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Old 01-20-2002, 03:11 PM   #1
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung_Bebe:
Well he said that I am to give up smoking, because it is highly unattractive first of all, and second of all because it is poisoning the temple of Christ and his immaculate creation.
Interesting that he listed his reasons in that order.
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Old 01-20-2002, 03:15 PM   #2
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Bebe, smoking like many other lifestyle choices is not and should not be linked to one's faith, imo. The argument that it is sin because it is defiling your body which is God's temple is pretty flawed. By that rule, we could call eating Big Macs a sin because they can give you heart disease and suntanning sin because it can give you skin cancer. Bottom line...external things are of no value. Unfortunately many Christians feel like they have the right or the ability to judge one another based on outward appearance. But then again so did the Pharisees in Jesus' day and he had quite a lot to say to them about that.
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Old 01-20-2002, 03:21 PM   #3
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I couldn't agree more with sula. Anything else I have to say about it is in the "Legalism" thread in that U2 religion forum.

And, personally, there are a lot of really scary "super-Christians" out there, who somehow think that by playing the part--pious, upright, the whole "brother in Christ" line, etc.--they are somehow more Christian than anyone else. If anything, they are the ones missing the point of the New Testament.

Overall, don't worry about him. Quit smoking because it is bad for your health, but don't think that smoking somehow makes you a lesser Christian.

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Old 01-20-2002, 03:35 PM   #4
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Funny thing, I was brought up in a Baptist Church and I always thought that Christians didn't smoke. I don't know where that thought came from, and I completely disagree with it today! It sounds like this guy who gave you the advice is playing "holier-than-thou" but attempting to skew it so it looks like "the word of God".

Keep on smoking if you like, I wouldn't listen to that guy.

Right on, sula and melon!

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Old 01-20-2002, 03:55 PM   #5
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Yeah, I kind of got the feeling he was one of those showy Christian types... like they're out to impress people at the same time--you know with the "guess that verse" game going on at the study and everything. He knew most of them, aint that swell

I actually ran into this guy at the coffee shop where I work, I was only stopping in to deliver some U2 c.d.'s that I burned for a fellow employee
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Old 01-20-2002, 04:53 PM   #6
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Your body and mind are both important to Christ.
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Old 01-20-2002, 06:09 PM   #7
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does it say anything about crack?
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Old 01-20-2002, 06:55 PM   #8
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From first impressions, he does seem to be the pious type, however, one can never be sure.

There are always distinctions to be made from the genuinely well-intentioned (or perhaps enlightened) and those who are just pious to make themseleves feel better, or sometimes even both. However, if you should decide to quit smoking, you should do it for your own health and because you actually want to, not for his approval.

We may never find out what his genuine intentions and thoughts are, all you can be sure about is what you want, being a christian has nothing to do with smoking; I don't recall the eleventh commandment of 'Thou shall not inhale'. And what about the slogan of 'the pope smokes dope'?
However, Jesus DID say once that what goes into the mouth is never filthy, its what comes out of the mouth one should worry about.

Of course it is still too early, however, as it has been pointed about before, I really find the order of his reasons interesting, saying how it looked 'unattractive'. Some men do like to change women using subtle psychological strategies, be careful you don't find yourself changing just to fit in his 'perfect follower' image.

Personally, the only thing that keeps anyone from God is the mind, not a joint. If he is a true follower of christ, he should realise that the lepers are in one's head, not a cigarette. One of my fave quotes of U2 is 'if you want to kiss the sky you better learn how to kneel', I always interpreted those lyrics as good advice. If you want to know God, one should learn humility, not abstinence from smoking.

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[This message has been edited by Anthony (edited 01-20-2002).]
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Old 01-20-2002, 07:49 PM   #9
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Beebs, ignore the Christian and listen to your big sis.
Stop pouring tar into your lungs now!!!!!!!
Am I gonna have to wack you?

Angie has to put up with my crap, you shall now too.
(inserts choking on goo that is inside your lungs and arteries full of thick icky vomit style poison smiley)
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Old 01-20-2002, 08:05 PM   #10
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In defense of the guy at school:

Yes, there are hypocrits who act pious but really aren't. But just because P implies Q, it doesn't mean Q implies P. Just because hypocrits act pious, it doesn't mean that everyone who appears to be pious are all hypocrits.

(And it isn't ALWAYS the case that pious people are also arrogant. One can be pious in a good way. One has to judge these things on a case-by-case basis.)

Honestly, if there are genuinely pious people (Mother Teresa comes to mind), they too would appear pious. There's no sense suggesting that everyone who appears to be pious is deceitful.

