Mstr Josh

I don't really know what to title this

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So really to be honest im terrified. I don't know what I am faith wise, I believe in the principle of a higher god or gods like power. I'm terrified on what happens after you die, I've never gotten an answer I like and probably never will, people want to go to heaven but it seems you need blind faith and hate to go there. I've felt that I no longer have the right to believe in anything because it wouldn't be me believing in something because I want to, it would be because I'm scared. I never really I guess knew about religion until I was 11 or so just because I wasn't raised on a religious house hold. And once I found out about it I just never took an interest. Even though my family isnt religious they still had me baptized as a baby which I have no clue what that does.

I've never felt religions hold all the answers and I've neve felt science holds all the answers. I know no bible quotes at all minus the ones from video games I've played or ones I've heard on tv. I see religion on tv and the hate it breeds, people saying homosexuality is a sin even though a greater power created it. Since I know nothing about religion and am more a man of science, when I try to find answers the only ones I get are from hardcore evangelical baptist church goers who tell me some atrocious answers and give me bible chapters to read. I do not want to spend my Saturdays looking up bible passages as I am 16 years old.

I don't want to have to dedicate a life to "god" and pray all the time and worship him, only to die and worship him more? The bible is open to interpretation but interpreting it is a sin I've heard. Well my god wouldn't damn people for causes that he or she started or not worshiping them every day. I don't want to have to worry about sinning my whole life and doing bad things. I've always tried to live my life as a good person, I've always tried to do more for others than I would myself and I've always tried to see things through other people's eyes to make decisions. I volunteered to cook a free breakfast for the homeless and needy when I was 10 years old and I still do it every Sunday, 6 years of doing it this spring. I made that decision all on my own by just living by my do more for others thing. I made my decision to wait until marriage when I was an ahiest and was sure there was no "god".

I didn't become interested in religion until I had a girlfriend that was religious and then broke up with me because I wasn't religious. I then looked more into religion and was brought out of my ahiest ideals. I can get no answers for anything, I'm always told bible chapters to read and when I ask questions I get "well your just hopeless and going to hell" or more bible passages to read. I don't want to read the passages, I want some damn answers. And when I question the answers because of my more scientific nature people just stop answering me. I don't know what a sin truly is, I don't know much at all. All I see is religious people slow to embrace new ideas, living in the breeding grounds of hate, and just not making sense.

I don't want to live like a west boro hardcore baptist church member and stand on corners with "god hates fags signs". I want to live like I'm gonna die the next day, I'm 16 I want to go out and get so drunk I don't know who I am, I want to go to parties and act crazy. I want to be allowed to want things without it being called a sin or something. What I have found about religion is you "believe or burn". My "god" wouldn't give you that terrible decision to make, and of "god" loves everyone, why damn people when they act skeptical towards something with no real answers? I'm not saying science has real answers either, just different more reasonable answers to someone who wasn't raised religious.

I really don't know what I'm saying here or if there's actually a question or how many typos I've made, but if anyone could offer an answer or advice, I don't want bible passages. I don't want "oh just give yourself to Jesus" because I have no damn clue how to do that and don't say to to church because that's just boring as all get up. I pray sometimes, for selfish and selfless reasons. But if anyone has advice or answers I'd appreciate it.

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Well, I'll go ahead and respond a little. I was raised Catholic, so I was taught about Jesus/God my whole life, so I have a different perspective than you. I understand how it can be hard to know what to believe since you didn't grow up in one. Not sure who you've been talking to, but they don't sound very nice to me. People who are truly Christian in their hearts do not hate, because Jesus didn't hate, and Christians are to model their lives after Jesus.

 

I live as a normal person, I watch TV, listen to top 40 radio stations, read all kinds of books, and yes I pray and I like going to church. When I pray, I kind of just talk to God as if I am talking to a friend/family member. I thank Him a lot and ask Him for help. I do believe God can help with anything, but that doesn't mean I just sit around and do nothing. For example, if I go on a teaching job interview, I study all my question notes and research the school and do everything I can to prepare, then I pray and ask God to help me speak well and to do my best.

