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AntiMaterialist
February 2nd, 2004, 05:43 AM
This is a classic problem for Christian believers. Can a man who grew up on an island and was never exposed to Christianity ever be granted access to heaven?

In the Bible, Jesus clearly says the only way to Heaven is through him - but a man who was never exposed to this concept would never have the opportunity to go through Jesus.

So - is he saved or is he doomed?

James
February 2nd, 2004, 06:21 AM
I think this comes down to every person's own personal beliefs. I personally don't believe that God would condemn someone who was not given a chance to be saved. How can you condemn some one only becuase of their misfortune of not having a chance to be saved? There's a lot of "iffy" questions about whether a person will go to heaven or not, such as the instance of the man on the island. But ultimatley I think God will make the right decision. :D

Chris
February 2nd, 2004, 07:16 AM
...In the Bible, Jesus clearly says the only way to Heaven is through him...
Yes, Jesus' death gained salvation for everyone, whether they know it or not. Thus it makes salvation possible for all. This is the only way salvation is at all available.

Our personal slavation depends upon how we respond to the grace God freely gives us. God alone knows truly how well we do that so He alone judges.

So, Christ's crucifixtion makes salvation possible for everyone, and it was the only thing that could gain mankind's salvation. Without Christ's crucifixtion, no one could be saved - His death is the only way. So the man on the island can be saved - whether he will be or not is not for us to know - God will judge his life and his response to the grace God gave him.

AntiMaterialist
February 2nd, 2004, 07:47 AM
But - this man will never get to know Jesus in his life. Doesn't the Bible make it clear that he cannot be saved? Wouldn't the belief that he can be saved be in contradiction to the Bible? And, if you can contradict the Bible...

We can go there later. Now, what about someone who has been raised a Muslim in a poor region of Iran, and who's only exposure to Christianity is by hearing the local mullah talk about it as the religion of the infidels.

This person has been exposed to Christianity, but not in a terribly meaningful way. Assuming this person remains a muslim until death, does he stand a chance of salvation?

Apokalupsis
February 2nd, 2004, 10:11 AM
I started a new thread to answer this question. The reason was because I had already created the opening post as an essay a while back, but never copied it here. I intended to, but forgot about it.

The thread I'm referring to is: Those who have not heard of Christ (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?t=208)

The thread answers all of your questions:

1) those who have not heard
2) those who have a limited knowledge of God

Chris
February 2nd, 2004, 10:14 AM
But - this man will never get to know Jesus in his life. Doesn't the Bible make it clear that he cannot be saved? Wouldn't the belief that he can be saved be in contradiction to the Bible? And, if you can contradict the Bible...?
But there is no contradiction - we can do nothing on our own to attain salvation. The only way we can be saved is, first, through Christ's death on the cross - that opened the door, so to speak. Then, God freely gives us grace - how we respond to that free gift helps us pass through that door, so to speak. It is possible for one to respond to God's grace without knowing God or about Jesus. OTOH, without Christ's redemptive death, no matter how good someone might have been, there is no way they could get to heaven.

In the NT, it explains how, between His death and resurrection, Jesus went into Gehenna and took all the worthy soul there to heaven. They could not enter before His death, that opened the gates of heaven.




Now, what about someone who has been raised a Muslim in a poor region of Iran, and who's only exposure to Christianity is by hearing the local mullah talk about it as the religion of the infidels.

This person has been exposed to Christianity, but not in a terribly meaningful way. Assuming this person remains a muslim until death, does he stand a chance of salvation?
The fullness of God's truth is contained in His Church. Other religions contain truth to the extent their beliefs overlap the truth. A person can accept God's grace to the extent he understands it and gain salvation. Of course, it is always preferable to be a part of God's Church and know all the truth revealed to us, and use God's gift of grace to respond to that truth properly. But in the end, we are ultimately responsible for how we use God's grace to respond to however much of the truth we "know". So, yes if this Muslim accepts grace and responds in whatever limited way he might undersatnd the truth, then he could go to heaven. OTOH, if someone is aware of the truth, rejects it and spurns God's grace he will not be saved.

CC
February 2nd, 2004, 11:57 AM
So since I have heard of christ, but yet do not accept him as my saviour or as proof of god and the faith of such.

I do nothing to harm my fellow man. I give away (both in time and money) at least ten percent of what I earn because I believe in helping my fellow man.

I have no hate in my heart for anyone, and I accept full responibility for my mistakes that do affect others.

I know the catholic view on this, but what do you say is my disposition after I (or anyone like me) die? (assuming you are correct about there being a god)

Would I go to hell even though I live a life of which I bring no harm to others, and do much to help my fellow inhabitants of this planet but do not believe that god exists?

Purgatory? heaven? what does any christian in here think on that topic? A non-believer who leads a moral life but believes there is no god, heaven, devil or hell?.....................:O)

Apokalupsis
February 2nd, 2004, 01:39 PM
First, let's make it clear that only God knows. We, through the Bible, can make assessments on our understanding of the Bible. There are some things that we can know for sure, many others that we can't.

However, with my understanding of the Bible, merely "being good" wouldn't be enough for those who have had opportunity to know Christ.

If we "do good" to earn our salvation (being good enough), a number of questions surface...

1) How much "good" is enough? By what standard or measure is "good" determined? That of Christ's? That's an impossibility, none can compare. Compared to a man like Hitler? That doesn't seem too difficult to shoot for. So "how much good" do we need before we have earned salvation?

2) If we earn our salvation through being good...doesn't that put God in our debt? That is, if I do enough good, doesn't God owe me salvation? If he sets up a clear standard, and I meet it, I'm in...I've done my part, now He owes me salvation as payment for doing that part.

Let's just say for sake of the argument, that Christianity isn't necessarily true, and that there is just a God of an unknown nature.

Doesn't seem to change much does it? That is, we still don't know "how much good" is enough, and we still can't get around the fact that this alleged "higher power" becomes indebted to its creation. If it owes me something, how great can it be that I should listen to it, abide by it, follow it, etc...?

And if this alleged deity sets up a system that is personalized and wants its creation to do X, but its creation doesn't want to do X...why should this deity treat both parts of its creation equally? If one group follows this deity and does X as instructed, the other group either willingly doesn't follow X, or doesn't believe in this deity (thusly, not doing X), then WHY should this deity hold both groups equal in the end when it is determined what to do with both groups?

It seems to be irrational that both groups would be equals in this sense. For if the end result is the same, then why make the sacrifices of time and resources to do X? Why not just meet self-need and desire, knowing that X didn't ever matter as in the end, it was all the same for everyone?

AntiMaterialist
February 3rd, 2004, 01:32 AM
It seems to be irrational that both groups would be equals in this sense. For if the end result is the same, then why make the sacrifices of time and resources to do X? Why not just meet self-need and desire, knowing that X didn't ever matter as in the end, it was all the same for everyone?

Doesn't it seem irrational that good people would be forced to suffer in Hell?

Chris
February 3rd, 2004, 04:42 AM
I know the catholic view on this,
Are you sure. AS lot of people think the Feeneyite view is the Catholic view, but that is not true.



but what do you say is my disposition after I (or anyone like me) die? (assuming you are correct about there being a god)

I say the same thing that I say about me or anyone else except the canonized saints - I don't know. Only God can know what is truly in your heart. It is possible for you to go to heaven, or h*ll (purgatory is only for those ultimately destrined to go to heaven), just like the rest of us, and I leave your judgement up to God.

Apokalupsis
February 3rd, 2004, 07:27 AM
Doesn't it seem irrational that good people would be forced to suffer in Hell?
This assumes from the start, that all one has to do, is "behave" or "be good". For reasons in my previous post, I do not beleive this is the case, and still have yet to hear why it could be so otherwise.

AntiMaterialist
February 3rd, 2004, 09:18 AM
This assumes from the start, that all one has to do, is "behave" or "be good".

Well - this whole conversation assumes the existence of heaven and hell, in the simplistic terms described by the Bible. I do not make that assumption. I am simply pointing out how the biblical version of morality conflicts withour innate sense of fair play.

I do not know what happens upon death, although I have my guesses. Perhaps everyone goes to a place that is totally appropriate for them, until such time as they choose to enter another lifetime.

I believe it is your contention that it would be unfair for Christians and non-Christians to receive the same reward, even if they behaved equally as good towards other people, because Christians are following the true religion and thus deserve extra reward.

I don't believe this at all, of course. However, even if Christians did deserve extra reward, this would not mean that non-believers deserve misery.

Apokalupsis
February 3rd, 2004, 10:53 AM
Good post. ;)


Well - this whole conversation assumes the existence of heaven and hell, in the simplistic terms described by the Bible.
Yes, of course. But you seem to want to mix in external variables as well as the assumed premises (Heaven, Hell, God, what it means to be saved, how to be saved, etc...). See below...


I am simply pointing out how the biblical version of morality conflicts withour innate sense of fair play.
1) If we are finite and fallible beings, why would we expect to place our limited reasoning upon an infinite and infallible being? Shouldn't we instead, strive to understand what it is exactly that this infinite, infallible, and higher being means to be "moral" and "accepting"? It's not a matter of saying: We can't ever know, so we may as well give up...or We are far inferior so who are we to question the superior?....it is that we must understand that we just may have it "wrong"...and IF this higher power exists, we must accept the possibility that it is "right"...and the logical approach would be to seek to understand what this higher being intends or proclaims...not to conclude that "It does not fit within my own understanding, thus it is wrong".

2) What if there is more to it than simply "fair-play"? You have assumed there is, but haven't offered any explanation as to why this must be the case.

Being "good" just doesn't cut it as explained in a previous post. It creates more problems than it resolves.



I believe it is your contention that it would be unfair for Christians and non-Christians to receive the same reward, even if they behaved equally as good towards other people, because Christians are following the true religion and thus deserve extra reward.
No. It is my contention that there is more to salvation than "good behavior". If it came down to this, it would be problematic (see above post). Christians, like any other group, do not "deserve" anything. Christians, as believers and followers of Christ, have "received" the gift of salvation. This gift is extended to all who would accept. Since a gift is 2 parts (1 part offer, 1 part acceptance), those who would not accept it, do not have it.

I think it all comes back to this: Take any concept of a higher being. Assume that all one must do, is "do good". How much good is enough to result in "salvation"? We still can't get around the fact that this alleged "higher power" becomes indebted to its creation. If it owes me something, how great can it be that I should listen to it, abide by it, follow it, etc...? It puts me in the position of control over "it".

Now the Christian concept of God, is that of an all-powerful being. Having a being in existence that supersedes that of the authority of God, is a logical impossibility. In no way can a being supersede God in any capacity...even in "control" or "earning". This is what "being good" does. It's an impossibility.

There is absolutely nothing that someone can do, to earn their way into Heaven. No amount of good can result in the earning of salvation. Only the acceptance of the invite can.

Booger
February 3rd, 2004, 12:28 PM
1) If we are finite and fallible beings, why would we expect to place our limited reasoning upon an infinite and infallible being? Shouldn't we instead, strive to understand what it is exactly that this infinite, infallible, and higher being means to be "moral" and "accepting"? and IF this higher power exists, we must accept the possibility that it is "right"...and the logical approach would be to seek to understand what this higher being intends or proclaims...not to conclude that "It does not fit within my own understanding, thus it is wrong".

lol. Same sh*t, different day.

This argument, or perspective rather, makes no sense at all. Granted, if we are pondering the meaning of life, then to say that a finite being cannot appreciate the reasoning of an infinite and infallible being who set life in motion is a logical conclusion if it is proven or assumed that such a being exists.

