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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:47 PM   #26
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I do. Most Christians do.
Nope. Only Protestants claim that they know they are saved, and only Evangelicals think that all they do is follow a set of rules. Catholic population > 1 billion. Protestant population = 593 million. Most Christians, in fact, don't.

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know for a fact I am saved and I know the way for someone else to be saved. It has nothing to do with me yet through the Bible I can point someone on to how to seek salvation.
Sorry, but I see God as more than a rule giver. I don't know God's will and neither do you. If God chooses to save me, I'm glad, but I do not expect it. God does not "owe" it to me for believing in Jesus.

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Do you honestly not know if you are saved or not?
Nope. The only people we know for certain who are saved are those canonized by the Church.

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You being a catholic I am assuming you consider yourself to be a Christian. If you do not know if you are saved or if your parents or friends are and if you will live eternally then that saddens me deeply. That is no way to live.
No, it is the only way to live. I don't seek what is right because of vanity, because of personal gain, because someone else told me what to do, etc., etc. I seek to do what is right because it is right, and live in hope that not only am I saved, but also that my friends, family, and even the whole world be saved. Yes, even atheists and other non-Christians. I hope that they are saved after death just as much as I hope that I am saved after death.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:53 PM   #27
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Nope. The only people we know for certain who are saved are those canonized by the Church.
So the church, made up by humans, know when someone is saved (they claim them to be a saint). Contradictory much? This is why and I tried to bite my tongue in previous claims but this is why Catholicism is a cult. Catholics hold the church in higher regards than God. God's word says those who believe Jesus to have died for their sins are saved yet the catholic church claims that no one knows who God will save except for those they deem saints. Ridiculous.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 05:57 PM   #28
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Nope. Only Protestants claim that they know they are saved, and only Evangelicals think that all they do is follow a set of rules. Catholic population > 1 billion. Protestant population = 593 million. Most Christians, in fact, don't.
The evangelicals that I have been around do not think that all they have to do is follow a set of rules to be saved. The only people I have ever met that actually think that are those who do not read the bible or attend church very often and therefore only pick up bits and pieces of what is being taught.

Macaddicttt, from my perspective, you seem to have some misconceptions about protestants and evangelicals. It is very similar to the misconceptions many on these threads have about catholicism that you are so quick to rebut.

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So the church, made up by humans, know when someone is saved (they claim them to be a saint). Contradictory much? This is why and I tried to bite my tongue in previous claims but this is why Catholicism is a cult. Catholics hold the church in higher regards than God. God's word says those who believe Jesus to have died for their sins are saved yet the catholic church claims that no one knows who God will save except for those they deem saints. Ridiculous.
Why are you so quick to claim these Christian brothers and sisters are a cult? Have you done much investigating into catholicism? Have you tried to understand why it is they believe different things than your church does?

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Old Dec 13, 2010, 06:11 PM   #29
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I am not a competent theist, so I guess I'll pass.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 06:15 PM   #30
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So the church, made up by humans, know when someone is saved (they claim them to be a saint). Contradictory much? This is why and I tried to bite my tongue in previous claims but this is why Catholicism is a cult. Catholics hold the church in higher regards than God. God's word says those who believe Jesus to have died for their sins are saved yet the catholic church claims that no one knows who God will save except for those they deem saints. Ridiculous.
Religion: dividing people over non-issues since time immemorial ™

Seriously though, while there exists a (very narrow IMHO) possibility that one of you is right, your implicit claim about knowing for certain that this is in fact the way things work, is demonstrably wrong. In other words, if any religion is right about the nature of the world, it would be by mere chance, and not because it actually had access to divine knowledge or a superior understanding of an ambiguous, ancient text.

Your all basically guessing, filling the gaps in your alleged god's word with your own desires and expectations, and then mistaking your hopes of it being true with actual knowledge.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 06:27 PM   #31
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Some Greek bloke.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 06:30 PM   #32
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They seem to be the foundation of the religious establishment, do they not? Where have I erred? Thanks!
I don't know that I said you "erred," just that your questions seem very presumptuous of some things.

1. How did you become aware of your God?


I suppose this depends on what your definition of "aware" is, and still presumes that I view God as somehow "mine" - or that I have a different God from other believers. I don't know that to be the case, and it doesn't matter to me.

