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Old 10-30-2006, 04:43 PM   #61
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Originally posted by Irvine511


i understand that you're operating from a different starting point than i am
That's pretty significant to our discussion.

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but in these words seem to be an assumption that, yes, there is a God,
Which is sort of the defining element of Christianity.

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yes, i am worshipping the right one,
Which is the first of the Ten Commandments.

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and that, yes, there are people who aren't yet aware of what i know but that's part of my mission is to spread His (and even using the capital "H" is quite assertive) word.
In Jesus' first sermon He quotes Isaiah, talking about setting captives free, giving sight to the blind, proclaiming freedom. He seems to have set the precedent for exactly what you're describing... (Even if many of us bollocks it up.)

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i think what many people do react to is the way in which many christians speak about god as if he's a person
Which is another foundational element of Christianity. If God created us for relationship with Him, then it would follow that He is an actual person. (Though I'm not talking about an old white man with a beard sitting on a cloud.)

It sounds from your post like there's some frustration with the defining elements of the faith itself, not just the practice. But it's kind of hard to ignore those elements, since they inform everything else. I can apologize for the methods that people use, but it's hard to apologize for the message.

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it's not that people who are atheist are missing something in their lives or are unaware of God or angrily choosing to ignore God for whatever reasons. some people simply look around and through simply clarity and logic don't think that God exists, that there's no "there" there, that religion is a human fabrication meant to explain the unexplainable and shield us from the paralyzing paradox of the human conditon as we await our impending deaths.
I'm not going to presume why someone doesn't believe in the existence of God. I know some atheists who are angry. I know some atheists who are missing something. I know some atheists who refuse to believe in God because of tragedy in their lives. I know others who have rationally come to the conclusion that there isn't a God. These are radically different conclusions than I have come to. But is one conclusion any less legitimate than another?

One of the things we probably have to deal with sooner or later is the gross reductionism of religious discourse in America -- which isn't surprising, given how we've reduced political discourse, sociological discourse, and scientific discourse to bumper stickers and sound bites. The problem in reductionism is that an awful lot gets lost -- including the thing you've tapped into, Irvine, which is that at the fundamental level, religions aren't the same. Christianity is rooted in some pretty profound assumptions -- different than those which root Islam, Buddhism, Daoism, etc. (When asked what made Christianity different from other world religions, CS Lewis came back with, "Oh, that's easy. Grace." It calls to mind Bono's line: "Grace...a thought that changed the world.") We've talked about the tactics certain Christians use, tactics which we both seem to agree are shameful and which are opposed to the very grace that ought to define the faith. But that's different than pointing to the fundamentals of Christianity itself as the problem, which is what we seem to be talking about. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)
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Old 10-30-2006, 05:03 PM   #62
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Double post!
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Old 10-30-2006, 06:25 PM   #63
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you've kind of confirmed what i was getting at.

you're simply saying, "this is." and for you, that's sort of the end of the discussion.

that's fine. but you've got to understand that it's going to provoke an equally firm reaction.

and, no, i don't have any problems with the foundations of the faith itself, per se, but i have problems with the presentation of the foundations of the faith.

though i do have problems with one foundation of Christianity that shines through in your post: the exclusivity of the religion itself. i feel, frankly, as if it's utter horseshit that there's only a single path to God. and other religions are guilty of this too. to me, that seems like a human fabrication dripping with human weakness and insecurity. and if Bono were to take this viewpoint, which i actually don't think he does, at least not in the way that i see it reflected here in FYM, but i'd disagree with him right here and now. and CS Lewis too.

many people. many cultures. many languages. many epochs. many paths. one destination back to the same cloth from which we've all been cut, beautifully, imperfectly.
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Old 10-30-2006, 06:29 PM   #64
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Originally posted by Irvine511
though i do have problems with one foundation of Christianity that shines through in your post: the exclusivity of the religion itself. i feel, frankly, as if it's utter horseshit that there's only a single path to God. and other religions are guilty of this too. to me, that seems like a human fabrication dripping with human weakness and insecurity. and if Bono were to take this viewpoint, which i actually don't think he does, at least not in the way that i see it reflected here in FYM, but i'd disagree with him right here and now. and CS Lewis too.
Question for you, Irvine: do you believe that it is possible that Christianity is true and the other religins are true at the same time?
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Old 10-30-2006, 06:47 PM   #65
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Question for you, Irvine: do you believe that it is possible that Christianity is true and the other religins are true at the same time?


yes.

i remain a "passionate agnostic," but if i were to accept the existence of God, i think it would make sense to understand religion as a cultural expression of God, that God has to deal with many different people from many different places and he reveals himself in ways that make the most sense to where people are in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 10-30-2006, 07:31 PM   #66
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Originally posted by nathan1977
seems to indicate that there's only one way to interpret the Constitution.
There are many legal ways to interpret the Constitution.

Religious ones don't concern me nor should they concern any decent scholar of the Constitution.

To me this is symptomatic of the bigger problem. Like with intelligent design - this idea we should give equal weight to two positions. No. You can have 2 points of view, but that doesn't mean one of them isn't wrong.
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Old 10-30-2006, 07:46 PM   #67
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Originally posted by Irvine511


yes.

i remain a "passionate agnostic," but if i were to accept the existence of God, i think it would make sense to understand religion as a cultural expression of God, that God has to deal with many different people from many different places and he reveals himself in ways that make the most sense to where people are in the grand scheme of things.
(1) How do you explain this quote by Christ: "I am the Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father but by me."

