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Re: To believe or not to believe

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Posted by James 5:16 on December 12, 2001 at 22:28:48:

In Reply to: Re: To believe or not to believe posted by Exodus 22:19 on December 12, 2001 at 20:13:21:

: : Actually, some people, myself included, begin as athiests and look to see if there is a meaning in the universe. The universe, over a period of years of individual research, began to make more sense. To this day, I still make the attempt to understand the world, the universe and everything. Even though I am a Christian.

: But since you are a Christian, I assume you ascribe yourself to the beliefs of Christianity.
: Therefore either your own thoughts on the universe coincide with those of Christianity or you haven't attempted to understand the world from an impartial viewpoint.

To be honest, I question my beliefs all the time. And yes, they do coincide with Christianity. At least they do now. When I began my exploration, I looked at many different religions. Also, for the record, Christianity demands you to view the world from an impartial view point. Therefore, both have occurred.

: : Actually, faith and belief, while being interrelated, are not the fundamental point behind religion in general. Organized religion is a mechanism for those that share a common belief of universal order (or lack thereof) to come together and celebrate such an organization (or lack thereof). While I cannot argue that some people go to churches of any religion to find comfort, most do not. The majority of people go to church to be with like-minded people (or the other church-goers that they grew up with)to discover a foundation to the universe. There are so many different reasons that no one simplistic statement can define why people go to church, nor can there be a quick and easy reasoning as to why people choose an individual faith.

: I am interested as to how going to church might help you find a foundation to the universe. By ascribing to a religion, haven't you established a foundation for the universe?

If you view the church leader as a teacher, which nearly all church leaders would claim, then the church leaders (priests, pastors or the like) aid you in the establishment of your belief of the organization of the universe. The church leader, as a teacher, teaches the religion's belief in the foundation of the universe.

: : The relationship between faith and belief is an easy one:
: : I can have belief that a man can ride a unicycle fully loaded across a tightrope 100 feet above the ground.
: : Faith is getting on the unicycle.

: If you're talking about faith in God however, isn't the action of faith pretty much the same as belief? After all, if you believed there was a God who required you to go to church, you'd be crazy not to have faith in him....

People can say they believe but now have the action that goes along with it. The New Testament book of James goes into this pretty solidly. Faith, being that action, is the power that draws our hearts to Him and draws our hearts to the actions that we should take. Our faith is our action. God's command tells us the laws by which we, as believers, should live. However, some people do not live in the faith (action) just the belief (thought). The belief without faith is empty.

: : As Christians, we are called to love the world, sinful and all. We also have to live in it. That's never an easy practice. In fact, I find it hard to live and love the world each day, in the perfect sense the God wants me to. There are parts of the world's past that I hate. There are events in the present that I hate. Without a doutbt there will be future events that I will hate as well. But as a Christian, I am called to forgive. I am not allowed to be a judge in the sense that I can put a person or nation or world into punishment. That is up to God. But I am allowed to look upon the wowrld and see the evil in it. Not only it not non-Christian to ignore our judgement of the world, it is our duty. Does this allow for our punishment of that (to inflict what we see as justice), no it isn't. But we are given the sense to see the evil in the world. One way or another. We are given the command to to not do evil either. Although we will fail.

: If God wants us to live in a perfect way, and knows we're not perfect and will fail.... is there some deeper meaning somewhere that I'm missing?

Yes. That, at one time, there was a man/God who got it right. Who lived a perfect life. In the time of the Old Testament, when people sinned, they needed to go to the Levite priests to put up a sin offering. Jesus, on the Cross, became the permanent sin offering for those that believe in Him and His sacrifice as a sin offering. We, as Christians, offer up our own sins so that we can be forgiven for them. We cannot and will not ever be perfect, but the sins that we have committed can be forgiven.

: : I do find relief in the fact that I will be judged and found guilty. That also means that everyone else will have that happen to them too. Our responsibility in life is to acknowledge that we have sinned, and work not to sin again. A difficult task, I'll admit. But the task is the one that we must acknowledge.

: Why is it a relief that you and everyone will be judged guilty? I don't understand what for. Interpretations of Gods law is so varied, how would anyone know whether they had sinned or not? Have I sinned by reading Harry Potter?

I know that no man, save Jesus, is sinless. We have all sinned in some way. If you look inside yourself, you will admit that there are things that you should not have done. That's a beginning. However, God does list sins pretty carefully in the Bible.

(And no, I don't think that you've sinned by reading Harry Potter. I have and have enjoyed the series...)

: : I also agree that there needs to be a personal aspect to religion. Religion cannot exist otherwise. A Christian is guided by the Holy Spirit as to what church he or she should attend. By I digress, belief is the key. Faith, the action of belief, follows then on belief. Blind faith or blind belief is a bit stupid. Every person of every religion should be in constant evaluation of his or her faith so as not to be blindly led into something that is wrong or evil. Immorality is never an excuse.

: But isn't faith by definition blind? You're following without knowing the consequences of doing so. I was a Christian of sorts, but unfortunately I was never guided to a church by the Holy Spirit. If I had been I'm sure I would be equally as devout as you. Owell guess I'm one of Gods stray lambs....

Faith isn't blind...In fact, God does not want blind followers. God knows that the people here on Earth don't get all of the interpretations of His Bible right. So, we are to question the parts of the Bible preached to us. I question my pastor constantly. (It may annoy him from time to time, but he knows that my belief is one that desires to know the Lord better.) If he says something that doesn't mesh with the rest of the Bible then we, as members of the body (people who gather to worship), are responsible and required to make certain that the interpretation is correct to the best of our understanding. I question my own belief and understanding all of the time. I'd be a blind sheep if I didn't do that, and my belief would not be as strong.

Well, thanks for listening,

James 5:16

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