I argue that if someone is a good person all of their lives, tries to help the suffering whenever they can and is always thoughtful, considerate and caring to others, that it would be totally unfair and petty of God to send them too Hell simply for being unconvinced about some tenent of a religious faith.
I believe in a just God, not a petty unjust God.
Based on my personal beliefs, God is just. That does not mean he is fair--only that he is just (and no, they aren't the same).
The question itself can only be debated because there are so many religions/religious views on the topic. As much as I'd hate to speak only out of religion (cause I think there's a bit more to life than that), I'm not sure I could support myself in any other way...
By my belief (as a Christian), nonbelievers go to hell because they have sinned against God. Only by believing in Jesus as your Christ and risen Saviour can your sins be "washed away," and then you will be saved (because you appear holy before God). It is not that you don't believe in one specific denomonation or religion, but rather that you have denied his offer and continue to live with sins unaccounted for (this "offer" is the faith, btw--I was always taught that it's through Him that we are able to believe, and not ourselves... others might argue against that though).
Does that make sense? It's only opinion based on religion, though, so I hope you're not looking for a definite answer; it's nearly impossible to find one with that question...
No, it doesn't make sense to me. The critical matter here is, what is sin? (And how are justice and fairness different too?)
My definition of sin is to cause harm to someone. How does not believing in God harm God?
If someone did not believe in you, would you be hurt or upset? Most likely not, you would probably shake your head with bemused mirth in fact. Or perhaps you would feel sorry for them because they are not in their right mind. It would probably be amusing, not offensive. But it depends on the personís behavior with regards to this disbelief, of course. If that disbelief lead them to do something harmful to you, that would be an entirely different matter, but for the sake of this debate, let us assume that this is not the case in this situation.
Now if you had children, and this same person was constantly helping out your children in a big way, how would you feel about them then? Even if you were deeply offended by their disbelief in you (which would be an odd reaction) you probably couldnít help but be quite found of this person for what they are constantly doing for your children. Your children are more important than oneís petty ego.
Do you disagree with any of this? If so how, and if not, then why do you think that God would feel any differently than you would in this regard?
It makes no sense to me that a mass murderer who believes in God and repents would go too Heaven, while someone who does nothing but good will go to Hell simply for not being convinced by the Quran, or Jesus, or perhaps God.
I think it's the two different concepts of sin which we both have that is causing the disagreement. I'll hopefully get to "sin" later in this post...
Being just, by my own connotation, implies that the law is always upheld. That which is law cannot be broken without punishment for the act. There are no exceptions, and just because a person has done good does not mean that he should be spared the punishment for the bad that he has done.
Being fair... This is a sticky subject for me, because I only think that this life on earth--this current reality is not fair. The afterlife, in my belief, will be perfectly fair. Here and now: if all were fair, everyone would have been born into the same house, under the same conditions, with the same talents, and equal rights/access to do whatever the person pleases (under the law, that is). By my belief (I have to stress that since so many people have verying ideas), the afterlife--heaven/hell--will be perfectly fair because those who have accepted Jesus as their saviour will be saved. Those who haven't will not, and because their sins are still unaccounted for, they pay for them by spending eternity in hell. It's like someone tells the world that he has given everyone access to his credit card, to be spent on everything and anything. Some will jump at the offer--and hence, they get gifts. Others stay in disbelief, shrug off the old man, and get nothing from it.
Hopefully I'm making sense so far? (even if you don't agree)
And already we are at odds with eachother. My definition varies from yours in that I believe sin is missing the mark of perfection. While we all try to be great and perfect, anytime that we are not is a sin. Hence, we have failed by not achieving ultimate perfection. For me, this is not limited to outward acts, but also applies to what we think and what we say. What we think influences what we say and do, so it is only logical that the mind, as well as the mouth and hands, must be kept clean. By your definition, a man could plot against every soul in the galaxy, but as long as he keeps it to himself, he's perfect.
While I'm normally apathetic in these situations, it does hurt to know that some people can't trust you or me. Even if you try to cover it up with denial, there is always hurt in knowing that someone cannot believe/trust in your, even though you're of good valor.
Going back to the credit card example: I want to let everyone have what they want. Yet some don't believe my offer and shrug me off. But still, because I want them to be happy, I am hurt that they do not believe my words.
If this person's belief truely offended me that much, I would not want them anywhere near my children; no matter what kind of innocent facade they have. Referring back to the example: Someone who does not trust me tries to play with my children. Because he doesn't trust me, how do I know that I can safely trust him? For all I know, he may be inadvertantly teaching my children not to trust me as well. If he's rejected my offer, I want him far from my children, so that they may still receive the gifts that I want them to have..
Again, it's the issue of sin. The sins of this mass murderer have been atoned for because he has repented and believes. Once again, back to my example: Someone who has shoplifted their entire lives can be forgive because now that they've accepted my credit card, they can repay everything that has been done (except, in this case, everything has already been paid back by Jesus). For someone who doesn't believe me, let's face it: Nobody's Perfect. No matter how hard we try, none of us can say we have lived a perfect life. And it's justice that condemns them to hell because of it. They have not accepted the gift which God gives us all to redeem us.
Note this whole credit card-thing is a weak example, but the best I could come up with in short notice. I hope you don't mind fantasizing about free credit cards.
Before I examine your reply in more detail, let me correct the scenario, youíve introduced some factors that make it easy to be judgmental and spoiled the analogy.
It is not that the disbeliever doesnít trust you, he has never met you. He disbelieves in something that he hasnít seen. Let us say that you are unable to do certain things for your children that you wish you could, but this person is doing those things for you, like driving them from their home to their college, paying for their college, etcÖ Letís say that it is a partly senile old man (but perfectly safe to drive) who is a little batty, but a very nice and reliable person who has lots of time on his hands and who has a very big life savings and no children of his own, who spends a significant portion of that time helping your kids in a HUGE way.
So now, how would you feel about this person in light of their disbelief in you?
I voted no, because, as an athiest, it is a complete impossibility for me to go to hell.
I assume you've all read the narnia chronicles. Last book, i'm a dwarve, if I'm in hell, i'll refuse to see. It would be against my belief to think i'll go to hell.
