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Old 12-03-2001, 08:38 PM   #31
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AchtungBubba;

'"Why hast thou forsaken me?" is NOT NECESSARILY a contradiction on Christ's part.'

Maybe not, but I certainly see it as such.


'It is not puerile to believe that Christ was and is infallible (and I say "is" because we Christians also believe that, having conquered death, He is alive this very moment). If one believes that Christ is God Incarnate, than it follows that Christ can very well be a perfect man. And the question of Christ being God is the question of faith on which all of Christianity hangs.'

Yes, as you say, if one believes that Christ is God incarnate, then he is the perfect man, however, I don't believe that Christ IS God incarnate, or atleast, not the way Christian Theology would have it. My belief is that we are all children of God, and hence, we are all capable to be perfect in some way. The right to perfection is not just handed down to The Chosen Ones, and so, since Jesus Christ was human, in my system of belief he was imperfect in some way; whether he achieved nirvana or enlightenment, that information is lost to the pages of history, though it really does seem like it. That is how I fit in the 'wise man' theory, the man seems to have been a genius of some sort, and genius is a form of madness, which fits in with your 'insane' recommendation. Again, I don't believe he was God Incarnate (no more than you or I)and hence the man, as he was prone to strong emotions such as anger and violence had too have some imperfections. No point in me asking you 'what makes him so special?' Because you'll answer back with him being God Incarnate, this is not a valid argument for me because I don't believe in it.

'I believe that the Bible contains truth without any error.'

Oh really? Well, that is yet again another discrepancy between us as Human Beings. I happen to believe that the Bible is one of the most misguided and prejeduiced pieces of literature ever written, not to mention the stale, one-sided and completely third-rate manner in which it is written. The Bible provides interesting articles into Jewish superstition and some accounts of a very wise man who changed the world; nothing more.

I'm sorry, but I've never needed it. Was Jesus under some dizzy spell when he said that the kingdom of God is WITHIN? You will not find it in a page, and you won't find it in a Church, its in the human spirit where it is found, anything else is just miguided and irrelevant. 'The Kingdom of God is Within', this I believe as much.

As for your argument about people being divinely inspired by God, I could tell you that God inspires me everytime I pick up a paintbrush, everytime I write a sentence, everytime I do anything. God inspires everyone, and God works through everyone, where does one draw the line?

As for your comment on the contradictions within the Bible, let me say that that is the one quality I admire within the Bible, it has always been my belief that anything that does not have contradictions isn't worth believing; without darkness there can be no light.

'Fortunately, we are not asked to understand - only to come "as children" and simply believe.'

I am sorry, but believing in something without question is an exceedingly dangerous thing to do. Dangerous for you and dangerous for humanity. I for one will never enter through a doorway without questioning where it takes me to, I can not simply 'believe' without question. It is in my nature to question. It is always better to ask the right questions than to have the wrong answers.

'He is either God, Satan, or insane. A "wise teacher" is simply not an option.'

Well, I have to respond to this according to my system of belief. Who's system of belief am I supposed to use? Yours? I've spent a lot of my life trying to get rid of any form of Christianity (or any other organised religion) and I can respect what you say, but I must disagree. I don't believe in Satan, I believe that God is absolute, that IT is everything Good and Bad. AS for the Insantity bit, it could have been a possibility, he must've been an eccentric. As for the God part, I believe we are all children of God, not just Jesus, putting Jesus on equal footing with the rest of us. The only difference is, Jesus was a lot more wiser and smarter than anybody else around him, hence making him in my system of belief nothing more than a wise man.

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Old 12-03-2001, 10:30 PM   #32
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Well, I was one of the thousands (millions) who fell victim to "the great AT&T Outtage of 2K1", but have been quickly reinstated. yippee!