In other words - and this is more a note against some replies and not Bebe's original post - one shouldn't let one's biases against Christians cloud one's judgment. You can't judge a book by its cover.

Yes, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15) But at the same time, "the tree is known by his fruit." (Matthew 12:33) If the person doesn't appear to be hypocritical, he might actually be on the level.


Now, on the question of the morality of smoking...

It appears, due to the current state of scientific knowledge, that smoking is probably harmful to the body. At the very least, it isn't beneficial in any known way.

If you knowingly put yourself in a great risk of physical harm for no good reason, I can see one of two things occuring: Either you believe you won't get harmed, which can be interpreted as tempting God (see Matthew 4:5-7). Or you simply don't care that you may bring yourself harm, which I think qualifies as damaging God's temple (see 1 Corinthians 6:19).

It then becomes a question of whether a long-term smoking habit is "too risky." It certainly isn't flinging oneself of a rooftop, but it does seem more risky than eating meat (which is occasionally contaminated by salmonella, etc.). The fact is that the risk of eating meat can be balanced by the nutritional benefits of protein, etc.; that smoking is not beneficial doesn't help its case.

As an aside, I think the fact that humans have a natural taste for meat and sugar indicates to me that we were born with a certain physical need for the nutritional benefits of both - at least in small doses. That one has to get used to smoking is a very bad sign, in my opinion.

Ultimately, I believe a certain level of self-indulgence (some dirty jokes, violent video games, and empty calories) is either acceptable or simply bad at the level of nit-picking. I believe God would prefer us to focus on loving Him and others.

Whether tobacco falls into that area of quasi-acceptable indulgences is, I think, ultimately something to be worked out between you and God. Outsiders can't tell you what to do, either way.

But if I may...

As one who is for greater personal freedom, I certainly think adults should be allowed to smoke, and private enterprises (restaurants and bars especially) should be allowed to set their own rules on smoking.

That said, I think people should be free to smoke but should also choose not to, mostly for reasons that are outside the scope of morality. It's the simpler case of common sense, not necessarily a moral mandate. It's an expensive habit that, in the BEST case, has no effect on a person. In the worst case, it leads to serious health problems. It strikes me as a bad decision.

And, personally, my mom smokes. When confronted with the risks, she replies that God will "take her" when He wants to. That strikes me as a SERIOUS violation of Matthew 4:7 and its reference, Deuteronomy 6:16: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

In her case, even if the smoking itself is morally ambivalent, her attitude about her habit worries me greatly.
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Old 01-20-2002, 09:48 PM   #11
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Something tells me Jesus has better things to worry about...

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Old 01-21-2002, 12:29 AM   #12
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I actually believe that smoking is wrong, because not only are you harming yourself and the gift of life given to you, but more than likely you are also harming others because of the effects of second-hand smoke.



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Old 01-21-2002, 02:18 AM   #13
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smoking/christianity

There's this guy at my school who is completely devoted to Christ. He was saved a year ago he says. Well anyway, I attended a little bible study with a group from my school, and he pulled me aside and started telling me he could sense the holy spirit urging him to talk to me. It was the strangest thing, he just started opening up to me and telling me aspects in my life to focus on... I was a bit puzzled as to why he says he had a sense to talk to me. I don't put off a "save me" vibe I don't think. Well he said that I am to give up smoking, because it is highly unattractive first of all, and second of all because it is poisoning the temple of Christ and his immaculate creation. He said "you are a diamond, do not tarnish the diamond... unique with intricate detail" I'm using his words basically. He also made it seem like it's a contradiction for a believer to be a smoker. Does anyone else feel this way? I mean I realize you are to strive to be a practicing christian in your daily life (ex. not just paying lip service) but what makes this so un-christian. I mean tobacco was given to us in nature. I had just never been told this before

He also stressed that he wasn't trying to talk down on me, rather help me as a "fellow brother in Christ" ...

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[This message has been edited by Achtung_Bebe (edited 01-20-2002).]
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Old 01-21-2002, 07:18 AM   #14
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honestly, I've never thought God judges people by whether they smoke or not. it's my guess he said something to you for one of three reasons. either a) he honestly believes in what he's saying and really wants to help you, b) he wants to show how strong his belief is, or c) he likes you and was looking for a way to approach you

I dunno my guess is he really believes it and wanted to 'help' you, I just don't really agree with this way of pushing religion on people. It's all wrong, imho.
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Old 01-21-2002, 10:14 AM   #15
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Melon & Sula - i couldnt have said it better myself!

Bebe - just do what YOU want to do!!!!
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Old 01-21-2002, 10:40 AM   #16
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To respond to the question of "morality" of smoking yet again, I would see it being moral on the basis of why you smoke. I would say that 99.9%+ don't smoke with the purpose of angering God.

