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Old 12-05-2004, 04:03 PM   #166
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yimou, I welcome you to participate and state your views, and ask any questions you want.
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Old 12-05-2004, 06:49 PM   #167
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now, to your second point. macfistowannabe was dead on right. if this child molester truly had faith in his heart, he would be struck down in terror at the monstrosity of his actions, for "the wages of sin is death." if he were to be truly repentant for these actions, make a confession to God of these actions, then by the grace of God, he will have forgiveness. however, if this person continues in sin, with a clean conscious, never becoming fully aware of their sin, and never fully repenting, then i believe that their faith has not been true, and they will receive the just punnishment for their actions.

as far as the atheist person curing cancer...he/she has performed an excellent service to humanity, and i can only imagine that they will be rewarded greatly by humanity for it. however, if this person is an atheist, they would not be performing this service out of a desire to please God would they? so i would not expect this person to be seeking a reward from God either. they will have the reward that they sought, but it will be an earthly one.
this still doesn't work for me, and i find it much more intellecutally responsible for someone to take a look at some of the central messages of their church and of scripture and to take the good and ignore the bad. we have rationality, we have intelligence, we have free will. i'd rather use those than blind faith. besides, if i listened to everything my church said, i'd pretty much have to kill myself. but that's another story. simply, i don't know how anyone anywhere can take scripture literally, even fully within context. they spoke, what, ancient Sanskrit? we speak English. we interpret and read scripture in English, and don't give me anything about God's message coming clearly across in all languages -- these were words written by men, and as such are filled with prejudices of their historical context. the spirit of Scripture is one thing, but if you read something that goes against your heart of hearts -- i'm going to trust my heart, because i know i can trust that. as for myself -- what i know of the "jesus message" i generally like, but i find it rather irrelevant if he was the Son of God or not. it doesn't seem to matter, whereas the message is what lives and breathes today. the man is gone, the message isn't.

maybe child molestor is a bad example (i was hung over, looking for something morally reprehensible) but i think the atheist who cures cancer is a good example. i don't want my doctor's looking to glorify god when they do research, i want them to focus on curing human beings. these things don't have to be mutually exclusive, and i think many (including Bono!) would say they are one and the same. but i'd rather put God aside and not worry about him looking over my shoulder or whatever and focus on the real and the practical and relieving the suffering of his fellow men. in fact, this is a much purer motivation and less self-interested. how awful would it be if all we did was to guarantee some kind of highly subjective interpretation of entrance into heaven -- The Playboy Mansion, as it were. if we are creatures born of love and logic (call that God), and we do things in good faith whereby we listen to both our hearts as well as our fellow people, then that should be more than enough. be here now.
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Old 12-05-2004, 07:36 PM   #168
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this still doesn't work for me, and i find it much more intellecutally responsible for someone to take a look at some of the central messages of their church and of scripture and to take the good and ignore the bad. we have rationality, we have intelligence, we have free will. i'd rather use those than blind faith. besides, if i listened to everything my church said, i'd pretty much have to kill myself. but that's another story. simply, i don't know how anyone anywhere can take scripture literally, even fully within context. they spoke, what, ancient Sanskrit? we speak English. we interpret and read scripture in English, and don't give me anything about God's message coming clearly across in all languages -- these were words written by men, and as such are filled with prejudices of their historical context. the spirit of Scripture is one thing, but if you read something that goes against your heart of hearts -- i'm going to trust my heart, because i know i can trust that. as for myself -- what i know of the "jesus message" i generally like, but i find it rather irrelevant if he was the Son of God or not. it doesn't seem to matter, whereas the message is what lives and breathes today. the man is gone, the message isn't.

maybe child molestor is a bad example (i was hung over, looking for something morally reprehensible) but i think the atheist who cures cancer is a good example. i don't want my doctor's looking to glorify god when they do research, i want them to focus on curing human beings. these things don't have to be mutually exclusive, and i think many (including Bono!) would say they are one and the same. but i'd rather put God aside and not worry about him looking over my shoulder or whatever and focus on the real and the practical and relieving the suffering of his fellow men. in fact, this is a much purer motivation and less self-interested. how awful would it be if all we did was to guarantee some kind of highly subjective interpretation of entrance into heaven -- The Playboy Mansion, as it were. if we are creatures born of love and logic (call that God), and we do things in good faith whereby we listen to both our hearts as well as our fellow people, then that should be more than enough. be here now.
um, blind faith? i live my life by faith, but i don't know if i would describe that as blind faith, at least in the way you term it. i think we all live every aspect of our lives by faith. nothing in life can be proven beyond a complete shadow of a doubt, but there comes a point where we all except things as we believe them to be.

