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Wrestling with the "exclusivity" of Christianity... please help! - Page 7

post #121 of 279
Quote:
You say you don't assert either my hypothetical a) or b), but they are necessary ramifications of your belief that God always answers prayers with the message of Jesus
Thao, I assert that I dont know or dwell on those things. I think I have answered you tho quite directly by saying that I do believe that every single person is sinful. That would answer that question and, yeah, understand that better and better the longer I walk with Christ. To speculate as to how that sin plays out in an individual's heart, in their understanding, accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ, God as he's revealed Himself to humanity, I dont know. I dont like to point out other people's failings bc I have many of my own, so thats why I didnt want to get into it with you. To assert that every single human is sinful and that sin leads us from God and does blind us to His truth, that is the answer to your question. I wouldnt delve any further into an individual's heart. So the closest that comes to one of your assertions (the a or b) would have to be that it does lie with the individual and that the 'failing' is the sinful nature of the human heart (which Christ saved us from).

You didnt really cause offense, Im sure that wasnt your intention. As its never been my intention to cause offense to anyone else. As I mentioned, I dont go on living life dwelling on these things. I suppose some christians do, and it shows. But there are other things a christian should be, imo, focused on, and those are the things I dwell on. My own failings, my own heart before my God, whom I love and adore. I focus on the joy He is to me. MY focus is on HIM. No. I am not comfortable pointing out people's failings, so I let God do what he needs to do in that area. Jesus said he didnt come to heal those who didnt need a physician, he came to heal the broken hearted and such as those. To those who dont need him, fair enough, live and let live as I said before.
post #122 of 279
Thank you, Genifer, that clearly answers my original post.
post #123 of 279
Thao, the reason I dont like talking about it here, is bc its a very difficult subject to discuss with those who arent of the same beliefs. Especially here at mdc. If I dont need to bring it up, I dont, and most often, here at mdc, I dont feel the need to bring it up. I wouldnt say I was comfortable with it, bc sin is a very uncomfortable thing to deal with whether you are a believer or not. So you asked if Im comfortable with it, in that sense, no, sin makes me squirm. I wasnt even sure if I was allowed to discuss it here at mdc within a thread that included others of different faiths, bc of the nature of the subject. I try to be sensitive to those who are posting. If it stayed in spirituality section, where those of us who share these beliefs can discuss them amongst ourselves, ...well thats where I said what I said in the first place. If the thread had started over here, Im not sure if I would have said all that I said, in order to remain sensitive to others posting.

I dont like being controvercial, so this is why it makes me uncomfortable talking about these particular beliefs, in any situation, irl or online. Its not something I shove down people's necks. yk?

warm and squishy feelings to ya
post #124 of 279
Thanks for the warm and squishy feelings!

This being the religious studies board, where it is allowed to debate beliefs, I think it is perfectly acceptable for you to respectfully state your beliefs (and you are always very respectful in your posts) and for me to respectfully debate you about them. If people can't handle that, they shouldn't read this board .
post #125 of 279
I love this thread. So many divergent yet respectful beliefs and opinions. I was going to add to my previous post but I fear I can't quite formulate a coherent thought process in all that I've been feeling and speculating about through the years. I believe that there is something/someone out there and/or within us. I came from a Catholic and later a fundamentalist/pentecostal Christian background. Whatever I am grasping for leads me in some aspects to the familiarity of the Christian God but in a form which makes it untenable for me to wholly embrace it again through more "conventional" routes.

Anyway, I will stop there and continue lurking on this thread. Thanks, ladies, for much food for thought on all sides!
post #126 of 279
Quote:
If people can't handle that, they shouldn't read this board .
Ohh, but from a person who sometimes cant handle it... its just too tempting to ....just have a peek... and get sucked in.
post #127 of 279
Thread Starter 
Wow... this thread has certainly gone places I never expected. I am glad everyone has hugged and feels OK about things...

One point I really feel I need to clarify. Someone had suggested a poster needed to read the original biblical texts if she was to truly be researching a subject. Earlier in this thread, someone had suggested the modern bible is the result of a long game of 'telephone'. The NIV, however, is NOT translated from the King James version. The NIV is a direct translation of the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic biblical texts. To suggest someone needs to go read the Aramaic text is not reasonable.... how many Aramaic scholars are on MDC?

Also, when researching anything - almost everyone (on almost every subject matter) relies on the research and publications of others. For example, when researching circumcision I relied on studies done by experts. I didn't conduct a study myself, nor did I contact the original research and require him to send me the raw data. If someone suggested the conclusion I reached from my research was invalid because I hadn't done "real" research and gotten the information directly myself, that would clearly be a ridiculous assertion.

The point struck me as pretty off. Maybe it was just the case of someone getting too hung up on semantics... but I believe Christians (and everyone) can use the bible as a research tool and I do not believe the need to get their PhD in Aramaic Studies in order to have a valid opinion. The NIV and King James versions of the bible are direct translations of the originals and not the result of some centuries long game of phone tag.

