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#61 of 116 Old 07-19-2002, 12:01 AM
 
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Okay. Last night it was just too late. So I will summarize our understanding/belief of the steps of the afterlife. Understand that we believe in more scriptures than just the Bible, so much of our understanding is based upon the Book of Mormon, as well as revelations given to prophets including and since Joseph Smith.

When we depart this earthly life, we return to the spirit world (from whence we came, at that time in the presence of God). Our physical body remains on the earth and our spirit returns. The spirit world is divided into two areas: One is Paradise, which is where those spirits go who have been baptised by those with authority and then lived according to those baptismal covenants and "endured to the end." We believe that a "conversion" continues throughout life. These souls are at rest--they experience no pain, etc. The other area of the spirit world is sometimes called spirit prison. (Before this sounds like souls chained like Jacob Marley and rattling in cells, it is called spirit prison because they are out of the presence of God). The spirits who go here include all the spirits of people who did not have a chance while on earth to hear about Jesus Christ, as well as those who chose not to hear about and accept the message of Jesus Christ. We believe in a just God, and so the aspect of those souls who did not have a chance to hear about Jesus Christ and have the saving ordinances are accounted for.

You may have noticed or heard about Mormons' penchant for genealogical research. We believe that the saving ordinance of baptism, as well as others, must take place here on the earth in the physical body. In 1 Corinthians 15:29 Paul says:
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
I don't know what most of Christianity does with this verse, but we collect the names of every person who has ever lived as we can and make the ordinances of baptism by water and by the Spirit (we call this confirmation), as well as other sacred ordinances, available to those souls who have died by performing those ordinances in proxy in the temple. Many of you may live near an LDS temple. This is what they are for. So I have been baptized for several people, one after another. So pretend I was baptized for Sarah Smith. Now, Sarah Smith's spirit is in the spirit prison. She has had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ from teachers in the spirit world, but she cannot perform the ordinance of baptism because her spirit is separated from her body. So once I am baptized and confirmed for Sarah, she can accept Christ and then pass over into Paradise. This is a bit simplified, but it will suffice for this explanation.

The Bible is replete with discussions of the final judgment, the bar of God, etc., and so we believe that Jesus Christ will mediate at a final judgment at the end of all things (including the Rapture, although that isn't what we call it--I mention it b/c it's been mentioned). At the final judgment, all souls will have been resurrected--spirit and body reunited. We believe that this is the free gift of Jesus' triumph over dead.

We believe in three kingdoms of glory, described very briefly in 1 Corinthians 15:40-41: There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars, for one star differeth from another star in glory.

This is somewhat vague, but we understand more and better from latter-day revelation. The three kingdoms are divided as follows:

Celestial Kingdom: full access to God the Father and Jesus the Son; those who are baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit, and who are of the church of Jesus Christ, and who live righteously to the end of their lives. These are described as having the glory of the sun.

Terrestrial Kingdom: access to Jesus the Son; honorable men of the earth, but did not receive the testimony of Jesus; and they are described as having the glory of the moon.

Telestial kingdom: Did not (after having been offered) accept the gospel of Jesus. These are they who are said to be going to hell. They will not be here until at the end of all things, but prior to the end of al things, they will be under the power of the devil.
There is a fourth category, where very very few souls will go: it is called Perdition or outer darkness. These are the few souls who will not even be resurrected. They will have received all the light that God has to offer them here on the earth, and then completely turn away from it and deny the Holy Spirit.


So I guess, in answer to the question we believe that to be saved, yes, one must be baptized and accept Jesus Christ. We believe that all souls that were ever created by God will have ample opportunity to hear and accept, whether in this life or in the spirit world. We believe that at the time Christ shall come every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ (Isaiah 45:21-23):

. . . and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

This is about as concise as I can get this. There's tons more, but this is appropos to this conversation, I believe.
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#62 of 116 Old 07-22-2002, 04:06 AM
 
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I'll admit that this thread intimidated me....but I kept reading and decided to post.

I do believe in a literal Heaven and Hell, I do believe in a literal Jesus, and Satan ( I do believe that Satan can take many forms as shown in the Bible....ie. Lucifer, Jezabel....just to name the first two I could think of)

I think that the Bible is very clear as to where "non-believers" go...Hell, and yes, I think that even "good" people go to hell. I would never shout that at people, I believe in showing Christ's love....He wasn't an angry man (from what I have read), he was a loving man, a humble man, a respectful man, and a kind man.....I think that is the example that God was showing us. I think that if more Christians lived like Christ then people wouldn't have such a bad taste in their mouths from Christianity....That's my opinion.....