(2) If salvation can be obtained through other sources, why did Christ endure the horrific pain of torture and death on the cross? Why didn't he say "You know, these people can reach God in a myriad of other ways, and they all understand Judaism, so I think I'll skip the cross part"?
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Old 10-30-2006, 07:49 PM   #68
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Originally posted by Irvine511

yes.

i remain a "passionate agnostic," but if i were to accept the existence of God, i think it would make sense to understand religion as a cultural expression of God, that God has to deal with many different people from many different places and he reveals himself in ways that make the most sense to where people are in the grand scheme of things.
Exactly! It's always shocked me by how many people who believe in a god don't believe this also. I mean they are talking about a GOD not some whiny, insecure teenager (which is certainly what "there is only ONE way" sure sounds like). It's just always made sense to me that if there are so many different peoples and cultures that a god (if indeed one exists) would have many way of reaching and communing with them. I also suspect that some ways humans might not consider "finding god" (or whatever term you want to use), a god, should one exist, might well find perfectly acceptable.
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Old 10-30-2006, 07:55 PM   #69
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Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


(1) How do you explain this quote by Christ: "I am the Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father but by me."

(2) If salvation can be obtained through other sources, why did Christ endure the horrific pain of torture and death on the cross? Why didn't he say "You know, these people can reach God in a myriad of other ways, and they all understand Judaism, so I think I'll skip the cross part"?


1. words written into his mouth by people looking to start a religion -- why not claim exclusivity?

2. i don't see how one connects to the other. crucifixion was not an uncommon means of execution back then. christs's suffering was no more or less than anyone else who was killed like that.


and a question for you:

where do Hindus go when they die?
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:17 PM   #70
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Originally posted by Irvine511


where do Hindus go when they die?
Moooooo
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:19 PM   #71
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Moooooo


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Old 10-30-2006, 08:50 PM   #72
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Originally posted by Irvine511




1. words written into his mouth by people looking to start a religion -- why not claim exclusivity?

2. i don't see how one connects to the other. crucifixion was not an uncommon means of execution back then. christs's suffering was no more or less than anyone else who was killed like that.


and a question for you:

where do Hindus go when they die?
First, I'll address these 2 points, then I'll answer your question.

1. If you claim that these words were not spoken by Christ, but were "made up", then on what basis do you assume that anything in the Bible is true, and thus "as true as the others"?

2. The point is that according to the Gospel, Christ chose to die on the cross. According to the Bible he did not have to go through with it. So why would he choose the cross as the way of imparting salvation, if other religions lead to God? If you could save someone's life with sacrificing your own, would you still choose to sacrifice your own? And if you say that Christ did not make the choice to lay down his life for his people, then you are not in agreement with what the Gospel says. And if the Gospel is wrong about that, how can you trust anything it says? How do you decide which parts to believe and which parts to not believe? And if any part of the Gospel is a lie, how can it be the truth?

Now on to your question about Hindus, I will lay the background so that you will understand why I am saying what I say. I believe all teh following, because the Bible says it.

God is a perfect, holy and just God, who cannot abide with Sin. But man, if he commits just one sin, is stained by sin and separated from God. The price of unforgiven sin is death and separation from God. Again, this is not some willy-nilly, arbitrary decision by God; it is a direct result of the perfect sinless nature of God, and his inability to abide in the presence of sin. However, man cannot earn forgiveness, because nothing he does will ever match up to the standard of God, that standard that allows people to live with God, absolute cleanness and perfection. Man was doomed until God devised what I call a "rescue plan" to enable man to live with him for eternity. God sent his son, Jesus Christ, who willingly died on the cross to pay the price of sin - death- and gain victory over it by raising back to life after 3 days. Now, man's spirit can be perfected and made clean so that he can abide with God. How is this done? When a person becomes a Christian, the Bible tells us that he is "born again", he becomes a "new creation". The old sin nature is crucified and replaced with a new nature and the Holy Spirit. Now understand that when I say a person's spirit is perfected and made clean, I am not talking about the flesh. This current flesh is not made perfect and will turn to ashes someday. Christians sin even though their new nature/Holy Spirit urges us not to. Sometimes, unfortunately, we disobey God and sin. But God does not judge people by their flesh; the flesh is merely the shell which houses the spirit, and a tool that God can use to carry out his will in someone's life. God judges people by their spirits. Only if a person's spirit is clean and perfect can that person abide with God.

So to answer your question, if a Hindu hears the Gospel and has the mental capacity to understand it, yet rejects Christ, he will not go to Heaven. I wish spirits do not go to Hell. But that is just what I wish were true, not what I believe. I believe that Spirits are immortal, and therefore must spend eternity in one of two places - in God's presence, or in Hell, which at the least is separation from God and all that is good and at the worst (as if that weren't bad enough), is a lake of fire.

I know that is not a popular belief to have. But if I were to believe this and keep it to myself, it would be wrong. It is the reason I tell people about Christ; I want people to be saved and to spend eternity with Christ.
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:30 PM   #73
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2. If you could save someone's life with sacrificing your own, would you still choose to sacrifice your own?
This is what I meant to type:

If you could save someone's life withOUT sacrificing your own, would you still choose to sacrifice your own?
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:35 PM   #74
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I know that is not a popular belief to have. But if I were to believe this and keep it to myself, it would be wrong. It is the reason I tell people about Christ; I want people to be saved and to spend eternity with Christ.


it's clear that you are quite sincere, but this is what i was talking about earlier: i respect the thought process and rigor behind this post, as well as the sincerity, it's very genuine and compassionate; but the conclusion seems so far off from reality that i makes me question the source material that much more.
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Old 10-30-2006, 10:41 PM   #75
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Of all the posts I've read in this thread and the other 2 related ones, this is the only post that caused me to have a violent reaction.

Thanks, Irvine
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