Feed on Posts or Comments 03 September 2014

Christianity Johnson on 11 Nov 2008 01:54 am

Is Hell real?

One of the most amusing things about Christian mythology is that fact that Christians cannot agree unanimously on any part of their mythology. Let’s take the simplest possible question:

Is Hell real?

Many Christians believe that Hell is absolutely real. They claim that Hell is vividly described in the Bible by Jesus himself.

Other Christians claim there is no Hell:

- Heretics

- Without hell, a megachurch goes cold

- Hell-Bent on Fundamentalism (comments too)

It is easy to see why some Christians might believe that Hell doesn’t exist. According to Jesus, Christians are supposed to love one another. They are supposed to love their enemies. So how can Christians “love their enemies” while at the same time God is sending people who happen to disagree with him to a place of eternal torture? The contradiction is profound.

Another question: If Hell is real, who goes to Hell? For example, do Christian homosexuals go to Hell or not?

The funny thing is that you can pick any part of Christian doctrine, and Christians cannot agree:

- Was Jesus a man, or was he God incarnate?

- Is the Bible literally true or not?

- Did God create man as in Genesis, or did God affect evolution, or did evolution have no input from God?

You can find Christians for and against.

You can find Christians who believe the craziest stuff. Even famous Christians like John Calvin claiming things like predestination:

And no matter who says what, ALL of them can back up whatever they believe with scripture. Calvin had very good reasons for believing in predestination. And lots of other Christians have very good reasons for not believing in it. But who is right? And how would Christians ever know?

How can this be? If God is real, then how can there be any question about what is true about God and what isn’t? Why can people make up anything they like and attach it to God?

If you are a Christian and you think about it deeply, you will discover the answer to this question. The reason why people make up anything they like about God is because God is imaginary. Click here to learn more:

- Whywontgodhealamputees.com

52 Responses to “Is Hell real?”

  1. on 11 Nov 2008 at 4:41 am 1.SteveK said …

    The funny thing is that you can pick any part of Christian doctrine, and Christians cannot agree:
    …….
    If God is real, then how can there be any question about what is true about God and what isn’t?

    Geez, Johnson, you can pick any part of human thought and find that humans cannot agree. So what? Reality is real and yet humanity cannot agree about every jot and tittle of reality. I suppose we should conclude that reality isn’t real, just like you think we should conclude that God isn’t real.

  2. on 11 Nov 2008 at 5:55 am 2.G said …

    Steve, Find someone who claims that the Washington Monument does not exist. If you can, he will be a person who is insane in some measure.

    you can pick any part of human thought and find that humans cannot agree.

    I just picked a part of human thought and proved that all sane humans can agree. We all agree that the Washington Monument does exist.

  3. on 11 Nov 2008 at 8:31 am 3.The Duka horn said …

    There’s a difference between debating about an object and about an issue or a way of doing things. Frankly, people cannot debate about an “object” but they can debate on an object’s characteristics, value or effect.

    For example, everyone can agree that the monument in Washington exist (quiet obviously) but they might disagree on whether it is the most significant monument in the world or not since it’s a symbol of the most powerful nation in the world. Others might say it is only signigicant as far as Americans are concerned.

    Christians all equally agree that the book called the Bible (object) exists and that it is the word of God, but they disagree on some parts contained in it (contents).

    Somehow, somewhere, disagreements come in on the very thing they agree on.In order for something to qualify for a disagreement, that thing first needs the recognitions from the parties that it exists in some form (whether as a belief or in obvious sense)before disagreeing over some parts of it.Johnson and the Christians all agree that the Christian religion is alive and it exists (all agreed), but they disagree on the part that the Christian God exists or not.

  4. on 11 Nov 2008 at 10:29 am 4.Red O'Brien said …

    So religion is “human thought?”

  5. on 11 Nov 2008 at 1:24 pm 5.Hermes said …

    What I love about this post is that it shows that cries of “moral relativism” are just projection.

  6. on 11 Nov 2008 at 2:12 pm 6.G said …

    Frankly, people cannot debate about an “object”

    Duka, Does Hell exist?

  7. on 11 Nov 2008 at 3:02 pm 7.SteveK said …

    G
    “I just picked a part of human thought and proved that all sane humans can agree. We all agree that the Washington Monument does exist.”

    People disagree about whether or not concepts/ideas really, truly exist since science can’t empirically discover them.

    All sane humans can agree that it’s wrong to conclude that something doesn’t exist because people disagree about it’s existence.

  8. on 11 Nov 2008 at 4:47 pm 8.john shuck said …

    Thanks for the shout! I enjoy your blog and I appreciate what you are doing.

  9. on 13 Nov 2008 at 2:34 am 9.christian said …

    You people are idiots to question God and the Christian faith. When the Church is taken to Heaven for the Tribulation and you are here on earth I will look down on you and cry for your stupidity. As a Christian I am taught to believe in Jesus Christ and God. That faith is unconditional and you are misguided. In your prayers I hope that you ask God to keep satan from your thoughts and life and to say “Satan get behind me” God will do this and keep satan out of your life. I will pray for all of the misguided souls that use this site, but those that don’t change their minds will see judgment beside satan in the lake of fire.

  10. on 13 Nov 2008 at 3:02 am 10.Hermes said …

    Christian, thank you for your comments. You are an object lesson of what is wrong with many dogmatic Christians. I hope you recover some day.

  11. on 13 Nov 2008 at 6:29 am 11.nugget said …

    Christian, why do come with such rude and anger-filled statements? I do too follow Jesus and God, but that does not mean that i will condemned these people to hell or the lake of fire, for that is God’s decision.. Christianity and religion are misleading and misguided. Now, when the day of tribulation comes these will be judged by God, so it should be none of your concern. On other terms, Satan and his demons will always be tempting you, just as they tempted Jesus in the desert.

    By the way, did not Jesus say that not all the people of the churches will make it into heaven?

  12. on 14 Nov 2008 at 10:04 pm 12.good guess said …

    nugget,

    obviously, it’s only those who guess the “right” church (out of the millions upon millions). god invented the great lottery! praise Him. no, I mean HIM, no, that one… wait

    now, which one is it…. hmmm.

  13. on 15 Nov 2008 at 3:46 am 13.nugget said …

    “nugget,

    obviously, it’s only those who guess the “right” church (out of the millions upon millions). god invented the great lottery! praise Him. no, I mean HIM, no, that one… wait

    now, which one is it…. hmmm. ”

    Agreed. It goes to show you how people are continuously misguided…

  14. on 16 Nov 2008 at 6:00 am 14.Justin M said …

    all christians agree that jesus is real, not all christians can read the bible and get the same message from it hence the part everyone calls “disagree”.
    thats like getting all humans to read a poem, but if they don’t come up with the same answer to its meaning that means the poem doesn’t exist. man some people are jut idiots.
    if i disagree with the meaning of hermes statement that means it doesn’t exist.
    if we disagree that the world was made in one day, i guess the world doesn’t exist either.
    Man i really hope some of you open your eyes.

    Justin M. Christian

  15. on 17 Nov 2008 at 12:00 am 15.Meiyan said …

    yeah different people have different view on different things. The bible can be interpreted differently in different circumstances. Sometimes we interpret it wrongly though. Thats why without the Holy Spirit, we can not understand the bible. Some people read the bible without understanding it. They read it literally when sometimes its wasnt meant that way. I guess you guys here should be open about christianity and try to experience Jesus. Give it a go. If you keep hardening your hearts God cant do anything. God allows us to make choices for ourselves and so if you guys wanna keep thinking there is no God without giving God a chance then its your choice.

    but why dont you guys give Christ a chance to be real to you first before jumping into conclusions.
    How to experience God? Its a process. Not saying a “sinners prayer just once kinda thing” which most people fail to understand. Its a long process actually. wanna know more, tell me.