In Catholicism, at least, sin is the conscious choosing to do wrong; hence, if what you do is "officially" listed as sin and you didn't know it, then you cannot have sinned. Likewise, if your conscience doesn't believe that what you are doing is sinful--and, hence, you aren't trying to offend God--then you haven't sinned. Anyway, corroborate with your own denomination on what constitutes "sin." I just thought I'd give an alternate point of view.

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-21-2002, 11:07 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
And, personally, my mom smokes. When confronted with the risks, she replies that God will "take her" when He wants to. That strikes me as a SERIOUS violation of Matthew 4:7 and its reference, Deuteronomy 6:16: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

In her case, even if the smoking itself is morally ambivalent, her attitude about her habit worries me greatly.
In defense of your mother, I don't think that is necessarily "tempting" God. It is more of the Christian attitude of letting God take control of your life. "My life is in God's hands." Or maybe it isn't. You know your mother best. Either way, does that make sense?

But I will admit it is a somewhat odd attitude to have, but no more odd than the beliefs of Christian Scientists regarding medicine--as irresponsible and misguided as I may believe such beliefs to be personally, I believe that, since their actions are formulated with the understanding that they are pleasing God, it is not necessarily morally wrong. But, if a Christian Scientist went to a hospital in a fit of anger against God (hence, going to the hospital is a "rebellious" act that they still believe to wrong in conscience), then it would be morally wrong of them to have gone for medical treatment.

Make any sense?

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-21-2002, 12:58 PM   #18
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Melon:

I will reply to your posts because you directly replied to mine. This does not mean that I will continue replying to your posts in the general case, and I hope that this exchange will not also degenerate.

It seems to me that, by your definition, an atheist cannot sin. The atheist doesn't believe in God, thus he cannot act out of anger towards God, thus he cannot sin.

I believe in a very different definition of sin. I believe sin is knowingly choosing "your way" over what is right, regardless of your feelings toward God, and regardless even of whether you acknowledge "what is right" as the will of God.

Specifically, look at how the Bible treats "horizontal sins", sins against man in which God is concerned almost tangentially.

Exodus 20:13 says, "Thou shalt not kill," or kill without cause (murder) as is commonly translated. In that case, anger at God doesn't seem to be an issue at all.

Matthew 5:21-22a adds to the Commandment:

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

Here, anger at your fellow man is the issue, but it is qualified anger ("without a cause"), and anger at God still doesn't seem to apply.

My point is, anger at God doesn't seem biblically necessary for a sin. Further, anger at God may not even be a sin in its own right. Look at Matthew 22:37-38:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

Love and anger can coexist. God has been occasionally angry with the Israelites, and yet it seems He always loved them, just as parents can (and sometimes should) be their children. The key is that it is righteous, and not selfish, anger.

At the same time, a man could (I believe) be angry with God and not sin. If he is dealt something he does not honestly believe he deserves, he can angrily ask God, "Why?". But as long as his anger passes, his love of God remains, and his faith in God is unmoved, it may not qualify as a sin. In fact, I believe that God prefers a man who gets angry and is honest before God about that anger - as indicated by some of the more bitter Psalms.

Returning to your example (the Christian Scientist who angrily goes to a hospital), the anger might not be a sin, even if the disobedience against God qualifies.

Either way, I still believe that the Christian Scientist is wrong for not going to the hospital, because it certainly falls under tempting God.

To paraphrase the section of Matthew 4 I referenced, Satan took Jesus to the top of the temple and said, "If you're the Son of God, jump and the angels will save you." Jesus replied, "I won't, because scripture says not to tempt God."

I fear that the Christian Scientists' reasoning too closely follows that of Satan: "we're Christians, and if we're sick and have enough faith, we will be healed; thus, we shouldn't go to the hospital."

The reply still holds: don't tempt God.

And, returning finally to the case of my mother, I still think her attitude is quite dangerous. It's one thing to say, "My life is in God's hands." It's quite another to say, "My life is in His hands; I think I'll play in traffic."
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Old 01-21-2002, 01:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Achtung Bubba:
Melon:

I will reply to your posts because you directly replied to mine. This does not mean that I will continue replying to your posts in the general case, and I hope that this exchange will not also degenerate.
I am not writing this in the spirit of argument, so don't think of it that way. Must everything be politically motivated?

Quote:
It seems to me that, by your definition, an atheist cannot sin. The atheist doesn't believe in God, thus he cannot act out of anger towards God, thus he cannot sin.
My response was tailored with the assumption that the person was already Christian. If a Christian acts truly and honestly in love, he cannot sin. As for non-Christians, I refuse to pass judgment.

