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Wrestling with the "exclusivity" of Christianity... please help! - Page 5

post #81 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
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.
Can you explain how someone can practice Christianity without knowing that's what they're practicing? How do you "meet Jesus" without knowing who Jesus is? I'm confused.
post #82 of 279
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Originally Posted by Nikki74 View Post
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.
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. )
For those of us who do believe that Jesus is God, it is a logical conclusion. Most of us believe that the world is round. There are some people who believe it is flat. I still believe that they are living on my round earth. Their belief does not negate my reality. It is not intended as an insult to Jews. I am a Jew - born and raised although I no longer practice the Jewish religion. My view of God is probably a bit different than most Christians due to my Jewish background. I am certain there is only ONE God and He exists as the Father/Son/Spirit - but there is still only ONE of Him.
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"?
The word trinity is not in the Bible. Here is a good website that explains the verses that explain the Triune God: http://www.triunegod.org/
post #83 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
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?
Honestly, I have no opinion on other peoples' relationships with G-d, and it is something that has never concerned me. Just like I would never assume to tell an atheist that they're wrong (because I believe their "truth" is just as real and "true" as mine), I would never assume to know a single thing about anyone else's relationship with G-d. If it's working for them, that's cool with me. Who am I to read my own version of "truth" into that? I figure G-d knows what he's doing by making you a Christian, just like I know he knew what he was doing by making me a Jew.

But my belief system is VERY different from Christianity. Nowhere does Judaism say it is the Truth, and nowhere does it say that all will come to G-d only through Judaism. So it's a very different "truth" we're talking about here.
post #84 of 279
i'm reminded of that story about the blind men and the elephant. one of these men is feeling the elephant's side and says, "oh, an elephant is like a wall". another is feeling the elephant's leg and says "no, an elephant is like a tree". another is feeling the elephant's tail and says, "no an elephant is like a rope". all three men would be speaking the truth. we all have pieces of the truth but no one person has the whole truth. if anyone *thinks* they have the whole truth, they are wrong. we are finite creatures, with a beginning and an end. between that beginning and end we can each try our best to figure out the truth, but in the end we are only human. so i guess my experience/ponderings are more in line with the analogies to sand on a beach, cups of water in the ocean, many candles share one light.

and who is to say that in 2000 more years, there wouldn't eventually be a ghandi-ism?
post #85 of 279
I wanted to say that I really wrestle with this issue as well. Some things I have found lately that have helped--

The Bible talks about how creation declares Him, he knows the place and time where people wil live, that He is merciful and loving, and will He not do what is right? The BIble also says that He stands at the door and knocks, He does not desire that any should perish, and that He IS love.

A book that I really like too was The Torn Veil
http://www.amazon.com/Torn-Veil-Guls...4419074&sr=8-1
and would like to read still Eternity in their Hearts: Startling Evidence of the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World by Don Richardson. http://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Their...4419141&sr=1-1
A website taht has helped me a lot is www.godandscience.com Here is an article to answer "what about those who have never heard" http://www.godandscience.org/apologe...l#KXaCLOWvXLUk

I came across this recently when I was feeling frustrated trying to totally figure God out--
"17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."[c]
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."1 Corinthians 1:17
Grace and peace,
Jen
post #86 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
...meeting Jesus, and acknowledging his seperateness/difference from ones culturally instilled beliefs is not at all unknown...
Correct. This also happens when people raised Christian in Christian majority countries convert to other religions. In both cases, in speaking in terms of populations and not individuals, it is uncommon.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
...People who have known Christianity all their lives regularly choose to reject it,...
It is true that following WWII, upwards of 2/3s of young adults (Boomers, as they are known) left the religion they had been raised with but a majority returned upon having children of their own.

In otherwords, people do not accept and reject their parents religion at the same rate. It is not chance. Mormons, Fundamentalists and Catholics have an especially high rate of return to their parents religion in adulthood.

Statistically speaking, a child raised in the United States has a better than 7 in 10 chance of growing to be an adult Christian. That same child in Indonesia has a less than 1 in 10 chance. That's called stacking the deck in Vegas.

As for the "if you've never heard of Christianity", that simply has not held up in the modern age. For example, when Obama became President, people all over the world learned his upbringing, including his Christian faith. That doesn't change the odds they were born into.