However, I think that GOD wouldn't send a person to hell for questioning him. I think that the problem for athiests, in GODs eyes, would be trying to dissuage someone else from the faith. Then he'd be smited
Yea, sorry about the long-winded post. I think I was just on a roll for a bit there... Anyway,
To me believing == trust. They're one and the same. So if someone doesn't believe me, they don't trust me, and vice versa. Additionally, even though only a few people have met the credit-card man, he has given plenty of proof of his motives/powers/whatever. The only problem is that some people are too caught up in human logic--a flawed systematic thinking that says we need tangible proof of this person on a grand scale to make him seem even plausible. Some people are just insatiable, but does that mean this man is going to travel the world only to go up to each man and say "see my wounds? I am real. Believe it." Even if that were to happen, I'm confident that many people would still refuse to believe--it's human nature.
Continuing, if this man fails to trust/believe me, no matter what he has to offer, I would still refuse his influence on my children's life. He is flawed and corrupted, as far as I'm concerned, and not the man I want my children to grow up to become. Sorry old man, but perhaps you can go "help out" some other children..
And yes, I'm being serious--parents want what's best for their children. I would personally rather struggle to pay the school tuition/taxes/bills than to let my children feed off of the corrupted money of a man I cannot trust. Maybe that's just me... (Oh, but God doesn't have to struggle with these paychecks or bills, so this is an even more distorted scenario)
Yes, that is a good point. When I was an atheist I would argue with people all the time about God, but my intent was never to convince anyone. I felt that it would be curse on them if I were to convince them that life is futile because I was not at all happy about being an atheist. My objective in debating was to present myself as a rational person, and I held out the faint hope that someone, someday, might have a good counter argument.
With all due respect, that's some contorted logic you have. Just because I say and believe that this red-hot stove is cold, does that mean I won't burn myself when I touch it?
Of course we'll all know the real answer once we're dead--whether that stove is red hot or ice cold.
To your last point: By my own beliefs, I don't think this is the case (otherwise hundreds of thousands of atheists would be in heaven, because they kept to themselves). We all sin, no matter what religion we belong to (even if that it's the lack-of a religion). All sin needs to be punished. Christ suffered and died for all of our sins, but only those who accept that gift can actually receive it. Those who deny it--atheists, for example--still have sin unaccounted for, and hence they are banished to serve an eternal life of death in hell (if that makes sense).
But I guess that's all subject to belief. Like I said before, we'll all know who's right once we're dead... Whether or not the stove is hot.
A very honorable goal. Please stop me if I sound too forceful in my replies. I'm only trying to defend my opinions and discuss those I don't share. For me, it's fun. But if I even get too carried away, please tell me.
You've changed the context again. It is not that he does not believe their father. It is that he does not believe IN the existence of a person named Juparis.
Let's say that everything that you said, which was conveyed to him by your children, were things that he accepted implicitly. He does not disbelieve that they have a father, and he does not disbelieve anything that they tell him that their father has said. But he does not believe that a person named Juparis exists, something entirely distinct from not believing the words of their father.
Stepping away from the analogy, why do you think that God would condemn someone for following their heart's conviction? The existence of God is not irrefutable, there is no scientific evidence for or against the existence of God. Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Until one has evidence there is no logical reason to believe. The only way that one can have any evidence is through a personal experience. If one has not had such an experience of God, then there is no logical reason to believe. Why would God condemn someone for being logical?
No problem. I started this thread and I'll come down on anyone for being too judgemental. Your opinion is a common one, so I certainly don't take it personally. I want to get at the root of this point of view, which can only be done by treating it with respect.
I used to have the same issues mike1reynolds has. What I had to wrap my mind around is that "that is the rule". I can't be expected to understand why, just be able to accept. REALLY hard for someone as logical and rationale as I can be. It's not fair just a condition that must be met.
But maybe you can answer a question. What about people who never heard the Word? Different cultures that never had missionaries. Infants? Children?
I seem to remember Dante assigned them to varying levels, but I don't think that was biblical. Anyone have a hard answer or just thoughts?l
So you think that God is unjust?
This is why I automatically equate God's existence with the reality of reincarnation. Even before I had partial recall of past lives. I was able to alleviate some of my doubts about God's existence at 11 only by believing in reincarnation. But then other issues crept in to sabotage my belief in God. As soon as my atheism was shattered reincarnation automatically came with belief in God.
Most people's lives would be utterly futile if it were not so, because most people learn very little spiritually in this life. To me it is a requirement of God's justice that he would make this so, otherwise, most people just wouldn't have a fair chance at Heaven. I donít believe that simple belief in God or any religious dogma will get you into Heaven. God isnít flattered by lip service. I donít think that God has a petty ego like humans, he is selfless. In order to get into Heaven and stay there you have to be selfless too. If you have a heavy ego it will drag you down out of Heaven.
Too be embarassingly honest, I think my thoughts on (G/g)od change way too often. But, yeah, from my studies I feel that what is described in the Bible is very unjust, by human standards. I don't like to think that what I feel to be right and fair may not be what the big one has in mind for us, but assuming something that powerful exists, I have to accept that his goal may not make sense to me. Again, I think that is where faith, as opposed to proof, plays it's part.
I personally like the idea of reincarnation. Striving for perfection.... and getting rewarded or punished on the result...
Ya know, speeaking of things in Christianity that don't make sense to me, it always seemed odd that, in general, christianity teaches that there is no marriage in heaven....and no pets! Those two things sort of define existence as I know it. What is eternity going to be like without pets and my spouse?
Wow, that's even more insulting (at least I'd think so). If the proof of my existence is sufficient (which I believe it to be so for God), then I'd be offended that some would disregard it and still claim I don't exist. Again, not the type of person I'd want around my children. Even if he has the highest morals in the neighborhood, my children should know and be around those that know I exist.
The human heart is flawed--human logic is imperfect. To rely on such corruption can only lead in the wrong direction. I've always been taught the opposite of what you said; that "The absence of evidence is not necessarily the evidence of absence." If I'm blind, how do I even know that color exists? To a blind person, according to your theory, color does not exist in this world. Saying that absence of evidence is the evidence of absence is a bit close-minded. Was it Socrates to suggest that what we perceive is treeness, and not the tree itself? Following along that general guidline, we can only perceive the world as our senses allow. And with that in mind, how do we know that there aren't other possible sense we are left without? Just because we don't perceive something doesn't mean it's not there.
So basically, God condemns people being logical because their logic is imperfect, limited, and insufficient for seeing the truth (assuming God is truth).
Here's where I think life gets a little unfair, but overall this isn't God's fault. We suffer the sins of our forefathers. That is, those who rejected God's Word as it was being spread so long ago continue to influence modern religions in some areas. Africa especially seems unfairly secluded and underdeveloped in religious influences. Why should they be punished for something their ancestors committed? It was the Jews that said "Let his blood be on our hands and the hands of our children," but I think part of me wants to say, "you have no right to dictate our lives as punishment!" Maybe not to that extent, but something like that.. Still, it is life, so until someone can suggest an alternate answer, I accept it as such: God never decided where religion spread--he offered his word, and it was humans who accepted/denied it, and eventually spread it (or didn't).
