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Old 04-16-2004, 11:26 AM   #76
mrnoodle
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There is a much better explanation for why belief via faith is a required component of this religion: because it would be the one thing that would really cause the religion to last over time.
Belief via faith is the central point of almost any religion. And there are many religions that have lasted for centuries and thrive to this day. However, Christianity has two vital differences with them - it's central figure claimed to be God, and claims resurrection from the dead.

1) He asked his followers to drop everything and follow him. He said that there was no way to come to the Father except through him. He said that "Before Abraham was, I AM". If he wasn't deliberately misleading people, was he delusional? A good man who maybe took himself too seriously? Nope. He suffered the worst death the time had to offer. If he knew he was lying, he would have broken under the strain. No one will die the most horrible of deaths for something they know is a lie. Delusional? It would be a very deep delusion that would carry him through the passion without giving in and crying mercy. Instead, he forgave those who were pinning him to the cross (through the wrists, Mel). By the same token, he took no credit for himself - "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing."

2) Muhammed's tomb has an occupant. The Buddha's tomb has an occupant. Jesus' tomb is empty. This is important. Of course, the remaining 11 disciples could have stolen the body out from under the nose of the Roman guard, but they were the same guys who ran when he was arrested and denied him when they were interrogated by the crowds. Still, it's a possiblity. Barring that, however, you have to give credence to his claim that he is alive. Thomas didn't buy it until he put his hands on the wounds themselves. It would take up all Jesus' time just to stand on earth and let ppl come by and stick their fingers in the nail holes, so we have to have faith.

Regardless of what else is out there religion-wise (and as I've said, I've been open-minded in my search), I refuse to be one of the crowd at the foot of the cross yelling, "If you're God, come down off your cross." I know a king when I see one.

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so it's motivation. But, if something is right, it's right....right? Belief in GOD makes you want to strive toward being as godlike as you can. I'm all for that. Faith because you HAVE to or you'll burn in hell doesn;t work for me.
You are right on track all the way to the last sentence....faith because you have to isn't faith. Can you really think of someone having faith based on fear? When has that ever worked? If someone just wants a "get out of hell free" ticket, their faith always wavers (and might have never been there). True faith frees you from the slavery of sin, which in turn makes you acceptable to God. The devil's afraid of hell, but he's going anyway.

Tangent: The devil can quote more scripture than you or me, also. The real danger is for people who are "religious" without being saved. That's the primary message of many books of the bible - hypocrites are going to pay. That alone should endear one to it.
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:34 AM   #77
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One shard of Christianity believes that no one is in heaven or hell until the Second Coming of Christ. Right now, everyone who ever lived (with a few exceptions) is just dead, waiting for Final Judgement. Then, when you come up before Jesus, he looks at your life and says where you wind up.

and on a side note, Jim, your ideas are just as possible as Christianity is, and Islam is, and Hindi, and Ba'hai, and VooDoo and Paganism and Druidic and Alienism.

Whatever you believe, it's a belief. Profound, huh?
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:42 AM   #78
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Forgot to answer LJ's point:
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I was interested in hearing the answer from a believer. What explanation have they been given, that they found to be acceptable enough to be the cornerstone of their religion?
It's different from believer to believer. For me, it was the logic that finally pushed me over the edge, so to speak. Nobody elses' god changes lives so profoundly and completely.

Look at it historically. It ties back to the "was Jesus telling the truth about himself" question. The 12 apostles of Christ were not completely on board with Jesus throughout his ministry. They constantly questioned him, and none of them actually believed that he would physically raise from the dead. They were Jews - they were waiting for a messiah that would free Israel from the Romans. They fought among themselves to be Jesus' closest "advisor" so they would be in a better position when he set up his kingdom in Jerusalem and overthrew Herod (considered to be a puppet of Rome by his followers). When Jesus was arrested, they scattered. ) One of them stayed long enough to take a swipe at a guard (remember, they thought of Jesus as the future king and themselves as his "posse"), but they were gone soon after. They stayed in hiding until the crucifixion was over - none were present at the execution (I don't think so, anyway...fuzzy on this point). At the time of the resurrection, they were still in hiding, trying to figure out an escape plan. When Mary (not mom) ran in saying the tomb was empty, a couple of them went with her to check it out. When they saw that it WAS empty, they were at a loss.

