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Agnostic Christianity?

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posted on May, 23 2006 @ 12:27 PM
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Originally posted by Herman
In the past few years, I've done a lot of thinking about/changing/contemplating my belief in God, his existence, and what he stands for. Originally, I was a Christian, and although I still have faith in Jesus Christ, a lot of people, I believe, wouldn't say that I am a Christian. I've done research, spoken with people, and recently took a World Religions class in college. Although the class isn't in any way what got me started thinking about all of this, it granted me a lot more knowlege (Mostly thanks to a great teacher) and viewpoints than I could have ever gained elsewhere. At this point in time, I have almost no idea where I stand. As I mentioned, I still feel a connection with Christ and God, but that's about as far as it goes. In fact, I'm almost sure that there is no way that anyone can ever be completely sure who or what God is/represents. I barely scathed the surface of the pool of knowlege that exists out there, and if the general population were aware of most of this stuff I think it would really change their views on religion. That's not to say that anything can proove that Jesus or God don't exist, but there are certainly things that require a lot of thinking. Things like huge similarities from the stories in the bible to stories that were written literally hundreds (Maybe thousands) of years before the bible was written, or proven influences from other religions to the modern bible. How can anybody really ever know what's true or false out there?

Carrying over from this thought, I as a person cannot accept Hell. To me, there is no way that a loving, all powerful, and all knowing God could ever let one of his creations go to a place of eternal torture when it is perfectly in his power to save them. And to pile more ontop of that, there are so many religions and beliefs out there who have just as much faith and proof in their own religion, how can flawed creatures all be expected to make the right "choice"?

I didn't start this topic necessarily to debate the reality of God and Christ. That is a debate that can never be settled and people, I believe, are just going to have to respect each other's individual beliefs. I started this thread to ask if there's anybody out there who feels the same way I do. That's not to say that I will never change my belief, I'm almost certain to someday, but is it possible to be an agnostic Christian? Faith in Christ, but still believe that there is no way anybody's going to fully comprehend what God wants of us, what we should follow, etc..?

Thoughts, opinions, yada yada yada.


When Adam and Eve were created they were in perfection and had a perfect love toward the Creator (God). So thier tendency was to stay perfectly in line with God's rules and to love Him. If they were perfect they wouldn't choose evil, and they had no choice option really about who they loved. When God allowed them to sin they were now imperfect and being in a fallen state that would now put them in a position to make a choice about who they would choose to love. God loved us enough to allow us to make a choice about loving him. As far as hell goes, God doesn't put us there! We put our own selves in hell! It is our sin that puts us there. Let me ask you this, if everyone accepted Jesus Christ would anyone be in Hell? Yes and No, Only the angels who rebelled with Satan would be in in, and none of mankind would be there. Imperfection cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, so where can those who don't accept Christ go? Let's look at Christ, He could have stayed in Heaven, but voluntarily paid our punishment for our sin debt. A gift is only a gift if the recipient accepts it, isn't eternal life a gift of priceless worth? Then that gift is given freely to all, and someone wants God to not feel rage about the rejection of it when the cost to purchase it could never be bought by any of mankind! Which of us would sacrifice ours the same way?




posted on May, 23 2006 @ 01:20 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
So, darkelf, you don't believe that Jesus and God are 2 different things? Do you believe that Jesus is the mortal manifestation of God and that they are one soul or spirit?

What I believe in is the tri-unity of God. I believe that God is: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God (elohyim) in the plural so to speak. They are sepate but one. This is a difficult concept to understand, let alone describe.


King James Version
John 1
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
When you say, "Jesus is Christ" does that mean the same thing as "God is Christ". Are they really the same being as your real name and your username are the same person?

Not necessarily. Christ is a description of the Son’s position.
Christ (Strongs word #5547) means anointed. Jesus was the anointed Messiah.
I will be the first to admit that it is almost impossible to explain the infinite with my finite mind.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
I was taught that Jesus is the son of God, therefore while Jesus came to teach the work of God, he was not the same as God. I was taught he sits at the right hand side of God. So Jesus was the messenger of God...

Jesus is the son of God, true. Jesus came to teach the work of God, true. He sits at the right hand side of God, true. But Jesus was much more than that. When Pilate asked Him if He was the King of the Jews, Jesus answered "I Am." I Am is the name that God gave to Moses. As far as the Jews were concerned, Jesus answering in this way was blasphemy as He was claiming to be God.


