Religion, Christianity, what ever you want to call it, is about men attempt to add to God's narrative. The reason we have so many churches is because man want to have a response. Man is saying I have a mine, let me use it. But God is saying give me your mine and take on my mine, and the world is saying no.
Really? I found how poorly it does in it's attempt to add to whatever God it attempts to draw whatever narrative.
No. There are more Churches designed for conflict, hate, separation and specifically agenda driven, not purpose driven.
Actually, as a collective, a consciousness is rising, which is granting people the power to realize that Life is a religion all it's own and how one survives during the time they live is what should matter most because we're collectively all part of the human race.
When a G/god insists on separation it cannot ever be an action made from love. Sorry, just doesn't make sense.
Actually, you have this all backwards.
If you know Biblical doctrine of salvation (which I'm pretty sure you do) then it follows that man is the one who is separated from God (by Adam's choice), and it's the LOVE of God, that is drawing mankind back into relationship with Him.
The fact that humanity is by and large divided due to it's acceptance, or rejection of that invitation to reconnect with God, is not His doing, but man's.
Really? Eve's choice wasn't a sin? Isn't her who would make the first choice before putting Adam into a position to make the choice he made?
And, last time I checked, when Jesus was executed, it not only closed the book on everything in the past and brought into being a new covenant. The original sin is paid for already by Jesus. So, bringing it up is actually meaningless.
The "new" loving type G/god created in the NT is a false G/god to begin with, as Jesus knew there was a false G/god in the OT(Torah) which people in positions of power and wealth were using to deceive people. S/Paul's interpretation- not translation of Jesus' teachings are skewed by mysticism based philosophy and a dishonest heart.
G/god would have to exist first to accept and/or reject.
Religion is man's attempt to explain some notion of a god and to appease it/him through a collection of rules and rituals, etc. There is, within the totality of Christendom, much that is religion. God has revealed His truth in His creation, in the Bible, and in Jesus of Nazareth, but men make religion (rules and rituals) out of nearly anything, even eternal truth supernaturally revealed.
This is evidenced in the fact that Christianity, historic Biblical Christianity, teaches the opposite of what all the religions of the world have always taught. There is a difference between religion and eternal truth revealed by God, and that's why all religion (at it's core) teaches essentially the same idea - that man must be and/or do right/good to appease God, he must be the right religion, light candles at the right time, pray in the proper direction, eat the right food, etc, etc, etc. The eternal truth, Christianity alone, teaches there is nothing you can do, you are spiritually dead and without hope. That's why Jesus said He was the only way to God.
Not all religions. Most I know about, at the core have common threads of eternal life through a relationship with God. Sure they have different names and different rituals and doctrines but that is what the core teachings seem to always point to. Still wondering how you have arrived at the conclusion that Christianity teaches that you are spiritually dead and without hope?
I think the dead and without hope is an extension of Augustine's Original Sin idea. If we are really born in sin and inherently sinful as is claimed, then I suppose it might be concluded that we are all dead as well. Fortunately this idea is not biblical.
Disappearinghead & pennyofheaven ~
"Still wondering how you have arrived at the conclusion that Christianity teaches that you are spiritually dead"
"Fortunately this idea is not biblical"
You can, of course, believe whatever you prefer to believe - but you can't accurately assert that the Bible does or doesn't teach something that it does or doesn't teach . . . the Bible is a book and you can go to it and see exactly what it says or doesn't say, no matter what anyone says or prefers it would or wouldn't say. If you tell me that Sydney Carton did not sacrifice himself to save Charles Darney, we can open "A Tale Of Two Cities" and see that in fact Sydney Carton DID sacrifice himself to save Charles Darney.
Starting in Genesis the idea of man's spiritual death is set forth. God told Adam that should he disobey Him, on that day he would surely die . . . when Adam disobeyed God, God banished him from the garden and Adam lived (I think) around 900 years - but he no longer 'walked with God in the cool of the day', his relationship with God was broken, God's Spirit was removed and Adam died spiritually (on that day).
Later Jesus teaches that God is a Spirit but man is not and that man must be born of the Spirit to know God. Eventually the idea is laid-out didactically; in the letter to the church at Ephesus "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins . . . but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sin, made us alive together with Christ". and a letter to the Colossians "And you, who were dead in your sin . . . God made alive together with Him", etc.
One of the consequences of being spiritually dead - "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" . . . the idea of original sin and men being spiritually dead was not a doctrine concocted by Augustine - it was a Biblical truth (as you can see from the quoted Biblical text above) that Augustine and many others understood because the were born of the same Spirit who wrote the text in the first place.