I have no interest in what people believe under the umbrella of religion, so long as they do not try to advance it by the sword. I do think it's important to understand the biases built into all cultures and the tremendous influence those biases have in all parts of our lives.
post #87 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
Honestly, I have no opinion on other peoples' relationships with G-d, and it is something that has never concerned me. Just like I would never assume to tell an atheist that they're wrong (because I believe their "truth" is just as real and "true" as mine), I would never assume to know a single thing about anyone else's relationship with G-d. If it's working for them, that's cool with me. Who am I to read my own version of "truth" into that? I figure G-d knows what he's doing by making you a Christian, just like I know he knew what he was doing by making me a Jew.

But my belief system is VERY different from Christianity. Nowhere does Judaism say it is the Truth, and nowhere does it say that all will come to G-d only through Judaism. So it's a very different "truth" we're talking about here.
It's not a question about people's personal relationship with God - it's a question of what is God's relation to creation and what God is himself, and what he has revealed out himself.

I agree, Judaism says quite clearly that not all are meant to be Jews. But that is not quite the same question as whether God is the God of all creation. Are Adam and Eve the ancestors of the Jews, or of all people? Is God equivalent to Truth and Good, or are they separate things?

The difficulty is, if the answer is NO, then it brings up very difficult questions about the nature of God himself. It tends, for example, to lead toward dualism, which has generally not been well regarded by most Jewish theologians and teachers.

I tend to disagree that Jewish theologians do not say that Judaism is the Truth, in that it understands the true nature of the divine. I wouldn't say all - goodness knows there are always some oddities in every religion. But most Jewish theology I have read is not relativistic at all in it's understanding of Truth. Rather the opposite.
post #88 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
Honestly, I have no opinion on other peoples' relationships with G-d, and it is something that has never concerned me. Just like I would never assume to tell an atheist that they're wrong (because I believe their "truth" is just as real and "true" as mine), I would never assume to know a single thing about anyone else's relationship with G-d. If it's working for them, that's cool with me. Who am I to read my own version of "truth" into that? I figure G-d knows what he's doing by making you a Christian, just like I know he knew what he was doing by making me a Jew.
I have to say I don't get your line of reasoning at all. On one hand, you respect other people's beliefs and their relationships with G-d, it's all a-ok. On the other hand, you think any belief that asserts that there is actually some objective truth is not ok because it is offensive. Which is it?

There really has to be some objective truth, doesn't there? I mean if I believe something mutually exclusive to what you believe, one of is wrong. Or do you have a way around that?

It just doesn't work to say that all beliefs are true and good, except the belief that what one believes is, in fact, true. Still can't wrap my head around that.
post #89 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
It's not a question about people's personal relationship with God - it's a question of what is God's relation to creation and what God is himself, and what he has revealed out himself.

I agree, Judaism says quite clearly that not all are meant to be Jews. But that is not quite the same question as whether God is the God of all creation. Are Adam and Eve the ancestors of the Jews, or of all people? Is God equivalent to Truth and Good, or are they separate things?
Well, I don't believe that G-d is good, that's for sure. I believe that He can't be defined by human terms like good and evil, and goes far beyond that. Good is so relative. It may not be a mainstream Jewish belief, but it's one that I and many other Jews hold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
The difficulty is, if the answer is NO, then it brings up very difficult questions about the nature of God himself. It tends, for example, to lead toward dualism, which has generally not been well regarded by most Jewish theologians and teachers.
I agree that it leads to difficult questions, many of which I'm still trying to answer for myself. However, I certainly don't believe it leads to dualism. I think believing in a purely good G-d leads to dualism more than believing in a G-d that is truly all-powerful and not necessarily good (or evil).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
I tend to disagree that Jewish theologians do not say that Judaism is the Truth, in that it understands the true nature of the divine. I wouldn't say all - goodness knows there are always some oddities in every religion. But most Jewish theology I have read is not relativistic at all in it's understanding of Truth. Rather the opposite.
But the difference is that we understand truth for US. We don't pretend to understand Truth in that we don't say things like Ghandi would be better off if he was Jewish or if he believed in G-d the same way we do. We don't believe that G-d will condemn people of other faiths to a hell for not seeing things the way we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarefootScientist View Post
I have to say I don't get your line of reasoning at all. On one hand, you respect other people's beliefs and their relationships with G-d, it's all a-ok. On the other hand, you think any belief that asserts that there is actually some objective truth is not ok because it is offensive. Which is it?
I think that it's offensive to push someone else's truth onto me. I think it's offensive to say that I would be better off if I was Christian or if I believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or anything like that - because in doing so, you're negating MY truth. I hold my truth, and believe that you have an equal right to yours. One of those "your right to swing your fist stops at my face" kinda things. Make more sense? You can have your truth, just leave me and mine out of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarefootScientist View Post
There really has to be some objective truth, doesn't there? I mean if I believe something mutually exclusive to what you believe, one of is wrong. Or do you have a way around that?
And how do we know what the objective truth is? Were you there at the creation of the world? Are you able to prove something I'm not? Until there is proof, irrefutable proof (aka, probably until we die), we have no way of knowing. So yes, there is an objective truth. But you can't see it, and neither can I. So until G-d comes down and whaps us over the head with it, you can have your truth and I'll have mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarefootScientist View Post
It just doesn't work to say that all beliefs are true and good, except the belief that what one believes is, in fact, true. Still can't wrap my head around that.
I didn't say that - I said that all beliefs are fine with me - I just know MY truth. I know what G-d has shown me. If He has shown you something else (or if you're an atheist, whatever), that's fine too. It's a very important word - ME.

