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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: So, what about Hell?
AB
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Marvin, Lyda,

Grrrr, I knew I was going to leave a crucial bit of my thinking out and you've both spotted it! See I don't think we will attain perfection down here, no sireebob. Not while temptations/satan/flesh (delete according to your own personal faith™) is around to muck up the whole sherbang.

I think the crucial thing is our hearts. Do we *want* to love our neighbour as ourselves? Do we *want* to submit to God's sovereign rule? Do we *want* to tend creation in a responsible way. I'd like to think my attitude is in the right place, but heck, I screw up more than most. AND I'M ONE OF THOSE WHO IS TRYING! [Hot and Hormonal]

If Heaven is full of people who really wanted that kingdom of God - indeed who wanted it in their hearts, then maybe the kingdom has indeed been near all this time. It isn't about being someone different - it's about being the true you, without all that other stuff mucking it up...

(ps. seconded, let's have a thread about heaven)

[Smile]

AB

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"This is all that I've known for certain, that God is love. Even if I have been mistaken on this or that point: God is nevertheless love."
- Søren Kierkegaard

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Adeodatus
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Pardon me, Alaric and shrkshooter, but I believe you imisrepresent the conservative teaching on Hell.

Posted by Alaric the Goth:
quote:
the people likely to be there ... are the ones that will stand before God still defiant
Conservative teaching on salvation is that we cannot choose to deny or 'give in to' God after death: we must do it now in this life. Traditionally, it has been taught that when you stand before the throne of God, it's too late to change your mind. So I'm afraid, Alaric, you depart from traditional teaching on this point. You also depart from traditional teaching on resurrected bodies being only for the saved - see, e.g. Book XXI of Augustine's 'City of God' (and having read it, see if you can still sleep at night after the old windbag has spent a whole book glorying in the pains of the damned!).

Posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
The fundamentalist view (at least this fundamentalist's view) is that it is the personal relationship with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour that leads to Heaven
Well that's even worse! You have just consigned almost everyone - good as well as bad - who ever lived to everlasting torture! Everyone who lived before the time of Jesus; everyone who lived outside Judaea or Galilee during his life; everyone who lived in Australia or the Americas before Europeans exported Christianity there..... Or are you saying there's some sort of 'mystical' way of enjoying a relationship with Jesus without ever having heard of him? If there is, why doesn't the Bible say so?

If on the other hand, these people are exempt from your model of judgement and will be judged by their deeds, then we're back to my model of judgement and God is still a monster.

Or am I missing something?

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Or am I missing something?

Yes - in that fundamentalists and evangelicals and theological conservatives in general don't teach that you need to repent every sin explictly and individually in some sort of catalog of personal failure.

And they don't teach that all who died before the Crucifixion are neccessarily damned.

And they don't all teach that those alive now who haven't heard the Gospel are neccessarily damned, though some do teach that.

You might wish that they did. You might even have been told that they did. But in lots of years of hanging around evangelical churches and reading books by evangelical and fundamentalist preachers, I can tall you they don't.

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Ken

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Liam
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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Or am I missing something?

Yes - in that fundamentalists and evangelicals and theological conservatives in general don't teach that you need to repent every sin explictly and individually in some sort of catalog of personal failure.

And they don't teach that all who died before the Crucifixion are neccessarily damned.

And they don't all teach that those alive now who haven't heard the Gospel are neccessarily damned, though some do teach that.

You might wish that they did. You might even have been told that they did. But in lots of years of hanging around evangelical churches and reading books by evangelical and fundamentalist preachers, I can tall you they don't.

Erm... Adeodatus wasn't making that stuff up. He was responding directly to the previous poster's assertion that a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way into heaven, pointing out some apparent flaws in such a view.
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Big Steve

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Yeah, being "fundamentalist" and being "evangelical" are no the same. There is a broad swathe of the evangelical church that could not be called "fundamentalist", even though many people may wish to put them in that box.

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Adeodatus
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Well then, ken, what do they teach?

If you don't have to repent of every sin, then why do you have to repent of any? (See my argument above: if God can 'ignore' one sin, then why not two? If not two, then why not ... etc.?)

If you can stand before the throne of God on judgement day and choose Hevane or Hell, why should I choose now?

If those who died before Christ are not judged on their relationship with him, then on what are they judged? Or is there just an 'open door' policy for them? And if there is, then Christ's coming was emphatically bad news since it closed the door of heaven which had previously been open!

I have yet to see any traditional teaching on Hell that is all of three things at once:
(1) Logical
(2) Biblical
(3) Moral.

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Astro
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quote:
Well that's even worse! You have just consigned almost everyone - good as well as bad - who ever lived to everlasting torture! Everyone who lived before the time of Jesus; everyone who lived outside Judaea or Galilee during his life; everyone who lived in Australia or the Americas before Europeans exported Christianity there..... Or are you saying there's some sort of 'mystical' way of enjoying a relationship with Jesus without ever having heard of him? If there is, why doesn't the Bible say so?

Actually those with a strong empahasis on what the bible says (call them literalists or inerrantists if you like) read Romans 2 verses 14 and 15

- "indeed the gentiles do by nature things required by the law ... since theyt know that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts ..."

would say that that allows for those who have never heard of Jesus to be saved. In all my mixing with the conservative fringe of the church I have never heard any one say that a person had never had a chance to hear about Jesus would be automatically condemned.

