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Thread: Salvation..

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    Salvation..

    .. is a core concept in Christianity, the very cornerstone of the faith it would seem. Once gained, it is apparently (depending who you talk to) never taken away. I admit to being totally unable to understand or comprehend the idea of salvation on any level. There is no judgment involved in my saying so, in fact, I would like to be able to understand it. If only just to better relate to those who think this way.

    I have asked the question: Saved from what? A variety of times in debate forums in the past and it was generally seen as disrespectful, totally ignored or people became exasperated with my follow up questions. So I will try my luck here..

    What do Christians feel they are being saved from?

    Hell? Well that is a whole controversial topic in and of itself as many do not even believe in Hell. Many christians go so far as to say that it isn't even scriptural. So that wouldn't be what those christians feel they are saved from..

    If the answer is Hell, and the only escape card is to accept Jesus and all that jive.. then didn't his 'sacrifice' have some pretty heavy strings attached? And if so.. how could it even be considered a sacrifice? I mean, didn't he die so that we could ALL have salvation? Or was it only for the elite few who choose the right designer label.. ?

    Is the answer sin? Well, aren't we all 'sinners'? Sinning didn't end when he died, nor do I note those who believe they are 'saved' as being somehow sinless..

    So I'm genuinely asking.. what do you feel you are being saved from?

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    Re: Salvation..

    Well Shakti, I would be glad to lay out a case here for you, so that your request can be satisfied.

    What are we being saved from?

    Genesis 3

    8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [3] of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” [4] 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
    14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
    “Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
    on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
    15
    I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring [5] and her offspring;
    he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”


    16 To the woman he said,
    “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
    Your desire shall be for [6] your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”


    17 And to Adam he said,
    “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
    of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
    cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    18
    thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
    19
    By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
    till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
    for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”



    We are being saved from the wages of our sin: death. And what are we to offer Him, considering that everything we can offer Him is either basically contemptible or can be made contemptible?

    Psalm 50

    50:1 The Mighty One, God the Lord,
    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to its setting.
    2
    Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines forth.

    3 Our God comes; he does not keep silence; [1]
    before him is a devouring fire,
    around him a mighty tempest.
    4
    He calls to the heavens above
    and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
    5
    “Gather to me my faithful ones,
    who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
    6
    The heavens declare his righteousness,
    for God himself is judge! Selah

    7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
    O Israel, I will testify against you.
    I am God, your God.
    8
    Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
    your burnt offerings are continually before me.
    9
    I will not accept a bull from your house
    or goats from your folds.
    10
    For every beast of the forest is mine,
    the cattle on a thousand hills.
    11
    I know all the birds of the hills,
    and all that moves in the field is mine.
    12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for the world and its fullness are mine.
    13
    Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
    14
    Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, [2]
    and perform your vows to the Most High,
    15
    and call upon me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

    16 But to the wicked God says:
    “What right have you to recite my statutes
    or take my covenant on your lips?
    17
    For you hate discipline,
    and you cast my words behind you.
    18
    If you see a thief, you are pleased with him,
    and you keep company with adulterers.
    19 “You give your mouth free rein for evil,
    and your tongue frames deceit.
    20
    You sit and speak against your brother;
    you slander your own mother's son.
    21
    These things you have done, and I have been silent;
    you thought that I [3] was one like yourself.
    But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.

    22 “Mark this, then, you who forget God,
    lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
    23
    The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
    to one who orders his way rightly
    I will show the salvation of God!”


    Well, we owe Him what we've owed Him since the beginning, according to Genesis 3: a life. And this is further reinforced by the Akkedah.

    Genesis 22

    22:1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy [1] will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.
    9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; [2] as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” [3]
    15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his [4]18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

    Moreover, it would be downright nonsensical to say that the Bible doesn't specify Hell, Shakti. I can cite 17 verses right now that specifically mention hell, and will quote some of the most telling references for you.

    Matthew 5:22

    But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[1] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[2] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[3] of fire.

    Matthew 5:29

    If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.