  16. on 17 Nov 2008 at 12:50 am 16.Hermes said …

    Meiyan, Zeus is waiting for you to show you worship him. So far, He is not impressed with your avoidance of His obvious presence.

  17. on 17 Nov 2008 at 1:24 am 17.Meiyan said …

    sorry i dont know anything about zeus. If you can only prove his existance maybe i may worship him someday.

  18. on 17 Nov 2008 at 1:28 am 18.Hermes said …

    You know Zeus and the entire pantheon in your heart. Only a fool denies what is already there.

  19. on 17 Nov 2008 at 1:54 am 19.Gern Blansten said …

    If you will prove the existence of God, I will prove the existence of Zeus. You go first and I’ll use your methods.

  20. on 24 Nov 2008 at 8:57 am 20.Terry McGee said …

    You are right. Christians have continuously made a mockery of everything that Christ stood for by refusing to do the very things He commanded. All will be revealed in time. We should all do what it is our hearts tell us is right. Although I am a Christian, I’m more interested in the truth than in trying to defend a traditional point of view. It does not scare me or shake my confidence in God to hear your arguments against his existance. As a matter of fact, it was good friends who are not Christians that encouraged me to ask myself why I believed what I believed and seek to educate myself about those things. So, to that end, I encourage you to continue to ask the hard questions.
    Christians, lighten up! The truth requires no defense. It is not in danger of being rendered useless. History has proven that the views of a people regarding their deities influence how they relate to one another. More atrocities have been committed in the name of Christ than even the pagan gods. Why? Because we have believed that our God is vengefull and cruel. Hell is a myth added by the Latin translators of the Biblical texts under the influence of the Greek idea of eternal punishment. It is an abomination. Can we not expect our God to be at least as good at parenting as we are? His purpose is for all humanity to be reconciled to Him. That which He has purposed, He is also able to accomplish.

  21. on 25 Nov 2008 at 6:33 pm 21.Alex said …

    Let me start off by saying I am a christian, and I apologize for any Christian who has ever offended you. I guarantee that I will probably offend someone with this post- that is not me intent. You must understand that I love God and will stand up for him, just as anyone here would stand up for someone making fun of their own Mother or Father, I am willing to stand up to anyone who claims that God is not real.

    When discussing the idea of Hell one must first take into consideration the difference between liking and disliking something that is wrong. For example, many people commit adultery out of pleasure (liking); but most people would say that it is wrong to do it. A doctor telling a patient they have cancer is the right thing to do, but it is hard. One must put aside their own personal feelings in order to better understand it. Whether you agree with it or not, Hell should be looked at as if it is right or wrong for God to send people there, and not on the basis of personal feelings.

    That said let us first look at Calvin. He lived a life evoking fear into the hearts of many. He hoped to frighten people into living good lives by stating “If you die and end up being one of those not chosen, you can at least look up into heaven and think ‘I did my best’”. He ruled as a Theocrat and murdered people who stood in his way. Though his legacy is important in the shaping of many christian denominations, he is by far not a notable man as far as love and compassion go. It’s no wonder he believed in Double predestination.

    Secondly, the statement “According to Jesus, Christians are supposed to love one another. They are supposed to love their enemies. So how can Christians “love their enemies” while at the same time God is sending people who happen to disagree with him to a place of eternal torture?” is indeed a profound contradiction. This statement is loaded so that no matter how you answer it you have to agree with what is being said. One of the main problems with this statement is that the word love has lost its meaning. American’s, since the Romantic era, use the term Love to mean tenderness and compassion. While this holds true that love is tender and compassionate let us not forget that as Christians we are to strive to be just like God, who is Love. He is more than just the sappy version of Love that Americans throw around so carelessly, He is also pure, and just, and moral, and Holy. So to say that to be loving is to not sentence someone is to negate half of what the word truly means.

    To quote J.P. Moreland PHD who wrote Jesus Under Fire and Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality the claim that God tortures people in Hell is flat wrong.
    “God is not a spoiled child who says to people, ‘Look, if you’re not willing to obey my arbitrary rules, then I’m going to sentence you for it. You need to know that my rules are my rules, and if I don’t get my way, then I’m going to make you pay’.”
    God is loving, wonderful, and the most generous being ever to exist in the cosmos. He made humans with free will and purpose. We are not accidents, or modified monkey’s, nor a random mistake. God made us for the purpose of loving him and others as Jesus say’s in Mathew 22:37-40. If we fail over and over again to live in the way that God purposed us to, a.k.a. apart from Him, then He will give us exactly what we want: an eternity separated from Him. One could call this “Hell”.

    For me to claim that I know everything about the afterlife would be arrogant. How can one speak of something they know so little about? To me, Christianity has evolved in thinking and has developed theories about the after life much like Science tries to explore the unknown: The world was flat until sailors noticed mountains would disappear on the horizon. Curses and Hexes caused people to become sick- until the discovery of bacteria. Earth was the center of the universe until orbital patterns were noticed. Etc.

    Hell has been seen as a place of fire and brimstone and gnashing of teeth- a place of eternal separation from God, non-existence, darkness, Earth. Etc. Our concept is continually evolving and changing; and there is only one way to find out what it is truly like.
    For me, Hell is eternal separation from God. It is not punishment, but it is punishing. People will be in anguish because of grief from the ultimate separation of God, and not the “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” that many people turn to now. And to me, that is much worse than eternal fire.
    So I now plead you, those who claim God does not exist- to reevaluate your beliefs. Because just like God, I want to see all of you in God’s kingdom and not anywhere else.

    Alex

  22. on 25 Nov 2008 at 8:24 pm 22.Gern Blansten said …

    Alex, I have confidence that I can get you to denounce God’s word in mere minutes. Care to take the challenge?

  23. on 26 Nov 2008 at 1:24 am 23.Alex said …

    I will take the challenge on one condition- that we both keep an open mind; with no criticism, and that we will weigh all statements made by the other.

  24. on 26 Nov 2008 at 1:31 am 24.Gern Blansten said …

    Will you also admit if you begin to rationalize?

  25. on 26 Nov 2008 at 11:34 am 25.Gern Blansten said …

    Alex, forget my last post.

    Please answer these questions. None of these require a lengthy response, so it shouldn’t take long. Please avoid answering like a politician, which means rambling without really giving an answer. The majority of these can be answered with “yes” or “no,” or with a few simple words.

    Is the Bible the perfect word of God?

    Is the text of the Bible clear and concise?

    Is it okay to keep slaves?

    Is it okay for a “master” to beat his slave?

    Do you think it makes sense to sell all your possessions and give the cash to the poor?

    Do you have a retirement account or a savings account?

    Do you own anything that anybody would want to steal?

    Is it okay for Jesus to kill children?

    Is it okay for Jesus to threaten to kill children?

    If a stranger asked you for $1,000, would you give it to him?

    Have you ever been the victim of a crime? If so, what did you do?

    Would you resist if someone tried to kill you?

    If someone tries to rape a woman, should the woman resist?

    If someone burglarized your home, would you call the police?

    Should we battle terrorists, or just let them do whatever they want, without lifting a finger?

    Should Christians have let Hitler do whatever he wanted, without fighting back?

    Should Christians be participating in the wars in the Middle East?

    If someone sued you, would you hire a lawyer or just give him what he is asking for?

    Have you ever stolen anything, or committed any other type of “sin” with your right hand, including masturbation? If so, did you lop off your hand?

    Assuming you are a man (sorry, your name is ambiguous–no offense) and you are straight, have you ever lusted after a woman? If so, did you gouge out your eye?