Marriage is an earthly ceremony. "Till death do us part." After death, the marriage is broken and we become married to Christ Jesus--the church is his bride (Eph. 5:23Ė32). Furthermore, where in the Bible does it say that our pets will not be in heaven? A pastor told it to me like this (I'm paraphrasing, so bear with me):
Would not the Lord do whatever it takes to make you happy? Isn't that what heaven's all about? So why wouldn't he also bring back your pet, be it dog or cat, to make you happy? Just because they have no souls does not mean that they are incapable of going to heaven.
Perhaps God himself told you that Jesus was his son. If not, then you are not human, because human logic is imperfect, as you say.
Then it's a good thing he did;he has told each one of us, but some of us still refuse to listen--ever hear of a book called "The Bible"?
Holy in all of God's Word and teachings. Assuming you have a respectable version, you should be able to find Jesus as God's son somewhere in there.
It is not for us to decide who comes in "hell" and who in "heaven" (greetings, pope! --> Dogmatic Catholics),
Alone God can decide.
And who told you, Bible is words of God? Perhaps God himself told you. If you used your own logic to decide that Bible is God's word, then again you are not human, because
Why yes; God himself told me, through the Bible. I am not using my own logic to decide what is God's Word--he has told all of us what is his word, and that can be found through his gift of the Bible, though not everyone necessarily needs the Bible to be saved. God can be seen in nature as well--an no, that's not human logic either.
You seem to be looking for a loophole that doesn't exist, siddarth.
Oh, Bible says that it has words of God, it is why you believe that Bible is God's word. Even though it is a stupid logic, yet it imperfect, if you are human. And it is your opinion that human logics are imperfect.
Are both statements are from same person?
This is fastly becoming childish--I should hope your next rebuttal is a bit more creative, if not persuasive (since this one was neither).
It is obvious fact that human logic is imperfect. Only a fool would say that it is opinion (and this itself is not logic but rather Natural Law). We are all confined by our limited abilites to perceive the world within which we live. If human logic was perfect, we would already be living in the ideal society. Look around you. This is nowhere near any ideal society..
Secondly, yes: both statements are from the same person; me. What are you trying to get at? They're not contradictory, so I see no problem in what I've said.
You seem to be greatly lacking in your own knowledge of the Bible, otherwise you would see exactly how strong my side of the arguement is. All I can infer from your posts are this: 1) you are childish and immature in your rhetoric and persuasiveness, and 2) you are ignorant of your own ignorance to other's, thier opinions, and their religions.
You are going to a wrong direction with your imperfect and corrupt logic, that Bible is true and Jesus is son of God.
How can I go wrong when the Bible is 100% truth? Now this is entering belief, a topic I'm sure I could never agree with you, but it is my religion that the Bible is one of the few books that hasn't been inspired by human logic or corrupted men. It is the inspired Word of God, and you just can't go wrong with that.
My logic does not even apply to the Bible, so I know I'm not going in any wrong direction as far as my faith in God is concerned. Although, if you have any more convincing point in store, I'm ready and waiting to read it.
Your post elucidates your views in great detail! I am starting to get a much clearer idea of the underlying assumptions behind the logic of so many people who think as you do, much clearer than I have ever had before. All reasoning must be based on certain assumptions, logic always has axioms. I never understood the logic of conservative Christians before because I didnít know what the assumptions were; all I knew was that I disagreed with some of the conclusions.
I have always been puzzled by the odd similarity between the reasoning of deluded intellectuals (including but not limited to atheists) and some of the reasoning of conservative Christians. The two approaches would seem to be the diametric opposite of each other, and yet the underlying assumptions about the inapplicability of logic are the same. Intellectuals also say that logic is inapplicable to all spiritual topics that are beyond the purview of philosophy, as well as much of philosophy. It is this same assumption that you hold, and express so eloquently in your second paragraph, that is the fundamental assumption behind the reasoning of most atheists.
You claim to eschew logic but you donít, your point of view is very logical. In fact, your logic is profoundly more consistent than the logic of intellectuals. They play games with ideas and twist logic to suite their argument. You take your logic dead seriously and there is no game playing, you go were that logic leads you, not where you want it to go. Knowing what is right is more important to you than wining the debate. Intellectuals often loose sight of that.
Just because you have axioms, including but not limited to matters of faith, doesnít make your reasoning illogical, quite to the contrary. While I disagree with some of the axioms (mostly hidden assumptions and not matters of faith), never the less your views constitute an extremely coherent and consistent logical system. So when you claim to eschew logic, you are in fact simply saying that you donít play games, but what you use in place of intellectual game playing is in fact a more sober system of logic. Just because it isnít intellectual game playing doesnít mean itís not logic. You use a more spiritually attuned logic.
By contrast, when intellectuals say that logic canít be applied to a topic, this is an automatic trivialization of the topic. Nothing can be said about a topic that defies logic. All conclusions on such topics are nothing more than intuitive personal preferences. Instead of replacing the rat race of intellectual game playing with something more sober, this assumption about the inapplicability of logic leads intellectuals to dramatically loosen some of the restrictions on game playing with logic for spiritual topics. The supposed inapplicability of logic to spiritual topics leads intellectuals to presume that they are less valid. A biased approach produces biased results -- if you start with a strong conviction about something your logic is much more likely to come to that conclusion even if it is flawed.
So atheists discount the possibility of God at the outset because their whole system of logic says that one needs evidence of something to believe in it and the consensus of most intellectuals is that there is no firm evidence of any spiritual or even psychic phenomena (although there is in fact, but very scant due to disinterest). Itís not a reliance purely on physical evidence, no intellectual denies love for example. It all goes back to the assumption that logic canít be applied to the topic. That just automatically means that demonstrating the validity of any point on that topic has a terrible uphill battle. An intellectual has an automatic bias against anything deemed illogical.
So you see it as fundamentally different from obviously harmless but irrational beliefs like relying on a rabbitís foot for good luck. We have gotten to the underlying assumption here, which is that there is objective proof of God. This leads to the conclusion that God would be offended by disbelief.
Possibly we should start a new thread on proof of God. This could be a lengthy topic, depending on where it leads. I donít know what your point of view is on this, so I donít know where it will lead. I only know the points of view of liberal theology and atheism in great detail, not conservative theology.