2. How did you become aware of your God's expectations and rules?


Again, I'm not sure what you mean by "aware" here, but I also don't know what you mean by "God's expectations and rules." I don't know that I've ever had a sit-down with God and been given a list of Do's and Don'ts that, in my opinion, don't extend far beyond basic morality like not stealing or murdering people. Are those God's "expectations and rules," or are they Mankind's? Or does it even matter?

3. How did you decide that God is perfect?


You're assuming that (1) we all believe God is perfect, and (2) that it was our decision. This question borders on ridiculous, IMO.

4. How did you decide God is omnipotent?

Same as 3. above.

5. How did you decide you owe God your allegiance?


This might be the most presumptive question you asked in your list - I don't believe I've ever met anyone who decided that he owes God his allegiance. Allegiance is given freely, not owed.

6. How did you decide that God demands obedience and especially worship?


Same as 3. and 4. above - if there was ever a "demand" for obedience, I don't believe I've heard it. Worship, while listed as one of the Ten Commandments, is something that most of us do pretty freely, actually - I don't know any people who go to church and grumble about some "stupid Commandment."

6. How did you decide you don't have the right to question God?

This one is ridiculous, too. Who says we don't have that right? God gave Man free will, meaning we're free to believe or not believe. Few dispute that. Your question sounds like you just made it up, or you're just trolling.

You'd probably get much better answers from people if you just asked straight-up, honest questions without phrasing them as back-handed insults.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 06:56 PM   #33
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So the church, made up by humans, know when someone is saved (they claim them to be a saint). Contradictory much?
No, the Holy Spirit works through the Church, guiding it. The Church as a body is discerning that someone is saved. Humans are not saying they know when someone is saved, God is saying that someone is saved.

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This is why and I tried to bite my tongue in previous claims but this is why Catholicism is a cult. Catholics hold the church in higher regards than God. God's word says those who believe Jesus to have died for their sins are saved yet the catholic church claims that no one knows who God will save except for those they deem saints. Ridiculous.
This is a silly argument. I could argue that you hold the Bible in higher regards than God. Much like the Bible is an instrument of God, so is the Church. Following the Church is following God. I, for one, have more faith in actual humans who can think than pieces of paper that we don't even have the original copies of.

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The evangelicals that I have been around do not think that all they have to do is follow a set of rules to be saved. The only people I have ever met that actually think that are those who do not read the bible or attend church very often and therefore only pick up bits and pieces of what is being taught.
Probably true.

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Macaddicttt, from my perspective, you seem to have some misconceptions about protestants and evangelicals. It is very similar to the misconceptions many on these threads have about catholicism that you are so quick to rebut.
I know quite a bit about Protestantism because they organize themselves and provide catechisms, etc. While I may be incorrect in saying ALL evangelicals are a certain way, I am certainly correct in saying SOME evangelicals are the way I described. I may not be correctly characterizing your beliefs, but then again, you've exposed on of the biggest flaws of evangelical Christianity: no one can say that anyone else has an incorrect view; there's no accepted measure for determining what is true. So you have a problem even worse than that of mainstream Protestantism in which Christianity is split into thousands and thousands of new divisions each year, whereas evangelical Christianity is split down to the individual, leaving them to squabble amongst themselves about who's correct without any possible way of agreeing.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 07:10 PM   #34
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So the church, made up by humans, know when someone is saved (they claim them to be a saint). Contradictory much? This is why and I tried to bite my tongue in previous claims but this is why Catholicism is a cult. Catholics hold the church in higher regards than God. God's word says those who believe Jesus to have died for their sins are saved yet the catholic church claims that no one knows who God will save except for those they deem saints. Ridiculous.
This Sounds just as arrogant as the Atheists you called out a few Posts back. And I'm curious about the "I know I am saved" bit. How? It's called faith for a reason, right?
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 07:41 PM   #35
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It's called faith for a reason, right?
It's called a rhetorical question for a reason, right?
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 07:57 PM   #36
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It's called a rhetorical question for a reason, right?
Nope. I am curious to know why someone thinks they "know" something that is utterly unknowable.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 08:00 PM   #37
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I could argue that you hold the Bible in higher regards than God. Much like the Bible is an instrument of God, so is the Church. Following the Church is following God. I, for one, have more faith in actual humans who can think than pieces of paper that we don't even have the original copies of.
This is an excellent point. Fundamentalists seem to follow the Bible literally and word for word when it is a book that was written, edited, and translated by a variety of men over quite a number of years. If Jesus were to come down and say "that story was meant as an allegory" I sometimes wonder if Fundamentalists would scream at him and say "no, you're wrong, the Bible says so!"
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 08:43 PM   #38
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This Sounds just as arrogant as the Atheists you called out a few Posts back. And I'm curious about the "I know I am saved" bit. How? It's called faith for a reason, right?
Again how is it arrogant to recognize that religions are simply "cults" which have grown large enough to be socially acceptable.

