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SmashTheState's avatar

Christians: Why do you want salvation?

Asked by SmashTheState (9635 points ) July 8th, 2010

I’ve always been baffled by the desire to be “saved” from one’s sins. If something is a sin, then it’s not like breaking the State’s laws, where one might be able to argue that it was broken in support of a higher good or that the law itself is unjust. By definition, a sin is an objective, unarguable act of evil. If you know that you’ve done evil, why would you want to get out of being responsible for it?

Consider, the argument that Yeshua had to suffer on the cross to atone for our sins is that Yahweh, being a perfect entity, cannot abide evil or imperfection. So he manifested himself as a human being so that he could pay the price he himself demands, allowing human beings to escape their just punishment.

If you know that what you have done is wrong and evil – and if you believe in sin, then you must – then why on Earth would you want to make someone else pay for what you’ve done, then reap the benefits both of your evil act and the reward for not doing it? It seems to me that the desire to avoid punishment for acts of evil is itself an evil act.

Can any of you explain why you think you deserve salvation?

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82 Answers

zenele's avatar

I’m Jewish – but I want some salvation, too. Pick me – pick me?!

tinyfaery's avatar

Christianity is the ultimate “pass the buck” religion. It’s not about responsibility, it’s about being able to sin over and over and over and not reap any repercussion for their actions. In their estimation we all sin and we are all week so we should be able to get away with it. At least that’s my opinion.

This attitude explains so much about America and many Americans.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Hey, of course they pass the buck. They are accused of sin the moment they are born.

BoBo1946's avatar

I don’t deserve salvation, but i’m saved by the Grace of God! No Christian is deserving, but God sent his Son to bear our sins on the Cross for those who will accept Him as their personal Savior! It is by Faith that we live. Not, by our good works! But, when i accept God’s gift, i have the desire to live a good life through Him. I’m nothing without Him. Personally, I’m no All-American on God’s team, but a very good “water boy!” God required me to repent of my sins as part of His plan, called the Plan of Salvation!

SmashTheState's avatar

@BoBo1946 Yes, as I indicated, I’m quite aware of the rationale. What I’m asking is not how salvation works, but why you’d want it. Knowing that you’ve done wrong, why would you want to benefit from your sin at the same time you’re getting rewarded for not sinning? Does that seem fair to you?

CMaz's avatar

Putting aside all the personal hangups and bad experiences that many fall on to express thier point.. And, as limited their “true” understanding of it is.

It comes down to it is all irrelevant. As irrelevant as the big deal a child, and some adults, make of a stubbed toe.

Life has rules, believing in a spiritual being watching over us also produces rules.

It is not a matter of getting out of it, it is about avoiding it (sin) and showing that you understand the error in your ways.
Biased on Gods rules.

So many people run for cover expecting a lightning bolt to hit them. That is not what it is about.

What is missed is, in the end everything will be just fine. The world has been designed with safeguards.
“Sin” will eventually find punishment in one form or another. While you possess that earthly body.

If you want to make it, and many do make it, a run for cover way of living. Well, that is just ignorance.

With all due respect. :-)

tinyfaery's avatar

@ChazMaz Can you point to Bible verses that demonstrate your opinion? Just curious. Your statement seems all well and good, but I have never seen any Biblical evidence of what you are saying. Not that I am a Bible scholar or anything.

Spider's avatar

Perhaps the answer is a simple one: Christians want to go to heaven to be with their God when their life ends.

BoBo1946's avatar

@SmashTheState very fair….don’t think of it that way! Because of what He did on the Cross, i’ve a desire to serve and live in a manner that would please Him, but knowing, that i will let Him down occasionally, or for that matter, often. It is a belief and it’s done by Faith, not my good works etc. The great things about serving Him is that His mercy toward me, and for that matter, anyone, is He forgives me with a simple prayer….after that the sin is forgiven! He does not want us to feel guilty. Guilt pulls a person down…God wants his followers to be happy. He wants us to have fun. Also, His love lives through me. That is why i love others as i do. Being a Christian is not a life of misery, being dull, introverted, and always pious and “sissified”...loll.. Jesus was no sissy…when He went into the temple with the “cat of nine tails,” He was no sissy…far from it. Being a Christian, allows me to live a happy and good life. For this, i’m very thankful!

Certainly know that my answer will never be a popular answer…but, i truly feel this way!

Ltryptophan's avatar

The wages of sin is death. Putting your sin onto Jesus is not getting away with it. If a christian is acting within christianity then they are workiing towards never sinning. When christians sin they trample Jesus. The bible warns against doing that. If a christian is unrepentant about continual sinning and never comes round to gaining self control, one has to wonder about whether they have salvation at all. That is for God to decide.

Before Jesus it didn’t matter what you did, you would still lose. Anyway, it is not through a christians power that she ceases to sin. It is through the life of God working in them to turn them away from it. On our own we fail.

