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A few questions for Christians.

User Thread
 33yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tazzlyn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
A few questions for Christians.
Just some questions I've been pondering lately. Because, the Christian ideology just doesn't make any sense to me.

Please do not let one question affect your answer for another.

1. Say there is Atheist who clearly denies the existence of god is a good person and does everything they can to help the world and the people around them and follows the 'golden rule' to the extent it can be logically followed.

Then, take into consideration a Christian man who isn't quite as good and does some bad things. Not terribly bad things, but some pretty corrupt things without consideration of other, thusly not following the 'golden rule'. But he always repents when he does a bad action, always apologizes to god/Jesus/whatever and accepts him as his savior and blah blah blah.

Does the aforementioned Atheist go to Hell for not following the Ten Commandments, while the Christian man goes to Heaven, despite the obvious characters of them both?

2. If god/Jesus/whatever loves everyone, why is there a Hell? If you loved -everyone-, why would you send any of them to burn for eternity?

3. Do you think, in all honesty, that you would believe the stories of the Bible if you were not raised to do so? Do you think someone - with no bias of religion, from any angle, simply from a clean, curious and analytical human mind - could read the Bible and take it seriously, from their experiences of life?

4. Do you believe everything in the Bible?

5. Do you know everything in the Bible?

(If you answer yes to 4 and no to 5, which I know MANY people end up doing, if they aren't lying, which most of them try to do, you should see your deeply flawed faith.)

For now, that's it, until I conjure up some more.

Author's note - I think the best way to persuade people who I strongly disagree with is logically. I think any person questioning their faith who seriously contemplates these questions will see their obvious misconceptions and, in my opinion, brainwashedness.

Mind you, these questions are for Christians, not some Agnostic or Atheist that enjoys agreeing with me.

To the Christians answering: Straightforward answers. If you can't find an answer that makes sense, don't try to construe it in some perverted loop hole or change topics, just say: "It doesn't make sense."

Thank you!

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"Inspire."
 39yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that KGB is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Okay, I sort of like these little tests so I'll take a stab; although it always serves well in these situations to remember that Christianity is not a single set group of beliefs but rather a fluid tide that changes from person to person or even within the same person at different times of their life. Technically, all a person really has to do to be a Christian is believe in Christ. However,...

1). A complicated question that ultimately is decided only by God. Also, it must be clarified whether or not the repentence is sincere, if the behavior changes for the better after the repentence, what the repentence means to the person i.e. is it real or lip service (pretty much the first question) because all these factors are ultimately accounted for as God is able to see the heart of a person above and beyond their mere words and even their actions.
Secondly, it must be asked whether the atheist is motivated by actual altruism or whether there are mitigating circumstances involved in the actions that are less than noble. Is there a selfish motivation behind these actions because that would of course contrast the goodness of the actions. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "some perverted loophole" because I've had atheists tell me I'm dodging their questions when in fact their questions are so convoluted and complex that the simple and straightforward answer from the Bible that they're looking for is nonexistant. But some clarifications should allow me a better answer for number one.

2). This is a very hotly contested question within the faith itself. There is a very widening school of thought among many Biblical scholars who have studied the text for decades that declares the English translation of these passages wrong. These scholars say that according to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin texts of the books there is no mention whatsoever of the popular version of Hell floating around now. The Hell people speak of actually refers to a waste area outside Nazareth. The actual translation of the word commonly translated as Hell is simply death (a voluntary separation from God).

3) This is an unfair question as it requires a knowledge not granted to human beings. Would I be a different religion if raised in a different geographic location? Maybe. Maybe not. I can't say nor can anyone else say whether they would be different if raised differently. Such a question is irrelevant in terms of reality anyway.

4). No
5). No

Personally, I cultivate a relationship with Christ apart from the Bible and instead through the Holy Spirit sent into the hearts of men by God and through which communication with Christ is now possible. This ideology, by necessity, makes me a target for both Fundamentalists and the New Atheists as they have been dubbed by the media but it is the only Truth I know and I have never been able to turn from Truth when I have found it. It simply isn't in my nature. This personal Christianity, although defamed by some as false and even dishonest, yet constitutes a large and ever growing population of the religion and becomes difficult to explain without personal experience. I hope I've done at least a decent job of answering some of your questions and if you have any more or would like me to clarify an answer just post it and I will be more than willing to oblige. All the best.

