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  1. #1
    lobster24
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    Question about Christian Beliefs

    i am a christian. however, i do not understand many of the beliefs some of "us" have. for instance, if jesus was such a gifted, amazing man who loved everyone, and God is the all-powerful lover and creator of heaven and earth, why would it be closed to all those who are not Christians? That hardly seems godly to me. Would someone of such great passion and understanding allow all people to be in the club?

    I do not want to get into a debate over theory, but would like either some explanations for this belief from Christians themselves, or those who think they have helpful information. thank you

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by lobster24
    i am a christian. however, i do not understand many of the beliefs some of "us" have. for instance, if jesus was such a gifted, amazing man who loved everyone, and God is the all-powerful lover and creator of heaven and earth, why would it be closed to all those who are not Christians?
    Hi Lobster. Here's a question: can someone benefit from a gift if he doesn't accept it in the first place?

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by lobster24
    i am a christian. however, i do not understand many of the beliefs some of "us" have. for instance, if jesus was such a gifted, amazing man who loved everyone, and God is the all-powerful lover and creator of heaven and earth, why would it be closed to all those who are not Christians? That hardly seems godly to me. Would someone of such great passion and understanding allow all people to be in the club?

    I do not want to get into a debate over theory, but would like either some explanations for this belief from Christians themselves, or those who think they have helpful information. thank you
    Why, as a Christian, would you think God is "closed to all those who are not Christians"? Where does scripture say this?

    The Bible is clear that God is "open" to ALL people. ANYONE can experience salvation...it is his desire for all to be saved:

    1 Timothy 2:3-4
    This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth


    God does not want anyone to perish:


    2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.


    He even pleads with us to turn towards him:


    Ezekiel 18:23
    Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

    Ezekiel 18:32
    For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!

    Ezekiel 33:11
    Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'


    As shown above, it is God's desire for ALL people to experience salvation. He "closes" himself to no one...though we may close ourselves to him.
    Last edited by nanderson; April 20th, 2006 at 06:53 AM.
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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Nand..... So if we close ourselves to him (as I have done) does he let us in? NO! Ever? No! You are playing word games to say that we are closing ourselves out by rejecting him.... he could still take us in if he wanted too. If my daughter didn't love me or didn't believe in me, yet needed a NICE place to stay, I'd still let her stay with me, because my love for her is unconditional. Your god sets conditions. You are REQUIRED to have faith to get by the pearly gates and you are required to believe Jesus is the son of god, be fare and tell the whole story. Now I refer you to John Chapter 3:3-18.... 3In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.[a]"

    4"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

    5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You[c] must be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

    9"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.

    10"You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[d] 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.[e]

    16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[f] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
    (NIV)

    Then there's the other belief that SOME christians have about predetermination... those selected to go to heaven have been selected already. I can't say there are christians HERE that believe this, but that belief is out there.


    Opposing theory to the creation of the "known universe". Read it carefully, it's not a difficult read on physics and quantum mechanics.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by Itsdarts
    Nand..... So if we close ourselves to him (as I have done) does he let us in? NO! Ever? No! You are playing word games to say that we are closing ourselves out by rejecting him.... he could still take us in if he wanted too.
    So you would have him FORCE us into accepting him even if we don't want to? Sure you have "closed" yourself to God, but if you open yourself to him, he will surely accept you, he turns away no one who truly asks for salvation.


    If my daughter didn't love me or didn't believe in me, yet needed a NICE place to stay, I'd still let her stay with me, because my love for her is unconditional.
    True, but your daughter staying with you is probably predicated on her ASKING to stay with you or WANTING to stay with you. You cannot FORCE her to stay with you. Though your door is always open for her, she has to choose to walk through it.


    Your god sets conditions.
    His only condition is that you accept him. I believe you are confused as to the purpose of this thread. The question asked in the OP was "why does God close himself off to non-believers". You have not shown that he DOES close himself off to anyone, but merely complained that God doesn't force us to accept him. Please explain how you think God closes himself off to non-believers, maybe I misunderstood you.