Here, we have a entirely situation. There is no misunderstanding or a need to strive to understand what the God of the Bible says about being saved. In fact, it is decidely clear--In order to be saved one MUST accept the God of the Bible and if one doesn't, one is going to Hell regardless of the exemplary and pious life one lives. Period. End of story.

And...it is in fact illogical to conclude that since the Bible states that an arbitrary and capricious standard is employed to decide who is saved and who isn't and such standard cannot, in any sense, be deemed to be fair (other than the fact that is employed arbitrarily and capriciously to everyone) under any accepted ethical or moral norm, the Bible must be right and we wrong since if you assume that the God of the Bible is infinite and infallible, then the logical conclusion is that He's a capricious and spiteful son-of-a-b*tch! Didn't he drown all of humanity in a great flood? Didn't he command his foot soldiers to split open the stomachs of pregnant women? Is it not true that the overwhelming majority of all of people who have ever lived are languishing in Hell?

But you say it's logical to conclude that the Bible is right and God is a benevolent being?


2) What if there is more to it than simply "fair-play"? You have assumed there is, but haven't offered any explanation as to why this must be the case.

Red herring. The problem with this question is that you are implicitly positing that there is more to being saved than "fair play," but in reality, "fair play" never comes into the picture in the first place. The standard is simple: accept God OR go to Hell. If one does not accept God, he goes to Hell--and regardless of one's background, regardless of one's socialization, regardless of one's intellectual capacity, and quite simply, regardless of one's personal circumstances and experiences. There is no equity involved and hence, there is no "fair play" to begin with.

I argue that "fair play" MUST be the case since that's the only logical conclusion that one can reach IF it is assumed that God's infinite, infallible and benevolent. The only explanation you've given as to why "fair play" is not the case and MUST be belief in God is because God gave us a gift, which we must accept, for it to be any other way, God would be indebted to us for our good deeds. This is obvious hogwash if not for any other reason that it does not take into account one's personal circumstances AT ALL.

Take the example of Tariq al-Mohammed. Tariq was born in Saudi Arabia, which has, as its offical religion, Islam. Tariq's parents were devout Muslims and for Tariq's entire life, he has been schooled and socialized in the ways of Islam. Sure, Tariq has heard of Jesus Christ and Christianity and studied it, along with other religions, but he lacks both the intellectual capacity and access to alternative information to really examine his own beliefs. Besides, he's entirely confident that Allah is the one true God and strives to live a pious life. Tariq becomes a Muslim cleric and preaches peace and understanding for all mankind, runs a soup kitchen and generally strives to uplift the poor.

Contrast with Billy Bob Bummfarht. Mr. Bummfarht was born in a small town and Tenessee to methodist/conservative/religious parents, and was socialized in the ways of Christianity. Bummfarht couldn't find his way out of a paperbag, but he truly believes in God because he was told that God exists by evenone he knows, from the local preacher to his grandpappy. Bummfarht's also a mean drunk and beats his wife on occassion. In fact, he slept with this wife's Aunt on one drunken night and got her pregnant. Bummfarht's also know to visit the strip joint and poker casino on the outskirts of town from time to time leaving Billy Bob Jr. without any food for dinner 4 out of the 7 days a week, but Lo and Behold, he's in Church every Sunday, truly professing his belief in God and asking foregiveness for his sins.

Tragically, Bummfarht and Tariq die in car accidents at the same time. Tariq, of course, goes to Hell. Off Bummfarht goes to Heaven looking at Tariq and wondering, "what the hell that arab colored feller done do to get God so angered at 'em. Must'a been an al Qaeda follower. Who cares anyway. I'm in Heaven. Yee-haw!"

"Fair play" for Tariq, or arbitrary and capricious?


Being "good" just doesn't cut it as explained in a previous post. It creates more problems than it resolves.

Cop-out 101. Welcome to class, kids!


No. It is my contention that there is more to salvation than "good behavior".

Then your contention conflicts with the Bible. The Bible is clear, no amount of good behavior will get your saved if you do not believe in God. Accordingly, there's really nothing to salvation, other than a belief in God.

The (protestant) Bible also preaches faith alone, which means that faith alone will get you saved, regardless of "good behavior." In fact, it is entirely dishonest to even say that the Bible teaches more to salvation than "good behavior" because good behavior never comes into the picture to begin with. Granted, apologists argue that good behavior is indicative to a belief in God and the desire to follow his path, but one can still be saved if he believes even if he's been bad...e.g., born-agains.


Christians, like any other group, do not "deserve" anything. Christians, as believers and followers of Christ, have "received" the gift of salvation. This gift is extended to all who would accept. Since a gift is 2 parts (1 part offer, 1 part acceptance), those who would not accept it, do not have it.

lol. You really believe this crap? Or is this for the sake of argument?

If, as the Bible teaches, God loves his creation, then the gift would be bestowed on his creation, not granted with a condition to acceptance--i.e., you have to accept me and follow my path in order to get the gift.


We still can't get around the fact that this alleged "higher power" becomes indebted to its creation. If it owes me something, how great can it be that I should listen to it, abide by it, follow it, etc...? It puts me in the position of control over "it".

Nonsensical apologist garbage. This is just word play. It's not that God should owe me something, it's that God, if he loves me, should grant me the gift of an eternal life in paradise because he has the power to do so. If I've been a just, fair, equitable and kind person, God's love for me should result in my salvation, not in my damnation because I, in all of my earthly fallibility and personal circumstances, have concluded that he does not exist. Again, if you assume he's all-powerful, benevolent and loves me, then he's granting me something out of his love for me; not owing me a debt for my good behavior.

You should personally examine this idea a little more...because it ain't nothin more than Alabama hogwash ;)

AntiMaterialist
February 3rd, 2004, 01:57 PM
That was quite a posting, Booger!


"Fair play" for Tariq, or arbitrary and capricious?

This is where I have a real problem with the whole fundamentalist mind set. Any fanatic (and, no, not all Christians are fanatics) will answer this by saying that our feeble human definitions of "fair play" and "good" and "right and wrong" are irrelevant - we would be much better off just using God's definitions.

I would then respond by saying, but God, if he exists and is aware of us, has chosen to let us figure this out on our own.

The fanatic in question would then say, "He told us in the Bible".

When then asked why he would believe the Bible to be 100% infallible, he will say one of the following:

1) It is a matter of faith
2) Supposedly fulfilled biblical prophecy proves that God inspired this book
3) God has to touch you personally, to inspire you to believe
4) Some other similar concept that can be shown to be less than reliable

What kills me is the whole concept of utterly dismissing our own internal sense of right and wrong. I mean, eternal torture is about as evil as you get can get - but a Christian or Muslim fundamentalist would say it is a good thing, because it is what God created.

I honestly believe that if everyone suddenly discovered a passage in the Bible where God went around killing babies, people would say that was a good thing too!

The brainwashing that goes into fundamentalist thinking is so thorough, that no amount of logic will jar it. Most fundamentalists are not bright enough to see what is wrong with circular reasoning and similar fallacies.

That is why I am trying to work out a series of arguments that appeal to emotion - they must still be logical, and they must be very straight forward and direct - but they must appeal so strongly to the recipients internal sense of right and wrong that they can no longer ignore their own conscience, and thus are forced to question the truth of fundamentalist thinking.

Apokalupsis
February 3rd, 2004, 02:09 PM
Booger,

Much verbosity, no substance.

Again, I ask...Take any concept of a higher being. Assume that all one must do, is "do good".

How much good is enough to result in "salvation"?

We still can't get around the fact that this alleged "higher power" becomes indebted to its creation. If it owes me something, how great can it be that I should listen to it, abide by it, follow it, etc...? It puts me in the position of control over "it".

Now the Christian concept of God, is that of an all-powerful being. Having a being in existence that supersedes that of the authority of God, is a logical impossibility. In no way can a being supersede God in any capacity...even in "control" or "earning". This is what "being good" does. It's an impossibility.

You dodged it. Try again. ;)

While you quoted the last part above, you replied with:
not that God should owe me something, it's that God, if he loves me, should grant me the gift of an eternal life in paradise because he has the power to do so.
Which doesn't answer the question. It ignores the first part of the argument above.

Your belief: If God loves me, he should just give me salvation. I shouldn't have to do anything on my part. In fact, I should be able to reject him, and still get the prize. Screw him, he's the one who offered it, he's the one who has to follow through.

Yes, that would truly convince a higher being as to "why" he "must" consider you as saved. ;)

As far as your example of our friend Billy Bob...I find the idea that one can do as they please, yet still be considered of group A despite the qualifications of group A not being met by Billy, is very illogical and a bit naive.

See this thread: Religious Representation: A Logical Exercise (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?t=193)

AntiMaterialist
February 3rd, 2004, 02:26 PM
We still can't get around the fact that this alleged "higher power" becomes indebted to its creation. If it owes me something, how great can it be that I should listen to it, abide by it, follow it, etc...? It puts me in the position of control over "it".

Is there not one single example in the Bible where God promises something, and then delivers? When God makes that promise, he then becomes obligated - and what is debt, but the requirement to pay back an obligation?

If God is all powerful, then God can do anything that can be done, including choosing to become indebted. God chooses to allow us to make our own decisions, which means he voluntarily gives up that aspect of power. God's being all powerful doesn't mean he cannot choose to give up power if he wants to.

Tell me this, Apok - what do you think should happen to Ghandi? He is dead now, and according to your beliefs he is suffering eternal damnation. Why would you commit yourself to obedience to a being who created and enforces a system that leads to Ghandi suffering eternal damnation?

I know - you feel that being good is not good enough, because we have no way of knowing how good is good enough, and there should be extra reward for being right and properly Christian. This is only a problem if the outcome after death is a binary choice 1) heaven 2) hell. There could be degrees of heaven, degrees of hell, or some truly complex system that we know little about, but that actually makes lots of sense.

Apokalupsis
February 3rd, 2004, 02:38 PM
Is there not one single example in the Bible where God promises something, and then delivers? When God makes that promise, he then becomes obligated - and what is debt, but the requirement to pay back an obligation?
Well, God makes "covenants" with mankind. These are in fact promises, but they are not that of "if you do this, I shall do this" form. I'll try to expand on this soon (I was replying to this thread to give you a link, saw your post, thought I'd give a very quick reply).



If God is all powerful, then God can do anything that can be done, including choosing to become indebted.
No. God can do anything withing his nature that can be done. I will start up a new thread VERY soon on this topic as it is very important to future discussions of God.


God chooses to allow us to make our own decisions, which means he voluntarily gives up that aspect of power. God's being all powerful doesn't mean he cannot choose to give up power if he wants to.
Again, against his nature. I promise this new thread will be up w/i a day or two. ;)



Tell me this, Apok - what do you think should happen to Ghandi? He is dead now, and according to your beliefs he is suffering eternal damnation. Why would you commit yourself to obedience to a being who created and enforces a system that leads to Ghandi suffering eternal damnation?
Very tough question, and understandably and admittedly, a reasonable challenge to overcome. It is however, one of the "big" questions that I hope to answer in my more lengthy post of the concept of Hell that I alluded to earlier. I apologize, I am simply not able to tackle this issue at the moment.



