Individual beliefs within a belief system

Religious/Individual beliefs

Is it necessary to have all believers united on a topical issue?

A friend and I had this discussion just last week. He thinks everyone who are apart of a church should be of the same or express the same view on all the beliefs of that body even if they disagree to some extent. I disagree with this totally.

To make things a bit clearer let me outline it here. My friend *Clive gave an example of when he was a teenager and became cynical about all the various denominations and their individual practices, even though they all proclaim to be following God and heading to the same heaven.

The way he sees it

A pair of bible workers (a male and a female) stopped by his house and he engaged them in a discussion about the commandment "Thou shalt not kill". A german cockroach happened to be scurrying by as the discussion took place and he took the opportunity to ask them if they both agreed he should kill the roach. One said yes and the other said no. An argument then developed between the two bible workers with one slightly belittling the other's view.

He took that opportunity to drive home his point to the bible workers about why he viewed christianity the way he did. In his opinion if believers had to follow the rules of their respective denominations without questioning it (one should not join a body if you do not believe in all their rules/guidelines) then those bible workers would not have argued in front of him, a potential convert.

The way I see it

In my opinion the bible workers were united on the thou shalt not kill commandment but had differing views on the principles of what to and what not to kill. They were wrong to allow their individual views to overshadow their bible study but were not wrong to have those views.

I believe that, the day everyone in a denomination is forced to have the same view on all topics is the day christianity will become something else. Christianity by nature, as is the bible, is democratic even on established guidelines. What do I mean?

The bible and christianity is clear that we must not kill. There is unity in that belief. However we have to kill for survival purposes. Food, shelter, health, war etc... Humans and pest cannot coexist without the threat to health. Therefore thou shalt not kill does not apply in all situations. We have to get rid of pests to protect our health.

Some criminals can be rehabilitated, some cant. Tough decisions have to be taken in order to protect a nations citizens. The same bible which says do not kill also points out that if one commits a crime against his fellow men by taking a life then he in turn should be put to death. Any denomination which takes on only one aspect of the bible will be basing their rule on personal opinions. The bible allows for democratic thinking even on topics which it seems one sided on.

Homosexuality for example is a total no no and is a punishable offence. The principle and nature of Christ and salvation however, points out that salvation is for all and that God's grace is sufficient for all. The only unpardonable sin is committing blaspheme against God. In light of this homosexuals should be treated with the same christian love if not more. A church which outrightly condemns and prohibits homosexuals from attending their services would not be all together acting Godly now... Would it?

If these homosexuals take to being brazen in their behaviour and disruptive in nature then the church has all rights to take actions.

Abortion... In my opinion absolutely no church has the authority, even through proclaimed divinity, to order their female members to bring to term a baby conceived through rape, incest or where the pregnancy is a risk to the mother's health and life. The ultimate decision lies with the individual. The taking of one's life (as harsh as this may sound) is sometimes necessary for the preservation of another. Who says that the life of the child is more precious than that of the mother? Many women who have been raped or impregnated through incest are affected psychologically. Should they be forcibly subjected also to nine months of carrying this child and many more years of possibly caring for the child. Decision must be made based on the situation and effect it may have on the victim. The church must however take a stance which forbids abortion at ones will. Having sex at will, getting pregnant and then aborting a child is cold and callous.

I for example, would not want to have to abort my child, give my child up for adoption, or be forced to go through the psychological struggle associated with raising that unwanted child. As individuals our strengths lie in different avenues. Some of us women are strong enough to bring to term a child conceived through rape or incest, then give it up for adoption and feel some level of comfort in that. Others can go a bit further and even raise the child successfully. Still there is the woman who is not strong enough to live with the reality of bearing this child for nine months, let alone raise or give it up for adoption.

No one woman must be forced to live the life of another. Our strength lies where our strengths lie. Why would I give up my sanity for a child which was thrust upon my body without my consent? Why should my church force me to do so? There are success cases of women who bring the child to term and either raise or give it up for adoption and there are failure cases as well. It is my view that a woman faced with such a situation must know her strength and weaknesses and act accordingly. Not under duress from any denominational dictation.

Any belief system where the members are forbidden to think outside of the guidelines established, in my opinion borders on being dictatorial in practice. I do not know of christianity being dictatorial. Guidelines must be set but individuals must not be forced into acceptance. Acceptance becomes a personal thing between the individual and God.

I do not agree with being told that I should not accept blood even in the case of a life threatening situation. That is not my church's decision to make on my behalf. There's no where in the bible where we are prohibited from accepting organs or blood to sustain life. Those who accept these medical operations and are alive are no less of a christian and are no less loved by God than those who have not.