Even then, not all of them believed, e.g. Thomas. Yet by the end of their lives, every last one of them was murdered for preaching the gospel. They were stoned, crucified, crucified upside down, beheaded....I think there was one that simply died in prison, but I don't have a bible in front of me at the moment. The point is, that's a big change. The disciples didn't believe because of faith, they believed because they SAW what happened, and were willing to devote the rest of their lives preaching it. But, as Jesus said, "You believe because you have seen. Blessed are they who don't see, and still believe" (paraphrased).

That's the cornerstone of my faith, personally. Again, another believer might have a different answer.
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:44 AM   #79
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Originally posted by OnyxCougar
One shard of Christianity believes that no one is in heaven or hell until the Second Coming of Christ.
I'm one of them. I didn't know there was an organized cell of them...it's just something I got from reading the beeblay.
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:48 AM   #80
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Agreed. That's the bible's version of it, but most Christians have the "as soon as I die I go to heaven or hell" version in thier heads. *shrug* Dang Catholics.


edit: Mormons believe in the "waiting" preceding the Second Coming. Oddly, I found that except for the Joseph Smith/Living Prophet stuff, I really agreed with their take on the bible and how to live your life.

Last edited by OnyxCougar; 04-16-2004 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:01 PM   #81
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Originally posted by OnyxCougar


and on a side note, Jim, your ideas are just as possible as Christianity is, and Islam is, and Hindi, and Ba'hai, and VooDoo and Paganism and Druidic and Alienism.
thank you. was that so hard?
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:23 PM   #82
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by mrnoodle
You are right on track all the way to the last sentence....faith because you have to isn't faith. Can you really think of someone having faith based on fear? When has that ever worked?
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earlier by mrnoodleIf I'm wrong in my beliefs, I haven't lost anything. I'll die and there will be nothing but oblivion. But if you're wrong, you've lost everything. Knowing what I know, it's not a gamble I'm willing to take, regardless of the immediate state of my 'faith' at any given moment.
something doesn;t jive here. you won;t gamble because you're afraid of losing the bet, right? you imply that you believe in god just in case it turns out to be true. Enough to use it as an argument, at least.

but is it faith in spite of the fact that you MUST have it? If you have to have faith, and have to believe to get in, how do you know you haven;t just done a good job of tricking yourself into believing that you truly believe. How many "christians" are just going through the motions "just in case?" they go to church, they follow the rules, but maybe they doubt it a little.....maybe they think ther might be some truth to another religion, too. Is it enough to SAY you believe?

I feel as strongly as any bible thumper does about my beliefs, yet, as I said, there is a small kernel of doubt. always. maybe the millions of christians are right, and this sucks, but this is how it is, and i'm going to burn in hell. therefoer, my "faith" in what I believe is not absolute. does a christian's faith have to be absolute? what if you're having a "bad faith day" when you happen to die?

I hope this illustrates to you the ridiculous nature of these little rules most conventional religions employ. Live as a good christian, in as much as it makes you stronger and wiser, but dont tell me im gonna burn cuz i dont like your flavor of ice cream.

i will not accept that a truly good person who does not happen to accept jesus h christ as his savior will fry for eternity. that's ludicrous. can you honestly say you DO believe that? really???
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:50 PM   #83
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This thread reminded me of a discussion I had with a good friend - some old-timers here may remember him, AlphaGeek? - on this subject. The following was developed after a freeform thought session at about four, five in the morning a month back. Here goes:

(PS: If something like this was touched on already, my apologies. I gotta run soon, so poring over six pages of philosophy is not in the cards.)

----------

Steve (4:09:56 AM): if you believe in heaven, it is total satisfaction, which is the lack of desire and feeling....if you don't believe in heaven, then when you die, you simply cease to exist

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that it's remarkable how many times I've been metaphysically hit upside the head in the immediately pre-dawn hours. Continuing.

I've been mulling over that statement you made there, and it struck me. Throughout upbringing, we are inculcated with the belief (the Heaven belief, precisely) that when we die, we go to a paradise world, where our every need and want is catered to. However, in this scenario, we are still ourselves. We, to our core, are no different for all eternity. But how can that be? We, as humans, are defined by needs and wants; by pressures and standards and on and on and on. To quote Biff from Lamb (I swear, that book is so underappreciated. There really should be a monument built to it.): "Without the past, where's the guilt? And without the future, where's the dread? And without guilt and dread, who am I?"