So what do you see as objective proof of God?
I have often heard religious folk say that to a disbeliever no evidence is sufficient, but to a believer no evidence is necessary. I disagree, faith without experience is weak. Also, this implies that there is no evidence. But there is powerful evidence from personal experiences, from a feeling of the presence of God. This is something that you have to work at. It doesnít just pop in unbidden. If you have been trained from a young age it is infinitely easier. It is like learning a language, after a certain age it becomes very hard to pick up totally new. Iíd put that age at around 6 to 8.
My case is very unique, as I said my faith was sabotaged, not by any human being but by God himself. He withdrew from my perception and put a seal on my Remembrance for my own protection. The Dark Side does not like me at all. I am a clear unemotional (yet very passionate) thinker who can see very different points of view, build bridges between them and resolving their conflict. The Dark Side thrives on conflicts and does not want to see them resolved. As an atheist I posed much less of a threat to them. As evidence of this: my early life was full of hardships such as being ababdoned by my mother at an early age. When I became an atheist at 12 these external hardships abruptly ceased. I suffered no external hardships when I was an atheist, only internal hardships. After my atheism was shattered my life abruptly became one unbelievably enormous hardship after another. As an atheist it would have crushed me, but my faith has always kept me going, even as it has been tested to a degree that would be nearly impossible for you to believe. Unbeknownst to me my atheism had brought a respite in the onslaught of misfortunes that have beset me all of my life until quite recently.
It has been a long and arduous path in weakening the unseen forces that were behind my misfortunes, such as the sins of the father visited on the son, among very many other things. Being an atheist was an essential part of that path, not just because it gave me a reprieve from the misfortunes, but because that quiet spell helped me learn how to think clearly. I couldnít afford any distractions while I was preparing for and going to college. I learned many vital things at college from having the opportunity to talk to so many smart people and test my thoughts in great detail. Ultimately the experience was so eye opening that it shattered my atheism. But I came back to theism from an entirely different place, a place that brings a whole knew meaning to spirituality that combines two very different approaches. I have come from a distant land and know the ways of two cultures, so I can be an ambassador. In so doing I have doubled my arsenal of weapons to use in attacking spiritual problems. So, far from being angry, I think that God was very pleased with my atheism and its result. It help me to know Him better and to understand others better.
I hope that you can accept this as a counter example where God would not take offense at my atheism? Of course it says nothing about possibly going to Hell since it was something artificial that was timed to self-destruct and could never have lasted. Sooner or later my childhood experiences of the presence of God were going to be triggered again, but God withdrew from me for a time so that I could learn how to think about Him more clearly.
Now, as to atheist and agnostics in general: they lack these childhood experiences. They are the poor in spirit. Your objective is to get through to them, if possible, so that they might not be so impoverished. I am having a similar discussion with Indi on the Atheism vs. Deism thread that is starting to help me see the hidden assumptions behind the atheistic bias of western science. Since my atheism was always fundamentally different, my understand of intellectual doubt is incomplete. It has deeply bothered me for years and I have had many heated debates on the internet, and yet never before could I see so clear to the heart of the matter. Explaining it is another thing, but it boils down to the same problem I have with your point of view, which is the false assertion that sober logic canít be applied.
People get most upset when they see their own worst flaws in others -- it is a form of projection in psychological terms. I think that the two sides are in such conflict because they mirror each other, making the same fundamental mistake but going in different directions from there.
The absence of evidence is not proof of absence, but it is evidence of absence. The vital evidence comes in the form of experiencing Godís presence. But this experience, if delved into more deeply, leads to spiritualism which is a treacherous practice. The path of the saints is notoriously difficult. In order to navigate such treacherous waters you need to be constantly testing your approach to God to make sure that youíre on the straight and narrow. Testing your ideas is another term for using logic, but applied in a more sober fashion when dealing with a more sober topic.
Socrates was using logic in The Cave to describe how what most people see is like shadow puppets, but when someone breaks free they escape into the daylight and see reality for the first time. He tied these analogies to more tangible assertions, using logic to show that this is what spiritual ignorance is like. As Morpheus says in the Matrix, ďYou are in a prison that you can not see, hear, touch, taste or smell.Ē In order to break out you have to use logic for your battle plans.
Atheists and agnostics are impoverished and imprisoned. God does not hate them, he pities them. Their lives are empty and futile. They have to find meaning as best they can in things like relationships and work. If youíve experienced the overwhelming peace and tranquility of Godís strong presence then you know how empty, shallow and jarring life would be without it. Camus wrote that the most important question in life is whether or not to commit suicide. In his book The Stranger, the main character enjoys life while it is going smoothly, but commits suicide when his life takes a permanent downturn. That is the only point of the whole book. This book is just like the Satanic Bible, it uses logic with deeply hidden flawed assumptions to deceive people and has had an extremely powerfully harmful effect on far too many people.
These flawed assumptions can be combated, evidence, but not proof, can be presented. Only an open mind can let in an experience of God. I had one very compassionate and intelligent friend in college who really wanted to help me. He tried some standard arguments very briefly and with incredible speed realized that I had every angle cornered and there was no argument without evidence. He said nothing about it for a long time until one day, with a huge smile, he told me about an extremely vivid dream that he had. He was taken to the center of the universe where there was a massive space station with the insignia G.O.D. in huge letters on its side. He was obviously convinced that his strong desire to help me, probably with prayers, had been answered by God. He didnít even have to say that it was the answer to his prayers, he knew how I thought and that I would understand all the implications of the dream to his argument. He just told me the dream and beamed at my deafening silence in response.
He knew that I trusted his rationality and so his having an experience counted as evidence, proof for him, especially since the dream was so precisely tailored to capture my attention. I could not deny that it was significant evidence, I had no argument. My silence was a huge triumph for him, it was the first time I had ever had no counter argument. He beamed with triumph and passionate compassion, knowing the enormous magnitude of his victory. And vaguely, I felt Godís presence, just enough to sow a fertile seed.
Words can only scratch the surface. They cannot convey the experience of Godís presence, so words can only be evidence. Only an experience of Godís presence is proof. But words can open minds, and it was within a year of that experience that my atheism was shattered.
Imperfect logic can be improved, misapplied logic can be properly applied. Ironically, it is the assumption that logic cannot be applied that is the source of the conundrum in atheism. Distrusting logic for being imperfect is like distrusting everyone because no one is exactly like God. In abstract no tool is perfect, but some are extremely useful. So you just have to do the best you can, which is all that God asks of anyone.