Quote:
I believe in a very different definition of sin. I believe sin is knowingly choosing "your way" over what is right, regardless of your feelings toward God, and regardless even of whether you acknowledge "what is right" as the will of God.
It is what you believe, and I will not argue with it. It is your conscience, and you should follow it. But I am simply clarifying what I have been taught and what I believe as an alternate point of view. With that in mind, I am hoping that it will make you, and perhaps others, think about the issue. And if, in thinking, one goes right back to where they started, then, at least, those beliefs should be stronger.

What I am going by is Catholic beliefs and tradition. Sin, by both definition and tradition in this school of thought, is the free and conscious choosing to go against God. Hence, one cannot sin by default or by ignorance.

Quote:
Specifically, look at how the Bible treats "horizontal sins", sins against man in which God is concerned almost tangentially.

Exodus 20:13 says, "Thou shalt not kill," or kill without cause (murder) as is commonly translated. In that case, anger at God doesn't seem to be an issue at all.
No, but it is an offense against love. To kill your neighbor maliciously is to hate your neighbor. To kill your neighbor in self-defense, as in your neighbor is attempting to kill you or someone you love, is to show that you are killing out of love of your family and desire to protect them.

I'm sure DebbieSG will laugh at me to quote this passage yet again ( ), but it is applicable in the context of this message:

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." -- Romans 13:8-10.

I must admit I should have stated this perhaps in the other message, but sometimes I get my arguments mixed up.

Quote:
Love and anger can coexist. God has been occasionally angry with the Israelites, and yet it seems He always loved them, just as parents can (and sometimes should) be their children. The key is that it is righteous, and not selfish, anger.
Personally, I disagree with the contention that God is, or ever was, vengeful. It is simply a change in perception. When we look at September 11th, for instance, we don't see it as a sign of a vengeful God. If the same event happened to the Israelites, they would have seen it as a sign that God is somehow angry at them. And, if it were in the Bible, rather than stating that terrorists were to blame, they would have probably written that God struck down the towers in anger for the our sins. It's not that the Israelites were deceiving people. It is just that both education and theology is different than back then.

Regardless, assuming that God is angry, that is up to God, not us. While God has the power to judge and smite whomever He very well pleases, the same power is not reserved to us. Our challenge, as stated by Jesus and reaffirmed in Romans 13:8-10 is to live a life of love. Henceforth, if all of our actions are motivated out of love, a Christian cannot sin.

Quote:
Either way, I still believe that the Christian Scientist is wrong for not going to the hospital, because it certainly falls under tempting God.
I believe it is wrong for a Christian Scientist to not go to the hospital, because I believe that our ability to treat ourselves comes from God.

Regardless, if someone in the family dies of an illness, due to the fact that they were not given medical treatment, I do not necessarily believe that to be a sin on their part. Certainly, they should be possibly be liable for criminal penalties in the secular world, but, in regards to religion, I will not pass judgment onto them.

Regardless, you do post an interesting point that I will continue to ponder. I think your application of Matthew 4 is correct, but I am not a Christian Scientist, nor do I believe in them. But, as I stated earlier, I will not pass judgment on them for doing what they truly believe to be moral and upright, although I will continue to disagree vehemently with their contention.

And, in regards to your mother, I do not know her obviously, but perhaps you should tell her what you told me. Maybe it will drive her to quit smoking? Good luck...

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 01-21-2002, 03:44 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by scatteroflight:
I think that "sin" is supposed to mean "missing the mark"--I have heard that that is the actual definition of the word as used in the Bible.
"Sin," supposedly, comes from the Hebrew word for "imperfection," which also explains the whole "missing the mark." But "imperfection" is part of our design, hence the obsession with original sin.

Different Christian religions obviously deal with the matter of sin differently, and have done so for centuries. Hence, I must restrain myself from doing the usual "melon" argument on this subject, because there are different answers to it. I highly suggest that those who question "what is sin?" to consult their own denomination on the official definition of it.

Quote:
I don't agree that you're not sinning if you don't do it consciously. I think we frequently sin without knowing it. I would agree that it's more seriously to do it deliberately and wilfully.
In Catholicism, it is referred to as "venial sin." But venial sin doesn't effect the state of your salvation.

But here comes the potential contradiction: if faith is the sole means of salvation, as stated by Protestantism and slyly insinuated by the current Pope (implying a doctrine change), then what does it matter if we sin?

As I've been told repeatedly, we're all sinners and all sins are equal in the eyes of God. If, supposedly, a person is saved upon accepting Christ as your Savior, then why would one's sins condemn them? But if they do, then it is faith and good works for salvation...but I've been duly dismissed for mentioning this before. Any clarification?

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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