Perhaps that's what Hell truly is: being as you are, being human, for eternity. The knowledge that stars will burn out, alien civilizations and species will be born, rise, fall, and wither away, and whole galaxies will spin into oblivion before you even have a hope of being satisfied. I remember sitting in a guidance counselor's office after he finished reading a story about a particularly tragic teen suicide, and he asked me how - why - people like me could turn to such an end. I pointed to a poster behind him that read something to the effect that these years - high school - were the best we - students - would ever have and told him that that was the reason. Things like that. He didn't get it, so I elaborated: The oldest high school student, ideally, was eighteen years old. The average American lives to an age of mid-70s. I told him that what that poster was saying to us was that we can live the rest of our lives, an entire half-century, and it wasn't going to get any better than right now. The people, the food, the environment, the experiences, none of them were going to improve over fifty years. That that poster was telling us we can live out the rest of our years on this planet, and nothing we do, nowhere we go, will measure up to this time. I told him that what that poster was telling us was the rest of our lives are just not worth it. He understood, and that's just looking at the next fifty years. Imagine looking out onto infinity with that idea in your head. That sounds rather hellish to me.

If you no longer have to worry, then you are no longer really human. We've established this, I imagine. But if you reach that plane of existence, where you're not even human, then what are you? Do you remember what you once were? Do you even care? Presumably not, as such a care would be nullified in this state of existence. That rather unnerves me though, the thought of actually changing species. I mean, it's not quite like evolution. There, you're a member of the new batch right out the gate, the mutation doesn't happen while you're conscious of your prior state. Again, that I'm thinking this is proof positive I'm human, I suppose.

Steve, you drew the line at belief and not in heaven. That those that do experience satisfaction, the lack of desire and feeling. And those that don't, cease to be. I think my ultimate point here, if any is to be found, is thus: Are the two necessarily mutually exclusive?
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:56 PM   #84
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something doesn;t jive here. you won;t gamble because you're afraid of losing the bet, right? you imply that you believe in god just in case it turns out to be true. Enough to use it as an argument, at least.
The throwaway lines we use come back to bite us on the ass. No, I didn't become a Christian because of that - and I've made that clear throughout the discussion. You picked one phrase that helps your argument to the exclusion of the rest. It's a popular tack - just look at any debate involving the bible where someone picks out something from Leviticus like, "Thou shalt stone they who blahblahblah" and use it to discredit the entire argument for God.
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but is it faith in spite of the fact that you MUST have it? If you have to have faith, and have to believe to get in, how do you know you haven;t just done a good job of tricking yourself into believing that you truly believe.
There are times when I don't have much faith - after all, it's a transitive sort of state. But when I accepted in my heart and with my mind that Jesus died for my sins and made the conscious determination to try to live like him because I believed his teaching, the books were balanced. Right then, at that moment. As for tricking myself into believing that I believe......have you actually read that statement? If I'm completely fooled into thinking that I believe - um, I've met the requirements for belief. It's the same thing.
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How many "christians" are just going through the motions "just in case?" they go to church, they follow the rules, but maybe they doubt it a little.....maybe they think ther might be some truth to another religion, too. Is it enough to SAY you believe?
Too many people say the little prayer and start becoming all churchy without ever really giving their lives to Christ, and they are on very, very dangerous ground. It's not up to me to decide who is a Christian and who isn't, though. And it's not up to me to decide who goes where when they die. But Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through me." It's up to each person to decide whether that's true or not. Like I said before, I don't think Jesus was either a liar or insane.
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does a christian's faith have to be absolute? what if you're having a "bad faith day" when you happen to die?
If you have accepted Christ, you are already saved. Because of his sacrifice, the penalty for your sin is paid. You lack the power to either save yourself or negate the gift you have accepted. You will go to heaven on a "bad faith day".
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i will not accept that a truly good person who does not happen to accept jesus h christ as his savior will fry for eternity. that's ludicrous. can you honestly say you DO believe that? really???
Jesus said it is true. I believe it. Really. Because there is no such thing as a "truly good person". All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It's the condition of sin that seperates us, not a tally sheet of individual offenses.

That's why I tell people about it. And as ludicrous as it sounds to human ears, it's something set down by the God of the universe. He is jealous, but merciful. So, no, you can't do whatever the hell you want and get away with it. But he gave you an out. Take it if you wish, but if you don't take it, don't blame him. You wanted choice, remember?