There was an excellent twilight zone about this. An old man dies with his dog and they walk up to the pearly gates. Saint Peter tells him that he can come in but the dog canít. The old man is appalled. He canít leave his friend behind. Saint Peter tries repeatedly to convince him by telling him what heíll be missing out on, but he wonít consider it and sadly walks away with his dog.
As heís walking along he meets someone coming in the opposite direction who greets the old man warmly and so the old man quickly gets to tell him about what happened. He tells the old man that that was not Saint Peter, that was the Devil and the Devil didnít want the dog to smell the sulfur and start barking and growling in alarm. Then he tells the old man where the Pearly Gates really are and assures him that pets are accepted in Heaven. Happily they part.
What are the causes of the effect going to hell?
- Actions, thoughts and Speeches with bad intentions.
What is bad?
- Everything which harms you and others.
That's all. You don't need to discuss it 3 pages long.
Notice... hell is not the ending station. Nearly everybody was once in hell! Heaven is also not the ending station. Nearly everybody was once in heaven. They are only stations in the endless cycle of reborn until you step out of this cycle.
I have a question about divine inspiration. Does this exclusively apply to the Bible or can you give other examples? I know the dogmatic terms by which it applies to the Bible, but I want to know in a more general context what it means.
My experience of divine inspiration is a feeling, an intuition, the still small voice. It is not something that is easily apprehended. It comes from a vastly more complex mind that can never be fully understood. Who perfectly understands the still small voice? If Jesus is omniscient then he can perfectly understands the still small voice, but no one else can.
Probably you have some other explanation, some mystical power that exceeds being fine tuned to the still small voice. I think that being able to hear the still small voice is the single most important spiritual virtue that one can develop. Perhaps I am wrong and you agree. If not, can you give recent examples of this greater mystical power?
Juparis, do you pity some or all of the people that you feel will go to Hell for their opinions about religion? Soulfire, I definitely know that you do. The underlying assumption here is that you do, but God doesn't. Who do you think is more mature and takes a more positive and constructive attitude: the person who is angry at disbelievers or the person who pities disbelivers?
Do you not think that it is same with the muslims, and people of other religions. They believe that the book they follow are 100% true. In case of muslims, it is Quran, which is 100% true. Even they do not use their logic for it. It is their religion, that Quran is the only book, that is inspired word of God, and never currupted by human logic.
But as you know, that both cannot be true. Then who will decide, which is true, the Bible or the Quran. You argue, that since Bible says it is true, it is true. The same arguments are for Quran by muslims. And how can you use any argument in favour of Bible, when you yourself is not using any logic for believing it? How can you say others faiths wrong and yours right, when there is no logic at all for it?
edit: 2nd sentence of 1st paragraph. The "true" word was missed, in old version.
For once I totally agree with you Siddharth. Muslims believe that the Quran was dictated to Mohammed by the archangel Gabriel and since original transcripts of Mohammedís recitations are available, they are convinced that they have the direct word of God. There are no appeals to an ambiguous notion like divine inspiration, and no need to ignore the historical reality of what the book went through before it reached its final form. They have the words directly from the original source. There is no gap in the record and no contradiction between scripture authors in describing the original source.
In order to get at the flawed reasoning behind trusting the Quran you have to use logic. You have to test the topic, put it on trial, like the way Joan of Arc and St. Teresa had their locutions put on trial. (The Quran is one big locution, the voice of an unseen entity. Locution is the Catholic term for this).
Somewhere in the New Testament it says, ďTest all things!Ē The only way to test things is with methodical reasoning and logic. Untested faith is weak, whether it is untested by physical trials or intellectual trials.
I said Yes (other) because I am NOT religious.
If you were to ask me "if Mario defeats Bowser in his castle, will he save the princess?", then of course I would say "yes" - even though it's just a game. Religion follows the same logic - one main theme to a changing story.
YOU FANATICS NEED TO BE DEPROGRAMED!!!
Sorry for falling a bit behind in this thread; I forgot to check back..
Why should I pity those who have the same probability of being true in their faith as I am in mine? To be honest, I am not all that attatched to religion. I come across as a conservative, I bet, but only because it's the least I can do to defend myself in my beliefs and opinions. But to answer your question, no I do not. I am not all that emersed in the Christian faith to feel that I should, or that I am in any way better than anyone else for believing one religion over another...
I said what I did to prevent you from achieving your goal. Though that sounds awfully vain and stubborn, your posts came across as attacks, seeking only to find a miniscule flaw in my wording to try and point out that my entire religion is wrong. I do not believe I am wrong in my beliefs (or else I wouldn't be a Christian), but I do also realize the many other religions and their own probability of being true. I'm not going to become atheist just because I realize I'm no more "true" (in a much broader prospect) than a Muslim or a Jew, however. I guess, in a sense, I separate different aspects of life in my mind. It's hard to explain, so I'll just stop there...
One final question: Where did I ever say that "others faiths are wrong and [mine] is right, when there is no logic at all for it"? In fact, where/when did I ever say the first part alone; that others are wrong? I am defending my own credibility in my faith, not trying to disprove other's, as you are attempting.
Easy answer. As a Christian myself, the greatest objective proof of God is the universe and all that is in it!
So you donít think the Bible is 100% accurate? That is a hard one to argue against since it based on such a broad circular assumption.
An easy answer is sometimes a euphemism for something false. How did God come into existence? God is more complex than the universe, but if it is so complex that it requires a creator, then where did this more complex creator come from? My answer is that God is the universe, but that is another matter, I donít see it as objective proof of anything.
I did not say that I thought the Bible was false. Religion is based on faith; a sort of trust. Most if not all of these trusts are based on something intangible, or at least something that cannot be physically proven. The Bible is usually disregarded as physical proof--it is a book of texts, and that is all we can say is fact about it. What's to say that this book makes me any more likely to have the "one true faith" over a Hindu, or perhaps even an atheist? Who's to say that atheists couldn't be correct in their belief? I separate these parts of my mind: I embrace Christianity for a life after death, for guidance in this world, and to remove all guilt from my soul. Yet, there is another side of me that considers this thought: No one religion (or lack-of) has any more probability of being true over another. With the scientific state of mind, do any of these religions have any credible evidence at all? Hence, there's always the possibility that nothing is true, which one must keep in mind so as not to offend anyone like on these forums.
I'm not intending to attack you, Rocky, nor Christianity itself. However, this is the usual cop-out answer I (or anyone) would get when asking the question. Other religions could say the exact same answer to promote their own gods or idols. What more is there to say you're right and the guy to your left is wrong?
