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Old 12-03-2004, 12:39 PM   #106
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Se7en, you're right God is fair and just. One of the greatest things about him is that he works with us where we're at. One thing you said that you should think about is where you were talking about new feelings you were feeling that led to you leaving Christianity. We all know feelings change like the wind. There's even a Bible verse that says something similar. I feel like quitting my job, but I know that wouldn't be the wise thing to do right now in my life, you know? And we're talking about your salvation here! I would encourage you to continue praying, read through the Bible more and check out "The Case for Faith" or "The Case for Christ." They both answer the toughest cases against the faith with facts and research, not just philosophically. The thing that made me sad after reading your above post is it seems like you're OK with the way things are and if there is a God and he's listening, he'll be fair and judge you where you're at. You're right he will — but are you REALLY comfortable with that turning out alright? To me it sounds like it would take more faith to believe that than to believe that he died for you, he forgives you and through that you can be alright on judgement day, you know? Plus, you're missing out on a relationship with him. Church is good if you're in a good church, but there's much more to being a Christian than that. The very fact that you're posting this stuff and receiving responses from Christians seems like God's calling you back to a relationship with him. What do you think?
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Old 12-03-2004, 12:43 PM   #107
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I find it hard for things to be between me and the world. Things that are between me and God are often personal, but my greatest comfort is that nobody stands in the way of it.
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:07 PM   #108
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[i]The very fact that you're posting this stuff and receiving responses from Christians seems like God's calling you back to a relationship with him. What do you think? [/B]

this isn't my issue at all, but this is what turns many people off about Christianity and some Christians -- this is where it sounds really, really cultish to me. *everything* is a message from God if you just look at it correctly, and if you disagree, just close your eyes and think hard enough and eventually you'll come around. sometimes, as Freud said, a cigar is just a cigar. maybe the responses from Christians are reinforcing his decision to move away from the church? seems just as valid an interpretation.

i don't mean that to come off as hostile -- i'm sure your intentions are 100% noble. just wanted to use that as an example to make a quick point.
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:10 PM   #109
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Originally posted by coemgen
Se7en, you're right God is fair and just. One of the greatest things about him is that he works with us where we're at. One thing you said that you should think about is where you were talking about new feelings you were feeling that led to you leaving Christianity. We all know feelings change like the wind. There's even a Bible verse that says something similar. I feel like quitting my job, but I know that wouldn't be the wise thing to do right now in my life, you know? And we're talking about your salvation here! I would encourage you to continue praying, read through the Bible more and check out "The Case for Faith" or "The Case for Christ." They both answer the toughest cases against the faith with facts and research, not just philosophically. The thing that made me sad after reading your above post is it seems like you're OK with the way things are and if there is a God and he's listening, he'll be fair and judge you where you're at. You're right he will — but are you REALLY comfortable with that turning out alright? To me it sounds like it would take more faith to believe that than to believe that he died for you, he forgives you and through that you can be alright on judgement day, you know? Plus, you're missing out on a relationship with him. Church is good if you're in a good church, but there's much more to being a Christian than that. The very fact that you're posting this stuff and receiving responses from Christians seems like God's calling you back to a relationship with him. What do you think?
i think that i'm more comfortable right now with myself, in almost every aspect, than i have ever been in my life. contrasting my current approach to graduation from college with the time leading up to my high school graduation is simply mind boggling. i was a full-faithed christian back then and my mental and emotional states were simply a mess. today i have no religion, but i'm comfortable with my personality, my friends, my family, my outlook on life, etc. i feel stable. i'm not chalking this change up to the evolution of my religious beliefs, as there is obviously a huge variety of factors, but i must say that freeing myself from the 'bondage' of organized religion was somewhat liberating.

also, i don't feel like i'm really 'missing out' on a relationship with god. i see its presence, or at least its fingerprints, just about everywhere: in humankind, in nature, in science and in medicine ( ). i have hope for a brighter future for mankind because we have been bestowed with everything we need for success. it's all right here in front of us. i don't think we need books, or revelations, or priests, or mediums, to access it. to quote myself from a paper i wrote on marx's critique of religion:

Quote:
what further meaning does life require beyond that we should seek to provide for each other? to what else do we owe a deity than to love each other?
and as should be obvious, i've always had an interest in religious ideas, debates, etc. that's why i'm here. kind words regardless, i thank you.
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:33 PM   #110
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Irvine511, It wasn't my intention to claim those of us posting who are Christians are "messengers from God" or anything. I was just trying to talk about the fact that the conversation between some of us and Se7en may be more than just chatter, you know? One of my favorite verses talks about where two or three gather in God's name, there he is with them. I'll leave it at that. . .
Don't worry about appearing hostile, you're point is a good one. Thanks for bringing it up. I'm sorry if I came across the wrong way.

Se7en, I'm glad your life is going well. (And I'm glad you freed yourself from organized religion too.) Like I've said before though, being a Chrsitian is more than religion. And a relationship with Christ is so much more than seeing his presence in the world. It's a personal thing. I'm glad you've been willing to share where you're at and I'm sorry to beat you over the head with my blah blah.
Christ has done so much in my life, it's hard to hear about others without him. That's what it comes down to for me I guess. These debtates are good though, aren't they!
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:54 PM   #111
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Originally posted by coemgen
Like I've said before though, being a Chrsitian is more than religion. And a relationship with Christ is so much more than seeing his presence in the world. It's a personal thing. I'm glad you've been willing to share where you're at and I'm sorry to beat you over the head with my blah blah.
Christ has done so much in my life, it's hard to hear about others without him. That's what it comes down to for me I guess. These debtates are good though, aren't they!
I agree. Being a Christian to me is a very personal thing, it's really emotional. I think I appreciate it the most when I'm really emotional, especially sad. Sometimes a practicing Catholic can really look like someone who's going through the motions, I know. There have been periods in my faith life when I wasn't doing much more than going through the motions. That hasn't been true lately, I've been going through some intense emotional stuff, and doing some intense praying. God has gotten me out of some real scrapes, it's impossible for me not to be a believer.
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Old 12-03-2004, 02:05 PM   #112
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
I've been reading James recently. It is interesting that the example James gives for "works" is Abraham's offering of Isaac.

"Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did." James 2:21-22
I find it interesting too, I used this passage in my class when I was in charge of worship.
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Old 12-03-2004, 02:13 PM   #113
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That's cool Verte76. It's impossible for me to not be a believer as well. Christ has done too much in my life and in others whom I know as well. My wife for instance, had a childhood from hell. She went through all forms of abuse. Then she made some bad decisions in her life. During the two years we've been married, she's had to work through some of those issues and battles and it's brought on a lot of turmoil. A few months ago we felt called to switch churches. The one we were at didn't have many people our age and we felt a bit out of place and spiritually we just needed a change. It was a tough decision, but we felt like we needed to do it. Within a month at our new church, she got into a women's Bible study by Beth Moore and I've seen her grow in ways that were unimaginable before. She's happy now. She loves herself. She is starting to see beauty in the mirror instead of shame. We can only explain it as a God working in her life and freeing her of the crap and everything. Specific prayers have been answered (she showed me her prayer journal the other day with a list of things she was praying about months ago). This is the personal relationship I was talking about.
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Old 12-03-2004, 02:17 PM   #114
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If I may jump in...

I can't imagine myself being truly free outside of my "organized religion," and I'm always amazed at how organized religion gets such a bad rap...like it's inherently an intellectual cop out or for weak people. I'm also surprised at how some Christians can make their faith such an individualistic concept...as if belonging to a church bears some kind of subsidiary status in their relationship with Christ.

Isn't there a fundamentally communal experience about being human, about being Christian? That we aren't just monads set here on earth to go it alone, perhaps uniting up in random groups from time to time, as long as they suit our needs? That's where the organized part of religion comes in: it provides that sense of being a part of something larger...and in a more tangible earthy, redeeming way than the warm fuzzy feeling we all probably get when we look at a sunset or ocean scene and feel a part of creation.