 

As for heaven, we don't really know exactly what it will be like, but I think we will do a lot of what we do on Earth. Be with friends/family/pets, do fun stuff.  And, it will be the most amazing to see God, Jesus, Mary, and all the other saints that are in heaven too. It is weird and scary to talk about though. I want to live an amazing long life!

 

Religion gives you a blueprint on what to do to make sure you get to heaven. It seems like you are already doing many of the things that Christianity and even other faiths ask you to do. Faith is a choice though, God gave us the free will to choose whether or not to believe in Him. If you are seeking to believe, I suggest asking God to help you believe, ask Him to give you signs He is real. There is nothing like being God-smacked and having God answer your prayers, it's amazing :D!

 

Also, please don't go out drinking/partying-there is plenty of fun stuff to do that doesn't involve alcohol. Hope that helped a little-

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well im not really sure what to say here but to say that religion breeds hate i think thats a little blunt, i mean i guess i can see how some religions do but i just think it all depends on who you talk to. some religious people do get carried away and i think those people are actually scaring people away from the truth by judging people for their choices. i am a christian as you know and i know ive made my fair share of mistakes and wrongfully judged some people but i realized that it is not my place to save people or tell them whats wrong and whats right. as christians we are to tell people what god has done through his son and the wonderful blessings and how god has influenced our life in a positive way to give non believers some hope that there is someone who loves them unconditionally and will give you peace for your mind, heart and soul. christians are to love all and hate no one, i myself have not read the bible entirely but i do believe that its all true but i can understand someone being skeptical of its truth because even as a christian i dont understand it all.

 

god does not expect us to understand it right off the bat, it takes time and prayer that god will show you what a passage of scripture means, i know this may sound crazy but seeing is not always believing but believing is seeing. some say that god is just a figure of our imagination like santa claus but think for a minute as a kid we probably all believed in santa at one time or another and think what made you believe in santa. it wasnt factual proof, there was nothing really to prove his existence and yet we still believed, but as we grew older we grew wise and realized he doesnt exist. but i dont know about you but i didnt go looking on ways to prove that he didnt exist, the realization came natural with time or maybe seeing your parents putting gifts under the tree. my point is maybe dont look to prove god doesnt exist but look for his existence and if you look hard enough you will find him, i see him everyday especially in nature and everytime a child is born. im sure youve already heard but let me say it in case you havent heard but jesus was born to marry and through his life he spread the wonderful loving merciful truth of gods love healing people and bringing people to follow him and have peace in their life.

 

then he was crucified in the worst possible way but still even then he did not hate anyone but instead he said before he died forgive them father for they know not what they do. after three days he rose from the dead and showed himself to his desciples and then went back up to seat at the right hand of god. plus he knew they trusted him and he knew they needed guidance so god sent the holy spirit to help guide them through their lifes and ours, and with the death of christ because its the son of god and was without blemish and without sin he is the lamb that paid for all sin past present and future for anyone who believes. i know that might seem crazy but thats what i believe, i dont think ive said anything that is controversial here or affends anyone, but just know if you decide to take the leap of faith there are plenty of christian people willing to help that wont judge you cuz if a religious person judges you then there not the ones you should listen to anyways. i know this is long and i could say more but i think ill see how people take what ive said so far. good luck and i hope you find the answers your looking for.

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 Well, I can't say I'm very good at giving advice, per say, but I'll try my best to answer the questions/issues you've raised.

 

But before I do, just remember one thing: You don't need to feel afraid. God is love. Right now, that probably doesn't help you at all, but try to keep it in mind.

 

As others have said already, I'm sorry you've met so many people in your life who've done such a bad job of being Christians. There's no room for hate in Christianity. Also, you ask them for advice, and they either get on a high horse and say, "Oh, there's no hope for you" or just tell you, "Read this passage from the Bible"...That's pretty bad advice, I must say. At the very least, they should have given you reasons of why you should believe anything the Bible says, and not just, "Because it was written by God".

 

"Blind faith" is of no use to anyone. Belief should be based on evidence, first and foremost. When Jesus Christ came to earth, he didn't say, "I am the Son of God, therefore you should believe what I say". He proved who He was by His actions, so that there was evidence to support His claims. He performed miracles: curing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead. And then Jesus Himself died and rose from the dead, appearing to hundreds of people to prove it. 