    Do you think it is wrong to get excited about going out for a nice dinner at a new restaurant?

    Is it wrong to eat expensive food once in a while?

    Do you think it is wrong to worry about your appearance?

    Do you put thought into the clothes you buy, or do you just stuff without caring how it looks?

    If you ask, will you receive? Do all askers receive, as the Bible says?

    Go back a couple of weeks. A woman wants to vote for Obama. Voting for McCain would violate her most deeply held principles. However, her husband tells her to vote for McCain. Who should she vote for?

    Should women be allowed to speak in church?

    Do the laws of the Old Testament still apply to modern Christians? (If you say “yes” to this, that will lead to many more questions, and I bet you can guess what they will be.)

  26. on 26 Nov 2008 at 2:42 pm 26.Alex said …

    I have read what you are asking, and I am not trying to avoid it, I just have a lot of Thanksgiving preparation– so I apologize for the delay. I will get to it as soon as I have some free time.

    Also, understand when I answer these questions that I can not possible speak for Christianity as a whole- for I am just one person, and do not presume to hold all of the correct answers.

    Thank you for the questions, though, because asking the “tough questions” is what develops our thinking and (excuse the cliche) faith.

    Alex

  27. on 27 Nov 2008 at 5:55 am 27.Alex1 said …

    I hope I didn’t break the internet by posting this reply…
    Gern. I will do my best to answer these in a yes/no fashion- but do understand that when you load a question with so much “whatever you say makes me right” that it makes it quite difficult to do so.
    Is the Bible the perfect word of God?
    Aside from the ambiguity of “perfect word of God” (God being perfect, the word being perfect, or the Bible being perfect) Yes, I believe the Bible is inspired by God- who is perfect.
    Is the text of the Bible clear and concise?
    By text do you mean the actual words? Then yes, I do believe what the words say are clear and concise- however this does not mean man’s interpretation is clear and concise.
    Is it okay to keep slaves?
    What kind of slaves? Slaves from the 1700’s in America, slaves Africans took when they captured other tribes? Slaves that the Bible speaks about (especially in the OT where the word “slave” did not have the same implications as it does today)? Roman slaves?
    Or is it ok for man to be a slave to one master- God? This here, is the one I will go with.
    Is it okay for a “master” to beat his slave?
    No, it is not ok to beat- because the word beat implies brutality and injustice. It implies that there is no reason for the actions taking place. So no, it is not ok for a master to “beat” his slave.
    Do you think it makes sense to sell all your possessions and give the cash to the poor?
    It makes as much sense as making as much money as possible to store up in a bank to never use.
    Do you have a retirement account or a savings account?
    Yes (the first easy question)
    Do you own anything that anybody would want to steal?
    Yes I do.
    Is it okay for Jesus to kill children?
    Again, such harsh words. No- it is not ok for Jesus to “KILL” because killing implies something done with ulterior motives. Now, if you are asking if it is ok for Jesus to take life from Earth then I would say yes- because ultimately, no one is immortal. And if you are stating in this that Jesus is God, then I don’t know who else would be taking your life.
    Is it okay for Jesus to threaten to kill children?
    Again, the same as above. The side of this argument is one that negates the other side- is it okay for Jesus to threaten to reward those who follow him? Secondly, let’s assume that life after death exists, and that the Bible has at least some truth to it. Isaiah 7:16 talks about how those that die before the age of understanding go to heaven. Now- if God is all so bad, and he takes the life of a child- and the child ends up in ETERNAL happiness, with no pain, no suffering, all joy and happiness… is it okay for Jesus to threaten that? It doesn’t sound so bad that way does it?
    If a stranger asked you for $1,000, would you give it to him?
    WOW! This question…. Is this man in a wheel chair? Does he have hair… is he holding a gun and asking really politely.
    Let me be specific. If a man I knew, full heartedly, came up to me and asked for $1000 to make his mortgage payment, and I knew without a doubt that he had just lost his job (because we all know how great the economy is now) and he was in pursuit of another, I would walk with him to the bank and pay the mortgage payment for him- no question.
    Now, if a complete stranger came up to me, smelling of alcohol, who couldn’t keep his story straight about why he didn’t have a job came up to me and asked the same thing- then I would walk him to the nearest McDonalds and have a meal with him. (I hope this answers your question. And before you can ask me- I have done both- just the first one was not $1000, but it was a substantial amount)
    Have you ever been the victim of a crime? If so, what did you do?
    Yes, I have been. I called the police to help take care of it… they didn’t do a good job.
    Would you resist if someone tried to kill you?
    Of course I would! Who, besides Jesus, or Gandhi, would stand there and say “kill me.” (note, the cheek, and that both died for different causes- both notable). Now this question is without situation- every situation had variables. Would I let someone kill me to let others live- yes. Would I renounce my faith in order to live- no. Would I fight back if I had the means, and nobody other than the attackers would get hurt, yes.
    If someone tries to rape a woman, should the woman resist?
    Yes.
    If someone burglarized your home, would you call the police?
    Is this before or after I have made sure my family is safe, and that I have my gun and baseball bat ready to incapacitate the person trying to burglarize my home?
    Should we battle terrorists, or just let them do whatever they want, without lifting a finger?
    Should we fight evil? Or should we let evil reign freely? There will always be terrorists. If not via physical threat, then those that prey on the hope and faith of those that stand for what they believe.
    Many of these questions lean towards: if you fight back, you are not loving. This is by far not at all what I am saying.
    Anyways, I digress. Yes, we should fight terrorists.
    Should Christians have let Hitler do whatever he wanted, without fighting back?
    I will note that it wasn’t Atheists who started housing runaway Jews- but the Christians. Many Jews- some that I have personally met- said that it was the Christians who fed them, helped them survive. So can we fight back in many ways? I believe so.
    Should Christians be participating in the wars in the Middle East?
    Should Jews, or Muslims, or Buddhists, or anybody? That’s a better question. This question again points to the idea of War (and yes I know we are in a “war”). Should Christians fight in wars- the Bible surly describes that in the end times we will ultimately be in a war against good and evil. As far as my position on the Middle East, I will not say that I am for or against it. I do feel that something needs to be done over there to save many people from the horrors that exist there (as well as other countries like Rwanda etc.)
    If someone sued you, would you hire a lawyer or just give him what he is asking for?
    Jesus said “If someone asked for a dollar, give him your coat too”. Etc. etc. Why would I be sued? Did I do something wrong? Did I do something right? What this question is asking is “Is it wrong for you to stand up for yourself?” And I would say no, it is not wrong to stand up for myself.
    Have you ever stolen anything, or committed any other type of “sin” with your right hand, including masturbation? If so, did you lop off your hand?
    Stolen.. stolen… I did use to steal music from Napster, and use a pirated version of Windows. Then, ironically I did read this passage, which basically means to “cut out what is causing the sin”. So I did. I deleted all of my music that I stole, and bought a copy of windows. So- to answer this question- yes, I have sinned… I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t. And YES I did cut off what it was I was doing. Now- do I take this passage in the Bible literally? No, but I have met someone who has, and he did gouge out his eyes. This man had a very sad life story… and this passage can lead to cause people to do things like you have just said.
    Assuming you are a man (sorry, your name is ambiguous–no offense) and you are straight, have you ever lusted after a woman? If so, did you gouge out your eye?
    (read above) yes, I did lust after a woman, and how did I gouge my eye out? Well I got engaged. Nobody but my wife was worthy of looking at after that. So I took care of that one pretty easily too.
    Do you think it is wrong to get excited about going out for a nice dinner at a new restaurant?
    I do not believe that it is wrong to have joy and happiness in your life. Jesus even said “You will always have the poor with you” So should we feel guilty that we don’t give every penny we own to someone else? No. Does that mean that we shouldn’t spare going out to eat every once and a while to help other people? (By the way… public service anoyncement: if you eat out an average of 2-4 days a week you spend over 2500 dollars on fast food alone in one year. I think that doing that is more expensive than spending 50-100 bucks on one meal once or twice a year).
    Is it wrong to eat expensive food once in a while?
    No, see question above.
    Do you think it is wrong to worry about your appearance?
    I do not see it as wrong to worry about your appearance. I believe people should shower, and should look nice in order to not draw attention to themselves. But I do not think that anyone should obsess over their physical appearance. There is a difference between spending time to look nice, and spending time to look perfect.
    Do you put thought into the clothes you buy, or do you just stuff without caring how it looks?
    I actually have to wear a uniform virtually every day of my life, so I don’t put much thought into the side cloths. But my uniform looks good every day 
    If you ask, will you receive? Do all askers receive, as the Bible says?
    Well well well… here is the big question of why does god not help amputees. What is the pretense of asking? Because the Christian view point (as far as I know) is revolved around something different that the non. When we accept Christ as the Lord (master) of our life we become one of His (slaves if you will). Now, what that means is that we do what God wants us to do and that he will lead and guide us. If I ask the question: “God, what is it that you want me to do?” I’m pretty sure he will show me. If I am following along the same path as God and do what he wants- essentially whatever I ask him will be in alignment with what he wants for my life. So the answer to this question is Yes. All askers, who follow with the will of God, whom God directs, do receive what they ask for because it is in conjunction with God’s ultimate will.

