1. Standard memberwittywonka
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    21 May '07 20:52
    This has been nagging at me lately, so I finally came around to posting it.

    Many religions, specifically more fundamentalist sects, always seem to have the notion that their religion (and again, sometimes that their specific sect) is the only way to achieve salvation. In other words, they believe that anyone who does not follow their religion will not go achieve salvation (go to heaven).

    I feel I must stand up and argue my opinion; I think it is illogical, in many cases, to claim that only the followers of a specific religion achieve salvation. In many ways, I think it ties back to the (lack of) reasoning behind any god being omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent simoltaneously.

    For example, are you to genuinely believe that anyone who has never heard of your particular religion will not go to heaven simply because of their ignorance? Can you (or any omnibenevolent God) seriously hold them responsible for something they cannot control?

    So, you rationalize it, saying, "Fine. Only those who have heard of (fill in your religion here) yet continue to practice other religions or continue to deny (fill in your religion here) will be punished." Again, do you truly believe that any omnibenevolent God would punish someone for not believing in something they did not think was "right"? Think of it this way: do you think that you would immediately convert to any other religion, especially considering that you wouldn't know whether it was any more true than yours, if that religion turned out to be the only one?

    So again, I really see no logic behind the belief that any omnibenevolent God would ever punish others for what they genuinely or unknowingly believed to be their "correct" religion.

    Before you begin swarming me, as I'm expecting, let me please ask you to limit your posts to legitimate discussions, not immature remarks. I realize this is a heated discussion, but please challenge yourselves to think and discuss the topic. 🙂
  2. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    21 May '07 21:311 edit
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    This has been nagging at me lately, so I finally came around to posting it.

    Many religions, specifically more fundamentalist sects, always seem to have the notion that their religion (and again, sometimes that their specific sect) is the only way to achieve salvation. In other words, they believe that anyone who does not follow their religion will not a heated discussion, but please challenge yourselves to think and discuss the topic. 🙂
    One motivation for following a religion is to alleviate the fear of death and of the unknown. People find comfort in the idea that they will go to heaven after they die, and be reunited with their loved ones and friends.

    This need to feel certain about the 'truth' of things like salvation and afterlife can become exaggerated to the point where theological disagreement reintroduces the very nagging doubts and uncertainties that the believer tried to dismiss by joining their faith. It's like taking a security blanket from a child.

    As if that weren't enough, humans have a bad habit of assuming, "If it works for me, it will work for everyone." It's easy to forget that other people have different values, cultures, personal experiences, etc. that influence their beliefs, sometimes in radically different directions than our own.
  3. Illinois
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    22 May '07 07:45
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    This has been nagging at me lately, so I finally came around to posting it.

    Many religions, specifically more fundamentalist sects, always seem to have the notion that their religion (and again, sometimes that their specific sect) is the only way to achieve salvation. In other words, they believe that anyone who does not follow their religion will not ...[text shortened]... a heated discussion, but please challenge yourselves to think and discuss the topic. 🙂
    Again, do you truly believe that any omnibenevolent God would punish someone for not believing in something they did not think was "right"?

    Read these scriptures in order and then reconsider the scriptural basis of your opinion:

    "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:44-45).

    "Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed" (Romans 2:4-5).

    "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).

    "So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. ‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit" (John 10:7-9,1).

    "For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:18-20).

    "When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

    "Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory" (Romans 9:21-23).
  4. Standard memberKellyJay
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    22 May '07 16:01
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    This has been nagging at me lately, so I finally came around to posting it.