Friday night, while I lay in bed, I was thinking that when I woke up on Saturday, I would post my answer to this, which is this: there are many instance in which Jesus was referred to as being born of a woman who never had relations, including Old Testament prophecies, and even teh words of Mary herself "Lord, how can this be? I am still a virgin". Mary definitely meant "virgin", not just young woman here, because saying "Lord, how can this be since I am still a young woman?" would make no sense, because why would anyone wonder how a girl of 14 can get pregnant. No, in this case, it's very obvious that "virgin" meant "Virgin". There are many such cases which make it clear that the text does indeed report the VIRGIN BIRTH of Christ.
Acthung Bubba, you've made many good points!
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Old 12-03-2001, 10:48 PM   #33
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A very interesting discussion, but I don't have time to comment now...just wanted to say to melon I'm using the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. And I'm a Presbyterian; we believe in the Trinity.
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Old 12-03-2001, 11:03 PM   #34
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I agree with much of what Achtung Bubba has posted in this thread. Yes, the mysteries of faith are part of what makes Christianity "radical" to me. And the teachings are what makes it appealing to me.

And how is it wrong for Achtung Bubba to cite a C.S. Lewis quote on a theological thread, yet people are always posting Michael Moore's so-called political essays and we are supposed to take them as the gospel?

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Old 12-03-2001, 11:33 PM   #35
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No, it doesn't contradict Christ, and that was never my assertion. My point was that contradictions exist in terms of what He supposedly says, and, as a result, some Christians decide to use these as a basis for their behavior or whatnot. How many people have decided that divorces are okay on the basis of this mistranslated line in Matthew, for instance?

If your point was merely to demonstrate contradictions in interpretations, great; I was just lead to believe that you were suggesting Christ Himself was contradictory, particulary from your first post in this thread: "You can see this even within the four existing gospels, which were written to different target audiences, and Jesus does contradict Himself in a few places."

At any rate, when a translation does appear to be contradictory, that is when the Holy Spirit's guidance is most important - and that is when a verse must be compared to the overall message of the Bible and the overarching themes of Christ's ministry.


Not exactly. The Church acknowledges the imperfections of the writers of the Bible. They state that, while the miracles exist, they were likely turned into a hyperbole by the gospel writers to accentuate their points.

(It's first of all amazing that it appears the Catholic church places more trust in the lineage of popes than in the Bible itself; that speaks volumes.)

I can't speak for all Protestants or even all Southern Baptists, but that is (one of many areas) where many Southern Baptists disagree with Catholics: we believe that the original manuscripts are divinely inspired, and are thus without error. It is only with copied manuscripts and translations that we begin to see the possibility of error.

Well, this brings another point. If you read the gospels, Jesus does state that the Bread and the Wine are, indeed, Him. If you are to take the gospels literally, then why do all Protestant sects take the view of Martin Luther that Jesus is only spiritually present in the Bread and the Wine? Is that not a contradiction of the literal word of the gospels?

Two things I think are worth mentioning here:

First, the Protestants aren't exactly homogeneous, theologically speaking. Essentially, Protestantism is a catch-all for all (or almost all) denominations outside of Roman Catholicism and Easter Orthodoxy. We're "non-Catholics", and there are a LOT of ways to be non-Catholics. The Anglicans just split to allow Henry VIII to divorce, so their beliefs are very close to Catholicism. Other denominations (like the Southern Baptists) seemed to have started from scratch to create denominations that keep theology and beuracracy to a bare minimum. Thus, very few beliefs are held by "all Protestant sects".

And we're denominations, not sects.

Second, there are two ways to "literally" translate certain verses of the Bible, such as Matthew 26:26 ("Take, eat; this is my body."):

1) Jesus literally said that, and he meant it literally (hence, transubstantiation).

2) Jesus literally said that, but he meant it figuratively.

I hope that explanation is clear. If not, think of it this way: I believe Christ actually said "I am the way" (John 14:6), but I doubt he meant "I am a paved road." It's a belief that the verse is literally true, but not that Christ's words are to be taken literally.

Note that most theologians agree that Christ wasn't literal about plucking out one's eye or cutting off one's hand (Matthew 5:29-30).