    Is that the overused statement that you were looking for?
    Go back a couple of weeks. A woman wants to vote for Obama. Voting for McCain would violate her most deeply held principles. However, her husband tells her to vote for McCain. Who should she vote for?
    Man, the way you ask these questions makes me wonder if you like women. I would say that this situation is quite remarkable- because what it shows is a discourse in the family. As the Bible goes, women are supposed to be “submissive” to their husbands and husbands are to treat their wives like Christ did the church and be willing to lay down his life for his wife. The Bible also teaches that we should not be unequally yoked. So, for a man to marry a women who has such profoundly different political views kind of violates that agreement. This question also forgets to accommodate to family, in that if they do disagree, they should talk about it and figure out what the best course of action is (and ultimately if they are a religious family who God wants them to vote for). Ultimately, if this husband truly loved his wife, he would tell her to vote for who she feels best, and therefore she should vote for Obama (in this instance)
    Should women be allowed to speak in church?
    Speak- SURE! Women were seen speaking to Jesus all of the time. What many people don’t see when addressing this issue is that women have so much to offer to men. God knew what he was doing when he made Eve. And I love the imagery- Eve was made from man, so man is incomplete without her. One famous quote is that “Behind every great man, is an even greater woman”. In no way do I feel that women are not worthy.
    On the other hand, do I see women and men to be equal but different? There is no doubt about that. Men think differently than women, women are more in touch with their emotions than men- this is all experimentally and scientifically proven. So I pose this question- if women are different then men, should the case be that they should have different jobs then men- different but equal?
    Do the laws of the Old Testament still apply to modern Christians? (If you say “yes” to this, that will lead to many more questions, and I bet you can guess what they will be.)
    Which laws? Levitical laws, Aaronic laws, Rhabinnical laws, kosher laws, every single law ever written down… This question could be more specific… but let’s use the Bible to decide that:
    Jesus said that the most important commandment was to love God with all you’ve got and to love everyone else as you do yourself. So that’s a new commandment.
    Hebrews shows us that with the death and blood sacrifice of Jesus that there is a new covenant, which makes sense in context with the rest of the OT. With a new Priest comes a new covenant and therefore new laws. This is not strange to people of the OT.
    What is key to notice here is that the OT speaks of laws and rules to follow in order to get close to God. But what the NT speaks of is a relationship with God, and that the relationship ultimately leads to what decisions you should make- because it is not you who is making them, but God.
    Wow, that list was a doozy. Now, let me retaliate- because that is kind of the point I presume… Answer in any way you see fit, but please do answer the question.
    Firstly, did you have a good Thanksgiving? (if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, then did you have a great nap this afternoon?)
    Is it possible for a God to exist? If not, why? (any God will do- call him the Great Pumpkin if you must …)
    What would you expect out of that God?
    Is it irrational/illogical to believe in a being so powerful it spoke the cosmos into existence?
    What would you say to this God, the God of the Bible, if you die and find yourself looking at him (Here’s that evangelical in me) and be honest.
    Assuming God exists, do you think he loves YOU?
    Is it possible to love in such a way that makes no logical sense to anyone else?
    Do you have anyone you love? If so what is there relationship to you? If not, I am so sorry, I’ll let you love me .
    Can reprimand be loving?
    Which is better- give a man a fish, or teach him how to fish?
    Can a leader make a decision that is right, but not easy such as putting to death a few so that others will live?
    Would you consider pro-choice the same as killing innocent children?
    How about the actual Abortion itself?
    How about partial Birth- or full birth? Where is the line drawn for someone to be “innocent” and not be killed?
    If a child is growing up and ends up having leukemia, should the parents have the option of euthanasia on behalf of their child?
    If a child is growing up in a society that is full of corruption and death, and hatred, and torture- is it wrong for God to take that child’s life- or to set famine to that land?
    Lastly, is it POSSIBLE for the God of the Bible to exist? Aside from what you think are “biblical contradictions” I want to hear the top 3 things (or 5 if you really need that many) that make God so unapproachable. And please do not repeat what the websites book already has- I’ve seen it. I’d like some better than circular logic based arguments if possible.
    Some of these questions actually have importance, others it’s just interesting to see how people feel about difficult issues.
    Anyone else, feel free to reply, but if you do understand that it will take a while to reply to all of you if you have further statements.
    Thanks for reading this incredibly long post-
    Alex

  28. on 27 Nov 2008 at 11:19 am 28.Gern Blansten said …

    Alex, thanks for getting back to me.

    I would argue–and I think many objective readers would agree–that you’ve denounced the word of God in several places here.

    An easy example is that women are not supposed to speak in church. You know the Bible, obviously, so I won’t point out the verse (unless you want me to). An instruction like this is not figurative, it is obviously literal.

    The bit about gouging out your eyes and lopping off your hand–I had no doubt that you’d say those passages were not literal, but I don’t agree. To me, a figurative phrase is something like “faith can move mountains,” not something specific like, “if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out.” That’s very specific and straightforward. You are to gouge out your eye.

    Also, women shouldn’t resist rapists, because, according to the Bible, you aren’t supposed to resist evil.

    You definitely waffled on slavery. I thought Christians were against “moral relativism.” Either slavery is wrong, or it’s A-OK. Are you saying that God didn’t write the book to apply to modern times? You might be right. Because it’s all fiction.

    You also waffled on the power of prayer. In several places, Jesus plainly says that if you ask, he will give it to you. No qualifications at all, either–he says he will say yes. To claim otherwise is questioning his word, but I don’t blame you, because the power of prayer obviously leaves plenty to be desired.

    Of course, we can bicker about dozen of these, and after I tossed the challenge out to you, I realized what a futile proposition it was. Christians always have ways to support their beliefs, and it often requires mental gymnastics that are staggering. That sounds harsh, I know, but why sugarcoat it?

    Okay, now I’ll answer your questions, and notice how I answer each one directly and without any rationalization. (I’m teasing you.)

    Firstly, did you have a good Thanksgiving? (if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, then did you have a great nap this afternoon?)

    I do celebrate it, and I’m looking forward to it this afternoon.

