Matthew

Anyone else that just doesn't know?

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I just mean that if you really believe in God you wouldn't be afraid of Hell, it is nothing that important, insignificant like a speck, like I like to think I'm always trying to be a better christian but I never fear hell. Sorry I am a man of few words at somrtimes, and sometimes it comes off vague sometimes.

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I have to disagree. Hell, if real, is incredibly significant. I believed in God all my life until a few years ago and was always afraid of it.

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Then would you say you desired to follow God out of fear or because you are a true believer? Food for thought :)

There are three kinds of religious people:

 

  1. Those who act religious out of an honest open relationship with God.
  2. Those who act religious out of fear.
  3. Those who act religious because someone else said so.

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Ummm...Jesus died to save us from Hell, so I think it's pretty significant! Christians who are living their lives following Jesus' example shouldn't have a huge fear of it though.

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I'm sorry I mainly meant what kailey said I know it is important but it doesn't affect me anymore, the only way it affects me is trying to fight hell by trying to plant seeds to help save people from going. I just mean with God's strength it's nothing that's a big deal you know the battle is won and what not, I have just always been taught that hell is real and it is a horrible place but at the same time it is not a place of importance because of God's strength and what he has done for us all.

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I'm sorry I mainly meant what kailey said I know it is important but it doesn't affect me anymore, the only way it affects me is trying to fight hell by trying to plant seeds to help save people from going. I just mean with God's strength it's nothing that's a big deal you know the battle is won and what not, I have just always been taught that hell is real and it is a horrible place but at the same time it is not a place of importance because of God's strength and what he has done for us all.

 

Yeah, I kind of get what you mean. But still, the battle isn't won; you still have to live a good life, and follow what God teaches. You can still go to hell if you turn away from God and, I don't know, kill someone, or have an affair, or take to a life of crime, or whatnot, and then don't ask for forgiveness and go back to Him. So you still have to be a little worried about Hell. But, as Kailey said, if you live as Christ taught us, then you don't have to worry too much.

 

(Those were all pretty dramatic examples of sins, but you understand what I'm getting at...)

 

xxx

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I know that's where fighting hell comes into play but at the end of the day Jesus already won the battle when he died and came back.

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@Jegsy/Dasboy/Kailey- not everyone that believes in salvation believes you can lose it, as I'm sure you know. I was raised to believe in a one-time-for-eternity salvation. 

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@Jegsy/Dasboy/Kailey- not everyone that believes in salvation believes you can lose it, as I'm sure you know. I was raised to believe in a one-time-for-eternity salvation. 

Yes, it is really interesting to me. So, if one does turn away from God after this and never turns back what happens, from the point of view you were raised with?

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There are so many things to consider... and ultimately, it's not a decision that you "make" at any given instant I think, it's more of something that dawns on you over a period of time (whether long or short).

 

Science: Any legitimate scientist will tell you that science is constantly changing, and that most (>90%) scientific claims are open to change if further evidence is recovered. In a word, science will never cover it all. And even if you can answer everything in the universe with science, you can't *prove* it. The Big Bang is a solid theory with evidence still existing in the universe today. But that's just it, it's a solid THEORY. Nobody was there to see it and it can't be recreated to know that that happened. It's a very well thought-out, very educated guess. (It's my personal belief that Science is the human sequence of cataloguing God's creation. Pretty nifty mix of views, in my own opinion.)

 

History: Consider the Bible. Yes, it's been translated and re-translated and re-worded and cut and copied and bla bla bla, but HEY! We recovered the Dead Sea scrolls, we have close-to-original Greek and Hebrew documents to translate from. Bottom line: any Biblical scholar KNOWS what was originally written because- despite popular belief- it is available to us! Your obstacle is trying to find the best-fit version to the wordings and history of the time. Consider Gen 3:19 (accuracy?) "for it was dust whence you came, to dust you shall return." How would Moses (or whoever wrote this passage) know that the compounds and elements in our bodies are the very same as those in common dirt and dust? That wasn't known until thousands of years later. In fact, why did ancient humans have knowledge of ANY creation, God-inspired or godless? Just looking at their surroundings, it seems as if it would have been simpler just to think that the Earth had always "been", with no beginning. But not only did they know there was a beginning, but they knew that the heavens were "stretched out" (Isaiah 42:5- referencing the fact that all galaxies are accelerating away from each other when they should be caving in).