I know - you feel that being good is not good enough, because we have no way of knowing how good is good enough, and there should be extra reward for being right and properly Christian. This is only a problem if the outcome after death is a binary choice 1) heaven 2) hell. There could be degrees of heaven, degrees of hell, or some truly complex system that we know little about, but that actually makes lots of sense.
There ARE varying levels of punishments and rewards (in Hell and Heaven accordingly). ;)

Look, I know you and Boog are just dyin' to jump into this topic...but as I stated previously, I'm not prepared to just yet. I know it's a very popular topic, very challenging, very discouraging for non-believers (and believers alike). But for me personally, it's important for an important topic to be delivered properly. By that, I mean in the manner that the Uniqueness of the Bible was, and an upcoming "Reliability of the Bible" thread is. I prefer not to give willy-nilly answers, but actual valid arguments. As such, they are time consuming (as well as mentally exhausting at times). I also appear to be the only one answering the tougher challenges (of my fellow theists). For this reason (flying solo), I reply as I can to the "smaller" challenges, but will have to put a bit of time into the more in depth challenges.

Since I know that this may not be "acceptable" to our less than impatient friends ;)...I found a decent essay on the fairness of Hell. It's lengthy, but it touches upon a lot of points made in this thread and elsewhere.

I just found it moments ago, read a lot of yet (not completed), what I've read I concur with. A lot of it sounds like my line of argumentation, but more "cleaned up".

I hope this temporarily satisfies the thirst of resolution on this issue...

http://www.souldevice.org/writings_hell.html

Booger
February 3rd, 2004, 04:09 PM
Booger,

Much verbosity, no substance.

Apok,

Conclusory statement without dealing with any of the salient points of my post.

That says a lot... ;)


Again, I ask...Take any concept of a higher being. Assume that all one must do, is "do good".

How much good is enough to result in "salvation"?

I wouldn't pose the question like that. I would pose it this way: How much evil would result in the loss of salvation? This question is so easily answered, especially when you are talking about a higher being with infinite knowledge, to ask it makes me wonder if you're really engaged in these debates or whether you're just putting up non-sensical smoke screens to mask the illogic of your unjustifiable beliefs.


We still can't get around the fact that this alleged "higher power" becomes indebted to its creation. If it owes me something, how great can it be that I should listen to it, abide by it, follow it, etc...? It puts me in the position of control over "it".

Again, this is just word play.

If my mother plans to gift me a car when I graduate from college because she loves and is proud of me, is she indebted to me for the price of the car if I graduate?

There's nothing to "get around" here; the indebtedness concept is a loser argument.

I will reiterate...if God truly loves us, then he would bestow his gift upon us since he understands that we all come from different backgrounds, experiences, etc., and we should be judged by those standards. Billy Bob should not be judged by the same standards as Tariq; you believe that they should...and that's bullsh*t.


Now the Christian concept of God, is that of an all-powerful being. Having a being in existence that supersedes that of the authority of God, is a logical impossibility. In no way can a being supersede God in any capacity...even in "control" or "earning". This is what "being good" does. It's an impossibility.

You dodged it. Try again. ;)

lol. You're really, really on your last limb now. ;)

I have never claimed that God owes us anything and that it is valid for God to owe us something. In short, you're burning a straw man.

What I have claimed is as follows: If God loves his entire creation, wants his entire creation to be saved, is all-powerful and benevolent, then the gift of salvation could never rest solely on whether one believes in God or not since a fair and benevolent God would have to take into account each person's experiences and in general, our overall fallibility.

I have not claimed that God should write a promissory note for each good deed we have done thereby becoming indebted to us...that's your "queer" sense of what God is.

Let's look at your "queer" sense of God:

He is all-powerful and benevolent, loves his creation, desires for all of his creation to be saved, yet the vast majority of his creation are not saved. Now that's illogical!!


Your belief: If God loves me, he should just give me salvation. I shouldn't have to do anything on my part. In fact, I should be able to reject him, and still get the prize. Screw him, he's the one who offered it, he's the one who has to follow through.

Yes, that would truly convince a higher being as to "why" he "must" consider you as saved.

You must be kidding.


As far as your example of our friend Billy Bob...I find the idea that one can do as they please, yet still be considered of group A despite the qualifications of group A not being met by Billy, is very illogical and a bit naive.

Save the BS for someone who can't see through it.

If it's so naive and illogical, then I must conclude that it is your position that, despite Billy Bob's genuine belief in God, he does NOT go to heaven? Is that your position?

Booger
February 3rd, 2004, 04:14 PM
Well, God makes "covenants" with mankind. These are in fact promises, but they are not that of "if you do this, I shall do this" form. I'll try to expand on this soon (I was replying to this thread to give you a link, saw your post, thought I'd give a very quick reply).

You are so awash in confusion it's ridiculous.

Isn't God's main promise that "if you do this, I shall do this"? That is, if you believe in me, I will reward you with salvation? So, in effect, isn't he indebted to us for our belief and acceptance of Him?

Also, did God send Jesus to save us because he was indebted to us, or because he loved us? If he so loved us that he "sacrificed" his only son for us, it would stand to reason that a little more than a tiny minority of us should be saved, wouldn't it?

CC
February 3rd, 2004, 05:25 PM
Boy, did I miss out on a good part of this one!

First off, let me say that others have already stated much of what I would have repiled to the same question, no sense waisting more time reflecting of which.


I know the catholic view on this,

Are you sure. AS lot of people think the Feeneyite view is the Catholic view, but that is not true.

I am not trying to stretch what I have learned to say I am a scholar of ANY religion. My inference there was as to whether or not, according to the catholic religion, I would go to hell for having rejected the existence of a god in spite of having lived many years now as a fair, responsible adult, (I got a bad start in life raised in a ghetto by an alcoholic abusive father, no mother in picture at the time), and in spite of being truely sorry and regretful of any of my misdeeds that affected others.

No I don't know the entire religion. But I believe I have metioned that on my wife's side there is a retired priest (28 years) a present priest and a former nun, her mother plays piano in the church and is a retired hospice nurse. My atheism upon being fully realized by my in laws was the topic of many discussions. Though they have come to accept me, (though they probably pray for me), those spirited and educational debates were years ago but I do recall both my wife's uncle and her cousin were adamant on the point of "Would I steal go to hell?" under the catholic religion.....definetly...Yes....as I recall.

Without rehashing everyone's arguments in here again a couple of observations:

If there is some sort of godly scale that is used to weigh whether or not we were "good enough" not to go to hell wouldn't that same scale be used to weigh whether or not one's faith was "good enough"?

Afterall, it makes every bit as much sense that if one must believe there is a god then he must also manifest the creed of that belief in his actions. So how much action is enough to prove enough faith?

Also, what would be the pupose of having any sort of scale that weighed hand in hand both the level of faith and the actions thereof? I would think that it would have to be to teach us that we should treat ourselves, each other and our enviroment with as much respect and cause as little harm to any as possible.

But still ghandi goes to hell?.............

Another observation. Clearly there are no major avenues to heaven for those who believe in god but do not accept any religion because of the conflict of either the source or the tenets that all religions entail. In other words, ALL religions were founded, governed and steered by mortals, NOT GOD. That is, there is no proof whatsoever of what god wants of his followers that isn't simply the written word of man, though through either retelling, translating, egos and time have all given many to claim today that they KNOW those were men of god who first wrote god's words.

So, just as I have said I don't claim to be right in my atheistic beliefs others maintain that they are indeed right in belief even though when challenged to defend their reasons for why they are right will most oft boil down to "I don't know", usually said with a buddha like smile as though they really know, they just want you to learn firsthand for yourself.......*g*

I asked "Would someone like me go to hell" because I wanted someone who said yes to justify why that would be a kind, good or just thing. From the argument presented, though as is often the case, did not exactly address that, it did shine some light on the general view. Basically, I am asked to believe that there is some kind, caring and fair god that created me and the universe I know for the sole purpose of creating an exclusive eternal club. One of which would allow some of the worst around us a member while rejecting others that spend their lives being kind and caring but not believing to (even if not hell) something that is not even as pleasant as the lives we lived in this lifetime through our own sense of morality?

Believers have no problem saying that they do not know all the answers, but they have no problem saying with absolute certainty, what they and others must do to stay on that eternal path. The source of this is twofold, words written by the hand of mortal man many many years ago and "faith", or a profound feeling that something exists even though it is not provable.

As an atheist I fall into the same catagory, only without any reverence to the written word of other men as the true way to anything. Only as an atheist I am obliged and not at all to proud to admith that I do not claim I know what I believe to be truth, only that what I believe is what I believe.

It is completely ridiculous to accept that a man like ghandi would not receive every bit as much reward and acceptence by god at the end of his life as any other man who did less but was wise enough to chose the right god, or even the right religion. If there is such a god that would, then truely that god would be unjust, (by all that is considered by man as to how any of us whould be treated fairly).

The believer's final stand......."I don't know.".....It is so easy to sit back when all logic fails to provide even the slightest support for a belief to say that because nothing can be as great as god, or know as much as god, "I don't know", but when it comes to the beleif of existence of that god, "I know".....................................(I will try to read as much as I can at the link provided but admittedly it is a busy week....so I only have time to ramble occasionally........................:O)

Apokalupsis
February 3rd, 2004, 05:51 PM
Booger, a couple things. Firstly, it appears I need to remind you again, that this is not le 'ole gaming forum, but a more formal debate community. As such, it is expected of all members to show a bit of respect, regardess of belief system, regardless of how absurd it may appear to another poster, etc... The argument is to be attacked, not a run-on of ad hominems. Your responses are coming closer and closer to that edge. Had it been directed at another member, and not myself, I probably would have considered it "over". Please try to calm yourself prior to posting. ;)

Also, I've stated on numerous occasions: I've only the time to answer general objections, not an engagement of the collective doctrines of of Hell, Heaven, salvation, eternity, infinity, justice, fairness, works, faith, etc...

For those who want to pursue this topic in depth (since there are no other theists answering any objections on this issue other than me, and I'm not prepared for a full-on debate on the issue), I provided a source to tide you over in the meantime.

http://www.souldevice.org/writings_hell.html

Have at it. If you feel compelled to just get it out of your system, make a challenge in the 1v1 Forum, and perhaps a theist will engage.

I will respond to your last response for the items which I am able however.

Apokalupsis
February 4th, 2004, 10:11 AM
The doctrine of Hell is perhaps the single most controversial and challenging doctrine of Christianity. I will not dodge this topic, but it is important for you to understand, that if we are truly to tackle it, it will have to be done objectively and honestly. I have absolutley no interest in discussing something as important, indepth, challenging as this is, when much of the discussion is that of disrespectful barb. If it is the intent of the opposition to make personal attacks and be the most witty, I concede. I want no part of it. Not in this particular topic. If it is the intent to challenge, or to fully understand the actual Christian position on this doctrine, let's go.

To understand this particular doctrine, certain factors must be understood. 2 of those necessary issues are already started and I will discuss them in detail if necessary.

What is Hell? (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?t=213)
and
Those who have never heard of Christ (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/showthread.php?t=208)

WHO is in Hell, why, etc...will be for a later discussion. Let's take this in steps, come to some sort of agreement and understanding, then tackle the higher gears. ;)

My below response is limited to some of the obections and questions not covered elsewhere, or intended to be addressed in a future "Who is in Hell" thread. btw...if anyone wants to START a "who" is in Hell thread, you are more than welcome to. I'm merely stating, that as the seemingly only theist discussing this doctrine here, I, personally, am addressing the doctrine in rational steps instead of all at once.