You need to research Church history, it was Augustine who concocted original sin. He had personal sin issues so thought he inherited the sin from A&E. The Church loved this idea as it was another weapon to enslave men.
Judaism does not acknowledge original sin. Who do you think has a better handle on the Genesis account? The Jews with 4000 years of wisdom for whom this was written, or a corrupt power hungry Church?
Augustine born of the spirit? That's enough to make a cat laugh. Here's what he said:
They who shall enter into [the] joy [of the Lord] shall know what is going on outside in the outer darkness. . .The saints'. . . knowledge, which shall be great, shall keep them acquainted. . .with the eternal sufferings of the lost. [The City of God, Book 20, Chapter 22, "What is Meant by the Good Going Out to See the Punishment of the Wicked" & Book 22, Chapter 30, "Of the Eternal Felicity of the City of God, and of the Perpetual Sabbath"]
However the Original Sin concept is not mentioned anywhere in scripture, it is contradicted by scripture, and contradicts common sense.
Psalm 139:13-14 'For you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.'
So God has created each and everyone of us; our fleshly bodies, the beginnings of a soul, and His spirit of life breathed into us. So where does the sin come in? If created by God, then how can that which comes from God be sinful in its nature? All that comes from God is whole, and right, and good.
Deuteronomy 24:16 'Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.'
Ezekiel 18:4, 17b-18a 'Everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child - both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die. …...He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin........'
So just what has Adam and Eve's sin of disobedience got to do with us? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Their sin was entirely born by them and does not have any effect on our own standing before God. Your parents sinned and they will give their account to God, you sin and you will give your account, and likewise your children.
Genesis 4:6-8 'Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”'
Here is Cain, Adam's son, so if there ever was a case for hereditary sin, Cain would be the first to be infected. But that's not God's opinion at all. Cain wasn't some helpless feeble human who could not resist sin, whose natural state is sinful with a natural compulsion to sin. God is plainly telling him to rule over the sin. That is, within Cain he was empowered to reject sin; he could choose to sin or not to sin. God's opinion was that Cain could live a sinless life if he chose to do right and not wrong. We are no different from Cain in this regard.
"You need to research Church history, it was Augustine who concocted original sin"
I'm not wanting to appear arrogant or to cast myself as judging you, but you are simply mistaken. I know church history, I have at my disposal multi-volume sets of the documents of the early church . . . not what others assert the history to be, but the actual historic documents themselves. If you are informed by The History Channel or take Wikipedia as authoritative, then you might conclude that Augustine 'concocted the doctrine of original sin', but it is simply observable and demonstrable that this is not what the historic record evidences. More than a century before Augustine was born Tertullian, Irenaeus, Ambrose and many others all advanced the Biblical teaching we label 'original sin'.
Augustine agreed with the Apostolic Era church fathers and articulated his own understanding of how that original sin was transmitted from generation to generation, but he simply did not at all concoct the idea as an original doctrine of his own design.
"Who do you think has a better handle on the Genesis account? The Jews with 4000 years of wisdom for whom this was written, or a corrupt power hungry Church?"
Well, neither - the Jews deny the whole point of the OT and so miss the real promise of the Messiah (Jesus points this out again and again), and the corrupt power hungry church of course cannot be trusted as presenting the eternal truth of God. Those who have the right understanding of what the Bible presents as the truth regarding sin and man's spiritually dead state are those who are filled with the very same Spirit who wrote the Scripture in the first place . . .
just from Romans alone ~
". . . just as sin came into the world through one man . . . many died through one man's trespass . . . the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation . . . because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man . . . one trespass led to condemnation for all men . . . by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners . . . I know that nothing good dwells in me . . . all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God"
Read exactly what Pail says....
Sin first came in by one man - ok one man had to be the first. God then bars him from the tree of life, consequently he died and all people thereafter because of no access to the ToL. So far so good. He became disobedient and man followed his example. So just where is the inherent sin then? It's not there.
If we take each statement above (from Romans) out of it's context you could reasonably put forth that, let's say, "many died through one man's trespass" means that because of Adam's sin he barred from the tree of life and because he was barred all of his descendants were removed from access to it as well - but when you take it all in context as it is written, along with the rest of Scripture, the meaning becomes more clear. Like, in your understanding, what does Paul mean when he says "the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation" and "one trespass led to condemnation for all men" or "by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners"?
What is it you think he's saying when he says that Adam's sin brought condemnation upon all men . . ? . . that we have all been condemned to not have access to the tree of life? What do you assert Paul is telling us when he says the rest of us are all sinners because of Adam's sin . . ? . . that we are all merely following his example?