Again, your religious beliefs are cool - just don't put them on me and on my people.
post #90 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
I figure G-d knows what he's doing by making you a Christian, just like I know he knew what he was doing by making me a Jew.
Sara, this is exactly what I believe and it's why I am fine with other religions despite being a Christian.

We're all walking up the same mountain. Just different paths.

I'm glad we can wave to each other and support each other up, though, no matter which trail we're on.
post #91 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
I think that it's offensive to push someone else's truth onto me. I think it's offensive to say that I would be better off if I was Christian or if I believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or anything like that - because in doing so, you're negating MY truth. I hold my truth, and believe that you have an equal right to yours. One of those "your right to swing your fist stops at my face" kinda things. Make more sense? You can have your truth, just leave me and mine out of it.
...
I didn't say that - I said that all beliefs are fine with me - I just know MY truth. I know what G-d has shown me. If He has shown you something else (or if you're an atheist, whatever), that's fine too. It's a very important word - ME.
Well I was speaking in reference to you being offended about the C.S. Lewis quote. I don't think the poster who posted that quote meant it to push her beliefs on you, nor did C.S. Lewis. I just don't understand how it is offensive to say (as an example) that I believe my religion (Christianity) is true, and that other people who are serving other gods and on other paths are honoring my god with their search for the truth and good and will be rewarded for that. Isn't that a lot less offensive than saying they will go to hell? How exactly would it be infringing on your rights (even if I did believe you were going to hell, which by the way, I don't )? Wouldn't you also be infringing on my right to believe what I want to believe by saying I'm not allowed to believe we are both serving the same god?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
And how do we know what the objective truth is? Were you there at the creation of the world? Are you able to prove something I'm not? Until there is proof, irrefutable proof (aka, probably until we die), we have no way of knowing. So yes, there is an objective truth. But you can't see it, and neither can I. So until G-d comes down and whaps us over the head with it, you can have your truth and I'll have mine.
No, I do not know for sure what objective truth is in this case. But that wasn't my point. My point was that it is inconsistent for you to say at the same time
a) All beliefs are valid and true for the person who believes them.
and
b) It is not ok to claim X belief.
You seem to have backed off a bit on b in this post, so maybe you actually don't think any beliefs are offensive?

This topic is only tangentially related to the original post, so maybe I will leave things at that...I don't mean to get into a big argument with you. I just wanted to point out that inconsistency in case you were not aware of it, and for the benefit of others reading this thread.
post #92 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
Well, I don't believe that G-d is good, that's for sure. I believe that He can't be defined by human terms like good and evil, and goes far beyond that. Good is so relative. It may not be a mainstream Jewish belief, but it's one that I and many other Jews hold.
Well, I don't know if this is the place to go into this discussion, but when God is described as Good, or The Good, it isn't so much ascribing human goodness to God as saying the nature of being is wholly derived from the divine nature. That is, what God is is Truth, and Truth is good because it IS, and untruth is not good because it isn't anything. That is to say what God is defines good.

But pretty much every religion recognizes that human terms applied to God have to be understood in a different way.

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I agree that it leads to difficult questions, many of which I'm still trying to answer for myself. However, I certainly don't believe it leads to dualism. I think believing in a purely good G-d leads to dualism more than believing in a G-d that is truly all-powerful and not necessarily good (or evil).
I meant that the idea that the God the Jews believe in being different from the God of all creation leads to dualism. It also isn't supported at all Scripturally, but if there are other primary self-existent beings, it creates a huge problem for Jewish theology - not to mention Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and huge chunks of the world secular philosophical traditions.