The common Christian belief is that God never really "came into" existence. The simple answer is that he was and always has been. He has existed forever, outside of time and space (depending on your beliefs). What has no beginning must not have an end, hence God is eternal.
Surely there is something in between 100% accuracting total falsehood?
I hate that kind of relativism. In science there is always an objective truth, even if no one sees it.
You are assuming that these religions are far more mutually exclusive than they really are. Movies like Star Wars and the Matrix were explicitly developed as works of comparative religion, distilling the commonality of all religions and philosophies that are valid.
I see it like Information Theory, if you have a bad channel and your bits are getting flipped a lot then you have to do cyclic redundancy checks. That is what the study of comparative religion is. If you find a common theme you can put more stock in those subjects, especially if they are universal. If you have a singular assertion with no parallel in other religions then it needs to be examined much more closely.
I certainly understand that, but it is not something that you could use as objective proof of God to a doubter.
This topic is not about science, but faith. And faith has nothing to do with science. atleast he is talking about faith, then why are you inserting science here.
To your previous post, I apologize, but I don't know what you were getting at and don't know what you want me to respond with... however...
There is nothing that will satisfy a doubter of God; they must come to a conclusion themselves. Everything, in some odd, inadvertant way, nullifies the "objective proof" tag. At least, that's what experience has taught me. You could do miracles and a doubter will only keep on doubting. "A man proven against his will is of the same opinion still." How true that is, especially in today's people..
Well, that was the context anyway. That is why the only real evidence is from experience. You can't give someone else your experience.
I was convinced by my friend, at least to the point to not having a counter argument, which was a huge thing for me. I don't know if you read about that, my post got out of hand it was so long.
The problem with religious folk vs. intellectuals is that they both assume that logic doesn't apply to spirituality. That is a recipe for total disaster when the only thing that the two side can agree on is that logic does not apply to the subject that they are arguing about.
I suppose I'm just not educated enough (or perhaps don't care enough) to win an argument like that. It's interesting that someone was able to convince the almight mike1reynolds.
I'm a bit tired now, but I'll get back to you on your others posts later. I just need some sleep for now.
How can logic apply on a subject which is unlogical in its nature?
That is what conservative Christian says too. They say, logic is evil so it leads to wrong conclusions. It is a different form of eschewing logic, never the less the supposed inapplicability of logic is the only thing that the two sides can agree on. When two sides can only agree on one thing, that logic is not applicable to the subject being debated, this is a recipe for automatic disaster.
Logic can always be applied to a subject or no objective conclusion is possible on that subject, not even its wholesale invalidity. Even if you conclude the topic is entirely invalid, you had to use logic to conclude that, so logic is never inapplicable to a topic. Saying that a topic is illogical as a synonym for invalid, you still had to apply logic too the topic to come too that conclusion.
"They say," huh? I'm surrounded by some of the most conservative Christians I've ever met every day, and never has any one of them (peer or pastor alike) said that logic "is evil." Rather is it foolish to try and use logic to determine the origin of God, the universe, or reality. There is just too much information, too many limitations in our human form, too vast a spectrum for any human logic to be successful in solving the origin equation. And that in and of itself is logical--like everything of this world you must realize that we are limited. Our limitations--in body and mind/soul--prevent us from ever reaching perfect logic. Even the Laws of gravity aren't perfect, and can be proven invalid when reaching speeds near that of light.
As a practical matter it is the same difference. Youíve still got two sides who only agree on one thing, that logic doesnít apply and that only circular reasoning is valid.
The origin equation? What is that and why is reasoning inapplicable to it?
Just because the matter is complex doesnít mean that circular reasoning is better than valid logic.
It is not logical to throw away all of your tools because none of them are ďperfectĒ. If you applied this logic to everything youíd have to live in a cave and hunt with your hands. But the food would be limited so you couldnít eat it.
Logic can be perfect in the sense of perfectly modeling a given system, since all systems have limitations. So you can have perfect logic in that sense.
Just because the logic of solving all possible problems is a mathematical abstraction, like infinity, is totally irrelevant, since the set of all possible problems is also an infinite mathematical abstraction without reality. So not being able to solve all the infinite problems means nothing, because the set of infinite problems doesnít actually exist. You are invalidating logic because it canít solve a problem that doesnít exist.
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8
So anyone who loves must know God and has chosen to be with God, according to this verse.
This is going far off topic, but I guess it couldn't hurt to continue, eh?
The "same difference"? Isn't that an oximoron? Whether or not logic is the "only" thing two groups can agree on does not mean that what one person says (assuming someone even said that "logic is eveil") represents the thoughts and opinions of both groups. That an even more distorted logic!
How the universe began, how humans came to be, etc. There are an infinite amount of possible answers to that "equation," and even if infinity does not exist, there are still too many factors to be considered, and a real answer may never be reached. There's simply too much information! It's like telling a four year old, "rebuild the World Trade Centers, and then tear them down with nothing but your own two hands." Physically impossible, unless you know of an exception? I'm sure this "circular reasoning" (whatever it is; I'm not quite sure) is better than our own logic, since none of it can validate on this 'origin equation.' You continue to assume that perfect validation of our logic is always possible even with the limits and restrictions that we have on our minds and bodies in this already limited world.
Nor is it logical to assume that the perfect answer or product can be reached using imperfect tools. Two even numbers will never equal an odd; that I can guarantee.
Even there, I'd have to disagree. In our physical world, no one model can be perfectly replicated. Perfection only exists in the ideal society; even our mathematics are imperfect, but I think that's going far too off topic to continue there... Implementing graphs as representations might be "pefect" because they are not physical, and only theoretical, in a sense. If that's what you mean, then I could probably agree.
I'm not sure I follow... Infinitity is an abstraction, I agree (even if it is true, then it is physically impossible to prove it). However, I don't think that relays into implementing one's own logic to solve a single question, which in fact does exist. Not sure I was answering your acusations correctly though, because I'm having a hard time extracting what you mean behind what you say...
I hope you don't use such logic in all areas of your life! What a distorted view!
An apple is a fruit, so by the logic that you just displayed, all fruit are apples. You don't have to know what an apple is in order to eat it. In the same way, people can love and think they know what the physical sense of love is, but not everyone will come to realize that God is love. (However, if you wanted to go into detail, there's some symbalism and lost connotation from the original Greek texts--one should not think God as a literal love, because our society has such a skewed view on love already)
God is love. Is apple fruit? No an apple is a fruit. To say, Ďapple is fruití means all fruits are apples and all apples are fruits. The word Ďisí in this context could be replaced with equals. Now try it. God equals love. Still says the same thing. Apple equals fruit. No apples are a subset of fruit, so in fact, apples < fruit, because apples are a smaller set.
