Why is it so important for those of you who are religious to convert others?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Wormie2, Jan 16, 2002.

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  1. Darth Geist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
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    You know, if Christ's death for our sins is all that matters in the end, then all he ever did worth doing was die.
  2. cydonia Jedi Knight

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    Jun 6, 2001
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  3. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2001
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    No, the life He lived was a big part of it. In order for it to be a sacrifice, it had to be something He didn't deserve. He lived a sinless life, not deserving "death". So His life played a big part in the grand scheme of things.
  4. Darth Geist Jedi Master

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    Oct 23, 1999
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    A few questions:

    1) Like many unfortunates in his day, Jesus suffers and dies on the cross. Unlike many unfortunates in his day, he then rises up to join his father and rule the universe. Where's the sacrifice?

    2) Why would God need to sacrifice Himself to Himself to change a rule that He made Himself?

    3) The only evidence we have that Jesus ever said "No one comes to the Father except through me" is one man's written story; if that's all it takes, why not accept, say, the book of Thomas along with it?

    It's debatable whether Jesus ever died on the cross--the Gospel accounts of his trial are severely off base, and show very little knowledge of the era's legal and political scene--and it's even more debatable whether he rose from the dead. But his message of love--that's not quite so easy to argue against. Have you ever had to debate the pros and cons of "Love your neighbor as yourself?"
  5. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2001
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    "1) Like many unfortunates in his day, Jesus suffers and dies on the cross. Unlike many unfortunates in his day, he then rises up to join his father and rule the universe. Where's the sacrifice?"


    The sacrifice is in the fatc that He didn't deserve it. Jesus seperated Himself from the Father in the sense that all people do (i.e., hell), except the rest of mankind does it through sin. He did it voluntarily.


    "2) Why would God need to sacrifice Himself to Himself to change a rule that He made Himself?"


    God had to sacrifice Himself because of our mistake. God said that He was life, and therefroe, anything else is death. We chose death, so God had to come take our place because He loved us that much.

    I'm afraid I don't understand the rest of that question. ?[face_plain]


    "3) The only evidence we have that Jesus ever said "No one comes to the Father except through me" is one man's written story; if that's all it takes, why not accept, say, the book of Thomas along with it?"


    Thomas contradicts the other's view on Jesus's life. Take four guys that said it happened one way, and one guy that said it happened another, and who are you gonna believe? I base my belief on the fact that they were willing to die for what they claimed. Did Thomas die for his faith? I don't quite remeber seeing that he did, although I might be mistaken.


    "It's debatable whether Jesus ever died on the cross--the Gospel accounts of his trial are severely off base, and show very little knowledge of the era's legal and political scene--and it's even more debatable whether he rose from the dead."


    Believe what you wish to believe. I can't force my beliefs on you, and this is something I can't prove. But it is something I believe, and therefore, I'm sticking to it.


  6. Darth Geist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    "I'm afraid I don't understand the rest of that question."

    According to the Bible, God had a system set up in regards to what happened to souls after physical death. With the arrival of Jesus, that system changed. But why go through all that time and trouble just to change His own rules? Why not just snap His fingers and announce a change of plans? If God is the one, omnipotent God of the Bible, then He has no one else to answer to and can do as He pleases. Why not inspire a few scribes to write down His new teachings, then have His priests go out and introduce them--the way He'd been doing for thousands of years?

    "God had to sacrifice Himself because of our mistake."

    If God has needs, then He's not omnipotent. Oftentimes, the Bible portrays God not as an all-powerful being above human weakness, but as a human with super powers.

    "Thomas contradicts the other's view on Jesus's life. Take four guys that said it happened one way, and one guy that said it happened another, and who are you gonna believe?"

    I'm sure you know that there were 32 original gospels. The Council of Nicea chose the four that most coincided with what they wanted.
  7. Darth Geist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    Here's an interesting verse:

    John 5:29 And [the resting dead] shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

  8. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    ::sits back with popcorn as DG and JM go at it::

    And this all brings us back to a point Cydonia has brought up many times in other threads, and never gotten what I consider a good response:

    Why did God create us with the choice to do good or evil, and then sit back and get all offended with us if we choose the wrong one? Isn't that a stupid plan? What does God or Man gain by having this choice? When you look at it this way, God sounds like the Kate Bush song about a neurotic wife who disguises herself as another woman to see if her husband can be seduced by someone else - and he is, but only because the "other woman" reminds him so much of his wife, before she went all batty and mistrusting on him. Is God deliberately trying to entrap us?

