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JJ50

Does your faith scare you?

74 posts in this topic

Some of the more vociferous Christians, give the impression that they are rather scared of their stance on faith matters, and are actually jealous of people who don't share them. It could be they are frightened not to believe in case they end up in the fires of hell?

As a young person I was a 'born again'. I frankly admit when I 'gave my heart to Jesus' aged eleven, it was through fear rather than any great desire to a be Christian. When you are told so many times you would go to hell if you didn't get saved, it wears you down. Looking back I am surprised I held out so long before giving in to the pressure I was under! For a few years I was quite devout and tried to convert my school chums, YIKES, :blush: without any success, I should add, phew! When eventually the doubts were too great to deny by the time I married at 19, and I lost my faith the relief was enormous.

I hasten to add that no way am I trying to de-convert anyone, if people are happy being a Christian, or a member of any other religion, no problem. However if anyone is scared of their faith maybe they should rethink their position and wonder why it is bugging them.

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No, not afraid; have been questioning and investigating my personal and corporate faith for over 45 years. Interesting question.

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I didn't grow up in a Christian family. The first I heard about Jesus was as a 12 year old at a camp run at the end of year by a fire-and-brimstone preacher. I was seriously scared, and on the second or third day of the camp I "gave myself to Jesus" - seriously, what if the bus crashed on the way home, what would happen to me?

Yeah, that thought stuck around for.... six weeks? Max? I really don't remember. I just know that shortly after finishing that camp I no longer believed. Fear is, ultimately, a poor motivator.

Several years later, I heard the other side of the Christian position. Don't "convert for fear of death", but rather "turn to God who loves you". And several years later, it happened. As a 19-year old studying at university I eventually turned to Christ. Not because of fear, but because of love. At the time I probably could say that I did think about the "rewards", and if that is the case (I really don't know) I'd repent of such a position. Today, I hold the views that resonate with a Muslim holy-woman (yes, I am not Muslim, but I can appreciate good theology when I hear it) named Rabia Al-Adawia, who is famous for saying something along the lines of (and I paraphrase, I don't have the time to search exact quotes):

"O Lord, if I worship you for fear of hell, then send me to burn. But if I worship you for the promise of eternal joy in heaven, then deny me this privilege"

~ Rabia Al-Adawiya

I like this approach to God. It's not about what we gain from believing in God, but rather what kind of heart we have when approaching said God.

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Some of the more vociferous Christians, give the impression that they are rather scared of their stance on faith matters, and are actually jealous of people who don't share them. It could be they are frightened not to believe in case they end up in the fires of hell?

I've noticed that the most vociferous ones are usually very arrogant. Being arrogant seems to be a common weakness among many pastors that I have known. I would think they're more scared of having too few notches on their belt.

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I didn't grow up in a Christian family. The first I heard about Jesus was as a 12 year old at a camp run at the end of year by a fire-and-brimstone preacher. I was seriously scared, and on the second or third day of the camp I "gave myself to Jesus" - seriously, what if the bus crashed on the way home, what would happen to me?

Yeah, that thought stuck around for.... six weeks? Max? I really don't remember. I just know that shortly after finishing that camp I no longer believed. Fear is, ultimately, a poor motivator.

Several years later, I heard the other side of the Christian position. Don't "convert for fear of death", but rather "turn to God who loves you". And several years later, it happened. As a 19-year old studying at university I eventually turned to Christ. Not because of fear, but because of love. At the time I probably could say that I did think about the "rewards", and if that is the case (I really don't know) I'd repent of such a position. Today, I hold the views that resonate with a Muslim holy-woman (yes, I am not Muslim, but I can appreciate good theology when I hear it) named Rabia Al-Adawia, who is famous for saying something along the lines of (and I paraphrase, I don't have the time to search exact quotes):

"O Lord, if I worship you for fear of hell, then send me to burn. But if I worship you for the promise of eternal joy in heaven, then deny me this privilege"

~ Rabia Al-Adawiya

I like this approach to God. It's not about what we gain from believing in God, but rather what kind of heart we have when approaching said God.

But what sort of deity is one approaching? The Biblical deity isn't one with which I could do business, unless the not so good book is lying about its nature!

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Posted (edited)

JJ50 et al,

You have made me aware of the fact that my idea of 'born again'

is individual, which suggests I should avoid the idiom.

Fear doesn't motivate me while love alone lets me be brave.

Less and less dogmatic, I sum my faith with the following:

Were I gifted eternal life with the stipulation that it be whiled

with but one person, Christ would be my choice of companion.

In Him, everyone He and I have ever loved would be present.

We would be in heaven with much, much company.

God love y'all.

Edit re: the above post -

God is everything good.

Edited by aka CAT
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But what sort of deity is one approaching? The Biblical deity isn't one with which I could do business, unless the not so good book is lying about its nature!

A deity which loves us and wants us to come to him in love. You may not think of the biblical deity as loving or righteous, but I do. God is love, and there is no fear in love. That's my opinion, and you did say you weren't trying to deconvert anyone, and as a Christian I'm happy to be in the relationship with God that I am.
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My early faith was not informed by fear. That came later. ;) I often had problems with the doctrine of Hell and other subjects. It reached a crisis point. I also was bothered by contradictions between the OT and the NT. I chose to focus on the teachings of Jesus Christ. If there were seeming contradictions, I went with Him. If not for that, I might have been an atheist or non-Christian.

