accompanied Barnabas and Paul on a missionary journey (Act 12:25; 13:3; 15:36- 39). He appears in Pauline letters (2Ti 4:11; Phl 1:24) and with Peter (1Pe 5:13). Papias (ca. A.D. 135) described Mark as Peter's "interpreter," a view found in other patristic writers. Petrine influence should not, however, be exaggerated. The evangelist has put together various oral and possibly written sources--miracle stories, parables, sayings, stories of controversies, and the passion--so as to speak of the crucified Messiah for Mark's own day.

Traditionally, the gospel is said to have been written shortly before A.D. 70 in Rome, at a time of impending persecution and when destruction loomed over Jerusalem. Its audience seems to have been Gentile, unfamiliar with Jewish customs (hence Mar 7:3-4,11). The book aimed to equip such Christians to stand faithful in the face of persecution (Mar 13:9-13), while going on with the proclamation of the gospel begun in Galilee (Mar 13:10; 14:9). Modern research often proposes as the author an unknown Hellenistic Jewish Christian, possibly in Syria, and perhaps shortly after the year 70."


Luke: "Early Christian tradition, from the late second century on, identifies the author of this gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles as Luke, a Syrian from Antioch, who is mentioned in the New Testament in Col 4:14, Phl 1:24 and 2Ti 4:11. The prologue of the gospel makes it clear that Luke is not part of the first generation of Christian disciples but is himself dependent upon the traditions he received from those who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word (Luk 1:2). His two- volume work marks him as someone who was highly literate both in the Old Testament traditions according to the Greek versions and in Hellenistic Greek writings.

Among the likely sources for the composition of this gospel (Luk 1:3) were the Gospel of Mark, a written collection of sayings of Jesus known also to the author of the Gospel of Matthew (Q; see Introduction to Matthew), and other special traditions that were used by Luke alone among the gospel writers. Some hold that Luke used Mark only as a complementary source for rounding out the material he took from other traditions. Because of its dependence on the Gospel of Mark and because details in Luke's Gospel (Luk 13:35a; 19:43-44; 21:20; 23:28-31) imply that the author was acquainted with the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70, the Gospel of Luke is dated by most scholars after that date; many propose A.D. 80-90 as the time of composition.

Luke's consistent substitution of Greek names for the Aramaic or Hebrew names occurring in his sources (e.g., Luk 23:33; Mar 15:22; 18:41; Mar 10:51), his omission from the gospel of specifically Jewish Christian concerns found in his sources (e.g., Mar 7:1-23), his interest in Gentile Christians (Mar 2:30-32; 3:6,38; 4:16-30; 13:28-30; 14:15-24; 17:11-19; 24:47-48), and his incomplete knowledge of Palestinian geography, customs, and practices are among the characteristics of this gospel that suggest that Luke was a non-Palestinian writing to a non-Palestinian audience that was largely made up of Gentile Christians."


John: "The Gospel according to John is quite different in character from the three synoptic gospels. It is highly literary and symbolic. It does not follow the same order or reproduce the same stories as the synoptic gospels. To a much greater degree, it is the product of a developed theological reflection and grows out of a different circle and tradition. It was probably written in the 90s of the first century.

Critical analysis makes it difficult to accept the idea that the gospel as it now stands was written by one person. Joh 21 seems to have been added after the gospel was completed; it exhibits a Greek style somewhat different from that of the rest of the work. The prologue (Joh 1:1-18) apparently contains an independent hymn, subsequently adapted to serve as a preface to the gospel. Within the gospel itself there are also some inconsistencies, e.g., there are two endings of Jesus' discourse in the upper room (Joh 14:31; 18:1). To solve these problems, scholars have proposed various rearrangements that would produce a smoother order. However, most have come to the conclusion that the inconsistencies were probably produced by subsequent editing in which homogeneous materials were added to a shorter original.