 

And you're right: neither religion nor science holds all the answers. Fortunately, you don't have to make a choice. Science and religion do not contradict each other. They work together to reveal different truths.

 

You say you don't want to "dedicate your life to God". I can only assume you mean, you don't want to spend every moment of the day praying or going to church. I agree: that doesn't sound exciting. Don't worry: that's not what you have to do. You can still live a "normal" life. It just means that everything you do will be out of love for God. You'll go to work, and as you're working at your desk, you're serving God by making money for your family. You'll do something nice for your friend, and you'll serve God by serving others. You'll be playing video games, and you'll be serving God, because, hey, God wants you to have fun! You don't have to be "thinking about God" every second of the day.

 

You don't have to "worry about sinning your whole life", either. God is not some kind of authoritarian who follows you around waiting for you to make a mistake, "Oh, he ate that piece of cake without saying a prayer first: he's going to Hell for sure..." That's not how it works! You say that you try to be a good person. Of course, there's more to Christianity than simply that, but for now, that's all you have to worry about. Believing in God is a step-by-step thing, so don't worry about getting everything right at once. And remember that God does not blame you for doing something you didn't know was wrong. Sin involves a deliberate action against God: If you sincerely don't know that something is wrong when you do it, that's okay.

 

Just remember what I said: God is love. He loves you, and wants you to know and love Him. You don't have to worry about anything. You said that you pray sometimes, so I recommend that you pray to Him, just asking Him to help you.

 

And if you have any questions, then you can send me a PM, and I'll do my best to answer them.

 

xxx

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@Mstr Josh, everyone including you believes in something... Atheists believe in something even though they rationalize in their mind with things there is no God. Atheists believes that when they press the brake in their car it will work; they believe that when they work a job, they'll get paid from a man or woman, they believe that every time they turn the faucet water will come out, they just CHOOSE not to believe in God!! Young man, God has given every human being the Power of choice. You have the Power of CHOICE to Choose whether you want to believe in Jesus or Not Josh!

You also can not do it your way. You dont tell God how to give you answers; You don't tell God how and what will make you believe in Him. You have to go to manual & the author who has revealed himself, and has given you a blueprint on how to know Him, who He is and where you can find Him. Yes You Will Have to Read the Bible to know God! The Bible is Jesus Christ, who is the Only God revealed in words. Jegsy Scarr is right when she says Science supports Christianity and they don't contradict each other.

FYI- Christianity never was and is not a religion!! I explained all that in the born again section. The westboro baptist church you saw on t.v that put up signs saying "God hates fags" are not Christians and don't reflect the spirit of the Christian faith, so don't look at them as Christians.

I understand that you said you don't know how to give yourself to Jesus. If you would like to give your life to Jesus Christ, the Son of God and have a relationship with God- which is called being born again, You can read my reply to markb4 in the section "For the Born Again Spirit-filled Christians on the site"; in that reply I explained in detail what it meant to be born again with scriptures according to Jesus and the steps to receive Jesus Christ into your heart. Its simple but profound and significant. I hope you read it and the scriptures I posted there, I pray that as you read them, God touches your heart and you open yourself up to God.

God loves you Josh-(young man) & God is love! I wrote this post to you out of love from me to you. I teach young people your age the word of God every Sunday night, and I have seen many young people give their life to Christ and make the commitment and live the Christian life for real with power at their age in high school and in college reaching other people over the years. I am giving you the opportunity & a moment in time right now because God is reaching out to you...

If you read that reply in the born again section and the scriptures in the bible, preferably a New King James version and you CHOOSE to BELIEVE in Christ and give your life to Him seriously, Let me know, and I'll endeavor to find you a non-denominational bible believing/ teaching church in your area where you can grow in your new walk with the Lord Jesus Christ!