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"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
 33yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tazzlyn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Thank you so much for your response, KGB. I'll elaborate further.

1. The Atheist follows the idea of Karma almost blindly, much of that faith in Karma derived from the 'Golden Rule'. He sees it as the best and only way to live a good life and help the world around him - which is all he's ultimately trying to do.

The Christian man, of course, feels guilty after his bad actions and when he does repent, it is sincere and he does change for the better. Nonetheless, the Atheist is still at a better position on the chart overall, as a person who has tried to do the most good and help the most people.

And I would hope that, since this is decided by God, he would do the right thing.

2. I understand this - that the modern Hell was a misinterpreted English translation of the Bible. This happens with a few things. But the fact of the matter is, in modern Christianity, it is widely accepted.

So, in modern Christianity's ideology, where this 'Hell' is more than real for them, I pose the same question.

3. Okay, the question is a little...little bit of a stretch. But let me do my best to rephrase.

Pick up your Bible and read it for a while. Can you take the stories in this book seriously, that they actually happen, as the truth?

4. and 5. I pose another question to you. If you do not believe some things in the Bible, why do you believe anything at all? Isn't the book all truth or no truth?

Again, thank you very much for your answers - you're being straightforward. I do hope you can further elaborate on the questions I have posted back with.

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"Inspire."
 39yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that KGB is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Hey Tazzlyn, no problem healthy debate is always a positive step.

For the first question, as I said the ultimate decision is of course made by God. But having read the Bible I think there is sufficient leeway for a Christian to believe that people can go to Heaven who don't proclaim God. Jesus tells us in the Bible that a man is known by his fruits, so there may be some validity to the idea that people who do good things are doing the work of the Lord whether they openly claim His name or not. Biblically speaking it is difficult to determine who exactly is and isn't going to end up in Heaven because of the vast range of Biblical interpretations. The claim can be made as well that all good people do the Lord's work and ultimately end up in Heaven (and this is idea certainly falls in line with my own personal beliefs as well). Depending on which denomination and which individual Christian you talk to the Atheist may or may not go to Heaven, but again only God knows who is and/or isn't.
2). Well, as I don't believe in Hell myself, and as there is no Biblical basis for such a place, I will have to defer this question to someone who believes in it. I wish could be of more help here, sorry.
3). I think yes a person could take the Bible's stories as truth from a clean slate. However, let me clear here that taking the stories as truth does not necessarily imply that every story will be taken completely literally. I don't see that given what we know today the Bible in a completely literal and straightforward sense could probably be seen as truth, but within context of the stories and the time frame and the culture, not to mention the metaphors and symbols rampant in the Bible there is every possibility that it could be truth. This is of course up to the individual believer and theories range wide on this one, but I think it could be objectively and logically be seen as truth provided people recognize this metaphor and symbolism and not jump right away to something like, "Well, the Bible mentions Adam and Eve so they must have been real people." It could very well be that Adam and Eve were simply symbols to represent the introduction of sin into humanity. In this way the Bible could be truth.
4). and 5). again depend on who you ask. Some people do claim that the Bible is the completely perfect inerrant Word of God and anyone who doesn't believe this is destined for Hell. That's their right, but I don't believe this. I see the Bible more as divinely inspired with some very important truths and morals but not necessarily a must for Heaven. As I see it if God put the Holy Spirit in the heart of every man and sent Jesus down to die for us so we could communicate with Him directly then there is no need for a book. Second, the Bible itself says that the word of God is a living thing and the Bible is certainly not alive. Jesus is the Living Word of God and the Bible is more a guide to help us when we need direction in a certain area of our lives. But it doesn't give direction for every obstacle faced in this life because a lot of things are left out of it. Ultimately, what we need in life is Christ and the Bible only if you are advanced enough in your faith to understand its implications and its ideas as they are so vaguely presented.
Sorry I couldn't answer some of them to a greater extent but there are a lot of complications and difficulties in following a faith and I am still relatively new in my walk down this road. But I do think it helps me in this journey to think about my faith so thanks for the questions and just add any more or let me know where I can clear things up for you.
God Bless
KGB

P.S. Just thought I'd add a quick amendment to the first question concerning the walk of the good atheist and the not so reputable Christian: I noticed you said one was "at a better position on the chart" and I also know the Bible speaks to this idea. Simply put, no two people are at the same place in any point in their lives and God recognizes this as a fact of existence and is grateful to anyone who so much as tries to live along His lines. So the Christian would very likely be going to Heaven for the simple fact that Christians are not perfect and Christ's death and resurrection covered all sins for everyone.

