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Old 01-03-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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A non-christian perspective...

I personally do not believe in a literal heaven or hell... I believe that you continue to live your life over and over. The choices you make in living it makes it either pleasant or not. I have held this belief my entire life because of dreams that I had as a child and recently my DH read some work that scientists have done that theoretically could show that there are actually many more dimensions in space than we thought and that this could be a possibility. Anyway, this is not from any doctrine, just my own personal meditations.

I am also a Universalist in that I believe that ALL are entitled to forgiveness. Yes, even the rapists and murders. I believe that we are only as strong as the weakest among us (in body, spirit, whatever) and that it should be our purposes as humans to save these people who commit crimes (or could become the ones that do) by spending more money educating ALL people, making sure that EVERYONE has access to the resources they need and rehabilitating those that commit the crimes.

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Old 01-04-2008, 08:08 AM
 
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my DH read some work that scientists have done that theoretically could show that there are actually many more dimensions in space than we thought and that this could be a possibility
Couldn't that make heaven and hell a possibility too, then?

I am conservative Christian, but I believe all people *do* have access to forgiveness. The difference I guess is, I don't believe it's automatic, or that punishment in the human realm of things is out of order.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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I also do not believe that the traditional "dead people go to either heaven or hell" concept is correct.
Not being dead, I could be wrong.
But, I am not dying to find out right now.

The Orthodox view presented here is quite interesting.
I find there are many Orthodox concepts that are quite good.

It is my understanding that according to the Bible, after death, all people go to Hades which is divided into two regions - the pleasant part which is called Paradise- spoken of when the story of Lazarus is told as Abraham's boosom and the unpleasant part which is separated from the pleasant part.
Those who are saved will enjoy the pleasant part and the rest will not.

However, that is not the end.

There will be a final judgement and then all beleivers will be part of the New Jerusalem and those who reject the Lord after being given many chances to accept Him, will be thrown into the lake of fire.

It is not a matter of behavior as some have already stated. To God, sin is sin and someone who sins a bunch of small sins is not any better than a murderer.
But, He forgives all of us.
And when we are in the New Jerusalem with Him we will be in oneness with Him and there will be no sin.

Here is a set of articles about the New Jerusalem and the concept of heaven.
I like the history of heaven chapter because it shows how the current concept of "heaven" has been influenced throughout history.
http://www.affcrit.com/archives/ac_00_02.html
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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Couldn't that make heaven and hell a possibility too, then?

I am conservative Christian, but I believe all people *do* have access to forgiveness. The difference I guess is, I don't believe it's automatic, or that punishment in the human realm of things is out of order.
i didn't say that it didn't make it possible. i was more suprised to see something i have believed since i was a small child (that seemed ridiculous or impossible) could be possible. i just don't believe in literal hell or heaven as actual places people go. for the same reason other people do... i just believe it because it is what my heart tells me is the truth

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Old 01-08-2008, 12:04 AM
 
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So why does God need people to ask forgiveness and repent? Why is he insecure and jealous? Why does the creator of everything care so much about the minutia of daily living among people?

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Old 01-08-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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I believe we were created to worship. to love. to live in communion with God. sin in our life separates us from all that. the only way to get rid of sin is to repent (repenting is more than saying we are sorry, it is more than asking for forgiveness. repentance is all of that plus tackling sin head on and defeating it).

My children do stupid stuff all the time. I don't even begin to hold it against them. they are kids. kids do stupid stuff. I don't need them to apologize. I don't need for them to even change. but I want better for them. i want them to be good people with good lives and continuing on in stupidity separates them from that. i want us to have a good relationship. but lack of trust and lack of fellowship hurts that. when they recognize they have made bad choices, when they ask me to forgive them, when the make right their wrongs, when they change and grow, it makes me glad, not for what it has done for me but for what it has done for them.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 01-08-2008, 12:38 AM
 
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Ok, I think I see what you are saying. So, then, maybe following God would be the same as doing things that create harmony and peace in the world. And, like someone else said, maybe hell would be the bad feelings that come from disharmony.

I guess I just don't understand why people can't change their ways without doing it on behalf of God. Maybe my issue is with the personification of God.

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Old 01-08-2008, 02:14 AM
 
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I guess it doesn't make sense if you don't believe in God or don't believe he created us with a purpose or has any plans for us, or that we ruined anything by sinning,

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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Old 01-08-2008, 10:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
I believe we were created to worship. to love. to live in communion with God. sin in our life separates us from all that. the only way to get rid of sin is to repent (repenting is more than saying we are sorry, it is more than asking for forgiveness. repentance is all of that plus tackling sin head on and defeating it).
I really like this... this is kinda what I was trying to say... except that I don't know if I believe in a personified creator or not... I am more of a humanist/universalist. But I definately agree that the person has to want to be forgiven in order for it to happen or live their life differently the next time they are reborn... Otherwise they would find themselves in continually disharmony. And if someone doesn't care that they are in "sin" I guess forgiveness wouldn't matter to them either.

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Old 01-08-2008, 10:28 PM
 
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I guess I just don't understand why people can't change their ways without doing it on behalf of God.
The most significant reason for changing my ways is because of long term effects of changing or not changing. I will be more motivated to change my diet if it will affect my health for many years to come; I will learn to control my temper if it will affect my family life over a long period. If the effect is not only on my life on earth, but my permanent life after death, I should find even more reason to take these changes seriously. If God is not part of the picture, nothing I do will affect me for more than a few decades at most.
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Maybe my issue is with the personification of God.
If God is not a person, then what is God? An inanimate object?
Human beings are persons. They have a mind, feelings, the ability to think and imagine, an independent will. If God is something else, an unthinking force or energy or what have you, that would make human beings superior to God by any criterion we can imagine. It would also make us completely unrelated to God, which is an essential part of at least Jewish and Christian theology.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:54 PM
 
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So, and I admit to being rather ignorant but very interested, is the Christian belief that God created the entire universe, and that conscious beings are in the likeness of God, and therefore their purpose is to please him and aspire to be with him in the end?

Also, do you believe that God is timeless, i.e. has always been and always will be, and if so, what were his interests before he created people?

I am not trying to be annoying, just interested, and I appreciate the conversation!

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Old 01-09-2008, 12:37 AM
 
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So, and I admit to being rather ignorant but very interested, is the Christian belief that God created the entire universe, and that conscious beings are in the likeness of God, and therefore their purpose is to please him and aspire to be with him in the end?
depends on your definition of conscious beings. Humans were created in his image. and in the beginning it appears our entire goal was fellowship with him. we broke that fellowship by disobeying (and therefore disrespecting and mistrusting Him) and sin entered the world. I do not view sin as a list of things done wrong but rather everything that seeks to separate us from God. our continued disobedience and lack of trust and lack of fellowship and outright rebellion are just symptoms of the disease. its just part of that separation.

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Also, do you believe that God is timeless, i.e. has always been and always will be, and if so, what were his interests before he created people?
yes to the first part and i have no idea about the second part. I think (but am in no way certain) the angles were around before the creation of the earth and life. I guess there are some things I just accept that i can't wrap my head around. He was doing Gods business whatever that is.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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