And with this notoriety they some how the ideas the prescribe become more meaningful/viable?
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 08:51 PM   #39
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Again how is it arrogant to recognize that religions are simply "cults" which have grown large enough to be socially acceptable.

And with this notoriety they some how the ideas the prescribe become more meaningful/viable?
I think u might have misunderstood my point or I wasn't clear enough. I'm on ur side, I just read two posts by the same poster; one In which he called Atheists arrogant and another In Which he passed judgement on a other religion. Sounded a bit hypocritical to me.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 09:01 PM   #40
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Very well said.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 10:07 PM   #41
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Very well said.
Did you mean well dodged? You know the way he pretended, to fail to understand the questions, and then talked around them.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 10:22 PM   #42
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Did you mean well dodged? You know the way he pretended, to fail to understand the questions, and then talked around them.
If he wanted to dodge, he probably wouldn't have posted in the thread.

It was a good point, well made.
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Old Dec 13, 2010, 10:35 PM   #43
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I'm not really concerned with whether or not a theist is competent unless he's attempting to make a case for that competence, either by enshrining his beliefs into law, acting on them in some kind of official capacity, or attempting to solicit new followers.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 09:21 AM   #44
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I know quite a bit about Protestantism because they organize themselves and provide catechisms, etc. While I may be incorrect in saying ALL evangelicals are a certain way, I am certainly correct in saying SOME evangelicals are the way I described. I may not be correctly characterizing your beliefs, but then again, you've exposed on of the biggest flaws of evangelical Christianity: no one can say that anyone else has an incorrect view; there's no accepted measure for determining what is true. So you have a problem even worse than that of mainstream Protestantism in which Christianity is split into thousands and thousands of new divisions each year, whereas evangelical Christianity is split down to the individual, leaving them to squabble amongst themselves about who's correct without any possible way of agreeing.
Out of curiosity, which evangelical denominations provide a catechism that states that all they do is follow a set of rules to be saved?

I will agree with you that the infighting and sometimes hatred between denominations is quite ridiculous. It has always been strange to me that some christians can actually look down on others who profess christ as savior just because they sprinkle instead of dunk or believe the bread is actually the body instead of a representation or speak in tongues or raise their hands in praise during a song.

The accepted measure of determining what is true in Evangelical Protestantism is generally the Bible. The accepted measure in Catholicism is the Church. Arguments can be made on both sides for which one is better, but personally, I can see how god could use both to guide different parts his entire church.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 10:08 AM   #45
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I'm not sure why "competence" is a useful or even appropriate criterion in theism.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 10:19 AM   #46
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I am jumping in in the middle of this and have to admit that I have not read the complete thread. I am picking a few things that I would like to address; it would take me days to go through this thread and respond to all that I would like to.

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I may not be correctly characterizing your beliefs, but then again, you've exposed on of the biggest flaws of evangelical Christianity: no one can say that anyone else has an incorrect view; there's no accepted measure for determining what is true. So you have a problem even worse than that of mainstream Protestantism in which Christianity is split into thousands and thousands of new divisions each year, whereas evangelical Christianity is split down to the individual, leaving them to squabble amongst themselves about who's correct without any possible way of agreeing.
I would argue that this is not a flaw but a defining characteristic that is very important. It is not up to me to say what is a correct or incorrect view for anyone else. I have to judge myself and study to show myself approved. The Bible is very specific in telling us not to judge others, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." - Matthew 7:1

We are to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong and be true to our own conscience. The Bible instructs that if we believe something to be a sin and we go ahead and do that thing, that it is sin to us. "But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning." - Romans 14:23 So again, this scripture shows that if I believe it is wrong for me to judge others by their actions and I do, then I am not doing what is right.

Same thing with squabbling - "Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!" - James 5:9

My faith is very personal to me, between me and my God and no one else - not my church or my pastor or my friends or even my spouse.