God wants us to be dependant on Him. Like if you found a piece of land, and you knew that with the right cultivation you could really get a great harvest from it. Well, if you bought the land and left it to its own devices nothing would be reaped. God has paid for us, and is sowing and reaping. Sin in Christians is part of the land that still needs cultivation. Maybe it will take some people to die to fix there temptation.

Regardless, failures here on this planet are great training for everything God has planned for us while we are here, and when we join Him.

Bottom line is that a Christians responsibility is to not sin. When Jesus died, he freed us from sin once and for all. 1 COR 3:13 is the standard that christians must meet. Paraprhasing it says that what is built on the foundation of Jesus will be tested with fire. If you build with hay and rubbish…it is going to be burned up. You will be saved, but you will have nothing to show for your life. So Sins are like nothing being laid on the foundation. It is better that we build on the foundation of Jesus with better stuff that won’t get burned up.

Salvation is not the reward of sin. Salvation is the reward of a merciful God who loves us despite our sins. He did not have to help us. Noone has to accept His help either. Consider that if you murdered someone and the court decided to pardon you, would you tell the court that is unacceptable I want the death penalty??? The next day would you go out and kill someone else to see just how merciful the court really is??? I think it would be prudent in that situation to consider your good fortune for having been pardoned, and attempt to go out and live the life of an upright citizen from then on.

It is no different at all in Christianity. For us you are guilty of the murder of Christ until you receive salvation. When you do Jesus has said that He forgives you. Now, if you continue to sin without remorse then you are heaping coals on your head, like a man who has been pardoned and continues to offend despite the mercy that is shown.

God also said who is more upright, the man who sins and goes to the synagogue and beats his chest crying for repentance…or the person who has not sinned and thinks nothing of the judgment of God.

Or consider if two men are in your debt one $500, and one $5,000. If you forgive them both their debts, who will love you more for it.

Hope that helps.

CMaz's avatar

@tinyfaery -

John 1:1–14 (KJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

1 John 3:20
“in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.”

Basically…

God always was, he snapped his “fingers” and put all things into motion. Knowing the outcome of it. That in itself shows us that the “issues” we create and the “problems” that we have, have always been part of his engineering. We are accountable for our actions, as I stated above. ”“Sin” will eventually find punishment in one form or another.”
You want to call putting you hand on a hot stove “sin” the “punishment” being a burn. So be it. So many people think that way.
It is nothing more then a self inflicted wound.
And like the example of the stubbed toe. Our issues, are not as big as we make them out to be, or make them to be. In the bigger scheme of things.

God (for the flavor of this discussion) is looking down at us saying, “why are they taking me so serious?” Better yet, god being God, it is a non issue. Confident in the end result and kicking back waiting for the brownies to finish baking.

jazmina88's avatar

I <3 Chazzie….....

YARNLADY's avatar

I was raised in a Christian household and have read the Bible. The answer to your question is pretty much covered in Paul’s letters to the Romans. If you read that you will see where salvation is better than condemnation. To put it one way, with God, you can live forever, without, not.

6rant6's avatar

So this afterlife/salvation thing… you live forever, with no desires, no fears, no needs unmet? Obviously, no one else needs you to do anything for them either. What’s left that’s human? You just sit around, going, “Nice clouds today, praise the lord”?

In a life filled with striving, fear and uncertainty I can see where the idea of “Everything serene” is appealing. But really. Most of us can’t go on a two day vacation without looking for something new to try, or accomplish or risk. We like the people we like often because of their way of dealing with life’s difficulties – they’re heroes, or comedians, or confidants. That won’t have value in a perfect setting. How is this afterlife a good thing?

fundevogel's avatar

Everyone was doing it…

No seriously. I was raised Christian. I was expected to be Christian, everyone I knew was Christian. There was no reason to think about the value or justice of Christian salvation since everyone I knew, including smart people and people I trusted to explain the world to me assured me, knew that this was the way things were and this was what you had to do. Reasoning extended just as far as:

A. it would be bad to go to hell and

B. God already did your sinning ass a huge favor so it would be an inexcusable faux pas not to accept his salvation and love him because of all he did.

It would be like turning your nose up at your mother’s home cooked meal that she spent hours making just for you, but times a million. The idea of questioning salvation has a very literal “how could you after all I did for you” guilt trip built into it. I mean they teach you he died for your sins. If they can make you believe that, and they usually can, because they’re your parents, you don’t really have a choice. There’s no respectfully declining that. I mean what are you going to say, “Thanks, but no thanks”?

If I’m angry about religion now (and I probably am) its because I trusted those people and they betrayed my trust by teaching be to believe an enormous fantasy was fact and making it clear that questioning that fantasy’s reality was not only wrong but dangerous.