King James Version
John 10
38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.


Although I don’t go around in real life introducing myself as darkelf, I can say that darkelf is in me, and I am in darkelf.



posted on May, 23 2006 @ 08:52 PM
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Originally posted by Herman



How does the church feel about their arch-enemy, the secular humanists, opening a universal church that rejects dogmas and creeds? This must be pretty tantalizing to christians and it must threaten the churches power. In which case you guys better watch out, remember the last group who threatened the churches power (the Templars)?


I'm not quite sure what you mean by "The churches power." "The Church" hasn't had ruling power over people in a very long time. Yes, there are obviously a lot of people faithful in the church, but I definitely don't consider that a bad thing. And the Templars were most definitely not the last group to threaten the church
. You've been watching (Or reading) too much Da Vinci Code!


[edit on 22-5-2006 by Herman]


The Church does have power and it does have ruling over people. Its just much more subtle now with all those pesky civil rights and humanitarian activists that stop them from burning people who disagree with them.

The church rule over people with fear, taunting them with the thought of hell and satan. Also dont underestimate the power of mass protests. If the catholic church doesn't like something, mass protests, boycotts, legal action, and sometimes even violence but thats rare i will admit.

Also, look at the president and tell me you dont think that certain people who are faithful to the church aren't dangerous. Political figures who are influenced by religion often favor things that are partial to the church and not their country. example: 11 trillion dollar debt do to bushes crusade.

as for the templar thing, I know they weren't the last group to threaten the church, but they were the last ones I remember to be publically executed on a mass scale for doing so. even if they were it was intended to be a joke anyway.



I'm not suprised . Tell me, have you taken any classes or just read about other religions on the internet, library, etc.? Not that I'm putting down independent research or anything, just curious.


If I could take classes I would but I'm afraid that no religion classes are available in high school so I'm kinda limited to individual research. I do try to find information that is not biased on either side and just get the facts to draw my own conclusions.



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 03:16 AM
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Here's the way I see Adam and Eve - Why would God create two souls, perfectly knowing the choices they were going to make would lead to the eternal damnation of billions? God didn't just randomly and accidentally create humans, it was a delicate process, and for some reason or another he created Adam and Eve to rebel against him. He's God. He can do anything. Why would he create two beings, knowing EXACTLY what they're going to do, then get extremely angry when they do what he created them to do? That's another reason I see Hell as unjust and not fitting into the bible. Well, that and Zoroastrianism, which came up with the original concept of Heaven, Hell, and a lot of other things. It's been proven that before the Zoroastrianist influence on Judaism (The Hebrews were in Babylonia at the time the Persians invaded), Hebrews did not believe in Heaven, Hell, angel and demon figures, etc. etc. This, I learned in a class and do not have the proof right in front of me. But if you were to research enough, you could find it. Now does this mean that Heaven and Hell don't exist? Not necessarily, perhaps that's the way God chose to mold the religion, but it does draw some more speculation...

Saint4God,



Great! He will answer. Do you believe this?


I can really only hope. I did believe it...but it didn't help much to be perfectly honest. I think that's about the time I decided I need to take action for myself.



Let me ask, do you think God supports or opposes work for growth?


No, but after the numerous translations the bible has gone through, as well as "Creative input" (This has also been proven) of people who were editing the bible at the time, it's pretty hard to say for sure what's accurate and what's been added in or lost in translation. There's more to it than this, but I think you get my drift.


Levitican law, very good. But, there have been a number of covenants from Old Testament to new. Each time, man broke them. This new covenant is one that cannot be broken because there is no reliance on our part to keep the promise. God kept a promise to us, to say that Christ died for our sins and whoever believes in him is saved from death eternal. That is the new promise. But, despite how easy it sounds "is that all I have to do? believe?" Yes, that's it. But, believe in your heart as words are only a projection, and it's not something that you "do", it's not an act "for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not by works so that no man may boast."