    Matthew 10



    26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. [6] 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? [7] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

    Notice the second bolded portion from Matthew 10 here. If you would require it of me, I can also give you some clear references to Jesus specifically saving us from hell.
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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakti View Post

    Is the answer sin? Well, aren't we all 'sinners'?
    By saving us from sin it doesn't mean "stopping us from sinning." It means being saved from our sin. Our sin "harms us," by forcing us to have to sacrifice our cattle, or whatever, in order to receive forgiveness. But with Jesus's sacrifice of himself, we were saved from what used to be the consequences of sin. Now the forgiveness is a lot easier, all we need to do is praise the lord!

    So salvation saves us by making it easier to be forgiven. It saves us from a "hard" "forgiveness path."
    Last edited by Soren; February 15th, 2011 at 10:11 PM.

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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Soren View Post
    By saving us from sin it doesn't mean "stopping us from sinning." It means being saved from our sin. Our sin would "harm us," so that we would have to sacrifice cattle, or whatever, in order to receive forgiveness. But with Jesus's sacrifice of himself, we were saved from what [I]used to be the consequences of sin. Now the forgiveness is a lot easier, all we need to do is praise the lord!

    So salvation saves us from a harsh measure of "forgiveness."
    But the OT doesn't directly specify people being saved by any way other than the "offering of the Lord" alluded to in the Akkedah. Salvation saves us from a necessarily harsh measure of judgment.
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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    Well, we owe Him what we've owed Him since the beginning, according to Genesis 3: a life. And this is further reinforced by the Akkedah.
    Nothing in the passages you quote appears to support the contention that we owe God life.

    Moreover, it would be downright nonsensical to say that the Bible doesn't specify Hell, Shakti. I can cite 17 verses right now that specifically mention hell, and will quote some of the most telling references for you.

    Matthew 5:22

    But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[1] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[2] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[3] of fire.

    Matthew 5:29

    If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.
    Actually, it seems that you're using a Christianity-biased translaction (in the sense of unscriptual dogma, as opposed to the real text of the Scriptures). The original wording was not "hell" but Gehenna (wiki). Gehenna is the name of a place used as a garbage dump outside Jerusalem. (wiki).

    Of course, Gehenna doesn't have to have a literal meaning. Indeed, it would seem that the Judaic tradition was to interpret this term as a temporary place for the dead (sort of like a purgatory).

    Neither is it clear that the place called "Gehenna" is a place of everlasting suffering. Matthew 10:28 says that we should fear the one who can destroy both the body and the soul in Gehenna. This would imply death. And this would go hand in hand with the doctrine that whoever believes in Jesus will not die but have everlasting life. Go Jehova's Witnesses!

    The only reasonable conclusion must be that Jesus saves us not from any fiery hell but from death.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

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    Re: Salvation..

    Of course, Gehenna doesn't have to have a literal meaning. Indeed, it would seem that the Judaic tradition was to interpret this term as a temporary place for the dead (sort of like a purgatory).

    Neither is it clear that the place called "Gehenna" is a place of everlasting suffering. Matthew 10:28 says that we should fear the one who can destroy both the body and the soul in Gehenna. This would imply death. And this would go hand in hand with the doctrine that whoever believes in Jesus will not die but have everlasting life. Go Jehova's Witnesses!
    You neglect to mention that the terms Tartarus and Hades are also used in the NT, Allo.

    2 Peter 2:4

    For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[1] and committed them to chains [2] of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

    [1] Greek Tartarus [2] Some manuscripts pits

    Matthew 16:18

    And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock[1] I will build my church, and the gates of hell[2] shall not prevail against it.

    [2] Greek the gates of Hades

    ---------- Post added at 10:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:23 PM ----------

    The only reasonable conclusion must be that Jesus saves us not from any fiery hell but from death.
    This also suggests that you are ignorant of the actual implications of the "hell" idea.

    Revelation 20:14-15

    14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Thus, Hell isn't eternal at all.
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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    You neglect to mention that the terms Tartarus and Hades are also used in the NT, Allo.

    2 Peter 2:4

    For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell[1] and committed them to chains [2] of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

    [1] Greek Tartarus [2] Some manuscripts pits

    Matthew 16:18

    And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock[1] I will build my church, and the gates of hell[2] shall not prevail against it.

    [2] Greek the gates of Hades
    The first reference seems consistent with the concept of purgatory and not a place of everlasting suffering (kept there until judgment).

