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#225294 - 05/20/08 09:30 AM Why...?
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Just some questions for my Christian brothers... \:\)

Why can't, in the Christian faith, you be just a good person and love and help other people and still not make it to heaven? Why do you have to profess your love of God to gain entry?

Is God that self-conscious and needy?

To me, that's like saying if you had a kid -- a son or daughter -- and of course you loved them, but you only gave them hugs if they said they loved you. Doesn't that sound dysfunctional and abusive and self-serving to you?

Is God's love abusive? Is God's love conditional?

I don't feel like, if he exists, he is that way. But not being Christian, my ideas aren't that accepted. It seems odd to me that, say, if Mother Teresa did everything she did but happened to not be Christian, she would still go to hell.

Can someone shed light? \:\)

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#225309 - 05/20/08 11:01 AM Re: Why...? [Re: AndyJB2005]
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denver, CO
the closest I can get...

If I had a family - and LARGE fortune and estate - and I was going to will that estate to my family. If one member of my family refused to admit I existed, he used my name to cuss and swear, refused to do anything I ever asked - and hated me...

Somehow I doubt I'd give him part of my inheritance.

But the major issue I have in your question is it asks us to put mortal traits on God, who is not mortal. So where I might keep a child out of my inheritance out of "hurt feelings" or other mortal values/reasons - my understanding is God does it because He is God. He said "This is the way it is" and He breaks his laws for no one. Gravity is still gravity. The need to love and accept God is still the need to love and accept God.

my feeble attempt at an explanation - such as it is.

M


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#225315 - 05/20/08 12:05 PM Re: Why...? [Re: MarkK]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
I think Mark has a good point. God created me. He sets the rules. It has nothing to do with my works per se. I can, in my own opinion, be a woderful person but if I reject his gift and say I will do it my way or not at all. Then I have made the choice myself and not him. It is I who failed God and not God who failed me. It is I who reject him and not the other way around. He knows there is a great gulf to be crossed in order to get to him. He has provided a bridge. If I choose to not cross or leap from the edge that is my choice. I have been given the right to make that choice. He will honor that. But he will continually up until the last minute keep walking with me urging me to the bridge every way he can and in his point of view I guess all else is expendable in order to get me to the bridge.

That is just my interpretation but I like it.



Edited by Freedom49 (05/20/08 12:07 PM)

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#225317 - 05/20/08 12:08 PM Re: Why...? [Re: MarkK]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Andy,

I may be the worst person in the world to attempt an answer, but it's my answer and I'll just offer it as that.

I have always felt in my heart that the Christian vision of the world as a place put at man's disposal and for his benefit by God is a true one. Science just explains to me how it was done. Why would God do all this? Certainly not out of need. I have always been satisfied with the explanation that he did it out of love.

But at this point maybe I part company with other Christians. I don't believe for a second that God condemns to hell those who believe in him, but through other religious systems. I think what matters is what we do with our lives - do we sincerely try to reflect our gratitude for God's love in the way we choose to live?

I don't think God expects perfection, nor do I think he expects us to have some kind of crystal ball, so that no matter where we live and under any circumstances, we would be expected somehow to "discover" Christianity and follow it. I can think of many Jewish and Muslim friends whom I think are certainly living lives as "good" as anyone could ever expect, and I believe God loves and cares for them.

I don't fear going to hell, having spent years there already. I just see life as a unique opportunity, and one I should be grateful for and use in the best ways I can.

Just some thoughts.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#225319 - 05/20/08 12:28 PM Re: Why...? [Re: roadrunner]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
You guys bring up good points. \:\) Thanks.

I never knew, like Larry brought up, how someone could go to hell if they've never been exposed to Christianity. For example, if they were, say, living in the jungles of Africa or something.

I sort of see God saying "I really don't care what name you call me, just LOVE people." That's really what all religions boil down to anyway: loving your fellow human. I think maybe people make it more complicated than it actually is.

I've heard God described as a God of Love, which implies to me that, if he exists, he is incapable of hate because he has so much love for us. It's then hard for me to imagine he would even invent hell, let alone cast the 90% of the world that isn't Christian into it.

Do you think God wants us spending our whole lives bowing to him? Is that what he created us for? To worship him?

I don't know. Seems like a waste to create us just for that when we could be be spreading so much love and happiness amongst each other that would be otherwise spent on him.

Seems to me Jesus spent time out loving man, healing the sick, spreading the word -- not in a church.