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"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
 33yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tazzlyn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
1. I understand that. It is about the denominations. I do hope, in your ideology, they would both go to Heaven.

2. Understandable.

3. I also understand this. Tell me if this comparison is correct: If there is a children's book with a story about a cat and a fox (I'm making this up off the top of my head, so please, bear with me. ), and the cat is being mean to some bunnies and the fox is all "No, it's not good to be mean," and shows him the error of his ways, blah blah blah. The cat learn his lesson. This story is not to be taken literally of an actual cat and an actual fox and some actual bunnies. This story is simply about learning the lesson of not being mean.

Sorry if the comparison is...crude, but it was all I could think of. Is that correct?

4. and 5. Again, I see what you're saying here, sorta, but it just raises more questions for me.

From what I've gained from your positions on this so far, you seem like a very fair person. You say the Bible isn't a must for Heaven, but holds important morals and truths. And you also seem lenient on the Atheist vs. Christian situation.

I see that you stress less importance on the Bible than most would, and think 'all good people do the Lord's work and ultimately end up in Heaven', which I will infer from previous comments that 'all good people' mean anyone of any denomination.

So, another question provoked, specifically for you, from these two questions: Given that all previous points I've made about where you stand (if they are indeed correct), why are you a Christian? What makes you views different from the humanitarian, Karma following Atheist, aside from the existence of god?

I have a two more questions to tag on, also. Again, I can't thank you enough for this conversation, it's so nice to have an intellectual Christian to talk with about questions I do legitimately have about the faith and you're answers are great.

New questions: 1. I've always believed that religion without god is just humanitarianism and 'the golden rule'. Do you agree with this? If so, then why do we bother with god, and any of the details of that stuff? If not, why not?

2. Do you ever have doubts in the existence of an all omnipotent and all loving god, especially when you see all the tragedies in the world?

Thanks again.

P.S. If you have any questions for me either, please, do feel free to ask. I'm open all the same.

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"Inspire."
 36yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Jacker_Jones is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
The concept of God is logically impossible.

Definition of God is a being that is Omniscient(all knowing), omnipotent(all powerful) and omni benevolent(all loving/good)

Let us assume God created the world and the world contains unnecessary evil.

1) Either God cannot abolish evil, he will not abolish evil, or he does not know the evil exists.
2) If he cannot abolish evil then he can not be omnipotent.
3) If he will not abolish evil then he is not omni benevolent
4) If he does not know the evil exists then he is not omniscient.
5) God is either not omnipotent, omni benevolent or omniscient.

Therefore through the example of evil the definition of God is logically impossible. You cannot picture a world where evil can exist and there be a God by that definition.

I also do not believe that karma exists either. To believe that karma exists would mean that everything that happens in life is fair which it obviously isn't.

A baby born with aids never did anything wrong yet it has to die because of a balancing force? A baby does not have the mental capacity to perceive right and wrong yet something terribly unfortunate has happened to it.

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"I love to see people struggling for their purpose in life..."
 33yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tazzlyn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"Mind you, these questions are for Christians, not some Agnostic or Atheist that enjoys agreeing with me." - original post.

But I'll sparsely elaborate on your thoughts.

I agree, god doesn't exist. I'm an atheist, these questions are for Christians.

And in all honesty, I don't believe in karma. I know karma doesn't exist, it's obvious everywhere that it doesn't, like you said.

Glad we can agree.

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"Inspire."
 39yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that KGB is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
1). They would indeed both go to Heaven in my belief.
3). Simplistic example, sure, but it raises the point. The fox and the cat are not real world animals but they teach an important truth. Thus, the story is true symbolically speaking even if the animals were made up to present the truth. Same goes for the Bible.