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if you look around the world today – whether you're an atheist or a believer – and think that the greatest problem facing us is other people's theologies, you are yourself part of the problem. - Andrew Brown (The Guardian)

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by AB:
(ps. seconded, let's have a thread about heaven)

Done [Smile]

quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
If you don't have to repent of every sin, then why do you have to repent of any? (See my argument above: if God can 'ignore' one sin, then why not two? If not two, then why not ... etc.?)

I always thought the traditional teaching was that one repents of all one's sins ("Forgive us our tresspasses"), rather than each one individually.

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Everyone who lived before the time of Jesus; everyone who lived outside Judaea or Galilee during his life; everyone who lived in Australia or the Americas before Europeans exported Christianity there..... Or are you saying there's some sort of 'mystical' way of enjoying a relationship with Jesus without ever having heard of him? If there is, why doesn't the Bible say so?

Or am I missing something?

I don't think you are missing something, I think you are just looking to be argumentative.

Read Hebrews 11 about the saving by faith of the OT people. Of course they were not aware of Jesus.

I believe that those to whom Jesus has not been revealed directly are subject to similar issues of faith. Is it not said that there is evidence in nature of the existence of God? We are responsible for what has been given (revealed) to us ( Luke 12:42-47 and others).

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Adeodatus
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(Sorry for quickfire replies - I've got the Ship open in a corner of my screen while doing end-of-day deskwork.)

Posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
I always thought the traditional teaching was that one repents of all one's sins ("Forgive us our tresspasses"), rather than each one individually.

What, you mean I have to rattle off a Lord's Prayer in the second between picking up a penny in the street with no intention of returning it to its rightful owner, and getting run over by the bus that kills me???

Sharkshooter - I am emphatically not being argumentative. See my last post. I believe it is absolutely central and vital to an authentic preaching of the gospel to have a view of Hell, judgement, etc, that is logical, biblical and moral.

[ 02. December 2003, 15:38: Message edited by: Adeodatus ]

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Alaric the Goth
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Pardon me, Alaric and shrkshooter, but I believe you imisrepresent the conservative teaching on Hell.

Posted by Alaric the Goth:
quote:
the people likely to be there ... are the ones that will stand before God still defiant
Conservative teaching on salvation is that we cannot choose to deny or 'give in to' God after death: we must do it now in this life. Traditionally, it has been taught that when you stand before the throne of God, it's too late to change your mind. So I'm afraid, Alaric, you depart from traditional teaching on this point. You also depart from traditional teaching on resurrected bodies being only for the saved - see, e.g. Book XXI of Augustine's 'City of God' (and having read it, see if you can still sleep at night after the old windbag has spent a whole book glorying in the pains of the damned!).

....
If on the other hand, these people are exempt from your model of judgement and will be judged by their deeds, then we're back to my model of judgement and God is still a monster.

Did not the mediaeval chap Uhtred of Boldon (who incidentally would have been 'up the road' from wher I used to live) come up with the idea that the dead who haven't heard of Christ get a 'clara visio' after they die which they can accept of reject? CS Lewis knew of this when he wrote 'The Great Divorce' (but you'll tell me it is heretical, no doubt!). Well, I go along with the idea because it seems fair and just, and I believe God is just.

Christ's 'Harrowing of Hell' isn't an heretical idea, is it? That in the time between His Death and Resurrection he decended there to offer the chance of rescue to all those who had existed/died before the Cross, and, we hope, all those after it who haven't heard, such as your Australian aborigine examples. That Peter saw Moses and Elijah on the montain when Christ's glory was revealed testifies to Heaven not being just for those after Christ's death who believed. His salvation works backwards in time as well as forwards.

And Paul somewhere writes that those who do not have the Law will be judged by that law which they do have, that conscience they have/n't lived according to.

I cannot see how the gift of a new body to each of the Saved like unto the one Christ had after the resurrection implies that the ones who end up in Hell are given bodies in which to 'enjoy the experience', as it were.

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
If you can stand before the throne of God on judgement day and choose Hevane or Hell, why should I choose now?

I don't believe you have a choice after death.
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
I have yet to see any traditional teaching on Hell that is all of three things at once:
(1) Logical
(2) Biblical
(3) Moral.

I define Biblical principals as moral. I do not define morality and then check to see if the Bible confroms to it. See I Corinthinans 1:18-21 for some comments on earthly wisdom.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Adeodatus
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If you look back over my postings on this thread, you will see why I cannot accept traditional teaching as logical, biblical and moral all at the same time. We're in danger of going round in circles here, but let's take another slightly more clearcut 'run over by a bus' scenario.

I'm fine and happy with Jesus, knowing and loving him as my Saviour, being in a state of grace, however you care to put it. One day I'm crossing the road and I happen to notice a beautiful woman, whom I look at lustfully (yeah, like that's going to happen to me - but bear with me). In turning to look at her, I fail to notice the bus, and whack! I'm dead.

Now, in my last second of life I have committed a sin every bit as bad as adultery. A sin which was explicitly spoken of from the mouth of God himself. Do I go to Heaven or Hell?

Another case. I'm happy with Jesus (see above). But my brother has done something really horrible to me and I'm annoyed. I call him a fool. I turn to take my leave of him, step into the road and ... yes, you guessed it. Now here it is even more clear cut. Not only has God himself told us that this sin is as bad as murder, but he has told us that we will pay for it in hellfire. So what happens - Heaven or Hell?

