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Old 03-14-2002, 06:37 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram:
I couldn't agree with you more. I think a lot of it has to do with people characterizing Christianity based on the USA. It's not the same Christianity I grew up with half a world away. It's not the only way.
Right, anitram. We shouldn't take into account what the USA says about Christianity or what Europe says about Christianity. We should look at what Christ and the Bible say about Christianity.

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Old 03-14-2002, 07:30 PM   #32
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Melon:

I've reviewed the list I originally characterized as the core of Christianity, and I now recognize that some parts of that list are not necessarily essential - but the alternatives are internally inconsistent.

For example, some denominations subscribe to predestination, the belief that God chose His followers and that we had no real freedom in the matter. IF that were true, that means that God's created several billion human souls to simply condemn most of them - that the humans that weren't saved could NOT have been saved - and that idea is completely contrary to the idea of a loving God. I suppose a denomination could still believe that and be considered Christian, but I stand by my assertion that the denomination is holding an utterly inconsistent view of God.

While I now admit that parts of my list are not essential to Christianity, I ABSOLUTELY stand by my assertion that all humans are sinners (with the likely exception of infants and the mentally handicapped), and that on our own we are doomed to eternal separation from God.

Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
As for that long list of supposed requirements (the one that makes me laugh is the one that I am supposed to believe I have "human failings," implying I'm evil), I don't think that all Christians have to share it.
I have to say, that this strikes me as an appalling arrogant statement for a Christian to make. It appears that you're saying that you're not a sinner.

Do you HONESTLY believe that?

Do you honestly think that you are perfect? That you can, ON YOUR OWN, earn God's favor?

If so, why did Christ come to Earth? And why in the world did He allow Himself to be crucified?

Quote:
As for the reference to Satan, you are playing semantics games. You know exactly what I mean: the only general requirement for Christianity is true faith in God and faith in Jesus. The rest of morality depends on conscience and the specific denomination you belong to, but those aren't "Christian" requirements.
I'm not playing a semantics game: I do believe that demons also believe that Christ is the Messiah. There's a HUGE difference between believing that Christ existed, that He was a good teacher, that He was the Messiah, and the He is one's personal Savior and Lord.

Look: Catholics believe in Transubstantiation and a few other things that I disagree with, but, ultimately, we're Christian brothers, people in the same Church that worship in different buildings.

But if someone says that Christ is the Messiah, but NOT his personal Lord and Savior, on the basis that he was never a sinner to begin with, he can still claim to be a Christian, but I don't believe him. He's not part of the same Christian church as I am.

Quote:
I do respect others beliefs in this thread, including yours, but I do not share them. It is that simple. With that, I believe that, because of the strict requirements that conservative Christianity has placed on being a Christian, it has driven away far more potential converts than it has attracted. For those here who think that all Christians are like the fundamentalist "Bible Belters," I can assure you that that is wholly incorrect. There are plenty of liberal Christian sects, but they don't televangelize, nor scream of "fire and brimstone" on street corners, nor do they cast the first stone on non-believers.
So, you respect my beliefs, but conservative Christians scream of "fire and brimstone" on street corners and "cast the first stone on non-believers"? With friends like you, who needs enemies?

I admit, sticking to my principles may have driven away potential converts, but IF IT'S TURE, what does it matter how many people it's driven away?

Would you PREFER that we water down Christianity, moving it from a redemptive and necessary faith to a mere philosophy or fashion choice?

I'm sorry, but IT'S NOT LEGALISM to say that all men are sinners: it's a basic tenet. If it wasn't true, there's no reason at all to be a Christian - it's much too difficult to resist temptation and maintain a personal relationship with God. We'd be happier indulging our every whim, and if we're not sinners, WHY NOT INDULGE?

I am, again, APPALLED by your arrogance in thinking that you're not a sinner - that the enitre idea is "laughable".

If you address no other part of this post, I ask you to answer this: if you're not a sinner, why was Christ crucified?
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Old 03-14-2002, 07:39 PM   #33
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I admit I'm imperfect, but I hate the guilt trip ridden by the whole "sinner" title. And I think back to all the abuses of "original sin" in history.

So, once again, we are virtually in agreement, aside from my own admission that I hate to use the more common, accepted term. Yes, I am a sinner, but my entire life is not defined by it, nor do I believe that I'm inherently evil, as defined by "original sin."