For your new question: the word Christian comes from the Greek Christianos which means "follower of Christ." I believe in the existance and perfection of Jesus Christ, and in the existance of God, and I try to live my life according to the principles of Christ as I see them to be. Regardless of my thoughts on the Bible, then, this makes me by definition a Christian. Many people would say that there are people who aren't real Christians and they say this based on certain presuppositions that they hold about what it takes to be a Christian. That being said, this is an impossible statement to make. Anyone who "follows Christ" is a Christian regardless of anything else in their lives. I judge by Christ not by the popular theory and hold the label Christian for that reason.

As near as I can tell, my views aren't so different from the humanitarian or the person who believes in karma. This is because of Christ who stresses the importance of "loving your neighbor as yourself." This is the second commandment as posed by Him and one of the two most important for all His followers to abide by. I believe in justice, mercy, compassion, love, etc. because these are things that Christ felt and things that I should be able to act on, as well.

Yes, I agree that religion without God is possible and becomes humanitarianism and the reason I see that we bother with this stuff is because there are people out there (both religious and non-religious) who belive in a higher being. I, myself believe in God and have spoken to Him and I have found Him to be a truth. Many other people don't believe in God and this is fine if that is what they have found to be truth for their lives; we can all live together, we all have to live together and it is easier to live together in peace than to make war based on belief. I can't, of course, prove the existance of God to anyone who doesn't believe but I believe in Him and this belief has effectively shaped the person I have become.

I do have doubts sometimes about His existance but He has always come out in the least likely ways to reprove Himself to me when I begin to doubt. Yet it's never the tragedies that make me doubt. There are things I could be doing better to improve the world just as anyone else can do more to improve it. In fact, I feel celebrities deserve more blame for some of the bad things (i.e. poverty) that happen in the world than God does. I can't even watch shows like Cribs because I've seen poverty firsthand. Human tragedies are the results of human failings, nothing more, nothing less.

I also thank you for this discussion and when I get back from work I think I will come up with some questions for you and see if we can't find some common ground.

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"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
 33yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tazzlyn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Well, I can't specifically respond to the questions I've posed and you've answered, but I can summarize what I was thinking when I read that post.

I agree.

While I still don't see why you need a god or a higher being to look up to, I understand all that you say and find it greatly respectable. If you see religion without god as humanitarianism, then the only dispute we can converse on now is the existence of god, which is a useless one between a non-believer and a believer.

And I also agree with the whole poverty thing, it's obvious that that is our own fault and the media and celebrities, obviously. But I was talking more along the lines of hurricanes, tornadoes, viruses, etc, etc - but again, this is pretty much a 'going nowhere' discussion between a believer and a non-believer and I don't do those kinds of discussions.

Our discussion has only reinforced my views and hopefully it has done the same for yours. I respect your views and find them wonderful, though will never understand the need for the belief of Christ as a perfect and eternal being and the need for the belief of your god. But again, to each his own, and it's useless to debate that.

Please do have some questions for me! I've asked you all I can, I totally understand your beliefs to the extent that I can understand and am satisfied with your answers - though you're a much more open and knowledgeable Christian than most I've ever met.

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"Inspire."
 39yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that KGB is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Well, the way I see it the biggest problem with beliefs is when those beliefs become a need. My beliefs are not a need. To provide an example of what they are: would you say that you need to believe in evolution or would you say that you believe in evolution because of the evidence that supports it? My guess is that it would be the latter, which is the way it should be. I have seen personal proof of Christ, have spoken to Him on more than one occasion. I don't have to believe in Him but I do because of what I have seen and experienced. For me that's the only kind of faith that is worth anything.

Until I get a chance to really think about what I would like to ask an atheist in terms of their beliefs I will stick with just one question (but a two part question).

1a). Do you believe in an objective morality or in morality that changes depending on the culture, times, etc.?
1b). If you believe in an objective morality, by what standard do you judge what it means to be moral or immoral, good or bad, etc.?
And I want to point out I'm not trying to be argumentative or "holier than thou" as I've been accused of that for posing this question. I am quite simply curious as to what you believe regarding this issue.
Thanks for the discussion.

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"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
 33yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tazzlyn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Well, I certainly don't take your questions as 'holier-than-thou', and do know you're just curious. I hope you didn't see any my questions as anything else other than curiosity.

Well, to believe in objective morality, I'd have to know what the hell it is. But I do understand people are curious about Atheists and their morals. Mine, personally, come from two things: Logic and personal experience.

I can't really elaborate much on that.

