post #101 of 279
10/4/09 at 10:08pm
From what I can understand reading the bible and from what I can understand by what my pastor says, Christians believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to God. DH and I struggle with the notion a great deal. Our church is fairly conservative, and when we have spoken to our Elders there they have affirmed that the only way to God/Heaven/Salvation is through Jesus. All others need to be saved.
DH and I have friends of other faiths. Maybe we aren't being good Christians, but we've never attempted to convert them. We don't believe they are going to hell... we just can't believe that. I don't understand how someone who seeks God and lives a moral life could be condemned to hell just because he or she is not Christian.
Our elders have told us that such thinking is just the result of modern liberalism. They tell us (and we do see) that the bible is pretty clear on this issue.
How can we accept this? Do we have to accept this? This is such a troubling issue to us. Are there any alternative ways to interpret the scriptures? How do other Christians reconcile this? Do other Christians really believe that (for example) Gandhi is in hell right now? That just seems ... unthinkable!!
Please help... anyone! Thanks!
I'm the one who posted the C.S. Lewis quote. I can't keep up with this thread so sorry for not replying sooner.
I can see how some Jews might find this offensive. My question is if you were to die and go through a similar scenario as the character in the quote; if you found out that Jesus was actually G-d and was accepting your service would you still be offended? Or are you offended because you believe its not true and could therefore never happen to you? I would like to think that if I died and found out that Jesus was a hoax or that I had made some other big mistake about my faith that whatever higher power was true would be accepting of what I had offered in good faith.
|I don't buy into the idea that truth is subjective.|
|I had a hard time accepting it when i became a christian, but reading and researching on my own has made me believe it. The ONLY way to heaven is thru accepting Jesus as your saviour.|
|Did you read the earliest text available in Aramaic, Greek or Hebrew? Did you study the Samhita?
I ask because typically when I ask Christians who tell me they did their own reading and research to clarify what I find is that they only deeply studied Christianity and even with that the oldest language they know is English.
|I wouldn't care at all except for organized religion's track record with those who do not share their belief system. Factoring that in, I do find it important to remind people that perhaps the English bible they have in their hand is not exactly what the divine said.|
|The Holy Spirit is the one who instructs us.|
|To maintain your belief you have to believe that either a) the millions of people who have prayed and received a different answer must have some failing that resulted in their not being able to hear the correct answer or b) that God purposefully gave them the wrong answer i.e. left them to damnation because all humans deserve it anyway.|
|I do believe that people choose to accept or reject it, perhaps based on all kinds of things, so called evidence and such.|
To maintain your belief you have to believe that either a) the millions of people who have prayed and received a different answer must have some failing that resulted in their not being able to hear the correct answer or b) that God purposefully gave them the wrong answer i.e. left them to damnation because all humans deserve it anyway.
|As for a, I think the most we could generalize is there is some reason not everyone receives the right answer. Which isn't saying much.|
|And for b, I'm not sure how we can assume that any of those people are damned?|
Thao, its not for me or anyone else to judge the sincerity of ones' heart when they ask these questions. I think that lies in the hands of God. He judges the heart. I dont assert either of those things. I believe God does give everyone the same answer tho. But that he gives it in different ways and is ALWAYS seeking to get into a relationship with every single individual he ever created. He tells them the same thing. That Jesus Christ is Lord, that we are indeed all sinners, that Jesus died in our place on the cross, that he rose from the dead and continues to seek a relationship with us. He tells everyone in different ways, and Im convinced that He goes to enormous lengths to do so, either via the quiet wispering of the Holy Spirit, or by sending someone else to tell them. One takes a chance or rejects it, refuses to accept it. I wish I could explain it better, but I cant. I wish these posts of mine did come across with the heartfelt sincerity that I intend, bc I honestly dont mean to cause offense. I do believe that people choose to accept or reject it, perhaps based on all kinds of things, so called evidence and such. I say 'so-called' bc I dont believe its evidence at all. Thats my personal opinion.
Whatever the reason, it must either on the part of the person doing the praying (which I think we can classify as an undesirable thing, because clearly it would be better for them to get the correct answer) or on the part of the Person giving the answer (i.e. God has a reason for giving the wrong answer which will result in eternal damnation for the prayer). Can you think of any other option?
|I think that sometimes it is something to do with the person doing the asking - we aren't always as open to answers as we'd like to think we are.|
|Then there is the third party possibility. We can be damaged by others in such a way that we cannot see or hear God properly. Or maybe even the possibility of demonic interference, a Screwtape whispering in your ear kind of scenario. I suppose God would allow this because he allows the consequences of sin to play out in the world.|
|So, according to your above-stated belief, either I (willfully) heard wrong or G-d wants me to be damned to hell. That's just really tough for me to swallow.|
|Others may have a hard time understanding or even accepting this 'method', the way christians use this method to find Truth, but I no longer wrestle with it. Its part of my joy in discovering God as He reveals Himself to us.|
|He doesnt send people to hell simply bc they didnt get the same answer to their prayers, bc I believe he always gives the same answer, Jesus is the Only Way to the Father. He sends people to hell for refusing to put their faith in Him, for refusing to accept that they need Him and His forgiveness.|
|I do however challenge you to be honest with yourself about the ramifications of your beliefs.|
|Thao, its not for me or anyone else to judge the sincerity of ones' heart when they ask these questions. I think that lies in the hands of God. He judges the heart. I dont assert either of those things.|