When Paul concludes "I know that nothing good dwells in me" he's not talking about things that he keeps doing that are bad, he's talking about what he is like not about what he does, he's talking about his nature. Paul is telling us that we are like pro-generator of our species, that not only our form but our natural disposition is inherited . . . he's saying that because Adam sinned and died spiritually we are all born spiritually dead, that we are by nature sinners, and so he concludes "I know that nothing good dwells in me" and "none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God".
p.s. and, if man is not spiritually dead and by nature a sinner, then why didn't Adam's children just go back to the garden and eat from the tree of life?
The flaming sword was in the way.
Re: What was Paul saying?
In a nutshell. Most if not all are conditioned from day dot to listen and follow the ego instead of spirit. If ego is louder than spirit it would "appear" the spirit is dead. What it appears to be though is not how it is.
M ~ "if man is not spiritually dead and by nature a sinner, then why didn't Adam's children just go back to the garden and eat from the tree of life?"
P ~ "The flaming sword was in the way"
Well, yes, but I'm asking why - why would Adam * Eve's children and eventually grandchildren, etc, etc, be prohibited from returning to the garden is they were spiritually alive, if there's not an inherited death and separation from God?
. . . so, you're saying that Paul is not telling us how things are, he is telling us how things appear to be?
Prohibited perhaps but the children still had access to talk with God spiritually. Did they inherit death and separation or was it a death by choice as in Adam and Eves case? It is obvious the children did not inherit the said death because they would have needed to be alive in spirit to converse with God, which they did. Generations that followed also had the ability to perceive and converse with God via the spirit. The bible has many examples of this.
Paul in my view was talking metaphorically and not literally. That which separates the tree of life from the tree of knowledge is the ego. Does not mean the tree of life was unavailable to those who chose. Again we come back to the flesh (tree of knowledge) and spirit (tree of life).
It did say God put a flaming sword to keep the way of the tree of life. Which in essence says access to the way was not as easy to access as it was previously.
God made alive together with him...made us alive together with Christ..points to the God within. Where in your mind do you think one will find the spirit of God if it is not within for you?
pennyofheaven ~ "Where in your mind do you think one will find the spirit of God if it is not within for you?"
Not to nitpick and certainly not to sound arrogant or condescending, but it's not a matter of "where 'in your mind' do you think" - I know, it's not a matter of opinion or blind faith, or ill-informed belief . . . I have God's Spirit within me because God gave His Spirit to me as He drew me to Jesus trusting Him as my only hope to know and love God.
You don't "find" God's Spirit, He's not inherently within us, and He's not something we can attain or acquire through striving to give-up[ worldly interests and fan a spark within ourselves - the Holy Spirit is the great gift of God, God give His Spirit to any and all who rest fully in Jesus of Nazareth as the way He provides to know and love Him.
pennyofheaven, have you ever read Jesus' 'last supper' talk with His 12? His last night before His arrest, Jesus talked with the 12 (11 at this point) He had chosen . . . it was His final teaching to them, it was His big moment leading to His sacrifice, it takes-up probably a 3rd of John's entire gospel. It's clear when you read this that no one automatically has god within them, no one already has the Spirit inside them, and it's clear Jesus' message is not for all but is specifically and only for those who will come to be called 'Christians' . . . He says all this very directly.
So prior to God giving you Gods spirit you believe you were spiritless?
So contrary to what the bible says we are not God's creations and were not created in God's image? God did not breathe the spirit of life into man so that man may live? Do you see how your logic does not make sense?
In addition, God does not send the comforter via the holy spirit or reveal the truth via the holy spirit unless you have received Jesus into your life. If you have never heard of Jesus that is just too bad. The kingdom of God is not within and there is no spirit of God within at all.
In my view it is limiting God when you believe God is only where you believe God to be.
pennyofheaven ~ what you're eliminating form your scenario above is a major, perhaps THE major, theme of the Bible, God's revelation of truth - God created man, He formed man of material and "breathed' into man and man become a living soul . . . that word "breathed" is the same word often translated "spirit". But I'm not sidestepping logic, you are sidestepping a giant piece of information; the was a rebellion, a fall, a separation from God. From the time of Adam's fall and God's promise of redemption the entire bible is all about preparing for and then the arrival of the promised Messiah.
Your notion that God is in everyone and that we need to discover or encourage the Jesus that is inside of us sets aside the cataclysmic event of man's turning away from God and God's plan to reunite Himself to us. The whole message of the Bible is that God is not inside of us, that we are spiritually dead since the rebellion, but that God has prepared a way for us to reunite to Him . . . again, that's why Jesus talks so much about man having no hope, that we are enemies of God, that He is the only way, that no one can come to the Father except through Him, etc, etc.