(By the way, notice that in this last example my brother gets off scot free - he has time to repent.)

Again, I am not trying to be argumentative. These are basic and simple pieces of Christian teaching that deriders of the faith constantly pick up on. We need to be clear.

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Well then, ken, what do they teach?

If you don't have to repent of every sin, then why do you have to repent of any?

You were sayingh that fundamentalists taught that you have to repent of each sin separatly, which is not the case.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Marvin the Martian

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Adeodatus - I guess it depends on whether you think repentence can only work historically.

Personally I think praying for all my sins to be forgiven applies equally to future sins as to the ones already committed.

I pray for forgiveness more than once in my lifetime because I feel that to be the right thing to do, not because I've committed a few more sins since the last time.

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ken
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Past? Future? Salvation is brought about by God's eternal choice, before the foundation of the world.

Or so all those Bible-believing preachers and fundamentalists used to teach me.

The idea that you move in and out of salvation as you confess and sin and confess again was considered to be an unbiblical heresy.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Big Steve

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Now, in my last second of life I have committed a sin every bit as bad as adultery. A sin which was explicitly spoken of from the mouth of God himself. Do I go to Heaven or Hell?

You really seem to have mixed up Christianity with some other religion - and I really have no idea which.
The core and central benefit of Jesus' death was for the forgiveness of sin. That's one of the main reasons Jesus appeared at all - so that we could be forgiven. At no stage does any Christian teaching - either in the bible or anywhere else that I'm aware - teach that a single sin can send you to hell.

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Adeodatus
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A last clocking-in from me before home time.

Marvin - your standpoint fails both logically and biblically, I'm afraid. Biblically, because scripture nowehere supports this view. Logically, because I could ask forgiveness now and then sin with impunity for the rest of my life! This is a variant on the antinomian view that St Paul argued so consistently against and that he had such recurrent trouble with.

ken - if my salvation is God's eternal choice, are you saying he caused me (or allowed me) to argue with my brother at that precise moment, on that street corner, and then also caused the bus to be where it was, simply because before the world was created, he had already decided Adeodatus belonged in Hell? Monster of monsters! - this is the worst we've heard from God yet! (Not least because I had then wasted my short but beautiful life trying to be 'all right with Jesus' - little knowing, all along, that Jesus didn't want to be all right with me.)

Much more discussion like this, and I'll have to give in and give you my take on things.

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Adeodatus
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D'oh!! Cross-posted with Big Steve.

Then how, Steve, do you interpret the case of calling my brother a fool, for which Jesus said I would pay in hellfire?

And if this one sin does not send me straight to Hell, then how many will? I need to know, you see.

(Bear in mind that the position I am arguing against here is that of people who believe Scripture is inerrant. I don't.)

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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ken
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
ken - if my salvation is God's eternal choice, are you saying he caused me (or allowed me) to argue with my brother at that precise moment, on that street corner, and then also caused the bus to be where it was, simply because before the world was created, he had already decided Adeodatus belonged in Hell?

No, I'm saying that if your repentence is good on Tuesday its still good on Wednesday.

The last sin you commit in time-order is not specially privileged.

If God can forgive you yesterday's sin he can forgive tomorrows.

Eschew namby-pamby Arminianism

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Ken

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Big Steve

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Then how, Steve, do you interpret the case of calling my brother a fool, for which Jesus said I would pay in hellfire?

I am not a biblical inerranist, so it's easy to put a spin on it. I would say that here Jesus was warning people about the importance of respect amongst kin. We may not like them, but we treat them with respect.

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Big Steve

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By "inerranist" I probably should have said "literalist", as it would suit the context better.

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Marvin - your standpoint fails both logically and biblically, I'm afraid. Biblically, because scripture nowehere supports this view. Logically, because I could ask forgiveness now and then sin with impunity for the rest of my life! This is a variant on the antinomian view that St Paul argued so consistently against and that he had such recurrent trouble with.

To me, that wouldn't be genuine repentance.

Repentance isn't just about getting God to forgive your sins, it's also about genuinely wanting to "go forth and sin no more". My position is essentially the same as ken's, but with an emphasis on the need for us to truly repent in faith.

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Adeodatus
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I am genuinely sorry to be this picky, but none of these arguments make sense!

ken - if I genuinely repent of all my sins right now - at 8pm - then yes, God readily forgives all past sins. But then if I sin at 9am tomorrow and die at 9.01, how can God have forgiven that sin? I haven't repented of it. I die having unrepentantly offended God's eternal Justice. And traditional teaching on judgement says that in order to enter Heaven, I must have repented of all my sins. In saying that my repentance somehow 'holds good' for any future sins I may commit, you are departing from traditional teaching (which is what I'm arguing with). Or are you saying that my here-and-now repentance protects me from ever actually sinning again? Because if you are, then I don't know anybody who has ever 'repented' in this sense.

Big Steve - I agree with you completely about the passage I cited. I'm not a literalist either. But the position I'm arguing against is the conservative one which does treat Scripture as inerrant. That is the position which I claim cannot be logical and moral, and true to its claim of scriptural inerrancy.

It seems nobody is actually putting a robust, down-the-line conservative argument here which satisfies my faith and conscience in that it is logical, biblical and moral all at the same time. Is there anyone who can do that?

