Any Christians?

Darth_Jonas

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No harm done, fellas. Getting people to think is always welcome. As for the authenticity and the Bible being the most reliable ancient text, I wasn't exaggerating. I'll see if I can find some specifics. John MacArthur (a well known apologist) laid it out pretty straightforward but I'll see what I can find.

And imago, please don't think I don't understand anything but Christianity. I've explored the theologies of both rudimentary and well developed religions. Mostly out of curiousity, but some because I have/had friends and coworkers who were as devout in their beliefs as I am in mine. To speak with someone, you must understand how to do so. What are the differences between Christianity and Mormonism? What do Muslims say about Jesus, God, and Heaven? What do the various teachings of Buddha relate to? What do Hindus actually believe (and not what you can glean off the internet, but actually sitting down with some). I know about New Age, Wican, witchcraft, Druidism, and general paganism. True, I've never hung out in a sweat tent, so I would have to talk to someone about it first. I lumped them together because we are discussing Christianity.

The sects of Christianity you mentioned and the extreme oddities of certain Catholics do not jive with the teachings of Jesus. Gnostics have never been apart of the church. They were dealt with in their early form by Peter and another group by Paul.

I wasn't kidding about the part of not being able to work your way into God's good graces by good works, either. If that's what you think Catholics believe, then check again. There are definitely some things the Catholic church does that I disagree with, but they do believe in forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ.

And your point about protestants believing you can do anything after your salvation is fallacious as well. Whoever told you that didn't understand the scriptures either. It's true that once you belong to God, no one (even you) has the power to take that away, but it is not a "get out of jail free" card nor can it be used to justify acts that go directly against what God has already stated.

People that believe Jesus was just a prophet, a good man, or a wise teacher need to realize something very important: He said he was the Son of God, and that he came to die for our sins.

That makes him either a liar, a lunatic, or the actual Lord.

It's difficult to deal with. People don't like being told there's only one way, that they can't do it themselves, that they are inferior to a superior being, or even that there is a Hell. It's ugly and forces people to face things they would prefer to keep tucked safely in the dark recesses of their minds and forgotten.
 

ImagoX

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Darth_Jonas said:
I wasn't kidding about the part of not being able to work your way into God's good graces by good works, either. If that's what you think Catholics believe, then check again. There are definitely some things the Catholic church does that I disagree with, but they do believe in forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ.
After several years of Sunday school, I know what Catholics believe... But I agree that there's always a divide between true belief and dogma.

People that believe Jesus was just a prophet, a good man, or a wise teacher need to realize something very important: He said he was the Son of God, and that he came to die for our sins.

That makes him either a liar, a lunatic, or the actual Lord.
OR that the message was misunderstood, with good intentions. But, if you have to have it cut and dried, I'm not going to dispute the above. As to WHICH one he was, well...

It's difficult to deal with. People don't like being told there's only one way, that they can't do it themselves, that they are inferior to a superior being, or even that there is a Hell. It's ugly and forces people to face things they would prefer to keep tucked safely in the dark recesses of their minds and forgotten.
Actually, I think my way- always asking questions, always playing devil's advocate is MUCH harder. I've often thought how nice it would be if I could just believe, but the contradictions alwsys come back to haunt me.
 

Stan

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"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).

"If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13).
 

ImagoX

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Hardcore said:
ImagoX: Are you a practicing homosexual? If you are, I'm not judging you, just asking due to Stan's quoting of Moses' words to the Israelites about homosexuality.
Practicing? As in, perfecting my technique? :spit:

Seriously, no I'm not- I'm straight but not narrow, as they say- let people love who they choose to love. I think the world has enough problems without anyone dictating who people should and should not be able to marry and spend their lives with. If marriage had some amazing success rate (say, 99.9%) when sanctified by a "traditional" minister or priest then I might feel differenly, but honestly, can homosexuals do any worse than straight people? Plus, since I'm divorced and remarried, I'm doomed to eternal hellfire anyway no matter what I do- thanks Catholic Sunday school!
 

Hardcore

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1 John 1:9 reads:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Ignore the Catholic teachings. Just confess it to God if you have faith, and it will be forgiven of you.
 

ImagoX

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But I'd be lying if I did that, and if the Big Guy lives up to his press releases, I think He'd know that. Plus, I could just as easily say "ignore your Christian beliefs and embrace Scientology... or Buddism... or Paganism" It's not quite so easy to contemplate when it's put that way, is it?

Maybe having a bible quote spouted is enough for some people to say they believe, but it takes more than that for me, plus I really think that if you say that you believe the Bible is the revealed word of God (and hence, is not open to "interpratation", "poetic license" or outright misdirection, then you have to accept ALL of it equally, including the parts about the penalty for working on the Sabbath being death, the fact that if a man sits on a chair that a menstruating woman has sat upon makes one unclean and the fact that slavery is not, according to the Old Testament, wrong, but getting an UNFAIR PRICE for one's slaves is a sin. Now, I'll bet that you've never bought or sold human beings, but what about working on Sunday or sitting on your mom's couch? if you just say "ask for forgiveness and you're golden- all that other stuff is less important" then you're on a very slippery slope.
 

silent_storm

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Well for the sake of getting another verse spouted at you, here's something that Jesus said:

"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath"

and:

"It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath"
 

Darth_Jonas

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ImagoX said:
But I'd be lying if I did that, and if the Big Guy lives up to his press releases, I think He'd know that. Plus, I could just as easily say "ignore your Christian beliefs and embrace Scientology... or Buddism... or Paganism" It's not quite so easy to contemplate when it's put that way, is it?