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
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Old 03-14-2002, 07:53 PM   #34
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Fair enough, Melon.

Yeah, I too hate the idea of original sin. It smacks of predestination, it seems unnecessary given natural human behavior, and it's problematic in terms of Christ's humanity.

That is, if humans are born sinners and Christ is fully human, wouldn't Christ also be a sinner? Probably, so original sin isn't likely.

That said, I don't think all humans are naturally evil - that is, more evil than good. But I think we've all demonstrated enough moments of selfishness that we cannot possibly meet the standards of perfection that a God of justice demands.

God is just, so reconciliation between man and God requires a heavy price to be paid. But God is merciful, so He became a man and paid that price himself. To remove either aspect of God (justice and mercy) is to devalue what happened on the cross.
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Old 03-14-2002, 08:03 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
But I think we've all demonstrated enough moments of selfishness that we cannot possibly meet the standards of perfection that a God of justice demands.

God is just, so reconciliation between man and God requires a heavy price to be paid. But God is merciful, so He became a man and paid that price himself. To remove either aspect of God (justice and mercy) is to devalue what happened on the cross.
True, true, true!

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Old 03-15-2002, 08:24 AM   #36
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On the main issue, i think most people become christian via:

- cultural upbringing
- belief instilled from a young age (brainwashing) which in modern times tends to dissapear in the late teenage years
- personal choice via reading documentation and believing.

I have also heard that people become christian via the following, although don't know of anyone personally this has happened to:

- Going along to a church and finding salvation
- Having a visitation
- Wanting explanation for a near death experience
- Wanting to get their kids into a better school
- Finding christian people to be like minded and a good group of people to hang out with

Does anyone know the name of that book that Bono gave Noel Gallagher to read the day his father died?

Or if anyone out there could offer me just one thing to convince me to become a chritian, what would it be?

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Old 03-15-2002, 08:43 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by zoomerang II:



Or if anyone out there could offer me just one thing to convince me to become a chritian, what would it be?

Can't help you here. I don't have a single thing I could say to convince you to become a Christian, nor would I care to convince you. In any case, based on your earlier post, I think you already are a Christian.
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Old 03-15-2002, 11:24 AM   #38
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A couple of verses in the Bible that I use as references are Mark 16:16 (plain & simple) and Matthew 22:36-40. The book of Acts is also full of examples of people being saved.

As far as how to convert someone....well, I think the best way is to live your life in such a way that you emulate Christ. Then others will surely see the goodness in you and will want to know what makes you tick. For most people, I think the "bible-thumping" approach is more of a turn-off. I think you should treat people in a respectful manner, but don't shy away from telling the truth. Jesus said that the greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. And then you are to love your neighbor as yourself. (CR Matthew 22:36-40 and Mark 12:29-31) Pretty simple concept actually, but so hard to do!
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Old 03-15-2002, 11:24 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally posted by zoomerang II:

Or if anyone out there could offer me just one thing to convince me to become a chritian, what would it be?
Here is the one thing that convinces me most that Christianity is the one true way, rather than any religion.
We al know what a wicked world we live in. The reason for the this is that we all sin, many live a lifestyle of constant sin. The exact opposite of sin is God, who is perfectly holy. Religions tell us that if we do this enough or that enough, God will say "okay, you're not perfect, but I'll let you in to my kingdon because you tried so darned hard". But then the question becomes "How good is good enough"? How many times must I pray this certain prayer or how many times am I allowed to commit this certain sin before I am doomed to hell? The whole religous system is so arbitrary, because teher are no standards. However, with Christianity, we know that God's standard is complete sinlessness. God cannot abide to be in the presence of sin whatsoever, because darkness and light cannot abide together. That's what sets Christianity apart from all others - the focus is not on what we can do to get to Heaven, but on what Christ has done to enable us to get there. Christ knew that man could never be "good enough" to be in God's kingdom (good enough would be perfect). His love for mankind was so great that he left his place at the Father's right hand to become a baby human, born in a humble stable in a dirty little town called Bethlehem. 33 years later, in Jerusalem, Christ would voluntarily lay down his life and die on a cross for mankind - he would pay the price so that mankind wouldn't have to (the price for sin is death). Christ was perfect man and God at the same time. He took our punishment upon himself and let his hol;y blood be shed so taht we could be drawn to God. 3 days later, he rose from the dead, defeating death for us. Only in Christ are these things possible. We could never be "good enough" on our own. When you become a Christian, teh blood of Jesus covers your sin (past, present and future), and God sees them no more. You are forgiven forever. Tehn, the hOly Spirit moves in, and you now have a new power source. Praise be to God!
So, to sum it up, the one thing I would tell you is that Christianity is not about what we can do to reach God, but rather what he has done to reach us. "A greater love hath no man this; that a friend would lay down his life for him."