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Nonpropheteer
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quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:
Talitha, the reason I chose the texts was because they related to the OP.

Anyway, sorry Sharkshooter, I had you down as a near-fundamentalist, not the real deal. I'm still curious as to GRITS position.

GRITS - does everyone on earth who is not a Christian go to hell? I always get the impression from you that you are happy enough that other people have different types of faith. You seem to have a "this is my faith, but you can choose whatever faith you want", which is some strange kind of postmodern fundamentalism. Am I right or wrong about this?

Hmm, as for you Sharkshooter, I've lived my life at times believing that many people I know and billion I don't are on the highway to hell. It's a hard world-view to have - you either spend your life evangelising or else stop caring. I can't live with either choice - partly because I believe God must have a better plan. I sure hope He does.

I find it hard to believe that the best plan a perfect being could come up with would reslt in the majority of the population being put to death (or tortured forever). However, I can live with it either way: What choice do I have?


Np

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Lyda*Rose

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Adeodatus-
quote:
. And traditional teaching on judgement says that in order to enter Heaven, I must have repented of all my sins. In saying that my repentance somehow 'holds good' for any future sins I may commit, you are departing from traditional teaching (which is what I'm arguing with).
I suggest that you cite specific "traditional teaching", ie that of a truly inerrantist pastor or theologian, not just your logic of what the Bible adds up to in your view of inerrant interpretation. Cite in context also, please.

Chick tracks don't count. [Snigger]

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Adeodatus
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Dear Lyda -

(a) What's a chick track?

(b) Arguments. First, I suggest that for an argument to count as 'conservative' under my definition, it must include a real concept of Scriptural inerrancy. Therefore passages such as the following must be true in a 'real' (rather than metaphorical) sense:
quote:
'if you say [to your brother] "You fool", you will be liable to the hell of fire.' (Mt 5.22)
'And these [who did not do "these things"] will go away into eternal punishment' (Mt 25.46)

For an argument to be logical, it must merely have the virtue of internal logical self-consistency. That is, its logic need not be apparent to one outside the 'system' of the argument, but the argument must be logically consistent within its own terms of reference.
For an argument to be moral ... well, that's debatable. So far I haven't had to argue any more strongly than my own outraged sense of morality.

The arguments I'm disagreeing with? Try these:
quote:
Do you account of sin as a peccadillo, a flaw scarcely to be noticed, a mere joke, a piece of fun? But see the tree which springs from it. There is no joke there- no fun in hell.
You did not know that sin was so evil. Some of you will never know how evil it is until the
sweetness of honey has passed from your mouth,
and the bitterness of death preys at your vitals. (Spurgeon)

quote:
No matter how insignificant a sin is in terms of harm caused and harm intended, if it is a sin against God, it automatically becomes so serious that it deserves an infinite punishment. No weaker account of God’s relationship to human sinfulness could give a theoretically satisfactory defense of the strong view of hell.
(From this site on the teaching of Jonathan Edwards)

quote:
This neat little piece
Is that enough? There are more.

--------------------
"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
# 5053

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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Oldham:
quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:
Note: Its not that I believe there is a fiery hell of eternal punishment, I'm just saying, if that part is real, then we have to believe that it is good and just.

AND I COULD NOT DISAGREE MORE, NONPROPHETEER. "Who are we to judge God?" sounds very pious doesn't it? But when offered two different views of what God is like what are we to do? 'Choose this day whom you will serve!' We are morally responsible persons who have to make judgements and moral decisions. You judge God all the time!

As a result I simply CANNOT believe that an eternal hell <snip> is NOT evil. I can see no way that it would count as good.
Glenn

Read the above very carefully Glenn. I distinctly used the word "If" several times in that statement.

There is a distinct difference between judging and analyzing. I analyze what is written and what is taught to form conclusions based solely on information available. I may make judgements about that info, but my personal philosophy is that God defies human understanding and therefore cannot be defined. I do not define God based on my human perceptions of good and evil. Therefore, my assumptions regarding the validity of hell do not effect my assumptions of what I believe God to be. For me to foist my selfish, human idea of what is good or bad upon God is just plain silly. My gf's 5 year old girl can make moral judgements (and does all day long) as to the validity of the rules she has to live with, and the punishments she'll recieve for breaking those rules. Do we throw out the rules and punishments simply because they don't fit into her concept of what is right or wrong? Do we abstain from punishment because she "can't comprehend how that punishment is good"?

And no, I don't plan to punish her in a fiery pit forever. Don't even go there. But her mother has threatened to ground her for life on one or two occassions, but guess what: through parental grace, she has been delivered from that life long torture.

I don't believe in hell as a place of eternal punishment for us, because I can't see the teaching being supported biblically except through a literal interpretation of a parable. However, I do know from scripture and the processes of nature that God can have a violent and seemingly cruel side to him. To believe anything else is to treat the bible as a salad bar (take what you like, leave the rest) and brings to mind the moniker: Pollyanna.
My faith, however, helps me to accept that whatever the truth about hell is, it is what is best for the big picture.

A lot of Christians walk around with the idea that God is going to protect them from harm. My idea is that he can if he chooses to, but sometimes he allows things to happen to us because ultimately it fits into his plan adn is the greater good. Sometimes the bad things that happen to us are natural products of our sinful nature. I don't judge God as evil because he "allows" something I consider evil to happen to me - otherwise once I got to the book of Job, I would have stopped studying and picked an entirely different spiritual point of view.

