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The Love Of Jesus


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Let me try to be more clear Ms. D. The experience of Oneness is not in question. "Complete Oneness" as in "uninterrupted Oneness" is for me. Also, by particular experience, mine, it was in encounter with Jesus that lasted only seconds. I am faithful that a constant state of the Oneness happens when we die and go to Heaven. Maybe this is where we are miscommunicating. Access vs. time and remaining in access. This to me is the difference because if I can't access it at any given time, then I can't see that it is from within. If it were from within, then why do I not put myself there all the time and live as though?

 

What we seem to be questioning is......is this encounter with Oneness....is it Jesus, or the Source, or the Ground of Being, or any other names one might give to the Oneness experience.

 

I love you to death Ms. D., but I believe that this Oneness is Jesus. I can't compromise at this point regardless of how much I would like to. Our conversations for about the last month are littered with,"yes AM, yes NBBTB, but X".

 

Maybe time will allow me that freedom. I don't know....yet.

End, I think the reason we can't put ourselves there is because we are trying to. We get in our own way. It's called being self-conscious of ourselves. I keep trying to find a way also, but the more I seek, the less I understand that I already have it. "I" just have to get the heck out of the way. The only time it happens with me is when I'm contemplating some thoughts without thought about myself. The second I try to grasp it, it vanishes. I think there's a lesson there, but one that is darn hard to do. I have trouble in relationships because I always get self-conscious and stop the love from flowing out of me. Dang it! :) Then I think, there's nothing I can do (because you know, I'm hoping something will happen when I say that :HaHa: ). I feel like Paul:

 

Romans 7:14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

 

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.

 

This makes me laugh. I feel like that often, but it's not because of my sinful nature, it's because we are perfectly capable of being good and bad, but I think bad is something that is in us like a virus or bacteria maybe. I believe goodness is our nature that gets sick with our imaginings of the ego. We get in the way of our true nature. I'm thinking this is what Paul also meant when he mentions his "inner being" delighting in God's law. He called sin a law, but I wouldn't go that far. It's just a Self-blocking, or protecting, mechanism.

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I don't have much to add, this being in the Colosseum, but in case nobody else has brought it up I'd like to restate Pastor's argument in positive terms.

 

It is not that without Jesus Christ all love is meaningless.

 

Say rather: it is because of Jesus Christ that all love is meaningful.

 

All love is a reflection of Christ's love. It's not a matter of mouth the right words or believing the right things or doing the right things, because the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.

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I don't have much to add, this being in the Colosseum, but in case nobody else has brought it up I'd like to restate Pastor's argument in positive terms.

 

It is not that without Jesus Christ all love is meaningless.

 

Say rather: it is because of Jesus Christ that all love is meaningful.

 

All love is a reflection of Christ's love. It's not a matter of mouth the right words or believing the right things or doing the right things, because the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.

Yes, that is a good way to state it in Christian terms. There wouldn't be much disagreement there. I have a disagreement when it is stated exclusively as belonging to certain groups of people.

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Jesus was a beacon, not the Source.

Even Jesus says this in the gospels in Mark 10:17-18
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
Jesus may have lived his life in such a way that people saw something transcendent in him but Jesus himself was not God; he merely only pointed to God.
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Jesus was a beacon, not the Source.

Even Jesus says this in the gospels in Mark 10:17-18
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
Jesus may have lived his life in such a way that people saw something transcendent in him but Jesus himself was not God; he merely only pointed to God.

 

But don't you think any charismatic religious leader performs the same function? In their actual personal "ministry" they inspire people to live lives closer to a god in some way. But then, in the case of many of these leaders, they become legendary and their name and their teachings become symbolic/representative of that desire to become one with that greater hope.

 

I'm just saying that the transcendent quality about Jesus didn't have to be greater, better executed or more "god-like" with Jesus. The legends, stories , traditions and rituals that developed around him just got better press and better political and social support until they became the western religious powerhouse we know today.

 

I just think there is a universal desire with many people for connection with the "ground of being" or the "Tao" that is innate in people and religious types facilitate and, in some cases, exploit this desire.

 

But the ground of being/Tao are accessible to all and is outside individual symbolic/belief systems.

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I don't have much to add, this being in the Colosseum, but in case nobody else has brought it up I'd like to restate Pastor's argument in positive terms.