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Old 03-15-2002, 04:49 PM   #40
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Or, simply...

Grace makes beauty
Out of ugly things
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Old 03-16-2002, 03:09 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally posted by zoomerang II:
Or if anyone out there could offer me just one thing to convince me to become a chritian, what would it be?
I agree with 80sU2isBest, but I'd like to offer a different wording for the same explanation:

I've heard, once or twice, that a group of acadmics and theologians were discussing the religions of the world and trying to determine what, if anything, separated Christianity from the pack. As the story goes, C.S. Lewis walked in answered the question very succinctly:

"Grace."

Whether the story is accurate, I do believe that its meaning is true. Christianity is uniquely defined by two aspects of grace: we need it, and God provides it.

By "grace", I do not mean any sort of physical dexterity (like the grace of a ballerina). Rather, I mean, "unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification," as Merriam-Webster defined it. The key phrase is this: unmerited devine assistance.

All of us need grace. I'm a Christian, but even so, I find it impossible to be consistent. I'm supposed to constantly love God and others, and yet the slightest thing - too little sleep, a little too much work - and I snap at people and become predictably selfish. I realize that through diligence and discipline, I can become a better person, but I know absolutely that, without God's help, I CANNOT become the person God wants me to be.

All of us are God's creations, but we've been given the ability to choose whether to obey or disobey His will. Ultimately, we've all disobeyed, creating a rift between us and God. Without a miracle from the almighty, that rift cannot be restored. And even after that restoration, a miracle is required to change us, so that we are no longer God's creations or servants, but His sons and daughters.

We need God's grace.

That, to me, seems to be obvious. It can be sensed through our sense of guilt and even through the sense that "something's not right", that how the world is simply does not match how the world should be. I believe this description of the world as "lost" is accurate; unfortunately, it's a bleak description indeed. As it stands, there's no hope that we can undo the mess we've made as a species or as individuals.

Fortunately, I not only believe that grace is needed, but that it is also provided. I believe that God is just, that our disobedience cannot be ignored. But I also believe that he loves us absolutely, and that He Himself took the punishment we deserve so that the rift between us can be closed, that we can be restored to Him. He became one of us, a human being named Jesus, lived the only perfect life in all of history, and was wrongly executed, taking the punishment for the wrongs we've committed.

The analogy is a judge whose son is guilty of some heinous crime. As a judge and defender of the law, he cannot let the crime go unpunished, or have its sentence diminished. But, as a loving father, he decides to take on the punishment himself so that his son can have a second chance.

God loves us absolutely and unconditionally. He loves us not because of the good we've done, because that good is not enough to erase the selfishness. He loves us DESPITE what we've done. He loved us before we worthy of being loved. And, through Christ, He offers this absolutely free gift of reconciliation to everyone, to all those willing to accept that gift.

That's the one thing Christ offers: grace. He teaches that we all desperately need grace and that He freely provides it.

In the words of a song we occasionally sing in church:

We owed a debt we could not pay;
He paid a debt he did not owe.


Or:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.
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Old 04-04-2002, 10:24 PM   #42
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Faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of God, who lived, died, and was resurrected.
Agreed. You sound like a Methodist there.
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Old 04-05-2002, 09:43 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by zoomerang II:
Does anyone know the name of that book that Bono gave Noel Gallagher to read the day his father died?

Bono gave Noel "What's So Amazing About Grace" by Philip Yancey. I don't know that it was the day his father died, but I know he gave him that book.
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Old 04-05-2002, 01:44 PM   #44
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People like Falwell and Robertson give Christianity a bad name. Both of these guys and others like them are very judgemental of others. Well the God I believe in said that judgement was for Him and Him alone to do. " Judge not lest ye be judged." So I don't think these guys are good choices to represent Christianity. But when the liberal news media need a quote on the Christian religion they automatically go to Pat Robertson etc. because they know there is a good chance they will get a quote making Christianity look bad.
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