 

Religion: If it dawns upon you that there is a higher power, an often-titillating question is: Which one? The one that gets the most attention, of course, if the Abrahamic God, Yahweh/Iehova/Allah. Some argue that these are actually separate Gods. Perhaps to some, the fact that they get the most attention contributes to their likelihood. Otherwise you are dealing with an assortment of polytheisms with some scarce monotheisms mixed in.

 

I like to personally notice where they intersect. Jesus. Mohammed, Moses and the Buddha all spent time alone in the wilderness, considerable time, and performed some kind of work or ministry of their own. Moses professed that he was not the Messiah and pointed towards one who would come in the line of David (which happened to fall upon Joseph, Jesus's stepfather). Buddha said that with all of his wisdom, "I still search for the truth." Jesus said "I am the truth," and that his Father God ordained him alone as the truth. Then Mohammed came along and said none of that was true.

 

So pray and spend time in quiet meditation, and don't rely on voices or "signs", but rather on inner urgings and notions of direction

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@Kailey: Well it can get pretty complicated. Basically, from the perspective I was raised in, if a person is saved they become a child of God, and if they rebel after that, God will chastise them and persuade them to return to Him like any good parent would do. If someone is continuing to rebel without remorse/repentance than it's safe to assume they never really believed or repented in the first place. In other words, they didn't lose their salvation, they just never had it. So, fundamentally, maybe there's not much difference in believing in "eternal security" or believing you can lose your salvation, because if you're practicing your faith you're probably safe either way. This is one of many issues I struggled with growing up (I could see how people could interpret the Bible either way). If I came out to my parents as an agnostic, they'd say what many have said here: that everyone goes through times of doubt and I will get through it soon. If I came out as an atheist (I'm not), they would worry that I never got saved.

 

@thebigno8: I really like your perspective and the way you broke things down. I've got some books from the "reasons" site I linked to previously that touch on those very issues (like the links between science, history, and the Bible). Hopefully I will have time and energy to crack them open soon.

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@Kailey: Well it can get pretty complicated. Basically, from the perspective I was raised in, if a person is saved they become a child of God, and if they rebel after that, God will chastise them and persuade them to return to Him like any good parent would do. If someone is continuing to rebel without remorse/repentance than it's safe to assume they never really believed or repented in the first place. In other words, they didn't lose their salvation, they just never had it. So, fundamentally, maybe there's not much difference in believing in "eternal security" or believing you can lose your salvation, because if you're practicing your faith you're probably safe either way. This is one of many issues I struggled with growing up (I could see how people could interpret the Bible either way). If I came out to my parents as an agnostic, they'd say what many have said here: that everyone goes through times of doubt and I will get through it soon. If I came out as an atheist (I'm not), they would worry that I never got saved.

 

I think I understand. So, just as an example, say you have three people who all accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Now presumably, they all thought at that time that they were now saved. So the first person lives a very good life, and is good and kind to everyone, so when he dies, it's obvious that he was indeed saved. The second person does some bad things in his life, but then has a change of heart, and becomes a good person again, so when he dies, it's again obvious that he was saved. But the third one does some bad things in his life, and continues in this way until the day he dies. So this would mean that he wasn't really saved?

 

But the thing is, as I said, at the time these three people were all very sincere in their acceptance of Christ, and all thought very strongly that they were saved, because at that point in time, they were determined to live a life as God wanted them to live. All of their friends and family also believed they were sincere, and were under the impression that they were saved. When the first person lived a good life, this was confirmation to them that he was indeed saved. When the second did some bad things, they worried for a time that they were wrong, and that he wasn't saved after all like they had all believed and he himself had believed. But then he came back and lived a good life, so they were relieved, because that was evidence that he was saved just as they had believed. When the third person turned away from God and did bad things, they knew that everyone was wrong to think he had been saved, because obviously, he really hadn't.

 

So, if I understand correctly, the only way to tell if someone has been saved or not is by whether or not they live a good life, or at least if they do sin, they repent and turn back to God. In other words, you know if someone is really saved by looking at the works they do...

 

xxx

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When the third person turned away from God and did bad things, they knew that everyone was wrong to think he had been saved, because obviously, he really hadn't.

 

So, if I understand correctly, the only way to tell if someone has been saved or not is by whether or not they live a good life, or at least if they do sin, they repent and turn back to God. In other words, you know if someone is really saved by looking at the works they do...