 

It is not that without Jesus Christ all love is meaningless.

 

Say rather: it is because of Jesus Christ that all love is meaningful.

 

All love is a reflection of Christ's love. It's not a matter of mouth the right words or believing the right things or doing the right things, because the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you.

 

 

I wish you would stop using the words "Jesus Christ" with all the baggage that accompanies them. I also don't know about love being meaningful. Love is just love. It is like beauty, it is just there and has its own meaning to the observer. Why is it necessary to find meaning? To me, these are just analytical words that detract.

 

All love is really a reflection of that which is already present in you. "Love" is inadequate as a description, but may be as close as we can come. It is your natural and true state. There is no other person here coming in from the outside. The outside is the inside.

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Jesus was a beacon, not the Source.

Even Jesus says this in the gospels in Mark 10:17-18
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.
Jesus may have lived his life in such a way that people saw something transcendent in him but Jesus himself was not God; he merely only pointed to God.

Yes. I often wonder who Chrisitians think Jesus is talking to/about when he says things such as this. He also prays for his disciples to be one as him and God are one. Well, the prayer was for everyone to realize this.

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As I've read the Christian responses here, one thing struck me, and has been mentioned. They only are willing to understand their own worldview of religion, which is the Americanized version of Fundamentalism. It's as if they insist on living in a bubble and refuse to give any merit to and outright reject any other ideas or cultures other than their own.

 

Sad really, to be so shallow.

 

Which brings me to "the love of Jesus". From a fundamentalist perspective, I believe this is a self-esteem issue. Their self worth is tied into something outside themselves. It's based on their emotions and their own feelings. "I can love myself because Jesus loves me." They have to color everything with "Jesus love" because it the foundation of their self-worth. I can certainly see how someone who needs something to provide them with self-worth and self-love not be able to understand why we have rejected it.

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As I've read the Christian responses here, one thing struck me, and has been mentioned. They only are willing to understand their own worldview of religion, which is the Americanized version of Fundamentalism. It's as if they insist on living in a bubble and refuse to give any merit to and outright reject any other ideas or cultures other than their own.

 

Sad really, to be so shallow.

 

Which brings me to "the love of Jesus". From a fundamentalist perspective, I believe this is a self-esteem issue. Their self worth is tied into something outside themselves. It's based on their emotions and their own feelings. "I can love myself because Jesus loves me." They have to color everything with "Jesus love" because it the foundation of their self-worth. I can certainly see how someone who needs something to provide them with self-worth and self-love not be able to understand why we have rejected it.

 

Taph,

 

How in the hell do you think what you just said would change "the Christians" to a different perspective? We are so shallow and such. Is it by Grace perhaps? Freedom to pursue happiness maybe? Religious freedom maybe?

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To all my fellow posters:

I'd thought I would reply to all those who have posted thus far as I have seen some commonalities amongst what you have to say:

 

First, I have heard it claimed that, and I would agree, Love is something that we all contain but is also something that transcends us as humans. You believe, as I also do, that anyone has the ability to search for this Love, and can grasp the fulfillment of it in their own lives. Yet, where I do not and cannot agree is that their is more than one way to achieve this Love outside of Jesus Christ.

 

On that note, some of you have suggested that Jesus Christ never claimed He was God; that cannot be further from the truth. Jesus Christ, in many instances, gave referred to Himself as "I AM", and did things that only God could do. You see, you'd have to actually study the Bible and those references to actually see the metaphors and symbolism that Jesus used in reference to Himself to truly understand His claims (I know, most of you have studied the Bible, obviously not well enough if you have missed this obvious point found throughout the Gospels). Not only did Jesus claim it, but so did His disciples (see John 1). Jesus most certainly claimed He was God.

 

 

Back to my point: I like the definition that was given earlier in this post that suggested this: that because of Jesus Christ love has meaning. That we as people, Christian and Non-Christian, can love because God first Loved us. Yet, as the Bible also mentions, it is only through God that we can truly Love in the correct manner. Now, not being God I could not give you objective measures that would definitively say that I love more correctly than any non-Christian. I just know that the Word of God, the Bible, has told me that Love, the fullness of Love, can only come when I put my faith and trust into one man: Jesus Christ, and anyone else who doesn't realize this will simply miss the boat.