Note also that this distinction can't be made with every verse. It could apply in the revelatory books (Revelation and even Genesis, in which God revealed to Moses what happened "in the beginning"); one could believe that God literally told Moses to write what he wrote and literally showed John those strange visions on Patmos, but that also those descriptions are not necessarily the literal recounting of what happened. But it seems VERY clear that other verses are to be taken QUITE literally, such as descriptions of Jesus' actions and the assertions of His Resurrection.

If the Bible says Christ went to town X and said Y (and if there is no reason to doubt the validity of the transcript or its translation), one should believe that He literally went to town X and said Y - but depending on Y, one should not necessarily believe that Christ literally meant Y.

But enough of that.


Yes, it certainly seems true that the authors of the Bible would have ample opportunity to skew the works in their favor, and human nature suggests that they would have given in to the temptation. The amazing is that they DON'T skew the works to make themselves look good. In fact, it seems that the Bible has one of the most realistic views of humanity of all the ancient texts.

King "X" of Israel wants to command his army to kill his surrounding pagan enemies, so, to drum up support, he adds a story of how God commanded Moses or Joshua, heroes the common people would understand, to kill everyone and everything in sight ("The Ban"), and since the divine right of kings, the idea that God placed a certain individual as king on purpose, and, as such, it was his right to do whatever he pleased, was a very popular concept even up to the fall of the Romanov dynasty in Russia in 1917, these leaders would have had no problems, conscience-wise, adding things.

And yet... one of the lessons of the Bible is that leaders are flawed, that even they aren't outside the law, and that a leader CAN'T "do whatever he pleased".

Moses was an exiled murderer when God first called him, and he was VERY hesitant to serve. He later disobeyed God, and as a punishment, he never entered the promised land. David committed adultery and plotted to kill the cuckolded husband - and, if I recall correctly, he paid dearly for his crimes, losing many of his children and temporarily losing the crown. Peter, the founder of the Catholic Church, denied Christ (as told in all four Gospels, I believe). And Paul harrassed and helped murder Christians before his conversion.

Ultimately, it's a matter of faith, but does that HONESTLY sound like propaganda?


Hence, my mental dilemma is not regarding the existence or the Resurrection of Christ, but some of the minute details that have driven Christians to do extraordinarily evil things, like the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust. If someone puts a literal trust in the Bible, I get worried for this reason, because the texts before us are not free of post-Biblical human infiltration.

Again, if one temper one's interpretations with the two great commandments (love God, love your neighbor), the context of the verses, the overall message of the Bible, and the influence of the Holy Spirit, one will not stray too far from the will of God.

(And, not to get completely off-topic, I'm not so sure that the Crusades were "extraordinarily evil." Individual acts certainly were so, but at the very least the Crusades began as a defensive war against the Muslims who had pushed into Spain and past Turkey.)


I can see where you're coming from, but your beliefs really call into question the entire Bible. Just as the Holy Spirit tests the validity of interpretations of the Bible, the Bible can test whether what you feel is the will of the Holy Spirit, or one's one selfish ego. And if you can't believe the Bible, you run the tremendous risk of flying blind.


This goes back to my idea that people put their own commentary in the gospels. Remember: bigotry was very acceptable back then. Knowing Jesus, who stated that there was only one commandment--to love God and to love one another--would He perhaps have put in commentary about the Jews killing Him? The quote, admittedly, is innocent enough, but--and it's reality--that quote was one of a few in the New Testament that culminated in 2000 years of anti-Semitism ending with the Holocaust. It was really a side comment really, and, to make myself explicit this time, I'm neither calling you or your faith allied with Nazism.

I'm glad to see that the Nazism comment was a mere aside, but to suggest that the Nazis incorrectly used that verse for their own designs is something ENTIRELY different than suggesting that "people put their own commentary in the gospels." It's the difference between mistranslating and altering the work.

In the specific case above, it seems factual that the Jewish leaders plotted against Jesus. To point to that fact (and the conversation that really spurred the plot against Christ) doesn't seem to be put in there to cause anti-Semitism.