How much good is enough to result in "salvation"?
I wouldn't pose the question like that. I would pose it this way: How much evil would result in the loss of salvation?
Why would you pose it that way? It changes your position that if we are good enough, we should be saved. To answer your question directly..."any amount of evil". If God is a being that is so pure and good, and absolutely no sin (less than perfection) can be in his presence (for reasons we'll get into later), then even the least bit of sin results in separation. If X must be completely whole...X-a is not acceptable. Fortunately, we have a way around this.

However, the actual problem is, that continues to fail to be addressed...is the claim that "All one has to do, is be good, and that should warrant salvation". That is the argument as stated in this thread...I'm not creating it. If you would like to change it, that's fine...but it is what is being claimed.

So...I ask again...how much good is it, that one must do, for it to be "enough"? By what standard is this good measured? How does one know if he/she passed that seemingly arbitrary line of "good enough"? Why should one continue to do MORE good, after they have reached the point of "good enough"?



If my mother plans to gift me a car when I graduate from college because she loves and is proud of me, is she indebted to me for the price of the car if I graduate?
Let's clarify the scenerio before I answer. You stated "if". Is this gift conditional on your graduation? Is this a randomn gift? Secret gift? Did you know about the potential of receiving this gift and what you must do for it to be offered? Your analogy is not fitting to the argument as it stands. Please expand.


I will reiterate...if God truly loves us, then he would bestow his gift upon us since he understands that we all come from different backgrounds, experiences, etc., and we should be judged by those standards.
The standards of environment? Is this what you are saying?



What I have claimed is as follows: If God loves his entire creation, wants his entire creation to be saved, is all-powerful and benevolent, then the gift of salvation could never rest solely on whether one believes in God or not since a fair and benevolent God would have to take into account each person's experiences and in general, our overall fallibility.
The issue in this argument, is: Has God shown Himself or offered Himself to be revealed to those He would judge for believing in Him? We have 2 possibilities (for punitive judgement).

1) God has not revealed Himself nor given man the chance to choose Him. God judges, and condemns the man. <-- Unfair judgement. God is not just!

I'll side with you 100% of the time on this issue and debate those who would say that God is "just, fair, loving, etc..." Bet you didn't see that one coming did ya? Of COURSE this would be unfair...who would argue otherwise? I certainly never once have (and you and I both go back a long way).

or

2) God has revealed Himself and/or given man the chance to choose Him. God judges, and condemns the man. <-- Unfair ONLY if man chose to believe, accept, and follow God.

If man rejects God despite God's revelation and allowance of man to choose to follow, it is certainly not fair. Man has made his decision.

However, the scenerio that would make it "unfair" in both points 1 & 2, are true. Doesn't happen. And this is one of the great misunderstandings that the objectors of the doctrine of Hell have, that I will prove is erroneous. These points however, will have to be discussed (at least by me), in turn. Right now, I'm focusing on the 2 referenced threads at the top of this post.



If it's so naive and illogical, then I must conclude that it is your position that, despite Billy Bob's genuine belief in God, he does NOT go to heaven? Is that your position?
Even demons "believe". Did you know that the Bible clearly speaks of those who call and "believe" they are Christians...but really aren't because of their actions and personal philosophies? Christians and so-called Christians are differentiated between. Jesus calls them out as well. And for your specific instances in which dear ole Billy Bob engages in such activities...well the Bible is quite clear on that issue as well.

Paul writes entire letters to churches (what we call books) about these very issues! Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, etc... Christians in these churches were not following the teachings of Christ...but 1) using tradition, 2) not practicing what they were preaching, 3) believing and teaching that only "mere belief" is what is important (using it as a "get out of jail free card" 4) condeming others for what they themselves were doing, 5) causing disturbance within the church, etc...

These were serious problems, and as a result, Paul wrote and visited to clear these problems up.

As far as Billy's questionable activity...

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10

9) Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, 10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
The actions of Billy are NOT acceptable. Him believing he has a free pass to do as he pleases, is not in accordance with Christianity. So NO, he would not be saved.

The Bible says there are some who "profess to know God" (so-called Christians) but "in works they deny him, being abominable" and God says they are "disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate".

Titus 1:16

"They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."

These "Christians", who claim to know Christ, and believe in him, are simply NOT Christians (like Billy Bob), and the Bible is very clear about this. Simply claiming it, believing Christ and His message is real, does not make one a Christian. The Bible is quite clear on this issue...and those who do such a thing are clearly rebuked and Christians are warned of them.

Romans 16:17-18

17) Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 18) For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.
When we say that you merely must "believe"...the word has more meaning that commonly held. It means being convicted, following, believing to the point that you adhere to the teachings and examples of Christ. It isn't "believe" in the sense that I believe my cup on my desk exists, therefore X...voila!

Do you know who said the following?


If we continue on this path, respectable, industrious and honest, if we fulfill our duty faithfully, it is my conviction, the Lord God will continually help us in the future. He will not leave respectable people in the lurch indefinitely. He may test them, but in the end He lets His sun shine upon them and gives them His blessing.
An early church father perhaps? Thomas Aquinas? A modern Christian leader? Billy Graham? The Pope? An apologist? Norman Geisler, Josh McDowell? No, it isn't any of them. Adolf Hitler said this. The Bible speaks of those who are so-called Christians or false-prophets...and condemns them very harshly.

The idea that one merely has to "believe", is not a new idea. It was addressed by the Apostles directly and immediately, because it is an erroneous view of what Christ taught. Christ Himself tells those at Judgement Day who professed their belief in Him, but acted as Billy Bob...

Matthew 7:21-23

21) "Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22) "Many will say to Me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23) "And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'
YOUR belief, that to be Christian, one merely must "believe" in Christ, is not taught anywhere in the Bible. It is not Christian doctrine. You have built up a very large straw man based upon a grave misunderstanding. A Christian is one who is "Christ-like" (or at least strives to be). Can you honestly, really, tell me...that Billy Bob is Christ-like?

If you you still believe otherwise, please show scriptural support, and provide and explanation as to why Jesus and his apostles were wrong, or why what is written, does not mean as I have claimed...that it is MORE than "belief" that characterizes one as "Christian".

Booger
February 4th, 2004, 11:19 AM
I honestly believe that if everyone suddenly discovered a passage in the Bible where God went around killing babies, people would say that was a good thing too!

Those passages ARE in the Bible. God deliberately killed babies in the Flood and has commanded his followers to kill children, babies, fetuses and pregnant women. To wit:

"Hosea 13
16 The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed in pieces, their pregnant women ripped open."

Nice, eh?

Apokalupsis
February 4th, 2004, 11:25 AM
That's a prophecy, not a commandment. It is foretelling what will happen.

Israel, under an evil King, became a fallen and pagan nation. Ephraim (the king) was not a Godly king, he worshipped the pagan god Baal, committed many crimes and was responsible for leading Israel astray. God even warned Ephraim that what he was doing was wrong, and that punishment would be given if he did not return to God. Ephraim refused. He was a cruel and violent king filled with greed and conquest.

Israel is supposed to be God's nation, his chosen people, so that they could spread God's message. They were to be an example. As such, Israel's blantant disrespect and disregard were offenses against God. God is telling Israel that He is leaving Israel unprotected (from its many enemeis) as punishment.

This prophecy is foretelling the sackage of the Israelite captital (Samaria) by the Assyrian army. It is telling Israel that the same crimes it committed against other nations, that those very crimes would come back to haunt Israel.

To get even deeper in its meaning, Ephraim was also the name of this particular tribe of Israel. Names of places and tribes were often that of their rulers. In some instances of these surrounding chapters, the tribe is referred, others, the king.

See what happens when you take 1 verse and build up an entire belief system?

Does "Jesus wept" tell us that he's just a big cry baby, or a weak man, or an overly sensitive man?

If you want to critique, like anything and everything else that would be critiqued...do so objectively and honestly...not through the veil of bias and contempt.

I do not blame anyone for objecting to a seemingly difficult passage, nor for not understanding a particular passage, nor for even objecting to what must be the meaning of a passage, if that meaning is objectionable. But to spout of something that simply isn't true (like a verse being a command when instead it is foretelling the future) when you haven't given it even a little bit of honest investigation, well, that's what I object to. It's just intellectually dishonest. It's the practice of eisegesis over exogesis. And it's completely in error and will never yield correct results (in anything).

AntiMaterialist
February 4th, 2004, 01:14 PM
What about the angel of death taking the first borns of the Egyptians? Was that done at God's behest?

Apokalupsis
February 4th, 2004, 02:55 PM
A very fair, and very good question. And if you don't mind, I prefer to answer this question in its own thread as it is a great topic IMO, that is more complex that it would on the surface, seem to be. I'll link to it from this thread, once completed.

Booger
February 4th, 2004, 06:09 PM
See what happens when you take 1 verse and build up an entire belief system?

OK, so what of:

Samuel 15:3: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

Did God not command the killing of all of the the Amalekites, including women and babies?

And are you arguing that God did not kill children and babies in the Flood? The children and babies of Sodom and Gomorrah? Is that "out of context" or a result of "eisegesis" as well?


What about the angel of death taking the first borns of the Egyptians? Was that done at God's behest?

Exodus...movement of Jah people.

Exodus 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

Exodus 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.

So yeah, pretty much, except that God did it himself.


A very fair, and very good question. And if you don't mind, I prefer to answer this question in its own thread as it is a great topic IMO, that is more complex that it would on the surface, seem to be. I'll link to it from this thread, once completed.

That would be good. But what about other genocidal acts commanded, assented to or carried out by God (e.g., the genocide of the seven nations of Canann)?

Apokalupsis
February 4th, 2004, 06:30 PM
How about this...I'll address the issue of genocide, covering at the very least, all of the examples given above.

AntiMaterialist
February 5th, 2004, 05:58 AM
Your efforts are appreciated APOK - but, where are your compatriots? It kinda sucks to have me, Cyber, and Booger ganging up on you.

Apokalupsis
February 5th, 2004, 07:58 AM
In the non-religious debate communities that I have been a part of, this is always the case. And it isn't that there aren't any fellow theists...but rather, it is usually that there are no fellow apologists. Tough questions deserve convincing and compelling answers that are often rooted in historical contexts, ancient law, complicated doctrine, etc... The 10th plague mentioned above is absolutely fascinating IMO as you'll see in the future thread. Most theists I would imagine, wouldn't know 1/2 the background and information that sets the backdrop and facts of the occurance (or any other in question).

Unfortunately, many fellow theists, are sort of like "sheep" in the sense that they merely follow because they believe or are told X, with never thinking of actually questioning X. And to be honest...had I not experienced the childhood that I did, I too, may have ended up never questioning...I don't know. I grew up being taught by my father (who was Christian at the time), to actually question everything and don't take his word for it (who was a youth minister/police officer), and do not take the minister's or pastor's word for it...but to take their claims, their statements, their arguments...and verify them. Don't believe for the sake of believing, believe because you have concluded it was true. And if you happen to find a held belief that was previously thought to be true, but isn't any longer...then don't hold fast to the disproven belief...but accept what in fact, has been shown to be true.

Lot's of "true" in there...which is why I created this community...it is the search and battle of 1 thing (done in many ways)...it is that of "truth". Be a seeker of truth...that is what this site is promoting. Whether it is politics, social issues, theology, science, etc... get out of the crutch of believing for the SAKE of it...and KNOW WHY you believe it. If you can't answer for your beliefs...then you need to question yourself, as to why you believe it in the first place.

Just my rant about "why"...but it's something I firmly believe in.

