or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › Wrestling with the "exclusivity" of Christianity... please help!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Wrestling with the "exclusivity" of Christianity... please help! - Page 4

post #61 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbigailGrace View Post
A relationship is always two-sided... not always fair, not always give and take. Not always equal. But always two-sided. What do Jews, Buddhists, Muslims get out of their religion? You can't tell me nothing...
Please don't take it as if I'm picking on Christianity alone. I think all deity-based religious systems are equally illogical.

FWIW, Buddhism in it's unadulterated form includes no gods. So there is really no "relationship" to speak of there, except for the relationship with oneself.

So what does God get from his relationship with you, and why would a supreme being need anything from imperfect beings?
post #62 of 279
Quote:
I guess what I meant was that you will never hear the controversy in other religions that you hear in talking about what a "Christian" means. Again, just my opinion
Again, I disagree. Next time you are at the bookstore, check out the Islam section. There is a global conversation going on about what it means to be Muslim, to be part of Islam.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
... I have heard so many times, as well, of people in what Christians would call "unreached" areas being met by the Lord, and only years later, sometimes many decades later, running into a Christian and realizing "So that's the God who captured my heart!"...
So long as you realize that this happens to people in other religions and even to Christians who convert to another religion, then that's fine.

The issue I'm trying to clarify is that many (I'm not saying anyone here) Christians I have met in American tend to believe that what has happened to them or people they know is exclusively a Christian experience. For instance, if a Christian hears of another religious tradition and realizes that the's God that captured their heart, some Christians would be quick to say that's the work of the devil or in some other way false.

These experiences happen all over the world, in all religions. They are simply not exclusive to Christianity. Again, we live in a society that is culturally Christian that it's easy to conclude that these things must happen only to Christians but once you start studying other religions, the stories and emotions are very similiar.
post #63 of 279
As PPs have said, not all churches take the same view of Hell. My religion does not teach that God created Hell as a place of punishment, for example, and we do not make any claim that this or that person is in Hell, either because of his beliefs or for other reasons.

Apart from that, what some call exclusivity other churches may see as simply believing in reality, including the reality of God and of the afterlife. Those things do not change according to what people believe about them, any more than the material world alters according to what people believe about it.

As for whether Gandhi is in hell, a priest I met once commented on this question. He said he had no idea if Gandhi was in Heaven or not; that Gandhi may have been a great man who accomplished wonderful things, but when he died, he did not meet Visnu, or any other deity, he met Christ, as we all will.
post #64 of 279
I've found this quote from C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle to be helpful. The lion is Aslan, the Christ figure.:

Quote:
Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of Thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou has done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reason of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites. I take to me the services which thou hast done to him, for I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if a man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted."
I also keep in mind that Jesus is God and God is love. So one who follows love is following Christ whether or not he or she would use the name Jesus.

At least that's what came to me when I struggled with this.
post #65 of 279
Indie, I was very taken by that C.S. Lewis quote when I first read it as a kid, but the more I thought about it, the more offensive I find it. What he's saying basically, is that if I live a good and honorable life, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, dealing honestly with my fellow humans, than I'm not really the good Jew I think I am. I'm serving Jesus the whole time.

No, actually I'm not. I have no problem with anyone serving Jesus, but I believe it must be done with intention. I don't buy that people who are following a different belief system that they find great meaning in are actually completely deluded.
post #66 of 279
Quote:
So what does God get from his relationship with you, and why would a supreme being need anything from imperfect beings?
Good question, and probably best answered by God alone. I have no idea what he would want to do with the likes of us, honestly and is something that I find so amazing.

There was another question that went something like

Quote:
would you believe in God and Jesus if there was nothing to gain by it?
When I gave my life to Jesus Christ, heaven and hell didnt even come into the equation. No fear of hell, no knowledge of heaven, all I knew was that Jesus touched me in a way that I couldnt deny and I loved Him from the start. Knowing Him and loving Him is my reward. Being known by Him and the knowledge of His love for me makes me swoon . Its not a question of being rewarded, knowing Him is simply pure joy. Not knowing Him is absolute misery to me... and Ive slipped into that misery from time to time since surrendering to Him so I do know what both feels like. I had no idea what I would gain, honestly. I just gave my life to Him, I didnt know what Id gain and it didnt come into the equation and it still doesnt, bc truthfully in this life, for the christian there is a LOT to lose! Im sure all of us who are following Christ have stories about the things we have lost to follow Christ.

