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#61 of 251 Old 04-28-2008, 07:10 PM
 
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I guess what I'm trying to say, through the years, I've come to believe in a kinder God than the one you describe, because to me if a person is wonderful and thoughtful and kind, the God I believe in would never deny that person kindness and peace in return. The only reason to that would be pride (i.e. "yes, you have lead a good and kind life, but who cares, you didn't pray to ME, so there... off you go"), and the God I believe in does things out of love and wisdom, not out of pride.
God is infinitely kind, loving, and merciful. He's also perfectly just. Jesus preached of love and kindness but had no shortage of righteous towards those who violated God's laws, ykwim? That doesn't mean He was unkind. Likewise, if God determines in His infinite wisdom, perfect justness, and unending mercy, that a soul is undeserving of Heaven, then who am I to label Him cruel and unloving, or to accuse Him of pride? His understanding of justice will ALWAYS be perfect, mine will not. He longs for allof us to be with Him in Heaven, and to that end, He sent us His son, gave us His Word, and left us His Church to guide us to Him.

Wherever I and anyone else ends up after death, I trust implicitly that we are deserving of that and that God has meted it out justly. I can never, ever judge who will and will not go to Heaven. But I can attempt determine, based on God's Word and His Church, what things can negatively affect us and our souls and distance us from Him and Heaven.
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#62 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 01:08 AM
 
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I think love and kindness are universal. Church has made mistakes, but those mistakes were never made out of love or kindness. Those are not "my" values that I expect God to accept, or "the values of the moment", or a modern twist on reality that is supposed to ease someone's conscience for a little while until we move on to something else. Traditional catholic robes, traditional take on homosexuality, traditional take on premarital sex (which, by the way, I understand where it's coming from, but I was not talking or broken or unstable relationships, or casual sex, I was taking about your one and only person you are supposed to be with kind of thing), all of those rules and judgements are most certainly are not made out of love and kindness, no matter how you twist it, and that doesn't make sense to me.

I also wanted to add, that it's not as easy to say "I'm sure God feels the same" for me. Truth be told, I don't know if he does, or doesn't. But I sure hope that he does, because otherwise he'll turn out to be meaner, less generous, less loving and a lot more proud God than what I hope he really is.
I understand your opinion here, and I know that many feel the same way, but I don't agree that "all of those rules and judgements are most certainly not made out of love and kindness." I know that that is the perception of them. But remember that God is often referred to as our "father," and we his children... is the kindest, most loving parent necessarily the one who allows his children to do whatever they want with no guidance? Or is it sometimes kinder for the parent, who knows more, to say "no," to pull them back, to say, no you may not drink that detergent, or run into that road? I don't think having rules, setting guidelines, particularly against actions which often have consequences unknown to the person doing them, is intrinsically unkind or unloving. Quite the contrary.
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#63 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 01:38 AM
 
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ITA, Brig.

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#64 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 07:47 AM
 
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To clarify what I mean about civil marriage vs. church marriage:

I should have said it is policy in most churches, not doctrine.
I would love to be married in a church without a civil marriage. I wouldn't have to deal with my BF's bad credit.
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#65 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 09:19 AM
 
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Well said Brig, ITA.
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#66 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 09:45 AM
 
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I think that a lot of Christians do not account for those who do not take the bible literally. I really think this is unfortunate. There are lots of Christians out there and lots of beliefs about God and God's understandings of different types of relationships. Many Christians smile on all kinds of love and perhaps you should explore different churches so you can find one where you're loved and welcomed as you are.
Yes to all of this.
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#67 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 10:11 AM
 
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This is such a big question, I am only going to try and deal with a very small aspect of it.

Most modern Christians believe that God approves of the things they find good. It is a way of turning things around: instead of asking, "What has God/the Prophets/the Saints told us is the best way to be closer to God and to seek salvation?" they say, "This is what I find good, so I am sure God feels the same."

The problem with this attitude is that, according to the traditional Christian interpretation, human beings are fallen, and prone to like things that are not good or beneficial.

Many denominations support and defend whatever is the current attitude on moral and ethical issues. They are flexible about divorce, most sexual behavior, abortion, and so forth. Because most of us agree with their policies, we describe them as "fair," "enlightened," "open minded". All they really are is in step with the times. The same church, during the Victorian era, might have opposed women's right to vote or own property, because that was the popular thinking of the time. A century earlier, they would have defended slavery as consistent with Christian principles. Ideas are not good, much less Christian, just because they are currently popular.