I am going to make a very general statement here (because I can't remember who said what) You ("non-believers) expect us (Christians) to share our faith in a non-judgmental way....we are supposed to be respectful, loving, caring, and "open" to your beliefs....but I have found that most of "you" are not that way with Christian beliefs...I am sorry if for some reason somebody represented Christ wrong and said hurtful things to you, but I personally didn't do that, so my personal beliefs shouldn't be attached either. Now I am not saying this to any particular person, and I am not trying to group you in, but I was trying to say this the most PC way I could....I don't often discuss religion with people for this very reason, I am not sure how to say things..

I appologize in advance if I have hurt feelings, or come off judgemental...that wasn't my goal at all....I was just putting in my 2 cents in....you asked, I answered..

Rachel
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#63 of 116 Old 07-22-2002, 10:58 AM
 
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I have often wondered if what looks like Hell from the vantage point of Heaven, is Paradise to those who live there--and from the vantage point of Hell, Heaven looks dreadful. I mean, to Christians, Heaven sounds wonderful but I would rather be with Jezebel--she is, for me, a heroine not a villain. Not saying one is better than the other, just that it depends on whether it is experienced from a Christian understanding or a different understanding. I think this Heaven/Hell thing happens right here in this life. I have wished at times that I believed in Hell so that I could feel assured that certain people would rot there, but then I realized that their lives are a living hell as a result of their evil choices....
I don't feel that Christians should respect my non-Christian beliefs--respecting me as a person and respecting my beliefs are two different things and I would expect to receive the former from any true Christian. I generally respect the integrity of those who truly strive to live by the teachings of their spiritual prophets--not all too common in any religion--but I don't respect the basis of Judeo-Christianity as I cannot personally do so and maintain self-respect as a woman. But I am in a mood this morning and am straying off topic and heading for hot water.
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#64 of 116 Old 07-22-2002, 02:10 PM
 
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My initial flip response was "sure, if we aren't wearing sunscreen"...

My mother's family was Catholic, my dad's Protestant/Methodist...they were pretty clear on this subject. I was always confused about how people would pick and choose things from the Old Testament and the New Testament to make their point in whatever way best suited them, even when there was contradictory advice from one to the other. I think it's really interesting that people put so much faith in a book...a book that has been translated and edited and changed many times over it's lifetime publication.

I chose to be a pagan...and the basic tenant is "and it harm none, do as thou wilt" as well as what you do comes back to you three times (paraphrased). It's not the ten commandments, but it pretty much works for me

I believe that what you believe is absolutely true for you. If you believe that you will go to hell if you don't accept Christ (who I think was a pretty amazing human/demigod) then you will. IF you believe that the only hell is the one you create, you got it. IF you belive that you deserve to suffer, guess what? You will. Belief is a VERY strong emotion, and one that leaves no room for flexibility. I also believe that when a child sez that they have a monster under the bed that for them it is true...because they believe it with the whole of their hearts.

I don't personally believe in the "christian" version of hell, so no, I don't believe non-believers will burn there. I personally buy into reincarnation...that we'll go round on the wheel until we learn what we need to learn to move onto whatever lies after (even if that is "nothing".)

Blessings,
Christina
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#65 of 116 Old 07-22-2002, 04:44 PM
 
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rwikene,
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#66 of 116 Old 07-22-2002, 07:36 PM
 
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Thanks MarieK for your support
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#67 of 116 Old 07-22-2002, 07:43 PM
 
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I haven't read any other responses, so please forgive me if I'm redundant. I'm Catholic. My church does NOT teach that only Catholics go to eternal happiness. Of course, it also does not teach that faith is sufficient for salvation as most other Christian churches teach (that's the whole "faith vs. works" discussion that takes place a lot among various Christian denominations). So, I think most Catholics would tell you that non-Christian "good people" can get through the Pearly Gates. I certainly don't personally believe that good non-Christians are "doomed".

ETA: I have been told my fair share of times by non-Catholic Christians that I'm gonna burn. Not a nice thing to hear!

Analisa, Mama to Meg 12/12/01, Patrick 12/24/03, Catherine 12/24/03, Ben 2/26/06
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#68 of 116 Old 07-22-2002, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I have to say, I do not believe god punishes anyone for simply not believing what other men say he said. I do not believe that God sends people like the man that raped, sodomized and tortured Samantha Runion to heaven just because they accepted Christ but sends the Dalai Lama and Ghandi to hell for believing in their God. It does make me angry to think that people feel that way. I accept your beliefs but frankly I would way rather roast that spend time in heaven with a God like that.

God to me loves us all, and punishes those who are horrible.

Blessings to us all no matter what we believe.

All of our Gods are the same entity.
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#69 of 116 Old 07-22-2002, 09:39 PM
 
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"...frankly I would way rather roast that spend time in heaven with a God like that."

