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Am I Still A Christian?


zzmel
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Hi Everyone:

 

I am new here and something is perplexing me to no end. Here goes.

 

In 1986, I was admitted to a facility as I was having major problems in my life. It was a Christian based facility and at the time, I did not know what Christianity was, at least to me. I was given the opportunity to become a new born Christian and then I felt a hand on my head and the person who did that prayed that I would accept Christ as being my savior. I had to repeat and said yes to all questions, reluctantly. All throughout the four weeks I was there, there were prayers three times a day and we always held hands. I never really felt anything. One time, holding hands, we prayed and I felt a surge throughout my body which I couldn't explain. I told everyone this and discussion was that I felt Christ. I felt so many hugs, that it was hard to explain. About a dozen books were given to each one of us regarding Christianity as well as a Bible. Throughout, I felt a camaraderie and made close friends with some of the people. There was all kinds of activities such as group therapy, one on one counseling, playing roles and others. When the time was to leave, I felt at a loss. I never saw one of them ever again and all I have was like autographs in one book which I read from time to time. I felt lost and was delusioned. I was checking out this new age religion called Science of the Mind and went to a few services. It was upbeat and although God was mentioned, it was a sense of God being here to rule our lives. Christ was only mentioned as a great teacher. That was it. I then quit and joined a church. It was evangelical and I liked the Pastor very much. What turned me off was the fact that you can join protests such as anti-abortion. Several of the young people in the congregation did just that, was arrested and went to jail. The next Sunday services, everyone that participated was boasting that it was in the name of Christ. That did not seem right to me. By the way, I was Baptized by my Pastor in the Ocean. It felt good and I was in was in a high all day, without drugs. lol :rolleyes: Now, I am a real Christian. After that last service that I have explained, I left the church and went church hopping. I was really never satisfied with most of the other churches except one which was conservative Christianity. I went to services every Sunday by bus and had to walk some to the building. The Pastor was very nice and we spend many hours of discussing the Theology of Christianity. It sparked my interest and helped volunteer and even joined a Parish. My wife did not want to go and I did it all alone. Over time, everything went smoothly until I found out my Pastor and his family was going abroad serving as missionaries. When he left, again I felt at a loss. I did not ever go to church again.

 

I had to do a preliminary introduction before I continue. Now, I am almost 76 years old and not in good health. I have all kinds of physical problems. There will be a time when I will no longer be alive on this Earth. I think of death more so than earlier years. Truthfully, I fear death and the unknown. I don't know how to deal with that. Being out of Christianity for so long has led me to believe that no one will hold my hand and guide me to heaven. My family, of course will. I don't know what heaven is really like and will I go there? By faltering in Christian beliefs of how I was taught, am I still a Christian. Will God accept me anyway? I shudder thinking of this. I know we are born and we die. I never gave much thought until I hit my senior years.

 

I know I have been personal and honest with what I have written. Whether I get an answer or not, at least I got it off of my chest. I hope that you are blessed and God be with you.

 

God Bless You,

 

zzmel

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Welcome zzmel,

In terms of full disclosure I do not consider myself Christian.

 

Personally I do not fear death no more than I fear going to sleep every night.

I am not looking forward to the act of dying ... but it is something I don't think I will be in a position to choose the how and the where.

I trust it will be swift.

 

Regarding the afterlife ... as a devout agnostic I pay lip service to not being sure, but as somebody with a scientific background it has to be a nonsense ... other than some Lion King Great Circle of Life ... that sort of makes sense to me. So my advice would be, we should make the most of our years whilst we are alive.

 

And finally to your question ... If you call yourself Christian then that is fine by me. You may not be Christian by some dogmatic definitions, but I suspect the few people that are here pay little heed to dogmatic definitions, it is your actions that count not your beliefs.

Edited by romansh
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Thanks romansh for your input. I do not judge anyone of what their beliefs are. You are right by saying that live life to the fullest. I try to do that but with a lot of pain everyday, it is hard to do. Whether I am a true Christian, I don't know. I know I have practiced it in the past but I strayed away from religion itself. I have found that some people were hypocrites. Those were the few who distorted religion. I think you know what I mean. Becoming a member here has given me an opportunity to start afresh with a feeling that I can belong. How much I will be involved, I don't know yet. For one thing, getting an outside approach from mainstream Christianity, is help for me. Anyway, it is nice to know you, especially from BC. Fairly close to where I live near Seattle, WA. Take care.

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From the other side of the world zzmel (Australia), let me welcome you to the messageboard and wish you well.

 

I don't think anybody can tell you exactly what a 'true Christian' is. Those that started Christianity some 2000 years ago called it 'The Way' but apart from that, our knowledge is fairly limited. Certainly early Christians regarded Jesus as their Teacher/example, but the Son Of God tag and him being a personal blood sacrifice for those that believe so, developed later. And just how you got to 'Heaven' has changed alot throughout the ages. More recently, the last 100 or so years, it has been about holding the 'right' belief. Before that it was about 'trust' in God. Before that, who knows, and in the OT there isn't even any mention about getting to heaven unless God picked you (think Moses, Elijah). So those who tell you there is only one single way to get to Heaven are simply a product of their times and I don't personally think hold the answer anymore than our ancestors who may have been just as certain with some other 'way'.

 

I too fall into the agnostic camp. I certainly can't make sense of any conditionally-loving God (i.e. believe in Jesus or he won't love you), or even imagine how one could live forever in some sort of hidden parallel universe. However, there are a lot of things I don't know/understand, so maybe an afterlife is one of them. That said, if there is a 'God' waiting on the other side, I simply cannot for the life of me imagine that he is going to hold me eternally responsible for my limited decisons and thought-process in my relatively short life (compared to all eternity) on this little blue dot.