In fact scripture teaches that in order to follow Christ we have to count the cost. And to make it more personal to me, early on in my walk I heard the Lord wisper to me 'Do you know what you will have to give up to follow me?' Later it became clear, and even still Im seeing what Im losing to follow Him. So its not always a case of gaining anything apart from knowing Christ and being known by Him... and that is pure joy! I cant help that it is, it just is.
post #67 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
Please don't take it as if I'm picking on Christianity alone. I think all deity-based religious systems are equally illogical.

FWIW, Buddhism in it's unadulterated form includes no gods. So there is really no "relationship" to speak of there, except for the relationship with oneself.

So what does God get from his relationship with you, and why would a supreme being need anything from imperfect beings?
Well, as a Buddhist I'm not sure you are even supposed to have a relationship with the self

As for your second question, there has been quite a lot written on this topic, both by Christians and the pagan philosophers, who found the question quite a problem, since many thought god was not even aware of creation.

The answer for Christians on why God creates is looked at in a few ways. One of the problems is how something that is a perfect unity can even move outside of itself or have knowledge of what is outside of itself. (Which is why the pagans had such trouble with it.) Christians see the answer in the doctrine of the Trinity - that unity, in some almost unimaginable way, includes within itself the seeds of multiplicity. It creates because it is its nature to create.

The second way of looking at it is love. God creates not because he needs love, but as a kind of outpouring of love. What god loves is everything that could possibly have a reality of it's own, and that is what he creates. All of creation is, in it's proper mode, and is moved toward God by love, to a kind of sharing of love which creates a multiplicity in unity.
post #68 of 279
Quote:
So long as you realize that this happens to people in other religions and even to Christians who convert to another religion, then that's fine.
That's kind of another discussion. I was only responding to the charge that Christianity is exclusive based on location and proximity to a church. It's not. One does not ever have to meet a missionary, evangelist, or Christian layman even to meet Jesus.
post #69 of 279
Well, personally, I think this discussion could go on for years and years. (time which I don't have... haha!) I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I do believe that Jesus is the 'only' way, the 'whole' truth and life itself.

That being said, I will bow out of the conversation because it's gotten off the track. It's not what the OP asked anymore. It's another discussion entirely. Not that it's bad but I'm not looking for a debate or an argument to discuss why someone doesn't believe in God/Jesus.

Sincerely,
post #70 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by indie View Post
I've found this quote from C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle to be helpful. The lion is Aslan, the Christ figure.:



I also keep in mind that Jesus is God and God is love. So one who follows love is following Christ whether or not he or she would use the name Jesus.

At least that's what came to me when I struggled with this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Indie, I was very taken by that C.S. Lewis quote when I first read it as a kid, but the more I thought about it, the more offensive I find it. What he's saying basically, is that if I live a good and honorable life, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, dealing honestly with my fellow humans, than I'm not really the good Jew I think I am. I'm serving Jesus the whole time.

No, actually I'm not. I have no problem with anyone serving Jesus, but I believe it must be done with intention. I don't buy that people who are following a different belief system that they find great meaning in are actually completely deluded.
Well, according the the CS Lewis quote - Tash represents Satan, not God.
As a Jew, you are serving God - not Satan.
So, you don't fit into that quote.
According to the Christian concept, Jesus and God are One - Jesus IS God so if you are serving God, you are serving Jesus.
Another intention is not needed.
post #71 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Indie, I was very taken by that C.S. Lewis quote when I first read it as a kid, but the more I thought about it, the more offensive I find it. What he's saying basically, is that if I live a good and honorable life, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, dealing honestly with my fellow humans, than I'm not really the good Jew I think I am. I'm serving Jesus the whole time.

No, actually I'm not. I have no problem with anyone serving Jesus, but I believe it must be done with intention. I don't buy that people who are following a different belief system that they find great meaning in are actually completely deluded.
Well, I don't think that is quite it. It means that if you live and love Truth, you serve Truth, even if some of your ideas about its form are mistaken. And Truth is what God is. In the story, (which we should remember is for children) the soldier has lived his whole life serving the Good, deliberately, and so he was united with that Good after his death. The name he called it and the physical representation he imagined were not as important as the essence of the thing itself. Perhaps even the fact that the soldier might have sometimes mistaken bad things for good things because that is what he thought The Good wanted, was not as important as his desire to serve Truth and his attempts to do so.

Or to put it another way - do you try to be a good Jew because you think that is Good and True, or for some other reason? If you discovered somehow that something else was true, would you try to follow it? If so, are you not deliberately serving Truth as best you can?
post #72 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by christianmomof3 View Post
Well, according the the CS Lewis quote - Tash represents Satan, not God.
As a Jew, you are serving God - not Satan.
So, you don't fit into that quote.
According to the Christian concept, Jesus and God are One - Jesus IS God so if you are serving God, you are serving Jesus.
Another intention is not needed.
Yikes! Out of all the Jewish people I've ever known, I can't imagine that even one of them would not take offence at someone telling them they're unintentionally serving Jesus.