    Is it possible for a God to exist? If not, why? (any God will do- call him the Great Pumpkin if you must …)

    Anything is possible, but in my opinion, no gods exist. If a god exists, is it yours or one of the other several thousand gods that man has believed in over the years?

    What would you expect out of that God?

    For him or her to make a lot more sense than the Bible does.

    Is it irrational/illogical to believe in a being so powerful it spoke the cosmos into existence?

    I think so, yes.

    What would you say to this God, the God of the Bible, if you die and find yourself looking at him (Here’s that evangelical in me) and be honest.

    I’d say, “God, since you have obviously been watching me all my life, you know that I’ve lived a more ethical life than the majority of believers…so how ’bout a break? No hell, okay?” I’d say the same thing to Zeus or Marduk, if it turns out that one of them is “God.”

    Assuming God exists, do you think he loves YOU?

    Yes.

    Is it possible to love in such a way that makes no logical sense to anyone else?

    Obviously, it’s very possible. That’s why religion plagues the earth.

    Do you have anyone you love? If so what is there relationship to you? If not, I am so sorry, I’ll let you love me .

    Being completely sincere, that’s very kind of you. I have lots of people I love, including my family, as well as a very tight circle of friends I’ve had since I was a kid.

    Can reprimand be loving?

    Yes.

    Which is better- give a man a fish, or teach him how to fish?

    Teach him.

    Can a leader make a decision that is right, but not easy such as putting to death a few so that others will live?

    Yes.

    Would you consider pro-choice the same as killing innocent children?

    No.

    How about the actual Abortion itself?

    Not very early ones.

    How about partial Birth- or full birth? Where is the line drawn for someone to be “innocent” and not be killed?

    I have a tough time with later abortions.

    If a child is growing up and ends up having leukemia, should the parents have the option of euthanasia on behalf of their child?

    No.

    If a child is growing up in a society that is full of corruption and death, and hatred, and torture- is it wrong for God to take that child’s life- or to set famine to that land?

    There is no God. But if I believed, I’d think God was pretty screwed up to kill kids. Then I’d start to think rationally and logically, and read the Bible again, and realize it’s all rubbish.

    Lastly, is it POSSIBLE for the God of the Bible to exist?

    Of course, I have to say yes, just as you’d have to agree that it’s possible that he doesn’t exist. It’s also possible that I don’t exist, or that the Earth doesn’t exist, and that the Flying Spaghetti Monster will greet me when I die.

    Aside from what you think are “biblical contradictions” I want to hear the top 3 things (or 5 if you really need that many) that make God so unapproachable.

    There are thousands of “gods.” What makes one more real than the other?

    There are hundreds, if not thousands, of religions–all claiming to be the “right” one.

    The Bible reads like a book of foolishness. It was written by a bunch of superstitious men in a time of vast ignorance.

    I can plainly see how religion came about. I posted on this earlier. But as each new religion failed because of some flaw in the way it was presented, the “believers” would correct that flaw and move on. Example:

    BOB: Hey, Steve, have I told you about the god named Ernie? You should believe in him!

    Steve: Where is he?

    Bob: Uh….

    So, the next time around….

    Bob: Hey, Steve, have I told you about the god named Ernie. You should believe in him! Of course, there’s no proof, but if you don’t believe, you’ll burn in hell.

    Problem solved.

    Have a good Thanksgiving.

  29. on 29 Nov 2008 at 8:36 am 29.Terry McGee said …

    The verse you are referring to about women not speaking in church is part of a list of things that were culturally taboo in that time and place in history. Paul follows these statements, which were accepted as common knowledge at the time, with the statement “because we have no other custom”. He was simply pointing out that the motivation for these women creating a disturbance was to draw attention to themselves rather than to contribute anything of value. The entirety of the text should be read with attention to the audience, the speaker’s overall message, and we should realize that we are out of touch with the linguistic idioms of the time. Literal interpretations are dangerous. That is why Jesus taught in parables. The meanings were intended to be inferred rather than taken literally.

    The eye gouging passage is most definitely not to be taken literally. Again I mention the word “Idiom” which is a phrase only recognizable by those who speak the language (Greek in this case) and represents a certain concept. “Raining cats and dogs” is a good example. A person just learning English would not understand the meaning of that phrase, but we take these “Idioms” for granted.

    I’m not sure where you get the idea that the Bible teaches us not to resist evil. “Resist the devil and He will flee from you.”

    The Bible never condones or advocates slavery. It simply states guidelines for doing things that were culturally acceptable at the time. It only encourages fair treatment of everyone all the time. As far as the Bible being a work of fiction, that is false. It contains some of the oldest and most consistent accounts of historical events that still exist. It corresponds with many other ancient historical documents that describe parallel events.

    You obviously have a skewed picture of what prayer is intended to be. The passages you are referring to are talking about knowledge and understanding. “Ask, seek, knock” Those refer to seeking knowledge. If you are talking about miracles in the form of magic tricks and various other trivial concerns, then the purpose of prayer has escaped you.

    I appreciate your philosophizing on the matter of the possibility of the existence of a deity. Many people ask the same question and rely on their own understanding to answer it. Since we are philosophizing, the Greek philosophers, (before the Bible was written) such as Plato and Aristotle, decided through pure reason that there must be a supreme being that created the universe. They based this notion on several conclusions that they reached by deductive reasoning.
    1. Intelligent design- The order and symmetry of the universe is to unique to have been an accident. As a matter of fact, it would have taken a myriad of accidents occurring simultaneously to have caused the current state of things. Even if this unlikely situation is still possible, it breaks down when you look at the next point.
    2. Something from nothing- Matter can neither be created nor destroyed in its current incarnation. Even if you trace the origin of things back to a super-dense mass of material at the center of the universe that exploded to create everything, where did it come from? We are linear beings. Line segments to be exact. We had a beginning (physically speaking) and we will have an end. That is a line segment. Logically, everything in this existence has to have had a beginning and an end.
    I’ll spare you the other points for now.

    I appreciate your comments on Hell and what you would say to God. You would be correct to state that you have been more pure of heart than many who call themselves His children. What has caused the message of Christ to be twisted almost beyond recognition is the hanging on of the medieval notion of Hell. There is no Hell! All it takes is some basic schooling in ancient Greek and a little researching the scriptures to see that the concept of Hell was added to the gospel by those who sought to control the population with fear. The Greek word transliterated “Aion” was mistakenly translated eternal in many places in the Biblical texts. It literally means “an age, or age abiding”. So when the King James Version (and many others) read as “will not receive eternal life, it should read “will not enter into the fulfilled life of the age. It refers to achieving perfection in this life. Not some far off place. The word “Gahenna” was translated Hell, but it refers to a physical place in Jerusalem also known as the “valley of Hinom”. There are volumes more that I could say about the subject, but I will spare you for now. Let me know if you would like to know more.

    Unfortunately, you are exactly right about all of the obvious contridictions and multiple religious denominations that bring shame and confusion to the gospel. If you do an honest search of the available information, (and it would take years if not a lifetime to see it all) you would find that all of the contridictions and myths associated with Christianity melt away with an accurate and unbiased translation of the ancient documents. I don’t blame you for being skeptical and even angry about such idiocy. I am equally as angry about it. If you honestly seek the truth, you will find it. And it may not be the truth you expect to find.

    One thing I firmly believe is that we will all eventually be reunited with God through Christ. That includes every person who has ever or will ever live. You are all my Brothers and Sisters. The world would be a better place if we could all realize that and treat one another accordingly.

