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One of the reasons I began questioning my evangelical Christian upbringing was the concept of Hell as it was taught by our church. It was said that one would burn forever in constant agony. When I thought about this as a teenager, I realized that no matter what someone did in one lifetime I could not sentence them to an eternity of agony with no hope of redemption once placed there. I have been fortunate enough to have known many compassionate individuals in my lifetime who likewise could not subject another to such torment. I realized that if mere humans were that compassionate, how could I follow a God (supposedly a Supreme Being) who was that much less compassionate than his creations. I am not a pacificist regarding war, and I would support the death penalty in some cases. However, the concept of an allegedly morally superior, enlightened entity sentencing someone to eternal suffering, sometimes for the most trivial of sins, is beyond me. That there is supposed to be a familial relationship (i.e., we are God's children, and he is our father) only magnifies this. I acknowledge that I am speaking only of the God of whom I was taught as a child. I understand there are many good Christians would not share the same view of the Biblical God or damnation, and I do not mean to lump all Christians in with those I experienced growing up. So if this characterizaion does not apply to your experience of Christianity, please understand I mean no offense :) .

I'm a fundamentalist, but I believe your childhood church was incorrect. There is nothing in the bible that literally suggest that the lake of fire is a place where one would burn forever in constant agony. Rather, it is a place of spiritual death, meaning its eternal only in the sense that there's no coming back, its a permanent second death where you cease to exist for evermore.

Also, God does not sentence people for trivial sins, Jesus covered our sins. God judges those who reject Christ and refuse to repent of their sins. All will be given an equal opportunity, God is fair.

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Hi Mark,

I know there is a great deal of variation in Christianity and how the Bible is interpreted. I am only describing the church to which I was exposed, and I do not mean to imply that their interpretation was the correct interpretation for all Christianity :) . I would argue that the fairness of God in the Bible is also subject to interpretation if one wishes to take the Bible literally as it is written.

Edited by GruffyddYDryw

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OOPS! My mistake. The above post should have been "Hi Dan," not "Hi Mark." I had read a post by Mark 45 earlier, just before this. I am on my work computer and was interrupted. I was actually replying to Dan 52. By the time I noticed, it was too late to change it in the post. Sorry :( !

Edited by GruffyddYDryw

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I would argue that the fairness of God in the Bible is also subject to interpretation if one wishes to take the Bible literally as it is written.

Absolutely, there are many who read the bible and conclude that God is not fair. Everyone has their own idea of what's fair, but since all righteousness resides in God, his judgements surpass our standards. I personally don't understand some of Gods decisions, but its safe to say that God does not evaluate everything the same way we do; "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). So even when we can see no rhyme or reason for what God determines; "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28). And I agree that the fairness of God can be misconstrued by any individual who wrongly interprets what's written.

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Absolutely, there are many who read the bible and conclude that God is not fair. Everyone has their own idea of what's fair, but since all righteousness resides in God, his judgements surpass our standards. I personally don't understand some of Gods decisions, but its safe to say that God does not evaluate everything the same way we do; "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). So even when we can see no rhyme or reason for what God determines; "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28). And I agree that the fairness of God can be misconstrued by any individual who wrongly interprets what's written.

Or it could be as I see much of it. Someone writes God said this or that so that it is beyond others to debate but I often doubt God had any part in it.

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Or it could be as I see much of it. Someone writes God said this or that so that it is beyond others to debate but I often doubt God had any part in it.

That opens a different can of worms. Once we say that God has little if anything to do with the Bible -- what's left of the Bible?

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That opens a different can of worms. Once we say that God has little if anything to do with the Bible -- what's left of the Bible?

A work of literature that addresses the human psyche.

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That opens a different can of worms. Once we say that God has little if anything to do with the Bible -- what's left of the Bible?

Once we say that God has little if anything to do with the Bible -- We are left with an unknown God.

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Once we say that God has little if anything to do with the Bible -- We are left with an unknown God.

Yet, that is the issue. There are many views about God and what is known about God, and some threatening that everyone has to have their view or else bad things will happen to them and I have never found anyone who could describe God to the satisfaction of everyone. That and if God exists then what is God is beyond either me or you to say as mere mortal human beings. I believe God exists and for me God can be experienced and human beings have sort God and enlightenment in that same experience whether they call it God or not. Some (IMO) meditate to experience the unity of all and some pray to commune with all.

