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Old 06-30-2002, 11:42 PM   #286
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Quote:
Originally posted by RavenStar
I don't want this thread to die. I do have one little question for the Christians out there. So Jesus loves everyone? Does that mean that he loves this "Devil" you all speak of? Does he love Judas? Does he love Osama bin Laden? Rapists? Child molesters? Me?
Just wanted to know.

HS!
Everyone? Yes.
The Devil? Yes.
Judas? Yes.
Osama? Yes.
Rapists? Yes.
Child molesters? Yes.

YOU? Yes.

Let's take the most extreme case - Satan. We believe Satan is a fallen angel: created by God (NOT equal to Him), endowed with free will, and fallen because he chose to rebel against God.

To cite Mere Christianity (again), Satan has to be created by God because evil is merely a subversion of good, rather than an "equal and opposite force." Also, his falling makes sense because his sin - pride - is a purely spiritual sin, as evil as selflessness is good.

There's actually no word on rather a fallen angel can be redeemed (though the Bible makes it clear that God wants to see all humans brought back into His fold). But I like to believe that, if Satan REALLY felt bad and repented, even he would be accepted.

The thing is, Satan is so thoroughly corrupted by pride that he would never lay down his arms and surrender his war against God.

But our fate is no so certain. We CAN turn back to God, accept His gift of redemption, and become songs and daughters of God rather than just God's creations.


I think that the problem is that Christ teaches that we are to hate the sin but love the sinner. The idea makes sense if we love others as we love ourselves.

Sometimes, I do terrible, terrible things - but I still look after myself (feeding and sheltering myself) and I constantly hope that I can one day become better than I am, that I can rise above my selfish faults. I find my faults reprehensible, but I still love myself (and I am supposed to treat others the same way).

Christ loves us in the way we are to love others: He hates my sin but LOVES me, and He wants to see me cleansed of my sin.

Bubba
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Old 07-01-2002, 12:21 AM   #287
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*delurk mode*

I just wanted to say that this is probably the most interesting thread (all 19 pages!) I've ever read on Interference. And so civil, too! Bama, Mike, Bubba, Whiteflag, I never needed to give my views, as you said them for me....

Really enjoyed learning new things that I never knew about so many other religions (even if the thread did veer off on Christianity a bit).

RavenStar, if you are truly *only* 14 going on 15, you are probably one of the most mature, self-possessed young persons I've ever come across...impressive.

U2 fans = some of the most interesting people around!
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Old 07-01-2002, 01:07 AM   #288
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U2 fans = some of the most interesting people around!
I second that thought!
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Old 07-01-2002, 10:24 AM   #289
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Bubba, that was very informative. I think I'm close to actually GETTING Christianity.

Discotheque, Thank you. It has been an interesting thread hasnt it?
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Old 07-01-2002, 11:34 AM   #290
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RavenStar

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Bubba, that was very informative. I think I'm close to actually GETTING Christianity.
WOW! WOW! WOW!

Like how often does this happen? In all my years of trying I have never heard these words come from a friend of mine from another religion. (I guess that shouldn't come as a surprise) You know what RavenStar? Short of someone saying they are converting, what you just said is what Christians would like to hear the most.

Like us, hate us, oppose us, you don't have to like us or be one of us. As long as someones opinion of my religion is fair and based on "getting" us to some degree I think we can get along just fine.

I think what most Christians dislike the most is people basing their opinions on misinformation about us. IMO that's about 98%
of non-Christians.

Thank you RavenStar for being fair enough to say what you said.

And congrats to Bubba for assisting in what, in my experience at least, is a true rarity!
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Old 07-01-2002, 11:41 AM   #291
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I think I get Christianity I just don't get why people like it so much.
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Old 07-01-2002, 11:58 AM   #292
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RavenStar,

In my experience, mature Christians who are truly knowledgable about their faith are the happiest, most joyful, and secure people I have ever known. That's why we like it so much.

