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Old 06-11-2004, 03:04 PM   #16
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nbcrusader, I too identify myself as Christian. However, Jesus was the Son of God. God being the being in the universe that knows all, made all and IS all. Therefore I do believe that Christians can be of the belief that there are many names for God but ultimately we all believe in the same God. Jewish people do not believe that Christ was the messiah but they believe in God, the same God that Christians believe is the Heavenly Father of Christ....so, therefore my theory has some basis.
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Old 06-11-2004, 03:10 PM   #17
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Originally posted by BluberryPoptart
So yes I think it's wrong because it leads to harmful attitudes toward other people.
I'm not about to argue that horrible crimes have been committed for centuries because of misguided understandings about religion. That's simply a fact.

However, what I have to argue with is the notion that a belief in someone's future condemnation ONLY has a negative affect on how we treat other people. For every 1 instance of suicide bombings, cult compounds, and the crusades; there are 100 instances of hospitals being built, free health care, AIDS relief trips, food drives, literacy programs, human rights protests, counseling sessions, Mother Theresa wannabees, etc., etc., etc., all SPECIFICALLY done in the name of a religion that believes that others are going to hell. Anyone with common sense knows that you can't FORCE someone to believe, and thus the best method for saving them from eternal damnation is to love them as much as possible and meet their deepest needs.

I'm just asking for a little balance here. Having fundamental beliefs about a religion (i.e. those who don't believe as you do are going to hell), does not make you a bad person or a religious lunatic. In fact, done with the right mindset and a healthy dose of common sense, it can actually make you a better person.
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Old 06-11-2004, 03:11 PM   #18
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


And as a follow-up, what is the source of your belief?
It's just something I believe. I had a friend once who was Catholic in a predominately Southern Baptist town. He got so tired of hearing how he had to convert to their church or go to hell. Somebody else said they had that problem with Mormons and Jehovah's witnesses doing them that way. A Jehovah's witness told me one day everything was a 'fairy tale' unless it was in one of their books, even though one said Jesus died in the garden instead of on the cross! The Catholic guy said he believed it wasn't nice to do people that way and that he believed as long as you truly believed in your heart what you believed, and lived by it, God would not forsake you in the end.

My post was aimed mostly at people who use their beliefs to back up killing people, the way some Islamic groups do when they kill Jews and Christians.
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Old 06-11-2004, 03:46 PM   #19
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Originally posted by stammer476
Good question, ThatGuy, and the answer basically comes down to what each religion requires for salvation.

It is true that Christianity is an extension of Judaism with some major changes in philosophy and doctrine, but those changes are so extreme that it requires another religion entirely. This whole change revolves around the person and diety of Jesus Christ.

For the Jew (religious Jew, not national), God is a single diety that has never appeared in human form, but has interacted with his chosen nation (Israel) through various times and in various ways as described through their Scriptures (the Old Testament for the Christians).

For the Christian, God is a single diety with a triune nature (complicated concept) that appeared in human form in Jesus Christ. The Christian also believes that God has interacted with his chosen nation (Israel) through various times and in various ways as described through the Old Testament.

But where they differ is the diety of Jesus. The Jew believes that Jesus was simply a man, though they divide on whether he was a prophet or a heretic. The Christian believes that he was fully man AND fully God, and since his time on earth, mankind is now required have faith in Jesus as the payment for the debt of their sins for salvation.

The Jew, seeing God as singular with no triune nature, view this as blasphemous and worthy of death (hence the crucifixion). They believe their salvation is through following the Law and seeking God's grace.

The Christian, seeing God as singular with a triune nature, view Jesus as the FULFILLMENT (or completion) of the Law, becoming the payment for the debt of their sin and the only way that anyone can reach salvation.

Thus, the Jews see the Christians as hell-bound because they worship a human as God (the ultimate sin of blasphemy); while the Christians see the Jews as hell-bound because they have not accepted God in the flesh (the ultimate sin of rejection).