Remember this is your decision, no one can make it for you, not your mum, dad, sibling or anybody; and you dont need anyones opinion to decide. Young man, it will be a joy to see you experience the love, joy, peace, sense of purpose and life-changing power that comes into your life when you receive Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior and CHOOSE to Serve Him. :)

With love,

Godlyseed

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Hey Josh,

Confusion is good, confusion means that you're asking questions. And asking questions is a sign of a strong active mind, that's what you need to get through life. Now as for your questions about religion they're fairly common. I won't pretend that death is not a scary thing, even to Christians death is scary. What happens when we die? Do we go somewhere? Do we just, disappear? These are questions that plague us.

My advice is to compile a list of questions that you'd like answered about religion. Things that you'd like answers for. Once you have these questions do some research on them online, THEN visit a place of worship for whichever religion(s) interests you. This way when they give you an answer, you can present the arguments to that question and whatever you think then and there. If they just brush you off with something about bible passages every time you ask a question then simply find another place. If this becomes a pattern then maybe that's your God telling you that that's not the one.

Eventually you'll either find a religion or answers to your questions. Maybe even a religion with answers to your questions! I would suggest PMing or finding Matthew on chat, he has the same problem as you. Only he was raised religious and is now questioning religion in general. You two could probably benefit each other a lot more than a bunch of people who already have their own answers. (No I do not have my own answers. ;) )

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Well it is a very complicated situation something Ive dealt with myself, I was never a non believer as I have always had spiritual guidance in my life.  But I also never really went to church or claimed any "religion" because of what youve stated above too many judgments and hypochristians ugh yuck!

 

Alot of people have fear because they are misunderstanding the purpose behind loving God, It should not be out of fear it should be out of love because you want to strengthen the love in your heart. Its not a very good idea to join a religion out of fear of going to hell so please dont do that... but really christianty is just about following christ not a religion...I think what you need to do is look up real christian testimonies you need to see and understand why real people follow christ.  You can also look up athiests testimonies it helps me because no one really enjoys being preached at or told to read the scripture its better to see the impact God has on peoples lives. Lacey sturm from Flyleaf has a beautiful testimony in order to have a true relationship with Jesus he needs to be accepted in your heart NOT forced down your throat.

 

People dont understand that when they preach at people that is the exact reason people want to turn away from God its scary...what helps me is constantly remembering "he who is without sin cast the first stone" so when people throw scriptures at me for "doing the wrong thing" I think to myself such a shame, because God wants to help one another and love one another he DOES NOT want us to act self righteous because no one is without sin. hope this helps in some way :)

 

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Yep, I'm in a very similar situation. Have been for about 3 years now. I think the important thing is not to panic, keep doing what you're doing, and formulate a strategy for moving forward. I like Mirage's idea for starters. A lot of people have taken our journey and finished it believing in this or that god or no god at all, so the journey definitely doesn't have to go on forever.

 

For a scientific and Christian perspective, I suggest seeing this site: http://www.reasons.org/ founded by this guy: http://www.reasons.org/about/who-we-are/hugh-rossI have several books written by him or others on the site that are geared towards blending science and faith in the Christian God. I haven't gotten around to reading much of them yet. I've been pretty lazy in my seeking lately.

 

Whichever religion you're considering, I advise reading the holy book associated with that religion; at least the most critical parts of it. Otherwise you're just getting other people's opinions.

 

If you want to talk more about it or are interested in the books I mentioned, feel free to PM me! And good luck with your search.

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Questioning your beliefs and the meaning of the bible is good. I don't think that is bad and I believe God wants us to question and research the meaning. He wants people to gain knowledge and not follow indoctrination from another person's beliefs. He gave people a mind and he does not want people to be mindless. I'm a scientist and I believe in evolution and I am a christian. I ask questions all the time; I research the bible and science articles. A good method that I do use is to ask questions to Christian theologists. I kind of believe they read the bible with less of a bias than with pastors. Not that one is worse than the other but one could be more prone to understand the cultural and historical ramifications of a certain event while the other might look more into the morality of an event.