OK... thanks for letting me vent that. I don't think anyone who posted here wanted to offend. I think everyone here good-hearted and sincere. But I wish we would all respect each other's beliefs and have open discussions and exchanges of ideas rather than hammering the same questions over and over again on a person.




Thanks again for letting me voice that.
post #128 of 279
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thao View Post
If people can't handle that, they shouldn't read this board .
That's a really good point and I agree. Although this thread didn't start in Religious Studies. I started it in spirituality and it got moved.
post #129 of 279
Sorry, I didn't know that until genifer mentioned it, I just saw it once it was already here.
post #130 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post
Ohh, but from a person who sometimes cant handle it... its just too tempting to ....just have a peek... and get sucked in.
For what its worth, I think you are handling it just fine!
post #131 of 279
Here it what I think. There is a much deeper meaning to things beyond what is written. If Jesus did actually say he was the only way it is my opinion he was not talking about himself as the man Jesus but rather the higher self within him that is within all of us. To get to the father you first have to connect with the higher self as the flesh itself cannot enter heaven because it is not immortal and is a form of matter.

If it was God's will that everyone would be a Christian there would be no other religions. If a person's faith Christian or not is helping them be greater than it is fine that they follow the faith and on top of that I do not believe God cares about religion.
post #132 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thisbirdwillfly View Post
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.

When we want to prove something, we find the proof and that's fine. But it's different than real research. 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.
I didn't read to prove something, i read to find out the truth. There is a difference
post #133 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by ILoveSweetpea View Post
One point I really feel I need to clarify. Someone had suggested a poster needed to read the original biblical texts if she was to truly be researching a subject. Earlier in this thread, someone had suggested the modern bible is the result of a long game of 'telephone'. The NIV, however, is NOT translated from the King James version. The NIV is a direct translation of the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic biblical texts. To suggest someone needs to go read the Aramaic text is not reasonable.... how many Aramaic scholars are on MDC?

Also, when researching anything - almost everyone (on almost every subject matter) relies on the research and publications of others. For example, when researching circumcision I relied on studies done by experts. I didn't conduct a study myself, nor did I contact the original research and require him to send me the raw data. If someone suggested the conclusion I reached from my research was invalid because I hadn't done "real" research and gotten the information directly myself, that would clearly be a ridiculous assertion.

The point struck me as pretty off. Maybe it was just the case of someone getting too hung up on semantics... but I believe Christians (and everyone) can use the bible as a research tool and I do not believe the need to get their PhD in Aramaic Studies in order to have a valid opinion. The NIV and King James versions of the bible are direct translations of the originals and not the result of some centuries long game of phone tag.

I would agree, though, that is is important for anyone -- in any field -- dealing with translated works to recognize that translation is far more art than science, and as such will always carry the "brushstrokes" of the translators as they attempt to make clear what a word-for-word translation would leave in a horrible muddle. There is always room for inadvertent misrepresentation in translation, and while I agree that there is nothing wrong with someone using a translation to form an opinion, I don't believe that room can rightfully be minimized either.

Anyway, that's all grossly off-topic ... it's just that in my own religion that translations are essentially an inferior study aid is such a given that I find putting originals and translations on a 1:1 level to be a bit odd.
post #134 of 279
Im beginning to understand how christians understand their Holy Book and that the way they understand it is very, very different from the way others understand the bible. The way *I* see it is that the Bible, my Holy Book, is alive. Not alive as in something to be worshipped as we would worship God, but that, in our opinion (and there are many who believe this way, some dont tho), being God's word, its breathing, living, and in that way its inspiring, but inspiring isnt the word Im looking for, and it grossly understates what Im trying to say. Its not always changing (infact its always changing, challenging us!) but there are levels of spiritual meaning, depths to be searched, hidden gems to be found, and a lot of times meaning is very much hidden. I will read one book or chapter or verse over and over, then years later (or weeks or months) read it again and think 'I know Ive read this over and over, how did I miss that before?'. Ive realised, from my own very personal experience, that if we dont have the Holy Spirit helping us, its just words on paper with little or no meaning. And that certainly without the Holy Spirit it is completely impossible to get the meaning out of it that God intended. Glancing at it wont do to get any kind of meaning from it or to make any kind of opinion of it. I really believe the bible is a book to be really really studied to get any kind of meaning out of it. Its GOT to be searched, wrestled with, not to be put down or else you will never get what you're meant to get out of it... I suppose one has to be willing to get something out of it in the first place.

I believe that the bible is an inspired book, inspired as in inspired by God. That God preserved it, thru the millenia, from the Jewish scriptures right thru to revelation (nt) from translation to translation. I believe God is perfect and that he perfectly preserved it for us today. I say believe, but its more accurate to say that its something that Ive discovered.

ThomasL, I will agree with you on one thing...

Quote:
There is a much deeper meaning to things beyond what is written.
To the rest, Jesus either said it or He didnt. If he did say He was the way, the truth, and the Life and the only way to the Father, He said alot of other things that have to be taken into account as well, and which contradict what you assert. If he did say that, but not the rest, but the rest is attributed to him as well, then some of it must be false, but which bits? What part do we accept and what do we reject? Only what we like, and leave out the parts we dont?