  30. on 29 Nov 2008 at 10:02 am 30.Terry McGee said …

    If Hell is real and is the fate of all mankind because of Adam’s transgression, if all are not saved through the last Adam, Jesus Christ, does that not make the transgression of the first Adam greater than the redeeming act of Jesus? (Rom. Chapter 5)

    If Hell is real and most find their way to it, was Jesus lying when He said that He would “draw” (“drag” in the original Greek) all mankind unto Himself? (John 12:32)

    If Hell is real, since God will have all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3 KJV), does that mean God’s power is not strong enough to have His will fulfilled? Is man’s will more powerful than God’s?

    If Hell is real, how does the threat of endlessly torturing us convince us that God loves us and that we should love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?

    If Hell was real and the “full” gospel was designed to reach all mankind, doesn’t that make the results of the “full” gospel pretty “empty” considering that fact that most people are in Hell according to traditional theology?

    If Hell is real and God only loves those who love Him, what better is He than the sinner? (Luke 6:32-33) Can you REALLY call eternally torturing your own children love?

    If Hell is real, if man does wrong in returning evil for evil, would not God do wrong if He was to do the same? (Rom. 12:20,21) Would not endless punishment be the return of evil for evil? As we are commanded “to overcome evil with good,” may we not safely infer that God will do the same? Would the infliction of endless punishment be overcoming evil with good?

    If Hell is real, does not judgment triumph over mercy and thus contradict this Scripture? (James 2:13)

    If Hell is real, if you had sufficient power would you not deliver all men from sin? If God WOULD save all men, but CANNOT , is He infinite in power?

    If Hell is real, if God CAN save all men, but WILL NOT , is He infinite in goodness?

    If Hell is real and sin is infinite, can it be true that, “where sin abounded grace did MUCH MORE abound?” –(Rom. 5:20)

    If Hell was real, why did the first comparatively complete systematic statement of Christian doctrine ever given to the world by Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 180, contain the tenet of universal salvation?

    If Hell was real, why did the first complete presentation of Christianity (Origen, 220 A.D.) contain the doctrine of universal salvation?

    If Hell was real, why didn’t the church teach it until AFTER the church departed from reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, substituting Latin in its stead several centuries after Christ’s death?

    If Hell was real why did not a single Church council for the first five hundred years condemn Universalism as heresy considering the fact that they made many declarations of heresy on other teachings?

    If Hell was real, why did most of the early church’s leading scholars and most revered saints advocate universal salvation?

    If Hell was real why do most leading historians acknowledge that the early church was dominated by universalism?

    If Hell was real then why did four out of six theological schools from 170 AD to 430 AD teach universal salvation while the only one that taught Hell was in Carthage, Africa, again where Latin was the teaching language, not Greek?

    If Hell was real, since the early church was closest to the apostles and since they were closest to the original manuscripts of the Bible, why did the vast majority of the early Christian believers NOT believe in Hell as a place of everlasting burnings?

    If Hell is real, in Romans 5:19, the “many” who were made sinners were actually “all” of the human race. Why is the “many” who were made “righteous” not equally be “all” of the human race? “For as by one man’s disobedience MANY were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience MANY will be made righteous.”

    If Hell is a real place of everlasting punishment and if Jesus died in our place to save us from this fate, wouldn’t Jesus have to be eternally punished if in fact He took our punishment upon Himself? But He’s NOT being eternally punished. He DIED which is what the penalty of the wages of sin is, DEATH, NOT everlasting life of unending torture or eternal death (annihilation).

    If Hell is real why do some of the best Bible scholars and Bible teachers say it is NOT in the Greek or Hebrew text? (William Barclay, John A.T. Robinson, Lightfoot, Westcott, F.W. Farrar, Marvin Vincent, etc.)

    If 150 Bible scholars swear to a statement of faith that there is a Hell of everlasting punishment before they are allowed to work on a translation which they will be paid to produce, what are the odds that the translation they produce will contain a Hell of everlasting punishment? (That is the case with the NIV, and most other Bible translations produced by committees.)

  31. on 29 Nov 2008 at 10:46 am 31.Gern Blansten said …

    I wish you luck in your continued life of delusion.

  32. on 29 Nov 2008 at 10:50 am 32.Gern Blansten said …

    I generally avoid the word “brainwashed” because it is such a cliche, but Terry, there is no other word that applies to the state of your mind. You are truly brainwashed. I hope someday you manage to break the grip of religion. If you do, you will look back and say, “Boy, that was some weird crap I believed in.”

  33. on 29 Nov 2008 at 11:10 am 33.Gern Blansten said …

    By the way…

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

    I could refute all of your comments, not just the one about evil, but I understand the futility of it. (I will admit, however, that it’s amazingly difficult to let such ignorance stand.)

  34. on 29 Nov 2008 at 1:05 pm 34.Adina said …

    Four ants met an elephant in the jungle. They could barely see his head from where they stood, under a leaf.

    Nonetheless the first ant said: I ll break his leg.

    The second ant said, no no, let me cut his throat.

    The third ant said: you know what? I ll poke his eyes, it s better.

    The fourth ant stopped them vehemently: Please be generous. We are four, and he is only one. Let him go.

    :)

  35. on 29 Nov 2008 at 1:19 pm 35.Adina said …

    Oh.. most of us agree here…christianity and islam are bad bad bad..

    But don t forget the chosen people.

    Their God is alive and well. at least that one you have to agree,… the God of the money is the only one we can agree exists.
    That money God one nobody can deny is live and well today and throughout the history..
    He s not the one we are combating here. after all, most of the people here are the chosen ones. aren t they? Don t worry. YOu destroyed christianity in the womb. They are sheeple. Following your words. Why would you bother to destroy something so wonderful that your ancestors have created? Let them believe in your words. Let them read that book you gave them.
    Or.. are you afraid the fable you created for them became live in itself despite the delusion?
    Heheheheh.. It s a ridiculous game.
    I ll go outside in the garden. The sun and the clouds are magnificent.
    No bullshit there.

  36. on 29 Nov 2008 at 1:41 pm 36.Gern Blansten said …

    Are you sure you aren’t on medication?

  37. on 29 Nov 2008 at 1:43 pm 37.Gern Blansten said …

    If you’d had Muslim parents, you’d almost certainly be Muslim today.

    If you’d had Hindu parents, you’d almost certainly be Hindu today.

    If you’d had Buddhist parents, you’d almost certainly be Buddhist today.

    If you’d had Jewish parents, you’d almost certainly be Jewish today.

    Doesn’t that tell you anything about the validity of your chosen religion?

  38. on 29 Nov 2008 at 1:43 pm 38.Gern Blansten said …

    And by “Jewish,” I mean one who observes the religion.

  39. on 29 Nov 2008 at 8:47 pm 39.Terry McGee said …

    All will be revealed in time.
    We are all indoctrinated. You are all indoctrinated with the religion of Atheism.
    It comes from the same place as all religions, from the telling of opinions. You choose the ones that make sense to you and choose that religion.
    Don’t be fooled. You are all religious; otherwise you would not be on here trying to refute other religions. The phrase “the pot calling the kettle black” comes to mind.

    I have concurred with your opinion that religion is dangerous. What I’m talking about is not religion. It is truth that wears no denominational affiliation. Have you studied any of what you are trying to refute? If not, you are displaying the same ignorance that groups like the KKK displayed in grouping together to attack something because you don’t understand it. Come to me with something other than pure opinion that can be substantiated and I will be glad to listen.

    Or do you see yourself as all-knowing and wise by nature. That kind of arrogance is also dangerous. I only try to make the points that I have researched and have a basic knowledge of. Do the work and you may be able to find a leg to stand on.

