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Old 06-09-2006, 04:59 PM   #76
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I see where you're coming from Irvine, but this isn't how it works. If it were the case, I'd agree with you.

The truth is God wants us to spend eternity with him. that's why Christ had to die. So he's died for us. Then he commands Christians to spread this news. He's reached out to us. It's up to us to reach back.

As far as keep us out of heaven, he doesn't do that. It's up to us. All we have to do is make a decision. He could force us to come to heaven, but that wouldn't be a God of love. Instead he gives us the choice of how we want to live, but he reaches out to us in many ways.

coemgen, you know i think you're a great guy, but i think you misunderstand the situation i'm trying to present.

is this God you speak of not keeping Hindus out of heaven? if there's only one way, as you say, and a Hindu might grow up unexposed to Jesus, or, due to the highly understandable fact that said Hindu is from a different culture and is as predisposed to think of his religion as "right" or at least natural in the same way that you, due to culture, are predisposed to think of your religion as "right," then is not this Hindu, who might be as moral and virtuous a human being as one could ask, being kept out of this understanding of heaven you have by forces beyond his control?

aren't you essentially preaching a colonialist/"white man's burden" message -- it's the christian way or else?

ultimately, isn't it *your* fault as a Christian if someone goes to hell (or whever) because they are Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim, or Hindu? after all, you haven't converted them, so shame on you?



another thing is occuring to me: i dont see the logic of one man having to die so that we can "go to heaven." what happened to the billions of people who were around before Jesus? the cavemen? the ancient Egyptians? did they all just die and go to hell? if we are to take a more historical view of human history, where modern humans have been around for at least 65,000 years, doesn't it seem silly to think that for 63,000 of those 65,000 years no one went to heaven? how much sense does that make?

how does Christ dying redeem anyone? i'm looking for the logic behind it -- tell me how the system works, don't just give me a "because of A, then B." there seems to be a leap there. because we're bad, someone has to die? and then we're better? and to die in a terrible but not uncommon fashion for that time period?
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:08 PM   #77
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And that's fine, spreading news is one thing, commanding and trying to control how others choose to behave and live is something else. Then rubbing someone's perceived wrongdoing in the face of grieving families at the moment of transition is, I dunno, strikes me as (among other things) extremely unChristian.



Which seems so unacceptable to so many people of faith with repsect to those who disagree with some or all of their views. That's what I find most frustrating.
I agree with you here. You can't mix Right Wing politics with Christian spirituality. What Phelps does to these grieving families, as well as claiming God hates people, is something I have to think he'll be held accountable for one day. If anyone needs prayer, it's him.

With my other statement you quoted, to clarify, I was talking about how God gives us the choice to live according to his ways, or against them. He knows we can't live according to his ways on our own because we're talking about the standards of a holy God. That's where Christ comes into the picture. It's also where the condition of our heart comes in as well. Instead of judging us on our works, he now calls us out on our heart; our character.
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:27 PM   #78
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Telling a doctor that my way is as good as His may make me feel better, but won't cure me.
You have absolutely no way of knowing that. It's very possible you may get better without submitting to his advice or treatment. Happens every day, as far as this analogy goes.
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Old 06-09-2006, 06:07 PM   #79
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I don't believe the gospels are good historical documents nor do I believe they were written in an objective way.
Agreed. I took a theology course that focused not on the content of the Gospels, but on the cultural context, what is known about the authors, and what agendas are being pushed. It was the type of class that leaves you with way more questions than answers.

As for the vaccine analogy....I dunno. I got a yellow fever vaccine and ended up with yellow fever. The FeLV vaccine (for cats) is actually risky because if the cat is not at risk for contracting the virus, they are more likely to get sick and die from cancer related to the vaccine. I guess in these cases, the analogy DOES work because just like religion, it's up to individuals to decide what works for them, but I'm guessing that wasn't the intended effect?
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Old 06-09-2006, 06:38 PM   #80
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Originally posted by Irvine511



coemgen, you know i think you're a great guy, but i think you misunderstand the situation i'm trying to present.

is this God you speak of not keeping Hindus out of heaven? if there's only one way, as you say, and a Hindu might grow up unexposed to Jesus, or, due to the highly understandable fact that said Hindu is from a different culture and is as predisposed to think of his religion as "right" or at least natural in the same way that you, due to culture, are predisposed to think of your religion as "right," then is not this Hindu, who might be as moral and virtuous a human being as one could ask, being kept out of this understanding of heaven you have by forces beyond his control?

aren't you essentially preaching a colonialist/"white man's burden" message -- it's the christian way or else?

ultimately, isn't it *your* fault as a Christian if someone goes to hell (or whever) because they are Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim, or Hindu? after all, you haven't converted them, so shame on you?



another thing is occuring to me: i dont see the logic of one man having to die so that we can "go to heaven." what happened to the billions of people who were around before Jesus? the cavemen? the ancient Egyptians? did they all just die and go to hell? if we are to take a more historical view of human history, where modern humans have been around for at least 65,000 years, doesn't it seem silly to think that for 63,000 of those 65,000 years no one went to heaven? how much sense does that make?

how does Christ dying redeem anyone? i'm looking for the logic behind it -- tell me how the system works, don't just give me a "because of A, then B." there seems to be a leap there. because we're bad, someone has to die? and then we're better? and to die in a terrible but not uncommon fashion for that time period?