    Or is what we call "evil" and hide under the bed from merely the balance? An integral part of nature. My support for this theory is: good is in the eye of the beholder, and so is evil. Everyone thought the Europeans killing Indians to take over the Americas was good, and God's will. A few centuries later, Hitler does something similar, and everybody's all bent out of shape.

    (Shrug) I personally think Hitler and those founders (not all) of the US who agreed with exterminating "Indians/Native-Americans" to get it are all in exactly the same amount of karmic/judgment trouble. But who am I to judge?
  9. Darth Geist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    I'm of the opinion that what's "good" is what benefits the most people while doing the least harm, while what's "evil" would be the opposite.

    Glad you find this so entertaining, TreeCave. Be sure you stick around for the juggling act--I'm gonna juggle Volumes 1 through 9 of the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, and 201's gonna juggle burning copies of Harry Potter.

    :D
  10. LordIsurus Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 1999
    star 3
    Not that I'm religious. But lets all try to imagine being religious. Also, try and imagine, I know it can be hard, that you truly believe something wonderful has happened to you. Something akin to a miracle or something supernatural. You try and account for such a thought or occurence and you wind up suspecting and thinking of your religion. Like, for instance, one night you pray and the next day, or soon after, something unexpectedly nice happens.

    Would you a) shut up, for fear that you may considered insane.

    b) turn to physics or science and psychology to convince yourself it never happened

    c) feeling wonderful at the thoughts of the event, tell others, especially close friends, in hopes that they can experience the same thing

    And for option c, there are many reasons for that. One being that you'd hope someone else does go thu something similar, so you're not the only one and you're not crazy.

    I guess I'd vote for C, personally. Not that I mind hearing a scientific explanation of things either.

    Isurus
  11. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
    star 4
    TreeCave: Excellent point!
  12. Darth_SnowDog Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2001
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    Isurus: I think you have some valid points to consider. However, in your example, you assume that religion and science have different aims.

    b) turn to physics or science and psychology to convince yourself it never happened

    This isn't the only option scientists would consider. Not all students of science use it to disprove god. To assume we think that science and religion are mutually exclusive in that regard, would be like assuming that all Christians are murderers because there's enough history there to demonstrate a pattern of bloodshed in God's name.

    That may not have been your intention, so pardon me for the exaggerated analogy... but I hope it illustrates my point.

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, religion is:
    1. a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.
    2. a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.


    The word, incidentally, appears to originate from Latin, religare: to restrain, tie back.

    Science, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is:
    1. the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.
    2. a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study.
    3. something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge.
    4. knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.
    5. a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws <culinary science>.


    This word originates from Latin sciens, having knowledge; scire; possibly related to Sanskrit, chyati, he cuts off.

    Hmmm...

    religion... religare... to restrain.
    science... chyati... to cut off.

    I guess it would stand to reason that religion is a path of restriction while science is a process of elimination. While both words imply some sort of process of isolation... they differ in terms of what they isolate. Religion is about self-isolation. Science is about isolating the problem or subject which one is trying to analyze. The former is designed with the objective of self-restraint, the latter of self-discovery.

    Both paths are equally valid in their search for truth... but I think one cannot rationally find truth without taking both paths to see where they lead. That both paths can't be taken simultaneously is a misconception. One can follow a system of belief and still question and scrutinize it. Just because a dogma says you shouldn't question... doesn't mean you can't. But then, not all religions restrict you from open examination and open questioning...

    Then one has to ask why is it that some do and some don't... is it because God doesn't want the truth to be discovered? Or is it because those who established this dogma, the perpetrators behind the myth of the sin of questioning do not want to be discovered for who they really are?
  13. TreeCave Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2001
    star 4
    I've had some very negative supernatural events happen around or to me. I tried to convince myself if had all been coincidence, as there was a death involved (later, two deaths) that I didn't want to feel any connection to. I guess that was parallel to your option 1, of turning to science - though in my case it was just whatever logic presented a counter-view.

    Then I later realized that it wasn't coincidence. I don't know why it happened, or particularly why I had to be involved. I'm still not over it. It's been between 1 and 3 years ago (the deaths were two years apart).

    It sure has made me wonder about God and what he thinks is good and evil. I'm more suspicious than ever that we've oversimplified the whole mess.
  14. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2001
    star 5
    "According to the Bible, God had a system set up in regards to what happened to souls after physical death. With the arrival of Jesus, that system changed."

    God didn't introduce a new system. It was always faith. The people of the OT times were looking towards Christ, having faith in Him, while we are looking back. The people of the OT times had the written Law, while we have Jesus who is the Law Himself. The system has been, and always will be, faith.


    "If God has needs, then He's not omnipotent. Oftentimes, the Bible portrays God not as an all-powerful being above human weakness, but as a human with super powers."


