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ranrod

How much do looks matter for Christians?

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Of course analogies are going to fall apart, since they are used to try to address one part of a very difficult subject.

As to God only saving those who believe in Him and accept Jesus, I think the situation is a bit more complicated than what you've made it, or what most Christians believe. A careful reading of the Book of Romans seems to indicate that knowledge of God and salvation is available to anyone who truly examines nature and examines himself. But if someone does not feel they need to be saved, does not feel they have done anything for which they need to pay for, then no amount of evidence will convince them. Jesus said He came to heal the sick and free the slaves, if you don't consider yourself to be in need of healing or liberation, then God has nothing to offer you.

The book of Romans? ... I will look. ;)

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Of course analogies are going to fall apart, since they are used to try to address one part of a very difficult subject.

As to God only saving those who believe in Him and accept Jesus, I think the situation is a bit more complicated than what you've made it, or what most Christians believe. A careful reading of the Book of Romans seems to indicate that knowledge of God and salvation is available to anyone who truly examines nature and examines himself. But if someone does not feel they need to be saved, does not feel they have done anything for which they need to pay for, then no amount of evidence will convince them. Jesus said He came to heal the sick and free the slaves, if you don't consider yourself to be in need of healing or liberation, then God has nothing to offer you.

Christianity is not the only religion in the world. Hindus and Buddhists have their final destination. Christians who are in the Book of Life have their place with Jesus Christ. It's not complicated. To have Jesus Christ in your heart the truth of grace from God comes in the picture. Only God can give that grace into a person's thinking and heart. Knowledge that God exists is throughout the internet but is it in your heart? It's the meaning of being born again. You will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit like an invisible wind. John 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

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But that's just me, I don't think god cares one way or another what we believe to be true, I think god only cares what we do and our intentions behind our actions.

Your talking about a different god. Jesus Christ/God/Holy Spirit has guidelines. They're in the Bible. Our worldly good deeds aren't enough.

But how am I supposed to differentiate from all the deceptive demons, demo gods, and jinn. Being a mere mortal I can be lead into anything right? I suppose that's why god gave me a brain.

Do you really want to know or is your mind already made up? If you're filled with many ideas there will be no room to pour. Sometimes something out of the ordinary happens to eject those other ideas. The Holy Spirit is always here for the sincere. A person should look at his life, be realistic about his situation, pray for guidance and keep Jesus Christ in his mind. It's habit forming and it's a good thing until the Holy Spirit shows His grace.

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We have our free will but do you feel liberated as the aging process keep on going decaying? If you die right now you had better have an idea where your soul is heading. Carefully understand the path you have chosen. Ignorance is not an excuse in this age of the internet.

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Then why did they paint Jesus as a white bearded longhair instead of what they think he looked like?

And why is God always depicted as a white guy with a gray beard (except in that Monty Python movie)?

Because the paintings were being composed by Europeans, and it was more appealing to the eye to paint a white Jesus.

As for the God being white with a grey beard, I don't know where the imagery originally came from. I suppose it's the archetypal father-figure look. God has no form though, so any depiction of him as a bearded white fella is just imagery.

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I guess, I don't see mankind as wretched as some Christians think we are.

Not "wretched". Just unable to reach God by our own action.

I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that we are automatically unworthy by design. It seems so very much like a tactic to keep people from finding god themselves as opposed to using a medium.

We are unworthy because of our actions.

I do not believe that god is out of reach from a pagan, shaman, buddist, Hindu, Muslim, or your average undecided because they don't believe that Jesus was god. I don't even think atheists will be denied the afterlife or access to heaven. I have met many many people that are just as moral, trust worthy, and personally beautiful, as any Christian. It boggles my mind that intelligent people cling wholeheartedly to these religous proprietary concepts. Why? Really what reason is there to think you will be saved while your neighbor, the buddist monk who has legitimately dedicated his life to compassion, will not be.

Because no matter how compassionate the Buddhist is, it doesn't absolve him of the times when he has gone against God and sinned. That sin puts an immovable wall (for humans, immovable) between us and God, and the only way that wall can be removed is by God.

I can't find any reason to not believe that Christians have faith in a often mistranslated and abused collection of spiritual writtings based on middle eastern mythology and not god at all. Then I see the unlikely scnerios of demigods or angles haveing sex with women, nephelim, demons, fallen angles etc etc, and one word comes to mind. "drama" . A soap opera of immense proportions. Another saga like the Homeric epics.... Hector & Acellies, or the bagavagita with Arjun speaking to his chariot driver which is really Krishna, or the Navajo's the black faced god, or the sues Wankatanka.