Aw, thanks Irvine. I think you're a great guy as well. : ) Isn't this dialogue fun?

I would respond to your first paragraph by saying again that God's completely fair. Again, it's a justice thing. Because of his love though, he's doing everything he can to reach each of us. I've heard of it as he chases after us in love as if he's a hunter. Obviously, that's not meaning he's out to get us. : )

As far as what I'm sharing, I wouldn't call it a "White Man's burden" message. Again, don't confuse it with the Right Wing Christianity. First of all, I doubt Jesus was white. Second, Christianity is booming in many of the African nations, is thriving underground in China, has reached many Native Americans and is thriving in Spanish cultures. I have a good friend who, with his wife, risked their lives in a couple Asian countries by moving their with the goal of sharing Christ's love. There are more Christian martyrs today, than there were in Christ's time. Christians are everywhere doing everything they can to share Christ with people. I do my part, which is what I feel God is asking me to do.

As far as it being my fault if someone isn't "saved," I would say somewhat. It's not any Christian's duty to convert anyone. That's done by the Holy Spirit and by the person opening their heart to it. I can't do that for anyone. However, as Christians we are called to live as Christ did and share our faith. The thing here is we're each responsible for how we respond to God ourselves —*you, me and those living on the other side of the world.

To answer your other question —*a very good one I might add —*we have to again consider God's passion for justice. (that's the theme for today).
If justice exists, then those who do wrong should pay. Right? We have laws here in America that say if someone shoots someone, or steals something, there's a price to pay. Those are human to human laws. Well, there are spiritual laws as well. Our teaching pastor at church describes sin as crimes against God. God is holy, pure, just and the essence of love. He created us out of love, and gave us free will out of love. We chose to give him the finger and do things our way and do things out of greed. This is contrary to his character. So basically, since the beginning of time, we've separated ourselves from God. Call it rebellion.
At the same time, if justice truly exists, there's a standard to be met. These are found in our laws today. One way to be a good citizen is to not speed. Basically, the law tells us how to be good. That's where we get our standard. In the Old Testament, we learn about the old law, which included the Ten Commandments, but also many other commandments. That was the standard of the day. Those who messed up would have to sacrifice a "spotless lamb" to be right with God. God also interacted with us humans differently back then. Realizing the law was too much to live up to and that we were failing miserably, God decided to give us a new way to be righteous or "right with God" or "good according to the law" or on the good side of justice. This would be Christ. The Bible tells us "the wages of sin is death." Blood has to be spilled. That's why the spotless lamb was sacrificed. Here's the cool part: God gave us the new way out, but stuck to the laws of justice. He's smart that God. God himself came down as man, lived a life like we do, but lived it perfectly, like we can't. He lived up to the holy standard. He was a spotless lamb. His death, was his sacrifice. He paid the penalty for us, but he could only do this by becoming fully man and fully God. Are you with me? (the triune nature of God confuses me too, I must say.) Through the resurrection, God conquered death, both spiritually and physically, therefore beating the consequences of sin. We can do this too by giving our lives to him. To do this, you have to die to yourself, and allow him to live within you. That's what a Christian is. Then when it's time to be held accountable for our sins, Christ's life is what's judged.
Before Christ's time, God interacted and reached out to us in different ways. Again, he always does his part of the relationship. It's us who fail. He's a fair judge so each of those before Christ were judged as fairly as we are. Out of love though, he made it easier for us to have access to him, or to have a relationship with him, through Christ. Why he waited or did this at the time he did, I can't tell you.

That's a minor issue though — the big issue is how each of us responds to it in our own lives.

Sorry this is longer than "War and Peace."
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Old 06-10-2006, 04:09 AM   #81
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I thought the point of Jesus dying was that it represented a more specific fulfilling of a prophecy of the time, thence revoking the old Mosaic law or somesuch thing. I don't claim expertise, but I certainly don't think the billions who lived before Jesus are/were damned. In fact, while I think Christianity has great value, to accept that it's the ONLY way is to accept that the vast majority of humans who ever lived, are damned.

