Wrestling with the "exclusivity" of Christianity... please help! - Page 10 - Mothering Forums

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#271 of 279 Old 10-25-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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Purple Sage thats a very good question. I have NO idea why that is what God has chosen to unlock understanding and knowledge of Him but Ive found it to be just the way it is. Its as if, this is how I see it, have experienced it, as if God is saying 'Take a chance. Beleive in me, despite what the world says, teaches, believes. Believe *I* am real, that I am who I say I am and Ill 'reward' you with the wisdom the world cant know bc it doesnt know me.' When I believe, Ill ask God questions and I can be surprised sometimes when I get the answer and Im like 'Ooooh'. I still walk in unbelief is some areas, and like Bluegoat says somethings I dont know, or understand or it doesnt cross my mind so I cant believe in it. I have found that the moment I did that simple act of choosing to believe in Jesus Christ, then understanding was given. It was as if a light was turned on in a very dark room. As if a veil had been lifted. As if I had lived in a dark house, never choosing to look outside, even tho there were curtains to be pulled, doors to be opened, I never thought to open them. The moment I chose Christ, was like opening the curtains in my dark and dusty, dirty house for the first time. It was the first time I could see how dirty my house was. In fact, for me, it took me years to fully understand how dirty my house was, what a mess my heart was, for me to understand sin. It was as if for years I was just in awe of Jesus Christ. I think this is why the act of choosing to believe is so important to the Christian. Im not sure if any other christians would agree with me or not, we all have our stories. Belief seems to unlock something. Like for the first time we actually ask God 'Who are you then?' And he tells us, we believe it or we argue with the Sovereign of the universe. The One with ALL the answers.
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#272 of 279 Old 10-25-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
...So, to acknowledge Truth, is is always necessary to acknowledge Christ explicitly? The pre-Christian Jews obviously didn't, yet we are taught that Abraham and others are in Heaven, so it seems that it doesn't always need to be explicit.
God dealt with people's salvation differently before Christ came to the earth. For the people who chose righteousness before he came, they will be in heaven.

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#273 of 279 Old 10-25-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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I appreciate the responses.

I've been seeing more and more similarities between Christianity and my religion. This feeling about a "light coming on" and wanting to live morally and ethically because it is in harmony with the Divine, and how belief in itself can be illuminating - that is all resonating with me. It also resonates with me that separating oneself from the Divine by doing immoral things or otherwise not feeling a connection to the Divine "energy" that is all around us will cause pain and suffering (hell?). In my own little way, I think I'm getting it, finally. Thanks again!
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#274 of 279 Old 10-26-2009, 01:35 AM
 
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I'm just curious if you (or anyone) can explain why belief is so important that nonbelievers would either be annihilated or be condemned to eternal suffering. What is it about the act of believing that is so central to Christianity?
I do not think nonbelievers are either annihilated or condemned, but I agree belief is considered very important in Christianity. A very simplistic explanation is, this life is just a preparation for our "real" life after death. In that life, we will be faced with the absolute, inescapable reality of God, and everything that follows from the nature of God. The more we know of and accept God now, the better prepared we are for the life to come.
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#275 of 279 Old 10-26-2009, 01:47 AM
 
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But, not all Christians hold the belief that this life is only preparation for the next. From my point of view, Jesus came so that we may have the fullness of life now, not after death. He came so we could live a just and righteous life now. He came that we may life a fully human life, not a life based on fear, but one based on faith and love.

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#276 of 279 Old 10-26-2009, 02:42 PM
 
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Doesn't this go back to the age-long Christian argument of faith vs. works?

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#277 of 279 Old 10-26-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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I was just reading about that this weekend in a book called The First Paul by Marcus Borg. He made a very compelling argument that Paul never said that all we needed to do was believe/have faith, but that he was making an argument between faith-with-works versus works-without-faith and how the later would be for naught. (I think that is my word of the day. ) Paul's words have been much twisted over the last 2000 years, and the first place to start would be to separate Paul's actual letters from post-Paul letters attributed to his name but that were rather political and polemical in nature.

I believe anyone who has a love for the Divine (not making that an exclusive Christian thing) will do good in their lives. Someone who feels the love of the Divine in their lives will want to extend that to others. That is why there are works. But then again, I think you have to go back even further than the controversy over "faith versus works" and really define what people mean by "salvation" or "saved" because I can guarantee my view (and views of people who are more progressive/liberal in their theology) will vary greatly from a more literal, conservative, evangelical, fundamental point of view. I see Jesus's death, resurrection, and purpose much differently. He went as far as his death to show that nonviolence, compassion, and love for one another was the way of God. The Roman Imperial government/theology executed him because he was a threat to their way of life, as he is a threat to the way of life in most of the world (think of the idea of manifest destiny, or much of our foreign policy over the last number of years - just to clarify, those would be examples of the way of the world ).

Okay, I got to interrupted, I'm going to post this and then clarify if I need because I cannot remember my train of thought.

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#278 of 279 Old 10-26-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
Doesn't this go back to the age-long Christian argument of faith vs. works?
I don't find that it is really much of an argument, though it is age long, or since the Reformation anyway. But both sides are pretty much saying the same thing.

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#279 of 279 Old 11-11-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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From what I can understand reading the bible and from what I can understand by what my pastor says, Christians believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to God.
...
How can we accept this? Do we have to accept this? This is such a troubling issue to us. Are there any alternative ways to interpret the scriptures? How do other Christians reconcile this? Do other Christians really believe that (for example) Gandhi is in hell right now? That just seems ... unthinkable!!
you have 3 choices - to accept your elders teachings, to find a way to reconcile the two as I have and deal with being different, or to find a denomination with which you have a fundamental belief in common. I did the latter and found UCC/Congregational. Its like UU, but it still heartily Christian, where as not all UUers see themselves as Christian.

I believe that Christ is the only way to God, yet believe that Ghandi is in "heaven." This is because I believe that Christ is saying that you believe and act out his body of teachings. And it is through those teachings, compassion, and love, that we are saved. And many religions also believe in the same parables and teachings. Buddhism is very close - they too have parables like Jesus told. In fact some scholars have conjectured that Jesus traveled the silk trade routes and learned of Buddhism during the missing years of his life. I believe then, that many people can come to Jesus's teachings in many ways - whether through the Bible or Koran or Buddhism or even deep self-reflection.

ETA: I read only the first 2 pages of posts, and did not yet see my belief mentioned yet, so I thought I'd throw it out there.

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