 

Another side point: There has been one or two that has brought up the old question: How can a loving God put people in Hell? Fair question; allow me to answer. It is not God's choice to send you to Hell, as a matter of fact the Old Testament (you know the one where God is supposed to be the evil bad guy) says that God desires for no one to perish (that is go to Hell). The reason that God allows people to go to Hell is because He is so loving (I know, follow me here). Most of you here have made the choice to not follow the one-true God and to not be in communion (or fellowship or relationship) with Him in this lifetime. Because you have made that choice, God is going to allow you to live out that choice for the rest of eternity. It's called consequences: for every choice we make, there is an eternal consequence.

 

Again, Back to my point: I'd like to finish by saying this: You may be able to love without a relationship with Jesus Christ, but you cannot possess all that Love contains without that relationship. That doesn't make me any better than you, I just have something you don't (something that we all need); that is, the Spirit of God living in me. For that reason, because I have God within me, I can love more fully than any other non-believer.

 

Have I obtained that Love, not yet. Will I, hopefully. I just know that as long as the Holy Spirit is within me then that opportunity is available to me, and it can be to you, if you are in relationship with the One-True God.

 

That's it, I look forward to the flood-gates being opened in the form of responses. Until then...

 

Peace, Love, and Soul

 

Larry

 

 

P.S. Please don't take this as an attack, I just had to say what is on my heart as I'm sure you will be too.

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I'd like to finish by saying this: You may be able to love without a relationship with Jesus Christ, but you cannot possess all that Love contains without that relationship. That doesn't make me any better than you, I just have something you don't (something that we all need); that is, the Spirit of God living in me. For that reason, because I have God within me, I can love more fully than any other non-believer.

 

 

Pastor15,

 

Don't you have to stick your head in the sand, so to speak, in order to maintain this position? Don't you have to only be around Christians who agree with you, for the most part, in order to maintain this position? That is a very global statement to make and very few people have the means or the initiative to verify a statement like this.

 

Have you got some sort of double blind study on which you base this assertion that a believer can " . . . love more fully than any other non-believer?"

Have you sampled the fittest and the finest from amongst all the other faiths on planet earth as well as among those who do not confess to faith in any deity? Maybe they love more fully than you realize. Maybe they love just as fully as the best of the best whom you admire in the Christian faith? How do you know they don't?

 

Larry, on what basis in reality can you make statements like these? It increasingly sounds as if "the Love of Jesus" is just another way to say "we're better than everybody else" without having to verify or support what you are saying in the real world.

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Pastor15,

 

Don't you have to stick your head in the sand, so to speak, in order to maintain this position? Don't you have to only be around Christians who agree with you, for the most part, in order to maintain this position? That is a very global statement to make and very few people have the means or the initiative to verify a statement like this.

 

Have you got some sort of double blind study on which you base this assertion that a believer can " . . . love more fully than any other non-believer?"

Have you sampled the fittest and the finest from amongst all the other faiths on planet earth as well as among those who do not confess to faith in any deity? Maybe they love more fully than you realize. Maybe they love just as fully as the best of the best whom you admire in the Christian faith? How do you know they don't?

 

Larry, on what basis in reality can you make statements like these? It increasingly sounds as if "the Love of Jesus" is just another way to say "we're better than everybody else" without having to verify or support what you are saying in the real world.

 

 

I guess that is what faith is all about. You're right, there is no way I can 100% show you that I love more fully than anyone else. Yet, because I believe in what God tells me (both in His Word and in my experience)I trust in the fact that there is a qualitative difference between Christians and Non-Christians (that being that Christians have the very essence of Love within us; see 1 John 3 and 4). This isn't blind faith, nor is it me sticking my head in the sand, instead it is putting my trust in the truest thing I have ever known: Jesus Christ. Therefore, if I have the essence of Love within me, and Non-Christians do not, then it only makes sense that I have something y'all don't, which leads to a fuller knowledge of what "Love" actually is.

 

Again, this doesn't make me better than anybody, anyone can have what I have. As I have stated earlier, I am no better, I just realize the answer to the problem.

 

Peace, Love, and Soul

Larry

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Back to my point: I like the definition that was given earlier in this post that suggested this: that because of Jesus Christ love has meaning. That we as people, Christian and Non-Christian, can love because God first Loved us. Yet, as the Bible also mentions, it is only through God that we can truly Love in the correct manner. Now, not being God I could not give you objective measures that would definitively say that I love more correctly than any non-Christian. I just know that the Word of God, the Bible, has told me that Love, the fullness of Love, can only come when I put my faith and trust into one man: Jesus Christ, and anyone else who doesn't realize this will simply miss the boat.