Do you think that John is talking about physical love? He is saying that loving people go to Heaven and unloving people go to Hell.
ObviouslyÖ And there is no lack of such a context in our culture. Havenít you heard of selfless love? Havenít you seen bumper stickers that say ďGod is LoveĒ. Do you really think that any of them thought it was an exclusively physical reference? That is a very odd and extremely radical limitation on the term.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. -1 John 4:7
Ok, so my English is getting a bit cluttered, though I think I know what you mean; it is the small word "a" that changes the whole meaning..
Here's another analogy (thought it may not be good, since this is the first thing I saw on the table). Keys are metal. Keys = metal. It's the metal's shape that makes it a key. Does that mean all metal is a key? Is my doorknob a key? Is my car a key? I don't think so...
Better yet, I am human. It is what I am; simple as that. Now you too are human, but does that make you the one who is me? Or am I the one who is you? No, not all humans are me, but I am human. It is what I am, and I am what I am. What I am is also others, but others are not me, because I alone am I.
I highly doubt that John would ever go as far as saying "loving people go to Heaven and unloving people go to Hell," because we are saved by faith/grace alone. It would be much more reliable to speak Hebrew or Greek, and to study the texts in their original format. English is such a poor language, and is especially weak for speaking of "love." What is "love"? Love is not love alone, but spans a whole ocean of different meanings and connotations. To people who speak and know English as their first language, this only means that there are different "kinds" of love, however even this is untrue. Eros has nothing to do with phileo, however both are still translated as "love" in English. I cannot say I've studied John's texts in Greek, however I think that this might be a case where he writes about one kind of love, and it gets translated (and later misinterpreted) as another type of love. There is love between Christians, for and from all other Christians (or so I'd like to believe). Perhaps this is the love John talked about, because few others would ever get to know this love.
And even love, in a sense, is too powerful for us humans..
We, as humans, can never truely experience full, 100% agape love (by agape, I hope you realize, I refer to the unconditional love that God has for us). Our sinful nature prevents us from ever experience true unconditional love, and especially in this era, because people are so judgmental.
Overall, human love cannot get you to heave--only God's love for us, or at least those of us willing to accept his message of truth.
Personally, im LDS (mormon), and we believe that, in the afterlife, there is a chance for nonbeleivers(or those who did not get the chance) to learne the gospel
You missed my last post. Here is more of John:
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. [Ö] No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Only the fundamentalists and evangelicals believe this. Most Protestants believe in Faith and Works, as do Catholics. So, do you think that a compassionless person can get into Heaven simply by giving lip service? Believing fervently in dogma doesnít make one a loving or compassionate person.
Perhaps you are right and it is not works, but being filled with love and God that saves. Yet being filled with love means that one will automatically do works. So while works may not save directly, they are a reflection of how much love one is filled with, and thus a measure of our connection with God.
Clearly John was talking about selfless love. There arenít many kinds of selfless love. There is only one kind of selfless love. If you feel selfless love for one person you most likely feel selfless love for others in general. So applying different labels to the selfless love you feel for people in different relationships to you isnít really describing anything meaningfully different.
Just because you canít ever attain the infinite abstraction doesnít mean that selfless love is not a vital thing.
His message of truth says that the only path to Heaven is through selfless love. Simply giving lip services while being an unloving person will not get you into Heaven. There is a verse in Revelations, I canít find the exact quote but it goes something like this, ďThere will be those who come to me and say, Lord, Lord, I preached and healed in your name. But I will say depart from me, I know you not.Ē
I still would not agree, but this is entirely my personal belief. That, and it's late, so I'm not sure I could support anything I have to say until I look back into that chapter..
That is a large generalization that isn't true in it's current form. Most Protestants and Catholics alike believe in salvation by faith or grace (respectively). Additionally, most fundamentalists and evangelicals are already Protestants. The most conservative denominations, anyway.
Anyway, I fully realize that just because a man claims a faith in God does not make him compassionate. Just because a man appears compassionate, however, does not mean he will automatically get into heaven.
["mike1reynolds"]Perhaps you are right and it is not works, but being filled with love and God that saves. Yet being filled with love means that one will automatically do works. So while works may not save directly, they are a reflection of how much love one is filled with, and thus a measure of our connection with God.[/quote]
That's just how I viewed the topic. Some churches (i.e. the Catholic Church), however, have a sort of social code where although there aren't laws forcing its members to do works, one would be frowned upon if he failed to do so. It all varies from church to church, though......
Did I ever say it wasn't? I was merely stating that I think we cannot achieve it in its purest form, as God loves us.
I agree that lip service gets you nowhere, however the Bible does state (I'll find the reference later, I'm too tired right now; just don't let me forget) that pastors and teachers of the faith will be held in a higher position in heaven.
Being able to love selflessly won't get you heaven though either. From what you cited, I can see that John seems to think selfless, loving people know God. Well, even Satan knows God--what good does that do? It still don't get you to heaven..
If non believers go to Hell, then why did God create them in the first place?
If we are all children of God, then why would some of our brothers and sisters who practice a different culture and traditions go Hell?
Why should those who never heard of the Bible go to Hell?
Why would God allow the death of millions through earthquakes, hurricanes, land slides, etc.?
Why would the Creator allow such suffering on mankind by spending an eternity in Hell?
I know. Because it's just folklore and it's not literal. Since you can be an ethical person without professing a religious doctrine, it makes more sense to follow your own independent thoughts rather than religious rhetoric.
So Jesus clearly stated that good works get you into Heaven and that just thinking that you are a righteous Christian doesn't cut it. You can't just appoint yourself saved, you have to be a good and loving person.
It also says that they are judged by harsher stricter standards.
To ďknowĒ means different things in English. It can even refer specifically to sex, in fact this is referred to as the ďBiblical senseĒ of the word. In this case to know means to understand and embody; to know God doesnít mean the same as knowing your friend Bob. So Satan does not know God, he is shrouded in ignorance. Satan does not understands much less embody God and His love.
Yes. Matthew clearly stated that Jesus stated that people who say "lord, lord" won't be sent straight to heaven. In that case, we must ALL become christians or otherwise be sent to Hell. This is all coming together now! Matthew is like a gateway drug into the Jesus cult because it questions the truth of reality. I'd like to respond with a prophecy I heard a long time ago:
"He's making a list, he's checking it twice. He going to find out who's naughty or nice... Santa Claus is coming to town." Therefore, you better be a good and loving person.