    The second reference does not in fact define what this hell is and is therefore not inconsistent with the first reference.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    The first reference seems consistent with the concept of purgatory and not a place of everlasting suffering (kept there until judgment).

    The second reference does not in fact define what this hell is and is therefore not inconsistent with the first reference.
    Both of those references were made to refute the idea that Gehena was the only term being used. It should be pretty clear to anyone who is familiar with greek religion what Tartarus and Hades are. That and your objection that a "place of everlasting suffering" isn't being referred to is nullified by the scriptures that I quoted from Revelation.
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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    This also suggests that you are ignorant of the actual implications of the "hell" idea.

    Revelation 20:14-15

    14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Thus, Hell isn't eternal at all.
    To the contrary, I'm very much familiar with the "lake of fire". Let's keep some things in mind here:

    1. The book of Revelation is hardly a literal work.

    2. "Lake of fire" can easily be a place where souls are destroyed (ie, the same concept as Gehenna). Indeed, the very verse you refer to from Revelation says the following:

    14 Then uDeath and Hades vwere thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, xhe was thrown into the lake of fire. It explicitly refers to a death.


    3. Alternatively, if Revelation is to be interpreted as a lake of everlasting suffering then this clearly suggests an inconsistency with Christ's words in Matthew. Of course, I never claimed that the Bible is consistent.





    ---------- Post added at 05:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:33 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    Both of those references were made to refute the idea that Gehena was the only term being used. It should be pretty clear to anyone who is familiar with greek religion what Tartarus and Hades are. That and your objection that a "place of everlasting suffering" isn't being referred to is nullified by the scriptures that I quoted from Revelation.
    That's correct. Gehenna is not the only term being used. But two facts remain true:

    1. Your reference to hell in your first reply in this thread was a reference to a place where, according to the Gospel of Matthew, souls are destroyed.

    2. You still have not presented any scriptual evidence for the existence of an eternal hell from which Christ apparently saves us.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

    "If you could rationalize with Religious people there would be no more Religious people" -Gregory House

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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakti View Post
    .. is a core concept in Christianity, the very cornerstone of the faith it would seem. Once gained, it is apparently (depending who you talk to) never taken away. I admit to being totally unable to understand or comprehend the idea of salvation on any level. There is no judgment involved in my saying so, in fact, I would like to be able to understand it. If only just to better relate to those who think this way.

    I have asked the question: Saved from what? A variety of times in debate forums in the past and it was generally seen as disrespectful, totally ignored or people became exasperated with my follow up questions. So I will try my luck here..

    What do Christians feel they are being saved from?

    Hell? Well that is a whole controversial topic in and of itself as many do not even believe in Hell. Many christians go so far as to say that it isn't even scriptural. So that wouldn't be what those christians feel they are saved from..

    If the answer is Hell, and the only escape card is to accept Jesus and all that jive.. then didn't his 'sacrifice' have some pretty heavy strings attached? And if so.. how could it even be considered a sacrifice? I mean, didn't he die so that we could ALL have salvation? Or was it only for the elite few who choose the right designer label.. ?

    Is the answer sin? Well, aren't we all 'sinners'? Sinning didn't end when he died, nor do I note those who believe they are 'saved' as being somehow sinless..

    So I'm genuinely asking.. what do you feel you are being saved from?
    From Hell.

    From Sin.

    From More.

    Hell is scriptural. The interpretation of Hell differs. Some take a literal realm of suffering, fire, and brimstone. Some have interpreted it on solid grounds as eternal separation from God. I will come back to that one in a second. However, I would take caution with the idea that some Christians don't believe in Hell. There is a lot of false doctrine, including those who deny the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, etc.

    I guess I'm not sure what you mean by Christ's sacrifice having some "pretty heavy strings attached." Until you elaborate on this further, I cannot answer. Are you referring to the need to accept Christ as your savior? Sure Christ died for all, but what meaning does salvation have if it is rejected? Its like a dying man being offered a cure for his disease. His salvation is there, but if he rejects the cure then how can he be saved? Or like a drowning man thrown a life ring. His salvation is there, but if he does not grab hold of it he will drown regardless. While Christ died for all, it is not a one-sided decision. Those of us who are saved are not elite. I don't think that label can be applied at all. Because those of us who accept His salvation are saying that we are the dying man, that we are the drowning man, that we need to be helped, that we need to be saved.