Hence, I do not care what a person's faith is but what is in their heart matters (IMO) because that is where I believe God is to be found and not in some arbitrary and many cases cold hearted text. I therefore do not feel I have to justify some of the evils of the bible or other texts and declare they are not there despite it being written.

It is simple for me. If God is love then God is worth following but if God is going to condemn people despite their love on the basis of what is said in some questionable text then I do not call that love and do not think that idea of God is worth following.

Edited by Pete

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Yet, that is the issue. There are many views about God and what is known about God, and some threatening that everyone has to have their view or else bad things will happen to them and I have never found anyone who could describe God to the satisfaction of everyone. That and if God exists then what is God is beyond either me or you to say as mere mortal human beings. I believe God exists and for me God can be experienced and human beings have sort God and enlightenment in that same experience whether they call it God or not. Some (IMO) meditate to experience the unity of all and some pray to commune with all.

Hence, I do not care what a person's faith is but what is in their heart matters (IMO) because that is where I believe God is to be found and not in some arbitrary and many cases cold hearted text. I therefore do not feel I have to justify some of the evils of the bible or other texts and declare they are not there despite it being written.

It is simple for me. If God is love then God is worth following but if God is going to condemn people despite their love on the basis of what is said in some questionable text then I do not call that love and do not think that idea of God is worth following.

At this point in my life, I don't find it useful to talk about "God." The word means too many different things to too many different people. Consequently, it is impossible to define -- at least in a useful way. A word that can not be defined is useless. Worse, "God" has so much intellectual and emotional baggage, that all it does is generate heat without light.

Strictly my opinion -- if you want to use a tern like "All" or "Unity" -- You are managing to convey something. "God" is just an invitation to endless argument, about the reality behind the word. Even that argument gets repeated and rehashed when ever someone joins in. There are some distinctions worth making. "All" does not make Heaven or Hell. "Unity" does not expect or demand worship. "All" does not create, nor hide behind, Scripture.

In addition, "Unity" does not issue "Commandments" like Judaism -- require "Submission" like Islam -- or need to "Sacrifice" itself to pay for our sins -- like Christianity.

There is no murder for Unity. No holy war or terrorism for All. IMO

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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At this point in my life, I don't find it useful to talk about "God." The word means too many different things to too many different people. Consequently, it is impossible to define -- at least in a useful way. A word that can not be defined is useless. Worse, "God" has so much intellectual and emotional baggage, that all it does is generate heat without light.

Strictly my opinion -- if you want to use a tern like "All" or "Unity" -- You are managing to convey something. "God" is just an invitation to endless argument, about the reality behind the word. Even that argument gets repeated and rehashed when ever someone joins in. There are some distinctions worth making. "All" does not make Heaven or Hell. "Unity" does not expect or demand worship. "All" does not create, nor hide behind, Scripture.

In addition, "Unity" does not issue "Commandments" like Judaism -- require "Submission" like Islam -- or need to "Sacrifice" itself to pay for our sins -- like Christianity.

There is no murder for Unity. No holy war or terrorism for All. IMO

I can find lots I agree with in that statement. The place I put myself is liberal Christian. I put it there without the baggage or the threats of hell or torment etc. I do so because I believe early Christianity was a very mixed group of beliefs and the modern conservative view was not the only one present. It just likes to portray itself as such (IMO).

I do not care for talk about loving people of differing faiths and perceptions and view points suffering eternal pain just because they did not have a required belief of some interpretation of text from questionable sources (IMO)..

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Once we say that God has little if anything to do with the Bible -- We are left with an unknown God.

well, maybe.

First, the bible is not the only possible source of info that claims to describe God. So knowledge of God may still exist.

Second, it is possible that God had little or nothing to do with the bible because God does not exist. Just like My Aunt Emma had little or nothing to do with the bible. I don't have an aunt Emma.

And, of course, it is a popular religious trope that we can't really know God anyway.. because of the difference in scale, or righteousness or what ever. (this is generally brought up when trying to explain why God might have - say - allowed someones child to die: the whole God works in Mysterious ways thing..) So it is quite possible a God of that nature has not intended for us to "know" them..

