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Grace And Faith


anna
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Hi, I'm new to Christianity as well as the boards. I think I've got an easy question, and if anyone is interested in replying, I'd appreciate it.

 

So...the question is, Does the receipt of Grace require faith and/or the belief in God?

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Hi, I'm new to Christianity as well as the boards. I think I've got an easy question, and if anyone is interested in replying, I'd appreciate it.

 

So...the question is, Does the receipt of Grace require faith and/or the belief in God?

 

hi anna, welcome to the boards. As far as your question is concerned, I'm not so sure its an easy one. Unfortunately, when the "answer" has been defined by various denominations, it has led to disputes. My own answer is that grace is the reality in which we live and move and have our being. It is "given", total and complete gift, and we were chosen "before the foundation of the world" (Ephesians), thus nothing we can do can make God love us more, nothing we can do can make God love us less. As far as "time and space" is concerned, undoubtably grace awaits our recognition and awareness of it, yet - at least for me - it is the recognition/awareness of that which is eternally.

 

I do not see "religion" or "faith" as a means to an end, the end being "salvation". "Religion", instead, becomes the way to express gratitude for the compassion that supports all our life.

 

:)

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Does the receipt of Grace require faith and/or the belief in God?

 

I feel the fire or light that grows our thoughts is within so when a fire burns its light is seen for a vast distance, but people too far away can't see it or feel its heat. This is also true for those who are too far from the soul; it is hard to describe the grace or bliss of this experience to them because it is beyond their intellect and mind. The splendors can't be described in mere words; it has to be felt by each individual who directs his mind to the soul. Therefore, this experience is not shouted out loud for others to hear, one has to enter inside oneself alone and find the secret place without pretentiousness to return to the soul and find the unity in all.

 

I have faith and belief in God, but I feel others are also guided by grace under another name. I think when one feels grace they feel it in and around everyone Christian or not.

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I experience grace when I let go of my hold on my life, my certainty about what to do; let go of my need to think, to read, to be entertained; let go of my anxiety, my depression, all my excuses, and all my imaginings. I experience grace when I let down my defenses, my burden, my baggage, my struggles. I experience grace when I sit and watch my thoughts, listen to the wind, feel the sun. When I experience that I am loved and that universe can be trusted I feel grace. . . .and when I play tag with my dog.

 

Dutch

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Hi, I'm new to Christianity as well as the boards. I think I've got an easy question, and if anyone is interested in replying, I'd appreciate it.

 

So...the question is, Does the receipt of Grace require faith and/or the belief in God?

 

If by grace you mean a benefit without payment or effort, then; no. However, if you mean the grace that evangelical Christians talk about, then; yes - that grace must be earned.

 

NORM

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if you mean the grace that evangelical Christians talk about, then; yes - that grace must be earned.

 

NORM

 

 

This confuses me. Do you mean to suggest that the evangelicals experience grace of God that non-evangelicals don't? How is it earned?

 

For me a loving God wouldn't exclude people. period

 

steve

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This confuses me. Do you mean to suggest that the evangelicals experience grace of God that non-evangelicals don't? How is it earned?

 

steve

No, but they think so. They believe that you "must believe" on Jesus (4 spiritual laws, etc...) in order to "receive" eternal life. Sounds to me like a quid pro quo.

 

For me a loving God wouldn't exclude people. period

 

Personally, I agree with you. A loving G-d would not require a litmus test for "grace." Religion, therefore, is superfluous.

 

NORM

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I think it's safe to say that more than a few Christians have this attitude.

 

Yes, but it is not a necessary belief.

 

I think it boils down to an individualistic vs. communitarianistic worldview. The former emphasizes one's individual situation, the latter, one's responsibility to the community. These different worldviews get reflected in the theology.

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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Yes, but it is not a necessary belief.

 

I think it boils down to an individualistic vs. communitarianistic worldview. The former emphasizes one's individual situation, the latter, one's responsibility to the community. These different worldviews get reflected in the theology.

 

George

 

I certainly agree it's not necessary.

 

As for the worldview distinction you make, I think you're onto something, but I'd use terminology based around being "for the Other." A focus on belonging to the right/chosen/saved community can lead to some similar places as the individual one if the Us/them dichotomy isn't directly attacked.

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I certainly agree it's not necessary.

 

As for the worldview distinction you make, I think you're onto something, but I'd use terminology based around being "for the Other." A focus on belonging to the right/chosen/saved community can lead to some similar places as the individual one if the Us/them dichotomy isn't directly attacked.

