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  2. Yes, but he also said that in that state the person suffers the pain of the deprivation of God - eternally. He calls it eternal damnation and self-inflicted punishment. He blames the individual for it as he says they deserve it because they have freely and definitively separate themselves from God. It's just a softer version of the fire and brimstone version of hell. Maybe it helps them feel better about their loved ones suffering eternal damnation.
  3. Funny you mention Catholics, because I'm from a French Catholic area, and a lot of them take it pretty seriously that Pope JP2 said that hell wasn't a place, but the consequence of sin itself, a state of separating oneself from God. There's a big difference between how a child is taught about the concept of sin for themselves vs how the church is used as a tool of oppression against those who are different. I've met ultra conservative Orthodox Greek Christian leaders with extremely regressive social values, but who taught their own congregants a very compassionate version of sin, w
  4. Undoubtedly there are strains of Christianity that don't teach this (yay!) but I doubt it is the majority of the Christian religion. The largest denomination for instance, Catholicism, will preach how Jesus is the required salvation if one should wish to live in Heaven (the alternate not so much promoted but very much insinuated). Of course, that said, there are progressive Catholics too - they're just a minority. Anglicans are possibly more progressive with a slightly better acceptance of homosexuality for instance, but many of those branches still believe in Hell as a place of justice for
  5. I wonder if this is a global Christian thing or particular to certain sects or regions or cultures. I participated in two churches as a kid and the atrocious evangelical church in my hometown definitely taught that we kids should feel extreme shame about sin, but the Anglican Church taught us none of that, and the United Church ministers I know don't teach that.
  6. So, in general (in the main), I don't think Christianity stops at just teaching children they are born with the capacity for cruelty, destruction etc, but worse, that this is their base nature as 'sinners', born into sin. They are not worthy of God unless they believe certain beliefs.
  7. Wow, where to begin. So much has changed, and I feel like I'm constantly in flux. So, I think I'm just going to go with my understanding of the role dogmatic theology itself. I'm not saying dogmatic theology is bad. I think it's a great way to help people connect with others who are similar so that they can grow together. But it can also become a tool to nullify spiritual growth. I used to look at dogmatic theology as an attempt to be "right". And I back in the day I looked at different theologies to see which one was more "right". Now, I look at dogmatic theology as a dialogu
  8. Yeah, that seems pretty harmless. Unfortunately, I don't think that is the Christian position in the main. I would also teach children that the human capacity for destructive behavior, of which we are all capable, is just as fundamental as the human capacity to love. The former is not a default behavior that we are inherently ruled by.
  9. See, for me, I wrapped my mind around "sin" as being a fundamental human capacity for destructive behaviour, of which we are all capable. I worked with children for years, they are capable of incredible cruelty. We all are. So if I conceptualize that we are "born with sin" meaning we are all born with the capacity for cruelty, destruction, etc, then I'm actually pretty okay with teaching young children about being born with sin. It's pairs with the concept that none of us are perfect. If sin is the thing that is imperfect in us, then it's something that we can know about ourse
  10. I tried to help my mother understand why I don't believe in Hell, with similar logic. But she couldn't process it. I told her that by her understanding she should expect me to go to Hell as I didn't believe Jesus died for my sins or that I needed to believe that. In fact, I said I would want to go to Hell simply to demonstrate solidarity with all those poor wretches that other Christians think deserve eternal torture! That being the case, how could she be happy for all eternity in Heaven, whilst knowing her son was suffering eternal torment. Luckily for her, I was baptized at 14 when I 'ch
  11. I was reading about the simulation hypothesis and came across this I have a general comment about the difference between religion and science. Take an example from Christian faith, like Jesus healing the blind and lame. It’s a religious story, but not because it’s impossible to heal blind and lame people. One day we might well be able to do that. It’s a religious story because it doesn’t explain how the healing supposedly happens. The whole point is that the believers take it on faith. In science, in contrast, we require explanations for how something works. Sabine I find quite inter
  12. Earlier
  13. Well Adam's reply did not sway me. He brings up the point that a book might bring up the same conclusion a scientific study. Fair enough, what if the two disagreed, what if we brought to the table different studies or different books that did not share the same conclusion? Where do we go from there? While I was awaiting Adam's first reply to "other ways of knowing", I thought the concept might be useful to "educate" those who are not swayed by scientific evidence. For example for those who are not swayed to be free will skeptics, I could point to Kurt Vonnegut's classic Slaughterhous
  14. I lived on a farm as a kid, you couldn't pay me enough to go back.
  15. That's his dharma too ... but perhaps a not very happy one. ... I really recommend Joseph Campbell's Pathways to Bliss and Myths of Light. That I understand ... my dharma was to be a chemist, I was lucky I enjoyed it. Was it useful?