I personally believe he left a perfect account of what he said with his earliest followers and that is what they recorded and that is what made its way into the bible.
post #135 of 279
Your experiences, though, are not exclusive to only those who take the Bible literally, inspiried/written/protected by God. In my experience, the Bible is also a living document that holds profound truths for me (not for everyone), but I do not believe the Bible is inspired by God nor written by God nor protected by God. I see it as a collection of writings by men, describing their attempts to put into words their experiences with God/the Divine. For me, taking the Bible literally, and believing that it says exactly what God wants it to say, drove me away from God, from Jesus, from the church. I cannot believe or worship a god who acts in the way that God literally acts in the Bible. I cannot believe in a god who would say and do the things he is portrayed as saying and doing in the Bible. But, moving past the literalness, allowing for the possibility that the Bible was written by men, seeing it as an attempt to put God in human language (which always falls short as our best attempts just begin to scratch the surface), then the Bible becomes real.

But, evangelicalism, conservatism, literalism does not have a monopoly on the Bible or how it should be seen, viewed or read. Unfortunately for those of us who choose to embrace the deep truth of the Bible, the deep truth of Jesus, and a deep relationship with God without seeing the Bible as the literal word of God are often not seen as truly Christian or are seen as trying to make our own truth out of someone else's book (basically that there is only one way to see the Bible and God and Jesus, and that if one doesn't seen it/them in that one way, then one is just trying to take the easy road and is not "saved" or a Christian). I do not believe the Gospels are eyewitness accounts of Jesus's life. I don't even think he said a fair amount of what was recorded. There is amazing mainstream scholarship out there on the Bible, its origins and what it all means. Reading current scholarship and rereading the Bible has brought profound truths out from underneath the dusty, pre-modern literalness of the Bible and has finally made it alive, in my experience and in my opinion.

Quote:
To the rest, Jesus either said it or He didnt. If he did say He was the way, the truth, and the Life and the only way to the Father, He said alot of other things that have to be taken into account as well, and which contradict what you assert. If he did say that, but not the rest, but the rest is attributed to him as well, then some of it must be false, but which bits? What part do we accept and what do we reject? Only what we like, and leave out the parts we dont?
When you move past literalness, you no longer have to wrestle with these questions. It is no longer an either/or debate which could bring down one's faith. Believe me, I've been there. I rejected it all just over four years ago because of those questions. I read, I researched (the Bible), I tried to make contradictions cohesive. And I couldn't. There are too many. Just reading Paul alone makes ones head spin if you take his words as not only all literally his (which most scholarship rejects - there are at least two different "Pauls" - just look at what he wrote regarding slavery in Philemon versus what are seen as a non-Pauline letter of Ephesians, or what he wrote about patriarchy and the role of women). I could not believe that a perfect God would allow such contradictions to stay if every word is true and literal. How does one make that work? Moving to a point of view that various men wrote the Bible and that regular men (not inspired, not God-directed, but regular men with biases and agendas) assembled what we know today as the Bible, the I no longer have to wrestle with what parts to take literally, what parts to read metaphorically, and what parts to see as allegory. I can just read it to find the deep truth (and I can dismiss those parts that contradict the rest - for instance, I can throw out the parts that are not authentic Paul, and see them only as an attempt to distort the message; I can also read those parts in a purely historical context and weigh them again the overall message of Jesus - regardless of if Jesus really said specific words, his message is the same).
post #136 of 279
Well, mylittlewonders, I personally choose not to judge those who think like you in that way...
Quote:
Unfortunately for those of us who choose to embrace the deep truth of the Bible, the deep truth of Jesus, and a deep relationship with God without seeing the Bible as the literal word of God are often not seen as truly Christian or are seen as trying to make our own truth out of someone else's book (basically that there is only one way to see the Bible and God and Jesus, and that if one doesn't seen it/them in that one way, then one is just trying to take the easy road and is not "saved" or a Christian)
Even tho I do disagree with you. I just choose to say people see things differently.
post #137 of 279
Mylittlewonders, so well-said! The Bible really came alive for me when I stopped taking it literally! Genifer, it's nice that not everyone judges! Plenty do, though, that is for sure!
post #138 of 279
Question for those Christians who do not take the Bible literally:

Do you think Jesus was the literal son of God and literally rose from the dead?


Maybe this is the subject for another thread, but I thought I'd throw the question out there in light of recent posts.
post #139 of 279
Check out the UCC. We believe that there are many paths to God and Jesus is just one. All are included and welcomed in our church. And I really mean it.
post #140 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post
Well, mylittlewonders, I personally choose not to judge those who think like you in that way...


Even tho I do disagree with you. I just choose to say people see things differently.
Thanks Genifer - I gathered from your posts that you do not choose to judge ... though like hrsmom said, there are plenty that do (many I've had much personal experience with). There is so much more opportunity for dialogue when people who see things differently can come together and say, "This is how I see it, what about you?"
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