They share a common heritage and have many similarities, but in their basic doctrines, find it impossible to reach agreement.
Thank you for the excellent answers. You were able to answer questions posed about your faith without getting defensive and hostile, so I thank you for that as well.

One more question, if I could, since you're a knowedgable source. How do you reconcile the differences between the way God is presented in the OT to the way he is presented in the NT? You mention that the way God is presented in the NT led to such radical differences between the two faiths that they had to separate. Also the fact that God in the OT is seen as more willing to punish his followers then the more love-focused God of the NT. Did God change His mind?
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Old 06-11-2004, 03:50 PM   #20
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Another excellent, excellent question, ThatGuy. I've had to wrestle with that one quite a bit myself. I'm a bit worried, though, that the answer is a too long and detailed to be appropriate in this thread. If you want to email me, lineofgrace@hotmail.com
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Old 06-11-2004, 03:59 PM   #21
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I'm a Catholic in a predominately Southern Baptist town, too. I was raised a Methodist and converted to Catholicism 15 years ago. My parents still attend a Methodist Church. I attend mass at a local Catholic Church. We don't always agree about religious stuff. Sometimes we just agree to disagree. Personally, I'm torn on the exclusiveness issue. On the one hand I believe that Christ is the Son of God, and is God Himself, and I start all of my prayers in the name of the Trinity. However, I also believe that I have no control over the Keys to heaven, and it's for God to decide who gets in, not me, not a priest, not the pope, and not some TV preacher.
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Old 06-11-2004, 04:19 PM   #22
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Originally posted by verte76
On the one hand I believe that Christ is the Son of God, and is God Himself, and I start all of my prayers in the name of the Trinity. However, I also believe that I have no control over the Keys to heaven, and it's for God to decide who gets in, not me, not a priest, not the pope, and not some TV preacher.
You've raised a good point here, Verte. No matter how we as Christians interpret the Scriptures, it is ultimately up to God to decide who's in and who's out. It's not up to any man to make God's ultimate judgement.

However, I believe that we do have a strong foundation on which to understand God's desire for us through the Bible. In it are statements that exclusively say that there is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ. Personally, I do find this disturbing. I am heartbroken to think that some child on the other side of the world may never hear of Jesus and never even get the chance to have faith. As the Apostle Paul wrote, "How can they believe unless they have heard?"

This is a very troubling reality, and has caused many to believe that God will allow those outside of the Christian faith into heaven by other means. While I sincerely hope this is true, I must admit that I have no BIBLICAL basis for it. If that's what God decides, I'll rejoice.

There are three basic camps of Christianity that on this topic. I read an excellent book on this, but unfortunately I don't have it handy as a reference, so I'll just have to paraphrase.

1.) All Inclusive: those who believe that God will allow all "good" and "sincere" people into heaven based on his mercy and grace. This is a popular belief in today's world, but is the stance with the least doctrinal foundation.

2.) All Exclusive: those who believe that God will allow only those into heaven who have professed faith in Jesus Christ as the only Son of God and the only path to salvation. This is likely the least popular belief in today's world, but has the strongest doctrinal foundation. I'm sorry, but this is pretty much what the Bible says.

3.) Other guys (I don't remember the name, sorry): those who believe that God will allow into heaven all of those who have professed faith in Christ, and will condemn to hell all of those who have specifically rejected him. (This would include those who have heard about Jesus and have had the chance to accept him, but have chosen not to). All of those who haven't had the chance to accept or reject (people living in distant lands where Christianity is not known) are in God's hands, and he will have his own special way of judging their fate.

Personally, I'm in the third group. I'm sympathetic to those who have no choice, but won't go so far as to say that every religion is a path to the same God. I'll be happy to answer any questions if I wasn't clear.
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Old 06-11-2004, 04:28 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by ThatGuy
How do you reconcile the differences between the way God is presented in the OT to the way he is presented in the NT? You mention that the way God is presented in the NT led to such radical differences between the two faiths that they had to separate. Also the fact that God in the OT is seen as more willing to punish his followers then the more love-focused God of the NT. Did God change His mind?
If I may, a study of both the Old Testament and New Testament will show (i) God as a loving, caring God who wants a relationship with His people (see Malachi 3:7 - "Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty.") and, (ii) God as a jealous, "punishing" God (see Matthew 12:36 - "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken").