and no, the Bible was not originally written in sanskrit. the Biblical languages, correct me if i'm wrong, are greek and hebrew. the Bible still exists in its greek and hebrew forms today, and the English translation comes from that.

and you are right that works and faith are not mutually exclusive. i think that macfistowannabe and myself have both stated that they can coexist perfectly and that they can exist seperately (though faith is dead without works and works are meaningless to God without faith).

you are also correct when you state that it would be shameful to do these works in an attempt to get into heaven. that would be the situation of "the playboy mansion". that is the case i've made all along, that works cannot gain merit in God's eyes, so to attempt this is to work in vain. works by their very nature are meant to aid other humans, God doesn't need our help, so good works are certainly not done for His benefit.

and, my statements regarding the pedophile hold true for any other sin and sinner (myself included). if i do not fully realize my sin, and/or do not truly repent of it, then my sin is not forgiven. if however, i do realize my sin, which is terrifying to me when i realize the consequences of sin is eternal death, and truly repent of this sin, then because of Christ suffering and dying, i am forgiven.

finally, entrance into heaven is not subjective. Christ died so that all the world might be saved through Him. everyone on earth is a sinner, and because of this deserve the punnishment of hell. however, Christ was sent to earth to take receive our punnishment for us. all that is required of us is a faith that Christ did indeed die for our sins, and the salvation that comes along with it.
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Old 12-05-2004, 07:46 PM   #169
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also, i got to thinking about the "way too much confidence" thing, and it reminded me of something that my pastor told me when i first started going to church last year. i was extremely skeptical of church, but was also worried how i would know whether or not i was saved, because i didn't think i was very confident in my faith.

he explained salvation like this: as sinners, it is like we have fallen off of a cliff. the only thing that can save us is if someone throws us a rope. now when this rope comes, we have some choices. we can end upwithout a hold of the rope (that is we don't grab for it) and continue falling. or we can grasp the rope. if we grasp the rope, and have a hold of it at all, even if it is only between your tumb and forefinger, you still have stopped falling, even though you could slip off at any minute. once we have a hold of it though, we also have an oppurtunity to take that rope and tie it in a not around our waist to lessen our chances of slipping out.

don't know if anyone will consider this relevant or not, but it came to mind, so i wrote it down.
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Old 12-05-2004, 07:49 PM   #170
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I don't deserve to be punished for the crimes of my ancestors nor do I subscribe to the concept that there is a blood curse upon mankind to that effect, if there is a God (and I do not think that there is but I could be wrong) out there then I reject that submission to it's will and all the baggage associated. We live our lives and die, the human condition is the only thing to consider in all of this.
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Old 12-05-2004, 07:59 PM   #171
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I don't deserve to be punished for the crimes of my ancestors nor do I subscribe to the concept that there is a blood curse upon mankind to that effect, if there is a God (and I do not think that there is but I could be wrong) out there then I reject that submission to it's will and all the baggage associated. We live our lives and die, the human condition is the only thing to consider in all of this.
you will not be punnished for the crimes of your ancestors. the only punnishment will be your own deeds, and i dion't think anyone will claim that there was not a time in their life where they commited a sin/hurt someone else/broke a law/or however else you want to term it.

"if there is a God" you have every right to reject submission to his will and all the baggage assosciated with it. however, if the possibility that you leave open does happen, God will honor your request to be apart from him, and will leave you apart from him for eternity (which is what hell is, the eternal seperation from God).
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Old 12-05-2004, 08:28 PM   #172
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Quote:
Originally posted by shrmn8rpoptart
um, blind faith? i live my life by faith, but i don't know if i would describe that as blind faith, at least in the way you term it. i think we all live every aspect of our lives by faith. nothing in life can be proven beyond a complete shadow of a doubt, but there comes a point where we all except things as we believe them to be.

and no, the Bible was not originally written in sanskrit. the Biblical languages, correct me if i'm wrong, are greek and hebrew. the Bible still exists in its greek and hebrew forms today, and the English translation comes from that.

and you are right that works and faith are not mutually exclusive. i think that macfistowannabe and myself have both stated that they can coexist perfectly and that they can exist seperately (though faith is dead without works and works are meaningless to God without faith).