That is how I felt since I first began to read the Bible, out of curiosity, when I was 8 or 9, and it's how I feel to this day.

Thanks for the interesting thread.
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#70 of 116 Old 07-23-2002, 01:49 PM
 
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[QUOTE]I think that if more Christians lived like Christ then people wouldn't have such a bad taste in their mouths from Christianity....[/QUOTE

very true.. reminds me of a bumpersticker i liked that said (paraphrasing), "i don't have a problem with jesus, it's his fan club i'm not crazy about"... pretty much sums it up for me.


i've often thought if jc ever does come back, he'll be pretty pissed off at what some people do and say in his name
:

sorry to get ot.... back to the discussion at hand
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#71 of 116 Old 07-23-2002, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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remember that ANY method of believing can be twisted.... not just Christianity...
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#72 of 116 Old 07-23-2002, 01:59 PM
 
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My mom has a bumper sticker -- it says
"Lord, protect me from your followers."

Sad but true.
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#73 of 116 Old 07-23-2002, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Garrison Keller once said, "Stop being a good Christian and start following Christ..."
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#74 of 116 Old 07-23-2002, 02:03 PM
 
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mampie -- you are starting to sound like you are "saved!"
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#75 of 116 Old 07-23-2002, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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well, you know, I think I am saved. I think Jesus loves me. I think Jesus is real.

But I think all the billions of other gods and goddesses are real too and hate that some think those who worship them will burn for it.

Mamaduck you are such a cool Christian, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here.
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#76 of 116 Old 07-23-2002, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
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news flash NM... some believe the bible has been twisted over the years by man, that it is man's interpretation of god's word, that god speaks in different ways to different people and on and on and on... you may be the surprised one...
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#77 of 116 Old 07-23-2002, 03:25 PM
 
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I speak to God every day. He/She/It comes to me in the form of revelations when I meditate, when *coincidences* and signs occur when I ask a question; God comes to me when I look at my children, love my husband, talk to my dogs... he/she is in every living thing, a part of life energy that is a piece of a pie, part of a greater whole. I don't need the Bible to tell me right from wrong, good from bad, heaven from hell... I have a brain, and God/dess/Universe/Earth Mother put it there for me to think for myself and come to my own truths and conclusions. If I can have access to God anytime I want it, I do not need someone - or something - else to tell me what to believe. The Bible has been translated and rewritten SO MANY TIMES over the past 2,000 years, and much of what it claims is there for the power of church and government and has absolutely nothing to do with the true word of God.... I mean, think about it. Did you hear the latest news on what the men of the Jihad believe? They always thought that when they fought and died for their "God", they would be greeted at the gates of paradise by seven virginal dark-haired women, or something to that affect. Now the translators of this ancient verse think it means that they will be greeted with a handful of raisins!!! It is impossible to have and keep literal translation of ancient stories.
So, to sum this up, non-believers do not burn in hell. The church would like people to believe this so they have more followers - and more control - but fear, to me, has no basis in the truth of the world's religions.
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#78 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 03:33 AM
 
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delurking WAY out of my usual haunts but this thread was beyond interesting...and i've burned a bunch of bridges already today. whoever added the LDS explanation, thank you...it's something i've always been curious about and no one has ever been interested in explaining to me and i never seem to find the time to research on my own...


Quote:
Originally posted by Zina
Not saying one is better than the other, just that it depends on whether it is experienced from a Christian understanding or a different understanding. I think this Heaven/Hell thing happens right here in this life.
my thoughts exactly. LOL zina have you read _jitterbug perfume_ by tom robbins? and if you like jezebel, check out _skinny legs and all_ as well.....

pie what an awesome thread!
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#79 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 04:12 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks jay, I got worried that I was in trouble at first, but hey, I always say, if you can't take the heat stay out of the bitchin'.

I love Tom Robbins
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#80 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
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and jay, the bridge is still there and is not burned out at all. Just turn around and look.
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#81 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 05:01 AM
 
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Mamapie...did you just quote Garrison Keeler?? OMG I love you will you marry me??

I have about 6 Lake Wobegon tapes in my car..LOL

Not all those who wander are lost 
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#82 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I will marry you so long as you promise not to keep in touch with Berlinda Lou. If you did not get that , PM me.
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#83 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 07:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nursing Mother


Very true mamapie, and I received the newsflash!! however if my faith is all in vain, what have I really lost? I'm just back with everybody else. But If the Bible turns out to be the truth, God's truely inspired word, then what has everybody else lost?......a chance to embrace that Truth, and that would be sad indeed.

Sorry NM I'm going to side with pie on this one. This is the kind of statement that puts me off jc and his merry bunch of fans.

