I firmly believe in God. I firmly believe that Jesus of Nazareth was amazing in his philosophy and indeed selfless. I believe I should not judge others, I believe I should not hate, hurt or kill. I believe the kingdom of God is within us and all around us if we can see it - not necessarily waiting for us after we die. I believe a good person should not actively seek to condemn others as most Christians seem to do it the case of those who are different. I believe religious fanaticism has obscured the true Jesus. What has become "the truth" about Jesus was not in the Bible, but mostly decided upon by ordinary men sitting in a council of old. They made rules and interpretations Jesus never did and millions followed these men not the real Jesus. I believe the true messages Jesus taught us (as I started with) are now second to a debate of accepting him as our lord and savior or else be doomed to hell. Every person on earth can be described as the child of God. Jesus is said to be the Son of God. I say we are all sons and daughters of God. I believe following Jesus' philosophy makes me a near perfect human being - if I can truly follow it. I do not believe Jesus was divine - catholic/Christian dogma on this makes no sense. I believe in Jesus' message, I believe in God. I can't imagine with this in mind and trying so hard in my daily life to do what is right and good, a loving God would doom me when I believe the message of Jesus - just not the dogma men have created. If God would doom all those good people who just can't accept Jesus as divine - This is not the God of love I mistook him for....
I agree with you totally, grochalj. I have often wondered why non-christians are thought to be "doomed" if they don't take Jesus as their lord and savior. I was raised as a christian, but I do not buy the divinity theory. I believe in a higher power and an afterlife or reincarnation. Does that make me a bad person? I have come to see that the exclusionary approach that most christians have is wrong.
very well written....I agree with you. The Bible is not the word of God, but rather it is the interpretation of men's word of God, and most assuredly, those men of old times had an agenda. Read The End of Faith, or Drunk With Blood (particularly the latter; I've told people what this book says concerning scripture, and to a person, they will say it's not in the Bible....but, amazingly, it is). There has got to be a higher power and maybe that's what should make life worth living....to try to answer some of these Mysteries. I love reading the Bible, but I read opposing theories and thoughts as well. Maybe just being a good person, helping your fellow man, etc.,IS enough. Thanks for your thoughts.
SO many claim to be Christians, yet dismiss the Bible as God's word. Likely because they wish to excuse their own behavior. Denying that Christ was divine is perhaps the primary problem. Who was ( is) Jesus? Either , he was just a good man who said some good things, then allowed himself to be tortured and killed, AND many many people who knew him also died for him as martyrs later... OR he is who he said he is, the Son of God and of course divine. Yes, how you believe this absolutely matters to God and to your eternity. God is a loving God and sacrificed his son for us. If we reject that, what more can a just God do? God is Love, but so much more. Like blood is red, red is not blood. God is also Just. May God give you insight into the truth and I believe He will if you seek him.
That's the real rub though isn't it? Faith is one thing, truth is another. I can believe something because I have faith - anyone can - but there's no real way to know if you are "right." It's almost like gambling. For all I or anyone knows, XXXXX have it right (insert random belief system) So much has been created by man under the guise of "holiness" its hard to separate what the original message was. How could any divine being who is so all knowing expect peons like the organisms on this planet with our limited understanding of the universe to cut through it all and get it right? Just having faith isn't a good enough answer - as you've said I or anyone else "could" be wrong. How do you rectify this?
@grochalj Assuming you want to take the Fundamentalist approach, here are a few interesting points to consider:
There is only ONE verse in the entire Bible where it indicates that belief in Jesus is the ONLY way to be saved: John 14:6 - Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". All other similar passages in the Bible imply Jesus is ONE way to be saved. But it is also in John's Gospel where it says that Jesus IS God: John 1:18 - "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, WHO IS HIMSELF GOD". Also, Colossians 1:15 - "He is the image of the invisible God..."
I would interpret this as Jesus being a physical projection of a God who could otherwise not be visible or even comprehensible by the primitive human brain. If you think about it logically that makes sense because an Omnipotent, Omniscient, OMNIPRESENT being could not possibly have a visible normal human physical form.
This could be interpreted that believing in God in his many forms throughout the world should also be a path to salvation (whatever that really means). The idea of a Black and White duality, Heaven or Hell is somewhat simplistic -- perfect for keeping simple uneducated peasants in line and under control in the past centuries, and heck if that doesn't work there is the Spanish Inquisition, Witchhunts etc. which don't bother to wait till the offender dies naturally and is punished in the "afterlife".