I suspect as we grow, we'll get more studied apologists as members...and it will be easier. To be honest, the challenge of being "ganged up on" isn't necessarily the topic or arguments (I love challenges!)...it is merely the TIME issue. So many responses that I feel "obligated" to address, that I simply can't...at least, not in the time frame that I personally would like.

So, the opposition is merely asked for their patience, nothing more. ;)

AntiMaterialist
February 5th, 2004, 08:08 AM
Well - but see, I think Christian Fundamentalism is an evil religion because it does so much harm.

I really want all of the others participate, so that I can have practice in learning to weaken those beliefs they hold which I believe to be evil.

But, whenever they are confronted with a tough question, they just stop posting rather than admit they are wrong.

Chris
February 5th, 2004, 08:23 AM
I am not trying to stretch what I have learned to say I am a scholar of ANY religion. My inference there was as to whether or not, according to the catholic religion, I would go to hell for having rejected the existence of a god in spite of having lived many years now as a fair, responsible adult, (I got a bad start in life raised in a ghetto by an alcoholic abusive father, no mother in picture at the time), and in spite of being truely sorry and regretful of any of my misdeeds that affected others.

No I don't know the entire religion. But I believe I have metioned that on my wife's side there is a retired priest (28 years) a present priest and a former nun, her mother plays piano in the church and is a retired hospice nurse. My atheism upon being fully realized by my in laws was the topic of many discussions. Though they have come to accept me, (though they probably pray for me), those spirited and educational debates were years ago but I do recall both my wife's uncle and her cousin were adamant on the point of "Would I steal go to hell?" under the catholic religion.....definetly...Yes....as I recall.
No offense intended to your in laws, but I believe they are mistaken. They can not know what the state of your soul is now or will be at your death - that is for God to judge. They don't know if they themselves are going to Heaven or H*ll, just like I don't know where I'm going. I believe that Christ's death won our salvation and that I must keep working out my salvation in fear and trembling, but I can not say now what the state of my soul will be at death. It all depends on how I continue to respond to God's call. Only you (and God) can know for certain if you are being truly honest with yourself in rejecting His existence.



If there is some sort of godly scale that is used to weigh whether or not we were "good enough" not to go to hell wouldn't that same scale be used to weigh whether or not one's faith was "good enough"?
Per Catholicism, without faith, works alone can not get you into Heaven. How much faith you have is, again, a question I can not answer. We are all given the gift in different amounts.



Afterall, it makes every bit as much sense that if one must believe there is a god then he must also manifest the creed of that belief in his actions. So how much action is enough to prove enough faith?
That is a question believers should be asking themselves all the time. We should be constantly examinign our hearts and attempting to determine if we are responding as we ought to to God's call.



Another observation. Clearly there are no major avenues to heaven for those who believe in god but do not accept any religion because of the conflict of either the source or the tenets that all religions entail.
If I understand you correctly (but maybe I don't) I'd have to disagree. The Catholic Church teaches that we are all given different "amounts" of faith. Those who are given the faith and circumstances to be Catholic have an obligation to follow those teachings. Someone else may not have the same disposition (say the Islamist mentioned somewhere earlier, I believe) and so will not be held to that level. OTOH, if someone suspects that Catholicism may be correct, but out of pride or laziness does not make the effort to better inform themselves, and change, then they will be held accountable for that failure. But again, no one can know for certain how much someone was urged, etc, except for the person in question and God.


It is completely ridiculous to accept that a man like ghandi would not receive every bit as much reward and acceptence by god at the end of his life as any other man who did less but was wise enough to chose the right god, or even the right religion.
Again, I disagree, because we can not see into Ghandi's heart. Mother Theresa admitted to being tempted to leave all her work in India and simply return to a quiet life in a convent. If she had done so one year before her death you would think she certainly deserved Heaven, correct? If she had left the job undone, knowing that God wanted her to do more but deliberately defying Him, then she would not have gone to heaven. I give this as an example not to criticze Mother Theresa, but to show that we can not know what is in someone elses heart. If she done the hypothetical leaving we would have all assumed she was simply taking a well deserved rest.

AntiMaterialist
February 5th, 2004, 01:48 PM
However, Chris - assuming that Ghandi died as he lived - a devout Hindu - would you not believe that he is currently in hell?

RTShatto
February 5th, 2004, 03:20 PM
Nobody is supposed to be in hell yet...I think we will all have to wait till the day of Judgement. When you die you go into a deep sleep, and you wake up after the sounding of the trumpet...or something, I cant remember :(

I think that was one of the reasons why it is against the teachings of the church to cremate yourself, for that very reason.

But then at that time, people will be given the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ...I think.

AntiMaterialist
February 5th, 2004, 08:20 PM
Nobody is supposed to be in hell yet...I think we will all have to wait till the day of Judgement. When you die you go into a deep sleep, and you wake up after the sounding of the trumpet

This just sounds like mythology - I see no reason to believe it.

RTShatto
February 5th, 2004, 09:08 PM
I think its in the book of revelations, but I havent really read it yet, so ill get back to you on that. :)

Apokalupsis
February 5th, 2004, 09:10 PM
AntiMat,

I agree to that one. 1) If there is a God (of course I believe there is) who can create the universe and life from nothing...then there is NO problem whatsoever for him to do something w/ your ashes. 2) Jesus told the 2 men crucified w/ him, that that day they would be in Heaven with him. There is no "waiting" period.

This thread has about 10 topics in it. We should rename it to Theological Jambalaya or something. Jeez.

RTShatto
February 5th, 2004, 10:02 PM
To add to the off topic discusions...lets not forget a day could mean a thousand years in the bible, god told Adam that if he were to eat from the tree of knowledge, then he will surely die that day

And he happened to die 930 years later, which would have been in a "day" :)

Chris
February 6th, 2004, 03:51 AM
However, Chris - assuming that Ghandi died as he lived - a devout Hindu - would you not believe that he is currently in hell?
No. The Church does not teach that someone goes to H*ll simply for not being a Catholic. That was the view of Fr. Feeney and he was excommunicated when he refused to stop teaching it after the Vatican ordered him to do so.


I think that was one of the reasons why it is against the teachings of the church to cremate yourself, for that very reason.
No it isn't. The Church believes that we will be raised bodily on the last day. One is forbidden from being crematedif they wish to do so simply to oppose God on this point. If one believes God can ressurrect their body after cremation, then one can be cremated.

mask
February 6th, 2004, 08:10 AM
This is a classic problem for Christian believers. Can a man who grew up on an island and was never exposed to Christianity ever be granted access to heaven?

In the Bible, Jesus clearly says the only way to Heaven is through him - but a man who was never exposed to this concept would never have the opportunity to go through Jesus.

So - is he saved or is he doomed?


the person whether on an island or in iran would only be judged according to his knowledge, in other words of course bad exposure is not count. each person has his own unique circumstances that's why only god judges.i also wanna point out that it might not be the script but the spirit of christianity that to god it doesn't matter where u go but how long u travel.

RTShatto
February 6th, 2004, 11:01 AM
No it isn't. The Church believes that we will be raised bodily on the last day. One is forbidden from being crematedif they wish to do so simply to oppose God on this point. If one believes God can ressurrect their body after cremation, then one can be cremated.
Thats what I meant, it just didnt come out right :)

CC
February 6th, 2004, 01:34 PM
Hi Chris...no offense taken ....*g*


No offense intended to your in laws, but I believe they are mistaken. They can not know what the state of your soul is now or will be at your death - that is for God to judge. They don't know if they themselves are going to Heaven or H*ll, just like I don't know where I'm going. I believe that Christ's death won our salvation and that I must keep working out my salvation in fear and trembling, but I can not say now what the state of my soul will be at death. It all depends on how I continue to respond to God's call. Only you (and God) can know for certain if you are being truly honest with yourself in rejecting His existence.

I remind you these are/were priests......at any rate.....my wife...(standing next to me here) was raised a devout catholic (her sis was a nun)....they concur...The catholic church does indeed teach, in fact, drill into your head....that you MUST believe in god to go to heaven, regardless of how good a life you lead. Your post above keeps refering them not knowing the strength of my faith.....I have none!......So I still ask............Is there a way for an atheist to get to heaven without recanting his views while he lives?


Afterall, it makes every bit as much sense that if one must believe there is a god then he must also manifest the creed of that belief in his actions. So how much action is enough to prove enough faith?

************

That is a question believers should be asking themselves all the time. We should be constantly examinign our hearts and attempting to determine if we are responding as we ought to to God's call.

You are ignoring my point.....which is that I have NO FAITH.......so how am I judged alongside of those who are not as virtuous as myself but believe in a god?........two different scales?

All of your repiles remind me of father Dave (a fiend of mine, though we don't see each other often).....faith.....faith....faith.......always work for it....always work to improve it.....but get it........I posed a situation where one did not have it...ANY................:O)

RTShatto
February 6th, 2004, 02:33 PM
If you believe in something, then you have faith, just not in the religious sence, but you still have it :) .......... :O)

Chris
February 9th, 2004, 05:08 AM
Hi Chris...no offense taken ....*g*



I remind you these are/were priests......at any rate.....my wife...(standing next to me here) was raised a devout catholic (her sis was a nun)....they concur...The catholic church does indeed teach, in fact, drill into your head....that you MUST believe in god to go to heaven, regardless of how good a life you lead. Your post above keeps refering them not knowing the strength of my faith.....I have none!......So I still ask............Is there a way for an atheist to get to heaven without recanting his views while he lives?



You are ignoring my point.....which is that I have NO FAITH.......so how am I judged alongside of those who are not as virtuous as myself but believe in a god?........two different scales?

All of your repiles remind me of father Dave (a fiend of mine, though we don't see each other often).....faith.....faith....faith.......always work for it....always work to improve it.....but get it........I posed a situation where one did not have it...ANY................:O)

Lumen Gentium (Light of the Nations) is one of the documents to come out of Vatican II. In the opening chapter is the following

Nor will divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life.
So, again, the question becomes whether or not it is your fault for not believing.

CC
February 9th, 2004, 09:44 AM
In don't know where your question above came from. Mine was "Can a person who lives a virtous life but denies the existence of god get to heaven after his death?.....................I maintain that catholics (in spite of your quote from the goodbook) steadfastly believe and teach that the only way to get into heaven is to believe or repent and admit to faulty reasoning....but to not believe is to not be allowed........(as far as finding quotes in the bible I have seen many people find quotes that contradict the quote provided.) The part about jesus saying he is the true son of god and only through himself can one arrive in the heavenly kingdom?...:O)

Chris
February 9th, 2004, 10:33 AM
I don't know what to tell you. :confused:

Despite the Vatican's best attempts to make it unclear, ;) I think the statement pretty clearly shows Catholic Teaching.
To wit, that even if one does not believe in God ("...who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God) but leads a good life ("...to lead a good life.") they can be saved ("Nor will divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those ...")

This is from a concilar document from Vatican II. It's official Church teaching. I don't know how else to make it any clearer that this is what the Church hierarchy teaches and is what her members should believe/teach.

I am sure your in-laws are sincere in what they say. I am equally sure that their theology is not at the same level as the bishops and theologians who took part in Vatican II and produced Lumen Gentium. I know first hand how, in an attempt to make it clearer and simpler, various teachers (priests, nuns and laity) will oversimplify rather difficult and complex teachings so that their students can get it. Unfortunately, the Church does a lousy job of continuing catechesis. The various teachers should be making every effort to teach the correct ideas, not trying to water it down to sound bites.