Logic doesn’t have anything to do with it.

tinyfaery's avatar

@ChazMaz What do you say of the fiendish who never reap the consequence of their actions? It happens. And what about the myriad of other Biblical verses that directly condemn the unfaithful? Just as always, the contradictions illuminate the inconsistencies and the hypocrisy. Oh, well.

CMaz's avatar

“the fiendish who never reap the consequence of their actions? It happens.”
That is an assumption, not seeing any outward signs of consequences. You have to be that fiendish person to know for sure. We all carry burden of some form. Some just hide it better then others.

“myriad of other Biblical verses that directly condemn the unfaithful?”
I see the point of their efforts. But.. A misuse of who God is.

Matthew 7:1
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves.”

tinyfaery's avatar

So you just leave out the parts you don’t like? That’s rhetorical. I’m done.

CMaz's avatar

No, all the parts work very well. No need to leave any of it out. It is very easy to see. Some people just want to believe that the coin did come from behind your ear.
But ignorance is not bliss, in this case, causing dysfunction. Something that mankind of 6 thousand years ago and today seem to prefer to cling to.
If you replace common sense with fear, then you are just a puppet of the system.
What good is any of it then?

Coloma's avatar

No.

A sin is not about ‘evil’.

It can be…but..a ‘sin’ simply means to miss the mark.

Like a marksman that needs to adjust his aim so as to hit the bullseye.

Another misrepresentation of a word that is truly benign by definition.

“Salvation” is a state of mind…as is everything, it is not some mysteriously bestowed upon magical knighthood.

One finds salvation in the recognition of their eternal nature and by dropping all identification with the world delivering them from what can only be delivered by the renunciation of self.

Salvation is not only for those adherents of Christianity, it is available to anyone and everyone that recognizes the great mystical truths.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Coloma only one way for Christians, and thats throuh christ. Or they’d call us chrystomythicans…

CMaz's avatar

Christ… Who is the father or was it the holy spirit?

Coloma's avatar

@Ltryptophan

Of course…the proverbial only way…I prefer to look at the wisdom in all forks of the road to providence. lol

sharpstick's avatar

SmashTheState – I can see how you could ask this question, those who are not Christians have a hard time understanding what is involved in salvation, even some who are Christians don’t understand it or have been taught a simplified version.

It is not about getting away with anything, it is the exact opposite. Salvation involves repentance and that means seeing yourself as God sees you, guilty and realizing you have no recourse but to accept the judgement pronounced. The ball is in God’s court so-to-speak. His response is one that satisfies both His justice and His love. Without a payment of the penalty the severity of the offense is not recognized, but we cannot bare the judgment without being destroyed and separated from God forever. It is God’s love for us that put the plan in action, God himself, the judge, bore the punishment in our place and allowing the relationship to be restored.

It is because of this act that I know that in spite of all evidence to the contrary, I have value because I have been redeemed (bought) with a price and that price is the life of God Himself.

There is a lot more I could write about this, it is a far deeper subject than even most Christians understand and is often glossed over by people repeating phrases they don’t fully comprehend.

Does this help answer your question?

Ludy's avatar

I want salvation for my sins, because even if i try i am always sinning, altough not in porpouse, but i don’t think God gave us the wonderful gift of forgivenness to play with it or use it for our own convenience, it doesn’t work if you keep doing the same evil over and over again, there has to be conviction, the point is that you don’t want to be a sinner cause if you die then there’s the real punishment, and God doesn’t want us to go there, even if we don’t deserve being saved, i don’t think God is that cruel to let us perish with no way out

Jabe73's avatar

I understand what the bible says about this for I have read it and grew up in a Christian family so I do not need any quotes from the bible to remind me. This is why I gave up Christianity and became more of a unitarian with a deist views on things. I believe in trying to be a good person, not a copout by having someone dying for my sins. I have seen so many so called “Christians” verbally attacking many people who have done great deeds, individuals who have always put other people ahead of themselves all because they were not “Christian”, didn’t believe the biblical story of creation and didn’t accept Jesus as the “only way to heaven”.

The way I see it if I’m wrong and the fundies are right I will be in good company in hell, I will be with Mother Teresa, Ghandi, Bhudda, ect. This is why religion can be so bad for society, you will always have many Christians telling everyone else they are going to hell, and you see the same with many Muslims as well. The overall message of “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” seems to get lost by arrogant religious people who claim they are already “saved” while everyone else isn’t. The future would be better served if more “religious” people turned to spirituality or deist.

Ludy's avatar

oh @Jabe73 i don’t want you to go to hell!!! and also we will never be certain if those people are in heaven or hell :P

Coloma's avatar

@Jabe73

Yep, well…Buddhism and Taoism resonates the most with me.