As a Christian, I'm a part of a body, an organism. Sometimes the body does things that I don't think are right, sometimes it embarrasses itself and its legacy, but nevertheless, as I continue my path within and as a part of this body, there is a sense of community imparted within that transcends time and place. It is bound together with active love, and it gives me a feeling of eternity and belonging and purpose (fill in your mushy-gushy word of choice) that I could never get just on my own. The community aspect is so essential. Why do you think U2 concerts are such "religious experiences" for so many people? Why do you think we all spend countless hours writing these silly posts? It provides us with community, something we all crave, even when we don't know it.

What is unique about the Christian community is that at its center is a person, not a concept. At our center, we are relating to a person, a human being, one of us. Furthermore, it is a person who embodies love and redemption and forgiveness and reconciliation. And as we all rally around this amazing person (Jesus) and learn from him and practice acting like him, our organism is made even stronger.

When I hear younger people talk about drifting away from the church and the faith, I realize it is borne out of youthful vigor and strength, a desire and ability to try "going it alone." Dumas said, "At young age, we have faith in life; it is the privilege fo youth to believe and hope, but old men see death more clearly." I suspect that at some point--whether it be tragedy, or sickness, or sense of loss or something more happy, like the creation of family through birth or marriage--the human need for community will strike on the heart. Faith in something other than "myself" will ground that community.

Anyway, that is just part of what I think about when I read some posts here. Excellent discussion, and I appreciate everyone's honesty.
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Old 12-03-2004, 02:24 PM   #115
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I just stumbled across this thread. I haven't had a chance to read the whole thing and I apologize if this question was already asked but if Jesus wasn't the only way to God why would he have needed to die to make propitation for our sins?
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Old 12-03-2004, 02:48 PM   #116
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pwmartin, thanks for your post. I know I told se7en I was glad he "freed himself from organized religion," I only said that because he talked about organized religion using the word "bondage." It just didn't sound like a good situation. You're right though, church is an essential part of being a Christian. I should've written that differently. We're all part of the body, of which Christ is the head. We all have roles in the church and spiritual gifts and when we're not a part of the body, it's not as strong. We need the nurturing, fellowship and support of others. I'm a firm believer in that. There are, however, a lot of bad churches out there that aren't Bible-based, are too much like a "members only club" and/or are legalistic with things. If someone's in this type of setting, it's better to not be part of it. When I hear of organized religion, I guess I think of cold, ritualistic junk that depends too much on the religion part and not the relational part. But, maybe it works for someone, I don't know.
Your post is right on though. Thanks.
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Old 12-03-2004, 06:46 PM   #117
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Quote:
Originally posted by AcrobatMan
Well to be very frank,

Heaven or Hell doesnt EXIST .

And even if it existed, Jesus or for that matter any other God ( or whoever is considered God) is NOT the only way..

On the contrary people who believe is such discriminatory exclusiveness can never reach heaven - if it ever existed. !!!
I do understand where you´re coming from.

I agree with you partly.

I believe that heaven and hell do exist.

Jesus (being interpeted as a single person) is not the exclusive way to get to what we call God. The example of the Aborigines man was a very positive one.

If God is in all beings - after all, we were all created in his spirit - and if God is manifest in all nature, how can a worship of nature not be a worship of Jesus and God?

If one idea of Hinduism is that we will be reborn on our path to enlightment, how can a worship of a butterfly not be a worship of Krishna?

I have never believed the argument that one religion is to be held exclusive to have the one and only path to reach God.
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Old 12-03-2004, 07:05 PM   #118
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John 14
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

My interpretation is as follows:

Jesus answered, I am the WAY -

What is a way? Jesus doesn´t say "I am the person". He doesn´t say "I am the one and only man". He says "I am the way".

What is Jesus´ idea of his "I"? It´s not the idea of his living or dead body. Not his presence as a man.

But his presence as God´s son. He materialized as God´s son.

The "I" that Jesus means is not his "ego", but is his ideas, his revolution, the "I" is manifest in his teaching, in the wonders we saw, and finally in him being crucified and taking our sins.

