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Non-Christians, How Would You Interpret This?  
User currently offlineDuke From Canada, joined Sep 1999, 1155 posts, RR: 2
Posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2489 times:

This is going to be a LONG post. Here goes.

I have been an Orthodox Christian for some 15 years, but have come to seriously doubt the veracity of Christianity. I would now consider myself an agnostic (I will probably search more, but I see at present good arguments both for and against the existence of God) I have stopped practicing Orthodoxy and would like to leave the Church. But I am afraid I may be wrong, as while there are seemingly strong reasons to believe Christianity is flawed, I see other seemingly strong reasons in favor of it. I was wondering if you atheists and other non-Christians could give me your thoughts. Below I have summarized the evidence I have IN FAVOR OF Orthodoxy being true. As you can see, there is a lot of it. I was wondering if you could explain all this in non-Christian terms.

1. Some key facts about and teachings of the Church seem to make sense

-The teaching of the church is by no means simplistic. The Church has quite mystical, intricate, deep and detailed teachings. At least if one is to believe the Apostles, and Church fathers, who offer many interpretations for concordance between the Old and New Testaments (eg. they say that the Trinity was foretold by the three angels visiting Abraham, or that many teachings of the New Testament are alluded to in the Old). At any rate, it seems to give a lot of answers (whether true or not) to key existential questions (who created the world? What is the purpose of our existence? Why do we suffer?) and there's a system to it, it's not just random statements.

-The Church teaches that it contains the truth. You write that this is arrogant, but doesn't it seems logical that God would want us to know the truth about Him and not believe in false gods or in false teachings about Him, life, spirituality, etc. and reveal it to us?

-Love and synergy between God and humans is utterly central to church teaching. I don't know if any religion is so centered on the principle of doing good through love. Doesn't prove anything, but seems to speak in favor of Orthodoxy/Christianity.

-Christianity is the largest religion of the world, though Orthodoxy is the second-largest denomination. Many people not only believe in it but have suffered for it. In the Twentieth Century under Communism, countless Orthodox were martyred, seemingly fulfilling what Christ predicted about the faithful being persecuted. Now in Kosovo, many churches have been desecrated by Albanians, in Macedonia, the only bishop to remain faithful to the Serbian Orthodox Church and not to the state-supported breakaway church went to jail twice. The list could continue. Why would so many people have suddenly chosen to follow Christ and even accept martyrdom, if Christianity was not the inspired truth of God? Why would so many people (the Apostles, evangelists etc) go to such trouble to invent a religion? And all the other early Christians who followed in their steps? It seems like a pretty big lie or conspiracy, if that is what it is. Why would someone bother to invent an entire religion like this? Who could have an interest in such a conspiracy?

2. Miracles, visions and the supernatural

This is the big one. Many people report having experienced something supernatural, and such reports seem very common in the Orthodox Church and among Orthodox people. In fact, Orthodox literature is packed with reports of miracles, both recent and long past. Time would fail me if I listed all the examples of miracles credited to this or that saint, icon, relic, etc. Here are some demonstrative examples, but with a little research, one could easily find many others:

-The Eucharist and holy water are supposed to last forever without spoiling (I have emailed a former Orthodox priest who is now a deist, and who would have had direct experience with these things, and hope he will tell me if these things are true).

-Our Lady of Zeitoun - a repeated Marian vision from a Coptic church in 1968-1970. It seems much more convincing than Catholic reports of Marian visions, having been reportedly seen by scores of people over and over again, and there having been miraculous healings, a fragrant smell, etc. at the time. Here, if you have not heard about this, is a short documentary. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVXEh4Jzs2s There exist photographs and maybe even films documenting this. Also in Asiout. http://st-takla.org/Multimedia/07-Vi...s_Videohat-El-3athraa2-Mariam.html Could some of these very convincing instance be a forgery? There were dreams people reportedly had validating these locations, and supposedly they all happened at locations where St. Mary had been during her lifetime. Another vision is supposed to have happened IIRC in 1924, when a big crowd of Old Calendarists and others at a church in Greece saw a big cross on the sky above a church on a feast day according to the Old Calendar. The cross supposedly appeared and later moved and flew up to heaven.