Other difficulties for any theory of eyewitness authorship of the gospel in its present form are presented by its highly developed theology and by certain elements of its literary style. For instance, some of the wondrous deeds of Jesus have been worked into highly effective dramatic scenes (Joh 9); there has been a careful attempt to have these followed by discourses that explain them (Joh 5; 6); and the sayings of Jesus have been oven into long discourses of a quasi-poetic form resembling the speeches of personified Wisdom in the Old Testament.

The gospel contains many details about Jesus not found in the synoptic gospels, e.g., that Jesus engaged in a baptizing ministry (Joh 3:22) before he changed to one of preaching and signs; that Jesus' public ministry lasted for several years (see the note on Joh 2:13); that he traveled to Jerusalem for various festivals and met serious opposition long before his death (Joh 2:14-25; 5; 7-8); and that he was put to death on the day before Passover (Joh l8:28). These events are not always in chronological order because of the development and editing that took place. However, the accuracy of much of the detail of the fourth gospel constitutes a strong argument that the Johannine tradition rests upon the testimony of an eyewitness. Although tradition identified this person as John, the son of Zebedee, most modern scholars find that the evidence does not support this.

The fourth gospel is not simply history; the narrative has been organized and adapted to serve the evangelist's theological purposes as well. Among them are the opposition to the synagogue of the day and to John the Baptist's followers, who tried to exalt their master at Jesus' expense, the desire to show that Jesus was the Messiah, and the desire to convince Christians that their religious belief and practice must be rooted in Jesus. Such theological purposes have impelled the evangelist to emphasize motifs that were not so clear in the synoptic account of Jesus' ministry, e.g., the explicit emphasis on his divinity.

The polemic between synagogue and church produced bitter and harsh invective, especially regarding the hostility toward Jesus of the authorities--Pharisees and Sadducees--who are combined and referred to frequently as "the Jews" (see the note on Joh 1:19). These opponents are even described in Joh 8:44 as springing from their father the devil, whose conduct they imitate in opposing God by rejecting Jesus, whom God has sent. On the other hand, the author of this gospel seems to take pains to show that women are not inferior to men in the Christian community: the woman at the well in Samaria (Joh 4) is presented as a prototype of a missionary (Joh 4:4-42), and the first witness of the resurrection is a woman (Joh 20:11-18).

The final editing of the gospel and arrangement in its present form probably dates from between A.D. 90 and 100. Traditionally, Ephesus has been favored as the place of composition, though many support a location in Syria, perhaps the city of Antioch, while some have suggested other places, including Alexandria."


As it is, this is mostly why I look at the Bible critically. It is the source of considerable Truth, but also susceptible to error and contradiction, due to such human interaction.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time

[This message has been edited by melon (edited 11-13-2001).]
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Old 11-13-2001, 11:11 PM   #47
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Originally posted by Anthony:


And also, as Melon pointed out, all the gospels are written by four of the apostles. Now, I don't know what your beliefs are on this, but I have always thought that the testimonies given by each of them was, at times, questionable.

How so? (Honest question, really!)
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Old 11-13-2001, 11:38 PM   #48
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Originally posted by Anthony:
80sU2isBest;
Thats why I'm against the notion that the Christian way is the ONLY way, it just does not compute with my logic. One should never force his or her standards onto another person.
While I think that their way is strictly THEIR way and they still think I am damned for my system of belief, my only regret is not being able to see what they see.
And also, as Melon pointed out, all the gospels are written by four of the apostles. Now, I don't know what your beliefs are on this, but I have always thought that the testimonies given by each of them was, at times, questionable. For me, I have to read JESUS' gospel, before I can take whatever is written down as THE GOSPEL TRUTH.

Bono said (sang) it once; 'Don't believe what you see'.

Ant.
Anthony, I'm glad we're not fighting about this. I share the Gospel because I believe in the grace of God, and I know how good it is, and in evangelizing, I am telling people of the hope and love Christ offers to anyone who will follow him. I want people to have what I have. It's that simple. I'm not trying to force the Gospel on anyone. I couldn't force it even if I tried. It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict people of the truth. He (the Holy Spirit) doesn't even force people. Salvation is a free gift from God. But we must accept it.