So you're saying that the only covenant from the bible we should truley strive towards is faith in Jesus Christ? Believing is not an easy thing to accomplish when you don't understand. Too many Christians, I feel, are unable to see what this looks like from the point of view of a non believer. It's not "I know God exists but should I seek him out or not?" It's "Is God real? Which religion should I follow", etc. etc. Believing blindly in something because it's written in a book that says you should believe isn't an easy thing to take on for somebody on the outside. It would be like somebody coming up to you and saying

"There's this guy Andrew. You better start sending him money, or else in 50 years this crazy guy that Andrew knows named Vince is going to burn down your house. Vince and Andrew were once close, but not anymore. Oh, and since Andrew won't show himself to you, send the money to Jack. He's Andrews representative. Oh, but Jack was in town a long time ago and isn't coming back anytime soon...so just mail it to his address and HE'LL give it to God."

"Well why should I believe that Andrew even exists and why should I send him my money?"

"It doesn't matter...just send the money to Jack or your house will get burnt down by that guy Vince. Andrew could stop Vince if he wanted, but how does he even know you want Vince stopped if you don't send him money? And when your house gets burned down, it's not Andrew's fault. You should have sent him your money."

Now I'm not saying that this analogy is entirely accurate, or that it's how I feel about Christianity, but that's honestly how it would look to an outsider. They want to know WHY they should be worshipping God. They want something to show them the way, and show them that God does indeed exist and should be worshipped.


I don't think "finding" is what you need. Validating perhaps, but I think you've met with all the answers already. All we have to do is switch from blind faith to seeing faith. Thanks for the U2U, we'll get started right away.


I think you could be right about that.

DarkElf,

I think agnosticism is something that's open to a lot of interpretation to many different people. I've never really called myself an agnostic for sure, but it could simply mean you're not 100% sure. Maybe you have faith in Christ, but you believe that there is MUCH MUCH more to it that people will never understand.



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 06:36 AM
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Originally posted by Herman
DarkElf,

I think agnosticism is something that's open to a lot of interpretation to many different people. I've never really called myself an agnostic for sure, but it could simply mean you're not 100% sure. Maybe you have faith in Christ, but you believe that there is MUCH MUCH more to it that people will never understand.


Herman,

I understand where you are coming from. I was raised fundamental baptist. I am a Christian but there is so much that I have taken to be fact without question. I have been diligently searching the Bible for the past few years and have been throwing out a lot of doctrin that I was taught.

Jesus taught love. That's the best place to start.

Thanks for your insight.



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 07:13 AM
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Originally posted by Herman
I can really only hope. I did believe it...but it didn't help much to be perfectly honest. I think that's about the time I decided I need to take action for myself.


Prayer is one action. If you'd like to make more to know Him, I'm sure He'd be delighted. I have some suggestions that may help via U2U.


Originally posted by Herman
No, but after the numerous translations the bible has gone through, as well as "Creative input" (This has also been proven)


The New Internation Version was translated by 200+ scholars from original Hebrew and Greek texts. What creative input? Also, if you take the NIV and compare it with other translations, it's very very close (hairsplitting really). I don't read Greek yet, but I have a few friends who do.



Originally posted by Herman
of people who were editing the bible at the time, it's pretty hard to say for sure what's accurate and what's been added in or lost in translation. There's more to it than this, but I think you get my drift.


Okay, so there's a lack of trust in the Word. I say then, put down the Book and talk to Him. The book doesn't do much good unless one has a personal relationship with God. I have some ideas that may help.


Originally posted by Herman
So you're saying that the only covenant from the bible we should truley strive towards is faith in Jesus Christ?


This is true, but it's not just me saying it. It is what is written and can be confirmed by Him. Or, take the reverse direction, go to Him and then confirm by what's written. The latter was the case for me.


Originally posted by Herman
Believing is not an easy thing to accomplish when you don't understand.


This too is true and am offering to assist. God is not the god of confusion. He's the God of clarity. Not simplicity, but not unable to be understood.


Originally posted by Herman
Too many Christians, I feel, are unable to see what this looks like from the point of view of a non believer.


Many may have lost that perspective. I still remember. I usually ask someone, "Were you always a believer?" If they say yes, then I ask, "did you ever question your belief?" I'm very confident the answer to that second question would also be a yes. Hopefully that jars their memory some.