Maybe having a bible quote spouted is enough for some people to say they believe, but it takes more than that for me, plus I really think that if you say that you believe the Bible is the revealed word of God (and hence, is not open to "interpratation", "poetic license" or outright misdirection, then you have to accept ALL of it equally, including the parts about the penalty for working on the Sabbath being death, the fact that if a man sits on a chair that a menstruating woman has sat upon makes one unclean and the fact that slavery is not, according to the Old Testament, wrong, but getting an UNFAIR PRICE for one's slaves is a sin. Now, I'll bet that you've never bought or sold human beings, but what about working on Sunday or sitting on your mom's couch? if you just say "ask for forgiveness and you're golden- all that other stuff is less important" then you're on a very slippery slope.
The passages you are speaking about are located in a long list of laws in the first few books of the Bible. The apostles Paul and Peter had to deal with groups of believers that debated similar issues that were more relevant than these oddities. For instance, must you be circumcized to be a Christian? The answer is no. The Abrahamic covenant was replaced by the new covenant when Christ rose from the dead. Peter was troubled by this at first, but a vision along with proof from the Spirit (see Acts) convinced him, and then the church in Jerusalem, that gentiles (those of us who aren't descended from Abraham) are included in the new covenant.
 

ImagoX

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Well, come on man- don't you think that it takes some kind of stones to say "oh, well, MY church knows what the Apostles and Jesus REALLY said and which books were, you know, ABSOLUTE RULES and which were just SUGGESTIONS" when nothing less than your eternal soul's salvation or damnation is on the line? What wonderful glorious arrogance (and I say that in the best possible way, smiling all the while)!

Seriously... your faith says that if I don't jump through the right hoops and say/believe the right things that not only is it all over when I die, but that, as a bonus, I get to spend eternity burning in a lake of hellfire while the people that sifted through the right clues (or, perhaps even had their understanding “revealed”- the ultimate form of Celestial Elitism) get to party like it's 1999 for that same eternity?

But wait, it gets better! Because, if you believe the Bible's claims that God is All-Knowing and has known everything since before He created time, and is All Powerful and allows nothing, not even the power he gave Satan and every action that the Devil has ever taken to test mankind’s faith ( :; cough! Job! Cough! :: ), to occur without his direct say-so, then you have to logically arrive at the inescapable conclusion that God already KNOWS whether or not I'll accept His salvation before I croak, and in fact must have DECIDED TO BUILD ME to succeed or fail, even before the moment He created the heavens and earth! I’m on rails, baby!

Omniscience and Omnipotence make no room for Free Will- they just cannot co-exist since Free Will presupposes that you are, in fact, more powerful than God (if He makes the decision for you, then you had no choice in the first place). But, if you open the door for interpretation (as you are doing), then all bets are off and you introduce a uncertainty factor into the equation that calls everything ever done in God's name into question, from Jesus' sacrifice on down the line.

So yeah, excuse my sarcasm, but hey, YOU were the one that made a generalzation that basically said SOME Christians are better/more enlightened than other Christians. I didn't set up your religion the way it is. And neither, in fact, did God. The religion and dogma based on the worship of this desert god evolved over centuries as human beings added to and interpreted imprecise documents and myths. Were they honestly making a "good faith" effort to explain the world as best they could? I really think they were. The early church fathers were not, I don't believe, dishonest or evil (later on, maybe- a belief that Martin Luther shared BTW- but not early on). If you have faith that there's merit in the religion that finally sprung forth from that work, OK cool, but recognize that, without that faith, the assorted parts that most Christians offer up as "proof" of God's master plan and desires can all be undermined or invalidated by other, conflicting "proofs" in the exact same holy book, or through simple logic.

I have no dilemma. Unlike others, I'm not looking to prove anything nor am I the one making claims that my way of thinking is the Truth. I'm just... keeping my eyes open, awaiting inspiration and thinking. if I have faith in anything, its that human beings, if they always keep an open mind and keep questioning things, will just keep improving, and if there's a Watchmaker, I'd hope that would make Him happy...
 
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Hardcore

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Obviously our opinions differ. I will witness this to you to be sure that I've got it out there, then I will leave it be.

Christ said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. None shall come to the Father but through me."(John 4:16). I hope you consider this, and I wish you well.

I'm sorry I started an arguement.
 

Darth_Jonas

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you didn't upset him, Hardcore, but he's got some hard questions that are still hot topics within the most knowledgable circles of Christianity. For instance, where does God's Will begin and my free will end? Calvin points to several verses and chapters to say that God has called out His elect, but others have pointed out that "God gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life". It's honestly beyond me to understand where the line falls. Imago is wondering why he exists if he's not one of the elect. I've wondered the same thing about people that I know reject God. Why doesn't He force everyone to love Him? The conclusion that I've come to is that I don't know or understand exactly how God works, and that's where faith comes in. Through faith, I believe the Bible is God's Word revealed to man, and Jesus did pay the price for my transgressions, I asked for forgiveness and know I've been saved (to use a churchy word). Whether or not you or anyone else does is beyond my sight. All I can offer is that you actively deal with Jesus.
 

ImagoX

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Dude, this is SO not an argument (I hope) and I am in no way upset... My questions are honest and are the things I ponder most every day. Hell, I even go to a friend's weekly bible study group... I never know when I might learn something new that I hadn't considered. Haven't yet, and I think I'm probably driving the poor guy nuts with questions like these (he's enlisted the help of an entire TEAM of ministers and theologians on this, and we all have great dicussions), but you never know... :cookiemon

Good luck with your journey (wherever it finally takes you)!