Why wasn't he saved? Are you interpreting saved as "Jesus saved us from hell" or as "Jesus saved us from sinning"? And would this not also make anyone who leads a good life saved as well, regardless of whether or not they'd heard of Christ, or God, or Religion at all? I know lots of good people who have never considered themselves "saved" because they don't believe there was anything for them to be saved from in the first place.

Personally if there is a hell, I'd say that the hell of the Ancient Greeks is much better and more convincing. We have all the dead going there, and there is a place for those who are neutral (The Fields of Asphodel). Only those who are truly evil or who commit terrible blasphemies (Sisyphus, Tantalus) spend their lives in eternal torment. This is much better than the Hell of Christianity where we go to burn forevermore for only a few years of vice or pleasure upon Earth.

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@Kailey: Well it can get pretty complicated. Basically, from the perspective I was raised in, if a person is saved they become a child of God, and if they rebel after that, God will chastise them and persuade them to return to Him like any good parent would do. If someone is continuing to rebel without remorse/repentance than it's safe to assume they never really believed or repented in the first place. In other words, they didn't lose their salvation, they just never had it. So, fundamentally, maybe there's not much difference in believing in "eternal security" or believing you can lose your salvation, because if you're practicing your faith you're probably safe either way. This is one of many issues I struggled with growing up (I could see how people could interpret the Bible either way). If I came out to my parents as an agnostic, they'd say what many have said here: that everyone goes through times of doubt and I will get through it soon. If I came out as an atheist (I'm not), they would worry that I never got saved.

Thanks, in a way that is kind of similar to what I believe/the Catholic view-that you can always turn back to God and He will forgive you.  I assume that the person who continues to rebel can always turn back to God/receive their salvation. And I agree, if you are practicing your faith you should feel safe in the knowledge that you are forgiven.

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@Jegsy- Yes, you understand completely :) . That's why in the churches I grew up in versus like Matthew 7:20 are quoted so much. But like I said, there are versus/passages in the Bible that I feel can be interpreted either way, which is why it's so confusing to me.

 

@Mirage- I'd say saved from Hell and the ability to sin without guilt and soon repentance. When someone is saved, according to the Bible, they are made a "new creature." They still have a sin nature, but also a nature that compels them to serve God and follow his teachings and hate the sin they commit. As to being good without faith,  there's a verse in the Bible that says the good works of man are like filthy rags to God. In other words, what we do ain't worth crap. The only good we can do (yeah, I see the irony) is believing the Bible, accepting Christ and then making sharing the Gospel with other people our number one priority for the rest of our lives, accepting Christ being the bridge that gets one to Heaven. The thought of people who in our eyes are very good people (unarguably so without a belief in the Bible) going to a horrible Hell for eternity is indeed a difficult idea to swallow, I know.

 

@Kailey- Yep, that's exactly it :)

 

It feels so strange talking about beliefs I once believed without question...yet familiar as well.

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@Mattew-Sounds like a denomination that is heavily influenced by Calvinism. Though, in Calvinism, I believe that people who do good works may still not be among the elect. It's all pretty interesting stuff, really.

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In regards to "good people"-yes, there are lots of good people, but they do things that are sinful to God, like have sex before marriage for example. As to how God handles this, who can say for sure?

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@Kailey-I think it's more than just that in Calvinism, though. In Calvinism, you have absolutely no control over your fate. Say, theoretically, two people are equally as good as one another and both believe in God, the Bible, ect...I think in Calvinism one may be among the elect and another one may not be.

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@wny- No I don't think so. The main points of Calvinism (TULIP) are all based on God having chosen already who will be saved or not. Independent Baptists (what I was) don't believe that at all. They believe that "whosoever will" can be saved. And the "total depravity" point implies that one who is not elect will not choose God and therefore someone who is faithful in believing and serving God is probably one of the elect.

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@Mirage- I'd say saved from Hell and the ability to sin without guilt and soon repentance. When someone is saved, according to the Bible, they are made a "new creature." They still have a sin nature, but also a nature that compels them to serve God and follow his teachings and hate the sin they commit. As to being good without faith,  there's a verse in the Bible that says the good works of man are like filthy rags to God. In other words, what we do ain't worth crap. The only good we can do (yeah, I see the irony) is believing the Bible, accepting Christ and then making sharing the Gospel with other people our number one priority for the rest of our lives, accepting Christ being the bridge that gets one to Heaven. The thought of people who in our eyes are very good people (unarguably so without a belief in the Bible) going to a horrible Hell for eternity is indeed a difficult idea to swallow, I know.