Originally posted by Herman
It's not "I know God exists but should I seek him out or not?" It's "Is God real? Which religion should I follow", etc. etc. Believing blindly in something because it's written in a book that says you should believe isn't an easy thing to take on for somebody on the outside. It would be like somebody coming up to you and saying

"There's this guy Andrew. You better start sending him money, or else in 50 years this crazy guy that Andrew knows named Vince is going to burn down your house. Vince and Andrew were once close, but not anymore. Oh, and since Andrew won't show himself to you, send the money to Jack. He's Andrews representative. Oh, but Jack was in town a long time ago and isn't coming back anytime soon...so just mail it to his address and HE'LL give it to God."

"Well why should I believe that Andrew even exists and why should I send him my money?"


Some people have the kind of faith where they can just trust that to be true and do so, but welcome to the hall of fellow skeptics. I'm one too. I had to have a seeing faith in order to believe. The cost was pretty heavy though, I almost lost everthing and I'm not just talking about the stuff here on earth. Anyway, I had the wrong approach. Now knowing the right approach, I'll do my best to help other skeptics like myself.


Originally posted by Herman
"It doesn't matter...just send the money to Jack or your house will get burnt down by that guy Vince. Andrew could stop Vince if he wanted, but how does he even know you want Vince stopped if you don't send him money? And when your house gets burned down, it's not Andrew's fault. You should have sent him your money."

Now I'm not saying that this analogy is entirely accurate, or that it's how I feel about Christianity, but that's honestly how it would look to an outsider. They want to know WHY they should be worshipping God. They want something to show them the way, and show them that God does indeed exist and should be worshipped.


This is understandable. With willingness to find that answer and patience, we can work towards that proof.


Originally posted by Herman
I think you could be right about that.


Great! Looking forward to hearing from you.


[edit on 24-5-2006 by saint4God]



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 01:56 PM
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Originally posted by saint4God
The New Internation Version was translated by 200+ scholars from original Hebrew and Greek texts. What creative input? Also, if you take the NIV and compare it with other translations, it's very very close (hairsplitting really). I don't read Greek yet, but I have a few friends who do.


There's a version translated straight from the vernacular? That would be great, I'd love to read that. Other versions though... Biblical scholars have gone back and founds parts of the bible that they could tell weren't written at the time. For example, words that didn't exist or weren't used at the time of the bible showing up in it, etc. etc. I've never compared myself, though, so I supposed I can't say for sure. But it is what I've learned.



Okay, so there's a lack of trust in the Word. I say then, put down the Book and talk to Him. The book doesn't do much good unless one has a personal relationship with God. I have some ideas that may help.


Awesome. I've sent you a U2U like you asked.


This is true, but it's not just me saying it. It is what is written and can be confirmed by Him. Or, take the reverse direction, go to Him and then confirm by what's written. The latter was the case for me.


Well I guess when you love Jesus Christ, you're more likely to obey the other covenants, huh.

My analogy sort of points out one of the reasons I find it impossible to accept Hell as a reality. Hell sort of throws everything off track for me. I would never in my life feel comfortable living if I thought there are millions of souls in Hell suffering constantly... And when you consider my analogy, it doesn't seem like a choice not to accept God, but a loss.



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 02:55 PM
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Originally posted by Herman
Here's the way I see Adam and Eve - Why would God create two souls, perfectly knowing the choices they were going to make would lead to the eternal damnation of billions? God didn't just randomly and accidentally create humans, it was a delicate process, and for some reason or another he created Adam and Eve to rebel against him. He's God. He can do anything. Why would he create two beings, knowing EXACTLY what they're going to do, then get extremely angry when they do what he created them to do?


Do you know who Tony Evans is? He is a Pastor in Texas, I believe Dallas. He is also an author and has a weekly program. I saw him speaking on TV one time and his talk was on why God did stuff the way He did. I'm going to put into a nutshell what he said.

God created the angels before mankind. The angels have seen God and are privy to more of who God is and what He does and why He does things. Although they do not know everything about God that is to be known.

So there is God and the angels. Angels have free will also. An angel named Lucifer rebelled against God. Lucifer wanted to be God and have God's rank. Well that's silly. To illustate try walking up to the White House and informing the President that He is no longer president, because you have decided you are now the president. That's basically what Lucifer/satan did. Along with this rebellion comes aspects of a beings soul and spirit. satan wanted to physically be on God's throne. Soulishly that indicated that in satan's intellect that he/satan desired something that was not his and could never be. That leads into satan's connection to God, spirit wise, and satan found within the recesses of his being the desire to not be happy in his ordained state and a refusal to trust and listen to God.