You've accepted an overly spiritualzed allegorical version of what the Bible states plainly . . . as I said, there are far too many ideas in the Bible that simply make no sense if you take the Bible to present what you advance. Man is a material creature and Hod is the eternal Spirit, because of our rejection of God are union with Him has been severed, there is no way spiritually dead man can find his way back or try hard enough or be 'spiritual' enough to rediscover God - when Jesus said we must be born from above He was not speaking poetically, He was not directing our attention inward but outward, to be united to God we must become new kinds of beings, (like Jesus) spiritual material beings . . . we've all already been born of the flesh, those who know and love God are those who have been born a 2nd time, born of His Spirit.
Why does it look like I am eliminating the fall from grace? If man was made in Gods image it makes sense it was a spiritual image. Man made of dust is the physical. The two make man as a whole or not in your opinion? Which means there is a spiritual aspect of man made in Gods image and a physical aspect of man, not made in Gods image.
The fall from Gods grace simply means do not subscribe to the ego. You will remain fallen if that is what you choose.
Are you saying that God being in everyone sets aside the turning away from God. How is that possible when that is actually how it is? It has not seemed to matter that God is within, because people have let or are conditioned to allow ego to do it's thing. Are you also saying the way God prepared via Jesus is not possible if anyone actually found the God within?
How can we possibly be God's enemies when God is all powerful and we are not? This is limiting God. How can man possibly have no hope if God supposedly prepared a way. This is a contradiction.
Not sure how you believe Jesus is a physical being? If we are spiritually dead and separated from God for you, that is just how it will be for you.
Born in sin is Biblical, but just because I was born in sin do not make me a sinner. Some children was born on the back set of a 57 chevy, that done make them a car.
If we assume Augustine is correct. We are not really alive then until we are born again in spirit. If there was no hope for being born in spirit what is the point of being born dead if you get what I mean lol. So although we are born physically we are dead and we are born to find out about our creator so we can be born yet again but this time in spirit and only through one man. How about all those who existed before Jesus was born? Were they the walking dead too? That just doesn't make sense
pennyofheaven ~ "Most I know about, at the core have common threads of eternal life through a relationship with God"
Not 'relationship' as in related, like of the same lineage, but 'relationship' as in interacting together. The religions of the world, though different in specific rules still put their confidence in keeping rules, and though their rituals may vary in specifics they trust in them as a means to reach God, etc - every religion man has devised, essentially, says if you do 'this' and don't do 'that' God will accept you . . . this is their notion of eternal life, heaven, nirvana, Valhalla, etc, etc.
Christianity says there are no rules and no rituals that you can keep or practice that make you acceptable to God - it's not about conduct, it's about relationship (not being on friendly terms kind of relationship, but being related kind of relationship) - God is a spirit and we are material, the only way we can truly know, obey, and love God is if we become like Him, spiritual beings. And the circumstance is, there is nothing we can do to accomplish that, we cannot do anything to become different creatures than we are - that is why we are without hope.
And that is why Jesus says He is the only way to God. It is through Jesus that God gives us His own Spirit, we are reborn, born from above, born of the Spirit. That is how we become related to God, we become His children, we enjoy eternal life. It's not about religion, it's not about obeying rules or performing rituals, and it's not about being really really good - that's why Jesus said 'you must be born again".
The relationship I am referring to is communing with God and realizing the part of God that we are.
You might find that is not really about being accepted by God in most religions. A very select few too will even tell you it is not in the rituals or right or wrong or even the beliefs. Eventually even these must be let go of to experience God. It is becoming one with God via the spirit within. We are part of God as all things are. Becoming one with God requires we let go of our attachment to the things of this world. As long as we remain attached to things of the flesh or of this world we will have little or no awareness of the part of God that we are. There is the temporal and the eternal although not separate. It is the eternal that Jesus points to. It surprises me how one passage is understood literally and all other passages are negated. The way to God for Jesus was through himself. No one can get to God except through themselves. You cannot go through the pastor or priest or any other living human being. The way is within you. If Jesus is one with God this makes sense.
pennyofheaven ~ what you assert here is the religion of this world; every religion man has concocted goes one of two ways or blends them both into one - every religion is either about doing the things that religion presents (it's rules and rituals) to appease God or it's about finding the god-part of you that is in each of us . . . is is the religion of man. This is exactly the opposite of Christianity, it is the exact opposite of what Jesus taught.
Jesus taught that there is no god-part in us, that we are material creatures and that God is the eternal spirit, and He certainly never taught that our way to God was through ourselves - it's exactly because Jesus IS one with God that He is our only way to God, and that's just what he told us . . . "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me".
