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Old 06-08-2006, 08:53 AM   #61
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Originally posted by maycocksean


To clarify the "following of Christ" which I think is a bit vague I would maintain that Christians accept Jesus as Savior. That keeps it simple and seperates those who might say oh, I follow Jesus. . .and also Buddha etc. Merely being an admirer of Christ's work doesn't make you a Christian. There's a basic acceptance of your NEED for Christ, a NEED no one else can fill that makes you a Christian.

I originally had this in mind as well, but then it opens up the whole "save by works vs. saved by Grace" can of worms. Plenty of Christians and large denominations still believe that it is not Grace/acceptance of the Savior alone that is necessary for salvation.

My own personal interpretation of what it means to follow Christ is basically accept that I am saved by Grace alone, not by my own works. To me, it's comforting to believe in something larger than myself and my own actions.

But, there are plenty who believe in being saved by their Christian works. Or, the belief that believers don't have access to a personal relationship with Jesus and can acheive this only through the institutional Church ( ). I don't agree at all, because if you're saved by your own works, you don't NEED Christ, but they're still Christians, IMO. Maybe "following Christ" to them is trying to act exactly like Christ so that they are saved.
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Old 06-08-2006, 09:57 AM   #62
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There's a really interesting book I've been reading lately called "A New Kind of Christian". Worth reading. One of the chapter titles: "It's None of Your Business Who's Going to Hell."




i'd be interested in reading that chapter.
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:02 AM   #63
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One final note--and I know we hit this on another thread some months back. I've just got to STRONGLY disagree with the idea implied by some posters here that religion is the "cause of most the world's violence." The impliciation that we'd all live in peace if we were all atheists is just bunk, absolute and total bunk. Check out those tolerant athestic socieities of Communist Russian, Nazi Germany, and China. Yeah, getting rid of religion really got rid of the violence in those societies. "Imagine" is a beautiful song, but junk philosophy.


no one who has ever pointed to the ability of religion to inspire apocalyptic violence in people has posited that atheism is a way towards peace. it's also a misunderstanding to portray this viewpoint as one that says that religion "causes" violence. i believe it inspires violence, it justifies violence, and it can lend violence a sense of virtue. i can't think of any other force -- besides ultra-nationalism -- that does this as well as religion.

i think it is just as wrong to solely blame religion as it is not to acknowledge that religion, because it posits access to the infinit and the Truth (however conveniently that is defined), can motivate men to do terrible things, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to flying airplanes into skyscrapers.

and though Lennon was an atheist (i think), he didn't say "no god," he just said "no religion." a big difference, imho.
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:53 AM   #64
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But, there are plenty who believe in being saved by their Christian works. Or, the belief that believers don't have access to a personal relationship with Jesus and can acheive this only through the institutional Church ( ).
Yes, because posting a vomiting smilie is really a wonderful way to participate in discourse with your fellow Christians. Stuff like this is what makes me want to run away from my own religion.

I think that's beneath you, LivLuv, but whatever.
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Old 06-08-2006, 11:15 AM   #65
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Yes, because posting a vomiting smilie is really a wonderful way to participate in discourse with your fellow Christians. Stuff like this is what makes me want to run away from my own religion.

I think that's beneath you, LivLuv, but whatever.
I just very, very strongly resent the idea that a compassionate and gracious God is only accessible through mediation of a priest/bishop/Pope/whatever. I've been indoctrinated starting at age two and voluntarily took 8 years of Catechism class as well as several theology classes in college, and it's something I just can't come to terms with, no matter how much discourse exists. I can't fathom my only access to God coming through a man-made institution. I suppose the smilie would've been more appropriate since my main gripe with such institutional Churches is that they claim to be the only way to Salvation, yet they are often intollerant, corrupt, and discrimintory. The existence of it doesn't bother me since obviously it works for millions of people and that's their choice, but I'll have to pass.