-Here is a website purporting to show Orthodox miracles. There are crosses in the sky above a church, supposed images of angels during church services, a face of the Lord in the bottom of a baptismal font, etc. More tangibly, a tree in a Russian monastery with the perfect shape of a cross (I have heard of this one or another of these).
http://rus-sky.com/miracles/indexen.htm . These could admittedly be somehow forged, but why would someone forge miracles? Who would have an interest in doing this in the Orthodox Church? Surely not monks who live in self-imposed poverty and have devoted their entire life to prayer and work?

-Or all the purported weeping or myrrh gushing icons and relics. Some of these miracles have maybe been discredited as commercial fakes etc. but they are only some among many, many such reports. Or incorrupt relics of saints that exist all over the world.

-Or the many reports one hears of healings and exorcisms. My earlier pastor says he was present at one (he did not tell me the result, but the woman was apparently behaving in a demonic way, I think she was compulsively blaspheming or something). Demoniacs reportedly exist and are supposedly cured by priests, right? Or healings after prayer. Many people claim to have been healed after intense prayer to a saint (for example, on one website, there is a recent story about St. Marina appearing as a doctor in a Texas hospital after prayers to her for the Orthodox boy in question, and assisting in the operation
http://nepsis.blogspot.com/2006/07/st-marina-goes-to-work.html - and this is just one of many such stories. And as, according to the story, St. Marina signed in at the hospital as "Marina from Andros", maybe this miracle could easily be verified by going to the hospital and checking. Or on this page http://209.85.135.104/search?q=cache...t+marina+andros&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=9 there is a story "By Her Prayers..." by an Elizabeth Hawkins - the woman claims she was not only healed, but felt strong repentance after being anointed with holy oil , saw light coming out of the icon of St. Elizabeth and had a vision of St. Elizabeth praying by her bedside. It's quite a deep story, why would someone make this up? It seems to have too many elements to be just coincidence or fantasy.

-Or reports of "near-death experiences". A classic story from the church is that of the Carthaginian settler Taxiotis, who was bitten by a snake, died, was revived six hours later, and recounted how he had been thrown into hell for his recent adultery with his tenant´s wife. That is a very old story, but there are more modern ones. In Fr. Seraphim Rose´s book The Soul After Death for example, there is an account of a priest in Greece who reported that a woman had on what she thought was her deathbed re-confessed an old sin, that she had had an abortion. IIRC, she said that she had died from complications after the abortion, and as the hearse was carrying her casket, the engine suddenly stalled. At that point, she said, her soul left her body, and she saw two angels, one of whom had a scroll listing her sins. The angels said that she had committed a grave sin and must go to hell, but that her family made her do it, so there is nothing to do but have her return to earth and confess it. At which point she came alive again. Two similar stories are recounted in an article on http://www.orthodoxinfo.com called "Concerning the Sin of Self-Abuse (Masturbation)", about young men who, after having masturbated (yes, Orthodoxy is among several Christian churches that consider masturbation a sin), died, and then were revived, one recounting that he had in one case been warned by St. Mary that he would go to hell if he did not confess his sin, the other narrowly escaping being thrown into hell by demons after a priest´s prayer revived him. The former story was supposedly told by a spiritual child to a relatively recent Metropolitan Cyprian, the latter came from a spiritual book. Again, if such stories are not true, why would priests bother inventing them? And are there not medically documented cases of people having visions of hell on their deathbeds?

-Monasteries seem to be rife with the paranormal. Some people say that there are spiritual fathers to whom ordinary faithful go up to for advice and before they even open their mouths, the father tells them what their main sins or their troubles are. Visions, prophecy etc are reported as massively happening among monks. They say that among monks it is common to see or even talk to demons. For example, St. Silouan the Athonite, whose father ate a meat meal prepared by him on a fast day so as not to embarass him, but later told his son that it "tasted like carrion". Silouan lived a dissolute life for some time, and the had a dream, in which a snake entered him or something and he heard I think Jesus or St. Mary's voice saying something like "your lifestyle is repugnant to me". Silouan later became a monk and was reportedly beset with demons who told him contradictory things. He eventually got a message from God "keep your mind in hell and don't despair." I think he also had one or more visions of Christ and maybe spoke to Him. This is just ONE example among many. Would someone make up all these stories (why would poor, pious monks do that? Or is there something I don't know) or are is it all psychological? Or is there something to it?