CC
February 9th, 2004, 12:13 PM
I am sure your in-laws are sincere in what they say. I am equally sure that their theology is not at the same level as the bishops and theologians who took part in Vatican II and produced Lumen Gentium. I know first hand how, in an attempt to make it clearer and simpler, various teachers (priests, nuns and laity) will oversimplify rather difficult and complex teachings so that their students can get it. Unfortunately, the Church does a lousy job of continuing catechesis. The various teachers should be making every effort to teach the correct ideas, not trying to water it down to sound bites.




You make a couple of good points chris..maybe they have watered it down themselves, been taught for generations that if they don't believe they will go to hell...all of it watered down....i don't think so, but just the same I'd like to get their take on it.....It will take me awhile, but I'll revisit the topic with you again after I have had time to let them read that post....:O)

CC
February 10th, 2004, 12:36 PM
To wit, that even if one does not believe in God ("...who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God) but leads a good life ("...to lead a good life.") they can be saved ("Nor will divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those ...")

Define "explicit" knowledege.....


Okay...I chatted with my wife's unc. he did not have long but nutshelled it for me. he made a few points.

that indeed the catholic church fundementally teaches that one must be saved and acknowledge Christ as their savior or they will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

But that has been an issue long debated within the church itself. The official word from the pope is ..YOU MUST RECIEVE CHRIST....period!

However, my unc pointed out that the pope is not the catholic church. There are chapters and verses (yeah I found them myself!) that contradict the pope but remain true to the original writings.

When jesus roamed the earth, atheism was hardly a concept, since nearly every living human believed in a god or gods or some super natural force. The bible refers to "non-believers and not exactly to atheist, (I'm talking Romans: 1 (I forget the verse) as those who live in sin with no practices of religious matters.

It clearly does state however that even those who reject the belief of god but deny his existence will be weighed with the same scale as those believers who either risked pascal's wager or those who though believed, did not live so.

My uncle clarified his answer to me. Yes, the catholic church teaches one must accept Christ to get to heaven.

But it also says that God and God alone will weigh all people, alive and dead, on the scale of had they lived a life worthy of heaven or not? If they have they go, if not they don't. (supposedly
god would reveal himself to the dead but virtous non-believer in a way that would make the non-believer finally open their eyes and accept god, (even after death)(so technically a non-believer at that point would of coursebecome a believer) This is why his answer to me was "No", because by virtue of having ones eyes opened even after death that one is no longer then an atheist....so he maintains...there are NO atheists in heaven.

So,, I submit, that from what I have read the last few days and talked with others about, that I WAS WRONG and you were correct in your assessment of what the bible teaches about it. Thank you for enlightening me, I always appreciate it. (Still doesn't chnage my atheistic views)

He reaffirimed that there is no one on earth who can declare who goes up or down regardless of anyone's beliefs or activities.

Which brings us back to the other debate. Is it faith or good deed that gets one into heaven?,,,,,......apparently good deed alone (though not promised) may still get you into heaven though you did not accept Christ in your lifetime.......I still of course do not believe in any of it, but if I die and god reveals himself to me and reads my rights and wrongs, I could only hope the rights outweigh the wrongs......:O)

Chris
February 10th, 2004, 12:51 PM
so he maintains...there are NO atheists in heaven.
Well I agree with that. There are no atheists in H*ll either. By that point all have been made aware of God.

There is no point in you and I continuing to argue about it, but I think something is being lost in the reiteration of you Uncle's statements. He isn't a Jesuit by any chance, is he?


Thank you for enlightening me,
You are welcome. I'm glad we were able to finally clear it up.


Is it faith or good deed that gets one into heaven?
Both. Though I know that's not a helpful answer. As the bible says, faith withotu works is dead. OTOH, for someone who acknowledges that God exists, they can not enter heaven if they have no faith in Christ's death, but simply believe their own good works are enough to get them in.

AntiMaterialist
February 10th, 2004, 01:54 PM
Well - it is a good thing the Bible is wrong about that. Otherwise, God would be quite the enormous rectal orifice when it comes to the way he treats really nice devout Buddhists and Hindus.

CC
February 11th, 2004, 10:14 AM
I hate getting it wrong, I should pay more attention. In my above post I stated that my unc said that "The pope is not the catholic church".....that is not what he said....he said the pope is not god.

I believe I have stated my wife was raised a devout catholic. Not Jesuit...*g*....



There is no point in you and I continuing to argue about it, but I think something is being lost in the reiteration of you Uncle's statements.

I agree on both points. I am as firm in my convictions as you are in yours. Also, my trying to drag answers that I understand from my wife's uncle on such complex questions in a five minute phone call and then translate what I think he meant is surely getting into deeper water than I should tread. I should have waited until I could meet with him but since he tolerates my occasional out-of-the-blue and off the wall interuptions I couldn't resist calling him.............:O)

Chris
February 11th, 2004, 10:19 AM
:D

xennaq
February 12th, 2004, 10:32 PM
In reply to the man on the Island and the Atheist guy. (how do you copy quotes from the forum text)

Other than the aforementioned, the only way to be saved Is through God's grace. Someone who is on an Island or in a strict muslim enviorment will find out knowledge of jesus christ one way or another, if God wants it. It doesn't matter what your situation is because if God wants to save you he will.
As for the atheist, hindi, and buddist they are headed strait for hell (this probably applies to the Pope to). It doesn't matter what they did in life because good works alone don't get you into Heaven. The only way is through God's grace which there is no way to earn. A repentant child molester, murderer, sex offender etc. who begs God's forgiveness and accepts Jesus as saviour probably has a better chance of going to heaven than many of the people that go to church every single sunday and claim to be believers. Even people that are morally and ethically perfect will not be saved if God doesn't want it. Call it unfair, unjust, unethical, absurd or whatever you want. It doesn't change the fact. We can never hope to understand what God does, and the way he sees things so we just shout "unfair".

RTShatto
February 12th, 2004, 11:23 PM
they are headed strait for hell (this probably applies to the Pope to). It doesn't matter what they did in life because good works alone don't get you into Heaven.
And you reached this conclusion how???

Chris
February 13th, 2004, 04:22 AM
In reply to the man on the Island and the Atheist guy. (how do you copy quotes from the forum text)

Other than the aforementioned, the only way to be saved Is through God's grace. Someone who is on an Island or in a strict muslim enviorment will find out knowledge of jesus christ one way or another, if God wants it. It doesn't matter what your situation is because if God wants to save you he will.
As for the atheist, hindi, and buddist they are headed strait for hell (this probably applies to the Pope to). It doesn't matter what they did in life because good works alone don't get you into Heaven. The only way is through God's grace which there is no way to earn. A repentant child molester, murderer, sex offender etc. who begs God's forgiveness and accepts Jesus as saviour probably has a better chance of going to heaven than many of the people that go to church every single sunday and claim to be believers. Even people that are morally and ethically perfect will not be saved if God doesn't want it. Call it unfair, unjust, unethical, absurd or whatever you want. It doesn't change the fact. We can never hope to understand what God does, and the way he sees things so we just shout "unfair".
So you believe God does not intend for everyone to be saved?

AntiMaterialist
February 13th, 2004, 05:32 AM
Even people that are morally and ethically perfect will not be saved if God doesn't want it. Call it unfair, unjust, unethical, absurd or whatever you want. It doesn't change the fact.

Wow - man, you believe in some evil stuff...

Its a good thing it isn't really fact - just your delusional belief system.

Apokalupsis
February 13th, 2004, 06:52 AM
Xennaq:
(how do you copy quotes from the forum text)


It's in the F.A.Q.: http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/faq.php?faq=new_faq_item#faq_faq_quote

xennaq
February 15th, 2004, 09:27 AM
Wow - man, you believe in some evil stuff...

Its a good thing it isn't really fact - just your delusional belief system.
I meant that If those people are not truly good in thier hearts, they will not be saved. If someone is truly good God will know because he can see into thier hearts. Just because We see the person act good doesn't mean that they truly are. When I talked about the Pope and Ghandi I meant if that they aren't good in thier hearts they will not be saved (and therefore go to hell). IMO I belive Ghandi found Jesus in his own way but what do I really know? Here's another hypothetical situation. Bill the baby is born. When he reaches 2 yrs of age he dies. Is Bill saved? Yes if God looks into his heart and finds that he is good. But we humans have no way of measuring whether or not a 2 year old is good or bad. God can.


<!-- END TEMPLATE: bbcode_quote --> So you believe God does not intend for everyone to be saved?

No I believe God wants everyone to be saved. But his penalty for any sin, no matter how "small" is automatic spirtual death (eternal damnation, hell). Since everyone sins we all pretty much were headed for hell. To prevent that he gave his son to die for our sins. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness and belive in his son. Whether or not you say or show it in a manner that a human can see is irrelevant. God knows what is truly in your heart.


And you reached this conclusion how???

Sorry. what I meant was if they are not truly good in their hearts they will go to hell. In the case of the atheist. If he has heard of Jesus and chooses not to accept him, then no matter how good he is ( he can't be perfect, it's against human nature) he will not be saved.

KevinBrowning
February 15th, 2004, 08:19 PM
This is a classic problem for Christian believers. Can a man who grew up on an island and was never exposed to Christianity ever be granted access to heaven?

In the Bible, Jesus clearly says the only way to Heaven is through him - but a man who was never exposed to this concept would never have the opportunity to go through Jesus.

So - is he saved or is he doomed?

Humans do not know a person's eternal destination, only God does. And while the Bible tells us that the only way to get to Heaven is through accepting Christ as Savior, it also says that God is a loving and just God. So while it seems that a man who had never heard of Christ could not be saved, it might be that God has a plan. This is simply one of those questions that cannot be definitively answered.

absoluttruth
May 21st, 2004, 08:21 AM
I will reiterate...if God truly loves us, then he would bestow his gift upon us since he understands that we all come from different backgrounds, experiences, etc., and we should be judged by those standards. Billy Bob should not be judged by the same standards as Tariq; you believe that they should...and that's bullsh*t.

A facet of the nature of God is that he is just. Since he is just, he cannot judge both Hitler and Biily Bob by the same means. They did not commit the same crime, therefore they will not recieve the same punishment.

Since the Bible has been used before to prove points, I will use it now. In Matthew 11, Christ speaks what is called "the Seven Woes". In Mathew 11:22 he says, "But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgement than for you." The reason he says this (this denouncement was towards Korazin) was because many more miracles had been performed in Korazin than in Tyre and Sidon, though none of the cities had believed. Therefore, Korazin was deemed "more damnable" than the other two, and they will recieve worse punishment on the day of recknoning. It will be worse in hell for Korazin than Tyre and Sidon. This, and a few other verses, are my basis for believing that God is still a just God.

And as far as the man on the island: Do you know of a man on an island who has never had contact with the rest of the human world? If not, then why do you pose such a question? The Bible also says that "The grace of God which bringeth salvation has appeared to all men..." This means to me, though I may have slight error in my theology, that all have had a chance, through some means, to believe in God.

But perhaps if my theology is wrong, and this verse did not mean what i percieved, than could it be that the "man on the island" would not suffer? Hell is the absence of God. Perhaps he will go to hell, but instead of feeling tortured like Hitler, he will simply feel nothing. He will simply cease to exist, have no sense of time or consequence. Is this possible? Why not?

You see, I firmly believe that God did not "make" hell. Hell is simply the absence of God, and God is all things good. Therefore if you remove everything that is good, all that remains are things that are bad. And people who have not accepted god's free gift during their life cannot hope to recieve the gift upon the time of their death.