Religion by it’s very designation is designed to separate those that claim there is no separation. lol

The eastern philosophies are so much more realistic and free of hypocrisy.

6rant6's avatar

@coloma Would you agree that the challenge for those of us who aren’t religious is to avoid the pitfalls of religion: an out of hand dismissal of those with differing views, and a closedmindedness about what we hold to be true?

Coloma's avatar

@6rant6

A truly well rounded, open minded human, regardless of faith and denomination is a seeker of all truth and knows there are many paths to wisdom. End of story.

I have done work with a brilliant hypnotherapist who is also a chaplain, who is also a philosopher, who also embraces the eastern philosophies, who also incorporates many metaphysical practices into his medical hypnotherapy and neuro linguistic programming services and champions a non-denominational mind power dynamics course based on the metaphysical laws of thought, attraction and visualizaton work for enhanching all life arenas.

He teaches and lives in the totality.

Now THAT is an EXAMPLE of true open mindedness and integrated philosophies that exclude no one and nothing! :-)

Symbeline's avatar

I don’t get it either. I’m convinced the journey is what’s important, fuck the conclusion. Rivers made out of milk freak me the hell out, anyways.

Ludy's avatar

what if the afterlife is not the conclusion but the actual beggining? :O

Symbeline's avatar

@Ludy Then what is now?

Jabe73's avatar

@Ludy Well thats my take as well. I don’t think your journey ever ends but just changes.

fundevogel's avatar

@Jabe73 I hate to break it to you but Mother Teresa wasn’t a saint, at least not beyond the Catholic sense of the word. It amazes me that her PR was so good that people mistake this woman for a caregiver.

mattbrowne's avatar

Jesus reminded us that we make ourselves very unhappy when we hate other people. This reminder saves us from living a miserable life. To me that’s the most important aspect of being saved.

Sins can be understood as acts that violate moral rules. Salvation involves the capability of asking for forgiveness for our trespasses, as we also forgive others that trespass against us.

SmashTheState's avatar

@sharpstick The part which is confusing me is why christians would want what they haven’t earned. I understand the reasoning that it’s not physically possible to earn your own salvation what with humans being fallible and imperfect (and if you’re Catholic, you believe that people are born with sin). Granted this is the case, why would you want what you haven’t earned for yourself? If humans are imperfect, why do you believe any of them should be allowed into the Kingdom? Would it not be just to simply condemn our entire species to Hell?

How would you feel if, in an ordinary court, a judge proclaimed a defendant guilty of murder – but then took off his robe and said he’d serve the sentence instead and allowed the murderer to walk out of the courtroom a free man?

Incidentally, the logical conclusion of “grace” is Luther’s otherwise heretical “sin greatly” doctrine: if there is more grace in forgiving a large sin than a small one, then we should aim to increase the amount of grace by sinning as greatly as possible.

NaturallyMe's avatar

Because the prospect of going to hell ain’t something to look forward to…?

(i’m not religious anymore, but i think this could have been my reason back then).

gemiwing's avatar

As with any topic of faith- even fellow Christians- I can only speak for my personal interpretation.

In order to be forgiven or saved I have to truly deal with the consequences of my actions. I don’t just say ‘oh well Jesus died so I’m in the clear’. I have to think about what I’ve done, why I’ve done it and then ask for forgiveness and truly understand what that means. It’s about having a god that is loving- truly loving as in keeping no tallies or bringing it up later in a fight.

It’s about forgiving myself for what I’ve done. It’s about making things right when I can, and if I can’t then learning how not to do those things in the future. When I sin I give up a little piece of my true self. That sacred space inside is tarnished and I feel dirty in my soul. The process of being forgiven helps me clean up and set things back to rights again.

For me, being saved/receiving salvation, isn’t about being perfect. It’s about truly being aware of my impact on the world and how I leave it. Did I try? Did I care? Did I stand up for those who are stomped on?

Jesus died for me. I don’t take that lightly. I believe he had to die a martyr and be reborn to give a physical example of what we will experience. He did it out of love, duty and he knew he had to – but he still felt the fear. Just like we all will one day. In my view he saved us by showing us the way to be human, yet always look to the goal of being a better human.

That sense of purpose, of expanding the light, is what salvation is to me. Without salvation I would be scrambling in the dark, grasping at anything shiny instead of seeing the way out of the pit.

BoBo1946's avatar

@NaturallyMe why would that change now? just asking!

NaturallyMe's avatar

@BoBo1946 – what change exactly do you refer to? If it’s about the fact that i’m no longer worried about hell when i used to be – well, the whole religion concept just sort of….. faded out of my life, it just made less and less sense to me until one day i realized i’m not religious anymore, so i don’t believe in hell anymore or the need to be saved from “sin” or anything like that.

