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#147555 - 05/06/03 09:53 AM Re: question
BestRecipesOnline Offline

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 2
holy cow, what an insane life you've had so far... up down up down.. hope you like rollercoasters. Well, I've always wondered why the major christian religons all insist on a really negative afterlife, and hell and brimstone and all that [censored]. I mean it's fun to draw, not so fun to think that you'll go to hell for not being perfect. And I've also wondered why so many religions INSIST on dwelling on negativity. Some religion even believs that man is "born tainted" now what kind of attitude is that? ah well, hope things even out for you.

#147556 - 05/06/03 05:56 PM Re: question
srock01 Offline

Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 25
Loc: connecticut
Just a few thoughts. Too much going on here to be complete.
First, I'm sorry you were hurt by a few Christians and the church in the past. Mistakes of believers don't make the belief wrong. We are all flawed and often make mistakes.

Perhaps you could "research" that the only people that Jesus ever slammed were self-righteous, religious Pharisees.
Jesus slammed Pharisees because although they were educated and knew scripture, their teachings were false and they led people away from the truth.
I can see how jennarobinson might think that applied to you since you were educated and now teach other teachings.

I mean it's fun to draw, not so fun to think that you'll go to hell for not being perfect.
Be assured that the Christian faith does not say you will go to hell for not being perfect. No one who walked this earth, except for Jesus, was or ever will be perfect. God forgives anyone who asks and accepts the gift that Jesus gave. by grace we are assured of life with God.

#147557 - 05/07/03 09:24 AM Re: question
kazue Offline

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 13
I have been wondering what I have to say that would add to this thread.

For one thing, Janet, I certainly see why I have been so drawn to your posts here and elsewhere. There are so many parallels in our biographies. Not in direct experience, exactly, but spiritually.

I have always backed away from confrontation of my beliefs. When someone would face me with things like �So you think you know more than (fill in the blank)!� and, especially, when they filled it in with God, I would retreat into myself because, of course, I don�t know more than God. How could I? How could they? How could anyone? These Divinely created brains of ours only use a small portion of their potential. We know that for a fact. Our science bears this out. But that does not make them inferior, anything less or faulty. They ARE potential. WE each are potential. That�s the key. We were Divinely created as potential. And we are daily challenged to extend, learn and create that potential. From the day we take in our first screaming breath to the day we exhale the peaceful last, we learn. We ask questions. We take baby steps then giant leaps. We educate ourselves. We communicate. We grow. That�s our mission as human beings � to continue the creation that was Divinely started and starts again and again as each new breath is drawn into a new set of Divinely made lungs.

Ah, what a responsibility! And we spiritually wrestle with that responsibility our entire lives because we cannot define its limits. We are not meant to. As I said, we are potential, nothing more, nothing less. And that leaves us with two parameters within which we walk the paths of our lives � faith and choice. Faith being that which energizes our choices. All of us, every soul that�s ever been, has been energized by faith, whether it is recognized as such or not. Every breath, every movement, every gift we use, every skill we put into action is predicated on the faith that there will be a result, something will happen. Something is and will be. We have put something into motion � energized it and created another potential thought or act that will lead somewhere.

Now what characterizes that faith, gives it direction and definition to us individually and those around us, is the choices we make. And here is where we wind up doing spiritual and corporeal battle with one another�and ourselves. While faith is our relationship to God, the Divine, the Universe, or however we have �chosen� to define him/it, choice is our relationship to this life within which we each have been given our potential to create. The Bible, everything the prophets, everything Jesus, everything that Mohammed, Buddha, every saint, every spiritual leader, the minister in the pulpit, the Zen monk has said and did, the wisdom of all their writings and deeds � all � has been about �choices.� Isn�t that what Adam and Eve being thrown out of Paradise was about? Choice. And every religion, cult, tribe, family, bowling team and great books group � whatever we choose to defines our choices - is about how we live out our faith. It is all about our relationship to God and the potential with which we have been given to create.

Now, you will notice that I have not quoted any authority here. References have been made, but no quotes. This was purposeful. Because, ultimately, it is each of us, individually, who must trust God and ourselves to make our choices. We each live alone with God in our dark nights and brilliant dawns. We can argue with each other over theology and doctrine and authority until we�re panting for the breath of clarity. We can heap judgment on those who disagree with our choices. We can even kill over it. But in the end, it is each of us who has to live with his own truth about his own faith and how it is lived. It is within our aloneness with God from which our potential grows to fulfill our mission�our limitless, creative, energized mission of faith lived out.

So, there�chew on it and me, if you will� <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

~ WhiteFox

#147558 - 05/07/03 11:40 AM Re: question
BestRecipesOnline Offline

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 2
Wonderfully expressed! I am not all that great with words... so it's nice to hear many of my own thought expressed so well.