    Then there's the other belief that SOME christians have about predetermination... those selected to go to heaven have been selected already. I can't say there are christians HERE that believe this, but that belief is out there.
    1: It's "predestination"
    2: Since no one here (that I know of) believes in this, I hardly see it's relevance in this discussion
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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    Hi Lobster. Here's a question: can someone benefit from a gift if he doesn't accept it in the first place?
    Yes!

    Some gifts can be given and never be seen as such.
    However since heaven is a myth and not a single person i know on this site (especially yourself kb) can "or has even tried" to explain it to me well (shrugs) good luck figuring it out lobster.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by Itsdarts
    Then there's the other belief that SOME christians have about predetermination... those selected to go to heaven have been selected already. I can't say there are christians HERE that believe this, but that belief is out there.

    Very well put, my church experience included (for several years) a calvinistic baptists church, This made me aware that what you said is more true than nan and kb and their endless ramblings about excepting him.
    The following is kevin browning / clive staples attempting to convince me. They have not responded and wont. You know why?
    1. they have nothing else.
    2. their preacher said "screw em thet darnded atheist monkey man is worthless"
    Bear in mind i have much respect for clive, more than i do for kevin and nan.
    However follow this there is no viable explanation for your god (either for or against)
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...?t=5681&page=2
    God does indeed choose us (the romans pathway of grace) there is a decision on our part but according to the bible we are already preordained/ chosen so if your god is real, than i have not been chosen. If he is not well i dont care really than.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by nanderson
    1: It's "predestination"
    2: Since no one here (that I know of) believes in this, I hardly see it's relevance in this discussion

    Why not? It is a biblical principle!
    Or is it that you just decide what you want to believe in the bible?
    Seriously are you saying you will ignore the over 400 references in the bible to being chosen by god?

    Ask me i will provide references, however i dont feel that even your own bible could convince you of what is in it.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by wanna
    Why not? It is a biblical principle!
    Or is it that you just decide what you want to believe in the bible?
    Seriously are you saying you will ignore the over 400 references in the bible to being chosen by god?

    Ask me i will provide references, however i dont feel that even your own bible could convince you of what is in it.
    Wanna, start your own thread on predestintion. I will debate it with you there. I do not believe the author of this thread intended it to be about if God destines us to hell. I believe every word of the Bible, those who hold to the calvinist view just interpret different passages differently, I do not "ignore" passages as you have mischaracterized. This is off topic, but start your own thread on this and I will discuss it there. Please try and stay on topic.
    Last edited by nanderson; April 20th, 2006 at 10:05 AM.
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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by nanderson
    Wanna, start your own thread on predestintion. I will debate it with you there. I do not believe the author of this thread intended it to be about if God destines us to hell. I believe every word of the Bible, those who hold to the calvinist view just interpret different passages differently, I do not "ignore" passages as you have mischaracterized. This is off topic, but start your own thread on this and I will discuss it there. Please try and stay on topic, any further off-topic ramblings will be ignored by me.
    Thanks for the wannabe title i appreciate that.
    AS for the push regarding predestination i was merely responding to another post.
    Also i am planning a thread regarding that.

    Sorry to others if this mislead you i wouldnt want to be a pat robertson online.

    And lastly predestination is a serious part of christianity, accepted or not it is there.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by nanderson
    So you would have him FORCE us into accepting him even if we don't want to? Sure you have "closed" yourself to God, but if you open yourself to him, he will surely accept you, he turns away no one who truly asks for salvation.
    I admit my debating skills suck and probably didn't word things correctly. I'm not saying that he has to FORCE us into anything. The point is, he specifically has two places we can go... Why? Why can't unbelievers hang with the believers as long as they behave? Not to mention that I have to make up my mind before I die, not knowing whether he is even real. I'm being asked to accept/reject an invisable friend without truely knowing. Where am I going if, in my real life, I lack belief in this god, then when I die, I suddenly see two doors, one marked hell and the other marked heaven. Can I still choose which door? Can I say "Oh Crap, I'm sorry god, I honestly didn't think you existed, but NOW I see the light and I'm truely sorry for all past sins" may I please come in?