 

I'm not sure where you live but one way to help with this confusing time is to maybe search through other sects of Christianity. It also sounds like you might be around the wrong people with talking about religion. And I think a lot of the "hateful" Christians are normally shown more in the media that the actual loving Christians. The media shows westboro instead of the church gathering youths to go to soup kitchens. So I hope that there is a chance for you to distance yourself from the hate then maybe you can see the other side of the coin more so that exploring Christianity will be a little easier. Finding one Christian group or sect, agreeing with their methods and following their methodology in understanding the bible would lessen the confusion instead of a swarm of different methods and beliefs. IMHO, for some reason, maybe for a biological reason of protection, many people become bogged down with the hate of others especially when it seems like it is everywhere to the point where it becomes hard to see the good in certain groups. I also think you are smart enough not to get confused and follow a "westboro" like church lol. I urge not to leave Christianity because of the misuse of the bible from others; your judgements will then be based on the actions of the world instead of what God actually wants people to do.

 

I am from the south so I can understand how some people can really hinder spiritual growth than help with a very "holier than thou" attitude but I also know many loving people who embraces everyone. Sin is a confusing topic for most people but for starters many people also do not understand that sin should be countered with love and not judgement. Sinning should not conjure a hateful message because every human being has sinned. I do believe that God does hate sin but not the person who is sinning. For example, my little niece lied to not get in trouble. I hate that she lied but I don't hate her. I love her just the same but I really don't like when she lies to me. I do not respond in anger but instead a calm explanation on why lying is wrong and I'll probably take away her toy for a while lol. I hate when people lie,cheat and steal even if there actions do not directly affect me but I don't hate them if that makes sense. I'll still help them when I can and treat them like a human.

 

One of the main problems/ controversial topic that I mainly see with sinning is with homosexuality. Those arguments also go deeper into biblical scriptures and meanings. The best advice I can give you for that is to read from people who has less of a bias such as Christian theologists instead of pastors or lay people. I say that because many theologists have spent years and years on that one topic and probably studied the topic (from hebrew to latin to english) a lot more than many other people. And though this will sound hard and counterproductive try going into the conversations with a clear mind (not just homosexuality but every thing else also). If you are already against one group then your mind is already closed and researching the topic then becomes completely useless.

 

And though I know it sucks reading the bible at 16 years it is the best method of understanding and disparaging untrue comments. Again I don't believe interpreting the bible is a sin or bad. There are certain texts in the bible that are pretty blunt like "Thou shalt not kill", that is a pretty blunt text that would be pretty hard to interpret as something else but understanding things like genesis is not bad in my opinion. There are passages in the bible that people use to proclaim bad things. Those are times where it is important to specifically read the text they are using and understand that text. If a person just takes certain claims for face value then they could be indoctrinated into a complete lie. I'm not asking you to read whole books but reading a quote a day can really help. Like going through the book of Psalms and reading just a couple of verses a day can provide some enlightenment and clarity. If there is one text that you are confused about and do not have a pastor or spiritual guide to go to then try looking up specialist in the area like theologists.

 

I have had moments like "I really don't know what I am doing following this belief system" but I generally just sit down with my questions and research. It takes a while but I feel better in the end. I hope that helps!

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I agree with others when they say questioning is good it simply means you are thinking for yourself which is not a sin and when people dont answer your questions its because they can't.

 

Sometimes SOME christians get scared and confused and will unfortunately blindingly believe everything that their preacher says about the bible but we all know not all preachers are saints and frankly not all know what they are talking about... its very difficult(a reason I dont go to church) I'm not here to follow man I'm here to follow christ.

 

 I was watching a christian poem and a young lady challenged the people of the church, which I loved she started her poem with telling the audience to interact with the person next to them, like the preacher does in church.  Then she stated in her poem that people will do anything a preacher says, and I mean ANYTHING just to get into heaven and its truly sad that people follow so blindly. Its more like a cult that way.

 

Preachers tell people of the church to pay their tithings and they will get that money back and then some because God will love them for it.  I have a friend who is struggling with a kid and she goes to church, even when she cant bills or feed her kid she pays tithing (really that goes to the pastor and his new car or suit) and thats not right honestly thats just plain dumb. Some preachers honestly shouldnt be preaching.

 

  We should all have questions no one is ever all knowing, God is generally just too big for us to understand so questions will always be there no one person will have all the answers. Its best to read the bible on your own and do some research to answer some of your questions and get a better understanding of it all....

 

below is an amazing poem of how the once beautiful church became damaged by man....its really powerful and very true.