The notion that we are little gods, that God is in everyone, that we all have some part of God in us, is man's religion, it religion of this world - the Bible presents just the opposite' the whole gospel message is that God created us, we turned away from Him (the eternal Spirit) and so we died spiritually, He came in Jesus to bring us back to Himself, and that any and all who come to Him through Jesus are made alive again in Him and filled with His Spirit.
The idea that we can circumvent Jesus, the way God has provided, and find God already within us, is a worldly not a heavenly teaching. When the Bible talks about inside us and within us, etc, it's clarifying that the physical practice of religious deeds (obeying rules & rituals, etc) is not the way to God . . . the way to God is as He puts His own Spirit inside us or within us, the way to God is through Jesus not through doing our best to give-up material things and pretending to be more spiritual than others.
Here is the thing though. God is not anything we can fit into a little box although some of us might try. God is infinite in nature. With no beginning or end. We are just a very small part of the infinite. We have finite bodies and minds that sooner or later will die and return to where they came from. Contained within our finite bodies is that which is infinite in nature.....God. Man including Christians have tired to contain God within their finite minds. Therefore limiting God to what the mind of man can accept. Just because we have tried to limit God, does not mean we have succeeded.
Your understanding is, that it is not what Jesus or the bible taught. I understand differently. How is it circumventing Jesus when Jesus is in and of God. Remember I and my father are one? How is the bible teaching that the physical practice of religious deeds is not the way to God when it clearly states the kingdom of God is within you? Whilst I agree with the religious practice and deeds are not the way I disagree that this is what the bible is referencing when it states the Kingdom of God is within you. Or when it states God is above all, through all and in you all? Your logic makes no sense.
No one is advocating giving up material things and pretending to be more spiritual than others. How is that even possible? Non attachment to the things of flesh does not necessarily mean giving up materials. Pretending to be spiritual will be revealed by one's actions. No matter how good an actor one might be the spirit of a person or lack thereof can be felt.
pennyofheaven ~ I'm right with you on the idea that God is the infinite, eternal divine Spirit and that men cannot define or limit or contain all the God is - but what is putting God in a little box with our own limited understanding and what is just taking His as He presents Himself . . . are you defining God according to your own apprehension of things or am I? I recognize that God is beyond my capacity to grasp and that our imaginations easily lead us astray - that's why He gave us His word, that's why I adjust my own reasoning to what God reveals to us in Scripture as the truth.
When you assert that God is in everything and that everyone has His Spirit within them you are advancing your own notion of things against what I find clearly presented in the Bible . . . I understand that if you have it in your mind that God is everyone's father and that He is in the trees & mountains, and that we have to find the God-piece that is inside us, etc, etc, that there are many passages in the Bible that can seem to support this notion - but when you dismiss your own assumptions and take the Bible as it is, it is (not my opinion) clearly not supporting this idea at all.
People like to think of Jesus as constantly surrounded by little children and lambs, they like to think that God is nature and in them, etc - but the Bible has too many places where it talks about Jesus not coming to bring peace but conflict, that Jesus' words are like a sword dividing those who submit to Him as He truly is and those who think they already have Him because He's everywhere, the Bible talks about light & dark, those who are God's people and those who are not, etc, etc. There's way too much in the Bible that makes no sense when you come at it with your premise already in your mind - but it makes perfect and beautiful sense when you take it as it is.
You ask "How is it circumventing Jesus when Jesus is in and of God" because you start with the assumption that God is everywhere and in everyone, that man's dilemma is that he must escape his own ego and find God within him - but this idea is circumventing Jesus because He never taught that, He taught the opposite of that. Again, read who the text is addressed to . . . there is indeed all kinds of talk of God within you and the kingdom within you, etc, but Jesus was talking to those submitted to Him, following Him - He even clarifies on occasion 'I am not speaking to the world, but to those I have called out of the world'. Jesus was all about division and separating ('unless you hate your mother and father you cannot follow Me', 'brother against brother', 'the world will hate you because you follow Me', 'the sheep and the wolves', etc) so that He can finally unite us with God . . . but there is a separation first, a separating of the wheat from the tares, those united to God in the end will not be anyone who gave some attention to trying to be spiritual - it will be those who are actually spiritually alive because they trusted in Jesus alone and He put His own divine Spirit within them. It's what Jesus' message, the gospel, is all about.
Here is what you are not realizing perhaps?. There are many ways to God. You advocate that there is only one way to God. Many religions advocate the same thing. Nothing wrong with believing that. It just is not how it is. No amount of belief will make only one way to God become a reality. I don't doubt at all Jesus is one way to God but it is not the only way.
Creation stories were common in ancient civilizations. The bible is one of many. How then is there only one way? Our creation stories go right back to our source. Many creation stories go right back to their source. Many of which never heard of Jesus. Different names perhaps but the process of coming into existence are at their core fundamentally the same. Dwelling in the presence of God at it's core is similar too.