I trust god PA I do not trust the writtiings of men and their imaginations and psychological sales and games. I don't think god is going to let me die because he blessed me with critical thinking. But that's just me, I don't think god cares one way or another what we believe to be true, I think god only cares what we do and our intentions behind our actions. But hey, on judgment day ( if there is to be such a thing), Jesus is more than welcome to apear before me and say your a fool, I am god and I am right here. But how am I supposed to differentiate from all the deceptive demons, demo gods, and jinn. Being a mere mortal I can be lead into anything right? I suppose that's why god gave me a brain.

And it is your Right to follow what you think is right. Everyone must live their own journey. And hey, if I turn out to be wrong, then I'm wrong. I still wouldn't change my life from what it is for my beliefs have given me far more than just the promise of heaven.

~ PA

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My experience will contradict your statement. Jesus Christ knows His flock. He will not let you down if you are on the Book of Life. Forcing is not the right word to use because it's been decided long before this life period. You may think you're an atheist or whatever but if you're on that list you better expect a change. That's all I'm going to say about it....................................................................................... "Blessed are those who are called to His supper".

As I said, arguments of predestination are an entirely separate thread. God chooses us, and thus our name is in the Book of Life and even if you are an atheist, if your name is in that book one day you will change (the reverse is also true - a person living life as a Christian may not have their name in the Book of Life and thus either expect a deconversion or a life of hypocrisy; God will know). But even though I believe in the sovereignty of God's choice, I also equally believe in the action of human agency. God chooses, but at the same time we also choose. I believe free will and predestination can co-exist together.

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(the reverse is also true - a person living life as a Christian may not have their name in the Book of Life and thus either expect a deconversion or a life of hypocrisy; God will know).

God doesn't blot out names unless you want to add that in the Holy Bible.

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We are unworthy because of our actions.

We are unworthy mostly because we are still in the body. Paradise is for souls.

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Perhaps you wouldn't term it 'flimsy' exactly, but by the very definitions of the words I don't think we can call it very good evidence, in that it has failed to convince the majority of the people alive today; evidence that fails to convince is by definition not very good. I guess we could say that there may be evidence of things that may not convince people because the subject matter is complicated; I don't know enough about physics to weigh in on the evidence for dark matter for example and be 'convinced' the current explanations are correct. But this complexity argument doesn't seem to be a relevant factor at least for Christianity, we are told that something as mundane as creation itself leaves everyone 'without excuse', so it is presumably accessible by most everyone.

I've always thought also that the 'evidence' is supposed to be flimsy by design and is a part of most Christian theology; it is faith I thought that is supposed to lead us to belief, not reasoning from the available evidence.

Most people haven't looked at the evidence. Some have and still arrive at the belief that it is false. Others examine the evidence and arrive at the belief that it is true. I guarantee you most people (even people who grew up in Christian homes) have never read the Bible except at church, and then only so far as their minister asked them to. Take myself, for example, I didn't grow up in a Christian family. I only turned to Christ when I was 19-20 years old. I've been a Christian for approximately thirteen years. In that time I have taken the time to study my beliefs in detail. Last year, I ran the adult Bible Study group at my church (maybe I'll continue this year as well, I haven't considered it much). I encouraged those in my group to do their own study and research, but some of these guys have been in Christian families their whole entire lives and still don't really know about whatever book or topic we're studying each week.

The term "faith" is often abused. Your final paragraph is a perfect example of such abuse. The evidence is flimsy by necessity so that we must come to God by "faith"? That is not accurate at all. Though it is often quoted as such, the word "faith" in biblical contexts is not "believing in the absence of evidence" (or the more hardcore "believing in spite of evidence to the contrary"). This may be a modern usage of the term, as if faith and belief are synonymous. But in biblical contexts, the word faith is better thought of in terms of "trust". I trust that what the Bible saying is true, and I trust to the extent that it affects the way I live and interact with the world.

There's a well-known analogy of a tightrope walker named Blondin, who stretched a rope across the Niagara Falls and pushed a wheelbarrow full of bricks across. He asked the assembled crowd if they believed that he could push the barrow over with a human being inside. The crowd cheered, saying that he was the Amazing Blondin and could do anything. "So who wants to volunteer to get in the barrow"? There's little historical information about what happened next. Some websites say no one stood forward, some say that one person put up their hand, some websites say that the question wasn't asked to the crowd at all but to a Reporter who was interviewing him. The details aren't really important. The concept being presented is what is important - saying that Blondin could do anything, and having faith enough to step forward and get in that wheelbarrow is entirely different. And it is this "faith" that is being referred to in the Bible. It is not the faith of someone simply believing without evidence.

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android

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God doesn't blot out names unless you want to add that in the Holy Bible.

I didn't say God blots out names. I said that some who call themselves Christians today don't have their name written in the Book at all. Thus they will either fall away and deconvert, or they'll live a life of hypocrisy and when they meet Jesus he will tell them "begone from me, I never knew you".