Now alot of people say that God should have annihilated satan at that point and caused him/satan and the angels that followed satan's rebellion, to cease to exist to prove Himself/God is right.

At this point Tony Evans used this illustration. Suppose there is a mayor of a city and he leads the city and desires certain things be done. Now there is a councilman who goes onto TV and declares the mayor does not know what he is doing. The mayor is unjust and unfair and shouldn't be mayor. Should the mayor(who really does know what he is doing to benefit all the people) at that point because he knows that this councilman will bring havoc to the city "get rid" of the councilman. It would save alot of time and trouble in the long run. If the mayor does "get rid" of the councilman, there would still be an unanswered question as to if the councilman was right. I mean the people left in the city would have a lingering doubt in the back of their heads about what the accusations were and if they could have an ounce of truth. Remember the main accusation is, the mayor doesn't know what he is doing.

So bring this to God. Satan says God doesn't know how to run the universe. Does God annihilate satan and tell the angels who were faithful satan was wrong so I "got rid" of him and his cohorts. Without the proof of why satan's accusation was wrong it would merely be God's word against satan's and doubt would linger with the remaining angels.

So God chooses to prove another way that satan's accusation is wrong and at the same time God would demonstrate something about Himself that even the angels(fallen and faithful) didn't know.

God would create a race of beings(mankind) who were lower than the angels in power and knowledge) and through these beings God would prove once and for all that He knows what He is doing and He alone is God and as such only He and the knowledge and power He has is capable of running a universe.

So he makes Adam and Eve whom He loves dearly, and satan knows this. They are made with free will(remember without the power to choose there is no ability to love). satan finds he has access to these beings, he is not kept from them so he seeks to destroy those whom God loves. See satan already knows what rebellion brings, a seperation from God. How does he know this because it happened to him when he rebelled. So if he/satan can cause these humans to rebel against God then once again God doesn't know what He's doing plus he will be driving a spike into the heart of God over these beings God loves.

Now this is very important, Adam and Eve could have said no to satan's temptation and remain faithful to God. But once again here is the doubt that satan threw up to Adam and Eve. God doesn't know what He's doing. He's keeping you from something, something that will make you like God and you'll be a God. Remember that's what satan wanted, to be God and he found out noone can yet he still had this imbedded in him that these puny humans will fall for the same trick. So Adam and Eve could ahve talked to God about this accusation and yet this doubt about God drove them to disobedience, and brought instant spiritual death and eventual physical death.

Now satan not only rebelled himself and God didn't annihilate him, but satan has caused another one of God's creations to be seperated from Him/God. See satan knows God cannot be with sin and these beings that now committ sin. But God literally wants to be close to them and live among them.

More proof that God doesn't know what He's doing? No, because God is going to solve the problem of this seperation between Himself and mankind because of sin. He eludes to the plan for the salvation of mankind already in Genesis chapter 3 and then puts it throughout the Bible. So for 4000 years a world filled with sin is in existance and pain and suffering is brought about because of it. So it appears God does know what He's doing. Without God at the helm and mankind trusting in the fact that God's decisions are the right way to live, the earth and the universe is a wreck.

Then God does something that the angels did not know He would do and it reveals the depths God would go to gain back mankind. Sin brings death and seperation from God. So how does sin and the death and seperation it brings be atoned for and at the same time mankind be brought back to God in fulness. God is just and justice must be carried out, and His word says the soul that sins, it shall die.

How does the problem get solved. God Himself(Jesus) leaves heaven and comes down to the earth and in Jesus' death on the Cross has every single sin act ever committed and that will ever be committed, placed on Himself as if He actually did them. There was a transfer of sin. It was transfered to Jesus and in return the righteousness of Jesus was given to us. Sin was paid for and brought the penalty God's law says it deserves.

But just like Adam and Eve made a decision/choice to disobey God and start the problem. Each individual must make the choice to believe and place their faith in the solution, Jesus.



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 02:57 PM
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Originally posted by Herman
There's a version translated straight from the vernacular?