BoBo1946's avatar

@NaturallyMe got’cha my friend!

sharpstick's avatar

SmashTheState – We have established the fact that the choice not between one where I earn my way and another where I don’t earn it. The choice is between accepting the only way to salvation that has been made for me, or rejecting it because I didn’t do it myself. From the way I see it, the reasons fall into two categories, negative (fear) and positive (love). Some people choose simply because they want to avoid punishment, in my opinion this is the weaker of the two reasons and one in which far too much emphasis has been placed since the Puritans and has weakened Christianity. The other reason people choose is because they do not want to be separated from the God who loves them with a determination that is beyond human comprehension. To me this is a much more powerful reason to make the choice because it gets to the real motivation of God in making the choice to save us.

To continue the analogy of the judge. I would be puzzled at the judges decision to take the punishment, until I realized that the judge was the Father of the condemned man and was motivated by love.

I only think it is us humans who put such an emphasis on the different degrees of sin. I think to God there is not that much of a difference. It is all hubris and rebellion.

I would recommend a book to read called “Until We Have Faces” it is by CS Lewis and it explores this very issue. It is an allegory where one character struggles to comprehend the choices of another in matters of gods and maintaining independence in the face of love.

I think many times as humans we want the choices and motivations of God to be clear and understandable to us, but given our position and limited scope we can not understand it all. It is humbling and humans have a great fear of being humble, it is in our nature, that is the sin at the core that we need to be saved from.

Does this help?

BoBo1946's avatar

well said @sharpstick… my faith is based on love! God loved me enough, despite my sorry self, to send His Son to die for me and anyone that will accept Him! That is powerful stuff from any perspective!

fundevogel's avatar

@BoBo1946 “God loved me enough, despite my sorry self, to send His Son to die for me and anyone that will accept Him!”

That’s creepy. I don’t think condemning anyone to death is an expression of love, no matter how it is framed. My rule of thumb is to ask myself if it was a person rather than God that did these things would I be ok with it? Would it be moral?

So I ask you. If a man, lets call him Sam, handed his innocent son over to be executed and told you that he did it to demonstrate his love for you, would you think “wow, Sam really loves me!” Or would you think something else about Sam?

sharpstick's avatar

fundevogel – Jesus is called the Son of God, but He is God himself. He was completely man and completely God at the same time. God did not condemn a separate innocent party, He condemned Himself. Do I understand how God can be a Trinity? No, I think it is an imperfect expression of a reality we cannot understand.

A better way of thinking about it would be, if you had a child or friend that you loved and had the chance to rescue them from a deadly situation but have to put yourself in harms way, would you?

BoBo1946's avatar

@fundevogel a figure of speech that comes from this great song!

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

fundevogel's avatar

@sharpstick “He was completely man and completely God at the same time.”

It is impossible to be 100% of two things defined by contradictory characteristics.

“God did not condemn a separate innocent party, He condemned Himself. Do I understand how God can be a Trinity? No, I think it is an imperfect expression of a reality we cannot understand.”

The trinity is an impossible concept repeated and accepted by believers when it is no more possible than a square circle. I don’t believe square circles are possible and I don’t believe three entities can be a single entity. Both of your assertions violate basic logic and math.

And that doesn’t even touch the question of how sacrificing yourself, to yourself constitutes a sacrifice. That’s like moving a dollar out of your pocket to your purse, it cancels no debt.

In a nut shell.

Coloma's avatar

@sharpstick

Yes, but there is really no huge revelation in what you say.

We are all ‘God’ and not ‘God’...mortal and eternal, human and divine.

The ‘son’ of ‘God’ is simply a child of ‘God’ as we all are.

I don’t believe Jesus was chosen, I believe he came into his divinity as a mortal through a finely tuned spirit and intuition of ultimate truth as did the Buddha and many other enlightened sages of the ages.

sharpstick's avatar

@fundevogel – it is a matter of faith isn’t it. Do you have faith that human logic is the final arbiter in all matters? Do you believe that the human mind will one day be able to explain everything. I do not share that faith.

BoBo1946's avatar

The Trinity has to be accepted by Faith! As a little child! Many great scholars of the Bible cannot explain all the concepts and miracles proformed by God. It can be debated until eons, but it a very simple plan. As @sharpstick said, it always get back to Faith!

CMaz's avatar

Not for me.

I am God.

BoBo1946's avatar

@fundevogel there you go…all this is settled! God (Chaz) has spoken! loll

fundevogel's avatar

@BoBo1946 & @sharpstick Well that’s it isn’t it? You think you shouldn’t be critical of Christian doctrine and I don’t think anything deserves an exemption from critical evaluation.

You’re lowering the standard of evidence for your religion. Don’t you think a religion worth have should be able to stand up not just to critical evaluation but to exhaustive critical evaluation? Poorly conceived systems need exemptions from criticism, not good ones.

Bobo said “The Trinity has to be accepted by Faith! As a little child!”