Think about your current enviroment. What would happen if you took away all light, water, the cool breezes, all other people, food, sight, balance of temperature, and you were placed in this state forever?

And as far as the title of this forum, when you find someone on an island who has never had contact with the outside world, and has never had any contact with anyone else who could've even told him about God, then maybe that argument would be more solid. But for now, it is simply irrelevant.

sylouette
December 12th, 2006, 07:49 PM
I must be crazy to attempt this, but here it goes...



Yes, of course. But you seem to want to mix in external variables as well as the assumed premises (Heaven, Hell, God, what it means to be saved, how to be saved, etc...). See below...


1) If we are finite and fallible beings, why would we expect to place our limited reasoning upon an infinite and infallible being? Shouldn't we instead, strive to understand what it is exactly that this infinite, infallible, and higher being means to be "moral" and "accepting"?

Yes, but who is to say that the understanding of Christians is the correct route to understanding?


It's not a matter of saying: We can't ever know, so we may as well give up...or We are far inferior so who are we to question the superior?....it is that we must understand that we just may have it "wrong"...and IF this higher power exists, we must accept the possibility that it is "right"...and the logical approach would be to seek to understand what this higher being intends or proclaims...not to conclude that "It does not fit within my own understanding, thus it is wrong".

When you say "it is right"...are you saying we should accept the possibility that the Bible is right? The Christian beliefs?

You, as a Christian, believe the Bible is right...I presume. As you stated, you also believe that if you are a good person but not of Christian faith, you're less likely to be accepted by "Christ". At least that's what I interpreted.

Is this what we must accept the possibility of being right? What is it that you believe you are here on earth to achieve? Do you believe that God created all of us to see who would show their appreciation the most for his creating us? Did he throw all of us together just to see which of us would sustain our love and faith for Him? Do you think that's what we were put on this earth to do?


2) What if there is more to it than simply "fair-play"? You have assumed there is, but haven't offered any explanation as to why this must be the case.

Being "good" just doesn't cut it as explained in a previous post. It creates more problems than it resolves.

Well I apologize but I didn't find time to read through all the previous posts but if you'll lead me to this post, I'll be happy to read it before commenting.


No. It is my contention that there is more to salvation than "good behavior". If it came down to this, it would be problematic (see above post). Christians, like any other group, do not "deserve" anything. Christians, as believers and followers of Christ, have "received" the gift of salvation. This gift is extended to all who would accept. Since a gift is 2 parts (1 part offer, 1 part acceptance), those who would not accept it, do not have it.

Don't you think that possibly, just possibly...it's not a gift of salvation we are expected to receive here? Is it not possible that we have been sent here to learn lessons of life? Why is it that you believe we would be sent here only to prove our faith in Christ?


I think it all comes back to this: Take any concept of a higher being. Assume that all one must do, is "do good". How much good is enough to result in "salvation"? We still can't get around the fact that this alleged "higher power" becomes indebted to its creation. If it owes me something, how great can it be that I should listen to it, abide by it, follow it, etc...? It puts me in the position of control over "it".

What makes you assume that we must have salvation? Do you think that God wanted us all here to spend all our time praising him...trying to prove to him that we love him and are good people? Don't you think that "God" knows all this about each of us?

Let's say there are two people that give food to a poor person. One being Christian and the other atheist. Do you believe that God would turn away the atheist for doing good just because he/she is not of faith? An atheist is an atheist because he/she has not seen anything that shows certainty where or why they are here or what lies ahead of them when they die. It is not a sin to be uncertain.


There is absolutely nothing that someone can do, to earn their way into Heaven. No amount of good can result in the earning of salvation. Only the acceptance of the invite can.

You state this with such certaintly. Did you not quote in your first paragraph this....


"the logical approach would be to seek to understand what this higher being intends or proclaims...not to conclude that It does not fit within my own understanding, thus it is wrong".


Is it not true that as a Christian, this is the way you see all other religions that don't agree with your concept of God and/or the Bible?


Good post. ;)

Sheesh, you've never said that to ME before....and I'm your favorite here! :grin:

SkeleTony
May 5th, 2009, 03:22 PM
This assumes from the start, that all one has to do, is "behave" or "be good". For reasons in my previous post, I do not beleive this is the case, and still have yet to hear why it could be so otherwise.

I did not get much from that first post you made in regards to this question.

You seem to be saying(and I will admittedly oversimplify here) that to be good is not good enough and thus a belief in God/Christ is required. There are many problems with this though.

First of all, you cannot choose what you believe or do not believe. I could lie about my lack of belief but I doubt that would impress an actual God if one existed. So it seems that your God would condemn me for being exactly as he created man to be...people with rational thinking minds.

And if it were so important to this God that we know/accept his existence and the story of his son why wouldn't he just reveal himself as accessible to our five senses?! I cannot see any good reason to not do so and I debunked the 'Because it robs us of free will...' argument long ago(and at these very forums IIRC).

But I am probably veering slightly off topic so I will reel it in now.

Charlatan
May 8th, 2009, 10:52 AM
And how would God reveal Himself? Would he be born into a human body? The He would be doing Jesus all over again, but He doesn't see the need for that as Jesus delivered all the gospel that needed to be done. Some people don't like repeating themselves, and so niether does God. So what natural manifestation could represent God? If there was a manifestation, what would it be? A clump of mist? A crop circle of some sort? Or, maybe, it would be like that giant hand in space we saw a while ago on cnn, would that suffice? So God has revealed Himself to us, but should He? The churches didn;t suck all the bible out their thumbs, it was recorded from people that worshipped God, and even if He did reveal Himself, there would be chaos as people, through fear and not love, worshipped Him or served Him.

This man on an island is relevant because the whole of Russia never had a god to worship as the traders that ventured into the Chinese areas never brought back information about the gods they had. So, God is not a logical resolution for mankind to come to, as it never surfaced in this vast area in any way, and therefore gods must have revealed themselves before to the people of the time, and that must have been the way it went.

Now what happens to the people of ancient Russia? They would surely be judged as they acted in life, but seeing as how God did not reveal Himslef to them, they had no knowledge of Him, thus He chose to judge them on actions and not on love for Him. Why? Because, while He loves them, he didn't feel like it, choosing to see how people did without God in their minds. An experiment? If they were to act a certain way, and a similar person were to act in a similar way, there would be the lack of or presence of God for them to judge them on. Maybe this was necessary for judgement purposes.

It is not through knowing Christ, but through emulating CHrist that people go to heaven, by forgiving.

There is no island anywhere else that people do not know of God.

SkeleTony
May 13th, 2009, 11:03 AM
And how would God reveal Himself? Would he be born into a human body? The He would be doing Jesus all over again, but He doesn't see the need for that as Jesus delivered all the gospel that needed to be done. Some people don't like repeating themselves, and so niether does God. So what natural manifestation could represent God? If there was a manifestation, what would it be? A clump of mist? A crop circle of some sort? Or, maybe, it would be like that giant hand in space we saw a while ago on cnn, would that suffice? So God has revealed Himself to us, but should He? The churches didn;t suck all the bible out their thumbs, it was recorded from people that worshipped God, and even if He did reveal Himself, there would be chaos as people, through fear and not love, worshipped Him or served Him.

This man on an island is relevant because the whole of Russia never had a god to worship as the traders that ventured into the Chinese areas never brought back information about the gods they had. So, God is not a logical resolution for mankind to come to, as it never surfaced in this vast area in any way, and therefore gods must have revealed themselves before to the people of the time, and that must have been the way it went.

Now what happens to the people of ancient Russia? They would surely be judged as they acted in life, but seeing as how God did not reveal Himslef to them, they had no knowledge of Him, thus He chose to judge them on actions and not on love for Him. Why? Because, while He loves them, he didn't feel like it, choosing to see how people did without God in their minds. An experiment? If they were to act a certain way, and a similar person were to act in a similar way, there would be the lack of or presence of God for them to judge them on. Maybe this was necessary for judgement purposes.

It is not through knowing Christ, but through emulating CHrist that people go to heaven, by forgiving.

There is no island anywhere else that people do not know of God.


You seem to be saying above that the alleged God does not have it in his power to reveal himself as plainly as my own mother could?! That he could only emulate natural things that exist sans God or just not reveal himself at all.

A false dilemma to be sure.

There are a million ways he could reveal himself that would be unmistakable. A great being in the 'image' of Adam/humanity strolling across lakes, through mountains, and over plains, curing incurable diseases as he went or re-shaping natural monuments or permanently fixing a giant glowing Decalogue that all the world can see and read regardless of their native language would be another thing he could do while he is strolling.

And that is just the first thing I thought of shooting from the hip with my limited human imagination. Surely God could do better?

The other contention I have with the above is this idea that such a being could "feel like" doing human things. That he would have the same emotional constraints and quirks as we do even though he lacks a central nervous system and the very experiences of being a mortal which is what lead to our emotional and intellectual development.

It sounds not unlike the idea of trees having eyes. Does not make sense.


SkeleTony

The Great Khan
July 3rd, 2009, 04:28 PM
Yes, Jesus' death gained salvation for everyone, whether they know it or not. Thus it makes salvation possible for all. This is the only way salvation is at all available.

Our personal slavation depends upon how we respond to the grace God freely gives us. God alone knows truly how well we do that so He alone judges.

So, Christ's crucifixtion makes salvation possible for everyone, and it was the only thing that could gain mankind's salvation. Without Christ's crucifixtion, no one could be saved - His death is the only way. So the man on the island can be saved - whether he will be or not is not for us to know - God will judge his life and his response to the grace God gave him.


So...it's possible for this man to go to heaven, despite not believing in Jesus? Lucky him! It seems that the rest of us heretics are damned by mere association. By being exposed to Christianity, we now know of it's existence. Therefore, not believing in it will damn us all, as opposed to that lucky island dweller who is free to believe what he wants, since Christian missionaries never found him! But of course, this creates a problem. If Island Dude can be saved despite not believing in Jesus, why can't other non believers? It seems that by knowing of Christianity's existence, we severely restrict our options! This can be extended to expose more weaknesses in Christian philosophy. If Jesus is the only way, what happened to all of the people who died before he was born? They obviously couldn't have heard of Christianity, which didn't exist yet, so they will be judged like Island Dude will. So it seems that Jesus simply limited the path to salvation. Everything was fine before he showed up!

What about babies who die in infancy? They lack the intelligence to accept Jesus as their personal lord and savior How will THEY be judged? Unlike Island Dude, they haven't DONE anything yet that deserves punishment or reward. So, if they die with a clean slate, will they go to heaven or hell. Their going to hell would be an injustice (what did they do wrong), so will they go to heaven? But if they do, then why don't we just baptize our babies and then murder them so they'll all go to heaven? That way, they won't have a chance to sin! Eureka!

david123
December 30th, 2012, 05:57 PM
You are so awash in confusion it's ridiculous.

Isn't God's main promise that "if you do this, I shall do this"? That is, if you believe in me, I will reward you with salvation? So, in effect, isn't he indebted to us for our belief and acceptance of Him?

Also, did God send Jesus to save us because he was indebted to us, or because he loved us? If he so loved us that he "sacrificed" his only son for us, it would stand to reason that a little more than a tiny minority of us should be saved, wouldn't it?


Sounds rational.

International
December 30th, 2012, 08:12 PM
This is a classic problem for Christian believers. Can a man who grew up on an island and was never exposed to Christianity ever be granted access to heaven?

In the Bible, Jesus clearly says the only way to Heaven is through him - but a man who was never exposed to this concept would never have the opportunity to go through Jesus.