-Reportedly at least 3000 documented cases of people who have trouble with conception and who succeeded in conceiving soon after eating "grapes of St. Simeon the Myrrh Gusher" from the Hilandar monastery on Mt. Athos and following the accompanying instructions (eg. fasting for 40 days).

-Another interesting example is to be found in the book Kidnapped for my Faith by Ken Levitt (c. 1980). He tells of how he was a Jew who felt there might be something to Christianity. He prayed to God that if He is the Christian God, He send him signs in the form of songs he had not heard in a long time coming on on the radio. He claims that the signs appeared as he had asked for them (and that they stopped coming when he promised God he would ask for no more but did so anyway). His parents later had him kidnapped by "deprogrammers", from whom Levitt escaped after, he claims, he prayed to God fro a dime (so he could call the police after his escape), promptly getting his prayer answered when someone found one on the ground and gave it to him. (I have tried this too and it didn't work. But maybe God revealed Himself to Levitt because Levitt was serious about his commitment to Christianity, whereas I have been minimalist in my approach to it).

-Some people report (I can think of several people saying this in my presence) that they have a great (euphoric?) feeling after taking Holy Communion, and that more frequent communicating has strengthened him by making them more willing to do the will of God. (Not my experience but then, my experience with the Eucharist is very limited).

Have I experienced anything supernatural firsthand? Nothing very big, but I have stories from very ordinary people around me, and there are a number of them:

-when I was 10-11, my mother and I played baseball with people from her company. It was supposed to be all for fun, but there were some more athletic people who did not like a small woman and boy being on the team, as well as people who, as we found out, would apparently try to hit the ball toward me when I was in the field so there would be less of a chance of me catching it. I actually only properly caught the ball ONCE during these games. I was out in the field, and when I caught the ball, I recall it as taking me quite by surprise (or at least I was surprised to have managed to catch it). My mother and at least one colleague reported that the ball had gone up and then fallen back into my glove, as if some higher force was guiding it in order to protect me from being hit by a possibly deliberately aimed ball.

-At the time I started believing, my grandmother told me this story. When the Communists came to Yugoslavia, he started to show off as if he were a big atheist in order to impress the authorities (for example, on Easter morning, he would start hammering away in his workshop so everyone could hear him working). Then, she said, three times in his life he was seriously in danger/injured, each time on the same date, which may have been a saint´s day that had some significance to the family. Once he rode his motorcycle under a truck, another time he fell into an aqueduct or well, another time he broke his hip. He apparently got the message and repented.

-A former family friend, from the former Yugoslavia, had a mother whom he respected and a stepfather whom he said was a crook. He tells how at the moment his mother died, he was away driving, and at that time he found himself among pigsties or some other dirty place, but suddenly he smelled some wonderful odor. On the other hand, when his stepfather died, he was in the funeral procession, and at one point, he saw an enormous snake. As if there had been signs confirming how good his mother was and how evil his stepfather was.

-Several people who I doubt would lie have told me of them or friends they could trust seeing/experiencing ghosts or poltergeist-type activity in their home, at a pre-Christian burial ground etc. The church would probably call these experiences demonic.

-A Coptic colleague of my mother's told of how he was due for heart surgery and after probably intensive prayers at his church, the doctor found his heart to be completely healthy! This is in accordance with similar reports I have heard of or read of as happening to Orthodox Christians.

-My (hitherto) pastor told me that he had been clearly led to the church by God. He had set out to be baptize (in Serbia), but had not wanted to be baptized by a local priest. He was set on being baptized by some "great spiritual father" in a monastery. He said that when he started on his trip to the monastery, he travelled through Serbia to get there, but due to the conditions of the time couldn't take a direct route. However, the normally difficult trip, he says, was made easy by a series of events which were such coincidences that, he says, it is impossible that it was all chance (eg. he was offered a ride at the right time, then just happened to catch a perfect train, etc. - several steps on a normally difficult journey). He ended up having a wonderful time at the monastery and meeting one or more well- known "great spiritual fathers".