When I was a child I was a Christian. And it wasn’t because I was totally uncritical. It was because I believed that my parents wouldn’t lie to me and thus what they said about Christianity must be true. That isn’t faith, it’s trust. Trust I later found was abused.

BoBo1946's avatar

@fundevogel my friend…not sure what you are trying to say. Don’t mind anyone questioning my beliefs etc. I will never change my convictions about God and the Bible. I don’t try to intellectualize the teaching of the Bible…my Faith is enough for me! Hopefully, you will find some peace in your mind about the Bible as it seems to be disturbing you somewhat. Also, very sorry about your abuse…we all have our crosses to bear! My childhood was very difficult, not going into all that, but God provided me a way out of the mess. For that, i’m very thankful!

CMaz's avatar

You are welcome! :-)

Oh and by the way… I’m still working on that pony for you. ;-)

fundevogel's avatar

@BoBo1946
To be clear my parents were not abusive. My trust was abused when they elicited my belief based on my affection for them rather than the validity of what they taught me to believe. I believed not be because it merited belief, but because people I loved and cared about told me to.

“I will never change my convictions about God and the Bible. I don’t try to intellectualize the teaching of the Bible…my Faith is enough for me!”

What other things is faith enough for? Is it enough to launch a shuttle into space? Or know what medicine to take when you’re sick or if your car will have enough gas? If you need to base the rest of the decisions you make in life on evidence and study, whether it is your own or someone else’s, I don’t see how you could think that basing your religious life around uncritical faith is a good way to live life.

Religious people often say they base they life around God, but they don’t allow to evaluate that God. It is arguably the guiding force of their lives, but they would never take a similar leap of faith on many lesser matters. For instance, you wouldn’t take a test without studying just having faith that you would just know the answers. That is a far more minor element of life than the pillar (religion) some people use to base their lives choices on. Why require evidence and reason for evaluating lesser elements of life and decide that it is unnecessary for what you consider to be the most important part?

“Hopefully, you will find some peace in your mind about the Bible as it seems to be disturbing you somewhat. ”

It’s only disturbing me because I’m reading it. I don’t care much for a god that would have little ones dashed on rocks. I don’t care who his agent is.

BoBo1946's avatar

@fundevogel well said, but i could write as much as Matt Browne does on most days and would not convince you of my Faith. Also, i could not convince you to believe what i believe. Obviously, you are very intellent and articulate person, you will have to decide for yourself. My mind is made up until doomsday! I’ve been through too much in my life and not once have i ever blamed God for my mistakes. He is always there…unfortunately, i’ve not always stayed close to Him.

Also, understand your grief over small children being killed etc., but those children will have a much better life than we have here! It is a mean and vicious World….that is a given, but someday, that will all change. I’m looking forward to that experience. As you, i’ve many unanswered questions about this life, but again, i just have to accept it by Faith.

fundevogel's avatar

@BoBo1946
“i could write as much as Matt Browne does on most days and would not convince you of my Faith.”

lol. Well said. Though I don’t question that you have faith, just if you should.

“Also, understand your grief over small children being killed etc., but those children will have a much better life than we have here!”

I don’t think Christians for the most part condone the horrible stuff in the Bible, but it concerns me that they are so willing to overlook it and keep calling the Bible a source of peace and morality. There is no way in a million years Bronze age babies whose heads have been fully approved for dashing against rocks have it better than me. I for one didn’t have to worry about polio…or getting my head dashed in.

“As you, i’ve many unanswered questions about this life, but again, i just have to accept it by Faith.”

It’s true, I have many unanswered questions, but I accept that I won’t ever have all the answers. I don’t need to fill the holes in my knowledge with faith simply because I can’t stand having holes. I can live with holes and I expect that when I die some of the holes I had will have been filled…and I’ll probably have some new holes in their place. It’s ok.

BoBo1946's avatar

@fundevogel when i was younger (especially when i was in college), was so confused and trying to find answers to this mess we live in and can certainly understand your skepticism and doubt, but time changed all that. Little by little found my answers. You will too my friend. Enjoyed our conversation. Got to run…Law and Order is coming on..and Bones, love that show! Take care!

Ludy's avatar

The trinity is an impossible concept repeated and accepted by believers when it is no more possible than a square circle. I don’t believe square circles are possible and I don’t believe three entities can be a single entity. Both of your assertions violate basic logic and math.
@fundevogel I think some things are possible even if i don’t believe they are

fundevogel's avatar

@Ludy – There’s a difference between reserving the possibility of things you can’t confirm and believing something that is a logical impossibility, ie that a circle can be square or that 3 = 1.

mattbrowne's avatar

@fundevogel – I don’t think atheists for the most part ignore the good advice in the Bible, but it concerns me that a few are so willing to overlook it and keep calling the Bible a source of hatred and destruction.