When I read the bible I can only confirm whether or not what it says or doesn't say fits with my experience of God. Not my assumptions, ideas, beliefs or intellectual understanding but my experiences. Experiences that are only experienced when ideas, assumptions, beliefs and knowledge are not present or are completely let go of when experiencing.
Confirmation for you is provided via the holy spirit. Does that make each of our understandings right or wrong? Neither, just different, based on different experiences with spirit.
Belief and faith are only required when experience has not been forthcoming.
You see separation where I see oneness. You may see light and dark as separate and not able to co-exist together. I see them co-existing.
The bible for the most part makes sense to me. Others interpretation sometimes doesn't make sense to me.
It is the dual nature of man that separates what is not separate. It is this dual nature that Adam and Eve chose instead of dwelling in the presence of God, or In other words, instead of dwelling in the oneness of all things.
p ~ "Here is what you are not realizing perhaps?"
It's not that I don't 'realize' the notion you advance, it's that I know it well and reject it . . . to me it is not a spiritual truth it is a juvenile human scheme. The first, most ill-informed, most common, and as I said, I think most juvenile notion we assume in adolescence is that God is like Santa Claus, he says we need to be good or we get no treats, but we all know that everyone is going to get stuff . . . so we assume that every religion is God reaching those people at that time and in that culture, that any way anyone approaches God with is certainly admirable and God will of course honor.
As we mature we come to think it narrow and ugly to imagine that 'our way' is THE way, we count ourselves bold and progressive if we embrace foreign or exotic religions as equally valid, etc, etc. The trouble with this too familiar course is that it's all informed by our own assumptions and disposition towards things - we like it because it suits us so well (because we invented it). But the truth is that God is far more divine, far more infinite, far more holy than that scheme can recognize. God is factually the Go that He is, and He has a plan and purpose for His creation, and He has ordained, set forth, and established our part in the unity of His creation . . . religion doesn't cut it, trying your best doesn't cut it, sincerely just counting that God loves everything and that unity is nicer than separation doesn't cut it - you must be changed, given a new kind of life, you must be born of the Spirit. That is God's way, and it's the only way - and it's one way.
p ~ "I don't doubt at all Jesus is one way to God but it is not the only way."
How can you count Jesus to be a valid way to God when He taught so differently? How is it you don't count Him a deceiving religionist? Jesus announced again and again that He is the only way to God, that all others are liars, that you can't get to God the ways you assert you can, etc - if you think Hinduism and Islam and Voodooism, etc, etc, are all valid ways to get to God, and Jesus declared that there is no other way except through Him, that He is the way (and the only way) God has prepared to unite men to Himself, then how can you accept Jesus as a teacher of truth, how can you advance one who is saying the very opposite of what you believe to be a valid way to God?
p ~ "Creation stories were common in ancient civilizations. The bible is one of many. How then is there only one way?"
There was a creation, everything comes from that, many cultures (therefore) passed down accounts of this historic starting point - but God's own revelation of the factual account of creation differs and is, of course, the authoritative account . . . this is the Biblical account. The same can be said of the flood . . . many, many religions and cultures record an ancient world-wide deluge - it that happened, and the accounts all differ, than either none are correct or one is correct, they can't all be correct if they all differ in their account.
p ~ "When I read the bible I can only confirm whether or not what it says or doesn't say fits with my experience of God."
And here is where you make your mistake. We are frail creatures, easily swayed by fear and hope, strongly influenced by ego and appetite, etc - rather than evaluating the meaning and legitimacy of the Bible by your experiences, you should be evaluating the meaning and legitimacy of of your experiences by the Bible. If I experienced my dog telling me he is God and that I was to kill my neighbor, I would reject that experience because the Bible makes it clear that my dog is not God and I am not to kill my neighbor, etc.
This is the whole point of God giving us a text . . . God teaches us all the time through the experiences of our life; raising a family, working a job, doing the dishes, etc, etc, etc, are all used by God to reveal Himself to us. But we are fickle, emotional, fearful, hungry, tired, etc, etc, we need an objective, outside of ourselves, authoritative source of truth - we should understand life through accepting the Bible, not understand the Bible through accepting our interpretation of our experiences.
p ~ "You may see light and dark as separate and not able to co-exist together. I see them co-existing"
But they factually don't co-exist, you're just dreaming of an idea that feels nice to you. There is, of course, light 'here' and dark 'there', both existing - but they cannot co-exist, together. The truth is, light is an actual thing and dark is nothing . . . dark is merely the absence of light. Light is light, it is a real thing - dark is the absence of light, it is nothing. When you move down a dark hallway to a dark closet at it's end, and you turn on a flashlight and open the closet door, does the dark in the closet come out into the hallway and douse your light - or does your light enter into the closet and dispel the darkness? Darkness is nothing, and when light is introduced, the darkness is eliminated.