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Sometimes SOME christians get scared and confused and will unfortunately blindingly believe everything that their preacher says about the bible but we all know not all preachers are saints and frankly not all know what they are talking about... its very difficult(a reason I dont go to church) I'm not here to follow man I'm here to follow christ.

 

 I was watching a christian poem and a young lady challenged the people of the church, which I loved she started her poem with telling the audience to interact with the person next to them, like the preacher does in church.  Then she stated in her poem that people will do anything a preacher says, and I mean ANYTHING just to get into heaven and its truly sad that people follow so blindly. Its more like a cult that way.

 

Preachers tell people of the church to pay their tithings and they will get that money back and then some because God will love them for it.  I have a friend who is struggling with a kid and she goes to church, even when she cant bills or feed her kid she pays tithing (really that goes to the pastor and his new car or suit) and thats not right honestly thats just plain dumb. Some preachers honestly shouldnt be preaching.

 

Again there is this overwhelming distrust of church's and pastors that I would hope wouldn't dissuade so many people from congregating with their fellow believers. I agree that people misuse/abuse the Bible. And I also believe their are scammers in the Church. Religion has been used for terrible things. But I would be a hypocrite if I did not acknowledge that pretty much every single book, document, moral belief has been abused for someone else's personal gain. Sometimes I do get confused on what the bible or what my life is telling me and I do talk to my pastor. I take his advice and continue on with my life. I agree with what my preachers say about the bible because he does not include hatred or bigotry. He actually just talks about how to walk with Christ and he doesn't have a holier than thou rhetoric.  And while I am here to follow Christ I need help understanding what God wants me to do sometimes. I need help understanding the bible and I need affirmation in my present understandings of the Bible. Sure I don't follow blindly but I also don't close my mind to others interpretations.

My pastor also doesn't really talk about heaven or hell...mainly because he already acknowledges that he doesn't know where anyone will go since that is up to God. Again he explains how to walk with Christ and talks about how Christians have become drunk in the world (like drunkenness, premarital sex, adultery). He makes us aware of things that are actually non-Christ like.

My pastor always explains that the tithing go to the Church because it is God's house. The financial blessings from God are because you are helping his "house" continue to thrive in a world that hates/is angry with him.  My pastor uses all the tithes for the church's electricity, gas, food and other utility bills. He often puts in money from his actual job when the bills come up short. He is a pastor and owns his own funeral home (he's had it for at least 30+ years; he's probably been my pastor for 10 years). He never uses any of the church's money for suits or cars; he is knows that is a great violation against God.

I agree that some preachers should not be in the pulpit because they are scamming the church. But I do believe that those preachers will reap what they have sown either in this life or the next. I also believe your friend's contribution to the church will end in a blessing. The preacher is doing wrong, not her...she is being scammed and trying to do the right thing. Why do I believe in these things? I believe in God and while I do not have blind faith in my pastor I do have blind faith in my God.

I didn't right this post to start an argument but I do want Mstr Josh to know that not all Pastors/Churches are bad. It is safe to commune with others and if you have/find a trusted spiritual leader talk to him/her. They don't all want to scam you or turn you into mindless sheep. And like I said before please keep an open mind when entering whatever religion you choose and not let the words of another person deter you. Religion is personal and you have to make that decision.

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@Mstr Josh: In a lot of ways I know where you're coming from. When I was younger I went through a phase much like your own, delving into philosophy, mysticism, etc. All the while though, I never really lost my ascetic bent and held to my wtm values and still abstained from all the stuff many youth get into when they go through such phases. Regardless, it's at the very least a good thing that you're questioning what you've been told or heard. As a Muslim, I've often heard the verse of the Q'uran that encourages humans to reflect on the universe and to not blindly follow the ways of those who came before, because one's forebears might not be on the truth, so to speak. Having read through your post, I'd have to say you have some really good, solid questions whose answers should be sought out.

