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#1 of 23 Old 06-08-2003, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just watched the movie "The Pianist". It was so tragic, as is fitting for a movie about the holocaust. It's amazing what the Jewish people have survived, which brings me to a question that has been weighing heavily in my soul.

I was brought up with Evangelical Christian perspective: Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, the REdeemer, no one enters paradise without faith in Him, etc. As I was sitting there watching that movie I felt the huge weight of sadness and suffering that was depicted so well and I thought: How could God in His mercy let his chosen people suffer so much, die in the camps and then hear their God say: "Sorry. You rejected Jesus. Your sentence is eternity in hell." According to the beliefs I was brought up to hold, that is the truth. Without faith in Jesus as the Redeemer for our sins we are destined for hell. And yet God is love...

I'm curious to hear from those of you with similar backgrounds/beliefs on how you reconcile this, and others too of course.

Thanks so much.
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#2 of 23 Old 06-08-2003, 07:05 PM
 
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Originally posted by Mamajamz
...and I thought: How could God in His mercy let his chosen people suffer so much, die in the camps and then hear their God say: "Sorry. You rejected Jesus. Your sentence is eternity in hell."

This could apply to anybody who was not christian. for me, that was my own father. my catholic upbringing tried to convince me that he was doomed to eternal damnation. i didn't believe it then, and i don't now.

the way some christians explained it was that god judges each person individually, and not in such a blanket way, so you, a mortal, cannot jump to the conclusion that a person will go to hell simply b/c they don't beleive in jesus. that's between god and the person.

as for me, i don't beleive in the whole judgement thing. if there is a life after death, i think it's as natural as being born and dying: it applies to everyone. JMHO.

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#3 of 23 Old 06-08-2003, 07:31 PM
 
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My understanding is thus:
Jesus came and made a new covenant with the people of God but his covenant in no way erases previous covenants, such as the original covenant between Abraham and God. So in layman's terms, I believe the Jews have been grandfathered in to the kingdom of Heaven by accepting the original Covenant between Abraham and God. Don't know if that makes any sense or not.

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Before you were conceived, I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were a minute old, I would have died for you. That is the miracle of life. ~Maureen Hawkins~
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#4 of 23 Old 06-08-2003, 07:35 PM
 
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I can't help but feel that the sort of thinking that any one people is 'chosen' is arrogant, and the cause of most problems in the world.

I was raised a Christian, but my personal interpretation is that Christ is a way in which many people find God - not the only way, or the best way, but one way. I see it that there is one destination, but many paths lead there.

No god of mine would choose for certain groups of people to be condemned eternally, just because they chose a different path to me.

JMO. Not very biblical, but it makes total sense to me.
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#5 of 23 Old 06-08-2003, 08:20 PM
 
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When I believed in Christianity, I used to believe essentially what Gossamer stated.

Since then, I have changed my mind about a lot of spiritual matters, and now feel that "salvation," admittance to heaven or what have you, is determined on a much more personal level and is more flexible.
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#6 of 23 Old 06-08-2003, 08:20 PM
 
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Growing up I was told that, I considered myself "saved" from a young age. As I reached an age of reason, I just couldn't believe it. I no longer indentify as Christian, and that is a huge reason why. The most progessive thing I was ever told as child was that people who have never heard of Jesus could go to heaven...but if they had heard of him but did not accept his as their personal saviour, then that were doomed to hell. And these were Methodists! Not exactly the most conservative Christians I've ever met. We changed churches sometimes since my mom tried to be places with active youth groups for me and my sister, or we attended with other family members. The Presbyterians told me we needed to use violence against "those people" (muslims) since it was "all those people understand". The Methodists also said openly anti-Catholic things, and with a mostly Catholic extended family, that was kind of shocking. The Nazarenes...well too much to mention there! And all this was from the pulpit. My uncle, a Catholic priest, said privately "it's a shame that the Jews are so misguided." The Quakers, however, were the most expansive. I think of all the good, moral, beautiful people I know who are not Christians, and the inherent divinity I see in all people, and I just could not buy into the whole worldview. Whether Heaven, as such, exists is an open question to me. But if it exists , I think you would find Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Pagans, and others there.
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#7 of 23 Old 06-09-2003, 02:24 AM
 
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I think, like someone else mentioned, that any judgement we will face is an individual one.