When I was a child I thought as a child. I believed eating sweets was a God given right and that my parents were cruel when they denied it of me for failing to eat my broccoli - which I pressumed God had never intended for us eat in the first place. Now I know that too much sugar is bad for you and that green veggies provide vital energies for your health and growth. I've failed so far in convincing my gf's 5 year old of that widom.

Np

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Glenn Oldham
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quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:
... Read the above very carefully Glenn. I distinctly used the word "If" several times in that statement.

I was well aware of your 'if' nonpropheteer, but my comments still stand! Your position is still one that I find horrendous. And I am deadly serious here. I was not accusing you of believing in a hell of eternal torture. What you said earlier was that:
quote:
if our wisdom is foolishness to God, then who are we to judge God? If people are to be put in hell for all eternity, never dying -and will eternally be cognizant of their pain and suffering - then that would be a just and fitting punishment for them. Period. Its God that makes the rules and knows all the details, and I have to trust that such a decision would not be made lightly.
What you are saying is that if we knew the bigger picture then we would see that this is in fact a good thing but that, being human we can't yet understand why. Now we are not talking here about my not understanding why going out in the hot sun without suncream on is is wrong because i don't know about UV light, or my not knowing why adultery is wrong because I am too lustful to take time to think of the damage to relationships I might cause. We are talking major, major, evil here.

What you are saying in effect is that human moral intuitions are not to be trusted even when the evil to be perpetrated is amongst the most extreme imaginable, namely an eternal hell full of the torture of individuals unrelentingly, constantly, for eternity, with no end, forever, with no benefit arising from it for the sufferers.

Now, you appear not to believe this particular version of the doctrine of hell yourself, and yet absolutely no moral consideration enters into you judgement of whether the doctrine can be true or not. In denouncing humans as morally juvenile you have ruled out moral considerations. What do you have left to reject this doctrine with. Nothing except considerations of biblical interpretation, it appears. However, assessing the correctness of the interpretation of the bible involves human wisdom (since the bible is not self interpreting). But since you take the view that " our wisdom is foolishness to God " then you are left with no means of assessing this version of the doctrine at all. You (and Sharkshooter) have sawn of the branches you were sitting on. Of course neither of you do that in practice, both of you appeal to reason and the goodness and rightnness of morality in your dealings with other people. Otherwise you are just fideists who have no reasons for the faith you have, but just believe. It just appears that when other people wish to use reason and morality you both rule it inadmissable.

And you are, in effect telling me that my regarding " an eternal hell full of the torture of individuals unrelentingly, constantly, for eternity, with no end, forever, with no benefit arising from it for the sufferers. " as evil is (or may be) the result of moral blindness on my part. I am morally blind to regard unending purposeless torture as evil. What a terrible terrible conclusion. What an own goal for Christianity. Black is white, white is black, we are mere worms and God can do no evil even when he does evil.

I am not battling here for a view of God that is safe and likable. I am only battling for a view of God that is not morally revolting.

Glenn

--------------------
This entire doctrine is worthless except as a subject of dispute. (G. C. Lichtenberg 1742-1799 Aphorism 60 in notebook J of The Waste Books)

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JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:
To believe anything else is to treat the bible as a salad bar (take what you like, leave the rest) and brings to mind the moniker: Pollyanna.

To treat every word in the Bible as breadcrumbs that God has left for you to find your way to Heaven brings to mind a moniker: Pollyanna.

I'd like ken or someone else to address my little Gritsdharma's eternal fate, having heard the Christian gospel and rejected it in favor of her vision of a Christ-like life taught to her by her loving, caring Hindu or Buddhist parents.

Glenn, as usual you are spot on. I loved your line about the choice to be sane. I especially love it because you choose to insist on rationality and an assumption that we have to be able to have insight into God via knowledge that we are created in His image. I point out that you could have chosen other ways to remain sane that involve irrationality or denial though. They work too, don't forget.

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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Thanks for the links, Adeonatus. [Smile]

I especially found Dr. Geisler's essay enlightening- not persuasive, but enlightening. Sort of like nonpropheteer's screeds. [Biased]

Behold! A pertinent Chick Tract!
[Devil] [Confused] [Angel]

--------------------
"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
It is interesting to see what has been posted, as I had a discussion about this at lunch today. I posed the question, and the answer I received was, "Well, if I believe in an all-loving, all-good God..." I stopped him right there. Where does that picture of God come from? Sure, I believe God is good and loving, but that is certainly not ALL I think He is. Surely you recognize that God has a vengeful side, a jealous side, and, yes, even a murderous side. But you know what? I am OK with that. Why? BECAUSE HE'S GOD, and He can be whatever and everything He wants to be, without any approval from me. You completely ignore a huge aspect of His character if you whittle Him down to only "good" and "loving". And I guess I believe that's a dangerous aspect to ignore.

Grits--

Um...may I respectfully ask a question?

If this was a human being, rather than God, would you want to know him?