This deserves to be quoted again



Sin (what ever you believe sin is. Its different for every denomination) is what separates us from God in this life. I believe everyone will receive his love and protection in the end.
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#68 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I understand your opinion here, and I know that many feel the same way, but I don't agree that "all of those rules and judgements are most certainly not made out of love and kindness." I know that that is the perception of them. But remember that God is often referred to as our "father," and we his children... is the kindest, most loving parent necessarily the one who allows his children to do whatever they want with no guidance? Or is it sometimes kinder for the parent, who knows more, to say "no," to pull them back, to say, no you may not drink that detergent, or run into that road? I don't think having rules, setting guidelines, particularly against actions which often have consequences unknown to the person doing them, is intrinsically unkind or unloving. Quite the contrary.
I am all for God enforcing rules, but not the ones that demonstrade his own pride. As a parent, I will guide my kids, but none of the rules in our house start with "you will worship me and no other adult, or you are out of my house", and that's the ones I was refering to earlier.

Your post speaks of great faith on your part, and maybe that's what I lack, blind faith. Clearly you accepts things that I don't understand, such as WHY a person who led a good life is doomed just because they have lived in another religion? That can't be the only criteria. If God talks to Pope, then WHY does the Pope dress up in fancy robes? It's anything but demonstration of humility.

One can repeat to me "God is good, and just", but those are general statements that do not fit in with truly good and just the way bible portrays it, kwim? My particular questions remain unanswered. I'm not trying to cloud anyone's thinking, I'm just trying to understand how all of this fits in with religion that I accept as my own.

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#69 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 01:14 PM
 
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I just want to point out that there are many Christian denominations that have many different perspectives on these issues. The word "Christian" certainly does not imply only one perspective or point of view on these questions.
: That's what I was going to say. Not all churches have priests who wear fine robes - in many the preacher/minister looks the same as everyone else and you wouldn't know who he (or she) was until he got up to speak. In fact, in Quaker (Society of Friends) meetings, plainness of dress is considered to be pretty important.

Some denominations are lay-led, meaning the whole congregation is run by the congregation, and the members of the church do the speaking.

Many churches recognize legal marriages, even if they didn't happen at the altar or in a church building. And many are accepting of homosexuals.

Some Christians believe in something called "universal reconciliation" which is the belief that Jesus died for the sins of everyone. Everyone, and that all are saved by His grace. Even those in the middle of the jungle who have never heard His name. Others don't believe this, but believe that "hell" as we understand it is a place of purification, and not a punishment. And many other interpretations!! There really are many different ways of looking at the topics of salvation and Hell.

You might want to pick up a book or two by John Shelby Spong, he's an Episcopalian bishop who really brings a lot of things to light. Why Christianity Must Change or Die is a good one. He also wrote one on Christianity and sexuality, and it talks a lot about homosexuality- I haven't read it but I would think it would be good.

I no longer consider myself a Christian, but Spong almost made me stay one.

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#70 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 02:07 PM
 
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Might I also suggest reading Brian Mclarens series, A new kind of Christian.

It sounds like you really need some time to search within yourself. Sit and be with God and he will show you. You may not see what you want to see, but in the end, it will have a purpose I truly believe all he really asks of us is to trust him and have a relationship with him.
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#71 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 02:28 PM
 
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Oriole, you seem to be extremely ignorant regarding Catholicism.

God does not "talk" to the Pope any more or less than he talks to the rest of us.

The self-righteous crap about liturgical vestments is ridiculous. Do you have nice clothes that you wear to special events? If you got married, did you wear a wedding dress?

What on earth could be more special than being in the Presence of our Lord and Savior?

Priests, like many other clerics in many other religions, have special garments they wear DURING SERVICES and special occasions. The rest of the time they wear black pants and black shirts. You don't honestly think the Pope walks around his home in his dress robes and mitre do you? It has NOTHING to do with pride.

http://catholiceducation.org/article...on/re0197.html

I'm really sick of all the finger pointing at the evil Catholic Church for having things like cathedrals and dress robes when she remains one of the largest charitable organizations in the world, witnessing and services the most destitute and abandoned people in the world. There are some really bad priests, but most of them are GOOD men who have sacrificed everything to live humbly and serve God and his children and I'm really tired of them getting crapped on because people want to get up on their self righteous high horse and pat themselves on the back for being oh so much more enlightened and closer to God than the dirty Catholics.

I see A LOT of pride in this thread. Just not where you do.
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#72 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 02:50 PM
 
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It sounds like you really need some time to search within yourself. Sit and be with God and he will show you. You may not see what you want to see, but in the end, it will have a purpose I truly believe all he really asks of us is to trust him and have a relationship with him.
Yes! God will NOT lead you wrongly.