I believe that God knows our hearts, and what we have thought and felt, and that no person can say, oh this person is going to hell, or this person isn't.

God is love. I don't believe His plan or desire is to send people to hell, just because He can. From what I have gotten out of 24+ years of Bible study is that He has been very concerned with providing the human race forms of salvation.

I've always viewed God like a father, one who loves His children desperately, and above all else. A father who loves like that would not find any pleasure or joy in eternal punishment.
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#8 of 23 Old 06-09-2003, 02:27 AM
 
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I can't help but feel that the sort of thinking that any one people is 'chosen' is arrogant, and the cause of most problems in the world.
Uh, how is it arrogant if anyone can become part of that "chosen nation"?

The jews believing they are the am hanivchar causes most of the world's problems? How so?
What do you think that our "choseness" means to us?

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#9 of 23 Old 06-09-2003, 02:51 AM
 
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... by Britishmum
... can't help but feel that the sort of thinking that any one people is 'chosen' is arrogant, and the cause of most problems in the world ...

Mayhaps the lack of understanding of what a particular people means by "chosen" leads to the belief that it is arrogance.



As to the second part of the sentence ...
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#10 of 23 Old 06-09-2003, 04:55 AM
 
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Um... from my reading of Britishmum's answer, I think you two ladies misunderstood. She was very clearly talking about how certain Christians perceive themselves and the Jews, not about how Jews perceive themselves.

She was commenting on the previous post which put forth the idea that there is only one way to God (Jesus) but that the Jews are basically grandfathered in to salvation, regardless of individual qualities or whether they accept Jesus, simply by virtue of their previous convenant with God. This is patently unjust and, I imagine, as abhorrent to you as it is to Britishmum, as from your other posts I have understood that Judaism does not teach that there is only one way to God, or even that there is a Hell (correct me if I am wrong). So when I read the bit about "any one people being chosen is arrogant, and the cause of most of the problems in the world", I understand it to be referring to ANY religion -- but in the context of this thread, mostly to Christians who believe that Christianity is the only way to God, saying that this mindset is a problem.

If you look at it in that light, what she said is absolutely true. It is when one group of people get the idea in their heads that "we have the right way, we are God's favorite" -- whether they be Christians, Muslims, Communists (a religion in its own right), Buddhists, Jews or WHATEVER, that mayhem results. I for one completely agree.
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#11 of 23 Old 06-09-2003, 02:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mamajamz
How could God in His mercy let his chosen people suffer so much, die in the camps and then hear their God say: "Sorry. You rejected Jesus. Your sentence is eternity in hell." According to the beliefs I was brought up to hold, that is the truth. Without faith in Jesus as the Redeemer for our sins we are destined for hell. And yet God is love...
Precisely why I left the Catholic church. I couldn't reconcile that, so I don't see myself being able to be a part of any Christian religion.
If God loves us more than we love our own children, how on earth could Hell even exist?
I still don't know what I believe for sure, but I do believe that Love is God expressing him/her/itself, therefore we do our own judging of ourselves. KWIM?
Respectfully,
Marcy
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#12 of 23 Old 06-09-2003, 07:11 PM
 
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Belovedbird & amyrpk - Where did I specify any particular group? I was not referring to any group at all - but to the mindset of any person believing that his way is 'the' way, and that his group is more 'chosen' than any other.

As for the cause of the worlds problems - do either of you honestly believe thsat I would come here to blame the world's problems on Jews or Christians or anyone else?

: : :

Sorry, but it seems to me that you are leaping in and assuming my meaning without reading carefully what I said. It is the idea and mindset that one way is right and that one group is chosen, and others therefore are not, that I blame for most problems of the world. After all, the 9-11 hijackers thought they were off to heaven. So I guess they thought they were chosen.

