Jesus only died for some sins, but not for others?

I’ve been reading up on Christianity a bit. And I have a question.

According to the Christians/New Testament, the Old Testament is all about God being pissed at us for not following 10 presumably simple rules. Hence all the wars, the murders, rapes, etc. that God himself personally ordered. Apparently, it took God 4000 years to realize that people aren’t going to change, no matter how much of them you torture and kill, so he made a (divine?) plan of turning things around. Instead of killing & tourturing sinners, he sent his son, which is sort of himself at the same time but not really (the divine trinity is supposed to be a whole, but consisting of 3 individual parts, each of which is also a whole and not in any way missing the others), to tell us to be nice to each other and do what God says, and then he would be tortured and finally murdered by the sinful “Christians” of that time (i.e. jews, Judaism being the most popular religion then, as I understand). And through this painful and bloody sacrifice, God suffered the punishment that we were supposed to suffer for not following his rules, and by doing that we have been washed clean, our sins forgiven — both past and future ones.

But here’s the thing. The very first, therefore, presumably, the most important, commandment is to believe in God as the only divine power. From that it follows that not believing in God is a sin. So here’s the question — if Jesus died so that ALL our sins could be forgiven, that should include not believing in God, right? But that would mean non-believers & atheists are also forgiven and go to heaven. But Christians keep insisting that non-believers go to Hell. So from that it follows that Jesus did not, in fact, died for ALL sins of ALL mankind, but for the sins of ALL mankind, EXCEPT the sin of not believing in God and/or Jesus, is that correct?

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~ by Shadowbird on 2009-04-14.

21 Responses to “Jesus only died for some sins, but not for others?”

  1. Christians don’t insist on that, btw. Or at least they shouldn’t. The Bible explicitly quotes “all sins shall be forgiven except the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” (in context: denying direct actions of God).

  2. I see. I find it somewhat disturbing that the foulest murderer, rapist, thief, sadist and drug-addict deserves heaven/Paradise as long as he manages to convert to Christianity and confess his sins before he dies in prison, while a simple, law-abiding man who has lived all his life without breaking the Commandments, helping people and generally being a nice person is still going to be eternally tortured just for not managing to convince himself to believe in something without proof before he gets killed in the prime of his life by the aformentioned murderer — robbing him of 60 more years in which he quite possibly could have converted. No matter how much he wished and tried to believe while he was alive, and no matter how sorry he was that he failed — if you don’t convert before you die, you burn, and it doesn’t matter in the slightest how you lived your life, or how soon you left this world. I think I’m starting to see why so many people choose to believe in God, afterlife and even heaven/paradise, but shun organized religion at the same time.

  3. Well for sure as you have pointed out about God’s given sacrifice. There is a unity of belief even right there. That is overshadowed by the doctrine of this dark time.

    Also by my understanding of this time and especially what is mentioned in the writings of the Faith I am adherent to (as I understand them) there is a kind of tenant that says it is not enough to believe. True Faith and adhering to belief is not just about recognition or aligning yourself to a prophet. But fully carrying out all the things that God has handed us through that being.

    And yes in the past this would seem just to be those easy and for sure now obviously good things that will keep us all living well in a normal society. But the ones written in the aforementioned writings go quite a bit further…

    But yes you are so right that there are so many obvious failures in logic in most doctrinal Faiths. I personally call this the work of religionists. Those who are so vain in their wish for control and power or lust to have ‘God’s right hand’. That they think they can create laws and root into those ‘gardens of pure life’ (the words and deeds of the prophets themselves) crooked little material gaining weeds that grow fast and chock out the growth of Truth and Honour.

    “How long will they kill our prophets, while we stand around and look, some say it’s just a part of it, they’ve got to fulfill the book… won’t you sing these songs of freedom, all I ever hear, are redemption songs.” Bob Marley

  4. About killer/rapist & Good Man – Oh, you don`t know what will happen with them after their death. It`s only God`s business afterall. Humans would like to know everything and to tell God what to do, but actually… We don`t know.
    And about sins – there is a passage in the Bible (one of the most famous ones) – John 3:16-18 “16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

    It is written – whosoever believeth in Jesus. Not ALL people.

    He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    That`s all folks. Easy.

  5. Inga: Ah, semantics. What does “condemned” mean in the context? I would have to presume going to hell (what else?), so, according to that passage, those who believe in Jesus will not go to hell (notice there are no exceptions mentioned — so that would include rapists and murderers, as long as they are devout believers and are sorry afterwards), while those who don’t — will (even if they cured cancer, AIDS, malaria and ended world hunger). That sounds like a screwed up father who will always love and protect his dunkard, jobless stay-at-home son no matter what he does, while the successful, kind-hearted and good natured son will be shot on sight just because he ran away from home. And the father will still insist to anyone who asks that he loves both his sons equally and only wants what’s best for them.