Ludy's avatar

well those whiskers/beard look impossible to and there they are!

fundevogel's avatar

@mattbrowne “I don’t think atheists for the most part ignore the good advice in the Bible, but it concerns me that a few are so willing to overlook it and keep calling the Bible a source of hatred and destruction.”

Why should I pay lip service to a religion whose good morals are hardly unique or remarkable and whose evils are so vile? Especially when this same religious text that turns my stomach with it’s disregard for the value of human life is championed as an unquestioned source of good and morality?

It’s not reasonable to expect me to kow tow to religion because you think it deserves my respect. Most religions have positive messages in them somewhere, that doesn’t mean that we should ignore everything rotten about them just because they got something right, especially when ignoring the problems, or simple ignorance of them is the norm. What you think of the Bible and religion is up to you. But when it comes up I’m not going to keep my opinions to myself to protect other people’s ignorance of the Bible or their fantasy of it.

If Christians or anyone else is to believe the hype, I want them to have to square that with all of the Bible’s contents, not just the marketable parts.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne I gotta go with @fundevogel on this one. It’s just not realistic to say that the believers can just take the good parts of the Bible lessons, and ignore the bad parts. (Numbers 25:4–9 Hosia 13:16 Isiah 13:16)

CMaz's avatar

Its not about “the believers can just take the good parts of the Bible lessons, and ignore the bad parts.”

It’s about seeing it for what it is, (removing the “hocus pocus”) understanding the mindset of the time. Then applying it to properly.

No reason that we need to set an example through martyrisem.

mattbrowne's avatar

I never said anything about ignoring the bad parts. I pointed out that there is a lot of wisdom and good advice in the Bible as well.

Many atheists actually haven’t read the whole Bible, let alone really taken the time to contemplate and understand its meaning, but in many online forum they enjoy posing as expert theologians. They know very little about biblical hermeneutics or higher criticism. They also seem to ignore the fact that a verse out of context can often be taken to mean something completely different from the intention. Therefore the Bible should be studied to find the authors’ original meaning in their own context rather than expecting it to provide a modern text. To really understand the Bible and what it intends to say to present generations, it is necessary to understand who wrote it and why, and the cultural context in which it was written.

Yet not ignoring the bad parts does not mean everyone today should believe in a tribal God and start to commit genocide.

So I agree with @ChazMaz that believers of the year 2010 need to remove the “hocus pocus” and understand the mindset of the time. It is also necessary to grasp the concept of myths.

Michael Shermer – who is an atheists – once said the following: Myths are about the human struggle to deal with the great passages of time and life—birth, death, marriage, the transitions from childhood to adulthood to old age. They meet a need in the psychological or spiritual nature of humans that has absolutely nothing to do with science. To try to turn a myth into a science, or a science into a myth, is an insult to myths, an insult to religion, and an insult to science.

Ludy's avatar

oh you again with th whiskers :)

fundevogel's avatar

@mattbrowne “I never said anything about ignoring the bad parts.”

No, and I didn’t expect you to bring them up in you defense of Christianity. And yet you think atheists shouldn’t criticize religion without also praising it.

This is like saying a prosecuting attorney can’t make his case unless he also talks about the defendant’s neighborly qualities. That isn’t how it works. I can do that, but I’m not obligated to. Especially since I know that the defense is already going to talk about that (and has been for 2000 years without interruption). I won’t deny the truth of positive evidence, but I’m not obligated to submit it. You’re asking for the prosecution to make a case for the defense, and you’re arguing it based on the idea that the prosecution owes it to you to make the defense’s points. No, I’m sorry I’m not playing both sides. If you want to defend your religion you can do it, you shouldn’t expect it’s objectors to do it for you. I don’t expect you to throw in a criticism of religion for every argument you make for it.

“Many atheists actually haven’t read the whole Bible, let alone really taken the time to contemplate and understand its meaning, but in many online forum they enjoy posing as expert theologians.”

So do we need to have license to criticize Christianity? Do you you also think I need to read the whole Koran to criticize Islam? What about Christians? If I can’t have an opinion of religion until I’ve read the whole book how come you only need to read John 3:16 to find Jesus? Shouldn’t Christians be required to read the entire Bible before they can call themselves Christian let alone before they can make positive claims about it?

Lets not pretend that saying unflattering things about a religion that has demanded absolute respect for hundreds of years is in any way unfair. No other entity claims that criticism is unfiar. The church has been granted immunity from criticism for so long that too many people believe that it deserves respect. It doesn’t. Respect is earned. And even when it is earned that still doesn’t grant exemption from criticism.