    It is certainly salvation from sin. If you read Paul's writings it is clear that the salvation that comes from Christ, is a form of freedom, freedom from sin. Before, we are slaves to our desires, to our sinful natures. We are freed from that through Christ's salvation. No sin did not end with Christ's sacrifice. For one, not everyone accepts His sacrifice. Nor are those who are saved sinless. There is a great misunderstanding here. Christians are sinners, that is the entire point. Those who think that Christians should be sinless have completely got it wrong. Those who proclaim to be Christian, yet consider themselves to be blameless are at greater fault. Once again, to go back to core Christian teachings, back to the Gospels, to the letters of the apostles and Paul, when a person is saved, they are not immediately perfect. No, it is a process.

    The Christian will never be fully perfect until he is made anew after this life has ended. But when he is saved, the process begins. It is an education if you will. When a child enters school, they are not immediately "educated" but have only begun the process. It takes years to learn writing, spelling, math, science, history. Our education never ends unless we stop learning. Any scholar knows that there is still more to be learned and that their education cannot be completed in this life because there is always something yet more to learn. Paul makes similar analogies in his letters, speaking about being like a child and then putting away childish ways. Of maturing as a Christian. This is core Christian theology. When a Christian is saved, they are saved from sin. They still struggle with sin, but at least they can begin the process of becoming free of it.

    So salvation is both salvation from Hell and salvation from Sin, but it is more. Earlier I mentioned that some believe Hell to be separation from God. Whether it is or not, whether or not Hell really is a place of fire and brimstone, Christ saves us from separation from God. Christ speaks of God as a father. Not just His, but father to all. Christ speaks of the Church, His followers, as a bride. This is carried further by the apostles and Paul. The Church, the followers of Christ, are the bride of Christ, the bride of God. This analogy is used to illustrate that we are meant to be in a close personal relationship with God, not separated from Him. That right there is the real evil of sin. It separates us from God. Just as an affair can separate a husband and a wife, so sin replaces God's rightful place in our heart and separates us from Him. It is Christ's sacrifice, His salvation, that wipes away that sin and allows the Christian to once again have that relationship with God that he is meant to have. In this sense salvation is doing more than saving us from some fate, it is healing and bringing us into something greater than we ever knew before.

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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    To the contrary, I'm very much familiar with the "lake of fire". Let's keep some things in mind here:

    1. The book of Revelation is hardly a literal work.

    2. "Lake of fire" can easily be a place where souls are destroyed (ie, the same concept as Gehenna).

    3. Alternatively, if Revelation is to be interpreted as a lake of everlasting suffering then this clearly suggests an inconsistency with Christ's words in Matthew. Of course, I never claimed that the Bible is consistent.
    1. You would have to actually give us a reason to interpret the passage in a way that isn't literal for us to go along with this objection.

    2. Right. That is specifically the meaning Christians have generally gleaned from this reference to a "second death."

    3. Once again, you would have to actually support that for it to have any implications here. As is, we must go with what the scriptures actually say, that there is a "second death."

    That's correct. Gehenna is not the only term being used. But two facts remain true:

    1. Your reference to hell in your first reply in this thread was a reference to a place where, according to the Gospel of Matthew, souls are destroyed.

    2. You still have not presented any scriptual evidence for the existence of an eternal hell from which Christ apparently saves us.
    1. Right.

    2. This is a red herring. I don't advocate such an idea, contrary to the scriptures, that says that hell is everlasting. Because, according to the scriptures, hell means "the second death," Jesus is in fact saving us from death when He saves us from hell.
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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    1. You would have to actually give us a reason to interpret the passage in a way that isn't literal for us to go along with this objection.
    If you looked at the book of Revelation, you'd probably concede that the majority of it is written in a highly symbolic language.


    2. Right. That is specifically the meaning Christians have generally gleaned from this reference to a "second death."
    Well, let me repeat your own objection here: You would have to actually give us a reason to interpret the passage in a way that isn't literal for us to go along with this objection.

    And the literal meaning is "second death". Death is not everlasting suffering. Death is death.