-He mentioned that a few years before he had decided to get baptized, he was in an airplane which had a problem, and had to circle before landing. He was not religious at the time, but he suddenly got the idea to pray, and prayed to God. The aircraft ended up safely, but at the moment, he didn't follow up his prayer with continued faith. That came later, however.

-He is also among the people who say they have a wonderful feeling after taking Holy Communion He says he is convinced and without doubts in his beliefs.

-His wife had I think two miscarriages. Then they got a blessing from a monastery, including a blue blessed belt or scarf, or something like that. (I am not sure but maybe they also got the Chilandar grapes of St. Simeon mentioned above) Soon after, his wife became pregnant, and their daughter, while having dark hair like their parents, has blue eyes similar to the girdle, though no one in their family had such eyes.

-He says that during fasts, he has no appetite for meat (I have had an appetite for meat during any fast, but he is far more pious than me).

So many amazing stories relating to one one pious person near to me.

-He told me a story of a not particularly religious woman who visited a monastery, and who pulled a hair from the beard of the incorrupt relics of a saint as a souvenir. On her return to wherever she was from, she began suffering from rampant insomnia. She associated it with her tampering with the relics without permission, and eventually got on a plane, and returned the hairs to the monastery. Her insomina supposedly then stopped.

-He also told me a story of an old woman in Serbia who was apparently not in the habit of going to confession, but on her deathbed, suddenly summoned a priest and had confession. She couldn't die until she did this, at which point she died peacefully.

I could go on and on like this. There are tons of reports of church-related paranormal events around, a simple google search of the topic would show recent and historical reports of healings, visions, moving icons, weeping icons, various such signs in monasteries happening and so on. Paranormal things do reportedly happen in other belief systems, but I don't know if anywhere near as much as in Orthodoxy, or if the examples are so impressive. The church explains things like spiritism and non-Christian miracles as being demonic or rationally explainable, citing sometimes the negative effects of these as proof.

3. My life being guided by God?

-Sometimes I wonder if someone out there is looking out for me. As if certain things happened to protect me from consequences. For example, it has happened several times that I overslept but the people I needed to meet also didn't come or were stuck in traffic or I don't know what exactly. Or there was a time when I was so desperate at a low point during my studies that I cheated on a test (I am not proud of this). The teacher found out and when I admitted it, he said since I had admitted it, there would be no more serious consequences than the head of the department officially informing me of a mark of zero. It occurred to me "out of the blue" that the letter could be mailed home, which would have had very serious consequences, as my controlling mother read my mail before I saw it, so I was able to talk to the teacher and ask specifically that the notice be given to me in hand, averting who knows what (the teacher did not IIRC tell me the notice of this would be mailed, I think it really occurred to me "suddenly" without much thinking, as if God had planted the thought in my mind). In general, some situations in my life seem like several "chance" events have wonderfully combined to produce a result that is important for my personal progress etc. At the same time, I have often had the experience in recent years that something that started out looking bad ends up good, perhaps better than if the bad situation had never happened. As if God wanted me to experience trials, in order to teach me something or what have you.

Of course, these things could also be interpreted in favor of Deism rather than Christianity, but they are arguments for both in theory.

There you have it. These are the things that keep me wondering if I am not making a mistake by leaving the church (though again, there is also evidence against my hitherto beliefs that I am not including here for the sake of time and space). I don't want to end up in hell.

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineScottieprecord From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1363 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2469 times:

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
I don't want to end up in hell.

Reminds me of Pascal's wager:

If you believe in God and he exists, you gain everything and go to heaven. If you believe in God and he doesn't exist, you gain nothing and you lose nothing. If you don't believe in God and he exists, you lose everything and go to hell. If you don't believe in God and he doesn't exist, you gain nothing and you lose nothing.

Essentially: there's nothing to lose by believing in God.