    One thing to think about is that the Bible says God created us in His image. Don't all artists put a little bit of themselves in their works of art? Love seems to be the most important part of us. We don't like it when someone we love dies. Why should it be any different with God? By the way, God doesn't have needs. But He obviously has wants. Why else would we be here? Just like He wanted us to be here in the first place, He wants us to be with Him when we die.


    "I'm sure you know that there were 32 original gospels. The Council of Nicea chose the four that most coincided with what they wanted."


    Yeah, I know. But that was the churches mistake. Not mine. ;) I'm confident that I'm following the truth. It's worked for me so far.


    "Here's an interesting verse:

    John 5:29 And [the resting dead] shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."



    Judgment is on the basis of works. When Christians go to heavean, they'll receive what they earned in life. When others go to hell, they also will receive what they earned. But the gift of eternal life is from Jesus and Him alone.


    "And this all brings us back to a point Cydonia has brought up many times in other threads, and never gotten what I consider a good response:

    Why did God create us with the choice to do good or evil, and then sit back and get all offended with us if we choose the wrong one? Isn't that a stupid plan? What does God or Man gain by having this choice? When you look at it this way, God sounds like the Kate Bush song about a neurotic wife who disguises herself as another woman to see if her husband can be seduced by someone else - and he is, but only because the "other woman" reminds him so much of his wife, before she went all batty and mistrusting on him. Is God deliberately trying to entrap us?"



    God didn't want to entrap us. :p He gave us the choice to follow Him, or to choose our own path. But He warned that His path was life. If you don't follow life, you follow death. There's no grey area there. The choice was life our death. We chose death, and so God came and took our place, so that we might have life. But again, the choice is with us. God wants us to choose to follow Him, not be forced into it.


    "Glad you find this so entertaining, TreeCave. Be sure you stick around for the juggling act--I'm gonna juggle Volumes 1 through 9 of the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, and 201's gonna juggle burning copies of Harry Potter."


    LOL. :D

    No, I wouldn't give HP the time of day. I don't think Paul went around in Rome trashing all the statues of the gods. ;)
  15. Darth Geist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    This all presupposes that the Bible portrays God exactly as He is, and that the interpretation of the Bible that you've chosen to follow is the most correct interpretation available. Believe what you will, of course, but understand--and I think you do--that others may not perceive God in the way you do.
  16. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2001
    star 5
    That's true. But we can't all be right. I happen to believe that the Bible is true in what it says. As are many others who convert to Christianity daily. ;)


    I've not heard of many Christians converting to other religions. While there are some out there, there aren't near as many Christians converting to other religions as there are people of other religions converting to Christianity.
  17. Darth Geist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    Part of the reason for that is because Christianity is one of the few major religions whose members actively seek out new converts. (Islam does the same thing, and incidentally is currently growing faster than Christianity is.)

    It's hard to find accurate statistics on who comes and goes through the world's churches; unlike corporations, religions aren't legally obligated to keep accurate records. For my own part, I could tell you stories about friends of mine who joined Christian churches, then left later on due to serious mistreatment. (By the way, if you happen to see anyone from the Boston Church of Christ--aka the International Church of Christ, aka the Disciples of Jesus, aka the Mile High Club--on your campus, run like hell; the rank-and-file members are nice enough people, but the higher-ups want your soul and all your money.) That's not a condemnation of all Christian churches--far from it--but I say it to illustrate that it does happen.
  18. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Knight

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    May 5, 2001
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    Oh I know it happens. ;) I've seen several people, just on these message boards, that once had Christian views and have since turned to other religions.


    So how do you know so much about the "Mile High Club"?
  19. Darth Geist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    "So how do you know so much about the "Mile High Club"?

    Well, the local chapter goes under a different name, but they're both branches of the International Church of Christ (ICC), an organization founded in 1973 by a man named Kip McKean, who claimed to be on a mission from God to build one church to rule them all.

    A large portion of their recruitment occurs on college campuses, where many people find themselves alone for the first time and in need of friendship. Their representatives (groups led locally by their Bible Talk Leaders, which in the ICC heirarchy would be roughly the equivalent of a lieutenant) approach prospective converts, sometimes inviting them to non-denominational Bible discussions, sometimes to volleyball or pizza parties. One of the people they approached was my then-roommate; let's call him John.

    For the month after they first approached him, the church members hung out with John almost nonstop; at least one was with him every hour of the day. Once they'd earned his trust, they invited him to a series of one-on-one Bible discussions (which turned out to consist of John, his assigned Bible Talk Leader, and one other person, the designated Note Taker). These discussions happened to take place in my room, and as they unfolded, I observed the psychological tactics the leader began to use to manipulate John into voicing agreement with him.