Thus we have a little thing called ecumenism.
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:52 PM   #82
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You make a good point, Kieran. I have to admit, as I read back what I wrote above, I left something important out. Those who lived before Jesus weren't damned because Jesus wasn't their for them to know —*I know I didn't say that in my comments above. However, I failed to mention that they were saved by grace as well. The Apostle Paul refers to this in his writings. The OT law didn't save anyone, God's grace did. The law, however, was the standard of good. The important thing is God is fair and just and deals with each of us where we're at. You're right, Christ fulliflled the law, which I think I explained above.

I know it's hard confronting the idea of Christianity being the only way. Think about this though -- if God let his son die so that we could get to heaven, why would he allow any other way? Doesn't seem like a fair God to me. Then also consider, if we can chose another way, why did Christ have to die the way he did and why did he say "I am the way, the truth and the life, nobody gets to the Father but by me?" These are big questions we have to ask.
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:58 PM   #83
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coemgen, you've given me a dose of philosophy, but i don't think it answers any of my very practical questions.

i still don't get how the torture and death of someone redeems everyone. his death was terrible, but ultimately unexceptional for the time period. the logic doesn't make any sense to me, the redemption thing seems to have been retrofitted to the event itself.

and i still don't see how a Hindu is damned because he happened to be born Hindu and there's no logical reason for him to switch his religion if he and his family have been Hindu for centuries.

what happened to the Ancient Egyptians when they died?
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Old 06-12-2006, 01:27 PM   #84
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Originally posted by coemgen I know it's hard confronting the idea of Christianity being the only way.
Wow. I don't even think you realize how condescending that can come across to people who may not find it "hard" at all to disagree with some or all of that idea.

Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
Think about this though -- if God let his son die so that we could get to heaven, why would he allow any other way?
Perhaps like every other test of faith and free will, so one could demonstate respect and tolerance for other points of view.
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Old 06-12-2006, 03:10 PM   #85
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Wow. I don't even think you realize how condescending that can come across to people who may not find it "hard" at all to disagree with some or all of that idea.
We wrestle with the idea of "looking to be offended" here regularly. One can easily avoid the subject matter with a speculative characterization of an audiences' potential reaction.
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Old 06-12-2006, 03:23 PM   #86
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We wrestle with the idea of "looking to be offended" here regularly. One can easily avoid the subject matter with a speculative characterization of an audiences' potential reaction.
Fair enough. What's your point?
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Old 06-12-2006, 07:54 PM   #87
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Wow. I don't even think you realize how condescending that can come across to people who may not find it "hard" at all to disagree with some or all of that idea.



Perhaps like every other test of faith and free will, so one could demonstate respect and tolerance for other points of view.
Thanks for bringing that to my attention, AliEnvy. In no way was I trying to offend anyone. I'm sorry if my comment offended you in any way. I meant it as a blanket statement that I would think, in general, people would find it to be an offensive idea. And it is an offensive idea, I realize that. It means truth isn't in fashion. You can't pick and choose how your going to get to heaven simply because it fits how you want to live your life. Of course that's offensive. It's not my idea though.

As far as respecting other points of view, I don't think disagreeing with them is disrespectful. I can respect and tolerate people who are of different faiths. Here in the newsroom where I work we have a Jew, a Mormon, an agnostic and an athiest – and I'm friends with each of them. They're great people. Do I agree with their positions on faith? Nope. That's what Bono's idea on coexistence is —*disagree, but get along. I have no problem with that.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:03 PM   #88
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Sorry to interrupt, but...


THERE IS NO GOD.


OK, carry on.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:05 PM   #89
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You bring so much to this place.
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Old 06-12-2006, 08:51 PM   #90
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Thanks for bringing that to my attention, AliEnvy. In no way was I trying to offend anyone. I'm sorry if my comment offended you in any way. I meant it as a blanket statement that I would think, in general, people would find it to be an offensive idea. And it is an offensive idea, I realize that. It means truth isn't in fashion. You can't pick and choose how your going to get to heaven simply because it fits how you want to live your life. Of course that's offensive. It's not my idea though.

As far as respecting other points of view, I don't think disagreeing with them is disrespectful. I can respect and tolerate people who are of different faiths. Here in the newsroom where I work we have a Jew, a Mormon, an agnostic and an athiest – and I'm friends with each of them. They're great people. Do I agree with their positions on faith? Nope. That's what Bono's idea on coexistence is — disagree, but get along. I have no problem with that.
I don't think simply disagreeing is disrespectful either and I can appreciate that you don't intend to be offensive in your assertions on Christianity and the truth as you see it. It's all in the delivery.
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