What I came to the realization of, however, is that you can't change what you believe. I was scared to say I didn't believe in Jesus because the idea of an afterlife in Hell scared the shit outta me. But then, I just decided that if I truly don't believe in Hell, I have nothing to be scared of. I don't believe in a Hell. And that was it for me.

I guess I'm more agnostic than anything else. I really don't feel the need to classify my beliefs, though.

-Mike


User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2422 times:

I'm not religious, but the way I see the teaching of many Christian churches is that they confuse relationship with religion. I spent three years in Religious Studies, looking at a few of the major religions on the world and the way their respective houses of worship teach it. Ultimately, I found that many Christian churches indoctrinate believers with a straitjacket type of law, which from what I can tell, isn't representative of the teachings of Jesus Christ. In it's simplest form, Christianity is about relationship, not religion. Jesus summed it up when the disciples asked him what the greatest commandment was. He said "love God, and love each other".

Unfortunately, I don't see enough church preaching or practicing that.


User currently offlineLAXspotter From India, joined Jan 2007, 3650 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 2409 times:

Quoting Scottieprecord (Reply 1):
Reminds me of Pascal's wager:

If you believe in God and he exists, you gain everything and go to heaven. If you believe in God and he doesn't exist, you gain nothing and you lose nothing. If you don't believe in God and he exists, you lose everything and go to hell. If you don't believe in God and he doesn't exist, you gain nothing and you lose nothing.

Essentially: there's nothing to lose by believing in God.

Best way to look at it, although believing in the commandments of God is really hard.



"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson
User currently offlineCtbarnes From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3491 posts, RR: 50
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2393 times:

Although I am a Christian, I applaud the candor with which you name your struggles. Faith is not something that is static, or immune from questioning or investigation. That's how faith deepens. OTOH, if you find that you are not able to derive consolation and meaning from your experiences of your faith, that is definately something to discern, even up to your belief in God.

From my reading of your post, you seem to be doing what is famously known as Pascal's wager: I don't know if I believe in God or not, but I ought to just in case God may truely exist and I'm wrong. I'd suggest this is a starting point for a deeper investigation, which you seem to be doing.

Good luck on your discernment. At the risk of sounding biased (occupational hazard  Wink ) God is present in the struggle.

Charles, SJ



The customer isn't a moron, she is your wife -David Ogilvy
User currently offlineDuke From Canada, joined Sep 1999, 1155 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2260 times:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you for the thought provoking answers. They seem to confirm some of my speculations.

I started believing in Orthodoxy 15 and a half years ago when I was 12, but at the time, I accepted the possibility that it is not true. Then I opened the Bible and found in the end of Revelations a statement that I read as "if you believe in this book, you go to heaven. If you do not, you go to hell." I was an impressionable kid, and for years I suppressed doubts. I basically did what I recently learned fundamentalist apologists do: instead of looking at different evidence and drawing a conclusion, I accepted a premise (the Bible tells the truth) and searched for evidence to prove it. Despite the fact that the more I found out about Orthodoxy, the more I disliked it! Far from providing me with comfort and bliss, it stifled me. I am by nature a freethinker, and this was not a place which encouraged free thinking. I began wishing to leave the church, but, fear stopped me. It finally hit me this summer that I could re-examine my beliefs. I did so, and found a lot of evidence against the teachings of my church (some of which I had heard of before, but had not had the guts or inspiration to actually go out and seriously examine). There is, I have found out, a huge body of evidence against Christianity. Here are a few links talking about this:

http://www.infidels.org/library/mode...adictions.html - the Bible is riddled with contradictions (I don´t necessarily agree with all the ones listed here, some may be based on false understanding of words, contexts, and translations, but still).

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html - evolutionary science has progressed a lot and has found missing links in fossils, theories of how intelligence may have arisen without a creator, and other evidence purportedly debunking biblical accounts.

-Old manuscripts of the New Testament attest to it having been re-written in accordance with changes of doctrine. In fact, the oldest manuscripts of the Gospel according to Mark don´t even mention the resurrection!