    And you also contradict yourself. First you say that we have no idea what happens after we die, and in the next paragraph you quote a passage that says (assuming “condemned”=”goes to hell”) quite exactly what happens — non-believers go to hell while believers don’t. Which means that a teenager who is killed before he can become a believer, is then punished for that by being sent straight to hell. If God calls that “love for the world”, then he and I have very different understanding of the word “love”.

  6. 1) I don`t know what “hell” is like. Do you? Who knows exactly what God has in His mind for those who doesn`t believe in Him?
    2) Rapist who really believes in God, in my mind it is only theoritical construction. How can he follow the rule of Jesus – what you do to those smallest ones, you do for me – and be killer or smth like that.
    3) teenager, kid, whatsoever get killed. I have an answer on that. Again – not people (thanks God!) decide what happens after death. Only God knows motives and decisions that everyone has made. So – I believe (but that is not in the Bible, so you may say this is not truth, whatever) that God is loving Father who gives us time and love and choice and after that we can go wherever is the best place for all of us. But actually this is just a dram of mine, so, nevermind.

    • Nice dram Inga. I remember having this long discussion with one friend about pets. Like she had one cat that she loved so much, and ok in the Baha’i writings (not sure about exactly what it says in the bible on the matter) it says that animals do not have a soul persay. but I was saying to her and we agreed that the bond of Love is something so strong that although the cat herself might not live on forever because of her bond of love that cat could therefore live on, perhaps as you say if she so wants the cat too… :)

  7. 1) Bible gives some hints:

    Matthew 13:50 “furnace of fire…weeping and gnashing of teeth”
    Mark 9:48 “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”
    Revelation 14:10 “he will be tormented with fire and brimstone”
    Revelation 14:11 “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night”
    Revelation 20:14 “This is the second death, the lake of fire”
    Revelation 20:15 “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”

    2) Theoretical construction? Are you serious!?

    In 2002, criminal charges were brought against five Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area of the United States, which ultimately resulted in the conviction and sentencing of each to prison.

    The coverage of these cases encouraged other victims to come forward with their allegations of abuse resulting in more lawsuits and criminal cases.

    what had originally appeared to be a few isolated cases of abuse exploded into a nationwide scandal. The resulting scandal … encouraging victims in other nations to come forward with their allegations of abuse, thus creating a global crisis for the Church.

    Ultimately, it became clear that, over several decades in the 20th century, priests and lay members of religious orders in the Catholic Church had sexually abused minors on a scale such that the accusations reached into the thousands. … A major aggravating factor was the actions of Catholic bishops to keep these crimes secret and to reassign the accused to other parishes in positions where they had continued unsupervised contact with youth, thus allowing the abusers to continue their crime.

    by the end of the mid 1990s, it was estimated that … more than half a billion dollars had been paid in jury awards, settlements and legal fees.” This figure grew to about one billion dollars by 2002. Roman Catholics spent $615 million on sex abuse cases in 2007.

    3) Before I can answer this comment, I must ask you one thing — do you believe that God decides when each of us will die? That no life ends without his knowledge and approval? Or is life’s end a matter of random chance / free will?

  8. 1) do Bible says it? Yes.
    Do I believe that hell is smth like that? No.
    Can I be wrong? Yes.
    Will I be ashamed when it will turn out right? Yes.
    Do I change my mind now? No.
    Because I have my free will, I have my personal relationship with God. And I don`t believe that my Father is smth THAT brutal and medieval. Maby He is. I have my rights to do mistakes.

    As for me, I know that as a christian I should go to the Heaven after death. But actually I don`t know whether that will happen. But. I am not afraid of Death (honestly. but. just my death. I AM afraid of death of my family and dear friends. Because that would hurt me a lot, not because death is smth bad). And I believe that the place I will go to after death, will be for me from my heavenly Father. So far He has always done everything the best for me. Why shouldn`t he then?

    2) I don`t speak about catholic priests, you know. I speak about people that truly love God, truly rely on Him, truly believes in Him. And again – I don`t believe that a person who knows all of this (about God`s anger, about His Son and His passion) and truly lives in this knowledge, would ever harm a child or adult.
    When smth really bad happens with someone, I believe that God gives strength for the person to coupe that, and for his relatives and friends to coupe with the person and situation.
    Life shouldn`t be easy and happy actually. If it is, it is God`s gift. If it isn`t God gives love, patience and strength.