Generalizations have been created about the OT and NT, which may result in the idea of "two different Gods".
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Old 06-11-2004, 04:41 PM   #24
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so...do you think God makes bad things happen to people when they have been bad?
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Old 06-11-2004, 04:58 PM   #25
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Good summation, NBC. I was going to say the same thing, only in 1000 words.

Quote:
so...do you think God makes bad things happen to people when they have been bad?
While God is a God of justice, I don't believe that he specifically makes bad things happen to bad people. As Jesus says in Matthew 6:45, "He [God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous."

However, I do strongly believe that he allow us to follow our sin to its inevitable destruction. For instance, if I rob a bank, and I get arrested, have a horrible time in jail and then can never get a good job because I'm an ex-con, I don't believe that God made a bad thing happen to me. I think he just allowed me to suffer the consequences of my actions.

That's the funny thing about the Bible and all of its "rules." Some may look at them as a kill-joy or an attempt to cut down on our fun, but the truth is that they're given to us by God as a protection. He knows that if we did these things, we will hurt ourselves, and he just wants to keep us from that pain. It's just like telling your child not to touch a hot stove. You're not trying to diminish their spirit or hinder their creativity, you don't want them to get burned.
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Old 06-11-2004, 05:03 PM   #26
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what if somebody feels that nothing they want is coming true even though they have been mostly good....and that makes them break so to speak and start doing things they are way less than proud of? Do you think that maybe it's a test of faith of sorts from God?
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Old 06-11-2004, 05:37 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


If I may, a study of both the Old Testament and New Testament will show (i) God as a loving, caring God who wants a relationship with His people (see Malachi 3:7 - "Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty.") and, (ii) God as a jealous, "punishing" God (see Matthew 12:36 - "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken").

Generalizations have been created about the OT and NT, which may result in the idea of "two different Gods".
Actually, I'm not basing my question on generalizations. I've read most of the OT and the NT.

But I understand your explanation. If I may interpret further, it's something like the way a parent might teach their child. You would not try and treat a 4 year old the same way you would treat a child of 15. We give our children lessons that they can understand. Whereas in the OT God meted out some severe punishment, in the NT He chose to spread the message of love through His son. But both actions come from the love He has for us. Is that an accurate interpretation?
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Old 06-12-2004, 08:35 AM   #28
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Originally posted by ThatGuy
But I understand your explanation. If I may interpret further, it's something like the way a parent might teach their child. You would not try and treat a 4 year old the same way you would treat a child of 15. We give our children lessons that they can understand. Whereas in the OT God meted out some severe punishment, in the NT He chose to spread the message of love through His son. But both actions come from the love He has for us. Is that an accurate interpretation?
Wouldn't that comparison only make sense if it had been the same people all along though? I mean, I know that the comparison talks about humankind as a collective, but on the individual level it looks to me like some people got harsher deal than others. To use the child analogy, this sounds like treating your younger child one way, and the older child the other way.
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Old 06-12-2004, 09:12 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


And as a follow-up, what is the source of your belief?
What if reason and a 'mere' feeling this is what is best? You said once in another thread a while back (can't recall which one, sorry) something self made religions and their validity. The problem I have with that is, all religions are man made and all compete in some way for membership. It is not enough at times to live like a good Christian unless you go to the meetings. Why is that? Why the middle man?
Actually, on the first part, another problem I have with that belief on man made religions (for want of a better term) is that they are looked down upon, when everyone who follows any particular oganised religion is simply adopting what someone else has told them. Be it family, a priest, community, friend, cult member etc. How is that a better way to discover and find religion? Religion lies so solely on the nurture end of the Nature Vs Nurture debate. We all choose to an extent. How ingrained it is, depends on external circumstances.
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Old 06-12-2004, 08:31 PM   #30
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people of different religions often share the same or very similar views regarding spitituality-
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