Divorce is undesirable and not recommended by the bible. Would God have it that a woman remain married to a man, hell bent on beating and abusing her to death? In the case of children being caught up in such an abusive mess there is no question what my recommendation/s would be. I'll leave that for another blog (possibly).

If a church forces this woman and/or the children by extension to remain in such an abusive situation for the sake of preserving their beliefs and practices, and the worst happens, then the church, like the abusive husband/father, ought to be held responsible before God and man.

Churches must have established guidelines but there are certain such guidelines on which the church cannot and should not try to make the ultimate decision for all their members. Where the bible allows for personal conviction, personal conviction should be allowed to form the ultimate decision.

Abortion

Capital Punishment

Accepting Blood to save life

Divorce

Jewelry wearing

Vegetarianism

The personal conviction of no one leader or set of leaders should become the ultimate decision on the behalf of all members. But guidelines must be set.

Within a belief system there is place for individual beliefs. Unity does not mean that we must agree on every i's and t's. We agree on the guidelines.

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Comments 6 comments

Carrie Bradshaw profile image

Carrie Bradshaw 7 years ago from Manhattan

Wow.  Very powerful message.  I could write a separate hub just to address each of these issues, but I'll leave a lengthy comment here.  We must always study what the Bible alone says! 

The first thing that comes to mind is that we are to love with compassion.  No one can know what it's like to struggle with certain decisions or behaviors based on circumstances.  There are some things clearly outlined in the Bible that "will not inherit the kingdom of God" (with the pre-requisite that there is no repentance, or turning away from that behavior or practice.)

1 Cor 13:2 "If I have the gift of prophecy and can understand all secrets and every form of knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains but have no love [compassion/charity], I am nothing."

Regarding the Commandment "Thou shalt not kill"; this means to murder, when you look in the Hebrew and Greek words (this passage is in both the Old and New Testaments).  We are to kill for protection from bugs or beasts, or for food, of course!

Regarding abortion:  Even being in the position of making that choice is most likely because someone SINNED.  Again ~ it goes along the lines with "Thou shalt not kill".  As you said, women who practice immorality and use abortion as a method of birth control are under God's wrath in the end.  However, should they repent of such a lifestyle, this sin can and will be forgiven.   But, I must have compassion on women who've been raped or are a victim of incest.  God will strengthen them through it all, but I do believe He has a plan for every child for His glory, and to give them life is right, regardless of the circumstances.  That's just my leading and my heart.

I almost aborted my first son because I wasn't married and had no job.  He didn't want the baby.  I just couldn't do it.  God was with me, and today he's 26 and is serving the Lord in ministry!  He has a lovely wife and they have my first grandson! 

Eleven years ago, I was in an abusive second marriage when I conceived, and I faced the temptation to abort the child.  Once again, I couldn't do it. God was faithful in delivering me from my abuser and meeting every need as I took up my "cross" to bear throughout her life because of the associations involved.  She is a blessing!

Bringing me to divorce: The Word is clear that a wife is not to divorce her husband (the Lord says), but again, this is not to be a practice, and can be repented of.  It is forgivable.  God hates divorce because it rips the oneness of soul in two and so many lives, even those of the children are hurt.

However, in the case of an abusive spouse, you're singing to the choir.  As I said, I escaped a violent environment with a one-year-old baby.  I was in that violent marriage when I conceived and yet I couldn't abort.  God delivered me from that "Egypt of slavery".  It is horrible and I believe evil when a husband beats his wife!!  All women should get out and fast!  This is NOT of God. 

Regarding blood transfusions or organ donation: As you said, the Bible does not teach against this.  Luke, one of Jesus' disciples was a doctor.  God has given us doctors and medicine for healing.  What saves lives is a priority!  I don't know why any church would allow people to die over such a man-made "law/ordinance".

Regarding homosexuality.  The scripture is very clear that living this lifestyle is an abomination and no one can claim to be saved and blatantly not repent of it, meaning not to practice it.  We are new creations when we are saved.  It is forgivable when repented of. Romans 1:26-28 is CLEAR "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.  And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,"

Regarding jewelry-wearing and the oppression of women keeping silent in all submission in the Bible, these are Paul's commandments, and he says so.  Read my hub "Liberty For Women in Christ".  Whatever we do, we do it as unto the Lord, but we are not enslaved to apostolic, Rabbinic or Mitvot covenant commandments under the New Covenant.  We have been restored to liberty in Jesus Christ!  Galatians 3:28 "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  And in the last days, women will prophesy! (Acts 2:17)

Regarding those who practice laws of vegetarianism and so forth, those are of "religion" and the Word says those who practice these things as "law" in the body of Christ are "weak in the faith".  Romans 14:2 "One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only."