Heh...I didn't know many Protestants believed in the Trinity, the Catholic-originated idea that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit was one in the same. I have heard much opposition to this from Protestantism, so I am giving you a chance to either confirm or deny this.

Again, I don't know about other denominations, but Southern Baptists do generally believe in the Trinity. And, again, generally speaking, Protestants have a very small universal set of beliefs.


I believe in Him simply on, as you stated, the Holy Spirit and my conscience. I feel His presence, so I know He exists and is there. I do not need the Bible to tell me any further.

That seems unusual to say the least, that your entire belief system is based on the Holy Spirit alone and not on the Bible in the least. If you don't mind me asking, how did you come to believe what you do? Does it conflict with the Bible? If it doesn't conflict (at VERY least on the most salient points), should you not believe in the Bible at least partially?


Well, such a scenario did exist. There is a female scholar who wrote a book (I wish I remember her name) stating that, from the "evidence" she gathered, she believed that Jesus did exist, but was a liberal member of the Essenes who broke away to teach His own message. The miracles, to her, were part of the sacred knowledge of the Essenes that were never intended to be revealed to outsiders. She claims He did not die on the cross, but was poisoned by a deceptive potion. He was buried, but the Essenes, apparently, did not abandon Him and fed Him the antidote. Hence, the Resurrection.

That scenario is simply insufficient. You asked this:

"If the Bible was wholly disproven tomorrow, my faith in Jesus would still be there. Can you say the same for yourself?"

What is then demanded is not some book suggesting that the Bible is wrong (which is quite unremarkable), but uncontestable proof to that fact. The above scenario is NO such proof.

In the face of such indisputable evidence, (which I believe does not exist), the existence of the Judeo-Christian God Himself comes to question. And in the face of such evidence, I don't believe anyone can have a worthwhile faith in God or Christ.


In response to my statement, "Faith in the Bible is necessary for any true Christian."...

No, it isn't. It's love of God and love of others.

Again, I disagree. Like many Protestants, I subscribe to justification by faith alone - that man is saved only through his faith in Jesus Christ.

(Buddhist monks could very easily love God and their neighbors. Might that make them obedient servants of God? I like to thingk so. Might that make them Christians? I don't think so.)

At least a limited faith in the Bible (and its gospel of Christ) seems to be an absolutely necessary prerequisite a legitimate faith in the actual man of Christ. One MUST know about His life before one can believe in the man; and, ultimately, the Bible is our only reliable source for knowledge about His life (the Holy Spirit informs that knowledge, but that knowledge initially comes from the Bible).


If "the Word" is *merely* Christ or merely the law, it still remains that one must learn "the Word", and our most consistent, accurate source remains to be the Bible.


Finally, I too am glad to see we agree on a few of the most important points. But I don't think what we're discussing now are trivial details. They may not be *as* important, but they are quite important.

And, honestly, I think what we're doing now is why our faith is so vital, so alive: the free flow of ideas, the open discussion of the important tenets or our religion.
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Old 12-04-2001, 12:21 AM   #36
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Anthony:

It seems to me, actually, that there's not too much to discuss between the two of us: it seems like this situation is merely the irreconcilable differences between a Christian and a non-Christian.

If I may...

I am a Christian. You have "spent a lot of [your] life trying to get rid of any form of Christianity (or any other organised religion)" - though I hope that you are only speaking of your own faith, and not some grand wish to see organized religion obliterated.

I believe Christ is God Incarnate, and that He is thus capable of living a perfect and blameless life. You believe Jesus was merely a man, and thus as infallible as the rest of us.

(As an aside, I believe we're certainly all creations of God, made in his image the way an artist creates a statue or portrait. Jesus is different in that He truly is the Son of God, begotten and not just created, alike to God and not just resembling the Creator. We can all become sons and daughters through Christ, but we must be "adopted" into the family.)

I believe that the Bible is one of God's revelations to man (Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the universe being the other revelations), and you think it's practically worthless, "one of the most misguided and prejeduiced pieces of literature ever written."