Incidentally, the little religious rules that individual denominations set forth are mostly hogwash, IMO. That has nothing to do with salvation though.
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Old 04-16-2004, 05:58 PM   #85
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Originally posted by lumberjim
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i will not accept that a truly good person who does not happen to accept jesus h christ as his savior will fry for eternity. that's ludicrous. can you honestly say you DO believe that? really???
I've always found my Christianity works better if I just apply it to myself. Even as a Christian, I bristle when other Christians attempt to determine my level of faith to size me up for conversion as the door-to-door faith peddlers do.

Sorry to interrupt your debate but that is a bit of an odd point about my fellow Christians that I keep wanting to sand down. Sometimes I think that prostletizers are more concerned with just getting a conversion than in truly instilling the person with Christian values - love your brother, etc. Some Christians act as though there's a cosmic scorecard or as though a conversion is like a closing sale and there's an eternal knife set waiting if you close enough.

I'll say this in conclusion as religious debates are not really my cup of tea. After reading this thread, it is as clear as mountain air how the history of the world is only slightly more than the history of unfilfilled religious ambitions. For me, religious ambitions should be aimed inward and not outward.

For Christians, I wonder sometimes if the focus on converting others is but a distraction from or a procrastination of the substantially more challenging task of making one's self more Christ-like.
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Old 04-16-2004, 06:11 PM   #86
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You're right Beestie. I hope I"m not coming across as one of the people you describe, because it's the farthest thing from my mind. As far as I know, I've never been responsible for the 'conversion' of anyone. But in the context of a religious discussion, I won't shy away from blabbing my beliefs ad nauseum.edited to note: only 3 souls left before I get the toaster oven!!!
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Old 04-16-2004, 06:27 PM   #87
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Originally posted by mrnoodle
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I hope I"m not coming across as one of the people you describe...

... only 3 souls left before I get the toaster oven!!!
You don't impress me as that so I hope I didn't inadvertently imply that you did.

My point, really, is that I can't "argue" my faith with someone since its really no different of a choice than paper or plastic only less tangible. Although the importance of the choice is to me very significant, the basis for the choice is largely non-existent.

Toaster Oven! Dude, you must be saving oceans of souls! I'll be lucky to get one of those things that, when you drop it in water, turns into a dinosaur only you can't tell which one or that its even a dinosaur at all.
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Old 04-16-2004, 08:05 PM   #88
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Originally posted by Undertoad
Ghandi was however lacking the right *kind* of faith and therefore, according to your belief system, is currently roasting.

from a 1990 encyclical by John Paul II [Redemptoris Missio]

>>>

The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it moust be concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have the opportunity to come to know or accept the Gospel revelation or to enter the Church... For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accomodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.

>>>

Call it the loophole salvation method. John Paul is saying God reserves the right to save anyone, Catholic or otherwise.

Now I've argued this point with a Catholic who seemed to know lots more Catholic teachings than me, and she pointed out this was not an infallible teaching, and that certain earlier teachings that are infallible spell almost certain damnation for all non-Catholics.

Call me an optimist for siding with my quote, and honestly if I found out that the official teaching was otherwise, it would put more distance between me and the Catholic church.
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Old 04-16-2004, 08:27 PM   #89
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slarti,

forgive my blasphemous tone, but, the current pope writes in a loophole to make catholicism more pallateable, and it holds water with god? isn't that quote in direct opposition to the one mrnoodle posted?

Quote:
Call it the loophole salvation method. John Paul is saying God reserves the right to save anyone, Catholic or otherwise.
Quote:
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
you can't rewrite the rules. not even if you happen to be the pope. or do catholics believe that john paul II gets commumicaes from the almighty? what, he got an evangelical memo clarifiying the rule? Did God's Lawyers write that in as a disclaimer...ie...

we reserve the right to make exceptions. not all souls will qualify. contact your local salvation dealer for details. Not available in all areas, restrictions apply. tax and tags additional.
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Old 04-16-2004, 08:45 PM   #90
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Originally posted by Beestie
[i]
Toaster Oven! Dude, you must be saving oceans of souls! I'll be lucky to get one of those things that, when you drop it in water, turns into a dinosaur only you can't tell which one or that its even a dinosaur at all.
You guys get prizes? I get a one dollar coupon to Mcdonalds for each soul. That's just evil I tell you, I should complain to management.
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