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Posted by James 5:16 on April 14, 2001 at 12:30:29:

: Christianity isn't built around skepticism. It is built on the principles that you should believe and erase doubt from your mind. It is built on the principle you should place more faith in your priest than in your loved ones. You can be a skeptic, or you can be a Christian, but one thing you can't be is a skeptical Christian.

To come back to this point, I think that all Christians should be skeptical. Yes, as your knowledge of God grows, your faith will too. However, God does not call us to blindly believe in everything that we hear. Think of all of the atrocities of the Catholic church and consider that they, even though they were acting under what they called the "power of God", they still did things that were bad and evil.
We need to question what we read as Christians. We need to question what we hear. We need to do these things for two reasons. 1) So we can have a better understanding, and 2) so that we will not be misled.
Protestantism (or being a Christian non-Catholic)is founded on the very principal that some priests didn't believe that the Catholic church was doing what was right in the eyes of God. That's it. They questioned. All Christians should question. They should also have faith in God that He will lead them to His path. If they listen (namely study the Bible and pray), God will.

: My point precisely. If you can't believe in the events that occured in the bibles, why should we take any interest in the words, as anything but mere trivia.

However, the people that go to church have a faith in the perfection of the book. I'll admit that this is a debate that has gone on for two millenia now. What Bible do we use? What translation? How do we interpret this? These are questions that each church has made. But most (and I must say most) Christian churches believe in the perfection of the Bible. That it is the perfect word of God. It is another piece of faith.

: God says this? Its great isn't it how God can come up with so many snappy epithets back in the past, yet struggles to speak to prophets in this day and age. Surely after the events in the bible finished, God didn't suddenly decide not to speak to us anymore. If he did want to speak to us, surely therez a Bible Mark II that should be appearing in bookshelves near us soon.

The answer for you problem lies within the Holy Spirit. After the resurection, Jesus ascended to Heaven (according to the book of Acts of the Apostles) and the Holy Spirit came down to inhabit all Christians. God does speak to us. Through this entity that we have within us.

:However, I do have a desperate, passionate, individual belief that Jesus Christ, the Son of the God, assumed a perfect human form to die on the Cross as a tempted innocent criminal to atone for the sins of all those who believe in Him so that in His own resurection, we too as criminals from birth may be saved and share Eternity in a sinless Heaven with Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father Himself.

: Now this is an IMPORTANT issue :) (See I do use Caps too). The basis of belief for many Christians is the devout sacrifice of God's only son to save humanity.

By the by, this is called the Fundamentals of Christianity, named after the book.

: This is the moment I deconstruct this entire theory.

: Firstly, God created us, yet we supposedly sinned in the Garden of Eden. This resulted in God throwing us out and condemning us. Now should we as a people be condemned for the crimes of our predecessors. We should be judged as individual people and should not have to bear the burden of sins committed by our forefathers. In this day and age, people are still persecuted for the acts of their family, yet we know this is unjust.

Adam did sin in Eden. It made us imperfect so that we could no longer share a place with God. Adam knew what evil was. He committed the sin making him not perfect.
O.K. Can something not perfect create something that is perfect? The answer to that is no, of course. So, we are all burdened from birth, because of this.

: Secondly, assuming we believe the events of the bible, God used many alternate methods to eliminate sinners including lightning bolts, plagues, flooding, destruction. Now are those acts of a truly benevolent and understanding God, or a petulant child displeased with his creation. I digress.

The Father, it is true, did not like what happened with His children after the fall. The Flood (using caps because we are referring to a specific event) reflected this. However, God gave humanity an out. He put a family on the ark so that humanity may survive, not just Noah.
Also, it is well recorded that God is very passionate. Sometimes very benevolent and sometimes very angry. Just like we are.

: Now how does God propose to save humanity? He sacrifices his only son to save us from all our sins. Now it strikes me as a rather peculiar method to do this. Do we really need an object lesson, and what do we really learn from crucifying God's son? Sure, he rose from the dead afterwards, but did God really need this display to convince worshippers?

It really wasn't that at all. In the Pentateuch (sp) (the first five books of the Bible written by Moses), the Law is set up so that there could be a sacrificial lamb to negate sins. These people had to find a lamb that was pure and undefiled (I believe that's the word used), and sacrifice it in a particular way. Jesus was pure and undefiled. He was the sacrifice. The way Christ died was in the manner of Levitical Law.
Also we have a parallel in the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis. That is the same parallel save that Isaac was not pure.
The display on the Cross, although impressive, was to fulfill a promise made by the Father in the Old Testament.

: If Jesus had remained dead after crucifixtion, than everybody would have assumed that he was just another con-man. Because, Jesus supposedly rose from the dead, that miracle is the basis of belief.

I believe that I just answered this question. The people that originally saw this event understood what was going on from the Old Testament point of view. The miracle is not in the resurrection, but in the salvation given by a truly innocent man on the Cross.
The resurection is something different. Now that Jesus had been the sacrifice for all of the sins of the world, we were freed from Adam's sin. Now God forgave us in the manner that He had specified under Levitical Law. Then He set forth an indwelling of the Holy Spirit into all believers.

: Firstly, if we require a miracle to believe the existence of God, that is akin to asking God to prove he exists. If God does legitimately prove his existence, then this denies freewill, for who would not worship God if they knew without doubt that he existed.

We do not need a miracle. We need faith to
believe that God exists.

Continued in the next posting due to length.

James 5:16

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