 

Wow, this is just a really strange statement. To "love correctly"? What is an example of correct love as opposed to incorrect love? Yet you say you cannot give any objective measures that would prove this remarkable statement.I think what you are really saying is that those of us who do not believe in Christ cannot really love, and you are just hedging around and trying to make it sound better.

 

Any love I may have must be somehow deficient, right? That is rather insulting, particularly since you really don't know any of us other than that we are not Christians.

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[quote name='DevaLight' date='28 November 2009 - 06:47 PM' timestamp='1259455638' post='508982'

 

Wow, this is just a really strange statement. To "love correctly"? What is an example of correct love as opposed to incorrect love? Yet you say you cannot give any objective measures that would prove this remarkable statement.I think what you are really saying is that those of us who do not believe in Christ cannot really love, and you are just hedging around and trying to make it sound better.

 

Any love I may have must be somehow deficient, right? That is rather insulting, particularly since you really don't know any of us other than that we are not Christians.

 

 

DevaLight,

You must remember what mindset I am speaking from. As a Christian I must ask myself this question: what makes me different than non-believers? Yes, it's the fact that I'm going to Heaven and non-Christians are going to Hell (yes I know a harsh statement but you all have always wanted me to be straight up with you), but the real thing that makes me, and all Christians different, is the fact that the Holy Spirit lives within us. That's the only reason why I as a Christian can love differently. From the Christian perspective we understand Love to be fully expressed and defined by God (God is Love as referenced in 1 John 4) and since that is what we see as Truth then we come to the conclusion that if God lives within the Christian (through the Holy Spirit) then the fullest expression and definition of Love also lives within us. Therefore, if a person is not a Christian, they cannot have that Love and therefore can not Love in the same way as a Christian.

 

DevaLight, you are right I don't know you, but you are a non-Christian and therefore cannot love in the fullest sense of the word according to a Christian. Harsh, yes; but truth nonetheless.

 

Peace, Love, and Soul

Larry

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How in the hell do you think what you just said would change "the Christians" to a different perspective?

 

My take on this comment was that it was an observation meant more for the ex-Christians here, not a statement meant to persuade. :shrug:

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As a Christian I must ask myself this question: what makes me different than non-believers? Yes, it's the fact that I'm going to Heaven and non-Christians are going to Hell (yes I know a harsh statement but you all have always wanted me to be straight up with you), but the real thing that makes me, and all Christians different, is the fact that the Holy Spirit lives within us. That's the only reason why I as a Christian can love differently.

 

Hi Larry,

 

So... what if you are wrong? What if in fact you are wrong, the holy spirit doesn't live within you or any other Christian (because it doesn't exist) and you are exactly like the rest of us? What if this belief of yours is preventing you from really grasping our common point of humanity and our common ability to love fully no matter what our worldview?

 

Remember, we have all been where you are right now. We all believed at one point that we had the holy spirit inside of us, we all believed that our love was somehow "better" back when we believed in Jesus. And through various means, we all came to have the understanding now that that belief was wrong, and that we can love our fellow humans as they are, unblinkered by the filter of religious doctrine.

 

I won't go into your other arguments, they've been addressed in other threads on this forum should you want to look into alternate ideas with respect to those, or perhaps someone else here will engage you. My point is simply that I and many here have heard those arguments before; I don't know if you realize that.

 

For what it's worth, it does seem to me that Christian beliefs about the quality of love in (and even the intent of) believers vs. non-believers actually prevents Christians from loving fully, precisely because it puts a dividing wedge between the two groups of people in the Christian mind... an artificial wedge that doesn't actually exist.

 

Best wishes to you.

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DevaLight, you are right I don't know you, but you are a non-Christian and therefore cannot love in the fullest sense of the word according to a Christian. Harsh, yes; but truth nonetheless.

 

 

Typically Christian. Since this is the Colosseum, I will only say that this is a very narrow, ignorant and prejudiced view. I am happy I have freed myself of such a nonsensical view of life, which you admit is really indefensible.