Just options..

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Once we say that God has little if anything to do with the Bible -- We are left with an unknown God.

I do not agree. Many of the great spiritual teachers of the Sanatana Veda Dharma and other religions have never heard of the Bible, and they have been mend and women of God. They speak of God with profound wisdom.

Hermano Luis

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I can find lots I agree with in that statement. The place I put myself is liberal Christian. I put it there without the baggage or the threats of hell or torment etc. I do so because I believe early Christianity was a very mixed group of beliefs and the modern conservative view was not the only one present. It just likes to portray itself as such (IMO).

I do not care for talk about loving people of differing faiths and perceptions and view points suffering eternal pain just because they did not have a required belief of some interpretation of text from questionable sources (IMO)..

Just so. We are working with different symbolism, but from a similar place.

Every time I open my eyes I see God

I expect that this is so.

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One of the older men in our community just celebrated his 80th b-day the other day at our Community House and when asked if there was anything left to do in life he spent nearly an hour going down the list of things that a "Good Christian" (his words repeatedly) can look forward to when getting to heaven. He knew he had earned his reward of the "Seven crowns", "everlasting life", "unending peace" and "glorified life with Christ at his side"...which was interesting because he went on and on about that part like Christ would literally be right at his side for the rest of eternity....well, for a few people I could see Christ being in the middle of their circle...but what about the millions of Christians that have "earned these favors of God and/or Christ"? Don't they also get to have him right there, next to them, at their side??

I realize we will probably be in an ethereal state after death and therefore probably not be subjected to the current laws of physics we are here on Earth, but it's still difficult to imagine millions of souls all being able to maintain certain "rewards" as suggested in the Bible for the believer to have for eternity. I don't know what the exact rewards are, nor do I care because gold crowns, streets paved in gold and all the other references to golden rewards just seems ludicrous to me for those who claim their spiritual reward is all that is necessary....seems to me the "golden reward" theory was tossed in by mankind...not God...and just one more thing to make people desire a certain path rather than express a reality.

And yeah, every time I take a good look around I see the wonders of "God" (Creator, The One, The All, Almighty,etc......whatever label you wish) ...we live so close to Castle Air Museum airstrip that when the old birds B-17, B-25, P-40, P-38 and even the Marlin's fly over our house we can actually feel the prop wash and watch the dust and leaves fly off our roof...though made by mankind....just another wondrous thing alongside the Creator given miracles in our world!

:chococat_h4h:We have cats so we see miracles everyday! :whist:

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If God is love then God is worth following but if God is going to condemn people despite their love on the basis of what is said in some questionable text then I do not call that love.

God does not condemn people 'despite' their love, but in the absence of their love. If you do not love the biblical God, then you love a god of your own imagination, or another book. jmo

And, of course, it is a popular religious trope that we can't really know God anyway.. because of the difference in scale, or righteousness or what ever.

"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him" (John 14:7)

Every time I open my eyes I see God

Mirrors don't count :)

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God does not condemn people 'despite' their love, but in the absence of their love. If you do not love the biblical God, then you love a god of your own imagination, or another book. jmo

Now let me see a God of my imagination or a God of the bible writers imagination? Being someone who does not trust everything in the bible I think you know my answer to that. For me the nationalism and terrible behaviour of the biblical God (IMO) is enough to put me off believing the bible gives a fair description of any God worth respecting.

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God does not condemn people 'despite' their love, but in the absence of their love. If you do not love the biblical God, then you love a god of your own imagination, or another book. jmo

"If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him" (John 14:7)

Mirrors don't count :)

Then, people who have the wrong book are going to Hell? There's a loving God. This gives me a warm, gushy feeling. With an effort, I think I can keep it down.

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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Then, people who have the wrong book are going to Hell? There's a loving God. This gives me a warm, gushy feeling. With an effort, I think I can keep it down.

I think this hits on the issue Jonathan. The loving of only those who have blind obedience to one is not love. It is slavery, oppression, and tyranny. This is one of the reasons I find it hard to accept the biblical description of God as either just or loving.

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