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"Inspire."
 39yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that KGB is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Fair enough. A real quick one for my own curiosity: just wondering how you came to be an atheist. Were your parents atheists? Was it a process that took many years to complete or an instant conversion based on some Biblical passage? Just for my own benefit, of course, (and you don't have to answer if you aren't comfortable) I just tend to get curious about how people develop their beliefs (or lack of beliefs).

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"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
 33yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tazzlyn is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
No worries, I don't mind telling how I came to be such. I was raised mostly by my mother, who was Baptist and took me to church every Sunday. I believed and followed, as I was raised. Around the age of 10, I had just moved to a redneck town called Tallapoosa, I made this weird connection. You know how when you find a penny on heads, it's a good luck penny? I did that. And I had this penny, and it was my good luck penny. When I was stuck in a hard situation, I'd think "I have my lucky penny on me. Lucky penny, please, help me out. Get me out of this situation." or if I needed an A on a test or wanted a teacher to give me an extra day on an assignment - "My lucky penny is with me, I'm sure I'll do well, it'll help me out." And if it didn't, then I'd think 'this isn't meant to be, then'.

Then, one day at church, I was on my knees, up at some rug thing and I was praying. I told god I was sorry all the 'bad' stuff I did. I didn't think it was bad, but my mom made me to believe it was. Which later to find out, there was nothing bad about it. (You can probably guess, as a ten year old boy, I discovered masturbation and my mindset changed a bit, I began thinking 'dirty' thoughts. And also at this point in my life, I discovered my attraction to males, which was also heavily frowned down upon by my mother.) So then, I asked him two things: Don't let my mom be drunk when I get home and let me do well in my next baseball game and have my dad be proud. Then, I made the connection!

I had as much faith in god as I had in a penny I found on the ground.

So, after this realization, I began exploring new religions. I started with Paganism and Wicca, went to Buddhism, onto Islam and then into Confucianism and Taoism. I studied long and hard. Wicca interested me muchly due to it's connection with nature. Buddhism actually seemed like the thing for me, for a while. But then another realization came upon me...

I entered high school and this is when I began to understand the idea of a clique, culture, group, whatever you want to call it. I had never belonged in a group, but when you hit high school, you see it clear as day. I looked around. I saw that to be in this group, you had to do this. To be in that group, you had to do that. And while some held similarities, if you didn't what you had to to be in the group, you weren't in that group. So, for a few antagonizing weeks, I looked at myself and asked "What am I?" - you know, self discovery and all that. I came to realize that I was my own person - I'd never had any bias toward any group and ended up just being my own self. I looked at what I did, what music I listened to, what I wore and why I did all of that. And I found out, I didn't belong in any of those groups. But, through my personal preferences and logic, I'd made my own group consisting of me. Through my life, I had always done my own thing and I ended up like that. But when I delved further into the topic and looked inside of people's groups, I saw that, with no influence from any groups, I had a little common ground with each of them - some more, some less.

Then, the big picture of religion hit me. Buddhist were a group. Christians were a group. Pagans were a group. And while some of them held similarities, you had to do and believe a certain thing to be in that group. By this time, I knew about Atheism, I knew about Agnosticism, Ignosticism and Theism. And I knew most of the details within each category. So I told myself to go blank. Go blank and make your religion, just like you did your group. I did.

God, to me, was no more than a penny I found on the ground. I looked at life. I clearly saw he/she had no take of the earth's workings. My high doubt in god lead to studying. I began reading books by Richard Dawkins. This reinforced my belief of no god. And after much mental anguish, discussions with my mother and reasoning...I proudly declared myself an Atheist (to myself, of course. ) and for the first time in my life, I was sure of something, or the lack of something. And I realized at the end of the day, just like with the high school groups, I still had similarities, some more than others, with every religion.

I still have that penny. It's taped to the collar of my jacket. I still do my own thing, religiously. I think about right and wrong. I still think about god, though most of that thought is to his nonexistence. And, while I know that it has no affect on the world, I still ask my penny to help me and my family, so I do pray, though falsely. I know it doesn't do anything, but it certainly is a pick me up when it works.

And that story, with much fluff, was my adventure into Atheism. Sorry for the super long post, I won't mind if you toss out a TL;DR at me. I hope that satisfied your curiosity.

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"Inspire."
A few questions for Christians.
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