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DevaLight, you are right I don't know you, but you are a non-Christian and therefore cannot love in the fullest sense of the word according to a Christian. Harsh, yes; but truth nonetheless.

 

 

You may want to read this debate between AM and a Christian about what is it that Christianity offers humanity that no other religion or philosophy offers us: http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?/topic/20121-what-does-christianity-offer-humanity-in-this-life-that-no/
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I guess that is what faith is all about. You're right, there is no way I can 100% show you that I love more fully than anyone else. Yet, because I believe in what God tells me (both in His Word and in my experience)I trust in the fact that there is a qualitative difference between Christians and Non-Christians (that being that Christians have the very essence of Love within us; see 1 John 3 and 4).

What good is it to say that you can't demonstrate that a Christian loves more fully than anyone else, yet maintain that it is true without attempting to make objective observations and analysis in the real world? Especially when you haven't really identified what "love more fully means." Does it mean that Christians hug harder than non-christians? Weep more milliliters of tears? Feel 85% more fuzzy inside when loving someone who is otherwise "unlovable?" What do you mean by the words you use?

This reduces "the Love of Jesus" to mere assertion , a sweet little concept that has no more correspondence to reality than fairy dust or dragon's teeth. It's a wishful fantasy - - - a marketing point and nothing more.

This isn't blind faith, nor is it me sticking my head in the sand, instead it is putting my trust in the truest thing I have ever known: Jesus Christ. Therefore, if I have the essence of Love within me, and Non-Christians do not, then it only makes sense that I have something y'all don't, which leads to a fuller knowledge of what "Love" actually is.

So, God "tells" you things


     
  1. In his Word
  2. In your Experience

"In his Word" - untested assertions in a book, subject to bias and misinterpretation.

"In my Experience" = interpretation of my own subjective thoughts about the world.

 

I fail to see how this kind of faith is not blind. Memorizing flat text and interpreting subjective experience as god "telling me things" without attempting to objectively confirm your beliefs sounds like the definition of blind faith.

 

And when the object of faith is the Absolute a.k.a. "That than which nothing greater can be conceived," or "Ultimate Reality," or "The Holy One," I don't see how anyone can even entertain the thought of loving more fully than non-believers. When I'm gripped by the sense of the Ultimate, I don't think about me vs. them, or "our love" is more full than "their love." I think in terms of unity. A oneness with the universe in which I participate. I experience Love in all things - in flowers, trees, and animals. This Love extends to all humans including Christians, Hindus, Muslims, etc.

 

The notion of a capacity to "love more fully" that a non-believer does not have seems like not only an unprovable, fantasy concept. It seems irrelevant to the higher aspirations of the spiritual life.

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If only "true" Christians can love fully, why are the most religious nations the most violent with the secular as the most peaceful? Why do the most religious states in the U.S. have higher crime rates than the more secular states? Why are evangelical Christians the most likely to support torture as being justifiable as any other group of Christians? Doesn't the bible say you will know who the followers are by their fruits? If only "true" Christians can experience love fully, what fruits have they produced that are better than the fruits of everyone else? I thought Christians were supposed to be transformed and not conform to the world yet the world behaves more morally than most evangelical Christians do.

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DevaLight, you are right I don't know you, but you are a non-Christian and therefore cannot love in the fullest sense of the word according to a Christian. Harsh, yes; but truth nonetheless.

 

 

You may want to read this debate between AM and a Christian about what is it that Christianity offers humanity that no other religion or philosophy offers us: http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?/topic/20121-what-does-christianity-offer-humanity-in-this-life-that-no/

Thanks for remembering that Neon. I haven't the time to ponder everything tonight, but I do appreciate Larry's sincerity. That much I certainly recognize and respect, even if we don't see eye to eye, or heart to heart, quite at this point. I do see the potential for that however...

 

To this debate you reference Neon. Very good. Kat22 was very much as Larry sees things, but after some discussion she conceded the point with the following statement which I hold in much respect. It's something to put out there for the time until I can get to my fuller reply:

 

Life makes unexpected twists when you least expect it to. When one is willing to learn, it is surprising what can be found. The question was "What does Christianity offer humanity in this life that no other religion does?" and I was ready to fight tooth and nail to prove how much I knew. But, really, my experience is limited in this area and I didn't want to admit it. I haven't spoken to enough people from other faiths... I've just
studied
their faiths and have one particular person that I talk to from a
few
of these faiths. That's not enough to make a determination about what fruits they bare. I can say this, however; each person, I have met, shows an amazing desire to be good and kind and loving to others; to be a blessing and not judge. No matter what excuse I might try to make to see them as an "exception to the rule", the fact is that it shows fruits sprung from people who belong in other systems of belief.