    True, but your daughter staying with you is probably predicated on her ASKING to stay with you or WANTING to stay with you. You cannot FORCE her to stay with you. Though your door is always open for her, she has to choose to walk through it.
    Yes this is true, she obviously would have to either ask or at least want to stay, however with your religion, can I wait to see if he even exists first? Or must I assume he does in this life first?




    His only condition is that you accept him. I believe you are confused as to the purpose of this thread. The question asked in the OP was "why does God close himself off to non-believers". You have not shown that he DOES close himself off to anyone, but merely complained that God doesn't force us to accept him. Please explain how you think God closes himself off to non-believers, maybe I misunderstood you.
    So non-believers aren't closed off? We can die not believing and still get in? What's the point of Hell then?



    1: It's "predestination"
    2: Since no one here (that I know of) believes in this, I hardly see it's relevance in this discussion
    The relevence is that there are MANY different christian beliefs and you have shown yours, lets hear KB's position and others.


    Opposing theory to the creation of the "known universe". Read it carefully, it's not a difficult read on physics and quantum mechanics.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by Itsdarts
    If my daughter didn't love me or didn't believe in me, yet needed a NICE place to stay, I'd still let her stay with me, because my love for her is unconditional.
    Let's go with that analogy.

    You offer her the nice place to stay, even though she has acted unlovingly toward you. She then refuses of her own free will and says that she's going to go her own way. Do you FORCE her to stay in your house? Does that make her a loving person? Does it make her a good person, to be FORCED to do the right thing?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    i am a christian. however, i do not understand many of the beliefs some of "us" have. for instance, if jesus was such a gifted, amazing man who loved everyone, and God is the all-powerful lover and creator of heaven and earth, why would it be closed to all those who are not Christians? That hardly seems godly to me. Would someone of such great passion and understanding allow all people to be in the club?

    I do not want to get into a debate over theory, but would like either some explanations for this belief from Christians themselves, or those who think they have helpful information. thank you
    What you say is correct. The love that God has for his creation is immeasurable. We can see this very fact that he gave his only beloved son as a sacrifice for mankind. We can see his love in the fact that he has given us the Bible so we may come to know him, what he has done for us, and how we can obtain salvation by obeying the gospel. The one thing that people seem to forget is that God is not just a loving God, but he is a God of justice as well (Psalm 89:14).

    God has set forth his law. Under the Old Testament times it was called the Law of Moses. The Isrealits were given this law and they had to comply with it. Same as us today, we live under the law of Christ which is found in the New Testament. Think for a moment, if a law is given, whether by man or God, would not the giver of said law require the recipience to abide by said law. Of course they would. What if someone breaks said law. Then justice requires punishment. We see it every day in our court system.

    The same is true with God. He has set forth his law for mankind. His love has given each and every person the opportunity to abide by it. If man negelects his law then God's justice has to be accomplished in order for him to comply with his nature. This is why many people will not go into heaven( Matt. 7:13&14).

    Some people may think as you do, but we need to remember about justice.
    Here's something that I would suggest for you to study. Matt. 25:31-46.
    Notice especially verse 41. Who did God prepare the eternal Gehenna for, man or the devil?