    Many religions, specifically more fundamentalist sects, always seem to have the notion that their religion (and again, sometimes that their specific sect) is the only way to achieve salvation. In other words, they believe that anyone who does not follow their religion will not ...[text shortened]... a heated discussion, but please challenge yourselves to think and discuss the topic. 🙂
    Would a judge fine you for speeding if you didn't know you were
    going to fast on a road?
    Kelly
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    22 May '07 16:19
    In Romans chapter 1, Paul teaches that God has implanted awareness within the human spirit that there is a reality beyond the natural universe, and that a God exists. Having said that, if there be a God either there is one religion that points to the real God or God simply does not care about all of the confusion regarding the matter. What then are the implications for a God who does not care? Would I even concern myself with a God who does not care? For me it boils down to relationship. For me my religion teaches that we are to focus on God and our relationship with him. All other religions I have encountered seem to want to do the opposite. Other religions seem to want to distance themselves from God. They say that either he is unknowable, or that he is uninterested in having a loving interaction with me. If either scenerio were true, what interest would I then have in a God who has no interest in me? Christianity is the only religion that I know of in which God himself came down and gave his life for me and then seeks to live within me and commune with me. Really, this is how we are wired. What interest do we have in people if our interactions with them are devoid of relationship and love yet God is somehow suppose to be different? Who made us to crave love and relatinships with others to begin with?
  6. Standard memberKellyJay
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    22 May '07 16:34
    Originally posted by whodey
    In Romans chapter 1, Paul teaches that God has implanted awareness within the human spirit that there is a reality beyond the natural universe, and that a God exists. Having said that, if there be a God either there is one religion that points to the real God or God simply does not care about all of the confusion regarding the matter. What then are the impl ...[text shortened]... suppose to be different? Who made us to crave love and relatinships with others to begin with?
    I would not say all other religions are saying God is not interested,
    but that man must become worthy earning our righteousness before
    God with man doing the work, or there is no need for righteousness.

    The other belief systems have man always trying to be good enough
    for God, while with God in reality as scripture teach has God reaching
    down to us because He knew we could not do that. We are clean and
    righteous before God in Jesus Christ not because of ourselves, but
    because of Jesus Christ.
    Kelly
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    22 May '07 17:221 edit
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    [b]I would not say all other religions are saying God is not interested,
    but that man must become worthy earning our righteousness before
    God with man doing the work, or there is no need for righteousness.
    You are right in that it seems that all other religions seem to want to place us on a scale. On one side of the scale are your good deeds and on the other side of the scale are your bad deeds. You just hope that your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds. Christianity has a unique perspective in this regard. The Bible teaches that our salvation is not by works lest any man should boast.

    Having said that, however, I find that this scale system is a type of distancing from God. It is like chasing your tail. Nothing we do really seems to be "good enough". It is akin to a son trying to please his father his whole life by doing things that the son thinks will bring the father pride in him. However, the father never speaks or says anything in apporval, so the son trys all the more to please him to get his approval. The real problem, however, is that there is a disconnect in their relationship. With the God of the Bible the Father has already spoken We are told that we are saved by grace and not of ourselves. There are no hoops to jump through in order to get his apporval, rather, what we do to please him is done simply for the joy of pleasing him while all the while we know that he smiles upon us whether do those things or not. Also, God is now able to speak to us in and let us know that he is there and he loves us. Through Christ we have access to a holy God that we had no acess to beforehand. As a result, we have an oppurtunity for relationship with him.
  8. Donationrwingett
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    22 May '07 17:27
    Originally posted by whodey
    ...all the while we know that he smiles upon us whether do those things or not.
    Was god smiling when he drowned virtually the entire population of the earth?
  9. Joined
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    22 May '07 17:34
    Originally posted by rwingett
    Was god smiling when he drowned virtually the entire population of the earth?
    No, in fact in Genesis 6:6 that God's heart was grieved during the incident in quesiton not gleeful. Also, in Genesis 8:21 we see God saying that he will never again strike down every living thing as he had done. This seems to indicate remorse to me. I am sure you read it differently.
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    22 May '07 17:43
    Originally posted by wittywonka
    This has been nagging at me lately, so I finally came around to posting it.

