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Old December 6th, 2009 #1
Jerry Abbott
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Jerry Abbott
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My father was a Protestant minister, and it is from sitting in his church through my childhood that I understand Christian teachings as well as I do. During my four years in the Air Force, I attended Catholic mass at the invitation of a Catholic friend and fellow officer.

I have been, however, an atheist since the age of 16.

Recently, I asked this (detailed) question on Yahoo Answers:

Quote:
If a religion teaches that lying is immoral, and considers itself the true faith, what tolerance will it have for other faiths with any contrary belief? Or, to put it another way, any religious group that advocates tolerance for different religions must either think that lies are morally OK, or else it does not consider their own faith to be the truth.

Does anyone have a way to resolve this dilemma and show why it would be possible for a religion to have the following three properties?

1. It has true beliefs
2. It considers lying immoral
3. It is tolerant to religions having contrary beliefs

Can people who are tolerant of religions, whose beliefs they consider incorrect, be sincerely religious themselves? It seems to me that tolerant people treat religion as, at most, a game that they play for social reasons. They can't possibly hold their faith as a matter of life or death, of salvation or damnation. If they were sincere, they'd be very intolerant of errors, hypocrisies, heresies, and false religions that they believe can lead only to misfortune, death or damnation.

For religions that are "One Way," only the non-religious and the insincerely religious may be tolerant of faiths which they do not share. If I'm wrong, please explain.
I have received several thoughtful answers from my readers. The best of them argues that Christianity isn't really "One Way," and that there are other ways to be Saved than by accepting Jesus. One of them is Martyrdom. (Though the answerer didn't specify which cause the Martyr for. Presumably, he means Martyrdom for "something good.") A third way to Salvation, he said, was by doing good works.

Well. I sat through enough of my father's sermons to answer THAT. Though, to be sure, I never thought I'd be preaching the Gospel in his place. The Biblical principles involved are these:

T1. Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6).

T2. Salvation is by grace and not by works (Ephesians 2:8).

T3. Christians must carry the gospel to all the world (Mark 16:15).

T4. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin (Hebrews 9:22).

I can see that Martyrdom in a good cause might get someone special favor in Heaven. Sainthood, perhaps. But because of T1, Christians may not consider Martyrdom a substitute for faith in Jesus. Martyrdom, in other words, won't get a soul to Heaven in the first place. A sinner's own death in Martyrdom might get him forgiveness for one sin, but only the death of a completely innocent person (the only one being Jesus) can get someone forgiveness for all of his sins.

And the notion that good works can earn Salvation is refuted by T2, which was the Apostle Paul's answer to the question.

Good works are good, of course. They are just not the key to the door of Heaven. Martyrdom in a good cause might be considered the BEST of works, but it still isn't the key to the door of Heaven. Only faith in Jesus and the acceptance of His sacrifice as payment for your own sin-guilt is that key. Nothing else.

Every single human being will either become Christian, or will die the Second Death in the flames of Hell, no matter how many good works he might have done. That's what the Bible teaches. That's what Jesus and various persons inspired by the Holy Spirit have said.

Coming down from the pulpit...

Those are the actual, authentic Christian teachings, as much for Catholics as for Protestants. I've said nothing about Mary or Saints or the efficacy of charms. Both sides of the schism use the same Bible, other than the Apocrypha that the Catholics add to the rest, and the Bible has definite things to say about how Salvation is acquired. There is, evidently, a great deal of political masquerading going on among the leaders of the Churches for the sake of tolerance. They are engaging in deception and dissimulation to an extent that I would not have thought possible for them.

Again, I'm not Christian myself and don't have the beliefs of their faith. I understand those beliefs, but I don't implement them in my mind. If the Christians are right, then I'm destined to be a rose in the flames. But at least I'll know why I'm there.

And I'd have company in Hell. Roasting with me would be people who thought they were Christians, but weren't because they didn't use the right key for Heaven's door. And there would be people who might have been Christians if they'd had the Gospel preached to them rightly, instead of some devilish substitute that told them they didn't have to be Christian themselves in order to have Salvation.
 
Old December 6th, 2009 #2
McKinley
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You goin' ta Hell
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Old December 6th, 2009 #3
Thomas de Aynesworth
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Socrates will hopefully be WN by the time I go down.
 
Old December 7th, 2009 #4
Jerry Abbott
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I'm posting here a discussion that I'm having somewhere else. If I can get consensus on principles for action with respect to Christianity, I can use them as principles for action for WN. Here's my latest contribution.

Quote:
I think some might be missing the point. One can forgive an offense or an injury. But those are not the kinds of things I was speaking of.

I was referring, rather, to incorrect religious beliefs of the kind that can send a soul to Hell. As the saying goes, "Hate the sin, but love the sinner," however, and more to the point, "Love the sinner, perhaps, but certainly do hate the sin. Don't forget to hate the sin!"

It is not kindness, from a Christian perspective, to tolerate incorrect religious beliefs. The idea that there's some sort of back door to Heaven, by which non-Christians may enter without accepting Salvation by Jesus, is an example of an incorrect religious belief that can damn anyone who believes it to Hell. According to Jesus Himself, no one comes to God, except through Jesus. Christianity is most definitely a "One Way" religion. Tolerating error of this kind is like tolerating a belief in children that playing dodge-the-train at a railroad crossing is great fun.

It is, rather, intolerance that shows the greater love. And since eternity hereafter is so much more important than life on Earth here-and-now, it follows that forcible conversion to the true faith is less callous than pretending not to know what's going to happen to those heretics if they don't get right in their faith. Hell is called Hell for a reason: the suffering that souls will endure there is so much worse than anything man can do to man that any action required to destroy false belief is, at least, morally justified.

What would Jesus think, if you failed to administer a spanking to a child who, after narrowly evading a train down at the railroad crossing, bragged of his exploit? Better a millstone were tied to your neck and that you were thrown into the sea, than face His anger! (Mark 9:42-49, Luke 17:1-4.) It's not a question of whether you will or won't forgive someone for offending or injuring you. The question is whether you will or won't try to keep him out of Hell.

It seems to me that the attitude of the Church a thousand years ago had much logic to it.
 
Old December 7th, 2009 #5
andy
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Well I am a catholic and went to a rare family church event yesterday.Such an event causes reflection such as why am I there etc as usual I came back to that ace in the hole that catholics have which is provided you repent just before you die your in as it were.
I do not support the modern catholic church some nut of a deacon was trying to tell me the churches response to the Copenhagen summit will be a variation on a south American ceremony with drumming and crying out from different locations in the church to represent different parts of the planet.
I said would we not be better served steralising the entire third world ?,lol He did'nt exactly disagree but confined himself to saying such a thing would not be possible.
But as I say I will almost certainly play the ace in the hole on the way out as it were
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