 

As far as at least a couple of questions that you put up (from what I could discern), I'd like to present something of the Islamic take on them. In Islam, while acting on homosexual desires is considered a major sin (on the same level as having sex outside of marriage), the actual condition of being attracted to the same gender is not. Just as one might be born with a temper or some other condition that would make it easier to commit other such sins (clinical depression that might make one prone to alcoholism), such a condition as being attracted to the same gender is seen as one of if not the source of one's 'jihad' or struggle for the sake of God, in that if one resists and does not give in, then one is fighting in the way of God, which can be hard. I myself had to struggle with wtm as a heterosexual male, so I can somewhat understand the struggle such people go through. Also, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) put it: "He who loves and remains chaste and conceals his secret and dies, dies a martyr.†In other words, someone who has such problematic desires, but does not act on them, can in fact be higher in the eyes of God (as Islam sees them) than a heterosexual person, if they don't act on such desires. And here's are a couple of short videos on the subject, just to (perhaps) present a clearer picture of things:

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eI0mky61nnE

 

Also, as far as science and religion are concerned, for several centuries at the very least, science in the Islamic World flourished, due primarily to the influence of the faith itself, since Muslims are told to reflect upon and study the universe, since we're told that it's full of signs from God for those who reflect and study it. Numerous inventions from algebra to even soap were brought forth by Muslim scientists, who were driven by the command of the Prophet to "Seek knowledge, even as far as China (then taken to mean the ends of the Earth)." So, as far as science and religion are concerned, they can work together and bring about a lot of good. I hope that I haven't offended anyone and have instead helped to clear some stuff up. Other than that, I guess I'll just...

 

See ya on the flipside,

 

Altan

 

P.S.:If you have any questions, feel free to PM me or post to this thread.

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Again there is this overwhelming distrust of church's and pastors that I would hope wouldn't dissuade so many people from congregating with their fellow believers. I agree that people misuse/abuse the Bible. And I also believe their are scammers in the Church. Religion has been used for terrible things. But I would be a hypocrite if I did not acknowledge that pretty much every single book, document, moral belief has been abused for someone else's personal gain. Sometimes I do get confused on what the bible or what my life is telling me and I do talk to my pastor. I take his advice and continue on with my life. I agree with what my preachers say about the bible because he does not include hatred or bigotry. He actually just talks about how to walk with Christ and he doesn't have a holier than thou rhetoric.  And while I am here to follow Christ I need help understanding what God wants me to do sometimes. I need help understanding the bible and I need affirmation in my present understandings of the Bible. Sure I don't follow blindly but I also don't close my mind to others interpretations.

My pastor also doesn't really talk about heaven or hell...mainly because he already acknowledges that he doesn't know where anyone will go since that is up to God. Again he explains how to walk with Christ and talks about how Christians have become drunk in the world (like drunkenness, premarital sex, adultery). He makes us aware of things that are actually non-Christ like.

My pastor always explains that the tithing go to the Church because it is God's house. The financial blessings from God are because you are helping his "house" continue to thrive in a world that hates/is angry with him.  My pastor uses all the tithes for the church's electricity, gas, food and other utility bills. He often puts in money from his actual job when the bills come up short. He is a pastor and owns his own funeral home (he's had it for at least 30+ years; he's probably been my pastor for 10 years). He never uses any of the church's money for suits or cars; he is knows that is a great violation against God.

I agree that some preachers should not be in the pulpit because they are scamming the church. But I do believe that those preachers will reap what they have sown either in this life or the next. I also believe your friend's contribution to the church will end in a blessing. The preacher is doing wrong, not her...she is being scammed and trying to do the right thing. Why do I believe in these things? I believe in God and while I do not have blind faith in my pastor I do have blind faith in my God.

I didn't right this post to start an argument but I do want Mstr Josh to know that not all Pastors/Churches are bad. It is safe to commune with others and if you have/find a trusted spiritual leader talk to him/her. They don't all want to scam you or turn you into mindless sheep. And like I said before please keep an open mind when entering whatever religion you choose and not let the words of another person deter you. Religion is personal and you have to make that decision.

I hear what youre saying I was explaining things from my point of view, to show that I understand where he is coming from. You are blessed to have trustworthy people that help you on your spiritual journey with Christ.  Unfortunately I have not been so lucky, my previous statement explains my only experiences with church.  I have yet to find a church thats right for me but I continue looking because I know there are some good ones out there...finding a good church for me is like finding a good man its difficult.

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