    Many religions, specifically more fundamentalist sects, always seem to have the notion that their religion (and again, sometimes that their specific sect) is the only way to achieve salvation. In other words, they believe that anyone who does not follow their religion will not ...[text shortened]... a heated discussion, but please challenge yourselves to think and discuss the topic. 🙂
    To start off, I'll just point out that my religion (Catholicism) does not teach that only Catholics will go to heaven. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    That said, whether it is illogical for an 'omnibenevolent' God to condemn a person who has never heard of the True Faith (whichever it is) to eternal damnation would depend on what you mean by 'omnibenevolent'. For instance, a religion that thinks of humanity as a collective (not to be confused with a numerical majority) as the object of omnibenevolence can coherently argue for such a position.

    (Once again, Catholicism does not hold to such a position.)

    Further, when it comes to someone being punished for not believing in something they did not think was "right", it becomes easier to argue a coherent position for that. For instance, Catholic teaching distinguishes between culpable and invincible ignorance. In the former, the person is guilty of refusing to believe in something despite being provided adequate justification or deliberately remaining ignorant so as not to have to change one's views.
  11. Donationrwingett
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    22 May '07 17:45
    Originally posted by whodey
    No, in fact in Genesis 6:6 that God's heart was grieved during the incident in quesiton not gleeful. Also, in Genesis 8:21 we see God saying that he will never again strike down every living thing as he had done. This seems to indicate remorse to me. I am sure you read it differently.
    How can an omniscient being have remorse? He knew ahead of time that he was going to drown everyone. He knew it when he made them.

    But let's say that he did have remorse. This would indicate that god knew he had behaved wrongly, and that drowning people is not a conduct that shines favorably on a supposedly "loving" god.

    But in your previous post you claimed that god smiles upon us whether we do things that please him or not. The great flood clearly contradicts this, as do a host of other incidents throughout the bible.
  12. Standard memberwittywonka
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    23 May '07 00:07
    Originally posted by epiphinehas

    Again, do you truly believe that any omnibenevolent God would punish someone for not believing in something they did not think was "right"?

    Read these scriptures in order and then reconsider the scriptural basis of your opinion:

    "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father i ...[text shortened]... objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory" (Romans 9:21-23).
    "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:44-45).

    I think I am either misinterpreting this passage or you may not have meant to include it. "For he makes the sun rise on the evil and the good..." Would not that imply that he will treat both the "evil" and the "good" equally? And I certainly do not think that he would punish them both...

    As for your other posts, I see where you are coming from. However, to start, at least agree with me that someone who has never been exposed to Christianity cannot be condemned to Hell if the Christian god is at all omnibenevolent. It simply does not stand to logic.
  13. Standard memberwittywonka
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    23 May '07 00:09
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    Would a judge fine you for speeding if you didn't know you were
    going to fast on a road?
    Kelly
    The judge would punish you because the spedomoter is 2 feet from your face. I'm talking about someone who has never had any chance of experiencing Christianity
  14. Standard memberwittywonka
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    23 May '07 00:14
    Originally posted by whodey
    With the God of the Bible the Father has already spoken We are told that we are saved by grace and not of ourselves. There are no hoops to jump through in order to get his apporval, rather, what we do to please him is done simply for the joy of pleasing him...
    This exerpt phrases my opinion well. The only addition I am trying to make is that is applies to everyone, as the term "omnibenevolent" implies.
  15. Standard memberwittywonka
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    23 May '07 00:21
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    To start off, I'll just point out that my religion (Catholicism) does not teach that only Catholics will go to heaven. Quite the opposite, in fact.

    That said, whether it is illogical for an 'omnibenevolent' God to condemn a person who has never heard of the True Faith (whichever it is) to eternal damnation would depend on what you mea ...[text shortened]... ation or deliberately remaining ignorant so as not to have to change one's views.
    To start off, I wasn't targeting Catholicism. 😉

    I'm sorry, but I'm not actually sure I completely understand what you are saying about a "collective" body of faith. Could you rephrase what you are saying?

    Also, the differences in the types of "ignorance" you pointed out are what I was referring to in my initial post, but I just didn't have a word for them. Thanks.
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