And I believe that "Why has thou forsaken me?" is not contradictory, at least, no necessarily so. You simply disagree.

So, most arguments between us will likely lead nowhere. Thus, I don't wish to argue any points, but to my offer my beliefs on points that you raise.

First, I agree that the Kingdom of God is within, more specifically, it is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit - which appears to be attainable only through Christ. So living as a subject of the Kingdom of God isn't "in the Bible", per se. But, similarly, the experience of being at a beach can't be found in a map; but it's difficult to get to the beach without it. The Bible alone doesn't save, but it seems to be a nearly indespensible guide to a relationship with God, making it thus invaluable.

I believe God is a good and creative God, and that His hand is seen in every beautiful thing, in nature and in the artist's studio. But I mean by "the divine inspiration of the Bible" is that God's inspiration was more fully present, and its end was the creation of the most comprehensive and (at least originally) flawless message from God to all of humanity.

I believe I must clarify my observation about the seeming contradictions in the Bible: I do not believe there are actual contradictions within the work God intended us to see - much less a balance between light and dark. I believe that things like the mystery of the Trinity (three personalities in one deity) are not contradictions in reality, just contradictions from our own very limited point of view. I believe if we could truly understand the mysteries and "contradictions" of the Bible, we would find the book to a complete and coherent whole.

I've never suggested believing without questioning, blind faith. After all, faith doesn't save - faith in the one true God does. We should question, and reason, and try to learn everything we can. My point is that wisdom isn't necessary for salvation, and that's a very good thing, as no one would attain. We are to try to understand, but when we hit insurmountable ideas, we are to have faith that the apparent contradictions are consistent in reality - and that everything will be revealed in due time.

Finally, I am a cold, hard objectivist; I believe in a definite good and a definite evil - a force that is a corruption of good, that is separate from good, and that is ultimately weaker than good.

It seems that my belief in separate and opposing forces of good and evil and your belief that good and evil are just two sides of the same coin is the first serious chasm between our belief systems. Under your system, it appears that there can be no sin, thus no need for salvation. Thus, it doesn't much matter who Jesus was, whether He was flawless, or whether His story is accurate.
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Old 12-04-2001, 04:18 AM   #37
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I'm not really knowledgeable enough to contribute to this thread, but I just wanted to let all the contributors know how much I'm enjoying following your discussion.

Oh yes, there's one thing I can add... I'm a member of the (protestant) Danish People's Church, which also believes in the Trinity.
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Old 12-04-2001, 09:53 AM   #38
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As far as I know, the doctrine of the Trinity is widely accepted as orthodoxy by protestant denominations.

Also, I believe the interpretation of "The Word" in John 1:1 as Christ is really the only credible interpretation. See John 1:14 "Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us."

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Old 12-04-2001, 12:57 PM   #39
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'Under your system, it appears that there can be no sin, thus no need for salvation. Thus, it doesn't much matter who Jesus was, whether He was flawless, or whether His story is accurate.'

I must object; my sytem does not exclude the need for salvation, it merely states that the only way of salvation is SELF-salvation. I'm a Humanist, I believe that Man is the measure of all things, hence He is the only one capable of saving his own soul. NOT a religious institution. This has always been my criticism of organised religion; its instituionalised notions forge sin in the minds of its followers. Go to a catholic priest and he will tell you that HIS religion and HIS doctrine is the way to Salvation, go to a Muslim and he will tell you just the same.

Its every single religion with their own individual strings attached, its their own little systems that create manacles within the human brain. Its every single religion that creates their own world of rules, sin and punishment, and how only THEY can save you from it.

Yes, I'm sorry, it is my own faith, but I have always been against it. What I would want more is to have someone on their death bed and tell me truthfully that they have achieved salvation. Unfortunately, for so many religions, salvation is only achieved afterlife; how convenient.