Jesus says

I am the WAY - meaning my ideas, my revolution, my teaching, my wonders, my being crucified and taking your sins, is the way.

and the TRUTH - this way is the truth

and the LIFE - "I" am God´s Son, just as all life is me. If "I" am all the life, all the life is God´s son. All nature is God´s son.

All the pain that man does to nature is evil, because it does bad to God´s creation, to God´s son - He is the way. When the soil cries, it is God and God´s son who´re crying.

No one comes to the father except through me:

doesn´t mean, I´m the security guy standing at the entrance to God.

It means: live like "I", live "through me", live my ideas, my revolution, my teachings, my wonders - and ultimately, live my pain. Then you will come to the father.
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Old 12-03-2004, 08:24 PM   #119
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Quote:
Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
John 14
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

My interpretation is as follows:

Jesus answered, I am the WAY -

What is a way? Jesus doesn´t say "I am the person". He doesn´t say "I am the one and only man". He says "I am the way".

What is Jesus´ idea of his "I"? It´s not the idea of his living or dead body. Not his presence as a man.

But his presence as God´s son. He materialized as God´s son.

The "I" that Jesus means is not his "ego", but is his ideas, his revolution, the "I" is manifest in his teaching, in the wonders we saw, and finally in him being crucified and taking our sins.

Jesus says

I am the WAY - meaning my ideas, my revolution, my teaching, my wonders, my being crucified and taking your sins, is the way.

and the TRUTH - this way is the truth

and the LIFE - "I" am God´s Son, just as all life is me. If "I" am all the life, all the life is God´s son. All nature is God´s son.

All the pain that man does to nature is evil, because it does bad to God´s creation, to God´s son - He is the way. When the soil cries, it is God and God´s son who´re crying.

No one comes to the father except through me:

doesn´t mean, I´m the security guy standing at the entrance to God.

It means: live like "I", live "through me", live my ideas, my revolution, my teachings, my wonders - and ultimately, live my pain. Then you will come to the father.
hmm...this is a pretty interesting idea, however, you really stretch the meaning of words to make your point here. what is Jesus' idea of 'I'? how could he mean anything other than what he said? have you ever met anyone in the course of your life who would say "i am such and such" and not mean themselves? if i were to say to you "i am john smith" would you take it to mean that i was saying that my belief system was john smith and my past actions were john smith, and everything about me was john smith, but in fact i did not mean that my own personal self was john smith? if i were to talk in this manner, you would take me to be a stark raving lunatic, so i find it odd that you would ascribe this manner of speaking to Christ.

so, Christ is in fact implying that His own personal self, through HIM, is the only way to heaen!

second, to take things from your point of view would be to ignore the entire rest of Christ's words, and in fact the rest of the Bible altogether. if we take random quotes out of context, then in the manner that you have done, we can bend them to whatever meaning we would like them to have, and i believe that is wrong. their is an objective Truth in the Bible, and it is not for us to interperate in some willy nilly fashion, making fit with our every whim.

finally, to say that Christ's main goal was to get people to live His ideas, His revolution, His teachings, His wonders - and ultimately, His pain, is to miss the entire message of the gospel. we cannot live Christ's life. we are imperfect sinners, He was without sin and lived a rightous life. we can never live up to His teachings, perform His wonders, or complete His "revolution" (i would really appreciate knowing what revolution he led...) if we could, His life and death would have been completely unnecessary. He came and suffered bitter pain, died, and descended into hell. all of which He did so that we didn't have to!
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Old 12-03-2004, 08:31 PM   #120
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i would also like to add that i have far more respect for people like A_Wanderer, who has looked at Christianity and decided that it is totally illogical, and that to believe in anything it says is completely pointless, than someone who says they believe the "Christ message", but don't think that he's the only way.

the central claim that Christ makes in His life is that through His death, any who believe in Him will be saved. everything else that He said and did are so intricately entwined with this that you anyone who reads the scriputers is left at a crossroads. they can either except Christ and ALL that He said, or you can flat out deny it. any belief that claims to not accept all of what Christ said, but then claims to not flat out deny Him is an intellectual cop out.
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