    A primary tactic of the ICC--and many other questionable religious groups--is a technique known as "love bombing." The church approaches its would-be convert, often in large groups, offering all the friendship and affection the subject could ask for. Agreeing with the church earns the subject more affection, while disagreeing, or asking too many questions, is liable to get the affection withdrawn, or turned into ridicule.

    In addition to his judicious use of this tactic--and the Bible Talk Leader was a master at it--he would also dodge questions, change the subject, and occasionally contradict himself--but because he came across as so friendly, and had one of John's friends, who had already joined the church, alongside as the Note Taker, John gradually accepted what the leader had to say, and joined the church.

    (Incidentally, the final bible-talk session consisted almost entirely of reasons why salvation required constant, sizable donations to the ICC.)

    ICC leaders maintain that baptism in water is neccessary for salvation of the soul. They also maintain that all other churches' baptisms are invalid in the eyes of God. So, with John's consent, they dunked him in a nearby ocean, then welcomed him to the club.

    As is standard in ICC practice, the following month was something of a "honeymoon" for John; the campus' many ICC members embraced him with open arms, taking him everywhere and treating him like a brother. This, however, was only the setup for their real trap.

    A few weeks after John's baptism, he found the chuch's friendship abruptly withdrawn. He was a sinful person, they said, and no sin is acceptable in the eyes of God. From that day forward, they watched over him constantly, tearing him down for any sin they perceived, and constantly reminding him that God's grace was all that held him up--and the only venue for that grace was their church.

    (During all this, they went after me too, but having seen how they manipulated John, I put myself on guard, and resisted until they gave up and moved on.)

    One aspect of this church that one doesn't often see in the Christian community is its demand for unquestioning submission to its officers. While the church's leaders come across as charismatic, humorous and easygoing people, disobedience from a lower-ranking member invites tongue-lashings not only from the leaders themselves, but from the member's peers, whom the leaders encourage--even order--to shun and ridicule. When John found a girlfriend outside of the church (finding one inside the church is a difficult task, as the church tells its members who to date and when to marry them), his Bible Talk Leader pulled out all the stops, backsta
  20. StarFire Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
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    Sorry to just pop in like this, but something I don't get (form the top of this page).

    Jedi_Master201: No, the life He lived was a big part of it. In order for it to be a sacrifice, it had to be something He didn't deserve.

    So Jesus died for the sins of the world, but it would only work if he was injustly persecuted (i.e., through more sin)?
  21. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2001
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    Thanks for the heads-up, Geist. Doesn't sound like any church I'll ever belong to.



    StarFire, I'm not exactly sure what you mean by your question. The way I see it is that, Jesus, being God, couldn't sin. Dying the death of a sinner is what made it possible for us to live eternally.
  22. StarFire Jedi Padawan

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    Oct 31, 2001
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    Sorry . . . I'll explain a bit more.

    Darth Geist: You know, if Christ's death for our sins is all that matters in the end, then all he ever did worth doing was die.

    Jedi_Master201: No, the life He lived was a big part of it. In order for it to be a sacrifice, it had to be something He didn't deserve. He lived a sinless life, not deserving "death". So His life played a big part in the grand scheme of things.

    If Jesus is God, why would he need to deserve death in the first place? Why does He have to stoop to man's level to justify wiping away the sins of the world?
  23. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Knight

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    May 5, 2001
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    That's the point. He didn't deserve death.


    The price for sin couldn't go unpaid, because if it did, God wouldn't be just, and therefore, as a King, He'd be imperfect. He can't just let it slide. The price had to be paid by someone, and if it was us who paid the price, we'd be seperated from God eternally. God didn't want that, so He came and paid the price for us.
  24. StarFire Jedi Padawan

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    Oct 31, 2001
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    The price for sin couldn't go unpaid, because if it did, God wouldn't be just, and therefore, as a King, He'd be imperfect. He can't just let it slide. The price had to be paid by someone, and if it was us who paid the price, we'd be seperated from God eternally. God didn't want that, so He came and paid the price for us.

    That's like making a law that all criminals have to die by beheading, and then chopping your own head off to save the criminals . . .
  25. Jedi_Master201 Jedi Knight

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    May 5, 2001
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    Yes, that would be where the sacrifice is... :)


    God's way was life (i.e., "the tree of life"). So obviously, anything else is death. He warned Adam and Eve that, but of course, they rebelled like the rest of us do. They chose death over life, so God came and died for them. He then rose from the dead (according to the Bible), defeating death, and making the way for all of us to have eternal life with Him.
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