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by wannaextreme
    AS for the push regarding predestination i was merely responding to another post.
    You should make sure that your response relates to the orignal topic. If a post goes off topic, and you reply to an off topic part of the post, you are also going off topic. Now, if you can show a way that a discussion of predestination in Christianity relates the topic posed in the original post: why not all people get salvation, then make the connection, but this isn't a thread about predestination or about all Christian beliefs. It focuses on that single concept. Otherwise, I will have to delete your posts in this thread for being off topic.
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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by wannaextreme
    The following is kevin browning / clive staples attempting to convince me. They have not responded and wont. You know why?
    1. they have nothing else.
    2. their preacher said "screw em thet darnded atheist monkey man is worthless"
    None of my church's priests have ever said anything like that, at least around me.

    Bear in mind i have much respect for clive, more than i do for kevin and nan.
    You have committed the ad hominem fallacy if you are judging our arguments by personal bias.

    God does indeed choose us (the romans pathway of grace) there is a decision on our part but according to the bible we are already preordained/ chosen so if your god is real, than i have not been chosen. If he is not well i dont care really than.
    This is inconsistent. First you say God chooses us (for salvation, presumably), then you say God's existence is unknown.

    Perhaps you could provide the passage of the Bible which you claim says God preordains people for salvation. I doubt you can provide one, since the Bible teaches that we have free will to accept or refuse salvation.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    None of my church's priests have ever said anything like that, at least around me.
    It was an example, why else do some people choose to attack others beliefs?
    And not back up their own with logical attempts when questioned.



    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    You have committed the ad hominem fallacy if you are judging our arguments by personal bias.
    I am not i am judging some based on their lack of response to direct questions you are prime among them.


    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    This is inconsistent. First you say God chooses us (for salvation, presumably), then you say God's existence is unknown.

    Of course i do for that is what your bible says, to state otherwise is to read only what you want and leave facts out of it. You see i dont really care what you believe however i do care that if you claim something you know what it is and how to debate it properly, you have yet to show me that you can.



    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    Perhaps you could provide the passage of the Bible which you claim says God preordains people for salvation. I doubt you can provide one, since the Bible teaches that we have free will to accept or refuse salvation.

    There are over 400 and i have provided many of them for you. However if you request than here are some.

    Romans 9 (read the whole chapter) Dont change it just read it.
    John 6:37 (this is a fun one) "All that the Father gives<if read properly this means exactly what it says> to me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out."
    John 17:6 (same as before)
    Romans 11:7 (specifically calls it the "elect")
    John 6:44, 65 (good passage)
    Acts 13:48 ( very specific about it) ...And as many as were for ordained to eternal life believed.

    Ask me for more please ask me for more.
    Kevin you need to understand where i am coming from, i was a part of your world for almost 20 years. I am now free from religious oppression, if there was a god than it is obvious he has not chosen me.
    Maybe you can see this maybe not, however i do see ... very clearly actually.
    I have the ability (because i am not swayed by religious dogma) to study in its completeness the different religions, and even the different sects within those. Christians have the most amount (in the united states alone) of sects, more than any other religion in the world.
    I can also look and enjoy things like the quran/ koran because it is a great read, or the book of the dead- another wonderful literary work even older (by 2000 years ) than the bible. Why because i am free of dogmatic overviews, im free from people telling me what to believe and not allowing me to see for myself.

    Basically what i am saying is that to claim something and deny basic truths as outlined by your bible is incorrect. However that could just be me seeing as i do through (pagan) eyes.
    Last edited by wanxtrmBANNED; April 20th, 2006 at 04:53 PM.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by wannaextreme
    I am not i am judging some based on their lack of response to direct questions you are prime among them.
    I don't have time to answer every question.

    There are over 400
    Please list all of them, if you are serious about that claim.

    Romans 9 (read the whole chapter) Dont change it just read it.
    I have. Specify what passage you're referring to.

    John 6:37 (this is a fun one) "All that the Father gives<if read properly this means exactly what it says> to me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out."
    A little context is always helpful:

    "Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

    And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

    "All that the Father gives to me" does not mean "All whom the Father ordain for salvation." It means that God has created every human being with the capacity to choose whether or not to accept Christ as Savior. Jesus clarifies, "my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life." He states clearly here that the Father's will is for everyone to be saved, but they must first look to (consider on their own) and believe in (with their own free choice) him.