    3) I believe that God decides everything. And that He decides who will born with diseases (mental or physical), who will born in what family. Who will hear the Good News about Jesus and who won`t (OK, He may not to decide suicides). That`s why I said from the very beginning – I believe that only God knows our grounds, our beliefs and all of us, so He decides EVERYTHING – also who gets where after death.
    Not catholic church, not mormons, not baptists, no other people will decide that. Only God.

    For me – every religion may say whatever they like about “what God thinks”. No one knows THAT.

  9. do Bible says it? Yes.
    Do I believe that hell is smth like that? No.

    Then I don’t see how you can call yourself a christian. Bible is the basis of Christianity as well as Judaism from before Christianity existed. You yourself initially answered my question with a quote from the Bible. There is nothing wrong with coming up with your own customized version of God (that’s how every religion starts, and most people nowdays do it), but it is a lie then to insist that you belong to some existing religion while at the same time simply ignoring uncomfortable parts of the very core beliefs of that religion. Basically what you’re saying is the same as calling yourself anti-racist, while at the same time saying “Do I believe black people have souls? No.”

    As for me, I know that as a christian I should go to the Heaven after death.

    Why do you think so? There isn’t a single quote in all of Bible saying people go to heaven when they die. According to Bible, when a person dies, he doesn’t go anywhere until the Rapture. Once Jesus returns, the dead will be resurrected, given their bodies back and heaven will be joined with earth to create a new paradise right here. So according to Bible, no one who has ever died in the entire history of the world, has experienced any kind of afterlife, much less resurrection (except for Jesus, obviously). They’re all still waiting in a state that is similar to being asleep…

    I don`t speak about catholic priests, you know. I speak about people that truly love God, truly rely on Him, truly believes in Him. And again – I don`t believe that a person who knows all of this (about God`s anger, about His Son and His passion) and truly lives in this knowledge, would ever harm a child or adult.

    So, basically, it is you who decides who truly believes in God and who doesn’t? If someone does something that you believe to be criminal, he cannot possibly be a Catholic, a christian or even a true believer? That’s a lot of judgment to take on…

    Because I have my free will, I have my personal relationship with God.

    I believe that God decides everything.

    You can’t have both. You can’t have someone/something control 100% of your life, your actions and events in it, and still think you have free will.

    • “Why do you think so? There isn’t a single quote in all of Bible saying people go to heaven when they die. According to Bible, when a person dies, he doesn’t go anywhere until the Rapture. Once Jesus returns, the dead will be resurrected, given their bodies back and heaven will be joined with earth to create a new paradise right here. So according to Bible, no one who has ever died in the entire history of the world, has experienced any kind of afterlife, much less resurrection (except for Jesus, obviously). They’re all still waiting in a state that is similar to being asleep…”

      About this… is very interesting in the Baha’i perspective, because. It is believed by Baha’i’s as written in the revelation that the second coming of Jesus (besides the fact that His same spirit is that which we know as Muhammed – not sure if you know by at least 40% of the Koran is about the deciples of Jesus…) or as Jesus said in the bible “I will return in Glory of the Father.” The Glory of God, which is the English translation of the name Baha’u’llah “The Glory of God”.

      So if we take on this thought a little then all those souls and spirits of the past could be just that waiting for this time. The time that Jesus was talking about in the Lords Prayer. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.”

      As this is exactly what I mentioned in quotes from central figures of the Faith. That this is the very small start of this Golden age of enlightenment… If you try not to look at TV and see the amazing positive advancements of human kind at this time you might just feel it. ;)

  10. ok.
    First. What Bible says about hell. I don`t think hell is smth like that you qouted before. Not all thing in the Bible you should understand literally. But if it is, it doesn`t bother me. I never say to anyone – he/you/she will go to hell.
    If all things with the Bible would be that easy, all people would believe to God. Or not, but all would know why. At present, we have the Bible as one and only word of God. But. Jesus says – But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. /John 16:7/. And Counselor (that is Holy Spirit) may teach us. About sin and righteousness. So – the Bible is one and only, but I may understand it because of the Holy Spirit. So, maybe I understand it right? And may be that about hell is only comparison for us to understand why it wouldn`t be nice to get into hell. Not because there is actual fire.

    And what happens after death. No one knows, because it is not written clear nowhere. That`s why this is the main topic for all different religions. They may manipulate with this. Because no one knows for sure.
    For me – I try to do my best to get closer in my relationship with God, Jesus, Holy Spirit. And when He decides what to do with me, I will obey. And whether it will happen right after or 2 million years later, whatever.