you are also correct when you state that it would be shameful to do these works in an attempt to get into heaven. that would be the situation of "the playboy mansion". that is the case i've made all along, that works cannot gain merit in God's eyes, so to attempt this is to work in vain. works by their very nature are meant to aid other humans, God doesn't need our help, so good works are certainly not done for His benefit.

and, my statements regarding the pedophile hold true for any other sin and sinner (myself included). if i do not fully realize my sin, and/or do not truly repent of it, then my sin is not forgiven. if however, i do realize my sin, which is terrifying to me when i realize the consequences of sin is eternal death, and truly repent of this sin, then because of Christ suffering and dying, i am forgiven.

finally, entrance into heaven is not subjective. Christ died so that all the world might be saved through Him. everyone on earth is a sinner, and because of this deserve the punnishment of hell. however, Christ was sent to earth to take receive our punnishment for us. all that is required of us is a faith that Christ did indeed die for our sins, and the salvation that comes along with it.

but what did they speak when Jesus was alive? what was the language Jesus used to explain his message? was that Greek? was that Hebrew? already, translation issues, things written well after the fact, etc. the point i'm getting at is that the literal interpretation of Scripture is simply bad scholarship, bad reading, and would never past muster if we were to regard it as any other piece of writing.

and your above standard for getting into heaven is 100% subjective -- you've tossed aside all other religions, or even variations within Chrstianity. as a Christian, i'm sure this is what you believe, but to not understand the subjectivity of the faith you profess renders your interpretations and proclomations suspect, if not entirely moot. faith is predicated upon doubt.

i simply find your black-and-white view on all this unsettling, and has much more in common with our Islamofascist friends. there's very little of "this is what i/we belive" and very much "this is the way that it is." as i originally alluded to, that makes most of us who don't share your certainty and confidence want to ask for the bill and go home.

if we are of God, made from God and in his image, and we work to help our fellow man, how are works not then ways of helping God? who do you think is more in tune with the Jesus message: the atheist who cures cancer, or the true blue believer who might bang on some doors and evangelize about the importance of faith but does little else? one may have faith, and the other may not, but you've also missed my point about The Playboy Mansion -- the bogus "works" are those works done with the ulterior motive (gosh, gotta get myself into heaven!) and the real works are those done with the intent of alleviating the suffering of the earthly lives of God's children. the former is self-interested, the latter is humble and real.

finally, sin. how do you know if you've truly repented? how do you know if you've been absolved? how do you know you've understood the magnitude and implications of your sins? your paragraph sites the motivation of repenting as not the understanding of how your sin negatively impacts the lives of those around you -- like how molesting a child destroys him/her in myriad, almost unfathomable ways -- but the fear you have of eternal death.

in the end, the "faith alone" argument strikes me as terribly narcissistic.

is it in Scripture? i don't care. as i mentioned before, i'm going to listen to my mind and heart -- which, by extention, were given to me by God -- and use those instruments to guide me towards a life better lived.
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Old 12-05-2004, 08:31 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally posted by shrmn8rpoptart
you will not be punnished for the crimes of your ancestors. the only punnishment will be your own deeds, and i dion't think anyone will claim that there was not a time in their life where they commited a sin/hurt someone else/broke a law/or however else you want to term it.

you've missed the point, i think (correct me A_Wanderer if i'm wrong).

what AW is refering to is the christian idea that by virtue of being human, you are therefore a sinner. he rejects that notion, that we are all guilty by virtue of humanity, in the way that most contemporary white American southerners, for example, cannot be held personally responsible for slavery.
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Old 12-05-2004, 08:53 PM   #174
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I think a lot of times we have to look at God's perspective. We're puny, tiny beings that can't compare to his perfection and his authority. He sees us debate whether or not he even exists, he sees us reject Jesus, who was sent from him. If he were a merciless god, he would have us wiped off the face of the earth. None of us deserve to be in his presence, but through his unlimited love, we are somehow granted that option, without any worthiness in us.
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:06 PM   #175
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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
I think a lot of times we have to look at God's perspective. We're puny, tiny beings that can't compare to his perfection and his authority. He sees us debate whether or not he even exists, he sees us reject Jesus, who was sent from him. If he were a merciless god, he would have us wiped off the face of the earth. None of us deserve to be in his presence, but through his unlimited love, we are somehow granted that option, without any worthiness in us.