I was giving my personal religious perspective. I was raised a Christian but do not believe that you have to accept Christ to be 'saved'. I don't believe that my religion is any more 'true' than anyone else's - it is just what I was brought up with culturally and what makes sense spiritually to me.

And to my mind, to believe that you have the answers and that others don't is arrogant. As I said, no God of mine would choose to condemn others because they dont see it my way. But that's just my interpretation of God, as I said.

I'm sorry if my post pushed some buttons for you. You jumped to conclusions about my meaning - for which I apologise.

Ironic, as dh was raised Jewish/Catholic. Now, maybe I could blame the worlds problems on my in-laws though......
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#13 of 23 Old 06-09-2003, 07:14 PM
 
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Thao - thanks - you grasped my meaning and explained it better than I did myself.
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#14 of 23 Old 06-09-2003, 07:44 PM
 
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Britishmum:
Where in my previous post did I attach a specific meaning to your words? I asked three questions. That is all.
Generally in the U.S. (where I'm from) when people say "the chosen people" they are refering to the jews. And in the posts before yours the term "the chosen people" was used to refer specifically to jews- and noone else.

Still wondering how it could be arrogant if anyone can become one of "the chosen". Or did you mean all other groups and *not* jews.

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#15 of 23 Old 06-10-2003, 01:49 PM
 
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Belovedbird - this is where I feel you attached meaning to my words "The jews believing they are the am hanivchar causes most of the world's problems?"

I didn't say the Jews. I said the mindset of believing that you are chosen and that others are not, causes most of the world's problems. You attached the meaning ie Jews, not the mindset, causing the problems.

Which was not remotely what I meant.

Anyway, I hope this is clarified. My meaning of 'chosen' is perhaps different to yours, I do not attach the phrase 'chosen people' only to Jews, but to anyone who believes that theirs is 'the' way. I'm not American, and we are divided by a common language.

Yes, of course anyone can convert to any one of these religions that believes it is 'chosen'. Who knows, they might get it right. Or they might not, which following the chosen mindset, means that they are condemned forever in Hell. Which takes me back to my original point, I see it as arrogant to believe that people will only be saved if they convert to your way.

And as I said, no God of mine would see it that way. I can't reconcile anything about my God with that sort of thinking.

Hope this clarifies. Peace.
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#16 of 23 Old 06-10-2003, 02:51 PM
 
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So the mindset of the jews (among others) , believing that we are "chosen" causes problems and makes us arrogant. okkee dokey then.
I never said you said exclusively jews, but obviously we are included in your group of arrogants.
Quote:
Yes, of course anyone can convert to any one of these religions that believes it is 'chosen'. Who knows, they might get it right. Or they might not, which following the chosen mindset, means that they are condemned forever in Hell.
The idea that just because one does not belong to a religion dooms one to hell, is purely christian.- Yes, I know, not all or even most denominations. This concept has nothing to do with judaism, even with our doctrine of "choseness". (chosen to receive the torah and the extra responsibility that goes along with it- to simplify.)
And I still don't see how it can be arrogant if nobody is excluded. If you don't want me to attach meaning to your words, why not answer my question?
Mabey next time numerous posts follow a line of thought (in this case chosen people=jews) one should clarify that they are not following along it.

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#17 of 23 Old 06-10-2003, 05:30 PM
 
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*jumping into the fray*

Quote:
And I still don't see how it can be arrogant if nobody is excluded.
This really is the crux of the issue. I come from a fundamentalist christian background -- the ones who think those who don't believe the same as them then you are going to hell -- so I've thought about this alot. BB, since you seem to need the clarification, let me say that I am ignorant of the Jewish beliefs about being chosen and the afterlife are so I am most definitely not talking about the Jews here; I'm talking about any religion that considers their way to be the One True Path To Salvation i.e. "chosen", and that all other paths are lies. I think this is pertinent to the OP, which was talking about Christians views of Jews, how a people who have suffered so much can possibly be going to hell in the afterlife because they haven't accepted Jesus Christ.