    I would like you not to think I have ever thought like this. Years and years I have tried to get answers on my questions (just like yours). At present I am learning and learning all the time about Christ, His parish and me in all of this. But I do not have all those questions any more. I have others.
    That`s why I try to answer you despite the fact that this converstaion shows my lack of knowledge and basic beliefs. But. Thank God I can improve my beliefs and this is like my little inspiration to dig further into the texts of Bible and God :)

    So. About free will.
    Yeah, this is tricky. Really. As far as I understand, religions differ on that too. Some say that at first there is God`s will for me to be a christian, that`s when He speaks to me, and I may choose whether to answer Him and to be a christian, or not.
    Some say – I decide to look after smth, only then God can speak to me, and I can listen or not. Others say – when God speaks to me, I can`t decide anything, because God decides everything. See? Peope discuss this topic for hundreds of years and don`t know fur sure yet.
    And still. God controls my life and death. AND I have my free will. I believe in that. Stop.
    For example – I may choose to do smth today. That`s my free will. I may kill someone, I may to serve for poors in India, whatever. But I cannot change God`s plans and if He would like, He may either kill me in the car accident or to let me go where I want to. See? There are both all the time – my free will and God`s mighty power.

    • I hope you don’t mind me ‘dropping’ in on all this, but suddenly I got these notifications again… so… and I very much like also these open and without judgement discusions of belief…

      I wanted to share something with you Inga. About life after death, as far as I know for sure this will remain always a mystery in it’s essence to us all here until we do finally make it to that experience. But… try this out…

      “Heaven and hell: a Baha’i view of life after death

      As in the world’s other religions, the Baha’i
      concept of life after death is deeply integrated
      into teachings about the nature of the soul and the
      purpose of this earthly life.

      Bahį’u’llįh confirmed the existence of a
      separate, rational soul for every human. In this
      life, He said, the soul is related to the physical
      body. It provides the underlying animation for the
      body, and is our real self.

      Although undetectable by physical
      instruments, the soul shows itself through the
      qualities of character that we associate with each
      person. The soul is the focal point for love and
      compassion, for faith and courage, and for other
      such “human” qualities that cannot be explained
      solely by thinking of a human being as an animal,
      or as a sophisticated organic machine.

      The soul does not die; it endures
      everlastingly. When the human body dies, the soul
      is freed from ties with the physical body and the
      surrounding physical world and begins its progress
      through the spiritual world. Baha’i understand
      the spiritual world to be a timeless and placeless
      extension of our own universe — and not some
      physically remote or removed place.

      Entry into the next life has the potential
      to bring great joy. Baha’u’llah likened death to
      the process of birth. He explains: “The world
      beyond is as different from this world as this
      world is different from that of the child while
      still in the womb of its mother.”

      The analogy to the womb in many ways
      summarizes the Baha’i view of earthly existence.
      Just as the womb constitutes an important place for
      a person’s initial physical development, the
      physical world provides the matrix for the
      development of the individual soul. Accordingly,
      Bahį’ķs view life as a sort of workshop, where one
      can develop and perfect those qualities which will
      be needed in the next life.

      “Know thou, of a truth, that if the soul
      of man hath walked in the ways of God, it will,
      assuredly return and be gathered to the glory of
      the Beloved,” Baha’u’llah wrote. “By the
      righteousness of God! It shall attain a station
      such as no pen can depict, or tongue can describe.”

      In the final analysis, heaven can be seen
      partly as a state of nearness to God; hell is a
      state of remoteness from God. Each state follows as
      a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the
      lack thereof, to develop spiritually. The key to
      spiritual progress is to follow the path outlined
      by the Manifestations of God.

      Beyond this, the exact nature of the
      afterlife remains a mystery. “The nature of the
      soul after death can never be described,”
      Baha’u’llah writes.”

      About Free will I think it is a very interesting topic, but I think the best focal point for it’s analysis has to be that of learning. God gives us free will. Therefore when we do the wrong things (to move away from what he gives us “in revelations” to be the right way to go) we feel pain and many worse troubles can and usually do somehow happen to us. And if we go the other way and move closer to his Will and wish for us (progress) then somehow the sun shines brighter all in life is better. So this free will (as much as you can really twist your mind to think that God being All Powerful and All Knowing, can manipulate every situation until we can come around to the Right way of seeing things… :D) is that which gives us the ‘play’ in our lives to realise where the ‘Path’ lies…

      Also another thing to think about is that God I believe wants us to Love him. He could force us all to do so, but that would not be freely given Love and Devotion. It’s just that he is waiting incredibly patiently for us even to see Him as the Loving Father he is for All His beautiful people (world over) and also to see that All these Holy scriptures and lovingly give lessons, All point the one and the same direction. :)

      Btw I also feel and know that I stray far from where I should be and for sure don’t feel often like an example that I should be. But also I think that the wonder of this Life is, Time. We all have it, no matter the way it might seem otherwise…

  11. Not all thing in the Bible you should understand literally.

    So who is right to decide what to take literally and what not to? This is my main problem with any religion, in fact, with any vague and general texts (of which Bible is a shining example) — who decides what is the correct interpretation, and on what principles such a decision is based? How can you tell if your interpretation is inspired by the Holy Spirit or is just a reasonable guess? And if someone else comes along with a different interpretation and is also certain that his is the Inspired Correct One, how can you even begin to find out which is right?

