Hey SwordOfGod. Thanks for the lengthy response. I will return the favor.
I disagree with just about everything you said but it was an interesting post. I can see why it is like "walking in on a war zone" for you. One of the main reasons it may have seemed that way to you is because you started out "preaching" which is actually against the rules here. However, I like the preaching. But then again, I'm one of those agnostic atheists who listen to Christian preaching on the radio everyday. Not because I have to but because I want to. Don't ask why, I don't know.
By the way, I don't know if you are really "Skeptic" who is posing to be "SwordOfGod" or not. I don't think you are (maybe I'm gullible) but I just want to let you know that there is another Christian on this forum named "Skeptic" with your same avatar so you might want to change your avatar. That's why people are calling you "Skeptic".
Regarding the guilt/punishment thing... The gospel is good news, and tough news. It brings supernatural ecstasy and rough times. Joy and sorrow run together throughout God’s salvation program. It is the joy of travail that lets Jesus know He will be satisfied (Isa. 53:11). Travail is pain, but giving birth is joy.
I take it this is your answer to my question, "Don't you think it is wrong of your god to have people today avoid the guilt of Adam and Eve's original sin but still have to bear their punishment?". I don't think you, as a man, are in a position to say, "giving birth is a joy". My wife says that giving birth was not a "joy" even with pain relievers. Our baby boy was a joy but giving birth was definitely not a "joy". I know her testimony is anecdotal but I'm going to have to accept her evidence, as a women, over your view, as a man.
In addition, you can't say universally that giving birth is a "joy" because women and children have, and still do, die during the process of childbirth. That's not a "joyful" experience.
You gave me Isa. 53:11 as a verse. The end of the verse states, "He will bear their iniquities". If you think the "he" is Jesus and he bore the "iniquities" (sins) of people then why do women still endure the punishment for the sins that Jesus took upon himself. The punishment should be taken away and there should be no more pain in childbirth. After Jesus bore everybody's sins on the cross, the earthly punishment of a painful childbirth should have been taken away and the new punishment (eternal torture), should be the only punishment people have on earth. The fact that the punishment is two-fold (earthly and eternally) really makes your god look like a jerk. If Jesus saves certain Christian women from their sins here on earth then the pain of childbirth should at least go away for these select women because that is the earthly punishment brought all the way down from Eve's sin.
If you ask me, Isaiah 53 can't be talking about Jesus because the fact that the punishment did not go away makes me think that Jesus was not the Servant that was described in chapter 53. The "Servant" could be (or could have been) "Jacob". In fact, Isaiah specifically says the "Servant" is "Jacob" as explained in Isaiah 44:1. Or the "Servant" could be Israel like Isaiah 41:8 says. Ethically and logically, I would say the "Servant" cannot be Jesus in Isaiah 53 because if he bore the earthly sins of people then the earthly punishment should be taken away. Jesus should have taken the pain of childbirth with him on the cross.
For example, if my wife shoots someone intentionally and the cops knock on my door and I accept the blame (or bear her "iniquity") for her wrongdoing, I also have to bear the punishment of her wrongdoing. For this whole thing to make sense, Jesus should have bore not only the "iniquities" of people, but he should have also bore the punishment. Humans should be free of any earthly punishment just like my wife would be free from the punishment of murder because I bore her "iniquity".
We are promised that there will be no more pain in the perfect world to come. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Rev. 21:4). Jesus pointed out that the pain a woman endures in childbirth but soon forgets is like the suffering that humans endure while on this earth, but that it too is fleeting. "A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy" (John 16:21, 22).
My wife just read this and she called Jesus a liar. She still remembers her anguish during childbirth.
In additon, this doesn't answer the question as to why women still have pain in childbirth. Why do women avoid carrying the guilt of Eve but still have to bear her punishment. This is not a very powerful Savior if he can't relieve women of their pain here on earth. God had the power to give women this pain on earth so why doesn't he have the power to take this pain away? Your savior can save women from sin on earth but can't SAVE them from the punishment of sin on earth??? This makes no sense to me. To play off of Epicurus' quote a bit:
“Is God willing to take away the pain during childbirth, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then why do women still have pain during childbirth?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
The concept of salvation is so deep and complex that we will never fully understand the plan until God reveals it to us face-to-face after the Second Coming.