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But the difference is that we understand truth for US. We don't pretend to understand Truth in that we don't say things like Ghandi would be better off if he was Jewish or if he believed in G-d the same way we do. We don't believe that G-d will condemn people of other faiths to a hell for not seeing things the way we do.
But Judaism says more than what individuals should do. It makes claims about the nature of reality. If God has revealed things to the Jews about himself, they must be true. Now, some directions may be applicable only to Jews. But facts about God's own nature would be true for everyone, whether or not they believe them or understand them correctly. The only other conclusion would be that non-Jews are somehow part of a completely different reality with it's own underlying source of being, or God is lying about his nature in his revelation to the Jews.

Quote:
I think that it's offensive to push someone else's truth onto me. I think it's offensive to say that I would be better off if I was Christian or if I believed in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or anything like that - because in doing so, you're negating MY truth. I hold my truth, and believe that you have an equal right to yours. One of those "your right to swing your fist stops at my face" kinda things. Make more sense? You can have your truth, just leave me and mine out of it.
I don't think anyone has said that you would be better off believing something that you don't believe. But I think, for example, if you were a member of a Heaven's Gate type cult, I could say with some confidence that you would be better off not believing that. What we all want to grasp is the nature of reality, the nature of God, what our relationship with him, and with other people, is supposed to be, what our purpose and the purpose of creation is, what it means to be human. As it is now, we don't all agree on the answers, and we see, as St Paul said, through a glass darkly.

But the thing we all want is to understand the true nature of reality, and if we are lucky enough to see it clearly at some point, we will be looking at one reality, not many realities. And I'm sure we will all discover that our ideas were inadequate to it, and that we would in some ways have been better off to live differently.

Quote:
And how do we know what the objective truth is? Were you there at the creation of the world? Are you able to prove something I'm not? Until there is proof, irrefutable proof (aka, probably until we die), we have no way of knowing. So yes, there is an objective truth. But you can't see it, and neither can I. So until G-d comes down and whaps us over the head with it, you can have your truth and I'll have mine.


I didn't say that - I said that all beliefs are fine with me - I just know MY truth. I know what G-d has shown me. If He has shown you something else (or if you're an atheist, whatever), that's fine too. It's a very important word - ME.

Again, your religious beliefs are cool - just don't put them on me and on my people.
Isn't that what a divine special revelation supposedly does?
post #93 of 279
I don't buy into the idea that truth is subjective. No, it's not. 2+2=4, period. you can believe all you want that it equals 3 or 100 or whatever, you can believe it with all your heart and soul, but it doesn't make it true. 99% of the world could ardently believe that 2+2=5 and it still wouldn't be true. Absolute truth exists.

Whether or not we can know that Truth is a different discussion, I think (I personally believe we can).

I don't really believe in the "many paths to one God" line of thinking. It sounds nice in theory, I suppose, but it doesn't pan out. There's only one direct way for me to get to my neighbor's house, and it takes about 30 seconds. Sure, I could hop in my van and drive around and loop through a back way, but that would take me a LOT longer than just walking right to her house. Or, I could get in the van and just back straight up and keep going, crash into the house behind me and die and never get there at all.


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But the principle that anyone who hears about Christ and rejects him will always go to Hell is not a doctrine of all Christians, and that isn't confined to the more liberal types. The Orthodox, Catholic Church, or classical Anglicanism would not say that either. It tends to be only a certain kind of Protestant that takes that view.
This is not true from an orthodox Catholic perspective. The Church clearly teachest that those who knowingly reject the Christ and His Church will not attain salvation.

Quote:
This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.
-from Lumen Gentium

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846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.
-from the CCC
post #94 of 279
This thread is being moved to the Religious Studies forum as it is more suited to this kind of discussion
post #95 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarefootScientist View Post
Well I was speaking in reference to you being offended about the C.S. Lewis quote. I don't think the poster who posted that quote meant it to push her beliefs on you, nor did C.S. Lewis. I just don't understand how it is offensive to say (as an example) that I believe my religion (Christianity) is true, and that other people who are serving other gods and on other paths are honoring my god with their search for the truth and good and will be rewarded for that. Isn't that a lot less offensive than saying they will go to hell? How exactly would it be infringing on your rights (even if I did believe you were going to hell, which by the way, I don't )? Wouldn't you also be infringing on my right to believe what I want to believe by saying I'm not allowed to believe we are both serving the same god?
I never said you couldn't believe that - you can believe whatever you would like. Me being offended should mean nothing to you. I'm offended by lots of stuff - like short shorts. I will, however, defend your right to be able to wear them. You believe that, fine. I just wanted to let whoever agrees with it know that it can be REALLY offensive to others, and maybe it's not a philosophy to share in "mixed company."