    For example, one of the 10 Commandments says “Thou shall not kill.” At first glance it seems a simple and straightforward commandment, we must not take a life. But what is life? Does slaughtering animals count as killing? Is God saying that all believers should be vegeterians? And how do we know it does not even extend to plants as well? And what about standing by and not doing anything while someone else is killed? If you don’t help a dying man, is that breaking the commandment or not? And if the only way to save lives of two, say, children is to kill the man trying to murder them, is a christian supposed to do it? Where does Bible say what God considers life/killing and what not? And if two high priests each insist on different answer, how is a person supposed to know which one to believe?

    Thank God I can improve my beliefs and this is like my little inspiration to dig further into the texts of Bible and God :)

    It is nice, and, in fact, rare to find a christian believer to have a discussion with — someone who doesn’t go for the “logic & reasoning has no place in spiritual matters” every time they are lost for an answer (while the same logic & reasoning was all OK 5 minutes ago when he had some strong arguments). So talking to you is a refreshing change for me. :)

    For example – I may choose to do smth today. That`s my free will. I may kill someone, I may to serve for poors in India, whatever. But I cannot change God`s plans and if He would like, He may either kill me in the car accident or to let me go where I want to.

    So how can you tell if a car accident or some other tragedy is part of God’s big plan, or just the result of other people’s limited free will? Or good things for that matter? You said that if someone’s life is easy, it is God’s gift. But how can you tell? What if the happy/easy parts are just the result of the free will of the person and others around him helping out? Free will, by definition, is something that is not controlled or purposefully affected by anyone else. So if I go out and decide to give a lot of money to charity — will that be my free will or will that be God doing his work through me? Again and again and again — how can you tell? Not just in any specific case, but generally — what is the principle, the guideline which one can use to determine whether something that someone does is his free will or part of God’s big plan (and/or God’s gift)?

  12. Hey, thanks for your good words ;)

    So. Back to discussion.

    In the Bible Always Look Into The Context. One of my friend’s jokes is: “Bible says – There is no God.” And indeed Bible says so. But in the context: „The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.” [Psalm 53:2]
    See? The same about your example with the commandment. Earlier in the Genesis God has gave food to people, God has give them rules how to kill animals for food and which animals not to kill. So we can see that this “not killing” thing relates only with people.
    Sometimes history helps understand what Bible means. Sometimes it is helpful to talk to other Christians – even Jesus explained Torah for His disciples – not all of Torah is understandable for average people.
    As for me – sometimes I have to lead bible lessons for kids and adolescents and then I must be sure that everything I say is the same that God wanted for me and for them to know. Then I just have to pray God to lead me and to show me the key to the passage of Bible. And often (after passage has been read very many times) I really understand what is it in there. And what can we study from the Bible. And what we should do with our new knowledge (because it is not worth just read the Bible. It is worth to learn from this Book and to change my life and to live different from now on. Ha! How devilish hard it is sometimes). But even then I try to teach my kids and teens to think for themselves. To speak in those lessons and to think.

    And what else – if someone says he knows everything and understand better than the others than this passage is for him: “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But the man who loves God is known by God.” [1 Corinthians 8]
    And else:
    “ 15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” [ Matthew 7]
    And else:
    “9For we know in part and we prophesy in part”[1 Corinthians 13]
    I believe that there are wise people that understand the Bible much better than I ever will. But I know that there are devoted people that understand the Bible much better than the wise ever will.
    That’s why my favourite pastors encourage their parish to read the Bible themselves. To discuss, to talk, to find, to pray, to anger. And to know that the Bible IS controversial. It is healthy to know these things.

    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”[Rom 8:28]
    This is one of my favourite passage in the Bible. And this means – not that only good things will happen to people, bet that God will make them good for people. See the difference?
    So whether smth happens because this is my will or God’s will, God is able to incorporate all of this in His plan.
    I understand it like – I may live in peace that God will give me anything I need to get by all events. Good and bad.

  13. In the Bible Always Look Into The Context.

    How can the 10 commandments have any kind of context to be taken out of, when they are written as completely separate and stand-alone rules? And are always presented as such to this day?