God's love is in my heart and my conscience guides me. I CAN and DO know God's will for me and my life. "Don't become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants-what is good, pleasing, and perfect." - Romans 12:2 For those who would ask, we change how we think by studying God's Word and praying.

God does promise me salvation through Jesus, and He doesn't go back on his word. I am confident of my salvation, and it can not be taken away from me. "This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God--who does not lie--promised them before the world began." - Titus 1:2

As far as rules go, they are not. The Bible is an instruction manual for me; telling me how to live a successful and happy life. If I don't always do as it says, I won't lose my salvation. A simple example of this would be the instruction to not kill. If I kill someone there are consequences of pain and punishment. God knows this and therefore clearly tells me how to avoid that pain. The salvation that Jesus provided to me through his death, burial, and resurrection will not be lost.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 10:34 AM   #47
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Why? So that I can give reasons only to be turned down with the excuse that they are not empirical. No thanks. Have dealt with that in other threads, and in fact, you guys could have one huge thread called; "Religious folks come here to be knocked down. We pretend to be interested and then when you answer we rally in the troops and attack the hell out of you with science on our side."

You guys' arrogance would really piss me off if it wasn't so foolish.
The problem is that if it's not empirical, the skeptic responding will probably discount it along the lines of "I don't see it or don't feel it". That would be their problem if it truly is a problem. If a person feels he has a personal relationship to God and wants the world to be a better place, he should be more than willing to discuss the foundation of their beliefs and suffer the arrows of the disbelievers.

For myself, I am seeking. The last word that should be used to describe me is arrogant. I freely admit I see no evidence for God as described by most Christian based churches. But that does not mean there is not a force greater than us. The problem is when people are not only sure of this force, but have assigned a list of attributes, desires, and expectations to it mostly based on the Bible. Then there is the abundance of charismatic fundamentalist preachers who produce a bounty of inspirational stories about individuals and God's miraculous deeds performed on their behalf.

I sense something, a connection to something, but for all I know, it's just a trick of the mind. The important thing is that I don't discount it, and I discuss it with other people, although the discussion does not get to far because what exactly is there to discuss? Hey, I got a feeling! I would like there to be the continuation of consciousness after physical death but I have no evidence to support this notion. However we live a life of learning. Some of us improve, some crash and burn. I see no reason why if we arrived here once, we could not arrive here again. And if we benefit from a life time of self improvement, if we can't carry these lessons forward in some manner, than what is the point?

Regarding my list of questions, I can't answer any of them with any certainty on behalf of God. I'm sure if and when the force who has dominion over us wants me to see and understand, it will make that happen.

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Depends on what flavor of Christianity. One could very simplistically interpret Christianity as merely following rules, but that's ignoring 2,000 years of theology that says otherwise. It has become rather widespread, unfortunately, to believe that Christianity is just all about rules, and people start having theologically untenable beliefs based on flawed interpretations of 2,000-year old writings, ignoring huge portions of that which makes up Christianity and Christian thought.

Unfortunately, even Catholics seem to be uneducated by and large about the Christian faith and fall into the same kind of simplistic black-and-white thinking that has become en vogue more and more.
The number one rule (as I understand it) that I have problems with is for Christ to be our savior, that only through Christ may we gain admittance to heaven. I'm curious, did Christ in his life time ever say, "I am the son of God, you must believe this to go to heaven"?

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Define "the Church."
The organizations that describe themselves a Christians.

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And again, I don't see it as rules, and most Christian theology doesn't either. No one knows who is saved and who isn't, and those who are saved certainly are not saved just because they followed a bunch of rules.
I like your answer. Are you aligned with any particular Christian church?

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The Catholic Church sees itself as the representatives of Christ on earth. They claim a very narrowly defined authority on morality. It is their job to work as a body of theologians to more clearly define morality, as revealed by God, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Self appointed representatives who have not done such a good job imo

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If something creates a universe, anything within that universe is bound by that universe. If you create a game, for example, anyone within that game is bound by the game and simply change the game midway. If you're playing basketball, you can't suddenly say, "Missing the basket is more valuable than making it in." You can play the game as if it were so, but you aren't going to get very far. Being a part of the universe is even more restrictive because you can't decide to pick up your ball, go home, and start you're own game. You were created as a part of the universe and are bound to it.
We are bound by the physical rules of this universe, agreed. If an intelligent force created it, this alone would not be grounds imo to attribute moral perfection to this entity. If it has it's rules, we may be subject to it's rules, but they are just rules. We as free willed beings decide what is moral and what is not.