As mentioned above, miracles may also be fake. For example, one of the most hallowed miracles known, the holy fire in Jerusalem, has reportedly been debunked as a hoax, most blatantly by information that comes right from the memoirs of a 19th century Ukranian bishop! (scroll down to the end of this wikipedia article) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_fire In fact, the "Our Lady of Zeitoun" miracle, while generally widely unexplained, could be something generated by the Egyptian government in troubled times. I had a suspicion of this, but here is someone from Egypt who is sceptical:
http://egyptianchronicles.blogspot.c...r-miracle.html

Dang, I should have done this years ago. It could have saved me a lot of misery.

At this point, I would say of myself that "I´m an Agnostic, thank God!"

I did not go to church this morning. I spent the night reading "The Jesus Dynasty", a book by a veteran archeologist which theorizes that Jesus and St. John the Baptist were two messaiahs who together were planning to become the King and High Priest of Israel in a much more earthly sense than what the Bible teaches. Then I slept in until almost noon. Horror of horrors, I have been reading libra interdicta (one church "commandment" in Orthodoxy, as in Catholicism, is not to read heretical or ungodly books. Go figure). Next week I plan to go to mass...in the last minute, to tell one or two people I will not be coming any more and why.

Yes, the bubble has burst.


User currently offlineANITIX87 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 3305 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2243 times:
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Not to take away from your own experiences, and please bear in mind that I am expressing MY opinion, and in no way saying you are wrong or I am right, or that you should stop believing in miracles. The following two examples you gave are one thing I disagree with in religion. Anything we can't immediately becomes a miracle or a sign from God.

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
-A former family friend, from the former Yugoslavia, had a mother whom he respected and a stepfather whom he said was a crook. He tells how at the moment his mother died, he was away driving, and at that time he found himself among pigsties or some other dirty place, but suddenly he smelled some wonderful odor. On the other hand, when his stepfather died, he was in the funeral procession, and at one point, he saw an enormous snake. As if there had been signs confirming how good his mother was and how evil his stepfather was.

Every time I go to the airport I pass a Hearse going in the opposite direction. If I were religious, does that mean I should stop flying because one day I'll crash??

Quoting Duke (Thread starter):
-He told me a story of a not particularly religious woman who visited a monastery, and who pulled a hair from the beard of the incorrupt relics of a saint as a souvenir. On her return to wherever she was from, she began suffering from rampant insomnia. She associated it with her tampering with the relics without permission, and eventually got on a plane, and returned the hairs to the monastery. Her insomina supposedly then stopped.

Or guilt? Maybe?


Again, I'm not saying it's wrong, or not true, because the truth is whether you are religious or not comes down to personal beliefs and faith, and nobody has the right to tell someone they can't believe in something, or that their beliefs are wrong.

I used to believe in God when I was little. I am baptized Catholic, I went to church every Sunday, knew all my prayers, and was practicing for my communion. Then my aunt, ages 29, died of a heart attack thanks to some Acne medication she was taking. She was a perfectly healthy woman, happily married, and just recovering from the grief of a miscarriage. And she died suddenly in her sleep, leaving her husband alone and now grieving two losses. I decided right then and there that God had no reason to take her. And if he is supposed to be all-loving why would he take Nadine away and leave her husband alone? That's when I decided God can't possibly exist, because he wouldn't bring misery to a family like that one. They were the best people in the whole world, and I couldn't accept that "it was her time". Ever since then I've been an atheist. Maybe when I'm older and I have a family, I'll find my faith again depending on what my life is like, but for now, I've no faith, and am happy to let those who do go on with their lives, because I know how faith can be a reassuring thing when you genuinely have it.

TIS



www.stellaryear.com: Canon EOS 50D, Canon EOS 5DMkII, Sigma 50mm 1.4, Canon 24-70 2.8L II, Canon 100mm 2.8L, Canon 100-4
User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5613 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2118 times:

Anyone worshiping or believing in 'god' today...

..is no different than an Egyptian, Mesopotamian believing in or worshiping their god (s) aka the Sun, moon, stars over 5000 years ago.

Not a thing has changed..