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#73 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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I'll have to agree with CherryBomb here. The Catholic Church (along with the Othodox, Anglican and other faiths) gets a lot of grief for the vestaments, art, architecture and music, that in my opinion, is undeserved.

I think that the musicians, artists, builders, etc., who worked together to create the experience that we have when we are in the presence of God were divinely inspired, and help bring people closer to God and deepen their faith. It's kind of hard to explain, but seeing a bishop in vestaments leading a service in a beautiful church while listening to some amazing music on a pipe organ and looking at the scenes from the scriptures artfully presented as paintings or stained glass is such an intense and moving experience.

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#74 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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I am all for God enforcing rules, but not the ones that demonstrade his own pride. As a parent, I will guide my kids, but none of the rules in our house start with "you will worship me and no other adult, or you are out of my house", and that's the ones I was refering to earlier.

Your post speaks of great faith on your part, and maybe that's what I lack, blind faith. Clearly you accepts things that I don't understand, such as WHY a person who led a good life is doomed just because they have lived in another religion? That can't be the only criteria. If God talks to Pope, then WHY does the Pope dress up in fancy robes? It's anything but demonstration of humility.

One can repeat to me "God is good, and just", but those are general statements that do not fit in with truly good and just the way bible portrays it, kwim? My particular questions remain unanswered. I'm not trying to cloud anyone's thinking, I'm just trying to understand how all of this fits in with religion that I accept as my own.
I don't believe that a person who is of another religion is "doomed," for what it's worth. It actually is somewhat odd to me that you would think that I have a great acceptance of blind faith. I think that I am quite lacking in blind faith, really... I should perhaps not be so skeptical. But what I believe is what makes logical sense to me. As for the vestments... they are celebratory garments. As CherryBomb explained, such as for a special occasion. It isn't about pride or self-aggrandizement at all.
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#75 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 06:39 PM
 
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I am all for God enforcing rules, but not the ones that demonstrade his own pride. As a parent, I will guide my kids, but none of the rules in our house start with "you will worship me and no other adult, or you are out of my house", and that's the ones I was refering to earlier.

Your post speaks of great faith on your part, and maybe that's what I lack, blind faith. Clearly you accepts things that I don't understand, such as WHY a person who led a good life is doomed just because they have lived in another religion? That can't be the only criteria. If God talks to Pope, then WHY does the Pope dress up in fancy robes? It's anything but demonstration of humility.

One can repeat to me "God is good, and just", but those are general statements that do not fit in with truly good and just the way bible portrays it, kwim? My particular questions remain unanswered. I'm not trying to cloud anyone's thinking, I'm just trying to understand how all of this fits in with religion that I accept as my own.
As a Catholic, I take umbrage to your statement that one's "great faith" is somehow "blind." On the contrary, it is nothing of the sort.

It is a deliberate act of the will based on the use of one's reason. The theological definition of faith means to give one's intellectual assent to the Truth which God has revealed. Giving one's intellectual assent is, by definition, not an action that can be done while "blind."

If what you lack is acceptance of "things you don't understand" then understanding is certainly available to you - rather than create a religion of your own making just because it keeps you feeling "comfortable."

When a person becomes a Catholic they go through the catechism, where all of those "rules" are explained to you. You will know exactly why God commanded what He did, and why it is for your own good, and why it is out of His love for you. And if you did not understand, it would be explained to you so that you could understand, and if you just simply did not agree, then you would not keep going to catechism, and you would not become a Catholic.

Now, my comment on your statement as to not understanding why God would say "you will worship me and no other" and why God would condemn one of another religion is that it is up to Him and Him only. He is the one Who made us all, and He gets to decide what the rules are, so if His first Law is "I am the Lord thy God, and thou shalt have no ther gods before Me," then that is His to make, and I guess if I want to live forever with Him in Heaven then I had better obey. Here's the relevant catechism:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a1.htm

This first law is Biblical and just. And yes, it does fit into the "truly good and just" way the Bible portrays God. God always gave his unfaithful people warnings before He punished them. He gave them chances to amend their sinful lives before He punished them - when they did not, He did as He promised. Is that somehow unjust? No, it would have been unjust to NOT have given the people a chance to repent first before flooding the world, or destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.
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#76 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 06:57 PM
 
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This is such a big question, I am only going to try and deal with a very small aspect of it.

Most modern Christians believe that God approves of the things they find good. It is a way of turning things around: instead of asking, "What has God/the Prophets/the Saints told us is the best way to be closer to God and to seek salvation?" they say, "This is what I find good, so I am sure God feels the same."

The problem with this attitude is that, according to the traditional Christian interpretation, human beings are fallen, and prone to like things that are not good or beneficial.