So - is he saved or is he doomed?

no problem here at all. According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, all of those who do not have a chance to learn about Jesus Christ on earth will have an opportunity to learn about him and accept him in the hereafter. Then one might ask, won't everyone just accept it after they die? This verse is also a part of Latter Day Saint doctrine: "Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world" (Alma 34:34). This verse basically means your personality will be the same, so even in the hereafter there will probably be some who will not accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it will be offered to ever single soul before they must stand before the judgment bar of God.

Rodriguez
December 31st, 2012, 11:52 PM
International: What counts as "a chance to learn about Jesus Christ"?

For instance, is a mullah telling you that Jesus was a man, not a god, who as a great prophet was second only to Muhammad, count as learning about Jesus Christ?

Does reading the New Testament, after you've accidentally stumbled across it somewhere online or in a library, count as learning about Jesus Christ? What modern person would take such stories as fact and not as myth, all else being equal?

(Great thread, btw.)

International
January 1st, 2013, 12:21 AM
International: What counts as "a chance to learn about Jesus Christ"?

For instance, is a mullah telling you that Jesus was a man, not a god, who as a great prophet was second only to Muhammad, count as learning about Jesus Christ?

Does reading the New Testament, after you've accidentally stumbled across it somewhere online or in a library, count as learning about Jesus Christ? What modern person would take such stories as fact and not as myth, all else being equal?

(Great thread, btw.)

Good questions, I will clarify.

I will refer to more Latter Day Saint scripture to answer your question about who will be doing the teaching.
Doctrine and Covenants 138:31-32 says,

31 And the chosen messengers went forth to declare the acceptable day of the Lord and proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.
32 Thus was the gospel preached to those who had died in their sins, without a knowledge of the truth, or in transgression, having rejected the prophets.

In these verses (as well as other verses around them) we learn that specific messengers are given power and authority from God to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those people. This puts every human being on the same playing field when they stand before the judgment bar.

Rodriguez
January 1st, 2013, 06:17 AM
It's difficult to see how someone raised as a Muslim can be on equal footing with someone raised as a Christian with respect to the probability that he will accept Jesus as his Lord and savior. What could anyone possibly say in a 24-hour period to a lifelong Muslim that would convince him to convert to Christianity or to a lifelong Christian that would convince him to convert to Islam?

International
January 1st, 2013, 06:43 AM
It's difficult to see how someone raised as a Muslim can be on equal footing with someone raised as a Christian with respect to the probability that he will accept Jesus as his Lord and savior. What could anyone possibly say in a 24-hour period to a lifelong Muslim that would convince him to convert to Christianity or to a lifelong Christian that would convince him to convert to Islam?

First off, who said it was a 24 hour period?

Secondly, the bottom line is that by the time everyone is standing at the judgment bar they will have had as fair a chance to accept the gospel as everybody else.

God is no respecter of persons and judges us on a case by case basis. He knows the thoughts, words, and actions of every individual, as well as the intent of our heart. Each person will be judged fairly.

Rodriguez
January 1st, 2013, 06:56 AM
First off, who said it was a 24 hour period?

Secondly, the bottom line is that by the time everyone is standing at the judgment bar they will have had as fair a chance to accept the gospel as everybody else.

God is no respecter of persons and judges us on a case by case basis. He knows the thoughts, words, and actions of every individual, as well as the intent of our heart. Each person will be judged fairly.

The 24-hour time period is just a randomly selected time period that seems fair. Make it a year, if you like, or eternity. Why couldn't God's messenger try forever, if need be, to convince someone to accepy Jesus? Why would there be any time limit on such an important task?

What's fair about being born in Riyadh and being raised Muslim if Jesus is who christians say he is?

International
January 1st, 2013, 07:17 AM
The 24-hour time period is just a randomly selected time period that seems fair. Make it a year, if you like, or eternity. Why couldn't God's messenger try forever, if need be, to convince someone to accepy Jesus? Why would there be any time limit on such an important task?

What's fair about being born in Riyadh and being raised Muslim if Jesus is who christians say he is?

Because God also accepts choices and accountability. The judgment will be completely fair and that's really all there is to it in that regard.

It really doesn't matter where you are born on earth to be honest. Every person will have the opportunity to learn and progress in spirituality and personal character in this life. Once again, by the time every person is at the judgment bar, they will have had an equal opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior.


Also, Latter Day Saint doctrine about the nature of heaven and hell is extremely different than that of traditional Christianity, so to say that it would be unmerciful for God to send them to hell simply because they were not given enough time to accept the gospel is not relevant here.

Rodriguez
January 1st, 2013, 08:27 AM
What's fair about being born in Riyadh and being raised Muslim if Jesus is who christians say he is?
Because God also accepts choices and accountability.

But who among us gets to choose his place of birth?


The judgment will be completely fair and that's really all there is to it in that regard. It really doesn't matter where you are born on earth to be honest. Every person will have the opportunity to learn and progress in spirituality and personal character in this life. Once again, by the time every person is at the judgment bar, they will have had an equal opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior.

How can it not matter where you are born on earth with respect to that which you learn about Jesus? Do you really believe that the typical person born in Riyadh is exposed to the same teachings about Jesus as is the typical person born in Dallas?

That is simply provably false!

I am asking you, then, what might be said on judgment day to overcome the powerful bias that the person who was born in Riyadh has against the Christian depiction of Jesus, a bias that the typical person born in Dallas was never, or at best only briefly, exposed to?

If God or God's messenger truly makes it plain to someone that it is in that person's best interests to believe that Jesus is his Lord and savior then why would that person not believe? In this light, it would seem that everyone (or virtually everyone) will go to heaven.

International
January 1st, 2013, 01:29 PM
But who among us gets to choose his place of birth?



How can it not matter where you are born on earth with respect to that which you learn about Jesus? Do you really believe that the typical person born in Riyadh is exposed to the same teachings about Jesus as is the typical person born in Dallas?

That is simply provably false!

I am asking you, then, what might be said on judgment day to overcome the powerful bias that the person who was born in Riyadh has against the Christian depiction of Jesus, a bias that the typical person born in Dallas was never, or at best only briefly, exposed to?

If God or God's messenger truly makes it plain to someone that it is in that person's best interests to believe that Jesus is his Lord and savior then why would that person not believe? In this light, it would seem that everyone (or virtually everyone) will go to heaven.

Most of my comments were in regard to the fact that everyone will be adequately taught either in this life OR in the life to come. Because of this, it does not matter where you are born.

As for your last comment, you may be right, a large number of people will accept the gospel. Even so, for whatever reason or another, there will still be people that will decide not to accept Christ as their Savior. What their reasoning is/will be isn't for me to assume, but the book of revelations makes this clear, as well as other prophets throughout history. Latter Day Saints also believe in living prophets, and living prophets have taught these same truths.

Rodriguez
January 2nd, 2013, 12:14 AM
I'm having a difficult time understanding why some people would fail to choose an option that is in their best interests ONCE they fully and clearly understand that that option is in their best interests.

You might answer this by saying that people on earth regularly do what is not in their best interests -- and that is true. But that is true only because those people do not fully and clearly understand what is in their best interests. If God is omniscient then God will be able to explain to someone in no uncertain terms what is in that person's best interests and the person WILL fully and clearly understand what God is saying. At that point the person will accept Jesus and go to heaven (assuming, of course, that the Jesus myth is not a myth but is true).

Only someone brain damaged in some way, either physically or psychologically, would NOT do this. But since God is omnipotent and his judgment is fair and just, according to your belief, then God would repair the person's damaged brain before God explains the situation (Jesus being the person's savior and guarantor regarding the afterlife, etc.) to the person and then the person will accept Jesus and go to heaven, supposedly.

puma237
January 2nd, 2013, 05:13 AM
live an honorable and honest life to the best of your ability. no worries.

International
January 2nd, 2013, 05:30 AM
I'm having a difficult time understanding why some people would fail to choose an option that is in their best interests ONCE they fully and clearly understand that that option is in their best interests.

You might answer this by saying that people on earth regularly do what is not in their best interests -- and that is true. But that is true only because those people do not fully and clearly understand what is in their best interests. If God is omniscient then God will be able to explain to someone in no uncertain terms what is in that person's best interests and the person WILL fully and clearly understand what God is saying. At that point the person will accept Jesus and go to heaven (assuming, of course, that the Jesus myth is not a myth but is true).

Only someone brain damaged in some way, either physically or psychologically, would NOT do this. But since God is omnipotent and his judgment is fair and just, according to your belief, then God would repair the person's damaged brain before God explains the situation (Jesus being the person's savior and guarantor regarding the afterlife, etc.) to the person and then the person will accept Jesus and go to heaven, supposedly.

The scriptures are full of people who saw angels and yet eventually chose wickedness for one reason or another. That's just the way it is.

Manic
January 2nd, 2013, 06:28 PM
An interesting comment I found online, with what I believe to be a good answer that evokes a certain metaphysical feline:


_____________________
The question cannot be answered biblically. There is a reason why God doesn’t want us to know.

1) If we knew that the Man on the Island was going to hell, then we would:

a) despair over our failure
b) lack certainty in God’s election

(Your case here between “a” and “b” may differ depending on your soteriological sensibilities.)

2) If we knew that the Man on the Island was going to be saved, then we would have no reason to go.

God can save the Man on the Island without us. But it is important for our sake that He has called us to go and make him a disciple. It is important that we obey this call in our identity as the Body of Christ.

So when asked the question about the Man on the Island the best response is, “I don’t know, but I have the love of Christ for him. And lest he die in his sin without Christ I must be obedient to my Lord and go tell him.”
______________________________________

International
January 3rd, 2013, 09:27 AM
An interesting comment I found online, with what I believe to be a good answer that evokes a certain metaphysical feline:


_____________________
The question cannot be answered biblically. There is a reason why God doesnt want us to know.

1) If we knew that the Man on the Island was going to hell, then we would:

a) despair over our failure
b) lack certainty in Gods election

(Your case here between a and b may differ depending on your soteriological sensibilities.)

2) If we knew that the Man on the Island was going to be saved, then we would have no reason to go.

God can save the Man on the Island without us. But it is important for our sake that He has called us to go and make him a disciple. It is important that we obey this call in our identity as the Body of Christ.

So when asked the question about the Man on the Island the best response is, I dont know, but I have the love of Christ for him. And lest he die in his sin without Christ I must be obedient to my Lord and go tell him.
______________________________________

We know that the man on the island has just as equal a chance to go to heaven as the rest of us, its just that simple. As for who goes to heaven or not, that isn't for any of us to judge except God, whether that man be on a a secluded island or living in a city.

Sigfried
January 3rd, 2013, 09:33 AM
We know that the man on the island has just as equal a chance to go to heaven as the rest of us, its just that simple. As for who goes to heaven or not, that isn't for any of us to judge except God, whether that man be on a a secluded island or living in a city.

But what is sketchy is that so many Christians are so quick to judge that they will go to heaven and those who do not accept Christ in this world will not. If you really don't know then why so much preaching about it?

International
January 6th, 2013, 04:44 AM
But what is sketchy is that so many Christians are so quick to judge that they will go to heaven and those who do not accept Christ in this world will not. If you really don't know then why so much preaching about it?

My philosophy is that it is nobody's place other than God to say who will and who will not go to heaven. So I do not care to defend people, Christian or not, who claim to know who is and is not going to heaven.

"Judge not, that ye be not judged" - Matthew 7:1