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Because no matter how compassionate the Buddhist is, it doesn't absolve him of the times when he has gone against God and sinned. That sin puts an immovable wall (for humans, immovable) between us and God, and the only way that wall can be removed is by God.

That's your idea. Buddhism has its final destination. I believe the Holy Spirit is also looking after them. It makes me wonder though if they know the meaning of their salvation.

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I trust that what the Bible saying is true, and I trust to the extent that it affects the way I live and interact with the world.

You are blessed that you trust the Bible and Jesus Christ.

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The Assembly of the Lord is not heaven. It was a meeting of Jewish people, a physical place where people of Israel went to meet. It was different to a normal meeting of faithful followers. Other meetings allowed non-Hebrew converts to Judaism, but the Assembly of the Lord allowed only Jews by pure blood birth.

Of course, if you'd ever studied the Bible on this topic it would have been obvious. I can only conclude you didn't do your research first.

Are you changing the interpretations to fit your views or the other way around? When I studied it, this passage included disallowing people from not only holding public office, but being part of religious events or even attending church/temple. If it really is the word of a god, I would interpret it more harshly than you, I guess.

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Are you changing the interpretations to fit your views or the other way around? When I studied it, this passage included disallowing people from not only holding public office, but being part of religious events or even attending church/temple. If it really is the word of a god, I would interpret it more harshly than you, I guess.

No, I'm not changing the interpretation. The Assembly of the Lord is not church, has never been church, and never will be church. And it certainly is not and never will be "heaven", which is the context of the post you made, to support the view that faith was no guarantee of heaven. It was a gathering of Jews only. This didn't stop non-Jewish converts from worshipping Yahweh, it only stopped them from attending the "Assembly of the Lord".

Wherever you studied this, they obviously didn't care about context.

Edited by Paranoid Android

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The phrase "good people" is an entirely subjective phrase, and rests on the supposition that mankind is able to (or should be) "good enough" to reach God on our own. What if this is an incorrect assumption? I believe it to be incorrect.

So also is "flimsy evidence" a subjective comment. To me, it is not flimsy at all. And to answer your post, yes I agree, he could just reach down and save us from that cliff. However, we still retain the Right to choose to accept that hand and God will honour that wish instead of forcibly grabbing us and pulling us up (arguments of predestination aside, which is a topic worthy of its own thread).

That reminds me of something Christ says in the Bible. He says that he is standing at your door waiting to be invited in.

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Because the paintings were being composed by Europeans, and it was more appealing to the eye to paint a white Jesus.

As for the God being white with a grey beard, I don't know where the imagery originally came from. I suppose it's the archetypal father-figure look. God has no form though, so any depiction of him as a bearded white fella is just imagery.

True. I kinda like the strong fatherly look for God. But yes, it's true that we don't know what he looks like and this does confuse me a little because God said that he created us in his likeness, but god is pure Light.

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Most people haven't looked at the evidence. Some have and still arrive at the belief that it is false. Others examine the evidence and arrive at the belief that it is true. I guarantee you most people (even people who grew up in Christian homes) have never read the Bible except at church, and then only so far as their minister asked them to. Take myself, for example, I didn't grow up in a Christian family. I only turned to Christ when I was 19-20 years old. I've been a Christian for approximately thirteen years. In that time I have taken the time to study my beliefs in detail. Last year, I ran the adult Bible Study group at my church (maybe I'll continue this year as well, I haven't considered it much). I encouraged those in my group to do their own study and research, but some of these guys have been in Christian families their whole entire lives and still don't really know about whatever book or topic we're studying each week.

The term "faith" is often abused. Your final paragraph is a perfect example of such abuse. The evidence is flimsy by necessity so that we must come to God by "faith"? That is not accurate at all. Though it is often quoted as such, the word "faith" in biblical contexts is not "believing in the absence of evidence" (or the more hardcore "believing in spite of evidence to the contrary"). This may be a modern usage of the term, as if faith and belief are synonymous. But in biblical contexts, the word faith is better thought of in terms of "trust". I trust that what the Bible saying is true, and I trust to the extent that it affects the way I live and interact with the world.

There's a well-known analogy of a tightrope walker named Blondin, who stretched a rope across the Niagara Falls and pushed a wheelbarrow full of bricks across. He asked the assembled crowd if they believed that he could push the barrow over with a human being inside. The crowd cheered, saying that he was the Amazing Blondin and could do anything. "So who wants to volunteer to get in the barrow"? There's little historical information about what happened next. Some websites say no one stood forward, some say that one person put up their hand, some websites say that the question wasn't asked to the crowd at all but to a Reporter who was interviewing him. The details aren't really important. The concept being presented is what is important - saying that Blondin could do anything, and having faith enough to step forward and get in that wheelbarrow is entirely different. And it is this "faith" that is being referred to in the Bible. It is not the faith of someone simply believing without evidence.