"Behold I stand at the door and knock. He who hears me and opens the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me". Revelation 3:20

Yes, the Gospels were "written" by man, but the words came from God, and he has sealed and protected his word to this day.
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Old 11-13-2001, 11:42 PM   #49
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Melon, you do realize, don't you, that I could copy and paste any number of articles to refute this that point to the validity of the Gospels, don't you? Heck, I could even post articles by others who deny the validity of the Gospels, but who have totally different ideas about authorship. So the point is that there are so many opinions out there, that we could be at this for an eternity...you posting something, me posting the opposite, etc. etc. etc.
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Old 11-14-2001, 12:04 AM   #50
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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest:
Melon, you do realize, don't you, that I could copy and paste any number of articles to refute this that point to the validity of the Gospels, don't you? Heck, I could even post articles by others who deny the validity of the Gospels, but who have totally different ideas about authorship. So the point is that there are so many opinions out there, that we could be at this for an eternity...you posting something, me posting the opposite, etc. etc. etc.
Well, the critique of the Gospels that Melon has posted isn't like the utterly ludicrous hatchet job the Jesus Seminar did a few years back.
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Old 11-14-2001, 12:29 AM   #51
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Actually, those "articles" are the introduction of each of the gospels in the Catholic New American Bible. Both footnotes and introductions are given so that proper historical and cultural connotation, not to mention possible cross-Biblical references (i.e., if St. Paul is indirectly quoting the Old Testament, etc.) and possible translation difficulties that were encountered. Basically, it's done both to understand the original intent of the Bible and to prevent someone from contorting the Bible with unintended beliefs.

This is why I can easily reconcile critical analysis of the Bible, while still remaining a Christian in good and clear conscience. Like I've stated, I'm not trying to insult anyone's beliefs, but to show that there are alternate ideological approaches to the Bible. To each to their own.

Melon

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Old 11-14-2001, 02:23 AM   #52
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if I can jump in here...

Let me preface by saying I am a Jewish-American who converted to Christianity, so the topic of terrorism and our response vis a vis God's word is very important to me personally.

80sU2isBest, I agree entirely with your original post, and I join you in prayer. God opposes the proud, and 9/11 may certainly be a wake up call to look at our transgressions and seek forgiveness.

I read and skimmed the long article by Chomsky and I think that that kind of discussion is really necessary if we are to see ourselves clearly. An informed public might not want to see their country be involved in the very acts that are threatening us, and might pressure the government to change policy. But Chomsky made the frightening point that violence gets its way. Especially scary since the US won't even acknowledge an international court of law to handle cases peacefully.
What to do in an era of lawlessness?

What gives me strength and hope for the myself and the world, when feeling so unable to effect world affairs, is knowing that God is in control. My peace comes from being in a right relationship with God. Christ brings the promise of forgiveness.

I believe these words are inspired by God. This is Psalm 2:

Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The Kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers counsel together,
against the Lord and his annointed, saying
Let us burst their bonds asunder
and cast their cords from us.

He who sits in the Heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
"I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill."

I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me "You are my son,
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

Now, therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear (awe),
with trembling kiss his feet,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.


This is a message to the nations that is very applicable today. But it has import for us too, because it directly mentions the coming of Christ the "begotten" son to rule the world. Rejoice! God has a plan, and he will not tolerate evil. He does bless those who look to him and serve him faithfully.

[This message has been edited by DebbieSG (edited 11-14-2001).]
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Old 11-14-2001, 03:06 AM   #53
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Everyone knows that I place blame for the Sept. 11 attacks solely on the terrorists. I don't think you can really blame US policy or anything like that.
While you can easily write-off the actions of one man as a fluke, the fact his greviences are widespread, legitimate and providing resivors of support tends to make one question what the U.S is doing.