BN747



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlineSacamojus From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 228 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2106 times:

If you don't mind, I am a Christian who was an athiests. The thing that turned me toward Christianitiy was no other than science. But anyway I recommend some books by some of the most brilliant people on this subject. "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis is a great book and the cases I call them, "The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith".... etc. are great resources that should in the least make you think about your current position.

User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 2096 times:

I hvae no doubt in the existence of God - whatever you wish to call him.

I also have not doubt that most organized religion - Christian, Jewish, Islamic, others - is more about control and less about spreading the message.

Most religions have as a central core belief that limits the power of God to only act as that religion wishes him to behave. The church leaders being right is more important than people finding salvation.

I was raised Roman Catholic - I still attend the church sporadically.

But my relationship with God and Jesus is personal and MINE. It's not something decided by a bunch of church leaders.

The God I believe and worship is loving and wants ALL his children to find a way to the Kingdom of Heaven.

I refuse to believe in a God who will automatically condem the majority of the people on this earth to Hell - especially that many of them their lives in a manner better than many 'Christians'.


User currently offlineSacamojus From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 228 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2070 times:

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 9):
Most religions have as a central core belief that limits the power of God to only act as that religion wishes him to behave. The church leaders being right is more important than people finding salvation.



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 9):
The God I believe and worship is loving and wants ALL his children to find a way to the Kingdom of Heaven.

I refuse to believe in a God who will automatically condem the majority of the people on this earth to Hell - especially that many of them their lives in a manner better than many 'Christians'.

I encourage you as well to look into these books as well as others on Christians philosophy writers as they provide greater insight in Christianity than what is found in any typical church.


User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5613 posts, RR: 51
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2054 times:

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 9):

The God I believe and worship is loving and wants ALL his children to find a way to the Kingdom of Heaven.

1) If he wants this ...with all his 'power' what is stopping him from making it so?

2) And where is this so-called Heaven?


BN747



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2034 times:

Quoting BN747 (Reply 12):
1) If he wants this ...with all his 'power' what is stopping him from making it so?

You miss the point I think. The idea behind the Christian faith is that it must be a decision made by you, hence free will. If God just said 'let it be so', then it becomes a dictatorship rather than a relationship.


User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5613 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2016 times:

Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 13):
You miss the point I think. The idea behind the Christian faith is that it must be a decision made by you, hence free will. If God just said 'let it be so', then it becomes a dictatorship rather than a relationship.

Yes, but isn't that the deal? Love and accept only me (god) or else...(insert fire and brimstone here)? I don't the rules permit a choice in the matter..


BN747



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2008 times:

Quoting BN747 (Reply 14):
Yes, but isn't that the deal? Love and accept only me (god) or else...(insert fire and brimstone here)? I don't the rules permit a choice in the matter..

Well, that's for yourself to research and decide, but then that's the deal with most other religions. Personally, my view is that Christianity isn't about fear of consequence. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there who preach otherwise.


User currently offlineBN747 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 5613 posts, RR: 51
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 1997 times:

Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 15):
Personally, my view is that Christianity isn't about fear of consequence. Unfortunately, there are too many people out there who preach otherwise.

Agreed 100% IFE, unfortunately those who 'otherwise' will argue with you til they're blue in the face. There's no concensus on anything remotely close to an agreed upon intepretation or method of interpretation. It leaves too many people to fend for themselves in knowing what's correct and what isn't.

Why I personally ceased being a believer is because the ability tosit back and extract personal feelings and observe religious beliefs at a distance. Look at them all from a distance, and they all take on a theme 'persuasion' to get onboard their beliefs (except Buddism). Then when you deeper into the stories told..well they've all been told before..1000s of years before in more ancient faiths... you actually see the evolution of religion attempting to keep pace with the changing human climate. As you can see contemporarily, it's difficult to do (however the intelligent design guys gave it a helluva shot) and will get even more so. As I said in my 1st post of this thread...

Quoting BN747 (Reply 7):
Anyone worshiping or believing in 'god' today...

..is no different than an Egyptian, Mesopotamian believing in or worshiping their god (s) aka the Sun, moon, stars over 5000 years ago.

Not a thing has changed..



"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
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