That idea of God gives me the creeping horrors. That's the Torturer God I mentioned in Hell. That God sounds like something one worships only because he's the one in charge. That's the God I'm rejecting. I don't know if God exists--but if so, and God is like that, worshipping that God would be Hell. Living would be Hell. There would be no safe place in this world or any other. The best thing I could do would be to start a revolution. In all seriousness.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

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Zeke
Ship's Inquirer
# 3271

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Not only what Golden Key said, but that the prospect of spending all eternity in the presence of THAT is certainly not my idea of a "reward." Even if I get the fun of watching others suffer at the same time. By the way, something Grits said makes me wonder: do you also think that the parables are to be taken literally, as if they are real events that actually happened? Just wondering.

--------------------
No longer the Bishop of Durham
-----------
If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be without it? --Benjamin Franklin

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Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
# 5053

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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Oldham:
Now, you appear not to believe this particular version of the doctrine of hell yourself, and yet absolutely no moral consideration enters into you judgement of whether the doctrine can be true or not.

No moral judgement needs to come into it at all. Ungodly humans being punished eternally in a lake of fire called "Hell" is unsupported by the scriptures. It has found a home in doctrine, yes; but I reject the doctrine, not the bible, not God.

quote:

However, assessing the correctness of the interpretation of the bible involves human wisdom (since the bible is not self interpreting). But since you take the view that " our wisdom is foolishness to God " then you are left with no means of assessing this version of the doctrine at all.

This is not simply my opinion. It is backed up biblicaly, and by simple logic. Who would you rather define morality, God or man? Eve also thought God had made an unfair rule. I'm sure her and Adam both questioned the morality of killing someone for eating an apple. That may have been part of the unrecorded conversation between the two of them, when they convinced each other that "God is a good fella, surely he wouldn't really give us such a harsh punishment for eating this."

quote:

Black is white, white is black, we are mere worms and God can do no evil even when he does evil.

I am not battling here for a view of God that is safe and likable. I am only battling for a view of God that is not morally revolting.

Glenn

Why are you battling? What possible difference could it make in your salvation if I or anyone else believe all blue eyed macedonians are going to burn in hell forever? It might mean you are wiser than me, but it doesn't mean that you are morally superior.
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Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
# 5053

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In short, this is what I was taught about hell:

The Lake of Fire is reserved for the eternal punishment of a select few: Death, Hell, False Prophet, the Beast, the Devil, etc.

Every one who has ever lived but not known Christ will get an opportunity to make amends during a 1000 year rein of Christ. Those who previously knew and rejected, or those that still reject after the 1000 years, will be tossed into the Lake of Fire and be utterly destroyed forever.

Logical. Moral. Biblical.

Np

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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1000 year reign of Christ is not biblical. He shall reign forever. Rev 11:15, Luke 1:33, etc etc.

--------------------
This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Grits
Compassionate fundamentalist
# 4169

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Just a quick response to golden key and Zeke:

Zeke, I know this has been discussed before, but you must have missed it. It is really pretty easy to figure out what I believe is meant by a "literal interpretation" of the Bible. To me, it simply means the Bible is true, that the people in it lived, the events recorded there happened, and that it is God's message for man. But, come on -- look at the parables. Jesus says, "OK, people, I'm going to tell you a story now..." Do I believe Jesus told the story? Certainly. Do I believe it was a story about an actual event? Of course not. It was a story, presented as a story, even followed up by a moral to it. It's like asking if I believe I'm supposed to wear a real "breastplate of righteousness" or if the apostles literally shook the dust of a city off their feet if it rejected their teaching. It's really just common sense.

golden key, your posts (and others) sadden and discourage me. Why is it so important and apparently imperative to be able to explain and present God in human terms? We are living in an age of such rabid self-promotion that we have totally lost the concept of omniscience. We are democratic to the death, no one better than another, and somehow we have managed to bring God into the arena with us. So many posts about "morality" and "how could God do that" and "not being able to conceive of a God..." So much about having to be able to reason it out, make it logical, be brought into understanding about it. I just don't think that's how God intended us to approach Him. Where's the awe? Where's the reverence? Where's the worship?

My response is exactly the same as yours: I would not want to know a God who could be controlled by the concepts of man. He would have nothing to offer me.

I keep telling myself I'm not going to post any more on this thread. (Please hold your applause until I'm finished, thankyouverymuch.) I feel some of the posts have bordered on... well, blasphemy, and I am just not comfortable with that. Let me end this by saying that, as “hard-core” as I may seem, I doubt there are many people more tender-hearted than I. I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than arriving in heaven and finding it filled with people from every religious background imaginable, even those who never heard or named the Name of Jesus.

I’m sure I would glance at God, with a bemused and questioning look. I can picture Him smiling, shrugging and saying, “Eh. What could I do? They loved Me so much, and they had never even heard about Jesus.” I assure you there would be no one happier than I to greet them there.

My God could do that. Make the rules, break the rules -- because He is the Ruler. My concern is not what He does or how He does it. My concern is to "fear God, and keep His commandments." The wisest human who ever lived said that. Fear God. Keep His commandments. The meaning of life in a nutshell. And it's what works for me, and I hope that's OK with you.

--------------------
Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and shut it when I've said enough. Amen.

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Jerry Boam
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# 4551

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quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
So much about having to be able to reason it out, make it logical, be brought into understanding about it. I just don't think that's how God intended us to approach Him. Where's the awe? Where's the reverence? Where's the worship?

Why give us reason if not to use it?