    Earlier in the Genesis God has gave food to people, God has give them rules how to kill animals for food and which animals not to kill. So we can see that this “not killing” thing relates only with people.

    True. However, while reading the passage about the animals, I found another curious thing. One of the commandments says “You shall not kill”, while Genesis 9:6 says “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” So, the only way both of those can be true is if it a sin to kill, except if you’re killing a murderer. That is, murder is wrong, but revenge murder is the way of God and therefore the right thing to do…?

    “ 15″Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them.

    Mmm, the false prophets quote. That one’s been almost as used as the commandments. Whenever any Christian wants to discredit anything someone else says, Matthew 7 is the chapter he will pull 9 times out of 10. Which, very humanly, is wrong in itself, as all the passage says is some very obvious and logical advice — do not believe liars, and try to discover liars by comparing their words with their deeds. The only problem is, this quote is almost always used to try and silence someone before he has achieved or allowed to do whatever it is he’s trying to, before any “fruit” can even be seen.

    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”[Rom 8:28]
    And this means – not that only good things will happen to people, bet that God will make them good for people.

    No, it says that God helps those who love him. So anyone who exercises his free will and chooses to be an atheist, agnostic or even just plain hates God as a result of a hard life is actually on his own.

    Also, while on the subject of free will. Genesis 9:5 says “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal.” Unless you believe that animals have free will just like humans (I’ve always understood that in Christian belief free will can only be had by someone with a soul?), how can they possibly be held accountable for something that they have no control over?

    • Very interesting about the “by their fruits quote.” as I would like you to consider this piece about unity that is written thus

      “The unity which is productive of unlimited results is first a unity of mankind which recognizes that all are sheltered beneath the overshadowing glory of the All-Glorious; that all are servants of one God; for all breathe the same atmosphere, live upon the same earth, move beneath the same heavens, receive effulgence from the same sun and are under the protection of one God. This is the most great unity, and its results are lasting if humanity adheres to it; but mankind has hitherto violated it, adhering to sectarian or other limited unities such as racial, patriotic or unity of self-interests; therefore no great results have been forthcoming. Nevertheless it is certain that the radiance and favors of God are encompassing, minds have developed, perceptions have become acute, sciences and arts are widespread and capacity exists for the proclamation and promulgation of the real and ultimate unity of mankind which will bring forth marvelous results. It will reconcile all religions, make warring nations loving, cause hostile kings to become friendly and bring peace and happiness to the human world. It will cement together the Orient and Occident, remove forever the foundations of war and upraise the ensign of the Most Great Peace. These limited unities are therefore signs of that great unity which will make all the human family one by being productive of the attractions of conscience in mankind.

      Another unity is the spiritual unity which emanates from the breaths of the Holy Spirit. This is greater than the unity of mankind. Human unity or solidarity may be likened to the body whereas unity from the breaths of the Holy Spirit is the spirit animating the body. This is a perfect unity. It creates such a condition in mankind that each one will make sacrifices for the other and the utmost desire will be to forfeit life and all that pertains to it in behalf of another’s good. This is the unity which existed among the disciples of His Holiness Jesus Christ and bound together the prophets and holy souls of the past. It is the unity which through the influence of the divine spirit is permeating the Baha’i’s so that each offers his life for the other and strives with all sincerity to attain his good-pleasure. This is the unity which caused twenty thousand people in Iran to give their lives in love and devotion to it. It made the Bab the target of a thousand arrows and caused Baha’u’llah to suffer exile and imprisonment forty years. This unity is the very spirit of the body of the world. It is impossible for the body of the world to become quickened with life without its vivification. His Holiness Jesus Christ — may my life be a sacrifice to Him! — promulgated this unity among mankind.  Every soul who believed in Jesus Christ became revivified and resuscitated through this spirit, attained to the zenith of eternal glory, realized the life everlasting, experienced the second birth and rose to the acme of good fortune.

      In the Word of God there is still another unity, the oneness of the Manifestations of God, His Holiness Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the Bab and Baha’u’llah. This is a unity divine, heavenly, radiant, merciful; the one reality appearing in its successive manifestations. For instance, the sun is one and the same but its points of dawning are various. During the summer season it rises from the northern point of the ecliptic; in winter it appears from the southern point of rising. Each month between it appears from a certain zodiacal position. Although these dawning-points are different, the sun is the same sun which has appeared from them all. The significance is the reality of prophethood which is symbolized by the sun, and the holy Manifestations are the dawning-places or zodiacal points.