I myself have been an atheist, and then a nominal Christian, then a Christian who believed some things but denied the most fantastic features of the religion, and now I'm at the point where I feel on fire with my faith. I believe it hook, line and sinker. So I have been through every phase, even one where a friend of mine said I was just an inch from being a Muslim! And I have never known before the happiness, joy and security that I know today.

For mature Christians, our faith goes beyond the mere belief and acceptance of religion. For us Jesus is a spiritual reality, as real for us as any material/physical thing. Many Christians will in fact say that they didn't choose to have faith in Jesus, but that Jesus chose them to have faith in Him. I am definitely in this category.

Of course, We also believe that Jesus does not force people who are dead-set against belief in Him and that neither should we attempt to do so. We believe He chooses people whose hearts and minds are open to all the possibilites.
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Old 07-01-2002, 12:34 PM   #293
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RavenStar,

You're 14 years old?! With your obvious maturity, I would have figured you were already in college.

Anyway...

I think that people put their faith in Christ because we honestly believe that He is the Son of God, that He DID overcome death, and that He offers us a second chance at a personal relationship with God - a relationship that will literally last forever.


There are, actually, quite a few things that Christianity has going against it. First, its moral demands are nothing less than perfection - read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and your jaw will drop at Christ's expectations.

Second, we AREN'T expected to meet those demands on our own; Christ says that God will help us (that His help is the only thing that WILL help us meet His demands). I say that that is a disadvantage because it's completely contrary to human nature. We like to think we can do everything ourselves; we find it embarassing to ask for help. And I think we're all occasionally guilty in thinking that we can please God if we just do X, Y, and Z; that by keeping to some list, we'll earn time to ourselves.

The reality is, God wants US - our entire hearts, minds, bodies, and souls; in the end, nothing less will do.


But there IS something that Christianity offers: absolute hope. Christ says that through Him, we can be complete; we can be what God always intended us to be, and enjoy being in God's presence for all eternity.

And this ultimate gift overcomes EVERYTHING. No matter how bad we've been up to this very moment, God can still bring us to Him.

Look at Peter and Paul, two of Christ's earliest followers, and almost indisputedly His GREATEST servants. Peter, one of Jesus' closest companions, abandoned Him on the night of his trial - and denied he ever knew Jesus REPEATEDLY. But after the Resurrection, the cowardly Peter became the bold leader of the early Christian church. The entire Church today - Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, even us rebellious Protestants - can trace our roots back to him.

And Paul? His HOBBY was persecuting early Christians, holding people's coats as they stoned the "heretics" to death. After his conversion, he became one of the most courageous missionaries ever and the author of theological letters that millions still read today.

(Heck, look at the Old Testament: Moses was a exiled murderer - with an apparent speech impediment - when God recruited him to be His spokesman. After David became king, he had an affair with another man's wife and had the other man killed, and God still looked after him.)

If God the Father and God the Son can do SO much with such "damaged goods," He can still work miracles in our lives no matter how much we've resisted.

And God can not only save us from our own selfish selves, He can save us from the universal laws of entropy - from the inevitability of death.

JESUS CHRIST CONQUERED DEATH. He physically returned from the grave after an excruciatingly brutal death. He returned with a physical body, still bearing the scars of the cross, but apparently no longer hurt from the cross - He walked, talked, and ate as if nothing had happened. Compared to His power - nothing HAD happened.

Make no mistake, the cross was horrible - so horrible that the Romans had to invent a new word, "excruciating" (literally, "from the cross") to describe the pain it caused.

But Christ defeated it.

And He says He can conquer all death. Those loved ones that we've already lost? If their lives were placed in Christ's hands (and that MAY include some non-Christians, though I can't say for certain), they're just sleeping: we'll see them again, and the reunion will happier than we can imagine.

(Silly as it may sound, that's actually the reason I first became a Christian: so that I can be reunited with my grandmother, who passed away when I was eleven. I've sinced realized that Christianity includes MUCH more than that - particularly a personal relationship with God - but I still hold onto that first hope.)