That's the thing....look how much crap is started by religion. Is that because we're misdirecting our love? Instead of outward to fellow humans (and inward to ourselves, too), we direct it to the cross on the wall, or the pastor, or the book, or whatever...(I only use Christian objects because that's the culture I'm personally in, but I could say any religious items).

Is that what God wants?

Sorry to be long winded and all over the place, just pondering this while I was walking. lol \:\)

Thanks friends! \:\)

P.S -- Jesus is my personal hero. \:\) I just might have a different viewpoint. \:\)

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#225320 - 05/20/08 12:43 PM Re: Why...? [Re: AndyJB2005]
AndyJB2005 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/14/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Do you parents out there have kids for someone to look up to you and someone to worship you, or do you have kids hoping that they go out and live happy lives and do what they love and become good people?

_________________________
Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

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#225321 - 05/20/08 12:48 PM Re: Why...? [Re: AndyJB2005]
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denver, CO
Originally Posted By: AndyJB2005
Do you think God wants us spending our whole lives bowing to him? Is that what he created us for? To worship him?

Fortunately, "worship" is so much more than simply bowing. I've been taught that service done in His name is worship - I just don't remember the>

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#225326 - 05/20/08 01:11 PM Re: Why...? [Re: AndyJB2005]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/27/08
Posts: 2574
I love your post Andy, I love your question, they're awesome!

I remember hearing a story about a tribe in the Amazon jungle. They spent most of their existence worshiping trees and rocks and whatever they saw around them. Then one day, someone in the tribe had a revelation. "Who made the rocks? Who made the trees? Who made all the things around us?" The tribe stopped worshiping the rocks and trees. They started to worship the one who made all those things. But they didn't have a name. Eventually people from the outside met this tribe, and the one thing they wanted most, the one thing they had been asking this God, they knew nothing of, to bring to them, was someone who could tell them about Him. One of the people that came along from the outside world? A missionary.

I've heard as well from many people that God is a God of Love. BUT if you study the Bible, you know what you find? It never says that God is a God OF Love, it says God IS Love. Think about what that difference means. I agree with you on the fact that poeple make it all more complicated than it is. We were created in His image, We were indeed created to Love.

As for spending our whole lives doing nothing but bowing to Him, I think God would agree that doing so would be a huge waste of time. He created us not only to Love but to have a relationship with Him. He gave us parents in order to teach us about that relationship, but I think most, if not all the poeple here will attest, our parents didn't do a good job at it. My father was emotionally distant, my mother was critical and manipulative. Do I think God is distant, critical, and manipulative? Not at all. God wants us to have a friendship with Him like no other. The Bible says the best way to worship God, is through our actions. In the way we show love to others. So Andy, I think it that, you are 100% on the mark.

I've often found myself saying that if Jesus was walking around our world today as He did 2000 or so years ago, I seriously doubt you'd find Him in churches. He'd be out doing exactly what He did then. Loving those that the "religious" of that day didn't love. It's sad that so little among the "religious" has changed, despite the fact that we have His life as an example of how we should be.

I think you're right in your assessment of religion misdirecting their love. I've seen it in my own church. We have a projector screen that was put up that we can use for power point presentations and what not. It's hanging in the center of the front of the sanctuary. It's a motorized screen, so when it's not in use, it rolls up out of the way. The first time we used it.... Oh my, you would have thought world war 3 had started. The pastor got all sorts of complaints because people couldn't see the cross, and they just couldn't worship if they couldn't see the cross..... Blew my mind, because frankly, I can worship in an empty room. I can worship at my desk at work, I can worship anywhere I am. And like mentioned before, it's our actions of love toward others that I think are true acts of worship. And to answer your question on that, NO, I don't think it's what God wants at all. I think for too many, these things have become the object of their worship, they have become idols. Which, if they'd read their Bible, is a violation of the 2nd commandment, to make no idol. Their worship a book of paper, or a wooden cross, rather than the one who created those things (and I don't mean the woodworker or the bookmaker).

Jesus was asked what He thought was the greatest commandment. He gave two, because I think God intends them to both be the focus of our existence. Those commandments were: "Love the Lord your God with all you Heart, mind and Soul. and the 2nd, like unto it, Love your neighbor as yourself." If everyone would follow those two, no others rules would be needed. Because if you look at the ten that get touted so much, they are the essence of those two. If you love someone, you won't kill them, you won't lie about them, you won't do any of those "Thou Shalt Not's" and if you Love God, well that takes care of the first 4. Love others, you've got the last 6 covered as well. It is truly all about love. Not dos and don't s.