When Jesus says "I never knew you" it bodes ill for their ever getting too Heaven. Conversely, if you love and help others then you'll get into Heaven, regardless of your faith or lack of any faith. As to your Santa Claus reference, if you help others for alterior selfish motives, you probably are going to do a very poor job of helping, so trying to be good little boys and girls won't work. You have to have selfless love in order to effectively do what is required to get into Heaven.
God never created unbelievers. He created his children, who then fell into sin. Those same children, however, still believed. Somewhere down the line, though, humans (by their own free will) questioned God's promises, and fell from the right path.
The "brothers and sisters" you are referring to lie only in the Invisible Church--Christians alone. Unbelievers (those who go to hell) are no brothers of mine nor any other Christian
God warned mankind that he is jealous; he punishes the sinners as well as their decendents. It is mankind's fault, not God's. He gave fare warning to all:
I don't know the references, but I believe the Bible states somewhere that God is behind all natural disasters. We are all still sinners, and God hates sin. Additionally, He, as our creator, can destroy us all whenever he pleases. If He wants, he will let millions die--some may got to heaven, and others to hell. For some, it is best to understand that God took the believers home with him, while stopping the unbelievers before more damage could be done to other believers in the faith.
Most babies are given shots after birth to help build their immune system and to provide a longer life ahead. But does the baby know that? No; all it knows is that there's a needle inside of it, so it will cry out in pain. In the same way, too often we see these deaths and mourn the losses as the temporary pain, without considering what future beneficial effects it would have on the world.
He has invited us all to Heaven to be with Him--He has given each and every one of us a chance to be with him. Those that deny the gift deserve to go to Hell, because it is what they accepted by refusing to believe.
Satan was once good; he was once the highest angel in God's kingdom. God created Lucifer just like He created all other angels. Are you saying that just because Lucifer rebelled against God, suddenly he did not know Him? That would seem rather odd, because the Bible documents conversations between God and the Devil. Additionally, how could the Devil continuously rebel against a being he does not even know?
To your Matthew quote: In that passage, Matthew depicts Jesus refusing entrance to heaven because of their false teachings, not because they failed to love selflessly. Ever hear of a lil ol' passage called John 3:16? If you still believe love is your golden ticket to heaven, you might want to take a look at it; it couldn't get any clearer (nor are there any major mis-translations, insuring that even your Matthew quote cannot stand up to it).
I'm Christian, and I have to say No. Some will, yes, because they reject God. There is a difference in rejection and non-believing. While it would be a much more wise idea (if you seek Heaven) to follow God, I am a firm believer in second chances. A God so loving surely wouldn't give only one chance, hence my (faded) belief in purgatory.
Purgatory is like a trial-version of Heaven. Those who weren't loyal to God, but did not reject him, "do their time" there, until they are eventually allowed entry into Heaven.
It's a bit unorthodox, but an internal belief, if you will.
Welcome back Soulfire!
This is the first time that I've ever seen you put any equivocation into your belief. As you expressed it above I agree completely, even about the Purgatory part. Actually, especially about the Purgatory part. It makes perfect logical sense that some do not deserve Hell but have not earned Heaven. I actually saw my maternal grandmother rise up from Purgatory into Heaven, so for me it is not a belief.
After a slight vacation, I realized that no matter how much I would like everyone to believe what I believe, I can't really make it and it's not feasible. I still am strongly opinionated, but also a bit more level-headed about things (especially religion).
This is one of these things that I have no oppinion on. I am a Christian, but that seriously wouldn't be fair if god send the person to hell. I think god would be nice enough to let him to paradise
Muhuahaha, time for me to play Devil's Advocate.
Nowhere in the Bible is there any reference, or even an implication (as far as I'm aware) that Purgatory exists. It is a man-made idea to make up for human logic, which would say that those who never heard the gospel never had a chance, and that said God would be much kinder than he is actually depicted.
Prove me wrong, if you can, I'm always interested in Purgatory, but haven't conluded what I personally believe (esp. since my beliefs are so detached as it is).
Perhaps God isn't fair; does it say anywhere in the Bible that he is? From what I've read, there are numerous places in which he is said to be "just," but I cannot think of anywhere in which it says he is truly fair. He said he's jealous, correct? Already that places him above his own dictative laws and commandments.
Soulfire, that is admirable, but this thread is my own concession to the same ideal. Though I think that a positive answer to the thread topic leads to religious bigotry, it is not inherently so, it is not rooted in bigotry. Many are offended by it, but Iíve committed this thread to treating the topic with respect. I will call anyone to task who gets upset at you. I have already interposed myself repeatedly between religious and intellectual debates, much more to the dislike of the intellectuals than the religious folk.
I'd appreciate you being more forth-coming on this thread, even if you want to avoid the subject elsewhere. I canít hone my argument without sincere opposition. Iíve come up with scriptural arguments. Of course they sound convincing to me, but untested they are sure to fall short in actual debate. I just want your honest opinion.
Here is my argument so far, it comes from Matthew 7:21-23 and 1 John 4.
Matthew quotes Jesus saying that simply believing in him is insufficient, one must do Godís bidding. John says that God is Love, and that anyone who has selfless love knows God. Since God is love, to do Godís bidding is to act with selfless love towards others. Anyone can do this, it doesnít matter what you believe.
God looks at what is in your heart, not at what is in your head. Beliefs are usually a product of the intellect and not the heart. So I would argue that it doesnít matter what you believe as long as you have selfless love. This is my take on what those scriptures say. What is yours?
Some very interesting thoughts; I'll have to ask a few friends before going back to my opinion. I obviously haven't read the Bible as oft as you or some of my friends, so I'm not sure I could sufficiently support my viewpoint (which is rather vague anyway).
What you've said is definitely something to consider though.
Purgatory is right here, only nonphysical. If you die and you don't go anywhere, but stay right where you are, that is Purgatory.
It might not seem so bad around here when you can't see what is going on in the spirit plan, but if you can, yikes!
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I am not shore if they go or they don't go , but there were a lot of good people which they don't knew about Christianity because they wore on the other side of the planet for example the people in the time of Jesus before Him and after Him some people in those times they don't had means to listen the word of Christ , back in those days news cant reach them , and i think that God have special decision and place for them , i don't believe that they will go to hell just because they don't know that Jesus is born , but today its different story because we have globalization with mediums and everyone knows about Jesus.
As an agnostic i would like to think if somebody lives a good life in the event of an afterlife surely the person couldnt b condemed for not believing in a god such athing would seem a fickle thing for a god to do.