The bottom line is, if you believe that there is One True Path whatever that is, then you have to accept that there are people that will not find it/choose it and will suffer the consequences (hell, etc). To say that this is the fault of the person because s/he has not chosen the right path (i.e. to say that you have not excluded anyone but that person has chosen to exclude him/herself) it is to deny the fact that our free will is conditioned by our experiences. What I mean is, let's just say that Christianity is the One True Way. It will be a fairly easy choice for a person who was brought up in a loving Christian home with great parents and a great church to choose to continue that path. But for someone brought up by great Jewish parents, or great Muslim parents -- or maybe someone who was brought up by abusive Christian parents -- it would be a very hard choice to choose that path. Our experiences shape who we are and influence our decisions. So from the point of view of those of us who do not believe that there is One True Path, simply holding the belief that there is One True Path is exclusive because the hard cold fact is that people WILL be excluded.

I've heard Christians try to soft-pedal this, because it obviously is a hard belief to hold when you think about the ramifications of it (as the OP has). But I think if you are intellectually honest, you will have to say to yourself: if I believe that there is One Way to God, then I have to believe that there will always be those -- wonderful, caring, loving people, mind you -- who will not find God and will suffer the consequences. There is no way around that.

That is why I choose to believe that there are multiple paths to God. I just couldn't reconcile the "God of Love" part with that reality. Oh, that and the fact that this "chosen" mentality ("I'm right and they're wrong") has so often been distorted to violent ends i.e. the fundie christians against homosexuals, or Christians against Jews, or Muslims against Hindus and so on ad nauseum.
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#18 of 23 Old 06-10-2003, 05:38 PM
 
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BelovedBird,

I was not aware of the US meaning exclusively that 'chosen' = Jewish - I even said that we are separated by a common language. So I couldnt have made it clear that I was not using your cultural meaning in my first post, if I wasnt aware of it.

You seem to be intentionally misinterpreting my meaning. I didn't say that you are arrogant, but that the view that my way is the right and only way, seems arrogant to me. And I didn't specify any groups that believe that, I was talking of a mindset. In my view, it is a mindset that leads to many of the worlds problems.

Just think. If everyone believed that there is one God/Good/higher power/right and just way to live. But that no one way of reaching that higher ground was right or superior, or of more worth than another. And that every human being on the planet was of equal value and should be treated as such.

Then would the world problems (man made) still exist? Methinks not.

That was my point. And any God that I would want to recognise, would think the same.

As for arrogance, my personal view is that to think that you have the answers, as a mere mortal, and that others have got it wrong, is arrogant. I don't presume to think that just because Christianity makes some spiritual sense to me, that I am right. Just that it is personally what makes me tick - it makes God accessible to me. But it won't work for others, which is fine. Their way is equally as valid, if it works for them on their journey to find God. For me to presume that people have to 'become' one of my group (either Christian, or of my denomination) in order to be right, would be, in my opinion, arrogant.

Anyway, I tried to clarify and I tried to make peace, but it doesnt seem to have worked. I'm sorry that you are taking offense at what I am trying to express.

I'd like to have a respectful discussion and it's a shame that you choose to use sarcasm. I'm not attacking anyone, and I am trying to not offend, but to clarify my original point.

I did not call anyone arrogant, I said that a mindset seems arrogant to me. There is a difference, isn't there?

Again, peace.
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#19 of 23 Old 06-10-2003, 05:53 PM
 
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And once again, in jumping in to clarify to BelovedBird, you're Christianizing the whole thing.

:takingdeepbreath

The idea that "chosenness" means that way is the only way is absolutely also Christian.

Judaism believes that it is one way of very many valid ways to G-d. The other ways are specifically valid for the other people, and Judaism is specifically valid for Jews.

It is a very different vision of the "other" than that of Christianity. And that's what's messing you ladies up here. So you keep trying to tell BB that "that's not what I meant" and then you keep reiterating what it was you think you didn't mean.

As a specific example of this, Jewish thought teaches that in the time of the Messiah (pleasecometomorrowthankyou) everyone will believe in G-d. And specifically, everyone will believe in their own way, and will still be whatever they already are ... ie., Jews will still be Jews, Buddhists will still be Buddhists, etc., etc.