    Romans 11:7 (specifically calls it the "elect")
    "I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me"? And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

    What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written:
    "God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    eyes so that they could not see
    and ears so that they could not hear,
    to this very day." And David says:
    "May their table become a snare and a trap,
    a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
    May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
    and their backs be bent forever.""

    Here it mentions people being hardened against belief in God. Perhaps this is a way of explaining in simple terms the fact that although humans have free will, God knows what their choice is, because he exists outside of time, and it is in both the future and the past to him. It certainly does not indicate that God will refuse grace to anyone who seeks it and accepts it.


    Acts 13:48 ( very specific about it) ...And as many as were for ordained to eternal life believed.
    "Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
    " 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"

    When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed."

    This is talking about the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were the original elect, yet they refused God's grace through Christ. This is incompatible with predestination. However, the new ones who have been appointed are mostly Gentiles.

    This simply means, again using terms that people can understand easily, that now the group who God knows will choose to accept his salvation are mostly Gentiles. There are few Messianic Jews in the world.

    This issue of the elect, in conclusion, can really be traced back to the deep conflict between Jewish and Gentile thought as Christianity grew. The biblical writers used the concept of the elect to show that God knows who will choose to obey him, nevertheless he extends his grace to everyone.

    He first extended it, in very visible ways, to the Israelites, yet that original elect mostly abandoned his grace. So, the Gentiles are the group of people who can now be considered the elect, because it is now mostly them who have chosen to believe.

    As one last point, I find this definition of "elect" interesting:

    "Elected but not yet installed."

    A person elected to the presidency, although people have chosen him to lead, does not have to accept the position. He doesn't have to accept this gift they have entrusted him with. However, a person who is more inclined to run for president is more likely to run and thus more likely to be elected. A person who never seeks the presidency in the first place can never be elected.

    Kevin you need to understand where i am coming from
    No, I don't. Your argument is good or bad independent of your personal experience.

    Further, none of the things you listed are news to me, Wanna. I know a good deal about religions. You don't need to list irrelevant trivia. I believe you that you've studied it also. Let's try to be specific, though, and debate predestination. No reason to bring up the Book of the Dead.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinBrowning
    Further, none of the things you listed are news to me, Wanna. I know a good deal about religions. You don't need to list irrelevant trivia. I believe you that you've studied it also. Let's try to be specific, though, and debate predestination. No reason to bring up the Book of the Dead.

    Ahh then answer the posts in the one on one, so that we can continue this.

    As for the book of the dead it was as important to others as the bible seems to be now.

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by lobster24
    ...if jesus was such a gifted, amazing man who loved everyone, and God is the all-powerful lover and creator of heaven and earth, why would it be closed to all those who are not Christians?
    Not all of Christianity is based solely on the Bible, in the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church can be found:

    "Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience." (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium paragraph 16)
    "I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly." Winston Churchill "When you put on a uniform there are certain inhibitions that you accept." Dwight D. Eisenhower "What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know." Saint Augustine

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    Re: Question about Christian Beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    Let's go with that analogy.

    You offer her the nice place to stay, even though she has acted unlovingly toward you. She then refuses of her own free will and says that she's going to go her own way. Do you FORCE her to stay in your house? Does that make her a loving person? Does it make her a good person, to be FORCED to do the right thing?
    No, I don't force her, but here on earth, she has the option to go where ever she wants that she would find PLEASANT. I don't have that choice AFTER I die. If I fail to believe all my life, do I have the option to believe once I die and DO find out that he is real??? Hmmmm??? I give that option to my daughter when she finds out that staying at Disney Land isn't quite as nice as staying with Big Daddy.


    Opposing theory to the creation of the "known universe". Read it carefully, it's not a difficult read on physics and quantum mechanics.

 

 
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