Many denominations support and defend whatever is the current attitude on moral and ethical issues. They are flexible about divorce, most sexual behavior, abortion, and so forth. Because most of us agree with their policies, we describe them as "fair," "enlightened," "open minded". All they really are is in step with the times. The same church, during the Victorian era, might have opposed women's right to vote or own property, because that was the popular thinking of the time. A century earlier, they would have defended slavery as consistent with Christian principles. Ideas are not good, much less Christian, just because they are currently popular.
IMO the same goes for the original writers of the New Testament... they wrote WELL WITHIN the context of the day, and promoted what they believed in and decried what they did not. And the early church fathers. And everyone else who is deciding what is or is not wrong. IMO the ONLY thing that we can put faith in is the voice of the Holy Spirit moving in us. Books are fallible. Men - even good ones - are fallible. The only thing we can trust is God's guidance. Not a popular sentiment, since we as people have been led to believe that we can't have a direct and meaningful relationship with the Divine without any doctrines at all. If the relationship is there, the doctrine is unecessary.

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#77 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 07:57 PM
 
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As a Catholic, I take umbrage to your statement that one's "great faith" is somehow "blind." On the contrary, it is nothing of the sort.

It is a deliberate act of the will based on the use of one's reason. The theological definition of faith means to give one's intellectual assent to the Truth which God has revealed. Giving one's intellectual assent is, by definition, not an action that can be done while "blind."
This is very true. My faith isn't blind at all. I was willfully blind for so many years of my life. Converting was NOT an easy choice for me at all. For Pete's sake, I was an ultra-liberal feminist! And there I was, humbled before God and actually seriously considering converting to a Church I had hated and vilified for so many years for standing for everything I thought I was against. It wasn't an easy journey and I still struggle but I did BECAUSE I could not be blind anymore. And I'm glad I did, because I actually found what I had been searching for, it just wasn't the truth I had thought I wanted.

I don't expect a lot of people to get it but nothing about my faith is blind.

And FWIW, Catholics don't interpret the Bible literally, either. That doesn't mean we don't believe it's the Word of God.
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#78 of 251 Old 04-29-2008, 09:04 PM
 
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I strongly feel that the rules were manmade. God does not care whether or not you are baptised or whether or not someone is gay.
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#79 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 01:27 AM
 
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how do you know?

I think we need to be careful to remember that we are made in Gods image and not the other way around. it seems like people always want to put the human label of "good" and "loving" on God and in truth He is beyond anything we can fully understand. Our standard is not His. Our abilities are not His. We can't just stick a human face on Him and try to fit Him into a man sized hole. What is just and fair and merciful and eternal to a god who has been and always will be? Who are we to judge our creator and God? who are we to put words in his mouth or say we know this or that of God. we know nothing. We have His law given to his people for their blessing and benefit that they might live long productive glorifying lives and bring worthy sacrifices to Him. we have his history. and we have his son. and we have his church. all just very small glimpses of an infinite God who may not be as good or loving as we wish him to be when it comes right down to it. But he is God and it makes no difference to me if he is good or loving or even just. I honor and worship him because he is God. because he hung the stars in the sky and spins the earth in its orbit. because he brings forth life from a single cell. He breathed life into dust he created the world with a word. when i can do those things I will worry about weather or not God is good enough for me or if i think he could be doing a better job with this love and mercy and judgment stuff.

I should point out I don't believe in the assurance of salvation that a lot of protestants do. I don't believe all Christians are going to heaven. I don't know what my eternal destination will be. I am not concerned. I am Gods and he can do with me as he pleases. but in the mean time i will continue to work out my salvation with fear and trembling and give Him the praise and honor due his name without regards for whats in it for ne.

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#80 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 08:30 AM
 
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When did anyone claim to be perfect? It's interesting how in any discussion of sin and modernity, anyone who actually has the gall to say "yes, these things that are accepted by modern society are sinful" is lambasted and accused of being self-righteous, accused of thinking they're perfect, accused of being "hateful" and "bigoted."

I'm a sinner. I have sinned in the past and I will surely sin again in the future, try as I might to do otherwise.

That has nothing to do with it.

God does care. He cared enough to send His only Son to die for me, that I might be forgiven. God doesn't HATE anyone, and it's beyond offensive to try and paint people who don't agree with you as thinking something so horrible. I might not agree with the "anything goes" mindset but I KNOW that God loves ALL of us, and I know that 9 times out of 10, the people espousing that POV are sincere, but, IMO, misguided.
I really think you took my post a little too personally. I'm not judging anyone else's beliefs, nor am I painting anyone's thoughts as horrible. I happen to think differently than some of you about some things, and that's okay. My point is, none of us can truly KNOW how God will judge us.