Ultimately, God judges by MOTIVES.  When we have His heart, we feel what He feels.  We have conviction of what is right and wrong.  To some, one thing is right or wrong; to another something else.  If it's not clearly stated in the Bible, we rely on the conscience God gives us.  If we've sinned against something clearly written in the Bible, we are to examine ourselves, repent and trust the Lord to make us more like Him.  Romans 7:22 - Romans 8:2 describes this VERY WELL.

Romans 14:14 "I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean." (This is specifically in regard to food, but is applicable in the gray areas of conscience regarding sin).

Regarding the intent of the heart, Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

When all is said and done, put your faith alone in Christ Jesus and His Bible.  Don't let anyone bully you around without compassion and imposing laws or commandments on you out of context or which bring outright oppression.  We are all held accountable by the Bible.  It is the Word of God that will judge on the last day.  John 12:48 "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has One who judges him; the Word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day."

I hope you don't mind this is so lengthy, but I hear the cries of your heart and want to help comfort you! If you want to just copy all this into a Word doc for yourself and delete this "hub within a hub", that's okay :-) I love you in the love of the Lord! AMEN.


ohic32 profile image

ohic32 7 years ago Author

" If it's not clearly stated in the Bible, we rely on the conscience God gives us. If we've sinned against something clearly written in the Bible, we are to examine ourselves, repent and trust the Lord to make us more like Him."

I add my agreement to this by saying Amen.

I love the hub within this hub so no deleting will be done.

"However, in the case of an abusive spouse, you're singing to the choir." It is always best to hear from those who have been through the Jordon rather than the man who stands on the side trying to make a path with his own words and opinions.

"Even being in the position of making that choice is most likely because someone SINNED." In many cases, such as rape or incest, the one who sinned is not the one left to deal with the consequences. Imagine a 14yr old being asked to carry a child to term, imagine an physically challenged or retarded woman beig asked to do the same. Imagine a woman who is practically going insane because of what she had been through being told she must go all the way or else her soul will stand in danger of going to hell. A woman who will die if the child is brought to term. Who makes the decision which of these lives should be spared. I think your words here.... " No one can know what it's like to struggle with certain decisions or behaviors based on circumstances. " Therefore I believe the decisions made by these persons should be between them and God. Each person must be left to decide and after receiving unbiased counselling and their decision must be respected and supported. There are two lives at stake, the unborn and the living.

Your conceptions came through your own actions and decisions which I think is different from the women I support should they decide to abort. For me, once I was a willing participant in the act of sex the consequences are mine to bear. Possibilities are, as strong as my views are on pregnancy through rape, if it happens to me I might end up deciding to go through with the pregnancy. It all depends on the victims strength of mind and character at the time of the incident.

I like your ability to qoute the scriptures. It shows that you spend quality time with the word of God. Thanks for commenting here. I am always up for the sharing of unbiased and well constructed views.


Carrie Bradshaw profile image

Carrie Bradshaw 7 years ago from Manhattan

Yes, praise the Lord.  We can only share what the Lord did for us, but I truly believe He speaks to those who seek Him in these times of distress, and He will truly convict that one's heart what to do.  As with victims of crime and abortion, I can confidently say that would be rare and a one-time occurance in one's life, most likely. That's a tough thing to go through, but the Lord is our Comforter and will guide us through the "shadow of death" (Ps 23)

In any case, we are not the Judge in the end; the Word of God is.  Praise the Lord!


Sapphfaith 7 years ago

Let me make it brief. THe Lord has given us guidelines for healthful and better living. He has also given us the power of choice and has stated clearly what the consequences of sinning are. So, along with the power of choice comes responsibility. You have to know what you can bear. In everything you do, before you make your choices, ask God's guidance, His leading, His strength to see you through. Trust me, there are some experiences in life that are meant to make us and others meant to break us. Abortion and all teh rest of them are matters of conscience and ability to bear the results, except where you willfully sinned. For the willful sinning and convenience issues, buck up and bear it. If you are man or woman enough to go dabble, then you should be man or woman enough to bear it. One person's views should not be the laws that govern the lives of anyone else but themselves. I love the democracy of the bible, but even that democracy has its boundaries. You are free to choose.


ohic32 profile image

ohic32 7 years ago Author

Thanks or your comments here Sapphfaith. I like this part o your comment........ "If you are man or woman enough to go dabble, then you should be man or woman enough to bear it."

I also agree that the bible is democratic in nature but the bounderies are clear.


Carrie Bradshaw profile image

Carrie Bradshaw 7 years ago from Manhattan

And the saints say, 'AMEN'!!

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