      There is also the divine unity or entity which is sanctified above all concept of humanity. It cannot be comprehended nor conceived because it is infinite reality and cannot become finite. Human minds are incapable of surrounding that reality because all thoughts and conceptions of it are finite, intellectual creations and not the reality of divine being which alone knows itself. For example, if we form a conception of divinity as a living, almighty, self-subsisting, eternal being, this is only a concept apprehended by a human intellectual reality. It would not be the outward, visible reality which is beyond the power of human mind to conceive or encompass. We ourselves have an external, visible entity but even our concept of it is the product of our own brain and limited comprehension. The reality of divinity is sanctified above this degree of knowing and realization. It has ever been hidden and secluded in its own holiness and sanctity above our comprehending. Although it transcends our realization, its lights, bestowals, traces and virtues have become manifest in the realities of the prophets, even as the sun becomes resplendent in various mirrors. These holy realities are as reflectors, and the reality of divinity is as the sun which although it is reflected from the mirrors, and its virtues and perfections become resplendent therein, does not stoop from its own station of majesty and glory and seek abode in the mirrors; it remains in its heaven of sanctity. At most it is this, that its lights become manifest and evident in its mirrors or manifestations. Therefore its bounty proceeding from them is one bounty but the recipients of that bounty are many. This is the unity of God; this is oneness; — unity of divinity, holy above ascent or descent, embodiment, comprehension or idealization; — divine unity. The prophets are its mirrors; its lights are revealed through them; its virtues become resplendent in them, but the Sun of Reality never descends from its own highest point and station. This is unity, oneness, sanctity; this is glorification whereby we praise and adore God.

      (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith – Abdu’l-Baha Section, p. 257)”

      Sorry for the long quote. But what I like most about it, is it offers that wonder that there will always be mystery. So it is, and the path towards it’s finding is eternal as I understand we all are through His love and His Eternity. :)

  14. Sometimes non-christian judgements about christianity cause me to smile. This, in fact, is the case:

    “How can the 10 commandments have any kind of context to be taken out of, when they are written as completely separate and stand-alone rules? And are always presented as such to this day?”

    Taking the Decalogue out of context is one of the things that often non-religios people, who latently tend to base their conclusions about the social justice on, so to say, “christian premises,” do. Why can’t I kill somebody (more like in a metaphysical, fundamental sense)? Even from atheist lecturers of ethics in my university one can hear answers like: well, it’s not right, plus the Bible says, that if I kill somebody, I shall not live eternally. The context of such atheistic judgements becomes clear, when one gets to know that the most part of the western countries’ laws originates from exactly those passages in the Exodus 34:28.
    However, it is to be clarified, that if one is trying to discuss christian faith, those passages aren’t to be looked at separately from Bible. Why shoud they be? Bible is a more or less poetic, figurative story about what happened in the past and manifested God’s acts.
    Therefore (because of the last part) everything, that took place at that time, has meaning in God’s plan. To apprehend, e.g., why not to kill, one has to read the whole book insightfully.- Besides declarative sentences Bible answers questions like: who am I not to kill and what for? When shall I not kill? What is the meaning of “killing” etc. The meaning of separate passages is revealed only in context, moreover, it has to be context of our own lifes.
    In some sense I am sure that for a non-christian it is very hard to understand Bible- and I mean that not in an evaluative sense. I mean it in that sense, in which all he cares for, is to maintain his original position, i.e., not to become christian. However, it is not always so. But even in that cases, it is insanely hard as St. Augustine wrote: “Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.” That’s probably it (in the shortest version).

    Besides on the free will I suggest you to read: “De libero arbitrio voluntatis” Ist, IInd book. Also, if you’re interested and if I have time for that, I will try to outline his main arguments.

    • The ten commandments were written on stone slabs, handed down from heaven. The Bible, which tells of this event, was written much later. How could the commandments have had to be taken “in context”, when the context didn’t actually exist until after the commandments were written? Or were they just handed down for “safekeeping, until the Bible comes along”? And it is not the non-religious who quote the Bible left and right, always out of context. Basically, what your comment boils down to is that any quote from the Bible is automatically false and untrue, because it is stripped of its context and therefore lacking the right meaning. I wish you would tell this to the fanatics, street-preachers and all the rest of the believers, who always seem to have a quote or two to “prove” that God is on their side in whatever argument or opinion they’re having.

      “Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.”

      But here’s the problem — there are literally tens of different types of Christianity. So which one do I have to believe, in order to understand? How do I choose the right one? Because the existence of an all-powerful God seems the only thing they agree upon, more often than not. Every denomination has its own interpretations and contexts for God’s will & words, often directly contradicting some other Christian “version” of the same subject. As a person who wants to find the truth, how do I know which belief will let me see it and which one will just mess with my head?