These two simply do not, factually, co-exist . . . and, God made it that way, He is teaching us when He says we are in darkness and He is the light. pennyofheaven, think honestly and prayerfully about this; you don't like the idea of separating things, you think uniting everything in one is just more spiritual, but the very first thing God does with His creation is to SEPARATE light from dark. Here is what you are not realizing; God will unite all things together in Him, in the end . . . that's what Jesus and His atonement is all about - but you want to just skip over the unpleasant work first, you want to just unite all right now (inside us), but God is saying that there is light and there is dark and the two cannot co-exist.
Before the final union of all things in God, God must first separate the light from the dark (this is why Jesus said "I am the light of the world"), the spirit from the carnal, the living from the dead, the sheep from the goats, etc . . . religious (rather than spiritual) people like to think that God only loves and that hate is the opposite of love and so God never hates - but hate is not the opposite of love, selfishness is the opposite of love. The truth is you cannot love if you don't hate; you don't really love kindness if you don't hate brutality, you don't really love children if you don't hate abuse, you don't really love truth if you don't hate deception, etc. God loves, and because He loves God also hates . . . and God is now bringing about the separation of what He loves (and so, what is good) from what He hates (what is evil) so that He can unite all thing unto Himself. You can't skip over this part of God's plan, you can't create a paradise and then include in it the same evil that corrupted this world.
You may reject any thing you like.
If you realized what I was talking about why bring up Santa Claus and needing to be good? Where have I said any thing remotely close to that, in our discussion? Perhaps you are placing a meaning there that fits with what you 'think' I am saying? You claim God is far more divine, far more infinite so, why do you limit God by believing God is only capable of reaching one man from one nation at one time in the whole history of mankind, to show the way? What makes you think that if a person is not Christian they cannot be possibly born again in spirit.? Again you place limits on God.
I can count Jesus as a valid way to God because I do not place limits on God as you appear to do. I do not understand Jesus teachings at surface level as you appear to do, but at it's depths. I also can count other ways to God to be valid ways too.
Just so you know, we have no stories of the flood. Adam and Eve were not our ancestors unless of course they had different names in our lineage. Like I said earlier our lineage goes way back to the source. Why can't all creation stories be correct? How do you know revelations were not given to other cultures about their origins? What you want to believe reveals the logical mind trying to fit God in to a box.
I can do little about you believing I make a mistake. If you actually read what I say in our discussions you might have noticed I said, the experience of God or spirit if you like does not have the ego participating in the experience. It is beyond thoughts and beliefs. I would rather go directly to the source to confirm the bibles take on God. Like most writers, the writers of the bible were tainted by their perceptions. If you fail to see that, I can do little about it.
Dark and light factually do co exist. Energy cannot be destroyed only altered. The properties of dark contain the properties of light or you would not be able to turn a light on and see the light. In the universe there is darkness and light co-existing. The light from planets alter the darkness of the universe. The darkness goes nowhere, it is still present, only altered. Out of darkness God created the light should tell you that it is possible they co-exist. The separation is only in labels.
As I said before the need for separation is the dual nature of man not God.
christianity is not religion, it is just one within the term religion.
Religion generally is how people try to access the unknown, how they choose to do that varies enormously.
The least likely way to find answers is to look in an old book compiled generally for political ends.
Religion is a suitable thinking substitute for people too dim to be able to reason for themselves.
Interesting read by R. Elisabeth Cornwell - The Evolution of Religion...
"The reason religion is so successful is that it taps into our primal-brains in much the same way that a Big Mac does -- only more so. Religion gained its foothold by hijacking the need to give purpose at a time when humans had only their imagination -- as opposed to the evidence and reason that we have today -- to fathom their world. Spirits and demons were the explanation for illnesses that we now know are caused by bacterial diseases and genetic disorders. The whims of the gods were why earthquakes, volcanos, floods and droughts occurred. Our ancestors were driven to sacrifice everything from goats to one another to satisfy those gods.
Along with the need to attribute purpose, our faculty to intuit the intent of others spills over into a predilection for determining the intentions of gods and goddesses (or spirits, demons, and angels). Of course the major problem has been that we can never quite agree among ourselves about god's intentions, which often ends in unfortunate violent discussions. Our evolved proclivity for aggression feeds into that as well. We justify our prejudices, hatred, murders, and war by attributing our own biases to a god. As long as we kill in god's name, we are doing good."
Sorry you are all wrong!!!