More important--if you don't reason it out, how do you decide which of the competing religious claims to put your faith in? As was already asked how do you decide between Islam and Christianity. Muslims also have a book and claim it is without error... Can you choose to have faith in something when you have no reason to believe it?

I can believe that this unquestioning faith somehow works for you, but find it hard to understand why you don't see how impossible it is for others...

I'm not sure that the interpretation of the fear of God that you seem to believe in is fully compatible with the idea of loving God, which was also rather heavily promoted by the Son.

Fear God as a being who may see to it that you are tortured forever, but also love him? Either there is an alternative meaning to "fear" to be explored or this is a completely different idea of love than anyting I have encountered...

--------------------
If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving is not for you.

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Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
# 5053

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quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Boam:


I can believe that this unquestioning faith somehow works for you, but find it hard to understand why you don't see how impossible it is for others...

Fear God as a being who may see to it that you are tortured forever, but also love him? Either there is an alternative meaning to "fear" to be explored or this is a completely different idea of love than anyting I have encountered...

Does a child not fear and love it's parents at the same time?

Love God because of the good things he as done. Love him because you owe it to him to love him.
Love him because he deserves it.

Fear him because he is a fearful being. Only those with limited imagination or incredible ego would not be awed by an all-knowing, all-powerful diety.

Np

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Golden Key
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# 1468

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quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
golden key, your posts (and others) sadden and discourage me. Why is it so important and apparently imperative to be able to explain and present God in human terms? We are living in an age of such rabid self-promotion that we have totally lost the concept of omniscience. We are democratic to the death, no one better than another, and somehow we have managed to bring God into the arena with us. So many posts about "morality" and "how could God do that" and "not being able to conceive of a God..." So much about having to be able to reason it out, make it logical, be brought into understanding about it. I just don't think that's how God intended us to approach Him. Where's the awe? Where's the reverence? Where's the worship?

Hmmm...I don't have a problem with omniscience. I prefer it, actually, though I don't absolutely require it. My main concern with God is Her (for me) nature. Does She love us? Is She dangerous? Does She mean well? I think I could deal with a God who was good and loving, but not omniscient or omnipotent. I couldn't deal with a God who was omniscient and omnipotent, but not good and loving.

Look, if God is better and wiser than human beings, shouldn't God be at least as good as the best human being? As the best parent?

If, as you said, God is jealous, vengeful, and murderous, then God doesn't meet those criteria.

If She ever gives up on Her kids, punishes them forever rather than patiently helping them heal and grow, then IMHO She's an unfit parent.

As to awe, reverence, worship:
Those can be good things--if the being you're worshipping is good. If God is all the things you said, then IMHO God shouldn't be worshipped.

And the power and majesty thing isn't the only way to relate to God. There's "I and Thou", Friend, Comforter, Parent, Creator, etc. etc.


quote:
My response is exactly the same as yours: I would not want to know a God who could be controlled by the concepts of man. He would have nothing to offer me.

Except love, growth, healing, compassion...

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18601 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
# 5053

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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
1000 year reign of Christ is not biblical. He shall reign forever. Rev 11:15, Luke 1:33, etc etc.

Re 20:2
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

Re 20:3
<snip>... that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: ...

Re 20:4
<snip>... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Re 20:5
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Re 20:6
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Re 20:7
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

How many syllables are in "Thousand year reign"?

[Biased]

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:
quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Boam:


I can believe that this unquestioning faith somehow works for you, but find it hard to understand why you don't see how impossible it is for others...

Fear God as a being who may see to it that you are tortured forever, but also love him? Either there is an alternative meaning to "fear" to be explored or this is a completely different idea of love than anyting I have encountered...

Does a child not fear and love it's parents at the same time?

Love God because of the good things he as done. Love him because you owe it to him to love him.
Love him because he deserves it.

Fear him because he is a fearful being. Only those with limited imagination or incredible ego would not be awed by an all-knowing, all-powerful diety.

Np

Children in loving, functional homes do not fear their parents will literally torture them the rest of their lives if they get out of line. [Frown]

A God who gives his children the world on one hand but threatens them with the ultimate punishment if they don't repeat the mantra of "God, dearest" on cue, and then demands their absolute love reminds me of Joan Crawford. It takes a lot of therapy to recover from a parent like that.

I can see fearing such a God, having a sober gratitude to him for my life, and serving him as a slave to avoid the ultimate punishment. But don't ask me to love him because it wouldn't be possible for me.

--------------------
"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

Posts: 21377 | From: CA | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
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# 1468

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quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:
Does a child not fear and love it's parents at the same time?

If a child really fears her/his parents, something's wrong.

--------------------
Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?" (Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon")
--"Oh, Peace Train, save this country!" (Yusuf/Cat Stevens, "Peace Train")

Posts: 18601 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
# 5053

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quote:
Originally posted by golden key:
quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:
Does a child not fear and love it's parents at the same time?

If a child really fears her/his parents, something's wrong.
Define "really fears". Never mind, this is my last post on this thread. <<snip>>

I just edited myself, had several long paragraphs written, but I've decided on the short answer, because I know that you'll never agree any amount of fear is good for children. So: I do not feel your assumption applies in all cases of children who fear AND love their parents. Probably not even most. I do not believe that a healthy fear of God is a bad thing.

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Adeodatus
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# 4992

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A couple of brief points.