When you look at the fact the U.S is engaging in immoral and illegal actions in the Middle East, it is easy to see why a fucktard like Bin Laden gets so much support, even from moderate Arabs who detest his methods. It should be a clear warning bell that non-radical Arabs are pissed off about the same things, and were pissed off about them since long before Osama Bin Laden ever decdided to be a terrorist.

No amount of Public Relations will be able to counteract the U.S foreign policy these people come face to face with every day. Food drops, "America Loves You" leaflets, none of that will change the fundamental views of the people who are victims of what the U.S does.

You can say they are jelous or whatever, but that is a cop-out a safe way to write-off U.S policy and leaves us no closer to a solution than we were on September 11th.

Quote:
I honestly didn't intend this to be a thread about who or who isn't a USA-basher, I just mentioned that I don't understand why anyone would be a USA-hater.
Look at our foreign policy.

Explain our deliberate targeting of civillians in Nicaragua an elsewhere. Justify that. And explain to me how it goes along with your Christian beleifs.

Explain how overthrowing a freely-elected government in Chile is defending freedom and how is goes along with your democratic beliefs.

Explain how targeting civillians with sanctions against food and medicine to punish a few in power is compatible with your Christian beliefs and your sense of human decency.

Explain why a millitary that illegally seizes land, occupies it and settles it in a blatant violation of international law and then chooses to target civillians based on their ethnic background, while committing human rights violations - explain why this deserves to be funded by the U.S and how it goes along with your Christian beleifs and democratic ideals.

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It makes me feel SO sad that you didnt count DrGonzo in too, 'cos I think he thinks a LOT alike me...and also Drew (Eleanor Rigby here).
Aww, thanks Patti!

Quote:
That is why I don't understand America-haters. It's not as if the USA is alone in making wrong decisions.
Quote:
I don't understand why you went through the trouble of posting that laundry list, when I clearly said that I know America has its imperfections, as do other countries. And it was that "as do other other countries" part that made me wonder why people single out America to hate. Therefore, your list really doesn't make any difference here. I still don't know why, among all the imperfect countries in the world, people choose America to hate the most.
The U.S prides itself on being the "leader of the free world", when it engages in rampant terrorism around the globe without the slightest concern for inncoent human life, it makes its campaign against terrorism seem extremly hypocritical.

When you are the most powerful nation on Earth, and single yourself out as a model for others and morally superior to the rest of the world, you find yourself open to more criticsm than anyone else. Especially when you constantly challenge the notion that you are what you say you are, and then persecute others for doing exactly what you do as a matter of policy.

Other nations fuckup, but no other nation rains its misery down on others as much as the U.S. A nation which has no respect for soverignty, international law, human rights or human decency. A nation which takes what it wants when it wants it and does what it wants to do when and where it chooses to without the slightest shred of concern for anyone but itself.

And then turns around and attacks others for trying to defend against this, or even emulate it. While proclaiming itself the best nation in the world, the one who is a leader of freedom, democracy and human rights.
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Old 11-14-2001, 10:08 AM   #54
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[BJesus Seminar[/B]
Seriously, let's pick our way through the Scripture and drop different colored beads in a bowl to score whether it's "true."
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Old 11-14-2001, 02:53 PM   #55
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[/b][/QUOTE]
Yes, the Gospels were "written" by man, but the words came from God, and he has sealed and protected his word to this day.[/B][/QUOTE]

And what about the countless of Muslims, who believe that everything the Prophet Mohammad wrote down was divinely given to him? Weren't those words directly given to him by God (admittedly, through the angel Jibreel)?
I am not observing that you are self-righteous or calling yourself better than non-christians, all I'm pointing out is that, judging by your view that Christianity IS THE way, by implication, everybody else is following a self-delluded and completely misguided way. The way I see it, what you're saying essentially is that if you don't recognise Jesus as THE way, you're suffering from self-delusion.

As long as the way takes you to God, does it matter if a person takes it via Jesus, or Mohammed, or even Hypothetical Joe from down the street?

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Old 11-14-2001, 04:21 PM   #56
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This makes me wonder, so what happened to all of the people who lived before Christianity? Does that mean that they were not saved?