I guess I don't get why Christians in general should be held to higher standards when it comes to discourse regarding religion. Plenty of Christians express "hate" (using that word) towards certain politicians and world leaders, but yet they're off the hook? If I posted vomit smilies in response to any given Bush speech, do you think anyone would care? In all honesty, yes there are certain doctines and beliefs held by fellow Christians that do make me want to vomit, just like other things that exist outside the scope of Christian discouse, such as stoning rape victims to death, FGM, hate crimes, people protesting and gay people's funerals, etc. It's becoming increasingly difficult to discourse with people who've pretty much made their own bastardized religion based on hate and intolerance. If this is the new face of Christianity in America, I'd rather just start my own religion.
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Old 06-08-2006, 11:20 AM   #66
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Originally posted by Irvine511

no one who has ever pointed to the ability of religion to inspire apocalyptic violence in people has posited that atheism is a way towards peace. it's also a misunderstanding to portray this viewpoint as one that says that religion "causes" violence. i believe it inspires violence, it justifies violence, and it can lend violence a sense of virtue. i can't think of any other force -- besides ultra-nationalism -- that does this as well as religion.

i think it is just as wrong to solely blame religion as it is not to acknowledge that religion, because it posits access to the infinit and the Truth (however conveniently that is defined), can motivate men to do terrible things, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to flying airplanes into skyscrapers.
I totally agree. There are so many "Christian" movements that are absolutely unexcuseable, including this new "gay-people-are-abominations-anyone-who-supports-abortions-can-rot-in-hell" mentality. I don't mean to stereotype, but the athiests and agnostics I know are some of the most level-headed, tolerant, peaceful people I know.
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Old 06-08-2006, 01:01 PM   #67
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Originally posted by Irvine511


i'd be interested in reading that chapter.
One of the things the author points out is that Jesus wasn't crucified for being too religious or starting a new religion. He was crucified for expanding the boundaries of the Kingdom of God beyond what some considered acceptable -- i.e., he told the poor, the lepers, the ignored, etc. that they had access to the Kingdom -- which was not something the religious elite of the day were interested in.

In a recent home group, we looked at the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman -- a woman who was excluded by both her own community and the Jewish one. Despite all of her attempts to get him to exclude her, he ducked past her defenses and kept opening doors to her until she couldn't help but say yes to him. It was a very eye-opening discussion -- in how we exclude ourselves from a relationship with God, and how Jesus fights to bring us into one, even despite ourselves.

A lot of food for thought these days.
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Old 06-08-2006, 01:26 PM   #68
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One of the things the author points out is that Jesus wasn't crucified for being too religious or starting a new religion. He was crucified for expanding the boundaries of the Kingdom of God beyond what some considered acceptable -- i.e., he told the poor, the lepers, the ignored, etc. that they had access to the Kingdom -- which was not something the religious elite of the day were interested in.

In a recent home group, we looked at the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman -- a woman who was excluded by both her own community and the Jewish one. Despite all of her attempts to get him to exclude her, he ducked past her defenses and kept opening doors to her until she couldn't help but say yes to him. It was a very eye-opening discussion -- in how we exclude ourselves from a relationship with God, and how Jesus fights to bring us into one, even despite ourselves.

A lot of food for thought these days.




agreed.
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Old 06-08-2006, 01:40 PM   #69
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Originally posted by maycocksean
I've just got to STRONGLY disagree with the idea implied by some posters here that religion is the "cause of most the world's violence." The impliciation that we'd all live in peace if we were all atheists is just bunk, absolute and total bunk.
Intolerance and oppression have caused most of the world's violence.

Religion (or lack thereof) has been a primary channel of intolerance and oppression throughout history.

That in no way implies that atheism = peace, not sure where that came from.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:16 AM   #70
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Originally posted by Irvine511




no one who has ever pointed to the ability of religion to inspire apocalyptic violence in people has posited that atheism is a way towards peace. it's also a misunderstanding to portray this viewpoint as one that says that religion "causes" violence. i believe it inspires violence, it justifies violence, and it can lend violence a sense of virtue. i can't think of any other force -- besides ultra-nationalism -- that does this as well as religion.

i think it is just as wrong to solely blame religion as it is not to acknowledge that religion, because it posits access to the infinit and the Truth (however conveniently that is defined), can motivate men to do terrible things, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to flying airplanes into skyscrapers.

and though Lennon was an atheist (i think), he didn't say "no god," he just said "no religion." a big difference, imho.
I agree. Like I said I think we argued this point before a few months back. And it is true that religion is an excellent cloak for baser motives for all the reasons you listed. And I also agree with the inherent danger of religion's "access to Absolute Truth" which is the thing I gained from Under the Banner of Heaven.

I guess all I'm saying is that it's sloppy thinking to say it's religion in and of itself. Or spirituality. Or a belief in God. What really motivates wars, violence, terrorism is often cloaked by the religious trappings but I think it what we should really focus on which is greed, fear of the "unknown other", and pride.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:18 AM   #71
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Originally posted by AliEnvy


Intolerance and oppression have caused most of the world's violence.