One. (A tangent, if anything.) It would be good if scriptural literalists and non-literalists could move to the position where we recognise each other's view, even if we don't accept it. Scriptural literalism actually is a position which can be held by non-idiots. But on the other hand, it doesn't do for literalists to say that non-literalists 'only pick the bits of the Bible they like'. That is emphatically not true of an informed, intelligent, critical approach to Scripture. From my own non-literalist point of view, I think my way of dealing Scripture pays more respect to the Bible by not letting it off any of the difficult questions I want to ask of it. A teacher I never question is a teacher I don't respect.

Two. I hope I've been arguing as a person who holds one viewpoint, against another viewpoint that can be held with complete integrity. I actually do recognise that the God who will throw you into fire for ever for the theft of a penny is a God who appears to appear in Scripture, and who can be believed in with logical integrity. He can even be said to be moral, within his own system of morality. The problem is that this God's morality is as far removed from our morality (based on conscience and moral reason) as the east is from the west. In this case, how can we ever get through the world? - since any 'moral' decision I might make according to reason or conscience might, for all I know, be a monstrous offence against God? (See, for a particularly horrifying example, the already cited example of Uzzah and the Ark.) In particular, if God rewards a finite transgression with an infinite punishment, should we not (in order to be Godlike) imitate him? The logical end of this would be the introduction of the death penalty for car parking offences.

I'm not saying that such a God cannot actually be God. But the only way I can relate to such a God is the way I can relate to a hungry lion with whom I'm sharing a cage. How long will it stay asleep? Will it be hungry when it wakes up? What movements/gestures/words from me would annoy it? I can't love this lion-God because my heart is pounding too fast with terror. And I certainly can't worship him - how can I do so when even to utter a word of worship would overwhelm me with moral revulsion?

(Following this metaphor, of course, the Bible becomes a pamphlet on the behaviour of lions. Not much practical use when you're in the cage!)

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

Posts: 9779 | From: Manchester | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged
Adeodatus
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By the way, my argument that we would become Godlike if we introduced the death penalty for parking offences has a precedent. Augustine argues that Hell is 'just' because - in his opinion - a flogging lasting hours is a 'just' punishment for kissing another man's wife, and 'years in fetters' is a 'just' punishment for a slave who 'attacks his master with a passing word'. (City of God, XXI.11) In other words, this hideous man argues that punishments should rarely if ever 'fit the crime' - they should, as a rule, be far far worse! Would we agree?

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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AB
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quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:

Re 20:3
<snip>... that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: ...

Re 20:4
<snip>... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Re 20:5
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Re 20:6
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Re 20:7
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

...because Revelation has always been a good book to take literally... [Biased]

BTW, I was kinda hoping someone might cast a helpful eye over my previous two posts and critique them. I, too, am trying to figure this lot out.

[Smile]

AB

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"This is all that I've known for certain, that God is love. Even if I have been mistaken on this or that point: God is nevertheless love."
- Søren Kierkegaard

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Astro
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It's probably my Baptist background, but I believe that the Bible is inerrant in giving us principals to follow not rules. The Bible contains example of how people live and go wrong and yet God still loves them, but their failings are not given as an example of how to live.

If we are going to look at sections of teh Bible then Ephesians talks about christians being sealed by the Holy Spirit once and for all, so having been sealed commiting another sin does not unseal. It seems to me that dying with one small unconfessed sin causing a person to go to Hell is a strawman and I have never heard it preached. If you read teh gospels you can see that to anyone who thinks they are free of sin Jesus tell that they have sins that they are not aware of, so I would think in Jesus's view everyone dies with unconfessed sins.

Finally why Hell - well to me hell is where God is not _ or at least he withholds his presence - why: because some people do not want to be in his presence and he is NOR CRUEL so he allows them to not be in his presence. Do you not think that forcing everyone to be with him whether they wanted to or not would be kind or loving?
Although I am prepared to accept that on meeting him face to face nobody would choose not to be in his presence.

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if you look around the world today – whether you're an atheist or a believer – and think that the greatest problem facing us is other people's theologies, you are yourself part of the problem. - Andrew Brown (The Guardian)

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Liam
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quote:
Originally posted by Astro:
It seems to me that dying with one small unconfessed sin causing a person to go to Hell is a strawman and I have never heard it preached.

I think people are consistently misreading this and other points made by Adeodatus. He's not saying it's something that's actually preached, he's using it as an example of where traditional teaching seems to lead if you follow its logic. Perhaps this idea isn't preached simply because people are avoiding the logical consequences of their beliefs? That's how I understood his point, anyway.

If someone could actually offer a logical refutation of Adeodatus's argument, rather than just saying 'Nobody actually follows the logic through like that so it's OK', maybe we'd get somewhere...

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Adeodatus
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Thank you, Space Monkey!

Astro - sorry, but you have departed from conservative teaching on several points. The most obvious being
quote:
on meeting him face to face nobody would choose not to be in his presence.

Traditional teaching tells us it's too late then! We have to 'choose' in this life.

I'm interested, however, that you extend the idea of scriptural inerrancy to a concept of 'inerrancy of principle' rather than 'inerrancy of text'. Would you like to say more? And how would this apply to, say, Mt.5.22 in the New Testament and cases such as Zabdi (Jos. chapter 7) and Uzzah (2Sam. 6.6-8) in the Old Testament? What 'inerrant principles' do these illustrate?

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