I'm sorry if my post offended you.
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#81 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 10:32 AM
 
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how do you know?
I suppose this is the great debate
This is what forms denominations.


Not any one denomination has its theology 100% right. It separates Gods children and that is something that bothers me more than the whole "debate." Id much rather embrace (or at least try to understand) all of our differences (even the ones that rub me the wrong way) and let the Holy Spirit guide me through life. This is a harder thing to do then say. In the end, the nations will walk by its light into the gates bringing their glory and honor.

Theology is merely a tool that helps ones self understand the ways of God. Which intern, helps one become disciplined. None of us have it all right And im fine by that.
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#82 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 11:17 AM
 
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One need to be careful when they rely on following the Holy Spirit. I hear a lot of stuff get blamed on the Spirit. divisions, fighting, herisies, the same spirit giving 100 people completely different ideas about the same. The Holy Spirit does not cause that sort of mess. people following their own thinking and own feelings andblaming it on the Spirit do. there ay be some spirit guiding those thoughts and feelings of what seems right to a man but unless it lines up 100% with scripture and history and the Church i would doubt that it is the Spirit of God.. . . . sorry pet peeve.

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#83 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 11:38 AM
 
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One need to be careful when they rely on following the Holy Spirit. I hear a lot of stuff get blamed on the Spirit. divisions, fighting, herisies, the same spirit giving 100 people completely different ideas about the same. The Holy Spirit does not cause that sort of mess. people following their own thinking and own feelings andblaming it on the Spirit do. there ay be some spirit guiding those thoughts and feelings of what seems right to a man but unless it lines up 100% with scripture and history and the Church i would doubt that it is the Spirit of God.. . . . sorry pet peeve.
Sorry you've experienced this. The Holy Spirit is God and I trust him. Its his way of communicating with his creation. I will always rely on him. Your right that it must not contradict with Gods law.

I can never understand division but do have faith that God is bigger then that and will use it in what ever way serves his purpose.

When quoting your question, I wasn't aiming my comment directly at you. Sorry if you understood it that way.
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#84 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 11:57 AM
 
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I strongly feel that the rules were manmade. God does not care whether or not you are baptised or whether or not someone is gay.
May I ask why you believe we are here? If God cares about us so little that He doesn't care who we are or what we do than why are we here?

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I think we need to be careful to remember that we are made in Gods image and not the other way around.

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#85 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 12:00 PM
 
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Yes, I am made in God's image--lesbian, feminist, reincarnation-believing, cat-loving, the whole bit.
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#86 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 12:12 PM
 
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Yes, I am made in God's image--lesbian, feminist, reincarnation-believing, cat-loving, the whole bit.
Do you think that everything about us is "God's image?" Do you think that's what that verse means?

Like a pedophile could say their pedophilia is part of the image of God? (I am NOT comparing anything from your list to pedophilia - PLEASE don't take it that way). Your post just sparked this question in my mind.

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#87 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 12:17 PM
 
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No, Casey, I don't think that. I just get really tired of people tossing that around as though it somehow supports what THEY are doing, being as righteous and holy as they are, which is NOT AT ALL like those OTHER people.

So, my tongue was FIRMLY in cheek, there. Sorry that was vague.
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#88 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 12:17 PM
 
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Do you think that everything about us is "God's image?" Do you think that's what that verse means?

Like a pedophile could say their pedophilia is part of the image of God? (I am NOT comparing anything from your list to pedophilia - PLEASE don't take it that way). Your post just sparked this question in my mind.
Mine as well. I was thinking the same thing. Where does "God's image" end and we and the world begin?

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#89 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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No, Casey, I don't think that. I just get really tired of people tossing that around as though it somehow supports what THEY are doing, being as righteous and holy as they are, which is NOT AT ALL like those OTHER people.

So, my tongue was FIRMLY in cheek, there. Sorry that was vague.
But no one is saying that. Everyone's got their something. I am faaaaaaaar from a "good" anything. No one is perfect. Some may like to think they are but that's just not true. The point of life is to work at it.

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#90 of 251 Old 04-30-2008, 12:19 PM
 
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Do you think that everything about us is "God's image?"
Sorry for answering your question frog but I wanted to jump in and answer.

I don't feel that everything about us is in Gods image but strongly feel he takes us as we are. We don't have to attain some special characteristics or do righteous deeds in order to "meet" him. He meets us, frail and broken. This is whats so amazing about being a follower of Christ. The understanding that it doesn't matter where we are at, he will always meet us. He doesn't even ask us to meet him halfway, just to have open arms.
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