 

I understand that the idea that being a good person without Christ going to hell is hard to accept and perhaps offensive at face value. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it's the ultimate form of love. First off, God is all powerful and perfect. His standards are higher than ours. If salvation was works based, there is no reason a perfect God should expect anything less than perfection. Any god that can be satisfied with imperfect human works is not all powerful nor perfect and therefore not all that different from humans. The problem is that none of us can achieve God's expectations and because we have sinned, we all deserve Hell. But despite that, God loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son to pay the price for us so we could have a second chance. Not to mention, a works based system implies that God favors certain people over others because of our deeds. But the Bible says that we are all God's children. God, like any good parent, does not play favorites and will love their children unconditionally regardless of what they have done. Also, like any good parent, He allows us to choose our own path. Would we rather that God forced us to believe in Him? I don't think he would be a very loving God if he did.

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@thebigno8: What you said about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) isn't really true...though that would be best covered in another thread, as it is another can of worms (I'll probably end up starting a thread on Islam sometime in the future). He didn't deny what Christ (pbuh) said...just what was attributed to him and its attendant meaning, as per the revealed scripture known as the Q'uran. I can cover this in more depth sometime soon, as said before. However, putting such simplistic labels over things which are in and of themselves profound enough to change a person's life isn't the best thing to do. I wouldn't say the same thing about your Christian faith...

 

@matthew: If you'd like to discuss such matters as what you've brought up, perhaps sometime in the near future, I might present a different perspective than those which have been presented thus far. I do love to delve into philosphy myself, as well as science (being an engineering major as you are). If I search around I might be able to find a series of videos that presents things from an Islamic perspective, which might prove interesting to you and others.

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@Mattew-It sounds like Independent Baptism still has God choosing some people and not choosing others, though. Or am I understanding that incorrectly? It's not entirely the same as Calvinism, but it sounds like there is some Calvinist influence there.

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@Vince- I'd have to get into some pretty heavy stuff in order to reply. There probably wouldn't be any point though.

 

@Altan- I'm not sure I see Islam making any more sense to me than Christianity, but I'd be interested in your future Islam thread or the videos you mentioned if you want to share.

 

@wny- Well, no Independent Baptists believe that..on purpose at least. lol. They believe God convicts people about their need for salvation without discrimination and it's up to each person to accept or not.

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@Mattew-Oh. I misunderstood what you had posted before. I think I get what you're saying now.

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I understand that the idea that being a good person without Christ going to hell is hard to accept and perhaps offensive at face value. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it's the ultimate form of love. First off, God is all powerful and perfect. Any god that can be satisfied with imperfect human works is not all powerful nor perfect and therefore not all that different from humans. The problem is that none of us can achieve God's expectations and because we have sinned, we all deserve Hell. But despite that, God loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son to pay the price for us so we could have a second chance. Not to mention, a works based system implies that God favors certain people over others because of our deeds. But the Bible says that we are all God's children. God, like any good parent, does not play favorites and will love their children unconditionally regardless of what they have done. Also, like any good parent, He allows us to choose our own path. Would we rather that God forced us to believe in Him? I don't think he would be a very loving God if he did.

But he didn't really sacrifice his son now did he? I mean, Jesus basically became a celebrity, was killed (Once). And then brought back to life to serve next to his father in heaven forever more. It wasn't a sacrifice so much as a task.

And what sins have I committed that are so bad I deserve to go to hell? I am human so I am imperfect, on that I can agree with you. However I don't think that I have done anything so bad that I deserve to burn for eternity when I die. Unless stealing 3 dollars from a fundraiser for my own benefit, 3 dollars which I and a friend used to buy bouncy balls and then each gave back 5 in apology counts. If I deserve to go to hell for that then I should imagine that I shall have some most excellent company down there.

Finally, he's not very loving anyways if he lets people burn because he was late in translating things for them. Or simply because he refuses to reveal himself again after having his people burn and pillage their way through the ancient Middle East, torching any and all who stood in their way. Is he ashamed of us? His own creations? And if so, then why would he appear so often in the past only to disappear now? Returning to my original point, if I'm some tribesman from some random island in the middle of nowhere. I would really hate to find out that because Christianity never came to the island, I am now doomed to burn in hell. Hell, if I was Lucifer I'd recruit all these people to my cause and use them to overthrow God for this injustice.

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