    So why would you ever interpret "second death" as not being a death at all? Why would you simply disregard the words of Christ from Matthew 10, where it is expressely stated that souls are destroyed in Gehenna?


    3. Once again, you would have to actually support that for it to have any implications here. As is, we must go with what the scriptures actually say, that there is a "second death."
    That's right. The first death is the death of the body, the second death is the death of the soul. As Christ stated in Matthew, Gehenna is the place where both body and soul can be killed. Whatever you make of this, it is nonsensical to interpret the word "death" to mean anyting other than death. And there's certainly no other support for such an interpretation (at least presented by you so far). To the contrary, Christ makes it clear in Matthew.

    1. Right.

    2. This is a red herring. I don't advocate such an idea, contrary to the scriptures, that says that hell is everlasting. Because, according to the scriptures, hell means "the second death," Jesus is in fact saving us from death when He saves us from hell.
    Ok. So we agree that the large majority of Christian teachings are wrong (by preaching an everlasting hell), there is no everlasting hell of pain and suffering, hell just means execution; death. Christ is saving us from death.
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    Re: Salvation..

    If you looked at the book of Revelation, you'd probably concede that the majority of it is written in a highly symbolic language.
    I don't have to concede it. I can agree with you that it does, and still assert that we should consider the second death, "the second death". It says "the second death" and I can think of no good reason to interpret it otherwise. We can all agree that a book is full of symbolism, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we have to look at every phrase like it is a colloquial or something. The very reason we say that Revelation is full of symbolism is because there are lots of passages that we can say obviously have some symbolism, but that doesn't mean that all of it has to be symbolic.

    Well, let me repeat your own objection here: You would have to actually give us a reason to interpret the passage in a way that isn't literal for us to go along with this objection.

    And the literal meaning is "second death". Death is not everlasting suffering. Death is death.

    So why would you ever interpret "second death" as not being a death at all? Why would you simply disregard the words of Christ from Matthew 10, where it is expressely stated that souls are destroyed in Gehenna?
    Once again, you are going ahead with the same red herring. I never said that hell was everlasting. I didn't interpret any passages in a non-literal manner to come to the conclusion that we die and go to Tartarus, and then we die again forever (if we aren't saved).

    That's right. The first death is the death of the body, the second death is the death of the soul. As Christ stated in Matthew, Gehenna is the place where both body and soul can be killed. Whatever you make of this, it is nonsensical to interpret the word "death" to mean anyting other than death. And there's certainly no other support for such an interpretation (at least presented by you so far). To the contrary, Christ makes it clear in Matthew.
    This is just another example of you going along with the red herring that I pointed out.

    Ok. So we agree that the large majority of Christian teachings are wrong (by preaching an everlasting hell), there is no everlasting hell of pain and suffering, hell just means execution; death. Christ is saving us from death.
    Right. But by calling it Tartarus, hell obviously *is* a place of punishment, and they are not completely wrong.
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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    Right. But by calling it Tartarus, hell obviously *is* a place of punishment, and they are not completely wrong.
    In the same way as a gallows is, sure. But the vast majority of Christian denominations teach a hell of eternal suffering. Completely wrong, if Scriptures are to mean anything at all.

    As for the "red herring", I think the term you were after was "Strawman". And I'd be willing to agree that I did commit one (by assuming that by "hell" you meant the traditional Christian concept of eternal pain), except that I'm fairy sure (though not entirely certain) that that's the precise concept that the OP was referring to when saying "Hell". I infer that from the fact that Shakti said that "many [Christians] don't even believe in hell" and also from the fact that the everlasting version is by far the most common in Christian dogma.
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Allocutus View Post
    In the same way as a gallows is, sure. But the vast majority of Christian denominations teach a hell of eternal suffering. Completely wrong, if Scriptures are to mean anything at all.

    As for the "red herring", I think the term you were after was "Strawman". And I'd be willing to agree that I did commit one (by assuming that by "hell" you meant the traditional Christian concept of eternal pain), except that I'm fairy sure (though not entirely certain) that that's the precise concept that the OP was referring to when saying "Hell". I infer that from the fact that Shakti said that "many [Christians] don't even believe in hell" and also from the fact that the everlasting version is by far the most common in Christian dogma.
    No by red herring I meant that you were "telling the audience" so to speak that I was asserting a view that I in fact hadn't asserted. A "red herring" is a deliberate attempt to divert attention, which you probably weren't engaging in by the looks of it now. Sorry for the misunderstanding there.

