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Borticus

Relationship not religion

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Growing up in a fundamentalist church, I always heard the pastor going on about how “true” Christian faith is a relationship with Christ and not a ritualistic thing that other “false” Christians were doing, let alone different religions. Where did this idea of Christianity is a faith and relationship with God, but all other religions are false manmade attempts to achieve salvation. I know it’s just one group just trying to impose itself above all others, but just curious as to where this brand of Christianity came from.

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I was exposed to the same thing. The obvious problem being how does one have a personal relationship with something that's invisible and doesn't communicate in any discernible way? The complete lack of evidence for God, or God's, including Jesus, would indicate these are imaginary Deities to anyone that hasn't been indoctrinated/brainwashed by religion. 

 

If Jesus and God are real, and they are all powerful and knowing, why do they need Christians to be their hands, feet, and source of income? Instead of "Calling" a Christian do go off in some other country to be a missionary, why doesn't Jesus just fix the problem? Isn't he all powerful and isn't he here, there, and everywhere at the same time? The obvious answer is that imaginary Gods need humans to do the actual work. 

 

Oh yeah, I see that you're new to the board. Welcome aboard. I think you'll find this site helpful. 

 

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What kind of church, specifically? Fundamentalism is broad and the answer depends on what flavor of Christianity you grew up in. 

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30 minutes ago, TrailBlazer said:

What kind of church, specifically? Fundamentalism is broad and the answer depends on what flavor of Christianity you grew up in. 

They claimed they were nondenominational but it was really a weird combination of Baptist and Pentecostal viewpoints.

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20 minutes ago, Borticus said:

They claimed they were nondenominational but it was really a weird combination of Baptist and Pentecostal viewpoints.

Makes sense. That way of teaching probably started with those denominations subscribing heavily to Arminianistic theology - it sounds like you are describing a rather “saved by grace” theology.

Nondenominationals are tricky, though, because each congregation can vary greatly from the next, much like a UU congregation. 

It’s possible that you had a pastor that went a little rogue and preached their own exegetical interpretation of the Bible in that particular church. 

But it sounds like a clickish form of armenianism to me. 

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11 minutes ago, TrailBlazer said:

Makes sense. That way of teaching probably started with those denominations subscribing heavily to Arminianistic theology - it sounds like you are describing a rather “saved by grace” theology.

Nondenominationals are tricky, though, because each congregation can vary greatly from the next, much like a UU congregation. 

It’s possible that you had a pastor that went a little rogue and preached their own exegetical interpretation of the Bible in that particular church. 

But it sounds like a clickish form of armenianism to me. 

Yes the saved by grace concept was heavily reinforced in those sermons.

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I don't know, but just about any other context of suggesting a relationship with an imaginary being would be viewed as off the wall insane. The special pleading for christianity is over the top. I mean talking to yourself, either inner dialogue or externally is considered a virtue. Hobo on the side of the road debating himself, throwing hand and arm gestures, bat shit crazy. Anything from religious leaders up to a christian politicians or presidents speaking out loud to an imaginary being in the sky, perfectly sane behavior. 

 

 

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Robert Price covered this in one of his last few "Bible Geek" podcasts. I cannot remember the exact history, but the idea came from a German theologian who was trying to make a theological point and it turned into this modern day saying about a relationship and all that. I will go back and see if I can pin down the details. If I recall correctly, the German theologian did not mean for his saying to be taken the way it did.

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I heard it cast as a dichotomy, people trying to become holy, people trying to worship the "right" way, people building churches and singing certain kinds of hymns and giving tithes but without really surrendering their hearts and desires to god. The opposite being surrender of hopes and dreams, trusting that a loving god will take care of you, and that the sermon on the mount about being more dear to god than birds and that he knows what we need before we ask, etc.

 

As we know from experience, the promises sound GREAT, but are completely hollow since there is no one there to hear the prayers, or see our needs and respond. It is a wonderful sounding story, but is a myth. Well, wonderful in some ways, psychotic and abusive in others. What kind of guy wants you to surrender all your dreams and submit to his plan for your life? What kind of guy wants you to lavish praise on him even if he kills your children and infects you with diseases? What kind of guy threatens you with being burned alive if you don't love him enough? An abuser, a narcissist, a psychotic. Oh, and he likes blood payment for offenses against him. That doesn't make him holy, it makes him evil.

 

All evangelism these days talks about the love and promises. It used to threaten with damnation and burning. Both hook people into an abusive "relationship" with an imaginary friend that "convicts" them of sin, and perpetuates the cult form all over the world. I can't go a block in my city without at least one church. A nearby block has three. It truly does not deserve the default honor and respect our culture gives it. Instead it should be treated like the Moonies or Manson Family.

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It's a relationship but not a religion, but you're still expected to go to church, tithe, plant seed, and follow the rules.  They say you're supposed to want these things as a consequence of being born again, but still you wrestle with sin, so more Jesus, more church, indoctrination, do it our denomination's way.  Sounds like a religion and not a relationship to me.  Besides, as others have already said, a relationship needs two.

 

As an aside, if two or more are needed to praise and worship, you and Jesus should count, should he be real.  No church needed.  Just a thought.

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