Ya. This site (and Book I have) says 100+, not 200 so my mistake for not recalling that number as it's been a while since I'd read it:

"More than 100 scholars from six English-speaking countries, as well as editors and English stylists, worked on the NIV. The scholars represented more than 20 denominations.

In the 17th century, King James translators worked from the Erasmus Greek text of the New Testament. Erasmus had six Greek manuscripts from which to work. NIV translators work from more than 5,000 complete or partial manuscripts and papyri.

It took 10 years to complete the NIV translation. The process started in 1968 and finished in 1978. This does not include more than 10 years of planning before 1968.

The NIV was created and is maintained with the mandate to accurately and faithfully translate the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic biblical texts into clearly understandable English.

The NIV is the most widely accepted contemporary Bible translation today. "



Originally posted by Herman
That would be great, I'd love to read that.


I will mail you the one I'm reading now if you have an address you feel comfortable U2U'ing. Otherwise, it is very common and can be found in any bookstore.


Originally posted by Herman
Other versions though... Biblical scholars have gone back and founds parts of the bible that they could tell weren't written at the time. For example, words that didn't exist or weren't used at the time of the bible showing up in it, etc. etc. I've never compared myself, though, so I supposed I can't say for sure. But it is what I've learned.


Ya, skip that hoopla.


Originally posted by Herman
Awesome. I've sent you a U2U like you asked.


Thanks! Received and back at ya. I think we're really getting somewhere and fast. A few days and we should be at a place that'll result in a great experience for both of us.


Originally posted by Herman
Well I guess when you love Jesus Christ, you're more likely to obey the other covenants, huh.


Good point. Christ himself had summed up all the commandments and laws of the prophets here:

"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." - Matthew 22:34-40


Originally posted by Herman
My analogy sort of points out one of the reasons I find it impossible to accept Hell as a reality. Hell sort of throws everything off track for me. I would never in my life feel comfortable living if I thought there are millions of souls in Hell suffering constantly... And when you consider my analogy, it doesn't seem like a choice not to accept God, but a loss.


The key you're looking for is in Revelation (chapter 20:11-15). God does not let the guilty to go unpunished (Exodus 34:7b), but before they are deemed guilty, they need to be judged, yes? The problem is we tend to rack up the crimes in our life pretty easily. Christ paid for those sins so that those who believe would not have to. We'll talk more about that in the U2U's as I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

[edit on 24-5-2006 by saint4God]



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 09:05 PM
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I haven't read through this entire thread yet, althought I plan to. I just wanted to reply to Herman's original post and say that I am feeling almost exactly the same way right now. It's actually scary how similar my views are. I also come from a Christian background, I still have faith in Jesus Christ and God, but I admit I don't really know who/what God is and I don't understand much of the Bible (which I think is true for a lot of people if they would be honest about it). I also have a huge problem with the idea of people going to Hell forever and the more I think about it, the more it seems too horrible to be true. Finally, I also took a world religions class in college that opened my mind somewhat and the professor was a really cool guy. Lately I've been really into researching mysticism and "less mainstream" interpretations of Christianity. Anyway, to answer your question Herman, yes I feel the same way.



posted on May, 24 2006 @ 09:18 PM
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I'd also like to extend the same courtesy to you Rock Lobster as I have to Herman. Feel free to U2U me and we can talk about more specifics. I'm very encouraged with what Herman has been telling me through U2U and believe I may be able to be of assistance. Perhaps I can offer the same?



posted on May, 25 2006 @ 12:55 AM
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Originally posted by Rock Lobster
I haven't read through this entire thread yet, althought I plan to. I just wanted to reply to Herman's original post and say that I am feeling almost exactly the same way right now. It's actually scary how similar my views are. I also come from a Christian background, I still have faith in Jesus Christ and God, but I admit I don't really know who/what God is and I don't understand much of the Bible (which I think is true for a lot of people if they would be honest about it). I also have a huge problem with the idea of people going to Hell forever and the more I think about it, the more it seems too horrible to be true. Finally, I also took a world religions class in college that opened my mind somewhat and the professor was a really cool guy. Lately I've been really into researching mysticism and "less mainstream" interpretations of Christianity. Anyway, to answer your question Herman, yes I feel the same way.