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I do. Most Christians do. I know for a fact I am saved and I know the way for someone else to be saved. It has nothing to do with me yet through the Bible I can point someone on to how to seek salvation.

Do you honestly not know if you are saved or not? You being a catholic I am assuming you consider yourself to be a Christian. If you do not know if you are saved or if your parents or friends are and if you will live eternally then that saddens me deeply. That is no way to live.
A lot of assuming going on here. All I have to do is acknowledge I am a sinner and acknowledge that Christ died on the cross for me and I am saved! The problem is what basis is ther for me knowing I am a sinner? Where are those sinning rules? Is it the 10 commandants or more? How would I know who and what Christ is? By reading my Bible? What establishes the Bible as any basis of truth?

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I will agree that my relationship with god is a little one sided. I get a whole lot more out of it than he does. He gets the occasional praise from a fallen man and a whole lot of problems, complaints, and issues that I take to him. I, on the other hand, get guidance, forgiveness, wisdom, insight, friendship, comfort, reassurance, and love.

If you are seeking truth in Christianity, I have found that so often it all starts with obedience and a desire to truly get to know god's heart. The bible can help you out with both of those if you read it with those two goals in mind.
That may be good for you, but it does not really work for me.

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I have found that the arrogance of the atheists in these threads is often in direct proportion to the arrogance of the Christians in these threads.
Agreed!
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 10:48 AM   #48
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The number one rule (as I understand it) that I have problems with is for Christ to be our savior, that only through Christ may we gain admittance to heaven. I'm curious, did Christ in his life time ever say, "I am the son of God, you must believe this to go to heaven"?
John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Read John 14 and 15 if you want to see some of what Jesus has to say this.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 11:04 AM   #49
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John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Read John 14 and 15 if you want to see some of what Jesus has to say this.
Thanks for pointing this out.

In response, with all good intentions, I will point out, in what manner did this word come to us? A story someone wrote a long time ago. For all we know this is embellishment to emphasis a point of faith. My understanding is that most of the scriptures pertaining to Jesus were not written until hundreds of years after his life. As individuals, we must decide how much credence to assign. When I look at other stories such as The Garden of Eden and Noah's Arc, I admit to being a skeptic.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 12:56 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by imac/cheese View Post
Out of curiosity, which evangelical denominations provide a catechism that states that all they do is follow a set of rules to be saved?
Well, I don't know specific denominations like this, as I usually hear these kinds of things from self-described "community churches" but as an example, someone here posted a link to a website describing that if you do x you get crown y as a reward in heaven. And another example from this forum is the way people here have described themselves as "slaves" of God, saying pretty clearly that they are merely following orders.

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The number one rule (as I understand it) that I have problems with is for Christ to be our savior, that only through Christ may we gain admittance to heaven. I'm curious, did Christ in his life time ever say, "I am the son of God, you must believe this to go to heaven"?
That is not the teaching of Catholicism or Orthodoxy, which make up the majority of Christians. The teaching in those Churches is salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone, i.e. he is the only instrument by which anyone achieves salvation, but that doesn't mean that one's personal beliefs is the mode by which someone is saved. People are saved by the actions and faith of Jesus, not their own faith. God is free to save whomever he wills, and has given all sufficient grace to be saved. Meaning that, yes, Jesus is the means by which all are saved, but even the atheist could be saved by God's grace if he so wills.

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The organizations that describe themselves a Christians.
That is a very broad definition that makes discussion difficult. The Westboro Baptist Church identifies themselves as Christian, but I would call them anything but Christian, and would never seek to defend them.

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Originally Posted by Huntn View Post
I like your answer. Are you aligned with any particular Christian church?
Yes, the Catholic Church.

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Self appointed representatives who have not done such a good job imo
The Catholic Church is not self-appointed. Each bishop can trace a direct lineage of teaching back to the original apostles, passed on by the laying on of hands.

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We are bound by the physical rules of this universe, agreed. If an intelligent force created it, this alone would not be grounds imo to attribute moral perfection to this entity. If it has it's rules, we may be subject to it's rules, but they are just rules. We as free willed beings decide what is moral and what is not.
But morality is also part of this universe. Whoever created the universe is not only responsible for the physical, but also the very idea of morality.
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