Besides that, not *all* Christians believe that Jesus is God. They believe that he is the Son of God, the Messiah, and the only way to God, but they don't necessarily believe he *is* God.
post #73 of 279
I think studying the Gospel and praying for God's guidance on this issue is the most reliable source of truth. Go straight to the source!

You also might find some answers in Marcus Borg's books; he is a Jesus scholar. The God We Never Knew is my favorite.

AbigailGrace wrote:
Quote:
It's not our job to judge who will go to heaven and who won't, who REALLY knows Jesus and who doesn't. (that's His job) There will be pastors and whole churches who claim to know "Jesus" that will end up at the judgement throne of God and He will say, "Depart from me. I never knew you." But it still doesn't mean that 'Jesus' is not the only way.
As I see it, Jesus in his time on earth was the living embodiment of the Way, and he is now a powerful spiritual connection to the Way, but what is really important is the Way and the Truth and the Life. The only way to get closer to God is by walking that Way, learning that Truth, and living that Life. Christians do it by following Jesus, holding hands with Jesus, listening for Jesus calling us, to help us stay on the path--relating to Jesus as a personality. Other people may find other methods of walking that Way, learning that Truth, and living that Life, without ever knowing that the "name" of the Way is Jesus, but it's the same Way and they're knowing and loving Jesus even if they don't perceive him as a personality. Does that make sense?

Christianmomof3 wrote:
Quote:
I do not understand the Christian hoopla about life after death and heaven and hell.
Who knows really what happens after we die?
What may or may not happen after people die is not the main thing that being a Chrisitian is or should be about.
I agree! As far as I'm concerned, what happens after we die is that God, who loves us, takes care of us, so whatever specific thing happens is the right thing, and there's no need to worry about it. Jesus said not to worry about what will happen in the future but focus on today.

Smokering wrote:
Quote:
If there were other ways for people to get into heaven, why would God have done the unthinkable and separated the Trinity, sacrificed His Son and caused a heck of a lot of pain to Himself? Why not just say "Well, we already have A, B and C religions and X, Y and Z religions will come along shortly"? If Jesus' death wasn't necessaryfor salvation, why did God do it?
To get our attention. To show us the horrors of which humans are capable and the injustices which can be perpetrated if we don't speak up to prevent them. To bring us the message of incredible hope and joy through the Resurrection. To demonstrate that Jesus truly was somebody very special (not just another prophet) and thus get people to take his teachings really seriously.

What makes you think the all-powerful God was UNABLE to bring us to heaven without doing something he DIDN'T WANT to do? Why do you think it caused him "a heck of a lot of pain" to implement his own plan?

I think the real sacrifice Jesus made was not suffering for a day and being dead for three days, but humbling himself to live in a human body for 33 years and get treated like just some dumb peasant. He didn't die so that we could go someplace nice after we die; he lived to show us the Way to live. In my opinion.
post #74 of 279
Quote:
...That's kind of another discussion. I was only responding to the charge that Christianity is exclusive based on location and proximity to a church. It's not. One does not ever have to meet a missionary, evangelist, or Christian layman even to meet Jesus...
I think you missed my point, which is that the near exclusivity of Christianity in our culture supports the idea that Christianity is itself exclusive.

The perpetuation of all religions, including Christianity, is based in large part on location. Children overwhelmingly join the religion of their parents upon reaching adulthood. They are raised in a culture where their religions holiest days are celebrated and so on. Missionary work is based on that assumption. The holy gospel is not organic, it does not ride on the wind or spring from the ground, it's something that must be transmitted by humans from one culture to another.

If you (the collective you, not you specifically) had grown up in another country where all the good feelings and experiences you've associated with Jesus had been attributed to, say, Allah, then, generally speaking, that's the way you would feel about Allah. Of course there are exceptions but I'm speaking of the majority of people.

I am not judging which, if any, relgion is true or not. Instead I'm looking at it from a sociological (groups of people) angle. And what the data shows is that religion does not exist in a vacuum, it is influenced by other societal institutions.
post #75 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Christians believe that the Trinity is a fundemantal truth about the nature of God.
Sorry to diverge off topic, but can you point to a passage in the Bible that explains the Trinity, or even uses the word "trinity"?
post #76 of 279
ITA with zinemama and thisbirdwillfly - I converted from Christianity, renounced it, and became an observant Jew because that was MY truth. Not necessarily THE Truth, because I'm only one person - who am I to have the monopoly on Truth?