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarefootScientist View Post
No, I do not know for sure what objective truth is in this case. But that wasn't my point. My point was that it is inconsistent for you to say at the same time
a) All beliefs are valid and true for the person who believes them.
and
b) It is not ok to claim X belief.
You seem to have backed off a bit on b in this post, so maybe you actually don't think any beliefs are offensive?
Again, I'm offended by lots of beliefs (that I won't get into here), but you have every right to have them and I will defend that as well. Just because I don't like it doesn't mean I don't think you have a right to hold the belief. Just stating my opinion that it offends me. Hope that clears things up a bit.

And you're right, that's quite a tangent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Well, I don't know if this is the place to go into this discussion, but when God is described as Good, or The Good, it isn't so much ascribing human goodness to God as saying the nature of being is wholly derived from the divine nature. That is, what God is is Truth, and Truth is good because it IS, and untruth is not good because it isn't anything. That is to say what God is defines good.
Okay... maybe we should split off here and go into another thread, because that paragraph gives me LOTS to talk about that will just make this a totally different thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
I meant that the idea that the God the Jews believe in being different from the God of all creation leads to dualism. It also isn't supported at all Scripturally, but if there are other primary self-existent beings, it creates a huge problem for Jewish theology - not to mention Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and huge chunks of the world secular philosophical traditions.
Ok, I'll agree with that. I do believe that G-d was the one who created the entire world. Others don't, so one of us must be wrong. Is that what you're getting at?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
But Judaism says more than what individuals should do. It makes claims about the nature of reality. If God has revealed things to the Jews about himself, they must be true. Now, some directions may be applicable only to Jews. But facts about God's own nature would be true for everyone, whether or not they believe them or understand them correctly. The only other conclusion would be that non-Jews are somehow part of a completely different reality with it's own underlying source of being, or God is lying about his nature in his revelation to the Jews.
If you take the Torah literally and believe that it was given to Moses by G-d (which is the traditional opinion), absolutely. (There are some Jews who don't, and that's a whole different thing entirely.) I think, however, what G-d revealed about HIMSELF to the Jews in the Torah aren't the type of things that would clash hugely with other views of G-d. I don't think G-d was specific enough (aka "I have red hair and freckles: I am the L-rd your G-d") in the Torah about Himself that it would seriously clash. Feel free to prove me wrong, though.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
I don't think anyone has said that you would be better off believing something that you don't believe. But I think, for example, if you were a member of a Heaven's Gate type cult, I could say with some confidence that you would be better off not believing that. What we all want to grasp is the nature of reality, the nature of God, what our relationship with him, and with other people, is supposed to be, what our purpose and the purpose of creation is, what it means to be human. As it is now, we don't all agree on the answers, and we see, as St Paul said, through a glass darkly.
I got that "better off..." thing from someone saying that they were struggling with a pastor saying Ghandi was going to hell because he wasn't a Christian. That wasn't directed at anyone in particular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
But the thing we all want is to understand the true nature of reality, and if we are lucky enough to see it clearly at some point, we will be looking at one reality, not many realities. And I'm sure we will all discover that our ideas were inadequate to it, and that we would in some ways have been better off to live differently.
Agreed - but every reality has many stories. You've seen movies and read books where the same story is told from multiple different viewpoints. Reality is not linear, it's not as simple as math. It's messy and depending on what people were paying attention to or any other factors, someone could be telling the honest truth and leave out huge details, and someone else could tell the same story and have all the details and miss the point. It's not black and white (to me, at least), and never will be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
Isn't that what a divine special revelation supposedly does?
I think divine revelation gives the part of the truth that is needed at that moment. The Hebrews needed the Torah, so G-d gave it to us. It's the truth (to me and mine), but I think you'll find very few Jews who believe it's the ENTIRE truth. There's no way it could be. I would be very suspicious of any religion claiming the ENTIRE truth. Truth, sure. All of it? Call me skeptical. And there's the difference for me.

Clear as mud, right?