 

I have read some quote 'embrace the mystery' of death, and for me this works. It is mysterious, I am uncertain, one day I may find out, but I just can't imagine it being a 'bad' thing.

 

Cheers

Paul

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Whether I am a true Christian, I don't know. I know I have practiced it in the past but I strayed away from religion itself.

 

One of the literal translations of the word religion is to reconnect.

For me the question becomes to reconnect to what? Is it each other? To God or god? The universe?

 

The fact that you are asking am I a true Christian is likely a just a reflection of your environment. If you were bouht up in India would you be asking am I a true Hindu?

 

Speaking personally it is all about having a connection to the universe and understanding that connection.

 

 

I have found that some people were hypocrites. Those were the few who distorted religion.

 

I must admit I find the word hypocrite a judgemental word ... which in itself is a judgement, so I too am 'guilty'. I think the point is to cut others and oneself some slack.

 

Anyway, it is nice to know you, especially from BC. Fairly close to where I live near Seattle, WA. Take care.

 

You are 8 h drive from me which I suppose is fairly close by continental standards. :)

Edited by romansh
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I have read some quote 'embrace the mystery' of death, and for me this works. It is mysterious, I am uncertain, one day I may find out, but I just can't imagine it being a 'bad' thing.

 

Paul ... I would embrace the relative certainty of the here and now. Like you say, I too can't imagine being dead as a 'bad' thing.

Edited by romansh
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Welcome zzmel,

 

I am not unfamiliar with your plight. When we are grouped together whether it is Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism or even a so called cult we have a sense of belonging and there is a certain satisfaction and good feelings that it encompasses. However, feelings and camaraderie doesn't necessarily and most often in my experience equal truth.

 

As Rom indicated , i think few here pay attention to dogmatic definitions. I answer as a Christian but not in the normally understood sense among Christian fundamentalists. Labels just aren't all that important to me. So personally i would not question any label you wish to be known by.

 

I am also a senior in age and although my life is relatively free from pain and i still retain a passion for certain things in life, i am of the persuasion that death has no stronghold or power over me. I seem to have a sense of existence that while i am subject to physical death, I remain. As a human i was accepted coming into the world and i have trust that i will likewise be accepted in whatever form upon leaving. Uncertainty to me is of the thinking mind and i have a choice to live with it and not to entertain such thoughts. Living in the Now allows me to accept that which is. Stay or leave, while one may be preferred, both are acceptable. May you be blessed, if desired, with an equal outlook or persuasion.

 

Joseph

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I feel that you have fear. I think you might be thinking, "When I die, am I going to Heaven or Hell?" If so, the question is full of assumptions like "Do my good deeds outweigh my bad?" By what you said, roughly, that you said a prayer and had a spiritual experience, that Christianity would say, "Yes, you're on your way to heaven!" Second, with the idea that God is Love and desires "none to perish", I can conclude that you and God want the same thing, in this view. In conclusion, with these 2 ways to look at it, you don't have to worry. Honestly, worrying is the problem, I personally believe that we can all agree the worry won't solve anything, I also think God wants us to connect with Him/Her/Etc. I hope you can find peace in some of this, and extend that peace in whomever you truly believe God to be.

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I have read all your responses and it made me feel better in that I don't have to worry what happens to me. I imagine as long as I can get up in the morning and do what I am able to do, then yes, I would say when the day comes and it will come, need not worry as you don't control what will happen to you. I have talked to other's about this and some of the answers were: I did everything in my life that I wanted to and now I can look back and remember all the great things have accomplished through out life. Then, I was told that when death comes or rather I leave this Earth, what do I have to worry about it anyway. For my part I have not done everything and mostly taking on the responsibility of doing what I wanted in life whether it would be for money or just accept the events that happened, then either way I would have to see what is in store for me. I cannot control what will be and if there is an afterlife. Sometmes, you wonder. Something interesting of a dream I had where there was a bright light behind venetian blinds that were open. I wanted so bad to close it and my power came from my mind to close the blinds. This was occuring over and over until the blinds wouldn't close. This was frightening in a way as that moment I woke up. What it interprets, I don't know but it was eerie. Here's a thought. I dont know if any of you have seen the movie Polerguist. It was a very scary movie in that there was a fight between God and the devil and this little girl was trapped between both. Her mother said "don't look into the light, stay out of the light." Finally she came back down out of the ceiling into the living World. She defeated the devil and he was outrageously angry and tried take revenge. A lot of things happened afterwards and finally the devil was destroyed. It ended in a way that I would want it to end. The ending was wonderful. That dream I had somehow reminded of the movie. Strange, isn't it? Well, I thought that I would add this in.

Edited by zzmel
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I like the metaphor of Indra's net.

 

 

Something is a reflection of every thing (the universe)

Every thing is a reflection of that something.

 

Everything and something are one.

 

We shape the universe much in the same way the universe shapes us. We and the universe are one.

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zz, I am a Christian and I don't go to church, but I meditate and do yoga. You live in infinity, eternity so I don't think you are going to die per se, but change, yes. I am going to die too, I have a terminal illness that at this moment is 100% fatal it is called old age. I think that the purpose of philosophy is to ease the transition so we look forward to trading in our old model self for a new one or just merge into infinity. It doesn't matter what religion on philosophy you choose or a little bit from each at the universal buffet, as long as you are finding peace within. The Native Americans when they were close to death practiced the last dance. I look at it as slipping into a warm sauna because dying is not painful it is life that is painful. Our mind and nerves make sure of that so shedding the brain gets rid of the pain too. Enjoy the transition and know you are on the right path as you are already there, it is hard to fall out of eternity.

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