Pondering while you're walking is great, life truly is a journey. Keep asking! Keeping Pondering. God wants you to ponder, He wants you to question.

I want to comment on the existence of Hell. I believe it does exist, but from my study and learning, I do not believe it was ever intended to be a place for any human to ever find themselves in. God created it as the final judgment upon Lucifer and all the other angels that rebelled with him. He sought to overthrow God. That is his final resting place. Unfortunately there are those, who as Roger pointed out, choose not to follow God. God gave us the ability to choose. Are we going to live as we were created to live, in love, or are we going to live being selfish and hateful. Look at our world. What choice do you think most people are making? That thought makes me cry.


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#225408 - 05/20/08 10:06 PM Re: Why...? [Re: JustScott]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16264
Andy,

You've asked some very pertinent questions and frankly ones that I think a lot of my fellow Christians need to ask of themselves and of their God.

I'll add another dimension to this. According to Christian teaching Christ came to this earth a couple thousand years back. One of the first things he did was to piss off the religious leaders of his day by daring to associate with those "sinners" whom they despised.

His followers established a "church", a "religion" based on his teachings. Good teachings they were too, but as the years, decades, and centuries passed the church and it's adherents transformed yet again into the very kind of establishment Christ had railed against when he was on earth. They established rules about what followers of Christ should and should not do, many of which were not in his teachings in the first place, and the "Dark Ages" began. It was a time when if you disagreed with the established Christian "church" you dared not say so because to do so was a death sentence. The reformers such as Luther, Wyclif, Huss, Jerome, etc. came along and ended that reign of terror, but even still some of the lies remain.

I'd say don't take everything you've been told about what Christianity is as the 100% truth, because quite frankly I don't believe it all is. For instance you asked about Mother Theresa. I'd say that I'm in no postition to put myself in the place of God and judge Mother Theresa's or anyone else's heart when it comes to them being a good person even though they never openly acknowledged God. I believe God can inhabit the human heart filling it with good without that person ever understanding that the influence for good in his life comes from God. I believe God can and will work with people when and where he finds them whether they cognitively recognize him as that positive influence for good in their lives.

The human condition is to try to quantify, codify, and qualify everything according to their understanding when God's ways are so far above our ways, and his understanding so high above our understanding that a life time worth of knowledge and learning about him will only begin to scratch the surface of his wisdom, caring, compassion, and love. Yet we as humans try to force our limited understanding of him onto other humans as if we're the ultimate authority on God. Somehow that doesn't work for me.

Lest you think I'm addressing this only to Christians, I'll qualify my statements to say that this kind of activity is a human trait not necessarily limited to Christians. Any group of people with a common interest will eventually begin to act similarly. It's the way we are. Bummer of a deal, really but it takes a lot of work to one, recognize this failing, and two, to resist it's magnetic pull. It would seem that most of us seem to think that if someone believes differently than we do there must be something wrong with them and so of course our nature is to immediately feel threatened and feel this huge need to make a "rule". Once we've done that we can then point to the "rule" to justify why we're okay and they're not. What we have much more trouble seeing is that perhaps the "rule" isn't the end all be all.

Guess I'll quit seeing as how I've managed to muddy up what I was trying to say. Sigh...

Lots of love,

John



Edited by walkingsouth (05/21/08 09:17 PM)
_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#225415 - 05/20/08 10:22 PM Re: Why...? [Re: WalkingSouth]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11053
Loc: Denver, CO
Andy,

I'm not going to read all the other posts, so that I can share my perspective without "cheating" so to speak.

"Why can't, in the Christian faith, you be just a good person and love and help other people and still not make it to heaven? Why do you have to profess your love of God to gain entry?"

To me, it's about relationship. The Bible strikes me as a great big love story. I see a God who would love to have people love Him back, by choice. But, part of the love is showing others it exists, just as if I were showing my love for my family and friends to the public. If I tell my friend I love him/her, but then hide it in public, they would feel hurt yes? Perhaps devalued? This is bad for any relationship.

"Is God that self-conscious and needy?"

Not any more than a regular person in a regular relationship. Yes, we can be needy people, but it is built into us to be relational in everyday life. For the same token, God is a relational god.

"Is God's love abusive? Is God's love conditional?"

To me, His love is not abusive. if it were abusive, it would not be love, for love does not seek its own. It is not conditional, but many people equate God's love with things that are conditional, which could confuse this concept. I picture God looking down on us saying "I love you, and you, and you , and you...."

Andy

_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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