~ Regards, PA

I disagree. Jesus did say in the Bible: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.. - John 20:29

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You are very much forgiven. I was scratching my head there for a second while asking myself what I've done to offend you. Oh well, misunderstanding. :blush:

Thank you euroninga. Misunderstandings do happen. Peace :)

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That reminds me of something Christ says in the Bible. He says that he is standing at your door waiting to be invited in.

The passage you refer to is Revelation 3:20. It was in the context of a letter written to the church at Laodicea, which according to verse16 are neither cold nor hot, just lukewarm. Their apathy was suffocating them, and so the call in verse 20 that he is there knocking was a church-wide call to change their attitude. Instead of doing actions that were apathetic, take a proactive approach to their beliefs, show love to others, bring them the message of God (evangelise).

This passage is often used by evangelists in modern day to say that Jesus is at the door of your heart, knocking. All you need to do is open the door. Rather the passage was addressed to people who already believed, but were simply apathetic in their application of that belief.

I disagree. Jesus did say in the Bible: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.. - John 20:29

Yes, Jesus did say this. Nowhere does it refer to "faith", though. He just says those who accept Jesus without seeing him in the flesh are "blessed".
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Do you people also worry if the Flying Spaghetti Monster is black, white, or pink-striped?

If not, why not?

What is the friggin difference?

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Your talking about a different god. Jesus Christ/God/Holy Spirit has guidelines. They're in the Bible. Our worldly good deeds aren't enough.

Do you really want to know or is your mind already made up? If you're filled with many ideas there will be no room to pour. Sometimes something out of the ordinary happens to eject those other ideas. The Holy Spirit is always here for the sincere. A person should look at his life, be realistic about his situation, pray for guidance and keep Jesus Christ in his mind. It's habit forming and it's a good thing until the Holy Spirit shows His grace.

I would say out of the ordinary pretty much defines my experiences. I am and always been ( even when I thought I was an atheist) a spiritual person. I have spent a great deal of time in meditation and prayer. I have a back ground in native American spirituallity. There is no reason for the rest of us to worship a man from the middle east as god. Not that the bible isn't a wonderul spiritual anothology, but there is no smoking gun that puts its words above all other spiritual teachings. Yes I have read and continue to read the bible along with other works.

I have surrenderd myself to the great spirit is ways most people cannot even comprehend, never once have I felt the need for a medium. Some Christians think that people cannot connect with the divine without Jesus and the bible, yet every non Christian culture has their own stories, personalities, and miricles. When Christians brought their views to my ancestors ( native Americans) ( along with disease an murder by the way), my ancestors could not understand this focus on who is right or wrong and how come Christians bear their spiritual beliefs in a totalitarian format. It was completely foreign to them.... And it remains that way. No, there are many of us that do not need Jesus. My faith and trust rests in the great spirit. No book, no man, no woman, no nothing will come between myself and the spirit, there is simply no need.

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Do you people also worry if the Flying Spaghetti Monster is black, white, or pink-striped?

If not, why not?

What is the friggin difference?

I would think that it had a redish color unless the sauce is made with yellow heirlooms. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

The friggin difference is that the FSBM is the largest straw man concocted by a group of people claiming to be more logical than another. If you don't see the contridiction then I'm afraid all these good people are haveing a discussion that is way over your head, and the real actually educated atheists are face palming every time you open up with tired immature comments.

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Do you people also worry if the Flying Spaghetti Monster is black, white, or pink-striped?

If not, why not?

What is the friggin difference?

The difference is that the majority of historians accept that there most likely was a person named Jesus who began the movement later known as Christianity. In contrast, the FSM can be traced to a physics lecturer protesting the Evolution/Intelligent Design in 2005, whose words were later picked up and turned into an internet meme via bloggers and such.

That's a pretty big difference. While the FSM meme might work in a discussion about religion in the classroom, it's illogical to extend that to claim no difference between this and a person who most historians agree was a real flesh-and-blood human being.

~ Regards, PA

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And it is your Right to follow what you think is right. Everyone must live their own journey. And hey, if I turn out to be wrong, then I'm wrong. I still wouldn't change my life from what it is for my beliefs have given me far more than just the promise of heaven.

~ PA

And I would not expect you to. I guess the only thing i try to acomplish in these discussions is to try and soften the heart of Christians a bit. being honest, I guess it bugs me a bit that respectable people think I will suffer spiritual death ( or in some cases hell), because I do not believe what they do. A pet peive I guess. I certainly don't think that about them. I'm not terribly emotional about it, but Christian dogma is hurtful, ends friendships, separates people and communities, and has prooven to be down right dangerous in the wrong minds, so I guess I feel obligated to speak up. Do you think christianity will ever open up and be truely tolerant of others as a whole?

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