  40. on 29 Nov 2008 at 8:54 pm 40.Terry McGee said …

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

    I could refute all of your comments, not just the one about evil, but I understand the futility of it. (I will admit, however, that it’s amazingly difficult to let such ignorance stand.)
    —————————————————

    If you think that was a refutation, then you are more hopeless than I thought. All this represents is a reiteration of prior teaching. He is simply saying that we should be slow to anger, quick to forgive, and think of others before we think of ourselves. That refutes nothing. Study the entirety of the text if you want to try to teach me something about it.

  41. on 29 Nov 2008 at 10:05 pm 41.Gern Blansten said …

    You are incredibly arrogant. I don’t have to teach you anything about the text. If I could, I wouldn’t try. It’s you who has to teach, if you want to “spread the gospel.” If you don’t, why are you here? Can’t stand the idea that people are speaking poorly about your god?

    Second, who are you to tell my what Jesus “meant” by various passages? If I ask other Christians, they’ll give me other interpretations. What’s makes your interpretation correct?

    With every post, you prove yourself to be a typical Christian–arrogant, smug, self-righteous, and full of hubris. You will only prove the point even more with continued posts. But you won’t be able to resist, because Christians always have to have to last word. Prove me correct once again. Go ahead.

  42. on 29 Nov 2008 at 11:11 pm 42.Terry McGee said …

    I’m not here to spread the gospel. And I don’t care what you say about God. I’m not here to defend Christianity or any other religion. As far as my ability to tell you what was meant by the passages you are trying to interpret, I’m just as qualified as anyone else. I have formally studied the Biblical texts and made a conscious effort to learn all that I can about them and the history of civilization apart from the Biblical texts. You speak as though you have somehow acquired all knowledge and are able to refute the things you don’t understand. What you have not picked up on is the fact that we are not so different in our opinions. As I have said, I don’t like the way religion is used to do evil either. We are essentially on the same side.

    Are you saying that this discussion is only open to those who share your opinions exactly? That would make you just as closed minded as anyone. My interpretations may not be perfect, but they are closer than most others you will hear because they are not based on tradition interpretations. They are based on evidential proofs. You think that you are speaking as a logical and reasonable person, but you are committing the same uneducated blunders as the Christians you are attacking. If I am no longer invited to participate in this discussion, just give the word and I will discontinue posting.

    You are assuming that I am coming from the same closed minded perspective as most Christians. I keep trying to tell you that I agree with you in many ways! Can we not have an open minded discussion without having to trade punches? I apologize if I have offended you or said anything out of line. You are perfectly entitled to your opinions. I’m just stating mine as well.

  43. on 30 Nov 2008 at 3:36 am 43.Alex1 said …

    Terry McGee
    Is it your claim and understanding essentially universalism- that all will go to heaven and that there is no Hell at all? Because so far you have given a fairly good argument, however I do have some clarification issues based off of what you have said- and since you seem versed in Greek and Hebrew perhaps you could clarify:

    Matthew 19:24 “it is easier for a camel (which should read rope) to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God”. This passage, in my understanding, is not out of context because following discusses those whom are called and listen to the calling will all receive the same reward. Here, though, it says that some will not enter the kingdom.

    Matthew 10:32-39 is where Jesus claims that those who accept him he will accept before his father; but those who don’t he will deny before his father.

    Matthew 7:13-23 where Jesus says that the road is narrow and that few will enter the kingdom.

    Matthew 7:24-30 where Jesus says there will be two piles- weeds which will be burned, and wheat which will be stored up in the barn.

    Now, in my opinion, these teachings show that there is not universalism. So if you were saying something else I would be interested in hearing it- or if you can elaborate on these.

    Thank you,
    Alex

  44. on 30 Nov 2008 at 3:49 am 44.Adina said …

    Blansten ,
    have I touched a sore spot there?

    Have I mentioned the word jewish anywhere?

    I didn t. Yet you seem to take personally at heart the jewish. and seem so apologetic about the difference between practicing or not.. Well funny.

    Being born in a family of Christians does not make one Christian. Or Hindu. Or Buddhist.. unless they practice that religion too. The same point applies to them: if they do not practice the religion, they are not chirstians, buddhists, hindys.
    So why you need to make a point about jewish?

    Maybe because the jewish are not targeted by this site at all .. coincidentaly or maybe not..

    But.. You fell into the trap, didn t you?
    Quite an easy target for someone not under medication and so well versed in other people’s religions and choices, aren t you?

  45. on 30 Nov 2008 at 5:41 am 45.Terry McGee said …

    Alex,

    Jesus was referring to a certain gate in Jerusalem called Needle’s Eye. This entry-point was built like the eye of a needle and so low that a camel could pass only if it entered kneeling and unencumbered with baggage. And the word translated kingdom here is a little misleading. The modern idea that this refers to Heaven is flawed. It actually refers to entering into the fulfilled life of the age, or “aionios life”, or “age abiding life”. The message here as in most of the places where Jesus stated this kind of thing revolves around living life here and now while walking in His spirit. That is the spirit of “agape” or perfect love. He is simply stating that it is difficult (not impossible) for a person who is preoccupied with defending his wealth to walk in love. It’s much simpler than it has been made to sound. It’s not about entering Heaven, but about walking in perfect love. That is why the love of wealth is the root of all evil; because most evil is done in the name of defending that which we fear to lose.

    It has been so ingrained in us to think that, when Jesus said something like He did in Mathew 10:32-39 that He is talking about entering Heaven or going to Hell. If the Biblical texts taught about those things, then we could assume that this was the message here, but they don’t.

    Mathew 7:13-23 is exactly the same as above. It refers to walking in the spirit of love, not going to a fictional place called Hell. Let me clarify that the text does talk about retribution which is intended to purify, but it is never said to be eternal. Never! But get this! Here is a verse that those who advocate eternal Hell never quote:
    1 Corinthians 3:14-15 (New American Standard Bible)

    14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.

    15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

    I’m not sure which passage you are referring to with that last one. It reads as follows:
    Mathew 7:24-30
    24Therefore, every one who doth hear of me these words, and doth do them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house upon the rock;

    25and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell not, for it had been founded on the rock.

    26`And every one who is hearing of me these words, and is not doing them, shall be likened to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand;

    27and the rain did descend, and the streams came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell, and its fall was great.’

    28And it came to pass, when Jesus ended these words, the multitudes were astonished at his teaching,

    29for he was teaching them as having authority, and not as the scribes.

    There are many more proofs and I can recommend some sites to check out if have more questions.

    It is a new concept for most, but it was the dominant teaching for the first 400+ years after Christ. Eternal Damnation didn’t enter in until the texts were translated into Latin.

  46. on 01 Dec 2008 at 1:55 am 46.Alex1 said …

    I have been having technical difficulties, so this was supposed to go up yesterday. I apologize.

    Gern
    I would argue that I have not denounced the word of God, but maybe the interpretations of many.

    If the verse you are talking about for women being silent is in 1 Tim 2:8 etc. I would argue that the verse does not teach that women should not speak in church- that’s an interpretation. The verse reads that v.11 “women should learn in silence and submission” key word learn. V.12 “I do not allow” Paul introduces this clause with how it is his opinion. People often have a problem understanding the difference between what is recorded and what is told. Paul here is recorded as saying what his opinion is. Some churches take that and use it as doctrine others do not. Nevertheless, it does not teach that women are inferior beings. It merely set’s roles. Paul in Gal. 3:28 points out that women and men are equal. If you are referring to somewhere else, I would like to know.

    I think Terry McGee explained the concept of idioms pretty thoroughly, so I will not restate.

    Terry McGee also pointed out that slavery is never condoned in the Bible, it merely establishes guidelines. And, the Bible is applicable to all times, but is relevant to the time at hand. Slavery in different parts of the world are all different, this is not arguable, this is fact. It is also different per time period. The time frame that the OT was written explains that Slaves are to be treated in specific ways. It was also understood that slaves were more like indentured servants than actual slaves in modern times. Same with the Roman era. I in no way “waffled”, merely explained.