Religion (or lack thereof) has been a primary channel of intolerance and oppression throughout history.

That in no way implies that atheism = peace, not sure where that came from.
You summed it up very nicely--said what I was trying to say much better than I did.

Where the aetheism equals peace bit came from is that sometimes people imply this. At least that's the way it comes across to me.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:27 AM   #72
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Originally posted by maycocksean


I agree. Like I said I think we argued this point before a few months back. And it is true that religion is an excellent cloak for baser motives for all the reasons you listed. And I also agree with the inherent danger of religion's "access to Absolute Truth" which is the thing I gained from Under the Banner of Heaven.

I guess all I'm saying is that it's sloppy thinking to say it's religion in and of itself. Or spirituality. Or a belief in God. What really motivates wars, violence, terrorism is often cloaked by the religious trappings but I think it what we should really focus on which is greed, fear of the "unknown other", and pride.
You know I think Khomeni makes a very good point about motive
Quote:
Islam is Not a Religion of Pacifists
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, 1942

Islam’s jihad is a struggle against idolatry, sexual deviation, plunder, repression, and cruelty. The war waged by [non-Islamic] conquerors, however, aims at promoting lust and animal pleasures. They care not if whole countries are wiped out and many families left homeless. But those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [God’s law]. ...

Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does that mean that Muslim should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill the [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender [to the enemy]? Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors!

There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.
A religion of peace ; why should Islam be the exception to the rule.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:29 AM   #73
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I originally had this in mind as well, but then it opens up the whole "save by works vs. saved by Grace" can of worms. Plenty of Christians and large denominations still believe that it is not Grace/acceptance of the Savior alone that is necessary for salvation.

My own personal interpretation of what it means to follow Christ is basically accept that I am saved by Grace alone, not by my own works. To me, it's comforting to believe in something larger than myself and my own actions.

But, there are plenty who believe in being saved by their Christian works. Or, the belief that believers don't have access to a personal relationship with Jesus and can acheive this only through the institutional Church ( ). I don't agree at all, because if you're saved by your own works, you don't NEED Christ, but they're still Christians, IMO. Maybe "following Christ" to them is trying to act exactly like Christ so that they are saved.
See I don't think that Christians who believe in a combination of works/grace should necessarily be excluded. (And I say this as someone who believes, like you, in a Grace-Only salvation). Most of my students are Catholic and I've spent all year trying to convince them that Christians and Catholics are one and the same. If I agreed with your distinction I'd have to admitt I was wrong to them (and we can't have that now can we?)

The key is that all Christians believe that they NEED Jesus. Whether they feel they NEED "Jesus and. . ." is irrelevant in terms of defining the word Christian. Perhaps the biggest theological struggle of Christianity is to reconcile the idea of the gospel of grace with the obvious need for a "change of life." Some Christians resolve this by adding in some kind of a "works" thing. I don't think it's the "right" solution but then I don't believe in hell either and that doesn't mean that those who disagree with me "aren't Christians." (Nor does my lack of belief in hell disqualify me as a Christian).

Where we wandering towards with this discussion is "Who is REALLY a Christian, and who is a sham posing as one, claiming the name Christian without actually being one." The answer to this question we can never know for sure, nor should we try to know for sure.
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:41 AM   #74
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Originally posted by maycocksean
I guess all I'm saying is that it's sloppy thinking to say it's religion in and of itself. Or spirituality. Or a belief in God. What really motivates wars, violence, terrorism is often cloaked by the religious trappings but I think it what we should really focus on which is greed, fear of the "unknown other", and pride.
Definitely, I agree. When those that seek power and control over a group of people (to gain or retain it) want to gain support for their position, they need to condemn their opponents. The best way to get mass support to create "us versus them" is to make the opponents' differences evil (be they differences that are ideological, political, religious, cultural, racial, geographical etc etc). The better they are at tapping into the fears and insecurities of the masses and claiming to be their protectors the more powerful they become.
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:55 AM   #75
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Where we wandering towards with this discussion is "Who is REALLY a Christian, and who is a sham posing as one, claiming the name Christian without actually being one." The answer to this question we can never know for sure, nor should we try to know for sure.


No matter how broadly or narrowly you word a definition of Christian, it is open to interpretation and claims of being to broad or too narrow.

Do you agree, nbc? Still waiting for your definition.
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