.......in terms of behaviours and activities?
I've just read a hub by someone talking about the old Chestnut that not all who call themselves Christian are going to heaven citing Jesus "Not all who cry Lord will enter the Kingdom......." I suppose this is connected to Emile's OP asking why the Body of Christ seems to hate itself on occasion; one group of Christians read Jesus' words and get the idea they are the purified elite.
So what are the differences beside matters of belief and evangelism? Very broadly, both Christians and atheists like to go to the movies; listen to secular music; drink alcohol (and overindulge on occasions); gossip; backstab; and lie. Both camps look at internet porn, though Christians tend to think it's an addiction. Stats have shown that both have equal rates of divorce, so we might assume equal rates of infidelity too. As far as I can tell the single biggest difference between Christians and atheists amongst family, friends and colleagues I've have known is that Christians seem much less involved in coarse joking and using swear words. If this is true then being excluded from Heaven for telling a dirty joke seems a bit harsh.
The waters get even more muddied here. Most people think of Christianity as an ethnic group, of sorts. Their parents are Christian, therefore, by birth, they are Christian. So, they can swear with the best of them. Which is, i think, grand. It's an assumption of salvation for no better reason than that they exist.
I'm with you, though. People are people. Squint your eyes and cover your ears and, by their actions, they all look alike.
Which kind of explains the old mantra that to get into Heaven we simply just have to believe in Jesus, which to me makes little sense. Earthly judges in a court of law judge people by their actions, not what they believe. The islamic extremist fundamentalist can believe in all the bloodletting he wants, but it only becomes an issue if he incites acts of terrorism or racism. So why does Christendom think God judges primarily upon belief rather than action?
This matter is not lost on some Christians who then go on to say that to get to heaven people must 'walk with Jesus'. But even this is a nebulous concept without any concrete definition. Assuming people do actually walk with Jesus, then this lifestyle is entirely dependant upon the individual's interpretation of what it means, their perceived ability to hear God, and of course his willingness to speak to them.
I don't know. I would assume heaven is perceived as exclusive since it's heaven. No fears, no worries. If the things you fear here are in the afterlife, and you assume the afterlife mirrors this one, how is it better?
And, judging by belief is far easier than judging by action. Jesus said even our thoughts are judged. I can't imagine anyone never having a crazy thought. I imagine a lot of scenarios I'd never want to act out, but it's fun (for some reason) to imagine them.
The point is that, if judged, no one would pass muster. So, the only alternatives within that belief structure are everyone is saved, or some get to pass the eye blinded to their actions. Few can forgive and forget every perceived slight and injustice done to them. They dream of retribution, at some point. Cosmic retribution is the only way they can compartmentalize the hatred they feel, which is the antithesis to what they claim to believe. That's how I see it, anyway.
Christians and Atheists are both sinners. The fact is, Jesus dying on the cross is God's gift of grace that we must accept. All will have to answer for his/her sinning. The atheist, although he helps others, is still guilty of any sin like lying, stealing a pencil, things you would consider petty, but think about it: God is SINLESS and PURE, so NO sin, however tiny it is, can be in the presence of God. So we're all pretty much doomed, unless we accept that Jesus is our savior. I hope that clears up the confusion for you.
The creature giving lessons and instruction in how to keep slaves is sinless?
The one that drowned the world in a pique of anger? Because the people He made in His image didn't do what He thought they should?
The one that destroyed two cities and a woman that saw His handiwork first hand because their care of strangers was substandard??
The one that sent bears to kill children that teased an old man?
That god is sinless? You have a strange definition of what "sin" is.
I'm not sure I understand. You say no sin no matter how small can be in the presence of God. You would also say the Jesus was God according to the trinity. Yet Jesus spent his life in the presence of sin. So why is Jesus somehow immune to sin but God isn't?
Oh yes, it certainly clears up my confusion.
If I steal a pencil, I'm doomed. Unless, I accept Jesus as my savior.
For a pencil.
Really there is no discernible differences between Christians and Atheists. It is just purely individual. There are unevolved and immature Christians and Atheists. Conversely, there are evolved and mature Christians and Atheists. There are Atheists who will go beyond the duty to care and help fellow human beings while there are Christians who talk the talk but refuse to walk the walk.
There are Christians who deride others for not believing and thinking as they do. There are Christians who believe that THEIR particular purview is the only legitimate one and others who believe differently are somewhat amiss. The same go for Atheists. There are Atheists who believe that anyone who do not believe the way they do have some deep issues.
There are Christians and Atheists who are conservative and traditional in their sociopolitical and socioreligious values. There are Christians and Atheists who are liberal and progressive in their sociopolitical and socioreligious values. It is not Christianity and Atheism; it is INDIVIDUAL differences and perspective in terms of life approaches and attitudes.