 

I still do not see humanity as good; but, I
do
see humanity as
wanting
to be good. I still see Christ as the One written about in the bible and I do see Him as important and necessary for many reasons. Until facts tell me the bible cannot be trusted, this will not change. However, in this life, Christianity offers Christ; and, though I have experienced, seen and heard of many blessings, in this life, from faith in Him, Christ's main purpose is to prepare us for eternity. He has admonished us to not waste time. To love and serve and minister now, because this life is a brief moment in time before real life begins.

 

Romans 2:14&15 has really come to life for me in this discussion. Yes, there are people who are merely putting on an act of charity or kindness; this is apparent even within the body of Christ. But the good deeds we see from people, Christian or non, are often
fruits
and not acts. Fruits are from the heart, and the heart is where God's law resides; this is possible even if that person has not been made aware of it yet or accepted Christ as Savior.

 

With this new realization, I cannot, in good conscience, continue to argue this point. AM, I concede this debate to you.

 

Larry, I've brought up the distinction between the Heart and the conflict trying to tie it to a theological understanding. It is my contention that your theology is at odds with the scope, the breadth, the height, the power, and the limitlessness of the Divine in all. I know this experientially, which I place with far greater, deeper and more grounded truth in Spirit than some theological interpretation.

 

Until my reply....

 

In Peace,

 

Keith

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On that note, some of you have suggested that Jesus Christ never claimed He was God; that cannot be further from the truth. Jesus Christ, in many instances, gave referred to Himself as "I AM", and did things that only God could do. You see, you'd have to actually study the Bible and those references to actually see the metaphors and symbolism that Jesus used in reference to Himself to truly understand His claims (I know, most of you have studied the Bible, obviously not well enough if you have missed this obvious point found throughout the Gospels). Not only did Jesus claim it, but so did His disciples (see John 1). Jesus most certainly claimed He was God.

So according to you, Christians that aren't Trinitarians haven't studied the Bible well enough.

However, there are Christians that contend you obviously haven't interpreted the scripture correctly.

They are just as certain as you are about being "right", so until you can actually establish that you are, your certainty is really just your personal opinion.

 

There are plenty of verses that offset the verses where Jesus seemed to equate himself to God.

What you failed to mention is that Jesus also claimed to have a God and it wasn't himself.

Peter and Paul also identified Jesus as having a God.

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Trouble is, Larry, that even when I was a Christian I believed that the Holy Spirit affected believers and non-believers alike.

 

To separate the act of love into two distinct definitions, is magical thinking. It is also an attempt to elevate one's self above other people.

 

"Yes, but my love for X is superior than yours, because I do it for Christ"

 

This is an imaginary slieght-of-hand, a clever conceptual fraud in order to somehow make the Christian experience of "love" somehow different than everyone else who does not fit the theological requirements.

 

I know a lot of Christians of various stripes, and I know a lot of agnostic and atheist people as well. The true test of "love" is in their actions.

 

Sorry, man, but the jury is still out. If I believed for a moment that Christians are in fact on "a higher level because they're Christians" and their behaviour and attitudes demonstrated that, I would fall on my knees a lot easier and follow them back to church.

 

If Christ's "love" is so superior and all to ours (everyone non-Christian) then why isn't that obvious ? I see no difference in "generosity of spirit, compassion, or mercy".

 

Again, this is a theologically based method of magical thinking, and all the quoting scripture in the world doesn't change anything.

 

Real life observation, real life experience, tells the tale.

 

And what is this choice about heaven or hell ? For stakes that high, I would at least expect a little more than just tons of religious people walking around waving a book, talking about salvation, when half of them lead more miserable (or less happier) lives than myself.

 

Why must God punish those living a righteous and generous life, and happy in their existence ? To me this goes against a lot of the stuff I've read in Scripture.

 

But when it's necessary to maintain spiritual superiority, I guess many "Christians" see it a different way.

 

That's about as diplomatic as I can state it. Sorry.

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