    Now, your objection is only towards Orthodox Christians and their traditions, then? If that is so, then I think I have answered the OP succinctly.
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    Re: Salvation..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    No by red herring I meant that you were "telling the audience" so to speak that I was asserting a view that I in fact hadn't asserted. A "red herring" is a deliberate attempt to divert attention, which you probably weren't engaging in by the looks of it now. Sorry for the misunderstanding there.
    That's ok, although I don't really appreciate people suggesting that I would deliberately do something like that. It's not something I do.

    Also, it seems that we're both right in terms of naming the fallacy: The Straw Man is a type of Red Herring because the arguer is attempting to refute his opponent's position, and in the context is required to do so, but instead attacks a position—the "straw man"—not held by his opponent.

    Now, your objection is only towards Orthodox Christians and their traditions, then? If that is so, then I think I have answered the OP succinctly.
    Yes, "orthodox". In other words just about everybody except for Jehova's Witnesses and Christadelphians and perhaps a couple of others. Probably about 99% of all Christians?
    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world" - Richard Dawkins

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    Re: Salvation..

    Yes, "orthodox". In other words just about everybody except for Jehova's Witnesses and Christadelphians and perhaps a couple of others. Probably about 99% of all Christians?
    I'm guessing you haven't been with a whole lot of different Christian groups, because on a variety of issues like this they will tend to have their own views. I've been with these groups who say they have this denomination and agree with me on this issue:

    Freewill Baptist Churches
    Some churches of the Southern Baptist Convention
    Nondenominational Evangelical Churches
    Pentacostal Churches
    Walter Martin and his Christian Research Institute (a very large ministry that has been especially involved in apologetics and countercult teachings)

    So, while it says in the headlines for these big groups that they hold thus and such of a tradition, it doesn't mean that they all hold to that tradition.
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    Re: Salvation..

    There are a lot of problems with Genisis. Popular belief about its authorship in many Religous ccircles, is that it was written by Moses as dictated by God. Now days though, most Bibical Scholars do not believe this to be true and the theory of Documentary Hypothisis is found to be the better theory on who wrote Genisis. Documentary Hypothisis is that 4 , maybe 5 different persons wrote the accounts in Genisis.
    One of the most common errors, in interpreting Genisis, is that we were immortal, and becqame mortal, because of that one sin in the so clled fall of man account. This is taught in many doctrines.



    Yet, Genisis it self, does not claim that :



    chapter 3 :


    22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:



    Clearly, there is a distintion between, tree of knowledge and tree of life.



    This is makes it evident, that we were never immortal, and did not lose that mortality,, especially because of sin. In fact, sin, is not even used untill way later and in reference to Cain.



    This is backed up, by the fact that Eve was familiar with death, prior to this occurance. :



    2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

    3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

    Eve said this to the Satan, prior to eating of the tree, and shows that she was familiar with death .
    We were mortal, and were always meant to be morrtal. Just wanted to clear this up first.



    Now, we have the much beloved concept of 'original sin". The word sin, appears close to 500 times in the KJV.



    "Original Word: חָטָא
    Transliteration: chata
    Phonetic Spelling: (khaw-taw')
    Short Definition: sinned

    Word Origin
    a prim. root
    Definition
    to miss, go wrong, sin
    "biblos.com



    I find it curious, that sin was never used in connection with that first so called occurance of it. You will not find the word sin used, untill much later, and in regards to Cain.



    Yet, we have whole doctrines written and based on the fact, that because of this one "sin", all generations following Adam, were cursed because of it.



    Ironiclly, by taking what is probably figuartive, and making it some how literal, we haver whole doctrines and beliefs being taught that the sin of Adam was inherated. Ironic, as, by reading that scripture lietrally, it never even existed!



    All those so called punishments mentioned? All deal,, with our physical mortality, which, we had, prior to the eating of the Apple, made clear in chapter 3 verse 22, where God made it clear, we were never meant to be immortal.