Our reunion means that God will save our loved ones from death - but ALSO that we will be saved from death. That we have literally NOTHING to fear about the grave. The pain that may be part of the process is nothing compared to the eternal joy to follow - and death is not the end of things, but only the beginning.

Christ can conquer death for you and me. With faith in Him, we can LITERALLY laugh in the face of the ultimate calamity - and have joy regardless of the obstacles between us and eternity.

In fact, while we are not to speed death along, while we are to do God's work while we're here on Earth, we can look forward to death. There are some older Christians I've known that actually treat death as a homecoming - as THE homecoming.

That's the appeal.
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Old 07-01-2002, 12:52 PM   #294
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Well, I'm actually 15. My birthday was a week ago.
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Old 07-01-2002, 12:59 PM   #295
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Belated as this may be... Happy Birthday!

(And you STILL seem quite mature for your age.)

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Old 07-01-2002, 01:05 PM   #296
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Aw, thanks.
Actually, I can be like a little kid. I still love making sand castles and browsing in the toy store.
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Old 07-01-2002, 01:06 PM   #297
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RavenStar,

I sure hope you don't mind me continuing, but I feel hot on the trail of something that I have personally sought for months now ie a way to explain the perspective of mature(ing) Christians in non-Christian language.

I think our spiritual "language" is the greatest obstacle to undestanding between us and non-Christians. Too often we don't even realize we're "babbling" in it making no sense to anyone but ourselves.

Ok, I'm switching to another computer. I'll add on to this post in just a sec......
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Old 07-01-2002, 04:15 PM   #298
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I've exceeded the time limit for editing....


So let me pick up where I left off.

Quote:
RavenStar,

I sure hope you don't mind me continuing, but I feel hot on the trail of something that I have personally sought for months now ie a way to explain the perspective of mature(ing) Christians in non-Christian language.

I think our spiritual "language" is the greatest obstacle to undestanding between us and non-Christians. Too often we don't even realize we're "babbling" in it making no sense to anyone but ourselves.

Ok, I'm switching to another computer. I'll add on to this post in just a sec......
I guess what I have been trying to say ever since I rejoined this board is that there are two levels to Christianity which Christians normally experience (I have been saying this very badly)

The first level is the religion level comprised of our traditional teachings and the sources of those traditions such as The Bible and other writings. This is the practical, life application part of Christianity.

The second level is a profound daily experience with a Reality which is independent of us and even of our religion. This is the level which confirms for us that Jesus did die, did rise and did send the Holy Spirit to us just like He said He would because it happens to us. It is this level which is the source of unique almost inexplicable events and experiences which our theology attempts to describe and explain.

It is possible to choose the first level intellectually, to consciously accept it as a sensible system of living and worshipping God. All religions, wisdom traditions and philosophies are different versions of this first level because their believers accept them using their common sense.

But it is impossible to choose the second level which Christians experience. We have found that it instead chooses us. In our experience we come into direct contact with a Reality that is both separate and independent of us (not our imagination or a figment of belief) but which also consciously chooses to live in our hearts.

All other religions choose one or the other. They either believe in a totally separate active God or else they believe in a passive God inside us who is no different from us. But Christians come into daily communion with a Reality that is both ways not one or the other. (thanks Kingpin)

Therefore a Christians ultimate loyalty is not to our religion but to that independent Being who has in fact, in reality chosen to share Himself with us. We then choose to be loyal to our religious system because we believe that it best reflects our experience and best teaches others to know The Way.

For us then, Christianity is the religion which is most faithful to God because it is the most faithful to ALL of reality not just the portions of it which we we've decided make the most sense.

In this way, I guess you could think of Christianity as teaching how to access maximum reality.

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Old 07-01-2002, 08:14 PM   #299
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RavenStar,

In my experience, mature Christians who are truly knowledgable about their faith are the happiest, most joyful, and secure people I have ever known. That's why we like it so much.

erm...you mean your LIMITED experience I presume
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Old 07-01-2002, 09:02 PM   #300
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I was thinking the same thing.
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