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Old 12-04-2001, 02:01 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:
Its every single religion with their own individual strings attached, its their own little systems that create manacles within the human brain. Its every single religion that creates their own world of rules, sin and punishment, and how only THEY can save you from it.
Anthony, what you say is very accurate. To me, the most progressive religious view is held by the Sikhs, who have a "denial that distinctive forms of worship or a separate community identity is imortant to God." Their morning devotions include the line: "there is one Supreme Being, the Eternal Reality. He is the Creator, without fear and devoid of enmity." Furthermore, the first Sikh teacher, Nanak, "repeatedly proclaims the irrelevance of religious communities in the words, "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim."

I, myself, am a Catholic. But I believe there are multiple paths to salvation. There are people on this board who are Christian, and disagree with me, and insist that if you are to be saved, you must believe in Jesus. I think Mother Teresa put it best, when she said:

There are so many religions and each one has its different ways of following God... I have always said; we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic.

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Old 12-04-2001, 05:38 PM   #41
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Ant,

Pardon me, then, for assuming too much from your last post about sin and salvation.

Again, there is a core disagreement between our two systems of belief: I believe (as do most Christians, I think) that man cannot ultimately save himself - ironically from his own ego. God has a good and perfect plan for our lives (one that allows for a great deal of freedom and joy), and man invariably rebels and becomes self-centered, many times for the sake of rebellion itself. Without a Higher urging of some form or another, most would be unwilling to change - and without serious
help from above, such change would be impossible.

That view extends throughout the Bible, and I think that view is realistic: we are nothing and can do nothing without God. Anything we do "on our own" is done with the gifts He gave us.

As a clarification, the idea that the church can dispense salvation is not a Christian one - one that may have been used by Christian churches in the past, but an idea that is contrary to the gospel. Salvation is through Christ; the church is just a structure to facilitate the relationship with Him.

And on the point that only Christians are saved, I'm honestly not sure. I do believe that man is only saved through Christ, but I'm not sure whether that also means that Buddhists can be saved through Christ by following His teachings and yet not knowing or believing the biography found in the New Testament. Ultimately, I won't complain if Heaven is heavily populated by God-fearing men and women of all faiths; but as for me, the only way to salvation is through a personal relationship with Jesus.

And I must point out two things about the last paragraph:

Yes, I'm sorry, it is my own faith, but I have always been against it. What I would want more is to have someone on their death bed and tell me truthfully that they have achieved salvation. Unfortunately, for so many religions, salvation is only achieved afterlife; how convenient.

First, many Christians (myself included) believe in salvation as three things:

1) The decision of putting your faith in Christ; from that point on, you're marked as redeemed.

2) The process of growth and development through which we (should) resemble Christ and find joy in Him more each day.

3) The final culmination of salvation, eternal life with God in Heaven.

The second meaning is what makes salvation a life-long process.

Finally, ask any honest Christian (including Paul, through his letters) and you'll find no explanation of how salvation was "achieved". We believe that it is freely given to us while we are UTTERLY undeserving of it.

(And even many Christians have a problem with deathbed conversions. The response is found in Matthew 20:1-16, which basically says that God is sovreign in His giving, that one is not to judge what He gives to those who are late to the field if He gives you what He promised.)
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Old 12-04-2001, 06:23 PM   #42
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As you say, ActungBubba, we will never agree because it all depends on core differences between our systems of belief. The more you respond to my responses, the deeper you root my convictions, and I imagine the opposite if also true.

1) The decision of putting your faith in Christ; from that point on, you're marked as redeemed.

Oh really? So anyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ will be redeemed? That's very neat for someone who will continue to sin until the day he dies. You accused my system of not having sin and the need for redemption, but it seems to me that any doctrine that will automatically absolve someone of sin and grant redemption at the drop of a hat is equally as morally ambiguous. Going to confession is another ridiculous theme; confessing one's sins, having them absolved all so that they can be free to commit them again, and they do.
Bernard Shaw stated; 'Beware of the man who's God dwells in the sky.'
This is my main criticism of Christianity, salvation comes at the drop of the hat. Sins are absolved during confession, people take the body and blood of Christ every Sunday at Mass, believing themselves to be Pure, God-Fearing people, all so that they continue to sin.