why, then, did he give us the ability and the *need* to quesiton him, to challenge him, and to exercise the right to reject him if we should so choose?
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:16 PM   #176
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if we are of God, made from God and in his image, and we work to help our fellow man, how are works not then ways of helping God? who do you think is more in tune with the Jesus message: the atheist who cures cancer, or the true blue believer who might bang on some doors and evangelize about the importance of faith but does little else? one may have faith, and the other may not, but you've also missed my point about The Playboy Mansion -- the bogus "works" are those works done with the ulterior motive (gosh, gotta get myself into heaven!) and the real works are those done with the intent of alleviating the suffering of the earthly lives of God's children. the former is self-interested, the latter is humble and real.

no. i think i got your point about the playboy mansion dead on. as i stated, works are not done to gain God's favor, whether you are a believer or not. we cannot do anything to gain God's favor. works have NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER ON SALVATION! so like i said, if that is the reason you are doing something, then you are doing that something in vain. i have never at any point said that people do not do fantastic things for humanity. some people do them out of a belief in Christ that makes them a joyful servant to their fellow men. some people do this whether or not they are believers. this does not change the amount to which it aids humankind. they still do a great service to the world. i just believe that (based on my what the Bible says [though i know that doesn't move anyone in the least]) since works have no effect on salvation, there is no reason for God to look more kindly on the works of a non-believer, than he would that of a non-believer.

also, i would argue that not all people out there working to cure cancer (or whatever good works they do) are in it for humble, real reasons. i don't think either of us would disagree that there are those in it for the money and/or credit, just as there are Christians who think that their works will get them into heaven.

however, i also would say that there are Christians out there evangelizing, not for their own salvation, but because they are truly interested in making sure their neighbor shares in the glories of heaven. just as those "humble and real" doctors are concerned about people's physical health, these are "humble and real" Christians who are concerned with people's spiritual health.
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:16 PM   #177
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Irvine511, you said this: i'm going to trust my heart, because i know i can trust that.

my first reaction to that: YIKES.

How do you know you can trust your heart? What if your heart is TERRIBLY wrong and wants to mislead you.

Here's an extreme: what if Hitler said he was trusting his heart? A suicide bomber? A person who commits suicide?

I guess I'm saying that in my experience, there have been plenty of times that my heart has not been trustworthy.


And let's tease out this example of this altruistic athiest doctor who wants to cure cancer? What is going to be his moral compass in this endeavor?

What will he/she be willing to do in order to cure cancer? Test experimental drugs on children, if necessary? Use stem cells from aborted fetuses? Write misleading grant applications in order to fund research? Steal? Have horrible bedside manner? Treat his/her patients like dirt in order to have data to cure the disease? Do the research purely for self-serving

Perhaps I'm belaboring point, but I think shrmn8rpoptart has a point: it's not just that the doctor is doing it for some simple inner desire to please and glorify God, but that doing it within some framework of faith might direct the cancer-curing research in a truly helpful way. I'm sorry I can't word that any better.

And here's another thing that comes to mind:

I think that the chaplain or pastor (or lay person, for that matter) who helps a person die peacefully and hope-fully from incurable cancer is actually more in line with what God desires from us and what we, as humans, truly need than the doctor--Christian or not--who breaks his/her neck and spends millions of dollars (and causes in the process more pain, as well) in order to delay a death that is inevitable, anyway. In some ways, Western medicine has viewed people as problems to be solved for far too long.

Then again, when the sick person in question is a child, I guess these questions become a little more difficult again.
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:19 PM   #178
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P.S. I'm sorry that last post was so disjointed and poorly-worded. It's been a long day.

I have a technical question: how are ya'll doing that quote offset thing, where a quote from a previous post appears in a white text block?
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:21 PM   #179
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Quote:
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why, then, did he give us the ability and the *need* to quesiton him, to challenge him, and to exercise the right to reject him if we should so choose?
Somehow, God allows us to have that freedom, he even allows us to be angry with him at times. I don't believe he likes a challenge or likes competition, but that's something humanity that decided was clever. Some people get the idea that life is a big throwaway, and waste their own trying to prove that God doesn't exist. I like to think of my life on earth as a temporary location, and life on earth certainly doesn't last forever. This helps me overcome struggles, and gives me a hope for eternal life.
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Old 12-05-2004, 09:22 PM   #180
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Quote:
Originally posted by pwmartin
P.S. I'm sorry that last post was so disjointed and poorly-worded. It's been a long day.

I have a technical question: how are ya'll doing that quote offset thing, where a quote from a previous post appears in a white text block?
nah, you flushed out some things that i had not thought of them, and explained them better and more succinctly than i've been doing.

oh, and underneath each post is a button that says quote, i just click on that...
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