I know that people, on both sides of the issue, can create many posts and threads both for and against my statements. I won't debate them. I merely answered the OP's question (I hope). I'll save the debates for the professionals. :whistle:

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But what sort of deity is one approaching? The Biblical deity isn't one with which I could do business, unless the not so good book is lying about its nature!

Concentrate on the positive. One verse literally says that God is love.

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"O Lord, if I worship you for fear of hell, then send me to burn. But if I worship you for the promise of eternal joy in heaven, then deny me this privilege"

~ Rabia Al-Adawiya

This is the *best* quote! The fear-mongers, as well as the materialists, should memorize it.

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JJ50 et al,

You have made me aware of the fact that my idea of 'born again'

is individual, which suggests I should avoid the idiom.

Fear doesn't motivate me while love alone lets me be brave.

Less and less dogmatic, I sum my faith with the following:

Were I gifted eternal life with the stipulation that it be whiled

with but one person, Christ would be my choice of companion.

In Him, everyone He and I have ever loved would be present.

We would be in heaven with much, much company.

God love y'all.

Edit re: the above post -

God is everything good.

What is good about the Biblical deity?

Concentrate on the positive. One verse literally says that God is love.

But its actions are worse than those of Hitler and that is saying something!

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To be honest my lack of faith terrifies me!

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To be honest my lack of faith terrifies me!

Why?

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What is good about the Biblical deity?

But its actions are worse than those of Hitler and that is saying something!

Just the other day, I referred to the following:

NAB - Genesis 2: 16 -17

16

The LORD God gave man this order: "You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden

17

except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die."

We are momently provided a choice between good and bad--

loving God for goodness' sake,

or depriving ourselves.

He prefers man to robot,

love separates the two

and, hence, as our reason for being

is as much cause for persevering,

I shall, for however long I live,

live to love.

0:-) MGby.

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Posted (edited)

If that myth had any credence in fact, as the deity supposedly created human nature it would have known exactly what effect that daft command would have! It then sat back knowing it was game on, and has enjoyed the spectacle of human suffering ever since!

Edited by JJ50

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If that myth had any credence in fact, as the deity supposedly created human nature it would have known exactly what effect that daft command would have! It then sat back knowing it was game on, and has enjoyed the spectacle of human suffering ever since!

I don't deny life's being trying.

May you realize solace.

Peace be with you.

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My early faith was not informed by fear. That came later. ;) I often had problems with the doctrine of Hell and other subjects. It reached a crisis point. I also was bothered by contradictions between the OT and the NT. I chose to focus on the teachings of Jesus Christ. If there were seeming contradictions, I went with Him. If not for that, I might have been an atheist or non-Christian.

I know that people, on both sides of the issue, can create many posts and threads both for and against my statements. I won't debate them. I merely answered the OP's question (I hope). I'll save the debates for the professionals. :whistle:

Exactly my story as well! Today I have peace and a firm faith that when I pass from this existence I will be with the Creator and I actually look forward to it. I'm not suicidal, this life has it's joys but I believe that the passage through death is the point where we really awaken for the first time.
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I don't deny life's being trying.

May you realize solace.

Peace be with you.

No one yet has told me what the heck is good about the Biblical deity?

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Why?

Because I lack both the courage to fully embrace atheism, and the gullibility to accept two thousand year-old mythology.

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Posted (edited)

Because I lack both the courage to fully embrace atheism, and the gullibility to accept two thousand year-old mythology.

Your avatar's viking get-up is mythical.

Re: your signature,

"I was born with a priceless gift - the ability to laugh at other peoples' troubles" - Dame Edna Everage.

God alone can make good of bad,

which he does whensoever someone learns from a mistake--

the gift of wisdom.

Edited by aka CAT
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The only fear I have as being an agnostic, is the ebbing feeling that no matter what belief system I choose, it will never be right, and if there is a heaven or hell, I will most certainly wind up dancing in the flames of hell itself, due to the many sins I've committed just by existing - whether it's my 'wrong' belief system, or the fact that I'm pansexual, or that I don't say my prayers at bedtime, or whatever...

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Exactly my story as well! Today I have peace and a firm faith that when I pass from this existence I will be with the Creator and I actually look forward to it. I'm not suicidal, this life has it's joys but I believe that the passage through death is the point where we really awaken for the first time.

That's good to hear. You seem to have struck the right balance in your approach to life. We should live like it's our last day on Earth, and simultaneously plan for a very long future. I don't seem to be able or willing to follow my own advice.

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No one yet has told me what the heck is good about the Biblical deity?

Treat people as you wish to be treated. Love God and others with all your might. Forgive those who wronged you. Turn the other cheek. Pray for your enemies. Help orphans and widows. Help the less fortunate as much as you can. What's wrong with *that* Biblical deity?

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Because I lack both the courage to fully embrace atheism, and the gullibility to accept two thousand year-old mythology.

I might disagree with your views, but I admire your honesty. People rarely put their cards on the table like that.

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The only fear I have as being an agnostic, is the ebbing feeling that no matter what belief system I choose, it will never be right, and if there is a heaven or hell, I will most certainly wind up dancing in the flames of hell itself, due to the many sins I've committed just by existing - whether it's my 'wrong' belief system, or the fact that I'm pansexual, or that I don't say my prayers at bedtime, or whatever...

I know that's not a joke, but it makes me laugh. I went through the same kind of existential nightmare when I was in college and high school. "What if the Catholics are right, but what if the Protestants are right, but what if the Jews are right, but what if I offended God with the three preceding "what ifs"?" Man, that was *not* a fun time!

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