What about finding the truth within you and letting others do the same? Why the need to spread the gospels without regards to native beliefs? Why put down (which is essentially what you do when you try to convert others to your way of thinking) religions that have existed for longer peiods of time then christianity?

There is an excellent story I just read about christians and their treatement of natve americans in the last 100 years or so, told by a NA woman, Zitkala Sa.
http://www.ipl.org/div/natam/bin/browse.pl/A91 (this is her bibliography). One of the things she accurately describes is her loss of identification with Native culture when christians took over.

So what if the bible turns out to be the Truth? I already know that I am an individual as are you. Why are you worried about my (or anyone else's) soul when my beleifs may dictate what my soul might be doing for the next millienium or so?
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#84 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 09:47 AM
 
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Here goes. I didn't know whether I should jump back into the mud pit, but here goes. First, I'd like to say I am loving this read; it has been really open, and I like the light hearts that have come with what is to many of us a heavy subject. 'Kay.
I think 3boys' point is a really good one, and I'd just like to add that, although most people (Muslims included) don't know/believe it, the Qur'an explicitly states (I know because I read it myself, although I cannot give you quotes, and for that I apologize) that the good souls of many religions will be with our Creator after the end of times.
For this reason, I HAVE to respect their Scriptures and the laws and values based on them as valid. The way it is put in the Qur'an is that every people has been sent a prophet to bring the word and lead people in His way. It also says we have been made many nations and religions so that we may know one another--not so we may judge one another, or exploit one another, etc.
I am certainly not trying to say that Muslims have been in any way exemplary on these points. I am saying that the Book that we (Muslims) regard as our (as in all our) Lord's own words tells us plainly that we are not owners of the only system. It also tells us that judgment lies with the Creator alone, whose mercy and justice are beyond our comprehension, and that no one else can atone for our sins. Period.
It also tells us that past Scriptures have been changed.
On that point, we know that the Church at some point(s?) in history decided on the canon--the books included in the Bible, right? Doesn't the exclusion of some Scripture automatically make anyone nervous? Also, in Karen Armstrong's "A History of God," she talks about, I believe it was the Council of Nicea, where many Christian leaders from all over the world were invited by, I think, Constantine, and he said more or less, "agree on something, we'll call it Christianity, and I'll convert to it." They disagreed hotly because the (mostly) Western Christians had developed the trinitarian view, and the rest had not. So they fought about it until the other Christians left in disgust...the story in the book is longer, but those are the bones of it.
Sorry about the length, and PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE, I do not intend to belittle anyone else's beliefs, I am looking for an informed answer to some of my questions. I was raised Catholic, and stayed such through confirmation, and was very active in my Christian life. I know there are good people and bad people everywhere. I want to hear what you think about all this. Thanks for your honesty and respect in this really intimate discussion.
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#85 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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while I disagree with NM that the edict that to be saved is the only path to salvation, and while I believe that it was added by man and not God as a form of coercion and propaganda, isn't it the duty of all Christians to witness and to try to save?
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#86 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 11:02 AM
 
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It is the duty of all Christians to "share the good news."

I don't believe there is anything about coersion in the NT. The apostles said what they had to say, and interacted with those who resonded.

AND -- I'll say it again -- we don't "save" people. God saves people.

It is also the duty of all Christians to heal, to love, to open their homes and hearts, to go the extra mile and to give what others need.
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#87 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I do not know whether there is anything about coercion in the NT, but I find it suspiciously coercive to imply that those who keep their own faiths rather than convert will not have a fruitful afterlife, and I believe that this was added in and not something any kind of God that would love would do.

Please do not flame me, I see it how I see it and again, respect your beliefs but do not agree with them.
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#88 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 11:50 AM
 
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I didn't think I was flaming.


:


And no doubt -- many Christians behave in coersive ways. But responding to your accusation that it is "the duty of all Christians" .... I think that is a misperception. Probably a misperception shared by many Christians as well.
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#89 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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duck I didn't mean you were, I was speaking in general and see how it appeared I was speaking to you.
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#90 of 116 Old 07-24-2002, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
I wish to God there were more true believers who did live like Jesus and put out a good example to the world, but ya know I still think no matter how much Christians live by the "good book" people will be antagonistic and bitter against those who claim to be Christians and preach the gospel as Jesus did and talk out against sin. It just all unfortunately come with the territory
NM before I finish this quote, let me say, this sounds like poor persecuted little Christians... this thread is about trying to understand, not pick on, so don't try and turn it into that. I am not bitter against Christians but am so towards most churches.

NM Christians own the earth. And think the rest of us are damned. I would hardly say that Christians are persecuted. They have been and can be, but are not overall.

The extinct religions of our ancestors, now there is some persecution for you...
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