[This message has been edited by radiodivision (edited 11-14-2001).]
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Old 11-14-2001, 05:10 PM   #57
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This makes me wonder, so what happened to all of the people who lived before Christianity? Does that mean that they were not saved?
[This message has been edited by radiodivision (edited 11-14-2001).]
Good question. I will start by saying that as far as who goes to Heaven and Hell, I cannot say because I am not the judge. As for the people who died before Christ and the people who have never heard of Christ, I say that I believe that they will be judged according to how they responded to the "inner knowing" that has been given to them - in fact, the Bible does say something to that affect somewhere. I'll try to find it.
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Old 11-14-2001, 10:57 PM   #58
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Hey, I happen to be a follower of Hypothetical Joe from down the street, so lay off!
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Old 11-15-2001, 01:05 AM   #59
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Originally posted by radiodivision:

This makes me wonder, so what happened to all of the people who lived before Christianity? Does that mean that they were not saved?
Christians believe that Abraham, the father of the Jews, is saved, but he didn't have any of the Scriptures in hand and certainly didn't have any explicit knowledge of Jesus. I suspect that people in the South Pacific who have never heard of Jesus are in the same position.

But Jesus is not just a six-foot-tall, 33-year-old Jewish carpenter who lived in Palestine. He is the second person of the Trinity, of the same nature as God, watching over the world from heaven above. All who are saved know Jesus and are saved by Him, even if they have only the fuzziest idea of who He is. So it is possible to say that "only Jesus saves" and still leave open the possibility that heathens might be saved.

As for what kind of a faith a heathen should have to be saved, let me quote from the "Handbook of Christian Apologetics" by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli:

Quote:
So objectively, it is only Christ who can save pagans. But subjectively, what kind of faith is it that might save pagans, or Hindus or agnostics? Is it: (1) a vague, generalized honesty and sincerity; (2) a total commitment to the Truth not as something diffuse but as something absolute, implicitly a divine attribute; (3) seeking not just the Truth but also Goodness, true morality, a fundamental option for good rather than evil, in general; (4) love of Goodness not as something diffuse and general but as an absolute, a divine attribute; (5) repentance for sin, however unclear may be the concept of the God to whom the pagan repents; (6) faith in God, the God of natural revelation, the intelligent Designer of nature and the holy Source of the voice of conscience; (7) a deliberate, free and conscious response to divine grace, however dimly understood? The Bible seems to point to all seven as being necessary.
Now, as for those who know of Christ but still reject Him: those who reject Christ honestly (perhaps because they doubt the Biblical testimony about Him, or perhaps because they think that His followers are so crooked that He can't possibly be divine), I hope the Lord will have mercy on their souls. (I hope I don't sound condescending or arrogant here; please forgive me if I do!) But for those who reject Christ because they don't want to submit to his authority, well, I can't say I have too much sympathy for them.

[This message has been edited by speedracer (edited 11-14-2001).]
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Old 11-15-2001, 03:33 AM   #60
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And what about the countless of Muslims, who believe that everything the Prophet Mohammad wrote down was divinely given to him? As long as the way takes you to God, does it matter if a person takes it via Jesus, or Mohammed, or even Hypothetical Joe from down the street?
Ant.
About the Muslims, what can I say except that they believe differently than I do?
Yes, it does matter what road you use to get to God, because only one will get you there. The whole of Christianity rests on the fact that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but also God in the flesh. There is no doubt that Christianity claims that. Islam does not believe that Jesus is God, nor the Son Of God. Neither does Judaism. And Islam and Judaism are very different, also. So, if one of them is right, the others are wrong, since they are all different. If I say Jesus is God, and he is not, I am wrong. But if I say he is, and he is, than the Jews and Muslims are wrong. When Christianity claims to be the only way, and so does Islam, and so does Judaism, how can all three be right? The idea that all religions will bring you to God is wrong. There's no possible way that that is correct logic.
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