2) The process of growth and development through which we (should) resemble Christ and find joy in Him more each day.

So, salvation comes when we put Christ before actual fellow human beings?

3) The final culmination of salvation, eternal life with God in Heaven.

I take it that you believe that if someone isn't saved, they are doomed for eternal life in Hell?

Ant.
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Old 12-04-2001, 06:57 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:

1) The decision of putting your faith in Christ; from that point on, you're marked as redeemed.

Oh really? So anyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ will be redeemed? That's very neat for someone who will continue to sin until the day he dies. You accused my system of not having sin and the need for redemption, but it seems to me that any doctrine that will automatically absolve someone of sin and grant redemption at the drop of a hat is equally as morally ambiguous. Going to confession is another ridiculous theme; confessing one's sins, having them absolved all so that they can be free to commit them again, and they do.
Bernard Shaw stated; 'Beware of the man who's God dwells in the sky.'
This is my main criticism of Christianity, salvation comes at the drop of the hat. Sins are absolved during confession, people take the body and blood of Christ every Sunday at Mass, believing themselves to be Pure, God-Fearing people, all so that they continue to sin.


3) The final culmination of salvation, eternal life with God in Heaven.

I take it that you believe that if someone isn't saved, they are doomed for eternal life in Hell?
Ant.
1)Yes, people will continue to sin after receiving salvation, but that's teh whole point of God's grace. God grants us salvation through his grace - it is a totally free gift, because we can't obtain it. We can not be perfect. So, man will continue to sin after salvation. But here's the difference. A person who has truly committed to God wants to do what God wants him/her to, not to sin. The Bible says that we are to seek his will and renew our minds daily. The Christian will want to do the right thing, and will not want to sin. I would doubt that the person who doesn't care if he's sinning or not is truly saved, because when we become Christians, the Holy Spirit takes us residence in us. That spirit influences our desires.

As for Heaven and Hell, the Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to eternal life with Him. God has provided the way out of hell - it is his love for man that caused him to devise the rescue plan.

If you were drowning and someone threw you a life jacket but you didn't put it on, whose fault is that? Yours.
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Old 12-04-2001, 07:40 PM   #44
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'If you were drowning and someone threw you a life jacket but you didn't put it on, whose fault is that? Yours.'

So are you saying that the forces of Hell are as equal in Power to those of Heaven? Who is subordinate to who? If God is more powerful, than how come It has had to deivse this 'rescue plan' without rescuing Everyone himself?

Ant.
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Old 12-04-2001, 09:23 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anthony:

So are you saying that the forces of Hell are as equal in Power to those of Heaven? Who is subordinate to who? If God is more powerful, than how come It has had to deivse this 'rescue plan' without rescuing Everyone himself?
Ant.
No, the powers of hell aren't as powerful as God. God IS the rescue plan. Jesus Christ is God, he is the rescue plan. By dying on the cross and resurrecting, he defeated the power of death and hell, and invites everyone to share in the victory with Him. So you see, God did rescue everyone himself. All we have to do is accept it.
Here's teh thing about Heaven. Imperfection cannot reside in Heaven. God cannot abide in the presence of sin, for, as the Bible says, darkness and light cannot abide together. Heaven would be a pretty lonely place if not for the blood of Christ - only God and his angels would be there. And that's not God being "mean" - that's God being who He is - perfection. But Christ's blood does for us what we can never do for ourselves - it covers our sin. Therefore, when God looks at a Christian, he doesn't see sin, he see the covering of the blood of Jesus (a perfect Old Testamnet pre-cursor of this is when the Jews put the blood of a lamb around their door, and when the angel of death visited Egypt, the angel saw and teh Jews were spared). That blood washes away our sin, and our spirits are made perfect. Not our flesh, mind you. We will still give in to Satan's temptations, but our spirits are perfect. And that is how we will be able to enter Heaven someday - only because of the grace of God. That is why salvation is a great gift - God is offering us a chance to escape what is the spiritual order of things - death as a result of unforgiven sin. What a mighty and merciful God I serve!
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