I see this as a huge red flag. As a human who tries everyday to use logic and reason, I try not to accept things until I fully understand them. Salvation should not be "deep and complex" to humans especially when eternal torment could be a consequence for not accepting this plan. The concept of salvation should be one of the easiest things for humans to understand. Since it is not one of the easiest things to understand, I think your god is malevolent. God's plan of salvation should be easy for humans to understand if this god wants to be viewed as a god worthy of worship.
However, each baby that is born is a reminder of how Jesus fulfilled prophecy to save us from pain forever.
I'm confused. I have never heard this before. "Each baby that is born is a reminder of how Jesus fulfilled prophecy to save us from pain forever"??? Christians don't KNOW that they don't have pain forever so how can you say that Jesus FULFILLED PROPHECY to save humans from pain forever? Christians have faith that they might not have pain in heaven but you can't say this is fulfilled prophecy. I might not be understanding you correctly. Can you clarify?
Maybe you might be saying that god did not take the pain of childbirth away after he sacrificed himself to himself because he wanted this pain of childbirth to be a reminder of how he fulfilled prophecy. If so, your god is a jerk. I see no other way around this. This is not a description of a loving god.
In terms of Christianity, those labelled a 'cult' are victims of forced doctrinal conformity who have rejected calls for ecumenicalism. Those who do not conform to the majority view are deemed a 'cult' in a futile attempt to delegitimize faith and practice. However, we are not a cult. Cults all have one thing in common; they deviate from historical Christianity.
The problem with your definition of "cult" is that nobody really knows for sure what "historical Christianity" really was. The bible is written so ambiguously that no denomination can claim they have "sound doctrine". For instance, I could say that most all Christian denominations "deviate from historical Christianity" because the Christians who wrote the New Testament were not Trinitarians. I could pretend I am a Christian apologist and you could pretend you are a Christian apologist and we could shoot verses back and forth to one another that defend our positions but in the end, if we were honest with ourselves, both of us would have to remain agnostic on this topic because the bible is written too ambiguously to come to a conclusion.
You don't KNOW if the writers were Trinitarian. You don't KNOW that the writers of the NT believed that the father, son, and holy spirit were con-substantial (one being), co-equal, and co-eternal like the doctrine of the Trinity suggests. Therefore, you don't KNOW if your denomination is deviating from "historical Christianity" because the nature of the godhead is unclear in the bible.
Conclusion: There is no such thing as a "cult expert" so don't pretend to be one!
What makes SDA's not a cult? What is it that other Christian denominations have deviated from? We keep the Sabbath and dont eat pork, just as Jesus and ALL his disciples did. The other churches do deviate as they eat pork and keep Sunday, a day never commanded once in the bible.
''The [Roman Catholic] Church changed the observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible authority given to her by her founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh-day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant.'' The Catholic Universe Bulletin, August 14, 1942, p. 4
Sooooooo....the SDA's are not a cult because the Roman Catholic church says, "the Seventh-day Adventist is the only consistent Protestant"???
Soooooo.....the Roman Catholic church does not have the authority to change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday but they do have the authority to name your denomination "the only consistent Protestant"???
Soooooo......you call this "proof" that the SDA's are not a cult??? You might want to look up the logical fallacy called "non-sequitur".
In addition, I am going to make an argument that the other churches do NOT deviate from historical Christianity because they eat pork and keep Sunday. It is a matter of interpretation but I think "other churches" have every right to eat pork and worship on Sunday. I hope I don't get "disciplined" by a moderator but I give you Paul's "preaching" in Romans chapter 14 (emphasis on bold):
"1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One person has faith that he may eat all things
, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats
, for God has accepted him
. 4 Who are you to judge
the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike
. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.
6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord
, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10 But you, why do you judge your brother
? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore
, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. 14 I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean
. 15 For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating
and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. 20 Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean
, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. 21 It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. 22 The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God
. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.