This is of course if you believe in the absolute accuracy of the Bible, which has been proven to have errors.
@ The Oracle, I think there is a big difference between "condemning" ie: "you WILL go to Hell if you don't believe Jesus is divine" and making an observation that some Christians are a bit self righteous.
While I think there are Christian fanatics, on the whole we have come a long way from the days when the sort of things being discussed here would get you thrown into a torture chamber and burnt alive as a Heretic or Witch.
Religion (of all kinds) was and still is being used as a political tool for to obtain wealth, power and control. (we sure see Colton and Akiane obtaining weath through it, lol)
This is one of the biggest problems I've had with Christianity. It's a religion following a truely amazing man who believed in forgiveness, inclusiveness and not passing judgment on others, but accepting them. For some odd reason no one seems to be able to explain, the followers of this religion are hell bent on condemnation, judgment and finding every way imaginable to tell you you're going to burn. What's worse is, in thier minds, they find support of this in scripture. It's the ultimate perversion of a near perfect ideal put forth Jesus - it blows my mind. Even the "official" teachings have the "do onto others" teachings. I'd love to ask for an explanation in one of these forums, but all you ever get is "faith, faith, faith" with no explantion for the obvious ignorance of Jesus' message of inclusiveness...........
I must say I very much like this ida and will be thinking on this long and hard for some time. Thank you very much for putting forth such a thought-provoking notion when all that is usually said is of no help.
What's more is I do not "condmen" anyone with these words. The attitudes and actions I see in Christians is what I write about here. I do not interpret thier actions as condemnation I hear them telling people, myself including that I will brun unless I believe Jesus is the son of God.
There is a difference that has nothing to do with irony. I am simply re-telling the words spoken to me. If that amounts to condemnation I would not readily understand it, but I guess its possible......I was just hoping the followers of an ideal I respect, wouldnt be so quick to cast others into the flames. Even when Jesus overturned the sellers tables in the temple I do not recall a verse where his admonishments said "now all of you disbelieving heathens will burn in the fires of hell for all eternity while I smile down at you from heaven" - these are the direct words of Christian groups in my area - not my judgments upon them.
@grochalj It is probably unfair and unwise to make blanket statements like "the followers of this religion are hell bent on condemnation, judgement..." I think what you mean is SOME followers.
I do agree that some Christians are extreme, but that can be said of any religion. This is simply human nature.
As for your observations on the disparity between what Jesus taught and how SOME of the Christian Church behaves, I share your issues as do many others, which is why people are leaving the more orthodox churches in droves and either becoming athiests or joining a more moderate progressive church.
Some of the obvious issues/contradictions: 1) The worship of Graven Images especially in Catholic Churches when it is specifically mentioned in many places in the Bible that God forbids it. It is not uncommon to see people praying to statues of the "Virgin" Mary, (I put that in quotes because it has been proven that the concept of the Virgin birth was an error in translation from Hebrew>Greek. Similarly there are so many statues or images of Jesus, Saints etc.
2) The Wealth of the Church, while Jesus lived a very austere existence and taught that it would be difficult for a Rich man to be saved, the Catholic Church is wealthy beyond imagination and in fact it is impossible to even estimate the magnitude of this wealth because it keeps information about its vast holdings of investments secret.
3) It is not news that the Church has attempted to cover up various scandals, the best known of which are child molestations by priests. It is quite clear that we only see the tip of the iceberg. What is worse it that many of the exposed offenders are still practicing. The Church used its political might to get these "holy" people off the legal hook while lesser people would have been in jail for a long time. So much for the Clergy being held to a higher standard.
4) Intolerance - while Jesus preached about love and forgiveness (turn the other cheek) and not being a hypocrite (take the log out of your eye), we see many instances where that is not being practiced.
I could go on and on. But to be fair, there are many Christians and Christian Churches where much good is being done.
Your are correct and my comment was overbroad. I should have used the word "some." It seems to be getting harder and harder to remember, however, when the growing number of the Christians practicing opposite Jesus' teachings is all I seem to experience anymore. Either way, I apologize for any offense taken as it was not intended. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Christians who adhere to Jesus' message.
I still think most of what Christians today follow is man made dogma, and as such, I cannot see the point in following it. Especially when its so contradictory to Jesus' teachings. I understand Matthew 16:19, but I must say that if any verse of the bible brings me doubt as to authenticity its that one. It seems a addage of early Christians organization to help bolster thier authority.