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Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
I don't buy into the idea that truth is subjective. No, it's not. 2+2=4, period. you can believe all you want that it equals 3 or 100 or whatever, you can believe it with all your heart and soul, but it doesn't make it true. 99% of the world could ardently believe that 2+2=5 and it still wouldn't be true. Absolute truth exists.
I agree. The difference is that you think I'M the one believing 2+2=5 and I'm the one thinking YOU believe 2+2=5.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CherryBomb View Post
I don't really believe in the "many paths to one God" line of thinking. It sounds nice in theory, I suppose, but it doesn't pan out. There's only one direct way for me to get to my neighbor's house, and it takes about 30 seconds. Sure, I could hop in my van and drive around and loop through a back way, but that would take me a LOT longer than just walking right to her house. Or, I could get in the van and just back straight up and keep going, crash into the house behind me and die and never get there at all.
See, and I think you're approaching the problem incorrectly. We're getting to your neighbor's house. You decide to walk across the yard. I decide that I'd rather take the sidewalk, and my DS wants to rollerblade up the driveway and into the street and then into her driveway. All valid ways to get there, just different. Like some people are audial learners, some are kinetic, and some are visual. We can all learn the same thing - just in different ways suited to our talents.
post #96 of 279
Quote:
Can you explain how someone can practice Christianity without knowing that's what they're practicing? How do you "meet Jesus" without knowing who Jesus is? I'm confused.
In the case of the area my husband comes from, there was a man who had rejected the traditional animist religion but didn't know where to turn. I don't know if it was specifically a dream or vision, but he came face to face with Christ and began to travel the area teaching monotheism, that God had sent his son to earth in the form of a human, that he died and was resurrected, and certain practices of Christianity, even a form of communion. When he met Christian missionaries years later, they were quite surprised to hear that he had already met this Jesus they were talking about, and had been telling folks about him for years.
post #97 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post

I think divine revelation gives the part of the truth that is needed at that moment. The Hebrews needed the Torah, so G-d gave it to us. It's the truth (to me and mine), but I think you'll find very few Jews who believe it's the ENTIRE truth. There's no way it could be. I would be very suspicious of any religion claiming the ENTIRE truth. Truth, sure. All of it? Call me skeptical. And there's the difference for me.

Clear as mud, right?
I completely understand what you're saying and agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
In the case of the area my husband comes from, there was a man who had rejected the traditional animist religion but didn't know where to turn. I don't know if it was specifically a dream or vision, but he came face to face with Christ and began to travel the area teaching monotheism, that God had sent his son to earth in the form of a human, that he died and was resurrected, and certain practices of Christianity, even a form of communion. When he met Christian missionaries years later, they were quite surprised to hear that he had already met this Jesus they were talking about, and had been telling folks about him for years.
Okay, this makes sense. Thanks.
post #98 of 279
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.

The quote was helpful to me at a time when I was a fundamentalist who had been taught that everyone outside of my denomination (not just my religion!) was going to hell. It helped me to reconcile the idea that Jesus could be Lord of all while providing a path for all. If you believe that G-d and Jesus are one (as I do) then there is no way to believe that one can come to G-d except by also coming to Jesus because Jesus is G-d. I thought the quote might be helpful to the OP who apparently comes from a conservative Christian background.

I'm sure it is offensive to some, but there's not much I can do about that. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe you're wrong, maybe we're both wrong. Its hard to know for sure. I just know what I believe has been revealed to me and try to live my life accordingly.
post #99 of 279
deleted post bc it had caused offense. I knew what I asked would cause offense and didnt take enough time to formulate my question.
post #100 of 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Well, the thing is, Christianity is not about being good enough to get into Heaven, or bad enough to get an eternal "spanking" in hell. If it was, none of us would end up in heaven. And none of us can ever say with certainty the status of anyone else's salvation.
That idea has been called "works righteousness", and it has caused trouble to many generations because then you do get this confusion with assuming that an outwardly righteous person will burn in hell because they haven't said "the magic words" to be saved, while an outwardly vile sinner spends a luxurious eternity in heaven because they said a certain prayer at some point in their life. Yeah, that's off-putting.

The way I view it, *anyone* can choose to spend an eternity with God. And I believe that because God is just and loving, he does give every one a clear choice. We may not see it from our perspective, or understand how he works, but I believe that every single person has been or will be presented with the opportunity to choose and eternity with God. Heaven is not exclusive based on race, social status, relative "goodness" of behavior, or any other factor. But I do believe that Jesus is the only "gate" to the Father. Believing in him and in his sacrifice on the cross would be rather pointless, if it didn't apply to the whole of humanity. So I do believe we must be "washed clean" through Jesus before we can enter into heaven, but I do not believe that there is anyone, no matter what their "status" in humanity is, who is not offered eternal communion with God through Jesus nor anyone who will be rejected if they choose that.
nak-
This is pretty much the way i believe too.
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