    I fail to see how any one, can conclude they were punishments for a so called "sin".



    When I read the Genisis account, albeit in a figurative way, what leaps out at me, especially being a parent, is how similiar it all is to what we teach and tell our kids when they mature to a certain poin and become aware of their sexuality. I dont veiw them as "punishmnet", nor becoming sexually aware as unclean, as Religion lovves to say. It`s simply, stating the facts, that child birth is painfull, that Dads now have to work off their butts and support the family he is part of creating.



    I view the Genisis account, not as a tale about how man "fell",but rather, matured into adolocence.



    Garden of Eden, describes to me, a child llike life. All their needs and wants, taken care of and supplied by God, the parent. Just as we do with our children.



    Also, besides the fact, that there is no mention of "sin" at that occurance, the idea that sin is tranferred from parents to off spring, goes directly against other scripture:



    Ezekial 18 :20

    Young's Literal Translation
    The soul that doth sin -- it doth die. A son doth not bear of the iniquity of the father, And a father doth not bear of the iniquity of the son, The righteousness of the righteous is on him, And the wickedness of the wicked is on him.



    So, how can God possibly, pass Adams sin to all his decendents, and that we some how, inherit, the sin of our Fathers?



    Because I think, there was no such thing as "original sin', and what we inherit from our parents, is mortality, not a punishment at all.



    I do not believe Babies are born "evil", or un clean for God. In fact, many sriptures tells us the opposite is true. : That in fact, we must be as children even.



    So what do we need to be saved from?



    Any thing that separtes us from God. The biggest culprit that does this?



    Religion, plain and simple.



    Religion loves to teach, that we are unclean, not good enough for God. That we need them, or need to do certain acts and deeds to become "clean enough'. Its not just Christianity, that loves to teach this either BTW. its simply that Christianity has a God sacrificed to save us is all.



    Keep in mind about who really insisted on Christs execution and forced the Romans to go through with it, religion.



    So, what did Christ come in the first place for? Not to start a new religion, but to end it. Sure enough, it was Religion that killed him. LOL, one can blame Judas / Satan, all they want. Quite likely, both were doing exactly what they are suppose to do any way. It is Religion that keeps us separated from God, and doing what we are suppose to do, seek God and mature as spiritual beings.

    And what do they base their whole premise on? The so called Genisis account, an account that quite probably came from a Hindu myth, as being written by Moses as dictated by God.

    Reading Genisis as literal, gives them the foundation for their power and even being in many, many ways. Religion loves this false concept!

    This is how I view Chapter 3, chapter 3, verse 8 thru 19:

    Genesis 3

    8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool [3] of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” [4] 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
    -shows that Adam and Eve were becoming sexually aware. Babies, do not worry about being naked, they have no awareness at all. LOL, as any parent knows when they get loose and run from you when changing their diapers.


    14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
    “Because you have done this,
    cursed are you above all livestock
    and above all beasts of the field;
    on your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
    15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring [5] and her offspring;
    he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.”
    - to me, this describes lust with out love.

    - what puts enity between families, breaks them apart, ruins lives? Infidelity.

    16 To the woman he said,
    “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
    Your desire shall be for [6] your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

    17 And to Adam he said,
    “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
    and have eaten of the tree
    of which I commanded you,
    ‘You shall not eat of it,’
    cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
    19 By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
    till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
    for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.”
    - simple mortality is being described. This is not a punsihmnet, its a fact of life, that we are mortal I think.

    So what do we need saving from? Any thing that stops us from having a personal relationship with God, and full filling his will for us I think. Which is, to ascend via our mortal staus, in a Spiritual way to God.

  19. #19
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    Re: Salvation..

    I think that there have been some interesting observations made, and I don't really care to interject my opinion into them so as to allow them to continue in their current vein. However, I do have some insights I feel are pertinent to the discussion.

    Dunrich has already brought up the concept of the etiology of the word "Sin" and how it relates to the idea of humanity "missing the mark." It's a fundamental "error" in the paradigm by which we live. "Original sin" is, in my opinion, a disunion that occurs at the most basic level of the human condition, set into motion when humanity first chose to involve another will besides God's will in the previously untainted relationship between God and mankind. Before, man had no knowledge of his nakedness... no understanding of "good and evil." He acted on what I would call "holy instinct," so to speak... an effortless and freely giving and receiving understanding of Divine grace and human worship. They did not have to choose what was right or wrong, so long as they obeyed God.