Wow, that's pretty cool that you're in almost the exact situation that I'm in... It's a sticky place to be. Saint really is helping a lot. You don't live in Arizona, do you? Obviously, being young my mind is still probably in the proccess of "molding", but clarity is always nice.



posted on May, 25 2006 @ 01:43 PM
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Originally posted by Herman
Obviously, being young my mind is still probably in the proccess of "molding", but clarity is always nice.


Although other people can give you insight and tell you what they believe, no one can find your path for you. By definition, it's your path.

I say just listen, read, meditate or pray, whatever you do, and don't let people tell you what to think.

I believe spirituality comes from within, not from the external.


[edit on 25-5-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on May, 25 2006 @ 02:34 PM
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Originally posted by Herman
Saint really is helping a lot.


Thank you very much for this. Compliments are very few. It helps me gauge if I'm on the right track as well. I think the best is yet to come.



posted on May, 25 2006 @ 03:18 PM
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I certainly hope so, saint. But like BH said, I think it might be up to me to find my own path. You might have noticed, but the concept of Hell, for example, is something that I just can't believe in.



posted on May, 25 2006 @ 04:01 PM
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Originally posted by Herman
But like BH said, I think it might be up to me to find my own path.


I have no intention on taking you down my path. I'm only offering to help on yours. I would not wish my path upon anyone.


Originally posted by Herman
You might have noticed, but the concept of Hell, for example, is something that I just can't believe in.


If you believe in Christ, what difference does it make if you don't believe in a place you'll never go? Nevertheless, if you believe in Christ, that means you believe what Christ says.



posted on May, 25 2006 @ 10:41 PM
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Herman,
No, I don't live in Arizona I'm actually way over in Virginia, so it looks like there's actuallly something we don't have in common haha. Figuring out all of this stuff definitely isn't easy, but since we're both fans of Jesus I think an encouraging message would be: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." I find this to be a hopeful message in a confusing world.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 09:09 AM
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That's a great point Rock Lobster. Just be open.

My search for my own spiritual beliefs has taken my entire life (I'm in my late 40s) and I still discover, re-evaluate and am open to tweaks and changes. I think deciding "what I believe" and setting it in stone at a young age might not be the goal. As with most things in life, it's the journey that is the teacher, it's the path that is the goal. There is no 'arrival', but a constant search and discovery mission.



posted on May, 26 2006 @ 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
That's a great point Rock Lobster. Just be open.

My search for my own spiritual beliefs has taken my entire life (I'm in my late 40s) and I still discover, re-evaluate and am open to tweaks and changes. I think deciding "what I believe" and setting it in stone at a young age might not be the goal. As with most things in life, it's the journey that is the teacher, it's the path that is the goal. There is no 'arrival', but a constant search and discovery mission.


I think you're probably right. I just hope that should I be wrong, what ever God is out there is tolerant enough to not send me to some Hell... I understand that you can't just pick things that you like and believe them, but it is most definitely a search.



posted on May, 27 2006 @ 01:52 AM
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saint4God,
Thanks for the offer, but if there's one thing I've realized it's the fact that I need to come to my own understanding of the truth. Of course, I am interested in hearing about other people's beliefs and am open to discussion. In fact, I would be interested to hear your opinion on some passages of scripture that have raised issues for me. Comments from others would be appreciated as well.

1) Romans 3:28: "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." & Romans 4:1-3: "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about - but not before God. What does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.'"

Contrast this with what James says in James 2:20-24 (actually 14-25 if you want to read the whole passage):

"You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Issac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, 'Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,' and he was called God's friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

So, what's the deal? It seems that there are two different doctrines being preached. Also, Abraham lived before Jesus Christ, so I'm confused as to why Paul and James are using him as an example. I'm still confused as to what the Christian belief is concerning people who lived and died before the time of Christ.

2) This one has to do with the Bible being the infallible Word of God.

Matthew 27:41-44 says, "In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 'He saved others,' they said, 'but he can't save himself! He's the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'' In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him."

Compare this to what is written in Luke 23:39-43: "One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: 'Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!' But the other criminal rebuked him. 'Don't you fear God,' he said, 'since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.' Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'"

This small inconsistency wouldn't be a big deal if we were discussing most of the world's literature, but if you believe the Bible is infallible, how do you reconcile these differing accounts? Thanks if advance for any responses.


[edit on 27-5-2006 by Rock Lobster]



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