I'm with you, I often shy from these kinds of discussions because people think that I am refering to EVERYONE or to all of a certain type of religion, or that I am speaking in absolutes. I try to speak in vague terms, and not refer to any one particular religion, but people insist on having definites. Everyone has their own thoughts on what God is... no one can truely understand anothers feelings... I mean you would have to be that person! Which is why I always say that there is truth in every way.

Religion is a touchy discussion because it is so personal... it would be nice if everyone stopped trynig to force their opinions as right... or belittle others, and just have a nice conversation. Difficult to do, but i have faith that we can do it!

#147559 - 05/07/03 01:43 PM Re: question
JanetBoyer Offline

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 3698
Loc: USA
Beautifully said, White Fox! Wow. Thanks so much for stopping by and offering such a profound and wise perspective!

Jessica, I love your optimism. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> And yes...my life has been a rollercoaster. <img src="/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />


#147560 - 05/07/03 10:29 PM Re: question
Animal_Life_Host Offline

Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 229
Loc: Washington, USA
Wow, that was quite an interesting thread. I consider myself to be an intellectual and normally love to argue anything, including religion. Within the past three years, however, I've recieved an "enlightenment" and I'd like to take a few paragraphs to share here.

My family is traditionally non-denominational Christian, "straight from the book". Like almost every young adult however, I was unhappy walking my parents path. In high school and a little while afterward I went through a period of searching for the "truth". I experimented with many religions including Hindu, Islaam, Budhism, Wicca, and Satanism. Like the Biblical prodigal child I returned home to my parents church to meet with the whole range of reactions, from joy to hostility at my return. These reactions almost caused me to totally loose faith in Christianity. Something though, kept me there anyway.

Through my studying and experimenting I have come to a few personal conclusions. The first is that arguing is futile. The only way I will ever pursuade anyone to come to my way of thinking is through my living example, not through debating or preaching. That isn't to say those methods can't work, simply that I am not fit to make those methods work. The second conclusion is that all the little details of Christianity that are so often argued, don't even matter. The reason? Jesus Christ gave us some personal commandments, that if followed, make all the details fall into place.

There is an older saying that goes something along the lines of "Everybody wants their neighbors to be Christian." This is spawned from an older stereotype that made Christians out to be "good" people, decent people, the kind of people that everyone likes. I'm not going to get into an argument about how much truth that stereotype has, or even whether it actually existed. But the point is the mindset of that stereotype. The verse in the Bible that defines how I, and everyone who claims Christianity should live is this:

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:35

This sentiment is repeated again and again in the New Testament. People should not ever have to ask a Christian if he or she is a Christian, it should be obvious from their lifestyle. I have found that if I base every decision on this axis, showing love, Christ takes care of the rest for me. Of course I still fail, but however I am viewed for it, I will do what I can to be the Samaratan who showed love to an enemy rather than the Pharasee who would ignore the pleadings of even a fallen brother.
Nature/Wildlife T-shirts, Prints, Gifts!
Animal Life
I wandered away from the tour.

#147561 - 05/08/03 07:05 AM Re: question
Lynne - ChristianLiving Offline
BellaOnline Editor

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 5780
Loc: Indiana
Great testamony BigBrother.

#147562 - 05/08/03 10:06 AM Re: question
kazue Offline

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 13
Big Brother ~

Well, I would never characterize myself as an intellectual - I'm just old and I read a lot! <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

You seem to have chosen a path of living out your faith! Yes! Once you choose that, knowing from where it is energized, arguing really does seem pointless. You just live it! And, therefore, are a witness to it.

Go for it! I wish you many blessings!

~ WhiteFox

#147563 - 05/12/03 01:44 PM Re: question
JanetBoyer Offline

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 3698
Loc: USA
What a beautiful post, Big Brother. I wholeheartedly concur with you. I used to debate the Bible as a sport, but when some pretty big stuff happened to me, you realize how stupid it is in the big picture. (Stupid for me, anyway). Religion and spirituality is so personal, and things pertaining to a relationship with the Divine is often very hard to put into words. Once you do that, it seems to lose its meaning, somehow. Plus, definitions and nuances are so subjective, since spirituality is a personal thing. Where one individual is on the path, may not be where another is.

I tend to see the Bible, and even reality, in layers of truth. When you're on one level, something may be "true" for you, but when you grow and enter other realms, those things are no longer "true" for you...but they may still be for another. God is so unfathomable and all encompassing, that I don't think we'll ever exhaust the Divine Mind.

Personally, I've never tried other religions, even though I was mad at God for many years as a teen/young adult. (Mostly unconscious, only to come to surface during difficult times.) Although I supplement my path with various New Age teachings and practices, I see them as confirming and expanding upon the spiritual truths found in the Bible and through the life of Jesus...not negating them. I've always come back to Jesus as the Center of my path, even when on my pseudo-prodigal stints. <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> (I was never a very good prodigal, unfortunately. I had too many personal experiences with God to just walk away from it... I tried though...if even only in my mind!)

Thank you all for posting. Your words warmed my heart, Big Brother. Truly. It's all about love and the example of Jesus, anyway.


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