So the Jewish idea of "chosen" is not what others' ideas of it is. Jewish chosenness means chosen for a particular responsibility. It does not imply superiority or "the right way" in any way.

It is the rest of the world's misinterpretation of the concept of chosenness, and the rest of the world's arrogant assumptions about what it means, and the rest of the world's taking their own misunderstanding of the term and applying it to themselves in its most arrogant form ... that has led to the Holocaust of the 20th century and all the other various attempts at mass murder directed specifically against the Jews. Which is what the original post was commenting on.

I don't know how to state this plainer, so if you're not getting it, I'll figure something out, because this point is getting so lost in your posts ...
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#20 of 23 Old 06-10-2003, 06:41 PM
 
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Amyrpk

I don't see that we are Christianizing anything. Or certainly, I'm not, I can't speak for Thao.

I never referred to jews in my post, I was talking of a mindset of anyone who thought that their way is the only way, and so condemned others to eternal punishment. Which is what the OP first referred to. Nowhere did I say that I was referring to Jews, but you and BB took that as my meaning (which I tried to clarify several times)

It seems that we are actually on the same page, if as you say :
"Jewish chosenness means chosen for a particular responsibility. It does not imply superiority or "the right way" in any way."

I was not only referring only to atrocities involving Jews. I was talking of the world's problems, through centuries.

As Thao said, "Oh, that and the fact that this "chosen" mentality ("I'm right and they're wrong") has so often been distorted to violent ends i.e. the fundie christians against homosexuals, or Christians against Jews, or Muslims against Hindus and so on ad nauseum."

I don't know what I'm not 'getting' - as I was not referring to Jews in the first place. I was certainly not misinterpreting the Jewish concept of 'chosen,' as I was not referring to them in particular.

: : :


Anyway, I'm
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#21 of 23 Old 06-10-2003, 06:54 PM
 
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Thao, I hear what you are saying and agree with most of it. My faith does not believe that one must be a jew to be "good" or accepted or whatever. or even believe what jews believe.
I still am not clear why the word "chosen" would mean "i'm right and your wrong"???

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#22 of 23 Old 06-10-2003, 08:08 PM
 
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And once again, in jumping in to clarify to BelovedBird, you're Christianizing the whole thing.
This made me laugh! Look at the OP, this whole thread is supposed to be about Christian perceptions of Jews (and by implication, other non-christian faiths), not Jewish!. Methinks you are "Judai-izing" the whole thing, rather than vice versa!

We understand that Jews have a different concept of what "chosen" means -- and a preferable one, in my opinion -- but the OP was asking about the Christian concept of "chosen" --which means that you get to go to heaven rather than hell -- and how to reconcile it with God's love. That is what BM and I have been talking about.

BB -- in fundie Christian circles, some do talk about themselves "God's chosen". It's very big in testimonies, which generally start with how messed up the person was until they found God, and how hard God had to work to get through to them, and how they finally submitted to God's love -- the implication being that God "chose" them. Of course, they would also say that God "chooses" everyone equally but not everyone "chooses" God back, but that begs the question (for me) about why God doesn't maybe try a little harder with those holdouts if He really loves them. Anyway, the logical flip side of this belief is that those who haven't chosen God are wrong in whatever they have chosen. Ergo the "I'm right, you're wrong" tendency. Most Christians aren't obnoxious about it, of course, but that undercurrent is always there because of the belief that Jesus Christ is the only Way, and it can be abused. I understand that it is a radically different definition of the word "chosen" than how it is understood in Judaism.
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#23 of 23 Old 06-10-2003, 11:39 PM
 
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This thread is being closed. Please see the stickey at the beginning of this forum if you have any questions. Feel free to PM me. Thanks.

Amy - Blessed wife to Jesse (the best dad in the world), mother of 10 on earth plus 8 in heaven.   PROUD to be a Catholic! : winner.jpg familybed2.gifhomeschool.gif

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