Religion is all about one man trying to have power over another by trying to use the excuse of some divine right!
Simple as that...
. . . not really as "simple as that" as you assert - many have tried to use religion to exercise power over other men (as they have with nearly everything), but that's what religion is, that's not a definition of religion.
no one asked for a definition of religion, they asked "what is religion all about?" and it is about one man controlling another..
They twist and change the so called "word of god" to fit their own requirements so that they can get people to behave in the way they want them to..
The original ten commandments are simple rules that should be followed if you want any society to function without internal conflict. Telling people do this or you will burn in hell forever is a good way to control a simple society.
The trouble is people did not stop there, they wanted more and more power over their fellow man so put in more and more rules....
Except, it only exerts power over thsoe who follow (said) religion.
There are alternate ways to exert control over the masses, and economics is just one example.
Pretty limited view of religion, if you ask me. (Which you didn't, )
LeanMan ~ "no one asked for a definition of religion"
You're right, the question is "what is religion all about?" - in answering that I offered a definition of religion as distinct from revealed truth, you announced that 'wrong', so I reiterated with clarification.
I agree with you that many have tried to use religion to advance their own agenda, privately and publicly, and when men do so publicly they are (as you say) using religion to assert control over others. But, again, revealed truth is different from man's religions . . . history is full of men waging war and abusing followers and collecting for themselves money and power with religion - but there is also a history of Christians feeding the poor, building hospitals, caring for the widows & orphans of even their enemies, improving the treatment of prisoners, ending slavery, raising the station of women, etc, etc.
To 'simply' assert that religion is all about "one man trying to have power over another" without making a distinction between religion and revealed truth can be very misleading.
So, let me ask you; you believe societies should regulate and demand that no one worship any other God but the God of Abraham?
It does not matter what god you use it is all about control, now in the west we no longer go to church en-mass we worship a greater god - money.
Yes people do good things in the name of religion, after all you can't control a society in a voluntary fashion long term through a regime that requires cruelty.
To live in harmony we have to help one another and follow rules, this originally was enforced through religion and people would follow due to fear of god. As that fear diminished they either had to enforce harsher rules and punishments or anarchy would prevail; so religions become stricter with more and more hell fire and more man inflicted punishments in the name of god.
Eventually god ceases to be the focus and society becomes the focus and laws and rules start to be enforced for the good of man with little bearing on any heavenly power..
Simplified heavily but that's my view...
. . . but, religions didn't become "stricter with more and more hell fire and more man inflicted punishments", the actual historic record is that religions mellowed and became a good bit more lenient offering less eternal punishment and more 'finding inner peace' etc.
Again, I don't dismiss your assertion that religion has been (and is) used my some to advance their own agenda by manipulating others - but you cast this scheme as a world-wide pan-generational plot . . . there are many, many people who practice some manner of worship and adherence to some manner of god who, while inaccurate in their belief and practice, are not manipulating or being manipulated but are sincere in their participation in religion. And there are many who enjoy a real and vital relationship with God apart from any manipulation by or manipulation of others.
I feel there is a distinct difference between religion, and the teaching of the bible.
These days folks dont tend to follow a religion blindly, as maybe once they did....... They are searching for some form of truth.........
Many religions have let people down, when they trust in them.
We need religion so we can get out of this miserable world where pain and heartache exist and just be with the one who truly loves us the most--GOD.
I think religion is whatever we make it to be.
Some practice religion quietly and attempt to use it as a way to improve themselves.
Some use religion as a tool to gain power or to advance their own agenda.
Religion only means one thing, and that is love for God.
The Bible, the Bhagavad-gita, and all the bona fide scriptures only boil down to one thing, give your life and heart to the Supreme Being. This is religion. It's not about sect. It's not about the number of followers. It's not about big churches or the popularity of the sect. It's a private relationship between you and God.
Religion is choosing God's voice among the many. There is a true church or religion, the question is which one is it.
Religion is for people who are scared to death to accept that we are alone in this vast, cold universe. There is no heaven or hell. When you die there is nothing. Have a religion gives people false hope that they need to cope with an otherwise brutal reality.
You know, religionists can just as easily and flippantly assert that non-believers are people who are scared to death to accept that we are not alone and that they will one day stand before their Creator . . . the religionists could surmise that this denial gives people false hope that they will not have to some day confront a brutal reality.
Alone who is alone even if they did not believe in God? How do we know we are the only ones existing in a very vast universe? Death is a process of life that cannot be avoided. Why would you need to believe in God when this belief is not going to prevent death?
way of life ...but now obselete and not needed thing...it would be replaced in coming times...already has begun with constitutions...which r much better than 400 holy books of 400 religions
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