P.S. I knew a couple of Christian women at work who really LOVED to party. They smoked, drank, and loved to hang out in bars. They also used some extremely strong verbiage if you know what I mean. They were quite bold in OTHER areas also. Again, this is demonstrating that Christians can be as wild as the next person. Christian and Atheist are just human constructs; it is the INDIVIDUAL person, not the belief!
An Atheist like the Christian is first and foremost a human being, the major difference between them is their chosen paths in life's journey. Reality is despite of this difference they both face the same world and its given challenges, now the Christian is supposed to live a Christlike life which means take Jesus the Christ as a model for oneself. Since the Atheist has no dealings with Christ he is to approach life as he wills it not as Christ suggested, however the Atheist can still approach life as Christ did if he wants to.
Some Christian traditions do teach that salvation is through faith (in Christ) alone while others its a combo of both faith and action, spiritual ideals should be put separate in their ideals on reality as in; in a human court physical action is necessary for any proceeding and a determinant of the final judgement, however God in the Christian context is a spiritual entity, and thus if there is judgement- His courtroom is in a spiritual context thats why it is in the after life, the reality after the physical one. Thats why Christ highlights one law above all for the Christian - Love. Love is an emotion that has so many physical attributes that mostly deal with compassion and acceptance, it is relational and relations need physical as well as mental/emo/psychological maintenance.
It may appear then that the spirit needs the flesh pureness to maintain its innocence.
But its true we all fall short, doesn't mean we give up trying though.
That is an excellent point. The Atheist can indeed glean some things from the writings of Christ, just like the Atheist can glean from Buddha, Muhammad, Einstein, Darwin, Newton, Augustus Caesar, Socrates and a host of other people who have provided us with a tremendous amount of information about the world and ourselves.
To focus on only one of them, putting them up on a pedestal to worship and praise is not reasonable or rational and tends to sway one in ignoring or denying important things the others might say.
I would like to offer a thought, and please know that I mean no disrespect and intend no amount of snark when I say it. You should read the Bible for these answers. I have seen SO many questions asking why Christians (and other groups of believers) believe as they do. I personally, am never going to offer an answer that I didn't find in the Bible. So why not bypass me and ppl like me and go straight to the source?
I understand that you say many of us interpret the Bible differently, so why not read it yourself and see how you would interpret it?
For instance, one Atheist on this forum brings up the same questions all the time: slavery, the treatment of women, etc. So I always offer a biblical answer, but he ignores my answers and repeats the same questions over and over. I would offer that he should pick up a Bible and read, *not just the verses he finds questionable, but the entire Bible so he could get a full understanding of who this God is.
You can't read a sentence or two of the Harry Potter series and say you have an understanding of the books. To debate them based on that, would be ridiculous. If you have deep and probing questions on a daily basis, there is obviously a searching in your heart that only going to the source will satisfy. Asking someone else to give me the gist of the Harry Potter series, offers me SO much less of the experience than reading it myself.
I have read the bible multiple times in multiple languages, and from my conversations with others, they say that they have read it too. Many people have. I don't see that as speaking FOR anyone, just relaying what I've directly been told and know from my own experience.
Well I knew you had. I knew when I was writing my post that you would respond that you had read it. I am just surprised that you know who has read it and that they've read it multiple times.
I don't know everybody's personal history of Bible reading, nor did I claim to. I do know that over the course of conversations, some of which you were a part of, many others have said the same.
Then we get told that being unbelievers means we can't understand the Bible properly and that the Bible was written for believers (not by you, necessarily, but by others). Which is it?
You are asking me if the Bible was written for believers or non believers? I would say the bible was written for mankind. What each will do with it is up to the individual.
Then you disagree with a growing number of your brethren, which is what makes talking to believers fun and interesting.
Some of them like caviar.
Some of them have a love affair with the treadmill.
Some of them like the rain.
Some of them vote Democrat.
Some of them are early risers.
Some of them speak in tongues.
Do you agree with every thought ED has?
We are individuals. God made us that way.
Did you see me asserting that you were all the same or should be? No. I said your differences are part of what makes the conversation fun and interesting.
+1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 in agreement. Christians are not monolithic people. To indicate that is highly stereotypical. Christians are INDIVIDUALS first and foremost. Well time to have lunch and get some needed rest. People are PEOPLE regardless of Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, New Age, Pagan, Wiccan- let us go beyond artificial constructs and get to know the HUMAN BEING.
Devout Christian(Roman Catholic)
All Christians AREN'T alike. Some are even quite fun, sassy, and FULLY ALIVE!
I think Christians, those who follow Christ, should have a similar heart and very similar beliefs. Like the Bible says, we should be "like-minded". Being a Believer on the other hand leaves a lot of room for different beliefs.
AMEN to that, Beth and you wonder why you are so well-loved. You are LOVE. Keep the conversation going and have a BLESSED DAY. Going shopping now before being more deluged with SNOW and SNOW....and MORE SNOW.
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