It's 100% offensive to suggest that because some Christians believe Jesus = G-d that everyone serving G-d is automatically serving Jesus. That's just........ crazy, really. What of us who have renounced Christianity? Are we deluding ourselves and really being good "closet Christians" whenever we do good?

(This is a really interesting thread, BTW. )
post #77 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbigailGrace View Post
I guess what I meant was that you will never hear the controversy in other religions that you hear in talking about what a "Christian" means. Again, just my opinion.


This is the utmost question in Jewish life right now. Who is a Jew? There is HUGE controversy about this, as regards to the different movements (such as reform or orthodox), but also as regards to the Law of Return for those choosing to make aliyah to Israel.

And in Judaism, it's an even bigger problem than Christianity. At least, with Christians, you have the Christ thing. If you don't believe in Jesus, you're not a Christian. It's at least ONE easy distinction you can make. As Jews, we have much more of an issue defining ourselves than that.

Sorry, kinda OT, but that just jumped out at me.
post #78 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
Sorry to diverge off topic, but can you point to a passage in the Bible that explains the Trinity, or even uses the word "trinity"?

You won't find the word Trinity in the Bible. However, you can look at how the Church Fathers and early Bishops came to understand the concept by studying their writings and the counsels of the early Church if you are interested. The name "Trinity" isn't important except that everyone understands what you mean when you say it - it's the word they chose to attach to the conclusions they came to. The doctrine talks about the nature of God, of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, and the Incarnation.

There are lots of biblical passages on those things. John Chapter 1 is one of the most famous. Also passages about the nature of salvation and how it works, especially from the epistles, were important in this understanding. But none of these tend to be the easiest passages to understand, especially together, which is why it took people so very long to come up with a language to talk about them.
post #79 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
ITA with zinemama and thisbirdwillfly - I converted from Christianity, renounced it, and became an observant Jew because that was MY truth. Not necessarily THE Truth, because I'm only one person - who am I to have the monopoly on Truth?

It's 100% offensive to suggest that because some Christians believe Jesus = G-d that everyone serving G-d is automatically serving Jesus. That's just........ crazy, really. What of us who have renounced Christianity? Are we deluding ourselves and really being good "closet Christians" whenever we do good?

(This is a really interesting thread, BTW. )
Well, that would only be true if we assumed Christianity is right. Which doesn't depend on my belief, or yours, or anyone else's. It's right or wrong whatever we happen to believe. If Zoroastrianism is right, and if the logic described in the Lewis system still held (I think it would) than we'd all be serving Ahura Mazda when we served the Good, even the Christians. Because Ahura Mazda would be the reality we were perceiving, perhaps dimly, when we searched for Truth and Good and tried to serve it.

The principle Lewis was getting at wasn't about denominations or labels. It was about our innate desire to be with something true, and good, and eternal, and underlying the reality that we see around us.

If someone knowingly renounces Truth and Good, than they are obviously not serving whatever it is that constitutes the reality those things. Most people that renounce Christianity do so because they think it is not true.

What do you think the relation of non-Jews to God is? Do you think they simply don't have one at all, or that it is perhaps somewhat distorted, or that they have rejected him? Will God reject them because they didn't see him quite as he really is? If they have grasped his nature, will it be important that they call him by the wrong name, not knowing or recognizing the right one?
post #80 of 279
I may be missing your point again.

Quote:
The holy gospel is not organic, it does not ride on the wind or spring from the ground, it's something that must be transmitted by humans from one culture to another.

If you (the collective you, not you specifically) had grown up in another country where all the good feelings and experiences you've associated with Jesus had been attributed to, say, Allah, then, generally speaking, that's the way you would feel about Allah. Of course there are exceptions but I'm speaking of the majority of people.
While it is true that the Bible is printed material, and the Gospel as understood by Christians is normally transmitted by humans, meeting Jesus, and acknowledging his seperateness/difference from ones culturally instilled beliefs is not at all unknown.

In the post of yours I was responding to, you said you don't believe your son is special because he was born into a society that is primarily Christian. I don't believe he is either. While people raised as Christians tend to at least take on a cultural form of Christianity, that doesn't say anything about their actual relationship with God, and likewise, if a person has not been raised with any knowledge of Christianity, that also says nothing about their relationship with God. People who have known Christianity all their lives regularly choose to reject it, and people who have never known it have met Jesus, and practiced Christianity without knowing any name for it, only knowing that it was different from what they were raised with.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Religious Studies
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › Wrestling with the "exclusivity" of Christianity... please help!