 

Nick, I think these work together. A focus on self, can be 'I' or 'we,' but not 'her' or 'them.' I think it does necessarily involves an us/them dichotomy.

 

On another level, I think the idea of salvation is also related to the notion of justice. In other words, one can see it as unjust to live a righteous life with the same ultimate reward as the wicked. This notion is part of what motivated 2nd-Temple Jews to come to the idea resurrection, Heaven and Hell.

 

George

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I think it's safe to say that more than a few Christians have this attitude.

 

It does seem that many identify "real" religion with their own, and that adherence to it and its formula's separate the sheep from the goats.. :D I'm quite happy to be a goat, so I leave such a religion to others. At least for myself, a full "incarnational" Christianity leads to a religionless society - just as for Marx the State would wither away with man's perfection - and religion exists because we continue to search for "salvation" and have not found it. All part of the fall..........

 

I went to the Garden of Love,

And saw what I never had seen;

A Chapel was built in the midst,

Where I used to play on the green. .....as my mentor Willy Blake has it......

 

I've asked on Buddhist forums whether or not people would still meditate after enlightenment and never received a sensible answer ( a very notable foible of said forums), I think the closest we got was that the Buddha himself said he would continue to meditate............"out of compassion for the world". I think, at least according to the Theravada texts, that this would be linked with the idea of "leading by example".

 

Anyway, I waffle as always. Here is a small extract from an essay by a Pure Land Buddhist, speaking of the vision of absolute compassion that informed the life of Shinran, the founder of Jodo Shin Shu (i.e. The TRUE Pure Land faith, oh yes, I'm one of the sheep with this one...... :D )

 

"The point of being religious for Shinran is that when we come to have faith in the Original Vow and live in its light, we truly become free to live a full and meaningful existence in this life...........Shinran's perspective permits a person to see deeply into their life to detect the springs of compassion which sustain it; it allows them to participate and associate with all types of people despite their unattractiveness or difficulty because they understand the potentiality that works in their very being. In perceiving the compassion that embraces life, the person of faith can become an expression of that compassion touching the lives of all."

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I always love the parallels (in tone if nothing else) between (certain forms) Marxism and Christianity. We live in a broken, flawed world full of misery that is nevertheless inevitably marching towards a moment where, through purifying violence, a perfect humanity shall rise. Just as the forms of Marxism/Communism I enjoy remove the revolutionary element, the types of Christianity I prefer acknowledge that Left Behind is nothing but a Dispensationalist fantasy. God and the Kingdom of God are in eternity, meaning they are outside of time. Consequently, the Kingdom of God is at hand and the end is nigh at all points in time equally.

 

...ok, sorry for that. Rant got away from me.

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Nick, I think these work together. A focus on self, can be 'I' or 'we,' but not 'her' or 'them.' I think it does necessarily involves an us/them dichotomy.

 

On another level, I think the idea of salvation is also related to the notion of justice. In other words, one can see it as unjust to live a righteous life with the same ultimate reward as the wicked. This notion is part of what motivated 2nd-Temple Jews to come to the idea resurrection, Heaven and Hell.

 

George

 

A focus on self vs. other is definitely a good way to discuss this. A focus on the self, be it as an individual or as a group, is not the form of Christianity I'm interested in, though it seems quite popular among others, sadly. (insert rant about the prosperity gospel here)

 

Also, I'm finishing NT Wright's Justification, which is very much about salvation, justice, and second temple Judaism, though nobody in their right mind would call Wright a progressive Christian. I'm planning on writing about it in the book discussion area when I'm done.

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Since your first sentence isn't true because there nothing you nor I can say about G-d [faith] :D then it follows that the second is not true.

 

Dutch

 

Which first sentence are you referring to? I find no contradiction. I don't think it was I who said "there is nothing you nor I can say about G-d." My position is that G-d is manufactured from our imaginations, so of course we can say something about G-d.

 

NORM

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This assumes the (only) purpose for religion is salvation.

 

steve

 

Religion without the goal of salvation (Salvation from what? From death, from punishment of sin, from the whim of an angry god, from ourselves, or whatever) is not religion, but tradition. :)

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This assumes the (only) purpose for religion is salvation.
with an emphasis on only. And I am thinking in the context of a fundamental Christian viewpoint where the only reason to go to Church is to not be punished for our sins.

 

steve

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