    You take the idea of prayer out of context as well. The bible is clear on how to pray, what the purpose of prayer is, etc. and I would argue that most, if not all Christians understand that when Jesus says “if you say to this mountain ‘move’ it will” he does not mean “go ahead, try it. It’ll work” like some infomercial.

    As far as your rhetorical re-questions: Why is it the god of Christianity and not any other god? I would argue thus:

    Christianity, to my knowledge, is the only religion that teaches that you cannot do anything to gain approval of God- because all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Ro. 3:23). But God loved his creation so much that he died for it- so that all who call on him may live. Christianity teaches that the only thing that allows you into heaven is that you have a relationship with God- not follow rituals or laws. This is also why a lot of other religions claim Christianity is wrong- because we don’t “pray five times a day” or are not forced to take missions, or meditate in order to grow, etc. It’s the distinguishing factor of Christianity.

    As far as growing up in the faith causes us to believe what we do- that is quite ridiculous, because there are thousands of people who convert and choose to believe it. If this were not the case the faith would have died with the apostles and Jesus’ followers. So to say that the reason people believe the way they do is because of their upbringing is, in my opinion, demeaning and rude. Ultimately, I would hope, everyone chooses to either stay with their religion or change- much like every person who is reading these posts chose to leave or stay with what they believe.

    Alex

  47. on 01 Dec 2008 at 2:09 am 47.Alex1 said …

    Terry McGee.

    I do see what you are saying, and it is an interesting theory. I do believe that because it is ingrained into me it is hard to sway- but nevertheless I will look into it.

    On the other hand, I do not look at something as truth because the early church practiced something. Throughout history man has had this great ability to get everything wrong. So just because it was the common belief before the Bible was translated into Latin does not mean that it is the true message (though there is a higher possibility because as history shows Catholicism did do many things to skew lines of truth and politics.)

    I still see problematic scriptures such as John 14:6 where Jesus say’s “No one comes to the Father except through me”- this I can see as being translated to mean that because Jesus came they now have that opportunity, but the setting was to Pharisees etc whom he constantly reprimanded. If the door was open for all to get in, why did he have a message so much against people who didn’t speak properly of God? This theory, in my opinion is lacking because with it there is no punishment for people who openly say “God, you do not exist, and if you do I hate you for x reasons.” Jesus was recorded as saying the only unforgivable sin is to deny the Holy Spirit. He wouldn’t say that if everyone would go to heaven.

    I tend to have a different theory that in my opinion lines up more properly. I’m sure it is shared by many, but I have to do some research on it because it is still in the making. And I appreciate your insight because it is helping shape my knowledge as I read the Bible.

  48. on 01 Dec 2008 at 2:42 am 48.Alex1 said …

    Terry McGee

    Sorry, I meant Matthew 13:24-30. I guess I was tired and typed 7:24-30.

    Jesus does explain his parable later in v. 36.-42. Special emphasis on v.41 where it says “they [angles] will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin, and ‘all’ who do evil.”

    As for 1 Cor 3:14-15 this is my understanding:
    We know from the first 7 verses that Paul is speaking solely to the church at Corinth. V. 9 informs us that we are all building God’s building. V.11 notes that all (those that are at Corinth) have a foundation of Christ. So Jesus is already in the picture.

    V. 12 describes ways of building up the house: with good stuff (Gold, Silver, Jewels- God stuff), that will stand the test of time- or with easy stuff (hay, straw, wood- not the Father’s will). V. 13 fire will tell which it is. V 14 if it stands up, then he will be fine because he was one who did what God expected. But, V.15 if not, he will still be alive because he has a foundation of Christ (v.11), because with that foundation we become temples of God (v.16).

    The whole premise is that there is a division amongst the church as far as what teacher to follow. Paul is making the argument that it’s not the people we follow, but God whom we follow. So if what we build is based off of what people are saying, it will not stand the test of time, but if it is built off of what God is saying it will.

    I do not see this as a verse to explain universalism.

    Thoughts?
    Alex

  49. on 01 Dec 2008 at 5:57 am 49.Terry McGee said …

    You are absolutely right. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit that we must follow. It is not tradition, or sacrament, or procedure, or opinions that will lead us to the truth.

    That is why I chose to attend a Christian College and learn all that I could about the original message in its purest form. Let me add that it was a Church of Christ school that I attended. I suffered great opposition as my understanding developed. The Church of Christ is Hell fire all the way. But these professors who had studied the Greek and Hebrew in its earliest forms could not deny the ambiguity in the Latin and English translations. As much as they tried to defend their position from the perspective of eternal damnation, they could not deny that the early Church did not share this view.

    Here is the current state of my understanding.
    Opponents of Universal Restoration try to call it a “do nothing” religion. According to Jesus, believing this way turns up the burner to full force. It seems that our entire existence here is a proving ground. Not to prove ourselves worthy of Heaven, but to distinguish ourselves as worthy to become Priests and Kings. This Priesthood will not occur in some far off place but right here. Jesus never said that we could rest comfortably in our assurance and wait for a rapture or our death to become perfected in love. That is supposed to happen here and now.

    It all starts with understanding that the punishments and rewards start here and now. We are not to wait for the next age to attain perfection. The doctrine of eternal punishment takes the heat off of us by giving us a false sense of security that we are somehow immune to punishment because of our decision to follow Christ. That is not true in the least. Each man’s work will be judged. That which stands will be rewarded and that which is useless will be burned away. This is all of us regardless of our acceptance of Him. The bad will be burned away but he himself shall be saved, even though by fire. This fire is not literal but shows the severity of it. Retribution is real, but it serves a purpose. It is for purification, not senseless endless torment. Those who rise to the top by proving themselves worthy here and now will be placed in positions of authority over all others. St. Paul’s first message to the Corinthians states this:

    1 Cor. 6:1-8

    1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?

    2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts?

    3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?

    4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church?

    5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren,

    6 but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?

    7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

    8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren

    Paul is trying to get it through their heads that they are to be seeking perfection and attaining the knowledge that will be necessary to judge the world and even the angels. That is our purpose here; to become Holy as God is Holy. Not at some later time but here and now.

    Yes, this will continue into other ages and orders of things, but it starts now.

    Is our will stronger than God’s?
    Our fall was not a surprise to God. It was part of His plan all along. The stage is set for those who accept the challenge to rise above the influence of this world and become perfected in love. Then the real fun begins as the last enemy is defeated, even death itself. There will be a new age and order of things. (Translated “a new Heaven and a new Earth in most places)

    You may not be able to see all of this yet, but I’m confident that you will if you seek the truth with an open mind.

  50. on 04 May 2011 at 5:54 am 50.Paul said …

    I am here to affirm that hell is real because I know that demons are real. I am not here to simply quote scriptures but to testify that the Bible is real about hell. So if there is hell there must also be heaven. This means we have a choice to make. I hope you would take the time to read this short story / testimony, YOUR CHOICE YOUR DESTINY and you’ll see what I am saying.

    First read YOUR CHOICE YOUR DESTINY at
    http://CertaintyofGodsLove.blogspot.com

    Then read a related link:
    http://CertaintyofWhatisComing.blogspot.com

    Would you please leave a comment so I know what you think?

    Blessings,
    Paul

  51. on 04 May 2011 at 1:23 pm 51.Lou said …

    50.Paul said …

    “Would you please leave a comment so I know what you think?”

    I think you’re a kook.

  52. on 04 May 2011 at 2:27 pm 52.DPK said …

    Ok, since you asked… I agree with Lou. I think you’re nuts.
    D

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