    The act that Adam and Eve took of intentionally changing the inner paradigm they used to relate to God created a fundamental disharmony between God and man - an error that can never be perfectly harmonized to its original perfection. There will always be the altered basic nature of mankind to interfere with the relationship, no matter how hard we try to suppress it or rise above it... which is exactly what religion attempts to accomplish: the elevation of mankind above the parts of its nature that put it at disharmony with the Divine.

    This was the original purpose of the Mosaic law, both in the Decalogue and in the Levitical and kosher laws that came afterward. The Law was there to ensure that no matter what degradations occurred in the world or to the chosen people of Israel, there would always be a touchstone and a guide along the path toward God. By focusing on the Law and allowing its practices to shape the spirit toward nobler ends, the Israelites could then be assured that they would not lose sight of their Covenant with God. Even the sacrifices required were to remind the people that the cost of unrighteous living and disharmony with God's will and to keep that cost fresh in the minds of the people. Unfortunately, this was never successful at restoring the fundamental harmony between human will and Divine will, because the disharmony exists at the most basic level of human existence, in our baser instincts. Only a more permanent solution would solve the problem.

    This is the reason for Jesus' Incarnation, death and Resurrection. Jesus came into the world to create a fundamental sympathy between God and mankind by being one of us, subjected to all our temptations and flaws. It's as though God created a way for the fundamental disharmony to be resolved by interposing Jesus between the Godhead and humanity, acting as a buffer through which both could harmonize the wills once more. This is why Christians believe that the path of Jesus is the only means by which Salvation is attained; Jesus' active participation in the Salvation of humanity is only effective if we use that participation as a bridge across the impassable divide that exists between God and man.

    And what happens if this fundamental divide is not bridged? Well, the result is eternal separation from God, as nothing can exist in His presence except that which is in harmony with Him. Anything else is destroyed as a simple fact of its existence out of sync and not through any malice on God's part... it's just a part of Divine nature. This eternal separation from God - called "Hell" by some - *is* a torment, because if we accept that the human spirit persists after death, we know that we can either spend eternity with God or apart from him. If we choose to spend Eternity *with* God, Heaven is the result - being in the presence of God forever. If we choose to spend Eternity without God, the result is the eternal knowledge that we gave up the best thing we could have ever achieved... for something that wasn't nearly as good as we thought... infinitely disappointing, in fact. If that isn't torment, I don't know what is.

    As evidence that this separation is eternal, I bring to the table two ideas: one from the Bible and one from the perspective of metaphysical inquiry on my part.

    First, let's explore exactly what "infinity" really means in a spiritual sense. We know that there can be an "infinite" amount of time that passes, and this is what we could mean by eternity. However, what if the "eternal torment" of Hell is not a matter of duration, but of intensity? All of us have experienced moments of intensity that seemed to dilate time from its normally fixed passage into an interminably long series of excruciatingly long pieces of awareness, made even longer by the intensity of the emotional aspect of it all. Imagine this emotional intensity magnified beyond the ability of the mortal, rational mind to comprehend, which is surely what we would all feel if we were given the ability to understand the magnitude of loss we experience in giving up the ability to be with God ever again. Is this not another way that Hell could take an "eternal" form?

    Second, in evidence that there exists a place separated from God that is a place of eternal torment, I cite a passage from the Bible:
    Quote Originally Posted by Luke 16:22-28
    2 "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. 23 "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.' 25 "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and {that} none may cross over from there to us.' 27 "And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house-- 28 for I have five brothers--in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
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    Re: Salvation..

    It seems to me that salvation goes something like this:

    There is a problem.
    God could fix the problem if He wanted, but He chooses not to.
    Since He won't do anything about it, we have to revere Him.
    Reverence to Him helps to protect us from the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakti View Post
    Saved from what?
    From God, apparently.

    If God does exist, I suspect He is very much ashamed that so many people view Him as such a vain and petty deity. I can't imagine that God's ego is so fragile that it requires reverence from us to spare us from...Himself.

 

 
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