I mean, what other systems or claims do you think are above criticism? Socialism? Democracy? Alternative medicine? We can’t pick and choose. Either everything is open for debate or nothing can be criticized.

mattbrowne's avatar

@fundevogel – Yes, everything is open for debate and I do welcome debates. Therefore I take the time to read all your comments. The Bible deserves criticism. Christianity deserves criticism. The various churches and movements deserve criticism. But atheists and remarks from atheists deserve criticism too. That’s what I’ve done and again I really resent the arrogance of some atheists trying to pose as expert theologians. I’m a computer scientists, not a theologian. My brother is a theologian. I’ve read the whole Bible, an effort which requires several months of time. I also have a good basic understanding of biblical hermeneutics and higher criticism. I wonder how many atheists have actually spend time to understand biblical hermeneutics and higher criticism. Have you?

Typically many atheists learn of biblical quotes like Deuteronomy 2:34–35 (“at that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them—men, women and children. We left no survivors. But the livestock and the plunder from the towns we had captured we carried off for ourselves”) for example when reading “The God Delusion”, really feel invigorated in their cause. Some even think, oh, this is very simple now. Religion is evil. Here’s proof. It’s not that simple.

Again, no system is above criticism and this includes religions as well as the various atheist movements.

6rant6's avatar

I’m sure we could find some nuggets of wisdom in “Dianetics: the modern science of mental health” or “Soul on Ice” or “Mein Kampf” or… well you get the idea.

The problem is that a book that mixes real advice with bizarre thinking doesn’t help the reader because the reader must know beforehand which is which. It’s bizarre that you go through the “Word of God” separating it out into “metaphorical” and “literal” or however you reconcile the chaff with the wheat.

The other thing which I find totally bizarre is that “students” of the bible don’t even accept the stuff that is, well, carved in stone: they advocate murder; judging from the news, adultery is fairly popular; and the sabbath is holy only if their team isn’t playing. And then the one that’s supposedly the greatest commandment of all is completely forgotten by most.

So don’t expect people to “study” a book which contains a great deal of misinformation. But even more importantly, don’t expect people to read a book which clearly does not deliver to it’s readers the information they apparently need to lead moral lives.

mattbrowne's avatar

@6rant6 – Comparing the Bible to “Mein Kampf” is bizarre thinking to say the least and not worthy of further debate.

6rant6's avatar

@mattbrowne Sorry, the position of Arbiter of All that is Worthy is already occupied by the Pope.

You missed my point, obviously. No surprise there. Obviously what I was saying was even the most vilified books have Some things of value in them if you sift enough.

If you are going to claim to be the One Who Thinks Deeply, you really should try doing it.

BoBo1946's avatar

loll….you guys don’t give up! Have fun!

fundevogel's avatar

@mattbrowne My main issue with your original remark was when your said

“I don’t think atheists for the most part ignore the good advice in the Bible, but it concerns me that a few are so willing to overlook it and keep calling the Bible a source of hatred and destruction.”

I’ve already explained why I think this expectation of atheists is unreasonable. You’ve continued to respond to my posts, but you haven’t really addressed my point that this is unreasonable and unfair expectation of atheists. Have you reconsidered this position or is there some other reason you haven’t addressed the concerns I’ve addressed to you?

“But atheists and remarks from atheists deserve criticism too. That’s what I’ve done and again I really resent the arrogance of some atheists trying to pose as expert theologians.”

I just don’t see this as a flaw in atheism or as something worth debating. Yes some people are ignorant and arrogant, sometimes simultaneously. Some of them are atheists some of them are Christians and some of them are dirigible captains, it’s a character of humanity and not automatically synonymous with the position the dick in question holds. You wouldn’t like me to automatically dismiss Christianity because some Christians are ignorant and rude. You should want me to judge it based on the content of the religion and recognize that not everyone that associates themselves with it understands what they’re talking about.

I think this criticism is especially out of place and somewhat insulting since the atheists you engage with here are almost always very thoughtful and knowledgeable when they respond to religious questions. If it was the sweeping problem you seem to think it is wouldn’t there be more rude ignorant atheists here? Ultimately I find this criticism thin since A. it doesn’t really relate to the merit or flaws of atheism or religion and B. it shows a willingness to penalize an entire school of thought not for a flaw in the position but because some of it’s advocates are irritating. Here on Fluther we take a lot of time and care to respond to questions and comments, it denigrates our input here when you overlook it and focus on ignorant, arrogant atheists that aren’t here.

I don’t hold you or Christians in general accountable for the Christian dicks I’ve run into so I would appreciate it if you could do the same.

@BoBo1946 yes, we are hardcore :D

BoBo1946's avatar

loll..i’m waiting and watching to see who is the last man to be standing!

CMaz's avatar

That would be me. :-) More like hovering.

mattbrowne's avatar

I guess I need a break too ;-)

flutherother's avatar

You want salvation because that makes you one of the team and that feels good. If you do sinful things you are cast out of the group and that feels bad.

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