  16. Wish I'd spent my life doing something useful like farming...
  17. I used to be heavily involved as a teenager with an evangelical para-church organization called the Navigators. For a confused adolescent, it supplied context, comradeship, direction, much like being a member of a street gang, or the Hitler Youth. We were the shock troops of God’s Army. The military analogies were often made explicit. I remember a week-long Bible study and leadership conference where the climax at the end was an all-night prayer session, in the manner that a medieval squire underwent in church before taking his vows the next day and being knighted. Praying for a few minutes, o
  18. Seems to me that that's the main commandment; Jesus sums up his teaching in Matthew 22: 35-40 (and elsewhere). Apart from loving God (and who knows who God is - I see Him/Her as in everything, it's existence itself) the commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (and that's not just the person next door).
  19. Totally agree with that. And everything else said here. A bit envious of the "speaking in tongues" bit. OK, I know in some respects it's a "New age" (or Old Age") aspect of Christianity that's come back to the forefront in the last century or two, in the charismatic communities, the ecstatic experience where you're at your happiest dancing in the aisles/whatever....but it never happened for me. Even when very senior members of the Full Gospel Business Mens' Fellowship laid their hands on me and prayed for the Spirit to enter me (that was a very long time ago). The notion of "sin",
  20. I wasn't raised Christian, but I was exposed to a few wildly different sects of Christianity and the main impression I got was that there a lot of ways to interpret this whole Christianity thing. I think the biggest change I went through was a re-interpretation of sin. I always cringed at the notion that we're all "bad" and need to ask forgiveness to be accepted into the exclusive Jesus-club in the after life. I was like "eff that", I left home as a teenager, there was no way I was subscribing to a father figure who was telling me I fundamentally wasn't good enough and that o
  21. I've touched on this before, but I'm wanting Christianity to progress to a point where Christians are known by their love. The book Hijacking Jesus talks about how the religious right distorts Christianity and promotes prejudice and hate, which is what Christians are known for. 1. I know what the fruit of the Spirit is, display them, and know this comes from God 2. I turn the other cheek, and pray for my enemies. When I can't, I pray for me. 3. I try to treat others as if they were Christ, the Namaste "the God within me bows to the God within you." 4. I have chosen profes
  22. I was a camp counselor at a Bible Camp, and one week, had campers that told me they didn't know how to pray. I was confused. I remembwr having long talks with God as early as 4. So what I heard was, I don't know how to have a conversation. There is a strange misunderstanding that you have to say some magic words you may not understand, like "grace" or "countenance" and use old English, putting -eth on your words. None of this is necessary. I would recommend having the Holy Spirit teach you, but basically, I have a conversation, and like any conversation, speak, and then allow God t
  23. This is a random comment, but here in the San Francisco Bay I will see billboards, and because of the file size, couldn't post the pic, but it says Jesus is the only way to God. 555-TRUTH First of all, what is the point of the billboard? I can't imagine a nonChristian jotting diwn the number. And second if all, shouldn't it read: Jesus is the only way to the Father? Because Christians believe Jesus is God. I teach English as a Second Language, so it's like seeing "your welcome."
  24. I'm curious how many people have radically different ideas from what you were taught, and if you struggle with them, or even keep you true beliefs between you and God. A quick background about me: I was raised in a very religious Lutheran family. My brother got his MDiv and became a pastor. My oldest sister did missionary work for several years, and met her husband at a bible study group. My other sister married a missionary and moved to Peru. One brother was a bit of a rebel, but his belief in God is very important. I went to a Christian Rock retreat, and ended up being baptized in the
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