      • I suppose the Commandments you read were not on the stone slabs, but in Bible? Since the Commandments is not a written document, which one nowadays would relate to, they have to be considered as a part of the events, that are narrated in the Bible. And all, that happened, was part of God’s plan. Therefore I don’t see any other way (if one, of course, doesn’t assume, that God’s plan is somehow analogous to a political choice or a puppet theatre) of treating the Decalogue besides that to say, that there is something like an “inner connection” between the events of the Old and New Testament.

        I don’t see, how the last part of what you said would be consistent to Augustine’s words. Denomination was not a problem for Augustine, because, as far as you may know, he was catholic.
        In fact, I can’t quite understand, why did you choose this very passage, because it wasn’t part of my argumentation. However, the easiest way to answer the question about the denomination would be to say: choose that, which may sound the most rational (meaning consistency with your own values and beliefs). All of them agree, that God only has given humans reason, and therefore only God can guide it correctly. Human has the choice (also called “the free will”) to agree or to disagree with these guidelines. According to this, you should already know, what to choose, although it may need some adjustments of values and beliefs.
        The hardest way would be to select your own principles, that don’t come into collision with any of the dominations. Some think it can be possible, and I don’t disagree with that, because there can be such a variety of interpreting the religious beliefs and finding resemblances. But, again, such a question goes against one of Augustine’s premises: everything one chooses, firstly has to be understood; and everything, that one understands, has to be grounded on faith. If one already is a believer, he doesn’t ask, whom or how to believe.

        Last, but not least. I don’t know, why the others tend to quote Bible so much. They may have their reasons. Personally, I am an autonomous being and, indeed, avoid that type of quotes, where to base my conclusion on. Additionally, I hold a belief, that God gave me the reason to make use of it.

  15. Well personally I would go only to the source. I mean haven’t you milked these people for enough bite backs? ;) :D

    As in my understanding all that you see as differing types of christianity is just the takes that many different learned men (who happened to also be powerful men) have taken on and then added their own interpretations. Over periods of time that also the actualy essence of the inner teachings of Jesus have been more and more lost.

    The same thing happened to the knowledge in the Koran until it now has such fundementalist foolishness that it is quite obvious how far it has strayed from God’s intended path. Which brings me to say that these dispensations (which is a better word for God’s different message for a new epoch of the the unfoldment of civilisation) were limited in their reach. As that which is given from God is not limited, only the understand of the time or civilisation is, and that is exactly why he sends a renewed message every 1000 or so years.

    But with the coming of the Bab’ we entered a whole new age. The first point of the revelaton of the Bab’ turned us into a new 500,000 year cycle of God’s revelation. That will before time unfold to a Golden Age of mankind that has been said to be wished to be seen by all those souls who have been his heavenly armies in all the struggles of civilisations understanding up until now. Don’t take my words for it. They are as nothing.


    THE HERALD

    The Baha’i Faith revolves around three central Figures, the first of whom was a youth, a native of Shiraz, named Mirza Ali-Muhammad, known as the Bab (Gate), who in May, 1844, at the age of twenty-five, advanced the claim of being the Herald Who, according to the sacred Scriptures of previous Dispensations, must needs announce and prepare the way for the advent of One greater than Himself, Whose mission would be according to those same Scriptures, to inaugurate an era of righteousness and peace, an era that would be hailed as the consummation of all previous Dispensations, and initiate a new cycle in the religious history of mankind.

    (Shoghi Effendi, Summary Statement – 1947, Special UN Committee on Palestine)”

    “The people of universal mind recognize in this plan the symbol of assurance that we are at the beginning of the golden age that prophets and poets have depicted in song and fable. The people who have come in contact with this spirit of the age hold that the time has come when the highest concepts of man are to be realized and become part and parcel of every nation’s fabric. With glowing faces these people tell of future ideals based on justice. They speak of international laws as yet untranslated into our language which are to govern the world after wars have ceased.

    A new chapter in the life of the planet has been opened. Humanity has attained its maturity, and race consciousness has awakened to the fact that it must put away the childish things which seemed necessary in the day of the  13  “survival of the fittest.” This day “wherein the feet of the people deviate” is to be followed by a glorious to-morrow; for — “This is a new cycle of human power. All the horizons of the world are luminous and the world will become indeed as a garden and a paradise. It is the hour of unity of the sons of men and of the drawing together of all races and all classes.

    “The gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of mankind and the fundamental oneness of religion. War shall cease between the nations and by the will of God the most great peace shall come; the world will be seen as a new world and all men will live as brothers.”

    (Abdu’l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 12)

    Am open to thoughts on this time, that is truly incomparible to any other time of enlightenment that has been.

    Francis
    (http://fotofrancis.lv)

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